Chapter 348: Traveling Soul (Part 3/3)
The early morning might be the quietest time of the day for the wetlands jungle. The activity of the birds and the beasts between the trees had plummeted to the minimum, and whatever sounds that made their way to Gear were largely blocked off.
Any slight abnormality would be magnified under such an environment, evoking a sense of bizarreness.
Luo Nan's soul remained unmoving. He took in this experience in detail. A dozen or so seconds passed, and he grew more certain that the chill he felt wasn't an illusion. The chill even seemed to possess a certain pattern. It was like a wisp of air moving in a circle, and it traveled back and forth inside Gear.
And there was a soft diditata sound accompanying the chill as it circulated within the building. Perhaps it was because he had been listening to the sound for a while, but he felt that there existed a faint, yet exquisite relationship between the two.
The exquisiteness made it so that one would perceive illusions at any given time.
Luo Nan was in his out-of-body state. The precision of his mental senses had climbed to the highest summit. Normally, he wouldn't have been able to detect the subtle relationship contained within the chill.
"Right. This is right."
Luo Nan liked this sort of discovery. This detail fit in nicely with the research and conclusions he made on the mysteries of Gear. His explorations during astral travel started off nicely.
He was about to stay here to engage in further study, but his brain heated up for a few seconds, and he recalled his primary purpose for today's actions. He could only suppress his impulses, and go through the ground floor with his incorporeal soul. He headed toward the central control room located on the underground fourth floor.
The feeling of his soul going through the ground was quite a marvelous one. The soul body relied on mental senses. Normal matter wouldn't cause any interference. But Luo Nan was used to the perceptions of the body, so it was inevitable that some mental barriers would appear in his mind.
Within his 'eyes,’ the earth and steel structure formed numerous layers of shadows. It was akin to plummeting through thick clouds. They appeared solid and imposing at first glance, but then they turned as indistinct as smoke when he collided with them. He very nearly lost his sense of orientation, becoming uncertain whether he headed up toward the skies or down into the earth.
Such a feeling triggered the appearance of memories from the bottom of his heart.
He had experienced a similar scene a week ago, but that scene was more vivid and real. Bloody rays had pierced through an ash-gray layer of clouds, and he had gone through them just like now. An incredibly vast view of the world had been presented before him.
Today, Luo Nan came here in secret. He came here to chase after that incredible experience.
He had long wanted to do this, but his recent situation prevented him. His situation was a hopeless mess, so the Xia City branch kept him under strict surveillance. They protected him practically twenty-four hours a day. They sent him to school. They picked him up after school. On campus, Xue Lei always wanted to stick close to him. And there were sentries on rotational duty outside his home at night.
Needless to say, things were tight at Gear as well. There was always construction work. All sorts of people came and went, hiding their true intentions. Monitoring occurred both inside and out. It was truly as if there were eyes coming from all directions. Luo Nan was up to his ears in work. He really was unable to find a chance.
Today, he managed to astral travel through his great efforts. Naturally, the first thing he did was come here to try. The situation was now unfolding just as he intended.
He had deliberately gone to Ocean Sky Cloud City to observe Gear from afar because he wanted to trace back the actions that led to that experience. And his first decision after coming back to Gear was to go to the starting point of that real experience. He was going to the central control room located on the underground fourth floor.
Luo Nan had seen it yesterday afternoon. The central control room was entirely renovated, installed with a completely new control console. Its holographic projection showed that all equipment and installations were on standby. There was only the flashing of two or three electronic lights.
Luo Nan stood before the control console. His mind in recollection was akin to entering the ocean with waves upon waves of receding tides. The ocean churned with excitement, causing the temporal scene to appear as if in a vast space, boundless and endless.
Although he was clearly in soul form, Luo Nan subconsciously performed the action of drawing in a deep breath.
"Come, then! Now is the time to witness miracles!"
Luo Nan's telepathically touched the control console and extended inside to capture that feeling within his memories.
The control console was ice-cold. Its digital lights flashed. Then... no further response came.
Luo Nan waited a full twenty seconds before daring to confirm that his tracing attempts had suffered a most merciless failure.
Luo Nan still remembered what he experienced that day. He remembered the entire process that caused him to be transported from the central control room to the tree hole located over a thousand meters away.
Luo Nan remembered looking at the ruins of the smashed control console. The fellow named Tank had destroyed the fire safety module. Luo Nan had tried to activate it once more by using the external neuron to directly connect to the underlying system. He had been sent spinning the moment he connected to the energy module…. Oh?
Yes, the external neuron!
Luo Nan's soul spun in place for five or six revolutions, his mind still retaining emotions of vexation that were difficult to dispel. His mind really had been muddled. It was very probable that the external neuron had acted as a primer, as a key, at the time. Otherwise, an average Joe could just waltz in and uncover the shocking mysteries of Gear.
Back in the day when his mother designed Gear, there was also that man who possessed the external neuron. Using the external neuron as a safeguard was the most rational choice.
Luo Nan wanted to open the treasure chest, but he forgot the key at home.
All right, this was a wasted trip. Next time, when he had the chance…. Wait. It was only 4:30 A.M. He still had time. With the flying speed of his soul, it was completely possible to do a round trip!
