Ever since he was born, Lu Chu had always been in a state of being ‘unable to see’, but he never had such had a profound understanding of the word ‘sight’ before.
The tower wasn’t completely dark, and there were many candles evenly arranged around its interior wall. He didn’t know how many years it had been burning for, for the wax had dripped and mottled, but it still hadn’t burned till the end. With the dim yellow candle flame in sight, it couldn’t exactly be described as bright, but Lu Chu’s eyes were still stinging because of this light. He took a deep breath, tried to calm down his fluctuating emotions, closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them again.
The originally blurry light became clear, and the tower’s interior was completely displayed in front of this eyes. Although it was only a monotonous yellow with peeling walls of black inside the tower, Lu Chu was still moved by this.
After scanning his surroundings, he looked at the man beside him.
Lu Chu had never seen anybody’s face before, and similarly, he didn’t understand anything about ‘handsome’, or ‘beautiful’, but as he looked at the man’s face, he felt that this was what ‘good-looking’ was.
A human’s thoughts towards beauty was an instinctive thing.
Thinking of what the man had said, about how he would be able to understand everything once he entered the tower, Lu Chu turned and wrote in the man’s palm.
Just as he took the man’s hand, the man opened his mouth and said, “your parents’ death and the chaos in this city isn’t an accident. Strictly speaking, the only accident here, is you.”
This sentence caused Lu Chu to become so shocked he didn’t know what else he should ask, so, he could only write in the man’s palm with an unconsciously shaking finger — “What did you say.”
“I know what you want to ask me.” The man finished talking, untied the rope on their hands and continued, “now, close your eyes and don’t look at anything, walk up the steps until the end, then, tell me what you see.”
— How should I tell you.
Till now, the man still hadn’t regained his lost senses, and once Lu Chu reached the top of the tower, no matter how far he was, or if the sound could be transmitted in the first place, the man wouldn’t be able to hear if even if the sound managed to travel all the way.
“When you see the truth, I’ll also regain my senses.” The man spoke, and added, “the constrain on my senses is because of you, and has nothing to do with this city.”
Hearing his words, Lu Chu looked up at the interior structure of the tower. From below, there was nothing in the middle of the tower, and with a glance, one should have a clear view, however, he couldn’t see the top of the tower, and it felt as if everything had been devoured by a black colour. A spiralling staircase without handrails wound up the mottled walls, and its end also couldn’t be seen. The stairs were narrow, and could only accommodate two people side by side. If a person walked along this staircase without a handrail with their eyes close, they could possibly end up stepping into thin air, and fall from above.
Luckily, towards Lu Chu who was used to the unknown and darkness, this wasn’t something difficult.
All of this, from the sudden loss of senses, to his peaceful life being broken…… and his parents passing without any signs, perhaps, he would get the answers once he walked to the end of this staircase.
“Remember, unless you reach the end, don’t open your eyes.”
Lu Chu turned his head and glanced at the handsome and resolute man. The man was still looking down, and didn’t have much expression on his face, but Lu Chu could still hear the cautiousness in his voice.
Lu Chu wrote this last word in the man’s palm, then walked to the staircase.
He closed his eyes, pressed one hand against the wall, and began to climb up.
Step after step, Lu Chu didn’t know how high this tower actually was, and didn’t know how long he had to walk, but his heart was exceptionally calm.
Until his muscle started to ache, and raising his feet for the next step was going to become a habit, Lu Chu finally stopped, because he almost stepped into thin air — the steps had already disappeared. He continued to walk forward, and after a few steps, touched a wall that blocked his way forward.
It seemed that he’d reached the end.
Lu Chu thought as he opened his eyes, and the dazzling light almost blinded him, and when he finally got used to it, he realised that the four walls at the top of the tower were transparent, and he could see what the whole town looked like. However, when he looked into the distance, he froze on the spot.
At the bottom of the tower, the man who had regained his sight and hearing closed his eyes.
“Tell me, what did you see?”
The man’s voice sounded, and even though it should have been extremely far away, but that voice sounded as if it was just by his ears, calm and clear.
Lu Chu was in a shock, didn’t answer, and simply stared at the sight before his eyes in a daze.
However, what caused Lu Chu to be such a in state wasn’t a world with a sky and moon, with the green grass and colourful forests that people told him about since he was a child.
At this time, the man’s voice sounded again, one word at a time, “Lu Chu, tell me, what did you see.”
Lu Chu finally reacted, his eyes blinked, and he said in confusion, “I…… didn’t see anything.”
That’s right, he didn’t see anything.
The tower was indeed really high, and most of the buildings in the city were quite low. Even though it was already late at night, the moonlight was still bright and clear, illuminating the entire town, until the point where even if Lu Chu was standing at the top and looking down, he could see everything with a glance. Lu Chu looked over the route he and the man took, the villas, the part, the plaza and the overhead bridge, Lu Chu’s home…… until his gaze reached the edge of the town.
Outside the city was just like what people had said, there were several mountains, but what was beyond that mountains weren’t mountain ranges, or another city, but nothing at all.
