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Notes on dreamscape 2: The author took a lot of inspiration from WoW for this dreamscape.
The sea monster that looks like Cthulhu is inspired by:
Howling Fjord (part of the setting for this dreamscape):
After General turned into a monkey, he would hunch a bit. But since he had a huge physique in the first place, even if he was slightly hunched, he was still half a head taller than Yu Hao. He said, “I’ve turned into the Monkey King.”
General shook his monkey head violently a few times; water sprayed out everywhere and splashed onto Yu Hao’s head. General looked down at his torn and tattered pants before saying, “This is really uncomfortable. Let’s talk after we go down the mountains, it’s too dangerous here.”
Yu Hao thought about his weapon, yet General said, “As long as you summon it, it will return.”
Yu Hao stretched his hand out and recalled the time when his staff first appeared. A white light really did flash as it appeared in his hand again. General reminded Yu Hao, “Don’t use your strength, it’ll rouse their vigilance.”
Yu Hao uttered an “un”, then let General put one hand on his shoulder as he supported him before they slowly moved towards the peak. Within the darkness, rustling sounds could be heard all around them, as if something was currently spying on them. Scattered green lights lit up behind the snow slope. Yu Hao sensed something and turned around, but all the green lights disappeared again.
“Snakes.” General said, “They’re all snakes.”
Yu Hao’s heart was full of doubts. It’s impossible for this place to be his dreamscape; a sea monster that looks like Cthulhu and icy cold polar regions wouldn’t appear in his dream. The only answer he could infer from this was that General was currently trying to save someone else, and for some reason, he had been summoned over as well. But why would he be summoned to someone else’s dream?
They walked to the bottom of the mountain surrounded by jagged rocks of grotesque shapes. The accumulated snow on the windward face of the mountain had been blown off. General had recovered quite a bit; he climbed up first before he stretched his hand downwards, then pulled Yu Hao onto a protruding rock. The two of them sat on the rock as they looked far into the distance.
General shaded his eyes with his hand as he looked around like he was searching for something.
“Where’s the shield I gave you?” Yu Hao had a vague conjecture that it might have been because he gave a part of the “totem” in his conscious world to General that they had developed a strange connection, so he had been dragged in here as well.
“Here.” General stretched his furry finger out and flicked the golden circle on top of his forehead.
Yu Hao, “……”
With the sword on his back, General squatted in front of the pitch-black rock and looked into the distance as he faced the north winds; his tattered cloak drooped behind him.
“What should we do?” General muttered to himself.
“Why?” Yu Hao said, “Are you Sun Wukong now?”
General looked down at his own body, then looked at Yu Hao with a strange look in his eyes, “Isn’t that obvious?”
Yu Hao asked again, “I gave you a shield, but why did it turn into the circlet on your head? Where’s your Dinghaishenzhen?"
General shrugged helplessly, “How would I know?”
Yu Hao thought, this is so weird. He scrutinised General doubtfully; General pondered for a short while before he stretched his finger out and pointed under the tree, “Look.”
A group of black snakes were spreading out as they covered the snowfield below them. General mumbled, “This person’s dreamscape is even darker than yours. If it was just dark then so be it, but it’s so damn cold too. This is really troublesome……”
Yu Hao was shivering from the cold. He thought, it was already cold enough in the day yet he still had to endure the cold at night in his dreams, why is he so miserable?!
General warned again, “Don’t die, if you die here you will never be able to return. And don’t ask so many questions, I can’t explain many things clearly. In any case, after I entered this dream, I became a huge monkey for no reason.”
“Then……what about that?” Yu Hao tested the waters as he tugged the golden circlet on his head. General said, “It can’t be taken off! I’ve tried! Ouch! Don’t touch it!”
They had hugged and said their goodbyes underneath the sunlight that illuminated the universe. After that, Yu Hao always wondered where General would go. Perhaps he would go and save more people like himself.
He gradually regarded him as a hero. He had thought that he would never be able to see him again in this lifetime, but now they were suddenly reunited. His heart was overwhelmed by the excitement and joy he felt, and a lot of his doubts had been thrown to the back of his mind in an instant.
General’s monkey face revealed a suspicious look. He looked left and right, then said, “Let’s look for the dreamscape owner’s ‘self’ first, I’ll slowly explain everything to you later.”
“Why did I still appear here in my original form?” Yu Hao frowned.
“Because you were summoned here by me. The form you take here depends on my impression of you.”
Yu Hao, “Then who does your form depend on? The owner of this dreamscape?”
Yu Hao couldn’t really understand it. General was a suit of armour when he first appeared in his dreams; logically speaking, if he “wasn’t human”, then Yu Hao definitely wouldn’t have seen him before and would thus have no inherent impression of him. In accordance with this inference, General ought to show up clad in armour in this stranger’s dream as well, but why did he turn into Sun Wukong?
