The Communal Centre
The queue progressed quickly, and within a few minutes, it was Leylin's turn.
Leylin produced the ring he had recently acquired, and showed it to the guard, who respectfully stepped aside to allow him to pass.
The second zone was a lot bigger than the first, and the shops were arranged in an organised manner, unlike the situation in the first zone.
*Thud Thud *
His leather shoes thudded as they descended upon the marble floor.
With Sean's guidance, Leylin arrived at the centre of the second zone.
What was known as the communal centre was situated at the middle of the second zone. It was a humongous building that, based on its outward appearance, looked like a person's inverted palm pressed to the ground.
Each of those fingers was a wide entrance.
Magicians formed long lines, looking like ants as they constantly went through the entrances.
"This is where the Nightless City's internal affairs are conducted. These includes the renting of lodgings, the applications for store licenses, the issuing of missions, and so on."
Sean brought Leylin into the passageway on the forefinger.
"This is the second passage that is specially catered for the Magi who wish to rent lodgings. Of course, we also provide property agents, though the price will be higher and the rentals may not be of the best quality..."
"Sir, would you like to rent a lodging? Come to Old Hork's place! Our facilities are complete, and there are even snake and fox girls who will serve you!"
"No! Come to our side. Our prices are the most reasonable here, and we're even willing to gift you ten regular human servants."
The moment Leylin entered, he attracted the attentions of multiple agents, who all looked ready to gobble him down.
"He's my customer! Get out of the way! Move!"
Sean guided Leylin to a passageway nearby, pushing away the overzealous hands reaching for him.
Within the passage was a spiral staircase. When they got to the second level, Leylin suddenly realised how quiet his surroundings were.
As they passed through a door frame that read "Hall No. 762," Leylin saw a large domed hall.
On the ceiling, there was a huge crystal chandelier from which multicoloured rays of light bounced off, casting a phantom image on the ground.
To the side of the domed hall, there were many counters, and a few seats meant for people to wait in. A few magicians were already seated, their eyes glazed over as if they were about to fall asleep.
On the right wall, there was also a black screen. There were words in red on it which were constantly being refreshed.
"Apartment #332, West Hall Street West, small sized - costs 6700 magic crystals!"
"Apartment #893, Flamingo Street, of medium size - costs 85000 magic crystals!"
"These lodgings are all second-hand. The prices here are considerably cheaper, and many people wait here, hoping they might be lucky enough to get a good price..." Seeing the look of interest on Leylin's face, he launched into an explanation.
Leylin was speechless, the thought of a real estate agency from his past life suddenly came to his mind.
"If you wish to rent an apartment, you can proceed to counters 1 to 15. Would you like me to queue on your behalf?"
"Fine," Leylin nodded.
Even though he had quite a sum at hand, he was unwilling to splurge on an apartment so quickly, when he had not yet made sense of the situation in Nightless City.
Seeing all of these ridiculously high prices made Leylin think of the acolytes back in the academy who were so desperate for magic crystals that they wished a magic crystal was worth twice its actual value. The image made him want to cry and laugh at the same time.
There were many counters in the hall. After Sean left to join a queue, Leylin found himself a seat and began to flip through one of the magazines left on a table.
"Rose Sanctuary and Fresh Blood White Bones are currently in a conflict. They are currently gathered in Margaret City, and the number of casualties is unknown..."
"It has been reported that magicians have found the culprit that caused the tsunami in the Eastern Sea- an Ancient Whale. Currently, Ennea Ivory Ring Tower is holding an emergency meeting to discuss countermeasures..."
"Looking to purchase large quantities of purified gems. Name your price."
There was plenty of news in the magazine, though they seemed outdated. Furthermore, the majority of the content was on advertisements, sponsorships and the like.
"Sir, it's your turn now!"
Sean's voice travelled over. Leylin put down the magazine, heading to the 13th counter where Sean was standing.
"Welcome! How may I help you?"
Behind the counter was an adorable girl with a professional smile on her face, who was wearing something that was similar to lace. She seemed quite young, and Leylin guessed that she was, at most, eighteen or nineteen years old.
Leylin's gaze shifted to the back of the counter, where he caught a glimpse of the white ball behind the maiden's shapely backside.
"Of all the half beasts, someone who's half-rabbit?" Leylin chuckled inwardly, not expecting the centre to actually hire a rabbit maiden.
"I wish to rent a house. The facilities must be complete, and it is best if it includes a laboratory, and the defensive spell formation has to be of at least this standard..."
Leylin stated his requirements.
"Please wait for a moment..." The rabbit maiden quickly flipped through the stack of parchments in front of her, closing her eyes from time to time while caressing a crystal ball with a metal base, as if she was communicating with someone.
