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    Asianovel

    The world's first crowdsourcing-driven asian bl novel translation community

    Chapter 107

    While the forums were abuzz with discussions about the new features, within the game's world.

    As the players completed their main quest and logged out en masse, Lane didn't vanish immediately. Instead, he continued wandering through Arkham City, consuming the abnormalities that had gathered behind him.

    With the last Spirit Seed taking root, Lane turned his head and surveyed the city from high above.

    From his perspective, the steel forest was now a literal one in every sense of the word.

    Sleek office buildings stood tall, interspersed with strangely emergent, almost alien flora that encircled Arkham, transforming the city into an immense forest more than anything else. However, these plants were not green. With time of the essence, Lane had no chance to tend to them, allowing them to grow wildly, resulting in a landscape that bore a distinct Lovecraftian aura. Should someone with sudden psychic awakening behold this forest, they might very well be driven momentarily mad.

    Lane took one last look but could no longer bear the ugliness and promptly retreated to his Divine Realm.

    The bizarre entities trailing the deity were gradually cleansed, and the masked Pan, draped in white, vanished into thin air. Yet, the impact on Arkham lingered.

    People began to walk spontaneously along the path Lane had taken, perhaps without fully grasping its significance. When one person started, the rest followed suit, as if compelled by an unspoken impulse.

    As they walked, they didn't merely stroll; they assisted those injured or in distress along the way, as if it were a solemn pilgrimage. In this journey, the broken-hearted and despairing were uplifted by the collective spirit, their eyes gradually illuminating with hope.

    The group grew in size, yet they kept walking, persistently moving forward...

    After the disaster, the police regained control of the situation. Sirens blared as patrol cars roared through streets and alleys, symbolizing humanity's reassertion of authority.

    Civilization reestablished its hold on the land.

    Police cars pulled over to the side, officers armed themselves nervously, not for combat against citizens but for rescue operations. They had witnessed the aftermath of disasters before, like in Arkham, where citizens had attacked the police, blaming them for their loved ones' deaths due to perceived incompetence.

    The police had no desire to confront the people, but there had been too many instances of grief or madness leading to irrational behavior.

    But this time, something seemed different.

    Upon arriving at the scene, the police found that order had already been restored.

    A group of citizens had spontaneously organized themselves, helping wherever they went, maintaining an orderly flow.

    Just like that deity who briefly descended, bringing hope wherever they went.

    A police chief, cigarette in mouth, pondered this thought.

    "Captain? Their group is growing larger. What should we do?" The rookie beside him seemed nervous. Fresh on the job, he had rarely seen such a large assembly of people, even if they weren't marching or agitated. Yet, the mere act of gathering such strength after the disaster was an unsettling sign.

    The chief remained silent, picking up his radio. "Let them pass. Don't stop them."

    ...

    Edmund laid down the bloodstained knife and tucked it into his pocket. Raising his gaze, he met Albert's eyes across the street.

    The blond chief, now expressionless, stared at him. Edmund offered a bright smile, which Albert ignored with an unyielding gaze.

    Well, it seemed his new companion wasn't exactly friendly.

    Coincidentally, Edmund didn't particularly care for him either. Or rather, he disliked anyone who could distract Lane's attention from himself, apart from himself.

    At that moment, they both heard the sound of a large group approaching. Albert, as swift as a gust of wind, moved to the back of the procession. Watching the team aid the injured they encountered along the way, a peculiar light shone in his eyes.

    Kindness can only be infected by more kindness.

    The troupe followed the path that Lane had taken, passing by the police station, the church, and the hospital. No slogans were shouted, nor was there any need for explanation; the citizens who observed their passage immediately understood their purpose.

    Initially, after order was restored, the city government planned to close off the roads. This was to ensure that panic-stricken citizens remained where they were to receive aid, rather than driving around and potentially causing further casualties. However, upon noticing this particular team, they promptly sought instructions from higher authorities.

    "Very well, I understand," the traffic officer said, addressing the situation. "Let them proceed."

    An ever-growing number of individuals were appending themselves to the group; however, their progress was slow due to their frequent stops to aid those in need along the way. They often had to pause after passing through each area.

    Yet once they joined, none ever left.

    It was like a pilgrimage, or the performance of a specific rite.

    Finally, the procession arrived at the square.

    The same place where Lane had first appeared.

    Carmen looked on, bewildered, cradling Norman Kin's lifeless body in her arms.

    This pioneer of the anti-discrimination movement has forever closed his eyes here, yet every soul in Arkham knows that he has followed the divine's footsteps into His heavenly realm.

    And there, his spirit shall find eternity.

    ...

    Having returned to the Divine Realm, Lane finally calmed down somewhat.

    He began to contemplate the consequences of the monumental act he had just committed...

    Hmm...

    Well, well, perhaps I should check the forums first.

    Lane, the ostrich burying its head in the sand for the time being, pondered thus.

    As expected, the forums were bustling with activity. Not only because the second phase of the main storyline had concluded, but also due to the new features the officials had swiftly introduced.

