Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Dreams were an invisible thing, and not everyone had a dream, and not everyone could stick to it. Those who had firm dreams should be the most praiseworthy ones, but in this playfield, they were the ones who must die.
“According to this situation, even if there are people who survive, our world will not come back.” He Xin sat on the stairs and looked around, they didn’t have any communication devices now, and they didn’t know how many people had died in this playfield, but, according to what they had encountered so far, a few people were swallowed by the swamp.
Ning Yangze stood not far away, silent, but even if he didn’t speak, as partners, the two people understood what they were thinking.
“People who have dreams die, and the more obsessed they are with their dreams, the faster they die. It just so happens that our world needs such people.” He Xin sighed.
“It’s very bad.” Ning Yangze finally opened his mouth, “It’s tougher than we thought, probably Shen Si saw all this and chose to go backwards in time.”
It was a future without a solution.
“Speaking of which, where are Wu Qiu and Xia LeYu? How come I haven’t seen them?” He Xin looked around, “Didn’t I just say we can’t act alone now? One of them is an ordinary person and the other is a girl with no aggressive abilities, it’s too dangerous.”
“They…” Ning Yangze froze for a moment, and then he spoke up, “I think I just saw them go down the stairs.”
He Xin and Ning Yangze looked at each other, and then their eyes widened.
These two people weren’t going to find Shen Si, right?
The two men stood at the end of the stairs and looked around, then they looked at each other, one left and one right, and left quickly.
Let’s make sure these two people were safe first.
Wu Qiu and Xia LeYu were young, they were a little bit of this and that, but they were qualified as leaders. They weren’t He Xin and Ning Yangze’s elected deputy team leaders, but also the last card in the organization, so they couldn’t meet with misfortune.
No matter what happened, as long as one of the four of them was still alive, humanity would not give up hope of survival.
In another place, Xia LeYu and Wu Qiu walked on the road, which was cold and clear, with nothing but snow. There were no cars or people, and there were some messy footprints on the snow but still nothing else could be seen. The whole city looked empty.
“Are we really going to find Shen Si?” Wu Qiu carefully tugged at Xia LeYu’s coat, “Where is Shen Si now?”
“It’s because we don’t know that we need to come out and look for him. I’m sure Shen Si must have something up his sleeve, he wouldn’t just leave the world alone so easily.” Xia LeYu smiled and reassured Wu Qiu, “It would be great if we could help Shen Si, we can’t let him just take on everything by himself.”
“But Team Leader’s side…” Wu Qiu’s voice was getting smaller and smaller, “Will Team Leaders be angry with us?”
“I don’t know about that.” Xia LeYu scratched his head, “But I don’t think Team Leader will be angry. Although they don’t say it, they are also very eager to find a solution, even if they are mad. They will be worried if the dream swamp will swallow us up.”
Wu Qiu nodded as she followed behind Xia LeYu, holding the small machine in her arms. This was the first time she had made her own decision to follow Xia LeYu out, and although she was a little scared, she was slightly excited. She would be very happy if she could help Shen Si a little.
After knowing that Shen Si once reversed time back to many years. Wu Qiu felt very shocked. Going back twenty years was almost like a rebirth but in these twenty years to find a way to save the world, and finally had to be in this playfield to restore memories…
How painful and terrible this must have been? Wu Qiu felt that he could never do such a thing. After enduring the unbearable pain, facing the failure of such a thing was too sad. If possible, Wu Qiu wanted to help him. Just then, Wu Qiu’s body stiffened slightly, and she pulled Xia LeYu by the hand, “Xia LeYu!”
“What’s wrong?” Xia LeYu was startled by her, he hurriedly stopped in his tracks, “What is it?”
Wu Qiu frowned and sensed everything around her, after a moment she reached out and pointed to a location, “There… there’s something.”
Startled by Wu Qiu’s serious tone, Xia LeYu turned his head to look at the corner just now, but he didn’t see anything, just the empty road with the empty corner, white snow covering the road, looking very clean and tidy, with no strange signs at all.
But Xia LeYu didn’t pretend that nothing had happened, instead his whole body was nervous.
Wu Qiu was the deputy team leader of the Inspection Unit, but in addition Wu Qiu was a Survivor. Her ability was to sense nearby hazards, so her sense was absolutely correct.
“Most playfields don’t have only one stage. Is it a new condition that appears in the second stage?” Xia LeYu blocked in front of Wu Qiu as he listened to the sounds around him, “What the hell is it?”
There was a click and the sound came from the sky.
