“A place to deal with forgotten memories.”
Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
Always support our Chicken Lord by buying the original work whenever you can! Link for each platform's guide to purchase the raws can be seen on our FAQs.
“Zhou Sheng!” Yu Hao thought aloud, “There’s something shining! Is that you?”
Within this dark galaxy, Yu Hao found the sole source of light. He flew towards the luminous object that mingled with some debris in the distance. It was slower than all of the other debris and drifted along leisurely.
“Not Zhou Sheng?” Yu Hao said, “What is this?”
It was the only object that emitted light within this dark world, and was at least 4 metres tall and 3 metres wide. It was an ancient Mayan wood carving that looked a bit like a cultural relic; the wood carving’s left eye happened to be glowing.
“Is this someone’s totem?” Yu Hao continued, “Doesn’t seem like it though, forget it, I should continue looking for them, I’ll just leave it alone.”
“I’m finding that if I blurt out whatever comes to mind, it makes me sound like a retard.” Yu Hao said to himself, “But do I……usually act like a retard anyway? What should I do?! Zhou Sheng where are you? Please be okay……”
“There’s something down there?” Yu Hao started to getting accustomed to this area and all the various echoes produced from his brain. At a place a great distance away that appeared to be the center of this space, he saw a gigantic vortex that seemed just like a black hole. Upon approaching it, Yu Hao discovered that everything from all around it was being sucked into its nexus.
“That thing looks so dangerous.” Yu Hao said instinctively, “I’d better not get close to it. Could this be the subconscious? Whose subconscious is it? Don’t tell me Zhou Sheng got sucked inside it?! Oh my god! What should I do??”
“Subconscious.” Yu Hao’s two daggers suddenly rang out, “The Alpha frequency band of the life spectrum, blueshift of the consciousness impression wave, an energy subset formed after a weak transition.”
“What’s going on! My weapon can speak?” Yu Hao said, “How is that possible? Are you a man or a woman? Why can’t I tell from your voice? It’s a ghost! Are you talking? Weapon! It was obviously talking just now! Ai my reasoning is a complete mess right now, I need to seriously study logic next semester.”
Yu Hao raised his daggers and merged them back into a staff, before dismantling it again and asking, “Are you talking?”
The daggers remained silent. Yu Hao said, “I'll just repeat what I did before then, subconscious?”
“Subconscious: The Alpha frequency band of the life spectrum, the energy subset formed after a weak transition in the process of an impression blueshift of the consciousness wave.”
Yu Hao, “Subconscious?”
“Subconscious, alpha frequency……”
“Subconscious, subconscious, sub-sub-sub-subconscious……sub, sub……”
“Hahaha this is so dumb.” Yu Hao said, “It’s like a calculator’s ze-ze-zero, zero……”
“No no, where’s Zhou Sheng? I’m about to turn schizophrenic……where the hell are you?!” Yu Hao flew over a vast area, but he couldn’t find Zhou Sheng.
“Wait a minute, is this a clue for finding him? I need to calm down first. Is this an AI? That would answer me if I prompt it with keywords?” Yu Hao thought aloud, “But what kind of keywords would get it to speak? And what are the principles behind this anyway? Oh yeah, even if I can’t find keywords to activate it, I can use it to explain the meaning of the words within! That’s what we were taught during our Literature Retrieval class, I’m so smart I really am a genius! Life spectrum?”
“Life spectrum, the cosmic spectrum formed naturally in a lifeform.”
“Sion blueshift? Impression blueshift?”
“Impression blueshift, the process of a surface impression transforming into a deep impression.”
“Weak transition, a change in frequency bands.”
“Consciousness wave, one type of life’s waveforms, it has the following four characteristics……”
“What does that mean? The more I listen the more confused I get!” Yu Hao didn’t want to hear anymore and said, “Stop! Stop! What the hell are you? Zhou Sheng! Hurry and find Zhou Sheng! Can you tell me exactly where Zhou Sheng is? This stream of consciousness is seriously too chaotic, is there a switch to turn off the function that makes me say whatever I’m thinking aaahhhh!! It derails my train of thought too much!! Wait! That’s not right! Saying whatever I’m thinking, my consciousness would turn into a voice in the subconscious? Then……whose consciousness is in this weapon? Is it my consciousness? That’s not right, how could my consciousness contain someone else’s consciousness? An existence that communicates with me through my consciousness...there’s only one possibility — you’re the Golden Crow Wheel’s consciousness?! You’re the Golden Crow Wheel!”
