While everyone was crazily looking for an exit, Baili Mingxiang timidly opened her mouth. She said, “Your Highness, princess, I...I’m not afraid of water.”
Everyone’s eyes swiveled to her at that instant. Although she spoke in a quiet voice and even sounded afraid, her words stunned them.
Baili Mingxiang isn’t afraid of water! She’s from the Mermaid Clan. With her here, even the largest flood was no problem!
Gu Qishao was completely lost. “Baili Mingxiang, why didn’t you tell us your skills earlier? What were you afraid of?” He didn’t know her well and probably wouldn’t have even glanced at her if she didn’t speak up just then!
In truth, Baili Mingxiang could save everyone! But why was she so timid? She should just say it with pride, wasn’t that right? Han Yunxi and Long Feiye exchanged looks before she smiled wryly. Baili Mingxiang had been just by her side, so why did she forget all about her?
Gu Beiyue had spent the most time with the two masters and their subordinates and knew Baili Mingxiang much better than Gu Qishao. Add that to some of Xu Donglin’s remarks and he more or less had a clue about the situation.
“It’s great that Miss Mingxiang’s here! Miss Mingxiang, our lives will be in your hands,” Gu Beiyue said, assigning her an important task as an expression of his faith.
As the direct bloodline descendant of the Mermaid Clan, Baili Mingxiang had natural abilities to protect people underwater; moreover, her skills would be superior to that of any mermaid soldiers. Gu Qishao and Gu Beiyue’s words gave her a boost of confidence as she looked towards Long Feiye and Han Yunxi.
“Your Highness, princess, Mingxiang will definitely fulfill my mission! Please trust Mingxiang!”
Han Yunxi nodded and even patted her on the back. “Mhm!” Having seen the mermaid soldiers firsthands, she believed in Baili Mingxiang. Long Feiye wasn’t so expressive, but he nodded his head as well. He had made a mistake in forgetting her utterly.
“Princess, let go of me first. There’s still time for Mingxiang to look around underwater and see what’s going on,” Baili Mingxiang said.
Han Yunxi released her promptly and Baili Mingxiang dove into the water to swim for the bottom of the mirror maze. As expected of the Mermaid Clan, her slim form was especially elegant and beautiful underwater, just like a real mermaid, carefree and unrestrained.
“She’s really a fish?” Gu Qishao asked doubtfully.
Han Yunxi burst out laughing. There was still a big difference between mermaids and fish. Of course, Baili Mingxiang didn’t stay carefree for long. She was only getting used to the water, and soon quickly darted deeper until her figure vanished from everyone’s sights. As soon as she did, Gu Qishao released Gu Beiyue’s hand and jumped in to chase after her. Very quickly, he resurfaced again.
“The water’s too deep, I can’t see the bottom. But Baili Mingxiang’s disappeared!” Gu Qishao didn’t cover up his doubts one bit. “It’s only to check the surroundings, so why did she swim so far?” To him, Baili Mingxiang’s timidity was suspect. Why was so dawdling so much when she could save them all? Thus, he was worried about her intentions. After all, they were in danger right now and had no time to turn back or waste time.
“She has her reasons,” Gu Beiyue replied. “Miss Mingxiang is dependable, don’t worry.” He could tell Gu Qishao had doubts, but he would never suspect Baili Mingxiang’s motives. First, he’d worked with her long enough to understand her personality; secondly, the Mermaid Clan would never dare to betray Long Feiye, especially Baili Mingxiang herself. In the past, she hadn’t even betrayed Han Yunxi, much less her own master.
Seeing Gu Beiyue so convinced, Gu Qishao looked towards Long Feiye and Han Yunxi. Both of them were calm and quiet, so he was too lazy to bring it up again.
If all three of them trust her, it should be fine, right?
Currently, the water had already filled half of the maze, so there wasn’t much space left for them. After a while, it had risen above their legs. Han Yunxi and the rest jumped into the sea like Gu Qishao to tread water, leaving only their heads showing. Long Feiye pulled her over to borrow strength from him and stay above its surface.
Han Yunxi quickly refused. “It’s fine, I can hold on.”
It was hard to keep treading water without stop, so she didn’t want Long Feiye to have another burden. Everyone was waiting, but by the time there was only room for their heads. If this kept on, they would be submerged.
Yet Baili Mingxiang still hadn’t returned!
“Long Feiye, is that subordinate of yours dependable?” Gu Qishao was never one for patience.
