382 Another World

    Pain, so much pain. After hitting the ground heavily, Gu Jun could not stand up. His world teetered and there was a buzz in his ears. 'I'm still alive... after the atomic explosion... But where am I now?' Waves of agony crossed his mind. Gu Jun took a long time before his brain started to function again. Just as the leader shouted for his men to initiate the bomb, an inspiration struck Gu Jun. He turned to look at the charity poster in his hand. He arrived at this world through Dirty-minded Yu's watercolor, could he leave it through another pictorial medium...

    During emergencies, a surge of adrenaline could provide people with energy to accomplish things that they normally could not. Gu Jun had no idea it was due to his own power or some other intervention. Several spots of bright lights appeared on the poster. It intersected to form the split cross. His hands slipped through it and Gu Jun was soon dragged towards another dimension. Before the atomic explosion destroyed everything, Gu Jun managed a narrow escape. Gu Jun had no idea what happened next but for a split second, he appeared to float through the air and saw everything from his mind's eye.

    Angel City, the metropolis that worshipped the Locust God, its walls, skyscrapers, roads, schools, hospitals, locust temples... were all vaporized. The damage of the atomic bomb surpassed Gu Jun's expectation. Even an atomic bomb from Earth would not cause such huge damage. Earth's atomic bombs could deal high amounts of explosion damage but they could not cause immediate vaporization... Gu Jun was not even sure the thing could be called an atomic bomb anymore. So just what kind of military base would carry something like this? Or... this was just his imagination filling in the blanks in his mind?

    After an unknown amount of time, the scene before Gu Jun cleared. 'Where am I?' He scanned his surroundings. He was no longer at a barren land, instead he found himself near a hill overgrown with green grass. There were bushes and trees. He even saw two horses grazing peacefully. Down the distance, at the top of the hill, there were a few houses. They had distinctive European architecture, with slanted roofs, white walls and chimney. 'Have I returned to Earth?' But Gu Jun soon noticed something that conflicted with that hypothesis. It was clearly fall! The trees were maple trees and the leaves were orange and red. 'Could I have returned to Earth but in a different timeline...?'

    Gu Jun wanted to sit up to get a closer look but the motion tore at the wound around his stomach. It caused him to groan in pain. He turned to his stomach and saw the bandage soak with redness.

    "Uncle Dan, I told you to do a surgical knot but you insisted on a square knot..." He sighed helplessly, "Now see what you've done." He slid the backpack off his shoulders and looked up into the blue sky. A sense of complacency came over him. If Dirty-minded Yu was beside him, this would be quite romantic...

    Gu Jun tried to clear his mind and be positive but the experience from the barren wasteland stuck in his mind. Angel City, worms, plague of locust, Locust God, Flying Locusts... Gu Jun gave a long sigh. Ah Bao, Shou Hou, Da Niu and the rest, they all vaporised. Even though he did not know them that long... Gu Jun felt sorry and sad. They were just young boys who never even saw the sea in their lives. And they were not the only party whose lives were lost. There were also people from the Angel City. The thoughts bounced around his head before he landed on the name that was Ah Bao's lips before the final moment, the long and strange name.

    'Nyarlathotep, that does not sound like a Chinese name, hell, it does not sound like a foreigner's name either. According to Ah Bao, this person came with an enormous atomic bomb and handed it to them. He essentially had caused a great destruction... Is that possible? Yes. But... Something does not sit well with this story.' The image of the desiccated corpse inside the iron cage appeared before Gu Jun. 'Is that really Nyarlathotep?'

    "Chaos, death, destruction." He shook his head but he was no closer to understanding the truth. "What kind of timeline did that wasteland exist in? I've arrived there through the power of the split cross and now I'm here. Since when did I gain the ability to traverse through dimensions?" Gu Jun scratched his forehead. It wouldn't have anything to do with the polymer in his skull, right? In any case, this was probably the power which the witch wanted from him. She would consume him to gain this power and traverse in person to Earth. "Can this ability be manually controlled? And what kind of resources does it exhaust, if any..."

    Gu Jun checked himself mentally. "My mental state appears to be fine, I do not feel particularly tired... So if there's an exhaustion, it should not be of the mind..."

    Speaking of which, he checked into his sea of consciousness to inspect the system. It was still a ball of chaos but he realized with pleasant surprise that his internal exploration no longer caused pain as immense as before. There was now only a dull ache. That was a huge improvement as he once almost collapsed from just checking the remnants of his system.

    'Is it possible that...' Gu Jun pondered, 'These transmigrations ameliorated my situation?' He had a paradigm shift in his thought. Perhaps he did not suffer from PTSD but the PTSD-like symptoms were mere manifestations of a new kind of power in his body. His unfamiliarity with it caused the syndromes but now his body was learning to slowly adjust itself to the newfound power...'If that is the case, I am slowly recovering and easing into a new state.'

    With that positive thought in mind, Gu Jun opened his eyes and his heart beat harder. 'It's not yet over. Like the witch said, I've become more precious... and that attracted the attention of these demons... For now, I should identify my location and find the connection between all these clues. I have to get to the bottom of the signal as well as the symbol and then gain contact with Phecda...'

    "I should be in Australia or Europe." Gu Jun struggled to stand up. The building had a clear non-chinese architectural style. He studied his stomach wound. The bleeding had stopped so temporarily he could leave it be.

    However, Gu Jun knew that even though this place did not appear as dangerous as the wasteland, dark currents could be hidden under the peaceful surface. He proceeded slowly towards the houses on the hills as he watched his surroundings. When he was about 10 metres away from the houses, Gu Jun saw someone walk out from one of the side doors. It was a short and fat Caucasian woman. She was carrying a wooden pail of laundry. The attire, accessories that she wore... suggested a medieval era.

    The woman spotted him as well, and the moment she did, she screamed in an unrecognizable English accent, "Oriental Demon! There's an Oriental Demon!"
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