After sending the Venerated Skeleton away, Annan leaned on the pillow and looked at the moon outside the window, squinting slightly.
Although the Venerated Skeleton didn’t refuse his summon and answer his questions, the “secrets” He revealed had cleverly avoided the key issues—especially pieces of information that might implicate Him. Like:
1. What kind of organization was the Necropolis?
2. How did He and the Pale Princess know each other?
3. What did They plan to do?
4. Why had They gone separate paths now?
For the questions that could involve the Venerated Skeleton Himself, including the questions that could lead to it, He acted ignorant and didn’t mention even a word about it.
In comparison, when the Venerated Skeleton talked about the Pale Princess and the Half-dead Enchantress, He mentioned them in detail. In particular, when He spoke about “how to identify a Half-dead Enchantress” as well as “the Pale Princess’s habits and preferences”, He deliberately avoided discussing Himself and the Necropolis, but directed Annan’s attention toward the Pale Princess instead.
“Whatever…” Annan shook his head lightly, letting the incident pass.
Annan was used to His habits.
If He involved Annan at this time, he would have questioned whether He was scheming something.
But the Venerated Skeleton did reveal some secrets about the Pale Princess to Annan.
The head in the Pale Princess’s arms wasn’t the lover in her lifetime, but her followers.
Although the Pale Princess’s priestesses were all Half-dead Enchantresses, that wasn’t a requirement to be Her believers.
After all, she was remarkably beautiful and had a soothing singing voice. As a result, many believers obsessively wanted to follow her, regardless of gender.
What She was looking for was “an interesting soul”. It had nothing to do with net worth, appearance, age, gender, and even race.
The highest ritual that the Pale Princess believers could perform was to sacrifice their heads to Her. If the Pale Princess deemed the person fascinating, she would accept it and keep the person’s head with Her — There was even the possibility of her whispering to the soul day and night, singing to the soul like a lover, and kissing the soul.
This continued until she met another more interesting soul or got tired of that soul.
However, she wouldn’t abandon these souls, but bring them along with Her.
Over time, wherever the Pale Princess had walked, a phenomenon called the “Pale Tide” would occur. At night, a cloud of white smoke would traverse the sky while accompanied by a strange singing, slowly passing through the air like a violent wind.
There were some folk legends saying that if you witnessed the tide, you would be seriously ill afterward.
The Venerated Skeleton’s statement confirmed this legend.
Those exposed to the ghastly light would have their vitality snatched away slowly. For ordinary people, the stolen lifeforce was enough to cause illness. However, since they would hide immediately after witnessing the tide, it wasn’t that big of a problem. For the Transcended, the stolen vitality wouldn’t pose a considerable loss. Sometimes, the tide would even clear away some erosion rate.
Those Transcended who were on the verge of turning mad would even take the initiative to find the traces of the Pale Princess and follow the tide.
Those who overindulged in the pleasure of the soul purification might lose all their strength and pass out on the road. Eventually, they would become corpses left by the Pale Tide, adding fuel to the continuation of this legend.
Besides that, Annan also got another important piece of information.
The Pale Princess had another alias — The Death Howl, or the Singer who Brings Death.
Indeed, the “Death Howl Influence” on Annan came from the Pale Princess.
“…I guess this works out.” My questions did end up yielding some results.
Annan sent away the Venerated Skeleton politely.
But, as for the Pale Princess… Annan was lost in thought.
He didn’t even know what kind of nightmare he would enter.
“Forget it. I should just go to sleep.” Annan finally closed his eyes and fell backward.
As he fell asleep quickly, Annan felt that his body seemed to become a little lighter.
He seemed to be floating in the clouds with a strange singing voice looming in his ears. After listening to the singing, Annan felt his limbs getting colder and colder.
It was as if he was immersed in icy water. The chill seeped deep inside his bones, making him unable to wake up.
When the nightmare entangled him into a light sleep state, Annan suddenly returned to his senses. A few lines of prompts appear in front of his eyes:
[“Basic Influence: Remains of the Death Howl” has reverberated.]
[You are now entering the dream world.]
[The system can’t detect the key into the dream.]
[Searching for the nightmare with the keyword, “dead”…]
[The system has found the nightmare.]
[Falling into a nightmare. The dungeon instance is being generated.]
[Dungeon instance difficulty is set to [Hard].]
[The total erosion rate detected is 2%. Consequently, the dungeon instance difficulty rises by 2%, and the Nightmare mutation probability increases by 2%.]
[Warning: Related elements are detected. The nightmare has been distorted—]
[This dungeon instance has no save point. Your erosion rate is increased by 12% for each death. You will be forced out from the dungeon instance after one death.]
[This dungeon instance contains a plot and possibly provides decryption rewards.]
[Dungeon instance clearance reward: Profession (Wizard) will be promoted by 3 levels.]
When Annan woke up again, he noticed that his body was trembling.
It wasn’t because of fear, but because of the humidity and cold.
Annan realized that he was huddling in a damp dungeon cell.
His left hand was locked in shackles, and the other end of the chain was fixed to the wall. Some distinct wounds on the left wrist had shown signs of inflammation. The injury should have been incurred not long ago from the attempts to break away from the chain.
However, his right hand was intact.
In this position, he could either sit down or kneel at most. There was no room for him to lie down at all. Probably, that was why the nightmare’s protagonist couldn’t have a good sleep.
Annan didn’t know how long it had been since this body last slept. He felt a strong sense of exhaustion clouding his mind.
Strangely, there was no trace of torture and interrogation on this body, and even his [Health] was sitting at a whopping 94%.
Annan figured that this body had no open wounds with the basic necessity of hunger and thirst fully met.
“…En?” Annan just noticed that he was in control of a female body after he finished checking up on his physical state.
Judging from the skin, knuckles, and palms, she should be in her twenties, seemingly quite young. There were no calluses on her palms, and the skin on the back of her right hand was relatively smooth, indicating that she wasn’t a peasant.
Due to the dim lighting here, Annan lowered his head and checked his clothes by fumbling around with his right hand.
To his surprise, the nightmare protagonist’s dress was quite neat and not messy at all. She wasn’t in a prisoner’s uniform, but the fabric wasn’t the kind of high-end fabric that nobles would use.
So, this body should be working in the clerical work or entertainment industry? Or possibly jobless?
Those who caged her here had kept her from sleeping peacefully but didn’t torture her. What was their goal?
At this moment, Annan felt the familiar light dizziness. Lines of texts appeared before his eyes again.
[Evelyn Miller was supposed to be a natural dancer. She was born with a soft and powerful body, possessing extraordinary beauty. She has an artistic and musical soul, loved by the Elegant Elder.]
[However, when she was fourteen, she lost almost everything because of an unfortunate accident. Her artistic pursuit was thus halted.]
[From then on, she never danced in front of others.]
[Until one day, she accidentally saw the dance performed by the “Dancer under the Moon”… The soul-enchanting dance lingered fresh in her memories.]
[She tried to approach the dancer but suddenly lost consciousness when she spoke.]
[When she woke up, she found herself in a damp and cold dungeon.]
[She quickly realized that she was kidnapped.]
After these texts faded away, new words appeared before Annan again.
[Main mission: Return Home]
Immediately after, Annan was quickly supplemented with more details.
[Keep your body intact.]
[Don’t talk to anyone.]
[Return to reality.]
Credits to MindMatrix for editing this chapter and improving the readability.
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