Please update your browser: Your browser is obsolete, you need to update or switch! Missing var() support! Missing grid support! Missing (flex-) gap support! Missing aspect-ratio support! Missing container query support! Missing clamp() support! Missing -webkit-line-clamp support!
    Header Background Image

    Asianovel

    The world's first crowdsourcing-driven asian bl novel translation community

    Chapter 150

    In the Dream World.

    Everything here was bizarre and enchanting. Schools of winged fish soared through the clouds, while a special barrier kept the mists at bay, making this a rare safe haven within the Dream World.

    The city was deserted, its architecture almost identical to that of real-world Jerusalem. In the temple, a lone figure stood silently before numerous small statues draped in white cloth, muttering softly.

    "…'The Gate' has revealed itself, as the nascent Old God who has inherited the position of the Shepherd. I will continue to prepare the Divine Manifestation ritual."

    "Whoever seizes the Gate shall step into reality first."

    A gust of wind lifted a corner of the white cloth, revealing an offending deity beneath. A mere glance stirred countless whispers as if they reverberated in one's ears.

    ...

    In the Divine Kingdom, at MIT.

    Aldrich was still sorting through documents and files. Lately, he and Alexis had been so busy they wished they could fly. They were yet to finish organizing the information on the Dream World when Job's matter arose. Now, just as they had finally investigated Job thoroughly, they were pressured to deal with the Dream World again.

    Not just them, professors from every department were also swamped with work. The Biology professor was collaborating with the Potions Department to establish a new research institute, specifically for studying the spiritual plants that Lane had created.

    Only the Combat Department's professor had nothing to do, bored out of his mind. Most of his students were players, and with them off pursuing the main storyline, the professor was left feeling lonely and neglected.

    In reality, many busy professors were occupied to divert their attention from worrying if their students would ever return.

    They all knew that players held a certain detachment towards their own lives. Though they didn't understand how this apathy formed, working for an evil cult would naturally involve putting one's life on the line. No matter how benevolent Lane appeared, when it came to matters of the divine, mortal lives were as insignificant as ants.

    A day passed, then three...

    Yet, the players still hadn't shown up.

    Oaldes practically lived in the research institute. When Alexis brought him sandwiches, he was shocked by Oaldes' state.

    "You haven't slept in days, have you?!"

    Oaldes took off his glasses, revealing dark circles beneath his eyes. "Not too long, only 72 hours."

    "Go sleep now, or I'll knock you out myself?"

    "Not really. In my youth, I could go four days without sleep."

    "You did say 'in your youth,'" Alexis rolled her eyes, placing the sandwich on the table. "Hurry up and eat it, then rest. I'll finish the rest of the work for you."

    Olds smiled and glanced at the calendar. "How many days have they been gone?"

    "Not long, just three days."

    "Three days..." A hint of uncertainty flickered across Olds's face.

    "If you're really worried, you can ask Lord Lane," Alexis suggested. "He's quite approachable, I think he wouldn't mind you asking."

    Olds scratched his head. "That Lord is indeed very kind, but the problem lies with me..."

    Lane had left before but returned after just one day, seemingly having resolved whatever issue there was. However, the players didn't follow him back, and the Michigan campus remained deserted. It was ironic that while the professors had complained about the players causing trouble and disrupting public order when they were around, they now missed the bustling atmosphere after their departure.

    The current emptiness was indeed too quiet.

    "What if that Lord says they won't be coming back? What should we do then?"

    Alexis fell silent, and after a moment, she let out a sigh too. "Alright, you don't have to sleep anymore. I'll help you sort things out."

    Just as she finished speaking, a sudden commotion came from outside. Alexis and Alders exchanged glances.

    "Uncertain. It could be someone from the hospital downstairs," Alexis stood up.

    "Before, Arkham Hospital downstairs sent people over for communication," Alders mentioned, leaning towards the window to see if he could spot any figures in white lab coats.

    There were no lab coats in sight, only the familiar boisterous voices of professors.

    "Professor! We're back!"

    "Back to school!"

    "Sigh, it's time for school again. Although, gaming is way more fun than real-life schooling!"

    "Hmm, where is everyone?"

    Alders and Alexis exchanged another glance, instinctively putting down their documents and rushing out like a gust of wind.

    The veteran players had returned, but this time, they were smarter. They had prepared another card to participate in the main storyline, thus preserving their identities as MIT students.

    "Professor!" Bonkers waved joyfully at the Potions Professor.

    The Potions Professor approached, his eyes scanning Bonkers like an X-ray. He said nervously, "Are you injured? Feeling unwell? Don't push yourself if there's anything wrong. I've prepared plenty of potions..."

    Before he could finish, Bonkers leaped and hugged the professor's neck, laughing happily, "Nope, nothing's wrong!"

