Chapter 40: Second Loop
Annan felt no fear at all.
So he did not hesitate and just kept going.
But this time, when he was just halfway there, the chandelier directly above him suddenly shook violently.
It was like being blown by the wind.
The chandelier shook back and forth, squeaking, making a shrill, chilly noise.
Annan paused slightly before moving on.
Five steps, six steps…seven steps!
As he took the seventh step, Annan heard a clear sound of the chain breaking.
Amidst the irritating noise of the chain, the chandelier behind him suddenly fell, falling to the ground and smashing to pieces!
Annan felt a hurricane hit behind him, like a wire, or something else, hitting his back.
He suddenly felt an extreme pain coming from behind. He knew that he must be bleeding without touching it with his hands.
But he still did not look back.
He stood in place, waited for a while without expression. Then, he continued to move forward until he left the gallery.
If this time Annan looked back or looked around, those portraits staring at him from all directions were no longer the same face as when he first passed the gallery.
They were men and women of different ages.
But, they all became identical, expressionless faces.
Black hair and blue eyes.
It was not the face of his body.
It was the face that belonged to Annan outside of the dungeon instance!
Under the falling chandelier, it squashed a corpse with bruises.
The corpse was dressed in gorgeous clothes that only nobles had. The back of the head, neck, shoulders, and waist were all pierced by protrusions on the chandelier. It lay silent and twisted under the chandelier.
It was like being killed by a falling chandelier.
—While the corpse’s face was Annan!
Watching Annan walking forward and never looked back, the corpse on the ground suddenly raised its head and looked at Annan with a bit of disappointment.
Then, he turned silent and turned into a pool of black water together with the chandelier on his back.
Annan came to the L-shaped corridor for the second time. The difference between this time and the first time was that it is pretty bright this time. Flames were quietly burning on the lampstands on both sides. The portraits smiled gently, with all gazing in front.
Suddenly, Annan heard a soft female laugh.
“Who is it?”
He asked casually and had no intention of getting a response, so he moved on.
He walked two steps forward. He then faintly heard a faint sound of a hammer hitting on a nail. The further he moved forward, the clearer the voice, the closer it was to him!
It was like someone leaning behind Annan and hitting a nail with a hammer on his head!
Suddenly, the wall next to him burst open.
The huge hammer smashed the wall directly!
Annan rushed forward without hesitation. While avoiding the blow, he ran forward quickly.
There was a sharp pain in his abdomen with blood gurgled out. But, Annan did not hesitate because of the sound of hasty footsteps behind him.
He ran forward quickly with his health dropping at speed visible to the naked eye, but he still did not stop.
For the first run, he walked through a corridor less than thirty meters long. At this moment, he had run fifty to sixty steps.
The sound of footsteps behind him stopped abruptly when he turned the corner.
The light in front of him became stable again.
In the narrow room, there was almost no difference from the first time, except that a bloody maroon trench coat was hung on the coat rack. In the collection cabinet on the left, there was one additional… tomato.
Annan froze for a moment.
He thought for a moment and wanted to take the tomato. He stretched out his hand, only to find that the display cabinet looked like an invisible glass wall. Although he could not see anything, something blocked his outstretched hand.
Annan did not hesitate and punched it. He first hit the transparent wall, then the display cabinet. Annan’s finger hurt throughout the process, but his effort came to no avail.
The tomato seemed to be mocking him, motionless, without even swaying a bit.
“[Cannot open]. I see.”
Annan murmured, glanced at the bloody trench coat, and put it on calmly.
His brain was thinking fast-
Most people were trapped in this nightmare because they could not be sure of their previous decisions. So they would hesitate repeatedly and could not make up their minds.
But, Annan was different. Before he entered the dungeon instance, he had already set a strategy for himself:
He knew he would inevitably follow the strategy strictly in the first life. Except for walking forward, he would not investigate anything else and would not talk to anyone; he would not take a look at any superfluous things.
In this way, when he entered the second life, Annan knew that he would definitely die if he did not investigate anything.
So, Annan would investigate all the things he encountered under the deduction coming from the first life. If he failed, it meant that even if he examined all the items, he could die as well.
In other words, he used the first two lifes to gather information.
Annan started again with the third life, this time.
This meant that whether he made investigations on everything or ignored everything, he would die.
The purification progress of the dungeon instance also revealed some information.
This meant that Priest Louis had successfully purified the nightmare thirty-eight times. Although it might not be a perfect clear, he had cleared it at least thirty-eight times. Hence, it should not be too difficult.
In this nightmare, there would be no memories of failure.
In other words, those strategies, which Priest Louis had summarized, were the “similarities” in his 38 successes.
Priest Louis specifically mentioned that every time he tackled a nightmare, the scene he encountered would be slightly different. But, he thought that as long as he followed these similarities and acted accordingly, he would be able to clear the level. So, he handed over these strategies to Annan in confidence.
So, what do these strategies and taboos have in common?
Whether it was “assessing” portraits, looking for corridors with paintings (all portraits), or looking back, all had a direct connection with looking.
After summarizing the gains from first and second life…
Annan was still fearless in the third life.
Annan knew that ignoring everything and investigating everything would not help him clear this dungeon instance. This meant that Priest Louis’s strategy was at least not entirely suitable for him.
Priest Louis must have a specific habit, which was different from Annan. Annan had no idea about it. He did not write down his habit in the strategy.
Annan had to go on his own.
Annan touched the material of the trench coat.
Not surprisingly, an information box appeared in front of it:
[Blood-stained trench coat.]
[Type: Material (Normal)]
[Description: An old blood-stained clothes with a tear in the abdomen.]
[Description: Observing the bloodstains, you realize that the owner of the clothes had a stab in the abdomen.]
“Stab in the abdomen?”
He no longer hesitated and put on the clothes.
He gestured and found that the wound on his abdomen matched.
“This is indeed ‘my’ clothes.”
He no longer hesitated and continued to move forward.
He opened the door again.
He was back in the gallery again.
But the difference this time was that the gallery was completely dark and empty.
Suddenly, a ray of lightning flashed outside the window.
Annan saw countless ropes hanging in the gallery during that flash of light, crookedly tied to picture frames.
The next moment, a blast of thunder sounded!
The strong wind blew the window open instantly. The cold and humid air immediately plunged into Annan’s chest. Only then did he hear the sound of heavy rain outside the window.
Then, another lightning came again.
Before the sound of thunder…
Annan noticed that there were no picture frames tied under the hanging ropes—
It was a bunch of corpses hanging from the beams of the house!
Their heads were drooping; they wore luxurious and blood-soaked clothes. They had leather boots on them with their eyes turbid like rotten fish. Their faces were swollen, and their bodies swayed along with the wind.
Annan vaguely saw all the corpses had the corners of their mouth raised slightly in unison just before the light disappeared.
There was no doubt.
—These were all Annan’s corpses!