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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Time drags on.

    Xü Beijin hasn’t left the bookstore. He is still blanking out behind the counter, thinking about the Tower, Nightmares, all the uncomfortable stuff, and sometimes thinking about this weird Nightmare and his strange neighbour, and sometimes, his thoughts drift towards the clingy Lin Qin, and, sometimes, he snaps back and turns his attention back on the stream for a moment…

    The viewers sure are bored.

    They all still want to know what the truth behind this Nightmare is, though, and instead of leaving, they’re having fun meming each other on the comment barrage instead.

    Right now, all seven scenes are visible on the comment barrage, showing each Missiontaker clearly. So, they are having some fun guessing what sort of sentient device each of them is dealing with by looking at their reactions on camera.

    Of course, the most nonchalant one here is Lin Qin. Nobody can tell if he’s met any weird gazes. Maybe the furniture also have sharp survival instincts, but no matter what, it is clear Lin Qin looks absolutely no different from normal.

    The viewers all go,
    “eh never mind never mind, little apple is still just a little apple today”

    Next, would be… wait, the most relaxed one otherwise, is Jiang Shuangmei?!

    “this makes no sense!”
    “wasn’t this girl crying like mad the last run?”
    “weird… shes suddenly so relaxed? even singing and smiling?”

    After noticing her odd behaviour, Xü Beijin has moved the source of the audio over to her.

    Therefore, the viewers become the unwilling audience of the Missiontaker, who was still fearing this apartment building so much she looked mad the last run around, singing happily to herself.

    Xü Beijin is shocked as well, and is carefully scrutinising the facial expression of Jiang Shuangmei on the stream, and realise, she really shows no sign of fear anymore.

    Why? Did she figure out what the deal is with this Nightmare? Did she figure out how to escape, or at least, mitigate the murderous sentient electronics?

    At least that is the only reason Xü Beijin could think of that could explain her much more casual stance.

    He then recalls Jiang Shuangmei’s experience the last run of the Nightmare. It was fortunate that, both times she was attacked, it was caught on-camera.

    Xü Beijin starts to show a more interesting expression as he thinks about it.

    She has escaped harm twice now… Once, the central air-conditioning and the door lock unexpectedly fixed themselves. The other time, the elevator doors closed in on her as a joke, basically.

    Compared to the first run of the Nightmare, the dangers toned down dramatically. It was more like they were threatening or scaring her, not actually trying to kill her anymore.

    More importantly, the bathtub and the Roomba, both of which went after Jiang Shuangmei in the first run, did nothing in the second run at all.

    Does this mean that, after Missiontakers are killed and then resurrected by the sentient furniture, they will understand that killing is useless and then give up on it?

    Xü Beijin’s guess goes slightly deeper than Jiang Shuangmei’s.

    To verify his own guess, he immediately checks out Shen Yünjü’s view in the stream.

    In the last run, although Xü Beijin failed to see Shen Yünjü’s death directly, but because his death occurred right at the escalator down to the second floor underground, he heard the chaotic screaming coming directly into his bookstore.

    Plus, because he could see where every Missiontaker was in the stream, he knew who it was immediately.

    Right now, just like Jiang Shuangmei, Shen Yünjü appeared more relaxed than before.

    Xü Beijin decides that his guess holds for now, and shares his thoughts with the viewers.

    While the audience applauded, Xü Beijin paused before adding, “this may be a sign of more troubling news in the future, however.”

    The viewers all type question marks.

    Xü Beijin sweeps his gaze across the seven Missiontakers visible on his screen, and explains, “dying once in exchange for safety in the Nightmare sounds like a very good value-for-money for the Missiontakers,
    And given that Nightmares often crumble chaotically, resulting in more dangers in later runs, the difficulty of the furniture’s murders will definitely change compared to how it was in the beginning.
    If so, then for the Missiontakers, it would be safer to only trade their lives away in further runs; there is no guarantee how long this safety net lasts, you see?
    In other words, if Missiontakers come to this conclusion, they may very well decide to commit suicide as the number of runs increases, instead of trying their best to survive.
    However, no Nightmare in the Tower can be so simply generous to allow Missiontakers to acquire absolute invincibility with death. This is most likely a trap.
    The Missiontaker mentioned before, that part of the Missiontakers who came to this Nightmare might inexplicably disappear. We haven’t seen anyone disappear yet, however, after the Nightmares crumble, this may start to change.
    If the crumbling of this Nightmare simply resulted in a death equals disappearance dilemma, while Missiontakers still pursued death to try and secure safety… that would be terrible.”

    The viewers all nod in unison and in understanding, while loudly chastising the game developers for being so utterly morally bankrupt and conniving.

    Xü Beijin smiles seeing that.

    Without the detective dalao leading them on, the viewers in the stream sure are both well-behaved and amusing. They’re all so cute with their decorative brains on display, trusting anything and everything Xü Beijin says.

    Xü Beijin was almost going to remark on them all being so ‘lovely’ to be around with, but hesitates since they might take it as him mocking their intelligence, especially with his appearance too, if the viewers misunderstand… He gives up quietly.

    He sighs and silently turns his attention back to the stream.

    An hour has passed since the third run of the Nightmare started.

    Jiang Shuangjie immediately opens the door to leave her apartment.

    After leaving, she once again tries her fingerprint on the lock, but fails. She even tries the emergency passcode she remembered from earlier, but it also fails.

    So she looks at the door lock while pondering, and just takes a deep breath in the end, telling herself to ignore this thing.

    Other than locking her out of the apartment unit, the lock hasn’t exactly done anything else. Let’s put a ‘harmless’ label on it for now.

    She walks towards the elevator lobby, hesitating between the options of calling the elevator up or walking all the way down to find an elevator.

    That is when the lights on the eighth floor corridor starts flickering again.

    The first run of the Nightmare, the damned lights have been flickering; the second run, Jiang Shuangjie was too preoccupied going after Muscular for the utility cards, so she didn’t pay attention to the lights at all; this time, it’s flickering again… Quite annoying, actually.

    Jiang Shuangjie looks up at the light with this frustrated look on her face.

    When she suddenly freezes.

    Three short flashes, three longer flashes, followed by three shorter flashes again.

    Three dots, three dashes, three dots.

    … Jiang Shuangjie’s jaw is on the floor.

    Isn’t this that fucking Morse code for SOS?!


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    To be honest, I'm not too sure flashing SOS is a good idea, Mr/Ms Lightbulb. You'll get why in a few chapters, I think. Yup, because this arc of the story is already ⅔ over!

    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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