Xia LeYu and Wu Qiu raised their heads, the sky cracked, yes… like glass. The sky suddenly cracked open, and in the next instant, the cracks directly covered the entire sky. The sky was all crushed, and a hollow metal sky was presented in front of them.
“The unlimited flow world!” Wu Qiu clutched Xia LeYu’s arm, as she looked at the memory of the image that had never been worn away with a trace of horror in her eyes, “Yes, this is indeed the appearance of the unlimited flow world!”
The entire world was changing, except for the current road, whether it was the sky or the borders that could be seen around have gradually overlapped with the unlimited flow world in Wu Qiu’s memory.
Was this the process of a playfield’s birth? Their world would become like the playfield she had experienced before?
“Can you still feel the sense of threat?” Xia LeYu spoke up and asked.
“Mn, it’s still there.” Wu Qiu crossed over to Xia LeYu and looked next to her, after a moment she frowned fiercely, “And can feel the sense of threat getting closer and closer.”
“Getting closer and closer?!” Xia LeYu pulled Wu Qiu backward, and just then, suddenly, the snow across the street moved.
The snow pile was trembling, as if a hole had been punched in the ground, and that snow was puffing and falling in. Xia LeYu relied on his near-sighted glasses to determine that it was a swamp; a swamp that was flowery and green as if it had broken up the paint.
A grunt interrupted Xia LeYu’s trail of thought, and in Xia LeYu’s vision, a head slowly emerged from the colorful swamp. It was a head because it was round, exactly like a human head, but it was inaccurate to say it was a head because it had no five senses, only the shape of a human head, colored; a completely colored pigmented thing.
The thing twisted and crawled out of the swamp, dropping colored mud from its body with each step, and Xia LeYu led Wu Qiu backward.
“Not just one, there are others.” Wu Qiu’s voice trembled, “There are many of the same thing.”
As soon as the words left her mouth, new mud bogs began to emerge; mud bogs of different shapes and colors, but it was easy to distinguish the things that appeared.
Paint, model airplanes, ink, clothes…
Xia LeYu and Wu Qiu turned around and ran backwards, but before they could run a few steps behind them there were the same swamp monsters surrounding them again. Xia LeYu felt the wooden bin from his pocket, and fired the bin at those things, the bullets penetrating directly into the bodies of those things, but it had no effect.
Because they were just clay sculptures, dummies shaped by mud.
“Xia LeYu, what now?” Wu Qiu clutched her small machine, “…Those things.”
Xia LeYu looked around, and closed his eyes, “I count one, two, three… when they are cleared you immediately run as fast as you can.”
Those mud bogs were still forward to surround them, as Xia LeYu pulled a small box from his pocket and threw the box to those mud bog monsters. The next moment, the box occurred a violent explosion, strong impact causing those mud plastic monsters to directly blow apart, Wu Qiu instantly dashed out, Xia LeYu followed behind Wu Qiu, throwing another box on the ground while running.
The box exploded and the mire monsters, already half restored, were once again blown to pieces.
Running out of the street with Wu Qiu, they immediately saw Ning Yangze who came over.
“You two!” Ning Yangze ran over and caught one of them with one hand, “What’s wrong? What’s with that thing?”
“Something crawled out from those dream swamps!” Wu Qiu hastily spoke, “Humanoid, but without the human five senses, they will probably attack humans indiscriminately.”
“It’s the second stage of the game.” Xia LeYu panted and looked at Ning Yangze, “There are very few people who stick to their dreams, and those who can really be swallowed by the dream swamp aren’t that many in proportion, so the playfield opened the second stage after judging that the first stage cannot swallow more people.”
Ning Yangze frowned slightly, “Does the dream swamp let them crawl out to attack people?”
“That’s likely, and I think the mud swamp monsters coming out of the swamp may be the dreams of the devoured.” Xia LeYu frowned and judged, “There might be a large gathering of people at that location just now, that’s why there are so many dream swamps.”
Wu Qiu snapped his mouth open at Xia LeYu’s reminder, “That’s right! There is a refuge point there! There were indeed a large number of humans who took refuge earlier!”
“Damn it! Will we completely be driven to extinction?” Ning Yangze with two people turned around and walked out, “You two, don’t go to Shen Si, let’s rendezvous with He Xin first, then find a way to spread the word about this. Saving one person is at least one person!”
“I know.” Xia LeYu and Wu Qiu looked at each other, they nodded, and then hurriedly ran after Ning Yangze.
It was finally decided that they would take the little girl to the nearest police station first. So far the Special Unit and the police officers were still performing their duties, and Jian Nian said he had seen the police on the next street when he came.
