Chapter 184: Santa's Funky Shopping Street~

Chapter List

Original Translations: Crafted with Care, No Unauthorized Reposting Allowed.

June 6, 2018, 1:00 am.

In the silence of the city of Beijing, several black figures cross the buildings with great speed, quietly moving towards the eastern part of the city. Their silhouettes almost blend in with the night, the breeze blowing, and they are gone in a blink of an eye. By 5am, more than thirty players had gathered near the Temple of Heaven in the East End.

Almost every month, The black tower releases a copy of the rally, starting with The black tower version 2.0.

Most of the rallies are not life-threatening. Each of The black tower's rallies is different, with different missions, different bosses and different rewards. Tang Mo has participated in two rallies, one in Shanghai and one in Beijing.

This time, however, the copy is a little different.

Located in the heart of Beijing, Tiantan Park is a flat area without many buildings for shade. Tang Mo and Fu Wenduo unanimously decided to enter the game a week ago after The black tower posted a copy of the rally. Even if Bai Ruoyao hadn't provoked them by giving them a war cry, they would have chosen to enter. Because there is a prerequisite for entering this game -

"Entrants must have been rewarded with a 'Christmas branch' in the 'Christmas Surprise Copy' six months ago."

In the past six months, the only copy of The Gathering that Tang Mo has participated in or heard of is the "Circus of the Weird" in Shanghai, which has restrictions on who can enter. In Tang Mo's experience, the rewards are usually very generous, and the content of the rallies is also confidential to the Underlander Kingdom, with access to some of the more advanced The black tower monsters. Tang Mo refers to this type of gathering as a "special copy".

As the day drew on, the four Tang Mo men hid in a small building in the Temple of Heaven Park, staring silently at the Temple of Heaven Park not far away.

Tang Mo and Fu Wenduo had both met Father Christmas before and the difference in strength was so great that neither dared underestimate him. Fu Wenduo gave Tang Mo his pistol and Tang Mo took the King's gold with him.

"A special copy is different from a normal set copy, and the possibility of death is high." Tang Mo said in a low voice. In that assembly copy of the Strange Circus, a total of 23 players entered, and only nine survived in the end. "In this kind of copy, it's important to stay alive. Combined with previous experience, even if you fail most of the rally copies are not dead, there is still a chance to turn around." So the most important thing is to stay alive.

Chen Shanshan and Fu Wensheng nod their heads in unison.

The minutes ticked by and it was getting closer and closer to 6.06pm.

Fu Wenduo pressed his body against the window, his eyes calmly scanning the whole of Tiantan Park. The park is silent, the dark trees swaying slightly in the wind, but otherwise there is no sound. Fu Wenduo's eyes linger on a tree for a moment before looking at the Temple of Heaven and the other two bungalows.

Fu Wenduo took Tang Mo's hand and wrote the number '9' on his heart.

He then wrote the same number on the backs of Chen Shanshan's and Fu Wensheng's hands.

Tang Mo stares at him in surprise.

Fu Wenduo puts his index finger to his lips and makes a 'shushing' motion, pointing to the ceiling at the same time. Tang Mo instantly understood what he meant.

Tang Mo took his mobile phone out of his pocket and typed a line.


Fu Wenduo picked up the phone: [It came earlier than us, I just found out about them].

Tang Mo's expression sinks.

Chen Shanshan took out a pen and paper from his bag and wrote: [Those who are eligible to come here are players who have received the "Christmas branch" reward. The returnees should not have participated in the Christmas duplicate, and after six months, many of the players who received the reward have died. There should be no more than 50 players in Beijing City who have a chance to enter this rally copy.

However, this also means that every player in this copy has above-average strength.

Fu Wenduo has just written "9", meaning that he has found nine people hiding in Tiantan Park. But they knew that there were more players who were so well hidden that even Fu Wenduo could not find them.

Tang Mo thought about it and tapped down a word: [Wait.

The crowd nodded gently.

Chaoyang leapt completely out of the horizon and the Temple of Heaven Park was still empty. Just as the time was approaching 6.06pm, with only one minute left, a black shadow was seen suddenly leaping over from behind a large tree and into the square in front of the Temple of Heaven. The next moment, a dozen more figures leapt over and landed steadily on the platform.

