The Righteous Player(s)

Chapter 309: Public Nightmare

Chapter 309: Public Nightmare

“This fog…” The Child frowned slightly, a little hesitant.

The Child was aware the world outside the “civilization” was submerged in the cursed Gray Mists. These places were called “restricted areas”.

And, the Gray Mists in the restricted area were filled with materialized curses visible to the mortal’s naked eyes.

One notable characteristic of the curse was its unique behavior to flow from the place of high concentration to the place of low concentration.

Since the mortal’s souls wouldn’t store any curses, they could barely survive in the Gray Mists.

However, they were effective toxins to the Transcended. Any Transcended who attained the “Bronze Rank” and “corrupted” their souls with curses, their souls would have the ability to contain curses.

As long as they entered the restricted area, an immense amount of curse would surge into their body which went beyond their capabilities to digest them. For example, it was like throwing humans into the deep sea. Under the water pressure, the seawater surged into the victim’s body through all pores and orifices.

If this door would lead the party into the restricted area, they would just die for nothing.

Even if they could respawn later, they would not be able to return if the system were to respawn them randomly inside the door.

That was when the “Wandering Child” really wandered.

“We have to find a way to test this door,” the Child murmured.

“But, I remember, the mist in the restricted area is called the Gray Mists?” Suuankou frowned slightly, “Those are white fog…”

Excluding the dim environment where the party couldn’t see anything in the fog-filled door, the door seemed to be leading to a fairyland — the white fog was like dry ice at room temperature, filling the entire world in front of the party with white fog akin to clouds.

“How can you be certain, Koutsu?”

[TN: Another nickname for Suuankou.]

Citalopram shook her head slightly and spoke hoarsely, “Who knows how gray the Gray Mists are? What if the Gray Mists’ grayscale is inconsistent under different conditions?”

“…Well, what you said makes sense too.”

“—However, I really don’t think there will be any danger.”

Citalopram said and walked over with interest, “The reason is simple. Salvatore has given the address and password here to Annan, and we know he means no harm to Annan.

“Think about Jude too. He should be the man sent from Swamp’s Black Tower. He didn’t come to this place just to arrest us but most likely to visit the ruins.

“If it’s really the Gray Mists out there, wouldn’t it be more effective to have a Soul Snatch wizard kidnapping someone into that place and controlling the victims to bring items back?”

Citalopram’s analysis was convincing to the rest of the party.

She was more like the captain than a mascot like the Child.

The Child did not mind it at all.

“…Looks like we’ll have to rely on you in the future.

“If there’s anything I can contribute, just mention it. If I can do it, I’ll do it.”

What he hinted was that he was fine to explore the dangerous area with his life.

Anyway, he was used to this kind of task.

Sensing that Citalopram was better at observation and analysis than he was, Wandering Child made a quick leadership adjustment. He even handed over the commanding power to Citalopram.

Compared with Jiu Er and the others, the biggest problem with his team was that there was only one veteran player among the four — the Child.

Among these four people, he was the only player in the first batch.

Even after considering their status in reality, their seniority in games, their character’s level, combat power, understanding of this world, or even their actual age, the Child was the best candidate for the team.

As such, the Child had been doing his best in performing his duty.

He had been online for the most prolonged period and had the most luggage to bear. Aside from the necessary sleep time, his other time and energy were devoted to taking care of the characters left in this world when the rest of the team went offline.

It was more than being occupied by this game for the entire day… Not only did he have to keep his spirits up and be alert to the environment, but he had to go offline when the rest of the party had the most fun.

The situation was just like when he was playing esports professionally previously;

It also felt like the times when he had to perform science experiments in groups at school;

It was also similar to how he played games in collaboration with other streamers.

The Child was used to playing the 5th position in Dota and the support role in LoL.

[TN: In general, his role in the team tends to see the situation on a macro-scale for these MOBA games.]

He knew that he had limited talent, and his only advantage was patience. Therefore, the missions he was on duty for were the most boring and required more sacrifices. However, someone had to do it, and it was necessary.

It happened not because he “liked” to play support but because he thought it was the “right” thing to do.

“I have made up my mind. You all shall wait here while I scout the path ahead.” Citalopram’s unique hoarse voice came, seemingly due to her habit as a long-term smoker.

