Shao Xuan bit through the dizziness he felt from the lack of oxygen and the pain he felt from all the bones in his body cracking. He could only bear the pain through clenching his teeth, he clung onto the uneven surface for dear life. He knew if he let go, he would be pulled into the sea by the force and become part of the whirlpool. He would be dead if that happened.
It was as if a large net surrounded the area, anything that touched the net would be trapped in it. With the strong force pulling him in, Shao Xuan couldn’t find time to deal with the cut on him. He could only activate his totem energy and direct it towards the cut, hoping that it would close and minimize the blood flowing out.
If he didn’t have the strength of an advanced totemic warrior, if he didn’t have enough energy, if the strength he was using to grab onto the ground was a little weaker, he would have caved long ago.
Finally, when Shao Xuan was about to lose consciousness, everything calmed down.
Shao Xuan felt lighter, the pressure from the seawater was gone. The pulling force had disappeared too as if it was never there in the first place.
The vibrations he could feel in his bones calmed down, his muscles relaxed. It wasn’t because Shao Xuan let his guard down, he just had no strength left. He was at his limit.
The sudden end to this odd change, as if it was safe again allowed Shao Xuan to breathe deep.
He’s doing it again.
Shao Xuan opened his eyes to look at his surroundings.
For a moment, Shao Xuan thought he had gone to another world, a world with no seawater.
However, with closer inspection, Shao Xuan realized that he was still holding on to the rock and the sea cliff was not far from him. At the same time, this area was sucked dry of seawater. His clothes, his hair, the seaweed on the stone were all sucked dry of water.
On the floor, the seaweed that was sucked dry of water crumbled to pieces when they were lightly touched.
Shao Xuan felt dehydrated as well and finished the water in his bottle but he hadn’t properly quenched his thirst. It only did the bare minimum.
It was as if a cave was formed and outside this cave, seawater still flowed as usual but it didn’t affect the area within the stone.
The surroundings were dark, this was quite far from the surface as the rays that could penetrate down here were few. Luckily Shao Xuan had supersight.
He sat on the ground, wondering what to do next.
The feeling of hypoxia reduced. Even though the oxygen level here was low, it still felt much better than drowning.
Soon, he slowly regained his strength and his thoughts were clearer.
He wanted to go out but he wasn’t sure when the abnormalities would end. Should he wait here or should he follow this long stone path?
Maybe he could try the string magic.
He didn’t have any string on him, did he have to use the cloth on him?
Shao Xuan wasn’t willing to use that unreliable method of divination. He could choose the original ways of divination, whenever he faced trouble, he could seek help from the totem flame and it would light up the path he should take. Just like the time in Worm Mountain Cave.
He closed his eyes and felt the totem flame in his mind. He observed the movement of the flame carefully.
At that moment, he became one with the flame.
The flame jumped around and leaned towards a side. Once, twice ……
After confirming that the movement of the flame wasn’t accidental, Shao Xuan opened his eyes and looked forward.
It was the direction of the movement of the flame. It led to a road where he couldn’t see the end, a road full of possibilities.
Looking at the whirlpool around him, Shao Xuan let out a long sigh and moved forward.
Hesitation would only waste time. If he made a decision he should hurry up and move on.
Shao Xuan wasn’t sure how long this cave would hold up, it may even disappear halfway through his journey but as the flame has chosen this path he should at least try it. In all honesty, even without the flame, his gut instinct was to walk straight ahead anyway.
To be fair, staying here while waiting for the abnormalities to end then going back to the surface would be the safest choices but Shao Xuan still felt like trusting his instinct and the flame’s choice. Even if it was a one-way trip he would still continue.
The was quiet around him as if the sounds from the outside world were blocked. There were only the sounds from Shao Xuan’s footsteps echoing around.
When he got hungry, he ate some of the dried seaweed from the ground. It was impressive that the seaweed could hold on to the ground with such a strong force pulling it. The taste wasn’t bad, at least it could replenish some of his energy, saving him from starvation.
Shao Xuan also noticed for these seaweeds that were sucked dry, their roots were still firmly stuck in the ground. If everything went back to normal and seawater covers the area again, it probably would continue growing.
The further he walked, the darker it got. At first, he could feel the rays peeking in but as he continued to walk, they too were gone.
Shao Xuan wasn’t sure how long he was in this dark cave for, how much dried seaweed he had eaten. Every day other than resting and eating, he spent his time running forward, afraid that the empty cave would go back to its original state and he would drown. His fear pushed him to run faster every time.
He had a source of water. The rain stone that Yang Sui gave him was able to condense water droplets. The only time this cave was sucked for water was during its formation so Shao Xuan had no problem condensing the water now. The water droplets here formed quicker than the desert too, maybe because he was surrounded by the sea,
Shao Xuan was lucky he brought along this stone, or else he would have died of thirst.
When his taste buds were numb from eating seaweed, he saw a faint light poking into the surroundings.
Shao Xuan wasn’t sure if this was a temporary thing or it meant that he was near the exit. When he saw a wall of mountains, he knew he was at the exit.
As the cave ended there, the stone path continued on this chain of mountains.
However, the surroundings were still the same.
As a last resort, Shao Xuan waited for the sea to return to its original form. He maintained the same schedule every day to ensure he was in his peak form. He wanted to prepare himself for any large changes.
After some time had passed, the seawater changed its direction.
The air was sucked out in the blink of an eye. The surrounding got more humid as the pulling force grew.
He held his breath as he prepared to grab onto the stone floor.
When this was all done, he would swim upwards with all his might.
Shao Xuan’s head emerged from the sea as he breathed in air that was filled with the salty sea smell. He used his supervision for most of the time in the sea so it took him no time to get used to the bright world again.
He opened his eyes and felt the blinding sun rays on him. He wasn’t sure what day or year it was.
There wasn’t a cliff in front of him anymore, it was just land.
There were several tall cacti on the land and some animals that looked very much like camels. It stood up straight to bite the flower on the cactus.
While chewing on the flower, the camel looked at the sea then looked at the person in it. Its long ears twitched.