Dong Linhai scrambled up and found that he had fallen into the same location he’d sat in when he first came to the library.
Countless people fell from the ceiling above their heads. Everyone’s surprised and frightened cries were loud enough to overturn the ceiling in the assembly hall.
Dong Linhai rubbed his dizzy head, stood up, and looked for You Yuetong. He was relieved to find You Chenglei sitting in the back corner tightly holding Tongtong in his arms, and Zhai Juan gently patting him on the shoulder.
Suddenly, Dong Linhai heard a bang at his side and turned his head to see that Dong Zheng had fallen into the chair beside him.
Dong Linhai couldn’t help but show a happy expression. “Brother.”
Dong Zheng had just been tossed down and was momentarily unable to respond. He could only wave his hand. After Karls had rescued them from the dark wizard, he and Allen seemed to have exhausted their luck. It wasn’t long before they encountered an incomparably huge slime.
The slime’s light green body was a thick paste, and it wanted to devour them both and turned them into a part of itself. It chased Dong Zheng and Allen for the better part of ten minutes. As they were starting to become bedraggled by it, they were suddenly retrieved by Karls.
“I already found a ticket. What about you?” Dong Linhai asked.
Dong Zheng nodded and took a deep breath. He looked in the direction where he’d been separated from Allen and searched for the other party. “I also found one.”
Allen, with his hair mussed into a bird’s nest, also looked towards him.
Allen’s eyes lit up. When Dong Zheng beckoned, he immediately got up and made his way carefully through the fallen people. Once he arrived at Dong Zheng’s row, he sat down on Cui Zuojing’s chair.
Cui Zuojing had returned to the prisoner’s space, so the chair was naturally empty.
“Brother Len?!” Dong Linhai happily said. “You’re also in this box?”
“Yeah. I used up most of my points in exchange for a ticket so when I heard about this random box, I came in to take a look.” Allen looked down at Victor as his feet and subconsciously leaned down to rub the cat’s chin. “A cat? You guys brought it in?”
Dong Linhai replied, “Mmn, his name is Victor, and he is currently my summon beast.”
“Hello.” Since it was inconvenient to remain on the ground, Victor jumped onto Dong Zheng’s knees and raised his head in coordination with Allen’s touch.
Allen was shocked. Similar to the two Dong brothers, he was not only shocked by Victor’s ability to speak but also that he spoke with a Russian accent. Allen quickly retracted his hand, as if he’d had an electric shock. “My God, it could speak?! Is it actually a cat—a cat?”
The word “hairy fellow” was swallowed back just in time. (1)
Dong Zheng explained in a low voice, “Victor was originally human, but later became like this. Right now, it’s inconvenient to go into the specifics. Why don’t you leave a contact method? Once we’ve all arrived in the next area, we can meet up again.”
“Ok.” Allen pulled out his cell phone, and they both exchanged contact information. Dong Linhai stuck his head out to look and asked in hindsight, “Did Cui Zuojing return back to the card?”
“Mmn. He helped solve many things and went back to rest.” Dong Zheng put away his cell phone. At this time, almost everyone had returned to the assembly hall. He looked around for a while and asked, “Who did you end up with after we separated?”
Dong Linhai replied, “Victor and Tongtong. Right now, Tongtong is with You Chenglei.”
“That’s good.” Dong Zheng sighed quietly. Although the Labyrinth of Time was filled with all kinds of dangerous situations, with Cui Zuojing, Victor, and Karls’ tyrannical help, everyone didn’t suffer as much and had managed to gain quite a lot.
By this time, there was no longer anyone falling from the ceiling. The assembly hall was initially packed, but now there were many empty seats.
Dong Zheng viewed the task interface from his field of vision. [Labyrinth of Time, Zone IV, Number of participants: 1821/2000, Collection progress: 15093/15000, Countdown: 00:00]
179 people were killed, which was already a great loss considering Karls’ willingness to help. According to Cui Zuojing, what they had entered was only the outermost layer of the Labyrinth of Time, and the monsters there weren’t very powerful. The portion of the maze that had been exposed to them was only the tip of the iceberg.
After a bit of noise, the figure of the octopus head once again emerged from the void. Everyone closed their mouths in unison, waiting for the final ending and the box settlement.
This time, Karls looked completely different from when they’d first seen him. The elegant robe on his body was torn and ragged, and his two wings were covered in blood. It was unclear whether the blood had belonged to him or his enemies. His claws were incredibly long and were like sharp hooks. The tentacles, which could not be measured at all, extended from his upper lip and penetrated into the space. It was unclear whether it was still in the middle of fighting an unknown enemy.
A fierce breath radiated from every inch of its body, making people feel fear and shock to their very soul. They dared not look directly at it.
“Everyone.” The low voice once again sounded in their minds. Karls raised his hand, and within his movements, countless points of light emerged from everyone’s body. They were the story fragments that had been collected.
“The original 15,000 fragments have been collected. Everyone’s efficiency is higher than I expected. Similarly, there’s also the good news that there was an over quota for the Labyrinth of Time VII, XI, III.”
The fragments slowly rose, each in distinct shapes. Each parts attracted an imperceptible force, which flowed into them and magically turned them into books with a thin but strong cover. Karls waved his hand and the books flew into the library full of bookcases, each tomb inserting itself into the empty space on the bookshelf according to its classification.
