The familiar row of bookshelves that formed a large perimeter of the platform, and the furniture at the center, they were well ingrained within her memory.
The seventeenth platform of the second gateway’s library was indeed the location where she had shaken off the plaguing harrows and worries of her previous life.
“The <Eternal Sanctum>… should be on this platform… but where?”
The girl mumbled to herself as she began to tour the perimeter of the platform, her eyes skimming past the bookshelves stacked neatly next to each other to form an indomitable line.
Only, as she gradually neared the end of a complete cycle of the perimeter, An Fei’s worry increased with each book that she counted.
…a row exceeding a few thousand books in number, how was she to find a specific book amongst all of them?
The only saving grace that prevented the young girl from descending into a mental nightmare was that the title of the book was neatly printed on the spine in bolded characters.
Otherwise, it wasn’t far fetched to claim that An Fei would hunker down onto the ground to give the black book resting against her bosom a sound thrashing.
However, the girl wasn’t spared from having to tour the seemingly never-ending row of bookshelves for another circuit.
This time, she went at a snail-like pace, her gaze carefully examining each title to ensure that she hadn’t accidently skipped over her desired target.
“<Cold Wind Trace>.”
“<Black Wind Sky>.”
“<Moonlight’s Beheader, Three Moon’s Sunset>.”
“<Sweeping Talisman>… I suppose that should be fine since there’s a dense, scarlet light emitting from the cover?”
“<Eternal Night>… can I stop here?”
Having covered a tenth of the books displayed on the seventeenth platform after several hours, An Fei massaged her throbbing temples, sitting down to relax her body.
She was well aware that attempting to utilize such a harebrained method of searching for a golden nugget in the middle of the sea was akin to unnecessary mental torture, but couldn’t think of a more efficient strategy that would display fruition in a relatively unknown location as the seventeenth Archive.
Once again, the appearance of a book bound by twine entered her thoughts, causing the girl to stew in rage.
Pondering for a few moments, An Fei decidedly stood and marched towards the other corner of the platform, taking unusually long and uncontrolled strides.
Since the book kept appearing in her thoughts, she would settle this curiosity before continuing to ruminate over the issue of searching for the <Eternal Sanctum>.
Although, to be quite frank, discovering the book bound by twine was a task of significant ease compared to the previous search for a needle buried within a haystack.
Thirty books away from the door that led to the miserable, torturous ladder. The third row of the row of bookshelves parallel with the door’s surface.
The event of the being forcefully repelled by the twine-bound book, and even the incident where her finger was nicked by the pair of butterfly swords, both were deeply stored within the girl’s memory.
Promising herself to remain vigilant and not fall into carelessness like before, the girl came to a stop before the book bound in twine, her gaze focused on the pale-gold radiance emanating from the leather strips.
If comparing this book with the rest within the seventeenth platform, the book bound in twine was thoroughly dilapidated compared to the others. The pages were rough and uneven in size and thickness, and some were even discolored by a noticeable margin.
Additionally, the book lacked a proper cover, the pages held together by a binding of twine and two large chunks of leather.
Towards the spineless, twine-bound book lacking a proper appearance, An Fei discovered that other than the initial outburst of annoyance, her emotions were tranquil. After a brief moment of hesitation, the girl reached out with her right hand to slowly extract the book, resting the leather cover against her palm.
There wasn’t an iota of resistance as she had experienced earlier. The book easily fell into her palm without any difficulty.
Immediately, the girl felt a slight disappointment as well as an unknown but suffocating feeling as she glared at the title stamped on the cover of the book.
Hence, in contrast to the slow and steady manner that she had withdrawn the book, the girl jammed the twine-bound book back into the bookshelf without any mercy.
She did not know why, but a piercing pang of nostalgia welled within her heart as she gazed at the messily sprawled but bold letters on the leather cover.
Nonetheless, the faint sense of nostalgia did not triumph over the disappointment of not finding the book she desired, causing the book to receive An Fei’s unjustified vent of frustration.
With a sigh, the girl turned to return to her original position at the other end of the platform, yet paused at the last second.
An expression of shock and astonishment was displayed on her countenance and illuminated by the golden radiance emitted from the crystalline floor as the girl slowly peered back towards the bookshelves.
More particularly, the book with the black fabric cover on the row directly below the <Heavenly Talisman> manual.
Stamped in bold letters that exuded an aura of tranquil indifference, as if not belonging to the world. A deep violet light emanated from the pages, dwarfing the radiance of the tomes nearby.
Her fingers shaking in excitement and trepidation, An Fei carefully approached the rows of books for the third time, extracting the book one centimeter at a time. Once the book was secured in her delicate palm, the girl hesitated before taking the <Heavenly Talisman> manual.
Heading towards the center of the platform, An Fei lowered herself onto a comfortable position on the soft mattress of the bed, before placing the three books to her right. Staring at the books bound in leather, fabric, and twine, the girl mulled over her thoughts for several moments, finally choosing to assuage her curiosity.
Her grandfather and the leather-bound book had instructed for her to cultivate in this technique several times. Naturally, the girl held great expectation for the book clenched within her hands.
Opening the book as the violet glow receded from her vision, the girl squinted in an effort to read the characters as swift as possible.
Her eyes scanned the long strings of characters on the pristine, snow white page several times, her mind straining to comprehend as much raw information as possible before attempting to make inferences.
However, An Fei ended up tossing the book bound by black-colored fabric onto the side of the bed, an utterly discomfited expression on her countenance. She then hugged the pillow to her chest, staring at the ceiling of sky-blue crystal.
She had only read the first few pages of the <Eternal Sanctum>.
Just like the leather-bound book and An Xiang Yang had stoked her expectations, the manual with the cover of black fabric provided an exposition on cultivation in a concise description, one that the girl could easily comprehend without requiring another’s explanation.
However…[The practitioner of the <Eternal Sanctum> must become aware of the following. Upon consumption of spiritual qi or residue within the Sanctum of Time and Eternal Peace, any artefacts, techniques, or consumable entities containing spiritual essence belonging to a mortal world possesses the same effect as the most virulent and deadly toxin.]
…what the hell, was this some sort of joke?
A string of curses stormed through the seventeenth platform of the Archive of Time, the longest the girl had released as of yet.