Xin Fan slowly got up and found himself him an large forest. As he did so, he felt a sense of deja vu. Looking around, he realized that there was no way he was in the same world, ore even his domain for the matter. For example, there was only one sun in the sky, a rare occurrence in the Mu continent. The trees were of a species that Xin Fan has never seen before. Most striking of all, there was not a single drop of snow in this place.
Xin Fan started to walk. He didn't know where he was or where his destination was, but if he kept walking, something was bound to happen. The forest was empty, no birds, no insects. Just the sounds of his feet trudging against the leaves.
"Xin Fan...You are here too?"
Xin Fan heard a voice behind him. It was a familiar voice. He turned around to see a girl in a black robe. She looked at him at eye level inquisitively.
"Huh, T...Tianfei? Did you grow taller?"
"What do you mean?"
Xin Fan slowly walked up to her. Tianfei stood up to around his eye level. Xin Fan always remembered that the gap between their heights had been much bigger. However the truth of the matter was, Tianfei was not taller, he was shorter.
"Oh! We are almost the same height!"
Tianfei measured herself up against Xin Fan. She seemed strangely happy seemingly from her height complex. The two trudged against the forest floor before reaching a clearing. There stood dozens of children ranging from 2 to 10 years old all sitting there.
"Oh?! We have new arrivals?"
The children turned to them seemingly in expectation. They all seemed to be just as lost as they was. The oldest of the bunch looked around ten and was carrying a child around the age of 3, sleeping on his back. Xin Fan felt that his face was familiar but he couldn't pinpoint where.
"So you kids are from the school?"
"If you are talking about Dragon Root, then yes."
A girl around the age of 4 circled around the pair. Xin Fan recognized her. She was the girl who seemed empty the day before. However now, the difference was that she had eyes full of life and acted completely differently.
"So you can get us out?"
A boy younger than her suddenly interjected with a harsh tone.
"Why do we need to leave? Aren't we just fine here?"
The child rearing boy shook his head as he looked at the 3 year old.
"Elder...Look what this place has done to you."
"Say what you want newcomer but soon you would be like the rest of us."
Xin Fan looked in surprise. The word 'elder' would be the last thing he would call a 3 year old boy. Xin Fan looked at the oldest boy in confusion.
"Somethings are not what they seem."
Xin Fan looked around to see some of the children nod at him.
It was at this point, Xin Fan realized what sort of place this place was. It was where all the villager's mind was spirited away. However, the real question here was how and why this was happening. Xin Fan was sure that in the real world, his body would be moving on its own. It may even already be back in the carriage. Amongst the children, there were some that did not respond. They looked dazed at the tree seemingly expecting something.
Suddenly the forest burst to life. Small forest creatures started to come out. Rabbits, squirrels, birds and even baby wolves. The animals pranced happily around the group of children with no sense of malice at all.
"Apparently this happens everyday."
The oldest boy muttered these words beneath his breath with only Xin Fan finding out what he was saying.
"Like you, I am a newcomer. I don't know why I am here but being in this form again. Feels fresh to say the least."
Xin Fan turned to the oldest boy in confusion. He assumed that he was here from the start but now he was proven wrong. This boy was just like him. Before long, some of the children started to join these forest animals to play. First were the ones that did not respond earlier. Then one by one, even the ones that did respond started to join in a daze.
Xin Fan heard saw the blood flowing from the lips of the 10 year old. He seemed to be holding back the urge to join the group. Since the child on his back was asleep, he did not respond. Soon even Xin Fan had the urge to join in.
"W...What is happening?"
Tianfei, the only one seemingly unaffected turned to Xin Fan in surprise. Now like the one next to him, he bit is lip to resist. At first he tried to circulate qi around his body but he soon realized that for some reason, he felt nothing. It was not to say that his dantian was not there or anything. It was definitely there, but he could not seem to control it at all. If it was rowing a boat, this situation would be like switching the oar to a thin twig to row. It just wasn't possible. To make matters worse, he couldn't even enter his domain. There was no system messages, no qi, just him.
"Tianfei, Is it just me or can I not use qi right now."
Tianfei released a small pulse of qi from her body before a strange force pushed back and blocked the flow of energy. It was as if the world was rejecting it.
"I can't do it!"
Soon the animals slowly returned back into the forest and disappeared into the shadows. The children returned now with more in a daze. Xin Fan's ears twitched as he heard the words coming out of their mouths.
"Maybe this place isn't that bad after all."
The same people who wanted to leave this place now wants to go back home. There were a couple who even now resisted.
"It happened once again."
The resisting children shook their heads as they looked at the growing amount of people who lost their minds. The boy next to the pair grit his teeth as he started to rub the bleeding spot.
"Hah...I don't know if we can leave anytime soon."
"Who are you?"
"I'm...uhh...Tian....Tian Hei. He's....umm Tian Long."
"Nice to meet you, Tian Hei."
The boy didn't seem to want to reveal his identity so Xin Fan felt it was best to not pry any further.
"I've been to someplace like this before. Now that I've experienced it, I can say that this is definitely because of a dream spirit. If we find it, we can come out."
Suddenly everyone turned towards 'Tian Hei' with all their eyes on him.
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