    The appearance of the profession system didn't surprise Lane much, as it was supposed to debut at this point in his past life. However, the Church of Stellar Wisdom was an unexpected twist.

    Wasn't this feature supposed to appear after the open beta? Yet it's already operational during the closed beta...

    At that moment, Lane suddenly had a premonition and looked in a certain direction.

    The entire Arkham area had now become his divine realm. In Lane's perception, an abandoned cemetery near the outskirts was suddenly shrouded in fog, causing him to lose contact with it.

    Lane's mind stirred, and he instantly appeared at that spot in the outskirts. After extending his divine realm into reality, traveling anywhere in Arkham took but an instant.

    This abandoned cemetery seemed strangely familiar. It was where they held a funeral for Yaya after her first card tear a long time ago. Back then, it was merely a prank by some rowdy locals, but now...

    The moment Lane appeared, the fog enveloping the graveyard dissipated, revealing a well-maintained church. Not too new, but not dilapidated either, as if it had stood there for many years.

    However, Lane was certain that there was only an abandoned cemetery here before. This church had suddenly materialized, and at the very moment the fog appeared, Lane temporarily lost his connection to the place.

    Of course, with the fog dispersing, Lane regained control over the area and became familiar with all its functions.

    But this was enough to put Lane on high alert.

    What kind of existence was the game's official...?

    Initially, Lane had no intention of delving into it, for he was too weak back then and content with an ordinary life. But now that his ordinary life seems increasingly out of reach, his curiosity has piqued.

    Upon entering the church, its interior exuded a gloomy solemnity reminiscent of the Middle Ages. Instead of depicting any myths, the stained glass windows portrayed various constellations. Most strikingly, at the center, where one would expect to find a statue of a deity or a crucifix, stood a small, intricate globe.

    Apart from this, there was nothing remarkable about the church, and Lane sensed no vestiges of power left behind.

    Behind the church lay the graveyard, which had been restored from its abandoned state. Now, only a scattering of nameless tombstones remained, among them the one belonging to Nighthawk.

    Lane approached Nighthawk's grave, placing his hand on the tombstone. Suddenly, an image flashed through his mind.

    That was the scene of Nightray luring ghouls alone and perishing as a result.

    So that's how it works, he realized.

    Lane closed his eyes, sensing the power contained within. It seemed to be a unique magical pattern, akin to the enchantment techniques Ogar had taught him, but far more profound.

    Strangely, despite the church suddenly materializing in his divine realm, the enigmatic authority seemed to have merely constructed a new structure. Once the mist dissipated, the place had returned under Lane's control. He could even demolish the church at any moment.

    If he were to destroy this edifice, what would the mysterious authority's response be? Would they rebuild it? Or would they intervene to stop him?

    For a fleeting moment, Lane felt an urge to act, but after much contemplation, he resisted the tempting proposition.

    The game's authorities were now an enigma, and their methods seemed subtle and powerful; it was unwise to provoke them.

    Moreover, Lane himself had no desire to demolish the Church of Stellar Wisdom, which had been built for the players.

    Having satisfied his curiosity, he reexamined the area, unsurprisingly finding no leads. He could only store the matter concerning the game officials in the back of his mind for now.

    Before departing, Lane snapped his fingers, erecting a new gravestone within the Church of Stellar Wisdom.

    Upon it was inscribed a single name.

    Ian Balfor.

    ...

    Lane left the site.

    Though the major event had concluded, numerous issues remained unresolved.

    The aftermath of Pan's manifestation in the mortal world.

    Lane B had pretended to be him, and his flock had expanded vastly, with Arkham even becoming his earthly domain. However, this also meant that the city was now a territory he needed to protect.

    The question arose: When major events had previously drawn attention to the Gatekeeper, what would this grand spectacle bring about?

    With some unease, Lane asked Ogar, who pondered before responding, "Actually, they might not necessarily connect the Gatekeeper with Pan."

    "Pan has been active in the Dream World for a long time, though He disappeared for a significant period during the Great Decline. Many believed He was dead. As for your appearance now, other entities might simply assume that Pan was sealed on Earth."

    Lane nodded, acknowledging that he had indeed planned accordingly. The entire Secret Church had been built around elements of Pan, allowing him to protect the true identity of the Gatekeeper by appearing as Pan.

    "However, the traces of two gods appearing here in such a short time will certainly attract attention," Ogar pointed out.

    Indeed...

    "But it's not all bad," Ogar reassured him. "Now that Arkham is your divine kingdom, few beings within its borders can harm you. Divine manifestations are rare in the real world, and you're practically at the pinnacle here. Besides, with so many new believers, the side effects of using your powers should have vanished, right?"

    That was correct. Previously, Lane had grown drowsy and couldn't resist sleep after forcefully altering reality through dreams. But now, he felt no such exhaustion; instead, he was brimming with energy.

