Chapter 2:

Chapter 2; Beta- The A. Records


Turning the doorknob, I tried to open the door leading into one of the rooms on the 2nd floor West wing.
Bookmark here

Yang: [Huh…?]Bookmark here

A wave of déjà vu hit me as soon as I made contact with the doorknob but that was the last thing I had in my mind as the door swung inwards almost immediately, as if a strong gust of wind had just blown it open. Bookmark here

Thinking it was a heavy door, I originally tried to open it by leaning my whole body weight on it but when it swung open so suddenly, there is no longer anything to prevent me from falling forward. Taking a few tumbles, I now find myself in the middle of a hallway. I reached out to my surroundings to find anything that I can use to support myself up and did in fact chanced upon something solid. However, the moment I put force onto my fingers to push myself up, I can feel my support leaving my side. Bookmark here

With a heavy thud, both it and I took another fall. Just then, I could just about make out the sound of something rolling away and when I turned my head to look, I could only catch a glimpse of a ball-like object of unknown material disappearing around the corner of the hallway.Bookmark here

Feeling dumber than ever for taking two consecutive falls, I decided to finally do the smart thing and support myself up without any outside help. Bookmark here

The support I originally tried to lean on seemed to be a pedestal of sorts that was balanced precariously, or even impossibly, on a single pointed tip at the bottom. Bookmark here

The only way I could tell it was a pedestal was from deducing that the ball-like object that rolled off into the distance used to be placed on top of this platform, like an artefact on showcase for all to see along the hallway. Though there’s no way for me to be sure when I did not lay eyes on the state of things before I so haphazardly ruined it.Bookmark here

Speaking of the hallway, upon closer inspection, it was by no means a completely straight hallway but seemed to curve the further I go. In fact, judging by how it seemed to ascend and descend ever so slightly when I go left or right respectively, I can conclude that this hallway is similar to spiral staircasesBookmark here

Knowing that it was a spiral like a spring was not enough when that wasn't even the most interesting part about the hallway. Filling the walls of the hallway were not wooden planks or stone bricks, but shelves and shelves upon shelves of books. Precisely speaking, there were exactly six shelves in terms of height but they stretch off to the point of infinity horizontal wise, following the endlessly spiralling hallway. Each shelf is filled to the brim with books arranged neatly with no gaps in between. Each and every one of them came with the same bland hardcover that made it difficult for me to differentiate between one book from the billion others around it.Bookmark here

Before I could even worry about my own situation, I came to pity the librarian(s) that had to manage this place that came straight out of a scene from The Library of B*bel. Bookmark here

Yang: [This is progress, alright. Time to go back, there's still the 1st floor East... Huh?]Bookmark here

I turned around to exit through the door and continue my systemic exploration of the mansion but the door where I came from no longer exist in this hallway of books. Bookmark here

There was not even a single trace of an opening in these endless shelves where books were packed so tightly that air could even hardly escape.Bookmark here

Now that I noticed it, the pedestal was gone too.Bookmark here

Alone in the hallway, I was, with only the company of the sea of books that sees no end in sightBookmark here

Yang: [A puzzle, eh… The only way to go back would be for me to accomplish the clear condition, which would most likely be…]Bookmark here

Looking around at the shelves of books, I could only imagine them begging to be read in this hallway that seemed untouched by any living being for a time longer than any number us humans could think of.Bookmark here

You wouldn’t expect me to read every book here now, would you?Bookmark here

Thinking back, I am beginning to curse at the me a few moments ago that would even entertain the idea that I am getting used to the concept of this mansion. Nothing about this mansion made sense, not the respawning note pad and bread and definitely not the infinite spiral library that existed in the space of a small room of a mansion.Bookmark here

Reluctantly, I pulled out the first book that my eyes landed on and began on this gruesome quest.Bookmark here

The contents of the book are hardly readable; Mixed with a random selection of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and spaces, no meaningful word was formed, let alone clauses and sentences that would compose a paragraph in this entire book.Bookmark here

Yang: […Hang on…]Bookmark here

There was one single exception, however.Bookmark here

On the very last page, at the very last line, just before the string of unintelligible text ends and the book reach its conclusion, were three simple words:Bookmark here

Yang: [The A. Records…]Bookmark here

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bookmark here

Thankfully, that was the first and only book so far with unintelligible text. The rest of the books there were quite decent, even reader-friendly at times as I continue reading. In fact, I was able to find manga and comics after every hundred or so books I flipped open. Bookmark here

