Arc 2 – The Ninth Nightmare
Yi Zi Xuan was an ordinary college student. After he broke up with Su Wan, he smashed the jade pendant he bought for her in a bout of insanity. His blood dripped onto the jade pendant which then attached itself to his skin and gave him the ability to go back in time. Using this, he became popular in college. Though Su Wan felt some regret, she never got back with him.
To pursue Meng Ting Yao, the campus beauty, a rich second generation named Chen Yu Feng organised a spring outing. He asked his childhood friend, Qi Mu to drive because he wasn’t confident enough in his driving. A total of nine people went to the outing: Su Wan, Fang Tian Tian, Meng Ting Yao and Bai Xiao Yue from Room 503, and Yi Zi Xuan, Qin Lu, Chen Yu Feng and Fan Shu Jun from Room 305, and finally, Qi Mu. On the way to their destination, they came across an accident and decided to make a detour. In this way, they entered the world of the Ninth Nightmare.
In the first layer of the dreamworld, they went through experiences together that made them fearful, and finally everyone woke up in the vehicle and realized that they had a really long dream. Every two hours, the people in the bus would fall asleep without notice and would enter the next layer of the dreamworld.
In the second layer of the dreamworld, the nine people were informed by a voice that among them was a person that already died in the first layer of the dreamworld and the world where they eight living people were in was the nightmare world of that ninth person. That person (ghost) would kill in this world….
Our MC, Su Wan, woke up in the middle of a dense mountain forest from the sound of Fang Tian Tian desperately calling her. When Su Wan opened her eyes, only Fang Tian Tian, who was all dressed in blue, was there. Last she remembered, she was on the bus listening to some songs with Fang Tian Tian and fell asleep.
Su Wan guessed that they were in the first layer of the nightmare and remembers that in the original story, the first person to die in this layer was Fang Tian Tian while she was the second to die. After gathering her thoughts, she and Fang Tian Tian started to walk around the vast forest, hoping to find heir companions. After they were startled by a bat when they sat to rest, they came across Qi Mu. The merry three then banded together to look for others. Qi Mu suggests to light a bonfire in an opening in the forest that he saw earlier and wait for the others to come to them. Fang Tian Tian agreed while Su Wan remained expressionless.
After setting up and lighting up the bonfire, the three sat around the fire. Fang Tian Tian drifted off to sleep first, and then shortly after, Su Wan fell sleep as well. Qi Mu got up and went into the woods behind him. Su Wan reached into her bag to have a look at the tissue she wiped her face with after she was scratched by the bat. Her face turned ugly. Qi Mu then appears from the woods behind Su Wan, startling her. His excuse was that he needed to go to the toilet. To avoid suspicion, Su Wan also says that she needs to go to the toilet. Qi Mu returns to his spot and lies down.
Su Wan went into the woods behind her and sat on a rock. She looked at the screen of the cellphone which emitted a faint white light. She subconsciously looked at the time and it was unexpectedly 10:50 pm and the cellphone battery still had two bars.
When she was staring at the screen, her phone suddenly rang, displaying the caller ID, Fan Shu Jun. Su Wan answered the phone and what she heard was: “Ninth……the ninth…..the ninth…..Meng”.
The phone call disconnected and Su Wan fixedly stared at her phone screen. The whole screen changed back to how it was before. There was still no signal, there were still two bars, but the time…..was still 10:50!
The next day, Su Wan woke up to the smell of something fragrant. Qi Mu was roasting rabbit meat. They had a short chat and Qi Mu handed Su Wan some roasted rabbit. Fang Tian Tian then wakes up and joins in on the rabbit meat party.
After that, they set off in a direction, hoping to find their companions, or at least, finding a way out of these woods. They ended up coming across a bamboo house. While Su Wan was contemplating why there was a bamboo house when there wasn’t one in data she got of the first layer of the dreamworld, Qin Lu appeared. They had a short exchange and Qin Lu led them to the bamboo house. Qi Mu and Su Wan were suspicious and slowed down their pace, but Fang Tian Tian blindly follows him.
