Chapter 26: Branch
Xu Yangyi didn’t speak, and the gazes of a few other people flickered. They wanted to say something, but they restrained themselves.
None of them were idiots. If the key leading to the true world was so simple, then perhaps they would immediately go become drifters, carefree like idling clouds and field cranes. How could Heavens Law not know this?
“Elder Liu.” Zuo Lun bowed. “The newcomers have arrived.” Elder Liu seemed not to have heard Zuo Lun and continued to sway his head along with the beat of the opera. “Elder Liu.” Zuo Lun raised his voice. “The newcomers are here!”
“Ah? Here? Oh, good, good, good… Youngsters…” Elder Liu seemed to jump in fright, and the rocking frequency of his palm-leaf fan increased by a good few times. He drowsily opened his bleary yellow eyes and curled his mouth that didn’t have many teeth in it. “You want to open the door, right? Okay, okay, I’ll go straightaway…”
Initial-stage Qi Condensation… As the old man woke up, Xu Yangyi slightly raised his brows. The old man was the same as him, the initial stage of Qi Condensation. However, he was only here to look after the door!
This little pavilion… What mysteries did it contain inside?
“A bit interesting…” In his pants pocket, he rolled his fingers. At the very least, the branch had currently aroused his interest.
Elder Liu’s age truly seemed to be great. As Elder Liu falteringly opened the door, Xu Yangyi looked on attentively...
The inside was empty.
“Go on, go on.” After Elder Liu waited for everyone to get in, he closed the door and hung the “no trespassers” sign board outside again.
Everyone entered, and Xu Yangyi probed the interior with his senses. The pavilion was extremely orderly… Moreover, there wasn’t the faintest sensation of a formation.
“Is the technique too great?” He looked around at his surroundings suspiciously. His doubts couldn’t be blamed; superior talisman formations needed a foundation. Just like when he had slain the serpent demon, Mao Ba’er had deployed a talisman formation in advance. Even if it was yellow piece of paper, it could be used as a focus to spread a formation. However, in this already crowded room, there was nothing.
He thought of answers but still couldn’t reach a conclusion. In the next second, everyone felt their center of gravity suddenly drop!
“Fuck…” Speechless, he looked above at a hole where moonlight was faintly passing through. How could he forget about something like an elevator...
The elevator descended with extreme speed. Xu Yangyi already understood. This pavilion was an elevator, and this was the true Heavens Law branch...
It was below the public park!
Beneath the city and in the midst of the twisting tunnels and winding subway intersections, there was an immense shadow. All of the subways and water pipes were constructed during the city’s beginning, and all of them coiled here at the start. This area was the branch’s true location!
Swoosh… The elevator descended with all its might. It seemed as if the bottom was simply endless. In his heart, Xu Yangyi silently calculated. They had already descended a minimum of thirty meters below.
Drip… Drip… The first color appeared in view, and subsequently, so did the second, and the third… There were endless colors.
Like color wheels in the square-shaped elevator, the lights gave one a feeling like something straight out of a science-fiction movie. Not even waiting for Xu Yangyi to appreciate it, the elevator finally stopped in the next second.
“Welcome to the Heavens Law Nantong Province branch.” A robotic female voice rang out. “Welcome… to the truth.”
Swish! Before the voice even finished speaking, the elevator suddenly opened. Followingly, everyone seemed to be struck dumb on the spot.
Xu Yangyi slightly gaped and his gaze twinkled. It went completely beyond his expectations that a Heavens Law branch would surprisingly be like this!
It was an incomparably spacious room that occupied an area nearly as great as the public park above! On top, there wasn’t a ceiling but rather something like an electric circuit! Cables passed through grooves and converged into a giant roof-like circuit board!
Now and then, beams of red and green light migrated within the transparent circuit. Like a myriad streams returning to one, they came together in the center. As for the center… there was a mechanical human face no less than tens of meters in size!
It was a totally mechanized human face. Its forehead, tightly shut eyes, and slightly ajar mouth seemed to be joined together like a puppet. Numerous specks of light representing information sources gathered together on this face. Soon after, transformed messages of blue light were distributed from other circuits.
The floor was made from reinforced glass. There wasn’t anything below but a black expanse. Walking atop of it was like walking through the void of space. Above the floor, there were over a hundred computers and a couple hundred filing cabinets.
In this 1.5 hectare-wide room, there were no less than 300 people bustling about. The room was covered in bonsais, and the wall was broken up into five large regions like Pan’s Labyrinth. Even if they were standing at the entrance, they could hear the racket of the people inside.
“Yuyang City’s recent ten-year demon movements.” Dressed in a white coat, a woman around twenty-seven to twenty-eight years old, ran over in front of them like the wind. Not even glancing at them, her charming face revealed extreme impatience. She pushed back on her wine-red glasses, walking and talking simultaneously. “The professor at HQ wants it. Also, tell that little demon from Pingan County that the branch isn’t Nantong Province’s highest cultivation court! Get it to scram!”
She was a middle-stage Qi Condensation cultivator.
“Yes, understood!” There were several youths behind her, their cultivations unable to be completely discerned. They took notes while asking, “How do we get it to leave? It’s requested a meeting several times.”
“You want me to teach you?!” Although the woman’s voice was raised, she urgently proceeded to the elevator’s entrance. “It said that a Heavens Law student took the magik treasure passed down in his family? What bullshit! It was taken, so its been taken! A little demon that just achieved Form Transformation wants to run over here and yammer; it wants to come over and discuss this?”
