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    Being an Extra Actor in an Escape Game

    Vol. 4 Chapter 66.1


    A Book

    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Mu Jiashi is staring at the piece of paper in front of him with a ghastly expression.

    And ghastly is the appropriate word, because what is on the paper might as well have been written by ghosts; a jumbled mess of strokes, numbers and symbols, plus traces of erasing and scratching and correcting.

    Yet, he knows full well that just a few seconds before, they were still perfectly legible words.

    “How in the world…”

    He murmurs, before looking back at the three other Missiontakers.

    Neither Baldie nor Biceps show much of a reaction, so Mu Jiashi realises that the two of them may have known in the very beginning, and stayed quiet while watching them look for pen and paper.

    They knew it was an exercise in futility.

    It is extremely easy to come up with the solution of recording clues down with pen and paper when Missiontakers realise they would lose memories in this Nightmare, especially when they’ve found pens in the grocer’s earlier.

    As soon as they tried, though, they’ll realise that pen and paper are objects rendered unusable in this Nightmare. Clues cannot be written down.

    This Nightmare seems to be doing all it possibly can to force them to forget about the clues and information after they acquire them… They gain something, and they lose it soon enough. It feels like some kind of sick joke.

    And then… Mu Jiashi turns towards Wu Jian, and starts murmuring, perhaps in an attempt to communicate, “if pen and paper cannot be used, then why are there pen and paper in the first place? Is it some kind of implication?”

    Hearing that, Wu Jian tries to suggest something, “could it… not just be some useless objects?”

    Nightmares contain background objects a lot. It’s unfathomable if every single thing in a Nightmare is actually implying something, right?

    Just like this broken piece of brick lying amongst the ruins. What meaning could it even possibly hold?

    Mu Jiashi is silent as he looks back down at the strange strokes on the paper. He’s already forgotten what actual characters he wrote down already, only remembering this string of nonsense in its place.

    … No. It must have some meaning.

    If he is able to write normally, then that would actually have proven to be ‘normal’ background set pieces; when what you write turn into illegible scribbles, that must necessarily mean that pen and paper are behaving abnormally in this Nightmare.

    But, why?

    Countless questions circulate through Mu Jiashi’s mind——Why did the Nightmare not restart when someone fell down the building to his death? Why do they keep forgetting things over time in this Nightmare? Why would things you write down turn awry?

    Pen, and paper…

    He can’t help but suddenly recall the book Lin Qin was holding the day he went to Xü Beijin’s bookstore; and also, that same day, when turning a certain corner in the Tower, a Tower resident who is chuckling and lying down on the floor holding a pen tripped him over…

    Could those be related to this Nightmare?

    The logic is extremely strained here, but there is a common theme to all these scenes here, that is tying them together somehow.

    Deep in thought, he is then interrupted by Wu Jian.

    “Um…”

    Mu Jiashi snaps back to reality and turns towards him.

    The man says with this bitter expression, “do you… feel hungry?” He rubs his tummy to say, “I’m so hungry.”

    Mu Jiashi asks him almost by reflex, “we just ate half an hour ago; you’re hungry again?”

    Wu Jian immediately retorts with a question, “wait what? We ate something half an hour ago?!”

    The two of them look at each other, baffled, and so they turn towards Baldie and Biceps.

    Baldie stays silent, but Biceps answers, “we did.”

    Wu Jian still seems doubtful, saying, “but I really am hungry…” He tries to convince others with this question, “if I’ve already eaten half an hour ago, how could I still be hungry right now?”

    Mu Jiashi furrows his brows deeply, saying, “if you forgot you’ve already eaten, then you’ll even forget that you’re full——You’d feel hunger once again…”

    What in the world? This is already beyond a sick joke, this Nightmare.

    Baldie, irritated, reminds them, “those people are in the building already, we have to go after them!”

    They were actually tailing the survivors escorting Fei and Collector. They are already near the building.

    So all four of them keep going, while along the way, they do a memory check.

    Wu Jian does his best to scour his memories and lays out all their actions thus far, “we started from the beginning, Fei and I headed south, and then east, and then north to the building to meet up with you all.
    We exchanged information, and then decided to investigate the amusement park. We got the pen and paper in one team, while Fei and that other guy was caught in the other team. So we’re following after them…”

    Wu Jian’s voice is trailing off by this point. He looks hesitantly at the Missiontakers, asking, “uh, is there something wrong with my memories?”

    Something wrong?

    Mu Jiashi answers inside, most things are wrong, in the sense that they’re gone.

    Clearly, Wu Jian has already forgotten most of their experiences here thus far.

    The man that ventured into the fog; their search of the Treasure Trove; the man that fell off the building; their conversation with the bookstore owner; how they ate a little something before going to the amusement park… He’s forgotten all of them.

    All he still remembered, is that they have shared and analysed information underneath the building, before deciding to head to the amusement park, and found pen and paper as they did.

    The scariest thing still, is that Wu Jian does not seem to feel at all how his memories are jarring. He felt that all they did before was the same as what he just told. It was uneventful, simple, straightforward.

    And because Wu Jian believes wholeheartedly that this is the sequence of what happened, so after seeing the rest of the Missiontakers’ uncomfortable looks, he is equally confused.

    Without Fei here to remind him, he would not have ever realised he ever lost memories in the first place, too.

    Mu Jiashi, after a brief silence, says, “one and a half hours…”

    He has not yet forgotten anything.

    Complementary to what Wu Jian has said, he is able to fill in all the gaps of their experiences thus far in the Nightmare… At least, he thinks that is the case. He is also unable to tell if he might have forgotten anything.

    It is now about one and a half hours since the Nightmare began, and during which, Wu Jian and Collector have already lost some of their memories.

    It seems reasonable to say that, in the beginning of the Nightmare, amnesia does not occur to every person present.

    However… As the Nightmare continues on, crumbling, they might all end up forgetting everything… How are they even supposed to face this Nightmare then?

    A blind redo? While the situation in the Nightmare has already deteriorated to a dangerous degree?

    … In that sense, the first run of this Nightmare is actually their safest – they must also acquire all the necessary information during this time.

    Otherwise…

    Mu Jiashi is deeply worried.

    Just like the Nightmare that he got a True End from earlier, that first Nightmare since he returned to the bottom floor, this is one of those Nightmares where, if one or two key piece of information are missed as it develops and crumbles, the situation would immediately turn south, direly.

    Mu Jiashi takes a deep breath.

    Before entering the building, he stops, and looks at Baldie and Biceps.

    All four of them are reflected in the window of the bookstore – it looks just like a standoff. Wu Jian seems nonplussed by the development, while Mu Jiashi has a stern expression. Biceps looks like he has something to say, but Baldie remains silent.

    Mu Jiashi calmly says, “by this point, shouldn’t you be telling us everything you’ve kept to yourself from us?”

    Biceps also looks at Baldie, with a slightly derisive gaze, that reads, ‘see, keeping stuff did us no favours.’

    Either tell it all, or tell nothing.

    Tell half, and the rest of the Missiontakers will never trust them once it is exposed.

    They might forget, sure, but before they do, the situation could already have devolved to breaking point.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    Having reread this part, I realise there's actually a pretty massive hint dropped here as to the nature of the Nightmare, if you can spot it. Anyway, here, not much significant events have happened, other than Wu Jian's amnesia growing more severe over time.

    boilpoil

    This should go without saying, but considering the nature of this novel, please think twice before posting a comment on any chapter in order to avoid spoiling any possible future plot points or twists from later chapters.

    Travis Translation

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