Qin Lu shouted loudly into the house and Yi Zi Xuan and Chen Yu Feng appeared. When Fang Tian Tian stepped into the bamboo house, the house started to distort into a black hole. Chen Yu Feng, Qin Lu and Yi Zi Xuan also distorted and became black fog and slowly engulfed Fang Tian Tian. As Fang Tian Tian melted to bones, she reached out, trying to stab Su Wan’s heart.
Qi Mu saves and and pulled her along with him as he ran into the woods without looking back. The black mist followed them everywhere they went. Even the trees started attacking them. While they were attacked by trees from all sides, Qi Mu shielded Su Wan with his body and Su Wan shouts at him to wake up.
Qi Mu woke up, drenched in cold sweat. He looked around and saw that Su Wan and Fang Tian Tian were still asleep across the burnt-out bonfire. He subconsciously groped his body, but he couldn’t remember what happened in the dream. Qi Mu was terrified and ended up not sleeping for the whole night. When Su Wan and Fang Tian Tian woke up, he took out some canned food and some biscuits.
After they hurriedly ate something, they started figuring out how to get out of the woods. This time, Su Wan suggested a direction to walk in. This was the direction where she came across Qin Lu. They didn’t manage to meet their companions nor did they manage to find a way out. After walking for some time, Bai Xiao Yue appears. They had a short exchange and Fang Tian Tian suggests that she come with them to look for the others. As she put her hand on Bai Xiao Yue’s shoulder, her hand immediately dissipated, leaving only white, sharp bones that pierced Bai Xiao Yue’s shoulder.
At a speed visible to the naked eye, Fang Tian Tian became a white skeleton. Bai Xiao Yue’s hair kept growing longer till it covered her whole body which came at Su Wan and Qi Mu at full speed.
Su Wan pulled Qi Mu and ran. They kept running until a shadow stopped them from moving forwards. The faceless female ghost stood before them, her hair violently swaying in the non-existent wind. Suddenly, Su Wan pushed Qi Mu away.
Su Wan then opened her eyes. The early morning breeze brought a slight chill in the air, beside her was the bonfire that burned out a long time ago. Fang Tian Tian woke up due to Su Wan’s movements.
Fang Tian Tian mentions that she was hungry and Su Wan opened Qi Mu’s bag and took out some canned food. Qi Mu was still asleep, his complexion not too good. Fang Tian Tian asks how she knew that Qi Mu had canned food in his bag. Su Wan replied that she accidentally saw it. While the two were eating, Qi Mu woke up. He looked at them with a complicated expression. He definitely remembered the dream.
After they ate, they discussed what to do. This time, Su Wan suggests that they don’t go anywhere. Day turned to night and Fang Tian Tian slept first, like always. Qi Mu kept staring at the bonfire, refusing to sleep. Su Wan didn’t sleep as well. She was waiting for tonight’s prelude and also perhaps waiting for an opportunity to bring this to a close.
As the night turned darker, Su Wan was still waiting and Qi Mu was playing games on his phone. He loses his temper because he was frustrated that it wasn’t 11pm yet. Su Wan was surprised at his words, but Qi Mu didn’t notice.
It was right at this moment when a burst of disorderly footsteps were heard from the woods. Su Wan and Qi Mu glanced at each other and held their breaths. Meng Ting Yao and Fan Shu Jun appeared. Fan Shu Jun was supporting Meng Ting Yao, who’s leg was bleeding. “I didn’t expect the two of you to be together.” said Meng Ting Yao.
Su Wan and Qi Mu froze and turned to look at where Fang Tian Tian was supposed to be, but she disappeared! Meng Ting Yao asks what’s going on and Qi Mu explains that Fang Tian Tian was just here. Fan Shu Jun raises a question, asking whether Fang Tian Tian was wearing blue sportswear. When he was asked how he knew, he awkwardly switched the topic and mentioned a game called ‘The Second World’ and its story line. As they had a short exchange, Su Wan ponders about the meaning of what Fan Shu Jun told her over the phone call earlier. Su Wan then asks them if they came across anything strange. Meng Ting Yao says that she came across Qin Lu and Bai Xiao Yue. Before she could finish her sentence, Su Wan says that they were dead.