In the last ten seconds, a total of twenty-five players stood in front of the altar of heaven, keeping a wary eye on those around them.

Tang Mo heard a crack of wind above his head and knew that the man hiding above them had also set off.

It's not too late, Tang Mo: "Let's go!"

The four of them leapt down the stairs, Tang Mo carrying Chen Shanshan and Fu Wenduo carrying Fu Wensheng, and they ran with terrifying speed to the square in front of the Temple of Heaven. Tang Mo had just stood firm when he saw Bai Ruoyao's disgustingly smiling face peeking out from behind the Temple of Heaven, smiling at him and winking at him and Fu Wenduo.

Tang Mo squinted his eyes, which were down to one second.

Suddenly, a figure appears in Tang Mo's vision that should not be here. The black tower's crisp, childlike voice rang out...

"Ding Dong! Player Tang Mo has successfully entered the assembly copy of 'Santa's Curious Shopping Street'. As of 6:06pm on June 6, 2018, a total of 31 players have successfully entered the copy, 20 official players, 1 reserve, 7 stowaways and 3 returnees."

The sound of The black tower reached the ears of all the players, and although there was a white light in front of them, Tang Mo could hear a shout from around him.

Surprised there are reserves?!

...... even has returnees?!

So was that really Ning Zheng?

"Ding Dong! A pre-copy of 'Santa's Curious Shopping Street': Santa has never had such a bad Christmas. The Christmas season, which was all about giving presents to children, was ruined by some shameless The black tower monsters. It's been so bad that Santa hasn't had a good night's sleep in six months. So today, Santa decided to give a real reward to the good kids who were tricked by the bad bosses. All children who like Santa and play Santa's games are good and honest children. Santa will not mess up this 'Special Surprise of Christmas'."

Tang Mo felt a violent falling sensation, and as he was about to fall to the ground, he subconsciously braced himself with one hand, trying to stabilise himself. Where his fingers touched the ground was soft and supple. Tang Mo looked down in surprise and saw that the floor was a large trampoline with a pink and white checkered pattern.

Once on his feet, Tang Mo quickly checked his surroundings.

He saw Fu Wensheng!

Fu Xiaodi, who was a little slower than Tang Mo, steadied himself and saw Tang Mo with a look of surprise. Tang Mo tried to look at the others again when the mechanical voice of The black tower rang out in the room...

"Ding Dong! Players have officially entered the Curiosity Shopping Street. Violence, the use of psychic powers and all props are prohibited in the Commercial Street. In the magical Curious Commercial Street, players no longer have special status such as official players, reserves, stowaways and returnees; all players' status is temporarily set as reserve customers. Friendly reminder: players are requested to find the right way to become official patrons of the Fantastic Shopping Street as soon as possible."

With those words, Tang Mo finally got a good look at the other two people in the room.

It's a small, candy-like room with a bouncy gummi trampoline floor, walls made of biscuits and windows made of icing sugar. The ceiling is a giant dome of chocolate, the room is unfurnished and the sweet, creamy scent stings Tang Mo's nose, making him cringe.

There are just four people in this candy house.

Tang Mo, Fu Wensheng, a strange woman in black, and Ning Zheng.

Yes, it's Ning Zheng.

All four stand firm on their trampolines and stand in the four corners, calmly surveying the others.

Fu Wensheng is delighted to see Tang Mo at first, but he quickly withdraws his surprise when he realises that there are other people in the room. He stares warily at the three adults in the room as if he doesn't know Tang Mo.

Ning Zheng also did not expect to land in the same room as Tang Mo. He suddenly felt a slight pain in his neck and remembered his apple of Eve. He stared coldly at Tang Mo and thought for a moment, not making a move, but observing the house.

The young woman looked curiously at Tang Mo for a few moments, then at Ning Zheng. Finally her eyes fell on Fu Wensheng and she smiled a little, "How can you have such a young man?"

Tang Mo raises an eyebrow: Cantonese?

The woman, sensing Tang Mo's gaze, smiled brightly at Tang Mo and also turned to look for other clues in the room.

Tang Mo and Fu Wensheng did not exchange words as they each looked the room over.

