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Chapter 297 -  Substantialize

TL: xDh20, LifeisaJourney

Sponsored song: "This Girl is Mine" - Chromatography

Treadmill stumbled a few more steps and laid his hands on the wall to regain his poise. The place where his hand touched, it felt slimy and mushy. Some parts were sticky, but definitely cold and meaty. No one could tell what this mushy mess was in the darkness.

“Help me!” Treadmill started shouting as his fear overcame him.



        

***

“Have they still not woken up?” Liu Gan asked Yin He after walking back from tossing the last Black-Spot Variant corpse out the window of the ship.

Even now, the airship was still docked on the pier with a dozen chains fastening it down. It hadn't drifted off to the sea.

“Not yet.” Yin He shook her head as she stared at the group members in a comatose state within their sleeping bags. No matter what method was used, these members wouldn’t wake up.

“It is very strange, these hidden Black-Spot Variants have all been killed and tossed overboard. Why haven’t they woken up yet?” Liu Gan asked while deep in thought.

“I suspect that the main culprit behind this attack isn’t these Black-Spot Variants. Rather, it is something more powerful that lies beneath this ship. It is at least an Advanced Zombie. It has to be nearby, I sensed its presence underwater and it could be an immense threat to us,” Yin He speculated.

“I also suspect that. It must be type of underwater advanced zombie that can target the mind. These Black-Spot Variants were just hiding away obeying the orders of that Advanced Zombie,” Liu Gan agreed.

“What should we do now?” Yin He asked him.

“It is still drizzling outside right now, I will think of a way to get them ashore and far from this airship. That way we can avoid the long range underwater attack.” Liu Gan walked over to check on the status of every member again.

At this moment, every member was breathing rapidly with an arrhythmic heart rate. Their deathly pale faces matched the look of terrified people. Some of the members had rapid eye movements, as if they were in a nightmare and unable to wake up. No matter what Liu Gan shouted or how hard he shook their bodies, they wouldn’t react.

Yin He was the first to discover something strange from the shaking of the docked boat. Even the guard on duty, Han GuangMing, fell into a deep slumber and ignored the violent shaking of the boat. Yin He discovered that fact and managed to wake Liu Gan up. Afterwards, no matter what they did, they weren’t able to wake the others up from their slumber.

It seemed like everyone was affected by the psychic attack or a psychological assault from the advanced zombie. This caused them to fall into a deep slumber.

Liu Gan and Yin He’s assumptions weren’t wrong. During the day, the Black-Spot Variants were hiding in the ventilation ducts while the Advanced Zombie was waiting on the sideline. This Advanced Zombie was a Nightmare Jellyfish. It was capable of micromanaging the Black-Spot Variants into hiding. Only when the people had fallen into the dreamscape did the variants come out to abduct them.

This was the very same method that caused the death of the remaining soldiers of this boat from Raincoat’s group. While the soldiers were still deep in slumber, they were kidnapped and tossed over the ship into the water, right into the Nightmare Jellyfish’s embrace. The spirits of these soldiers became nourishment for the Jellyfish, and their bodies became underlings of the Jellyfish as Black-Spot Variants.

The big difference between this time and last time was that Yin He was standing guard. She wasn’t affected by its aura, so Nightmare Jellyfish’s plan didn’t work that easily. All the remaining hidden Black-Spot Variants were killed by Yin He and Liu Gan. Without the assistance of the Black-Spot Variants, the Nightmare Jellyfish could only continue trapping the group’s spirits within its dreamscape. The Nightmare Jellyfish couldn’t climb on board the ship, so it was highly reliant on the Black-Spot Variants to work from a distance. The Nightmare Jellyfish could only consume the spirit of an individual at close proximity to its body.

Yin He was unaffected, so she was conscious the whole time. Due to the special composition of her body, she was unaffected by the aura of psychological attack and immune to entering the dreamscape. Liu Gan was only temporarily dragged into the dream since his level was higher than the rest of the group. Being only slightly affected by the aura, he quickly woke up with Yin He’s assistance.

All the other members were affected by the Nightmare Jellyfish, and they were all trapped within the same dreamland. Since Liu Gan’s body was stronger, he only required a little external call from Yin He to escape. The ‘Liu Gan’ that the members saw in the dreamland, was a combined conceptualized image. By using their respective idealized forms of Liu Gan, they were able to recreate him in the dreamland, even if Liu Gan wasn’t stuck in it. Even if their image of ‘Liu Gan’ was fragmented, when combined with everyone else, it was like a mosaic that worked as a whole.

Since it wasn’t the real Liu Gan, the moment Huang WeiTao pointed the mirror at Liu Gan and Han GuangMing, he was only able to see Han GuangMing. The reflectionless Liu Gan made Huang WeiTao’s hair rise.

Not being able to see a reflection was a lot more scary than seeing someone’s face with Black-Spots. The absence of a reflection reminds people of ghosts and spirits. It is easier to fight something that you can see over something that you can’t. Huang WeiTao’s immediate reaction was to pull Treadmill back, so the secret of the ghostly Liu Gan wouldn’t be exposed.

Later on, Treadmill figured out for himself what Huang WeiTao had seen. Rather it was what the reflection of the glass didn’t show that surprised Treadmill the most. The reasoning behind the absence of a reflection was that ‘Liu Gan’ was just a collection of thoughts.

Almost daily, Zhang ShengLi had been spreading his brainwashing and reinforcing it daily. In the member’s hearts, they have placed Elder Liu’s status as high as the heavens, so it was unthinkable to not have ‘Liu Gan’ exist in the dreamland. They have substantialized his existence based on will and impression.

Yin He is always standing by Liu Gan, either visible or hidden. She never says more than she has to, and definitely doesn’t interact with others. So when she wasn’t present in the dreamland, it wasn’t strange to other people.

In the communication room, when they heard Zhang ShengLi’s voice, it was an illusion. Even the projected image of Liu Gan talking with Zhang ShengLi were all illusions created in the dreamland. A type of filling in the gap mentality.

Even Zhou JingJing getting raped was her own fear taking control of her. All the wounds on her face, the clothing being ripped off were illusions that she projected on herself. In the bathroom, Zhou JingJing was alone, the projected crime scene was based off her delusions.

If their wills weren’t firm or their personalities were weak, that was when their spirits were most susceptible to being attacked. It would also be easier to become entrapped by the dreamscape.

Zhou JingJing was dead set on pinning Treadmill as the one who had raped her in the dreamland, so with more trauma she got more frantic and scared. That moment was when she was her weakest, and her spirit easier to infiltrate as she fell deeper into the dream. Losing her way in the dream wasn’t any different from being a Black-Spot Variant in the dream world.        

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