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    Being an Extra Actor in an Escape Game

    Vol. 5 Chapter 77.1


    Unrequited Feelings

    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    The first question Jiang Shuangmei faces, is which button to press first in elevator Two.

    On the button panel of elevator Two, only three buttons are lit up. They read thirteen and twenty-five, but the most notable one, is certainly, the very well-lit button for ‘one.’

    … Jiang Shuangmei swears she could hear the cacophonous laughter of the demon in her ears the moment she saw the lit button.

    Without a doubt, she is compelled.

    Obviously, she knows that it is nigh impossible this button actually corresponds to the true 1st floor, and in fact, it could be a trap that leads straight to severe danger when the elevator door opens on whatever floor it is.

    However, that is still not enough a deterrent to extinguish Jiang Shuangmei’s restlessness.

    What if it really went to the 1st floor? What if, right?

    See, if you push it down right now, you might be able to leave the horrible Nightmare behind immediately. Leave the labyrinth consisting of mismatched elevators…

    Do it, and she would no longer be viewed with despise and derision by those two Missiontakers from the higher floors. They will acknowledge her wisdom and bravery…

    All the thoughts and even delusions that has flashed through Jiang Shuangmei’s mind when she saw the lit button reading ‘one,’ has corrupted her mind like the most vile and beautiful of fantasies. She is barely a fingertip away from pushing it.

    The moment her hand registers the cold button, however, a great will manages to force her to pull her hand back.

    She takes a deep breath. She is in disbelief that such a thought almost entrenched in her mind as if she was enchanted, possessed in the mind…

    It was some emotional aggregate of arrogance, aloofness, adamant assertiveness and an aggressive audacity. Jiang Shuangmei, who lived──used to live──her whole life under the aegis of her older sister’s protection, and even so who, along with her older sister, were yet always cautious and observantly meticulous. It was a principle that should have been etched in their souls.

    Missiontakers like them, who drifted from floor to floor near the bottom the entire time, would all grow to be quiet and careful.

    So Jiang Shuangmei can conclude, that the rush she was feeling, the inexplicable decision she almost put into action of just pushing the button for ‘one,’ cannot have been her own will.

    … ‘The Devil’s Mask.’

    Just now, Suits mentioned a similar occurrence, regarding the price for using utility cards.

    They more often than not immediately come into play, affecting the personalities of their users in inconspicuous ways, until their psychological profile is unrecognisable. Yes, the price is often mental, although there are also cases where the physical body is affected.

    For example, Ding Yi’s card, which changed her hair to grue in colour.

    The price of the utility cards are often hinted at or even blatantly written as-is in their Descriptions. Whether the Missiontakers are able to keep a mental note of that to identify their own changes in time, though, is entirely dependent on how perceptive the Missiontaker is.

    Jiang Shuangmei has already witnessed the power of this utility card from its former owner. It is a side effect that might occasionally positively influence the situation, instead of being completely random like Mystic’s ability.

    Jiang Shuangmei is now quietly pondering her entire course of action since her entry into the Nightmare, to see if the card might have been affecting her insipidly the whole time.

    For example… Why was she so hung up on how arrogant the Missiontakers from the higher floors have been?

    It’s not like it’s the first time she’s had to work with one!

    Plus, she has also been to a higher floor, even if it was only floor two or three. Even so, there is already a marked disdain in those Missiontakers’ regard for the Missiontakers of the bottom floor, as if their possibly one and only True End is quite the badge of honour that it is not.

    Missiontakers even higher up, when, or if, they do happen to deign paying attention to Missiontakers of the bottom floor, act almost like deities, that are peering down at the ants on the ground and interacting with them.

    It has always been so. As if the number of floors one is on is some kind of sick, material representation of a class system.

    Jiang Shuangmei has already grown numb to it.

    And precisely because she is numb, and knows how this is the norm, that besides the one over-the-top all-encompassing insult from Teen, and that since they can even be described as decidedly average in their attitude towards them, just as she remembered how Missiontakers from higher floors behaved…
    Why did she react so dramatically? Where was that anger in her coming from?

    This Nightmare is important, and it should be her sole focus. She confirmed that to herself before entering the Nightmare.

    So, in conclusion… She has been affected by price of the utility card all along already, without a shred of awareness.

    Immediately, Jiang Shuangmei has thought it through and decided to more frequently reflect on herself, so that she wouldn’t be entirely clueless even while the card is playing her like a fiddle.

    The power of the utility card means nothing when its side effect is as powerful as this, and most importantly, as surreptitious as this.

    … Really, this utility card is detestable, just like its last owner.

    Jiang Shuangmei bitterly smiles inside, and then files all her thoughts away, then turns to the two other Missiontakers to ask, “which floor should we choose?”

    Shen Yünjü is silent, his face as dead as a corpse looks distracted still. He is probably still caught up in whatever grabbed his attention earlier, so he’s not even in the conversation right now.

    Jiang Shuangmei already knows how he is well enough, and skips him altogether.

    Fei is looking at the panel of buttons hesitantly, before saying, “what about twenty-five?” She provides a reason, “since we are on the 24th floor, which should not be too far away from the 25th floor, .”

    Jiang Shuangmei nods to agree, and glances over at Shen Yünjü, who has also nodded quietly.

    So Jiang Shuangmei pushes the button.

    The elevator starts with a shudder, and about five seconds later, it slowly comes to a stop.

    Jiang Shuangmei and Fei look at each other while doing the maths in their heads. Then Fei says, not sounding much confident, “it feels like… between the 19th and 21st floor?”

    The elevator slowly opens up. What is revealed in their eyes, is a dim, quiet floor.

    “There does not seem to be much danger…” Jiang Shuangmei’s tone is slightly shaky, however. She continues, “should we have a look?”

    Fei takes a deep breath and replies, “let’s go.”

    The three Missiontakers leave the elevator.

    Almost at the same time, the three other Missiontakers are also walking out of the elevator.

    They chose ‘eighteen’ in their elevator, since it was a simple 50-50 that can only be left to fate, so they chose it at random.

    They were quiet the whole time the elevator moved.

    The elevator also started on the 24th floor, but in contrast, their elevator ascended instead. It was about 10 seconds before the elevator came to a stop.”

    Teen remarks, “why does it feel like we’re almost back at the top floor?”

    Suits calculates the floor in his mind and says, “that’s probably right. Must be 30-something-th floor here.”

    Teen shakes his head, and says, “tch, what a waste of  the time we spent descending,” then he rubs his temples to wonder, “is this Nightmare trying to test our memorisation too?”

    Suits simply says, “just write it down. It’d help you remember too.”

    After the casual talk, Teen has written something on his piece of paper, just as the elevator opens.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the chapter contains an introspective on Jiang Shuangmei. Also, the two groups have split up and are going to explore different floors... What? You were expecting Lin Qin? Nah, he’s coming soon, but not yet.

    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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