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Leylin stared at the large pit in front of him absent-mindedly, hands still maintaining the position from when he had been casting the spell.
In front of him, all that was left of the astral gate were ruins. Terrifying electric currents and radiations were still present in some places, but with the A.I. Chip’s directions those, too, were quickly isolated and extinguished.
Though the explosion of the astral gate was dangerous, danger depended on the individual facing it as well. In the face of Leylin’s Kemoyin scales that had been strengthened to rank 5, the stray undulations from the explosion were nothing. Even the area around him was completely safe.
Even so, the destruction of the astral gate, as well as the loss of the coordinates, left Leylin’s heart aching.
The amount of astral stones needed to construct an astral gate again was negligible with the large organisation of the Warlock Union backing him, and amassing even more astral stones wouldn’t be a problem given some time. However, the loss of Dreamscape was a huge blow to him.
“Did I fail…” Leylin sighed, expelling the sorrow in his heart. When he raised his head once again, his eyes were now calm once more.
“If the coordinates of Dreamscape are gone, then so be it. I was expecting too much when I thought I could use the material from a strange creature and find the coordinates anyway. Furthermore, as I am now a foreign world is too powerful for me to explore…”
Leylin shook his head as he ordered, “A.I. Chip, tidy up the place!” He turned to leave the laboratory, but when he pulled the door open, Leylin’s pupils shrank.
“This place…” In front of him was a tremendous barren desert. Three strange suns shone in the skies, boiling heat waves everywhere. The friction between his shoes and the rocky yellow sand was audible.
Leylin looked up and around, finding the place completely desolate. At the base of a hill, he could see the broken tip of a building. The thing seemed to have toppled over an unknown amount of time ago, the signs of age extremely obvious on the surface.
‘A.I. Chip, begin scan!’ Leylin picked up a signboard that had landed near his feet. He could not read the words, but he felt a sense of familiarity from them. The black board did not feel too heavy in his hands and creaked with the slightest application of strength, as if ready to break into smithereens at any moment.
Blue light from the A.I. Chip scanned the thing, and it immediately came to a conclusion.
[Based on carbon 14 dating, estimated age: 21982 years, 11 months…]
“Over twenty thousand years ago?” Leylin stroked his chin and tossed the signboard. As soon as the thing hit the ground, it cracked apart into fragments, some bits even turning into powder.
“Where is this place?” Leylin raised his head, looking at the three strange suns that were still scorching the place.
Of the three, the one on the left was distorted, like a circle that had been twisted multiple times. The one in the middle was round, but there were numerous tentacles on the outside that made it seem rather horrifying. The one on the right? It was a complicated polygon, with its sunlight holding a different tint.
Leylin turned back, and found his astral plane laboratory still standing tall, its doors still open. However, the surface was visibly ageing.
Silver metal was being corroded and fell off. Very quickly, his brand new laboratory had aged to a state where he would have to abandon it.
“What’s going on? The metal on the surface of the laboratory is an alloy known for its resistance to corrosion…” Leylin’s eyes swept over the place, but he could not find anything in the vicinity that was related to his castle.
The situation now was as if he had brought his laboratory along and, as one entity, crossed over to another plane from the castle.
“Could this be Dreamscape? Or did the accident with the astral gate bring me to another world?” In that instant, all sorts of conjectures appeared in Leylin’s mind. He took a deep breath and re-entered the laboratory.
*Boom!* He closed the door.
“If it’s another foreign world, I’d definitely have felt like I was travelling through space, and from my experience, there’s only one world that can take me elsewhere without any warning— the Dreamscape!”
The phantom of a Kemoyin Serpent Emperor appeared behind Leylin’s back. Its amber pupils blinked open, scanning the area with vigilance.
“Bring it on!” Leylin opened the door once more as the Eternal Light spell shone ahead of him. There were many small roads around, connecting the laboratory with other constructions within the castle.
Leylin raised his head, the shattered sky unique to the Morning Star area entering his line of sight.
