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    Being an Extra Actor in an Escape Game

    Vol. 1 Chapter 15


    Gust In A Tunnel

    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    (TL: The title is a rather controversial saying in Chinese, because depending on context, it can either mean ‘rumours are just rumours’ or ‘rumours may very well necessarily imply something)

    The trio’s probe of Wu Shen ended in failure.

    He really behaved too normally and without guilt. His resolve has now caused Ponytail, Glasses and even the detective dalao in the stream to reconsider their suspicion and doubts of him.

    Meanwhile, the trio is checking on the doll store’s locked door, and it does seem to be doing a good job of stopping the dolls.

    The dolls of the third wave, or perhaps even the fourth, are squeezing on the first-floor glass door, staring viciously at the Missiontakers outside.

    Even more dolls are yet gushing forth from deep within the store from who-knows-where. The innumerable dolls continue to push harder and harder until——

    A crack, as a doll’s plastic face has been completely squashed against the glass door. Its glass bead for an eye falls to the ground and rolls through the gap beneath the door, then stops by Glasses’ feet, dirtied.

    The man immediately backs off reflexively like he’s been electrically shocked, which draws a snigger from Quarrelsome.

    Ponytail had to glance at him for him to stop and look back down expressionlessly, keeping quiet.

    Ponytail looks at the dolls rushing at the door and squeezing the ones in the front to death, and sighs.

    She suddenly begins to think about how the Nightmare has really been like reality up to this point.

    Even if they are only capable of exploring up to the ends of this abandoned street, and the only locations open are the bookstore and the doll store, but Wu Shen’s reaction meant that this isn’t just an illogical, fantastical dream.

    It is only when these endless, aggressive dolls appear that it is a sign this is someone’s Nightmare.

    But speaking of Nightmares…

    Ponytail suddenly asks, coming out from her thoughts, “do you think Wu Shen’s behaviour was too normal?”

    Glasses is still angrily staring down Quarrelsome and answers reflexively, “isn’t he behaving exactly like he should… Wait, you mean?”

    The man falls silent.

    Ponytail begins pondering, “Wu Shen is the Nightmare’s owner, and usually owners are always behaving strangely in Nightmares. They could be extremely terrified, paranoid, insanely excited or agitated… But Wu Shen, is too normal.”

    Glasses thinks a little more before nodding in agreement, saying, “while he is unusually temperamental, but that is still normal for a father who lost his daughter, and Nightmare owners are usually ‘abnormal’ instead.”

    “You just said he is ‘behaving exactly like he should,'” Ponytail repeats Glasses’ reflexive remark, and asserts, “but no Nightmare owner is like that. His normalcy is the biggest abnormality here!”

    Xü Beijin, observing them from afar via the stream, can’t help but bitterly smile inside.

    ‘Normal, is the biggest abnormality,’ huh…

    Isn’t this ?

    To behave as normal under unusual circumstances is itself the strangest thing, really.

    The audience, of course, not knowing what Xü Beijin is thinking about them, are confused by the Missiontakers’ statements and are asking around.

    “what? so they concluded something new?”
    “That’s right… The host says the instances of this game are called ‘Nightmares.’ That seems to be more than a name, but it is really some form of Nightmare. Therefore, the person dreaming of this in the first place, would clearly look odd inside of the dream.”
    “i see! wu shen does look just like a father who lost his daughter, but this isn’t reality, but his nightmare, so if he’s making a nightmare about his daughter going missing, then he should behave even more madly than this”
    “wow thats a whole other angle, if so then WS must have some more info to be dug up? lol im cheering 4 u all, i wanna know whats going on!”
    “Speaking of… Host, is your role really that pathetic? You can’t leave the bookstore at all?”

    Xü Beijin momentarily pauses at this question.

    Can he leave the bookstore, actually?

    That’s… that’s a good question.

    Because he has never tried to.

    He has always done as the Server instructed, quietly staying exactly where he entered the Nightmare and finish all the tasks assigned to him as an extra until the Missiontakers have reached an ending. Then he will be removed from the Nightmare, and end up back in the Tower to await the next one…

    Repeat ad infinitum.

