In the end, Herring was sent to the operation command center of the Dream Eaters in a wheelchair.
As the level of her character in Dark Souls increased, the huge sense of achievement she got after killing the nightmare guardians could reduce the harm brought by the Nightmare Dungeon to a certain degree.
But this reduction had a limit. When she woke up, she found that her ankles were swollen. Without proper treatment, her ankle bones might be at risk of necrosis.
This should be the harm caused after she was killed by the Undead Legion of Farron dozens of times.
Although she couldn’t walk anymore in the real world, this didn’t stop her from continuing to fight in Dark Souls…
After defeating the Undead Legion of Farron, Herring felt like she had started getting addicted to the excitement of having a large number of souls surging into her body.
But what made her more addicted was the sense of achievement and the feeling of intoxication she got upon beating a strong enemy at the moment of life and death.
She rarely had a chance to experience such feelings in reality. She could experience them in the dream game, “Dark Side,” sometimes.
But in the Nightmare Dungeon of Dark Souls… She could feel the thrill that made her blood pump almost every minute and every second.
Such feelings made people like her very… obsessed.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t go to see what the next region, the Catacombs of Carthus, looked like. Her invasion time had ended.
In fact, not only had her invasion time ended but there was also a special operation meeting.
Once Herring came in, she heard the hateful interrogation voice of her colleague, Karl.
“Why is the popularity of the Nightmare Dungeon of Dark Souls rising so quickly?”
Karl banged a report in his hands on the table and addressed everyone. He had become the Deputy Commander of the invasion of this Level S Nightmare Dungeon.
Although Herring still had certain rights to speak, there had been a serious weakening in Team T, as the members of the team under her command followed her to the frontline to invade Dark Souls.
Team T’s invasion progress and characters in Dark Souls were also taken over by the other teams of the Dream Eaters who came for backup.
This made Herring lose interest and the mood to care about the strategies and the logistics of this operation.
Instead, she put her mind on killing more nightmare guardians in Dark Souls. She wanted to eliminate the final boss and force the Dream Maker behind the dungeon to come out.
But now… some problems had arisen with the strategies of the operation outside the dungeon.
The popularity of Dark Souls, this Nightmare Dungeon that had countless reasons for normal people to be scared away, was constantly increasing in a way that confused the Dream Eaters.
“We’ve already contacted the government and asked them to put pressure on the social media platforms and game media. Blue Bird has banned all the vocabulary related to Dark Souls and Battle Royale. However, the place where Dark Souls is discussed the most is on the 2AG forum,” the agent of the Dream Eaters responsible for monitoring public opinion said.
The banning measures that the Dream Eaters and the government worked on had already been implemented fully. But the discussions on Dark Souls on the Internet didn’t stop. Rather, it started to spread like a virus.
This would make the originally weak Lord of Nightmare recover slowly… By then, it would be useless no matter how they weakened its children.
“2AG? Damn it… Did those guys from the Purifier have any reactions?”
Karl immediately felt a bit of a headache. The 2AG forum was based in Europe, the territory of the Purifier.
Logically, the Purifier should be trying to invade the Nightmare Dungeon of Dark Souls as well. They should have curbed the popularity and heat of Dark Souls.
“No… We’ve already contacted the Purifier. They seem to be very confused as to ‘why we think they can… interfere with a large forum operated commercially.’”
The agent responsible for monitoring public opinion sounded awkward, but the sarcasm in the words of the other party was already obvious.
“What about controlling live broadcasts?” Herring suddenly asked.
“We’ve already talked to several live broadcast platforms. They all agreed to cooperate with our operation this time. Only Twitch refused to give up the ‘free time at night’ that they fought for,” the Public Opinion Controller said a bit frustratedly.
Most media and entertainment companies in this world had a background comparable to that of a “military supplier.”
This applied to Twitch as well. With the unique political system in the United States, those media companies might show respect to the government and the Dream Eaters, but it was just that—showing respect.
They had already shown their respect by agreeing to ban the live broadcast of Battle Royale and Dark Souls during the day.
“I mean the live streamers. Which live streamer on Twitch has the highest popularity for Dark Souls?”
Herring was a bit speechless. If her subordinates of Team T and her Public Opinion Controller were still alive, they would have already put all the information she wanted in front of her.
“…” The guy looked at Herring and remained silent for a while.
“Who?” Herring asked again a bit impatiently.
What do I have to do with that?
