Izroth and his party were currently walking across the rope bridge and towards the entrance of the Endless Pandemonium Tower. As they walked, the rope bridge swayed from side to side. There was also a chilly wind that blew every few seconds and was strong enough to knock them off into the dark abyss below them if they did not maintain their balance.
"Why do I feel like this bridge is going to break any second now?" Valentine said with a gloomy and sick expression on his face. It was easy to tell that he was no fan of heights. His legs wobbled with each step as he gripped tightly onto the ropes at his side.
"What's the matter magic freak? Don't tell me that you're actually afraid of heights?" Zi Yi said in a teasing manner. Of course, she knew very well that Valentine was afraid of heights.
Valentine scowled as he said, "Do you think that I won't dare to tell everyone about happened you were ten years old?!"
"You wouldn't dare go that far!" Zi Yi immediately regretted her decision to tease Valentine.
"Oh? What happened when she was ten years old?" Halls asked curiously.
"Yeah, let's hear it! It has to be something interesting if she doesn't want us to know. Ahahaha!" Guan Yu said.
Even Luna was a little curious about what Valentine had to say.
"Well, it all started with her-" As Valentine was beginning to speak, he was interrupted by Zi Yi.
"You- If you continue, don't think that I won't throw you off this bridge myself!" Zi Yi said as she stomped her foot. The already unstable rope bridge swayed violently when Zi Yi stomped her foot and made it so that everyone had to grip on tightly to the ropes.
Valentine almost lost his breakfast, lunch, and dinner all in one go.
"Okay, okay! I get it! I was wrong! I'll stop, just don't do that again!" Valentine became extremely nauseous and just wanted to hurry up and step foot off of this bridge.
Zi Yi had a triumphant look on her face.
After walking on the rope bridge for a few minutes, Izroth and his party safely reached the entrance of the Endless Pandemonium Tower.
"Solid ground... Sweet solid ground." Valentine muttered happily to himself.
Izroth had his attention focused onto the tower's entrance. There was no door for them to open, only a pitch black hole. They could not see anything on the other side of that pitch black hole and did not know what awaited them ahead. However, they had already come this far and would not turn back.
"Is something about this place bothering you?" Luna stepped up next to Izroth and asked him. She had noticed that his gaze had not yet left the tower ever since it came into full view.
"I can clearly sense multiple presences within this tower. However, it's a little unusual." Izroth said.
"Oh? How is it unusual?" Luna asked.
"It's as if everything is linked together. So while I am indeed sensing multiple presences, in the end, there is only one true presence. Everything else almost seems like an extension of that single presence. However, it could just be a trick of this tower. After all, there are too many unknown factors." Izroth explained.
"Could it be something similar to the Chaos Fiends and the Source of Despair?" Luna speculated.
Izroth, however, shook his head. "It's similar in some ways, but the core concept is still different. If I had to make an accurate comparison, the closest would be that it resembles the same relationship that the Shadahi has with one another."
Luna was startled. It was a relationship comparable to the Shadahi?
"Maybe it has something to do with why Silent Step came to this place and wanted to prevent us from reaching the end." Luna said.
Izroth nodded, "That is also a possibility. However, there's only one way to get some answers."
Izroth stepped forward and entered into the pitch dark hole that led into the tower. Soon after, everyone else followed in behind him.
A few moments after Izroth and his party entered into the Endless Pandemonium Tower, a group of three individuals arrived before the same rope bridge that Izroth's party used to cross over into the tower.
"It seems that they've already entered into the tower. Looks like we've fallen behind, Aegis. Chichi!" A cloaked figure who stood next to Aegis spoke in a bizarre manner. They also made a strange sound at the end of every sentence that left their mouth.
The three individuals were Aegis and the two other members of Heaven's Law who accompanied him on this SS-ranked quest. After parting ways from Mariposa and Izroth, Aegis tracked down his other two party members.
"We would have arrived here sooner if not for this one slacking off." Aegis said as he glared at the other individual who stood next to him.
At the moment, the player who stood next to Aegis was actually sleeping while standing up! It was a woman who appeared to be in her mid-twenties with curly pink hair and a careless yet beautiful appearance. She wore an elegant scholar's robe that was pure white in color and had golden outlines.
At her side was a thin stick with a pointed end that almost resembled a conductor's baton except, the handle was much thinner. It was also pure white in color with golden symbols etched into it. A gentle golden aura lingered around the object.
"You brought her along because of her usefulness. You knew that she would be this way most of the time. Besides, none of the other members would have bothered tagging along with you. No one likes you, after all, Aegis. Chichi!" The cloaked figured said with a hint of amusement in his voice.
"Hmph! It doesn't matter to me if anyone likes me or not. As long as they respect me, they can hate me for all I care. Carry her, they should not have gotten too far ahead of us." Aegis said.
The cloaked figure grabbed the sleeping beauty and put her over his shoulder.
Aegis, along with the two other members of his party, crossed the rope bridge and entered into the Endless Pandemonium Tower.
When Izroth and his party first entered into the tower, there was only a cold lingering darkness present. It was so dark that one was unable to see their own hand directly in front of their face.
