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    Translated by boilpoil
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    Mu Jiashi “…”

    He suddenly wants to know as well, if the fact that the Missiontakers have been quite troublesome to deal with for both of the Nightmares he’s faced since returning to the bottom floor of the Tower, is because of his mindset of ‘I want to become a useless loser too.’

    Of the five Missiontakers present besides Mu Jiashi, a rather jumpy teenager introduces himself as a Collector, a male-female pair who are looking all around their surroundings with wary, paranoid eyes, and two physically imposing men with red, bulging eyes and terrifying facial expressions.

    None of them happen to know about this once-famous ex-Golddigger of the bottom floor, which lets Mu Jiashi breathe a sigh of relief, at least.

    The Collector rubs his chin and smiles to say, “ah, how nice. It looks like all of you have utility cards in your hands. If you use up one in this Nightmare, wouldn’t you consider selling it to me? If you would give it to me as a present, then I will even be overjoyed!”

    The two men with bloodshot eyes give him disdainful glances.

    To Missiontakers, the Collectors, or the ‘Purveyors of Depleted Utility Cards,’ are like childish brats who can’t get over toys.

    Most Collectors have notably vivid personalities, case in point, this young man, who, even in a Nightmare set among a pile of rubble, can mention used, depleted utility cards with a happy smile.

    They are also the only group of Missiontakers who can mention utility cards without a care in the world in Nightmares; everyone else would be worried about being robbed or pickpocketed or be misunderstood as a Carddealer.

    The Collectors couldn’t care less, though, because their only interest lies in depleted cards. If they actually happen to pick up cards with Uses left, they would actually return them to the original owners, or just give them out randomly as presents.

    Some Missiontakers choose to maintain good relationships with Collectors because occasionally, Collectors would pick up such types of cards.

    Either perhaps some Carddealer finds disposing of certain ‘goods’ they ‘acquired’ would be more trouble than it’s worth, or just utility cards that have been lost for whatever reasons or even… as some Missiontakers suspect, that Collectors would work with Vultures.

    It is believed that some Vultures would take the pile of depleted, now-useless utility cards they acquired from the missing Missiontakers’ homes, and give them all or sell them all to Collectors. There might be rare, valuable, or even yet-usable utility cards among them that have been missed.

    Collectors do not care for utility cards that are still usable, though.

    Because of this, it could very well be possible that they actually facilitate more utility card exchanges than Carddealers.

    Though it isn’t notable for others because the vast majority of those are depleted cards.

    In any case, most Missiontakers agree that Collectors are dumbasses. They collect depleted cards but would ignore and dispose of normal utility cards? They must be either insane or retarded.

    And in fact, most Collectors agree. They self-identify as insane.

    This damned Tower, in this bedamned world… Who else but the insane could fit here?

    Therefore, the Collector is still looking at the rest of the Missiontakers with a smile, saying, “I’ll be taking the silence as a ‘yes,’ since the depleted cards are of no use to you, but for me…” he inhales deeply, before exhaling again, and says, “that is such a most valuable, most dazzling jewellery.”

    One of the Missiontakers present, a bald guy, rubs his arm with this exaggerated motion, and rolls his eyes while saying, “you’re mad,” then he claps his hands to get the others’ attention, saying, “right, this is a Nightmare. Time for us to get down to business instead of faffing about with someone like him.”

    The young Collector, ‘someone like him,’ does not seem at all irritated at the remark. He is still smiling, as if that is the natural facial expression he was born with.

    In the stream, the viewers are clearly disquieted by this eerie display.

    “why can someone still smile so happily in an escape game? is he mad?!”
    “that is such a most valuable~ most dazzling jewellery~!”
    “… please, i dont get why someone might treat trash as treasure”

    Xü Beijin just gave them a crash course in the species that is Collectors, and as expected, they are taken aback——Why would anyone be interested in something like that?!

