Chapter 343: Unbelievably Strange
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
"Lord, it's a dead end?" Skinorse gaped at the spiraling steps.
The first Magic Door was in the near distance. He walked up and tried with his dagger. There was a sharp scraping sound, and a faint scratch appeared on the smooth Magic Door. It faded slowly and disappeared completely after three seconds.
"This door isn't very sturdy. I can destroy them easily, but there are too many." He estimated that he could force through five doors, ten doors, and even 20 doors but 50 would exhaust him.
Link had a headache too.
The reason was simple. The space in the spiral steps was very unusual and was finely folded multiple times. Only one of these doors was the true exit, but its position wasn't set. It could randomly appear as one of the 50.
In the previous game, Link had tried more than 100 times. Every door had once been the exit, but as a player, they could only gamble their luck.
They had to break through door after door and go in to check until they found the correct exit. If one was lucky, the first would be the exit. If one was unlucky, it could end up being door 50. That would be honestly depressing. Some players were even stuck in this place for an entire week.
Link was quite lucky in the other world. Paired with some tricks, he could usually find the right exit within five tries. However, that was a game, and this was reality. Link didn't know if his tricks would work.
Of course, the most important task now was to open the doors.
Forcefully breaking them was possible, but these Magic Doors were all around the pinnacle of Level-6. It was too consuming and wouldn't work in the long run. Fortunately, Link was prepared.
He took out the dark red crystal claw blade taken from the Undead Assassin earlier. After modifying it, it had become a 20-centimeter-long, two-centimeter-wide crystal stick. Holding this stick, Link walked towards the first Magic Door. He studied the wall carefully. After around one minute, he found a centimeter-long crack in the wall.
Found it. It's just like in the game! Link was overjoyed. He took out his wand and pointed at the crack lightly. "Cleansing spell!"
Faint light loomed over and lightly cleaned the crack of dust and pebbles like a duster. Finally, it revealed a small hole around two centimeters wide. It was the exact size of Link's crystal stick.
Link stuck the stick into the hole and started pouring Mana into it. At the same time, he explained, "This should be the keyhole of the Magic Door. A key made from the Undead Assassin's claw blade won't be rejected by the Magic Door's power...Wait, the position is wrong."
He pulled the crystal stick out and continued to add Mana in to investigate. After around three seconds, Link slowly pushed the stick in again. He went millimeter by millimeter, and after around three millimeters, a slight crack sounded in the hole.
"Got it." Skinorse was overjoyed when he heard the sound.
Link activated an enchantment again and modified the crystal stick bit by bit to the shape of the lock's structure. After around ten seconds, Link gently turned the stick. Buzz...buzz...buzz... The Magic Door beside the hole hummed lightly. After around ten seconds, the door transformed into light and disappeared.
"The door is open!" Melinda laughed and clapped her hands. She looked at Link with reverence.
"Hmph, you haven't seen anything." The black cat looked at the cheering Yabba woman with disdain. Then it changed its position and curled up again as if things had nothing to do with it.
"Skinorse, investigate the path!"
"Okay." The guy brandished his dagger and rushed to the front again. He walked in and, after a bit, he said, "Come in, it's safe...but it's a bit strange. I think we've been here before."
The group entered. Link glanced around and sighed. "Let's go. This door is the entrance to a looped space. It's not the exit. Let's continue forward."
The place they were at was completely identical to the entrance of the Door of Lies. This door was like a transmitter among the steps. They stepped through and returned to the entrance.
"Lord, why don't we go back?" Skinorse asked curiously.
Link pointed behind them. "Are you sure you want to go back?"
Skinorse walked to the door behind them and instantly had a fright. When they came in, there were still steps. Now, it had become a bottomless hole. He couldn't see anything in the hole while violent wind kept blowing through. It was really strong too and caught Skinorse by surprise. He lost his balance and actually floated. It seemed that the wind would suck him in.
Nana hurriedly grabbed his arm and pulled him back.
Regaining his balance, Skinorse felt that even his breaths were shaky. His legs felt like jelly, and he could barely stand.
Link tossed a rock into the hole. One second, two seconds...After more than one minute, there was a sudden boom, and a lick of fire shot out from the hole. The flame was light blue and was abnormally hot. Skinorse was a bit closer to it and his face hurt from the heat, forcing him to activate his Battle Aura to defend himself.
"That scary?" Skinorse gulped. The rock took one minute to land, there was wild wind, and there was Level-8 explosive fire in the bottom. If they retreated, they would definitely die.
"This is a one-way looped space. There is no way back."
"What's a one-way looped space?" Skinorse asked as if he wasn't in dire danger.
Before Link could reply, the black cat cut in. "Mortal, take it easy with your poor brain and let it live a few more years. You won't understand even if I tell you."
Link shrugged and said, "You saw the general situation. We can only go in one direction and go past the places we've already been through. As for the specific theory, are you sure you want to know?"
He understood the theory and could even make something similar. Decoding this type of space wasn't that hard either, but there was a big problem.
This one-way looped space had dead ends. This meant that once it was decoded and the space collapsed, there was a high possibility that everyone inside would be brought to the dead end-the bottomless fire pit they'd just witnessed.
From what they'd seen, this dead end was abnormally horrifying, and there was little chance they would survive.
