But he didn’t die. Instead, that core of gray mist within him continued to grow. At the same time, Dream recalled all of the knowledge within the memories he had recovered.
“Let’s see… Class 2 and rapidly growing. I should hit class 3 by the time these cells runs out of power. After that, I can go look for something else. A nuclear fission power source should work. There’s one problem though. I should have the stuff I did back then. Like my inventory and the System. I wonder why I don’t have it anymore…”
He pondered while letting the cell in his hands drains its power. Once it was empty, he grabbed one of the few other cells on the ground and continued, though they were less powerful.
“The inventory was like a little pocket of space that followed my body. And the System wasn’t good for anything other than classifying my skills and stats. Speaking of skills, I don’t have any of the ones I did, though I could replicate everything except for that summoning skill that let me pay mana for objects. Even that one can be replicated with enough development… Well, let’s start with my inventory.”
Closing his eyes, Dream concentrated on the dakr space within him. Where there was supposed to be a soul was nothing other than a void with a core of Gray Mist inside of it.
And that core was rapidly growing and contracting, becoming denser and denser, going from a gas cloud to a liquid blob.
He whispered, and with the last of the cell’s power, the core of gray mist collapsed in on itself. There was slight turbulence as it all turned to liquid, becoming far more potent and containing a massive amount.
After that core settled, Dream thought for a second.
“A pocket space… I don’t know if this area inside of me is actually space in the first place. In that case, could I create some with the gray mist?”
Saying that, he grabbed a part of the core and tore it off. It separated easily, moving over to become its own little core.
Then, Dream opened it up. The small core expanded to become an empty vacuum, and after some mist sprinkled into that vacuum, Dream felt something stir within him.
That small core of mist that he expressed his desire to become a pocket space toward had actually formed one. And with that formation, letters appeared like strings atop the core itself.
It spoke one word.
“Inventory. I guess this could be considered a skill.”
Dream nodded pleasantly. He now had an inventory.
As a test, he inserted one of the power cells into the inventory. It appeared in that vacuum, floating there aimlessly. With that, he also got a good scale of the inventory’s size.
“Let’s see… A dozen or so cubic miles. Pretty massive for such little power. I like it.”
He smiled seeing how little the power cell was compared to the whole space. After that, he took the power cell out and dumped it.
He had drained all the cells in this little booth. Although Dream felt slightly bad for the old man, that guilt was greatly diminished by the fact that he so unhesitantly shot him in the head.
“Does one death count as payment? I guess it doesn’t. But I don’t have a way to power this stuff… Well, I’m sure in this rich city, that old man doesn’t have a problem surviving anyway. There’s no such thing as poverty with such developed technology.”
With that, Dream stood and exited the booth. He then proceeded to wander around this underground black market.
There were many people here. It was a city unto itself. The only thing that confused Dream was all the tech that was oddly underdeveloped considering the era these people lived in.
But then again, that might be by design.
In any case, Dream was surprised to find massive casinos and gathering areas where people partied endlessly. It looked fun, and Dream considered going over.
Before he could though, something caught his eye. It was a massive screen that floated overhead on some kind of zeppelin. And upon concentrating on the images, that zeppelin actually sent him the audio.
“...faction had another successful battle in the star system Vesania. Under the guidance of the Spear Demigod General Harley, Asura forces and the Mechanical Legions of Tersa were able to vanquish the demon forces that had occupied two of the local planets by the trillion. This star system will now be an important vanguard stronghold in the battle against the angels and demons. But as always, how will the Chaos Eaters move after this major victory?”
After their mention, Dream was able to see images of these so called Chaos Eaters.
They were incredibly threatening, the say the least. They looked like metal hellhounds with razors and spikes covering their bodies. Some had slim bodies than dashed around, and others were walking behemoths of death.
There was even footage of them killing demons. And, as crazy as it looked, the demons fled from these Chaos Eaters in pure terror. Rightfully so too, as when the Chaos Eaters got ahold of their prey, they utterly mutilated them, tearing them apart and killing them with no small amount of horrific suffering.
So much for demons being the icon of fear and death. These Chaos Eaters were on a whole other level.
But Dream only spared them a momentary thought. His real focus was on what was said.
