645 I Think I’ve Been Tricked
On the second day of joining the Sweep Alliance, Lin Huang logged into the Genius Union's website through a unique site on the Heart Network after his breakfast. The website scanned the identity of the user automatically. Without registering via the genius organization, the page would not be found. Two options popped up on the main page once Lin Huang logged in: "Browsing Mode" and "Conscious Mode".
Lin Huang heard Yao Lan mentioned this yesterday. The browsing mode was available for people to browse pages, news, videos, and search for information without joining any activities while the conscious mode allowed the person to enter the Genius Union's virtual world with one's consciousness. The latter was the only way to participate in the Stairway Tree climb.
After summoning Bloody and Bai to protect himself, Lin Huang pressed the conscious mode button. In the next second, he appeared in a white space.
"We've detected that this is the first time you're logging in. You're given one complimentary opportunity to adjust your own height and appearance. Would you like to proceed with the adjustment?" A gentle female voice echoed.
"Yes." Lin Huang nodded immediately.
The wall transformed into a full-length mirror, reflecting Lin Huang's original appearance. As he was thinking how he would like to look like, the voice came again.
"You'll only have to think of the appearance and height that you desire, and we'll make the adjustments accordingly."
He then thought of Lin Xie's appearance that he had disguised as immediately. His appearance soon changed to how Lin Xie exactly looked like in the full-length mirror.
"Are you sure you want to make these changes? Please take note that once the change is confirmed, your appearance and height in Genius Union will be fixed. In the eyes of all Genius Union members, this is how your appearance will be unless you want to change it again using your Stairway points."
"Yes!" Lin Huang decided without any hesitation.
"Appearance settings completed. Please complete personal information privacy settings."
"Privacy settings available:
"Visible to everyone.
"Visible to friends.
"Only specific information are visible (to be selected manually).
"Confidential (Any information other than name and organization is not open to anyone else.)"
"I choose No.4. Confidential!" Lin Huang did not want his age to be revealed to anyone.
"Basic settings are complete. Please fill in your details below…"
After spending more than ten minutes completing all the settings, Lin Huang was finally sent into the virtual world of the Genius Union officially.
As he stepped out of the dimensional portal, it was as if Lin Huang had arrived in a bustling city which was as well-developed as Sweep City. Looking at the skyscrapers around and the people strolling on the streets as well as the breeze on his skin, it did not feel like a virtual world at all.
Ding! "You have a voice message. Would you like to play it?"
Lin Huang's attention was brought back by the prompt tone of the Emperor's Heart Ring. After playing it, Yao Lan's voice ordered, "Come to the Stairway Tree as soon as possible since you're here. Open the map on the Emperor's Heart Ring directly."
After listening to the voice message, Lin Huang opened the map of the Emperor's Heart Ring, finding the location of the Stairway Tree at the center of the map quickly. An option popped out after he clicked the Stairway Tree.
"Are you sure you want to be sent to the Stairway Tree?"
"Yes!" After Lin Huang clicked on the option, he was sent to the bottom of the Stairway Tree immediately.
"This transfer function is so useful!" After turning off the map, Lin Huang looked up at the moat-like Stairway Tree not far away from him.
The size of the tree was beyond his understanding. Besides not being able to see the top of the tree, he could not see the end of the 'wall' as he looked to the left and the right. He looked at the details of the giant tree and realized that the diameter of the trunk alone was more than 300 kilometers. The longest branch extended up to tens of millions of square kilometers, occupying the entire sky of the virtual city.
Not only could he not see the treetop by gazing up, but he also could not even see the end of this wall as he looked around horizontally.
"The area of the treetop is even larger than the continent of China on Earth…" Lin Huang thought it was incredible.
"I had the same reaction as yours the first time I saw this tree." A female voice came from behind.
Lin Huang turned around immediately and saw Yao Lan who he was expecting.
"You're 5 minutes and 18 seconds late," Yao Lan glanced at the time and said to him in all seriousness.
