Chapter 576: Ghost Domain Illusory City
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
Through pills or unique techniques, cultivators could warp their appearances to make them look young. Sometimes, even high-rank master teacher would be unable to see through some of these disguises.
On the other hand, a human's soul was forged at birth, and it would mature with the passing of time. There was no cultivation technique or means that could conceal one's soul age.
Thus, using one's soul to assess one's age was viewed to be the fairest method, and no one voiced any complaints.
Soon, all fifty-six participants had passed the crystal ball test. Most of them were between twenty-eight and twenty-nine, and the oldest of them all was twenty-nine-year-old and eleven months. Naturally, the youngest of the lot was Zhang Xuan.
He was still two months away from reaching twenty, and everyone couldn't help but be shocked upon seeing such a young participant-after all, the others were around a decade older than him.
Considering his age, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that he was the most talented of all those gathered there.
"Why does the Myriad Kingdom Alliance seem to be regressing as time passes?"
"Indeed. To have this child compete with us, it seems like they have given up all hope!"
"They've placed last consecutively so many times. It's no wonder that they have already lost their confidence at this point..."
Many people expressed their disdain for the Myriad Kingdom Alliance.
Despite Yang shi driving away fourteen of the strongest powers in the region singlehandedly that day, the entire incident had been hushed, and all news regarding it had been suppressed. As such, most of the spectators and even the participating master teachers were unaware of the matter.
The Myriad Kingdom Alliance had never achieved good results in the past, and upon seeing that they had sent in a lad who was a decade younger than the other participants, naturally, they thought that they had given up on the tournament.
"Since everyone fulfills the requirements, allow me to delve deeper into the details regarding the preliminary selection."
Seeing that everyone had cleared the verification, Hong shi chuckled, "The first round, Temperament!"
At this point, Hong shi waved his hands.
"This is the Ghost Domain Illusory City that was left behind by 5-star Master Teacher Fei Yuzi. This artifact harnesses the concepts of Qi Men Dun Jia, and it is an extremely valuable treasure!"
The vision before everyone blurred for an instant as the fog cleared for a corner of the stage, revealing a towering fortress. Red bricks, emerald roof, white walls, and green corridors, from afar, it exuded a sinister aura, sending a cold chill down one's spine.
"Ghost Domain Illusory City?"
"What is that?"
"I seem to remember seeing this in some book before. If I recall correctly, it is a unique treasure harnessing the concepts of Qi Men Dun Jia... As for what exactly it is or how the test will be carried out, I've no idea as well!"
"Qi Men Dun Jia? What's that?"
"It's an extremely rare, unique occupation. I heard that there isn't a single branch even in Huanyu Empire.
Seeing a fortress appear amidst the fog, a huge commotion broke out.
Even Pavilion Master Kang and the others couldn't help but frown in doubt.
Despite their vast knowledge, they had never heard of it before.
"There is only one entrance and exit to the Ghost Domain Illusory City. In the Temperament test, you will pass the test as long as long as you leave via the exit within an incense's time of passing through the entrance!"
Hong shi chuckled as he revealed the rules.
"But we can only see the entrance. Where is the exit?"
"I've no idea either. However, we should be able to find it after we go in..."
Upon hearing the simple rules behind the challenge, everyone was taken aback. Even Zhang Xuan felt a little bewildered.
All of them were 4-star master teachers who possessed superior eyes of discernment. Even if the Ghost Domain Illusory City possessed some kind of Beguilement Formation, it shouldn't be too difficult for them to overcome it.
Since this was the preliminary selection for the Master Teacher Tournament, how could it be that easy?
"Do you think that the test is easy? Let me just tell you in advance, don't bank on luck. It isn't as easy as it seems!"
Noticing everyone's doubtful gazes, Hong shi chuckled. "The Ghost Domain Illusory City only allows one person to be on its premises at any time. Since there are a total of fifty-six people here, an order must be established. Since we've just verified everyone's ages, let's go by age, starting from the youngest... And so, the first to enter shall be Zhang shi!"