He glanced at the surface of the laboratory. The signs of ageing had long since disappeared, as if all he had witnessed was a mere illusion.
“Master!” With Leylin’s will, a few metallic puppets arrived before him.
The A.I. Chip confirmed their identities, leading Leylin to ascertain that he was truly in the castle in the Morning Star Area.
“Interesting!” Leylin’s eyes flashed with curiosity. He pondered over it for a moment and returned to the laboratory.
When the door was opened once more, the barren land and oddly-shaped suns appeared before him again.
Compared to before, however, there were some changes in the surroundings. Traces of yellowish-green weeds tenaciously grew from the seams of rocks, and the collapsed buildings were now covered with vines and seemed full of life.
There were even some small shrubs in the distance, growing with vigour.
“The life force here has grown richer, as if tens of millennia have passed…” Leylin narrowed his eyes. The three strange suns now shone with a green hue which he could not get used to.
Arriving back at where he’d tossed the signboard, Leylin found that the thing wasn’t in pieces anymore, and was instead at its original place. The cracks from before seemed to have faded to an extent. ‘A.I. Chip, test age.’
[Beep! Based on carbon 14 test, estimated age: 1328 years, 7 months…] the chip quickly replied.
“The last test showed it was over twenty thousand years old, and it even broke apart on the spot…” Leylin stroked his chin, “Time is behaving strangely here… Only an unbelievable world like Dreamscape could be in such a situation…”
“But… The last time I came here, my soul had been caught in a trap, and this time I managed to enter with my body as well… Am I in someone else’s dream?”
“What is the boundary between dream and reality?”
The further he pondered, the more Leylin found that the secrets of Dreamscape were terrifying. However, there was not one riddle he could solve.
“There are even such strange changes. Is it a spacetime wormhole? Or perhaps some sort of garbled effect from Murphy’s Law?”
Seeing the vines climbing all over the laboratory, Leylin walked in and closed the door. Opening it once more, he found himself in the Morning Star area.
Leylin immediately ordered, “Categorise this area as a special first rank region! Seal the whole region, and move away all nearby constructions. Carve runes to protect it from radiation and contamination.”
The metallic puppets immediately got to work, startling Freya.
“What’s going on, darling?” Freya was currently in a loose nightgown, looking dazed.
Leylin went forward and pulled at Freya’s hand while consoling her, “Nothing, something just went wrong with an experiment, and the contamination from the radiation is growing more intense. It’s best you move out for a while, staying far away from the castle…”
While he didn’t really understand the current situation, that explosion in his astral laboratory had resulted in an even more mysterious change. It had now become a bridge between this place and Dreamscape.
One needed only enter to change what space it was connected to, something that immediately piqued Leylin’s curiosity.
He could now move between worlds without consuming any energy. If any Magus were to find out about this, they would go insane. Hence, using the excuse that an experiment had gone wrong and he was afraid that the contamination would leak, he was taking necessary emergency measures.
However, the reason for this situation still had Leylin befuddled.
‘Is it because of that owl feather? Or was it the explosion of the astral gate? Or did both those events somehow affect each other causing this mysterious change…’ he thought as he stroked his chin.
Whatever it was, this accident was a good thing. Not only had he obtained the coordinates to Dreamscape, but he’d also acquired a bridge between the two worlds.
“However, this can’t last forever,” Leylin recalled some spatial theory. The Magus World and Dreamscape were like two parallel sheets of paper, and his astral laboratory was a point between the two, the only link between them.
However, with how space worked, this point would eventually break. In other words, his laboratory would eventually lose its connection to Dreamscape.
“I need to speed up my exploration!” Leylin’s heart was burning. Dreamscape was the most mysterious of worlds, one that had even invaded the ancient Magus World.
It was an extraordinary place whose inhabitants lacked true bodies. Formed of the dreams of intellectual beings, it had a mystical strength.
If he could find the dreams of some ancient Magus that had comprehended laws and obtain his understanding, he would reap huge benefits. Basically, in front of Leylin was a gigantic treasure trove…
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