A few people were walking towards that place, and the girl was Xi Luo on his back. She understood that she could never find her mother again, maybe she didn’t know what to do in the future. She looked back sadly, hoping to see her mother’s figure again, but just then she saw the mud bog that had disappeared appeared on the ground again.
A shadow much like her mother’s slowly crawled out of the bog.
“Mom!” The girl began to struggle, “It’s mommy! Mommy’s back!”
Hindered by the girl’s movement, Xi Luo turned to look behind him, and just at the moment he turned his head, Xi Luo’s eyes widened slightly. Unlike the little girl on his back, Xi Luo was very aware that the thing behind him was not the girl’s mother, but a monster that had crawled out of the swamp.
“Brother!” Xi Luo shouted to Shen Si, “Look!”
Shen Si stopped when the girl shouted, and of course they saw what was in the swamp.
It was the exact same dream swamp as earlier, and in that pale red swamp, the humanoid monster crawled out of it little by little, writhing on the ground as if there was mud flowing on her featureless face, and the swamp extended with every step it crawled forward.
Not mom! The girl’s eyes widened, and the extreme panic prevented the girl from even uttering a scream.
“What is that thing?” Xi Luo took the girl off her back and put her in his arms, still using his hand to shield her eyes, “It shouldn’t be something that evolved from humans, right? That person should have turned into a clay figure and then turned into sand.”
“It’s more like a ghost-like thing, but not quite the same.” Jian Nian smiled and spoke, “Do you want to try swallowing it?”
Shen Si yanked Jian Nian’s collar and pulled him back, “It’s dirty. Don’t eat it.”
“So what should we do now?”
“This is probably the second stage of playfield, although it’s not yet known what the rules are.” Shen Si picked up the girl in Xi Luo’s arms, “I don’t know what this thing is, so I’ll take the girl first, then we’ll split up and see if this person’s purpose is the girl.”
The woman’s dream and desire who turned into a clay statue in the swamp was her daughter, so if she was really the evolution of a woman, she should come after her daughter.
Shen Si held the girl and backed away, while the three remaining people looked at each other, they each chose a direction to leave, but just then, the crawling mire monster stopped in its tracks. It faltered and turned a direction, not to follow Shen Si who was holding the girl, but chose Jian Nian who was in another direction.
“It chose me?” Jian Nian squatted down and looked at the mire monster crawling over not far away, “Why did you choose me?”
Shen Si hugged the girl and tried to take a step forward, but just like before, it didn’t even look at Shen Si, but persistently went after Jian Nian. Although it was strange, they were now basically sure that this thing was definitely not the continuation of the dead human.
“I remember that just now Jian Nian was also almost swallowed by the dream mire, right?” Xi Luo walked up to Shen Si, “Are these things attacking people who are likely to be swallowed by dreams?”
“The best way for a person who is likely to be swallowed by the dream is to let him be swallowed by the dream swamp, so why would you make the extra effort to let the things in the swamp attack?” Guan HeChang looked at them blankly, “Is there some other reason?”
Shen Si looked at Jian Nian, who was standing not far from the swamp monster. The swamp monster crawled towards Jian Nian with light red mud falling from his body, and just when the distance between them was only almost three meters, the monster suddenly spat out a mouthful of mud and water towards Jian Nian.
The muddy water was dodged and ended up on the snow, which in the next instant turned into a new swamp, and at the edge of the swamp was a circle of sand.
A pure act of aggression indeed.
“Let’s get out of here first.” Shen Si waved towards Jian Nian, who staggered away so the swamp monster could follow, and when he was about to leave Jian Nian looked back behind him.
As if to make sure he couldn’t follow, the thing crawled back into the swamp again, and Jian Nian looked over and saw only half of its head emerge. What should have been the eyes were facing Jian Nian, as if they were staring at him. The sound of a series of bubbles came through, as if someone was breathing underwater.
Successfully leaving that position, four people with a little girl sat on two benches. They looked at each other for a moment, and then looked at Jian Nian, who was being chased by that thing.
“Why would it go after Jian Nian?” Xi Luo looked Jian Nian up and down, “I don’t see anything special about him? Except that he almost got swallowed by his own dream swamp.”
“That’s not the reason.” Jian Nian leaned back in his chair with a little subtlety in his voice, “If I’m not mistaken, that thing might be the dream itself, but only a dream that was distorted away, and because it was simply a dream, it ignored this little girl.”
“Then why did it choose you?”
