Doomsday Wonderland - LightNovelsOnl.com
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At the Northwest corner, on the third floor of Seagral Square, one would find a small door covered with rust after climbing through multiple pipes and climbing up many flights of stairs. The rust was so bad that no one could tell its original color. The "Under Maintenance" sign hanging from the door handle was covered with such a thick layer of dust that it was almost difficult to read the words on the sign.
A tall, handsome young man with black hair wearing a long coat signaled to the people behind him with a nod. A girl immediately ran up and held the handle. The door made a long creak as if it had not been opened for a long time as the door opened stiffly.
The dust on the part of the handle which had been touched did not move or change a little. It was as if it had been glued there. When another girl saw that the door had opened, she crept to the door and peeked behind it suspiciously. The girl that opened the door had two ponytails. Meanwhile, the other girl peeking through the door looked like her sister. They seemed to be about the same age and both of them were very skinny. Their arms were so skinny that they looked like they would break anytime, they looked as if they had not eaten for days.
When she took the first step forward, she tugged the black rope in her hand. Oddly, though she looked like she did not have even a hint of muscle, the young man was tugged forward by the momentum. Underneath his coat, the black rope was tied to him. He had no choice but to follow quickly behind her. Behind the door was a windowless tubular corridor. The tasteless wallpaper that covered the corridor was in tatters. The corridor was so quiet that it was as though it had been cut off from the world. Each step they took was followed by a soft poof as dust stirred. Under the dim light, they could see a similar door in a distance.
"If we exit from here, we will reach Mokugyo Encyclopedic Forum?"
Lin Sanjiu, who now looked like a skinny teenager, did not sound even one bit threatening though she tried to intentionally deepen her voice, especially not after she coughed a few times because of the dust.
Yet, the young black-haired man, Honeysuckle, did not dare to take her lightly.
The [Mask] they were wearing was just a sort of illusion tool. It didn't change the actual appearance of its user. Even though Honeysuckle, who was only 1.75m, looked tall and handsome now, he couldn't touch the hanging lamps from the ceiling even if he tiptoed.
Similarly, though other people might not be able to see Lin Sanjiu's menacing wings, they were still on her back. If an unlucky person accidentally b.u.mped into them, they would still get injured.
To avoid that sort of situation, Honeysuckle and Soulsqn had to stay very close to Lin Sanjiu so that other innocent pa.s.sersby would not come too close to her.
Honeysuckle was a person with a lot of experience and was very adaptable. He knew when he could a.s.sert himself and when he had to submit. Ever since Lin Sanjiu grabbed him by his ankle and took all his money, he did not show even a single sign of defiance. After all, it was very obvious that he couldn't defeat her.
"Mokugyo Encyclopedic Forum is just behind this door," Honeysuckle said eagerly when Lin Sanjiu held the door handle. "There might be a lot of dust but many people know this route."
"Oh." Lin Sanjiu responded. She pulled the door open with some hesitation.
She found herself staring at a whole different world when the door opened.
She was enveloped by a wave of warm air when she took the first step into the building. The place was warm because of the heat generated by the crowd. A cacophony of human conversations a.s.saulted her ears as the bright light flooded her vision. Lin Sanjiu looked away from the platform nearby and took a sweeping glance at the countless large monitor screens arranged in rows. She froze for half a second before realizing that she was on an upper platform.
"Here's the stairs," Honeysuckle pointed out as if he was afraid that she couldn't spot them herself. "My dear mother, please be careful when you are walking down the stairs. It's steep."
Lin Sanjiu wanted to give him two tight slaps but she didn't do that after considering her current disguise. Mokugyo Encyclopedic Forum was far larger than what she had imagined. After she walked down from the long flight of stairs, Lin Sanjiu found herself standing in a hall so large that she could barely see its far end. The ceilings were so high that they were hidden in the shadows where the lights couldn't reach. There were small rooms lining two sides of the hall. They were arranged in a sort of picturesque disorder which gave the hall a very interesting shape. When she looked at the middle of the hall, it reminded her of the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in her homeworld.
The large screen monitors were hung slightly higher than a person's average height. There were a few hundred of them and they were placed in very neat rows. There were many posthumans gathering in front of each of these large screens. The s.p.a.ces between the large monitor screens were filled by an extraordinary number of smaller monitors that were consoles for the individual user. At that moment, many of the consoles were in use. The lights from their screens lit the face of the hundreds of users.
Lin Sanjiu wandered along the aisle and felt almost overwhelmed by what she was seeing.
"The large screen display announcements from the Twelve Worlds," Honeysuckle pointed to the screen closest to Lin Sanjiu. Before someone else could see that his hands were tied, he quickly placed them down again. "For example, the announcements can range from people offering item exchanges, posting questions about the current statuses of Consular Officers, challenging enemies to a duel… I found the mission here.
