"How can you be blood enemies with something that does not possess a single drop of blood?" Zi Yi said as she shook her head in response to Halls' behavior.
Halls was startled by the voice he suddenly heard. During his time inside of this maze, he had yet to hear or notice anyone else that was trapped inside along with him.
When he turned around towards the source of the voice, Halls immediately recognized the three individuals who appeared before him. However, he had a cautious look on his face.
"Is this another one of this maze's tricks?" Halls could not trust anything at face value when it came to the Chaotic Dogma Realm. Besides, it was a little suspicious how three of his party members just happened to find him within this maze. How big was the Chaotic Dogma Realm? The coincidence was just too much.
"Tricks?" Luna observed how Halls reacted with so much caution. Could it be that this place, like many of locations of the Chaotic Dogma Realm, was capable of conjuring up illusions? However, there was a simple way to confirm that they were not an illusion.
After all, the illusions within the Chaotic Dogma Realm were usually of a massive scale. But, one thing all the illusions had in common was that they were not overly sophisticated. In other words, even if the Chaotic Dogma Realm were to copy one of them, it would be unlikely that the fake would possess their true personality.
Luna cast a simple Cure on Halls which restored some of his lost HP from the damage he previously suffered. "This should be fine."
Halls could feel a refreshing aura wash over his body. If this really was one of the maze's tricks, it would definitely not restore his HP, but instead, attempt to make things more difficult for him.
An awkward smile appeared on Halls' face as he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. "Sorry everyone, I've just been wandering around this maze for so long that I lost track of myself for a moment. I didn't know what I could trust."
Izroth nodded, "It's best to remain cautious and vigilant when you're inside of this realm." Izroth understood the way Halls reacted and did not blame him for it.
Halls then looked around and found that only Izroth, Luna, and Zi Yi were present. There was no sight of Guan Yu or Valentine.
"Where is the rest of the party?" Halls asked as he walked over towards the group.
"All of us were forcibly transported away during the Chaotic Shift into different locations. We've only just recently regrouped ourselves." Zi Yi explained.
So that's how it was! It turned out that everyone had been affected the same way as him. Halls asked a few more questions that were all answered without issue and had a pretty good understanding of what happened once everyone was split up.
The group walked throughout the maze as they attempted to locate the exit. During this time, the group ran into four additional Earth Shifters.
When this happened, the group speculated that places, such as the temple they entered into before, and this maze were the only locations that had multiple monsters that were the exact same.
Around ten minutes later, the group safely arrived outside of the maze. Luckily, it did not shift again or it may have taken even longer. It may be that the maze shifts at certain intervals.
The first thing Izroth and his party noticed when they stepped outside of the maze was that the tower in the distance was now much closer than it was before.
"How can this be possible?" Zi Yi was shocked that they were now so much closer to the tower than when they entered into the cave. Judging based on the amount of time that passed and the distance they traveled since entering into the maze, they should not have reduced such a huge gap so quickly.
Izroth set his gaze onto the tower in the distance and indeed, they were many times closer than before.
'There is a chance that the exit to the maze acts as some kind of portal.'
However, there was also the chance that this was some sort of optical illusion. But there was no way to know for sure until they moved a bit closer to its location.
After locating Halls, Izroth and his party were only missing two of its members, Guan Yu and Valentine.
"What direction are we headed in next?" Luna asked.
"Since we've moved even closer to the tower, this makes things a little easier than I originally anticipated. We'll head directly for the tower. The next two locations should be right on our path." Izroth said.
Izroth journeyed forward with Luna, Halls, and Zi Yi. After traveling for a few minutes, the group all realized something. The interference caused by the black specks were growing weaker and weaker the closer they moved towards the tower.
This made it so that there would not be as much strain on their Soul Sense trait. If used for a prolonged period of time, it would start to drain their Essence. This was something Luna had informed them about when she described her battle against Silent Step. After that, they felt as if there may be other hidden things that they were unaware of regarding Soul Essence.
"The strain on my perception seems to be weakening." Zi Yi said.
"It may be due to the tower that lies just ahead of us. I have a feeling that if we keep on our path, eventually, there should be little to no interference." Izroth explained.
Just as Izroth spoke, the group heard the sound of a wind rapidly blowing. However, the strange thing was that this wind sounded as if it were located on the ground and not in the air itself. Everyone looked towards the direction that the sound came from.
A few seconds later, an individual emerged from within one of the metallic trees. Literally, their body was sticking halfway out of the metallic tree as if they were a part of it!
The person inside of the tree blinked a few times and had a look in their eyes that was full of curiosity.
"A lost child?" Zi Yi said as she furrowed her brows. No matter how she looked at it, the person before her seemed like nothing more than a lost little child.