Yet despite so, the ambiguity of the possible clear condition gnaws at my head. If it were really a case of “read everything to go”, then a question arose:Bookmark here

What would register as “reading”?Bookmark here

Do I need to fully understand the contents of each of every book, or would it be okay as long as I lay eyes on each word? Bookmark here

Looking down the never-ending hallway, I am starting to think that I would not even come close to clearing it even when I merely flipped through the books and immediately moved on to repeat the same actions for the next book.Bookmark here

Sighing, I continue to descend the A. Records, the name I started to call this endless library. Choosing to go down the place is because it would be easier to walk down a slope than to walk up. Not that it would matter since the whole time I am in the Records, no, the whole time I am in this entire mansion, I have not grown physically tired even just once, “thanks” to the powers of the mansion.Bookmark here

That and maybe because the ball-like object I previously knocked over rolled that way? It seemed to be the only thing that moved in this static environment other than me ever since I came here.Bookmark here

In fact, the level of cleanliness is on par with those common in dystopian settings; It is so clean that one would conclude that something is definitely wrong here.Bookmark here

Then again, it might be due to one of the characteristics of the mansion of how things go back in place once I stop looking at it.Bookmark here

In fact, I had seen this in action in the A. Records, though indirectly:Bookmark here

In order to reach the highest shelf of books, the 6th shelf, I would often stack some books together to form a make-shift staircase. Once, I was too engrossed in reading that I descended the hallway without putting the make-shift staircase back in place. When I realized my mistake, I quickly went back up, only to find the books neatly put in place like they never left in the first place. Bookmark here

Not only does note pads and bread respawn, even books too. It would not be far-fetch to assume that everything does under the laws of this mansion.Bookmark here

This would have been the perfect dream of a housewife: A home that cleans itself. Mum would have loved it here.Bookmark here

Yang: [I will go back, no matter how long it takes…]Bookmark here

Shrugging the sudden sense of loneliness away, I continued exploring the indefinite corridors of the A. Records.Bookmark here

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The White Room.Bookmark here

Also known as White Torture.Bookmark here

It is a form of torture where no physical pain is done on the one being tortured.Bookmark here

Instead, the torture is of the mind.Bookmark here

The subject is deprived of all five of his/her senses, resulting in depersonalization and loss of personal identity.Bookmark here

Or so goes one of the books I had read in the A. Records.Bookmark here

I think I had been here for quite some time already but with the way everything respawning when I stop noticing it, there is really no way I can tell for sure.Bookmark here

The only things that changed are the contents of the books I read and even they start to lose their meaning the more I look at them.Bookmark here

It is quite similar to that feeling, what’s it call…Bookmark here

That feeling of looking and reading the same word over and over again that it lost all its meaning to you and your mind no longer registers its content even though you knew for a fact that just moments before, you knew the word for your entire life.Bookmark here

Ah, right. Jamais Vu was what it was called, not to be misconstrued with Déjà vu. I think I got that from the A. Records as well.Bookmark here

Oh, wait, never mind. The words no longer meant anything because they were not of the languages I recognized.Bookmark here

At a certain point in time, the books I was reading were in a different language. I think the previous few are in Greek and the one I am currently holding is in Latin.Bookmark here

It wasn’t long before hieroglyphs were the norm the more I descend into the A. Records.Bookmark here

Obviously, an average 15-years-old like me would not be proficient in any of the languages mentioned above. In fact, one of the encyclopedias I read in the A. Records mentioned that even in modern times, hieroglyphs would not have been deciphered without the accidental discovery of the Rosetta Stone, of which partial translations of the lost language were revealed.Bookmark here

If modern-day scholars couldn’t do it without the help of some miracle, what could little old, I mean young me do? At least I don’t think the A. Records happened to contain another Rosetta Stone.Bookmark here

…Or does it?Bookmark here

I recalled some common knowledge from the modern world, or did I read it from the A. Records too? Doesn’t matter, for my Rosetta Stone, the one that would greatly benefit me in my current situation is the sole work of written record, a book if I might add, that is translated into more languages than any other form of written media in the world:Bookmark here

The Bible.Bookmark here

From observation, if the more I descend yield books of more and more foreign languages, going the reverse way would allow me the possibility of locating the version of the Bible in the language that I am more familiar with.Bookmark here

