The ghost tunnel twisted and deformed in the fire. It made a crackling sound and started to collapse.
The endless cycle was crushed into countless pieces. The burning fire illuminated the endless rainy night until there were only ashes like volcanic ash after time burned down. The entire ring structure was buried in the Crying Boy.
Once everything calmed down, the rain stopped and the ashes disappeared.
The countless loops of Room 206 in Building 57 disappeared. The dark and heavy sky became clean and bright. Chi Nan was the only one left in the corridor along with the countless pots of bright green mint on the guardrail.
The god was gone and so was You Yu.
Chi Nan held the pocket watch in his hand and walked along the empty corridor until he saw the apartment with the number 206 at the end of the corridor.
He pushed open the door and a strong light coming from the depths of the room surrounded him again.
Chi Nan stood quietly and let the light awaken all the long-sealed memories.
The sound of the system was heard in the strong light.
[Congratulations to the Dream God Chi Nan for successfully passing the ‘Crying Boy.’ Next is the favorability calculation…]
Chi Nan interrupted the system and asked somewhat anxiously, “Where is 229?”
[This is the core area of the Nightmare World. Only the dream god has permission to enter. 229 has been arranged to wait in the rest area for your favorability calculation to be completed. Please rest assured.]
[Can I start with the favorability calculation?]
Even if his identity was revealed now, the system still had the same polite and cold attitude. It was the system that Chi Nan was used to.
Chi Nan replied, ”Yes, it is hard work.”
[Due to the particularity of this nightmare, the calculation method of favorability points is slightly different from the past. The system won’t list the plot points that earned favorability one by one. Instead, I will give the dream god the final favorability points earned.]
[Congratulations to Dream God Chi Nan for earning 99,663 favorability in this instance.]
[Dream God Chi Nan has a total of 100,000 favorability points and the system has automatically completed the wish exchange of ‘retrieve your memories.’ Dream God Chi Nan, please check it.]
[Congratulations to Dream God Chi Nan for obtaining the ‘Crying Boy’ instance souvenir: The dream god’s body.]
[Received a special bound item: Nightmare World.]
[Received privilege: Unlimited right to question and modify the dream maker system.]
[Dream God Chi Nan’s rewards have been distributed. You can now ask the system questions.]
After receiving a series of generous ‘rewards’, Chi Nan’s face was still quiet. No traces of emotional ups and downs could be seen. “Can I ask what is going on in the Nightmare World? What is going on with the system?”
[The Nightmare World was born 11 years ago. After you regained your freedom, some of the divine power used to seal the pollutants and curses were released and went outside the control of your consciousness. The divine power created the Nightmare World on its own.]
[The Nightmare World has its own operating rules. It is in a symbiotic relationship with the dream god. The emotional perception ability of the dream god was stripped from your body and placed in the ruined cliff for waste disposal, so as to avoid the recurrence of the dream god being polluted by human negative emotions.]
Chi Nan suddenly realized that he didn’t lose emotions like joy, anger and sorrow due to being sealed in the painting for many years. It was that the system stripped the emotions from his consciousness for the purpose of protecting him.
[The loosening of the seal caused some pollutants and cursed remains to lurk in the Nightmare World. These dangerous substances have always existed in the Nightmare World in the form of bugs.]
[In order to raise the threshold of the wish exchange and maintain the balance of the Nightmare World, the system selects the most potential souls from the dead to become dream makers. They wave dreams for the Nightmare World and these dreams are used to let sleepwalkers pass the level and realize their wishes.]
[In order to suppress the attack of the cursed remnants, the dream setting of the Nightmare World is set as a horror theme. The dream makers are responsible for collecting human fear. This is converted into energy inside the system to suppress the pollutants that are eager to move.]
[The system needs the fear value to maintain balance, but too high fear will break the stability of the system. Therefore, sleepwalkers whose awakening value is too high i.e. their fear rises too quickly, will be ejected by the system.]
[All deaths in the Nightmare World are dream projections. The sleepwalker will wake up in the real world after death and lose all memories of the Nightmare World.]
Chi Nan had heard You Yu talk about this.
The sleepwalkers had a great misunderstanding about death in the Nightmare World. They always believed that death in a nightmare was equivalent to death in reality and the system and dream makers never explained it clearly.
In You Yu’s words, if there wasn’t the ‘illusion of death’ as the driving force then no one would seriously try to pass the instance and he would lose his job.
