After so many years of working together, Xiaobao and Chengfeng knew that this was not the moment to negotiate. Xiaobao ran into the next path ahead without hesitation.
Now, Chengfeng was the only one left in the tunnel, his hand clutching the knob as he nervously looked at the rain of swords approaching.
“It’s all an illusion! An illusion! You can’t scare me!” He tried to brainwash himself.
But everything looked too real. His heart pounded like a drum as he wondered. What if they weren’t… illusions? What if they were real?
What if… Grand Senior Brother lied like the last time and this wasn’t the Illusory Sword Array? What then?
This thought haunted him like a demon, spreading manically across his mind until the shadow of doubt consumed him.
If Zhao Xiaobao gets injured, I can save him. But if I’m hurt, who will save me? If his Immortal Qi abilities were exposed publicly, wouldn’t his identity too?
The terrifying thought rang like deafening bells, like a demon clinging unto his mind.
Chengfeng subconsciously loosened his grip on the knob. Swords immediately fell on the other side of the tunnel with a big whoosh, causing him to shriek in surprise and turn the knob around immediately!
However, he realised a strong force was starting to force the knob clockwise and when turned, swords in the other tunnel would fall immediately. Zhao Xiaobao would then be impaled by countless swords. If that happened… even if he went to Grand Senior Sister again, she would not be able to save him.
Although this was just the Illusory Sword Array, he did not want to gamble. What if it wasn’t? Based on the way Grand Senior Brother tricked them the last time, he definitely did not seem to care if these juniors lived or died. He seemed willing to watch them struggle at the boundary between life and death.
Chengfeng twisted the knob in the opposite direction hard but the force grew stronger and was determined to turn clockwise. All Chengfeng could do was slow down its speed.
After a while, he felt an intense burning in his arm as if it was about to be twisted off.
His arm started to twist at an odd angle due to the extreme force exerted on the knob. The pain drove him to madness!
His eyes bulged and beads of sweat sprouted on his forehead. His face reddened as green veins pulsed. He was at the brink of giving up now.
But Chengfeng dared not let go because he did not want to take the gamble!
What if… it’s not an illusion?
Perhaps he just had to hold on for one more second! Then Zhao Xiaobao would arrive at the next knob, turn it, and shut this whole mechanism off!
He did not know that the creator of the Illusory Sword Array had an acute understanding of humanity’s doubts and weaknesses. When one was in danger, doubt would cling unto them like a shadow.
Perhaps there were people you could trust with your life in this world. But what about the chain of doubt? The chain of doubt was not one line connecting A to B, it was a three-dimensional web consisting of many connecting points.
As long as one of the points was not stable, the entire web would implode and a person’s trust and confidence would be shattered by doubt!
Just like this question: Was this truly the Illusory Sword Array? Could illusions hurt a person? If this wasn’t the Illusory Sword Array, what array was it? Would the other person reach the other knob in time? Would the other person let me get impaled by swords?
Even if they arrived at the knob in time, what if the mechanism didn’t work? If I let go now and they die, will I still die too?
Does the other person have the same questions I do? What decision will he make? If they choose to hold on to the knob, will he believe that I am also holding on to the knob? If he holds on but doesn’t believe that I will hold on, then what?
All these doubts appeared consecutively. Just a slight push was enough to make everything collapse!
That was the most terrifying part of illusory spells!
Chengfeng chose to believe that the array would not truly hurt him but he felt like his arm was about to be twisted out of its socket. His arm was already bent in an odd angle and his entire torso leaned in the turning direction awkwardly. Every muscle and vein bulged like thin twigs about to snap soon!
“Just a little bit more! A little bit more! Xiaobao will arrive on time!”
The falling swords were hot on his heels. When he looked up, he saw a row of swords falling directly towards his head!
Not able to dodge, he barely twisted his head to the side, dodging the sword. However, the swords still fell and impaled his torso anyway, pinning him on the spot!
He spat out a mouthful of blood as the swords ruined his momentum. The knob was no longer stopped by his arm and let out a dull click as it continued to turn to the right.
Chengfeng’s arm was instantly snapped in half with a crack!
Chengfeng shrieked in agony, collapsing on the ground, drenched in cold sweat. However, he suddenly realised Zhao Xiaobao was squatting in front of him. Xiaobao cried happily, “You’re awake!”
Chengfeng touched his arm nervously to find that it was intact and heaved a sigh of relief. He punched Zhao Xiaobao grinningly, “I knew it was an illusion!”
Zhao Xiaobao pulled Chengfeng up. “Young Master, it’s not… that simple! Look…”
Chengfeng looked towards where Xiaobao pointed. The walls that divided them had disappeared. Everyone, including Su You, lay unmoving in puddles of blood.
Chengfeng rushed over to check on them. They had all sustained severe internal injuries with varying amounts of blood bleeding out of their orifices.
“The Illusory Sword Array… can hurt us?” He felt goosebumps!
He understood that Grand Senior Brother was right. The key was trust!
If no team could pass this level, perhaps no one would come out of this array alive.
Chengfeng and Xiaobao had grown up together and often relied on each other for safety since young. If it wasn’t for that, they might not be able to pass this test either.
The only way to break out of the array was that both people must clutch the knobs tight even if they risked breaking their arm!
The intense pain from broken limbs and the impaling swords were real pain caused by the magical array.
It was obvious that none of the teams had passed the test. None of them looked at each other when they were helped up by Chengfeng, limping out of the hall. They all felt embarrassment, guilt and… blame.
While they blamed themselves, their feelings were more accusatory. Why didn’t the other guy trust me?
It must be because the other guy didn’t trust me! Everyone wanted to push the blame off themselves.
Chengfeng and Xiaobao helped everyone out of Yanjian Hall to meet Grand Senior Brother watching them coldly.
When he saw Chengfeng and Xiaobao walking out unscathed, slight surprise flashed across his eyes. Then, he saw that Su You and the rest were all hurt and privately felt disappointed. He said coldly, “Come here tomorrow morning for our next class!”
Chengfeng cried angrily, “What? Morning classes again? Look at them, do you think they’ll be able to come tomorrow?”
Grand Senior Brother stared coldly and smirked. “You can go negotiate with your enemies then. Let’s see if they’ll show mercy when you can’t get out of bed!”
Chengfeng raged, letting go of Su You’s arm as he rushed angrily towards Grand Senior Brother. “Are you planning to kill us all?!”