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Outside the coffee shop, in front of a video store.
“Barbabia is dead.”
A man wearing a white shirt, sitting on a public bench in front of a video store, pretending to browse through a magazine in his hand.
“He and Argus are dead. They will leave behind the nurtured souls only come the powerful beings of the other world possess. And it is also the beginning of a disaster here. But according to the earlier record, Shermanton should have been destroyed and only less that a hundred thousand people are left now,” said another man, chewing on a pork floss bread while quaffing a bottle of milk.
“Could it be that we have come to the wrong timeline?”
“Impossible. Considering the age of the Night Patriarch and Night Matriarch, we are on the correct timeline. Probably this is just a minute variation in history.”
“The biggest variation is the group called the Sanctum. I’m suspecting that our recorded history has been altered, and that is why there is no record of the Sanctum.”
“Altered? Screw it! There are only sixty-seven days before it happens. We need to get ready to save everything.”
“You have any idea how to go about it?”
“There are many ways to do it. But during the Black Tide lockdown, average persons have no way to leave the colony. Besides, they will not believe us. If you tell them, ‘your daughter is going to kill your entire family in two months’s time,’ I bet they will call the police right away.”
“Anyway, in an accident two months from now, the Night Matriarch will experience an outbreak of dark forces in her. She will massacre her family. The good side of her personality will collapse, and the dark side of it will dominate everything. We must stop this tragedy from happening. So long as the good side of her personality remains, she will not go to extreme wickedness even if the dark forces awaken.”
“Maybe we can work something out through the Night Patriarch as the dark forces in him have not fully awakened. We can convince him to help on the pretext of saving the Night Matriarch.”
“This sounds like a better plan than the original one. Worth a try.”
“Good. I will work it out and see how we can ‘tell’ the Night Patriarch that a tragedy is about to befall the Night Matriarch’s family.”
The two leaned closer and mumbled to each other, their voices lower and lower.
The Nightmare Plain in the dream.
Lin Sheng struck the Divine Pillar with a sword. A streak of sparks lit up as the sharp holy power light sword slashed the vine, leaving behind a trail of dark-gray, burned cut marks. Other than this, nothing seemed to work.
Lin Sheng got closer, reaching to touch the burned, cut mark, which had the depth of the distal phalange of the forefinger.
“What a hard shell.” He frowned as he looked at the Divine Pillar mentioned in the disc.
The Dreamweaver, according to records, was the demigod who ruled this small world. Ancellia was just an outsider arriving here by accident. Following the spread of the Black Tide, the demigod created the Divine Pillar and moved every living person inside. The Divine Pillar was the only means to resist the Black Tide, which was what the record in the discs said.
“Structure that could resist the Black Tide will of course stand up to my powerful strike. That sounds entirely logical.”
Lin Sheng suddenly had a lightbulb moment. He had circled the Divine Pillar many times. Using his powerful senses and perceptibility, he had studied the pillar down to the minute details. But what aroused his curiosity was the missing signs of the Black Tide, which should have overrun this world before but was now nowhere to be seen.
Although it was a desolate world, the disappearance of the Black Tide was real. He did not know if the credit should go to this world or the next world where the Infinite City was. But no matter what, it was a right decision to enter the Divine Pillar and understand the truth about this world. So he had come, circling the Divine Pillar many times, trying out various attack methods, but nothing worked. He could almost feel the vast number of souls inside the Divine Pillar, cramped together and not moving at all as if they were asleep.
“There must be a way to enter the pillar.”
Lin Sheng flew around the pillar in a circle until he again saw a few lamp monsters on the ground.
“There are still lamp-monsters here?” With the flick of his hand, he turned pure-white holy power into a light beam, striking the lamp monsters with precision. Their bodies melt like burned candles with wax dripping to the ground. Black threads began to rise and scramble into Lin Sheng’s chest. He closed his eyes to receive these little soul fragments into his mind. Soon, his lips curled up in a smile.
“These are the patrols. It is just right. Since there are patrol teams, I can kill more of them and might eventually figure out how to enter the pillar.”
He started to search around in the surrounding for living beings. Quickly, he found two old man reliefs on the surface of the Divine Pillar. After the old man reliefs gave him two silver stone discs, he killed them. The discs had records of daily life inside the Divine Pillar. The texture of the silver stone discs felt better than the regular stone discs, and the record on them was complete.
Lin Sheng struck down another two light beams, killing yet two more lamp monsters. After they died, their bodies turned liquified into black fluid before it seeped into the ground. Two more black threads, which were slightly thicker than before, flew into his chest. The soul fragments he got this time differed from previously.
He saw in the memory the way to access the Divine Pillar. Closing his eyes, he studied it for a moment, then let out a long sigh. When he opened his again, he lunged straight down toward the ground. Once he was on the surface, he quickly found on the surface of the Divine Pillar a small arch pattern. Standing in front of it, Lin Sheng reached out to press on the surface.
“With all the strength, and all the dreams of the living.”
Using the language of this world, he chanted the spell words to access the Divine Pillar. As soon as he finished, the pattern on the Divine Pillar surface lit up in purple fluorescent light. It got brighter and brighter until it illuminated Lin Sheng. Then came a faint voice of unknown gender.
“Detecting contamination index.”
“No contaminant detected.”
“Outsider, welcome to Hall of Dreams, the Divine Pillar.”
There was no opened door or access passage. All Lin Sheng got was a moment of dizziness, and everything in the surroundings started to distort. The next second he knew it, he found himself standing in a vast silver hall. There was nothing here except the silver stone discs, big and small, scattered all over, and purple light patterns in the shape of a crescent shimmering on the walls. The rest of the place had cravings of trees, vines and flowers.
Lin Sheng picked up a silver disc to take a look.
“His Majesty’s health has worsened, We must find a way to get out of here.”
“But there is no way to open the door from the inside.”
“His Majesty’s Sceptre of Mist controls everything. If we could get the thing…”
The words stopped there. Lin Sheng proceeded to examine the other stone discs. Most of them were empty; only a few had something on them. But even so, those contents were more or less the same, or records of something called Assyrian Dream Project. The project contained loads of technical jargons. Browsing through it, Lin Sheng could not make head or tail of what it meant. There were no explanatory notes, and no one knew what those terms meant.
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