"I'm sorry. There was some delay with the settings when I came in." Lin Huang forced a smile, knowing that he was late without having to look at the time. He initially thought he could make it on time since he had entered ten minutes ahead, but he did not expect that the settings would have delayed him by 15 minutes
"Don't worry about it. I forgot to tell you about the information settings yesterday." Yao Lan waved her hand. "Let's get a drink and then I'll show you around."
Yao Lan brought Lin Huang to an open-air bar and sat down. She ordered a glass of mixed fruit juice while Lin Huang ordered a glass of green juice.
"Since you were late, the drinks are on you," Yao Lan said as a matter of fact.
"Sure," Lin Huang replied.
He was curious as the seats were almost fully occupied in the bar as well as in the stores around. The streets were crowded too.
"Didn't you say that all people are geniuses in this virtual world? Why are there so many people everywhere?"
"The people that you see aren't human but are virtual humans. Some of them are service staff providing various services to us. For instance, the bar owner and waiters as well as the staff in the stores over there. Besides them, the rest are virtual residents who don't do anything. After all, there are limited geniuses in this world. It'd be pretty empty if we place limited geniuses in this city that's the size of an A-grade foothold. I think that's the reason why they came up with virtual residents.
"Also, there's a rule in this virtual world. We're not allowed to fight the virtual humans, or else, we'll be banned from entering," Yao Lan reminded Lin Huang while they were on the topic of virtual residents. He was not interested in the virtual humans at all as he looked at the Stairway Tree nearby. People were climbing the tree.
"I supposed we're not allowed to fly up the tree?"
"Yes, anything that flies is prohibited on the tree. Not only that, teleportation is prohibited too. All you can do is climb." Yao Lan nodded.
"Can I ride my summoning monster then?" Lin Huang asked.
"Yes, you can, but your flying summoning monster won't be able to fly near the tree. Besides, there's nothing that we can do about the gravity over here. Apart from summoning monsters that can climb, the rest won't apply to the tree," Yao Lan explained.
"But even if you have a summoning monster that can climb, you'll be attacked by the other climbers much more easily."
"They can attack as they wish?"
"Of course, competition on the tree is intense. As long as you have sufficient abilities, besides attacking, you can kill as you wish. You'll gain half of the points of the other person if you kill him. As soon as the person dies, not only will his accumulated points in the year be cut by half, he'll have to climb from the very bottom again. Although the points can be used to redeem items, the monthly rewards are based on the height climbed. That's the reason why many people would prefer to be robbed by half of their points instead of getting killed and starting from the bottom."
"Why are you at the bottom of the tree?" Lin Huang was curious.
"I used my points to redeem a virtual clone. My real body is on the tree. Do you really think I'd come all the way to the bottom to welcome you? There are different difficulties at different heights where we'll have to try a couple of times before succeeding. It's difficult to go back to how far you've climbed when you're starting all over again."
"A virtual clone?" Lin Huang could not tell that she was just a clone.
"I used my points to redeem it. The clone is just an empty shall with my aura without any combat ability," Yao Lan confirmed.
"How do we get points?" Lin Huang asked.
"You'll obtain basic points from climbing different heights. Killing the monsters on the tree will earn you points. You can kill or rob the others to get points too. You can also use items to redeem points on the system or trade with others. Those are the four ways of getting points," Yao Lan explained in detail.
"Climbing the Stairway Tree basically depends on yourself. The most we can provide you with are some strategies. Unless we're climbing on the same height, there's nothing that we can do to help you. We don't have many members in the Sweep Alliance. Unlike those powerful genius organizations in Division 1 and Division 2, they have 18 supreme geniuses with 15 immortal-level rank-9s among them. Each of them can kill imperial-level humans."
"Seven of the top 10 genius organizations come from Division 1 while three are from Division 2. The No. 1 in our Division 3 is only ranked No. 12 on the leaderboard."
"Where does the Sweep Alliance sit?" Lin Huang asked.
"Erm… No. 180…" Yao Lan scratched her nose out of embarrassment.
Lin Huang felt that he had been tricked into this organization after hearing the ranking.
"No wonder the Huangfu siblings were unwilling to join…"