That exquisite, delicate, and sturdy room.
With your own soul as the antipode, construct that room in the distant cluster of stars.
In that deep and dark place that cannot be named, cannot be spoken of, and cannot be projected onto the real world, your room may attract “His” attention.
Sacrifices aren’t important; what is important is your existence.
That which cannot be called shall knock at your door. As a guest, He will answer your questions — even if they are riddles that are eternally unsolvable.
You must remember and firmly believe that there is nothing within the room that can hurt you, destroy you, or swallow you whole.
Ah, good luck to you.
Maybe I'm going to die right now.
The young mage apprentice, the hapless Evan Reeves, heard a voice echoing indistinctly in his skull.
He couldn't quite tell if it was hallucinations, or if he was actually talking to himself.
At that moment, he was trembling and hiding in his dirty and narrow room. There was neither a bed nor a window. All he had was an air vent as wide as his palm located near the ceiling. A black iron fence divided the small rectangular air vent into five neat squares, but wind would only blow through the air vent once in a blue moon.
The floor and walls were made of rough stone, and the gaps between them were filled with an unidentifiable mucous and strange dark green moss. The air was always filled with a damp smell which seemed to be able to fill one’s lungs with water.
Evan and his former roommate, who was a sea dwarf that perpetually looked a little crazy, had tied one corner of a cloak to the fence of the vent, and tied the other end to an iron hook on the other side of the room that had been placed there for unknown purposes.
Truthfully, Evan always thought that the iron hook was used to hang corpses. He had seen many similar iron hooks on the wall of his instructor’s room. After cutting the throats of unlucky test subjects, they could be hung upside down on the wall to drain the liquid in their blood vessels cleanly.
But of course, when the occupants of this room hung the cloak on that iron hook to create an extremely uncomfortable hammock, neither Evan nor his roommates had mentioned the iron hooks on their instructor’s wall.
The “hammock” was truly uncomfortable. Sleeping on it for an hour or two would make your lumbar spine scream in pain, but it could at least keep Evan away from the humid ground and the unidentifiable poisonous insects stalking in the dark.
Yet he wasn’t sleeping in his hammock right now.
He was currently bent over, curled up in pain in a corner of the room, panting continuously.
Evan used to be a pretty good-looking young man.
He was tall and possessed well-proportioned, handsome features. With his light green eyes and black hair, he looked almost like a nobleman. However, that was a thing of the past. The only words you would describe the current Evan Reeves would be miserable and shabby.
Blood stained half of his body red, and his hair and shoulders were both charred an ominous black due to magic fire.
And the reason why Evan was holding himself in this curled up position was because he had to use his weak hands to hold his stomach. His palm was pressed up against the open wound, and some slippery things were trying to leak out together with the blood.
Evan sincerely hoped that those weren’t his intestines.
Just a quarter of an hour ago, a deformed tri-horned demon almost tore his stomach open.
Thankfully, Evan escaped at the last moment, but the fatal wound was still there. The pain radiating from it reminded Evan that he needed potion.
Sometimes, even he himself did not know how that young countryman who had finally discovered his talent in magic after a lot of effort, and that young apprentice who had entered the greatest mage tower in the North under the admiring and envious gazes of others, had been reduced to this sorry state.
"You know, at first I thought I would become a great mage..."
Evan started talking to himself again, and he was trying to keep himself from passing out.
At the very beginning, when he entered the Mage Tower, he thought all he had to face was ordinary troubles and strict standards. However, as everyone knows, for a low-level apprentice at the bottom of the Mage Tower’s pecking order (maybe only slightly better than those wailing experimental subjects), being put on the spot and having to adhere to strict standards set by their instructors was almost as natural as breathing.
Frail human beings needed water and air and food, just as lowly apprentices needed the censure and insults of their instructor.
However, Evan didn't expect the troubles and harsh standards to quickly escalate into varying degrees of deliberate sabotage and pervasive corporal punishment. The instructor assigned to him was a creepy old man who was so skinny his bones were showing.
It didn't take long for Evan to realize that an obviously incompetent person like his instructor would be a most troublesome existence for him. After all, one of them was an old man approaching his sixties who still remained at the bottom of the mage tower, while the other was a young, energetic mage apprentice with a brilliant future.
Sometimes, the jealousy of human beings is more terrifying than the venom of scorpions.
His instructor avidly ordered Evan to participate in various dangerous experiments. For example, he’d make Evan, who had not even mastered low-level fireball skills, carry a bucket to feed a highly deformed tri-horned demon. (Even toddles would know that a delectable human like Evan was what tri-horned demons considered real food.)