Although she was only a little older than Suuankou among the four and was still a student, her tone was unexpectedly mature.

Her tone didn’t have the slightest hesitation, firm and unrelenting, calm and convincing.

“I’m more or less undead to some extent… I might have something in common with the undead in the place. Since it’s night, my combat power and perception are at their peak. I think it’s the most optimum choice for me to scout the path ahead. I shall turn on my stream now so that the rest of you can observe the situation directly from my perspective.”

Citalopram stood in front of the fog-filled door, looking back at the other three.

Particularly, she put her gaze at Wandering Child — their captain.

Would that be the right choice? The Child was startled.

“You have convinced me. The undead’s supernatural vision might trigger additional missions from the system…” Then, the Child was silent for a while and said thoughtfully, “But I still plan to go in with you.

“Please allow my stubbornness — listen to me. The biggest difference between the three of you and me is that I’m a veteran player in games. Therefore, I have the privilege to respawn after death.

“You are newcomers, and you may not know… The streaming function doesn’t always work. Sometimes, the streaming’s signals will be jammed for certain areas in the nightmare, and we will know that those places are the areas with the most potent curse. For example, look at those White Fog. I’m pretty confident that they will interrupt the signals for the streaming function to work.

“It’s like the situation at Old Goose. Annan has great wisdom in setting up the team in that way. You are the only player among us who can become a ghost, and Dove is the most powerful newcomer. On the other hand, Suuankou is the only player who can detect barriers and traps.

“For me, my special trait is to have increased combat power in the woods. Hence, my role in the team is to escort the three of you in and out of the ruins. But if there is danger inside, I can activate the respawn privilege and revive infinitely in a short while.

“Your role in the team and Suuankou’s presence focus more on the ruins. On the other hand, Dove and I are responsible for our safety outside the ruins. So, the two of us can afford to die, but the two of you can’t. Go it, Sister Dove?”

“Yup.” Dove nodded calmly.

Seeing this scene, the pressure on Suuankou had significantly increased.

To protect me?

Damn it!

What’s going on? It sounds like I’m a liability to the team…

He gritted his teeth and muttered softly, “Be careful.”

“Do take note of this…” The Child pondered for a while and said, “You can see my level through the forum. If the message and comment functions are deactivated after entering the ruins, and you can’t contact us via the forum, you all shall come in ten minutes later.

“If it’s dangerous inside, you will see that Citalopram and I have each dropped one level or more. If that happens, don’t come in and go offline immediately. We will both find a place where we can sleep and go offline. Then, we can go offline and ring a call to discuss the matter in detail. If we don’t die in ten minutes, you just come in. If Citalopram is dead and I’m not dead, then it must mean that we are separated, or I think the danger isn’t too serious and fled. It means you can come in.

“Lastly, if I die within five minutes of entering and only die once, that means I have activated the respawn privilege after dying once and asking you for help. Then, you shall come in immediately… Got it?”

The Child passed his guidelines down calmly.

Even if the place worked like a nightmare, deactivating the forum functions… there were still ways to send a warning or a signal for help.

This was absolutely impossible to achieve if Citalopram went in and died alone.

After getting the affirmation from the two, the Child held Citalopram’s forearm. He didn’t want to grab Citalopram’s hand directly, given they weren’t so close.

To his surprise, Citalopram grabbed his hand without hesitation and chuckled, “We’re off.”

This feels like she is laughing at me.

The Child muttered in his heart but did not speak it out.

What happened after that did not exceed his expectations—

As he stepped into the fog door, his streaming function was immediately cut off.

A prompt that he had never seen before suddenly appeared in the endless Gray Mists. The texts came scrolling down the screen line by line hastily:

[Basic Influence: Whispers of Grace not detected.]

[Basic Influence: Nature’s Anthem not detected.]

[Advanced Influence: Gravity of the Stars not detected.]

[Undetected Advanced Influence: Fable of the Moth.]

[Awakened element not detected.]

[Detected the Legacy of Orser: Forest Walker].

[Additional checks are in progress…]

[Identity Check: Other-worldly being, summon, humanoid, human, male]

[Authority Check: Apprentice]

[Specimen stored at Library III-251-11 is opened for a restricted time. The allowed respawn count is set to 1.]

[Falling into a public nightmare… You have substituted into a new identity.]

[Loading completed.]

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