“Choas Library has always been the last line of resistance▇▇ and the most solid line of defense. Thank you for your contributions and sacrifices to the continuation of cosmic knowledge and civilization.”
“This recent attack was merely to test us, but one day, the intruders will return. When that day comes, I hope that everyone will once again gather in the library and, together, resist the final crisis.”
As Karls spoke, its figure gradually rose. Its hands spread out and a white light emerged from behind everyone. Dong Zheng turned his head back and saw that the huge double door at the back of the assembly hall had slowly opened. White light poured from it, so bright that it was unclear what lay beyond.
“Remunerations will be given to you after you leave. It is time to go.”
People stood up one after another, as if bewitched. With no noise and no unnecessary movements, everyone left their positions in an orderly manner and headed toward the door.
Dong Zheng once again realized that he was unable to control himself. He found himself caught in the crowd and began walking to the door. His eyes stared at the soft light, and there was a chaotic blankness in his mind, leaving only awe and wonder.
“Only knowledge and the unknown are immortal. Good luck.”
Karls’s voice became his last impression of the library.
Dong Zheng went out.
The white light shone brightly, and after a brief sense of weightlessness, his eyes became clear again.
He staggered and turned around. He found himself outside the refrigerator, and the same light was still shining from within the refrigerator’s mouth. Dong Linhai and Victor followed behind him one after another.
The moment everyone walked out, the light faded and the refrigerator turned back into a normal refrigerator with many colorful sticky notes attached to the door.
Dong Zheng tore off a piece that reads: [Creating her own paradise. ——Doll’s House]
He read a few more notes, all of which were the last dialog prompts that came from the fragments they’d collected in the Labyrinth of Time.
These must be the reminders that the box gave out, just exactly as Cui Zuojing had said. Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai tore all the notes together and collected a total of seventeen.
“Congratulations on your successful passage of [Labyrinth of Time IV]. The points are being settled for you. Please wait.”
The settlement is complete. Successful completion of Labyrinth of Time IV, earns 20 points. Defeating [Executioner], earns 20 points. Summoning Administrator S172, consumes 15 points per use. In addition, Chaos Library’s Administrator S172 thanks you for collecting fragments and issues the following special reward: 17×5 points.
“Your team now has 148 points. You receive props [Ticket x2], [Unfinished Cross x3], [Little Jasmine x2].”
Dong Linhai happily exclaimed, “Wow. 148 points. We got rich!”
Dong Zheng didn’t expect they would get so many points in this copy. 148 points and two tickets, this meant that they could live in the next area for two months.
After experiencing such a box, they were both very tired. They didn’t delay time and immediately set off for home. They left the back kitchen and saw that there was no one in the coffee shop, but the bag of coffee beans they’d placed on the front desk when they arrived was gone.
Although many people died every day for various reasons, not everyone could enter the Pure White Realm. Even if they were fortunate enough to come here, an overwhelming majority would die in the beginning novice box, so there were not many newcomers in the area.
As such, the population density in the Pure White Realm wasn’t particularly large. In the novice area, except for some special places, there were no staff at all to man the restaurants and supermarkets.
If you want to eat in the restaurant, you will simply need to write the name of the dish directly in the front desk log, swipe your points using the terminal or put other things that can be traded at the front desk, and the food will come out from the outlet for use.
They arrived in the evening, and now it was already dark. The street lights were quietly lit, and there were not many pedestrians walking about.
Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai dragged their exhausted bodies back to their tube apartment. The two brothers immediately fell down on the bed and the sofa with great tacit understanding. Without even removing their clothes, they were more than ready to sleep.
Dong Linhai closed his eyes and mumbled weakly, “So hungry–So sleepy–So tired–”
Victor placed his paws on Dong Linhai’s face and asked, “Don’t you want to eat something?”
Although the countdown was only four hours, the time lapse between the maze and each mysterious, secret realm was different. Strictly speaking, they probably spent at least six to seven hours in the Labyrinth of Time.
“Go to bed first, then I won’t be hungry once I fall asleep.” Dong Linhai smacked his lips, pulled the cover at the foot of the bed over his body, kicked off his shoes, and faintly mumbled, “Good night, Uncle. We’ll talk some more tomorrow morning.”
Victor jumped to the window sill and drew the curtains for Dong Linhai. He said, “Good night.”
Dong Zheng lay in the living room for a while, jerked awake just as he was about to fall into a deep sleep, and sat upright. Then, he took off the clothes that were covered with dust and various dirt and threw them on the ground in disgust.
He patted away the dirt that had just stained the sofa. He couldn’t muster up the energy to take a shower and could only lay back down, cover himself with a cover, and fell asleep within the next second.
The light of the street lamps streamed through the window, casting a shadow of a casket on the floor.
In that moment, Cui Zuojing’s figure appeared in the living room.
(1) “Hairy fellow” — The pinyin is “maozi” 毛子, which is a derogatory term for Russians. The pinyin for cat is “mao” so Allen started saying “maozi” but caught himself in time and just left it at “mao”. “Maozi” could also mean hairy fellow, foreigner, Westerner, or tufts of hair. Huh, I wonder if the author was being tongue-in-cheek by making Victor a Russian person who got turned into a cat.