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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Baldie and Biceps are outside of the building now. The former glances back and murmurs, “they’ll see if they walk over like this…”

    Then, he drags Biceps with him towards the south, ensuring that when the rest of the Missiontakers are coming, they’ll see them, but not that there is someone sitting behind the counter in the bookstore.

    About five minutes later, Fei and Wu Jian are here. After that, though, Mu Jiashi and Collector would not show up for a long time, even though they should have had to walk less than the man and the woman there.

    A while later, finally, a yell, and a “hey! Look what we found here!”

    It is Collector. Fei and Wu Jian are clearly spooked, while Baldie and Biceps look each other in the eye, knitting their brows almost in sync.

    The direction…

    Walking over, just as they expected, Mu Jiashi and his erstwhile companion have found the entrance to the abandoned supermarket.

    This is a rather large store, and its first floor used to sell daily goods, clothes and electronics, while the second floor contained a market for fresh produce and other foods.

    After the building collapsed, the merchandise trapped down under the first floor will probably forever stay buried unless large excavation equipment is secured. Food that was on the second floor, however, is scattered everywhere.

    As long as the survivors could move the pieces of rubble over, they could find what they seek.

    Collector is holding a bag of cookies, ecstatic, smiling and saying, “look, I got a bag of cookies already,” then he looks at the four other Missiontakers present, asking, “you must also be hungry, right?”

    They nod frankly.

    So, they fan out across the area, looking for their own food. They end up skipping over the important information sharing that they should have done as soon as they met up.

    Besides them, many other survivors are here looking for treasure. Not just food, either, but anything valuable they could possibly exchange away at the marketplaces.

    Though it’s kind of hard for them to observe the survivors. Again, they seem to be silhouettes that merely pop in and out of view every so often.

    Baldie and Biceps are moving together. Biceps sounds frustrated as he complains, “that guy… he was doing it on purpose, wasn’t he?”

    Mu Jiashi isn’t even anywhere to be seen, possibly just looking for food nearby. Collector called them over, though, looking like he’s happy to share, but really…

    Who knows.

    Could Biceps and Baldie, who have been in this Nightmare before, not know about this large supermarket here? They had to, but they did not tell everyone else.

    So they are sure the male and female pair are already suspecting them.

    Biceps feels uneasy and also irritated at the fact. He still wants to say something, but Baldie picks up a bag of candy from the ground, tosses it in the air, and says, “they don’t trust us, nor do we trust them.”

    Biceps looks hesitant, not understanding what Baldie is getting at.

    Baldie rolls his eyes at nothing in particular, saying, “I mean, we don’t have to care, besides…” He kicks the broken brick near his feet, and adds, “food, huh?”

    Biceps finally understands.

    Meanwhile, Wu Jian has leaned over to move a large piece of rubble over. His face is squeezed a tomato red, with veins bursting on his forehead, until finally, he moves the heavy stone over, only to find that, disappointingly, it is an empty plastic bag underneath.

    Fei, watching him all along, just says, “you can stop now.”

    “What?”

    “We’re not really scavengers. The Server could not have had us enter this Nightmare only to sift through rubbish and look for food, doing all the post-apocalyptic survival stuff.”

    Wu Jian also gets it now.

    They, the ‘conspiracists,’ while having a rather ‘intriguing’ view of the state of the world, still must have exceptionally fluid thought processes and even overly imaginative minds to have come to those views.

    Mu Jian is muttering, “the Server wouldn’t set us up on a Sisyphean task on purpose… Which means, there must be a reliable source of food.”

    Some other survivors──NPCs, basically──are holding something in their laps, possibly food, as they skirt by warily.

    Wu Jian spots them, and thus asks, “are we to rob food from the survivors?”

    “Possibly,” Fei says, “but don’t forget about the key to this Nightmare. What use is there in just accruing food? Bringing food with you is meaningless if you can always just come back to this area to dig up some more food.”

    Wu Jian also sighs and says, holding his head, “that’s right, food has to be eaten immediately too, or it’ll be forgott…”

    He suddenly realises what he is saying and shuts up to glance around. Nobody seems to have taken notice, and he sighs in relief.

    Fei makes a cold chuckle to taunt the man mercilessly, “that was your second slip-up of the day.”

    Wu Jian knows how strict Fei can be, and just owns up to his mistake with this pitiful expression, saying, “I’ll just keep my mouth shut as much as possible. You do the talking.”

    He’s really careless with words; he can’t be expected to keep secrets.

    Before Fei and Wu Jian entered this Nightmare, they have thoroughly prepared. They might not know the grounds of this Nightmare as well as Baldie and Biceps, but regarding its implications and even possible Endings, they are certainly in the lead.

    Because, once, they have garnered information on this Nightmare from another Missiontaker who claims to have entered this Nightmare.

    In fact, that Missiontaker’s assemblage performed better than Baldie and Biceps’, because they managed a Normal End, and have told Fei and Wu Jian about the core of this Nightmare. It is unfortunate that those people still failed to achieve a True End.

    With the recent madness enveloping the Tower, countless Missiontakers are burrowing through Nightmares like moles; this Nightmare being one of those frequented.

    The fact is, this Nightmare’s True End has never been achieved, even including Missiontakers who have gone through this over and over again before having to give up in shame and choose some other Nightmare.

    The apparent impossibility of this Nightmare naturally causes some of those Missiontakers who have since succeeded in ascending to higher floors to talk of this Nightmare as a topic du jour or even self-derision. They dramatically lay out elements of this ‘unique’ Nightmare.

    An apocalypse. Endless expanse of ruins. A lone, tall building. A fog. ‘Impurities’…

    Survivors. Food scarcity. Amnesia. Even, a bookstore…

    This is a Nightmare of many clues. Many complex, unrelated clues. In this Nightmare, no matter how far the Missiontakers got, they only achieved a Normal End at best.

    Rumours abound in the upper floors about this Nightmare, even elevating it to the stuff of oral legends. Just like how once Xü Beijin’s Nightmare fanned a fanatic fervour, this Nightmare has also attracted much infamy.

    They’re all curious about the True End of this Nightmare.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    So the Nightmare, quite an uncannily suggestive one, if you catch my drift, has apparently never been conquered before. Emphasis on apparently. Do stay tuned for more exposition.

    boilpoil

    Travis Translation

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