If they hadn’t listened to Baili Mingxiang back then, they might have found an exit by now. But the entire maze was nearly full of water now and she wasn’t back! Just what did she go to do? If she was of the Mermaid Clan, she should be able to sense how quickly the water was rising. She should know that their situation was growing more dire by the second!
She should have come back ages ago!
Now there wasn’t even enough time to find an exit themselves. They could only wait to die! As the water continued to rise without stop, their space began to shrink. Long Feiye took out the Tears of Holding. Shaped like a teardrop, it was used to summon the mermaid soldiers. However, it failed! Though they were stuck in an illusion, Baili Mingxiang was too. It was impossible for her to miss Long Feiye’s summons!
“Did something happen to her?” Long Feiye asked in alarm. Baili Mingxiang was their sole hope. If she was in trouble, then they were all doomed.
Gu Qishao immediately went underwater with Xu Donglin behind him. Gu Beiyue wanted to go as well, but his body wasn’t strong enough yet. Soaking in it for so long was already harmful to his qi, much less holding his breath beneath it. He could only watch and wait.
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi remained above the water as well. Both of them looked towards Gu Beiyue with complicated expressions. Baili Mingxiang really was like a fish to water when she went under. Unless she was exhausted or met with some unseen power, nothing should have happened to her. In the past, many mermaid soldiers had died when the Sandy River flooded, but that had been due to exhaustion and the giant boulders washed down by the rain. The waters around them now were calm, so what could attack her there?
Very soon, Gu Qishao and Xu Donglin resurfaced. By now, their heads were touching the ceiling of the maze with the water levels at their chins. It was impossible not to panic at a time like this. Long Feiye, Han Yunxi, and Gu Beiyue all had ghastly expressions.
“It’s very deep down there, I can’t reach the bottom. We split up left and right to search, but couldn’t find the limits. The mirror maze is too big! Even using tortoise breath techniques to hold one’s breath won’t do!” Gu Qishao said loudly.
Judging from what he and Xu Donglin discovered, it was possible this maze was located right in the middle of the ocean. By now, the water had reached their mouths. Everyone had to raise their heads to keep talking.
Baili Mingxiang had wasted everyone’s escape time!
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi fell silent at Gu Qishao’s words, while Gu Beiyue continued to look thoughtful. But the water waited for no one and kept rising.
Losing his patience, Gu Qishao finally raged, “Long Feiye, is Baili Mingxiang fooling us? It’s a perfectly calm sea, so what could happen to her? Don’t tell me your mermaid soldiers are this weak!”
He’d hardly finished when he was forced to spit out a mouthful of water. By now, the water was covering half their faces. There was no place to retreat!
“Break the mirrors above us!” Long Feiye ordered.
He had been waiting this entire time for Baili Mingxiang to show up. He didn’t trust her as much as he did the Mermaid Clan. But now he could only give up. It was very risky to break the mirror ceiling, or else he would have suggested it long ago.
What if...what if there was nothing but water above them too?
They had seen nothing but water when they opened the stone door, so the maze might be located underwater. If that was the case, then there was no point in struggling further before they drowned. This was their last resort.
Long Feiye was going to take a gamble!
Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue had considered the same thing. When Baili Mingxiang failed to be their last hope, they could only rely on the mirrors now.
“Hit it!” Han Yunxi cried.
Gu Qishao was the first to punch the ceiling while everyone got out of the way. Yet they hadn’t followed suit before more water poured in from the hole made by his fist. At the same time, the mirror maze split in all directions as if it’d collapse.
They were done for!
Long Feiye grabbed Han Yunxi’s hand as they held their breath seconds before the water submerged them both. As they sank into the sea, Xu Donglin shielded Gu Beiyue to go underwater as well. Gu Qishao didn’t move, but held his breath with a gloomy look as he waited for the rising swells to bury him. As soon as it did, the roof of the mirror maze caved in along with its walls, breaking apart into soundless fragments. Their pieces floated in the water like so many snowflakes, a beautiful, yet cruel sight.
Han Yunxi’s group was left suspended in the water with no end. They couldn’t see anything besides water and more water. In fact, this entire world seemed to be made of water with no shore in sight. But they were neither fish nor mermaids, so they couldn’t last long. They would die! Time would be their killer…
Long Feiye pointed to a place ahead of him and gestured for everyone to follow along. Yet they’d hardly assembled the mirror fragments were propelled by an invisible force to attack them from all sides.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Screaming internally...and yes, I'm still lost oh my goodness....