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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    In any case, this elderly man seems lucid and communicable, and he has information too.

    Fei reviews what they’ve said so far, and asks, “mister, then do you know of any other such restricted areas nearby?”

    “Nearby? In Cangcheng?” The old man seems displeased with the question, “no! Nowhere else! You think it’s good some place is blocked off? Just one of these restricted areas is enough for Cangcheng to deal with!”

    Fei nods.

    If so, then this single restricted area in the Nightmare probably means something as well…

    Though if they aren’t allowed in, then how are they going to get the clues from there?

    So Fei’s gaze lands on the old man once more.

    It seems, that rather than the guard teaching them about the restricted area, it might be equally possible that the restricted area is so that they can come across this knowledgeable and lucid old man.

    Fei starts asking about more things, “mister, we just came from the library, do you know anything about that?”

    “Obviously I’d know about the library. Some of the young people like going there for research.”

    The old man seems conflicted when he continues, “it’s usually a good thing, but sometimes… getting to the bottom of something isn’t exactly comforting either.”

    Fei is surprised at the answer, asking, “why?”

    The old man gives Fei and Wu Jian a fierce gaze, saying, “I suppose you two are asking all this stuff because you’re curious about what’s going on in Cangcheng, aren’t you? There are always people like you, wanting to figure out what’s going on in this world.”

    Fei hesitates, but then firmly answers, “yes. We want to know the truth.”

    “How useful will that truth be?” The old man asks coldly, “humanity is already at its wit’s end. There is nothing left of us.”

    Fei is getting more astonished by the second.

    Does this old man know something?

    Then the old man says, “what do you think people can do at this point? There is nothing. Back in the halcyon days, studying the things are good. They get turned into useful inventions. They improve lives.
    Can you say the same for the present day? Trying to think about what to do, what to do, what to do… What else is there to do but recognise the futility of it all and come to terms with it.”

    Fei is starting to get a strange vibe from what the guard is saying. She is now looking at him with wide eyes.

    The old man continues on, “a bit that-a-ways is a large garbage dump. Don’t you think we’re just like a bunch of large-sized garbage occupying the face of the Earth?
    When I was young, my mother would tell me, that if one day, I felt that I was no longer useful to society, then I should just end myself.
    I thought that way, until the madness spread throughout society. I’m sure I’ve not gone crazy, and I feel like I still have value.
    Now, being transferred here to keep an eye on the door… This is my calling. When I have nothing to do I just feel weird all over.”

    Fei is speechless. She feels weirder having listened to it all.

    She thought the old man is sane, but he is definitely not.

    He’s mad, and he doesn’t know he’s mad.

    In fact, from what he’s saying, he might even be a part of those Impurities cult.

    What in the world was his mother even teaching him, by the way?

    Fei takes a deep breath, instead shifting her attention to what the old man talked about previously.

    He said some young people liked to study things at the library… Maybe he’s referring to the teenager they met in the library who looks like a student.

    Clearly, though, ‘some young people’ would mean more than one…

    Fei gives it a thought, and takes a guess that he is referring to the amateur astronomers.

    A library would be a great place to find information they need should they need to from its vast collection.

    Fei has connected dots in her mind, and is about to wave the guard goodbye when she recalls the Museum and its occupants. She asks offhandedly, “mister, then would you happen to know about the Cangcheng Museum?”

    The old man widens his eyes, and doesn’t respond immediately.

    His stance suggests to Fei that she just hit him with an interesting question.

    Wu Jian immediately pays attention as well.

    A bit later, the old man wipes the sweat off his forehead with slightly trembling hands.

    While the weather is unforgivingly hot, they didn’t see sweat on the guard earlier.

    It seems that they might be more accurately cold sweat after the mention of the Museum.

    Fei is finding it strange that the mere mention of the admittedly weird Museum can scare the old man so much.

    He mentioned the restricted area here with some sort of disdain or dismissive attitude, but the mention of the Museum has him look so utterly taken aback instead?

    Shortly after, the old man finally speaks up, “the Museum… the Museum, my good old friend is there. He’s become the Director of it already.
    I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. He probably thinks it’s a really good thing though.”

    Fei is astonished that this guard in a security booth here would know the old Director of the Museum.

    Well, they do look to be the same generation appearance-wise, but such an explicit relationship in Nightmares seems like it’s hinting at some special connection instead.

    Could the Director possibly be the Nightmare’s owner here?

    It’s true the age would be off by quite a margin, but given their last Nightmare with the adult woman in the Tower corresponding to the little girl in the Nightmare, it’s not implausible.

    Fei is forming many guesses, but is still continuing to listen to the old man’s story for now.

    “The Museum… is practically an obsession of his. I was in the same company as him, and well, our many compatriots from back then didn’t have much luck. Many left the world at a young age. He was not one of them…
    After discharging, he went to university. He became cultured. His first job after graduation is getting hired by our very own Cangcheng Museum.
    He was the guide back then. He’s one of those handsome hunks when he was young. The ladies really like him, and visit him to listen to his explanations of the Museum. I told him to take the chance to find love, too.
    He didn’t want to, though. He said, he wanted those people to see the… whatever it was, ‘the cultural values of these treasured collections,’ he’d say.
    He was always a big fan of big words like that. He didn’t marry by his twenties, and when he was in his thirties and forties, he was really going to go it alone.
    And he did. Protecting all his valuable relics too. Now… now he’s really gone mad.
    When he did, I didn’t even think he was insane, because he was almost always like that.
    He wanted people to spend some time in the Museum, but his wish never came true.
    I thought he was normal the whole time, since I couldn’t hear much from him after the world got messed up either, all until… until the vase was broken.”

    The vase was broken?

    Fei thinks this is probably the trigger for the transfer of the relics that the doctor mentioned.

    “I hurried over when I heard, since he’s only got me left as a friend at our generation. He’s gone insane enough that the Museum’s staff had to call me over to see, to see him…
    Oh Gods, he really has gone crazy. So crazy I couldn’t even recognise him on sight. He… he killed the person who broke the vase.”

    Fei is in shock.

    While she hasn’t heard of it, but… the old Director still got to keep being Director after murdering someone?

    “It was… it was a messy time. This big of a news didn’t get around at all. People died left and right back down.”

    The old man’s tone is quite nonchalant compared to how astonished Fei is. He sighs, telling her, “with this sickness around, the world goes around differently than it used to.”

    Fei is seriously concerned.

    Yes, it is different, but isn’t it exactly moments like these when lives would be much more at stake?

    She finds it unfathomable.

    After the madness has spread through humanity, between the clinically, biochemically insane, others seem to have also become utterly apathetic and even cold to the idea.

    It is almost as if the mask civilised society has put on humanity has completely eroded away, revealing the beasts the lie underneath.

    All merely stemming from the madness that came from nowhere.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the chapter, we get some more backstory to prove how insane the Director of the Museum truly was. Fei is going to ruminate some more on the Apocalypse, meanwhile.

    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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