168 Pathway to the Dream World 2in1

    Translator: Lonelytree

    Instantly, the situation on the summit shifted completely. The mounds of animal carcasses and two rows of arctic wolf corpses disappeared and so did the stone sculpture. But right where the statue stood, there was now a large humanoid banyan tree, grotesque in its majesty. The prey and the predator had been swapped.


    "What happened?"

    The Phecda members slowly regained consciousnesses from their mental assault. As the nightmarish illusion faded away, they saw what happened near the end. It appeared like Gu Jun had cast a spell.

    Yu Xiaoyong's face said it all. The shock was obvious. Although they had heard about spells from the headquarters before, still...

    'This Gu Jun sure is something else.'

    'Malformed banyan tree? What kind of spell is this?'

    'Are those people dead?'

    A flurry of thoughts surfeited their minds, but the one that stood out the most was: 'Are we safe now?'

    Xue Ba, Uncle Dan, and Lou Xiaoning shared a look. The concern was communicated non-verbally. Even though Gu Jun was still standing upright. His expression was extremely weird, and darkness could be seen swirling in his eyes.

    "His mental state..." Wu Suyi tried for an ESP connection, and her mind felt like it was zapped. "It's being corrupted by something..."

    Gu Jun had told them earlier that a price needed to be paid to use any spell, and obviously, he was paying that price now.

    "Then, what are we to do now?" Lou Xiaoning asked urgently. "Uncle Dan, why don't you go and give him a shot?"

    "Miss Lou, do you really think that will help‽" Uncle Dan roared back angrily. "We can't even tell what his physical or mental state is right now."

    At that moment, Gu Jun uttered, "I am fine..."

    That surprised and brought relief to the Demon Hunters. Yu Xiaoyong and Xue Ba hurried to call the command center. Gu Jun was not lying. He knew the darkness of the Son of Misfortune had been about to corrupt him earlier. If not for the Carlot Scalpel, the Strong Heart, and his mental power training... he might have lost himself.

    "The mastery of your Strong Heart has increased by one thousand and three thousand points. Current level is one (4,500/50,000 Mastery)."

    The illusion added one thousand points, and casting the spell awarded him with another 3,000. Well, if there was ever a silver lining...

    "Warning, your mind is currently corrupted. Current corruption rate three percent. It is growing at an indeterminate rate."

    This never-seen-before notification appeared in the system. Gu Jun indeed felt a shadowy block at a part of his mind. It was like a psychological tumor, and it was growing via the consumption of his mental power. That was the price he had to pay to cast this spell. If he did not cleanse it soon, it would only worsen as time went by. The 'indeterminate growth rate' probably meant that the more he interacted with darkness, the more constantly he used the spell, the faster it would grow. But the system notification was a welcome surprise. At least it could help him monitor his own psychological illness.

    "Dirty-minded Su, why aren't you ending this illusion yet?" Wu Siyu asked. She knew that Gu Jun was the one controlling that malformed banyan tree, but if he kept this up, the exhaustion would deplete him.

    "Not yet..." Gu Jun replied softly as the chilling wind slashed at his face. "Not when we have the perfect chance to enter that dream world."

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    "What do you mean?" Xue Ba and the rest were confused.

    Gu Jun turned to that twisted banyan tree. "These are not the only members of the R'yleh Cult..."

    That was a given. The R'yleh Cult had been in existence for who knew how long already, and it was certain that they had members all over the world. Furthermore, he did not sense the 'shaman' that Elder Tong encountered. That kind of dangerous presence was not part of the group that assaulted them. The group who were destroyed probably consisted of the cult members who resided on Wrangel Island.

    "Their physical bodies might not be on the island. They arrived here through some kind of method, but now that they are taken care of, this island is temporarily left unattended." Gu Jun looked around. "For now, no one will reach here fast enough to stop me from opening the path into the dream world. The source of the Nightmare Illness is not here. That can only be found in the dream world."

    "But how are we going to open that path?" Xue Ba asked. None of them had any idea about that.

    "Through a spell," Gu Jun answered. "I know a way to open it, but I can only use it once."

    "Dirty-minded Jun, you are going to cast another spell in your current state?" Wu Siyu sighed in disbelief. "Are you sure about that? Can your body handle it?"

    "I have to even if I can't." Gu Jun knew this chance would only come once. The cultists said that they had misread him, but Gu Jun was sure they were not going to make that mistake again. Therefore, the window of opportunity was slim. He did not have the time to rest and recover. Furthermore... he doubted any amount of rest would help recover the psychological tumor in his mind. Since he had made up his mind, the group retreated to the side. Gu Jun was the only one who knew anything about the occult and the supernatural, so who dared go against him?

    "Then I will start now." Gu Jun turned toward the cliff and looked down the horizon where the snowy field appeared to be joined to the frozen sea. He opened the watcher's diary in his mind and took out the parchment with the zombie language on it. The parchment floated before his mind's eye. He opened his mind to it, allowing its life, power, and spirituality to speak to him.

