Qiu Ren spent around three days finishing the thesis the Central Research Institute needed.
During this time, Suri, who had support from Qiu Ren and many other parties, started integrating the Army internally by various means.
Some members of the Army, who disagreed with Suri’s suggestion to work with the creators, were all thrown into the Romantic Movie Universe for reformation.
One of them was Risor. He was directly locked up in the world of The Professional.
The operation of the Romantic Movie Universe and the Alaina Cup still provided the Army with energy.
And today… was the defense of Qiu Ren’s thesis. The venue was inside the Nightmare Dungeon of the Army.
“So, are you… being shy or… insecure?”
Qiu Ren looked at Suri, who seemed to be struggling. After Alaina evolved, Suri would have enough power to get out of this Romantic Movie Universe with Qiu Ren’s permission.
However, when she really had to return to the real world, she was a bit sad that she had to leave the body of a beautiful female high school senior.
At least in Qiu Ren’s perspective, she was a bit sad.
“No, I just don’t like it when other people see my weak body. I let you see my original body that time when we met only because of the priority of negotiation…”
Suri was struggling with how to communicate with Qiu Ren when she returned to the Nightmare Dungeon of the Army.
As Alaina gradually regained control over the Army, Qiu Ren would definitely rebuild the entire Army drastically.
She would be worried if she wasn’t next to Qiu Ren.
“Then, guide me to reconstruct the world you live in right now. This should be comparable to the priority that makes you feel shy and insecure? Or is it because your impression of me has changed?”
Qiu Ren recalled that Suri used to treat him as a stranger, a little pet that could be raised with a little effort.
It wasn’t quite stressful for an owner to show her fragile and ugly side in front of her pet.
However, after what happened between Qiu Ren and Suri in the Romantic Movie Universe, her impression of Qiu Ren had changed a little.
Such a change made her feel like Qiu Ren had gotten used to seeing her form as an “extremely young and energetic” female high school senior. It would be a bit weird for him to see how she looked in reality.
“I just don’t want to be laughed at by you,” Suri said honestly after remaining silent for a while.
“It’s useless to laugh at you. When Alaina gradually grows, you’ll be able to get rid of the restraints from the Shadow Beasts and recover by then.”
Suri felt like her way of thinking had also started to change towards that of a female high school senior.
This was the scary part of the Dream Makers. No matter how hard the dream consciousnesses tried to be themselves, after playing the character set by the Dream Maker for a long time, they would definitely turn into that character.
Suri struggled for a while before returning to the Nightmare Dungeon of the Army from the Romantic Movie Universe with Qiu Ren.
The scene inside the dungeon of the Army hadn’t changed. The sky was still gloomily black, and the entire Army building was shrouded in a kind of lifeless steel.
As soon as Qiu Ren came back to the Army, his head was immediately pointed at by a shotgun.
“Are you a creator… or a Shadow Beast?” Master Riper’s deep voice sounded in Qiu Ren’s ears.
From the Army’s perspective, it was an unprecedented disaster that Qiu Ren was devoured by the Shadow Beasts and constructed the Romantic Movie Universe.
More than half of the members of the Army were devoured into the Romantic Movie Universe.
“Riper, stop. He and I… came back to achieve the ultimate goal.”
Suri in “reality” allowed a mechanical creation to push her out of the shadow as she sat in her wheelchair.
“The ultimate goal? Has Mother Alaina already grown to the point that we can consider taking revenge on our original world?”
Master Riper could feel that Qiu Ren was still sane and hadn’t been completely devoured by the Shadow Beasts yet, so he put his gun away from his forehead.
“Not just consider. We’ve already started preparing.”
Qiu Ren also saw Suri in this Nightmare Dungeon of the Army clearly while he spoke. The weak look when she sat in the wheelchair was indeed quite… ferocious and terrifying.
When she felt his gaze, she turned her face to the side slightly. Qiu Ren didn’t care about this. He directly came behind her and wanted to push her wheelchair forward.
However, Qiu Ren found that the wheelchair couldn’t move at all when he tried to push it.
“Umm… this thing is electric, in human terms,” Suri said a bit embarrassedly.
Qiu Ren also coughed gently to try to relieve the awkwardness. However, this awkward atmosphere washed away quite a lot of the embarrassment in Suri’s mind.
“Anyway, it’s time to meet our partners for this operation.”
When Qiu Ren made a signal, Master Riper was still confused, but a portal on the square that the Army used to receive guests in the past had already opened.
The master of the Training Academy, Alma, led the researchers in the Central Research Institute and the immortals from the Heavenly Court, who served as guards, out of the portal and came to the square.
The sudden appearance of the enemies made Master Riper and the remaining “royalist” members of the Army gather immediately.
The immortals from the Heavenly Court didn’t hold back either. Even though they were angry with their Dream Makers, they only gave each other an attitude.
With foreign enemies in front of them, they must still fight the war that should be fought.
“Is everyone here? I’ll start my defense then?”
Qiu Ren didn’t wear the ghost mask this time but the normal daily outfit. He had already submitted the 30,000-word thesis on the Army and the new material world to Director Lu.