While working through his chaotic logic that was in complete disarray, Yu Hao was actually able to miraculously understand this strange and illogical situation and get to the heart of the matter!
“It’s no wonder information about the consciousness that’s directly conveyed from the Golden Crow Wheel isn’t presented in the form of language or images — an exchange purely between consciousness becomes vocalised in this strange space!” Yu Hao talked to himself as he searched for Zhou Sheng, “If that’s the case, then would it be more productive to just ask the Golden Crow Wheel questions?”
Suddenly, the summons came again, and something seemed to repeatedly broadcast radio signals targeting Yu Hao.
Yu Hao flew towards the origin of the signal. He remembered how he had initially obtained “information” from the Golden Crow Wheel. It was just like using the “search” on a supercomputer — every time he entered a keyword, its content would surface in his mind.
“But what are the guiding principles for this?” Yu Hao flew high and low, and suddenly noticed something strange. The place he was located in was a gigantic spiral arm!
All of the 2D or 3D fragments had converged into a majestic stream that was currently heading towards the black hole at the core of this world. In the distance, there were similarly several other spiral arms made of fragments.
Yu Hao said to himself again, “Seems like this is the only thing here. They should be nearby. Golden Crow Wheel, are you an AI or human? I think you’re an AI, can I call you Xiao Gold?”
This time, his weapon didn’t shine or make a sound. Yu Hao approached the vortex and noticed another spiral arm. When he arrived at the vicinity of the black hole, he could sort of see it clearly — the black hole located at the centre was spinning with six spiral arms. A large amalgamation of bizarre things gathered at the ends of the suspended arms and converged into a stream that poured into the black hole on a grand scale.
“Are those things being forgotten?” Yu Hao approached the black hole and suddenly saw something flash at the center. The signal became clearer!
“Zhou Sheng!” Yu Hao flew towards the black hole.
“Warning.” His daggers suddenly shone, “Corrector, warning, Danger Reminder for Transition Destination. Danger Level: Very Low. Please take note of the opening of the interference barrier.”
Yu Hao, “What? Xiao Gold, what did you call me? Corrector?”
“Corrector: the only position in the binary star system that can form a resonance link with the Overseer. During the operation of the consciousness wave acquisition repeater, assist the Overseer and correct all possibilities of……”
Yu Hao suddenly found Zhou Sheng’s jingubang!
The jingubang tumbled around in the black hole and revolved along with countless other fragments. It slowly approached the center of the black hole vortex, yet it didn’t sink and was constantly sending out signals to Yu Hao!
So it came from that! Without a moment’s hesitation, Yu Hao flew into the vortex and grabbed the jingubang.
“Zhou Sheng!” Yu Hao shouted, “Where are you?”
As soon as he left the spiral arm, the voice disappeared. Yu Hao kept feeling that the Golden Crow Wheel had presented him with some strange information, but he couldn’t think about that right now. After he grabbed the jingubang, he wanted to fly up higher to observe the black hole in the middle of the vortex. But the memory fragments surrounding him multiplied, piled onto him, and directly pushed him in!
So cold! As soon as Yu Hao entered the black hole, he immediately felt like his entire body was frozen stiff!
And what the hell is this?? Yu Hao thought, and within an instant, the phenomenon of his consciousness being voiced was no more! That’s great! Then I won’t confuse myself anymore. But the cold here was beyond his imagination — the chill was completely different from the coldness in reality, or even that of Shi Ni’s dream.
It was a kind of calmness that came from the conscious world — its stillness was unparalleled, and Yu Hao’s consciousness was constantly dissipating in all directions. This dark area seemed to be unremittingly drawing out his consciousness, and Yu Hao instantly understood! This wasn’t a sense of coldness, but a loss of energy!
It was just like how the body's heat constantly disperses in cold winters, and you can’t retain it even if you wanted to. Yu Hao was about to lose his ability to fly as he kept falling. He tried to make his body emit a stronger light, as if he was burning his soul for heat, but this environment began to absorb his energy even more rapidly!
“No……I’m about to fall in!” Yu Hao said, “What should I do? What’s the barrier?”
