“After the Christmas benefits instance suddenly opened, I went with Shanshan, Liu Chen and Feifei to find the Christmas branches. We finally found two. Liu Chen and I decided to give the branches to Shanshan and Feifei. The two of them went into the branch instance.” The little fatty was much stronger than he was half a month ago. In the fact of his companions’ disappearance, he tried to calmly speak. “I originally thought that Shanshan and Feifei are girls, their fighting abilities are inferior to me and Liu Chen. Liu Chen and I don’t have branches, maybe we could handle the danger. We can’t let the two girls handle it. But…midnight passed and they didn’t come back!”
Zhao Ziang’s eyes were red but he didn’t cry.
Tang Mo’s fingers clenched as he analyzed. “Even if they took the branch at the same time, they might not necessarily enter the same instance. Just like how Jack obtained a branch but you didn’t, yet you entered the same instance. The instances are completely random.”
Zhao Ziang nodded.
Tang Mo looked at Luo Fengcheng, who stared back silently.
Finally, Tang Mo walked to the little fatty and whispered, “Wait.”
In fact, Zhao Ziang already knew this matter but he couldn’t resist telling it to Tang Mo. They had no choice but to wait. Tang Mo didn’t know what instance Chen Shanshan was in. Now the Christmas instance was closed, he couldn’t get in.
The little fatty hung his head and left.
Tang Mo looked at the little fatty’s sad back and his lips tightened.
“Don’t tell him that the two girls are likely to be forced into a tower attack game.” Tang Mo turned at Luo Fengcheng’s words. The young doctor in a white coat put his hands in his pocket and looked at Tang Mo quietly. “There are many types of Christmas instances. In all likelihood, once Santa gave out at the gifts at 12, China’s Christmas instances were over.”
Tang Mo knew the truth.
Among the 13 members of Attack, Tang Qiao was forced into the instance. At 12 o’clock, the large instance of 16 people that she participated in had three people killed and eight people eliminated. Only the remaining five people remained vigilant against each other and continued to play the game. At 12 o’clock, the game wasn’t over yet but they were all returned to the real world.
The Christmas instance only existed on Christmas Eve.
Chen Shanshan and Qiao Feifei hadn’t left. This meant there was only one possibility. They had been eliminated and entered the tower attack game.
Tang Mo looked down at the small sculpture on Luo Fengcheng’s table. After a long time, he said, “The black tower will update a new version soon. I won’t leave Shanghai for the time being.”
Luo Fengcheng asked, “How long do you plan to wait?”
There was only one reason to wait for the new version of the black tower. Suzhou had a black tower so there was no need to stay in Shanghai. He was going to wait to ascertain Chen Shanshan’s safety.
Tang Mo looked calm as he gave the answer. “10 days.”
After leaving Luo Fengcheng’s office, Tang Mo randomly found a car and lay down to rest.
The quiet and empty underground parking lot was dimly lit. A faint light shone through the dark car windows, revealing only a vague outline. Tang Mo extended his right hand and held it in front of his eyes. He remembered that a month ago, a little girl stuffed a box of biscuits into his hands and he got her ability.
Even if there was a chance to enter the instance to save Chen Shanshan, Tang Mo wouldn’t enter immediately. He would think for a long time before deciding to look for someone, provided that he had the king’s gold coin. Without the king’s gold coin, it was absolutely impossible for him to enter a dangerous tower attack game for the little girl.
As Luo Fengcheng said, he decided to stay and wait for 10 days.
If Chen Shanshan didn’t appear in 10 days, he would return to Suzhou.
Time was like water and seven days passed quickly. On Christmas Eve, five members of Attack failed to leave the instance. Seven days passed and they still didn’t appear. After the situation with the stowaways organization, the departure of the members didn’t cause much turmoil in the organization. Everyone accepted it calmly.
On the eve of 2018, Tang Mo, Jack and Luo Fengcheng quietly left the mall at night.
In the dark, the three men were like lightning as they quickly passed the factory and residential areas. They crossed Nanpu Bridge and sneaked into Puxi.
