Doomsday Wonderland - LightNovelsOnl.com
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"Before we came, there were seven people in cl.u.s.ter 2 and a total of four people in cl.u.s.ter 3. Everyone had already agreed on the plan."
Even as Lin Sanjiu swung herself up to a twig hanging above her, she could recall the discussion during the meeting between their cl.u.s.ters 2, 3 and 5.
"A person will still be considered a plant of a particular cl.u.s.ter once their number tag is removed. However, his or her absorption rate drops to 0. This is a rule we can use to our advantage. A second rule is that if everyone's absorption rate is at the same level, we can all leave the greenhouse. The absorption rate will only be judged at 7 pm on the tenth day."
When Lin Sanjiu landed, she could feel the twig beneath her feet shaking slightly. She crouched and brought her center of gravity lower and waited until the tremors gradually stopped.
"It should be very obvious what our next step should be. If everyone agrees to remove their number tag before 7 pm, the absorption rate would fall to 0 that very minute. That is to say, the absorption rate per capita for each cl.u.s.ter would effectively be 0, so it will be a draw. We can then wear our number tags at 7:01 pm and leave this pocket dimension as matured plants." After that man with a gloomy countenance and dark circles beneath his eyes finished his proposal calmly, Lin Sanjiu quivered a little as she suddenly recalled what Harry accidentally let slip—
"Is it really that simple?" Number 46 asked doubtfully after hearing their plan, "What if there is some hidden rule we are unaware of…"
"No, it's that simple," Lin Sanjiu thought to herself as she followed the twig and traipsed through the leaves. She climbed the plant stealthily like a lizard, making no noise as she moved.
She did not know why she neglected that point previously. In retrospect, things couldn't be clearer. When Lin Sanjiu discovered the trick regarding the number tag and questioned Harry about his intention for hiding that point, he mentioned something to her sounding aggrieved, "If I tell you that information, how am I supposed to get any produce?"
"Yes. If the battle was reduced to only cl.u.s.ter 4 and cl.u.s.ter 5, Harry would benefit regardless of who wins or loses in the end. He didn't explain the number tags explicitly to them because he probably figured much earlier that the people in the greenhouse could all escape using that method."
"Why would you choose to do that?" Number 46 was a cautious person by nature. Lin Sanjiu's insignificant proof did little to a.s.sure him. "If you choose to stay out of things, you wouldn't be affected no matter who ends up being at the bottom."
Baldhead shook his head and sighed.
"Cough. Bro, I think you understand the situation. After you s.n.a.t.c.hed a number tag from cl.u.s.ter 4, how desperate must they be right now? If you were in their shoes, wouldn't you try any means to survive? To be brutally honest, if anyone from your cl.u.s.ters decided to kill and s.n.a.t.c.h everyone's number tags, we would be drawn into your battles." He turned to Lin Sanjiu, "This gal seems quite kind. If we can all survive, why should we fight so hard with each other?"
"If we don't collaborate, we will more or less suffer some losses. However, if we can work together, it would be a win-win situation for everyone." Spring Bean (the tall and skinny man) concluded.
The plan sounded simple, but—
"What if a person decides at the last minute that he doesn't want to take off his number tag?" Number 47 spoke his doubts as expected, "Given that scenario, only one team would survive and the rest of us would become fertilizers for the plants here."
"This isn't hard to solve," Number 46 replied with a frown, "We can set a date and time to gather. We will gather everyone and collect all the number tags. If we can only absorb nutrients with our own number tag, we can place all our number tag with one person and that particular person's number tag could be given to another person. If we can absorb nutrients even with someone else's number tag, we can place the number tags at a single location and we can monitor them together. If a person fails to appear or refuses to hand in their number tag, it would be treated as a betrayal. Everyone would chase that person down and kill him or her before 7 pm on the tenth day. Of course, as you chase after the traitor, you shouldn't be wearing a number tag yourself. In any case, we can work out the details.
"Oh, I see," Baldhead exclaimed. Apparently, he did not think that deeply about the plan. He hesitated before he added, "This is something that is beneficial to everyone. Would there really be a person who would intentionally sabotage others for no reason?"