Herring immediately froze right there. The Public Opinion Controller swiped on the tablet in his hands, and a recorded video was shown on the big screen behind him.
“This is a live broadcast video we found six hours ago. The entire live broadcast showed the process of how you defeated the nightmare guardians, the Undead Legion of Farron…”
Herring widened her eyes and looked at the recorded video on the big screen. The comments were thoughtfully included in this video.
Looking at the comments from the viewers, her hands, which wouldn’t shake even when doing minimally invasive surgery, covered her forehead. They couldn’t help but start trembling slightly.
The captains of several teams of the Dream Eaters were already here at the operation meeting. Her immediate supervisor, or her mentor, was also participating in this operation as the Chief Commander.
Right in front of her mentor and this group of comrades who fought with her… many comments like “Miss Herring, go!” and “I’ll be Miss Herring’s diehard fan from now on” flowed across the screen.
No matter how cold-blooded Herring was when she killed someone, she couldn’t control the expression on her face.
“This was obviously a live broadcast… by the Dream Maker of the Nightmare Dungeon. When you found it… shouldn’t you have cut it off… immediately?” Herring gritted her teeth and stammered.
“We’ve warned Twitch. However, they refused to cut it off. They said that the main content of the live broadcast is the Nightmare Dungeon, not you, Captain Herring. Your popularity is rising so fast, though. The number of playbacks of that recorded video keeps rising. Furthermore, most posts related to Dark Souls on the 2AG forum are about you. You’re a highly-discussed and the most popular Dream Explorer in the community of the Nightmare Dungeon of Dark Souls right now.”
Should I be happy? Should I smile in front of you and give a speech on my feelings about winning the award?!
Herring saw everyone’s weird faces when they looked at her. She felt like the emperor of their enemy country had come to their tent. Would he win the war after killing her?
“Apart from me… who’s the most popular live streamer on Twitch?” Herring adjusted her expression and asked.
“If you’re talking about real-time popularity, the second is the Cherry Blossoms, and the third is the Gray Snake. They’re both using an official account, doing live broadcasts with the goal of being the first to complete Dark Souls.”
“Why are they doing live broadcasts related to Dark Souls at this time?” Karl asked, “They should understand that this would make the Lord of Nightmare stronger!”
“Nobody would make such an amateur mistake. The Gray Snake and the Cherry Blossoms did this on purpose.” Maine was also sent into the operation meeting room in a wheelchair.
“On purpose… What do you mean?” asked Karl.
“Of course, you won’t understand because you can’t even beat Gundyr! If the Nightmare Dungeon of Dark Souls was purely a nightmare that tortured people, then maybe the Gray Snake and the Cherry Blossoms would have already launched a full-blown attack! But they know Dark Souls is more than that… Do you really think it’s only for completing the mission that I wanted to kill that nightmare guardian called the Dancer of Boreal Valley even after I broke my leg and stayed inside for so long with Herring?”
Maine said as he glanced over everyone in the operation meeting room.
“It’s addictive to suffer in this Nightmare Dungeon. The nightmare guardians are indeed difficult to deal with, but after you die the first time, the second time, the third time, countless times in their hands, and finally defeat them, you’ll feel satisfied and thrilled. I’ve only felt such excitement on the battlefield in reality. For people who don’t treat human lives as human lives like us… it’s fatal. Even for normal people… it’s probably irresistible as well.”
“Have you not died enough in other Nightmare Dungeons? Why are you addicted to only this Nightmare Dungeon?” Karl knew that Maine had been to a lot of dangerous Nightmare Dungeons, and he couldn’t make it out alive most of the time.
“I don’t know either. I’m not a professional Dream Dungeon Assessor. Maybe because of the combat mechanism and pace, rolling and sliding? Or maybe because of the setting that drops all the souls when players die? It might also be because of that blind woman who increases your level… and the subtle but magnificent world background that people on the 2AG forum keep arguing about?”
Maine pointed at Karl with his fingers holding a cigarette and said, “Anyway, I’ve already realized that Dark Souls isn’t a nightmare that makes normal people scared. Rather, it’s one that… you’d be gradually obsessed with once you take the first step and defeat the first nightmare guardian. It’s a world where you feel its charm bit by bit.”
“So, the Cherry Blossoms and the Gray Snake… have already known that this Nightmare Dungeon would become popular sooner or later! It’s just a matter of time.”
Maine turned to Herring and asked everyone in the operation meeting room, “Who do you think that Lord of Nightmare would deal with first when it completely recovers?”