It must have been thirty-one players, who would have entered different rooms upon entering the game. Tang Mo walked around the room while watching out for Ning Zheng and the young woman to make a sudden move. They didn't make a move, however, and the four of them walked around the room once each, returning in unison to the centre of the room proper.

Ning Zheng looked at Tang Mo in silence and did not speak.

Fu Wensheng is pretending not to know Tang Mo at the moment and is not in a position to speak.

Tang Mo thought for a moment and was about to speak when a clear, clean female voice spoke up in front of him, "It looks like everyone is watching?"

The man seemed to be in a good mood and sounded pleasant. Tang Mo gave the woman a strange look. It was the first time he had seen a player who could maintain such a good mood after entering The black tower game. Why did it feel as if she was here to play the game and wasn't afraid of losing it ...... Was she not afraid of dying?

Fu Wensheng nodded, "Watch this."

The young woman laughed, "Is the child thirteen years old?"

Fu Wensheng replied reflexively, "I'm twelve." Only after saying this did he remember that this was a completely unknown player and he didn't have to answer her question at all. Fu Wensheng was a little annoyed, but the woman was talking like she was chattering, so he didn't get defensive.

"So small." The woman in black rubbed her chin.

Ning Zheng interrupted their chat, " Tang Mo , what is Eve's reward."

The young woman's body lurches and she looks up at Tang Mo in surprise.

Tang Mo wrinkles his brow.

Ning Zheng's question sounded spiteful and casual, but in fact it was a very tricky one. Fu Xiaodi had not been present when Tang Mo and Fu Wenduo had grabbed Ning Zheng, so he did not know that Tang Mo and Fu Wensheng knew each other. But when he said this, the young woman knew that Tang Mo had Eve's reward.

Eve's reward is something that is enough to make senior players' eyes water. It's like a Pandora's Box, everyone thinks it's good and wants what's inside. Even if Tang Mo told them that he had lost his memory and had no idea what Eve's reward was, these players would not believe him.

Ning Zheng's words put Tang Mo on the opposite side of the room from the three players.

Tang Mo thinks for a long time, but only a few seconds pass. He calmly replied to Ning Zheng: "A very nice item. But it's forbidden to use any props in Santa's rally, and coincidentally I don't have it on me either. Ning Zheng , how come you are here, you are a returnee and you have a Christmas branch too?"

At these words, the young woman looked at Ning Zheng again in surprise.

As all Beijing players know, Ning Zheng is the last surviving Beijing returnee on the time chart. Tang Mo's reputation in China is extremely strong, and Ning Zheng is no better. If Tang Mo's Eve bonus made him a public enemy, Ning Zheng is a returnee. Ning Zheng's status as a returnee makes him an enemy of the Earth survivors.

Kill Ning Zheng and you're sure to get a fine prop, that's how the time chart works.

Ning Zheng wanted Tang Mo to be ostracised by the players in the room, and Tang Mo did the same.

The woman in black looked at the vague animosity between the two as she laughed, " Tang Mo , Ning Zheng , I never thought I would be so lucky to come across two famous high level players at once. It seems you don't need to introduce yourselves to each other, you both know each other. My name is Mo Xue, what's this little friend's name?"

The woman in black reacted in a way that Tang Mo and Ning Zheng did not expect.

...... She actually just passed it off?

Fu Wensheng said, "My name is Chen Sheng."

The woman in black laughed: "The game still has to start. The black tower said earlier that it was recommended that we find the right way to become official customers sooner rather than later. What do you guys think about that?"

Given Ning Zheng's cautious nature, Tang Mo knows he won't make a move here. Neither side can use their powers or props, and Ning Zheng has no certainty of defeating Tang Mo. By the same token, Ning Zheng also knows that Tang Mo will not make a move.

Ning Zheng said, "There are four windows in this room. There are two on the left and two on the right, and a door. I tried to open the door just now, but it didn't open. The door was locked. Looking out of these four windows ...... there are four shops each."

The four walked over to a side window and looked out through it, only to see four identical shops standing outside the window. Each shop had a beautiful glass window with delicate gifts and cakes and biscuits. They walked further to the other side and there were four identical shops outside the windows on the other side.