Number 46 did not answer. From his expression, it was clear that he didn't find it necessary to answer Baldhead's question. After he told Lin Sanjiu to wear Military singlet's number tag, he called Harry again to check their absorption rates again and the verified the fact that it was useless for a person to wear another person's number tag.
Everyone discussed the plan for some time. After that, Number 46 suddenly spoke with a serious tone, "Even though this plan sounds good, I need to point out something."
He instantly caught everyone's attention, "If a person refuses to join our plan from the start, it isn't the worst thing that could happen. After all, ten days is quite a long time. We can s.n.a.t.c.h that person's number tag by force." After he said that, he held up four fingers, "But, I'm not worried about this cl.u.s.ter."
"You're worried about cl.u.s.ter 1?" the gloomy-faced, tall, skinny man asked with a disheartened voice.
"Yes, we can a.s.sume the members in cl.u.s.ter 4 are driven to act as they are forced by circ.u.mstances. However, cl.u.s.ter 1 did not ever consider the choice to resolve this situation peacefully. They are the ones who ultimately created this situation. If we approach them with this plan, is it possible for them to accept?" Number 46 asked as he smiled faintly. "If they don't accept, we are back to square one. We will still need to compete against each other. Based on their style, I'm more worried that they will pretend to agree and secretly cause trouble. In the end, they might be the only team that will survive."
Number 46 did not bring that issue up without reason. Since cl.u.s.ter 4 already lost one of their number tags, it would affect their morale significantly. Considering this, this would likely accept the peaceful option to resolve their situation. On the other hand, for added a.s.surance that their plan would succeed, they should turn on the members from cl.u.s.ter 1 first. It was actually unnecessary to take the risk to include them in the plan.
Additionally, this wasn't as difficult as they thought.
After they spoke with Baldhead and Springbean, the members from cl.u.s.ter 5 realized something. None of them knew the flower-picker that Number 47 inadvertently spotted, so that person had to be from cl.u.s.ter 1.
Even though none of them knew the reason why only one person was sent to guard over the sp.a.w.ning point, it was obvious that there were only a few members in cl.u.s.ter 1. This was undoubtedly good news for all of them. After they discussed the plan for a while, they quickly divided the tasks.
As cl.u.s.ter 4 and cl.u.s.ter 5 were still on hostile terms, recruitment was left to Baldhead and Spring Bean. It was unanimously decided to investigate cl.u.s.ter 1 and their statuses as she could only s.n.a.t.c.h a few number tags if there was an opportunity to do so.
It wasn't difficult to find the sp.a.w.ning point that Number 47 discovered. In fact, if not for Number 47, it was hard for Lin Sanjiu to believe that a sp.a.w.ning point was so close to the main entrance.
Lin Sanjiu continued climbing and surveying the place near the sp.a.w.ning point. She was surrounded by endless greenery. The air was stale and humid. There was only silence. Lin Sanjiu couldn't feel even a draft of wind or any sound. After circling the spot, she did not see a single person. She had no idea why cl.u.s.ter 1 did not set up any sort of fortification or defense around the sp.a.w.ning point.
Lin Sanjiu crouched down and hid among a few leaves with jagged edges. It had only been slightly over ten hours since the flower last sp.a.w.n. As Lin Sanjiu did not know the exact location of the sp.a.w.ning point, she had to constantly monitor the surroundings within a 100-meter radius. It was quite a taxing task for her, mentally and physically.
Lin Sanjiu activated her [Higher Consciousness Scan] and closed her eyes. She sensed the damp and stagnant air around her as she waited quietly for the first person to appear.
She did not have to wait long.
The dirty skylight windows surrounding the greenhouse slowly darkened along with the sky outside. As night fell, the faint fluorescent lights above them became the only source of light. Most of the light had been filtered by the canopy of leaves above. The light barely reached the depth of the greenhouse where Lin Sanjiu was hiding, so her surroundings were just a murky mist.
Under this murky mist, a person crept toward the bottom section of the plant that Lin Sanjiu was on.
The seedling was in a large flower pot which was the size of a few swimming pools. Looking through the layer of leaves, Lin Sanjiu could see the black soil below. The person who arrived was wearing a dirty sports s.h.i.+rt dotted with mud. If that person didn't walk into the range of Lin Sanjiu's [Higher Consciousness Scan], Lin Sanjiu would probably have a difficult time spotting him or her.
