202 Ancient Seal

    Chapter 202: Ancient Seal

    Whether Atal had the Pnakotic Manuscripts or not? Gu Jun had no idea, the whole thing about Barzai's wishes was just a bet and an educated guess. After all, all of his dealings with mysterious tomes so far had occurred inside his mind, Gu Jun figured it would be the same for Barzai and Atal. Based on the man's reaction, Gu Jun knew that his bet had paid off. He was quite impressed that the old man had managed to keep the secret to himself for so long...

    "The Tattered One." Tiredness started to line Atal's face. "Knowledge itself is a burden, the more you know, the heavier it'll get. Barzai the Wise thought that he had known everything, believing his intelligence can surpass the earth's god, but see what has befallen him... Why would he ask you to come get the copy from me?"

    "I have no idea." Gu Jun admitted, "Barzai operates in a way that is beyond us, I believe it is best that we just follow his instruction."

    "Perhaps you're right..." Atal sighed as brilliance returned to his eyes. "The Pnakotic Manuscripts is a hand-written copy of a very ancient scroll. According to legend, there are 5 chapters to the literature but Barzai the Great only has one. How he managed to get it, I too have no idea. The copy is indeed hidden in a sweet dream inside my brain, it is of the time I have spent under Barzai the Wise's tutelage.

    "I can copy a projection of this sweet dream for you with the chapter and the little research I have done on it inside it but I have to inform you, it is not a spell book and it really has no connection with Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan. With regards to what it is, I no longer have intention to find out." Atal sighed heavily, "After the accident with Barzai the Wise, I have burnt all the physical copies and halted all of my research into it."

    Gu Jun was naturally interested. Whether it was a spell book or not, it definitely had its research value... But he knew that Atal's warning should be heeded, this kind of mysterious knowledge could often transmute a person's body and mind. For now, his most important mission was to figure out how to return back to Earth. The last time he managed that was due to the interdimensional pathway built by Elder Tong and the rest but that would not work now. Therefore, Gu Jun turned to Atal with this enquiry.

    "I am not that clear about that either." Atal shook his head. "But there is a creature residing in the nearby Enchanted Woods which might help you with that. I wonder if you have encountered them already, they are called Zoogs, a type of passionate and clever little creature."

    "Zoog?" Gu Jun's eyebrows raised. 'Those big rodents have that kind of knowledge? This is perfect, I am looking for them as well...'

    'Ancient Seal?' Gu Jun studied the mysterious seal in his mind, he could not understand it nor could he begin to fathom the depth of its power...

    This whole chapter appeared to be describing this seal. However, from where he was standing, that only brought him more questions. Atal had suddenly gone quiet. Gu Jun skimmed through the copy and found nothing so he turned to Atal to enquire him about how to deal with the vines around his legs. Atal said they looked like a plant from the Enchanted Woods and the Zoogs would know more about that. Gu Jun thus departed from the melancholic Atal. With the help of the walking stick, he shuffled out. He was immediately accosted by Malachite and Peacock who were waiting at the exit.

    "Mr. Nightmare Man." Peacock asked nervously, "How did it go?"

    "I have read the Pnakotic Manuscripts, it is a book of consciousness." Gu Jun glanced at the duo once before making his way down the hill. "It really does not have any connection with the Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan, that legend came to be because Barzai was studying both of the tomes at the same time. Atal has no idea why your people are stuck at the fifth chapter of the book." Peacock's face dropped and Malachite looked desperate. They turned to look inside the tower before deciding to follow the nightmare man.

    "Sir, no matter if they are related or not." Peacock pleaded continuously, "Can you please tell us the content of the book? Perhaps it might be of help to us." Naturally Gu Jun would not bow their demands so easily. After all, he had not trusted them fully yet. He did not even share the information about the seal with them even though any Ulthar resident would be able to tell them about it.

    "Bring me to the Enchanted Forest." He said, "And I will consider it."

    The pair shared a look. They were given no choice. They could not win the nightmare man in a fight, so they could only follow along in the hopes that the nightmare man would be gracious enough to grant them the book once he was satisfied with their services. After leaving the temple, Peacock went to rent a donkey carriage. She helped the nightmare man into the carriage and the group departed towards their next destination. The Enchanted Woods was a giant piece of untouched forest, it was connected to Ulthar on its eastern side. After half a day of journey, the carriage finally entered the forest. The surroundings turned dark and creepy. Among the twisted trees, there appeared to be mysterious rustling. Gu Jun had the carriage stop. With the stick, he got down from the carriage. He looked around and could sense numerous beady eyes looking carefully at him.

    "Zoogs, I know you are here, yes, I have returned." Ignoring the pair who was clearly confused, Gu Jun took in the forest around him and continued, "I wonder if you have finished the 5000 hens, 5000 quails and 5000 fowls that you have kept for yourself? If not, you better hurry up because you are going to end up as toasted Zoogs soon. Just in case you do not understand me, I will be more direct." He shouted, "Today, I will burn down this forest!"

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    Suddenly frantic tapping echoed around them, it sounded like the cursing of ten thousand rats.
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