Then everything went silent.
"They're..." Lily sneaked into the hall cautiously and waved her hands in front of these demon hunters, but no one responded. "They're out of their bodies?" she asked.
The strange atmosphere kept them on guard. Hao Ren adjusted the early warning radar of the MDT to the most sensitive setting and clenched his long spear beside Lily. He went past a demon hunter, who seemed to be highly ranked, whose collar was not only decorated with a silver lining, but also with heraldic embroidery on the neckline and cuffs. These were the marks of a master or elder. The high-ranking demon hunter sat with his head lowered and his hollow eyes stared blankly at the candlestick not far on the table. Hao Ren patted on his shoulder. The demon hunter moved, and his eyes seemed to turn and look over his shoulder, but it just happened very quickly before everything was back to normal again.
"Their souls seem to be imprisoned in the deepest part of their consciousness, and their perception has been isolated from the outside world," the MDT said, flying around the long table to examine each of the demon hunters. "Well... There seem to be other incongruities, but it would take some time to analyze."
"This is Elder Lucy Vida," White Flame said as she came up behind Hao Ren. "A high-level instructor of the Council of Elders. He was stationed in the Netherrealm Clock Tower all the year round, a herald of the sages and responsible for organizing seminars."
"Andaherr has mentioned the seminar too," Hao Ren said, nodding his head slightly. "So what were these people doing—I mean when there were normal?"
"The sages have mastered ancient knowledge and witchcraft that have long been lost. To prevent these things from being lost again, they have to pass on the knowledge. However, due to the pollution of the forbidden knowledge, the lower-ranking demon hunters who directly listen to the voices of the sages would be afflicted and cursed. So the sages have to summon the most powerful demon hunters and teach them a small amount of this knowledge one at a time, and then let them pass the knowledge they have learned on to their apprentices." White Flame explained. "The wisdom of the sages is so vast, so much so that it exceeds the limits which a normal biological brain can handle. So they'll only teach as needed. That's how seminars come about."
"So this is the scene of a sacred demon hunter seminar—if everything's normal," Hao Ren said, sliding his fingers across the long table.
He was surprised. His fingers had picked up a lot of dust. He looked down; the table had a thick layer of dust too.
"The Netherrealm Clock Tower has just been isolated from the outside world a day ago?" He looked at Y'zaks not far away.
"The scout has reported so," Y'zaks nodded. "What did you find?"
Hao Ren pointed at the dust on the table. "According to the density of dust particles in the air as measured by the MDT, it takes at least seven or eight days for the dust here to accumulate to such a thickness. Unless no one's ever cleaned the house since the Council of Elders went insane, the ghostly state in the tower must have persisted for more than a week already."
Lily blinked. "A lot of smells on the first floor are fresh, and the tower guardhouse looks tidy as if someone has just cleaned it up. It doesn't look like it has been abandoned for a long time."
"So the strangeness begins from the second floor." Hao Ren said. His brows knit together slightly as he looked at the front end of the long table. If it was a seminar, then that position should be where Sages Beetholis sat. But no one was sitting in that chair there. The speaker of the sacred demon hunter seminar was not here, and the demon hunters in the classroom were just listening to the empty air. Sage Beetholis—the name Andaherr still recalls despite her state of mind. So Beetholis must be related to what happened here."
A demon hunter who was responsible for checking out the surroundings suddenly called out, "There is a passage here!"
Hao Ren ran over. The wall behind a huge ancient stone sculpture had a hole that was large enough for two adults to pass through side by side. Behind the hole was a dimly lit corridor. Y'lisabet poked her head inside to take a gander. "There's still a hall on the opposite side. Where is it leading to?" she said.
Teuton was a little unsure this time. He said, "I don't know. The structure of the Netherrealm Clock Tower has become very strange. In fact, even this room should not be in this position. These illogical passages have just popped out of nowhere."
While Teuton was talking, Y'lisabet the little demon had already slipped through the big hole in the wall and went into the corridor. "It's okay, nothing happens. I don't feel any danger," she said.
"This mischievous kid," Hao Ren snorted and followed her from behind.
Teuton looked back at the two rows of ghostly demon hunters sitting at the long table. He left behind a few soldiers here before slipping through the hole in the wall.
The Netherrealm Clock Tower interior structure had gone haywire. The routes that he had in his mind would probably be useless now. There was no need to follow any specific path. Any opening that popped up suddenly was equally worthy of exploration.
Y'lisabet held a ball of demonic flare walking in the front, illuminating the corridor. She did not find this creepy place terrifying but looked more like she was coming out for a field trip. Beside her, Y'zaks and Hao Ren were all cautious, watching out for any possible demons and monsters that may creep out from nowhere.
But it was a non-event. After passing the long corridor, the group emerged into a place that looked like a big library.
The vast hall stretched out in all direction. Bookshelves lined up like towering walls holding an enormous collection of old books and scrolls. Some of the books were as old as and even older than human history. Between these towering bookshelves were floating slate platforms, complete with table and chairs and stationery, which were obviously for the convenience of library visitors.
Coming out from a gloomy corridor into a solemn place, they were all rooted to the spot.
"Library?" Teuton was surprised. "This is unexpected."
Vivian asked curiously, "What's so special about the library?"
"The Library is outside the Netherrealm Clock Tower, a dimension that we couldn't explain. We have tried to draw the structure diagram of the Netherrealm Clock Tower; though most of the connection patterns are strange, they are at least within the confines of the tower itself. Only the library, the entrance of which would appear between the fourth and tenth layers according to certain rules, and it is impossible for the passage behind each entrance to access any facilities in the tower. Instead, they will extend straight out of the Netherrealm Clock Tower and sometimes the corridor is several kilometers long. So we always think that the library is a closed dimension floating outside the Netherrealm Clock Tower. Due to some mapping law, its entrance is restricted to certain floors inside the clock tower. According to the law, the entrance of the library will only appear on the fourth floor, but it now pops up here. That is to say, even this most basic mapping law has gone wrong," Teuton said.
Teuton kept moving forward as he talked about the secrets of this beautiful library. "This space has incredible power. The longer you stay, the sharper your mind will be. It will even produce some perception and comprehension beyond the physical experience of the flesh. Before this powerful perception crushes your nervous system, you could easily understand the most difficult and mysterious knowledge. So we put the most difficult books here. Only the demon hunters of master-class and above are qualified to read the books in the library. Even the master-class demon hunters could not stay here for more than two days."
"I liked to come here," White Flame said softly. "I would spend the whole day here."
Teuton said, "I knew that you often sneaked in here to read the comic books."
Everyone was stunned and staring at White Flame with an incredible look. Lily was wide-eyed. "You still read that stuff?"
"Can't a demon hunter have her own hobby?" White Flame asked back, feeling a little embarrassed. "This is the quietest place in the Netherrealm Clock Tower, and once I started reading, Teacher would stop nagging me," she said.
Teuton shook his head and said, "If he knew that you were putting comics in the potion manual, I bet he would nag you all day long."
Hao Ren was wide-eyed. Apparently, demon hunters in real life had colorful lives too, contrary to what he was told in the fantasy stories.
A figure suddenly flashed across in the distance in his peripheral vision.