That word stirred something in him, as if something from beyond the veil in his mind was trying to reach him. But it couldn’t. Instead, other memories flashed before him.
The demons on the other world.
The first mass production of bots.
The first nuke.
And the war against the first wave of demons.
Dream remembered everything up until the end of that first demon war. He had been a mere class 3 at the time, but with his drones and bots he was instrumental in shaping the outcome of that war.
That was also the first time he created Gray Mist, as it was when Luna and Iris finally became class 4’s. If not for him, they would have killed each other.
That also reminded him of their connection, but unfortunately, as he didn’t seem to have a soul, he naturally didn’t have that connection.
Dream let out a sigh.
“Really, how unfortunate. I’d like to see them. I wonder where they are. And I wonder when the hell I’ll finally get my memory back. It’s quite frustrating not having something that’s mine.”
He looked up at the dark underground ceiling, his vision seemingly piercing through the earth above hima nd out into the deep space beyond.
The turbulence of the universe. He could feel it. Wars and conflicts between the very concepts themselves…
But he still couldn’t understand what was going on, or why. So he sighed and shook his head.
“Let’s just focus on getting energy…”
Dream made his way back to the surface, and through his recovered knowledge, he was able to surmise an easy way to attain energy.
The city around him was filled with invisible energy, wireless energy that powered all manner of small electronic systems. Anything like vehicles had fuel cells.
So, an easy way to attain energy was to simply tap into the endless energy around him.
In preparation for this, Dream had prepared some high tech junk that was sitting around in the underground black market. After piecing some thingns together and establishing a vampire tap, he was able to receive energy.
Of course, it wasn’t a large amount. It was constant, but small. Still, making the receiver into a little pack and sliningg it on his back, Dream connected the nodes to his body and let the energy flow.
Like that, his core of grey mist was now constantly and gradually growing. But he didn’t stop with this.
Setting off on a hunt, Dream sought out other power sources. Primarily ones like nuclear.
Unfortuantely, fidninng these places wasn’t easy. Security was too tight around the ones that were visible, and he coudln’t find the ones that weren’t. Reactors could be hidden in some random building or chamber underground, and he would never know it.
Trying to find information online was a bust as well, since the unfathomable computational power of the system that ran every device on the planet couldn’ hoped to be cracked by a little kid like Dream or any busted contraption he crafted.
And earning money wasn’t much of an option. Dream had no form of identification, which should be impossible here, and he didn’t want to spend the time working a meaningless job.
So after much deliberation, there was only one thing he could do.
Increase his authority through power. And a surefire way of doing that was entering the magical institution which that one friendly old man had mentioned after finding Dream for the first time.
And that place was easy to find.
In the Oasis, the largest city on the planet, stood a massive structure that pierced imposingly into the sky.
Just looking at it, Dream could sense millions of magical signatures. And every brick in every building, even the dirt filling some potted plants, had thick mana concentrated inside of it.
Just standing there, Dream could feel a soft magical power flow through his body. In fact, taking from this magical energy acted as cultivation for his core.
“Oh yea. This is definitely the place.”
Dream nodded with satisfaction as he approached the area. However, this wasn’t his destination.
He kept walking as he eventually reached the place where he first appeared in.
Of course, he had to dodge some guards, but he seemed to be good at that.
He walked into the grassy area, continuing towards its center.
Then, after several horus of walking, he stopped and observed something in the distance.
A tree line.
The trees were large, though compared to the megastructures on this planet, they didn’t look like much. Still, they stood tall and healthily, creating a ring around what seemed to be an isolated island.
It looked all to famimliar.
Dream became excited, for the first time seeing something that he was familiar with. Shockingly, it was actually here, in the territories of the Asura Queen that the old man mentioned.
That was when Dream felt his memories from beyond the veil trying to reach him, but they coudln’t break past that fog. Still, he continued his approach, hastening all the while.
“So you’re back?”
A man appeared in front of Dream. It was the old man who had greeted Dream upon arrival.
Dream glanced at the man, but that seemed to be a mistake as when he looked back into the distance, the tree dome was gone.
“You aptially shifted us somewhere else.”
“My, sharp senses. Sorry, but I can’t have you going so close to the Queen’s repose. The fact that you got so close was a miracle.”