There are eight shops in total, symmetrical on the central axis of this house. The shops on the left are a cake shop, a sweet shop, a biscuit shop and a gift shop, and the four shops on the right are also these four.

All four shops have their respective names circled in colourful neon lights on their shop signs -

"Santa's Cake Shop, Santa's Candy House, Santa's Cookie House and Santa's Gift Shop." Fu Wensheng reads out the four names.

The door won't open and the window is simply sealed.

Violence is forbidden in Chicagoland, but The black tower does not say whether player-to-player violence or all violence is forbidden. So Tang Mo did not dare to open the door violently and had to wait quietly in the room for The black tower to announce the new rules of the game.

The four players in the room, apart from the woman in black who didn't know the details, the other three were all advanced players who had experienced many games. The three were not a bit anxious.

The black tower never gives an inexplicable puzzle, they have worked out all the clues they can and there must be others that have not been announced.

Before that, however, Ning Zheng did not answer the question Tang Mo asked him.

Tang Mo lowered his eyes and gave Fu Xiaodi a wink.

Although Fu Wensheng did not have the same understanding with Tang Mo as his elder brother, he did understand what Tang Mo meant after a while. He was like a curious and timid child, staring nervously at the "returnee" Ning Zheng and quietly cowering towards Tang Mo. His behaviour does not arouse Ning Zheng's suspicion; after all, Tang Mo is an official player and Ning Zheng is a returnee. It was clear who the children would choose.

Fu Wensheng whispered, "How did the returnees get into this game."

Tang Mo followed his words and asked faintly, "How did you get in? Did the returnees also experience the Christmas surprise copy?"

Ning Zheng leaned against the iced sugar window and when he heard Tang Mo's words, he asked back with an icy expression, "A Christmas surprise copy?"

Tang Mo : "How did you get the Christmas branch without going through a Christmas copy?"

Ning Zheng gives Tang Mo a strange look and suddenly he sneers and says to himself, "You don't want to know what kind of Christmas copy we're going through", then says nothing more and looks away, quietly observing the four shops outside the window.

Tang Mo captures key information.

The returnees have also experienced the Christmas copy.

The copy of Christmas that the returnees experienced doesn't seem to be a very good memory.

Tang Mo looked at Ning Zheng's neck: "You're a full player now?"

Ning Zheng's neck is free of the golden numbers.

Ning Zheng looked steadily at Tang Mo and after a moment he said, "Did Xu Yunsheng say anything to you when he died."

What should she say? Tang Mo said, "Said."

Ning Zheng's body stiffened and he watched Tang Mo's expression carefully for a moment before letting a chortle escape from his nose and sighing in relief, "She didn't say."

Tang Mo's heart is in the right place.

There were only four people in the room.

Tang Mo and Ning Zheng are definitely not friends, and Fu Wensheng does not dare to approach Tang Mo openly. The woman in black called Mo Xue stood by and did not participate in their conversation. She didn't even seem to care about what Tang Mo and Ning Zheng were saying, as she reached out and touched the wall of biscuits, gently breaking off a piece and chewing it in her mouth.

"Hmm? Sweet."

Tang Mo : "......"

Ning Zheng : "......"

The world is full of oddities! How can all kinds of odd players appear.

The next moment, however, Tang Mo suddenly saw the woman picking a small piece of icing off the window with her empty hand, and with a slight effort on her feet, she leapt nimbly to the ceiling to break off a piece of chocolate. She moves beautifully, as easily as if she were walking and eating, on this bouncy bed of gumdrops.

Tang Mo and Ning Zheng realise in unison that this woman's strength is not simple.

Just as the eerily stagnant atmosphere in the room was about to last five minutes, a familiar child's voice rang out, finally breaking the silence.

"Ding-dong! One hundred virtual customers all in place."

"Please prepare the thirty-one reserve customers for the first wave of customer frenzy in five minutes at the Curious Shopping Street. Players are asked to look carefully to find the shops that really belong to Santa. After three rounds of customer frenzy, players may choose which shop they wish to enter."

"Attention please! Only by walking into the right shop can you be converted into a full customer."

Published at: 08/10/2022 21:04