Sword of Dawnbreaker - chapter 226
Gawain walked with poise on the streets of this “fantasy city” with the face of Charlie I, not the slightest bit worried that he would be exposed.
Because he’d already seen more than twenty Charlie I’s as he walked here…
Charlie I wasn’t an earth-shattering handsome man, but clearly, walking on the streets with the face of Anzu’s founding king was an entirely different feeling of cool. These heretics of the Eternal Sleepers who immersed in the virtual world were ultimately mortals who had the seven emotions and six sensory pleasures. In some… strange ways, they had still preserved their individual interests.
All of these brought an inexplicable and inexpressible sense of conflict to Gawain.
This was what the Eternal Sleepers worked hard to pursue and attempted to create? An unreal, nice, even a fairytale-like… dream?
Gawain could clearly sense that this virtual world was very different from those illusions that he’d encountered previously. Not only was this place even grander and more magnificent, it was also more real, even easier for people to fall into it. Every leaf, every ray of sunlight, even every particle of dust had been shaped, and they operated according to the real world. Meanwhile, the “residents” walking on the streets and alleyways enjoyed all of this with satisfaction and delight, as if they’d completely forgotten that this was a virtual space.
Gawain was also slightly surprised —— he hadn’t expected there to be so many people in the Eternal Sleepers.
If this massive city as well as those floating lands and palaces in the sky were full of people, then the number of Eternal Sleepers would probably reach a shocking amount. Even being in the millions was possible.
A low-profile heretic sect that developed covertly… could have such a big population?
Gawain walked in this dream city with a belly full of doubts, and in the process of coming into contact with the city’s “residents”, he gradually increased his understanding of this inconceivable place.
Crossing over the main road in the center of the city, Gawain wandered here following his instincts, searching for those things that might further reveal the mysteries of this city. However, when he attempted to pass through a dome building that no one was visiting, he was compelled to stop in his steps.
There was a gap in this “dream realm” that originally ought to be perfect. He saw that the shadows inside this dome building were messy and broken. Pure white marble only covered an area less than a third of the building, and in the vacant area of the marble floor, vast spaces of grayish-black dull voids could be seen. The disheveled and tattered rays of light in the air connected with the void, forming a look of chaos and disorder.
This was already the fourth “uncompleted area” that he’d found in this city.
He recalled the information that he’d heard from the “residents” earlier.
This dream city had been activated ahead of time. It seemed that in the Eternal Sleepers’ initial plan, they still needed to prepare for a very long time before activating this massive network of consciousness. However, changes in the situation forced them to activate everything in advance, and this led to multiple flaws being present in the dream city. Moreover, it wasn’t only the dream city that had yet to be completed, even those lands and palaces floating in the sky were unfinished work —— for many lands, only their outlines were complete; there was no vegetation or color on the surface at all. And the palaces were simply empty shells: inside them were “voids of consciousness” that were enough to devour minds.
Gawain didn’t know what “change in situation” had impelled the Eternal Sleepers to activate this network of consciousness in advance, but he instinctively believed that it had to do with the “correction” of the stars —— Tiel had once mentioned that those Sons of the Storm who foolishly fought the sea demons in the sea seemed to know about the righting of the stars and the resurrection of the gods. They often held big astrology divination rituals or sketched drawings related to stars and the ancient gods on rocks. Besides, Gawain had good reason to believe that the Eternal Sleepers who had close contacts with the Sons of the Storm were definitely aware of this.
The stars would be righted; the gods would awaken. To welcome this grand occasion, the heretic cult believers were forced to present the “sacrifice” that had yet to be completed in advance?
This was the only logical explanation that Gawain could come up with. Although there were still many unknowns in it, the general direction should be correct.
Only, probably none of the heretics could’ve imagined that the positions of the stars had been righted sixteen times ——yet their gods still hadn’t awakened.
Whether or not there were other divine corpses on this planet, Gawain wasn’t sure. But he was sure that the only god whose whereabouts was clear, laid at the bottom of the sea. At present, it still wasn’t enough food for that bunch of deep-sea comedians.
In this case, the heretics’ activation of this network of consciousness in advance would be equivalent to effort that was in vain. And in this process, the losses in manpower and resources, the disorganization and rearrangement, and the risk of being exposed from forcefully moving ahead of schedule would heavily strike their arrogance.
At this thought, Gawain could not help but beam happily and shake his head with a smile as he left this dome building that could not be passed through.
He knew that the three dark sects had strong backgrounds: even if all of them had activated some large-scale rituals by error that led to losses for them, it wouldn’t cause any impact that would damage their foundations. Regardless, a loss was a loss—— at least within a short period of time, the frequency of them causing trouble would be greatly lowered.
The “residents” in the city were still “living” contentedly and happily. Everyone wore joyful looks. They used illusions and dreams to numb their nerves and indulge in the joy of some long-cherished wish being fulfilled. It was unknown how long these merry emotions of theirs could last —— probably till the righting of the stars ended — but still no god had awakened.