“Probably because my dream and hers are essentially the same.” Jian Nian wasn’t very happy as he spoke “TIn other words, the object of this thing’s attack is the person who is most similar to it in essence.”
Shen Si looked at Jian Nian, and after a moment he glanced at the little girl in his arms, “Essentially? You like children?”
“I don’t like them!” Jian Nian looked at Shen Si with resignation, “It’s the essence, not the child!”
That woman was swallowed by the swamp and the essence of her dream was love, a mother’s unbreakable love for her daughter, while Jian Nian’s essence for Shen Si was also love, only, this love belonged to romantic love, but whether it was affection or love belonged to love, this strong love made that thing choose to attack Jian Nian rather than the others.
“Very excessive.” Xi Luo looked at the little girl who was already too frightened to cry, “Not only do those devour other people’s dreams and kill those who have them, but they also create strange people and let the strange people of dreams attack others of the same nature. This playfield is really terrible.”
“…Mn, although I don’t quite understand, it does sound very bad.” Guan HeChang nodded, “So do we still have to take this kid to the police station now?”
If that was really the case, it was likely that those police officers who had been swallowed up by the swamp would be the first to choose to attack their peers after reappearing, and sending the child there would not only hinder them, but would also be very dangerous.
A familiar sound rang out behind him and Jian Nian jerked to his feet, turned his head and the next instant saw the person behind him.
It was several swamps that carried different things that indicated differences in dreams, and several of them had more than just a monster in them, and they could easily see that it must have been someone who had been dragged into the swamp by the original monster, so there was a second person in the swamp.
“There’s a supermarket here.” Xi Luo observed the vicinity, “I guess some of them are worried about the supplies, so they wanted to put down roots around the supermarket, but a large number of people will also cause the dream swamp to appear in bigger numbers.”
“Just in time. I’ll try to see if it can be manipulated.” Xi Luo snapped his fingers and a black butterfly landed on Xi Luo’s fingers. He gently lifted his hand and the butterfly instantly flew out, lightly landing on the top of the mire monster’s head. The next instant it turned into a black shadow fiercely expanding to wrap the entire mire monster.
Xi Luo closed his eyes, as he began to try to give orders to the mire monster.
You can give orders, but… they were very difficult to command.
Because these things weren’t exactly ghosts; they had no thoughts, only the desire to attack people, and other than that they had almost nothing to support, but because they were dreams, the same property could attract them.
Xi Luo opened his eyes and he pointed ahead, “Stop it.”
The mire monster shuddered, turned around dumbfounded, and with the mud on its body it lunged, splashing mud and water everywhere in a flash.
“This thing has no mind, so it can’t be controlled for long.” Xi Luo looked at them, “Now hurry up and get out of here.”
Shen Si pulled off his clothes, took the little girl in his arms, then led him to run in one direction, completely unaware that the Guan HeChang beside him ran in another direction. Just after Shen Si took the girl out of this area, Jian Nian followed.
“How is she?” Jian Nian was referring to the girl in Shen Si’s arms.
Shen Si opened his jacket and took a look at the girl in his arms. The girl was clutching his clothes tightly, not daring to scream or make a sound, but she still looked normal.
“I should have known better than to go that way, this child can’t be set down.” Jian Nian sighed as Shen Si kept looking at him, and stood like that for about ten seconds. Jian Nian turned his head and gave Shen Si a glance, and instantly met Shen Si’s eyes.
Jian Nian averted his gaze and leaned against the wall for a moment before speaking, “It’s not that I like children, it’s because… I like you.”
“I know.” Shen Si smiled a little, “I know you like me.”
In a different place, Guan HeChang ran out of the way for a while before he realized that he had gotten separated from Shen Si and the others. He looked around blankly, completely confused as to why he had run here without permission, knowing that he had thought of following Shen Si before. He remembered seeing something as he stood up, followed by a buzz in his head and a million voices telling him to go this way. So he followed the voices in his head and came, but where was that figure just now?
Guan HeChang looked around as he held onto the wall and walked in, carefully looking for what he had just seen.
“Why?” Guan HeChang frowned.
Just then, a grunt came from behind him, and Guan HeChang froze for a moment as he slowly turned around.
On the wall behind him, a swamp was unprecedentedly imprinted on the wall, as a pile of purple mud slid down the wall a little, and Guan HeChang kept backing up until his whole back was against the wall. Reason told him to hurry up and get out of here, but he didn’t move a muscle, as if he was expecting some kind of miracle.
With a poof, a hand stretched out from the wall. On the ring finger of that hand was the outline of a familiar ring, the one that was now on his hand.