Damn it, I should have long sensed something amiss!
Buck cursed silently as he surveyed the strange new environment, then backed away warily.
The hall in front of him looked like the first floor of an old villa. At the corner, he could vaguely make out the stairs. There were shelves full of books on both his sides and several rooms slightly further. In the center of the hall was a sofa, tea table, and other items.
The windows were all completely shut. It was blurry and Buck could not see the outside.
However, there was this eerie feeling that someone was stalking his every movement from all angles. It felt as if someone in the dark was peeping at everything that was happening in this room and watching his every move.
At this moment, he felt that his power had vanished without a trace, as if it had evaporated into thin air. There were no active traces of aether anywhere around him at all.
He couldn’t even feel the existence of aether… Let alone use it.
It was as though he had really become a normal human being!
At the same time, Buck felt that all the feelings and emotions he had lost due to his long life brought about by countless resurrections came flooding back to him like a raging torrent.
Anger, ignorance, fear... His emotions had never been so clear. It felt as though he, who had been underwater for a long time, suddenly broke the water's surface, and all his dulled senses returned.
But Buck didn't need these things that he had abandoned a long time ago. In fact, it was these things that made him, someone high aboves who could wantonly judge the lives of others, fall into the abyss. These made him feel like his entire inner being was shaken up and crumbling.
Without power, he felt that he had nothing.
The feeling of superiority at being able to judge the lives of others was replaced by the fear of emptiness.
“No, impossible! This must be an illusion spell!
"I have to calm down. As long as I find clues and blend in, I will be able to decipher the opponent’s power. My divine power is still present..."
Buck comforted himself as best as he could. He turned around and eyed the closed wooden door. Taking a deep breath, he tried to open it.
The door was locked shut. It didn't budge no matter how much force he used and stayed motionless as though it was one with this space.
Panting hard, Buck suddenly stopped and stared at his hands, which were gripping the doorknob tightly.
The subtle tremble of his hands was so obvious.
Only then Buck realized that it wasn't just his hands, wrists, and arms that were shaking. His entire body and legs trembled and were starting to become limp.
How can this be!
How can I be afraid!
The absolute sense of powerlessness Buck felt gradually turned into despair, which sprouted hysteria within him.
He suddenly released the door handle as though he had been jolted by an electric current. His chest heaved heavily and he forced himself to calm down.
He then turned towards the corner stairs.
The caster who set up such a scene must want the target caught in this spell to mistakenly think that the illusion was real and ensnare within it.
He would just fall into the trap if he tried thinking along the lines of the caster's thought process and went searching for clues upstairs. Then, his subconscious would further believe that the scene before him was real and he would never be able to get out of it.
Buck scoffed. He knew these kinds of illusion spells very well.
Therefore, the only way to break out now... Was to continue investigating the first floor!
That’s right, Buck had no plans to head upstairs.
What he had just deduced was exactly the thought process that the caster wanted the target caught in his spell to have, and most people would head upstairs. In reality, this was the trap.
There was no way the caster would just place the clues in a stately manner upstairs. He would ensure that the upstairs was more realistic, or set more traps that would create cracks in the barriers surrounding people's hearts.
Then slowly, step by step, it would cause the barrier around the victim’s heart to crumble and break the heart’s mental defense.
Therefore, through the process of reverse thinking, Buck deduced that only the first floor would be the most fake.
Even though the place was arranged and built so realistically and the large number of books seemed intimidating, it was the most difficult part to craft in actuality. As long as he could find a flaw amongst one of the books, this illusion spell would break on its own!
Buck took a deep breath and pulled himself together. His mental state that was on the verge of crumbling was stabilized again.
He murmured to himself, "So what if I don't have powers? I have the determination and wisdom I’ve gained through all those years. All of these will not disappear.
"Such illusions are far from enough to bring me down!”
He inched towards the bookshelf with vigilant eyes and his steps gradually got bolder.
The imposing aura of "Dead Kingdom" returned once again.