"We have many houses that fit your requirements, but in order to rent a lodging in Nightless City, we require you to show evidence of... Ah! My lord! My sincerest apologies!"
Upon seeing the silver ring that Leylin revealed, the rabbit maiden's previously absent-minded expression completely changed.
She stood and bowed, showing her charming body and sturdy thighs, and the rabbit's tail behind her backside occasionally appearing. It gave one the urge to reach forward and grab hold of it. "So it was an official Magi! Please excuse Bayjess' rude behaviour!"
"It's fine. Tell me about the houses!"
Leylin withdrew his right hand.
"For an official Magus of such high esteem, we strongly recommend apartments that are in the third zone or above. There is a total of thirteen empty houses that meet your requirements..."
As she spoke, she continued to rub the surface of the blue crystal ball.
Rainbow coloured lights converged in front of Leylin and the multicoloured streaks formed many three-dimensional figures.
From the looks of it, it was a map of Nightless City, on which there were thirteen bright spots.
"All information about the apartments are on it, and there are also figures that allow you to view the structures of the lodgings."
Leylin took a quick look. All of the apartments were in the second zone or above, and the total area of the land was rather large. They were at least medium sized villas that included gardens and other entertainment facilities.
Nightless City was built on a mountain, and the higher up one went, the more valuable every inch became. In a place like this, the privileges and extravagant lifestyle that magicians were entitled to were especially evident from the area of land they had access to.
Leylin raised his hand and pressed on the villa that he was interested in.
With a flash of white light, the model was magnified, and a three-dimensional figure was displayed in front of him.
"Medium-sized villa's location: Nightless City Zone 3, Large Whale Street #56. It includes a laboratory, a defensive spell formation, a negative energy reaction pool..."
Beside the 3D figure, there was also a white frame that displayed more information about the villa.
"While this technology is based on magic, it's just too similar to how it was in my past life..."
Leylin suddenly sighed.
While the foundations of the two worlds were extremely different, one being science, and the other being magic, it somehow made Leylin feel a little nostalgic.
"I'll take this one. How much is the rent?"
Leylin pointed to one of the models and asked the rabbit maiden.
"Sir, the rent for this villa is a thousand magic crystals per month..." She peeked at Leylin, looking as if she wanted to say something, and eventually made her mind. "If you join any one of the powers backing Nightless City, you'll be gifted a villa, and..."
"Alright. Which family do you come from?
Leylin was very much aware that these employees were part of the powers behind Nightless City, and it was naturally their job to attract talents. They were sure to receive attractive rewards for their work if they were successful.
"The Mordeken family! I come from the Mordeken Family!" The rabbit maiden lowered her collar and revealed a brand in the shape of a palm under her shoulder.
The shape of the palm was a little strange. Instead of having five fingers, as was the norm, there were actually six.
The sides of the brand were a little charred and twisted. From the looks of it, a branding iron had been used directly on her skin in the past. The contrast between that and the rabbit maiden's delicate skin gave rise to an abnormal sense of beauty.
"I understand! If there's anything I need in the future, I'll consider the Mordeken family first!"
Leylin's expression remained the same, seemingly unmoved by her attempts. Sean, on the other hand, was salivating at the offer.
"Here are the magic crystals. I'll be renting it for a year." Leylin threw a small bag of magic crystals towards the back of the counter.
After being rejected, the rabbit maiden's expression slightly darkened, but she immediately forced a smile.
Even though she wasn't able to convince an official Magus to join the family, she would still receive some rewards from this transaction.
The rabbit maiden asked for the ring on Leylin's finger, and placed it in a device behind her, within which an exotic symbol was inscribed. She then respectfully returned it to Leylin.
"The pattern of the villa's defensive spell formation has already been marked onto your ring. You may enter the villa using the ring, and also make changes to the spell formation..."
Following which, the rabbit maiden passed Leylin a bunch of keys and a document.
"Here are the keys to the rooms in the villa, as well as some important information. I hope you have a pleasant stay there!"
Leylin retrieved the items and walked out of the hall with Sean.
"He actually spent over ten thousand magic crystals in one go..."
Sean still had a look of disbelief on his face.
Although he had heard of how certain magicians were able to spend unimaginable amounts of wealth, being in actual contact with someone who had the means to do so was still an entirely different feeling.
"Having met such a magnanimous customer, my rewards will definitely not be meagre. I might even be able to get a generous tip as well..."
Sean began to let his imagination run wild.
"Bring me to the villa and these will be yours!"
Leylin smiled, tossing a few magic crystals that were glistening temptingly.
"Of course! Your wish is my command!"
Sean's eyes brightened, and he quickly ran to the front. "Please follow me! There's not one place in Nightless City that I, Sean, am not aware of!"