Chapter 107 “Super Contagious”
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The gentle waves slowly rose and fell while the Vanished sailed across the surface of the Boundless Sea. After many days of this, the ancient ghost ship remains lost and can’t find a beacon or island to pinpoint its location.
There seems to be no end to the long, arduous journey; nevertheless, its captain still has many things to do despite the woes.
Duncan returned to the captain’s bedroom, where the golden sun mask still lay quietly on the table. Alice’s affair could come later since the Frost Rebellion happened half a century ago – it’s not like he could investigate the topic at a whim either. Rather than chase a distant issue, he has a more pressing matter closely related to himself that he wants to attend to.
Duncan raised his head and looked into the mirror hanging from the wall.
The green flame that once coated the reflective surface has long since dissipated, and the distant scene that once appeared in the mirror was gone. However, Duncan could still faintly feel the faint and vague “connection”. It’s still there, the channel pointing to the magnificent cathedral in the center of Pland.
This connection gave him a similar feeling to his “connection” with the “Antique Shop Owner” and the “White Oak”, but far weaker, more ethereal. He had to admit, this was more like some secondary channel that was indirect and not under his whim.
Duncan closed his eyes, allowing his consciousness to return to that dark space filled with countless starlights. At the same time, the brass compass hanging from Ai’s neck also opened a gap, revealing the faint green flame inside.
Unlike in the previous ventures, he did not perform a “spirit walk” and maintained the critical state of entering and leaving to observe the flowing rays of light shooting across his view.
Firstly, he immediately noticed the brightest “star” among the sea of lights, which pointed to the antique store and represented his other shell. That body was currently cleaning the warehouse and counting the goods in the inventory.
Then through the hazy invisible mist of light, a much larger than normal starlight represented the White Oak appeared. That’s a connection he created by colliding with the steamboat with the Vanished.
Lastly, he found the faint and distinguished “star” that represented the newest addition.
Duncan leaned over curiously, wanting to take a closer look at the cluster of stars surrounding it.
But as soon as he got closer, he felt a subtle repulsion spreading out from the cluster of starlight.
The force of this repulsion was not very strong. It seemed to be just a pure firm will to protect itself. Duncan believes that if he forcibly extends the ghost fire, he should be able to burn this subconscious protection down. But he immediately dropped the idea and kept his distance.
The master behind this starlight should be the inquisitor named “Vanna”, a storm saint, a powerful transcendent being. Reckless contact may alarm the owner, or worse, even the “god” standing behind the saint.
Without knowing much about the gods of this world, Duncan was not yet ready to take the risk.
On the other hand, this faint sense of rejection may also be a reminder to him that these stars have their differences.
He didn’t feel repulsion when he first occupied the shell of that “sacrifice”, and he didn’t feel repulsion when he occupied the shell of the newly dead cultist “Ron”, so why was there such repulsion around Vanna’s starlight now?
Is it because she is still “alive”? Or is it that everyone has an instinctive drive to resist erosion from outside forces? Or perhaps… her faith and blessing are sheltering her?
Duncan stepped back a little, pondering the meaning of this discovery while trying to slowly extend his hand to the other cluster of starlight nearby. But he stopped at the last moment.
There was no sense of rejection.
Then he tried many more times at the other clusters, and each star never rejected his approach. Sometimes, he even sensed something new… an “element”.
It’s a vivid form of life, the instinctive trembling that cowers before the shadow of irresistible death.
Returning to a corner of the dark area where the stars could not shine, Duncan rubbed his finger to summon a faint spark of the ghost flame.
From the look of things, the increased number of times he spirit walked, the control and perception of this world increased as well. Now, he could even sense the existence of life from those starlights!
Duncan frowned, then looked off into the distant darkness where mystique and wonder awaited.
Out of caution, he had never explored beyond his means before, hence the misnomer that the starlights are all representations of corpses that had just died. But now, that’s clearly not the case.
There were not only the dead but also the living in these starlights.
The “Inquisitor” named Vanna was also among these stars, and she was certainly a living person without a doubt.
That… does the countless starlight here represent all the living and dead in the world?
Duncan furrowed his brow at the theory, wondering if that was plausible. But then he quickly shook his head to dismiss such an idea. It’s too early to draw such a conclusion.
Although there are a lot of stars here, although the population of this world is far less than on Earth, but within the scope of the eye, those starlights should not be able to match the population of this world. Besides, how would the stars define the number of the dead? There’s also the White Oak here, a ship without the essence of life.
But regardless of how the starlight here connects to the real world, one thing is clear: the vast majority of starlight will not show repulsion to Duncan’s approach, only the light of Vanna, the “saint”, has the self-protective response to him.
Perhaps this is due to the god she believes in.
Duncan now got interested in the power of “faith”. It’s a powerful force no doubt, but it also had a loophole he could exploit.
Now then, there was only one question he had left to answer: when and how was this connection established?
Duncan pondered carefully in the dark, thinking about what encounter he might’ve had with the inquisitor to create this channel. After some elimination and speculation, he soon arrived at one extremely bold idea.
Could it be that the first sacrifice that I possessed?!
Duncan recalled back to the first time he set foot on the land of Pland. He made a fuss at the venue and promptly left the scene shortly afterward. The event made it to the news as well. As it so happens, the paper reported that it was Inquisitor Vanna who oversaw the captured cultists who remained at the scene.
“This… is that how?!” The more Duncan thought about it, the more plausible the theory got. He couldn’t help but stare at his hands in amazement, stunned by how easily he managed to penetrate into someone of such authority. “I might as well call myself the master of infections at this rate… I’m worse than those apocalyptic zombie films on Earth….”