Chapter 90.1 – Protagonist: I have special customs clearance skills.
The legendary Ninth Layer is the place that is closest to god. Du Ze didn’t know what the Ninth Layer of Heaven in the Divine Comedy1 was really like, but the place they went to was very strange.
It was a space full of light. There were two huge white stones suspended in the sky. Because the light elements were everywhere, all objects – including the stones – had no shadows. It gave people a feeling of emptiness. The size of the two white stone slabs was difficult to describe. The sides of both slabs had identical gold patterns . If he had to describe what they looked like, Du Ze felt that if they were vertical rather than horizontal, then they would look like an enormous … door?
Beneath the white stones there was an extremely magnificent and elegant building. The spiral staircase in front of them was luxuriously Baroque in design. The angel who had brought Du Ze and Xiu to this place pointed to the staircase and said: “We are going to walk up there.”
Du Ze’s expression cracked. The spiral staircase was at least hundreds of floors tall! Are your wings just for decorations?!
“Why not fly up?” asked Enoch.
“Fly if you can.” The angel glanced contemptuously at the thief then took the lead in climbing the stairs.
After the angel said that, they found out that in this place, flying was definitely impossible. In fact, don’t even mention flying – even jumping was not allowed. It was as though there was an invisible hand pressing down on their shoulders, forcing them to stay on the ground. Whenever anyone tried to leave the ground, they were be pinned down and unable to move. Xiu’s spatial magic was also unusable. This kind of prohibition seemed to be part of the Tower’s rules so they could only obediently follow the angel in climbing up the stairs.
One after the other they climbed and climbed, continuously circling around. Du Ze collapsed on the 20th floor so Xiu took him in his arms and carried him all the way up. A silly, cute person was sad when he discovered that the Moe Lord seemed to have formed an embarrassing habit of taking him in his arms like this, but what was worse was that Du Ze was already used to the Moe Lord’s princess carry.
What “moral integrity”? It’s been lost and forgotten.
Xiu suddenly stopped in the middle of climbing and stared at the spiral staircase’s central column. His penetrating gaze seemed to see something inside.
“What’s in there?”
The angel stopped then tapped on the central column with this staff. The white wall of the column became transparent, showing everyone what was inside. Alice and Violet covered their mouths with their hands in shock when they saw the giant imprisoned inside. The giant was as tall as the spiral staircase – no, it looked like the staircase was actually built around the giant. He was bound by thick chains and his bent arm supported the platform at the top of the staircase, motionless.
The angel put down his staff and the wall became a little less transparent. “As my lord saw, it was just a Titan.”
****! It’s a Titan! In “Mixed Blood,” Titans are demigods born from the union of two gods. Unexpectedly, it was placed here as a prop. Du Ze didn’t know how to react to this. Right before the wall became completely opaque, he thought he saw the Titan lift his eyebrows slightly and for a moment his sad eyes seemed to plead for help.
Nestled in Xiu’s embrace, Du Ze wondered if this was some sort of flag or just a background detail.
They continued climbing until they came to the end of the spiral staircase. Du Ze was finally put down by Xiu and stood in front of a circular altar. Here, the two huge stone slabs in the sky were very close to them. It was only when they stood at the top of the spiral staircase that they discovered how big it was. It even blocked Du Ze’s view of the sky.
“My God is at the other end of this door.” The angel raised his staff to point to the center of the altar under the white stone slabs and proclaimed in a passionate tone: “The god of light is there. Xiu, please kneel in front of this holy altar and swear to god that you will be the next governor!”
The two white stones in the sky really is a door and the BOSS is on the other side of it. Du Ze glanced at center of the altar. The Moe Lord must kneel there to meet the tsundere god of light.
——**** it, are you kidding me? (rage comic face)2
Du Ze was dead certain from the very bottom of his heart that they had now met the greatest problem they had ever encountered in the Tower of God. This sort of thing would be easy for the other tower climbers to do, but for them it was extremely difficult. For the Moe Lord to kneel down to the god of light … he can’t even imagine it!
“The god of light is behind this door?” Xiu asked suddenly.
The angel nodded cautiously: “Yes, so please kneel to god to show …”
“Kneel?” In front of everyone, Xiu glanced at the angel and the corners of his lips slowly turned up. “Why should I kneel?”
The angel drew a deep breath. Beneath the gaze of those blood-red eyes that looked as though they were about to drag the angel down into the abyss, the angel’s stuttered a bit as he said: “You, you must kneel to enter the god of light’s household, in order to-”
“To become governor?” Xiu repeated the angel’s words with a mocking smile on his lips as though he was puzzled by something. “And then? Like the previous governor, I will have to go on inspection rounds to collect light elements?”
Du Ze’s eyes widened in shock. As Xiu spoke, Du Ze’s brain was flooded with thoughts as the reader seemed to understand everything and nothing at the same time.
“The previous governor was also a tower climber.” Xiu casually uttered a shocking fact. “Just kneel down and I’ll be governor … No.” Xiu rejected the offer and his smile widened. “Why should I become a puppet?”
Du Ze’s heart beat wildly for a second. At that moment he realized that this was the most insidious trap that the angel trial had set for the tower climbers. From beginning to end, the angels had always said that the goal was to become the governor. The final outcome of this is that the tower climber really will become the governor. Du Ze finally understood what had happened to the previous governor.
Inside the Tower of God, none of its creatures will ever say “pass this trial” since they are like NPCs in a video game and therefore have no idea about things outside of the simulation. The former governor, though he was an angel, was actually a tower climber …?
The more Du Ze understood the angel trial, the more frightened he became. Just one small mistake and it would be like stepping into quicksand – a person will get trapped deeper into the angel simulation. Du Ze didn’t know how many tower climbers had been tricked into kneeling but it was probably a lot because, whoever it was – god or mortal– people had the tendency to obey stronger people. However, the Tower of God, as always, was based on Yi Ye Zhi Qiu’s setting.
[The Angels gave away their humility, received healing.]
True arrogance is not only aimed at people who are ranked lower. Truly arrogant people will also want to step on the feet of those who are higher ranked.
The silver dragon looked up at the huge door in the sky. The blood-red eyes burned with ambition, hot enough to burn the door down.
“I came here to kill you, not to be your puppet.”
The huge stone slabs that covered the sun were suspended in the air above them as though the door was laughing at the tiny people below who had overreached themselves. The shocked angel regained his composure and pointed to Xiu. When he spoke to Xiu, this time his voice was no longer respectful: “Are you, are you going to become one of the fallen?”
Xiu nodded his head slightly. His silver hair fell down and the corners of his mouth were turned up in a mocking smile. “I’ve always wanted to.”
The words were like a signal. Du Ze felt that his hand was hot and when he raised his left hand, he saw that it had the symbol of a broken wing on it. Now that he was one of the fallen, Du Ze didn’t know whether he should laugh or cry.
Translator’s Note: This is a rage comic face.
- Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The raws actually say “Ninth Heaven” but since it’s based on Dante, I chose “Ninth Layer” as the translation.
- You’ve probably seen rage comics somewhere, it used to be a popular meme. I’ll put one at the bottom of the chapter.