Doomsday Wonderland 756 White Gloves
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Suddenly, his lips quivered.
Lin Sanjiu was dumbfounded, but she kept her guard up. She held the tattooed man's gaze and frowned. "What are you—"
Before she could finish her sentence, she suddenly felt a tinge of itchiness on her wrist. She looked down and saw black ink seep into her skin, forming into two words.
Looking at the two words, realization dawned upon her as she understood why Mayor Orlean would be so furious.
"What the h.e.l.l is this?" She lifted her head to look at the man and raised her voice. "What have you done?"
While she was speaking, a figure appeared from the office. The man had an ordinary face with an eye-catching scar running across his forehead. It took Lin Sanjiu a few seconds to realize the person was none other than Mayor Orlean. He gazed around when he stepped out of the office. It was only then that he noticed Lin Sanjiu's presence. His brows furrowed deep in frustration as he harrumphed, "Jeez, there's another one?"
A few long moments pa.s.sed with the three of them just staring at each other. It was as if it was a compet.i.tion to see who could last the longest without breaking. They were capable of playing the game for hours, but they did not have that kind of time, so the tattooed man broke the silence first.
"Don't blame me." The tattooed man held his arms high in the air as he slowly rose to his feet. His chest rose and fell fast; his breath was quick, shallow, and ragged. "This is my dream, and anyone who is connected to my dream must have one of these things on them."
"Bullsh*t! I don't believe that you don't have control over it. Everyone knows this is a semi-lucid dream, so don't you dare give me that sh*t!" Mayor Orlean turned to the man and snapped harshly. It seemed as if he had shed away the awe-inspiring righteousness and high-spirited facade he portrayed on TV, and his crotchety and mean self began to surface.
"Yeah, this is a semi-lucid dream," the tattooed man countered, "So the best thing I can do is pick one option out of my set of choices and give it to you."
Mayor Orlean had a round face, large chin, short neck, and a full pair of feminine lips. Despite his good-natured face, he definitely did not give off a friendly and complaisant vibe.
"Well then, please give me a proper explanation." He stared at the tattooed man and rolled up his sleeve. Only now did Lin Sanjiu notice that he wore the same type of deep blue s.h.i.+rt as the townsfolk in Peanut Town. "What the h.e.l.l is this, and how will it affect me?"
Lin Sanjiu narrowed her eyes and saw the phrase "white gloves" on his exposed wrist, which was also written in the same royal blue tattoo ink.
"I'm afraid you'll have to ask yourself that," the tattooed man answered simply and smiled bitterly. He raised his wrist, and the phrase "pusher" flashed before their eyes.
"You too?" Lin Sanjiu was shocked.
"Yes. It was here as soon as I came in and it got me really curious. I have been thinking a great deal about it, and I have a few thoughts I would like to share," the tattooed man said as he stared at Mayor Orlean. "So, you guys want to put aside our feud for later and hear me out first?"
Mayor Orlean's expression was ugly. He pouted his lips but said nothing.
Lin Sanjiu nudged her chin, "Spill the beans."
"Here is my thought. I think the phrase is the role a.s.signed to us. In this case, I am a "pusher". Then, when I b.u.mped into you..." He stole a glance at Mayor Orlean and continued, "There is no logic in a dream. All I know is that I have to pick a phrase for you and you will certainly get it… You get what I mean?"
Mayor Orlean remained silent, but Lin Sanjiu understood what he meant.
"When I b.u.mped into you, a row of vocabulary options appeared before my eyes. I think if I choose the right phrases, then I could make a complete storyline out of the interconnected librettos. In this way, I will fulfill my role and I can detach myself from the pocket dimension."
At least someone had an idea of the whole matter at hand. It was just that his speculation did not have any positive implications on their situation.
Apparently, Mayor Orlean felt the same way.
"So this is the reason you gave me this?" He shook his arm as if he could cast "white gloves" off his hand. "You picked this phrase for me, and now you are telling me that you don't know why?"
"I have never come across any of you before in my life, so how the h.e.l.l am I supposed to know that?" the tattooed man sneered. "I just chose a phrase that fit your image the best based on my intuition and the first impression you gave me."
Not wanting both of them to lock horns anymore, Lin Sanjiu cleared her throat and cut in.
"Erm, Orlean, right?" She turned to the mayor and tried to talk as calmly as possible. "All of us have the same goal: to finish our storyline as soon as possible and get out of this pocket dimension."
"Yeah," Mayor Orlean replied simply.
"You are the one who dreamed of the black mountain, correct? Can you fill us in about what it is?"
"Then? What are you gonna do after you learn about it?" A smirk tipped his lips as his face scrunched up in a weird expression.
Before either of them could reply, he extended his arm forward and pulled a cigarette out of the air. He held the cigarette between his lips, and then repeated his gesture. This time, a lighter appeared. When he spoke, the cigarette bobbed up and down in his fleshy lips, "I had a bad dream. In the dream, there was this monstrous figure in the shape of a giant black mountain. After that, my dream connected to yours, and before I knew it, I was sitting in the town hall and all of them were calling me Mayor Orlean."