    Because he has neither the motivation to raise his level as an Actor, nor has he ever let anyone into his Nightmare, he ended up merely scraping by as an extra Actor in everyone else’s Nightmares the whole time. This means his life is really a dead pool of stillwater.

    The streaming system did change his attitude somewhat, but it is when the audience directly show their curiosity to ask why Xü Beijin doesn’t leave the bookstore, that he thinks for himself for the first time, ‘that’s right, why not?’

    Since he’s committing to this change already, and is even inquisitive for information on the outside world, then… The least he can do is put in some more effort here as well, right?

    And his interest in the truth behind this Nightmare has been piqued as well.

    The doll store’s owner, Wu Shen, being a neighbour of Xü Beijin in the tower, with their entrances are right next to the other’s, means they occasionally run into each other in the Tower.

    Xü Beijin’s impression of Wu Shen is that he really is a hardworking person.

    An Actor can ascend to a higher floor by secretly pushing for the Missiontakers to resolve their assigned Nightmare for good without raising the Missiontakers’ suspicions for their Acting at all.

    In other words, they have to Act extremely professionally, and somehow present the corresponding clues and evidence to the Missiontakers covertly, convincing the Missiontakers that yes, they did discover and come up with everything themselves.

    If it is judged that the Actors did not proactively push and provide clues for Missiontakers, or at least, what they did was unrelated to how the Missiontakers achieved the True End in the Nightmare, then Actors do not receive the choice for promotion.

    For Missiontakers, any one of them achieving a True End will benefit all the other Missiontakers. A true embodiment of ‘an ascended immortal grants sentience to even the chickens and dogs of their village.’

    Therefore, some capable Missiontakers are in the career of transporting people up the Tower… Yes, even the Tower has the phenomenon of ‘.’

    Unfortunately, this business and convenience have no relation to Actors at all.

    In general, it is very difficult for an Actor to go up a floor.

    Despite all his time lazing about on the bottom floor of the Tower, he has only heard of a handful of Actors that succeeded. Note, he only heard of them.

    The same way one hears about that Trick card making the rounds that supposedly allows one to forcibly leave a Nightmare…

    Is it true? Nobody knows.

    Then is it false? But rumours must have a source, right?

    This is definitely that Schrödinger’s statement that exists in Chinese——’A gust in a tunnel’——coming to life. Whenever you hear someone use that phrase, you have no idea whether they actually refer to the rumour as being reliable or unreliable until you ask for clarification.

    The same can be said of all these rumours circulating in the Tower.

    While Xü Beijin has no ambition for the higher floors, but he can’t help but be curious about any form of ‘the truth.’ Therefore, now that his curiosity is piqued by the viewers’ nonchalant statement, he is also getting restless, wanting to explore himself.

    Uh, if nothing else… He can at least go to Wu Shen and ask for spoilers.

    Since Actors have no restrictions on talking to each other whatsoever.

    Xü Beijin has made a decision, and thus tells the viewers, “later, depending on how everything is going, I can leave the bookstore to explore.”

    The viewers cheer him on.

    No matter what, Xü Beijin is still their host. While the players seem really dedicated to the playthrough, but are they a smidgeon as handsome as Xü Beijin? Can they even communicate directly with them?

    Of course not! That’s why they’ve basically drawn a big circle around Xü Beijin, categorising him as ‘one of them.’

    And even if there are only four viewers in the stream, as everyone is cheering, Xü Beijin is also finally feeling slightly festive, for the first time in a very long time.

    He has always been alone in the Tower, used to the solidarity here.

    The arrival of the streaming system has really put some gears into motion, perhaps.

    Xü Beijin has lowered his head slightly awkwardly, smiling in response to the passionate cheers from the viewers, who begin teasing him.

    “woah, i just realised my impression of the host at first was waaaaay off, hes like a super pure angel”
    “Hey host, what are you acting all coy for? Live up to that handsomeness and raise your head back up!”

