The sound of bones breaking filled the air!
Long Zhanye's arms twisted at a different angle followed by a bursting sound as the Wishful Steel Staff hit against his chest.
Blood spurted out of his mouth as his body flew backward and fell unconscious to the ground.
The Wishful Steel Staff bounced back once again and fell into Shi Mu's hands.
Shi Mu's body swayed as his hands slammed onto the ground in front of him to balance himself.
The scene in the ring instantly fell silent.
Eight feet up in the sky, the cyan light curtain shrouded the ruins below.
Around the ruins, everyone looked through the light curtain at the figure that had yet fallen with indifference in his eyes.
The strength demonstrated by both Shi Mu and Long Zhanye in this battle had far exceeded everyone's expectations, especially the To Heaven And Earth technique. It was so strong that it almost destroyed everything completely, leaving an unforgettable impression in the crowd's memories.
Shi Mu proved to everyone that he was no less powerful than any Heaven-ranked disciple. Those who questioned and doubted his strength and capabilities got a wake-up call.
Among those in the crowd, Qing Zhangtian, Jiang Shuishui, Chinizi, Ma Long and others looked at Shi Mu from afar. Their faces showed surprise and admiration mixed with jealousy.
After all, Shi Mu entered the Holy Land of Qinglan at the same time as them. Who knew that in less than twenty years, his strength would reach such heights.
Zhao Ji, who was accepted as a pro-disciple by Qinglan, was tied with Long Zhanye. Nobody expected that Zhanye would fall in battle. Although Shi Mu was bruised and injured in this fight, he was still standing strong.
Lu Jing, Zhao Shenlei, Dai Tuo, and the others who crossed paths with Shi Mu back then were so shocked that they could not hide the embarrassment in their faces.
They had a good view of the battle and this served as a lesson to those who were arrogant and looked down on newer disciples.
Not far from the high platform, the announcer waved his hand and the eight-foot mirror turned back into a ray of blue light, that retracted to his palm.
The single-horned veteran named Jin Dao flew down somewhere in the ruins below. After investigating Long Zhanye's injury, he stood up and took a deep breath as he looked at Shi Mu who was standing not far away from Long Zhanye's unconscious body.
"Shi Mu has officially defeated the top three disciples and is now qualified for the challenge of the Enchanted Road!"
After seven days...
As Shi Mu stepped into the hall of the Enchanted Temple, a deacon was standing at a distance with a respectful look on his face. By his side stood a middle-aged man with a longsword strapped to his waist and a blue robe covering his body. It seemed that this man could be the lawmaker of the Enchanted Road.
"I am here to see the respected lawmaker of the Enchanted Road," Shi Mu said as he walked up while arching his body down in a bow.
"There's no need to be polite. Since you're here, let's get started right away then," the lawmaker said as he nodded at the deacon.
The deacon agreed and quickly walked up to Shi Mu.
"Shi Mu, you are now qualified for the Enchanted Road. Before you enter, the lawmaker will brief you on some matters. After that, you may decide if you're willing to continue your challenge."
Shi Mu nodded but did not speak what was on his mind.
"The Enchanted Road is an array set up by the founders of Qingland thousands of years ago. There are a total of 18 steps. Each step represents a world, and every different world is based on your inner desire. Bear in mind, the illusion is self-evident as the magic is born from one's heart. You may feel like you're trapped in it for years or even decades but to the outside world, it may be just a moment. Since the illusion is extremely strong, being trapped in it will result in loss of sanity and even the destruction of the soul. The Enchanted Road is not only dangerous but unpredictable as well. Are you sure you want to go forward with the challenge?"
"I've made up my mind to go on with the challenge so please allow me to continue forward," Shi Mu's eyes brighten as he replied in a firm determined tone.
Seeing how determined Shi Mu was, the lawmaker could not help but applaud him inwardly.
"Since you've made up your mind, come with me," the deacon said and led Shi Mu to the inner hall of the Enchanted Temple.
In the middle of the temple was a circular array surrounded by stone pillars.
On the periphery of the array, there were thirty-six white stone pillars of the same height. The pillars were engraved with a beast that looked somewhat similar to a serpent with no horns or scales.
The beast was wrapped around the stone pillar and its skull was struck from the top, facing the center of the array with its fangs bared.
Upon seeing the strange beast, Shi Mu looked at it a few more times. As he looked at it longer, he recalled seeing the creature in an ancient bestiary. The beast was known as a clam, which was a breed of a sea serpent. It possessed the ability to survive even under harsh conditions.
Looking at the center of the array, there was a black stone in the middle that was six feet high and had an irregular shape.
The black stone was of crystal, exuding a dazzling luster with a faint and complicated curse carved on it.