"Let me see what tricks you’re playing at," uttered Buck as he drew a book from the shelf.
Lin Jie sensed that he had his first visitor in the dream realm he had constructed.
Silver had said that when a dream realm had not yet been fully constructed, or if 'jurisdiction' hadn't been established, some creatures of the dream world or the souls of others in the real world might be inadvertently sucked into the dream.
"But don't worry, these visitors do not pose any danger to you. If you see a dream creature that you fancy, you can even have it stay in your dream as a pet." That had been what Silver said.
That was the reason why Lin Jie didn't panic. He even observed this visitor's actions with great interest through his birds-eye view.
He could not help thinking to himself, Haa.. this fellow is kinda ugly…
It's like a fragmented being pieced together and kneaded into a human shape, probably some strange dream realm monster...
Never mind, I’d better kill it quickly, otherwise, looking at it for so long would give me nightmares.
Oh... Right, I'm currently dreaming now.
Wait a minute. If so, could this be the source of the so-called nightmares? Dream realm creatures that invade the dreams of ordinary people? Lin Jie mused.
However, though he made a quick decision, Lin Jie did not act immediately. The actions of this strange humanoid attracted his attention.
That fellow seems scared. He tried to open the door to escape and even started concentrating… Perhaps this creature possessed some intellect.
However, this wouldn't change Lin Jie's opinion. He also wanted to experiment with the limits of his dream realm.
Of course, if it was a human soul, Lin Jie would be sure to send it out after a while. After all, he didn't need to use his brains to know full well what would happen if a body lacked a soul. He did not want to become a murderer for no apparent reason.
Hmm? Seems like it has stopped in front of the bookshelves?
Lin Jie was surprised to see the humanoid creature pick up a book.
Lin Jie's eyes widened. It’s even interested in Astronomy…
Eh, in this case, could I also open a bookstore in the dream realm to serve dream creatures?
Before Lin Jie could continue developing this new idea, the humanoid creature’s body suddenly became distorted. It shrieked like the person in the oil painting "The Scream”. Then, the humanoid creature ignited, turning into a raging fire like a pile of firewood being lit before eventually crumbling into ashes.
Boss Lin, who was pumped with ambition mere moments ago, was dazed and confused. He blinked blankly with no inkling as to what had just happened.
Under the cover of night, the transcendent beings, who had gathered because of the reward offered by the Church of the Dome, all became dormant at this moment. They looked up quietly at the Destructive-rank above who gave off a terrifying aura.
They were waiting for this Waning Crescent Apostle, also known as the "Reaper of Life" and "Dead Kingdom" amongst many monikers, to exact his revenge.
Everyone knew that the traitorous apostate who destroyed a church and killed two apostles overnight was currently in that obscure bookstore a short distance away.
Now, this confrontation was currently a silent contest in the eyes of all.
Once Buck takes action, it would be a great battle between Supreme-ranks.
A minute passed, then five. Ten minutes, thirty minutes, an hour followed... There was no movement at all from the figure floating in the sky above.
“What’s going on?”
“Isn’t the great Buck going to make a move? It’s almost dawn…”
"What do you know? Are Supreme-rank battles so easy to fight? You have to look at the overall picture!"
"That’s impossible. Buck was obviously ready to take action and even progressed forward. Why would he suddenly stop for so long?"
“Look, he moved!”
As the transcendent beings were discussing among themselves, the figure in the sky finally moved.
The Waning Crescent Apostle in black trembled as his hands reached to his head, and he silently howled with all his might.
Then without a sound, there was a little spark and Buck was entirely turned into ashes that was swept up by wind in the night sky…
Nothing was left.
In an instant, all the transcendent beings present were dumbfounded, then their limbs went numb. A chilling fear clutched their hearts.
Those more timid ones felt their legs turn to jelly and they fell to the ground.
Others turned tail immediately and fled.
In the silence, everyone fled in panic and no one dared harbor the thought of entering the bookstore.