Chapter 6: In Order To Pass


Anda remained sitting on the branch hanging above. She looked down on everybody with a beautiful smile on her lips.

There were so many people jumping around the big rock. Quite a few tried out their parkour tricks and there were even some people conferencing near the challenge location, each participant with eagerness and seriousness on their faces.

They looked like some earnest and dependable people and this prompted the young man in the black jacket to approach them.

"The test is so difficult. It's like the administrator is purposely eliminating the old and the weak." The old man following the young man made sobbing noises. "Wwuuuuu! This is unfair. Tell me, kiddo Ley! How do I survive!?"

"You think I know? I'm not even sure if I could make it through. And why the heck are you following me?" The young man called kiddo Ley didn't hide his displeasure through his tone.

"Even the seventy-seven years old me can't grasp the logic of this test. Tell me, do I have to start praying now for my soul and then create some sort of last and testament?"

"Yeah, you should. You will need paper and a pen. Go look for some now. In short, please separate from me so you can write your will."

In one corner of Leyte Baler's eyes, he saw a horse-headed bony creature heading towards the congregation. He stopped walking when the Werehorse arrived in the middle of those people. It neighed savagely and furiously stomped its hooves, acting as if it found a nice toy to step on. The people around became violent and started throwing punches on the Werehorse which had appeared suddenly in their midst.

"Hey, we should not go there. Those people are crazy as if a precious treasure was broken by that ugly horse. Eh? The Werehorse disappeared just when the punch was about to land! So mysterious! So fast!" The old man's jaw reached the ground. His eyes seemed to witness the creature bolting pass him.

Leyte observed the group. Ignoring their angry faces, he found something odd. When he looked closely, eh? It was like they were oddly missing some clothing on them?

The noisy old man pointed at someone. "So hateful! Those ugly horses are taunting the parkour experts who fell from the rock! Really without morals. Hey, Ley, look! That person is so courageous! Actually talking with another werehorse!"

Leyte's interest was caught. He turned his head to that direction and there was really a muscular man there, who looked like he's picking a fight with the creature.

"Asking for death? Or negotiating about something?" he asked.

The old gave him a toothless grin and remained like that for a few minutes, he didn't know the answer. Ley sighed. The old man was useless baggage for him. Many women and children bawling and crying appeared in his sight when he moved his gaze away from the other party. This old man was only a bit better than them.

"Right now, everyone's a mess. There were people pretending to hold a serious discussion but actually just tying ripped strips of clothing to make a long rope." He said after realizing what the earlier group was doing. It seemed some clothes got trashed and destroyed by that creature which made them angry.

Leyte resumed watching the courageous burly man still trying to talk with the horse-headed creature. He frowned when they appeared to reach the point of dueling, and then laughed speechlessly when the burly man finally showed signs of aggression. The man tried to snatch the werehorse's long whip. Now what? Planning to rob all the werehorses of their whips and then make a long rope out of those? 

"Obviously, everyone's already crazy."

Up above, the goddess laughed and laughed at those who tried to climb the rock. The young man felt like cursing. He realized that even this world's goddess was pretty crazy.

Honestly, he felt like giving up. More than everyone here, he was most afraid of getting stomped to death within the human stampede. He wondered why things turned out like this and then concluded that the biggest mystery was still their lack of memories which in turn limited their understanding of the situation.

For him, arriving in a desolate world in the middle of a march without knowing how and why was what he really wanted to uncover.

Why did they have to march and follow the goddess' words? It was simply because they have nothing else to do or follow. Another problem was how the goddess claimed it was a matter of survival.

Most probably people are thinking survival comes first before anything else.

His eyes darted everywhere before stopping at the wall-like surface of the rock. The rock's name escaped his lips, chanted repeatedly. The name Liyang sounded familiar to him. It was like he had read about this rock before... He frowned, where could he read it? And how come he had memories of it?

"Kiddo Ley," the old man called out. However, Leyte ignored him.

That time he discovered two girls in high school uniform arguing near the stone. A while later, one of the girls pushed the other causing that other girl to slip and fall with her back colliding on the rock's surface. Leyte's eyes widened up in fear as he watched the girl who slipped suddenly turning into a skeleton. The girl who did the pushing fell on her buttocks, screaming in fear. She never expected her friend to become like that just because she landed on the rock.

That girl kept on shaking her head, backing away and screaming some words of denial. "N-no, i-it's n-not on purpose. S-sorry! H-hana, s-sorry!"

Leyte was not the only one who saw that scene. They held their breath when the girl who was still busy screaming and crying unknowingly backed away to the rock. They saw her elbow connecting with the hard surface. Then after a second she suddenly disappeared. This time the ones who witnessed were who screamed in fear.

Leyte found himself unable to breathe. The werehorses cheered for some unknown reason while the goddess exclaimed, "Passed!"

What? Somebody made it through? Just like that? 

Quite a while passed before reality drilled into them. Everybody quieted down. Until a brave young girl ran forward to touch the Liyang. Her mother chased after her fearfully. However, the mother was already late because when she caught her child, the young girl had already touched the rock. The mother tearfully hugged her daughter but she found out the child already disappeared. Grief-stricken, the mother ran headfirst to the wall of rock, and then after a second, she turned into a set of bones.

"Haha, so nice. The passers increased in number."

An hour later, Leyte no longer knew how it came to be, but after they discovered the correct way to pass through Liyang, the place turned more chaotic. They discovered a pattern wherein every person in odd vanished but those in even turned into skeletons. This became the root of chaos. Nobody wanted to come after the person who had truly 'passed'.  Now everyone else appeared like madmen as they pushed people around and do all sorts of things to ensure they don't come as one of the evens.

The old man stayed with Ley at the back. He kept on criticizing everyone as he commented on human principles and morality. The young man stood there rooted on his spot as he watched how one could actually blackmail a weak woman by holding her son hostage in order to push her to be one of the evens. He saw how a man could beat up a weak old lady and throw her towards the rock before colliding with the rock himself.

The old man was still rambling incessantly beside him when Leyte finally spoke, "Something's wrong here..."

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