Book 3: Chapter 16 - Everyone Is Cold

The eighth of March should fall within Pisces while the first of June should be in Gemini. So both Raffles and Harry’s horoscopes share a duality aspect, that’s interesting.

I idly watched the crowd shuttling to and fro outside, thinking, What should I prepare for Raffles’ birthday gift? Ming You was definitely more meticulous than me in things like this. She really was like our elder sister.

“Arsenal, what does Raffles like?” I walked next to Arsenal and asked softly, stealing a glance at the rest who were busy setting up our bedding in the room.

“He likes you!” Arsenal replied casually as she organized the items.

I looked at her dumbfounded. When she lifted her face, she was smiling sweetly at me. “Raffles is a scientist. He wouldn’t be interested in most ordinary items but he would definitely like something that you make for him.” She watched me smilingly, a shimmer in her eyes.

Something that I make?

So Raffles likes handmade stuff? I guess it’s like how he likes to make things too.

“Luo Bing, when’s your birthday?” Arsenal probed.

My heart dropped and I answered gloomily, “Five twenty.”

“Five twenty?” Arsenal asked, amused.

“Yeah, twentieth of May.” I looked at her with a faint smile. “This year, I’m becoming an adult. I’ll turn seventeen this May this.”

Arsenal’s eyes popped in surprise. She looked thrilled with excitement. “So, you are older than me?”

“Mm.” I smiled at her glee. Since Arsenal was my best friend, I was willing to tell her my birth date.

*Pfft.* Arsenal laughed as she looked at me. “Then, I’ll have to throw you a coming-of-age ceremony.”

“No!” I objected urgently, my voice low. Looking to the left and right, I continued, “Don’t let Elder Alufa know. He kept hinting at me to give birth.”

*Pfft.* Arsenal covered her mouth and laughed again.

“Is everyone done?” Harry walked out of the inner room, Sis Cannon and the others following behind him.

I beckoned at Arsenal with my raised index finger. “Shh! Pretend that you don’t know about this.”

Arsenal held back her urge to laugh and nodded.

I let out a breath of relief, while Arsenal turned to look at the others.

Harry looked at everyone and smiled. “Now, I’ll bring everyone to shop around and get to know the roads around here. There are more and more people now. Follow closely!”

“Yay!” Sis Cannon and the other girls cheered while Raffles took out his booklet excitedly as though he was going to record all the scenery and sights at every step of the way.

There was a door at the stall that we could lock whenever we had to leave the shop. One could rent a lock from Blue Shield City if they didn’t have one, but at a very expensive rate.

Blue Shield City provided a platform for trading, but it also took advantage and made profit from it. However, they didn’t overdo it because the public wouldn’t come if they were to go overboard. In the end, they would only endanger their profit if they acted recklessly.

Once we had locked the door, we followed behind Harry and started touring around Blue Shield City.

As we walked around, we saw all kinds of people putting their items on display.

Everyone was dressed differently. Some were slovenly clothed in tatters, while others were clean and neat, looking like they came from an economically advanced place. From this, we could tell the poor from the wealthy, and also the difference in the degree of civilization across the many cities. 

“The people from Silver Moon City will be here too,” Harry told me. I looked at him, alarmed. He chuckled, “Don’t worry. The prince wouldn’t come in person for affairs like trading.”

I let out a breath of relief. As long as Xing Chuan wasn’t the one coming, I wouldn’t be afraid of anyone else.

After walking past a few stalls, we saw a merry-go-round!

The merry-go-round looked perfectly intact. It seemed like someone had cleaned it up as there wasn’t any accumulated dust.

It was a double-decker merry-go-round. There were beautiful flying horses on the bottom level, and exquisite underwater-dwelling creatures on the top. They wore wide smiles to welcome everyone who came to the theme-park city.

The city began to fill up with bustling crowds. Everyone’s faces were covered with masks and they didn’t look at one another. Although it was a bustling place, there was also a tinge of coldness. Everyone walked past without looking at one another, nor was there any exchange of glances. Everyone held their heads low or were busy looking at the items displayed on both sides.

In that place, the animals on the merry-go-round appeared far livelier and warmer than the busy crowd who shared zero contact and were tensed with their guards up.

This was the end of the world, and everyone was familiar with the unspoken rule. They couldn’t afford to not keep their guards up. Possession of the map given by Silver Moon CIty was proof that they weren’t Ghost Eclipsers, but it didn’t say a thing about their intentions. 

It was said that robbery and theft were common here, but the Blue Shield City Master wouldn’t step in. He merely provided a venue. He didn’t care who was in the right or the wrong of it, who robbed who, who stole from who. He had nothing to do with anything that happened here.

Now, the merry-go-round wouldn’t spin anymore. I should say that all the facilities wouldn’t move anymore. One would never again hear the scream, laughter or vomiting noises that these facilities had once brought about either.

They stood there in silence, the biggest decorations in the city.

Only the octopus Ferris Wheel was spinning leisurely from afar.

“How does that move?” I asked out of curiosity.

“It’s wind energy,” Harry explained.

Raffles looked at the octopus Ferris Wheel. “The city is in the water. It can use hydraulic power to generate energy too.” 

Oh yeah! I know too little about energy. I only know of solar energy, petroleum and the blue crystal energy from this planet. I forgot that natural power like water and wind could generate energy too.

“Seeds!” Raffles exclaimed in surprise and ran excitedly to the ice cream house next to the merry-go-round.

“Bunny! Don’t run around as you like!” Harry could only run to catch up with Raffles, all of us following closely behind.

There was an old man in the ice cream house. Perhaps because he was too old, he didn’t cover his face. Wrinkles deep as trenches on the ground covered his skin.

A lone chipped glass lay in front of him. In the glass were all kinds of beans.

Raffles wanted to grab for it excitedly but the old man slapped his hand away. “Don’t touch if you don’t have anything good to trade!”

Raffles quickly retracted his hand and apologized, “Sorry, sorry.”

Pfft. I’m not even sure if your seeds aren’t mutated and can actually be put to use,” Harry purposely criticized in disdain.

The old man was a little angry. “Leave if you don’t trust me. Don’t affect my business!”

“I can check- mm!” Harry covered Raffles’ mouth before Raffles could finish his sentence. He also stopped the hand that Raffles was already putting into his bag, probably to take out his detector.

Harry pushed him aside and faced the old man. “We take a risk when we trade for your seeds too. How about this? Give us a better deal. What would you like to exchange them for?”

Raffles looked at Harry confusedly. He didn’t seem to understand Harry’s intention. “Harry, I can-”

“Take him away! Don’t interrupt me in trading.” Harry signaled with me his eyes. Immediately, Arsenal and I dragged Raffles away from the stall. Sis Cannon, Ming You, Xue Gie and Xiao Ying swiftly surrounded Raffles too, so that he wouldn’t be able to interrupt Harry’s bargaining.

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