Dong Zheng didn’t say anything. He walked to Cui Zuojing’s side and gazed up at the darkness on the second floor, urgently wanting to know what secrets it concealed.
“Is this your new breakthrough?” Looking at Dong Zheng’s appearance, Cui Zuojing also understood that this was clearly the case. Even though he was very curious, he didn’t move forward to figure it out, wanting to wait for Dong Zheng to take the lead.
“Yes, it must be because of what I experienced during the assessment.” Dong Zheng began to go up. But at this moment, the entire kernel trembled, and they heard a low bellow coming from all directions: “████.”
“That’s Karls,” Cui Zuojing said. “He’s reminding me that I should go out.”
After all, it’s not safe to stay too long in someone’s consciousness. Before entering to wake Dong Zheng, Cui Zuojing had already discussed it with Karls, who had reminded him of this.
“Let’s go together then.” Dong Zheng also stepped back. “It just so happens that I still have to think about the assessment.”
“Uh-huh.” Cui Zuojing hooked one arm around Dong Zheng’s neck and pulled his head down. With eyes closed, they exchanged a lingering kiss.
When Cui Zuojing opened his eyes, the light of the library was softly reflected in his retina. He propped his body up from the sofa just as Dong Zheng opened his eyes and saw Karls standing nearby.
It gave him quite a shock to find the once so large, octopus-head humanoid creature in black robe staring at him with strangely shaped eyes. It said, “Welcome to Chaos Library. I am Administrator Karls. Congratulations on passing our assessment. You are indeed an honored invitee.”
“Thank you.” Dong Zheng touched his nose; the blood there had already been wiped clean. He held one of Cui Zuojing’s feet that was resting on his thigh and asked, “Can you tell me what happened to Ren Heming?”
“He has left the library. The gentleman was the first to be invited. Since he couldn’t pass our test, he could only leave. He won’t have a chance here.”
Dong Zheng nodded. Since he now knew that Ren Heming also came out of that terrible place, he was rest assured. That poor shixiong had stayed in there for a long time, and his mentality had collapsed. Even if he came into the library, what could he do?
Dong Zheng had used the mysterious book as a medium to connect that place with the world constructed by his kernel, creating a simulation to deceive the high-dimensional writer. As for why the book could be an intermediary…because that world was a fixed script; therefore, books were the most suitable.
Later, the book believed that the world simulated by Dong Zheng was true. Since the world Dong Zheng simulated allowed them to leave, the book also thought it lost its protagonists, and so it also allowed “Lao Qi” and “Shixiong” to leave. Without protagonists, there was no story and no rebirth ordeals.
Dong Zheng used the kernel’s simulation to alter the script, relying entirely on his own unique ability. But for pilgrims who don’t have this ability, how could they break out?
So he asked, “What other methods can be used to pass the assessment?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t answer that,” Karls answered. “Even if the library’s assessment is conducted in the same venue, the method of passing can vary from person to person. So, although you are both brain developers, the method of breaking out won’t be the same for each of you.”
Dong Zheng frowned thoughtfully. Ren Heming and everyone before him couldn’t find the right way out, so it seemed that the only person who had passed it was him alone. It stood to reason that the library’s entry assessment would have a high elimination rate.
In that case… a terrible conjecture rose in Dong Zheng’s mind. What if Ren Heming deliberately appeared as a pilgrim to confuse him?
He hadn’t seen Ren Heming since they came out of the assessment. If Ren Heming was a library staff member, it made sense that he would guide Dong Zheng to increase the difficulty of the assessment, deliberately pretending to be trapped in the cycle for a long time. The invitee would then be confused by his lazy performance and words, causing the invitee to gradually lose hope?
Karls told him that this so-called Ren Heming had left, but what if Karls was also trying to confuse him?
Dong Zheng’s eyes narrowed and he asked Cui Zuojing, “How long was I in the assessment?”
“Not long, three hours.”
He’d experienced more than ten rebirths, but in the real world, this only accounted to three hours. Then for Ren Heming, who’d experienced at least 300 rebirth, only a day would have passed. But wasn’t Ren Heming the first person to be invited?
Dong Zheng looked at Karls. “Does Ren Heming really exist?”
Karls looked at him calmly and said, “Yes, he really exists.”
Dong Zheng nodded. Hearing this exchange, Cui Zuojing blinked and then understood what was happening.
Before the atmosphere became awkward, Karls said, “Your performance was very good. You only took three hours to complete the test. Other invitees are still in their assessment. Please wait patiently for a while, and then you can participate in the next assessment with the others. While you wait, you can rest in the reading room and read the books within. We will provide you with any services you’ll need.”
Cui Zuojing said, “Okay, we’ll trouble you then.”
“Then I’ll leave first. Please make yourself at home.” Karls bowed, and his figure disappeared in place.
“This time, you made a huge profit.” Cui Zuojing showed his joy at this time. He shook Dong Zheng’s shoulders and excitedly said, “There are many good things in the library!”