The few visiting people in charge from the research institute didn’t seem to mind that the venue of the defense was in the most dangerous Nightmare Dungeon in the world.
“Let’s get started.”
Director Lu had argued with his seniors about a lot of things these few days, like whether Qiu Ren was on the side of humans or the nightmares and if the second material world really existed.
However, it was useless to just argue with words. Qiu Ren had to take this defense to prove the feasibility of his plan to them.
Under Qiu Ren’s guidance, the square where they were started to rise. They came to the balcony on the highest floor of the entire Army building.
“This is the current state of the Nightmare Dungeon of the Army, a world eroded by Shadow Beasts.”
Qiu Ren stood on the balcony and looked far away. Everything in vision was deserted, and many monsters with distorted forms were crawling on the ground.
This scene was comparable to the end of the world. In fact, it was indeed the end of the world in the Nightmare Dungeon.
The members of the Army had been on their last legs for almost forty years under the threats of the Shadow Beasts. As Alaina grew gradually, Qiu Ren could already control the area centered around the fortress.
“But as their mother evolves gradually…”
Qiu Ren reached his hand out and squeezed his hand at the deserted land far away. A large number of green vines sprouted from the ground and began to spread in the surrounding area.
The thunderclouds in the sky above the fortress instantly dissipated. Following the spread of the plants, the forms of the Shadow Beasts, which were twined around by the plants, also started changing amid their distorted roars.
“I have the construction rights of the nearby area, but I still can’t eliminate the Shadow Beasts. I can only change their forms and powers and add some rules and settings to this world.”
As Qiu Ren watched those Shadow Beasts that could make children cry gradually turn into dragons, which could make countless players so angry that they would smash their remotes… he started focusing on the construction around the fortress of the Army.
With the towering old tree as the center, the environment outside the fortress of the Army was immediately transformed into a lush forest by Qiu Ren.
However, there were a large number of amazingly destructive dragon monsters living in the forest.
When Qiu Ren constructed the initial framework of this Nightmare Dungeon and transformed the front part of the Army’s fortress into a hunter’s base, he turned around to look at everyone from the research institute again.
“The structure of this Nightmare Dungeon is completed. Next, I should go abduct… No, invite people in the other material world for a visit.”
Qiu Ren mainly wanted to prove two points in this defense. One was that he had the ability to control and change the Nightmare Dungeon of the Army.
The other was the existence of another material world.
Qiu Ren couldn’t send the entire Nightmare Dungeon of the Army back to the other material world.
However, with the medium Alma left behind, Qiu Ren could let the nightmare pollution of the Army invade the other material world… dragging humans living there to the Nightmare Dungeon of the Army.
“Invite? What are the specific steps?” Director Lu was also concerned about how to observe another material world.
With the Celestial Empire’s current technology, they still couldn’t detect anything on the dimension level. This was also the reason why the research institute suspected that Qiu Ren had made this all up.
“Wait a minute.”
Under Qiu Ren’s instruction, Alma connected Qiu Ren’s consciousness to the body in the other material world.
When Qiu Ren opened his eyes, what he saw was the ceiling that he had already gotten used to.
He was a university student in this world. He had taken the last three days off and stayed in his room. Qiu Ren only reattached his consciousness back to this dead body when someone yelled occasionally.
A few uninvited guests had shown up at Qiu Ren’s home today. Their outfit told him that they were “government officials,” but he might have to say they were people from the Imperial Court in this world.
Even though the level of technology in this world was comparable to that in the world Qiu Ren lived in, the Dream Dungeon had run through two centuries of history, so the country in which Qiu Ren was located still had an emperor.
Qiu Ren’s parents were listening to these “people from the Imperial Court” with a frustrated look.
Had his identity been exposed? Were these guys coming for him?
It didn’t seem… like it…
“Our daughter died ten years ago? How is that possible…”
“It’s her consciousness that’s dead. We realized this when you sent her to the Training Academy a while back. The consciousness of your daughter, the girl called Qiu Ling, has been occupied by a nightmare consciousness since a decade ago.”
Qiu Ren froze for a while as he listened to this conversation. Those people seemed to notice that Qiu Ren was awake as well.
“Is there someone else here?” an “official” from the Imperial Court suddenly asked.
The first reaction Qiu Ren’s mother had was to lie about Qiu Ren’s presence, but the other party had already walked in and opened the door.
There was no one in Qiu Ren’s room. However, this “agent from the Imperial Court” was quite professional. He opened the locked window and saw Qiu Ren, who had just jumped down from the second floor and still hadn’t stood firm.
“Someone ran away! It should be the Empress’s… the target’s brother!”
“Go after him.”
This order was issued mercilessly. Not long after Qiu Ren landed on the ground and felt that he had twisted his ankle, he heard sirens coming behind him.
Damn it! The environment of this material world was really dystopian.
Qiu Ren thought as he took out his phone and dialed his sister’s number.
Even when Qiu Ling ran away from home, she would pick up Qiu Ren’s calls. After all, the money she used when she got away was borrowed from her brother.
It was the same this time. Qiu Ling picked up the call.
