Jackie nodded, saying quickly, “Do you remember how Grayson looked at you when you were questioning him? He looked at you as if it was the first time he had ever seen you. He did not seem to know the two of us, and looked at us like enemies when you questioned him!”
Rudy had a dark look on his face and replied, “That’s true! That’s what happened! So he recorded your image with a special array and broadcasted it. He really doesn’t know us, and wanted to figure out where you’re from…”
Jackie nodded. That should have been what happened.
That was the only reason he could think of after considering everything that had happened. However, a bigger question remained, what did Grayson go through?
Could Grayson have done all that just to try and figure Jackie out?
“There are too many questions regarding Grayson. The information we can get is not enough to determine what happened to him. Why doesn’t he know us? Why was he looking into us? What does he want…”
After saying that, Jackie no longer knew what to say. He felt like more and more mysteries were popping up. It was like a dark cloud that would never go away, trapping him inside.
Rudy looked at Jackie, actually having a lot to say. However, he swallowed back his words after some thought, taking a long time before saying, “Should we just stop thinking about this? Edgar was only trying to look into where you’re from, and not anything else. Even if they want to do anything bad to us, it should take some time…”
Rudy saw a conflicted and exasperated look on Jackie’s face. It did not feel great. This time, Rudy clearly understood why dwelling on impossible problems was useless.
He turned to look around him. It still looked the same as when they first came in. It was already almost an hour, but nothing had changed. That wizened voice had not spoken.
After arriving at the fifth level, it was like the hundred of them had been forgotten. The ones who argued were arguing, and others talked among themselves.
Rudy frowned and questioned, “Strange, we’ve been in here for so long, so why hasn’t anything changed at all? Could there be no test on the fifth level?”
Jackie finally realized that they had already been there for a while. Usually, the test should have already begun. They had entered with so many questions, and warriors from other cities were all gathered there. It was like they had been forgotten. There were not even any changes in the environment.
People slowly started to react as well, as they started to discuss loudly, “Why hasn’t it started yet? Wasn’t the test supposed to begin when a hundred have gathered?”
“Why aren’t there any changes? Who knows what the fifth level’s test is? What was the array that was activated?”
“I don’t know. I only heard a voice before we came that a hundred were needed to restart the array. Yet, nothing seemed to have happened after reaching this place, other than everyone else suddenly appearing. I wonder if something happened…”
As everyone started to discuss the matter, they suddenly heard the creaking of mechanisms moving. Everyone suddenly froze as the noise of conversation disappeared.
All of them widened their eyes as they looked around. They were all on full alert, ready for anything to suddenly happen. After a few moments, that familiar voice was heard again. It was as deep and monotonous as usual…
“All members gathered, and the fifth level’s test will begin. All of you entered an illusory world, you’re not in the real world…”
Everyone froze at that. Even Jackie looked up in disbelief. They were not in the actual world, but an illusion.
Jackie never felt like he was in one from start to finish, because everything had felt so real. After absorbing so many memories of past heroes, he was very confident in his intuition. After all, he had all that experience to fall back on. Jackie would usually notice any hint of irregularity. Yet, he had felt like everything was normal after entering the place. Everyone he saw and everything he heard seemed perfect. There had been no way for him to know that he had been trapped in an illusion at all. The ones around him were incredibly surprised as well. “So I’m in an illusion? Then you’re all fake people? Only I’m real?”
“Dream on! You’re the fake one. This is probably not a complete illusion, but a partial one. We can talk to each other, but what’s in front of us might not be real…”
“What are you going on about…” Some felt like they had entered a solitary world, while some thought that they had entered the same illusion as everyone else.
The arguments were getting louder, but none of that affected Jackie. He was already sure that the illusion included everyone.
The deep voice was heard again, “You will be facing countless wind beasts later. Your current bodies are not your actual bodies at all. They were replicated with a special method. Your skills and techniques were not weakened at all. If you lose to a wind beast and end up being killed, you won’t experience actual death. You will just be kicked out! There is only one winner in this match… The first person to break past the array will earn the key to the sixth level.”
Jackie frowned, feeling like the words were a bit confusing. Only one person could be the victor. The person who broke the array would win, but no one mentioned any arrays.
After all the discussions, the noise slowly died again. A howl of wind could suddenly be heard, and everyone started to jump in alarm as they slowly formed a circle.
Jackie had been at a corner earlier, so he was the furthest away. He looked at Rudy helplessly. Rudy had really turned into a complete burden then.
The moment they started fighting, it would be hard for Jackie to protect Rudy. Rudy had felt that, and pursed his lips as he said earnestly to Jackie, “You don‘t have to care about me after the test starts. I wouldn’t be able to hold on for that long even with you protecting me anyway. It’s just an illusion, and I won’t actually die. I’ll just be kicked out.”
Even if he was not eliminated, it was useless for Jackie to keep guard of him anyway. After all, Rudy could not get the prize. Jackie nodded, if he really decided to ignore Rudy, then Rudy would definitely be eliminated.
A few familiar roars were heard in the distance. Green figures started to rapidly charge at them. A few hundred wind beasts were basically rushing at them with all their might. Those wind beasts were flaring their teeth with eyes full of bloodlust, looking like they wanted to rip everyone apart.
“What do we do?! Break the array? Is this an array? Do they want us to break out of the illusion or the array? I have no idea what’s happening, and the test has already started…”
“I haven’t figured anything out either. There was so much free time at the start, and nothing was said. Why is the test so rushed? We didn’t get any time to think about what array we were supposed to break at all. Could those wind beasts have all been formed by arrays?”
The warriors were all in confusion. The earlier announcement had been far too sudden. They were already in a state of panic before they could even make things clear.
Jackie stared at the wind beasts that were charging over, gripping his gray sword tightly. At that moment, he only had one thought in mind, which was figuring out how to destroy the array.
Were the wind beasts part of an array, or everything around them?
Unfortunately, the time was too short. The wind beasts had already arrived right in front of them.
Jackie frowned as he pushed Rudy behind him. The sword in his hand constantly danced, practically killing a wind beast each time he slashed. Thankfully, all of those wind beasts had been restricted to the late stage of the innate level, and their killing techniques were restricted to the middle earth rank. No one who got to the fifth level was weak.
Those wind beasts were no match for the warriors alone, but they were charging up in waves. Even if the warriors could face the wind beasts, it was still quite a lot of pressure.
The roars of anger from the wind beasts and the crazed shouts of the warriors could both be heard. With the sound of weapons clashing against claws, the originally quiet surroundings became incredibly rowdy.
Practically everyone who arrived at the fifth level was a disciple from a high-grade clan. They were all elite warriors, and many wind beasts died within a short time.
There were still no deaths on the human side, but as time passed, some people started to lose control.
“It’s unending! After one dies, the second and the third charge forward. Just look! There’s still an unending flow of wind beasts charging right at us! What is happening? What array do we need to break?!”
“I’ve already stopped thinking about that. There are too many wind beasts. It’s impossible to kill them all!”
In order to stop themselves from getting injured by a sneak attack from a wind beast, everyone was wound up very tightly. No one had the time to even think about the array. It was a vicious cycle. They constantly fought and did not have the time to think of ways to break the array. Since they could not break the array, they would face an unending wave of wind beasts.
There were way too many wind beasts, and their true energy was limited. Their true energy would be expended eventually. When that happened, they would not be able to fight back even if they wanted to.
Jackie realized that as well, but he did not know what he needed to do at that moment. There should be an array, but he could not figure out what kind of array it was, or how he could break it.