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Angele opened the door carefully.
The light outside was orange that illuminated on Angele’s body and brightened up the whole living room.
He stood beside the door and looked around. The sky was covered by clouds. Angele could barely see what was around him due to the thick fog.
Angele raised his hand and aimed at the sky. Some green light dots flashed on his palm and formed a tiny vortex. However, he hesitated and decided not to cast any spell.
The flowers and plants in the garden all died. What was left in the mud were the rotten petals.
Angele walked across the garden. When he was about to leave the area, he detected some movements on his right.
He narrowed his eyes, then he lowered his footsteps and slowly walked along the fences.
After turning the corner, Angele noticed a strange relief sculpture on the wall of the house. It was a child’s face and it appeared from nowhere.
It was a boy with a short, curly hair. He had no eyes yet his mouth was moving. Angele was wondering if the boy was trying to say something but nothing was coming out of his mouth.
Angele narrowed his eyes and stepped back trying to observe the changes happening to the boy’s face.
After several seconds, the sculpture sank into the gray wall but immediately appeared on another wall. The boy’s mouth was still moving but Angele just could not hear anything.
It seemed like the sculpture was not a threat. He slowly lowered the heart bomb in his hand, then he turned around and jumped over the fence, landing beside the lake safely.
It sounded like something jumped out of the surface of the water.
Angele turned around and stared at the lake.
He walked to the lake slowly, and the clean surface of the water reflected the image of his body.
Short brown hair, pale skin with a silver glint, and a pair of golden glowing eyes. Angele stared at the image and he knitted his eyebrows.
A tiny silver fish opened its mouth as it rushed toward the image in the water.
"What the…!" Angele suddenly stepped back and held the back of his left hand tight. Blood was dripping down his wrist.
The fish bit the image in the water but the damage reflected on Angele’s physical body. It felt like the fish had bitten a large piece of meat off the back of his left hand.
Angele moved away from the lake quickly. Cold sweat covered his forehead. He took out the healing gel from the potion and applied it on the wound. White steam rose from the back of his hand immediately. After several seconds, the bleeding was stopped by the formation of a scab.
Blue light dots flashed in front of Angele’s eyes. He felt relieved after Zero confirmed that the wound was not infected by any poison.
He turned to the lake again and saw the silver fish swimming around the surface of the water. There was blood around its mouth, and it stayed there for several minutes before swimming away.
After the silver fish left, a five-meter-long black fish appeared on the surface of the water.
Angele was surprised. He could see the white triangle on the back of the fish, which was the rune he used as the mark for the creatures that were kept in the biological lab.
He checked the room yesterday and the black fish only had the size of an index finger.
Angele swallowed his own spit loudly and pursed his lips. The things that were happening were not making any sense.
He walked to the other side of the lake and stopped by one of the guard posts.
Something was moving around his feet.
Angele lowered his head and saw a green frog jumping around on the ground.
Strangely enough, there were two human faces on the back of the frog. It looked like they were having a conversation, though he could not hear anything.
Angele crouched and took a closer look. The two human faces were twitching and their voices suddenly echoed in his ears after he stared at them for a while.
‘I broke my father’s vase yesterday. He’ll blame me. What should I do?’ The face on the left had the voice of a young boy. Angele did not know what language it was but for some reason, he could understand their words.
‘He’ll hit you hard with a mace. Wait for it.’ The face on the right had the voice of a young girl’s voice.
‘I also poured dirty water onto my father’s clothes. He’ll blame me. What should I do?’ The boy continued.
‘He’ll stab your eyes with a burning hot needle,’ the girl responded quickly.
The two faces just kept talking on the back of a green frog.
The green frog started jumping away and the voices finally disappeared into the air after several minutes.
Angele shook his head. Everything in the Nightmare Realm was weird and mysterious. The strike from the fish ignored his forcefield and metal barrier, and a large piece of flesh was bitten off his hand.
"Young man, why are you here? And what are you looking for?" A deep and hoarse voice came from the direction of the lake.
Angele stood up and looked over.
A one-meter-long black turtle was slowly moving out of the water. But instead of legs, it had four human arms to support its body.
The turtle was walking on its four ‘palms’ slowly but steadily.
Wrinkles covered the skin of the turtle’s head. Angele was trying to figure out what was happening. The turtle was staring at him in the eyes.
"Do you live here?" Angele could not help asking this question.
The turtle shook its head.
"Finally…a creature I can communicate with…" He felt a bit relieved.
"Finally…a creature I can communicate with…" The turtle spoke again, but it was imitating the way Angele was talking, that even the voice sounded identical.
"Finally…a creature I can communicate with…" The turtle started moving toward Angele while repeating the sentence. There was a horrifying expression on its face.
"Finally…a creature I can communicate with…"
The turtle was walking slowly but steadily.
Angele’s skull numbed. He tried to step back as soon as the old turtle approached. However, he immediately realized that his legs were frozen.
The bottom half of Angele’s body was being petrified. The part below his knees had already turned into gray stone and the petrification was spreading. He could not feel any pain, but the situation was getting worse.
Angele gritted his teeth and threw a red heart bomb into the air.
The bomb drew a red arc in the air and landed directly on the turtle.
The explosion was intense and red flames were flying everywhere.
Angele was hit by the heat waves and his ears were ringing. The metal forcefield created a silver metal shield that helped absorb the remaining shockwave. The heated waves were rushing in all directions from the center of the explosion and the leaves from the trees were being blown into the air.
Pieces of red flesh dropped on the ground beside Angele’s feet, which were still steaming hot.
He lowered his head and saw his petrified legs recovering quickly. He could finally move again.
The fire extinguished quickly in the thick fog, what left on the ground was a pile of burnt meat and broken pieces of its carapace.
Angele walked to the remaining of the turtle and crouched. He found three pieces of flesh that were still usable, while the rest was almost burnt to ashes.
He thought for a while and threw the meat into one of his pouches.
Angele stood up and walked to the stone watchtower.
He peeked inside through the window. It was empty; the chairs, the table, and the bed had all disappeared.
‘This place must be related to the real world. Everything looks identical to my home, but it feels like I’m trapped in a different time dimension." Blue light dots flashed in front of Angele’s eyes.
The chip was scanning and analyzing the whole time.
However, it seemed like in the Nightmare Realm, the rules of nature were different so Zero had to recollect basic information.
Angele checked all the reports but found nothing valuable.
"Time is up," Angele muttered as he was hit by a familiar feeling.
He raised his right hand that was now translucent.
Angele knew that he was an outsider to this realm and could only spend a certain amount of time here. The bloodline of the great harpy could connect him with the realm, but it could not help him stay in it forever.
"Damn…if only I can stay here for a bit longer…There are many mysteries waiting for me ahead…" Angele’s eyelids were getting heavier and heavier.
Seconds later, he lost his consciousness.
Suddenly, Angele opened his eyes.
He was still sitting in the spell lab with his legs crossed.
He raised his left hand immediately and confirmed that the wound was still there. The intense pain indicated that everything that had happened in the realm was not his imagination.
‘I need to wait for the next time the harpy wakes up.’ Angele took out the flesh of the turtle from the pouch.
He lined up the three pieces of fresh meat on his right palm.
"So I actually did take these back here…how…?" Angele recalled the events happened in the Nightmare Realm, wherein he was almost killed by the turtle.
"Well, let me see what I can do with its meat." He had a plan in mind.