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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    The appearance of Lin Qin here isn’t only surprising to Fei, but also, Jiang Shuangmei, although she is currently employing another face, having used the Trick card ‘The Devil’s Mask.’

    She’s not planning to commit any evil, so the card will only have exactly two uses for her. She knows this, but because she deeply loathes the card, she doesn’t care.

    She actually came to the Nightmare to both look for the supposed ‘truth,’ and also to possibly find a path forward for both herself and her current companions.

    Because of the importance of these objectives, to be on the safe side, she chose to use this utility card.

    With one use gone, there is still one left as well. She’ll stow it away for when it is really necessary in the future.

    Jiang Shuangmei was actually planning on using the face of the original owner of this card, Muscular, but just in case, she decides to come up with a new look.

    When she’s now here in the Nightmare, she can’t help but applaud herself for her foresight.

    Who’d have thought that both Lin Qin and Shen Yünjü would be here?

    Lin Qin hasn’t been frequenting Nightmares lately, and by lately, she means over a month. Nobody who’s anybody has seen Lin Qin in Nightmares for over a month now; as for Shen Yünjü…

    Although they failed to achieve a True End in the Nightmare they met, but after this long time, with even the lively festival where Missiontakers scrambled to get to a higher floor already over, she’s surprised Shen Yünjü is still here.

    Was he really unlucky? Or did he… choose to stay?

    Jiang Shuangmei is aware of Missiontakers who choose to stay on the bottom floor of the Tower deliberately.

    A long, long time ago, when the Jiang sisters were still their decadent, partying selves, they’d hear about these people talking about a ‘long, long time ago.’

    They’d say, that when the Missiontakers were just moved into the Tower, nobody had any idea what was going on. While at first, some dashed right for the higher floors, but some people stayed from the very beginning.

    They might even go up a floor or two over time, but they will eventually return to the bottom floor.

    “Why?” Asked the largely drunk Jiang Shuangmei.

    “Cuz… haha, you know, how could a building’s exit, be built on a higher floor?”

    Jiang Shuangmei largely treated this as a drunken episode, all the way until very recently, when she still didn’t think much of it, even when she knew about all these Missiontakers who have chosen to stay on the bottom floor.

    It is blatantly obvious that while the Tower is a building, but this is inside of a game, and not reality. Why would it be weird if a game has installed doors wherever?

    However…

    Soon after those rumours emerged, Jiang Shuangmei has come to make a U-turn on her judgement. She looked at that drunken conversation anew, and tried to remember the tone of the Missiontaker who said it. In the end, she decided to try her luck in this Nightmare.

    Of course, she didn’t expect to meet acquaintances here.

    Never mind Shen Yünjü, but Lin Qin being here forces her to recall her previous meeting with him, and the implications that the meeting brought.

    … The Nightmare of the bookstore owner.

    To be honest, many a Missiontaker are scheming to get into that Nightmare, but Lin Qin’s reputation, and Xü Beijin’s own quirk of never sleeping, and also, the abundance of rumours distracting the Missiontakers as of late, has kept attention away from Xü Beijin’s Nightmare for now.

    It is definitely no long term solution, though.

    Of course, if this Nightmare turned out to be the one, and people could leave the Tower, then never mind; but if not, then the ever-disappointed, desperate Missiontakers, might finally lay their eyes back on their failure several years back.

    Lin Qin may be powerful, but is he able to stand alone against every single Missiontaker of the bottom floor?

    So, Xü Beijin is in for trouble, no matter what.

    Several years ago, he managed to shock and awe the Missiontakers, but now, it is different.

    If these Missiontakers of the current bottom floor are really unable to enter Xü Beijin’s Nightmare, they might actually start going to drastic, self-destructive means. Even if they cannot force Xü Beijin’s hand, they will be able to at least disgust him.

    This is the new flame born from the extinguished ashes of that year. These Missiontakers who have been fired up, once again, who knows if they are really drummed up altogether again, or merely… showing terminal lucidity.

    If it is the latter, then all hell breaks loose. Nobody can tell what they might do when all hope is lost.

    Jiang Shuangmei is feeling anxious just thinking about it. She never used to care about these things, or even had the mind to notice these things. Yet, when her sister departed, she realised, she had to care, she had to be mindful, she had to analyse.

    There was a while when she was agonising in distress, but then finally, it dawned on her that, after losing her sister’s guardianship, nobody cared for her sadness anymore. If she wanted to live carrying her sister’s legacy, then she has to suck it up and steel herself.

    … Unless she wants to go back and join the decadent revellers in their orgies.

    But, she has made a promise to her older sister.

    Coincidentally, that was also the time when the majority of the indulgent Missiontakers decided to forgo their partying lifestyle and return to Nightmares, and return to the Tower-climbing. Jiang Shuangmei met a lot of old acquaintances of Missiontakers who all asked about Jiang Shuangjie and then offered their laments and condolences.

    They are aware that the Jiang sisters actually has quite the stock of utility cards saved up over their earlier years, which must now all belong to Jiang Shuangmei after Jiang Shuangjie died. Does this younger sister actually have the agency to keep it all to herself, though?

    In any case, soon enough, a group of ex-decadents formed around Jiang Shuangmei.

    Jiang Shuangmei can easily tell their true intentions, though her older sister’s departure, besides washing away her childish façade, seems to have also caused a tendency in her to mimic, or even ‘become’ her older sister.

    In a short time, she picked out some reliable companions among the group, and formed an ‘inner circle.’

    She stayed put and merely observed while many of those Missiontakers gathered, impatient, left. Soon enough, the bottom floor’s makeup has already changed.

    Even the Necessities Merchants are no longer the ones Jiang Shuangmei knew.

    For that bookstore owner of Lin Qin’s, this is perhaps fortunate, because this means many of those now on the bottom floor would have never heard of or not care much for his Nightmare; on the other hand, Lin Qin’s warning from before the demographic shift has largely had its effects undone.

    Though now, Jiang Shuangmei knows she is clearly digressing.

    Why is she thinking so much for her casual acquaintances?

    Then she jokingly comes up with an explanation──Eh, you know, she did have half a foot stuck in the romance between the dalao Lin Qin and the bookstore owner, right?

    Jiang Shuangmei has been pretty stressed lately, so she can’t help but want to lighten her mood whenever she can.

    She sneaks a glance over at Lin Qin, wondering nosily how their relationship has been going recently.

    After all that thought that’s crossed her mind, she finally turns to look at the other people, specifically the people she doesn’t know.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    Catching up with Jiang Shuangmei over here. She’s had to mature after what happened earlier, but is now (hopefully) more competent.

    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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