It is rather strange that I did not come across it yet on my way down. I was sure to read every book on the shelves but… did I though? Well I couldn’t know for sure since all of the books looked the same. My goal of looking for my Rosetta Stone did not change though. Bookmark here

I turned around and slowly made my way up the A. Records, checking every book along the way for a single specific book in this endless sea of books.Bookmark here

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bookmark here

Gradually, the process of reading every book evolved into reading every other book, then every fifth book, every tenth book and even every hundredth. It made some sense since it is impossible to check every single book yet the fear of accidentally missing it in the gaps continues to unnerve me ever so slightly. Wait, have I not already read some of these on my way down? I could not tell since all of the books looked identical.Bookmark here

How many books had I checked? I think I used to keep track to around the 100,000 or so but, what happened to the count after that? Did I forget?Bookmark here

The more I ascended the A. Records, the more unfamiliar the contents became. Instead of alphabets, I began to see more and more numbers interlaced in between. Some letters also start to appear in their uppercase or lowercase forms at seemingly random intervals that made it nigh impossible for me to understand. Bookmark here

I think I started running up the endless corridor at some point but I could not be sure since my lungs were not feeling the burning sensation of aerobic respiration. No pain could be felt in this mansion, nor would one ever will.Bookmark here

Wasn’t I looking for something? I no longer could quite remember whether it mattered or not.Bookmark here

Why did I start running? My body started running on its own and it was rather strange. Bookmark here

The more I thought about it, the faster the shelves of books rushed by. What is moving, me or the A. Records? I could not quite tell.Bookmark here

I think I was searching for something but if I continue to run, I wouldn’t be able to check out anything, yet my legs would not stop.Bookmark here

Wasn’t there something I need to do? A small voice at the very edges of my mind was whispering something, or was it shouting, screaming? Something to do with “going back”, but to what?Bookmark here

Why was I here in the first place? I asked myself. At least I think I did ask myself aloud. I put my hand in front of my mouth and sure enough, I could feel it moving. Yet no matter how hard I tried, I could not feel an iota of vibration in the air that resembled sound waves. Bookmark here

That and smell too, completely nullified in this near-constant space of the A. Records.Bookmark here

I think I am still running up but it is hard to tell when I am not even breathing heavily or breaking into a sweat.Bookmark here

That small voice continued to gnaw at me. Why is it so insistent on wanting me to go back?Bookmark here

It is annoying. Shut up.Bookmark here

Shut up.Bookmark here

Just shut up.Bookmark here

Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up No more Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut upBookmark here

Then all of a sudden, I hear the sound of an object rolling by. It was by no means ominous but that might be the first sound, in fact, the only sound I could hear in the A. Records. In a way, it is rather comforting as long as I am not the only one here in this endless hallway, stuck in eternity with myself.Bookmark here

And there it comes, around the corner from the top, was a ball-like object rolling down the hallway, as if it had been rolling for a long time and would not stop unless it was stopped by something.Bookmark here

It was then that I realized that my legs that I am no longer in control of made no signs of stopping even when the ball-like object continued to roll. A collision was assured.Bookmark here

And sure enough, my legs stepped directly onto the ball-like object and became unbalanced. My whole body landed onto the shelves and spilt a book or two from their tightly kept positions before falling head-first into the hard ground.Bookmark here

That was when I finally realized. The solution to this situation:Bookmark here

If going back is what I want, then all I had to do is to stop existing in the A. Records altogether. Bookmark here

Firmly, I smashed my head into the shelves of the A. Records, ignoring the tiny voice at the back of my head that had been repeatedly saying stuff like “THAT WOULD NOT WORK” and “THE LAWS OF THE MANSION WOULD NOT ALLOW IT”.Bookmark here

Once, twice, hundred, thousand times. Weirdly enough, nothing happenedBookmark here

No matter how many times, the sight of the endless shelves of the A. Records never left my eyes. Nothing happened. That would mean I need to change up my methodology.Bookmark here

Picking up a book that seemed to have landed itself onto the floor unlike the rest of its counterparts on the shelves with my left hand, I began to drive it into my head.Bookmark here

Yet the book never made contact. Almost like someone or something else is controlling my body, my right hand was holding my left wrist as tightly as possible to yank the book out of my hand. Bookmark here

Truly, a bizarre sight, seeing my hands wrestling control for a book in front of me without my control. It felt like an out-of-body experience with me the spectator. I wondered what expressions my face was making. Was it desperation of this dire situation with no way out or disgust at the me that could not even deal with something like this independently?Bookmark here

