Chapter 1226: The Prison of the Heart
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
“What will the world look like when God is gone,” Roland asked tentatively. “What will you gain from this? Are you able to leave the Realm of Mind and become a physical entity?”
“To be honest, I don’t know,” Lan said with a smile. “But anyhow, it’s better than being imprisoned here forever. At least, there are hopes.”
Roland gazed at her for a while. There was not the faintest hint of uneasiness on Lan’s countenance. She acted as if just making a very simple decision.
It appeared that he could not get anything more out of her, unless he brought Nightingale into the Dream World. Their subsequent conversation did not go anywhere either. Every time Roland asked about God, Lan kept her mouth clamp shut and reiterated that she could not help him with the Battle of Divine Will.
Lan told Roland that she could do nothing more than living here as a martialist and delivering him messages. According to Lan, there were various rules that governed the Realm of Mind. Even God might not be able to change those rules at His will. Because of such restrictions, Lan had finally found a chance to look for the person who could terminate the Battle of Divine Will.
Nevertheless, she would not be able to gain total freedom until the war was stopped. All the rules and restrictions still applied to her, and her work could be subotaged anytime.
When Roland walked Lan out, he asked one last question.
“By the way, you said you didn’t expect me to open a coffeeshop here. Is there another Rose Café somewhere in this city?”
“Yes,” Lan said while smiling faintly. “It’s in the Prism City.”
“But I’ve asked Garcia…”
“The coffeeshop is in the central part of the city. It’s only accessible to the executives of the Martialist Association. At that time, I already knew that the Association would license you, so you would be able to get there via your hunting license. However, you don’t have the slightest interest in the Association, which really surprised me. You’ve never been to the Prism City since you got your license.” Lan paused for a second before she resumed, “Also, for your information, the central hub where we store the cores of the Fallen Evils is located at the bottom level of the city. Normally, only the Defenders and their seniors have access to it.”
Now, Roland finally understood why he could not find the Rose Café. It was actually a coffeeshop exclusive to the executives of the Association.
“So where shall we meet again next time? I mean if we plan to meet again, which coffeeshop? Now there are two Rose Cafés.”
“This one would be better,” Lan said as she looked up at the towering apartment building. “Garcia should be living here, right? It’s not a bad idea to visit her every now and then. I would probably… like it here a lot.”
“Probably? She doesn’t know her likings?” Roland thought to himself, his brows raised, but he remained silent.
Then they parted, and Roland saw Lan gradually disappear from his sight.
Roland leaned against the shop door while revisiting their conversation.
Both the Dream World and the real world seemed to be more understandable now. Words like magic power, Divine Will, the Realm of Mind, the Land of Dawn, and the Fathomless Abyss all became more concrete and made more sense to him.
While Roland was lost in thought, suddenly, he felt a queer quaver steal through him!
Roland looked up abruptly and saw a distorted, transparent wave sweep over the entire alley and soon ripple across the whole area.
What had happened?
He was surprised that the residents in this community seemed to be unconscious of the change, for they were still talking and laughing as if nothing had happened.
Roland almost thought that he was hallucinating.
But he knew, based on his past experience, that this was a change only visible to him. It was a fluctuation of power that he sensed when he collected the cores of the magic creatures. Roland clenched his fists. It was quite a pleasant sensation, but he somehow felt a little unsettled this time.
Did something impact the Dream World?
Lan was gone, and he had not obtained a phone exclusive to Association members from the Prism City. Otherwise, he could have asked her about it.
Roland thus closed the coffeeshop and returned to the apartment.
He had planned to disconnect the dream and go back to reality. However, when he entered Room 0825, he saw Zero’s sneakers at the doorstep.
Roland wondered why Zero had not gone to school yet. He had been with Lan in the coffeeshop for over an hour.
To his dismay, he found the little girl lie on the floor. There were two broken glasses not far away.
“You gotta be kidding me…”
Roland strode over to the little girl and clasped her wrist.
He felt the pulse.
Then he noticed that Zero looked feverish, her eyes shut and her brows contracted, as though she was suffering a great pain.
Roland’s hand reached onto Zero’s forehead. It was burning.
Did she have a fever?
From where she fell, Roland judged that Zero probably had lost her balance when she was trying to clean the coffee table.
“Damn it. She was alright this morning.”
But Roland was relieved that there was no Fallen Evils involved. The moment he had seen Zero fall on the floor, he had thought that God had come to seek revenge.
Roland thus held Zero in his arms, sped down a flight of stairs, and climbed into the mini van.
At this moment, Zero gained her consciousness. She opened her eyes and muttered, “I… broke the glasses… on the table.”
“I saw it.”
“S-sorry, I’ll… pay you. I don’t… want to go back to the countryside.”
“Is she so sick that she’s out of her mind?”
Roland put Zero in the passenger seat and fastened the seatbelt. “Stop talking,” he said.
Then Zero suddenly stretched out her hand and spoke again when Roland was about to turn on the engine, “Don’t go…”
Roland had never seen Zero, who always spoke to him in a defiant and almost trenchant manner, look so fragile and helpless. He somehow thought of what she had written in her diary. Perhaps, the fever brought about the most tender part of her personality. Roland did not know how her families used to treat her. At these thoughts, Roland heaved a sigh and said, “Don’t worry, you still owe me rents. I won’t let you go.”
After receiving the confirmation, Zero closed her eyes, but she did not relinquish her grip.
It was already afternoon when Zero was hospitalized. Although the cause of the fever remained unknown, Zero looked a little better.
The doctor did not come until late evening.
“Are you really a martialist?
“Yes, what’s the matter?” Roland asked.
“This isn’t funny,” the doctor grunted. “The girl isn’t sick at all. She’s simply awakened. Some people will indeed feel not very well when they’re awakened, although it’s not very common. Didn’t the Martialist Association tell you about that?”
“Awakened! What a mess. If there weren’t a martialist in the hospital, I would have thought it’s some rare disease,” the doctor said dismissively. “You can go now. Take her home.”
So Roland brought Zero back to the apartment building.
He let out a deep sigh as he stared at the white-haired girl curling up in his arms. As a former Pure Witch, it appeared that she was destined to have magic power. Fortunately, Zero was now living in the Dream World, so she would probably not make the same mistake as she had done in her previous life.
Darkness had now pressed in. The long corridor outside was bathing in a soft, warm glow. A few bugs flew toward the light source. When Roland approached Room 0825, he found, surprisingly, a familiar figure. It was Garcia. She was sitting at the doorstep while leaning against the door.
“What’s going on today?” Roland wondered. “Everyone seems to come look for me.” He had told Nightingale that he would only have a short nap. Now it was probably time for dinner in the other world.
“Hey,” Roland greeted Garcia as he crouched down. “What brought you here? Did you lose your key and want to stay over?”
However, Garcia neither responded nor sneered as she usually did, and Roland realized that something was wrong.
All the words rested on the tip of his tongue when he saw Garcia’s face.
It was glazed with tears.
“A large number of Fallen Evils attacked the Prism City. Someone who escaped told me that my master… my master stayed behind to protect others and was killed by the Fallen Evils…”