166 You Are the Answer

    Translator: Lonelytree

    The smell of death lingered in the air. On the summit under the night sky, the Russian assault team that had accompanied them in the ambush was now nowhere to be seen. It was chaos back at the command center. The same confusion and panic swept over the rest of the unit who were tasked with guarding the foot of the mountain. The Russians were cursing loudly, an expression of the anger and befuddlement in their mind. They could see from the satellite pictures that Ivanov's team had voluntarily jumped off the side of the cliff; no one was forcing them. One moment, they were standing perfectly at the summit; the next, they were slabs of meat and bones on the ice.

    The shock and commotion at the other places failed to permeate the absolute silence at the summit. The Inuits were still staring at Gu Jun. By then, even Wu Siyu and Xue Ba could sense that these people appeared to have been waiting for Gu Jun's arrival. Ever since they landed on this land, they had been leading Gu Jun to this place. Or perhaps it was much earlier than that. Were the coordinates their way of luring Gu Jun here?

    "You are angry," the middle-aged man who appeared to be the leader among the Inuits said. His round face was devoid of expression. His narrow eyes were glazed over with chaos. He seemed to be speaking to Gu Jun. "You are also nervous. Child, there is no reason to be like that."

    "I do not need any advice from any of you..." Gu Jun hissed darkly. 'How am I supposed to break out from this illusion?'

    He had used R'yleh's spell to undo Chen Defa's illusion before, but now... Gu Jun doubted the same trick would work because these Inuits worshiped the R'yleh deity. They drew their power from the same source, and they were performing a ritual for R'yleh at this summit. What would happen if he chanted that spell? Was that their purpose for leading him here all along?

    "Child, we have watched you grow into a fine young man," the Inuit man said. "This past half a year, you have matured greatly."

    The Arctic Wolf squad glanced at Gu Jun. Seeing the young man did not move, they held back as well. They were stuck, fearing to move forward and apprehensive of turning around.

    "Just like a young bird, you are about to leave with the nest with your feathered wings, leaving behind the care and scrutiny to fly toward the greater sky." The middle-aged man continued to speak, but suddenly, the noises of the surrounding birds pierced through the pervading silence. Instantly, the rustling and screeching crows and cries shattered the group's eardrums. "You have accomplished many things we never thought you would. You were not defeated by the force within you. You have found your own identity."

    While the man said these congratulatory words, the other Inuits' faces were aglow with smiles, radiating joy, relief, and pride.

    Suddenly, some human-shaped shadows appeared behind the Inuits. They seemed to be coagulating into existence. They reminded the Demon Hunters of the men in black robes they had encountered inside the banyan tree hole. Xue Ba was reminded of that fact that they matched the description of the cult members that Elder Tong had encountered so many years ago.

    This group of Inuits and the R'yleh Cult seemed to be from the same organization.

    "The Afterlife Cult does not have a deep enough understanding of you, and we have also misunderstood the purpose of your existence. It was not until recently that we gained a new understanding. We have misread the revelation given to us by the Great Ones," the man said, but there was no regret on his face, only serenity. "Such fools we were."

    Gu Jun sharpened his eyes and bit on his teeth as he stared at these Inuits and black shadows that chilled him deeper than the icy wind ever could.

    As he expected, the R'yleh cult and Afterlife Cult were two different parties. They were merely working together. But based on what this man was saying, not everything was within their control still.

    Misread? Did they think that the Son of Misfortune would consume him and then the entity would be drained by the Afterlife Cult? Or had they predicted that the Son of Misfortune would counter the Afterlife Cult? But the result was neither. Gu Jun did not die, and he did not lose himself.

    "Child, the reason you have been put on this world," the Inuit man continued, "is to provide an answer."

    "There is only one goal for why I am here," Gu Jun said firmly. "That is to vanquish the lot of you and the Nightmare Illness."

    There was someone among the black shadows who was shaking their head. The Inuit responded evenly, "That is not an illness. What kind of illness would enable you to take a glimpse of the real world? You call them patients, but they are the chosen ones. They have been selected from the masses, plucked out of their mundane existence to be given a sight of the great secret through their dreams. They are the lucky ones."

