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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Xü Beijin’s eyes are on He Shujün.

    After she died the last run of the Nightmare, some qualities of the Nightmare appears to have rubbed on her. She’s no longer sane. She’s moody and unresponsive. Why would she walk to the third floor, then?

    Everyone is looking at He Shujün.

    And it seems that, for a brief moment of lucidity, He Shujün also realised something wrong with her behaviour.

    So, after mumbling something nobody can hear clearly, she says, “I… want to, read the newspaper.”

    “Huh?” Lu Chengzhe sounds surprised, “why do you want to read it?”

    “I heard… the newspaper, wrote about, it,” He Shujün’s lips are trembling as she continues, “the Apocalypse… it’s coming…”

    Xü Beijin looks at her quietly.

    In this moment, this young woman is quite strikingly similar to the owner of the Nightmare, who would also bumble about muttering about “the Apocalypse is coming,” which is what helped gather the Missiontakers’ eyes on her.

    Rather than He Shujün having come off with qualities of this Nightmare, it seems, then, that she is more being affected by the owner of the Nightmare.

    If that is the case, then she can still be saved if the Missiontakers can leave the Nightmare successfully. A True End would be the best, too.

    But the True End of this Nightmare, huh…

    Xü Beijin falls into thought.

    Lu Chengzhe, meanwhile, has handed a newspaper to He Shujün without another word.

    He Shujün’s fingers are trembling while receiving it. A short while after reading it, she suddenly breaks into a sobbing wail.

    She’s sitting there on the ground, crying like some mad woman.

    She really does resemble a member of this Nightmare, one of those who are in despair and sorrow for the coming Apocalypse.

    It seems the fact that this is only a Nightmare and she is only a Missiontaker is now lost on her.

    Seeing this, Lu Chengzhe can’t help but think to himself, while this is something not unheard of on the higher floors, but this is merely a Nightmare of the bottom floor.

    Or rather, this Nightmare belongs to a Tower resident who ended up shunted back down to the bottom floor.

    It’s quite unfathomable for this to have happened to an Actor.

    Lu Chengzhe finds the situation baffling.

    In fact, this teenager dressed as a student, belongs to the organisation of which Dai Wu is a member.

    Not long ago, he was asking Wu Jian, “would we die,” with this desperate tone; it was genuine.

    He has also come to wonder if this Apocalypse truly happened to their Earth in the past. Could they have perished in the Apocalypse already? Could they… have really died already?

    It is an emotional state no adjective is severe enough to describe.

    It was in the past. Everyone agrees on it, believes in it. Yet this also means, that it cannot be changed. Everything has come and gone.

    As an Actor, Lu Chengzhe may know more than the Missiontakers do, but he’s realised, the Nightmares… At least, their Nightmares, severely limit their possible course of action.

    Actors can rank up, but it is highly restricted and bound, and requires proactive participation in others’ Nightmares.

    It is something difficult to achieve alone, so cooperation between Actors is needed, plus luck, for that matter.

    Lu Chengzhe is someone lucky in that respect. He managed to become a Side Character level in a comparatively short period of time.

    That said, he’s always been on the bottom floor. He hasn’t physically been to the higher floors.

    Because he is also incredibly unfortunate. No one has managed a True End yet in this Nightmare up to this point. Not a single Missiontaker.

    Even worse, despite the hypersensitive climate about the bottom floor right now, his Nightmare, which has never yielded a True End, hasn’t been widely labelled as an ‘Ultimate Nightmare’ like the others and receive a surge of visits.

    But then again, there is also the fact that he doesn’t plan on leaving – Dai Wu believes that the key to escaping the Tower lies on the bottom floor rather than on any higher floor.

    Therefore they’ve remained on the bottom floor all this time.

    More than a month ago, they ended up seeing off one of their companions. He was a young boy.

    He said he’s done waiting around. He’s going to try and leave the bottom floor to try his luck on the upper floors.

    It was almost a direct challenge to Dai Wu’s position, but Dai Wu didn’t seem to mind at all. That young man who always had this jokey attitude with everything, quietly saw his companion off.

    Lu Chengzhe heard Dai Wu comment on that companion after he has already left, “are those higher floors really any different to the bottom floors?” Dai Wu asked, then says, “if we want to treat it as a Second Life, then anywhere we could have a Second Life; if this is a prison instead, then you’re still in the prison wherever you go.”

    Lu Chengzhe found himself at a loss of words to that remark.

    He knows what Dai Wu means. It’s a sarcastic mockery of Actors having so many differing attitudes and lifestyles in response to this, but he couldn’t find his own words.

    It may be that… while he agrees with Dai Wu on his ideas and his vision, but, he cannot commit.

    Because there is no hope forward for him to strive towards.

    He knows Dai Wu can see nothing forward either.

    Though that Dai Wu suddenly changed at some point.

    First, Dai Wu suddenly and enthusiastically spread the news of some particular Nightmare;
    Then after that, Dai Wu switched targets. He promoted this one, this Nightmare they’re in.

    Lu Chengzhe is not sure what Dai Wu is trying to accomplish here, but he knows…

    He discreetly looks in Xü Beijin’s direction.

    He knows it all has to do with this man standing in front of him.

    This man with an unkempt mess for a hairstyle, with a pale face, extremely heavy eyebags, but is still somehow so handsome it burns to eyes to look at him.

    And underneath all that, of what he could charitably describe as a look of being ‘under the weather,’ seem to be rather deep and intriguing secrets.

    If it was merely his appearance, though, Lu Chengzhe isn’t too convinced why Dai Wu believes Xü Beijin holds the key to their leaving the Tower.

    Is it simply because of his Nightmare?

    And what really is his Nightmare, for that matter?

    It has to be said that not just the Missiontakers, but the Actors also have keen interests in it.

    It truly is a shame that he has never let others into his Nightmare.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    In this part of the chapter, we have heavy exposition and perspective from Lu Chengzhe, who is, in fact, part of Dai Wu’s organisation.

    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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