He pushed all the strength in his body to its maximum intensity, just like how Zhou Sheng would always shout ‘give me strength’. Before anyone could register it, when his mental energy reached a certain threshold, it formed a spherical protective barrier around Yu Hao’s body with a “buzz”!
Yu Hao, “???”
The barrier that was several meters in diameter shone with a faint, silver-white luster. The light would occasionally revolve around the surface in an arc, and the loss of energy stopped. This is the barrier?
Yu Hao spread his wings and turned into a celestial body in the sky that emitted silver light, seeming just like the moon.
This is great, Yu Hao realised that he no longer experienced any interference. The light outside his barrier illuminated the entire world within an instant, and filled the heavens and the earth with silver-white moonlight.
The earth was full of strangely shaped memory fragments, like a massive, boundless wasteland. Things still soundlessly fell from the sky like silent rain. The scene reminded Yu Hao of the legendary marine snow.
In the deep sea, white snow fell incessantly, until it came to rest at the bottom of the sea.
“Zhou Sheng!” Yu Hao shouted, and slowly descended.
A faint light appeared in the distance. Yu Hao immediately turned around and flew over; his light illuminated the depths of the subconscious world.
“Zhou Sheng!” Yu Hao finally found Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng stood amidst the land that looked like a garbage dump! He was with Chen Yekai, and both of them held a lamp. Zhou Sheng had his palm near the lamp that emitted a weak, linear golden flame that he was injecting into the lamp to sustain the flame and prevent it from being extinguished.
As soon as Yu Hao’s barrier passed Zhou Sheng and Chen Yekai, the two of them instantly let out a loud shout.
“You……” Zhou Sheng grabbed Yu Hao’s shoulder and said in disbelief, “Yu Hao! Why are you here? Did you hear me calling for you? How did you hear me? That’s impossible! You can hear me calling you from the subconscious?”
Yu Hao said, “I was looking for you! Why are the two of you here?”
“Why are you okay?” Zhou Sheng said, “This is the end of the subconscious! And what’s this? Why do you have a protective halo in Liang Laoshi’s subconscious?”
“What do you mean by the end of the subconscious?” Yu Hao said, “I’ve had enough! Why did you come in by yourself without telling me?! You’ve gone too far!”
“What time is it outside?” Zhou Sheng said, “How long have we been asleep?”
“Wait!” Yu Hao said, “One question at a time!”
Yu Hao realised that Zhou Sheng was more meek today. He raised his laundry fork because he wanted to hit him, but Zhou Sheng didn’t dare dodge and merely stood waiting to be beaten.
Chen Yekai held the lamp up and said, “This is great, you’re here. I thought that we wouldn’t be able to get out of here this time.”
“Between the two of you, who came up with this idea!” Yu Hao said angrily.
“Him!” Zhou Sheng immediately betrayed Chen Yekai.
Chen Yekai explained the situation in two or three sentences.
“We discussed this beforehand, to enter Liang Laoshi’s dream. We hoped that by finding her, we could wake her up in reality. Zhou Sheng surmised that Liang Laoshi had already fallen into her subconscious. Firstly, the subconscious isn’t safe, and secondly, we don’t understand it very well. Zhou Sheng was afraid that you would be in danger just like last time, so we decided to not let you in on this operation.”
Yu Hao looked at Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng appeared indifferent as he said, “Who asked you to cut such a sorry figure last time?”
Yu Hao’s lungs were on the verge of exploding from anger. He had been beside himself when he couldn’t find him. Now when they finally met, Zhou Sheng’s expression that seemed like he was blaming him instead finally impelled Yu Hao to whack him with his stick. Zhou Sheng quickly said, “Don’t! Don’t!”
Yu Hao held his laundry fork in his left hand, and the jingubang in his right. He was about to hit Zhou Sheng when Zhou Sheng immediately dodged and said angrily, “Yu Hao are you rebelling now?!”
It was the first time Yu Hao was struck by such an impulse to hit Zhou Sheng, but Zhou Sheng was faster than him. He chopped down on his wrist with one stroke and before Yu Hao snapped out of his daze, and the jingubang was already in Zhou Sheng’s hands. He subconsciously dodged, yet Zhou Sheng pulled his jingubang back and seized his wrist instead, dragging him forcibly into his embrace. Then, he hugged him very tightly.
