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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Mu Jiashi asks with a curious tone when he hears Laosan murmuring, “what eleven minutes?”

    At the same time, he also notices the man in black’s disappearance——along with Lin Qin’s. After his target went poof, Lin Qin just walked away, since this flowerbed in the plaza of the service area, really is too crowded.

    Not just crowded, but chaotic. The Missiontakers are talking, the wounded Tower residents are crying, and also frightened from how the man in black just disappeared.

    All of these to take in has Mu Jiashi push aside the reason for the man in black disappearing and the question he just asked Laosan for now, because he is still considering the issue of the flow of the timeline and the question Selfish just asked——Did the man in black actually get arrested or not?

    Laosan gives him a brief explanation of how he came to the conclusion of the man in black’s whereabouts through the time he has taken. He adds, “although I am not sure why the the killer has to restart his journey once the boy reaches the service area.”

    Something in that sentence has ticked off Mu Jiashi’s nerves.

    His gaze suddenly zeroes in on the little boy, still standing, shuffling behind Ding Yi’s back. He is a cowardly crybaby of a little boy. It’s hard to think he’s already ten years old – if one did not consider everything he has been through thus far. Really, he is a pitiful victim.

    Though not in the eyes of someone like Mu Jiashi, wholly absorbed in solving the mysteries of the Nightmares. Instead, he has managed to connect some dots and come to another conclusion.

    Mu Jiashi takes a deep breath shortly after, nodding at Laosan and saying, “the duration of safety is eleven minutes, right? Then let’s talk about this situation.”

    The Missiontakers do not notice, though, that Dai Wu is just leaning on the fence of the pathway in the service area, observing them with a a peculiar expression.

    Mu Jiashi first explains their discoveries in the service area just now——The change on the newspaper, and the new live TV broadcast in the gas station.

    Laosan and Ding Yi both nod, seemingly falling into thought.

    Mu Jiashi says, “and what you just told me about how the man in black must restart his journey after the boy reaches the service area, has made me realise the third level of subtlety in the meaning of time in this Instance.”

    All Missiontakers——And viewers in the stream, too, are looking at him with blank stares.

    Only a few of those present suddenly widen their eyes and feel their heartbeats racing.

    Mu Jiashi continues to explain, “the three meanings… Or rather, the three implications.

    First, the tightness of time – In this Nightmare, everything we did, had an exact corresponding duration attached to it. Whether it’s one, three, seven, or eight minutes, it is exact down to the second. Therefore, during our course of action, we must take time into account more than usual. This is the easiest implication to notice.

    Second, the flow of time – By the fifth run of the Nightmare, time is pushed forward in the Nightmare. Police issue a warrant, the killer will slaughter innocent people during his escape. The police close in on him. Simultaneously, the Tower residents regain their memories. This is also an important point – why now, but not earlier?
    That is because, time was static during the previous few runs. Each Nightmare was the same moment in time played out again and again. Of course they do not remember.
    Yet, when time changes and moves forward to the next locality in the timeline, then our questions from the past few runs become a past set in stone – the scenario no longer plays out from the beginning again or changes. Naturally, the residents remember.
    However, what is notable is that the chaos in the Nightmare convolutes their memories as well; the cashier, for example, remembers both the third and fourth run.
    The flow of time enables us to discover more information, but also increases the danger. All in all, this is the layer of implication we should naturally realise when the Nightmare enters the fifth run and beyond.

    Third, the cyclical nature of time – This is what Laosan mad me realise and I completely missed. By cyclical, I do not refer to the Nightmare entering new runs, but… The scenes we experience. The dark bedroom, the corridor, car park, service area. They are all in a linear, and repeating process, aligning with the death of the boy’s mother.
    The dark bedroom, or, their home, is where the family started their journey. Through the corridor, to the car park, to the drive, to the road, to the service area where they rested. Then, the couple argued, and drove home through the expressway——The mother died afterwards.
    In the boy’s Nightmare, this situation looped repeated. His Nightmare, is his mother’s death, the endlessly repeating road to death. Their home was both the start and the end.

    Now, we can analyse the patterns of movement of the boy and the man in black.

    The boy started from the bedroom, the bedroom where the crime was taking place——As evidenced by the numbering off and the woman’s screams during the second run.
    When he is able to leave the bedroom, that is after the crime. In other words, the mother has died, so the road to death restarts. When the boy begins, the mother is still alive.
    As for the man in black, he starts from the corridor, but it is unknown whether it is before or after he has killed his wife, but from how he was chasing after us directly with the machete in hand, I suspect it is the latter, where he is starting his escape.

    So the question is, why did the boy’s route not include his father’s escape after the death of his mother? I’ll talk about that later.
    Anyway, the path of the man in black also goes from the corridor to the car park to driving to the service area, and perhaps hiding there from then on.
    In the fifth run, the Nightmare changed and the man in black was killing everyone in the service area, proving the flow of time, and perhaps his motive was revenge for his wife’s ‘unfaithfulness.’ The police were alerted to this and begins their operation.

    These are the two separate paths of the boy and the man in black, but there is a contradiction here.
    If the boy and the man in black both appear in the service area, for the boy, his mother is still alive; for the man in black, he is already escaping after his crime!
    Since the boy is the Nightmare owner, his path is unmovable. So, the only one that can change is the man in black. He has to readjust his own journey to fit with the boy’s, meaning he is adjusting to the timeline where the boy’s mother is not yet dead.
    Therefore… I believe that, in these eleven, twelve minutes, he is not actually repeating the process of the murder——the time he used to number off in the dark bedroom and come. Instead, because he is realigning with the boy’s journey in order to return to the service area.
    This means that, he is likely repeating the process of packing and preparation, and heading from home to the service area, a process that takes eleven minutes itself!”

    That is when Laosan hesitantly interjects with a question, “but, the moment he arrived, he started killing immediately…”

    “I believe that the man in black did not represent the boy’s father literally,” Mu Jiashi pauses after saying that as some thoughts flash through his mind, then he continues, “there is a mask underneath his mask, which means he is just a product of the boy’s Nightmare, a caricature fixed to be a murderer with a big machete, ready to kill at any time.”

    Laosan’s brows are furrowed and he looks like he has something to say. He thinks Mu Jiashi’s explanation for this still feels forced in places, but he has no better explanation for now.

    Though he decides to add his own opinion to Mu Jiashi’s analysis, “I believe that the flow of time happened only outside of the dark bedroom. We still had to number off during the fifth and sixth run of the Nightmare.”

    “That is true,” Mu Jiashi nods, confidently stating, “like I said, the bedroom is the starting point and the end. It is a place fixed in time, at the exact moment of the death of the mother.”

    Laosan nods while in thought. He seems supportive.

    While the rest of the Missiontakers all look amazed or impressed.

    The detective dalao himself is nodding like mad.

    The rest of the viewers are typing on the comments, though, “me brain hurts”.

    This striking contrast makes Xü Beijin amused indeed.

    “Beibei plz stop smiling, it makes me feel like im the #1 retard of the month”
    “i’m different, i thought i understand, but when Beibei smiles, i’m now doubting i did”
    “i dont know, but i feel like my IQ is being scoffed at by Beibei”
    “Beibei’s smile… such a terrifying weapon”

    Xü Beijin “…”

    Did he mean to do that? Of course not!

    Well, in any case, he did understand Mu Jiashi.

    Everyone else is in agreement except for Selfish, who says, “I have a question.”


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    A little flag buried here along with more analysis to follow next!

    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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