IRNDGL - Chapter 78: Second Dream Realm
What lay before Lin Jie's eyes was a vast expanse of scorched earth.
Blackened ground for as far as eyes could see, covered with fractures that had lava flowing through them slowly. A faint twinkling red glow was largely covered by dark clouds, as lightning danced all around.
Partially collapsed ruins still stood several hundreds of meters high and the entire range was impossible to determine. Remnants of this building still retained a hint of its former glory on this land, like a massive, injured beast that was still breathing.
Standing beneath and looking up allowed one to clearly realize one's own insignificance.
And in the distant horizon was a grey fog that seemed to be joined together with the sky. This fog seemed alive, twisting and turning continuously and vaguely contorting into some sort of strange form.
Lin Jie could even vaguely hear the howling of wind coming from this fog.
"What's up this time round? An RPG? Or a boss battle?" mused Lin Jie as he surveyed the surroundings.
According to Freud's Interpretation of Dreams which he had previously read, dreams were an embodiment of one's subconscious desires.
Lin Jie wondered if it was because he hadn't played video games for so long ever since transmigrating here that such a desire had started to take shape in his dreams.
Even if that was really the case, Lin Jie's hands were tied. It wasn't a question of whether he could game or not, but the hardware restrictions of Norzin's gaming industry were so backward that Lin Jie would thank the heavens if he could have an NES to play with.
Lin Jie sighed and kept his wandering thoughts in check before continuing to survey the surroundings.
Now that he thought about it, it seemed likely that a symphonic BGM could sound shortly, announcing the appearance of a massive and flashy BOSS.
He walked over to a damaged pillar and reached his hand out to pick up a piece of a stone fragment.
This fragment had an extraordinary luster-pure white marble with a beautiful motif inscribed on it.
From this fragmented piece as well as the grand ruins all around, it was easy to surmise how this place was like in the past.
"Hmm... the style and manner of this motif just seems somewhat familiar."
Lin Jie squinted, wiping away dirt and stains to have a better look at the design.
An instinctive intuition and years of experience made him instantly determine—
The sword Joseph gave me!
The two motifs weren't exactly the same. The carvings on this fragmented piece wasn't whole and most people wouldn't feel that both were equally as gorgeous but be unable to tell the difference.
However, Lin Jie was a professional.
Folklore art and structures were part of his research scope. Both of these were important parts of folklore studies.
During on-site research, some bizarre, native artifacts might not be preserved completely so restoration and cleaning up might be required.
Speaking of which, due to folk culture research having many different overlapping aspects and facets, Lin Jie would at times be dragged along to sites by the archeology major next door.
He was rather sensitive to the styles of these motifs and practically found similarities in the styles and art of these two pieces in an instant. Thus, he could determine that the motifs on the sword and this stone piece were of the same origin.
Moreover, before Lin Jie had slept, he had browsed the sword out of curiosity and even went over the inscribed patterns. Therefore, the impression he had was rather deep.
"Looks like it really is my subconscious at work, bringing recent experiences into my dreams."
Lin Jie frowned, put down the stone piece, and continued walking into the heart of the ruins.
The way in which these ruins collapsed seemed to follow a set pattern, like a bunch of dominoes. The buildings fell outwards in a circular manner which meant that there was a clear epicenter.
Lin Jie tried investigating but the damage to this expanse of ruins was unimaginable and it was difficult to pass through.
These scorched constructs basically crumbled upon touch.
Lin Jie even used a little too much force one time and an entire section of building came crashing down with a rumble and turning into dust.
The feeling of destruction actually gave Lin Jie a slight thrill and he even had the urge to try it once more.
"This dream seems a total opposite of the previous. The map has also gotten bigger but it's still very interesting... and unimaginably realistic.”
As he watched the dust rise, Lin Jie rubbed his chin and mused, "Haa... I can only experience a VR RPG scene in my dreams. It's better than nothing, I guess."
However, Lin Jie's exploration wasn't fruitless. Soon after, he found quite a number of corpses amongst the ruins.
Although most of these corpses had already melded in together with the ruins, there were still a few that were relatively complete.
Lin Jie squatted down to study a twisted body lying in the corner, his gaze concentrating on the ears of this corpse.
Hmm... I don't think I'm mistaken but the ears of this corpse seem unusually long.
Calmly, Lin Jie flipped over the body.
"Mm... It's clear from the front that these ears aren't of a normal length."
Lin Jie reached out to touch the corpse's ear and was surprised to find that it was still a little soft. There was normal cartilage within the center of the ear, and it was joined to the head and not an ornamental.
That meant to say that its physiological structure was just like this.
Lin Jie recalled a recent customer, the beautiful elf cosplayer lady.
He stood up and clapped the dirt off his hands while muttering, "Looks like this dream is indeed a mishmash of my subconscious."
It seemed like recent considerations had already gotten mixed up in his dream.
Besides that, Lin Jie also discovered many weapons within the ruins which reminded him of the craftsmanship of Joseph's sword.
He sensed that there was an exceptional connection between these objects, and it reminded him of a time when he headed down to a certain remote village for research. Thus, Lin Jie decided to try remembering how these objects looked and jotting them down when he woke up. Perhaps, he would be able to gain some inspiration towards helping the Iris Clan restore the significance of their history.
After passing through many mounds of rubble and standing atop a collapsed flight of marble steps, Lin Jie finally saw the epicenter of the ruins.
It was a huge but badly damaged terrace with fine golden lines on its fringes. Blackened stone or corpses lay all around and the huge golden dome above was split in two, with the remaining half stuck in the ground.
In the center, a tall person in a suit of armor was kneeling down.
A long sword was sticking out of his chest as if it were a stake, wedging him to the ground.
Flowing, golden hair from his head reached all the way to the ground and it shimmered in the light. An elegant, yet streamline armor revealed his tall, robust body and a laurel wreath atop his head drew attention to his long, pointy ears.
On this terrace, the hands of this kneeling person were grasped around the hilt of the sword that pierced his own heart, as if he had been trying to atone for his sins.
As Lin Jie's footsteps echoed in this quiet place, that person suddenly raised his head and gasped.
"Savior, my banished soul has been waiting here for many eons."
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