[Once a sleepwalker successfully redeems a wish and returns to reality, the memories of the Nightmare World will also be erased.]
[This is the basic information about the formation and operation of the Nightmare World.]
“Okay, I understand.” Chi Nan thought about it and there was a slight change of emotions on his face. “What happened with You Yu? Why did I enter his body after I came out of the painting 11 years ago?”
Chi Nan asked his second question.
[Dream Maker 229 is the most special being and his body is a natural vessel that seals the dream god.]
[The system detected that your soul hidden in 229’s body can avoid the pursuit of the pollutants and cursed fragments. This is the safest choice so after 229’s death, the system decided to ‘waste recycle’ his body, allowing you to use it as a body to enter the Nightmare World. This is also a crucial step to complete the circular time structure.]
The phrase ‘waste recycle’ choked up Chi Nan. He continued to ask, “What about the Zi City bug? Was it the pollutants and cursed fragments chasing after me?”
[You used the tears too many times in the nightmare instances so the curses and pollutants that remained in the Nightmare World started to act. In the welfare home of the Highway 404 instance, you mixed tears into the abandoned fountain and this caused the ghost tunnel bug to appear.]
[Dream Maker 229 entered the past timeline through the ghost tunnel and discovered the secret about you in the Crying Boy. 229’s divine consciousness connected the entire Nightmare World’s main system, leading to the leakage of the dream god’s identity. The pollutants and curses carried out the greatest possible attack, forming the Zi City bug.]
“What about my tears?”
System: [You have a strong emotional perception ability. When you were the god of dreams, the tears could convert some negative energy into tears to be discharged from the mental domain. Later, the system stripped your emotional perception from the body, but the habit of shedding tears remains in your body and continues to exist in another form of activation.]
[Examples: Eating sweets, physical touch and sleep.]
[After system testing, some energy remains in your tears. So you have the power to attack monsters and evil spirits in the Nightmare World.]
Chi Nan was silent for a moment before nodding. “I know, thank you.”
In retrospect, all the bugs they had experienced were in the design of the ring structure, one ring after another. All the seemingly unexpected events were actually within the trajectory of the ring.
Previously, You Yu was puzzled about why one side of the system was trying to deny the existence of the Crying Boy while the other side tried to pull Chi Nan into the Nightmare World. Now there was an answer.
Chi Nan continued to ask, “What’s the matter with obtaining the dream god’s body? Then I can live in the Nightmare World with my own body, right?”
System: [Yes, this is your body.]
Chi Nan pursed his lips and was silent for a moment. “Does this mean I will be stripped from 229’s sensory system from now on?”
The system was silent for a moment. It seemed to be recalculating.
Chi Nan waited for two minutes.
[The system has sought the consent of Dream Maker 229 to share 229’s sensory system with you. From now on, you have two survival systems. It is either in the form of the dream god’s body or you can continue to share 229’s sensory system.]
[Excuse me, Dream God Chi Nan, is there anything else you need to know?]
Chi Nan thought about it very seriously. “Can you provide me with a mirror?”
The moment the system finished speaking, a mirror immediately appeared in front of Chi Nan.
The young man in the mirror had silver-white hair and a pair of eyes that glowed a wet, green color. There were tear drop moles on the corner of the eye on both sides. It made the eyes chic and melancholy.
It was the face of the teenager in the Crying Boy, the face of the god of dreams, his own face.
Chi Nan looked at himself in the mirror and his voice was calm. “I have no other questions.”
[Dream God Chi Nan, welcome home.]
The sense of smell was always the first to wake up.
The air was filled with the smell of wet weather after rain, but the rich aroma of something being baked quickly took over Chi Nan’s sense of smell.
He wiped away the tears from the corners of his eyes and opened his eyes in a confused manner.
It was a cloudless day. The sky was clear and there was no end in sight. The air was even slightly dry and it was like the smell of early autumn.
The endless rain in Zi City had stopped and the sky was bright.
The first thing that entered Chi Nan’s line of sight was more than a dozen pots of mint placed on the balcony. A few rays of sunlight swayed and jumped on the dark green leaves. It was like a green aurora dancing on the horizon on the night of the first snow.
Chi Nan’s hearing started to wake up. There was a sound coming from the direction of the kitchen. Someone was spreading creamy egg paste onto steaming butter. The sound of oil and sugar blending made Chi Nan gulp.
He sat up on the bed and his eyes fell on You Yu’s back which was busy making breakfast.