    The existence of the Divine Kingdom on the ground was now Lane's greatest asset. As long as the enemy set foot on this land, they were essentially at his mercy. Moreover, Ogier had mentioned that the more believers one had in reality, the greater their power could be. Now, Lane could somewhat feel it. If he wished, he could manifest as the Pastoral God at any time.

    Considering this, Lane had gained purely from this incident.

    "Is something wrong?" Ogier noticed the change in Lane's expression.

    "…Nothing much. I'm just wondering what Amos and Eugene are really up to," Lane said. "They went through so much trouble only to end up playing the role of a gift-giving child."

    Upon closer reflection, the incident was indeed peculiar, like a disgustingly wrapped present with great care.

    This kind of tactic, this scheme, gave Lane an inexplicable sense of déjà vu.

    And then there was Amos.

    Lane had never expected Amos to be involved in this matter. Thus, he was momentarily surprised when Albert found him. Of course, relying on his understanding of this NPC, Lane swiftly identified the culprit and later had the strange creature tear him apart.

    But was Amos truly dead? Lane wasn't certain. In his previous life, Amos had managed to thrive under the pursuit of players, indicating how difficult it was to kill him.

    If Lane's understanding of this NPC was correct, and this plan was indeed orchestrated by Amos…

    Lane's face suddenly twisted in a mixture of disgust and alarm. Could Amos's target be him?!

    "Rane, what's the matter?" Oger observed with perplexity as Rane, his face etched with vigilance, surveyed the surroundings warily.

    "It's fine, just an uncomfortable feeling of being targeted by a creep," Lann rubbed his arm, though he was less afraid of Amos now and more annoyed by the sense of being hassled.

    Resolved, if Amos appears again, I'll find a way to dispose of him first.

    As for Eugene, after Lane had planted the Spirit Seeds throughout Arkham, he found Eugene's shattered remains. There was no denying that he was as dead as one could be, leaving little hope for resurrection.

    Lane didn't know much about the auditor, nor did he have any intention of further scrutinizing the man; he simply saw to it that the body was buried in a cemetery.

    Eugene's thoughts, life, and will were forever interred within the earth, leaving no one to fathom the emotions that had coursed through him in his final moments.

    Having briefly assessed the situation, Lane refocused his attention on the player forums.

    The recent update hadn't been in effect for long, which meant a new influx of players was imminent within the game.

    The game was finally about to launch its third closed beta, and if Lane's memory served him right, this round would temporarily reshape the current landscape.

    That's because players would finally be able to access the game from locations beyond Arkham.

    On the Players' Forum:

    "Notification — New version: 'Fatespin Reversal' Closed Beta 3.0 is imminent. The new version will introduce different login points to alleviate congestion. Veterans can choose to log in from Arkham or the new maps. Expected openings:

    1. Arkham (Crowded)

    2. New Harbor (Smooth)

    3. Orlandu (Smooth)

    "Expected number of closed beta spots: 50,000"

    Rattytale Me: The officials have changed their tune! They're offering fifty thousand spots!

    Come Quick·Half-Price Chips Over There: Time to burn some for my deceased grandfather. Grandpa, there are finally more spots in this game!

    I_Love_Shit: Oh my God, I really want to give the planner a big kiss on their butt!

    I'm_Langbao_Man: I still feel it's not enough, qwq. Don't underestimate the non-lucky ones. With tens of thousands drawing, the chances are still slim, orz.

    French_Fries_want_Salt: Let me go to Arkham! Let me go to Arkham!

    Life_Saving_Requires_Thought: It's a new map!

    Super_Excited_Ye: Yay! We can wander around other places now!

    Explodes_When_Closer: New map, new forces, I'm so looking forward to the main storyline!

    Evil_Smile_Lin_Pinru: Looking forward to it, hurry up and draw, official!

    Azathoth: I want to go to Arkham, qwq, but I'm worried that both new and old players will choose Arkham as their first choice, and I feel there might not be any spots left.

    Druid: I also think this could be an issue. Mainly because players are unfamiliar with other areas. Of course, there'll be exploration happening everywhere.

    Seemingly in response to the players' curiosity about the new map, the official didn't waste time and promptly released two PVs (promotional videos) of the new map.

    First is the New Harbor, clearly an urban port city, but despite its name, it gives off a rather traditional and conservative vibe. In the fleeting PV, many players caught glimpses of backward fishing villages and towns surrounding the city.

    Second is Orlandu, which is the polar opposite of New Harbor. It's clearly an international metropolis, with modern architecture and fashionable attire among its pedestrians. Importantly, there was a brief shot of the Bureau of Investigation's headquarters in the scene.

    Both landing points have distinct atmospheres, and Lane wasn't surprised when he saw them. This new version was expected to introduce fresh maps.

    Frankly, in his previous life, his landing point had been Orlandu, so he knew it better.

    Quickly_Give_Me_Medicine: Aaaaah, I can smell the scent of a new main storyline!

    Black_Dog_Is_Not_A_Dog: Both landing points have such distinct styles. Some of those fishing villages in the first PV reminded me of iconic locations in L