    "Lucky?" Gu Jun's heart was burning with rage. The images of the many patients flashed across his mind, the faces of Prof Qin, Brother Qiang, and the rest...

    The man continued as if Gu Jun had not spoken. "Our human brain is too weak to be exposed to the great truth directly. It is only through the dream that we are able to hear the voices of the Great Ones. A single person cannot hear anything, but once we join their minds together, they will be able to hear a lot more. Child, you know, without the voices from the dream, you would not even exist."

    Suddenly, other illusions flashed across Gu Jun's eyes. Next to him, Wu Siyu was also assaulted by the visions. The rest of them were suffering from headaches. They could see young faces appear before their eyes before the juvenile faces shriveled up into dried corpses. They were the kidnapped group of children from so many years ago!

    An epiphany dawned on Gu Jun despite the splitting headache. In the nine years between the disappearance at Guang Ting City and his birth, the ESP children project led by the Afterlife Cult and R'yleh Order did not fail. The voices that the children heard in their dreams... was a set of instructions. The children collected information from the Great Ones in their dreams, information that appeared to be meaningless... until their mental power dried out and they were consumed by darkness. They fell into madness, hallucinations, and eventual death...

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    The information was filtered and deciphered by the cultists into understandable messages, and from there, they derived the way to cultivate Spirit Children, how they could be summoned through music, and other methods. In other words, Gu Jun's life was traded through the lives of all those innocent children.

    "Ah..." Gu Jun screamed in fury. "You heartless b*stards..."

    And now they had created this Nightmare Illness not to lure him out but to use the patients to gather more information. They were searching for the coordinates given by the patients as well. They were looking for this door to enter the other world, to expose themselves to the ultimate truth. They did not need Gu Jun for that, but they reserved other intentions for him.

    Sensing a strong mental disturbance in her partner, Wu Siyu called after Gu Jun. "Dirty-minded Gu, hang in there..."

    But the girl herself had been sucked in the whirlpool of madness already.

    "Child, the things that cause you anger and give you a reason to live are empty." The man continued preaching in an even voice like a pastor giving a sermon to a lost lamb. "You fail to see the essence of the truth, and thus, you cannot let go of these illusions. Child, why don't you take another look with your real self?"

    Just as the man finished, the whole summit appeared to spin. All the Inuits gathered their voices and started to sing. The voice changed from a sweet lullaby to a frenetic chanting instantly.

    "Ah!" The Arctic Wolf squad screamed in pain. Some grabbed their heads while the others pulled on the trigger of their guns. The sound of gunfire was insistent, but they did not appear to hit any of the Inuits or the black shadows behind them. Some succumbed to the horror and rolled toward the cliff, but they were held back by Uncle Dan and Xue Ba, who could still maintain a shred of sanity.

    Wu Siyu's face was blanched. It highlighted the veins that popped on her skin.

    Everyone's eyes were bulging out of their faces, and they filled with strange blood vessels. Only Lou Xiaoning's left eye was affected, and strangely enough, there was an arctic wolf carcass that only had one eye.

    The anger in Gu Jun's heart had reached its peak, but at that moment, he realized he was unable to move. It was as if some kind of force had bound them into inactivity.

    A halo of light showered down on them. It was aurora borealis that suddenly appeared in the sky. The northern light now had a sinister nature as it curled around the people and bound them like ropes. The cultists chanted louder, and between the two rows of arctic wolf carcasses, a giant stone sculpture rose from the blanket of snow. The birds started to scream and yell.

    Innumerable limbs of unknown origin were carved on the surface of the sculpture. They were twined together, writhing in a mass of chaos and madness. Other than these horrifying carvings, there were some mysterious words written in a language so ancient none of them could recognize.

    "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!" The Inuits were cheering and yelling. Gu Jun's headache increased, and his heart started to grip with pain. Something appeared to be bursting out of him. Without even him realizing it, his mouth was chanting along with the Inuits.

    At that moment, the meaning of the words suddenly came to Gu Jun. Wu Siyu, Xue Ba, Uncle Dan, Yu Xiaoyong, and the rest who were connected by the pain felt the meaning resonate within them as well.

    "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."

    Every single one of them appeared to be slipping into an illusory dream.
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