General snapped his fingers; a flame burst out in between his long fingers, then he waved it towards the ground. The group of snakes that were climbing up the rocks were afraid of the flames so they immediately dispersed. General suddenly jumped and leaped onto another protruding rock. He stretched his long arm out as he climbed the rocks and stretched one hand out to Yu Hao.
Yu Hao tried to emulate General’s leap, but he couldn’t jump onto that piece of rock. His leg slipped and he let out a loud cry as he almost fell into the group of snakes below, but General’s hand had grabbed onto him tightly in midair.
Yu Hao realised that his speed, strength and reaction time had reduced considerably.
“It’s normal,” General pulled him over to another rock and said, “for your strength to weaken. To be able to scare that monster away was already quite a feat.”
Yu Hao thought of what General said to him when he had last entered his dream: when the owner of the dreamscape is banished, the strength of outsiders in the dream will weaken.
Yu Hao, “But you’re still stronger than me.”
“That’s a given.” General wrapped one arm around Yu Hao and stretched his other hand out to grab a neighbouring protrusion.
Yu Hao, “……”
General had to take care of Yu Hao and climb from one bare rock to another at the same time which was extremely troublesome. A short while later, he thought of a plan. He pulled Yu Hao’s arm and made Yu Hao hug him around his furry neck so that Yu Hao could hang from his body, then he increased his jumping speed and continued his ascent without stopping.
“But where does your strength come from?” Yu Hao asked.
“My self-awareness, self-confidence and constant suggestion.” General looked up to differentiate between the canopies, “You will slowly turn into the kind of person who you believe yourself to be.”
Yu Hao answered, “That’s impossible ba, then wouldn’t I be invincible?”
General said, “They key is, do you really believe that you’re invincible? There are people who always declare that they have a strong mind, but just a few sentences can agitate them into a frenzy of rage.”
Yu Hao, “There are some people who mistakenly think that they are invincible, but the moment they suffer a small setback, they’ll choose to retreat and escape……I think I sort of understand now.”
“Correct understanding of the self and a candid self-confidence are the sources of your strength.” General answered.
General held Yu Hao with one hand -- monkeys have arms that are so long they could tie a knot -- which encircled his waist, and his thumb could still casually and gracefully be fastened onto Yu Hao’s waistband.
“I can heal you.” Yu Hao hugged him and moved along with this huge monkey, “I have that ability.”
General, “Un, you can.”
Yu Hao, “Does having this ability mean that you think I have the capability to heal?”
General didn’t look at Yu Hao anymore as he said, “Didn’t I already tell you? Why are you still so dumb? Don’t you also believe that the current you can heal others?”
“Ah?” Yu Hao said in surprise, “Do I? I’ve never thought about it before though?”
General didn’t talk anymore. Yu Hao observed the side of General’s monkey face, but a monkey’s expression isn’t very obvious -- it only had a reddish face and thick sideburns. General suddenly turned around; Yu Hao wasn’t paying much attention and their lips almost met inadvertently in a kiss. The two of them quickly put some distance in between them. Yu Hao felt his face burn up, and thought that his face must be as red as this monkey’s butt right now……
General, “If you keep asking so many questions, I’ll kick you out of the dreamscape.”
Yu Hao quickly said, “Okay, I won’t ask anymore.”
General went to the cliff at the end of the dense forest, took off his boots and tied them around his waist before he climbed up on all four limbs with Yu Hao on his back.
Yu Hao suddenly asked again, “General, you’re actually human. Did I guess that right?”
General suddenly stopped moving; a gust of wind blew by.
“Get lost! Goodnight!” General suddenly said.
Yu Hao instantly opened his eyes and woke up in his dormitory.
“I was wrong! General!” Yu Hao cried out in regret, but it was too late. He had actually been chased out from a dream!
He turned over impatiently as he tried to sleep again, but he couldn’t fall back asleep. So he got up to drink some water before he went back to tossing and turning in his bed. However, it was daybreak before long. Yu Hao wailed for a moment before he hugged his blanket and sat up. He really wanted to slap himself twice. Why did I have to talk so much? I really might not be able to see him again this time!
After daybreak, Yu Hao couldn’t fall back asleep, so he could only wash up with a bed of messy hair before going out to work as a leaflet distributor. The temperature had been dropping for the past three days, and it was even colder today. He shivered in the bitingly cold wind and tried his best to hide behind shelters to distribute his leaflets. He shot an envious look at the person adorned in a huge cartoon doll costume who was jumping around.
He’s wrapped up so well, that’s so warm in winter……Yu Hao thought, I’ll see what you guys do during summer.
It’s not that he was being unprofessional; insufficient sleep was already making him shiver in the first place, and now that he had to endure these winds, it was really too cold for him to bear. In a 6-degree winter day, he was only wearing three layers of clothing. It was especially bad when the dark clouds blocked the sun as his whole body would tremble instantly, and he would tremble so badly that he wouldn’t even be able to speak properly.
