330 Changing Faces

    Tragedy, tragedy... A maddening howl carried on the wind. Every nerve in Gu Jun's mind jangled with pain. They morphed into worms that wiggled about maddeningly. He could hear more voices but he could not pinpoint their sources. The voice said, 'Respected Carlot Doctors, have you ever managed to rescue anyone whose life is at an end? You are not able to resist against Death. Before Death, you are unable to do anything. You said you have tried everything but that is a mere excuse for your powerlessness, ignorance and foolishness. You do not really understand death so how are you able to ascend to a state beyond an ignoble existence...'

    "Open fire...!" While he was still conscious, Gu Jun hissed through his teeth. He believed that was the most appropriate course of action at the moment, "Blow up these creatures and push forward. Before they could reconstruct themselves, hinder them with the Ancient Seal..." His order was heeded by many. The leaders gave the orders through the walkie-talkies. Soon the howling was drowned out by gunfires...

    The team pushed forward while guarding their sides and rear. The fainted agents were carried on stretchers by medical members. The black-robed individuals regenerated themselves even after they were blown into meat pies. To the agents' astonishment, the flesh did not appear to possess any individuality. Any random pieces of flesh could join together to reform a black-robed individual. This was not a regeneration but more like a transmogrification. It seemed to suggest that all the black-robed individuals could also gel together to form a larger existence...

    Then something horrendous happened. The reconstituted faces were adopting shapes at a rapid speed. Their facial features were changing. A layer of skin grew on the face. In the eye sockets, there were no eyes but balls of flesh. Gu Jun alone could recognize the faces as the faces of the wilted men from the Afterlife Cult. Without any expression, they looked scarier than the zombies.

    'You seem to be curious to know what we are, who we are... But don't you already have the answer? Faces? When you look into the mirror, do you really think it's your own reflection looking back at you? Faces, faces, they are such a curious little thing.' Suddenly, the faces of these individuals changed. Their skin dropped to the ground before being absorbed back into the body. At the same time, the shape of their heads was shifting. The facial features morphed into that of a young girl. It was Xie Yiman. What remained of the monstrosity were two balls of flesh inside the eyes.

    With a bang, the head was blown open by a large calibre bullet. However, the headless body merely swayed for a minute before the head regenerated itself.

    'Is she your patient? You believe that you've saved her, but if that's the case, why is her face here? You have wasted so much effort and energy to console her, save her... and this is what you have to show for itt. And to think that you believe you have saved her. Let me tell you, you have failed. You did not save her, and you will fail to save the next victim.'

    Gu Jun's head was splitting like millions of worms were digging their way out of his head. Suddenly he heard a painful scream. It sounded familiar. Gu Jun turned to look and saw Xue Ba's face paled with pain. "Ah... Ah Jun, it's a tragedy..." Xue Ba's rifle slipped from his grasp. His right palm gripped at his heart as he suddenly tumbled to the ground. His muscles froze up like stone.

    "Uncle Dan, Captain Xue needs emergency rescue..." Gu Jun had no idea the order left his lips or not, his consciousness was fading. Thankfully, he saw the medical members running over with the medkit. Wu Siyu rushed towards him. "Dirty-minded Jun?" Peacock signed an Ancient Seal at Xue Ba but it was futile. Xue Ba's pupils were dilating. Uncle Dan said urgently, "His heart has stopped. I need levarterenol stat!"

    "Mother**er..." Lou Xiaoning at the frontline heard everything through the walkie-talkie. Why would Xue Ba suddenly crumble? The man's vitals were over the benchmark during his latest health check-up. He even gloated about it for a while. The man could consume several kilos of beef in one sitting. He even registered for extra-curricular classes to improve himself, hoping to impress others with extra random trivia... So how could a healthy man just collapse like that? Was it a mental attack? But who was responsible for it?

    "Dirty-minded Jun, how are you?" Wu Siyu noted how pale Gu Jun's face was. She went forth to hold his arm and instantly she screamed with pain. The moment she touched him, it felt like she was pulled into a dark abyss. In the end, it was Gu Jun who pushed her away. "Don't touch me... I'm being influenced by abnormal energy..."

    "The Conqueror Worm." Deng Ximei, who walked over, mumbled in confusion. She too was gripped by a strange influence. "It's the power of the Conqueror Worm. Leader Xue listened to its voice... And that is why death has come for him..."

    'Conqueror Worm?' A buzzing echoed in Gu Jun's ears. Lydia's letter bubbled up in his mind...'Let it end, let death end everything for death will be another new beginning.' The screaming in the wind grew louder. Tragedy, tragedy, the voice took on the brashness of Xue Ba's tone. At the same time, the other agents tried to unload everything they had on the undead monsters but it did not stop the monsters from closing in. They turned to Gu Jun for advice, but the latter was silent...

    "He's thinking!" Wu Siyu explained. Lou Xiaoning took over the commanding post, "Just keep on firing for now!" The agents followed her orders. Those close to the frontline signed out Ancient Seals. However, suspicion and worry started to set in. Was the Ancient Seal really useful... They stole glances at the fallen Xue Ba...

    The flesh flew everywhere and firepower picked up. However, the monsters regenerated faster as a countermeasure. A few more of them appeared down the plains. The faces that they wore had the same square jaw, it was Xue Ba's face. However, the man's expression of fortitude and courage turned into creepiness and absurdity on these monstrosities.

    Scanning those faces, Gu Jun spotted Xie Yiman's, Xue Ba's and even himself...

    His consciousness wavered. The familiar faces looked at him and everything seemed to stand still. He could feel his consciousness dissolving but, in that state, an epiphany dawned on him.

    "That the play is the tragedy, "Man," /

    And its hero, the Conqueror Worm."

    "The fruits of darkness sprouts, shrouded by the darkness of the trenches. The parasites of death will live with the Heavens and Earth forever."

    Death arrived so suddenly on stage. It was tragedy that brought death, and death was heralded by the Conqueror Worm. The Conqueror Worm was the parasite of Death. In other words, the Conqueror Worm was the Son of Misfortune and the Son of Misfortune was the Conqueror Worm.


    Read about the latest state of this project here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/47226334
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