The Earth is Online
Tang Mo looked around. There was no one else in the quiet library, with no signs of the so-called angel and demon.
“Mr. Chen, can you help me turn off the computer? I want to see if I can remove a book from the bookshelf.”
The huckster nodded and clicked the mouse to shut down the computer.
Tang Mo stared intently at the right hand of the huckster that was holding the mouse. Then he strode over to a bookshelf, pulled out a book and put it back. “We can still remove books from the bookshelves. Then I would like to confirm… Mr. Chen, did you hear that voice?”
The huckster asked in a confused manner. “Do you mean the voice that told us to help the little girl find the book or she will die?”
Tang Mo nodded and the two people sat behind the help desk. He said, “It seems that we belong to the angel camp.” Tang Mo stretched out his right hand as he spoke. The huckster saw it and reacted at once. He hastily stretched out his right hand, which also had the patter of angel wings on the back.
“Ah, I also have this.”
The moment that the child’s voice said the word ‘angel’, Tang Mo discovered that he had this pattern on the back of his right hand. The intention was obvious. Tang Mo belonged to the angel camp. Most people in China were right-handers. He asked the huckster to turn off the computer in order to determine the huckster’s camp without arousing suspicion.
However, since the huckster was an angel, the problem became more serious.
The huckster apparently also thought about this as he asked, “We are both angels. Then who is the demon?”
The library was exactly the same as the one where Tang Mo worked. Tang Mo opened his drawer and took out a piece of chewing gum. He chewed the gum slowly and frowned at the huckster, his fingers striking the table rhythmically.
“The first possibility is that the demon isn’t like us. Demons aren’t humans. That voice should be related to the black tower and we should assume that this is a ‘game’ that the black tower mentioned three days ago. There are unknown creatures in the black tower. Like the black tower, the demon isn’t human. It is an opponent set up by the black tower.”
Now the huckster could completely understand. “So, the reason that there isn’t anybody else in the library is because the demon doesn’t exist.”
Tang Mo nodded. “Yes, that might be the case. But there is a better situation. The second possibility is that the demon is a human.”
The huckster nervously gripped his stick. “He is hiding?”
Tang Mo watched the huckster’s hand that was holding the stick. Then he smiled and said, “It is possible.”
An unknown opponent was always more dangerous than the known danger.
Tang Mo and the huckster split up. The huckster was larger and more solid than Tang Mo. He would look for the demon who might be hiding in the library. Tang Mo would go down to the first and second floor of the library to check.
Originally, the huckster was very afraid to do this type of thing alone. However, Tang Mo said, “The voice said that violence is prohibited.”
The huckster was still scared despite this. His legs trembled when looking for someone and his grip on the stick was unstable.
But Tang Mo returned in minutes. He spoke with an ugly expression, “I can’t get down the stairs.”
“There are two ways to go down from the third floor. The first is to take the staff elevator and the second is to go down the stairs. I tried to take the stairs but there was an invisible wall at the entrance stopping me. Then I went to the staff elevator and it wouldn’t start. There is no way to go down.”
The huckster started thinking. “This means we can only move freely on the third floor. Then the book we are looking for is on the third floor?”
Tang Mo also thought so. But if the scope of the books was limited to the third floor…
The huckster’s face suddenly became very ugly. He stiffened and his voice trembled slightly. “How many bookshelves are there on the third floor?”
“There are 23.”
The huckster’s eyes widened. “Why so little?”
Tang Mo also felt helpless.
Was it his decision?
A few months ago, it was unknown what Director Wang was smoking. He suddenly said he would learn from the western modern library experience and would transform his library. He started from the third floor. The Suzhou Library had decades of history. Like other small city libraries, the facilities were old. After Director Wang renovated the third floor, he replaced the original 100+ shelves and bough 23 large bookshelves connected together.
Many readers complained that the shelves were inconvenient to move around and Director Wang already decided to change the shelves again next year. Unfortunately, people weren’t as good as the sky. Director Wang would probably never have the opportunity to change the bookshelves again in his life.
It was good for Tang Mo and the huckster if the scope of the books was limited to the third floor od the library. Tang Mo was a library staff member who mostly worked on the third floor. The huckster liked to read books on the occult and religion, and these books were all on the third floor. Both of them were most familiar with the third floor of the library.
However, the fewer shelves made it easier for the demon to burn the books. The probability of the book being burnt increased greatly.
Both of them were feeling worried when familiar footsteps sounded from among the bookshelves. Tang Mo really didn’t know where the mosaic girl came from. The little girl was holding a small rice bowl in her hands and had a bib with a pig drawn on it tied around her neck.
“How you found my book?”
The huckster shook his head in dismay. “We haven’t started looking yet.”
The little girl cried out angrily, “You haven’t looked yet? I managed to sneak out during meal time when the teacher wasn’t paying attention. The first day is almost over. Once the afternoon class ends, I will go home and it is over if Mother finds out.”
Tang Mo asked, “Do you have any clues? Do you remember anything about the contents of the book?”
The little girl shook her ponytails. “I can’t remember.”
The huckster hurriedly said, “Aren’t you going to give us any clues?”
