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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    The Missiontakers assembled on the plaza are maintaining an absolute silence. This allows Mu Jiashi to hear what Black Robe is saying.

    Ignoring the unimportant, almost brainwash-like parts regarding this cult that Xü Beijin already summarised earlier, he is focusing on how the crowd plans to deal with these outsiders.

    If it ended up more peaceful than he thought, then the Nightmare’s key might actually lie on them.

    If not, for example, a direct execution… then perhaps, these people in the amusement park, are only serving as the obstruction to solving the Nightmare, like serial killers and whatnot in other Nightmares.

    This is the Nightmare, so death results in the Nightmare restarting. So if these people would kill them outright, then it’s hard to distinguish if they play any roles in the Nightmare in the first place.

    That said…

    Mu Jiashi suddenly remembers the fact that in this Nightmare, death does not bring restart.

    He recalls the person falling to his death from the rooftop, and a chill seeps through his spine.

    To this point, they are still trying to work out why there are all these exceptions to the rules in this Nightmare.

    Not just them, but all the Missiontakers that have come before them have all failed, otherwise, this Nightmare wouldn’t have been suspected to be the Ultimate Nightmare anyway.

    Mu Jiashi didn’t actually buy that saying at first, because the rumour goes that the Ultimate Nightmare allows an exit from the Tower, but, in the other rumour that ‘someone has left the Tower,’ no ‘Ultimate Nightmare’ was mentioned at all.

    Does the Ultimate Nightmare really exist? Or… is it just what the desperate, the greedy, and the opportunistic of the Missiontakers have concocted?

    If you ask Mu Jiashi, who has had to deal with these groups of people a lot, he is naturally suspecting the possibility.

    Perhaps they want to sell their services, perhaps they want to reap some kind of benefit, perhaps they want utility cards to sell better, and then they decided to start this rumour of an ‘Ultimate Nightmare,’ deliberately heating up the markets.

    Since there’s also the rumour of ‘someone has successfully left the Tower’ going around, any sharp-eyed individual can see the profits that lie therein.

    Mu Jiashi is thinking so, but he does not know that, the one who actually proposed the existence of the ‘Ultimate Nightmare’──Or, at least, the first one to say so publicly, is currently standing on top of the platform of the fountain, being watched by a crowd of survivors.

    … And is also being sentenced by Black Robe.

    Execution!

    Black Robe calls out, “humans have never taken steps to heal the planet; instead, humans are indulging in conflicts with each other, for thousands, tens of thousands of years. There has never been peace. And the Earth──Has had enough!
    We are assembled here, we are living our lives on top of this ruins, because we have to change our lifestyles. We do not want to become Impurities to Earth, therefore we must try all we can to live peacefully, calmly, stably.
    We will coexist with Earth! We will not fall to the apocalypse! We will turn from Impurities, to Treasure! We will be, forever!
    … However, someone is here to disrupt our lifestyles.
    I ask you, what should we do?”

    Black Robe has thrown the question to the crowd, whose chants of ‘execution’ seem to satisfy him.

    Mu Jiashi is furrowing his brows and watching the two Missiontakers onstage intently. Neither seems to be frightened or even the least bit worried.

    Fei just still has that thinking face, while Collector even seem excited to observe what the Missiontakers are doing; he looks like he’s intrigued by the fanaticism.

    For the Missiontakers, this scene before them­­──A cult leader and his faithful. A judgement. Ruins after an apocalypse, etc., are all just elements specific to this Nightmare here, set pieces to enrich the narrative.

    This is just a game. Even though Missiontakers still experience pain and death in the Nightmare, but they still only treat this as a game.

    All that said… There is still an odd feeling in Mu Jiashi’s chest.

    He turns his head to look at Xü Beijin, standing right next to him.

    Xü Beijin looks like he is watching everything going on here, but his gaze is unfocused. From the people, to the things happening, to all the chorus of noises… Nothing seems to be able to leave an impression on his pupils; yet he seems to also already have everything known close to his heart.

    What is he thinking about?

    What are his deep, cold facial expressions trying to signal?

    In this Nightmare, atop this post-apocalyptic ruins, who is he? What kind of past does he hold? What was his life like?

    Mu Jiashi is having a hard time stopping himself from asking.

    Because Xü Beijin is not like any of the other Tower residents who merely look like husks of their former selves. He is almost behaving like a person, other than the fact that he would not go to sleep.

    Even if he does not go to sleep, still, compared to other Tower residents, he looks much more… alive.

    Sometimes, Mu Jiashi couldn’t even imagine that Xü Beijin is actually an in-game NPC, merely code whose courses of action has been pre-programmed.

    If Xü Beijin isn’t ‘alive,’ then what is?

    … What kind of existence, is this game, in the first place?

    Mu Jiashi is now worrying a little.

    That Nightmare… That Nightmare, that led straight to his defeat… That woman in the Nightmare… That sentence. He heard that sentence once again, on the bottom floor, once again.

    ‘I fear so many, yet the only exception, would be death.’

    … What do all this mean?

    Sometimes, Mu Jiashi feels like his darned fate is just watching all of this from the sidelines with interest.

    Well, the only person who is standing by his side right now, is Xü Beijin, though.

    Meanwhile, Xü Beijin’s thoughts are also drifting away. Perhaps what he is thinking about could be said to be similar to Mu Jiashi; also the Tower, but also, something else.

    An apocalypse….

    He is thinking about, the apocalypse.

    This scene playing out in front of him seems to have dug some long-buried memories out from the deepest corner of his mind, those that he wished he would never recall again.

    But he did.

    From the depths of his memory hall, he has rediscovered the memories he treat as trash, as rubbish, as ashes, that he never wanted to remember.

    Memories, about the apocalypse.

    He has once lost himself entirely in those grey, depressing recollections. A very long time passed before he finally chose to forget about it and recover himself; although by recovering himself, he meant quietly hanging out on the bottom floor, rotting along, until he decayed into nothing.

    Almost every Nightmare, he would have stayed exactly where the Server told him to, and quietly, ignorantly spend all his time in solitude.

    Now, though, the situation has changed.

    … Xü Beijin closes his eyes. His face is pale for sure. It is clear to anyone that he is seriously drowsy and exhausted; the fished up memories have temporarily dragged him back into the past.

    He can’t help but think, that these scenes in the Nightmare, are too seriously realistic.

    After the sentencing is over, a few survivors are escorting Fei and Collector out – they are going to immediately execute them.

    Mu Jiashi thought about it, and then says goodbye to Xü Beijin to follow behind them. When he’s nearly out of the amusement park, the three other Missiontakers pop out of nowhere, with Wu Jian exclaiming, “look what we found!”

    Baldie is looking at him, and then looks around the survivors hanging out in groups of two or three, and asks, mystified, “what’s happened? And where’s the other two?”

    Wu Jian also calms down to ask, “yeah, why are you alone?”

    Mu Jiashi explains what happened, and then, while the other three all looked taken aback to different degrees, he says, “let’s follow behind them first.”

    The Nightmare seems to be spiralling out of control.

    And back in the Tower, the situation is rather volatile as well.

    This night, when all of them entered the Nightmare, Lin Qin himself has entered a certain house of the bottom floor.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    Fei and Wu Jian will be executed! Off with their heads! Meanwhile, some perhaps not the subtlest of flags have been raised about Xü Beijin. And Lin Qin is up to something.

    boilpoil

    Travis Translation

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