Naelia led John and Zuri through the massive arena, which took some time to navigate. The halls were filled with countless people, making it quite hard to move at times. After pushing their way through countless hallways and rooms, the group arrived on the lowest floor of the arena.

After walking down some steps which were guarded by Yang-Dao Sect cultivators, permitting entry only to tournament participants and those near them, they arrived in a rather empty hallway, at least compared to the ones they had come from.

John breathed a sigh of relief, thankful to be removed from the stuffy and boisterous halls above, and followed Naelia as she expertly moved towards the first trial starting point. They arrived half an hour later, moving quite quickly through the hall to ensure they were not late.

A massive, double-sided door came into view, which was already open. Two World Expansion Yang-Dao Sect elders stood on either side, guarding the way forward. One of the elders blocked their path, asking for the entry formation.

John handed his formation disk to the Elder, who inspected it, eyes going wide a moment later. He remained speechless for quite some time, then handed the disk back to John, a different, scrutinous look on his face.

He then handed John another formation disk.

"Take this, and fill it with your Qi, then do not fight the formation's energy," the Elder instructed.

John took the disk, inspected it for a moment, then sent his Qi into it. The disk absorbed his Qi greedily, as if latching onto it. A restrictive energy surged out of the disk, enveloping John who instinctively went to fight against it, but stopped himself from doing so at the last moment.

The energy enveloped John, then went dormant a moment later. The disk had moved through his robe and latched onto his upper arm, like a bracelet, firmly locked in place. John gave Naelia a quick, curious glance for an explanation.

"You'll find out its purpose soon enough," she said, a teasing look of satisfaction on her face. This was clearly payback for almost making them late, which she would no doubt have been scolded for.

John rolled his eyes, then entered the room. The guards allowed Naelia and Zuri to enter with him after Naelia explained their purpose. As he stepped into the room, a massive chamber came into view. The room was several miles wide and long, with a ceiling several hundred yards overhead.

Within the room were around ten thousand other people, all Dao Transformation geniuses of the human race. An eager, anxious, and excited atmosphere filled the room as these geniuses awaited the start of the first trial, where they would prove their talent to the world.

John moved a short distance into the room, then stopped. Naelia and Zuri stepped up beside him, Naelia looking at all the geniuses with awe, Zuri scanning it for any danger. John looked about as well, noticing a glowing doorway on the opposite side of the room, one several dozen yards wide and tall.

"We're all going to enter the trial at once?" John asked Naelia, to which she nodded her head.

"While the arena is quite large, it's not that large for a Dao Transformation cultivator. Isn't it going to not only be quite crowded, but also easy to get through?" John asked her.

Naelia smiled at his naivety to the tournament rules, then shook her head.

"It's not nearly that simple," she said. "The formation on your arm does several things, and one is to restrict flight."

"Even then, I'd be able to jump most of that distance with ease," John frowned. "Doesn't seem like much of a challenge."

Naelia's smile widened, truly enjoying John's naivety of the trials. "You can try, but I would advise against it. You'll find out soon enough," she said. "Oh, and there are a few rules I should let you know about, so you don't get disqualified. First, there's no teamwork allowed. You can fight others, but you cannot team up on others, nor can you use teamwork to defeat the challenges of the trial. The trial is meant to weed out the weak, so make sure to remember that."

John nodded his head, as the rule made sense.

"You also cannot kill or maim others, but anything less than that is fine," Naelia added. "Oh, and lastly, you must be in the first nine hundred and twenty-four to make it to the other side. If you don't place in the top nine hundred and twenty-four, you are immediately eliminated. That's about all the rules you need to be aware of."

"Thanks," John nodded at Naelia, thankful for the explanations. Naelia smiled with satisfaction, her eyes following John's as he turned to look at something.

A group of cultivators approached them, led by someone John recognized.

"So, you are participating in the tournament after all," the lead person, the young man John had met at the Yang-Dao Sect entrance said, a wide smile on his face as he stared smugly at John.

"It's surprising such a bumpkin could even make the top ten thousand," another in the group said.

"You should have heeded my warning and stayed out of the tournament," the leader said, "but now it's too late for that. When the trial starts, I'm going to make sure to publicly embarrass you before the entire world. You can only blame yourself for this, for insulting those you could not afford to insult!"

"Now we get to watch Gerid beat you down," another in the group said, a smug smile on his face.

John scoffed with amusement, almost unable to believe the pettiness of this person. Before he could reply, noise sounded out beside him.

"Pffft…hahahah," the sound of stifled laughter drifted out, followed by loud, hearty laughter. Everyone turned their eyes to Naelia, who was hunched over, holding her belly while laughing loudly. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes as she fought to contain her laughter, which she was only able to do a short while later.

Gerid frowned at her, but did not say anything insulting or take any action towards Naelia. She wore the clothes of the Yang-Dao Sect, as thus was someone he could not afford to offend.

"What are you laughing at?" Gerid asked, unable to contain his growing ire.

"You really don't know how to pick a good opponent," Naelia said, her laughter finally contained. She looked at Gerid, then John, then almost started bursting out laughing again. "I almost feel sorry for you. Almost."

Gerid frowned, his mouth opening to speak. Before he could, a loud voice filled the room, silencing everyone within. Everyone turned to look at a Yang-Dao Sect elder who had appeared in the air above the door of light on the opposite side of the room.

"Young geniuses of the Human Continent," the elder said, voice booming throughout the entire room. "I congratulate you for making it this far. It is a feat reserved only for the true geniuses of this world."

His words caused many of the youths within to swell with pride, smiles forming on many of their faces.

"Now is the time for you to prove the extent of your genius to the world," the elder continued, his words adding further passion and excitement to the emotions the youths were feeling. "Now is the time to fight for glory and treasures."

The elder paused dramatically, eyes scanning the excited crowd. He smiled, then turned in the air, gesturing towards the large door of light.

"Now…is the time of the Dao Transformation tournament. You may now enter the first trial, and good luck to all."

Loud cheers flooded the room, filling it with an electric atmosphere. Youths rushed towards the door of light, stepping into it and disappearing within.

"I guess I'm up," John said, giving both Naelia and Zuri a quick nod, then moved towards the door of light on the opposite side of the room. He arrived before it a short while later, with youths surging on both sides, stepping into it.

He did so as well, and as he did, he felt several hands press against his back. He ignored the hands and appeared in a different location a moment later. He looked about, finding labyrinth-like walls surrounding him, with a ceiling high overhead. The room he was in was about one hundred yards wide and long, with a single way forward on the other side of the room.

"No wonder Naelia said I wouldn't be able to jump to the end of the trial," he muttered, then turned to the side as footsteps approached him. He spotted Gerid and his companions a short distance away, walking towards him with wide smiles on their faces.

"You're such an idiot," Gerid said, clapping with glee. "You didn't even think to stop us from touching you as you stepped through the formation. If you had done so, we would have been transported to a different starting location. You truly are an idiot!"

"A true idiot," his companions agreed, stopping a short distance away from John.

John smiled, shook his head at their stupidity, then stepped towards them.

"I'm really going to enjoy this."