Crying Boy (9)
“He is me and it shouldn’t be easy for him to die. Let’s try our luck.”
You Yu spoke casually but his anxious steps didn’t match his tone. He moved through the rain and Chi Nan remembered that this direction was the ruined cliff behind the Dawn Base building.
You Yu said that this was the basic way to dispose of energy waste, but no one knew how deep it was or where it went.
As You Yu approached, Chi Nan saw a huge black shadow appearing on the endless plain. There was no light source nearby, so Chi Nan couldn’t see what it was. It stretched like a black mountain range on the horizon and the strong smell of decay spread in the rain.
This was, until a cluster of fire appeared in the dark and heavy rain, forming a dazzling red arc that fell toward the bottom of the cliff. It was like a signal from the bottom of the abyss that instantly attracted people’s attention.
Chi Nan could clearly see by the light of the fire that these oppressive black shadows were the silhouettes of thousands of corpses stacked on top of each other. The light of the fire was emitted by the corpse burner standing on the edge of the cliff, who took a special waterproof torch, lit the corpses, and threw them below the cliff.
At this point in time, the ruined cliff was completely reduced to a mass grave where corpses were piled up. In a sense, the corpses could be classified as waste energy.
Chi Nan recalled the night of the first snow at the Dawn Base. He had seen countless people standing on the other side of the cliff with torches, waiting for him like statues and constantly calling his name.
Those holding torches were the corpses of the human beings who died from the curse in the City of Dreams hundreds of years ago. Their bodies were stacked up and discarded on the edge of the ruined class. The resentment of the souls was like a mirage projected on the first snowy night at the Dawn Base hundreds of years later.
Chi Nan saw these corpses piled up like a mountain, rotting and swelling in the rain, and a long-lost sadness welled up in his heart.
You Yu had always been good at hiding his tracks, but unfortunately, this corpse burner was also a keen guy. He grabbed a piece of human bone and threw it in You Yu’s direction, but his voice didn’t contain the slightest panic. “It is really rare to see a living person in the city at this time.”
“That makes two of us.” You Yu cleverly dodged the thrown human bone. He stood in the shadows of the overlapping fire and rain, and the other person could see his green right eye. “Whose body are you looking for?”
The corpse burner with the torch turned his face at this moment and the light of the fire illuminated his face. Chi Nan caught the change in expression on his face, from shock to confusion and then surprise. The facial features of this person also became clearer.
This corpse burner was precisely the No 9 they were looking for. It seemed like he had grown into a 15 or 16 year old boy.
No 9 was stunned for a moment before looking over with disbelief. “You… came back?”
He remembered this green right eye. Such an eye was something that people could remember for a lifetime even after seeing it only once. He couldn’t forget it even if he wanted to.
“Sorry that I didn’t say goodbye last time.” Now, You Yu was obviously calmer yet crazier than he had been. He quickly looked at No 9 and some complicated emotions flashed in his eyes.
Based on You Yu’s understanding of ‘himself,’ this guy who wasn’t afraid of death had agreed to his trading condition and there was a high probability he wouldn’t leave early before the transaction was completed.
In addition, No 9 met Chi Nan, who had the identity of the god of dreams. The other person told No 9 that he was born in the City of Dreams and couldn’t leave. This poor, unsuspecting guy was still foolishly waiting for the second meeting.
Moreover, for You Yu, staying in this abandoned city meant it was clean, free, and undisturbed. He could also snatch some valuable items from the dead, killing two birds with one stone. It was much more comfortable than getting along with the living.
It was ‘himself,’ so You Yu could easily guess the decision made by No 9. This meant it wasn’t difficult to find him.
No 9 moved the torch to a pile of corpses and shrugged. “You are early. I haven’t finished our deal yet.”
“It doesn’t matter. You didn’t guarantee that you could do it and this matter can be put on hold for the time being.” He didn’t know if it was out of so-called jealousy or some bad taste, but You Yu didn’t tell ‘himself’ the truth. He seemed to prefer his past self to be kept in the dark.
No 9 omitted the boring greetings. “You know that I am looking for someone?”
You Yu answered firmly, “Yes, and I also know who you are looking for.”
There was a pause before the corners of You Yu’s lips curved up slightly. “It is the person you like, right?”
The air was silent for a moment. Then No 9 simply admitted it, “Yes, what else do you know?”
You Yu told him, “You can’t find him among these corpses.”
No 9 gave a slight sigh of relief and narrowed his eyes slightly. “Do you know who he is?”
“He told you that his name is Chi Nan, right?” You Yu gave the answer right away.
Under the light of the fire, No 9’s pupils obviously dilated and the laziness in his voice instantly dissipated. “Do you know Chi Nan?”
You Yu was very satisfied with his reaction and imperceptible pride flashed in his eyes. “Chi Nan and I aren’t just acquaintances.”
The corners of No 9’s lips tightened. The two of them confronted each other in the rain for a moment and the air was filled with a tension that Chi Nan couldn’t understand.