However, a few seconds later, there appeared an almost blinding light. Before Izroth and his party knew it, they were inside of a spacious room that seemed to be made out of old stones. The bright light had vanished, but there was still a source of light being emitted inside of the room from an unknown source.
Scattered throughout the room were a few black lines or cracks that appeared to be some kind of rupture in the surrounding space itself. However, it was strange that everyone could see a direct influence on space when they were unable to do so before.
"Is that what a spatial anomaly looks like?" Zi Yi asked curiously as she studied her surroundings.
Valentine was surprised by Zi Yi's words. "You can see this as well?" Without something similar to his Eyes of Magic, no one should be able to physically view any changes in the surrounding space.
"So you all can see it too?" Halls also saw the various cracks and ruptures in space. However, it seemed to be more of an illusion to him.
"Normally, it should be impossible to physically view changes in space within RML without an item or skill that specializes in doing so. The only other way is that the spatial influence is so powerful that it becomes physically visible. However, it appears that this tower ignores that rule. The spatial anomalies in this place are not particularly powerful and yet it is visible to everyone." Valentine explained.
"Then, there's a chance that this entire tower is actually a magic item of some kind?" Guan Yu said in a state of disbelief. Could such a huge magic item actually exist?
Valentine, however, shook his head. "That's unlikely. After all, if it was a magic item then we should have at least viewed some information when we approached the tower. Though that's not to say that it's completely impossible. However, I believe that we're just inside of a unique environment that this tower has total control over."
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have learned the skill «Spatial Awareness»〉
Izroth suddenly received an unexpected system alert.
Skill Name: Spatial Awareness
Skill Level: MAXED
Skill Rank: A
Passive: The user can sense and physically see, as well as, understand spatial influences or interferences.
Izroth could now see the spatial anomalies before him with much more clarity than before. He was curious as to why the system suddenly granted him this skill.
'Is it possible that by physically viewing the spatial anomalies, the system recognized my ability to understand it and converted it into a skill?'
However, how could the system possibly know that he understood the various changes because of his already profound understanding of space?
When Izroth observed everyone else's facial expressions, it did not appear that any of them had received the Spatial Awareness skill. Even Zi Yi who had a class that manipulated space for its own benefit did not seem to gain this skill.
"The first trial has begun." An eerie voice echoed throughout the entire room. There was no clear indication of where this voice had come from.
Everyone was alarmed and immediately went on full alert mode. Where had that strange voice come from? What first trial was it referring to?
"First trial? How many trials are there?" Izroth maintained a calm and carefree expression as he spoke.
"You have entered into the Endless Pandemonium Tower. How many trials? A foolish question. The trials... Are the endless trials!" The voice responded.
Halls frowned, "Endless? Isn't that a little unreasonable? If it's endless, how are we supposed to leave this place?"
"Leave? Those who arrive at the Endless Pandemonium Tower can enter, but not leave freely. There is no way to escape. None have passed the endless trials." The voice replied in an emotionless manner.
Everyone's facial expression darkened. Could this tower be some kind of trap? If what the voice said was true, then regardless of what happened, they could never leave this place! But if that was the case, then they could only start over from nothing. Would the system truly be so unfair?
Izroth did not believe the words of the mysterious voice. Or rather, it seemed as if the voice was trying to purposely confuse them with its words. He referred to the trials as the endless trials, but he evaded Halls question when he asked how many trials.
While the voice responded with "the trials are the endless trials", it never actually said that the trials were endless in number. He simply said the name of the trials, the endless trials.
Also, its words were contradicting. It clearly said that one can enter but not leave freely. Then it went on to say that there is no escape, followed by none have passed the endless trials. From its words, it was indeed possible to leave, just not when they wanted to. Also, just because none had passed the endless trials, did not mean that it was impossible to do so. Which meant that there was a way to escape!
'However, if the Chaotic Dogma Realm changes every time it appears, how is it possible that anyone else has ever attempted these so-called trials?'
"What's the first trial?" Izroth asked.
"Hmph... Arrogant! Foolish! Hopeless!" The voice seemed extremely annoyed but, in the end, it still told them the first challenge.
"The first challenge is simple. You must make it to the second floor. Do this, and you will have completed the first challenge. However, do not think that it will be easy!" The voice slowly faded away.
'The second floor?'
The challenge seemed a bit too simple, however, Izroth was not afraid of a challenge. Besides, that voice appeared to look down on him. He was not the type that would just walk away after being looked down upon.
A portal that was around three meters tall appeared before Izroth and his party as if beckoning them to enter inside.
"Remain alert." Izroth cautioned before he stepped into the portal with his party following behind him.
When they stepped from out of the portal, the group was shocked to discover their current location.
Izroth and his party had been transported to the front gates of Amaharpe! There were thousands of players outside of the gates and they seemed to be preparing for a large scale battle.
"What's going on...? Did we leave the Chaotic Dogma Realm?" Zi Yi was dumbfounded.
'Could this be a part of the first trial?'
Izroth furrowed his brows as he set his gaze upon the Towering Oak Forest in the far distance. He was now completely positive, they had arrived in front of the real gates of Amaharpe! This was not an illusion.