“Tell it that if it wants to sue, then go to the cultivation courts! If it comes here again, then it better not think of leaving!”
“Section Chief Liu, can you give our research department a loan?” On the other side, several middle-aged men who were wearing white coats and surrounding an old man berated with tongue and pen. “It’s been three months! Out task regarding ‘The Transformation of Arthropodic Demons Under Modern Environments’ hasn’t started even now! You have to give us a response!”
The five of them were at the initial stage of Qi Condensation!
“Yes, you haven’t shown up at the branch for many months. Now that you’ve come today, you have to say something in any case!”
“If we don’t get a response today, then we won’t leave.”
“Thanks, thanks so much, the CSIB has plucked out that old man four times now, but he just won’t go! If you’re really an old man, why don’t you find your own place to live?”
On the other side, where there were the most people, a man struck his keyboard without warning and stood up and yelled, “Who took on the Water Spirit case from Gaochuan City three months ago? Did you leave? The higher-ups wrapped up the case today; who was responsible for it? Hurry up and send it over!”
“The Fox Immortal case from last year at a border town close to Fengyi City? Wasn’t that Vermilion Snow’s doing? If it was, don’t hand it to this team; they can’t handle it!”
“That old timer in the southern part of Fengyi City applied to cut the ribbon for Long Road Pictures? I’ll go check it out later with three teams… Why? I want them to collect my corpse.”
“The spider to the north isn’t eating again?! How isn’t it dead?! It’s lost its appetite four or five times in a single month! It’s over a hundred years old, why is it being like this?! Does it want to devolve into a caterpillar?!”
Like a butterfly, a summoned paper crane flew back and forth across the 1.5 hectare-long stretch. From time to time, a stream of light could be seen flying. It was a suspended sword hilt, possibly a data folder, or perhaps some other flying sword. Occasionally, domesticated demons that had yet to undergo Form Transformation could be seen. For example, there was a two-tailed black cat with golden spots, and above, one-horned, three-eyed monkeys were serving tea and pouring water for each group.
Rarely seen in the outside world, cultivators were all visible here! At the minimum, a hundred of them were cultivators. The ordinary people were all their retainers.
The room they were in was divided into five areas. It resembled a chaotic mess, but after Xu Yangyi looked at it carefully for a minute, he discovered that it was in fact systematically arranged. Everyone else looked on at the bustling branch in amazement. This… was actually the branch?
It wasn’t an immortal scene of pagodas and pavilions, lofty mountains and flowing streams, the auspicious presentations of immortal beasts, or the soaring of white cranes?
This… lively portrait of everyday government… surprised them so much that they couldn’t even start to ridicule it, since everything around them could be jabbed and picked at. This feeling of déjà vu was practically the same as in the Men in Black! 
Xu Yangyi didn’t care for these things. His thoughts weren’t very different. To the extent that he felt… that this was what the branch really should’ve looked like.
The modern day wasn’t the ancient cultivation age. Xu Yangyi had recognized this reality countless times. This was the year 2016, the human era! The age of civilization! Ancient things were no longer suitable. The world had evolved, and the things that had been intrinsically maintained could only perish. It was the same as a dinosaur.
This… was a genuine cultivation city! This style should’ve been the development of cultivation until now! He looked up ahead at the five pieces of machinery that formed the mechanized human face.
“Curious?” Suddenly, a voice rang out at the side of his ear. Chu Zhaonan stood at his side with an expressionless face and raised his chin towards the roof. “That’s Heavens Law.”
Xu Yangyi looked towards the gigantic face on the ceiling. It was quite hard to say whether or not it was “alive”. This was because although its facial features were softly trembling, it was indeed a work of high-tech machinery.
“A megamind.” Chu Zhaonan noticed that Xu Yangyi wasn’t saying anything, so he continued speaking. “Does not surpasses the human brain… Every major country had a few apex-level supercomputers, for example, Japan’s Tsubame Gaeshi and China’s Milky Way. But the true peak supercomputers have always been installed in the cultivation world.” 
“So, China’s strongest supercomputer is called Heavens Law?” Xu Yangyi looked pensively at the tremendous face. “And it’s also a megamind? It was placed here?”
“This is only part of it.” Chu Zhaonan glanced at the face in passing and said indifferently, “It isn’t just a machine. It’s also an ultimate weapon capable of suppressing an entire province. You better hope you don’t make it issue a kill order against you. By that time you’ll be dead without a doubt.”
“But I feel like your attention isn’t here.” He licked his lips and stood before Xu Yangyi, like a bull that had seen red. He stomped his military boots and said lowly, “There’s an arena underground. It’s the graduation ceremony’s location.”
Xu Yangyi retracted his gaze and looked at Chu Zhaonan with a smile that wasn’t a smile. “So?”
“I’m going to challenge you!” Chu Zhaonan stared into his eyes. “With the title as Tianfeng City’s champion!”
Xu Yangyi glanced at him for a while and laughed, “Your reason?”
“No reason.” Chu Zhaonan said coldly, “If you must know, there’s a comprehensive ranking competition in the entire country during every Heavens Law graduation. It’s called the Qualifier, but…”
He grinded his white teeth. “Besides me, no one else knows that a Dao Master puts out a ‘prize’ during each graduation. A prize from a Core Formation cultivator, a peak cultivator in this world!”