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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    The Missiontakers have no idea that, when they are busting their asses looking for clues, two men are flirting with each other──Or something akin to that, at least.

    They do not know, so their morale is maintained.

    Mu Jiashi and Ding Yi are now inside the Museum, entering through the side door.

    Ding Yi has already told Mu Jiashi why she returned, and Mu Jiashi is surprised, too.

    He doesn’t understand the motivation at all, perhaps because their personalities are completely different.

    Not that Ding Yi was aiming for Mu Jiashi’s understanding. She is simply doing what she believes is right.

    Not having another word the whole way, they have arrived at the Museum.

    Ding Yi knows that the old Director would be waiting for them at the entrance; they escaped his ‘guiding tour’ by luck, having informed him of the Department of Transportation’s latest plan to foil him. This time, though, they aren’t taking any risks.

    Since they still need to get back to the library at the end; so far, only the library is known to be safe.

    And Mu Jiashi and Ding Yi are talking about that as well.

    Ding Yi says, “I suspect the Museum is a safehouse as well.”

    Mu Jiashi does not comment on it.

    Ding Yi doesn’t mind either, as she knows Mu Jiashi has been to this Nightmare already. Rather than a discussion, it’s more her one-sidedly giving her own thoughts.

    On one higher floor, she also heard a little bit about this Nightmare herself. From what she could gather, the Missiontakers, and especially Golddiggers, are actively wary of this Nightmare.

    Information she dug up has largely related to the pre-entry and post-exit reasons and consequences of the Nightmare, rather than the Nightmare itself.

    She was informed that Mu Jiashi took the job as a Golddigger once more that time, because a Missiontaker offered a sought-after Defence card and asked for Golddiggers to take him to a higher floor, right when the organisation is studying this Nightmare in particular, so they formed a contract to take that Missiontaker through this Nightmare.

    It was only during more detailed exploration afterwards that the Golddiggers realised the Nightmare far exceeded the difficulty they were expecting.

    To protect their own reputation, though, and also, because the Golddiggers really wanted their hands on that ‘A Father’s Salvation’ Defence card, they reached out to Mu Jiashi.

    And they persuaded Mu Jiashi through none other than an exchange of benefits.

    Ding Yi herself personally suspects, though, that Mu Jiashi’s pride and confidence as his quite famously capable self back then, played a role in provoking his fighting instincts, that he decided to enter the Nightmare.

    Finally, the truth contained in the Nightmare has defeated him. He returned to the bottom floor with nothing in tow, not even the treasure trove of utility cards he has acquired over the years, all of which he simply relinquished to the Golddiggers.

    Just like Mu Jiashi himself put it, it was an utter, devastating defeat.

    And it was the Nightmare which defeated him, but himself.

    What truly broke him, was when he realised, that he could successfully build up a reputation, prestige, an empire in the Tower. He can even be its #1. He can be undefeated in Nightmares. He can have all the admiration and adoration and obsequious sycophants praising him in the world.

    For what, though?

    He is the strongest of the prisoners in a prison;
    He is the most powerful of the animals put on display in a zoo;
    He is the most respected, renowned… character on stage.

    He realised it was all for nought. To build a success on the Tower? The Tower? The Nightmares?

    He’s proud of having built success on top of this fucking dumpster fire?!

    It was the Apocalypse!

    He is standing on the edge of oblivion, and he is gloating about it.

    He finally sees himself as no more than fate’s little clown, and he cannot come to terms with it. His defeat comes from within, from him having lost himself in his fame and glory.

    He entered Nightmares, because he wanted out of the Tower.
    He left the Golddiggers, because he wanted out of the Tower.

    Yet, he finally abandoned progress on being out of the Tower, simply to enter a Nightmare, for the sake of some customer.

    Mu Jiashi saw how minor, insignificant, hypocritical, despicable, sold out he has become. And that is the moment he was defeated.

    He is slowly recovering, for sure, but he is still not interested in telling anyone the details.

    It is a moment when he has lost face, when he topped himself from his own high and mighty pedestal. He is no longer the Golddigger with the 100% track record of the bottom floor, nor will he ever be again.

    Was it a good thing? Was it a bad thing?

    Mu Jiashi does not have an answer.

    He walks inside the Museum after Ding Yi, casually taking in his surroundings. He notes that his memories of this Nightmare is actually far more vivid than he was expecting.

    For example, right now, he can close his eyes entirely, and still point out which person they truly needed in this scene.

    Out the side door. The box truck. The man, standing there, with a wrathful aura about him.

    He tilts his head to check on Ding Yi, and sees that the female Missiontaker with the grue-coloured hair, is also looking at that man.

    He asks, “did you not talk to him the last run?”

    Ding Yi answers, “we couldn’t in time. The old Director caught us.”

    Mu Jiashi understands now.

    In this Museum, that old Director is like some phantom apparition. Whenever visitors come into the Museum, the Director may appear without warning by their side and then take them to some specific gallery.

    After which comes the inevitable, endless deluge of information, recitation and examination.

    Mu Jiashi is amusing himself thinking that the old Director sure found the wrong calling here in the Museum. He should have been a teacher…

    Of course, those stay thoughts, because he knows the ends to which the Director would employ. What is hidden underneath the gentle and wise appearance is a cruel, and tragic madman. He is already the twisted impersonation of this Museum coming to life.

    Mu Jiashi continues his thoughts as they approach the irritated man.

    He seems to be quite young still, perhaps 25 or 26 years of age. The short sleeves of his T-shirt is inadequate for holding back his powerful upper arm muscles. He’s certainly able-bodied, though while his colleagues are busy moving the relics about, he himself is blanking out.

    Under the blazing sun, he has deeply furrowed brows. He seems deeply troubled over something.

    After approaching him, Ding Yi notices that the middle finger of the man’s left hand, put akimbo to his waist, has a ring.

    He must be engaged.

    The man is rubbing that ring with his right hand every so often; from a distance, it would merely seem like he’s fidgety because he’s nervous, when he is actually touching the engagement ring.

    Ding Yi is certainly wondering what the man may be anxious about. Is whatever troubling him in this Nightmare?

    The previous discussion before the Missiontakers split up has isolated the Nightmare owner to any young man. This one here fits quite well.

    Most importantly, Mu Jiashi’s reactions seem to suggest that this man is vital in some sense.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    In this part of the Nightmare, we finally see how Mu Jiashi actually managed to ‘defeat’ himself, after the same kind of epiphany that sometimes hits people that they can eat and work and do all that over and over until the end of their lives, when they will die and ultimately amount to nothing in the grand scheme of the universe... without quite as dramatic a ‘defeat’ reaction as Mu Jiashi, of course.

    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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