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IRNDGL - Chapter 61: Zero Cost Transactions

When Lin Jie turned around to retrieve the book, Ackerman's mind was spinning with thoughts.

Moments ago, the bookstore owner had said that Ji Zhixiu had borrowed a book and would be returning it soon.

Ji Zhixiu had also received guidance and gained strength from the bookstore owner to gain the upper hand in White Wolf's internal conflict.

By joining the dots, it was clear that the bookstore owner had imparted power and guidance to Ji Zhixiu through his book.

Ackerman shuddered as he eyed the many bookshelves all around him that were filled to the brim.

Were these...all books that contained the taboo?

Once again, he realized how ignorant and insignificant he was.

Such a huge book depository definitely contained unimaginable and terrifying power.

Ackerman had very cautiously investigated the bookstore and its surroundings but wasn't able to discover anything amiss. All this time, he had reckoned it was merely an ordinary bookstore.

This alone demonstrated that the bookstore owner was on a completely different level compared to him.

Ackerman hadn't been able to sense anything strange, yet the bookstore owner had taken control of him the moment he entered.

Ackerman subconsciously sneaked a glance at that rose. 

It was just like a mischievous child, opening its eye and staring maliciously at Ackerman the moment the bookstore owner left his seat.

This way the 'flower' looked at Ackerman was as if it was sizing up its prey.

That gaze could be described as 'clammy', like a tongue running along Ackerman's face and body, and he couldn't help feeling disgusted.

Fortunately, after the horrors of the first time, he basically wasn't that afraid now.

After all, it seemed to only devour a person's desires but it didn't eat a person whole.

At such a time, Ackerman ought to be glad the bookstore owner was in a good mood. Otherwise, he wouldn't have moved the 'flower' away and stopped it from continuing to devour Ackerman's desires.

And when the 'flower' completely consumed all the desires in his heart, could a person that had lost all desires still be considered a person?

If that happened, Ackerman might have no desire to eat, breathe, or even live. He would become an empty shell, suffering from a fate even worse than death.

But now that he had chosen to become a follower of this bookstore owner, Ackerman had escaped the fate of becoming nutrients for this 'flower'.

Even though the rose seemed as ravenous as ever, Ackerman's body no longer froze up, nor did he feel it was dangerous. For the time being, Ackerman had gained its recognition.

As Ackerman inwardly heaved a huge sigh of relief, the bookstore owner returned with a book which he pushed over the counter.

"This book is really suitable for your current situation. I believe that through this book, you will be able to find a new means to make your dreams come true. Then, you will be accorded the respect and remuneration you deserve and no longer be used by them." 

Under the dim light, the bookstore owner's smile and the strange, beautiful rose drew an indescribable and mysterious congruity. 

With a mix of apprehension and excitement, Ackerman took the book with two hands.

He lowered his head and made out the cover in the dim light.

Sacrifices to the Void

Sacrifices... to the Void?

Ackerman couldn't help rereading the title again. Following that, an indescribable impulse swept over him. He felt that the book before his eyes contained a strange magic as an ineffable and soft muttering rang in his ears. Unable to control himself, his hands trembled as he flipped the cover open.

Swish...

The pages seemed to turn rapidly on their own.

Ackerman was deeply entranced. He stared fixedly at the book in his hands as his face slowly became numb. It was as if he had gradually gotten himself lost in some fantasy world.

It was like a huge door had opened. Behind the door was a pitch-black darkness without the faintest inkling of light, yet it subconsciously enticed one to explore what lay beyond this darkness...

Was it eternal death or perhaps a withering void?

Countless magnificent and horrifying plans flickered across, furiously alternating between imagination and reality.

Ackerman's mind felt like it was splitting and a ferocious roar of a savage beast welled up in his chest, yet Ackerman couldn’t tell whether he was reading a book in a bookstore or actually traversing through that expanse of darkness.

This was a familiar sensation. Many days and nights, the hallucinations brought about by beast mutation tortured him.

But it was different this time.

Ackerman clearly felt as if something was 'gouged through' and along with the pain, a channel took form in his body.

One end of the channel was him, and the other end was that unfathomable void.

In this boundless and expanding cosmos, those nameless gods had humongous bodies, distorting together and forming a muddled mass. Through the darkness, many avaricious gazes bore down towards Ackerman.

Swoosh!

The entire book was completely flipped through in just a moment.

Ackerman returned to his senses and his hallucinations ceased.

He felt that he had just witnessed a great deal of taboo knowledge, yet at the same time, he felt that he had just seen a blank book.

Only the channel that linked to the void existed as clear as day.

"A new means..."

Ackerman's entire body trembled as he muttered to himself.

Lin Jie nodded. "That's right. If you have indeed chosen this path, seizing every opportunity that comes your way was a necessary skill as well. Who wouldn't want to be able to transact at zero cost, right?

“These are all gifts from those who have reached the end of the path. Grasp them properly and things will be much easier." 

Ackerman closed his eyes, sensing the channel to the void that was now would always be opened, and felt a sense of understanding.

He knew that he was now being watched by a few entities.

As long as he used the channel and provided suitable offerings to these hallowed entities, he would be bestowed with certain things that he needed. But of course, this depended on the moods of these hallowed entities.

This was indeed having to seize every opportunity, and also... a gargantuan zero cost transaction.

Lin Jie continued on earnestly. "However, just seizing opportunities alone wouldn't let you obtain success. This is a very long path and what you need is to get stronger, whether in spirit or any other aspect. The current you definitely won't make it... I hope that you are able to achieve what you want the next time I see you again."

Ackerman tried his best to control his shaking. "Thank you for your guidance. I know what I must do."

He no longer had any words to describe how powerful this bookstore owner was.

He could finally sense the powerful aetheric fluctuations of those hallowed entities in the void.

Without a doubt... Supreme-ranks.

Just any one of these entities appearing could easily cause a catastrophe.

However, this bookstore owner had a nonchalant attitude and merely called them 'those who have reached the end of the path'.

Ackerman believed that he was fortunate to have been selected to be such a chess piece. The path forward was definitely going to be a lot more interesting.

Seeing the customer's face filled with resolve as he left as well as his own accounts book made Lin Jie nodded his head with a bright smile plastered on his face.

Once again, Teacher Lin's teachings have helped another lost soul.

This was the positivity that Life ought to have.

BeetleBarker's Notes:

Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing

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Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN

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Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
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Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN
IRNDGL Manhua translation by Zeroscans
Written by Great Calamity Of Fire (万劫火). Translated by BeetleBarker.