I have an idea!
The idea had suddenly occurred to Yu Hao: he would enter the shopping mall every half an hour to warm up for ten minutes, then after he feels warm enough, he would go out again to cool off. Going in and out of the mall would be better than enduring the cold winds outside for the entire day.
Fortunately, it was Christmas Eve today, so there were surprisingly many couples and Yu Hao had almost finished distributing his leaflets by the time it hit 4pm.
I can’t do this anymore……Yu Hao thought, I’m going to freeze to death soon……I should go in to rest for awhile first.
“Yu Hao do you have a fucking death wish?! You’re wearing that little to distribute leaflets?! Aren’t you cold!!” Zhou Sheng’s voice suddenly roared like crazy.
Yu Hao was taken aback, there was still a thin stack of flyers left in his hands. He didn’t know when Zhou Sheng had arrived; he was wearing a down vest with a cigarette in his mouth as he stared at Yu Hao in disbelief.
Beside Zhou Sheng stood a tall, skinny and beautiful woman. She was wrapped in a black windbreaker, had delicate facial features and wore a surprised expression on her face as she looked at Zhou Sheng uneasily.
“Put this on quickly! Are you crazy?!” Zhou Sheng took his down vest off and stuffed it into Yu Hao’s hands. Yu Hao blushed -- everyone in their vicinity was looking at him, and it made him feel very embarrassed.
“I’ll be done distributing soon!” Yu Hao hurriedly pushed Zhou Sheng, then looked at the girl with a smile plastered to his face as he asked him to enter the mall.
“Wear it!” Zhou Sheng ordered, then he pushed the shopping mall’s door open and went in to enjoy its warm air. Yu Hao felt a little relieved; with an extra down vest on him, it felt much warmer. Moreover, because of Zhou Sheng’s shouts, the people who were standing outside Wanda suddenly walked over to look for Yu Hao and take his leaflets.
Yu Hao, “……”
“Thank you.” Yu Hao was at a bit of a loss, so he could only say, “Thank you.”
He really disliked this feeling. If this had occurred in the past, he might have felt upset for at least three days because their actions harmed his self-esteem -- his leaflets had turned into handouts.
But now, he only felt a warmth that spread out from the bottom of his heart. He stuffed both his hands into his pockets.
There was a violent knock on the french glass window behind him; in the cafe sat an irritated Zhou Sheng who was only wearing a sweater, while the girl from just now was sitting next to him. Zhou Sheng wore an expression on his face that scolded ‘you’re done distributing those leaflets yet you’re still not getting your ass in here?’
10 minutes later, Yu Hao held a glass that was filled to the brim with hot water as he sat opposite Zhou Sheng and the girl beside him. He kept trying to guess the girl’s identity.
“Call her sis-in-law.” Zhou Sheng said indifferently while he stretched one hand out to test the back of Yu Hao’s hand -- it was still freezing. He pried Yu Hao’s bright red fingers from the hot water cup and held them in his own hands.
Zhou Sheng’s hands were very hot, as if they were on fire.
The girl smiled while Yu Hao anxiously said, “Hello sis-in-law.” And thought, this is Zhou Sheng’s girlfriend? His girlfriend is so beautiful? He already has such a beautiful girlfriend, and yet he was still looking at long-legged girls on the subway?!
“Hello Eyelash Baby.” The girl stretched her hand out. Yu Hao wanted to wipe his hands before shaking hands with her, but the girl had covered his hands with her slender fingers to help warm them up too. Yu Hao’s face immediately flushed red as he quickly retracted his hands.
“Eyelash Baby?” Yu Hao was bewildered, then he said, “What do you mean?”
The girl smiled as she explained, “They said that you have longer eyelashes and bigger eyes than girls, and it’s true!”
Yu Hao’s face flushed ever redder, “Who said that?!”
Zhou Sheng laughed, “When you were reciting your self-reflection last week, the girls in our class said that.”
Yu Hao was going crazy with embarrassment. The girl said, “Then I’ll leave first.”
Zhou Sheng said, “I’ll send you back.”
The girl insisted, “Accompany Yu Hao ba. Buy a bowl of ginger soup for him to drink. I’ll hail a cab and go back straight away, you don’t need to care about me.”
Yu Hao quickly said, “I’ll leave now……”
When Zhou Sheng heard her words, he casually sat back down. The girl said goodbye to them, “See you guys next time.”
“Go and send her back!” Yu Hao hurriedly pushed Zhou Sheng.
Zhou Sheng’s expression changed. Yu Hao had just been scolded by General yesterday, so he suddenly didn’t dare to continue talking. He could only hold his hot cup of water and turn around to watch the girl leave the shopping mall. He hadn’t even asked for her name.