Since Zhang Xuan was the youngest, he would have to be the first one to enter under such an order.
In truth, the reason why Hong shi made such an arrangement was to see how capable Yang shi's direct disciple was as well.
"Me?" Zhang Xuan blinked his eyes in bewilderment.
"Un!" Hong shi nodded his heads.
"Allow Zhang shi to go up first? Isn't that a little too reckless?" Beneath the stage, Pavilion Master Kang, Elder Su, and the other elders of the Myriad Kingdom Alliance Master Teacher Pavilion glanced at one another as their mouths twitched.
"I don't think that it's a good idea..." Elder Wu nodded his head in agreement.
During the selection round back then, he had suffered greatly under Zhang shi's hands. The latter's means were simply way too peculiar! To allow him to go up first, Hong shi... You are being incautious.
"This... Hong shi, why don't I go first? Zhang shi can go after everyone is done!"
Ruohuan gongzi also swiftly came to a realization and stepped forward.
"What are you up to? Hong shi has already said that we'll go by age, are you trying to flout the rules?"
"I advise you to just back out of the tournament. To cower right before a challenge, even if your Myriad Kingdom Alliance cares not for its reputation, please don't demean master teachers as an occupation!"
"Isn't it a little too late to feel fear at this point..."
Hearing Ruohuan gongzi's words, the other master teachers in the surroundings sneered coldly.
The first one to enter tended to be at a disadvantage given that he wouldn't have any idea about what he could expect from the test. In their view, Zhang Xuan had cowered at the last moment and thus, Ruohuan gongzi tried to step forward in his place.
Furthermore, upon thinking of the latter's age and cultivation, their disdain only served to further deepen.
"Don't worry, the test will be fair. It doesn't matter whether you are the first one to enter or the final one to enter. The Qi Men Dun Jia in the Ghost Domain Illusory City is constantly changing, and it won't repeat itself. The encounter of the first challenger will be of no analytical value to the rest!"
Thinking that Zhang shi was worried about this issue, Hong shi chuckled. "Also, the offensive mechanisms in the artifact will automatically come to a halt within an incense's time. Thus, regardless of your cultivation realm, there'll be no threat to your life!"
"Don't worry, I can deal with it..."
Zhang Xuan turned to Ruohuan gongzi and reassured him.
The Ghost Domain Illusory City sounded fearsome, but it did little to faze him.
"You should enter now!" Hearing the lack of fear in Zhang Xuan's voice, a hint of commendation flashed across Hong shi's face as he beckoned the latter in.
Lifting his feet, Zhang Xuan walked into the entrance of the castle.
As Zhang Xuan disappeared into the entrance, a bitter smile slowly formed on Ruohuan gongzi's face. "I don't doubt that you will be able to deal with it, what I fear is that... the Ghost Domain Illusory City won't be able to deal with you..."
After the days he had spent with Zhang Xuan, he had gained a deep understanding of that fellow.
Even though he often looked confused, his incredible means could easily scare a person to death once he made a move.
Putting aside Elder Wu, Elder Bai, and the others who nearly went insane after being tortured physically and mentally from him, just the experience in the Glacier Plain Court spoke tons about him... They were supposed to cultivate in the Yin-Yang Lake, but before they could even see the Yin-Yang Lake, he had already sapped the seed water dry...
Common sense simply didn't seem to apply to him.
This Ghost Domain Illusory City looked formidable, but Ruohuan gongzi had little doubt that something could go awry given that Zhang Xuan was involved.
"Let's just hope that my thoughts are wrong..."
Grabbing his heart, Ruohuan gongzi thought.
"There's no need to worry. Given Zhang shi's extraordinary strength, he won't be in danger!"
Seeing the awful look on Ruohuan gongzi's face, Song Chao walked over to console.
