Chapter 39: Nightmare: Gallery
[Falling in a nightmare. A dungeon instance is being generated.]
[Detected that the current dungeon instance has a special nature: Reenactment]
[Dungeon instance is being reconstructed.]
[The difficulty of dungeon instance is distorted. The number of entries is unlimited]
[The current purification progress is 38/350]
[The team’s current total erosion rate is 8%. Dungeon instance difficulty increased by 8%. Nightmare mutation probability increased by 8%]
[This dungeon instance has 6 checkpoints. The erosion rate increases by 2% per death]
[This dungeon instance does not provide plot introduction, but there are decryption rewards.]
[Dungeon instance clearance rewards: The first two floors are for Bronze Rank and below (including Bronze Rank). You get to increase a profession by 1 to 2 levels at will; the last four floors are for Silver Rank and below (including Bronze Rank). You get to increase a profession by 1 to 2 levels at will.]
[Dungeon instance decryption reward: Unknown]
The world in front of Annan was pitch black, and the data stream flowed down quickly.
At this moment, he suddenly felt a strong feeling of vomiting in his stomach. This did not seem to be an illusion. For Annan, at least, he rarely felt an illusion.
After the data flow faded away completely, a misty and illusory whisper suddenly sounded in his ear:
“Do not look back…”
It was the voice of an old man, “Never look back…”
The voice came from behind Annan, old and weak, but extremely clear.
It was as if he was tightly behind him, whispering into his ear.
Annan opened his panel with a thought before opening his eyes.
In the dungeon instance, Annan could only see health and erosion rate, but this was enough.
When Annan entered this dungeon, he was a little uneasy when he heard the team’s total erosion rate.
This is a solo dungeon. Could it be…?
After Annan opened the panel, two rows of numbers were displayed in front of him:
Erosion rate: 8%
Sure enough, he has died twice unknowingly.
“I really don’t have any memory of it.”
Annan frowned slightly.
It’s a bit troublesome. I cannot inherit memory after death. This means that the same mistakes can be reenacted.
If it were another person, they could be in a panic about this death cycle that they could never escape.
But, although Annan found it a little troublesome, there was no fear in her heart.
As of why…
Annan had great self-awareness. To describe it with a strange metaphor. He was like a spectator of himself.
His perception of himself was like the audience’s perception of a certain character in a drama, movie, or animation. Because he was clear about everything that happened in the past, he could be impartial of it. With that, he could figure out what led to his feelings and what influenced his decision.
Even if he could not inherit memory. But as long as “Annan” was still taking action in the first two lives, then he had the confidence to decipher the message he left for himself.
Annan opened his eyes.
What appeared before his eyes was a long gallery with brilliant lights. The corridor was wide enough to accommodate ten people walking side by side, without any decoration on either side.
There was a crystal clear chandelier on the ceiling. The burning candle on the chandelier illuminated the entire corridor. Only at the end of the corridor, the opened door was dim.
He looked down at himself, unable to determine his identity from the appearance of his clothes. He roughly guessed that this body was a male in his thirties. He had clean hands and no calluses, simple and clean clothes, but the material was quite comfortable. He should be at least free of financial pressure.
“Gallery… Am ‘I’ a painter?”
There was no hint and no plot.
“Let me think…”
He muttered in a low voice.
Annan noticed that his abdomen was dripping out blood.
Judging from the pain, he should have been stabbed with a dagger not long ago. Judging from the position, the possibility of internal organ damage was not ruled out.
“Ah, I’m hurt. I’m bleeding all over the floor.”
He said calmly and expressionlessly.
When he looked down and assessed his injuries, he accidentally discovered by observing his shadow that the fire in this room was unusually stable.
The candle did not jitter, hinting that there was no airflow. It did not give off a restless feeling, supposedly from an unstable light source.
Annan squinted his eyes slightly, and walked inside without any rush.
He recalled the strategy Priest Louis had given him.
Just in case, Priest Louis wrote a lot of notes. But, Annan could basically summarize them in three sentences:
First, don’t look at any painting intently, but don’t close your eyes.
Second, go to the side with painting in the encounter of branching off paths.
Third, no matter what happens, don’t look back.
According to Priest Louis, Annan should be able to leave safely as long as he strictly abode the above strategy.
Then, here came the problem.
Why would Annan die here twice?
“Judging from my habit, in the first life at the dungeon instance…”
Annan muttered, “I will definitely follow the strategy.”
He knew in advance that death in this dungeon instance would cause loss of memory, so all his actions during the previous life must be “standard behaviors” that would provide reference for later self.
The question was – what did he do in his second life?
When did he die both times?
“This is interesting.”
Annan’s mouth rose slightly.
When the crisis came, he clearly felt the joy and excitement from depth of his heart.
He did not look at any of the paintings, just walked forward slowly.
It was not that he did not want to walk faster, but because the wound in his abdomen had been holding him back. When Annan wanted to walk fast, his health would suddenly decline.
“Is the movement speed limited?”
If he were to design this level…
He would definitely arrange a chase, which would force the player character to speed up the movement. Suppress the player by quickly dropping the health points and the crisis behind him.
He narrowed his eyes slightly and walked to the end of the corridor.
Annan controlled the range of his steps, using his steps instead of his eyes to measure the distance.
“Exactly one hundred meters.”
After pushing open the door at the end of the corridor, he found an L-shaped corner in front of him. At the end of the corner, the path led to turning right.
This short corner was dark with no lighting. It was narrow, with a width of less than three meters and a short distance.
But, there was a misty light at the end of the corner, as if attracting Annan to pass through here quickly.
Everything was dim here, Annan could only be certain that there were still many picture frames hanging on both sides. Almost every painting was a portrait.
He glanced around. He was sure that the people on these frames were watching him.
“This time, it is twenty meters.”
He read in a low voice.
When Annan walked through the first corner, she still did not find anything special. On the other side of the corner, there was a narrow space less than ten meters. It had a display cabinet for collectibles on the left and a hanger on the right.
But, there was nothing in the display cabinet or on the clothes rack. Everything was empty, like being looted by the player.
There was a door at the end of this narrow space. The maroon door looked a little shabby, but there was nothing special other than that.
Annan smiled and opened the door calmly.
Then, he saw the familiar, long and brightly-lit gallery.
As if he was back to square one.
After watching this weird and horrifying scene, Annan could not help but laugh.
After he finished laughing, he walked into the gallery with a smile and closed the door behind him.
“PT. I know this well.”
The corners of his mouth raised strangely.