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Chapter 316: Remember? (Part 2/2)
Papercut's gaze spun around in the central control room. "Nanster's not here?"
He made to go into the room as he spoke, but Red Fox stood in his way.
"Wait." Red Fox wore a cold and clear expression. He moved without a sound, bringing not even a wisp of a breeze, as he entered the central control room. His nose would tremble from time to time, distinguishing the scents inside the room. He even went to examine the elevator and other entrances or exits.
The odor of blood upon Luo Nan's body hung quite heavy due to his damaged eyes. Red Fox was able to distinguish the whereabouts of the odor thanks to his nose, which he had strictly trained. However, after turning in a circle inside and outside, Red Fox's expression grew uglier and uglier.
He was incapable of understanding the information revealed by the scent.
"There are no traces of him going outside."
“There's no residue of scent in the elevator or safety doors. He didn't leave through those."
Papercut blinked his eyes as he looked back in the direction they came from. "Scents don't clearly show directions. Last time, Nanster came in from here. Did he not go back out the same way?"
"I’m able to distinguish the direction." Red Fox didn't raise his head. He walked toward the control console. This should be the core for the entire building, but today it turned into a massive garbage heap. It had been completely destroyed by Tank.
Red Fox tried to reconstruct the original scene. He sized up the piece of scrap that was the control console, and he quickly discovered an anomaly. An enormous amount of electricity had surged through a certain area of the garbage heap. Since the control console was destroyed, the electrical resistance had become extremely large, causing scorch marks. But there weren't any electrical wires or the like in the area.
While Red Fox pondered this, Papercut muttered, "Disappearing into thin air? It doesn't seem like something like that happened...."
He controlled paper men to bounce and skip outside the building as he spoke, extending his sensory range. He confirmed that the devil ray was still very obediently acting as a firefighting helicopter. There was no change with it whatsoever.
"Should we contact the Secretary?"
Red Fox's expression turned even worse, but he didn't refuse.
Papercut had just lifted his wrist when he heard an electronic beep in his ear. The corresponding telepathic thought had a destination, and soon, a kaleidoscope of information docked with his consciousness. He felt the lively sensation instantly.
After a great deal of effort and trouble, the Psychic Wave Network was finally rebooted successfully.
Papercut was long since accustomed to having the HexaEar by his side, having been in Xia City for these years. He easily entered the lively Psychic Wave Network, and his mind relaxed on the spot. He felt it was a curious coincidence, so he searched his friends list in the first instant. Shockingly, he saw...
That Luo Nan was online!
His avatar, the tetrahedron, was very eye-catching.
"Hey, Nanster. Where are you?" Papercut called out.
Red Fox suddenly turned around to look at Papercut.
As for Luo Nan's side, there was a moment of silence. One second passed, followed by another two. Then came a strange noise. It formed interference, making Papercut nearly believe that the Psychic Wave Network was going out again.
Luckily, the noise soon faded away, and Luo Nan's voice sounded out, "I'm…. Mm, wait a moment."
His voice sounded a bit hoarse, and also a bit elusive. Papercut was stunned upon hearing him. He quickly asked, "You're okay, right?"
"I'm okay." Luo Nan's voice was still hoarse. Papercut could feel that there was a bit of a problem with his mood.
Red Fox couldn't stand this meaningless dialogue any longer. He logged onto the Psychic Wave Network and bluntly asked, "Where's that Snake Tongue?"
Red Fox and Papercut looked at each other in dismay.
Luo Nan didn't go into further explanations. Instead, he asked back, "You guys are in the central control room. Everything's fine there, right?"
"Things are alright—"
Before the words could be finished, someone requested to enter the chat. It wasn't just one person, though. There were several. He Yueyin, Zhang Yingying, Crag Burst, Bamboo Pole, Octopus... and even Bai Xinyan came to join in on the fun.
Every one of them were ability users that Luo Nan was familiar with. They came contacting him like a swarm of bees.
Luo Nan had no idea that he was this popular. He wasn't good in these situations. He rather wished for a more peaceful environment, especially now.
Luckily, everyone was aware of the situation. He Yueyin immediately took the initiative and established an internal channel. She took all relevant members and pulled them inside. Then, she changed the channel mode to message mode. Only her, the maker of the channel, retained voice privileges. She represented everyone in asking,
"Mr. Luo. How's your body? How are your eyes?"
Letters of various colors were rapidly scrolling down on the internal channel's interface as He Yueyin spoke. The channel felt more lively than a usual voice mode channel.
Luo Nan only responded with his low and hoarse voice, "I'm all right. I can still see."
"Mr. Luo. I don't recommend you staying at Gear for too long. Currently there have already been people taking pictures and video of the devil ray flying in the sky, and it's been uploaded to the Internet. The activity that has occurred in the jungle of the north bank is too great. We will need professionals to handle the follow-up work."
He Yueyin maintained a calm and rational bearing from beginning to end. She was able to guess Luo Nan's thoughts, adding, "I've already notified firefighters to rush over there ten minutes ago. They should be there soon."