The person wore a matching sports cap but was not carrying an indigo flower. From Lin Sanjiu's observation, the person was either a woman or a skinny young man. The person first walked around the circ.u.mference of the flower pot and checked the bottom part of the plant very carefully. Next, the person looked upward and started climbing up the plant.
Lin Sanjiu did not move a single inch. When the person was about to reach the leaf she was on, Lin Sanjiu turned around and slid over to another leaf. By chance, she slipped past the person who turned to look in her direction. Lin Sanjiu did not make a single sound as she did this. She moved with such fluidity that it was almost as if she had lived in treetops for years.
When the person climbed down from the top of the plant, the person was visibly less guarded and took off her cap. When she moved past Lin Sanjiu, Lin Sanjiu finally saw the person's pale-white and emaciated face. As the person's brows knitted together, the woman looked glum.
Lin Sanjiu heart raced a little as she confirmed her suspicion again.
That's right. There was only one member from cl.u.s.ter 1 within a 100-meter radius.
Lin Sanjiu's body reacted before her thoughts. Lin Sanjiu propelled herself forward and gripped the edge of the leaf that the woman from cl.u.s.ter 1 was on. Before her opponent could react, Lin Sanjiu curled her body. Using the strength of her arms, she pushed herself up and did a flip in the air. Then, she landed quietly behind the woman.
The woman had long, messy hair and s.h.i.+fted a little. It was obvious that she had only noticed Lin Sanjiu after the whole series of maneuvers. Lin Sanjiu stretched out her left hand. Before the woman could turn around, Lin Sanjiu grabbed her arm and commanded the woman coldly, "Don't move."
As expected, the woman froze.
"I am carrying an indigo flower right now. If you move, I will reach for your left hand." Lin Sanjiu threatened the woman after she activated her [Have you heard of route 300] just to be safe.
"What-what do you want?" the woman asked with a quivering voice, "If you want the flowers, you can go ahead and grab it. It will sp.a.w.n soon."
"Where are your other team members? Why didn't they follow you?" As Lin Sanjiu interrogated the woman, she looked around her vigilantly. "How many members are in your cl.u.s.ter?"
The woman with the messy hair became quiet. It took some time before she replied hesitantly.
"Team members? I think you've got the wrong person," the woman sounded very scared, "The other seeds in my cl.u.s.ter are all dead. I'm the only one who managed to reach this place."
Lin Sanjiu's eyelids twitch a little as she tightened her grip on the woman. "What? Aren't you from cl.u.s.ter 1?"
"Yes, I'm from cl.u.s.ter 1. But, I'm alone," the woman said anxiously with almost a sob when she realized that Lin Sanjiu did not believe her. "Harry told me that he let me into the greenhouse first to level the playing field as I was alone."
Lin Sanjiu thought for a moment. Lin Sanjiu did not expect that information, though it did explain Harry's arrangements. However, Lin Sanjiu did not loosen her grip, "So, you decided to attack the people from cl.u.s.ter 3? Just to gain an advantage?"
The woman's arm trembled a little. Then, the woman forced herself to turn sideways, revealing one side of her pale face, "Huh? What are you saying? I didn't attack anyone! I don't even have an indigo flower!"
"Stop lying! My teammate saw you picking an indigo flower here with his own eyes," Lin Sanjiu sneered but she started to frown. Her opponent certainly wasn't carrying a flower. Based on her observation, this woman was a very cautious person.
"There is no reason for her to move around without a flower… Is she lying? Is the flower with another member in her cl.u.s.ter? But, doing that wouldn't be of any help to her…"
The woman grew anxious when she noticed that Lin Sanjiu wasn't speaking. "Both my flowers have been s.n.a.t.c.hed away," she quickly explained and repeated herself many times. Unfortunately, Lin Sanjiu did not want to spend any time judging the truth of woman's words. She activated her [Planar World] without any warning and placed her right hand on the strap of the number tag hanging from the woman's neck.
"I'm telling you the truth. I didn't lie. One of the people that stole my flower was a man wearing a military singlet…" The woman continued rambling, unaware that her number tag was missing. Just when Lin Sanjiu was about to interrupt, Harry's voice did the job for her.
"Number 31 from Cl.u.s.ter 4 has died."