She had long silver hair fashioned in a drill curls style, and clear baby blue eyes that sparkled like a sapphire tossed into a riverbed being struck by the passing moonlight. She had pure pale snow-like skin as if she had never bathed in the sunlight.
"Uuf." She made a small sound as she jumped out from within the tree and landed on her feet. She stood no more than 140cm tall and had a petite frame.
She stared at the group before her and had a startled look on her face as if she had just noticed them.
Izroth and his party returned her stare with one of their own. Who was this child that appeared from out of nowhere? They did not see her with any of the other teams back at the palace. After all, someone such as herself would have definitely stood out back there.
"So cute..." That was the thought that went Luna and Zi Yi's mind at the same time. They were sure that when she grew up, she would surely be a top-level beauty.
Izroth, on the other hand, felt as though her presence was one that he had felt before, however, he could not quite put his finger on it. If he did ever come across her, then it must have only been for a brief period of time since the feeling was extremely vague.
This was quite strange given Izroth's ability to perfectly recall any memory.
His first thought after that was that maybe she was an NPC or a monster in disguise. But, that theory was quickly debunked since he was unable to see any information about her from the system. Even the legendary bosses he ran into showed, at the very least, their names. Therefore, there was no doubt that this little girl before them was a player!
"Where am I...?" The little girl asked as her eyes slowly took in the surroundings. There was a hint of caution about her as if she were on guard.
Izroth glanced towards Luna and Zi Yi with a meaningful look in his eyes. It was obvious that he believed it would be best to let those two handle this particular situation. After all, it was common for children to feel more comfortable speaking to women who were strangers instead of men who were strangers.
Of course, Luna and Zi Yi understood Izroth's intentions as they stepped forward.
"I'm Zi Yi and this is Luna." Zi Yi said as she made a proper introduction. "Those two over there are Izroth and Halls. Can you tell us what your name is?"
The little girl nodded, "My name is Ying Yue." Ying Yue kept glancing over in Izroth's direction.
"Then, Ying Yue, do you remember how you arrived at this place?" Zi Yi asked.
Ying Yue shook her head, "Everyone except for me just disappeared after the lightning struck. After that, I ended up all alone."
From her words, it was safe to assume that her party experienced a Chaotic Shift. However, what caught everyone's attention were the first few words she said. Everyone except for her had disappeared! That meant that Ying Yue had somehow not been affected by the Chaotic Shift! But, how was such a thing possible?
"Do you remember what happened after everyone disappeared?" Luna asked with a gentle smile on her face.
However, Ying Yue shook her head, "I don't know."
After asking her a few more questions, Zi Yi and Luna did not manage to receive that much information about Ying Yue. Just that she had ended up here by wandering around inside of the Chaotic Dogma Realm in search of her party.
The bad news was that her party was most likely the same party that Silent Step and his group had already wiped out!
If that was the case then, Ying Yue was truly all alone inside of the dangerous Chaotic Dogma Realm. Either she was just lucky to have survived up until now, or incredibly skilled.
"Hey, brother Izroth. Do you notice that she keeps staring at you? Do you know her?" Halls whispered to Izroth.
Izroth, however, did not know how to respond to that question. Indeed, he might know her, but he was unsure at this point. There was a very faint and vague feeling present. It was like an unconscious passing thought rather than an actual memory.
Zi Yi and Luna also noticed that Ying Yue's gaze seemed to often wonder towards Izroth.
"Is there something you want to ask him, Ying Yue?" Zi Yi said. She could tell that Ying Yue was hesitant to speak whatever it was that was on her mind.
"This- I..." Ying Yue was embarrassed to announce it, but she could not help but say what was on her mind at that time. "It's just that he reminds me of someone. Sorry, I didn't mean to stare..." She spoke in a very soft and apologetic voice. There was a hint of sadness in her voice.
So that's why she kept stealing glances in Izroth's direction. He reminded Ying Yue of someone that she knew!
"Since your team is no longer inside of the Chaotic Dogma Realm, what will you do now?" Zi Yi asked.
Ying Yue had a helpless expression on her face as she did not know how to respond to that question. She was originally searching for her party, but it seemed that there was no longer any reason for her to do so.
Luna then looked over towards Izroth with a meaningful look on her face.
Izroth already knew what Luna wanted to suggest. Besides, he also felt that he may eventually remember something if Ying Yue journeyed with them. He gave a small nod.
Luna smiled before turning towards Ying Yue, "Would you like to come along with us?"
Ying Yue's eyes sparkled after Luna asked that question. She rapidly nodded her head repeatedly, "Yes!" A smile soon found its way onto her face.