273 Closing the Door

    The fog rolled in as the sea of darkness receded.

    "Is... is it over..." The Zoog looked cautiously around. Gu Jun's team was still there but the House of Worm had disappeared without a trace. The last thing the Zoog saw was the thousand-eyed worm detonating into pieces while screaming madly. Its eyes floated down like snow. Eventually the giant shadow that casted over them disappeared. It was as if a weight, that was placed on them, had been lifted. The suffocating stench dissipated, replaced by a spring-like fresh air. Everyone was where they were, Gold still carrying the injured Ma Feng, Gu Jun holding two handfuls of syringes while gasping for air...

    The latter looked around, the sound of the departed had disappeared, so did their eyes. But he appeared to hear a different kind voice summoning him. 'It feels like someone is trying to enter the dream... It sounds like Monitor...'

    Suddenly, the Zoog caught something from the corner of his eyes. He patted himself nervously as he slipped away, "Leader, leader, help!" The group then saw him run towards a group of Zoogs who was hiding among the trees. Gu Jun knew that the race of Zoogs settled at different parts of Dreamlands, the eldest among them was often the leader. Similar to the Elder Zoog he encountered at the Enchanted Woods, the leader Zoog here was also quite advanced in his age. Seeing the Zoogs attempt to slip away, Gu Jun hollered, "Stop right there!"

    The Elder Zoog halted immediately, the others followed suit with some careening into the others. The notoriety of this Nightmare Man had spread like wildfire throughout the Zoog population.

    "Ha ha." The Elder Zoog would not have been able to survive for so long at The Plateau of Kaar without some cunningness. He knew who they could mess with and who they could not, the man before them was one of the latter. The Elder Zoog immediately rushed towards Gu Jun and began politely, "Mr. Nightmare Man, welcome to Kaar." This was the first time Lou Xiaoning encountered so many Zoogs and noticed instantly that these enlarged rats were quite cunning little beasts.

    "Where is the House of Worms?" Gu Jun asked, "Where has it gone?" Not only had the eerie manor different, so did the black moss and wilted trees around them. They appeared to have been transported back to the greener side of the plain but this time there was no sign of the House of Worm anywhere... except for the traces of pus that pooled around them.

    By then, Gu Jun confirmed that the thousand-eyed worm did not equal the House of Worm, the former was the manifestation of the power the cultists gained from the House of Worm through their sacrifice. Therefore, even if the worm was destroyed, the House of Worm should not have disappeared for no reason.

    "What happened?" The Elder Zoog still had not caught up with the situation. The Zoog who 'accompanied' Gu Jun quickly brought him up to speed and then the Elder Zoog patted his head and said, "Mr. Nightmare Man, I am not sure but I have heard of this theory before. I believe you have temporarily closed the doors of the House of the Worm to your world." Gu Jun raised his brow, prompting the Elder Zoog to elaborate. "The source of power for the House of Worm is a mystery to us as well. Many adventures have come here trying to glean its power but the place has its own rules of operation. What you have done today... has violated its rules, so the House of Worm will no longer receive any sacrifice or request from your world. To put it another way, as long as the visitor comes from your world, no matter the method, they will not be able to enter or even locate the House of Worm anymore."

    Seeing the frown on Gu Jun's face, the Elder Zoog added, "It is quite a shame..."

    "A shame?" Lou Xiaoning scoffed coolly, "That is exactly what we want."

    The existence of the House of Worm was undeniably a big threat for any world because this place could be used by some crazed cultists to create disaster that could end a world. To end humanity, there didn't need to be a meteor crash or giant earthquake, they only needed to cultivate a bacterium that could not be cured by current human medical power. If earth was blacklisted by this place, it was good news. Overall, it could be considered a mission success.

    "How long is this 'temporary'?" Gu Jun didn't want to get ahead of himself. "When will it reopen its doors to us? A year? Several years?"

    "Erm..." The Elder Zoog patted his head. "Probably not so soon. Time is precious to us but not so much for these mysterious forces. Centuries fly by for them. I suppose it'll be another decades or centuries before the doors reopen..."

    Gu Jun only then sighed in relief. This meant that in the visible future, the House of Worm could no longer be weaponized by the cultists. Furthermore, if they maintained a line of communication here with the Zoogs, Phecda would be given first notice whenever the House reopens. They would get here faster than the cultists. But whether the cultists had other resources other than the House of Worm was another issue completely.

    Regardless, the most imminent issue now was to solve the epidemic ravaging Earth. Did the destruction of the thousand-eyed worm cause the new strain of legionella pneumophilia to lose its supernatural power? What effect was incurred over there at the waking world by the defeat of the worm, if anything? Gu Jun had no clue, he could not even tell how much time had passed back on Earth. However, before they could return, Gu Jun had another mission to deal with. He asked the Elder Zoog, "A few of our friends have disappeared, have you seen them?"

    "We did see a few people from your race lying there on the way here..."

    Hearing that, Gu Jun immediately had the Elder Zoog lead the way. He grabbed the medkit and rushed after the Zoogs. They ran through the fog and eventually saw some figures lying beside a small tree. It was Uncle Dan's team who had disappeared. There were deep wounds on their skin but the most seriously injured was still Ma Feng.

    "Ah Jun..." Uncle Dan was still conscious when they arrived. His lower left arm was bloody and the redness soaked through his pants.

    "What happened?" Lou Xiaoning asked urgently.

    "We were ambushed..." Uncle Dan answered. His pale face grimaced from pain. "Once you left, the dimension shifted. Many limbs shot out from the ground. I opened fire immediately but we were quickly overwhelmed. Then it felt like I was pressed under a mountain of dead bodies. I thought that was the end of me..."

    Gu Jun instantly understood that there was no physical manor to begin with, the environs had been playing with their mind. Ma Feng was not the only one trapped inside the wall of carcasses, the rest of his team was inside there as well. If not for the disintegration of the thousand-eyed worm, Uncle Dan's team would be dead by now...

    Gu Jun made a cursory check of the members' injury. They all needed emergency rescue but the team's medical unit was seriously short-staffed. Suddenly a bright light burned in his sea of consciousness. 'Wait, this is...'

    'I am here.' He responded through his mind, connecting with Wang Ruoxiang's sweet dream. 'Monitor, monitor! We are here, we need your help!'

    Suddenly, the Zoogs and the others saw pools of light gather around Gu Jun. They slowly coalesced into familiar faces.

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