The three people looked at Su Wan and she tells them her conjecture: “If I’m not mistaken, right now, we are still in a dream. A continuous dream. We believe that we are clear-headed from waking up from the dream, but in fact, we are actually crossing over from a deep dream to an even deeper dream.”
Qi Mu panics, Meng Ting Yao was calm and Fan Shu Jun asks Su Wan if a node that connects to reality exists. Su Wan says that it does exist and explains that she was pulled into this dreamworld at around 10:50pm as that was when the clock on her phone stopped. That was also when Fan Shu Jun called. The four people had a brief exchange and decided to wait where they were for Yi Zi Xuan and Chen Yu Feng. They never appeared.
During her night shift to keep watch, Su Wan sat beside the still awake Fan Shu Jun what he was thinking of as he stared into the night sky. The had an exchange and it was revealed that Fan Shu Jun liked Fang Tian Tian, and that Fang Tian Tian never ever wore blue because it didn’t go well with her skin tone.
After knowing this, Su Wan did some self-reflection and realised that this layer of her dream was reflecting her innermost heart. The bamboo house was from a painting that Yi Zi Xuan gave her. Fang Tian Tian being all bones was also because she already had it in her mind that Fang Tian Tian was dead. Su Wan also realised that she was calculated against. She then closed her eyes and put herself in Yi Zi Xuan’s shoes, thinking what he would do. After realising that Yi Zi Xuan would not appear in this layer of dreams, Su Wan didn’t stay in the forest any longer.
When she opened her eyes again, she found herself in a hospital. She goes to look for Yi Zi Xuan and Qin Lu. After speaking with each other for a bit, she went to look for Fang Tian Tian, Bai Xiao Yue and Meng Ting Yao. From this conversation, she found out that Chen Yu Feng and Bai Xiao Yue were in a coma.
Su Wan returned to her room to sleep. As she was sleeping, a black clump appeared by her window and formed a black Arabic numeral 5.
After three days, Su Wan was discharged from the hospital and was picked up by her parents. They left her in their small apartment to go back to work, leaving her alone. Su Wan went to sleep after watching some TV. She dreamt of the day they went for the spring outing. It was raining very heavily and it was chaotic in the car. Yi Zi Xuan suddenly yelled at Qi Mu to stop the car. Qi Mu slammed on the brakes and turned to look at everyone, expressing his discontent. Then, lightning streaked across the sky, dyeing Su Wan’s vision white.
When Su Wan opened her eyes, she saw something dripping from her ceiling which then formed a number 5. The number suddenly enlarged and then dropped like a boulder onto her.
Su Wan was absent-minded for a moment. When she regained awareness again, she saw scattered rubble and splattered blood all over the floor. The heavy rain still continued. The black Audi car was crushed by innumerable crushed stones and the car had been severely deformed. From within the spaces between the crushed rocks, a few arms could be seen powerlessly swinging, as if they were seeking their final redemption.
She realised that they didn’t go around the car accident that they encountered that day. Instead, they were the ones who were in that car accident. She also realised that they were all stranded in the dreamworld. In here, the people who are alive have to look for those who truly died in that accident and kill them again to end the dream. And the dead people would do everything they could to kill the living people in order to seize their chances of survival.
While contemplating on the number 5, Su Wan heard knocking on her door. She didn’t dare to open the door till she heard the knocker’s voice. She recognised this voice as Yi Zi Xuan’s. So, she opened the door and let him into her home. They talked and told each other the number that they saw in their dreams. Su Wan saw 5 while Yi Zi Xuan claims that he saw 9.
The two decided to partner up and relaxed in Su Wan’s living room. Suddenly, a knock sounded from Su Wan’s door, startling the both of them. Yi Zi Xuan looked through the peephole and saw that it was Qi Mu. After a brief discussion, Yi Zi Xuan hid in Su Wan’s parent’s room while Su Wan let Qi Mu in.