"This is the Enchanted Stone. A single drop of your blood on it will establish a connection," the deacon told Shi Mu.
Shi Mu watched the deacon and lawmaker's head into the array together. With their arms surging with spirit energy, the palms of their hands produced a drop of red blood before they pressed on the surface of the black crystal.
As soon as their palms touched the surface of the crystal, it emitted a red light before a few complex charm runes glowed in red as well. The light shined on Shi Mu's face, making it appear red too.
Shi Mu waited for a while but no changes occurred. As he was in the midst of secretly doubting what was going on, the lawmaker muttered under his breath.
"This is the beginning of the Enchanted Road and it requires a Holy-ranked warrior to open it. I will be the one opening it up on your behalf."
Upon saying so, his palm lit up in blue and shot straight toward a white stone pillar.
The white stone pillar suddenly became bright and as it inhaled the blue light, shining like jade as a result.
The stone pillar lit up for a while as the white light on it flowed out and extended toward the stone pillars on both sides. Then, the second pillar began to glow with white light as well.
In just a matter of minutes, all thirty-six stone pillars were lit up with white light.
Shi Mu noticed the head of the calm beast atop the stone pillars suddenly moved, as if it just came back to life. It widened its mouth and spit out a ray of white light toward the center of the charm runes.
Thirty-six dazzling white lights gathered together and entered the black spar in front of Shi Mu.
A black vortex appeared above the crystal, followed by a powerful tearing force from within.
Shi Mu did not resist at all as he willingly let the force pull him in.
As soon as his figure disappeared, the black vortex disappeared as well. The hall abruptly turned dead silent as the humming sound vanished.
After a whirl of rotation, Shi Mu's eyes shined brightly as he found himself in an entirely different spatial dimension.
Shi Mu glanced through his surroundings and the entrance was full of black fog. It felt like he was staring into an endless void.
In front of him was a tortuous path that looked like it was made up of a thin layer of black crystal, leading into the depths of the dense black fog.
Naturally, he did not rush to embark on that trial. Instead, his eyes emitted a golden glow as he scanned through the path with his spirit sense.
However, to his surprise, what he saw through was a thick black fog blocking his visions.
Due to not being able to see through the fog except for the path that was right in front of him, he had no other way but to take the path.
Since there was only one path in this void, Shi Mu would not think much about it. With a lift of his foot, he walked along the black crystal path.
As soon as he stepped on it, his heart developed a very strange feeling as it pumped violently.
He could not help but hold onto his chest as he bent down to catch his breath and stabilize himself.
As soon as he bent on his knees, Shi Mu saw his reflection on the crystal path.
The reflection had a sharp expression, but it made him anxious because the reflection wore a blue robe and blood-stained golden armor. He looked like a general who just survived a bloodbath on the battlefield.
Shi Mu looked up and a whistling sound pierced into his ear as if he got shot by a black arrow.
An agonizing scream came from behind him.
He immediately turned back and saw a soldier in full armor who had been shot in the eye. He held the tip of the black arrow with one hand as he screamed in horror and pain.
Shi Mu was beyond shock. He immediately swept his gaze through his surroundings and found himself among countless soldiers in armor. They held various deadly weapons as they charged in his direction.
There were countless archers wearing light armor in the distance, constantly shooting black arrows in his direction.
The ground below had been stained by the fresh blood of fellow fallen warriors. Much of it was still fresh, filling the atmosphere with a bloody stench. There were countless agonizing shouts and screams which rang into Shi Mu's ear, hurting him internally.
Among all the screams and shouts, a loud and clear command suddenly rang in Shi Mu's ear, shocking him back to reality.
"Warrior Shi Mu, kill the enemy quickly!"
As he looked in the direction where the voice came from, he could see piles of dead bodies so high that they formed a hill. On top of the corpses stood a huge bulky man wearing heavy armor. He waved a long knife in one hand and a skull in another as he locked eyes with Shi Mu.
What the hell was going on? How did all of this happen?
Shi Mu froze for a moment.
A number of bloody-faced soldiers wearing black armor ran toward Shi Mu and fell on the ground.
"Please lead us to crush the enemy!"
"Crush the enemy!"
"Crush the enemy!"
Shi Mu looked around the hellish scene as his breathing became deeper by the minute. His heart beat faster than ever and a sense of bloodthirsty violence within him rushed over his heart.
"Kill!" Shi Mu shouted in fury as he held a three-foot sword.
He strode out, tightly clenching a sword. He leaped into the air toward a heavily-armored cavalryman coming his way. In just an instant, he slaughtered the man along with the horse he was riding.
A sense of bloodlust and adrenaline sprang up within Shi Mu. His eyes were almost blinded by blood as there was an indescribable pleasure in his heart.
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