“How can I find him?” No 9 opened his mouth first. He had a rare expression of anger and unwillingness to lose.
No 9’s reaction was completely expected by You Yu. He confirmed the time and said, “Let’s make another deal in exchange for the pocket watch he gave you.”
No 9 instinctively gripped the pocket watch in his pocket and looked at it questioningly. “You know about this as well?”
He had the almost horrifying illusion that the mysterious guy standing opposite him knew everything about him.
You Yu seemed to guess what he was thinking. “I know more about you and him than you do.”
No 9: “……” He swallowed down the phrase ‘who are you?’ It was the same question he had asked years ago. Since the other person hadn’t given him a clear answer previously, he didn’t want to ask it again.
You Yu continued, “Let me borrow your pocket watch and I’ll tell you when you can see Chi Nan again and how you can see him.”
He saw that No 9 didn’t speak and You Yu added, “I will just borrow the pocket watch for a while. I promise that it will be returned to you later.”
“What do you want to do with this pocket watch?” No 9 looked over in a puzzled manner.
You Yu had already held out a hand to him. “It is to complete a very important task that is related to whether you can meet Chi Nan again in the future.”
No 9’s heartbeat and blood froze for a moment. After a moment, he took the pocket watch out of his pocket and handed it to You Yu. “Now tell me.”
You Yu successfully used a ‘trick’ to get the pocket watch. He folded his fingers around it and smiled. “It is to just wait. Just wait and he will appear in front of you.”
No 9: “…That’s it?”
You Yu shrugged. “Otherwise, what do you think? You’ll probably have to wait a few hundred years.”
Heat flashed in No 9’s dark and heavy eyes and he moved to get back the watch that he had been ‘tricked’ out of. However, You Yu was one step ahead of him and dodged.
“Hey, don’t be so impatient. I will send Chi Nan to you once I finish my task.”
No 9’s skills were still far away from You Yu’s skills. He tried to snatch it several times with no success. After being drenched in the rain and calming down a bit, he suppressed the fire in his eyes and stared at You Yu. “Where did you come from?”
You Yu smiled at him. “Very far into the future.”
No 9’s movements stopped and even his breathing stopped unknowingly.
The person in front of him looked unreliable, but No 9 felt that the other person had spoken the biggest truth since they met.
“Is there anything I can do but wait?” No 9 chose to trust his instincts.
You Yu thought for a moment. “I know you aren’t afraid of death, but if you want to wait for someone, you have to live. Within two hours, the Dawn Tower will be destroyed and the entire City of Dreams will suffer. You should hurry and leave here.”
“Then save enough money to find a forbidden painting called the Crying Boy and buy it. Keep it well until you die.”
No 9 stared into You Yu’s eyes. “That’s it?”
You Yu smiled. “It isn’t easy to do these things. Wait and be patient. Then you will see Chi Nan.”
He shook the pocket watch he had stolen as he spoke, “This thing will come back to you one day.”
After saying this, You Yu turned around and walked through the rain toward the towering Dawn Tower.
“Hey.” No 9 didn’t catch up and spoke to You Yu’s back, “What is the relationship between you and me?”
You Yu paused, but didn’t look back. “I don’t want to tell you now.”
No 9: “……”
“But I can clearly tell you that you and Chi Nan are in…”
“A physical relationship.”
No 9: “…..!”
“You really want to pit yourself.” Chi Nan witnessed everything that had happened with No 9 and concluded.
“I can’t lose.” You Yu laughed. “In addition, I’m not wrong. Everything I said is the truth.”
Chi Nan: “……” In a sense, it was really impossible to refute.
You Yu pointed his pocket watch at the identification area at the entrance of the Dawn Tower. Just like in the first layer of the dream, there was a sound and the closed door of the Dawn Tower opened to the sides.
The inside of the tower was pitch black and silent. The sound of You Yu’s breathing and heartbeat was multiplied in the deadly silence.
“Can you find the original location of Office 2906?” Chi Nan asked.
According to the system’s hints and the verification of the pocket watch symbolizing ‘time,’ this layer of the dream and the clues for the first layer were the same. Thus, the place where they opened the ghost tunnel shouldn’t change.
The structure of the tower was the same as the Dawn Base building. You Yu himself had a strong sense of direction. No one was more familiar with the office building than him. Even if it was dark, he could quickly identify the direction and walk along the stairs of the emergency passage toward Office 2906.
After climbing up to the 29th floor on foot, he felt a bit breathless. Countless open rooms were hidden in the dark corridor. Only the white door of Office 2906 was closed. Yellow light came from the crack in the door and spilled onto the red carpet.
The ‘9’ of 2906 had also fallen off the door and the number of the room became ‘2 06.’
All the scenes in front of them were exactly the same as the first layer of the dream. It even made the two of them have the illusion of a time confusion.
In other words, the way time flowed in this world wasn’t what people were accustomed to.
You Yu stopped outside the door and held the doorknob for a while. He had some concerns.
“Brother Nan, you…”
Chi Nan was sure that he was ready to meet his past self.
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