    Players didn't get injured; they simply discarded cards. This card was completely fine.

    Black Cat also found Professor Alders and asked, surprised, "Professor, how many days have you gone without sleep?"

    The Druid was curious, "Do professors also stay up all night? That's quite the youthful routine."

    Alders and Alexis twitched their lips, "Heh, indeed."

    "Let's not talk about that. How do you feel...?" Alders originally wanted to ask what they had done during their absence, but he wasn't sure if it was appropriate, so he phrased it more tactfully.

    "? We're fine, everything's normal. We just went on a small mission," they replied.

    The black cat nodded beside him. "That's right."

    But saving the world was just child's play for players!

    The professors didn't get the gamer reference. "As long as you're all safe."

    It's good to have you back.

    Michigan University returned to its bustling state. The professors' emotions of relief were short-lived, as the players' mischievous behavior broke their defenses once more. The campus was soon filled with professors' curses and the players' laughter.

    Originally, the black cat and the druid had expected to continue their classes at Michigan, as its curriculum could slowly increase their knowledge-based skill points, such as history, mysticism, and natural sciences. These courses weren't mere fiction; they contained genuine content. The black cat, for one, found them fascinating. However, to their surprise, Professor Alders didn't teach them, choosing to take a leave for rest.

    "Aleksis explained, "Your professor has been up for several nights. Let him rest for a while."

    The black cat blinked. "Was it... because he was worried about us?"

    Aleksis smiled. "Yes, after all, we could only watch you go on adventures without being able to do anything. Let's not dwell on that. When your professor is well-rested, I'll inform you of the new class schedule."

    With Alders off to sleep and lacking the energy to teach, the black cat was about to log out of Michigan when suddenly, a flock of paper cranes flew into the window.

    A message appeared on the screen:

    'Visit the Headmaster's office.'

    The Black Cat and Druid exchanged glances, surprise flickering in their eyes.

    All players knew that Lane was the headmaster of MU. His sudden summon to his office could only mean one thing...

    A quest?!

    The Black Cat and Druid swiftly made their way to the headmaster's office, with the Druid instinctively turning on the live stream.

    Inside the headmaster's office, the players' long-lost Lane sat behind his desk. With a hint of a smile hidden beneath the white cloth covering his face, he said, "Have a seat. Here, I'm just MU's headmaster, and you're merely students."

    The Black Cat and Druid took their seats across from Lane. The Druid spoke first, "Is there something you need from us?"

    Lane interlaced his fingers and gazed at them with a gentle smile, "I've summoned you because there's a task I need you to undertake."

    "Do you wish for MU to manifest in the real world?"

    "Activating Faction Mission"

    "Mission Objective: Bring the lost MIU back from the depths of dreams into reality.

    "Mission Reward: MIU's affinity upgraded to Respect, 10,000 Faction Contribution Points, 50,000 experience points, Title acquisition: Savior of MIU, +20 affinity boost with Alders, Alexis, Rakin and other faculty members, priority right to transfer to the hidden profession - Wizard."

    "Number of Participants: Unlimited"

    The black cat and the druid were taken aback, as were the players who had just entered the live stream.

    "MiDa has emerged? What does that mean? Isn't MiDa right here?"

    "Idiot, MiDa is currently within Lane's Divine Realm. To enter MiDa, one can only join the Secret Church. Thus, MiDa doesn't actually exist in reality."

    "Oh, so you're saying that once this mission is completed, even those who don't join the Secret Church can study at MiDa, right?"

    "It seems so, but the crucial part is the reward!"

    In the third iteration, the focus was on the occupation system, something everyone was aware of. Occupations like the Mad Sharpshooter or the Thief Saint (although he insisted on being called a Great Thief) allowed their holders to raise their unique skill points to the maximum.

    As for the Wizard profession, Lane had actually planned it out long ago. However, no players had succeeded in changing their occupation yet… The reason was that their Intelligence and Willpower points were insufficient.

    According to Lane's experience from his previous life, players needed to reach Level 50 with at least 80 points in both Intelligence and Willpower to successfully change to a Wizard. Therefore, even though the Wizard occupation path was already established (with Professor Alders as a dedicated mentor), players still couldn't become Wizards.

    That was why Lane hadn't mentioned it before… Since the players weren't ready anyway, it would save Alders from being bothered by them.

    But things were different now. After another main storyline, some players had already surpassed Level 45, and Level 50 was probably just around the corner. It was time to dangle the carrot of Wizardry in front of them.

    "Damn! Wizard occupation!"

    "The magic system is finally here!"

    "Ahhhh! I want to be a Wizard!"