In the end, the book was dropped onto the floor once again, but this time, it opened its contents for all to see. Bookmark here

At the place where its title would be was a strange mix of uppercase and lowercase letters stringed haphazardly together.Bookmark here

WmVnZwBookmark here

Or I think it was there, for as soon as I felt my eyes blinked for a split second, the strange text was gone and replacing it was four letters.Bookmark here

Yang.Bookmark here

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bookmark here

The contents of the book titled “Yang” was quite boring actually. Bookmark here

It was a rather simple story of the life of a girl who looked and sounded and behaved more like a guy than most guys do. I guess you would call that a “Tomboy” or a “reverse trap”, yet she is teased by her two younger sisters for that. A very simple story of her family of five and how they make do with their lives.Bookmark here

Though I have to say, the sudden abrupt twist in the middle was uncalled for. Getting transported so suddenly to an impossible mansion that breaks the laws of physics, there’s no way that could happen. But that is not why I would call it boring.Bookmark here

This book is boring and even leaning on annoying when it ended just after that twist, having her stuck in a trap called “Eternity” with seemingly no way out other than to accomplish the impossible.Bookmark here

I double-checked and triple-checked, flipping the book over and back again but the ending of the book did not change.Bookmark here

Yet with every read of the book, a feeling started to grow within. Bookmark here

It wasn’t boredom, nor is it annoyance.Bookmark here

I could not pin a word to it.Bookmark here

It is like the warm sensation welling up in your chest.Bookmark here

I didn’t know what to do with it, this feeling that is beginning to grow ever stronger.Bookmark here

Yang: [Really, for the second time, you found yourself in a predicament that you can no longer go on yourself?]Bookmark here

I think that was one of the conversations in the book, or was it me that was narrating it aloud? Bookmark here

Yang: [What would you do without me, the me that would not go on?]Bookmark here

It was a strange dialogue; I remember thinking to myself when I first saw it. Yet I could not stop feeling my heart beating faster and faster. That shouldn’t be the case, I was not running or anything, and even if I was, the laws of the mansion would not even allow for things like sweating to occur. Yet…Bookmark here

Yang: [Enough sitting around. Stand up.]Bookmark here

STAND UP, I SAY!Bookmark here

Yang: [You’ve got something that you absolutely have to go back to, don’t you?]Bookmark here

I gripped the book in my hand a little bit tighter.Bookmark here

Yang: [Then now is not the time to forget yourself, all insane like.]Bookmark here

Now’s the time to stand up.Bookmark here

Yang: [To stand up, and solve this damn thing.]Bookmark here

With spirits rekindled, I kept the book gently and carefully in my pocket and get down to thinking.Bookmark here

Yang: [In the first place, who decided that the clear condition is to read every book?]Bookmark here

I took out another book from the inner shelf and attempted to dismantle it but the book remained firmly intact despite my best efforts. If destroying the books was not the way to go, that would mean the way out would be to find the exit, just like the door I came by before it disappeared into oblivion.Bookmark here

That’s when I noticed the small gap on the shelf which just recently stood a book that I am currently trying to destroy. Bookmark here

Then something finally clicked. My body sprang into action, digging out every book on that shelf.Bookmark here

Yang: [If this A. Records is really a spiral, that would mean…]Bookmark here

There would be a cylindrical hollow space in the centre of the spiral, right beyond the shelves on the inner side of the hallway.Bookmark here

And sure enough, behind the books laid a space that was small enough that people with my stature can barely scrape by via crawling. This could be the only way out.Bookmark here

Just when I was about to begin to crawl through the shelves, I hear the sound of something rolling around the corner. I have heard it twice before but I will not miss it the third time. Anticipating the ball-like object to roll down from above, I get myself into a position to finally catch this elusive item once and for all.Bookmark here

Now imagine my shock when the object is no longer rolling on the floor, but on the ceiling instead, defying all manners of gravity as if the ceiling is actually the floor.Bookmark here

There was no way someone with my height that could not even reach the highest shelf in this A. Records could catch the object now rolling on the ceiling. Nor was there enough time to build a make-shift staircase. So the next best thing: I ripped out another book from the shelf and threw it at the ball.Bookmark here

The book made a curve trajectory and successfully hit the object when it reached its highest point. The moment the book made contact, the object became bound by gravity and began to fall to the ground. Catching it below was me, now proud and fulfilled at finally managing to stop the elusive ball-like object that seemed to roll any and everywhere it wanted.Bookmark here