Once they were 5 kilometres from the black tower, Tang Mo stopped and reached out to Jack and Luo Fengcheng. The three people were hiding in a dim alley. Tang Mo lowered his voice and said, “Jack is skilled but your body is too big. Your movements aren’t agile. Luo Fengcheng, you are a reserve and you will also be found if you get too close. I will go alone.”
Jack frowned. “When we came, we found five people hiding around us. Wouldn’t it be too dangerous for you to go alone?”
Luo Fengcheng also asked, “In an emergency, how soon can you come here and join us?”
They did not know that Tang Mo had a fast-moving ability. He could raise his speed to the speed of sound and escape. Tang Mo bowed slightly. “Very soon. Even if I can’t beat them, I can escape and join you.”
Jack was ready to say something but Luo Fengcheng stopped him. “Okay, we will wait for you until 00:15. If you don’t come back, we will find a place to hide.”
Tang Mo nodded. The next moment, he turned to look at Nanjing Road in the distance.
An vigorous figure moved through the night, breaking the wind and heading to the dark tower at a very rapid speed.
As Tang Mo was running, his body was tense and he was always alert to movements around him. His mind was empty and his senses magnified infinitely. The wind whistled in his ears because of the extremely fast speed. He could clearly hear the beating of his own heart and at least 10 careful footsteps in a radius of 50 metres around him.
On this New Year’s Eve, Shanghai was quiet. There was no wind or rain. It was a quiet and beautiful night. This evening, dozens of players approached the black tower despite the danger. Once the bell of the Waitan clock tower announced midnight, the opposite side of Huangpu River didn’t emit brilliant fireworks as it did in the past, announcing to the Shanghai residents that 2018 had arrived.
At the junction of Nanjing Road and Waitan, more than 50 black figures arrived at the black tower at the same time. They sensed each other’s presence, immediately running away to find the nearest position to hide.
Tang Mo breathed heavily, clinging to the door of the Peace Hotel as he slowly sat on the ground.
Just before he reached the black tower, he had met 12 players. They couldn’t see each other in the darkness but the dangerous breaths were undoubtedly exuded. The 12 people made a decision in unison. They turned and left, looking for a place to hide.
Tang Mo ran to the first floor of the Peace Hotel, hiding behind the door. Then he quietly turned his head and looked through the window at the black tower outside.
In the thick night, 12 o’clock arrived and passed.
Tang Mo stared at the black tower carefully and frowned. “…Nothing?”
Seven days ago, the black tower issued a notice to all of China that the black tower version 2.0 would come online on January 1st. Tang Mo and Luo Fengcheng discussed it and thought that the black tower would likely go online at 00:00 on January 1st.
“What if it is actually 6 o’clock?” Tang Mo’s heart thumped.
6 o’clock was the second possible time. One of the black tower’s three major rules stipulated that 6 o’clock to 18 o’clock was the game time. Then the new version was likely to come online at 6 o’clock. In addition, the third possibility was 8 o’clock. It was because a month ago, the black tower announced that the earth was online at 8 o’clock on November 15th and the game’s official start at 8 o’clock on November 18th.
“If it isn’t 00:00, I will go back and join Luo Fengcheng and Jack. Wait six hours and then come back to see.” Tang Mo thought. He looked at the giant tower again and quietly prepared to go back. But once he saw the middle part of the black tower, his gaze froze and he stared fixedly at the centre of the black tower.
The black tower was suspended in the sky like a black mountain. But at this moment, a small white spot was flashing lightly in the middle of it. This little spot of light flashed at a certain rhythm.
Tang Mo counted the timing with his heartbeat.
Thump, thump, thump.
The small spot flashed every second. Once it flashed 62nd times, a second small spot lit up below it. But this time, the second small spot was only half lit up.
The next moment, cheerful music was heard and countless children started to sing loudly. The children’s song came from every direction, filling the darkness. The strange sound caused people’s scalps to go numb.
“Happy New Year, Happy New Year, wishing everyone a Happy New Year.”
“We sing, we dance, we wish everyone a Happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year…”
Tang Mo heard a few gasps from the surroundings. He clung to the windowsill and hid his body in the darkness, only his eyes peeking at the black tower dozens of metres away.
In the darkness, the huge black tower radiated a colorful light, like the light balls in the old fashioned KTVs of the last century. It illuminated all of Shanghai, the coloured light spots shining on Huangpu River. It sang the joyful song over and over again, as if a group of children were singing and dancing to celebrate New Years.