Qi Mu made himself comfortable on Su Wan’s couch and asks for some medicine and a change of clothes, specifically requesting a certain black suit of her father’s. Su Wan got suspicious and demands to know how he knew. Qi Mu revealed some information on the rules of this layer of the dreamworld and shows that he was number 6 : “You are fifth, I am sixth. In this layer of the dreamworld, the rule of the game is to kill people in sequence. We learn of our serial number in advance. From 1 till 9. It may seem very simple but in fact, this is merely the sequence on the surface. Only in the eyes of every ghost, there is still another slaughter sequence. They will kill in that sequence. If they do not play by the sequence and kill in that order, those irregular existences will become nothing. And we, at this time, need to follow the surface sequence and actually deduce the killing sequence, and even look for the ghosts that hide among us. Su Wan, I can tell you that your real sequence number is 4 and mine is 5. Before you, three people will die and before the third person dies, you will be absolutely safe. It exactly at this time where we should look for those few ghosts. When they are bound by the rules and cannot touch us, kill them. I said all these. Do you understand?”
After a short conversation,Qi Mu concealed his gaze and discretely glanced at the numbers (time) on his other palm that was constantly counting down.
He used the full cost to exchange for a chance to return to this layer of the dreamworld again. Although most of the memories in this layer of the dreamworld was blocked, he is confident that he could bring Su Wan alive into the next layer of dreams within three days.
Su Wan’s mind was in turmoil with all the things that were going on tonight. Qi Mu kept being all cutesy with Su Wan. Su Wan escaped to her parents’ room to get him the suit and to discuss with Yi Zi Xuan. Instead, Yi Zi Xuan argued with her. After a lengthy argument, he leaves the room and was about to leave the apartment when Qi Mu struck a deal with him. Qi Mu made him promise to protect Su Wan once as part of the deal, and Yi Zi Xuan agreed.
At 3 am, Chen Yu Feng called Qi Mu. Qi Mu designated a meeting spot and the three of them, Qi Mu, Su Wan and Yi Zi Xuan, went to said meeting spot. Then, Qi Mu met with Chen Yu Feng while Yi Zi Xuan hid. After Chen Yu Feng asked Qi Mu to help him kill Bai Xiao Yue, who Chen Yu Feng says is a ghost, Qi Mu killed him.
At this time, Fang Tian Tian followed Qin Lu around and got into a black taxi with him, heading for Su Wan’s apartment. When they reached her place, Fang Tian Tian knocked on her door, but no one answered. As she started to panic, Qin Lu kicked down Su Wan’s door and saw the bloody suit on the living room floor and guesses it was Qi Mu who came here.
After killing Chen Yu Feng, Qi Mu and Su Wan talk a bit about human nature and got back in the car. Then, Yi Zi Xuan called Bai Xiao Yue. Meng Ting Yao answered the call and asks to meet him along without Su Wan and Qi Mu. Meng Ting Yao had just saved Bai Xiao Yue from Fan Shu Jun. He tried to kill her but was hindered by Meng Ting Yao.
Yi Zi Xuan gets down from the car and heads off to meet up with Bai Xiao Yue and Meng Ting Yao. Qi Mu brings Su Wan to go get food. On their way, Fan Shu Jun saw them in the car together. As he watched their car pass by the bush he was hiding in, Fan Shu Jun’s shoulder was weighed down by a bloody hand. He and this mysterious person had a brief exchange.
When they reached a restaurant, Qi Mu carried Su Wan down. She woke up at this point and was going to struggle, but Qi Mu persuaded her to stay still. He then sits her on a chair in the restaurant and went into the kitchen to cook up some food. Su Wan asks him why he was so nice to her and he reveals that she had saved his life before, and that he exchanged his reward for an opportunity to return to this time in the past to save her.
As Su Wan was pulling Qi Mu up, Fan Shu Jun slammed open the door. Su Wan blocked Qi Mu’s body. Fan Shu Jun faltered for a bit and Qi Mu took this opportunity to kick away the knife in Fan Shu Jun’s hand. Qi Mu then turned and hug Su Wan in his bosom. Qi Mu froze and didn’t dare to look down at Su Wan who was in his embrace.
Su Wan says that he had no heartbeat and stabbed his heart from the back. She triumphantly declared her victory and smiled. It was revealed that Qi Mu was the Nightmare/Incubus who was making the dream and that the person who played this character was a Plane Restorer by the name of Qi Yue. [Basically, the whole forest part of the story was a farce created by Qi Yue to sabotage Su Wan because they were from opposing HQs. Actually, the story till about this point was a farce.]