"I know." Luo Nan was in a subtle mood, but his response was direct. "I'll leave immediately."
"It's better for Mr. Luo to head back to Cloud City Water Village. The Sacred Heart Hospital there is quite a complete facility…."
"Okay." Luo Nan's responses were getting shorter and shorter, to the point that he just logged out after responding. Clearly, he didn't want to talk.
His attitude was very baffling to the people in the internal channel.
"What happened? Did he get mad?"
"Anyone who's been tormented by those people from Headquarters will get angry."
"Are you sure it's not because of our reinforcements being useless idiots?"
"Hey! Hey! What about you?!"
"Is it post-traumatic stress? He was frightened, and he was mad. Plus, he killed people. Look. Black Beetle. Puppeteer. Tank. Snake Tongue. A total of four lives. Oh, has he killed before?"
"Seems like... he hasn't, right?" Zhang Yingying wasn't quite sure.
At this time, Papercut spoke not a word as he uploaded a few pictures. They showed Tank's corpse from various angles.
Red Fox commented, "Boss Luo's masterpiece."
Zhang Yingying sent out a dumbstruck emoji, starting a flood of comments and emojis that trailed from right to left. Other people followed her one after another. The series of stupefied and confused emojis streaked across the pictures of the corpse.
Luo Nan didn't care what the others were saying about him. After ending communications, he just maintained his original posture. His eyes were wide open as he disregarded the pain that was soon turning numb. He gazed around.
The ring-shaped space. The ring-shaped chair. And the wall-lights, bookcase, stool, and other fixtures. They were in this narrow little space, building a cozy and leisurely atmosphere. This was none other than the small tree-hole cabin above the Withered Tree Sandbar.
Luo Nan looked idly at the furnishings in the room, and he also looked at his two hands. He suddenly stood up several seconds later, leaning against the slightly damp tree wall. He staggered up the stone steps to reach the upper floor of the tree house.
He stood in front of the viewing window, and the scroll-like window opened from two sides. The darkness inside rapidly converged with the darkness outside, trying to drown out all of existence.
Luo Nan could still see that the Withered Tree Sandbar and Gear were separated by at least five hundred meters of distance. From this angle, Gear looked like an unfinished painting. Only part of a shadowy silhouette was revealed. A few fire spots weren't completely extinguished yet. They continued to flicker in the night.
Why did he come here?
What happened in-between?
What did he see?
Actually, Luo Nan wasn't in a hurry to gain the ultimate answer. He wanted more time to take everything he just experienced and pour it out and talk. He wanted to talk about everything, missing nothing big nor small, no matter how much time it would take.
But his circumstances were bound in stone. There was no one he could talk to about everything.
He could only silently gaze at Gear and look at the tower without a sound within the river of time. He could only watch it reveal its simplest and most negligible aspect to the people of this world….
At this time, a real firefighting helicopter rumbled through the sky from far away. On the Psychic Wave Network, He Yueyin knew that Luo Nan had logged off, but she still messaged him a reminder. She wanted him to meet up with Red Fox and Papercut as soon as possible, hide the devil ray to the greatest extent, and meet at Cloud City Water Village.
Luo Nan didn't respond. His gaze still rested on Gear. His thoughts seemed clear and bright, yet they were not. Coupling Theory could explain today's experiences, but in the end, pure theory was incapable of revealing the full view of this great work.
It was rigorous. It was magical. It was beautiful!
Most importantly, it was his mother's work, and he was only able to obtain a peek at half of its appearance.
Things shouldn't be this way!
Luo Nan leaned forward, his head sticking out of the viewing window. The night breeze bound with ashes and the acrid smell of the jungle assaulted his nostrils. It was clearly cold, but a scalding stimulation pierced into his brain.
An emotion and an impulse. They were difficult to suppress.
Luo Nan's pair of hands tightly held the lower trim of the viewing window. With a thought, the devil ray, which was fetching water above the small lake not so far away, immediately gave up its work. Its wing-like fins just flapped once, and its enormous body appeared above the submerged sandbar to be near the edge of the withered tree.
"Go!" Luo Nan made a low shout of energy as he leaped out of the viewing window and fell onto the edge of the devil ray's fin. The long wing-like fin easily coiled, causing Luo Nan's body to slide to the flat back of the giant ray.
The viewing window closed without a sound, restoring the appearance to what the withered tree should look like. Luo Nan strove to stand up, but his legs were still weak, and he nearly fell. Luckily, the devil ray's strong body timely gave him some elastic support.
Luo Nan didn't wait to fully gain balance. He just staggered ahead until he reached the head of the devil ray. He grabbed the pair of head-fins that had flipped up. Only then did he sigh and whisper,
"Fly then. Find the best angle!"
The devil ray made a low cry, and the screaming air broke a few branches on the shriveled tree. Its enormous body headed up, and it reached an altitude of several hundred meters in the blink of an eye.
Luo Nan's unusual activity attracted the attention of others at last. Papercut's yell seemed to come over from within the jungle, and there were people yelling from his HexaEar and his wristband. People were calling his attention.
