Doomsday Wonderland Chapter 448
"We are very well-hidden in the Twelve Worlds Centrum so almost no one knows of our existence."
Irezumi placed both of his hands on his knees with a solemn expression on his face. Two black lines with shimmery outlines slowly swept across the two people in front of him. The first part of his explanation matched what the short man said so Lin Sanjiu listened inattentively. When Irezumi started talking about the organization's background, her ears immediately perked.
"It is compulsory for all the members in our organization, including arbiters as well as candidates like you, to keep our existence strictly confidential. Just like the 'main body' of our organization, we operate in the background, hidden from sight. A member can only come clean about his identity when he becomes the leader of the organization as he is the public-facing representative to the Twelve Worlds Centrum. Who knows how many people in the Twelve Worlds Centrum have tried to uncover the hidden forces behind our leader but no one had ever succeeded."
"Are we competing to be the leader of the organization?" Qing Jiuliu quickly interjected when Irezumi paused for a moment.
"Yes, reaching that stage is another issue altogether," Irezumi nodded and let out a somewhat grudging sigh. "You newcomers do not have the right to know the name of our organization or the identity of our leader. That goes without saying. The only thing you can do now is to complete more trials to raise your rank"
"Wait," Qing Jiuliu interrupted. Perhaps, Qing Jiuliu exuded a natural charisma as a lead-role actor. Despite looking disgruntled, Irezumi stopped the moment Qing Jiuliu spoke. "I have a question. Why isn't the new leader elected from the existing members in the organization? Why are you finding an outsider to be your leader?"
"You would know the answer if you listen properly!" Irezumi waved him off, annoyed. "If you keep interrupting me, I will mess up the introductory speech I memorized!"
"He memorized that introductory speech? " Lin Sanjiu mused.
After Irezumi hissed at him, Qing Jiuliu finally kept quiet. Irezumi continued, "Due to the secretive nature of our organization, we can't hold large recruitment drives to get new members. As a result, our members are dwindling...Our leader must be an accomplished posthuman that is outstanding in every aspect, be it superior intellect, combat ability, mental strength or others. If we only elect a person internally, each leader would only be weaker than the one before.To maintain the power and influence of our organization, we started this system of candidates and arbiters."
"Sounds logical, " Lin Sanjiu thought as she frowned.
"The arbiter's role is to search for candidates with excellent combat skills and to supervise and observe candidates as they complete a series of trials," Irezumi eyed Qing Jiuliu after he said those words. Irezumi was only satisfied when he noted that Qing Jiuliu had kept his mouth shut. "Every time a candidate completes a trial, he moves to the next rank. Every time you reach a new rank, you can gain the corresponding authority and benefits associated with that rank. You gain the right to make various requests in the organization. For example, you can request visas other resources.
"Both of you are still Rank 1 candidates. The highest rank you can reach is 10. The person who completes the Rank 10 trial would emerge as the leader," Irezumi said unhurriedly. Lin Sanjiu even suspected that the man would forget his memorized script if he spoke too fast. "However, if you fail three trials consecutively, you will be removed from the candidate list. The candidates who fail the trials after the fifth rank can choose to become arbiters or upper-tier members. Those who fail before reaching the fifth rank can choose to become a lower-tier member or to be expunged by the arbiters."
"In the words, this candidate-arbiter system is another form of recruitment? "
"Okay, I have finished explaining the system," Irezumi seemed very happy that he had finally completed the long introduction. "I have to record some of your personal information right now. What are your names?"
Qing Jiuliu said his name without even a second of hesitation. According to him, there were at least 2 billion plus people in the world that would recognize him if they saw his face. Consequently, he had never considered hiding his name even after the apocalypse. Lin Sanjiu couldn't help thinking that Qing Jiuliu would probably be a goner if he met Ji Shanqing in the mirror maze if he was placed in her position.
"What about him?" Irezumi took out a pencil before anyone noticed and handed it to Lin Sanjiu.
"He he is called Strongman Lin."
The newly-named Strongman Lin sighed. The award-winning actor seemed to have a bad taste in names.