    Suddenly, another illusion flashed before his eyes. It appeared to be a room without walls, one that was filled with different carcasses.

    An epiphany came to him. The knowledge filtered into him as the words flowed out of Gu Jun's lips freely. "Meeping... Gibbering... Meeping... Gibbering..."

    Any spell required a sacrifice, so this time, he would use the humanoid banyan tree as the sacrifice!

    Their souls and bodies would be sacrificed to thee, the presence in the charnel house.

    At the same time, everyone else stood watching nervously. This time, the Arctic Wolf squad had a clearer understanding of the power of the spell. The air around the banyan tree appeared to get distorted. A pool of inscrutable darkness appeared, swallowing the banyan tree little by little before it disappeared completely...

    "Meeping! Meeping!" Gu Jun chanted the curse. Veins popped on his face, and his eyes were bulging.

    "The mastery of your Strong Heart has increased by 1,500 points. Current level is one (6000/50000 Mastery).

    "Warning, your mind is currently corrupted. Current corruption rate five percent."

    'Show yourself, path to the dream world!'

    As Gu Jun cast his spell, Wu Siyu felt a different chill even though the snowstorm around them had ceased and the night slowly turned into day. Xue Ba and the rest gasped openly at this unbelievable change. The frozen sea melted away, and mist billowed. The seawater rose onto the cliff. Even though they knew this was an illusion, it did not reduce the shock in their hearts. The headquarters who were tuned in were equally stunned. Then Yu Xiaoyong added in report, "A ship has arrived, a big white ship..."

    On the cliff before them, shrouded in the mist, there was a white ship peeking through. It looked like a wooden galleon. It had three tall masts, and the white sails on them looked rather worn and tattered. The mist was too thick for them to notice any discerning features about the white ship, not even its name or symbol.

    "Guys," Gu Jun said heavily, "I believe this is the passage."

    However, in the watcher's diary, Mr. Chandler did mention that not everyone could gain passage to that world. But since everyone could see the ship, did that mean that they could all embark on it? There was only one way to find out. Gu Jun and Wu Siyu saw there was a plank that led directly onto the deck. The others tried to inch closer to the cliffside, but whenever they did, the white ship appeared to drift away. The distance could never be closed. Now it was time for Uncle Dan, Lou Xiaoning, and the rest to frown.

    "Ah Jun, can't this wait?" Xue Ba tightened his jaw. "It is too dangerous for the two of you to do this alone. Perhaps we should wait for reinforcements from the base..."

    "There is no time." As the spell-caster, Gu Jun could sense that the passage was not going to stay for long. Furthermore, he had a feeling others were not invited. There were only two tickets available. He turned to Wu Siyu and admitted honestly, "Dirty-minded Yu, this is a one-way ticket. There is no guarantee we can even return."

    "We're already here." Wu Siyu made a face at him. "Plus, it's not every day you get invited onto a cruise. You bet I'm coming with you."

    "Alright then, I'm glad that you'll be coming along." Gu Jun sighed secretly in relief. Since he sensed there was capacity for two, he had a feeling Wu Siyu would serve a purpose to accompany him.

    The decision had been made between the two, but the others were silent. 'One-way ticket? Sounds like the pair has decided to sacrifice themselves...'

    "We're going then." Gu Jun turned to the rest. He took in the faces of Xue Ba, Lou Xiaoning, and Uncle Dan. "Uncle Dan! That trip that you promised me, don't you forget about it!"

    "Naturally..." Uncle Dan's eyes were red, and he choked slightly on his words. "For that, you promise me both of you have to return safely."

    "Ah Jun, Siyu, take care of yourself." Even Xue Ba's voice was getting hoarse.

    The Arctic Wolf squad also gave their farewell.

    Lou Xiaoning cursed loudly. She handed the weaponry that she had to the pair. "Take these with you, don't you ever let them bully you! And go kill those b*stards!"

    With that, Gu Jun and Wu Siyu carried provisions like guns and a medical kit and walked to the cliffside. Gu Jun made the first step onto the plank. It was quite sturdy. He took one step after another. Wu Siyu trailed behind him as they stepped onto the deck of the white ship. When they were out of everyone's earshot, Wu Siyu turned to ask, "In the illusions of the cult earlier, those things about humanity, do they not bother you?"

    "Why should they?" Gu Jun chuckled as he continued to stride forward. "Humanity is a mixture of good and bad. We have both the angel and demon in us. But it is also because the good in humanity is so easily corrupted and precious that we need to do our best to protect it."

    "Hmm." Wu Siyu stepped forward. "That is a very simple way of looking at it, but for some reason, that does sound quite erudite."

    On the summit, the group watched as the pair get onto the ship. Their figures were immediately swamped by the mist. From the satellite pictures, it appeared like they had walked off the cliff. An unknown wind blew on the mast, and the white ship slowly sailed away onto the endless ocean toward the north.

    All of a sudden, the snowstorm returned. When they took a look around, they found themselves back at the snow-topped summit, but Gu Jun and Wu Siyu were already nowhere to be seen. The two of them had embarked on the white ship to head toward the dream world.
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