So beautiful! Yu Hao couldn’t help but sigh with admiration; Zhou Sheng’s girlfriend was practically of a campus belle level. He suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to ask for her name.
Zhou Sheng seemed like he was in a bad mood, “Can you stop asking so many questions? Don’t you think it’s irritating?”
Yu Hao sensibly stopped talking and reminded himself to keep his mouth shut in the future so that he wouldn’t be annoying.
Zhou Sheng looked at the french windows in a bit of a daze, then he looked down at his phone. Yu Hao didn’t sleep well last night, and he had been enduring the cold winds for an entire day today so it felt like he had been frozen silly. He could only sit opposite Zhou Sheng as he stared blankly at the news on his phone.
News at the end of the year were filled with negativity: thousands of migrant workers were turned homeless overnight after a huge fire broke out; child abuse caught on surveillance in a kindergarten; a husband hacked his wife to death before jumping off a building himself; national old-style private schools assaulted students with electrical shocks……Zhou Sheng was already irritated in the first place, but after he finished reading all these he got even more irritated and casually cursed the world.
Were there more good or bad people in this world? Yu Hao couldn’t help but recall the people who had gathered around him in the mall an hour ago. The cafe was playing the classic Christmas song《Birth of Christ》. On this dark afternoon, all the colourful lights on the two-storey tall Christmas tree that towered over the mall lit up within an instant.
“Why didn’t you wear my clothes?” Zhou Sheng said, “Aren’t they drying in your dorm?”
“I did.” Yu Hao answered, “But I didn’t expect it to be so cold today.”
Zhou Sheng turned his phone off, “Got your money?”
“Let’s go back ba.” Zhou Sheng brought Yu Hao to the subway and sent him back to school. After dinner, Zhou Sheng forced Yu Hao to drink a big bowl of ginger soup before he chased him down to his own dormitory to sleep.
Yu Hao had thought that he would definitely catch a cold at the end of the day, but after he drank the ginger soup, he began to sweat and it made him feel a lot better. Zhou Sheng had even lent him an electric blanket too. In the quiet winter night, rustling sounds could be heard outside the dormitory -- light snow had begun to fall. Yu Hao felt relieved as he curled up underneath the blanket; the electric blanket’s power regulator was emitting a red glow that illuminated a small area around it. It looked like a small sun that was guarding him.
The huge monkey was squatting on the top of the mountain. He yawned idly, which revealed his sharp teeth.
Yu Hao slipped and almost fell down again; a furry arm immediately hugged him around his waist.
“Calm down.” General casually said.
Yu Hao looked around his surroundings and discovered that General had brought him to the top of the mountain. The gales here were fierce, and they blew him till he was trembling like a massage stick. General thus opened up his arms and let him huddle in his embrace. From afar, it looked like there was a huge monkey crouching on the top of the mountain that had one human head and one monkey head.
Yu Hao warmed up a little. He didn’t dare to ask any more questions and only wondered in his heart. His eyes were scrutinising General’s face.
“There’s a village over there.” General said in a daze.
Yu Hao looked over, and saw that he was situated on a vast fjord that was near the mountains and the sea; there was a settlement adjacent to the sea, while the highlands of the fjord gently sloped inland. It looked a bit like the Howling Fjord in World of Warcraft.
He looked back in the opposite direction and saw a stretch of mountain ranges behind them that faced the inland; the area behind the mountain ranges was pitch-black. This dreamscape seemed to be enshrouded in darkness, and visibility here was very poor. The only thing he could distinguished were the medieval wooden buildings that littered the coastline. At the end of the seaside village settlement stood a pagoda-shaped building that was hidden behind a curtain of darkness.
“Let’s go to the village to take a look.” General hugged Yu Hao and jumped down from the mountaintop, then walked along the mountain road. Yu Hao said, “I’ll walk by myself.” Before he got off General’s body and followed him from behind. They advanced through the snow with one deep foot imprint followed by a shallow one.
There was a thick layer of accumulated snow and Yu Hao struggled to walk through it. Within this dark world, only the rustling of snow could be heard; from time to time, he would look at the tall monkey’s back in front of him -- a skinny back that helped him block the wind.
“Why aren’t you talking?” General turned back and looked at Yu Hao, then asked, “Angry?”
The moment Yu Hao separated from General, he had no way of preventing the loss of heat from his whole body. He said, “I-I-I……I’m too cold.”
Thus, General picked him up and let him ride on his back, then he ran through the snow on all four limbs like he was a mount.
“It’ll be warm when we reach the village.” It was rare for General to take the initiative to explain, “This is a little girl’s dream.”
Yu Hao vaguely thought of something, but that thought had merely flashed through his mind.
Zryuu: You guys might have noticed that the paragraphing is a little different this time, cause I just realised how the author had spaced his paragraphs out oops…
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), juurensha, Cat.