Dream stred at the man, not entirely pleased that he was being kept from what was originally his own home. But he decided not to argue, as this man probably wouldn’t believe anything he said.
Besides, unlocking more of his memories was Dream’s top priority, not seeing his old home.
“I’ve come to get accepted into the Asura’s Mantle.”
“Straight to t he point, huh? Well, I still don’t sense any significant magical power from you… But, I guess an anomaly like you wouldn’t be wastefully admitted. Come, I’ll honor my offer and take you there.”
Saying that, the old man lifted them into the sky and flew off.
His gaze remained on Dream for the duration of the flight.
“You won’t suddenly vanish like yesterday, will you?”
“No, I won’t. I just had something else to do.”
“Hm. Very well. Still, the fact that you managed to evade my senses at all speaks to your anomalous nature. Only other demigods are capable of such a thing.”
“Class 7’s. I suppose you wouldn’t know about them.”
The old man smiled at Dream’s confusion. Then, he lowered them into Asura’s Mantle.
There, they directly entered while bypassing all barriers. And upon entering, Dream felt waves of magic power from the atmosphere brush through his body, allowing him to cultivate even more energy.
Eventually, the two landed in an isolated floor of the massive building that was Asura’s Mantle. This floor was a large field with a mansion and a lake nearby.
The old man opened his mouth to speak, but Dream beat him to it.
“I only need to gather energy in order to advance.”
The old man was confused as they landed on the floor.
“This device on my back is something that taps into the wireless power in the air. And streaming that electricity through my body allows me to increase my power permanently. Like cultivating your mana, but really easily. Anyway, I came to find power sources, but couldn’t because this city had nothing unsecured in it.”
“...So that thing…”
The old man gazed at Dream back, seeing the odd contraption he had thrown together.
“...Simply connecting yourself to a power source let’s you cultivate mana?”
“Something like that.”
The old man wasn’t quick to refute Dream’s words. The reason being, he could see the electrical energy disappear within his body. It was an incredibly odd phenomena.
“I would like to ask you for a power source. Preferably something nuclear. That’ll let me grow my power beyond class 3 and into the class 4 realm.”
“Oh? So you’re class 3?”
The old man was interested, and instead of words, Dream directly showed him.
He called upon that core of grey mist, and from it spawned plenty of mana to do with as he wanted.
That mana was too basic though, with no skills or techniques giving it anything special. So, Dream recalled his memories.
‘I had skills back them. I remember class 3 being the point at which I got Arcana and Particle Manipulation. Let’s recreate them…’
With that, Dream separated two more cores of gray mist and codified them. One of them became comple with circuitry, like a computer. The other became mystical and profound, like magic.
After a small minute of work, Dream saw two words engraved on those new cores.
His skills were back.
And with that, he could show the old man something interesting.
From Dream’s body came mana, and to his great surprise, the old manw as unable to see where it came from. It just appeared out of nothing.
Then, the mana took shape, forming a magic spell with thousands of complex arrays. These arrays continued to multiply thousands of times over until it all condensed into a small little animal.
That animal was a cat, and the feline looked at the old man with a tilted head.
He asked as the cat jumped from the floor onto the old man’s shoulder.
“A small magical intelligence with the form of a cat. It’s intelligence is basic, but no lesser than that of actual animals.”
“So you magically recreated the organic structure of an animal brain?”
“With my own modifications, but yes.”
Dream nodded simply, causing the old man to look at him with even greater curiosity than before.
“Amazing. Were you hiding your power?”
“No. I had no significant power until I got my hands on a fuel cell, but then I got arrested… Anyway, I need more power. I want a nuclear power source, regardless of what form it comes in. With that, I’ll be able to multiply my power and become more self-sustaining.”
The old man pondered as the cat acted like an actual cat around him. As he pet it’s surprisingly life-like fur, he nodded.
“Very well. I’m interested to see you grow. I’ll find what you want.”
“As for payment… Well, I’ll wait until you gain more power. Feel free to live here for now. I don’t recommend leaving, as you might get caught and taken away.”
With that, the old man walked off with the cat. Dream smiled happily, proceeding to enter the man’s house and relax comfortably.
He was excited for the future, expectant over the skills he would gain.