The little girl suddenly made a sound. “Ah, I remember. I found this feather in my room this morning. Yes, it is the demon’s feather! I knew that I wasn’t the one who lost the book. It was the damned demon, he stole my book! Demons are liars. I hate demons the most. That evil demon! I must seize him, cut off his wings, put him in the popcorn machine and turn him into my favourite popcorn!”
The little girl placed a black feather in Tang Mo’s hands and walked away.
“Ding dong! The angel has received the ‘demon’s feather’ hint.”
Tang Mo, “…”
The huckster, “…”
A moment later, Tang Mo asked, “…This is our hint?”
The huckster made an awkward expression. “Does this feather have any other effect?”
Tang Mo touched the feather and tossed the feather in the air. It seemed to be an ordinary feather without any magical powers. Tang Mo tried his hardest to pull out any power, but it stayed silent, like it was mocking him.
At this time, the light suddenly disappeared.
The huckster screamed with fright.
The entire library sank into darkness, causing Tang Mo’s heart to skip a beat. He was standing next to the help desk and reflexively turned on the old lamp on the table. The faint yellow light illuminated a small area around the desk, enclosing Tang Mo and the huckster.
Tang Mo stared at the bookshelves covered in darkness.
He endured his nerves and tired to turn on the other lights. He found that apart from the table lamp on the help desk, none of the other lights could be turned on. The two men sat on the floor, leaning against the desk.
In this endless darkness, their fear became more pronounced. The library had three fours and this was the only place with a dim light, no where else. It was as if there was a huge beast hidden in the darkness. Once they stepped out, they would be mercilessly swallowed.
“Do you hear anything?” The frightened huckster moved closer to Tang Mo.
Tang Mo’s scalp tingled and he listened carefully for a moment. “No, I don’t hear anything.”
The huckster gulped. “How is it suddenly so dark…?”
Tang Mo remembered the nursery rhyme that the child had sang. “Don’t speak for three days and three nights, the angel and demon wants it. The angels can get a hint during the day and the demon can burn a bookshelf at night…Is the day and night of the game time different from our normal time flow?”
The huckster was too scared to think at all.
Tang Mo tried to calm down. “It is two hours.”
“The game started at 17:52. It is now 19:68, so two hours is one day.”
The huckster was shocked. “Why is your memory so good?”
The huckster only vaguely remembered the song the child was singing before. It seemed like a time was mentioned. But he was so terrified that he hadn’t paid attention to the time, let alone remember it. Yet Tang Mo actually remembered?
In fact, Tang Mo was also very surprised. He found that his memory now seemed surprisingly good. For example, he remembered the little girl had a pink bow on her Minnie bag and was holding a pink lollipop in her hand.
Since when had his memory been so good?
There was no time to think about it now.
Tang Mo spoke calmly. “Let’s assume that two hours is one day. The rhyme said to not speak for three days and three nights. This means the girl will die three days later. So… let’s presume that nighttime is also two hours. At ‘night’, the demon will come out to burn the bookshelf.”
In the following time, Tang Mo and the huckster stared wide-eyed at the 23 dark bookshelves.
The game forbid violence but an unknown fear swept over the two people. They were afraid to relax and held tightly to the explosion-proof sticks, as if getting some type of psychological comfor from it.
However, an hour and a half passed and they didn’t see a single person or a burning bookself.
The huckster asked, “Is there really a demon?”
Tang Mo’s lips tightened and his gaze turned to the huckster. “There should be.”
“Then why hasn’t he burned the bookshelf yet?”
Tang Mo leaned against the help desk and said meaningfully, “I also want to know why he hasn’t burned the bookshelf yet.”
The huckster didn’t understand him. Tang Mo gripped the stick as he watched the huckster with deep eyes. “Mr. Chen, why do you think the demon hasn’t burned it yet…”
A loud explosion was heard in the library.
Tang Mo’s wide eyes moved to the place where the explosion began. He saw flames swallowing up a bookshelf. The huge flames in the library seemed terrible, as if it would burn everything up. Tang Mo and the huckster stared from beginning to end. However, they never saw anyone appear from there, even when the flames went out.
On the second day, the little girl appeared again with her Minnie Mouse schoolbag.
“You haven’t found my book yet? My mother went to visit the mole uncle’s home today. I managed to hide from her and she hasn’t discovered that my book has been stolen. I can’t hide it forever. She will find out. When will you find the book for me?”
Tang Mo’s face was pale and he rubbed his temple. “Do you have any clue about the book today?”
The little girl was very dissatisfied. “I told you that I don’t remember. If I don’t remember than I don’t remember!”
“This is the second day,” Tang Mo reminded her.
The little girl didn’t speak at these words. But Tang Mo could feel that under the mosaic, the little girl was giving him a strange look. She said, “You are an angel and have read so many books. You will certainly know that book. I’m not an angel. I hate reading books. How can I have a clue about the book? You should know!”
“Ding dong! The angel has received the second ‘Mosaic’s contempt’ clue.”
Tang Mo, “…”
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Tang Mo: I really can’t kill her?!!! If you find any errors ( broken links, non-standard content, etc.. ), Please let us know so we can fix it as soon as possible.