Fu Zhe had already told Ding Zheng that he must absorb as much knowledge as possible from these books. He temporarily put the Ren Heming problem aside and said with a smile, “It’s also because I resolved the assessment so fast that I can have this opportunity. Who knew it would be such a good thing?”
“Then, let’s take advantage of this opportunity to update our knowledge.” Cui Zuojing stretched up, pulled a book from the nearest bookshelf, and read the title of the book. “The Chronicles of the Seven Kingdoms? What is this?”
Dong Zheng also picked up a book and sat back on the comfortable sofa. Meanwhile, Cui Zuojing leaned against Dong Zheng and opened up the front page to see what the hell it was about.
The Seven Kingdoms that was recorded in the book was a world where technology and religion were intertwined and developed to the extreme. This was a chronicle of its history. Cui Zuojing reads the page and then deeply understands the joy of it—Discovering such a strange and novel world was really invigorating.
They spent nearly a whole week reading. If they became hungry or tired, they would just have to go to the table by the door and find any food they wanted. If they’re tired, they could sleep on the sofa. It got to the point that if Cui Zuojing had to read another book, he would vomit. Meanwhile, Dong Zheng sped through books after books in a crazy whirlwind. He read the books so fast and it was more like turning page after page. Cui Zuojing even began to suspect that he wasn’t ready but just scanning the text.
“Are you really reading it?” Cui Zuojing asked, unable to hold back anymore.
“Compress the acquired informational data and store it in the kernel in advance, to be taken out when needed,” Dong Zheng said and turned another page.
Cui Zuojing blinked and said, “How can you do that? Do you have an artificial hyperthymesia?”
“It’s similar. Hyperthymesia allows people to remember every detail of their personal experiences, but I’m only storing valuable information and then compressing them to limit the load on the brain. I can delete it if I want to forget it.”
“Then you can really become like a computer.” Cui Zuojing was speechless. He could still remember when he fought with Knight Henry, Dong Zheng had a hard time enduring. At the same time, although he was happy about Dong Zheng’s progress, he couldn’t help but worry a little. Seeing Dong Zheng’s brain working more and more like a machine, he wondered if it was truly a good thing?
In the evening of the seventh day, Karls re-appeared. At this time, Cui Zuojing had his head on Dong Zheng’s lap, sleeping with a book over his face. Dong Zheng looked up from the book he was reading and asked Karls, “Is it time?”
“Yes, please come with me, your Excellency. The other invitees have already arrived.”
Cui Zuojing propped his body up in a daze. He took the book from Dong Zheng and said, “Pay attention to safety.”
“Yes.” Dong Zheng sorted out his clothes, touched Cui Zuojing’s cheek, and whispered, “Wait for me.”
Dong Zheng followed Karls and left the reading room. Each reading room in this area was shaped like a regular hexagon. With all the six reading rooms connected next to each other, they created a standard honeycomb shape. He followed Karls and turned left and then right. With someone leading the way, he absolutely wouldn’t become lost.
Along the way, he also ran into another administrator, who was a toad man wearing a suit and leather shoes. The toad man looked at Karls and then at Dong Zheng with interest. “This is the person you’re betting on?”
Without waiting for Karls to answer, the toad man stepped forward and patted Dong Zheng intimately on the shoulder. “I bet a hundred year of wages for you to win, so you must work hard, ah. Ribbit ribbit ribbit…”
The mucus on the toad man’s webbed hand stuck to Dong Zheng’s shoulder. In order to avoid provoking the toad man into anger, Dong Zheng could only show a simple and unaffected smile.
Toad Man curled his lips. “██████.”
Karls began walking again, and Dong Zheng hurried to follow. About five or six minutes later, they reached the end of a corridor. Karls stood at the door and said, “Please go in, all the other invitees are inside.”
Dong Zheng thanked Karls. Then he took a deep breath and pushed open the simple door in front of him.
Everyone in the room heard the sound and looked over. Except for the wall with the door, the other three sides of the room were mirrors, showing a long table in the center. The visual effects brought by the three mirrors were really amazing. Dong Zheng glanced over at everyone, and when he saw himself sitting in third position, he was stunned.
And in the mirror, the person walking in from outside was a thin, bamboo of a man. He was so thin that he looked like he was just skin and bones.
That was him?
Dong Zheng frowned. As everyone watched, he sat in the last position at the long table.
He was the last one to arrive. Including him, there were a total of five people in the room. There was a seductive-looking woman with black-rimmed glasses and hair swept up in a high ponytail. There was an overweight young man whose eyes were squeezed into pinholes by the fat on his face. He wore a T-shirt printed with dimensional characters. The third person—Dong Zheng was certain that that person was wearing his shell, because he looked exactly like himself. At this time, he was sitting in his chair in a kind of lazy posture that Dong Zheng had never done before.
The fourth person was actually an acquaintance—the “supervisor” in Heimdall’s Assessment Box [Good Neighbors].
The old man was wearing reading glasses with his all-white hair standing upright and solemnity written in every wrinkles. He was also staring at Dong Zheng’s bamboo pole appearance.