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20 Chapter 20 – Too Much

Silence.

Nick just looked at the ceiling in silence.

He had expected that things wouldn't be as bad the second time.

He had been wrong.

Things had been even worse the second time.

Back when Nick had been underwater, the Nightmare had used subtle influences.

The next time, it had used horrors to stop Nick from moving to where he wanted.

Then, it created illusions of Nick losing control and being swallowed.

And now, it had just directly inflicted an unending amount of pain on him.

The Nightmare had lost all its subtlety.

It had transformed from horror into terror.

Nick just looked at the light at the ceiling.

He wasn't sure what he was feeling.

Fear, apprehension, relief, anxiety.

This wasn't like the last time.

The last time, Nick had been happy that he had managed to do it.

But this time, Nick was not happy.

The pain had been bad.

Real bad.

For several minutes, Nick didn't do anything.

He just looked at the ceiling with a worried expression.

He didn't want to feel such pain again.

He never wanted to feel something like that again.

Just now, his body had been torn apart one piece at a time.

This was a pain that should have killed someone.

But he was still alive.

Nick gulped in worry.

'I don't want to do this again.'

'How many times do I have to do this?'

'What will happen next?'

'I can barely swim for a bit more than ten meters in pure darkness, and it's already this bad.'

'This is one of the smaller blocks of houses.'

'There are blocks with no toilets, which means I have to look at the ceiling while under illusions.'

lightsΝοvel

'And then, I need to go back.'

'Also, what about when I actually find the Dreamer at the ceiling in one of those?'

'At that point, I need to climb one of the pillars in pure darkness and catch it.'

'The Nightmare could easily show me illusions and make me move in the wrong direction.'

Nick just floated on the liquid as he looked up.

Silence.

'I don't know.'

'I have no idea how to find and catch the Dreamer.'

For over ten minutes, Nick didn't do anything.

Naturally, Nick knew that he couldn't spend the rest of his life in the light of this little toilet.

He had to leave at some point.

Yet, he just couldn't.

The terror he had felt just now was too much.

The pain was too much.

He was only 16 years old.

He had never undergone something this painful or terrifying.

This was not the work of some random weak Specter.

No, this was the Nightmare.

One of the only five level nine Specters.

Even the strongest Zephyx Extractors couldn't remain in the darkness for an extended period of time.

The Nightmare's power was absolute.

It had killed tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people just by mentally breaking them.

It had killed people far more experienced and tenacious than Nick.

'I can't do it.'

Silence.

'I just can't do it.'

'I have to do this one more time to get out, but I don't think I can enter another block of houses.'lightsnovel

Nick felt his chest shiver and hurt.

Regret, frustration, self-loathing.

'I'm not strong enough to do this again.'

'I want to turn my life around, not end it.'

'If I go through something like this again, I don't know if I will ever recover.'

'What then?'

'I want to try my best, but if I fail, I fail.'

'It's fine.'

'I can become an Inspector.'

'It's not like I have some lofty and idealistic goal that requires me to become the strongest person in the world.'

'No, I just want to live a good life.'

'But what's the point of living a good life when I wake up in a cold sweat because I keep re-experiencing the things I have seen and felt here every night for the remainder of my life?'

Nick looked to the side at the block of darkness waiting for him.

And then, some tears appeared in Nick's eyes.

'I'm sorry.'

'I just can't do it.'

'I'm not strong enough.'

Silence.

The only sounds down here came from the quiet scratching of the rats' claws and Nick's crying.

It was just too much for him.

Nick had just started his journey as a Zephyx Extractor, and he had already confronted one of the five strongest Specters several times.

This wasn't something that he could deal with.

This was far beyond his current level.

He gave up.

For the next couple of minutes, Nick looked at the darkness around him.

Then, he moved his head into the darkness and did a routine scan of the ceiling.

Maybe he was lucky, and the Dreamer was actually here.

It wasn't.

Nick took a deep breath.

He only felt fear right now.

He didn't want to enter the darkness again.

But he had to.

He couldn't remain here for the remainder of his life.

Nick took another deep breath.

It took a couple minutes for him to gather his courage, but eventually, he shot into the darkness again.

As soon as Nick entered…

Nothing happened.

However, Nick didn't let down his guard and just kept swimming forward.

Silence.

Nick just kept rapidly swimming forward in silence.

After a bit, Nick opened his eyes.

He saw the light of the "street" of the Dregs in front of him.

He was almost there.

Nick continued swimming.

And then…

He entered the street.

Nick was now in the light of the streets of the Dregs.

Nothing had happened in the darkness.

Nick turned around to look at the block of houses behind him with suspicion.

Had the Nightmare given up?

He doubted it.

Yet, Nick was back in the light again.

The Nightmare had no influence over Nick here.

BANG!

Suddenly, something hit Nick's head!

Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash!

Nick quickly shook his head and looked around him.

Rats!

"Don't wanna give me bodies, huh?" one of the rats spoke.

"How about you give me your body then!"

And then, the rats all charged at Nick.