Humans living in this city of eternal night seemed to have long forgotten the existence of breakfast.
There was a baked cheesecake in the oven and browned fluffy pancakes being fried in the pan. On a morning when the sun first came to Zi City, You Yu wanted to prepare the most sugary breakfast for Chi Nan.
Unfortunately, this tranquility was broken by the untimely sound of the system alarm.
[Dream maker 229, please note that an urgent call request is coming from the Dawn Base.]
[Dream maker 229, please connect immediately…]
“Answer the phone.” Chi Nan’s voice still had a lingering sleepiness.
You Yu’s lips curled impatiently and he wiped his egg-covered hands on his apron. “What’s wrong?”
207 on the other end of the phone directly exploded. “Thank goodness, you finally picked up the phone after disappearing for so long! I was worried to death… contact was lost with you during this period of time and something happened.”
“What’s the matter?” You Yu put the phone on speaker mode and rushed to turn over the pancakes that were nearly burnt.
Chi Nan also got up from the bed and went to the bathroom to wash up.
The sunlight danced on the extremely bright bathroom glass and he saw his own face in the mirror again. He was a bit uncomfortable about it but he would always adapt.
The call in the kitchen was still going on. 207’s voice was a bit breathless from the urgency. “Some time ago, there was an unprecedented bug in Zi City and the entire city couldn’t communicate with the outside world. What’s worse, we tried countless ways but couldn’t crack the bug and enter the barrier. We even suspected that you were trapped in Zi City.”
“You guessed it.” You Yu turned the pancakes over again.
“What? Are you okay?” 207 on the other end of the phone was obviously stunned.
You Yu replied indifferently, “I’m fine.”
“What is going on?” 207’s voice sank.
“I’ll explain it to you later. How long did this bug last for you?” You Yu asked.
“It was three days for us.” 207 frowned a bit. She was extremely sharp so she already guessed that 229, who was at the center of the bug, had experienced a different time flow rate from her.
You Yu replied calmly, “Okay, I got it.”
From the Zi City bug to the final completion of the Crying Boy cycle, he had experienced more than 200 continuous rainy nights. Out of them, there were 229 when he couldn’t find any traces of Chi Nan.
Yet in the world outside the bug, only three days had passed.
“In those three days, we tried our best to do a repair plan and planned to forcibly enter Zi City blocked by the bug. However, it ended in failure every time until it was found that the bug was repaired by itself…” 207 held her breath. “229, you solved the bug of Zi City, right/”
You Yu seemed to laugh a bit. “Yes, me and the dream god.”
207 was stunned again. “…Have you met the dream god?”
You Yu was too lazy to explain. “Yes, let’s not talk about it. I’m busy making breakfast for the dream god.”
You Yu hung up the phone, washed the fresh mint leaves and put them in a glass of water that was handed to Chi Nan behind him. “Is the favorability calculation done?”
“Thank you.” Chi Nan took the mint water. “I know everything that I should know.”
You Yu put the fried pancake on the plate and said, “There is one more thing. The system might’ve forgotten to tell you so I have to mention it to you clearly.”
Chi Nan looked over in a blank manner. “What is it?”
You Yu stared at him and a smile appeared in his eyes. “Even if I know that you are the dream god, I will continue to pursue you.”
Their eyes met. Chi Nan blinked blankly before replying, “I know.”
You Yu smiled. “Then what?”
“I like you too. Besides…” Chi Nan pursed his lips. His face looked calm but the tip of his ears was already red. “It seems… I have liked you for a long time.”
How long had it been? It was probably as he once told himself.
From the beginning of the birth of the Crying Boy, the gears in motion couldn’t stop.
The future he was looking forward to had arrived on this sunny morning.
You Yu finally laughed. He stepped forward and buried his fingers in Chi Nan’s soft hair.
Chi Nan looked up at him slightly, tears already in his eyes.
‘This guy who cries as soon as he is touched is so cute,’ You Yu thought.
“The system said that I am the best container to seal you.”
You Yu slowly pressed down and kissed Chi Nan’s wet tear drop mole.
“Brother Nan, let’s complete the seal in another way.”
—End of Main Text—
TL: Thank you everyone for reading this sweet and short UF. There are two more extras before the novel is fully completed so don’t go anywhere!
TL: I am holding my annual translation anniversary celebration event with the possibility of winning cash prizes just by participating. Please check out the details below.
Proofreader: Not proofread