194 Eye of the Abyss 2in1

    Chapter 194: Eye of the Abyss (2in1)

    There were 5 Asians sitting side by side in the second row. There were 3 males and 2 females, they looked around 20 plus. Over the past few days, as the audience gawked at him, Gu Jun had studied the audience members as well. He had seen so many races walk through the doors. Some had distinctively different cranial shapes but these five people, he was certain that they were of the same species as him but he did not know any of them.

    'Calm down, calm down... are these locals or dreamers?' He suppressed his excitement and turned his thoughts to this question. He could not tell any further information from the way they were dressed, because they were all dressed in common cotton robes. He knew from experience dreamers could not bring their apparel and they could change into any outfit that they wanted. It was possible that they were locals, after all, the Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan suggested that ancient Chinese civilization might have once populated this world. But if they were dreamers... What was their background? What organization were they affiliated to? Phecda? R'yleh Cult? Afterlife Cult? Or some other organization?

    'I have no clue at all.' Gu Jun tried to focus on the five as best as he could without giving himself away. The two young ladies were quite beautiful but appearance could be deceiving. Best case in point, Gu Jun himself. In his current state, no one would have believed he was still sane. If he had to guess, the chances of these people belonging to R'yleh Cult was much higher than Phecda because Phecda still knew nothing about the dream world but the R'yleh Cultists had already occupied a whole island with that house of nightmare.

    'Calm down or you'll expose yourself.' Gu Jun quickly reminded himself. 'Even if they are from Phecda, whether they can still recognize me in my current state is a problem; even if they can, how are they going to get me away from the black merchants? If they are not... then I'll be getting myself in deeper trouble.' By now he could move his fingers and toes already and the day had just started, who knew how far his physical recovery would go when night fell? So Gu Jun decided there was no need to take unnecessary risk for now. Thus Gu Jun tried to dampen his racing heart while he yearned for these people to be from Phecda and yearn for news from the real world.

    He heard, as if through a screen, the host shouted, "The Nightmare Wonder shall begin now!" for he was hiding inside a sweet dream bubble. Just like the past 31 showings, a black merchant approached to poke him in the eyes with silver needle. His musculus orbicularis oculi were punctured with holes. He was not given a chance to close his eyes for them to rest. Gu Jun worried about the state of his eyes. A jolt of pain shuddered through him and the whole audience collapsed under horrified screams... expect a noted few. Gu Jun noticed that the five earthlings did not react as horrified as the rest of the audience. They merely had their brows frown and their muscles twitch. 'To be able to resist the assault of the nightmare energy, these people aren't normal people...'

    When the black cloth returned, and the show ended, there was chaos in the theatre. Gu Jun could only see darkness but he had trained himself to tune into the environmental audio cues. He hoped that the five would at least say something, giving him some clues. But the five appeared to have left the theatre already.

    'They do not seem like people from Phecda...' At least Gu Jun got that impression. If Phecda was to send people into the dream world to explore, they would be a Special Mobile Force unit. A principle for such a unit was that there had to be an optimistic member, someone like Uncle Dan to lighten the mood at the required time. And during his leadership training, he knew that at times like these, when the group was assaulted by mental attack, the leader had to say something to stabilize the team.

    When Gu Jun saw the list of rewards, he was quite happy. 100 old photographs could lower the corruption rate for another 1 percent and the 3 sweet dreams could give him the sustenance he needed to continue playing this role of a freakshow. But most importantly, a spell? And what did the (dream) mean? Was it used to cleanse his mind? It did not feel like so from the name... Gu Jun decided to click on it for more details. He saw a yellowed parchment float into his consciousness. There were some words written in foreign language on the parchment, they did not look like Landon's handwriting. The words were written with some forcefulness.

    "The Dream world has its own rules, unique from other worlds. Some spells can still be used here but some can't. Some spells can only be used in this world and this kind of power has no limitation." The denotation of 'dream' was probably a sign that the spell could only be used in this world. "Eye of the Abyss: Is it a curse or a blessing to stumble upon this ancient spell? It does not require much to use it but one must possess a horrifying pair of eyes, one that has stunned many people's souls. I do not have that, and have not encountered anyone who possesses that qualification. According to theory, the spell can awaken the dreamer and cause the locals of this world to hallucinate, lose their sight or even worse..."

    After reading the description of the spell, Gu Jun felt a chill running up his spine... Every usage of spell would increase the user's mental corruption rate so the 'low requirement' of this spell was perfect for the occasion and he did possess the pair of eyes to use the spell. But according to the author, he had not used the spell after he had obtained it, so it was unclear whether the effect would be as stated on the parchment. Before he could contemplate further, the next Nightmare Wonder had begun.

    The mission list refreshed daily so he could not take another abyssal mission before the day ended, all he could do was to lie in waiting... Batches of the audience came in, got shocked and left... then came the 40th showing, 50th showing, 60th showing. The puncture wounds in his musculus orbicularis oculi continued to increase while his corruption rate decreased and the nature of his mental power became firmer and sturdier. When the corruption rate lowered to 35 percent, he sensed that he could control his whole upper arm already; when it reached 30 percent, he sensed that he could struggle to stand up, but at the same time, the rate by which the corruption depleted had lowered, even a full house could only decrease the corruption by 0.1 to 0.2 percent. After a total of 100 Nightmare Wonders were over, the corruption rate was still stuck at 23.58 percent.

    After the 50th showing, some of the audience had gotten used to the horrors. In fact, Gu Jun noted some of the newer audience members were watching him like some kind of jewel. After the 100th showing, the host announced to the crowd the final Nightmare Wonder of the day. Gu Jun was covered in the black cloth and pushed to the backstage. When he passed the pathway that he was familiar with by now, he could hear the conversation between the black merchant and another party. The latter was not afraid of being overheard so Gu Jun could hear him clearly, "We want this nightmare man, name a price."

    The black merchant was still guarded around him because he could not understand the reply but from the tone... it did not sound like the offer was rejected.

    The other party added, "This nightmare man will be made into a sacrifice, that is all you need to know. We will leave Dylath-Leen tomorrow, so make your decision quick." That was the only two sentences Gu Jun heard before he was shoved back into the dark storage room. The door slammed with a bang and the footsteps faded away. His time as a living curios was running out whether he liked it or not. He had not reached his satisfied condition but if he did not struggle now, he would be given over to people who would do much worse things to him than the black merchants...

    "Now is the time." Gu Jun took a deep breath. Normally the black merchants would put him in the storage overnight but the deal might go through tonight and he would be pushed out to be handed over to his new owner so he needed to escape as fast as he could. He quickly skimmed through the 100 old photographs and lowered the corruption rate to 22.58 percent. Under the black cloth, he reached out his trembling right hand. With level 3 Hands of Dexterity, he still felt quite unfamiliar controlling his limb. Resisting the pain, he removed the fascinator hooks from his eyes. They yanked out with trails of blood.

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    "Ah..." Finally he could close his eyes. Instantly an indescribable pain tore through him, every cell in his eyeballs was pulsing with pain. Gu Jun kept his eyes closed for only a while because he was on a time crunch. Sacrifice, his experience as the nightmare man was a part of that sacrifice as well...
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