    Spells still held great allure for the players. Even though it was common for tabletop RPG players to lose to bosses, and the spells in this game weren't as numerous or flashy as those in D&D, with many having nasty side effects, this didn't dampen the players' passion for casting. In a sense, the ability to use magic became a dividing line between new and experienced players.

    Just imagine how troublesome these ordinary players would become if they could wield magic. No wonder so many Game Masters (GMs) disliked taking on veteran players – their mischief could be utterly unpredictable!

    The Black Cat and Druid also accepted the quest without hesitation. The Black Cat, after accepting, curiously asked, "But how do we materialize Miskatonic University into reality?"

    An excellent question.

    Instead of answering directly, Lane turned on the small screen inside the headmaster's office, which was playing a previously recorded news segment from Orland.

    A journalist was interviewing survivors on the street, asking them to recount their experiences before and after the disaster.

    "That disaster... it was truly terrible, yes, I survived, but my friend didn't make it." The middle-aged man in the video wiped away tears. "And me, I was saved by a group of college students, yes, I'm very grateful to them. If not for them, I wouldn't be standing here."

    "I was also rescued by a group of college students who called themselves 'Miskatonic.' Oh, I don't know what university that abbreviation stands for, but I'll always be grateful to them!"

    "Miskatonic? You mean those young people driving around the city? They were quite reckless, but in my opinion, that's how modern youth should be. They helped me too; the school should exempt them from tuition fees!"

    "Long live Miskatonic! Unfortunately, I couldn't find out which university it is. Otherwise, I'd definitely want my child to attend that school."

    Back then, Lane had advised the Black Cat and Druid to wear Miskatonic University badges while saving people. Clearly, they had taken his advice to heart and shared this information with other veteran players. As a result, the citizens of Orland who had been rescued by the players were immensely grateful, and their impression of Miskatonic University was deeply ingrained.

    Of course, they couldn't currently locate the true identity of 'Miskatonic University,' as it had vanished from reality. However, this was indeed a promising start.

    Lahn said, "Do you remember when I asked you to wear the Miskatonic University emblem during the rescue operation?"

    Of course, Black Cat hadn't forgotten. During the rescue, some citizens had even asked which university they were from, and Black Cat's group had answered that they were from Miskatonic. However, at the time, Black Cat had been puzzled, knowing that these people wouldn't be able to find any information on Miskatonic, as it had been completely erased from the main storyline.

    But since Lahn had assigned this task to the players, he must have had a plan.

    He had previously inquired of Sphinx about how to restore Miskatonic to reality, which was similar to the method of summoning an evil god. Both fundamentally relied on 'anchors.'

    Creating something out of nothing would be difficult, unless it was in a world like the Dream World, where existence was subjective. However, Miskatonic had originally existed in reality; it had merely sunk into the dream due to Sauron's ritual. Bringing it back was actually quite simple, requiring three conditions: a sufficient number of 'anchors,' the Ark, and 'the Gate' to the divine realm.

    Human anchors referred to acknowledging Miskatonic's existence, while the Ark would alter Arkhamites' subconscious, making them believe that Miskatonic had never disappeared. Lastly, opening the gate to the divine realm would allow Miskatonic to descend once more.

    Only Lahn, at this point in time, could achieve this, or rather, was capable of doing so precisely now.

    For the last two parts, Lahn could handle them himself, but the first requirement needed the players' cooperation.

    In a sense, this was also a game of 'make-believe' between Lahn and the players, a genuinely simulated pretense of Miskatonic's existence, implanting the concept into the NPCs' minds and deceiving everyone in a game of pretend.

    After Lahn's explanation of the mission, Black Cat gradually grasped what was required and her eyes gleamed with excitement. "It sounds fascinating, but I have a question. Can't we just advertise directly?"

    Lan shook his head. "Not from the start."

    The Druid asked, "Because there are too many inconsistencies?"

    "Exactly. Miskatonic University doesn't exist in reality yet, and you've done your research. If we were to start fabricating it now, there would be numerous holes. Once the deceit is exposed, it'll be even more challenging to bring Miskatonic back to reality."

    As Lan spoke, he looked at the school badges on the Black Cat and the Druid's shoulders. "So, this needs to be a gradual process. We need them to firmly believe in Miskatonic's existence. The more realistic and enigmatic the impression of the university in people's minds, the better. Leave some room for imagination, but don't let them delve too deeply into investigating Miskatonic."

    "Of course, if any inconsistencies do arise, I'll cover for you."

    Frankly, this task was quite troublesome—requiring both realism and preventing deep investigation. But wasn't Miskatonic University essentially a breeding ground for investigators? It inherently involved the mysterious, making it hard for people to believe. Even when it existed, Miskatonic didn't have a great reputation in Arkham; it was known as a school for eccentrics.

    The Black Cat and the Druid accepted the mission with excitement and left to discuss it on the player forum with others.