Failing to meet Zhang Xuan the past few days, he often spent his time at the Master Teacher Pavilion, and at where, he became acquainted with Ruohuan gongzi.
Coming from similar backgrounds and having a common topic from their experiences in being 'wrecked' by Zhang shi, even though they were rivals, they couldn't help but feel a sense of connection to one another.
"Cough cough, I'm not worried that Zhang shi would be in danger but..." Halfway through his words, Ruohuan gongzi abruptly came to a halt. "I hope that I'm just overthinking it!"
"You're not worried that he will be in danger? What do you mean by that? It can't be that you're worried that the Ghost Domain Illusory City will be in danger?"
Before Song Chao could respond, a young man not too far away flung his sleeves and sneered, "What a joke!"
The duo turned around, only to see a young man with thick eyebrows and high nose bridge.
Ruohuan gongzi recognized the other party.
"Frigid Gale Sect's Liao Wuzhi. He is the second in ranking on the list of contenders to watch out for!"
Even though this young man's words were unpleasant to the ear, his capability wasn't to be underestimated.
He was the number one genius of Frigid Gale Sect, the second most popular contender for the champion seat in the Master Teacher Tournament.
Not knowing how to reply, Ruohuan gongzi replied awkwardly, "That... You shouldn't underestimate Zhang shi, he's quite formidable..."
"Formidable?" Liao Wuzhi harrumphed. "It's only because you don't know how fearsome the Ghost Domain Illusory City is!"
"Fearsome?" The duo was taken aback. "Could it be that Brother Liao knows something about it?"
"Of course! I once read an introduction about it in a book!" Tilting up his chin, a hint of pride gleamed in Liao Wuzhi's eyes.
Given how most pavilion masters were unaware of it, he could be considered to be knowledgeable for knowing it.
"The Ghost Domain Illusory City harnesses the concepts of Qi Men Dun Jia, which could be classified into Three Mystics, Eight Gates, and Six Jias. It contains the spirits of Zhifu, Tengshe, Taiyin, Liuhe, Baihu, Xuanhu, Jiudi, and Jiutian. Those who enter its premises would fall into an endless spiral of fear! Those who lack the appropriate temperament will find their mental fortitude breached and lose their confidence!"
With both his hands behind his back, Liao Wuzhi spoke with the composure and confidence reminiscent of a great strategist.
"I've heard of Zhang shi's affairs, and I'm indeed impressed by how he was able to become a 4-star master teacher at such a young age. Just the fact that he was able to defeat you, Ruohuan gongzi, means that he is indeed capable... But in the end, he's still too young. Furthermore, given his smooth-sailing life that lacks experiences of defeat, his mental fortitude must be lacking! This test... will likely be where he will be halted!"
As one of the strongest contender for the champion spot, his analytical ability was beyond ordinary.
Zhang shi might be young but being chosen as the candidate of the Myriad Kingdom Alliance meant that there was indeed something extraordinary about him. As such, Liao Wuzhi didn't look down on him just because of his age.
But while Zhang shi was indeed a genius, he was still way too young and had yet to mature yet. His weak mental fortitude would be his greatest opening.
This test would be the greatest difficulty he had ever faced.
"If my conjecture proves to be accurate, his mental fortitude will definitely be breached within five to ten minutes!" Liao Wuzhi predicted.
"Five to ten minutes?"
"Un! The Ghost Domain Illusory City is simply too formidable. Based on my calculation, even for me, I'll only be able to hold on for around an incense's time. In terms of that, the timing which Hong shi decided on for the test was indeed precise. It is unlikely that there'll be any participants who can persevere any longer than that! Given Zhang shi's young age, it would already be incredible if he could hold on for five minutes..."
Liao Wuzhi waved his hands proudly, and just as he was about to continue, he suddenly froze. As though he had seen a ghost, his body stiffened, eyes widened, and lips trembled uncontrollably.
"Wh-what... is going on?"