Qi Yue goes back to Plane Restorer HQ and was teased by Yun Sheng, another Plane Restorer. He was told that Su Rui was picked up by their department’s No.1 Xu Ce from a collapsed plane of existence and was going up the ranks at lightning speed.
In the dreamworld, Fan Shu Jun reveals that he killed Chen Yu Feng and obtained the ability to recover a wound in a short time. When Fan Shu Jun met him earlier, he saw through his identity as he was injured just like Bai Xiao Yue. As he disappeared, Chen Yu Feng reveals that he was killed by Qi Mu and that Qi Mu was a ghost. Fan Shu Jun recalled that he saw Su Wan and Qi Mu together, so he rushed into the direction they went to. And thus, they arrive at their present situation. Su Wan heals his wounds with a snap of her fingers and Fan Shu Jun questions her how she did that. She tells him that after she killed Qi Mu, the Nightmare, she obtained absolute control over the whole nightmare world.
When she first came into this world, she was plagued by questions on why the plot had changed, who was the person who changed it and why did they want to do it. After meeting Qi Mu, her questions started getting answered one by one. She realised that Qi Mu’s nature was completely different from the one in the original plot. After suspecting that Qi Mu was the outsider, Su Wan remembered the phone call that she received from Fan Shu Jun in the dream. Su Wan thought that that was also the manipulation of the Nightmare, but afterwards, Su Wan had a new idea. She guessed that it was her future self that asked Fan Shu Jun to call her. The information that he wanted her to know was : The ninth person and dream.
Piecing the clues together, this meant that the ninth person was the Nightmare. This was why this world was known as the Ninth Nightmare.
At this point in the story, Qin Lu and Fang Tian Tian met up with Yi Zi Xuan, Bai Xiao Yue and Meng Ting Yao.
Fan Shu Jun wakes up from his brief coma and was presented two choices by Su Wan, who now controls the dreamworld: “Leave this world or dominate this world?”
Fan Shu Jun picks to leave this world. Su Wan said that she will let him leave this world, but only after he completes two tasks for her.
Yi Zi Xuan wakes up in his bed in the dorms on the day before he bought the jade pendant as Su Wan’s birthday present.He thought that he was reincarnated after being betrayed by his comrades back in Hell. Fan Shu Jun comes into his room and reminds him that he was going to be late. Yi Zi Xuan rushes out of the room and races to the shop where he bought the jade pendant. There, he saw Meng Ting Yao. While he was thinking of the past, Meng Ting Yao had already bought and wore the jade. He stops her and hopes to buy the jade containing the ability to turn back time from her. Meng Ting Yao refuses and left. He tried to approach her many times on campus, but no luck.
When Chen Yu Feng proposes the spring outing half a year later, Yi Zi Xuan plans to use his memory of the dreamworld and hopes to obtain Meng Ting Yao’s trust, and then have the jade pendant in his possession, activate his abilities, and defeat the Nightmare again. This way, it would just be like in his previous life where he brought Meng Ting Yao into Hell and battled through difficulties and dangers. He also plans to get revenge on the people that betrayed him in his previous life.
Unfortunately, this plan went wrong from the beginning. Meng Ting Yao changed the location of the outing and the car accident didn’t happen. There was no Nightmare and he still didn’t have his ability. He finally went a little bit insane over his obsession with the jade. He stopped Meng Ting Yao at her villa door and demanded for the jade. Meng Ting Yao asked him to choose between her and the jade. Yi Zi Xuan hesitated for a bit and still chose the jade pendant. She turned and left in disappointment. It turned out that Meng Ting Yao remembered what happened in her past life as well.
Su Wan watched as all this happened and converses with Fan Shu Jun. She reveals that she was going to let Yi Zi Xuan continue being betrayed in the next layer of dreams and continue being reborn until the day that he has nothing.
Su Wan opened her eyes and she was at the Realm Destroyer HQ again. To get rid of her bad mood, she takes up a lower level task to calm herself down.
(●o’∪`o)ノ―♪`*.+ The End ☆*ヾ(-∀・*)*+☆