Annan realized something was wrong the moment he broke through the door.
The smell of alcohol, burnt, blood, and gunpowder…
At the moment of catching these smells, Annan figured out everything.
No doubt a group of pirates had already landed to plunder this place.
These pirates utilized alcohol and fire arrows and quickly dismantled the resistance coming from the sailors.
The sailors just held their heads in their hands, stopped resisting, and allowed the plundering.
The reason was probably straightforward.
They had to put out the fire as soon as possible. Otherwise, all the people on the ship would die in the sea.
So they did not even have the will to fight. If they could not satisfy the pirates as soon as possible, they would all die here as time passed.
It was just a merchant ship.
The ship was not designed to defeat pirates but to put on more people and goods.
The pirates did not kill them at all. Instead, they were hustling people and cargo on deck.
Probably some agreement was reached. After moving part of the cargo, the sailors would still have time to put out the fire.
Annan saw a chubby woman in her twenties with fair skin looking at him in horror.
She was being towed onto the pirate ship by two pirates.
“Dad!” She looked at Annan and shouted.
That doesn’t seem like a desperate cry for help but consternation and fear.
“—Ugh.” Suddenly, Annan couldn’t help but hold his throat due to the intense suffocation.
He gasped for breath, but the world in front of him suddenly became hallucinatory.
The world around him was quickly dyed with many strange colors — cyan, blue, green, yellow, and purple. The colors changed rapidly, and a strong sense of suffocation came from his chest.
Intense dizziness overwhelmed Annan and put him to the ground.
“Yo, it’s a Master Transcender.” Someone sneered, “He seems to be a priest.”
After Annan broke through the door, he was immediately noticed by the pirates holding the silver blade.
But the pirates were surprisingly calm.
Being stared at by a transcender, they did not even panic.
Annan looked over but couldn’t even see their faces.
Their faces were blurred, like the passers-by in a dream.
The eyes of ridicule stared at him from all directions.
“Even the barrier can’t stop your curiosity?” The pirate sneered, “It’s the high seas here.”
“You’re courting your death.”
At that moment, Annan realized the detective’s fear.
He was a stowaway, or possibly a transcender who had broken the law in another country.
He could not use the subway, so he chose to board this passenger ship to cross the border.
But for Mr. Detective as a transcender, the dense air of the Gray Mists over the high seas was untreatable and poisonous. Thus, he could only stay at the bottom of the cabin with the sealed barrier.
Unfortunately, he happened to be plundered by pirates.
The plunder might not have happened. After all, those pirates did not even have faces. Their faces would be recorded in the nightmare if it was real history.
It was not something that happened after all. Instead, it was a hypothetical nightmare made up of nothing but fear.
Instead, this was the detective’s “hope” or “fear” that a pirate would kidnap his daughter.
Is it because his daughter is already dead? Or is it because his daughter died from the fire, or something else…
In short, the outcome must have been his daughter found dead on the upper floors.
He knew this clearly, but he couldn’t leave that corridor, and he could only think quietly.
He could only stand in place and think calmly. Unfortunately, he could not do anything else, just like a real “detective”. The “flame” blocking the exit was to prevent him from seeing the truth with his own eyes; the scorched wall indicated that his daughter died “due to fire”.
Even if he knew everything, he could not save or kill anyone — [The Predicament of the Aware].
…Damn it…how is this brain…still racing at such a moment…
Annan’s consciousness gradually became blurred.
Is this what a transcender feels after entering the Gray Mists?
Heartache and shortness of breath;
The voices around you distort and become distant;
The color of the world in front of me becomes strange and dazzling;
There is a strong, endless metallic sound in the brain like tinnitus;
The skin seems to be on fire, and the pain ensues—
Am I not turning into a demon?
It’s even possible to have the curse burning me to death.
I will most likely lose my first life here.
Such thoughts popped into Annan’s mind.
If Annan wanted to escape, he had to analyze the truth of the “fire” and stay in place, wait for a while, or simply be burned to death by the flame.
But that was not what Annan wanted.
“In that case…” Annan coughed suddenly and spat out a piece of an internal organ.