Surprisingly, Irezumi nodded his head, "That's a good name. There is magnanimous air about it. It sounds worthy of a powerful man What are your main skills?"
As the short man had already informed them that the arbiter had a method to verify a person's ability, Qing Jiuliu did not dare to lie. He revealed to Irezumi his and Lin Sanjiu's ability truthfully. When Irezumi found out about Lin Sanjiu's ability, he didn't even attempt to hide his disappointment. Sighing loudly, he recorded both their abilities.
"The previous candidate was stronger. Ugh, it's such a shame." After Irezumi grumbled a little, he folded the piece of paper in his hand and kept it. Surprisingly, he didn't take out any sort of Special Item to verify their abilities. After that, he looked at his two candidates, "I only need these two pieces of information. When you go up a rank, I will need to add more information."
"What is our trial about?" Qing Jiuliu asked.
"Our organization runs many enterprises. One of our enterprises ran by our Red Nautilus branch has been destroyed recently." Irezumi knotted his brows as he continued, "That was a very popular enterprise in Twelve Worlds Centrum. Based on reliable sources, the person who destroyed that branch was a tall woman. She is currently in this world. We still have more than ten months before she moves to another world. Your trial involves finding that woman, killing her and bringing her corpse back to me."
Lin Sanjiu's heart raced instantly. Her heart thumped so loud that she was even afraid that Irezumi would notice
"That's it? Find a tall woman?" Qing Jiuliu's spontaneous reaction made it seem as if he had not seen or known any tall women around. "That description is too vague. Even if I have to find for a needle in a haystack, at least I know I'm searching for a needle. How would you know that I got the right person if I brought just any corpse back?"
"The description isn't vague," Irezumi coughed. "You need to look for a woman who is about 180cm. Two or three months ago, she came to this world from Red Nautilus. Her age is around 25 to 30. She knows that there are people after her, so she is probably very cautious when she moves around. Based on our previous work, we are certain that our target is within a 1000 km radius.
"Even though we got her name from a consular officer, I can't tell you that information to maintain the difficulty of this trial. When you bring her corpse back, you need to tell me her name. I will use that information to verify her identity. I might also ask you for some details about the destruction of that branch. In short, the purpose of this trial is to test your ability to track a person, your interrogation skills and your fighting capabilities.
Even though her thoughts were racing now, Lin Sanjiu could not say a thing. The branch which had been destroyed was obviously the Slaves Training Camp. Wasn't the person that ran Slaves Training Camp called 'Head of College' or something? She was nearly caught by that person. If this was true, was the 'Head of College' a member of this organization?
"Is he an upper-tier member or the leader?"
If he was the latter, does that mean that 'Head of College' is dead?
"This trial will end when a person brings me the target's corpse, or if the target moves to another world. The candidates who have not found the target will all fail. Before the trial ends, you can use any means possible to find the target. Now, I don't think you have any other questions, right?" Irezumi's voice snapped Lin Sanjiu from her thoughts. After telling both of them how they can meet, he stood up and dusted his clothes. "If you don't have other questions, I'll get going. I still have to kill two people."
Both of them were startled when they heard his words. They couldn't help gawking at him.
Irezumi widened his eyes, "Why are you looking at me like that? Hey, you should be getting out there to complete your tasks! I'm not the only arbiter in this world. You have many other competitors."
Qing Jiuliu nodded his head eagerly. He had a slightly puzzled look on his face and seemed as though he was still processing all that information. He pulled 'Strongman Lin' up. When both of them stood up and looked around, Irezumi had already disappeared.
The first thing that Qing Jiuliu did was grab a bottle of whiskey and take a large swig out of it. It was only when she saw this that Lin Sanjiu could associate the image of the bearded drunkard she knew to this young man standing before her.
After he gulped down a mouthful of whiskey, Qing Jiuliu pursed his lips and asked, "Is it you?"
Lin Sanjiu did not say a word. She looked out of the window and surveyed their surroundings.