Luo Nan didn't respond whatsoever. He just looked toward the sky.
The school was located in the Pingjiang District, an educational function area specifically allocated by Xia City. Even if there was the landmark that was the Cloud City Water Village Skyscraper towering into the clouds, it was located in an area with the lowest building heights. The distribution of air-traffic layers was relatively sparse.
He looked up. His field of view was actually quite wide, and today's night sky was decent. Three to five stars were impatiently piercing through the light pollution of the city with their radiance. They appeared at the corners of the sky.
But as the devil ray flew upward, as the frigid winds assaulted his face, there was a different scene within Luo Nan's mind, before Luo Nan's eyes, and within Luo Nan's ears.
It was the gushing of the ice crystals of clouds.
It was the astral winds that roared like dragons.
It was the vast hell-like earth.
It was the strange world that he had never thought about, that he wouldn't think about, in his past sixteen years of life.
Danger. Mortality. And the power of enticement like that of opium.
Luo Nan could hardly tell what was real and what was an illusion. Then the devil ray's vertical body returned horizontal as it began to hover in circles in the sky.
At that moment, Luo Nan was already over a thousand kilometers in altitude. He looked down from up high, but he saw heaven and earth spin, the river snake, as well as the the background drawn by the light pollution of the city mixing with the darkness of the void. They formed an oppressive and dirty image that freely entered Luo Nan's vision. Millions and millions of living beings came and went within. Perhaps they were apathetic, or perhaps they were wanton. These were the temperatures sprinkled among life.
Luo Nan never really understood this city. Even now, Xia City was merely the background for the existence of his life. He paid attention to merely what was beneath this background. A tiny little point.
From Luo Nan's perspective, only this place was pure and clear. No matter how chaotic the elements of the background, as long as they approach this place, tangible and intangible orders, tangible and intangible gears, would entwine between heaven and earth. They would mesh and revolve around that marvelous and pivotal point in slow operation.
Rigorous. Magical. Beautiful…. Real!
Luo Nan stared at this soul-shaking scene in stupefaction. It was likely that only he knew just how gorgeous this setting was, and his self-consciousness followed in its operation to form a portion of an incorporeal yet grand order. His consciousness expanded outward, combing through all the things of heaven and earth within his senses.
So he knew that within the area of several dozen kilometers, practically all the high-definition cameras of skyscrapers had spun over to face him. There were also high-altitude warships, and even orbital satellites several hundred kilometers high. They all locked on his position in the night sky, coldly staring at him.
Then there were the mental senses. They came like silk threads from various mental planes. They turned to envelop him, and they didn't come from just one or two people.
He didn't know how many there were, and he didn't know how many different methods were used, but they paid attention to this side of heaven and earth. They paid attention to each and every one of his movements.
However, the hundred of millions of inhabitants in Xia City, the billions of living beings in the world, were they worth a dime?
Understanding was order. Not knowing was disorder. The information of disorder was like an illusion. It dissolved like ice within the glowing mist of this enormous metropolis.
That figure. That name. That soul. They surged within Luo Nan's mind as pride with no place to go.
The people of the world need to be told about her wondrous ideas, her grand accomplishment. Thousands upon thousands of words need to be written in an endless script of characters. Some of the words within will contain several meanings, and these can go thousands of miles.
The boundless world. Who can say everything about it? Who can understand everything about it?
Is it possible that the person who can do all this is my insane grandfather in the sanitarium?
In the end... I'm the only one left.
Mother. Right now, there's only me.
There's only me!
The devil ray could feel Luo Nan's emotions. It suddenly dove down from an altitude of a kilometer high. It's enormous body seemed to be connected and pulled by a long and incorporeal string of order, turning the devil ray to a strange and spectacular giant kite. The kite revolved around the center, rapidly spiraling.
The screaming gale scalded Luo Nan's eyes. His vision distorted, and there was only that revolving gear, the turning of time, dazzling his eyes like billowing water. It was like the center of the world, the source of order. All the things of heaven and earth converged within it to dock with his mind, to couple.
The boundless star river. The billions of stars. They surged in the storm of his emotions. They shook faintly, the billions of starlight akin to water drops as they transformed from a river into an ocean in the blink of an eye. Luo Nan's surging soul strength overloaded the external neuron, overflowing it in an instant. It was like an enormous river bursting through a dike, and the water came gushing down.
It was this gush of water that heaved up the large and small gears of unequal sizes. It was like a giant wave had smacked an amphibious vehicle, and the vehicle was searching for a chance to rotate in sync.
Energy rubbed away, and lightning burst forth. They wove into each other and became dense. In the blink of an eye, the energy and lightning became incalculable. It just exploded Luo Nan's blood and energy into a surge. It was a heated pain, something that couldn't be understood. Luo Nan could only be propelled by his churning emotions into a throat-splitting roar.
There weren't any worries. There weren't any thoughts. There were only those pure-to-the-limit emotions, and they mixed with the lightning to slam explosively on the mental plane.
The desolate sound of thunder crushed across the void.
This is the end of Book 6. The next book is called The Cloud.