Since living is no longer possible, I should kill my enemies with no reserve!
He raised his head, and his pupils shone with a dazzling glow.
It was the sparks when the overflowing curse and the soul struck each other.
Consume one silver coin and activate [Eternal Youth].
Annan regained some strength.
He jumped out suddenly, beheading the nearest pirate with one slash!
At this moment, Annan was shot in the abdomen and thigh in two gunshots.
At the moment when the pirate’s head had not yet landed on the floor, the last silver coin in Annan’s hand ignited the brilliance.
The [Sharp Object] in his hand suddenly shone with dazzling brilliance.
In the blink of an eye, the silver weapon turned into a splendid silver light held in Annan’s hand.
With the blow that Annan slashed with all his strength, a silver blade about three meters in length, like a crescent moon, quickly slid across the deck against the waist of “Mr. Detective”. It divided all the pirates, crew members, passengers, and masts into two!
“Cough…” Annan’s mouth was overflowing with blood.
He looked at the “daughter” whom he had cut in half, and a thought flashed through his mind.
Not because of the fire of reasoning but because I recklessly rushed out of the safe house and killed her along with the unknown murderer.
Will Mr. Detective be satisfied with such a thought?
“Probably, not…” Annan murmured and knelt on the deck where he was alone, gradually turning into a gray-black stone.
The next moment, Annan woke up suddenly.
She felt herself kneeling at the beginning of the dim corridor.
After entering the corridor, did I not even take a single step?
But my posture is the same as before entering the Detective Nightmare. So I should note this down.
I don’t know how long it has passed. Based on the previous nightmare jump, it should be just a moment.
Annan touched the back of her left hand.
Sure enough, the wound on the back of her hand was gone.
She opened her status bar again:
Soul Corruption Rate: 2%
My corruption rate hasn’t increased? Well, that’s normal too. After all, they are imitated Gray Mists.
[TN: Erosion will be referred to as corruption from here onwards.]
However, since my health suddenly returns to full, is it because I have already died once?
Does the save point mechanism work like this? There is no longer a re-challenging mechanism, just fully restoring my health. So, that’s how it is.
Taking a deep breath, Annan stood up slowly.
“It’s the Wolf Kiss ritual, right?” She quickly cleared Mr. Detective’s memory from her mind.
Maybe something related to this could be encountered again in the future. But now, for Annan, the most important thing was to complete the nightmare of Werewolf Bella and let her be promoted to a transcender.
I still have two lives left, right?
Annan no longer expected himself to resolve the mystery revolving around the dungeon instance at once.
At first, he also thought, “since this is his nightmare, maybe he can decrypt it 100% in one shot”. But after dying once, Annan had calmed down.
He had lost one life even when none of the side missions were completed.
It was not an instant-death event with no skills involved but a genuine challenge imposed in the dungeon. Even if Annan challenged the dungeon again, he was not confident of clearing the dungeon in full health.
How would he know if the flames would spread to him even when he stood still in the “Mr. Detective” dungeon?
“Maybe I should bring players into this nightmare?” Annan muttered.
But what’s the use of this?
So, I get to see how they deal with the dungeon on a live broadcast.
However, there was no value in this move for Annan. What Annan needed to decipher was Bella’s nightmare or his nightmare. The nightmare fragments of the dozens of innocents would be different every time he crossed into other nightmares. The real value for to have the players in this dungeon was to study “how to avoid triggering nightmare jumps and lose health meaninglessly”.
“Well, this is considered a Rogue-like Horror Game. The players may like it. Horror game without a clear and direct route.”
In a sense, it was the same type of nightmare as the Gallery Nightmare.
Then, let’s get the players to find the specific locations that can trigger the nightmare jumps.
If Annan’s inference was correct, the type of nightmare that would be triggered should be the same in the same “type of place”.
Let’s first go and see what the [Wolf Kiss] ritual is and what it will offer.
Worse comes to worst, I can try to see if it is possible to team up with the players!
If I can form a team of four people and one person has three lives, it is equivalent to twelve lives.
This thought filled Annan with determination.
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