Chapter 72: Son of Misfortune
Shouldn’t childhood memories bring back the taste of sweet innocence? Running through the field without a care in the world, crying in the mall because your parents wouldn’t buy you your favorite toy, listening to the bedtime stories while slipping into sleep. But if… childhood memories only brought pain, horror, fear, and anger, then perhaps it was a good thing that they were lost at some corner of one’s subconscious.
At that moment, when Gu Jun saw the scene from the illusion, some broken memory fragments rushed out from the corner that was long sealed. Like a nightmare returning, it disturbed the peace of the dreamer. He saw himself when he was still a toddler, the period when he was still trying to speak and crawl. At the time, he was already being given some strange training. Around him, there were many other children. They were all studying one picture after another. They were filled with that strangely-shaped trees, clustered vines, twisted branches, and dead leaves.
These pictures had planted something unknown in their youthful and empty souls. Would the seeds grow into… dark fruit in the end? When they slowly grew older, after they learned how to run, walk, talk, and think…
Gu Jun felt nothingness around him. He was the one still standing there among the many strange trees. He had forgotten the faces of the other children. He could not bring himself to picture any of them anymore. It was as if they had not interacted with one another after they parted. He was special. The gaze of many people told him that there was joy, anticipation, and curiosity. But behind every gaze, there was a latent fanaticism like they were laying their eyes on a surprising treasure, reminding him of how his mother had looked at him. Was that woman really his own mother? That was the first time Gu Jun had been suspicious of that, but it went no further than that because of the gentleness when she put him to bed, the smile when she fed him meals, the concern on her face when he fell… That was all real; they were the emotions of a mother. He believed that. But as a mother, how could she even fathom to treat her own child like that?
It was this same woman who asked him to label the things on the drawing, to write down all the foreign letters. It was also this woman who placed the crown of Banyan tree leaves and roots on his head. “Xiao Jun, just sit there and don’t move.”
Her voice had an undercurrent of nervousness and melancholy. Was she hesitating or sad? But obviously, the fanaticism and feverishness had won out. She looked at him like a great experiment was about to bring upon a great result.
With regards to this result, she could never give it up. The experiment began when his mother was pregnant. Gu Jun had a feeling those whisperings had already begun deep inside his implicit memory. He was an experiment of the Afterlife Cult; that had already been decided before he even arrived in this world. But the question was, what kind of product was he?