More than 50 players hid in the darkness and stared at the black tower.
The singing repeated three times before the light on the black tower suddenly stopped. Everyone stared at the scene with caution as the child’s voice rang out.
“Ding dong! 162.21 million players have successfully loaded the game…”
“The player data is loading…”
“The game data is loading…”
“Save is successful…”
“The reality instance is opened…”
“The assembly instance is complete…”
“Ding dong! On January 1st, 2018, the black tower version 2.0 has official launched. All players are welcome to enter the game.”
“All players, please attack the tower.”
“Ding dong! Happy games!”
The voice spread all over Shanghai. The light of the black tower darkened and the evening wind blew on the silent Huangpu River. Five minutes later, a black figure quickly ran to the black tower, looked up for three seconds and left quickly.
After that, more than 30 people went to the black tower in turn to observe the changes.
Tang Mo’s fingers tightened their grip on the marble windowsill of the hotel. The mottled marble slab had five clear fingerprints. He stared blankly at the black tower. After more than 40 people ran out to see the situation, Tang Mo ran out of the Peace Hotel. Instead of running to the black tower, he turned and found Luo Fengcheng and Jack hiding in the alley.
Jack whispered. “You are back. It is already 00:14.”
Tang Mo’s face was very ugly. He turned and looked at Luo Fengcheng.
Luo Fengcheng’s expression was also very bad. “Like a month ago, it put on the Happy New Year song and emitted a colourful light. These could be seen from the distance. Did you see anything else in the vicinity?”
Tang Mo replied, “Before the black tower announced that the new version was online, I saw a white spot of light flashing in the middle of it.”
“A white light?”
“Yes. I counted it carefully and it flashed 62 times in a row. At the 63rd time, it blinked twice before flashing again. And when it flashed the 62nd time, there was a small spot underneath it. This light didn’t flash. Only half of it was lit up. Then the new version went online and it was what you saw…”
At this time, footsteps were heard in the distance. Tang Mo immediately fell silent, while Jack held his breath.
After waiting for the footsteps to pass, Tang Mo said, “First find a place to hide.”
The three people ran two kilometers away and found an unoccupied hotel to hide.
Tang Mo carefully explained everything he saw. “The light spot didn’t shine from the outside. It is from the centre of the black tower. The centre if flashing from the inside. The first light flashed 62 times. This number must have a deep meaning. As for the second spot, it is temporarily unknown.”
“The black tower hasn’t released news about the new version. It seems that the detailed rules of the game will have to be slowly explored in the future.” Luo Fengcheng nodded. “This point is very important. We need to analyze what it means.”
Tang Mo explained, “The spot is very small and the flashing light is dim. A total of 53 people went to the black tower to observe the new version but 10 people at most found the small spot.”
Luo Fengcheng said, “Then we will go back and analyze it.”
The appearance of a little girl flashed through Tang Mo’s head.
The girl with the super intelligent thinking and a judgment accuracy of up to 50%. If Chen Shanshan was here, she might be able to guess something.
…It had been over seven days.
Once Jack heard Luo Fengcheng say they would go back, he scratched his head and asked, “You want to go back now? That’s fine. The black tower’s updated version is nothing and we didn’t gain anything from this trip. The things it said were seven days ago. At that time, it said that every player must participate in the tower attack game every three months. It didn’t say that rule this time.”
After listening to this, Tang Mo turned his head slowly and looked at Jack.
Jack couldn’t understand why Tang Mo was looking at him like this. Then he turned his head and found that Luo Fengcheng was looking at him with a strange expression.
Jack was stunned. “Dr. Luo, did I say something wrong?”
Luo Fengcheng sighed. “Jack, did you pay attention to the first sentence that the black tower announced?”
After all, Jack was a strength person and his memory wasn’t very good. He recalled it and repeated, “Ding dong. 162.21 million players have successfully loaded…” Jack’s voice abruptly stopped as his eyes widened. All the muscles in his body tensed up. He was shocked. “162.21? 100 million…not 400 million?”
Tang Mo spoke lightly. “…Yes. Within a month, 300 million more people have died.”