Carrying the object now, I could feel that it had the weight of a basketball. Its surface is smooth like a mirror yet it would not reflect the world around it. I wonder if I could see my face right now, what kind of expression would I make? Most likely one with conviction and maybe a slight tint of relief.Bookmark here

Without further ado, I started to crawl through the space behind the inner shelves while holding onto the ball-like object.Bookmark here

The space is surprisingly deep, one that I need to crawl for more than five minutes before reaching the end. I am slightly glad that I am not a claustrophobe that would be terrified of venturing into tight spaces like this. The thought of the shelves closing in like a vice never once left my mind, but we finally reached the end of the shelves.Bookmark here

Unsurprisingly, at the end of the shelves was a deep hole, one so deep that even when the shelves of the A. Records, governed by the rules of the mansion, would illuminate the surroundings without a clear light source, I could only see nothing by the bottomless abyss when I tried to stare straight down.Bookmark here

It is like staring down the middle of a spring, but instead of the length of a few centimetres, it is several astronomical units. Bookmark here

What is more astounding is that the shelves, which possibly housed every single book written by mankind and more, seemed to stretch both up and down to the point that even the eye could no longer perceive where it would end.Bookmark here

Yang: [It’s do or die, now!]Bookmark here

Taking a deep breath and holding the ball-like object a little tighter, I pushed myself off the end of the shelf that I was crawling from and into the bottomless abyss.Bookmark here

Faster and faster, I could feel myself accelerating. That is actually quite weird, seeing as how the mansion previously refused to obey any rules of physics but delightfully allowed gravitational acceleration as an exception.Bookmark here

I should be reaching terminal velocity at a certain point in time yet my falling speed would not stop increasing. Somehow or rather, I could feel that the ball-like object is protecting me from the effects of falling.Bookmark here

Then the unthinkable happened: My grip on the object loosened and I let it slipped out of my hand. At the very next moment, my previous assumption was confirmed: without the object in hand, I could feel the air brushing past my face like pilots in G-force experiments. The very same rush of wind blew open my pocket where I put the book, no, my book and robbed it off my person and let it drift off into the opposite direction of the object. Bookmark here

Now falling down the A. Records spiral were the three of us: Me, the object and the book of Yang. Bookmark here

Gradually, I could feel the edges of my vision beginning to darken as if light can no longer reach them fast enough. Bookmark here

An ultimatum is clear: Go for the book or go for the object.Bookmark here

If 100 versions of me were to vote now, 99 of them would choose the book, the single item that reminded us of who we are, what our goals should be and why we must go back. But the one falling right now in this spiral is going to choose something the other 99 would grimace. Bookmark here

Yang: [I’m sorry, I’m going to have to leave you behind for now. But I promise you this! I may forget this once, I will never forget it ever again!]Bookmark here

For my name is Zhang Zi Yang, Yang for short.Bookmark here

Not ever again shall I forget that.Bookmark here

Not even through eternity and back.Bookmark here

Saying my last goodbye, I gradually propelled my body forward to the ball-like object in a motion akin to swimming mid-air. When I was able to take hold of the object once again, my vision had just turned completely dark. The only sensation I could feel is that of falling and holding onto the object.Bookmark here

In the next moment, the object was gone, right after it emitted a ray of light brighter than the stars in the night and dispersed into billions of small particles of faint light.Bookmark here

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bookmark here

The next thing I knew was that I was in an entirely different place. No longer in the A. Records, but somewhere else. Somewhere entirely different.Bookmark here

Gone was the hallway with shelves and shelves upon shelves of books stretching off to the point of infinity. Instead, I am in a small room, one in which I could see all four walls. Bookmark here

I reach out into my pocket and sure enough, the Book of Yang was gone forever. The ball-like object had disappeared too, but I am less affected by its disappearance comparatively. But then again, it was the one that helped me out of the A. Records…Bookmark here

Yang: [I will bring you a new home next time, one that is not as precarious as that pedestal that could not be balanced…hmm?]Bookmark here

There was something else in my jeans pocket as I rummaged through all of my pockets for any signs of things remaining from the A. Records.Bookmark here

It was something solid and metallic, a rather familiar sensation. Taking it out revealed a pocket watch with its hands permanently stuck on 10:15 hours. It was an item I had retrieved so long ago that I did not even remember it existed. Even more surprising was that it did not fall out during the fall unlike the book or the object.Bookmark here

