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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Countless Missiontakers are head over heels for the possibility of the Ultimate Nightmare, but no one has claimed that they have actually found it.

    In fact, the madness surrounding the bookstore owner’s Nightmare on the bottom floor in the past, may have partly been fuelled by the Missiontakers’ desire for the Ultimate Nightmare.

    Of course they want out of the Tower, regardless of whether they are Missiontakers or even… Actors. Perhaps, that chaos back then might even have involved Tower residents as Acted by Actors, who were also curious about whether Xü Beijin’s Nightmare might hold any secrets.

    A few years have passed since then, and while there might still be restless bravado in the dark wishing for Xü Beijin’s Nightmare, but at least, on the surface, there is not. Especially after Lin Qin has made it clear he is taking Xü Beijin under his protective wing.

    Of course, some people are also guessing at their relationship, even adding some coloured thoughts into their imagination shamelessly. It has to be said, though, that the reputation of the crownless King of the bottom floor is still effective.

    So what Xü Beijin was fearing all along has not come to pass.

    That said, besides Lin Qin’s own influence, the sudden prominence of this Nightmare also helped alleviate the pressure from Xü Beijin some, as some people are suspecting this Nightmare of being the Ultimate Nightmare.

    Look, an apocalypse, some survivors, endless ruins, and a fog that surrounds it all… All the symbolism and scenes are there, in eerie correspondence with the Tower itself. Add to that, the loss of memory and even the fact that death does not lead to the Nightmare restarting, it is all the more suspicious!

    The first group of Missiontakers who failed to ascend through this Nightmare and ended up going up via other Nightmares, dressed these facts up in dramatic words, and retold their stories.

    Now, the situation has spiralled completely out of hand, just like how Xü Beijin’s Nightmare did it all those years back.

    It is like you have thrown a piece of floating log to all those mad, desperate, hopelessly struggling swimmers.

    Would it be useful? Would it just sink outright?

    Nobody knows.

    But these Missiontakers, with no other way out, will never just let the floating log pass.

    For example, just counting the ones Fei and Wu Jian know about, besides them, many others have also descended the Tower in search of this Nightmare. At least… they’ll try.

    Those people were here earlier than Fei and Wu Jian, too, because the rumour still took time to climb the Tower, and they needed time to descend from as high that floor was that they were at.

    So in summary, while the Missiontakers of the bottom floor are trying desperately to go up the floors because of that rumour of ‘someone having escaped the Tower,’ the Missiontakers of the higher floor are also abandoning everything they’ve achieved to fall through the floors for the rumour that ‘the Ultimate Nightmare has appeared on the bottom floor.’

    Basically, it’s a good tale about the dangers of unsubstantiated rumours.

    Though whether these rumours are actually unsubstantiated or the truth, nobody knows.

    The same way that, even for the secret organisation behind Fei and Wu Jian, who started those conspiracies──Ok, deductions──They could not have imagined that one of those schools of thoughts they had has actually become an unspoken tenet in the Missiontakers’ minds.

    The one about… the Ultimate Nightmare.

    In fact, Fei and Wu Jian didn’t even actually come here for the ‘Ultimate Nightmare’ crap.

    Because they weren’t expecting at all that that almost jokingly unrealistic proposal of there being an Ultimate Nightmare would actually be the most widely accepted conspiracy among the Missiontakers, and is now fuelling the crazed wave of them abandoning everything they built up in the upper floors to come back down to the bottom floor.

    It only makes one wonder if the unrest a few years back that involved Xü Beijin and his Nightmare might have actually involved desperate Missiontakers from the upper floors as well.

    Mu Jiashi once told Xü Beijin, that the upper floors of the Tower, are somewhere even more dead and lifeless than the bottom floor of the Tower.

    However, picture this – the Missiontakers who really have lost all semblance of positivity, if they had their life reignited, for one last straw, one final, ultimate gamble, one last chance to free themselves, then, the results might actually be quite terrifying as well.

    At least, that is what Fei is worrying about.

    All these thoughts swirl about inside her head, until time slowly passes, until…

    The rest of the Missiontakers, all five of them have returned to the lobby of the building.

    There are thirteen storeys, so it took a while to investigate, but the office building was built with largely open office space, and not too much time was wasted looking at every nook and cranny.

    It was perhaps a quarter of an hour after they started searching, and the reassembled Missiontakers all shake their heads.

    No one has found the murderer inside the building.

    Baldie’s eyes widen in slight disbelief, the effect being rather ominous given the bloodshot state of his eyes, as he says exasperatedly, “but all of us saw someone behind that, and that no one has left the building!”

    “True,” even though they have not found any useful clues, Collector’s smile isn’t at all affected. He continues, “or, perhaps, someone found them, but is keeping it secret?”

    Baldie is visibly irate.

    He knows what Collector means exactly──He’s mocking him for having kept information from them earlier.

    As expected of someone who can double standard without blinking an eye, he says without hesitation, “I can guarantee that I found nothing!”

    Biceps adds, “me neither.”

    Collector just goes “ho, I don’t really mean that,” then he raises his chin to say, “look who’s there.”

    So, Fei, who has walked over to meet up with them, and the rest of the Missiontakers, all turn to look, through the glass door, at the person behind the bookstore counter──Xü Beijin, with a poker face.

    Xü Beijin “…”

    He might really, ever so slightly──be frustrated right now.

    … As the Heavens are his witness, other than climbing up to the rooftop at the beginning of the Nightmare, he really, never, ever, left his bookstore after that!

    Though clearly, that does not allay any suspicion of him from the Missiontakers.

    They did see someone push another person off the building on the rooftop. They did not see anyone walk out of the building. They did not find any single other person in the building, besides themselves…
    And Xü Beijin.

    Before the Missiontakers are even in front of Xü Beijin to question him, Xü Beijin is already out of excuses.

    … Because the streaming system didn’t have any view for the locations in the building outside of the stairwell, the rooftop and the bookstore, so he couldn’t even try to look for that murderer himself…

    No, wait!

    That can’t be it!

    Xü Beijin suddenly realises something.

    The streaming system is independent of all this, basing itself, in fact, on the settings of the game. In other words, this is actually a potential way of ‘cheating’ by checking the internal files of the game itself.

    So basically, only the scenes that the streaming system offers are meaningful to the Nightmare. Where the stream offers no scene, can only mean that they are useless background set pieces.

    Of course, for a game as realistic as ‘Escape,’ the Server would naturally set the scenes as realistically as possible, allowing the Missiontakers to explore the map as they please, meaning that, the Missiontakers wouldn’t actually know which scenes are worth exploring. They would visit everywhere, of course, but through the stream system, Xü Beijin can know.

    While in the building, there are only three scenes that are worth exploring…

    Xü Beijin falls into thought.

    Does this mean──That the murderer, really isn’t anywhere to be found in the building anymore?


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This chapter is a bit of a mess, but basically, there is apparently tacit understanding that 'Escape' contains a boss level dubbed the 'Ultimate Nightmare,' which Fei and Wu Jian suspect to be this one; the murderer is nowhere to be found, so naturally, Xü Beijin is suspected; Xü Beijin himself realises that only scenes of value are possible to select in the stream, so that means the murderer really is nowhere to be found.

    boilpoil

    Travis Translation

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