Yu Hao’s wings dragged along the ground as he was suddenly pulled into Zhou Sheng’s embrace, completely unprepared. This one hug from Zhou Sheng seemed to convey a lot of words, and Yu Hao’s anger immediately dissipated. He stammered, “Ah……you’re alright, that’s great.”
Zhou Sheng had just embraced him for a short moment before they immediately separated. He caught a glimpse of Chen Yekai from the corner of his eye. Chen Yekai was illuminating the surroundings with the faint light in the lamp, “Let’s look for a place to analyse the situation first ba? Hopefully, no one else will fall in here and get trapped.”
Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng looked above them. Chen Yekai tried to walk out of the barrier, then retreated a few steps. Yu Hao said, “It’s very cold outside, don’t go out.”
Chen Yekai said, “Zhou Sheng? See, the flame is stable now.”
“Un.” Zhou Sheng was still shivering slightly from the cold, “I don’t need to sustain it anymore.”
Yu Hao’s barrier protected the two of them as they arrived at a hill of heaped fragments. Zhou Sheng breathed a sigh of relief and found a place to sit down, then motioned to Yu Hao to come to his side.
“Ask your questions ba.” Zhou Sheng said.
“Where is this place?” Yu Hao asked doubtfully.
“Our presumption is that it’s the deepest part of the subconscious.” Chen Yekai said, “A place to deal with forgotten memories.”
Zhou Sheng said, “You can call this a garbage dump, or the Forgotten Ruins. Did you come in from the subconscious just now?”
Yu Hao remembered how the whole world was revolving around the black hole; the fragments in the six spiral arms were all sucked in one after another. He could somewhat comprehend it, “So the things from the dreamscape will be sucked into here, and after they fall into the garbage dump, they’ll be forgotten.”
“Perhaps so.” Chen Yekai said, “That’s our guess.”
“The Golden Crow Wheel told me.” Zhou Sheng corrected, “It’s not just a guess.”
Chen Yekai frowned and glanced at Zhou Sheng. Evidently, Zhou Sheng hadn’t told him that.
“Why didn’t it tell me?” Yu Hao remembered the information he obtained from the Golden Crow Wheel after entering this place.
Zhou Sheng gave him a meaningful glance and Yu Hao understood it at once. Zhou Sheng didn’t want to reveal too much in front of Chen Yekai.
“Now it’s my turn to ask.” Zhou Sheng said, “One question per person, why isn’t your mental energy being absorbed by this place?”
“I don’t know.” Yu Hao looked baffled. He roughly described how he had found the jingubang, and how he had inadvertently created this barrier after entering to resist the cold around him.
“Does it feel uncomfortable now?” Zhou Sheng asked.
“No.” Yu Hao asked, confused, “It feels normal.”
“To hell with it!” Zhou Sheng said, “Why would it only absorb my energy and not yours?!”
Yu Hao said, “You’ve already asked so many questions, it’s my turn now!”
Yet Zhou Sheng turned and left Yu Hao’s barrier, then snapped his fingers. His whole body emitted a golden flare, but that flare instantly vanished without a trace.
“The stronger the energy I release,” Zhou Sheng said, “The faster it gets absorbed! Why don’t I have a barrier?”
“How would I know?” Yu Hao said, “Come in! It’s too cold outside!”
Zhou Sheng refused to give up and tried several more times, but he had to give up in the end and hide in Yu Hao’s barrier. Suddenly, he seemed to understand something, “Oh, and I was wondering too. So it was the jingubang that was left outside that called out to you and let you in.”
“Un?” Yu Hao uttered, “Because that’s my……” Then he immediately noticed Zhou Sheng’s glance and didn’t continue speaking. Because the jingubang is the transformed form of Yu Hao’s totem, so when Zhou Sheng was dragged in here, it had remained behind?
“And what is this?” Yu Hao looked at the lamp in Chen Yekai’s hand.
“Fire.” Zhou Sheng said, “The last remnant of Liang Jinmin’s will to live. It took a lot of effort to find it.”
Chen Yekai didn’t ask anything. He only looked up at the sky and frowned as he ruminated.
“How did the two of you fall in?” Yu Hao asked.
Zhou Sheng said, “By accident. A moment of carelessness within our carefully formulated plans ma.”
