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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Ding Yi is listening in silence, but Mu Jiashi suddenly turns to look at her and ask with a whisper, “have you heard of anyone who has undoubtedly left the Tower for good? Has anyone really escaped?”

    Ding Yi slowly, but firmly shakes her head.

    She hasn’t. Nor has anyone else.

    While it’s true that not long ago there was the rumour of ‘someone has successfully escaped the Tower,’ it sounded more like a self-delusion to make themselves feel better. Perhaps even an invisible hand is trying to get people and events to move to their designs.

    In any case, there has been nobody, nor have any of them met anybody, who can confidently state that they know someone has escaped and they are certain of it.

    Not a single person.

    So these Missiontakers, are not that different from the mad people in the Tower; they are equally survivors of the Apocalypse, equally suffering to get by in the Tower.

    Ding Yi has a pretty tragic smile when she finally says, “I understand what you mean.”

    Mu Jiashi then looks around the area, taking in the city that is about to meet its cataclysmic end.

    And the planet, too.

    “This is their Apocalypse;” says Ding Yi, “this is our Apocalypse.”

    If mirrors reflect people’s true forms, then the Tower residents are their mirrors.

    The moment they arrived into the Tower, they were themselves Tower residents.


    Fei and Wu Jian are heading along the way east.

    Along the way, they come across some more insane and unhinged people, along with weird storefronts.

    Wu Jian was in the library the whole last run and has no idea what it’s truly like out here, but thanks to Fei, the pair of proceeding smoothly, avoiding any suspicious areas.

    Finally, they come to a stop in front of a cordoned off area at the end of the road.

    Wu Jian is poking his head around, wondering, “what’s going on here?” He checks the restricted area more closely, and says, “a commercial area, an apartment complex… Why is it blocked off? Is there anything special about it?”

    Fei asks, “how should I know?”

    Wu Jian awkwardly smiles.

    Fei then says, “we might… be able to get answers from other people, but…”

    Her tone starts falling as she continues, “if this is an area that needed to be blocked off even with this kind of backstory in the Nightmare, then what could have happened here?”

    Wu Jian wants to answer, ‘how should I know?’

    Though Fei holds quite the formidable position in his mind, so he doesn’t dare say that out loud.

    He looks around, and suddenly, he notices something, and points out, “someone seems to be guarding the entrance there.”

    They walk over and see that it’s the security booth to the whole apartment complex.

    The restricted area extends as far as the security booth which was probably once overseeing the entrance to the community here, but is now used to keep an eye on the apartment complex and keep people out.

    Quite the interesting development, huh.

    Fei and Wu Jian walk over.

    The person sitting in the booth appears to be in his sixties already. The old man seems quite active and attentive for his age though, with piercing eyes.

    When he sees Fei and Wu Jian walk over, he immediately looks at them and loudly deters them, saying, “this is a restricted area! No unauthorised entry!”

    Though since Fei and Wu Jian aren’t exactly doing anything out of line yet, he doesn’t look like he’d move to chase them away first.

    Fei and Wu Jian give each other a look. They both conclude, that whatever it is that is happening in the area, its nature is probably known well enough, otherwise the guard should be chasing them away immediately already.

    Of course, in a world where you can’t tell if anyone’s gone mad, this elderly guard’s behaviour isn’t exactly a reliable source of information either.

    Fei asks the elderly man, “mister, we’re not going in. We are just curious…”

    “Curious?” The old man’s wrinkles deepen as he scolds them, “you ought to abandon whatever curiosity you have for places like these!”

    Wu Jian feels like this old man is lucid enough, though… when recalling the old Director of the Museum Ding Yi mentioned, he shouldn’t come to hasty conclusions yet.

    He tries examining the guard’s facial expression more closely.

    He realises that this old man is clearly uncomfortable and wary when mentioning this area. He seems to fear, or at least want to avoid, something in the area.

    Despite that, he is still keeping guard here.

    Wu Jian has some thoughts forming in his mind.

    Fei continues asking in the meantime, “it’s our first time in Cangcheng, so we’re not sure what’s happening here…”

    “Is it already that chaotic outside?” The old man makes a disdainful smirk. One can still imagine him as perhaps a fiery and passionate youngster back in the day. He says. “this restricted area is the most dangerous area of Cangcheng, that’s why it’s blocked off. I’m sure you’ve met mad people elsewhere in the city already, but I can tell you, they’re all harmless babies compared to this whole area.”

    Fei, astonished, asks, “we did see a lot of them, but why would this area be more dangerous than them? Can you tell us?”

    The old man eyes them with suspicion, until finally, it gives way to one with hints of frustration.

    He is probably assuming that Fei and Wu Jian would really try to barge in if he says nothing, so he puts up an even sterner expression and explains clearly, hoping to dissuade these two young adults from recklessness.

    He says, “inside here… everything’s gone sentient.”

    Fei and Wu Jian both appear stunned.

    “Sentient?” Fei asks, “what do you mean… sentient? What in the world?!”

    The old man explains, “all manners of things… the elevators, the air conditioning, the smart doors, the bathtubs… Any ‘thing’ you can imagine, in both the apartment and commercial complex, have become sentient.”

    Fei continues asking, “but… how did it happen? Did it happen after the madness spread across humanity?”

    “I don’t know exactly when either,” the old man replies, “I was transferred here to keep people out at the start of the year. Before that, who knows how long it’s been like that already.
    What’s really weird is that this cursed possession thing has only ever happened in this location and hasn’t appeared anywhere else, thankfully.
    So as long as you stay out, all is well. If you do enter, all the things that have gone sentient will try to kill you. Stay out of it, and they can’t reach you.
    Apparently, before news of this area blew up, a lot of people have already died. It was when the whole world just collapsed from the madness as well, so no one in power noticed anything here. When they finally figured out what’s going on, they still couldn’t find out the source of it, so they kept it sealed up.
    Who knows how many areas in the world have already been blocked off like this. An old rusted guy like me had nothing to do after being discharged from the military anyway, so they sent people like me around to keep watch. It’s a thankless job, but it’s all for the best if I get to keep bold and reckless young’uns like you out!”

    Both Fei and Wu Jian give an awkward smile at that remark.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    In this part of the chapter, Fei and Wu Jian have finally run into the commercial complex and apartment complex with the sentient electronics! Though they can't go in. That's a shame.

    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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