Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
I did my best to hide the urgency in my brisk steps back to the room where the injured rested, which brought me to the third urgent matter I needed to deal with – the “Godly Hole”. Once I arrived, I listened in closely for any presences nearby, placed my hands against the door and then listened in again… You could never be too cautious.
Once inside, I hastily opened up the passageway and raced down. Time was of the essence! If only the damn passageway full of twists and turns covered the perimeter of the capital. The bottom was nowhere in sight, and there were flipping forks in the road, not to mention the paths led up, down, back up, back down! In my multiple exploration trips, I never found the base floor. The passageway was a dungeon inside a dungeon.
The first time I explored the passageway, I kept running into walls for twenty minutes, and there was no end in sight. I only grew more and more bemused as I explored it, so I gave up. I tried to explore faster the second time so that I could find out where it led to at the very least. Alas, despite being able to go further in the same time frame, I still didn’t find out where the end was; in fact, I didn’t see any signs of finding the end.
While I was exploring the passageway, I had visitors upstairs, yet I wasn’t there. That was a close call. To avoid eventually getting myself killed, I made it a point to check if anybody was coming to the room before I went down or had plans to. I told everyone to knock first so that I’d have time to wake up, or I’d execute anyone who didn’t respect my terms. Well, I’d most likely be killed if it came to that, but… anyway…
Lots of the forks in the passage must’ve been abandoned projects. Some of them stretched over thirty metres, while some were basically caves. If they were trying to dig a passageway, I couldn’t wrap my head around the purpose of digging that way. Mayhap they used to serve another purpose. Problem was, I couldn’t think of what purpose that could be.
On one path, I came across a half-broken stone throne, which I could only assume was used to worship something. One time, I picked up a small shiny thing that I spotted under a flame. At a glance, it was probably a component of some big tribute item. If it was decoration, it definitely looked compatible with the stone throne, except it didn’t appear to be the right size. In other words, there used to be a number of copies of the stone throne, all of varying sizes and all worth a big sum of money. I could only imagine whatever object they worshiped was worth even more. Look, I didn’t put it in my own pocket because it was worth a lot; I only took it because it was likeable. Why wasn’t it shiny? Ah, that was because it was made from gold. I wasn’t a “finders keepers” sort of person, all right? I was planning to donate it to charity. Believe me!
All those “afternoon nap” expeditions helped me eliminate all the wrong paths. Last time, it took an hour, but I found what I believed was the bottom, so today was important for me.
I raced along the path I had never taken to reach the final location – a spacious and bright area. Dozens of metres up above, many, relatively speaking, small flames resembled made the ceiling resemble a starry night. The area gave off the aura of a place “connecting to heaven”. Even though I was breathing hard, I tried my best to investigate the space.
At the end of the space, there was an enormous door made from bronze. No sound, air or energy could pass through. There was no doubt it was built to create an isolated area. Though I didn’t know what was on the other side of the door, the door alone instilled a sense of tranquillity and mystery.
I gulped loudly and began advancing toward the door, intent on achieving something significant today, only to hear knocking.
God damn it, why now of all times?!
“Dr. Wu? Dr. Wu? Are you awake yet?”
Just as the manager went to knock again, I pushed open the door and asked, “… What’s the problem?”
“Good afternoon, Doctor Wu. Sir Zero wishes to see you.”
The manager switched from a polite smile to surprise. “It must be tough on you. You sweated so much from sleeping.”
“Spare… Spare… Spare the nonsense. Lead the way.”
Because of the manager distracting me upstairs, I ended up forgetting which way to go in the hidden passageway.
“Zero” frequently summoned me for absolutely nothing important. Every single time, she just asked me if I noticed anything. I was busy trying to break out, man. What could’ve been suspicious?
I knocked, waited for permission from “Zero” and then entered her room. Upon looking up and seeing me, she queried, “What happened?”
“Nothing. Couldn’t sleep, so I shadow boxed.” I wiped my sweat. “So, what is it?”
She didn’t look convinced, but Zero didn’t make a big deal out of it. “Due to it being too peaceful recently, I suspect Lord San Shen has already escaped.”
I escaped already? How come I don’t know about this?
“Don’t underestimate him. Despite him not being able to fight now, he’s always been a scheming one, and it’s possible that the Western Region’s top genius, Xue Yanjun is assisting him, so they are capable of anything. Perhaps he has already made his escape and is recovering, biding his time until he can return to take revenge.”
Stop playing. I’m right here.
“Hmph, you think he’s some useless bum who’d be staying in a cage?”
Be grateful I haven’t recovered enough to splatter your head! So what if I’m a useless bum?!
“Zero” looked at my exasperated expression in confusion. “… In short, I suspect he’s already left the compound.”
“But this base is considered an impregnable maze; flies that fly in are isolated immigrants. Can he actually escape?”
“Zero” smiled underneath her mask. “That’s why I plan to check the exit. You coming?”
“I see. My back is aching from slee-”
“I thought you’d be too tired from seeing patients all day. Since you’re not coming, I’ll go by myself.” With that, “Zero” got up to leave.
I smiled as I raised a hand to wave goodbye.
Hold on. Where did she say she was going?
I leapt over to cling to her leg. “Boss, wait up! Please take me along!”