259 Zoogs News

    Under the screen of the night, it was chaos outside the small town hospital. It was the combined din of the helicopter, the engines of the vehicles and the crying of the people... Under the cacophony, the shuffling of the Zoogs was hard to discern. The evacuation members saw with confusion a figure in full protective gear running down a direction, shouting 'Stop!'. The land's travellers, who had just escorted He Feng out, snapped into motion. They picked up their guns and charged down after Gu Jun. The figure disappeared so fast, and once it slipped into the forest, without any streetlight, he would be impossible to find. Gu Jun had the urge to pull the trigger to get it to stop moving but he knew the shot would only intensify the already heightened chaos and panic. Therefore, he kept on running but no one could run faster than a Zoog, definitely not someone being hogged down by a full set of protective gear...

    He caught sight of Peacock and her friends coming from the other side. He said hurriedly, "Use your spell from the first chapter. I need you to corner him, not kill him!"

    "Understood!" Peacock moved to oblige. She expertly chanted the spell from the first chapter. The opaline stone on her wrist shone, while her mental corruption rate grew, a strange shadow burst out from the darkness. The nightgaunt was fast like lightning and charged at its fatty prey. In response to his panic, his coat of brown fur stood on end. Being slammed into by the nightgaunt, he rolled several times on the ground before careening into a palm tree. Just as he tried to get up, he saw the barrel of a gun point at him. Even though he came from the Dreamlands, he recognized the gun as a dangerous tool. Furthermore, it was yielded by the feared nightmare man. Tap, tap, tap... The Zoog patted his stomach in panic, signalling his surrender.

    "Told you not to run, didn't I..?" Gu Jun caught his breaths before continuing, "Who are you? Why are you here?"

    The Zoog patted his body and the palm tree beside him. The pair of eyes appeared to be communicating something. But Gu Jun could barely understand the tapping. They were not at Dreamlands, communication did not come that easily...

    By then, Peacock, Uncle Dan and the rest had arrived. Uncle Dan uttered with shock. "A mutated creature?" Peacock used rough Chinese to explain. Uncle Dan sighed, if the bacterium could cause biological mutation, then it would truly be a nightmare.

    "Peacock, can you guys understand him?" Gu Jun asked.

    "No..." Peacock did not want to disappoint her idol but certain things could not be helped. "We're not at the Dreamlands. Outside of it, only the cats at the Ulthar can understand the language of the Zoogs."

    Gu Jun was desperate, they were wasting precious time, but what could he do? Suddenly an idea crossed his mind. "I'll try to communicate with it telepathically." He told the rest. "I need peace and quiet." He bent over to pick up the Zoog by holding him on his back. He closed his eyes and clicked open one of his two remaining blank sweet dream bubbles. After the one audience member walked in, he started the play:

    Ten thousand fowls, 10 thousand quails, 10 thousand grouses, cooked in 10 thousand ways. Fried, steamed, grilled, baked... The stage became a food paradise, filling the theatre with delicious smell. Through his experience constructing both Siyu and Ruoxiang's sweet dreams, Gu Jun found himself getting better at this.

    "Zoog, zoog." Gu Jun channelled his focus at the blurry audience and summoned, "Zoog, my Zoog friend! The food here is all yours!" Suddenly, the human shape morphed into a fatty Zoog, curled up on the seat.

    "Tsk, I, how..." The Zoog looked around in fear but when he saw the image on stage, he was jumping with joy, "Am I at Kadath?"

    "You're in one of my dreams, I'm the nightmare man." A chilly voice rang out and it almost shocked the Zoog out of his life. He crawled underneath the chair and the nightmare man continued, "Listen, it will depend on you whether this becomes a sweet dream or a nightmare."

    "Of course, what do you need?!" The Zoog said in a hurry. "Our tribe leader has said that we mustn't do anything to anger you, you're as powerful as the evil cat from Ulthar."

    'Perfect.' Gu Jun asked him about the pestilence, the medicine and had the Zoog tell him everything he knew, which was a problem for the Zoog. He had no life-saving medicine and he did not have much information to offer either for he just got here!

    "But I am sure this is related to the House of Worm, because the channel that I took was at the plateau where the House is located."

    Gu Jun's heart skipped. He asked, "The house of worm?" When he was at Dylath-Leen, he had heard that name mentioned by the audience before.

    "It is a very scary place." The Zoog shivered just from the mention of it. "A place even us Zoogs are apprehensive of approaching! It is filled with death, worms and pestilence... Those foolish enough to explore it will lose their lives there and live the rest of their life as another worm."

    "Then how do you know this plague is related to that place?" Gu Jun asked. He was reminded of how the new strain looked under the microscope: the twisted tentacles on the cellular surface and the black mouth at the end of each one. Could supernatural power be behind the strength of this bacterium? If that was the case, it might be a good thing...

    "Respected nightmare man, I am not particularly sure." The Zoog tapped on the legs of the chair. "We Zoogs do not know everything but we do know that pestilence is always related to the House of Worms. And I did spot a few strangers from your kin exploring it for these past few days but I have no idea what they were doing." Gu Jun knew those people were not from Phecda, or any official organization. They should be the cultists from the Afterlife Cult, R'yleh Cult or Rodgers' Order... There were too many crazies in this world.

    "Do they know about this channel?"

    "No." The Zoog patted his head. "They entered through dreaming, that is quite obvious. It's not that easy to find physical channels. Only us Zoogs are so fine-tuned to their existence. This channel has only just appeared. With my experience, I believe it'll collapse in another 3 days."

    "What do you mean by 'just appeared'? How long ago was this?" Gu Jun asked. This was very important. He explained to the Zoog how time was calculated on Earth and had the Zoog made the translation.

    "About half an hour ago." The Zoog thought and answered. "Actually the time flow here is quite similar to the time flow at the House of Worm. The appearance of this channel is probably due to the increased similarities between the two areas. I believe that has to do with this new plague of yours." Gu Jun calmed himself down to make sense of things. Since this was his sweet dream, he could tell whether the Zoog was lying or not. Based on what the Zoog had said, it was not the appearance of the channel that caused the plague but the plague had bridged a channel between the two worlds. For now the channel was unknown to the enemy, perhaps this would be a turning point for them.

    Would destroying the channel help? Or should they enter the Dreamland through the channel to investigate this House of Worms?

    Gu Jun believed the House of Worms was not under enemy control, they were probably just there for some other devious purpose.

    "I need you to stick close to me and when we exit this place, lead us to the location of the channel." Gu Jun warned the Zoog. The Zoog nodded hurriedly. Gu Jun ended the dream. When he came to, Gu Jun was still holding the Zoog. He sensed the confused gaze others levelled him at him and he announced, "Guys, we have a new mission."

    He turned to look up at the starless sky. He told the headquarters through the walkie talkie, "Command central, we've just discovered a Dreamland creature and located a physical channel between the two worlds. I suspect it is related to the plague. Request to cancel the retreat. And request for more reinforcement!"

    As a fan translator, your generosity is my main source of income. If you enjoy the book, please consider being a patron at: https://www.patreon.com/lonelyman
Previous Index Next