Lin Sanjiu shot a quick glance at Honeysuckle before s.h.i.+fting her gaze from the crowd to one of the screens just in time to see an announcement message: "Looking for another Consular Officer to partner. My Consular Officer ability is already at Level 3…"
The message flashed for a few rounds before it disappeared. Lin Sanjiu was filled with fascination as she followed Honeysuckle deeper into the hall.
"The messages on the large screens have been categorized. Depending on the information you are interested in, you can watch the corresponding screens." Honeysuckle gave a brief explanation and brought Lin Sanjiu to an individual console one corner of the hall. Each small screen was placed in a sort of case so that it could provide the user some privacy.
"There are many more of these individual consoles." Honeysuckle looked at the case and smiled, "You can make inquiries, publish information… You can do anything. I would come over occasionally to input new information and earn a little extra income."
When he mentioned the words "extra income", he couldn't resist looking at the small pouch in Lin Sanjiu's hand with a slightly pained expression.
"Input new information?" That immediately caught Lin Sanjiu's interest. "What kind of information is marketable?"
"All the worlds in the Twelve Worlds Centrum share a common database system." Honeysuckle looked a little proud as he said that, "It is a remarkable system. Each time you leave an apocalyptic world, you can add new information about that world to this database. You can earn a corresponding amount of red crystals based on the value of your information. The next time another person wants to find out more information about that next destination, they can spend a bit of money and read the information that you have added."
"He is right! This is an incredible invention." Lin Sanjiu was very impressed. She suddenly understood how Reno and Rena got their information about Kisaragi Station. No matter how powerful Progressor Alliance was, it wasn't possible for them to know which posthumans have been to Kisaragi Station. With this system, information about the different worlds can be collated efficiently. This was also the reason why residents of the Twelve Worlds Centrum were so resourceful!
"Can I look up information on matters within the Twelve Worlds?" Lin Sanjiu walked over to the screen and pressed it a few times, feeling a little lost. "For example, if I want to know more about the Munition Factory, do I just search for the term Munition Factory?"
"Oh. Yes. You just have to spend some red crystals… Depending on the information, they all have different prices." After he said that, Honeysuckle took a handful of red crystals—which belonged to him originally—and threw them into a tray at the bottom of the console reluctantly.
The small tray slowly slid into the console and the small screen lit up as if it suddenly came to life. The light moved around in a fluid-like manner which reminded Lin Sanjiu of her [Ability Polis.h.i.+ng Agent].
"You make your choices here. Then, you make your input here…" Honeysuckle taught Lin Sanjiu some of the basic functions of the console. After Lin Sanjiu was familiar with the interface, Soulsqn brought him away from the console so that Lin Sanjiu could have some privacy.
Lin Sanjiu watched their backs as they left. Seeing that Soulqn was playing her part well, Lin Sanjiu returned to the screen.
There was a red numeral "7" at the right corner of the screen. That indicated the number of medium crystal she had tossed into the console. There was a sort of table of content in the middle of the screen. It automatically moved to the next page after every few seconds. It displayed a series of submenus under the Apocalyptic Worlds option. She casually browsed through the submenu and a few of them quickly caught her attention: [Coffee Bean World Thread], [Fireworks and Pyrotechnics World Thread]...
She made a few random selections and discovered that they would go to a page with two opinions: "Add" and "Search". There was a corresponding price marked beside the search option. Some of them were 11 medium crystals and others were 23 medium crystals. From the looks of it, the information about different worlds was priced differently.
This was all too fascinating. Lin Sanjiu took quite some time before she could slowly adjust to what was in front of her. After she thought for a moment, she organized her thoughts and identified her three top priorities.
Before she came to Mokugyo Encyclopedic Forum, Lin Sanjiu had always been in a mild state of constant anxiety. She met and befriended many different companions in each world. While it comforted her to think back about her memories and the time she spent with them. It was also those shared memories with them that made her current situation quite unbearable…
Lin Sanjiu took a deep breath and quickly input "Hyperthermal h.e.l.l" into the search box.
Even though Lin Sanjiu s.n.a.t.c.hed quite a sum of money from Honeysuckle, she was almost running out of red crystal after they bought the two masks. According to his introduction, she would need to earn some red crystals by adding information into the database before she could complete what she wanted to do.
"[Hyperthermal h.e.l.l]: D Level. Description: A remote countryside. Add entry?"
Lin Sanjiu let out a long sigh and pressed on the "Confirm" b.u.t.ton.
Familiar photos of the place she thought she would never see again appeared on the screen before her.