The figure moved slowly, every single step suddenly reverberating through the area. Reign stared at the figure calmly while clenching his swords, ready to fight at a moment's notice. The figure that was coming to him had a strange aura around it, the same one he could feel everywhere around him.
"I guess you are the one responsible for all of this." Reign said as the hooded figure slowly moved toward him. The figure didn't speak, it actually caused no sound at all. The footsteps never came from the figure, but from everywhere around Reign.
It was as if thousands of people were walking in sync and making the sound.
One thing that started creeping Reign out was the presence of the figure, better said, it was the fact that Reign could not feel any presence that creeped him out. There was nothing, no presence, no mana, no soul that he could sense coming from the figure.
It was as if the figure didn't even exist, but thanks to Reign being able to see the figure in front of him that he knew that that was false.
The figure existed, but for some reason, nothing could be felt from it.
No matter what Reign said or did, the figure didn't respond, it merely continued moving.
It was when the figure came to about 1.5 meters in front of Reign that he clenched his swords, took a large step forward, and slashed the figure, only for his sword to pass through as if nothing was there.
There was no wound present on the figure. The sword simply passed through it like it was some sort of hologram, it wasn't affected at the very least.
The figure did nothing in response to Reign's attack, merely continuing forward. It simply passed through Reign.
He could feel a chill as the figure passed through him, like a sharp wind in winter hitting him.
He thought he was hallucinating at first, for something like this to happen, it was not possible as even if the figure was a ghost, it would still have a presence and wouldn't be able to simply pass through Reign like this.
Reign started second-guessing himself, perhaps it was the mist that made him hallucinate and see things. Maybe he was dreaming it all, after all, it made sense since the situation he had found himself in was incredibly weird and simply did not make sense.
The last thing Reign thought of was that he was attacked by a soul-based spell, just like when he and the others fought the final boss of the warehouse and he was put under an illusion.
"No!" Aethion suddenly shouted and woke Reign up from his thoughts.
"It's not an illusion or hallucination, it's real, the figure truly does exist, just not in the same layer as you."
"Yes, the universe has many layers in which beings exist, one is the one you are currently in, but there are more, most are empty, devoid of any life, but some have horrible creatures that lurk inside, always trying to find a way to break through and reach this layer, the one where most things of the universe exist in."
"Whatever this creature is, it's either one of them or a being that can shift through the layers."
"In this case, the true body of this being is in another layer, and this is simply a mirrored image of it, one that can not interact with the real world, so your attacks won't do anything to it, but it can't do anything to you either."
"Still, I don't know exactly what it is, or why it has shown itself to you."
The figure suddenly stopped moving as it took about 5 steps after passing through Reign. It lifted its arm before motioning for Reign to follow it and continued moving as before.
'So what do I do, do I follow it?'
"It could be a trap."
'Yes, but do we have any choice but to walk into it, after all, we have no idea what's happening, and my mana is so low that I truly don't know if I can break through an array if it has any kind of defensive properties.'
"I know, that's why I'm worried, if you get attacked right now, even 2 low-grade Tier III beings might be able to defeat you."
'Maybe, but I don't see another choice right now.'
Aethion sighed before agreeing with Reign. The only thing he could do now was to follow the hooded figure and see where it takes him, otherwise, he might be trapped inside this weird array for quite some time.
There was also another possibility that Aethion had thought of.
There was a chance, a very small one, that the figure was not in a different layer of the universe, but that Reign was.
What if the array was one that was concentrated fully on Reign, one that only had one purpose, and that was to transport Reign into a different layer of the world?
He didn't say it, because even though he himself thought that something like this happening was not likely, he still had his doubts. Everything that was currently happening was simply far too weird for even him.
Reign continued following the figure, passing by many tents inside the army camp.
The camp was a huge one as it housed over 200 thousand people, and one needed to walk for quite some time before getting to the edge of the camp.
The hooded figure did just that.
It walked without stopping for even a moment until it stepped outside the camp. Once it did that, the figure suddenly stopped and just stared ahead.
Reign carefully moved to the right of the figure and looked at it, trying to catch a glimpse of the figure's face. He could not do it.
There was nothing behind the hood, only darkness. He wasn't sure if that was because they were in different layers of the world, or it was because of some weird skill or the ability the other person had.
"So, I guess you won't tell me what you are trying to do with getting me out of the camp?" Reign suddenly asks the hooded figure that shows no response, only staring in the distance for some time before suddenly moving to the side.
As the figure moved, it was suddenly flung backward, a hole appearing in its chest.
"What?!" Reign shouted in confusion as he stared at the hooded figure.
It was dead, its heart had been stabbed through.
The body suddenly moved, but not in a natural way. Someone had grabbed the legs of the figure and was moving it toward the forest that was found nearby.
Reign started following after them, only to look around and see another hooded figure nearby.
He was confused at what was happening, but the hooded figure was staring at the body that was being dragged away. It suddenly lifted its arm and pointed at the dead body, before pointing at itself.
The figure did that a couple of times whilst turning around before Reign arrived in front of it.
"Are you trying to tell me that the dead body is actually you?" Reign asked as the figure simply continued doing the same thing as before.
Reign finally realized that the figure couldn't see or hear him. It existed in a different layer, and it seems only he could see it, but the figure couldn't do the same.
"Wait, but it motioned for me to follow it, so how did it – wait!" Reign suddenly thought of something.
"The only time when you showed any reaction was when you passed through me." Reign suddenly took a step and passed through the figure, which made it stop doing what it previously did.
The figure simply nodded before looking around and moving toward the forest while Reign followed after it. He didn't know who the figure was, or why it was helping him, but he knew that following it was the only way out of this place.
It had been attacked before, which means that there are people out to stop the figure from establishing contact with Reign.
That much was enough for Reign to place some trust in the figure and follow it again.
As the two moved through the forest, Reign could suddenly hear some noises.
The noises were faint, but he could hear people talking. The figure suddenly stopped before pointing ahead of it, toward the sound of people talking. Reign simply nodded, understanding that that was where the figure wanted to take him.
He passed through the figure in order to let it know that he understood and started making his way toward the sound. He made sure to crouch and move slowly toward the sound of people talking.
He moved through the dense bushes and shrubs and made sure not to make any noise. He held his two swords and slowly neared the area, only to stop moving and widen his eyes after getting close enough to the area.
It was at this time that the system suddenly notified him of the second step of his evolution challenge.
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