It would be at least another month before the Black Uniforms' relics were transferred to him, and the situation was extremely troublesome.
After the news of Levi's murder got out, his enemies and allies all made their moves, stealing the power and people who used to belong to the Black Uniforms, and many of their men had carried their secret to other organizations, most of the relics had been lost to outsiders.
The Nighthawks were low on manpower and could not prevent all this from happening. All they could do was try to pick up the pieces little by little, Jay ran about here and there with his own little team, Garen had promised that he was solely in charge of the Black Uniform Organization's power and members, in other words, all the Black Uniforms would become a subsidiary of the Nighthawks under his watch. That way, he had no choice but to go all out, after all, the power getting away was all to be his in the future.
Baldy, on the other hand, had gone back to recuperate, his wife had been in Europe on a mission, but when she heard that he was seriously injured, she rushed to Africa overnight to care for him, and now Garen had let them off on a vacation around the world.
And now that woman with the black ponytail, Sandora, was in charge of the Nighthawks.
While everything was still getting in order on this side, Garen also took the chance to hurry back to America, and visit his parents at home. After this he might have to delve into his training to deal with the mark of the Death Apostle.
Suddenly there was a beeping from his phone, it was his message notification.
'Where are you now?'
It was a message from his father, Emmer.
"Still on the road, I don't where either, but it will take at least four hours." Garen replied.
'We prepared beef chicken finger foie gras caviar soup to celebrate your first time coming home from university, it's a dish your mom's trying out. It tastes great with durian salad. You'll love it!'
Garen did not know what expression he should have.
Just by the name itself, he could tell that the soup would definitely taste terrible, it was a soup will all meat and no vegetables at all. And there was that durian salad or something, just hearing about made his tongue feel heavy.
'Your mom has been studying nutrition recently, she thinks that by distilling most of the nutrients from meats and adding it to soup, we can get the nutrients needed without having to stuff ourselves, you'll love it once you get back.'
"What about Jason, what's he doing now?"
'He went to a Nohn state university, if you hadn't gone for the exam first, he should have gone before you. Oh yeah, after you left, Raffaele has been coming to visit a lot less frequently, but Arisa and her sister have been coming quite often, asking about you, do you want to consider choosing one of them?' This was followed by a pervy expression. 'I think Jason's got no chance.'
"I'm still early, what's the rush?" Garen could not help but think of those two strange-looking sisters.
They had many connections to the Primary Colors, and they had that strange air about them as well, as though they were the center of the world.
"They're still okay, right?" He sent a message to ask.
'Not bad, Arisa's going to be in high school soon, together with little Vivien. Her older sister Isaros has many suitors, and she declared that the minimum requirement for anyone who wants to pursue her is they have to beat her head-on, didn't you beat her back then? Go for it! Don't be afraid! Your mom and I will be supporting you from behind!'
Garen could not be bothered to respond to this nonsense.
"Have they acted strangely in any way?"
'Strangely? Nah, they're totally normal.'
"Let's discuss it when I get back." Garen replied finally.
Breaking off his idle conversation with his dad Emmer, Garen quickly gave Raffaele a call.
After a short moment of ringing, the other side picked up.
'Garen? You're coming back?' Raffaele's voice was as confident as ever.
"How did you know? I'm on the way back now. How have you been?"
'Not bad, you?"
Then there was a short silence, neither of them knew what to say.
'The town is a little chaotic recently, you shouldn't have come back now.' After the silence, Raffaele continued, 'Want me to accompany you around for a bit?'
"Chaotic? Hasn't Grano always been fine?" Garen heard something amiss, he actually already knew that Raffaele was probably a witch, so if even she said it was chaotic, then something serious must have happened.
'Some criminals on the run have infiltrated the town, the situation's not too great.'
"I'll leave once I see my parents, I won't be staying long anyway, so it'll be fine." Garen chuckled.
'How's school life?' Raffaele changed the subject.
"Not bad, it's the same as always." The two of them fell quiet again.
"Then I'll hang up now." Garen said first.
The line broke off.
Garen suddenly felt as though he did not have much to say with Raffaele anymore, before this they used to swim together, mess around together, they lived so near each other, and went to school together, but now they had nothing left in common.
Putting down the phone, he suddenly felt a bit tired, so he closed his eyes and rested.
"Sonny boy, you don't look so good."
An old man sitting in front of him turned around to look at Garen, he seemed to have noticed Garen when trying to pick up something that he had dropped.
Sitting in this bus, an exceptional-looking young man like Garen was definitely very eye-catching. For example, on the seats to his left, two young girls sitting next to each other kept peeking at him now and then.
"I'm fine, I just haven't gotten enough sun lately." Garen smiled politely.
"Is that so?" The old man wore a round straw hat to block off the sun. He wore a thin floral print shirt and black shorts, looking every inch the fashionable geezer.