    Xü Beijin still gives a more neutral remark, explaining, “while the utility cards each have unique appearances, I’ve heard that some of the utility cards appear to actually form a set. It is something that would definitely satisfy those people who enjoy collectibles in games.”

    While the viewers can agree with that sentiment, but they are still of the opinion that someone who can smile so happily in such a setting is definitely not one of the good guys.

    … Because this is just ruins.

    A world of concrete rubble, detached bricks, snapped steel rebar and broken tiles. The air is visibly dusty. While it looks mostly like some kind of strange-coloured haze, that greyish, yellowish vagueness would always remind people of something else.

    For example, in those movies with apocalyptic settings, the scene of the setting sun with the dying sunlight.

    It looks like as if something, some kind of unspeakably malignant weapon, has landed in a cruel moment, and destroyed this city in an instant. THey can see countless collapsed buildings and buried homes. They can see the tilted, rickety bones of the Ferris wheel not far away.

    And there is only silence.

    Sometimes, a few silhouettes pass through the murk, turning around the cracked roads of the corner on hunched backs, and disappearing into the dust as soon as they appeared.

    The Baldie takes a deep breath, trying his best to ignore the Collector’s uncanny smile behind him.

    He says, “we’ll have to explore this place, split into groups.”

    On the stream, though, the comments are all going “cannon fodder.”

    Everyone knows that in these Escape-type things, the team should always stick together. However, this Baldie, who basically just assumed leadership without protest, is suggesting they split up?

    Xü Beijin speaks up for him, though, “this is too big of a Nightmare. If they have to explore it together, they would waste a lot of time.”

    This is also what Mu Jiashi thought.

    He looks around him, and notices that, a bit further back behind where they’re standing, the smog is so unnaturally thick in particular they cannot see a thing at all.

    Does this mean that they cannot leave this part of the area?

    Meanwhile, the rest of the Missiontakers have agreed or, at least, not opposed Baldie’s suggestion. Mu Jiashi himself nods nonchalantly.

    Baldie seems vaguely satisfied that everyone has agreed and he seems to have an unchallenged leadership. So he tells everyone part of what he knows, “this is me and my bro’s second time entering this Nightmare.”

    The rest of the Missiontakers’ interests are piqued. Even the Collector blinks his eyes and look at him curiously.

    Baldie’s ‘bro’ is referring to the Missiontaker with massive, tattooed biceps besides him, though they clearly do not look alike outside of their physique, which suggests they are definitely not actual brothers.

    Baldie’s gaze sweeps across every Missiontaker; it seems he is trying to affirm his own leadership role.

    Mu Jiashi still looks as dejected as ever, allowing Baldie to gaze without so much as a flinch, as his mind is preoccupied thinking about his last Nightmare, where he also met another Missiontaker who entered the Nightmare a second time.

    Compared to Baldie’s talking about it upfront, though, that person was much more selfish and even hypocritical.

    That said… there have been many repeating people in Nightmares, huh?

    As soon as that thought strikes Mu Jiashi’s mind, he has already worked out the reason.

    Because recently, the mood among the Missiontakers of the bottom floor of the Tower has shifted towards what could even be described as ‘radical.’ Practically everyone and their dog are entering Nightmares nonstop.

    A True End is their ticket out of the bottom floor, of course, but even a Bad End or a Normal End wouldn’t discourage them any. Instead, they try their best once again and enter the same Nightmare immediately the next night.

    Unless they suffer several defeats in a row and it becomes risky enough for that repeatedly restarted Nightmare to change unpredictably, they would continue challenging the same Nightmare without switching over to another one.

    Ultimately, it is, of course, mainly because the more they enter a Nightmare, the more information they have and the more likely they can achieve a True End.

    Savescumming really is the best.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    I know the cut-off point is slightly awkward, but there isn't a better one back up or further in, I think. Anyway, I'll word tomorrow's beginning carefully so you don't lose track of what's going on.

    boilpoil

    Travis Translation

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