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    Being an Extra Actor in an Escape Game

    Vol. 3 Chapter 42.1


    Act on Your Gut Instincts

    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    The situation is odd.

    The young man, whose name is Shen Yünjü, so thinks.

    His gaze is fixed right at the peephole as cold sweat drips down his forehead, seeping into his eyes and causes him pain.

    The peephole looks normal, but the gaze…

    He is imagining a shadow, leaning right behind this door, widening its eyes full of burst blood vessels, staring right at him with evil, frigid intent.

    A while later, Shen Yünjü starts walking rigidly to the door. He extends his icy hand to cover up the peephole.

    Immediately, the gaze is gone.

    … Perhaps he should have checked the peephole with his own eye, but he doesn’t dare to see what lies hidden beyond the door. So, shakily, he can only cover up the peephole with his hand, hoping the person will now be gone.

    And now, he has a dilemma on his hands.

    “Shit…”

    The word squeezes out of his teeth.

    All the other Missiontakers save for Lin Qin are also facing the same problem.

    The stares… the gazes. They can all feel one, or even several silent gazes pointed right at them, despite the warm, brightly lit apartment units. The gazes are staring all the time, everywhere they go.

    Shen Yünjü’s was simple enough because he just has to cover it up. Yet some Missiontakers are facing gazes that point right at their backs.

    Humans cannot see their own backs. Their weak, rigid spine does not support such an operation.

    So, when they turn around, and turn around again, and again, again… No matter what they do, they cannot get out of the gaze.

    Just over half an hour has passed since they entered the Nightmare. After a thoroughly futile carpet search effort, the Missiontakers have basically all assembled by the doors to the apartment units, waiting to see when they can leave this damned place.

    Only Jiang Shuangmei is cowering at a corner of her apartment unit’s bedroom, sticking her back close to the wall. Her eyes are open wide, sweeping across the whole room again and again in her paranoia.

    She doesn’t dare moving. As soon as she does, or, as soon as her back is exposed, the unseen gaze immediately latches onto her.

    It is cold, sticky, and full of malice and hatred. It sticks onto her back like glue.

    The only solution for her is to stick close to the corner of the room, forcing her back onto the wall at all times. Even so, she can still feel, someone, something, still looking at her, still staring.

    It feels like there are little bugs on her back. Crawling, crawling into her skin.

    Jiang Shuangmei is hugging her own thighs, pleading in her mind──Sis, sis, save me, save me…

    Perhaps there really is a telepathic connection between twins, so right now, Jiang Shuangjie also finds herself restless.

    She tries the door again and again anxiously, but it still would not budge. The handle can be pushed down, but the door feels like it’s part of the wall. It wouldn’t move.

    She is stamping her feet in her frustration; what is this Nightmare, even, why is it separating the Missiontakers in different rooms? Why wouldn’t it let them out? Could there even be any danger in this empty… unit?

    Jiang Shuangjie’s heart suddenly sinks.

    The gaze… the gaze… When she turns around to focus on the door, her back is exposed to the balcony right again.

    Compared to her younger sister, though, Jiang Shuangjie is fortunate, because her gaze doesn’t seem to hold ill intentions against her. It is just, quietly, silently, staring…

    … [THEO], why can she feel this so clearly! She is even able to tell exactly what emotions are conveyed through the gaze!

    This is absolutely unscientific!

    Just like the audience in the stream, Jiang Shuangjie’s instincts, when first faced with the situation in this Nightmare, are to ponder the possibility of ghosts in this Nightmare.

    Yet, among the tens of thousands of Nightmares in the Tower, not a single Missiontaker has definitively confirmed that there is a Nightmare centred about ghosts or spirits.

    Among the Nightmares of the residents are murder cases, madmen and even deviants; there are illogical crumbling of logic, but truly anti-science substances such as poltergeists or magic has apparently never been observed.

    These Nightmares all seem to be based on some reality the Tower residents have experienced.

    If they are able to meet the Nightmare owner in the Tower, then the Missiontakers are able to gather information on their lives, which often ties into their Nightmares somehow, despite merely being idiosyncratic, mundane everyday elements.

    Based on this, Nightmares, really do fit the traditional definition of being something formed in the human consciousness from real things they know.

    Therefore, in this Nightmare, no matter how ridiculous these inexplicable gazes feel like ghosts, the Missiontakers still threw the option out the window immediately.

    … Though what else could it have been if not ghosts?

    While the Missiontakers are all trapped in their predicament, Xü Beijin looks like he’s been playing an entirely different game. He’s already toured most of the commercial complex guiding the viewers along.

    Despite this being inside a Nightmare, the commercial complex really does allow Xü Beijin to pretend he is right back on Earth.

    The two underground floors are all eateries. The first floor sells clothes and cosmetics, the second and third has more clothes and electronics, and the fourth just contains a cinema and gym. When Xü Beijin is on the fourth floor, he walked about the entrance of the cinema a few times, looking at the movies advertised on the wall.

    … His forgotten memories are reawakening. These movies really do feel like they were the ones that were hits right before he was transported into the Tower.

    In the cinema, the Actors are all moving about. It felt just like any other day.

    Xü Beijin, with his bubble tea in hand, examines this scene in a trance. He walks in, unable to control himself.

    “Welcome… Eh? It’s you again.”

    Behind the popcorn counter is a familiar figure, dragging Xü Beijin’s consciousness back down.

    It’s Dai Wu. He’s a cashier again.

    With hundreds of Actors filling roles in this Nightmare, it’s not surprising to meet familiar figures, but, just in case, he still moves the source of the audio over to the Missiontakers, so that nothing accidental can be leaked from his conversation with Dai Wu.

    The viewers in the stream don’t have much of a reaction, probably assuming that Xü Beijin met a close acquaintance of a player so he wants to chat in private. The viewers all respect hosts’ privacies.

    Though despite the understanding viewers and meeting a familiar figure, Xü Beijin’s mood is still rather sombre. He just greets Dai Wu flatly and politely, “hello again.”

    Dai Wu gives him an odd look, then asks, “you can’t be curious about the truth of this Nightmare as well, right?”

    Xü Beijin is silent.

    Awkward. He really just wants to re-experience the joy of window-shopping and hanging out back on Earth, but can he just say that? He wants to drink bubble tea, and watch movies… Well, he’s been single since birth back on Earth, but at least those were comfortable, halcyon days.

    The Tower, huh…

    Ha. Ha.

    Who would want to spend days without hope if they could choose?

    So, seeing the liveliness, the crowded shopping malls, even if he knows this is fake, Xü Beijin allowed himself to immerse a little, and be accompanied by the passionate comment barrages of the viewers in the stream, acting like it could alleviate the loneliness in his soul some.

    Besides, it’s not like there is any other means of experiencing something like this outside of Nightmares.

    In this Nightmare, with the Missiontakers all stuck in their apartment units and unable to gather any useful information, it was a perfect opportunity to slack.

    So, after all that thought, to answer Dai Wu’s question, Xü Beijin finally nods, before adding, “if you don’t want to tell me, like last time, then never mind.”


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    I feel like drinking bubble tea now, in spite of its unhealthiness... Sigh. I guess I'll drink some and stay a fat boy longer then.

    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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