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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Lin Qin did not go deal with the ex-decadents that other Missiontaker mentioned the other day, because who knows if it’s really true? Are those people really planning to do something with Xü Beijin’s Nightmare?

    Although he had no such intentions, some kind of rumour about it seems to have spread out after the meeting. Those people apparently concluded that Lin Qin was going after them.

    So soon enough, some were anxious enough to invite Lin Qin in for a talk. Their talk is hosted at this empty house that Lin Qin is entering right now.

    What is unexpected for him is that, the leader of these Missiontakers present, is Jiang Shuangmei, who he only just met in the Nightmare not long ago.

    Was it this woman who managed to gather the ex-decadents under one banner…?

    The moment Lin Qin is inside, before he could say anything, Jiang Shuangmei speaks up first.

    “Dalao, I arranged for this meeting in order to clarify one thing to you clearly,” Jiang Shuangmei takes a deep breath, and says, “knowing that you like Xü Beijin…”

    Lin Qin is stupefied.

    He was listening half-heartedly at what Jiang Shuangmei wanted to say, but here, he is suddenly astonished.

    … Wait.

    What?

    He likes Xü Beijin?

    Why did he not know that?

    Lin Qin looks at Jiang Shuangmei like looking at a member of the intellectually challenged, as he says, “how did you know I like Xü Beijin?” Then he pauses, as he realises the problem with his wording, and adds, “I mean…”

    Jiang Shuangmei immediately sighs in relief when Lin Qin ‘admitted’ the fact, and quickly says, “we promise that, because we know you like him, we definitely won’t be bothering him, or spy on your private lives. Definitely.”

    Lin Qin “…”

    Yes, that is exactly what he asks of everyone, but why does this logic seem terribly iffy to him…?

    … Wait, so, like, on what basis is Jiang Shuangmei convinced that he likes Xü Beijin in the first place?!

    Lin Qin, furrowing his brows, asks, “what I mean is, what is it that made you think I like Xü Beijin? How did you come to that conclusion?”

    Though thinking about it some more, the meaning still feels off; it is still failing to imply that he did not, in fact, like Xü Beijin… He’s confused.

    Jiang Shuangmei thinks about the young man’s words for a moment before a light bulb goes off in her head. She gets it!

    Dalao Lin Qin’s feelings must still have been a secret right now! He must have thought he hid it so well that it couldn’t have been discovered! He’s feeling unhappy because she just spilled the beans!

    Jiang Shuangmei is also dissing inside, that with how obviously he’s making it all look by warning basically the entire power structure of the bottom floor, and he still thinks he has it under wraps?

    Not that she dares to frustrate him even further, and so just quickly tells Lin Qin the information she knows with this half-probing, half-ingratiating attitude.

    She leaves out the involvement of Muscular and ‘The Devil’s Mask’ while telling him about everything she has seen within thus far, with a healthy dose of rumours she’s heard sprinkled in.

    While it’s a total lie how she got these information, but she is confident everything she said was what Lin Qin did so far, action for action, without a shred of doubt!

    After hearing Jiang Shuangmei’s explanation, Lin Qin is in a daze.

    Giving presents without expecting anything in return, trying to learn about his likes and preferences, involving himself in his life, worrying about angering the person and causing him to dislike him, spending free time with him, feeling an inexplicable joy when meeting and seeing the person…

    So, this is ‘like’?

    Lin Qin falls silent

    Like, or more generally, romance, is a topic far too complex and mysterious for Lin Qin’s simple worldview. He has never considered it, even though in the Tower, matters related to love and romance have become completely open, straightforward, and even cold.

    He has never considered if he ‘liked’ a person, just like he has never considered his missing memories, or felt pity about it. Nor has he ever thought about, if it was possible to remember his past.

    His life, only contains the present.

    But, Xü Beijin…?

    Xü Beijin has brought something different into him. He is like the only source of brightness inside his life that is pitch black, like an abyss. He lit up his world, somehow, although Lin Qin’s first reaction to that was feeling irritated at how sudden and blinding it was.

    So he wanted to snuff the light out when he saw it, just like no OCD patient can stay calm seeing a sentence like ‘it’s so simple to endlessly frustrate an OCD patient, isn’t that right.’

    The most fundamental reason he wanted to have a brawl with Xü Beijin is that, for him, besides actual, physical conflict in a fight, he cannot come up with any other way to make the light in his life go away.

    He was… frightened. Anxious. He felt instinctively that Xü Beijin’s existence was going to change something of him. Whether it was his life, or his soul. Something about this mysterious man… That something, frightens him.

    That is why he desperately wanted to fight with Xü Beijin.

    … Since when did that change, he wonders?

    Was it when he knew that Xü Beijin liked drinks, and gave him drinks of his own volition?
    Was it when he visited Xü Beijin’s bookstore of his own volition?
    Was it… when he invited himself into Xü Beijin’s lonely, still, tedious lifestyle?

    Xü Beijin, in turn, has invited himself into Lin Qin’s own lifestyle as well.

    What was Lin Qin’s daily life like?

    Perhaps it was even less meaningful than Xü Beijin’s. He spends even more time blanking out than Xü Beijin; he has told people he isn’t interested in Nightmares, but, besides entering Nightmares, he had nothing else to do in the Tower.

    The whole stuffiness of it may be the reason why he sometimes throws temper tantrums like some mad dog.

    Ever since he came to know Xü Beijin, though, his temper has improved for the better. The only time he felt like intervening in a Nightmare, was even because he couldn’t wait to visit Xü Beijin again.

    … Is this, ‘like’?

    Lin Qin does not know. He searches fruitlessly in his vast, empty mind, but there is no explanation he can come up with. Therefore, he forgoes that path, and instead makes an analysis based on what Jiang Shuangmei said.

    Giving presents without expecting returns, learning what his preferences are──He wanted to pinpoint a possible course for Xü Beijin to agree to fighting with him;
    Inviting himself into his daily life──Ditto;
    Worrying that he will be angry or dislike him──Ditto;
    Feeling joy when seeing him──He is looking forward to Xü Beijin agreeing to fight with him.
    Spending free time with him──…

    Spending free time with Xü Beijin…

    His smooth analysis comes to a sudden halt. Lin Qin’s brain, like cogs out of step with each other, stops, as it keeps repeating this sentence on loop.

    … Why did he visit Xü Beijin? Even if it was only for giving presents to Xü Beijin, why would he stay in the bookstore, spending the whole day there afterwards?

    Lin Qin thinks for a really, really long time, long enough that Jiang Shuangmei is feeling anxious, until he finally realises, that is because, when he is by Xü Beijin’s side, he does not feel bored anymore.

    … Is this, ‘like’?

    He doesn’t understand.

    There are a lot of things Lin Qin does not understand. His great physical prowess allows him to do as he pleases, to ignore all the things he cannot understand or comprehend; however, this powerful cheat he has been blessed with, no longer seems useful, when it comes to Xü Beijin.

    He is unable to ignore the problem like usual either. He feels like he has to get to the bottom of this.

    That said, he is likely not going to find an answer here for now.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    Well, trying to quantify love is quite jarring, but I guess it is understandable if it is Lin Qin. Anyway, obligatory ‘ah, spring is in the air~’

    boilpoil

    Travis Translation

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