In order to avoid trouble, Gawain did not return to the arterial streets of the city but weaved through the paths in between buildings. He gradually approached the core area of this dream city. And at the moment he stepped into the core area, he sensed a change in the surrounding atmosphere.
A solemn air lingered in here. The relaxed and leisurely atmosphere in the outer area of the city vanished as if it’d been cut away by an invisible screen. Gawain surveyed his surroundings in astonishment. In the end, he really saw an extremely thin, almost transparent “wall” looming behind him, and this wall even extended to both sides, seeming to have encircled the entire core area.
Gawain was cautious to not move casually; instead, he carefully observed the situation around this transparent wall. He soon realized that almost all “residents” were moving just outside of the wall, with only a small number of “residents” passing through it. Moreover, these “residents” who’d passed through the wall were divided into two kinds. One kind walked in casually, while others had to stop for a long time in front of the wall, reciting some mantra or placing their hands on the wall and inserting some command before they could enter.
This was an “authority lock”? Only qualified people could pass through it?
Gawain bowed his head and glanced at his body in surprise. He was sure he’d casually strolled in, and he’d only become aware of this “filtering” wall due to the change in atmosphere after passing through it.
He had some kind of “great authority” here?
Where did such authority come from…? Could it be the authority of the Eternal Sleeper that he’d devoured?
Gawain frowned. If that really was the case, then this bunch of Eternal Sleepers had really made a mess of their permissions system. A member of the sect that had already died actually wasn’t removed from it —— another person actually put on the concealed identity and sneaked in just like that…
However, after some careful thought, he realized that this wasn’t considered a flaw either. ——In usual circumstances, once this person died, it would be equivalent to an automatic cancellation. Who would’ve thought that there could be a devourer like himself who would enter using the identity of the dead like this…?
No matter what, Gawain became more vigilant here and now, and decided to be even more careful to avoid interaction with others: a place of greater authority meant that fewer people would be able to pass through, and the fewer the number of people allowed through, the higher the chances of him attracting attention amongst them would become. If by any chance the Eternal Sleeper that he’d devoured was an existence similar to the four heavenly kings or five elders1, when he burst into this space using the highest authority level and met the remaining kings or elders face-to-face, everything would be exposed.
He wasn’t afraid of losing to this bunch of weaklings: if he had to fight them on the mind level, their memory experience was still much less than his several hundred years, but if his account were to be canceled and he got kicked out of the network of consciousness, it would mean big trouble.
And just in this process of moving forward while keeping a low profile, he suddenly noticed that a small public square had appeared before his eyes. An extremely beautiful faint blue crystal floated in the middle of the air of this small square. The shimmering particles dissipating from the surface of the crystal illuminated the entire square to look mysterious yet gorgeous. And around the crystal, some figures stood scattered around —— there was no conversation between them. Clearly, they weren’t gathering here. Gawain saw some of them place their hands on the surface of the crystal, while the rest only remained in their spots with eyes closed, as if they were thinking.
What was that crystal used for?
Gawain frowned and started to search through the memories that he’d received from the devouring. After a bout of tough seeking, he finally got some clues from that cluttered and broken information—— that seemed to be an object used to convey messages, and it was even a high-quality good.
Was it the communication node for the higher authorities of this network of consciousness? The “instantiated projection” of the real communication node in virtual space?
Gawain hesitated for a moment and decided that he could not let go of this chance.
He quietly came to the public square and also placed his hand on that crystal. —— The heretic cult believer beside the crystal turned briefly and glanced at him, but no one spoke. The two closest people only shifted slightly and made some space for Gawain.
Gawain did not respond excessively; he only gave a slight nod. —— He’d already built a connection with the crystal; now he had to concentrate entirely.
After several not-quite-successful attempts, he finally understood how to make use of the knowledge that he obtained from the devouring. He felt some segments of information flash across his mind. In the next second, a huge database opened its doors to him!
Enormous volumes of data and information were flowing through Gawain’s mind. He observed, with surprise, the “database” that these heretics had constructed in this network of consciousness and marveled once more about this world’s technology tree that couldn’t be easily labeled advanced or backward.
Who would’ve thought? A bunch of crazy heretic cult believers had actually created such a massive network of consciousness, a massive virtual world; it was a massive structure that exchanged and processed messages in a world that appeared to be as backward as the Medieval Ages on the surface!
Of course, they’d relied on domineering magic to construct all of these, and their method of operating this advanced system was extremely primitive and outdated. In Gawain’s opinion, they were absorbed in creating a virtual world for enjoyment, with no efforts spared; the level of diligence far exceeded making use of this network of consciousness to resolve all kinds of real problems. But what was undeniable was that this was truly a great creation!
So great to the extent that Gawain couldn’t help but have ideas about it.
And when all sorts of thoughts about secretly learning the technology emerged in his mind, Gawain did not stop the search of the information flow —— and most of the information was rather useless. This was because this virtual world had just been activated; the majority of the content in its information network was reporting about the operating conditions of the various virtual spaces. However, all of a sudden, a message caught his attention:
“Notice for the plan for the 18th decrypting of Gawain Cecil’s memory fragments, as well as the requisition of more calculative ability.”