Well, if Evan hadn't secretly learned those variations of small fireball spells, he truly might’ve become food for the tri-horned demon. Of course, it was more likely that he would end up becoming an experimental subject for his “instructor”.
It goes without saying that instructors would consider humans like Evan more suitable as raw materials for experiments rather than clumsy apprentices. If it weren't for the strict rules set by the master of the mage tower, Evan would probably have died countless times by now.
Evan knew that he didn’t have much time left — no matter how strict the rules were, loopholes would always exist. For example, the rules would protect them fragile and stupid apprentices, but they will not protect the corpses of dead apprentices, particularly those who died due to various substances or incorrect experimental procedures.
These days, the instructor's gaze on Evan had become increasingly turbid and ominous. As a rather smart young man (he had managed to survive thus far thanks to the Goddess of Magic), Evan guessed that his instructor had planned countless "accidents" for him in order to obtain his corpse.
Thinking of his instructor, Evan involuntarily groaned in pain. He groped with one hand and moved a loose stone brick in the corner aside before retrieving a fish skin bag from inside. The dusty fish skin pouch was unsurprisingly from a sea dwarf, as evidenced by the disgusting thin scales on its surface.
Evan took small breaths and reached into the slippery bag. It took him a long time to finally touch a test tube, and the rippling dark purple light in it showed that the potion wasn’t fresh.
But Evan didn't care.
He crushed the cork with his teeth and swallowed the potion. With the unique tingling sensation brought by the healing potion, his eyes began to go blank.
At that moment, the book slipped out of the bag.
Evan took one glance at the book, then another.
The fish skin pouch was a gift from his hapless sea dwarf roommate, who mysteriously disappeared years ago. Before he disappeared, the poor guy had gone mad and would spout nonsense, screaming and hiding from things in the void that did not exist.
His crazy fear even alarmed several mid-level instructors. Those arrogant mages tried their best but to no avail, failing to detect anything in the void. The consequence of wasting the instructor's time was that Evan's roommate was finally locked in a room that sealed all magic and dimensions.
He was supposed to be made into some kind of special experimental material, but he died in that small secret room before his final execution. Supposedly, after the room was opened, the walls were caked in his pale green blood and scales. He had obviously been tortured, yet nobody could find anything apart from blood and scales in that chamber.
This matter became a mystery that circulated within the bottom rungs of the mage tower. Nobody knew where he’d disappeared to in the end, but this ultimately did not cause much disturbance amongst the group of apprentices who were walking on thin ice... although Evan knew that his instructor had nearly gone mad in his fury.
Evan later unceremoniously inherited all the sea dwarf’s belongings. He had tallied the items in the fish skin bag from the very start, and the most precious of the items were the healing potions that were long past their expiry date. Apart from that, there were a few low-level potions, and some shells. The fine carvings on them were probably characters in the sea dwarfs’ unique language. Additionally, there were some unimportant trinkets, and the book was one of them.
To be honest, though the book was full of all kinds of jokes and ravings, it could be regarded as the only thing that was interesting in Evan’s roommate’s pile of junk.
Yes, that’s right...
Jokes and ravings.
That was what Evan thought of the book’s contents...
At least before today.
The only thing written in the book were instructions on how to construct a non-existent room in your mind and how to “project” that room into an imaginary place in the starry sky.
According to various obscure hints in the book, that patch of the starry sky was an indescribable thing — an area that couldn’t be expressed through language and rational thought where gods resided (this paragraph was too obscure; Evan could only make a rough guess).
And if your luck was good enough... or bad enough (so the books say)... those gods may take notice of the “room”.
They would manifest from the void, knock on the door of the room, and walk in, answering all your questions.
Because they were beings so great and terrifying that words could not describe them, all your questions would be answered.
However... you would never know which gods would charge you for their answers.
“Just in case, it may be safer to prepare some sacrifices.”
In the corner of that page, the previous owner of the book, Evan's former roommate, wrote notes. What made Evan a little uncomfortable was that the line of writing looked so meticulous. It was evident that the writer was had been extremely serious and cautious at that moment.
Evan heard the voice in his mind muttering again.
It was likely due to his serious injury, but Evan was a little surprised to find his thoughts focusing on the sea dwarf the whole night. Oh, yes, and that book too.
(Maybe I should give it a try.)
Some time later, Evan realized that he was having such thoughts.
Hey everyone! I’m a huge horror BL fan and this is one of my favorite novels. If I had to sum it up, it’s basically a huge dose of eldritch horror (sugar), some body horror (spice), and all sorts of insanity (and everything nice)?