“Where are you?” Qiu Ren asked Qiu Ling loudly while enduring the pain in his ankle.
“Brother? Is someone with you?”
“You mean that guy from the Imperial Court? I ran out. I’m hiding from them. Where are you? You left in a hurry this time. Did you bring any cash?”
People in this world were also used to paying with their phones, but they paid with credits. Since Qiu Ling was a wanted person right now, she probably couldn’t use her credits anymore.
She should be in need of cash.
“I brought a lot! Tell me where you are quickly!” Qiu Ren asked as he immediately got on a shared bike on the side of the road.
“In an abandoned warehouse by the river. Brother… The situation this time is different from before. You should…”
“I’ll be right there!”
Qiu Ren interrupted his sister and rode the bike in the direction of the river.
In these three days, he had gotten familiar with the surrounding blocks. The country where Qiu Ren was in the world had a huge gap between the rich and poor.
After all, the life of people in a country that still had something like an emperor would definitely not be good.
The river where Qiu Ling was located was a dilapidated area on the outskirts of the city. As Qiu Ren endured the pain in his ankle and rode the bike all the way to this place, it had already started raining.
The dumb sister of the original owner of this body was hiding in a small warehouse messily.
“Brother…” Qiu Ling didn’t know what to say for a second when she saw Qiu Ren rushing all the way here.
However, before she could say what she wanted, ear-piercing sirens came from outside the warehouse.
Qiu Ren didn’t need to look out of the warehouse to be sure… that this warehouse had already been surrounded by countless cars.
This wasn’t strange. It had been smooth when Qiu Ren rode the bike all the way here… as if there was no surveillance on the streets.
Qiu Ren knew without thinking that they were playing the long game so that he could lead them to Qiu Ling, the big fish.
And now, the “bait” they threw out really helped them catch the big fish they wanted.
“Those people outside… are from the Dream Hunting Bureau. Brother, they’re here for me. You don’t have to worry about me. You should leave quickly. Just… leave the money,” Qiu Ling said.
Sister! You sure have no confidence in your brother’s abilities.
“The Dream Hunting Bureau? Why are they looking for you?”
Qiu Ren didn’t find any information about this department on the Internet at all.
“They’re an organization that hunts escaped dream consciousnesses… Brother, in fact… in fact…”
Qiu Ling held the corner of Qiu Ren’s soaked clothes tight. Her voice was full of hesitation. In the end, she still didn’t have the courage to tell him the truth.
However, Qiu Ren didn’t just stand there. He directly walked to the entrance of the warehouse.
Qiu Ling stared at Qiu Ren’s back and the scene outside of the entrance of the warehouse over him. The warehouse had been completely surrounded by cars from all directions.
Groups of fully-armed soldiers got out of the cars and pointed their weapons at the entrance.
It was still pouring continuously. Qiu Ling knew that she had no way out anymore.
“Guys!” Qiu Ren looked at the agents from the Dream Hunting Bureau surrounding the warehouse outside. “Maybe we can talk?”
“There’s nothing to talk about! Kid! This is our first warning! The woman standing behind you is an extremely dangerous Lord of Nightmare! Get away from the entrance of the warehouse now! Or we’ll shoot you!”
“A Lord of Nightmare? Is that true?”
This made Qiu Ren turn around in surprise and look at Qiu Ling, who had a heartrending expression on her face.
Qiu Ren’s gaze that seemed to be asking for her confirmation at this moment made Qiu Ling feel even worse…
“Yes…” She was choking like she was about to cry as she said, “I’m not your sister… I’m just a consciousness that occupies your sister’s body…”
After she said this, she seemed to have lost her strength all over her body and couldn’t stand firm at all. However, Qiu Ren reached out to grab her arm first. Qiu Ling wanted to push him away, but she found that he was holding her really hard with his hand.
“Run! You don’t have to help someone who killed your sister like this.” Qiu Ling seemed to have already given up resisting.
“What a coincidence.” What Qiu Ren said next made Qiu Ling freeze right there.
“What coincidence?” Qiu Ling didn’t know why this was a coincidence.
“Because…” Qiu Ren grabbed Qiu Ling’s wrist and said with a smile, “I’m not your brother either.”
Not my brother? So, who can you be?
After freezing for a while, Qiu Ling suddenly felt that… something horrifying was coming.
Black mist… A black mist that only the Lords of Nightmare should have had fallen from the sky.
This was like all the thunderclouds covering the sky suddenly falling onto the ground. That was it! The thunderclouds in the sky abruptly dropped to the ground and completely swallowed everything around the warehouse.
“Guys! It must be uncomfortable to talk in heavy rain?” Qiu Ren’s voice echoed in everyone’s ears, and he said, “What about changing places?”
Qiu Ling looked at her brother in shock. Once they were shrouded in black mist, all she could see was that Qiu Ren’s eyes suddenly shone with scarlet light.
When all the black mist around lifted, Qiu Ren had already put on that symbolic ghost mask. He looked at those people with weapons, who were at a loss, in front of him and spread his arms, speaking in a tone like a host welcoming his guests, “Welcome to the nightmare… I built.”