Chapter 16: Downloading
The vegetation outside the ancient city was abnormally luxuriant. The moat's banks were lined with willow trees, all more than ten meters tall. Even the normal grass on the roadside was half an adult's height.
The moat's surface was filled with lotuses the size of boats. The lotus flowers were the size of a face washbasin and they presented a strange redness as though they were dyed in blood.
Due to the influence of the dimensional zone, the nearby animals had experienced different levels of mutations. However, the mutations weren't as serious as those inside the dimensional zone.
Stationed outside the ancient city were armed soldiers with tanks patrolling the area. Without an entry pass, no one was allowed into the ancient city.
There were even surface-to-air missiles installed in the vicinity. However, Zhou Wen had never seen those missiles launch.
In fact, the threat firearms had on dimensional creatures was highly limited. Little damage would be incurred even if a nuclear bomb were to explode inside a dimensional zone. It would lead to more dimensional creatures absorbing the radioactive energies and mutating to become more terrifying.
Ordinary bullets were even more useless. When shot at dimensional creatures, they would be devoured and fuse with them.
Only bullets made from special materials could generate damage on dimensional creatures, but those materials were very rare to begin with. Making such expendable bullets was wasteful, so they were typically made into melee weapons like swords and sabers.
Firearms were not very useful against dimensional creatures, but they still dealt plenty of damage on humans. These days, the main usage of such weapons was solely to maintain order in human society.
Zhou Wen didn't have an entry pass, but his candidate pass could be used as one. During the combat test, these passes allowed a single entry into Guide Ancient City via the north gate.
Guide Ancient City had four gates at the four directions. It was originally a small city, and circling the entire city didn't even cover more than five kilometers.
However, after the dimensional storms, Guide Ancient City became a dimensional zone. The space within became several times bigger than it originally was. To date, humans had yet to completely explore the whole of it.
Entry via the different gates allowed one to encounter different dimensional creatures. The creatures encountered from the north gate were the weakest. Typically not much danger, as long as one didn't venture too deep.
As the candidate pass only allowed four people to enter together after a verification process, Zhou Wen could only stand outside the ancient city's gate to wait for Li Xuan and the two other teammates who Zhou Wen had never met. Luckily there was still some time before the entrance closed.
The ancient city's north gate was ancient and mysterious. Its bricks were mottled and worn, with many spots having signs of weathering.
However, Zhou Wen had heard of stories in which the troops had bombarded Guide Ancient City with massive amounts of ordnance for more than ten minutes. Yet, not a single tile, from the seemingly desolate ancient city, shattered.
Above the city gate was a board with the words "Guide City" written in traditional text. They had an ancient and vigorous flair with a lingering charm that went back a thousand years.
Zhou Wen's gaze finally fell onto the strange symbol at the end of the gate's board.
The symbol looked like a palm-sized indentation left by a baby's palm. However, inside the mark was an engraved pattern that looked like a bulb of garlic or onion.
Guide Ancient City naturally hadn't had such a symbol in the past. Legend had it that this strange symbol appeared after the dimensional storms, but no one knew the meaning of it. Nor did anyone know who had engraved it.
Zhou Wen was studying the symbol when he suddenly felt the phone in his pocket vibrate.
Believing that Yu Qiubai or Li Xuan was looking for him, Zhou Wen reached into his pocket to take it out. But he was left momentarily stunned.
This was because the phone inside that pocket wasn't the phone he usually used. Instead, it was the mysterious phone. It didn't have any calling functionality, nor had it ever vibrated. So why would it suddenly do so now?
Seeing no one around him was looking, Zhou Wen took out the phone from his pocket and saw that the screen had automatically lit up. A camera icon was flashing on it.
Zhou Wen was puzzled as he tapped the camera icon.
Like an ordinary phone, it entered photography mode. However, it wasn't taking a picture of Zhou Wen. The rear camera had been activated.
Thankfully, the ancient city didn't restrict photography. Therefore, the soldiers didn't approach to stop him despite seeing him taking out his phone to take a picture.
Zhou Wen raised the phone and pointed it at the vegetation beside him in an attempt to figure out the uses of the photography function.
He quickly realized that it was apparently broken. There was no way for him to press the shutter button to take the picture.
The phone still wouldn't take a picture of the scenery despite Zhou Wen's finger tapping the screen. There wasn't any reaction.
What exactly is it? Zhou Wen raised his phone and waved it around. When the city gate's tiny hand symbol appeared on screen, there was a beep. Surprisingly, the phone responded.
Zhou Wen was alarmed as he took a careful look. He realized that there was a green box that appeared on screen that locked onto the strange palm symbol above the city gate.
After three consecutive beeps, the palm symbol was zoomed in. The ancient city in the background gradually blurred and the words beneath appeared: "Loading…"
Zhou Wen looked at his phone with the loading screen as a thought flashed across his mind. This thought gave him a fright as he found it unbelievable.
But before long, the phone proved that his guess was correct. The loading completed and the hand symbol turned into an icon that appeared on the phone's home screen. It was right beside the Ant Nest logo, with the three words: "Ancient Imperial City."
Zhou Wen was pleasantly surprised as he held back his excitement and tapped the Ancient Imperial City icon.
Indeed, the screen displayed the familiar loading screen of the game. After a while, the interface changed into Guide Ancient City's north gate. Unlike reality, the door to the ancient city was already open.
Zhou Wen dripped a drop of blood on the screen which manifested into the blood-colored avatar that directly walked through the gates.
The sights that welcomed him were ancient stone pavements and antiquated old wooden buildings. Although Zhou Wen had never entered Guide Ancient City, he had seen videos of its interior on the Internet. It was identical to what he was seeing.
Before Zhou Wen could do a comparison, a ragged-clothed skeleton holding a bone club appeared on the streets. It ran straight for the blood-colored avatar.
Zhou Wen had seen this creature before in the videos. It was none other than Guide Ancient City's dimensional creature, Skeleton Soldier.