“Zhou Sheng thought of a way.” Chen Yekai said, “To build a tunnel that would lead to Liang Laoshi’s dreamscape through the Golden Crow Wheel in my dream. After we came in, we couldn’t see anything in the subconscious world……”
After that, Zhou Sheng and Chen Yekai searched everywhere for the “fire” in this dark world. The moment they found it, a powerful monster had emerged from the dark void and started attacking them.
In order to protect the fire, Zhou Sheng ignited all the energy in his body to resist the fierce attacks from the dictator of the conscious world. After a violent battle, they were ruthlessly thrown into the center of the vortex in the subconscious and fell into the Forgotten Ruins.
As soon as they entered the Forgotten Ruins, the fire immediately dimmed and was almost extinguished. Zhou Sheng had to exhaust all his means to keep it burning. With the passage of time, their energy was being drained away unremittingly, so Zhou Sheng could only pace himself and think of how to leave this place while maintaining the fire. However, he couldn’t summon the jindouyun, and Chen Yekai’s weapon was ineffective.
It was extremely fortunate that Yu Hao had arrived at the very last moment when the fire was about to go out.
Time seemed to slow down a lot in the subconscious. So the problem had now changed — they had to take Liang Jinmin’s self-consciousness out of the Forgotten Ruins and back into the subconscious, then think of a way to return to the upper layer of the conscious world; that is, her dreamscape.
As long as she returns to her dream, she’ll be able to wake up in the hospital, and the situation would significantly improve.
“The two of you actually did so many things behind my back!” Yu Hao could hardly believe it, “Also, Zhou Sheng, when did you learn how to use other people’s Golden Crow Wheels to cross into other people’s dreams?”
Zhou Sheng said, “Kaikai and I deduced that in a number of ways. A lot of things were based on our conjectures, but it was successful. What I really don’t understand is……why are you perfectly fine in the subconscious?”
Yu Hao suddenly remembered the form of address he heard when he had entered — “Corrector”, the only position that can form a resonance link with the Overseer. What does this mean? Does the Golden Crow Wheel regard him as the Corrector? Then what is Zhou Sheng? The Overseer? And what’s the binary star system?
“Fly up and take a look?” Zhou Sheng signalled.
Yu Hao rose slowly within the barrier, and the strange thing was, he didn’t need to flap his wings to fly in this world. Zhou Sheng and Chen Yekai also rose along with him. Chen Yekai held the lamp, and under the protection of Yu Hao’s barrier, the golden flame now burned much brighter than before. They flew towards the zenith amidst the rain of memory fragments that filled the sky.
“It’s no use.” Zhou Sheng frowned, “We can’t find where the memory fragments are falling from. Look, the fragments are all falling vertically; no radiation is present, and there’s no entrance either.”
Chen Yekai answered, “It’s impossible for them to appear out of nowhere, there must be an entrance.”
Zhou Sheng, “You’ve forgotten that this is a dream; it doesn’t follow the logic of reality.”
Yu Hao knew that they must have discussed it long before he came. He thought about it for awhile, then said, “Have you guys ever attacked the sky?”
Zhou Sheng’s sword disappeared when his jingubang was returned earlier. But Chen Yekai had retained his gun. He drew his gun and said, “I’ve tried it a few times, but it wasn’t effective.”
From within the barrier, Chen Yekai pulled the trigger and a golden pillar of light shot towards the zenith before disappearing into nothingness.
“It’s no use.” Zhou Sheng said.
Chen Yekai retrieved the knife from his harness and threw it out. No one knew how much time had passed before the knife turned around and flew back.
Yu Hao pondered for a moment, then dismantled his staff and gripped his daggers in both hands, “Let me try!”
Immediately afterwards, Yu Hao leaped up and somersaulted in midair, and released an arc of lightning! The arc was like a crescent moon that dispersed the curtain of night. With a “whoosh”, it cut through the rain of memory fragments and flew towards the zenith!
A crack soundlessly tore open in the pitch dark sky, and Zhou Sheng was instantly dumbstruck.
“Go!” Chen Yekai immediately exclaimed.
Yu Hao led the other two and rushed through the gap with a whoosh to leave the Forgotten Ruins. They returned to the subconscious world.
“Great!” Zhou Sheng didn’t expect to leave so easily. He shouted, “We’re back! Prepare for battle!
Dollars has nothing to say about this mind-bending dreamscape.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Kum.