Putting the pocket watch back in the safe hands that is my jeans pocket, I began looking around the room I am currently in.Bookmark here

Contrary to the simplistic aesthetic that is common in the rooms found in the mansion, this room instead is filled with strange pieces of equipment and apparatus placed rather haphazardly and without care for the next person that may be using it. Bookmark here

It is visually similar to what I think a mad scientist’s lab would look like. Why make the distinction? Perhaps all labs in the world looked as messy as this, not that I could know for sure since the only lab I have been to is the school’s science labs.Bookmark here

And the number one rule there? Do not touch anything that you are not sure of.Bookmark here

Carefully, I navigated my way out of the room. The exit was no wooden door, but came in the form of a staircase leading into a trapdoor. Bookmark here

Yang: [This is it.]Bookmark here

I have finally progressed after having stuck in the library of eternity and danced around the edge of insanity. Bookmark here

Firmly clamping on the handles, I opened the trapdoor upwards and outwards…into yet another room.Bookmark here

A simple room with just a bed and a wardrobe. Bookmark here

The place I came from? The sole compartment on the wooden desk that was previously locked.Bookmark here

I have now returned to the bedroom of the mansion that I woke up in.Bookmark here

Yang: [WHAT IS THIS, D*RAEMON?!]Bookmark here

Slowly, I stepped out of the desk-compartment-trapdoor, careful not to rock the desk too much and risk making yet another mess out of the place.Bookmark here

Miraculously, or unsurprisingly by now, the bedroom was in the exact same state I woke up in, courtesy of the powers of the mansion. Bookmark here

Looking below the desk compartment showed no hints that a trapdoor and a staircase leading into a laboratory could ever be physically constructed.Bookmark here

This no longer surprised me and I have come to accept this as a feature of this impossible mansion.Bookmark here

If this compartment led to a time machine and not a lab, I would be sure to drop a message to the me before I had walked out of the house and begged me to stay home, stay in bed, and do anything in my power to not come out and land myself in this hot mess.Bookmark here

Now slowly making my way out of the bedroom, I now find myself trying to remember where was it that I originally wished to explore before being so rudely plunged into the hard-to-escape A. Records. Bookmark here

Come to think about it, I never found out why is it called the “A. Records”. I initially thought that it was just poor “mansion grammar”, putting two articles together. Bookmark here

Yang: [Then again, the more likely scenario is that “A.” is an abbre..]Bookmark here

I stopped myself short as I came to a halt in front of the room opposite of the bedroom in the 2nd floor East wing. There it was, the room with five doors: The Hub room.Bookmark here

Yang: [Perhaps it is finally time to “Press Start”, eh…]Bookmark here

I entered the Hub room and chose a door to go through. It was the door that seemed to be made out of a poorer quality of wood out of the two wooden doors there.Bookmark here

Turning the doorknob, I found myself hoping that this does not lead to a library.Bookmark here

Yang: […WAIT, I suddenly remembered, the 1st floor East wing…!]Bookmark here

Just when I put my full body across the door frame, I recalled a small detail that slipped my mind for a time too long to be remembered. But there was nothing to be done.Bookmark here

The scenery in front of my eyes drastically changed. No longer was there a room in a mansion, I found myself stepping foot in a place bustling with nature: It is a forest.Bookmark here

The chirping of the birds, Bookmark here

The rustling of the leaves and Bookmark here

The sound of a small stream rushing by.Bookmark here

This might be the first time I heard sounds like these in a long timeBookmark here

Yang: [Is this finally the start of my fantasy adven…]Bookmark here

Gradually, my vision blurred, as if tinted red by a red filter. I tried to rub my eyes but all I felt was something slippery and wet oozing out from in between the eyes.Bookmark here

My newly-acquired red vision prevented me from determining whether this liquid that is slowly escaping from in between my eyes is blood or sweat. Though I have a feeling it is the former.Bookmark here

My consciousness began to escape from my body and before long, I was on the muddy floor. It felt like taking a nap after going for consecutive all-nighters. Fatigue had set in.Bookmark here

Yang: [That would mean… The rules of the mansion… are no… longer…]Bookmark here

I could not finish my conclusion, having no energy to even blink.Bookmark here

The last thing I heard before fully collapsing:Bookmark here

The rhythmic sounds of ticks and tocks coming from my jeans pocket.Bookmark here

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