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Ryu's gaze flashed with a blinding light and his senses felt as though a flash bang had gone off. It took much longer than normal for it to clear, something that was decidedly odd for him considering he was so used to his eyes being powerful.
When he could see again, he found himself in a world of vast whiteness. It was hard to tell if there was a real floor beneath him, the ceiling did not seem to have a limit, and he couldn't sense any walls. It was impossible to tell if he'd smack into a solid wall after one step or a million steps.
'What the hell is this?"
Ryu felt that there was a non-zero chance that he had failed. In context, it didn't make any sense, but there was really no telling. If rules were hidden, this might very well be a punishment that he didn't know about.
Because of his continuous challenges, Ryu hadn't made any forward progress, and had instead been moving laterally. Each time he did so, he had to challenge another Bronze Challenge. It was very possible that there was a hidden rule that limited the number of Bronze Challenges that one could take on at a time. It was also possible that every time Ryu challenged, it counted as another turn, and there was a hidden rule about the number of turns one could have without progressing forward.
Ryu could think of dozens more potential rules just like this that would have resulted in him being kicked out like he had been, and they made him sigh. Although he still wasn't sure that he had actually failed, the more possibilities he thought of, the more likely that it was. The only reason he was holding onto some hope was because…
This world was too odd.
Was this a waiting room for the failures? But if it was, then where was Ramon? Then again, maybe there was another reason…?
In Domain, there were pieces, and these pieces could both be sacrificed and revived. Since the proceedings above took place on a Domain Board, could it be that he was a piece that could be considered to have been "sacrificed"? As for why Ramon was not here, maybe his disqualification was different from his own. After all, Ramon had lost his Dao entirely, his ability to participate was in question.
If he was a piece that could be considered sacrificed, then revival would be contingent on someone other than himself, meaning…
Ryu's thoughts came to a stop. He had absentmindedly taken a step forward and a bout of vertigo made him sway. A seasick-like feeling came at him in waves and he almost collapsed.
"What the hell…?"
In that moment, he felt as though his brain had been grabbed by two hands. and then sent into a tailspin within his skull. How could taking a single step make him feel like that? It was like his inner ear was completely disoriented.He forced himself to come to a stop and wanted to take a seat for a moment. but he found that even when he tried to lay down on the ground, just the act of bending down made him want to throw up.
He was a cultivator of great power. He could step across hundreds of kilometers with a thought, and as someone with a Spacetime Soul Nature, odd parallels, disorienting planes and sudden jumps and changes in speed were all things he was highly resistant toward. In fact, the new, self-created combat style he had formed for himself relied heavily on this. Never did he think that he would run into such a thing.
He hacked and wheezed, his guts threatening to spill out. But then he remembered just how long it had been since he had eaten something. His stomach was completely empty, there was not even much acid to spill out and he ended up coughing at the air, a thick lump forming in his throat.
'Son a bitch…'
By this point, Ryu was truly speechless. What the hell was this?
He had already cast away the idea that he was some sort of sacrificed pawn, at least mostly. There would be no reason for this world to be like this outside of the Heavens being sadistic. Unless, of course, there was a method of walking out of this world and the reward for doing so was a chance at "revival".
Even though this was semi-reasonable, Ryu did not believe that this was what was going on here. It was more likely that this was a separate world entirely. at least 60% likely. But why was he sent here?
He tried to take a deep breath, but even the act of contracting and relaxing his diaphragm caused another bout of vertigo. It was like just trying to control his body in this world was asking too much.
The good news was that, at the very least, the strength of the vertigo was much weaker. If he made his breaths more shallow, took it slower, and most importantly did not move, he could limit the dizziness to a minimum.
'What a bad joke…"
Even controlling his qi gave these bouts of dizziness, and it was even more oppressive than when he had tried to take a step before. This world was making certain that he stayed completely still, and there was obviously a reason for that.
Ryu eventually managed to straighten himself and stand tall. Afterward, slowly but surely, he began to test each part of his body, checking each one thoroughly to see what gave the strongest bouts.
Slowly but surely, he began to notice a pattern. His gaze became sharper, albeit slowly, of course, and he began to test his hypotheses and and it was all becoming clear to him
"How fascinating. This room, I wonder if it would be possible for me to replicate it somewhere in the future?'
Ryu threw those thoughts to the back of his mind, focusing on the task at hand. He mapped out everything and pieced them together.
Then… he lifted his foot again to take a step forward.
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