"The last time I saw you, you were a lot better than you are now. I remember you could play the violin as well, right?" The old man said smilingly.
"Violin?" Garen frowned. "Excuse me, do I know you?"
"Didn't we meet last time?" The old man replied with a smile.
His voice suddenly began to shake, twisting, blurring, becoming low and muffled.
His face actually started to melt, dripping down like candle wax, dripping onto the floor of the bus, creating holes of different sizes at the bottom of the bus.
Garen realized with some surprise that after the bottom of the bus was melted away, it did not reveal the high-speed freeway, but instead it showed a blurry mass of black.
He did not know why he found the old man's face melting so natural, and was instead surprised by something else.
His gaze could not help but gather on the black holes below, lowering his head, he could only see the old man's trousered bottom half from the corner of his eye.
Strangely, when he wanted to focus and observe the details on the floor inside the bus, he could not focus at all, as though everything was a blur. There were no details, no patterns, no dust.
He seemed to hear something.
From the corner of his eye, he saw the old man stand up, turn around, face him, and stand motionlessly in front of him, then he suddenly lifted his leg and walked straight towards Garen.
Garen suddenly felt an unprecedented wave of fear wash over him.
He wanted to raise his head and look at the old man's face, but he could not move at all to complete such a simple task, he could only keep his head lowered.
The old man's body grew closer and closer, closer and closer, and the yellow wax dripping from his upper half also grew closer.
"What's happening here?" It was as though there was a veil over Garen's heart, his thoughts were very slow, like a baby moving on instinct, he had completely lost his ability to think, and could only watch as the old man approached him.
There was an intense jolt, and Garen abruptly opened his eyes.
He leaned back in his seat, and stared wide-eyed at the empty seat in front of him, there was no one there at all. There was only a young woman sitting in the seats even further front, and her head was tilted as she slept.
There was the mumble of complaints in the bus for the jerking around just now.
"Sorry, I didn't notice a rock in the middle of the road just now, so I just went over it." The driver apologized loudly.
Only then did Garen realize that he had fallen asleep, and all that was just a dream.
He touched his forehead, it was completely dripping wet.
He looked at the back of the seat in front of him again, closely, there was an ad with a beautiful woman messing with her head and posing, one hand raised up, the other hand on her waist, and she wore nothing but a blue dress with a low neckline. There was a line of small words next to it: Ancient Eastern methods, to give you back your purity.
Underneath that, they introduced the various effects, the main services being painless flow and repairing the virgin's *...
There was a black stain on the unknown noun, he didn't know what it was that dyed the ad. Beside it, someone had written in black ink: F*ck you!
A strange sense of happiness instantly washed away Garen's previous indescribable emotion, he settled his heart, and touched the material on the back of the seat, it felt rough, like raincoat material.
He looked to the left, and saw a middle-aged couple leaning on each other as they slept, there was no young girl at all.
"What was that just now? If I wasn't awoken by the jolt of the bus, what could have happened?" As soon as Garen thought that, there was an indescribable panic in his heart, as though his very soul was facing some huge threat.
'You must realize you're dreaming while in a dream.' AG's words resurfaced in his heart.
"How do I tell that I'm dreaming when I'm in a dream?" Garen thought back to all that had happened, that unprecedented sense of danger and panic did not feel false at all, if that thing that did not seem human really did touch him, then what happened to him next might really have hurt his soul.
That was the natural warning from his Soul Seed, it was not false.
After this contact, he knew that the person he suspected to be a Death Apostle had made his move, that dream he just had was an attack! A very dangerous attack!
Garen concluded in his heart, taking out a tissue to wipe the sweat off his forehead.
If he wanted to know that he was dreaming while in a dream, then following one of AG's methods, he could determine the difference using details, that was where the biggest difference between reality and dreams lay. Dreams were illusory, because they were constructed based on a human's own memories, these constructions could not be too intricate, so there would definitely be some blurred or unpresented details. That was why right now, he should be able to tell that he was not in a dream.
Garen wiped his face with his hands, for the first time, he felt as though he could not fight back at all, and was completely ambushed by another entity.
He looked at his attribute pane, and the number in his Spirit pane had actually dropped…
From 2.4 to 2.3, it had dropped a whole 0.1.
"As I thought… That attack just now was really…" Garen also saw a new icon, like pitch black mist, behind his Condition pane.
The instant his gaze moved onto it, an inexplicable piece of information flowed into his heart.
'Nightmare Weakening: The terror of the dream will constantly reduce the main body's qualities over five days, until all the attributes have dropped by an average of 0.1. The curse will last forever and has no time limitations, and the deactivation method is unknown. Warning! This curse can be stacked on!'
"Nightmare Weakening! …" For the first time, for the first time ever, Garen personally felt how powerful and troublesome his opponent was.