The four walls of the tower were transparent, and Lu Chu could take in all his surroundings into his eyes. This city that was surrounded by ‘mountains’, after those mountains, there wasn’t anything else. The lonely town and the ‘mountains’ protecting it seemed to be constructed in some sort of strange time and space, and beyond that was an empty space, without anything, and nothing else existed at all.
Lu Chu looked at the far away confused and ‘senseless people’ biting and fighting against each other, and his face was pale, “why……”
In a daze, the past twenty years of his memories kept pouring in.
This self-sufficient, quiet and peaceful town.
The elders saying time and time again that “we don’t have outsiders here”.
Everybody tacitly agreeing not to approach the mountains.
All of the short buildings other than this tower.
For a town that was originally ‘build on stilts’, naturally, there wouldn’t be any outsiders. Because Lu Chu couldn’t see, he wouldn’t easily leave his house, and didn’t think about leaving this place at all. Only, why did other people, who had been living peacefully for so long had never raised any questions after so many years, or never had any thoughts such as ‘I want to see what the world outside the mountains is like’. To the extent that the people in the town had never built any taller buildings, and thus avoiding the possibility of them standing at a high spot and noticing the mountains.
“Why……” Lu Chu felt as if his whole entire life had received a great impact, “this is……”
The man, who seemed to have foreseen everything calmly said, “a ‘game’.”
Lu Chu muttered, “‘game’?”
“That’s right. There are many types of ‘games’, and ‘The Senseless City’ is only one of them. The people who live in there, are existences derived from this ‘game’, and obey the ‘rules’, in order to let this ‘game’ continue on smoothly.”
Lu Chu was even more confused, “then what, are we?”
The man’s emotionless voice continued to sound, “derived beings, belonging to the ‘game’, and restricted by the rules. Towards the people who are chosen by the ‘game’, NPCs.”
Before Lu Chu could even react, he heard the man say, “you are an exception, and a flaw. In ‘The Senseless City’, this game, all the derived beings will continue to live on normally until they lose their senses, and sink into chaos because they’ve never experienced such a thing as ‘sightlessness’, and this whole civilisation will collapse. The people who were chosen to enter into this ‘game’ from reality have to survive for seven days, and if they didn’t manage to, they would have to drop out. You were born ‘sightless’, so you’ve already broken this ‘game’s equilibrium. Not long after, because your parents wanted to help you treat your illness, they accidentally saw the scene outside the mountains, and thoroughly broke the ‘rule’ that derived beings cannot know that they live in a fabricated world, so, they died without a single sign under the restriction of the ‘rules’.”
Having listened until here, Lu Chu’s eyes were damp, and he didn’t believe that everything he experienced was developed by this ‘game’, as to them, everything that they felt was something that truly existed, “since I’m an accident in this ‘game’, why wasn’t I destroyed when I was born?”
And yet, many years later, his parents were killed because of him.
“Your parents’ death was because they found out the truth by themselves, and went against the ‘game’s setting; you are a loophole derived from the ‘game’ itself, and strictly speaking, you belong to the ‘game’, so the ‘rules’ cannot do anything to you.”
Lu Chu had been so shocked until he became numb, “then, who are you?”
This time, the man didn’t answer him, and only continued speaking on his own, “nobody from the real world has ever entered into this ‘game’ before, and when the midnight bell strikes, a door will appear in front of your eyes.”
The man paused for a moment after that, and his voice became serious, “Lu Chu, open the door, and step out. You will break away from this identity as a derived being, and the ‘rules’ will default to thinking that you’re a person chosen from the real world.”
Just as the man spoke, the midnight bell sounded. The transparent wall in front of Lu Chu slowly went away, and the outside world slowly disappeared in front of his eyes. Then, a rusty door loaded with decorative patterns appeared in front of his eyes.
“Lu Chu, open the door and enter.”
Lu Chu didn’t move.
“Lu Chu, don’t forget your parents.”
Parents…… Lu Chu still remembered when his parents’ body had weakened, and they made him swore to live on well. Eventually, you’ll leave this place — vaguely, Lu Chu remembered that his parents had said this to him before.
Lu Chu took in a deep breath, “how about you?”
The man answered, “I’ll go and find you.”
Hearing this, Lu Chu finally opened the door in front of his eyes, and raised his foot, stepping into the white light.
At the same time, the man at the bottom of the tower felt a great pain in his chest and fell onto the ground. His whole body was twitching, and his skin started to crack, with red blood seeping out.
“7, you went against the ‘rules’.”
The man resisted the heart-rendering pain and stood up, pressing a hand against his chest as he used the wall to support himself, letting his skin crack and heal again. His whole body was completely stained with blood, yet his voice was still exceptionally calm.
“En, I know.”
Perhaps, everything, had just started.
The author has something to say:
The inspiration for ‘The Senseless City’ came from — <Blindness>, a movie that I’ve watched a long time ago, don’t remember much of the plot, and if anybody is interested, please have a look.
The translator has this to add:
And Arc 1 is done! Stay tuned for the next horror arc, about a cute girl and her teddy bear :)!