Lin Sanjiu and the tattooed man exchanged glances, and both of them had surprised expressions on their faces.
"I will be honest with you." Orlean took a long drag on the cigarette. He pulled the smoke into his mouth and kept it there for a while as he savored the taste. He then looked at Lin Sanjiu, letting the smoke curl from his lips as he said, "The black mountain is indeed the creature that appeared in my dream, but everything that happened after was because of you. Now, both of us have told our sides of the story, so shouldn't you tell us what is going on in yours?"
"Hold on a second. Your cigarette… how did you do that?" The tattooed man took a step back as he raised his guard. "Our abilities are kind of unsteady while we are in the dream, so how can you pull a cigarette out of nothing? Besides, your attack earlier on was pretty solid too. Care to explain yourself?"
Hearing the tattooed man's words, Mayor Orlean took the cigarette out of his lips and giggled.
"Oh, did I miss something?" He laughed. "Well, I have the strange feeling that the black mountain and I are the same ent.i.ty. It seems that it's the black mountain that gave me unlimited power, unlike you poor wrenches."
Lin Sanjiu and the tattooed man took a step back in unison, though both of them knew such a maneuver was useless.
"I don't care what you guys think or what you want to do," he said as he swung his arm, causing the phrase "white gloves" to turn into a blur in their eyes, "You better wish that your storyline didn't make me or the black mountain your enemy."
Staring at Orlean, the tattooed man let out a breath. When he spoke, his voice was much softer, "Even though our librettos have connected, it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to fight with each other. I have experienced some librettos where they require all the partic.i.p.ants to work together to complete the storyline."
Lin Sanjiu did not make any comments. She grabbed her wrist and said cooly, "What happened to the townsfolk? They were normal when my dream first started."
'Or were they?' Lin Sanjiu suddenly remembered Old Borg, the high school girl who reported her, and her stolen car, and she began to doubt herself.
"The townspeople?" Mayor Orlean shrugged. "They are having a pretty good life now, don't you think? When my dream first connected to yours, they had to drive to work every day, worry about their jobs, and they couldn't afford to buy anything they wanted… But now, everything is different."
The corridor suddenly moved and brought a window into Lin Sanjiu's sight.
The reporting session had finally ended, and people were walking down the streets into the town like a herd of sheep. Since there were no vehicles in the town anymore, they had banished all the traffic lights. The townsfolk did not have to watch the road for any incoming vehicles as they rolled leisurely around the town like b.a.l.l.s.
As they walked, their mouths didn't stop.
Their cheeks were filled out and distended with food. Even from her current spot, Lin Sanjiu could clearly see that all of them had a great wealth of food wrapped around their waists. Wherever they walked, they would stuff something into their mouths, and even though they were sweating profusely, none of them stopped.
A rank of armed police officers was guarding the entrances and exits of the streets. They were the only ones who weren't eating anything, but instead were eyeballing the people as if to prevent them from running away.
"Why are they always eating?" Lin Sanjiu couldn't help but ask.
"What is wrong with them eating nonstop?" Mayor Orlean glanced at his townsfolk and said nonchalantly, "They now have an endless supply of food to feast on; their clothes are supplied by the town hall, free of charge; they could have anything they want, and they did not even have to worry about their husbands or wives, as we will distribute their designated partner to them. Their lives are much better now than in the past. They only have to work a little, and all the black mountain wants in return is for them to eat more. This is the only price they have to pay to me, the black mountain, and the town in exchange for their current lives. Look at them, can't you see the satisfied smiles on their faces?"
"But who can consume so much food in one day?"
"Haven't you heard that "post-meal stroll helps digest the food"? As long as they keep walking, they can keep eating."
Lin Sanjiu was tongue-tied, her gaze fixed on the people who were walking outside. From the moment she first looked at them, they had never stopped munching on the food in their hands.
"You and the black mountain," she mumbled, "What have you done?"
"Please don't point your finger at me." Mayor Orlean shook his head and continued, "If you hadn't dreamt of this town, the black mountain wouldn't have taken root here. Without the soil and the nourishment, do you think that a beast such as the black mountain could survive?"
Mayor Orlean's voice echoed in the corridor. It was only when the lingering sound dissipated that Lin Sanjiu found her voice again.
"What… what do you mean?"
"If it weren't for the people here being wholeheartedly satisfied with their lives, do you think the population of Peanut Town could grow to more than two thousand people in such a short time? Mayor Orlean giggled. "Oh, wholehearted isn't the right word. Do you know how weird this town is? Every resident in this town... there is nothing inside of his or her chest. In other words, they don't have a heart."
As he reveled in Lin Sanjiu's expression, he took one last drag from his cigarette. After that, he threw the stub away and moved on, "Surprised, yeah? The black mountain could tell which organs they lack by swallowing them. So far, none of the people of Peanut Town have a heart in their chest."
Doomsday Wonderland 756 White Gloves
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Doomsday Wonderland 756 White Gloves summary
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