"I'm not interested in becoming the leader of any secret organization." The moment Irezumi left, Qing Jiuliu dumped that image of a young, loyal and quick-witted man in an instant. He lit a cigarette lazily and plopped down on a worn-out sofa. Even though the only thing that changed was his face, his whole image changed from an unkempt homeless man to that of a drunken elite intellect in the Wei-Jin dynasty. "You wouldn't want Irezumi to figure that out, no? If I have a say in this, I suggest we leave this place and forget about it. He won't be able to find us no matter how quick he is."
"I can't," Lin Sanjiu sighed.
"I think he took my companion and made him one of the candidates," Lin Sanjiu tugged the black cloth, ensuring that her face was properly covered, "I can't leave until I find my companion."
Qing Jiuliu hesitated for a moment, almost as if he did not expect Lin Sanjiu's answer. He casually tossed his cigarette into the gap between the sofa and coughed, "I didn't expect you to be such a loyal person."
He suddenly sat upright before Lin Sanjiu could even say a word, "Luckily, we aren't that close. Otherwise, I would feel a little sorry to say what I'm about to tell you. Though you're not leaving, I'm leaving."
Lin Sanjiu finally understood a little how this award-winning actor offended almost everyone in the industry. Lin Sanjiu massaged her head resignedly, "You can't leave either."
"Why not?" Qing Jiuliu retorted immediately, "Acting is tiring!"
"Even though I don't think he's nearby, I guess he isn't far. If there are other candidates like you, who join unwillingly, I guess they would also try to escape at the first opportunity they get," the figure covered from head to toe in a black cloth spoke, only her voice was not concealed."Irezumi did not do anything to us, and he didn't leave anything behind. Isn't it strange that he would let us move around freely? It is almost as if he is intentionally creating an opportunity for us to escape."
Frowning, Qing Jiuliu contemplated the situation for a few seconds. He finally sighed, "Nevermind. Anyway, I will have cigarettes and booze if I follow you."
Lin Sanjiu didn't make a single sound as she stared out of the window at the darkening sky.
The longer Irezumi spent monitoring them, the more worried Lin Sanjiu was for Ji Shanqing. If her conjecture was right, why didn't Ji Shanqing escaping when he isn't monitored?
Did this mean that the arbiters had other means of controlling their candidates after the first qualification test?
Nevertheless, it was meaningless for her to think too much about it. Since they knew that they couldn't leave, for the time being, they decided to rest for some time in the building. After the sky turned completely dark, they stretched and headed for the exit.
When they imagined Irezumi crouching and waiting naively for them for hours, both of them felt a tiny thrill of revenge. Lin Sanjiu felt less uptight after she found out that she was the target of the organization. Since Irezumi had told them to search within a boundary, Ji Shanqing must be within the same area. All she had to do next was to search for him slowly. While they walked, they communicated to each other on a piece of paper. They didn't seem like they were pursuing anyone at allbut instead looked like they were just window shopping. Since they had time, Lin Sanjiu even found a pair of men's gloves from an abandoned shopping mall.
"I have been here for four to five months," Qing Jiuliu burped drunkenly after he looked at the piece of paper in his hand. He continued sluggishly, "I didn't dare any solid food. Other than alcohol, I only drank some other beverages. Look at how skinny I've become. In the past, I was voted as one of the top ten sexiest actors in the world."
Lin Sanjiu didn't even throw a single glance at him. In fact, she had to look at her feet constantly as she walked with the black cloth covering her like a huge cloak. They did not know what happened in the shopping mall. The pillars, stairs and half the ceiling had collapsed and were lying on the ground. There was so much broken concrete on the ground that it could cover their ankles.
The only thing they could hear was their own footsteps reverberating through the shopping mall, apart from Qing Jiuliu's grumblings. It had been quite some time since they last saw Irezumi so Lin Sanjiu wasn't sure if he was still following them. Reinforcement steel bars protruded from thelarge pile of broken concrete. Moonlight slipped through the various cracks in the walls, forming silver lines of light which lit the dark mall. Just when they stepped on a piece of abroken concrete slab, planning to exit the mall through one of the cracks, they heard a long whistle drifting from darkness from afar.