    It was evident that this was also a large-scale mission, one that Black Cat and the Druid alone couldn't fake an entire school for. However, that was fine; they had a large number of players!

    So many that they could establish a school on the spot if needed. But to ensure the authenticity of the lie, they would need to collaborate and discuss their approach.

    Player Forum:

    Black Cat: The poster is up, Druid is tagging people. Soon, both new and veteran players in the game who are interested in the new quest gather around to check out this massive mission.

    Aron: Wow, another major quest right after the main storyline. The Secret Church really does have the most quests, doesn't it?

    Matcha Milk Green: Aren't you guys used to it by now? Hahaha. Anyway, this quest seems interesting. It wants us to pretend that Mysterious University exists?

    Madman: Mysterious University did exist in the first place, just erased. Now, we're supposed to bring it back.

    Bureaucrat: If Mysterious University returns to reality, won't its student population increase again? And there wouldn't be the compulsory requirement to join the Secret Church anymore.

    Strongest Man: I find it fascinating! I'm in! But the question is, where do we start?

    Beauty is Justice: How about the Investigative Bureau? Didn't they say Mysterious University was a breeding ground for investigators? So, Mysterious University could collaborate with the bureau, right?

    Druid: No way, I think in the early stages, we shouldn't get involved with official organizations.

    Black Cat: Yeah, I agree. There are a lot of complications when dealing with official bodies. Mysterious University doesn't exist now, and if we expose that fact, our mission would fail.

    Barbara: So, what should we do then? Promote it to NPCs one by one? Then set up a small Mysterious University somewhere? Enroll some students? That would count as Mysterious University reappearing, wouldn't it?

    Black Cat: No, I don't think that will work either. Lane mentioned that MIT's image should align with how it is within the divine realm – its authentic self, while also carrying an air of mystery that sparks imagination. We might be able to impersonate a school, but can you truly recreate MIT's history and its museum, library, official documents, not to mention the renowned figures and events in its past or its research institutes?

    Majority Rules: What a mess, you're giving me a headache envisioning all this.

    Alalele: Enough, let's just put on our 'mask of suffering.'

    Death Is Unhealthy: This task is really challenging, quite different from the usual monster-slaying quests (going bald from stress).

    Kicking the Cripple's Good Leg: Abandon thoughts, just follow the expert's lead.

    Black Cat: Indeed, it's quite challenging and requires great teamwork. I'm also racking my brains over how to approach this (holds head).

    God Among Men: So the crux of this mission is to imprint certain key impressions of Miskatonic University, such as its mysterious nature, its role as a breeding ground for investigators, its rich history, and the exceptional individuals it has produced.

    Black Cat: Something along those lines. Specific impressions, like the personalities of professors and the school's facilities, can be fine-tuned later on.

    God Among Men: Here's an idea - nothing is more daunting to your enemies than when they fear and believe in you simultaneously.

    God Among Men: Why don't you come to the New Port? Our cultist players can collaborate with you to stage an authentic tabletop role-playing scenario.

    Black Cat: You mean we should pose as MIT students to foil the cultists' scheme in the new port?

    God Among Us: Exactly. The cult members here are already aware of the existence of the mysterious side, and they're natural foes of investigators. No one could be more suitable for this task. Besides, with the chaos in the new port, it's the perfect opportunity for us to blend in. Many players have already ingratiated themselves within the cult.

    God Among Us: We'll bring MIT from dreams into reality.

    Not Crazy: Though I don't fully understand the plan, I still have to praise your brilliance! Count me in, please! I'll play the role of Professor Rakin!

    Uncle Hao: A combat-oriented student requests permission to engage!

    Immoral Idol: History Major Aspirant Steps Forward!

    "Majority rules: A student from the Potions Department steps forward to challenge!"

    Tax Official: Come on, everyone! I've joined a cult. I'm ready to cooperate and be the one to face sanctions, laughing all the way. And when the grand conspiracy unfolds, please don't forget to recruit me.

    Nightly: "The rhythm's broken upstairs, hhh. I'm so excited! Will this mission be carried out under the divine presence and the great Black Cat? It feels like it's going to be a major operation!"

    Blessed by the Dice God: Wow, I've just arrived in Orland, but no way, I need to transfer immediately. I'm heading to the new port right now!

    Points, Lines, Surfaces, Solids: Got it, the new port is now the hottest spot on the map. I'll be right there!

    Black Cat: Alright, for those who want to join this mission, let's create a group and delve into the details of our plan.

    0 Comments

    Enter your details or log in with:
    Heads up! Your comment will be invisible to other guests and subscribers (except for replies), including you after a grace period. But if you submit an email address and toggle the bell icon, you will be sent replies until you cancel.