Thus, Link decided he would just follow the spatial laws obediently. He could get out anyhow.
Skinorse didn't believe him. "Tell me. I'll listen."
So Link started saying, "It's like this. The single loop doesn't actually exist. It's one-way because dead ends exist. It's a Mana transformational equation-"
After that sentence, Skinorse knew that listening to it would be torture. "Lord, I realized my mistake. I don't want to listen."
"Then let's keep walking."
Skinorse looked at the gradually disappearing Mana equation in the air and sighed, his heart still unsettled. He continued leading the way.
The group traveled around 900 feet down this familiar path when another downward spiral staircase appeared. There were fifty doors around the steps; it was identical to the scene earlier.
"We're back," Link said.
"But didn't we already open the first door? This one is closed." Skinorse felt mentally and physically exhausted. This place was too strange and was almost beyond his ability to comprehend.
Melinda found a detail this time. She pointed at the footprints on the ground and said, "We really did come back. Look, those are our footprints."
Skinorse looked down and let out a long sigh. He'd already given up on wondering why. Since he couldn't figure it out, he would hand the brain work to the Magician.
"Lord, what do we do now? Do we continue with the second door?" Skinorse asked.
As he spoke, he felt like an idiot that didn't know anything. The black cat especially looked at him as if he was an ant. It was okay once or twice, but after being looked at like that for so long, even Skinorse was starting to doubt himself.
Link shook his head. "No, we'll still try the first door."
"But didn't you say the first door is that one-way looped space thing? If we go in, wouldn't we come back?" Skinorse didn't understand while Melinda was staring at Link too.
"The situation has changed." Link shook his head. "This door is completely new. Let me put it this way. The first door in front of us now is different from the first door we just opened. You know, doors are connection points in the space. These points can be ordered randomly...Whatever, just follow me."
Nana was completely uninterested in this. She only looked inside the cave curiously. Melinda and Skinorse didn't understand even if Link explained. The black cat didn't need him to explain, so his explanation was meaningless.
As for why they would still open the first door, this was a trick he'd learned from the experience in the game. It may be a preference of the one-way single loop's designer. There was a strange pattern to the position of the true exit.
If the first door opened was a one-way single loop door, there was a very high possibility that the true door after coming back would follow Fibonacci's numbering.
If the door was number one, the second time, it could be one, but it could also be two, three, five, eight, thirteen, and so on. If he tried according to this method, he would definitely find the exit within six tries.
Link had played the Night King's Sadness more than 100 times in the game, and this pattern was never wrong.
He found the keyhole in the first door again and stuck the already-created key in. He twisted, and with a crack, the Magic Door disappeared again. Skinorse was the first to enter again.
After entering, he sighed sadly. "Lord, we're back again."
"Then continue!" Link didn't feel dejected at all. As long as the second try was another one-way single loop instead of some strange space, it meant they were right.
They walked to the entrance of the spiral steps again. This time, Link went to open the second Magic Door.
They were all familiar now. Link quickly adjusted the key's shape, twisted the key, and the Magic Door disappeared with a buzz. The group walked in again.
Once they did so, Skinorse sighed again. "Back again."
Link looked carefully and shook his head. "No, it's not the same. Look behind us."
Everyone turned around and discovered that it wasn't the steps they'd entered from or the fireless pit behind them. Instead, it was a bright tunnel.
The walls on either side had become extremely smooth, clearly polished with care. Every 30 feet, there would be a magic light on the wall. It could be seen that there was a bright hall at the end of the tunnel. The scene in the hall could be described as resplendent.
"The exit?!" Skinorse was overjoyed and almost ran over instantly.
"Wait, be careful!" Link called out. When Skinorse stood still in confusion, Link picked up a rock and tossed it towards the exit. The moment the rock passed through the Magic Door, there was a soft noise, and the rock was sliced into dozens of pieces. Each piece was less than one millimeter thick.
Skinorse paled immediately. He couldn't see anything in the tunnel, but such a fatal trap was hidden in it. It was terrifying!
"It's a Spatial Slicer. Look carefully. Do you see anything?" Link asked in warning.
Skinorse calmed down and investigated for a few minutes before finally nodding. "It's a bit different, but it's too well-hidden."
When they'd found the exit just then, he was ecstatic and wouldn't notice such a small mark. If Link hadn't called out to him and ran over happily, he wouldn't be Skinorse now. He would be pieces of Skinorse.
"How do we decode this-"
Before Skinorse could finish, a giant explosion sounded in the tunnel. Then the exit that they'd found with so much difficulty collapsed and disappeared. It revealed a broken tunnel-the position of the Door of Lies.
A black shadow shrouded in black mist, and bloody eyes stood in the tunnel, roaring angrily, "Lies! They're all lies! Damn Magic Door! It's lying to me!"
When he saw Link's group, the anger vanished. He burst into laughter. "Hahaha, seems like I've come at the right time!"
Everyone blanched and gaped at each other. Skinorse wanted to kill this bastard. They'd finally found the exit, but it disappeared just like that.
However, reality was cruel, and this demon was very powerful. Even Link couldn't defeat him, let alone Skinorse!
"A Level-9 demon," Link muttered. "He's a fallen angel and is very powerful. We're not his match. Retreat."
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