    Xü Beijin is dissing inside. He rarely interacted with others in the Tower and he’s also just not a good social butterfly either. He often relies on his face to distance people so now, the direct teases and laughs the viewers have of him makes him unable to really respond appropriately.

    He decides to ignore them and turn his attention back to the stream instead, to act like he’s all serious.

    The viewers begin to ‘hahaha’ again. The mood has become quite lighthearted indeed.

    Meanwhile, in the stream, after concluding the Dollmaker’s owner, Wu Shen, is abnormal, the Missiontakers are talking about their next step.

    Ponytail, the first to realise, is deep in thought, “so why is the Nightmare’s owner behaving so normally in this Nightmare?”

    Glasses asks, “what makes him unique compared to all the other Nightmare owners?”

    The three of them are staring at each other, thinking, going over everything Wu Shen has been doing in the Nightmare since he appeared…

    Suddenly, almost in unison, they shout, “he’s sleeping!”

    Yes, in all the Nightmares they have gone through, Wu Shen is the only Nightmare owner to be sleeping inside his own Nightmare.

    Now that they recall their two meetings with him, neither were because of them actively seeking out Wu Shen, but he himself waking up.

    If they checked on Wu Shen while he slept… Could it, bring something different?

    “Even if we want to check on him in his sleep, we’ll have to wait until the next run,” Glasses says, sounding annoyed, “but we finally have this run with the dolls’ chase eliminated entirely. Are we letting it end so soon? Isn’t there anything else we can do?”

    Quarrelsome suddenly interjects, “hmph, I told you way back we should wake up Wu Shen but none of you agreed. Now great, look what we have to do?”

    Ponytail and Glasses give him a speechless glance while thinking in unison, ‘the dumb have dumb luck.’

    Ignoring Quarrelsome, they begin to ponder what they should do about this situation.

    Yes, this is an unprecedented, fortuitous situation. With the dolls trapped behind the locked door of the first floor, unable to come after them, it would be amiss not to seize this opportunity for further exploration, for example… they can climb onto the second floor?

    All three of them are looking up at the doll store’s second-floor window.

    That is when a certain Lin Qin, who looks exceedingly bored, has strolled back around from the street.

    The three Missiontakers all turn their heads to him, speechless again. They can’t help but really feel a mysterious aura exuding from this dalao, who has been calm ever since the beginning.

    What do these Nightmares even mean for Lin Qin, really?

    A little relaxing trip? Casual exercise?

    It really might grind some of the Missiontakers the wrong way seeing how Lin Qin is all laid-back while they’re anxiously putting their lives on the line, but in the end, Lin Qin is still an ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card, so they must still appeal to this dalao well.

    All for the sake of, if all else fails, they can provoke him and make him irritated enough to go berserk and reach a Special End, which is infinitely more preferable to being trapped for eternity inside a Collapsed Nightmare.

    Ending up in a Nightmare with Lin Qin is, at its core, an auspicious occurrence.

    In fact, when Lin Qin’s mood is content, he might even offer the occasional help.

    For example… right now, with Lin Qin suddenly furrowing his brows at them and yelling, “dodge!”

    What?

    Their sharpened instincts react soon enough to make them hold their heads with their hands and jump off to the side, but it’s too late.

    They can all hear the sharp sounds from the glass storefront as it begins cracking in several places, resembling a cobweb. The dolls immediately move to push hardest at where the cracks are the largest.

    In less than a second, a great force explodes the glass door of the first floor of the store entirely. Pieces of glass fragments, alongside dolls that are rushing out like cannonballs, pierce and ram right into the three mere mortals of Missiontakers that are trying in vain to run away.

    A scream, and soon enough, everyone’s consciousness goes dark.

    The seventh run of this Nightmare, has begun.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    Ah, can they solve this Nightmare and reach a True End for good? Or will they end up succumbing? Make sure you keep reading to find out!

    boilpoil

    This should go without saying, but considering the nature of this novel, please think twice before posting a comment on any chapter in order to avoid spoiling any possible future plot points or twists from later chapters.

    Travis Translation

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