With the slightest stirring of a thought, Luo Nan's soul flew straight up. He went through layers and layers of earth, rock, and metal to directly soar into the skies above Gear.
Originally, Luo Nan was going to immediately leave, but he suddenly felt something when his soul body traveled within the building structure. The lingering chill within the air seemed to cut with minute ripples and undulations at the soul body at several locations. It felt wonderful.
Luo Nan couldn't but think of what had happened before.
His soul body stopped in place, and his mental senses naturally covered the entire building, taking the structure of Gear into his mind.
There seemed to be endless discoveries waiting to be unearthed when it came to the marvels of Gear. Outside, Gear was seamlessly embedded into the Heaven and Earth Format as a tiny part. Inside, Gear had subtle and exquisite components that together formed a harmonized whole.
According to what Luo Nan learned recently, Gear could be generally described as a precision-running mechanical system.
Luo Nan had endlessly observed Gear over the past many days. He observed each part one by one, and could generally discern them. Within the building, there was the central control room, the underground laboratory, the above ground laboratory, the activity room, and the atrium. There were several pieces of independent areas. They were all parts of this machine, and each fulfilled their respective functions.
The machine was constantly running, but each component was fixed. This caused a problem: If the components weren't moving, what was moving?
A proper engineer probably would have gone mad when faced with this problem, but Luo Nan's thoughts were influenced by his many days of living in this world. He naturally turned to another train of thought.
The components didn't move. Then what moved was some kind of an extraordinary power.
The cultural courses he recently took touched upon knowledge involving the mystic arts. For example, the formations of the Orient, the magical spells of the west, and other similar stuff. Ability users used materials, temperature, terrain, the atmosphere, and so on in arrangements. This was to better draw and drive energy, creating a marvelous structure of coalescence and energy.
Researchers of the Society even included the Wuhou Eight Formation of folklore and other similar mystic arts as references.
Luo Nan didn't care the least about the Wuhou Eight Formation, and its effect which was akin to a stone immovable by the flowing river. He was just driven by the new thoughts that had popped into his mind, and he flew up a certain distance in height to gaze down from afar. He scanned Gear from inside to outside once anew several times, opening up new trains of thought.
He thought, Was that chill, coming from nowhere, created by air-conditioning?
According to the superficial knowledge Luo Nan learned from Worker Zhai over these past few days, this sort of mechanical system should have some sort of primary motor to provide motive power to parts, which then realized functions, allowing the transmission to connect the two parts of motive power and work. There were also auxiliary components that, for instance, controlled operation.
Luo Nan, a non-mainstream engineering apprentice, would find it truly very difficult to distinguish the marvelous designs of the well-blended mechanical structure. However, tracking the flow of energy was a different story. Luo Nan could roughly judge the locations of transmission, the locations of accumulation, and the locations performing work.
Luo Nan's mental senses immediately following the flow of the chill. In and out. To and fro. He followed for a few cycles, eliminating components one after another, gradually shrinking the scope until he reached the westernmost side of Gear.
This place had a diameter of twelve meters and a depth of fifty meters. It was the atrium.
According to Luo Nan's perception, the chill was divided in layers, and each of its flow had a different source. However, practically every layer arrived there in the end, accumulating in its spiraling, in all its movements. The diditata sound was clearest here.
Luo Nan's soul sunk down to directly enter the atrium. Heart answered with a sensation as he did so. As expected, the psychic pressure of the circulating current was a factor higher here than the other locations in the building. When his soul body cut into this area, ripples clearly undulated on the mental plane, akin to the ripples formed when a pebble was tossed into a deep well.
With this 'toss,’ Luo Nan was able to confirm the exquisiteness, the subtlety of this flowing energy coalescing here. And this told him that he wouldn't have grasped the changes within were it not for him being in an out-of-body state, were it not for the sharp increase in the precision of his mental senses.
Then, what came after the accumulation of the spiraling flow of energy?
Why did Luo Nan have an impression that this place was like a deep well? This was because there seemed to be something missing in the atrium, based on the quantity of flowing energy that was coalescing. An order to control the energy flow was missing. The element to lock the whole thing in place was missing.
Was it the external neuron? Or perhaps….
Luo Nan floated within the atrium. He was silent in thought for a while before suddenly strengthening his soul. Based on his current ability, doing the strengthening was as difficult as drinking cool water. The visualization diagram, composed of a tetrahedron, an inscribed sphere, and an outerscribed sphere, immediately appeared in the void, enveloping his soul within.
The instant this figure manifested within the atrium, Luo Nan discovered that the surrounding chilly flow of energy had been stirred!
The flow speed was increasing, going through the visualization diagram, in and out, coiling around, moving step by step.
The visualization diagram acted as a pole, and the stirring of the pole gave the gathered flowing energy a lot of order. It also consolidated the energy quite a bit. Most notable were the changes with some messy information. They were gathered up because of this stirring, gradually becoming logical.
There was a way!
The response grew clearer and clearer with the circulation of the flowing energy. Luo Nan's mental senses were even tinged with color. A faint gray glow gradually filled in.
Luo Nan was no stranger to this.
In this week, whether it was the day he had that experience, or the times when he was half-asleep and half-awake in silence, there was always this glow entwined in his memories, reminding him of the existence of a magical world.