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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    As Ding Yi continues reading the magazine, she was actually convinced for a moment.

    With reference to how the Nightmare plays out, it is evident that this madness that started over a year ago has led to the near downfall of human civilisation.

    Scientific advancement, international trade and travel, and many other industries, have been severely affected or downright stalled by this development.

    Even the final frontier of Space has been wholly abandoned in response.

    It is because humanity has been pushed to the limit. They are completely preoccupied simply maintaining a semblance of normalcy. The bloodied bank right there in the centre of Cangcheng is a sign of what all would become without it.

    And what about the other cities on Earth? What about nations and territories whose social order has crumbled entirely?

    It is already hopeless enough to talk about.

    That’s why Ding Yi had momentarily agreed with the conclusion in the paper. Yes. The madmen… are a source of problem that some might see fit to simply eliminate entirely.

    Though Ding Yi snaps back to reality soon enough.

    They’ve been through two Raining Hellfires already.

    That said, the disaster actually didn’t seem completely inescapable. People could survive if they were already in sturdy buildings.

    Of course, those at the centre of the impact are probably lost entirely.

    It is at a distance away from the most destructive shock wave where survivors would begin to be found.

    He Shujün died only because they were utterly unprepared for it. They were completely frozen in place by shock, exposed to the dangerous flying debris.

    Ding Yi was fortunately not to have been mortally wounded until the Nightmare restarted.

    Cangcheng, it seems, was not the site of impact, but it was within the sphere of destruction around it.

    Whenever the disaster struck, if any of the madmen around still had survival instincts, they could have ducked into the nearby buildings.

    So with that in mind, if the disaster was aimed that eliminating all the insane people, the efficiency… would be abysmal.

    Or is this simply a first strike?

    Ding Yi finds herself confused.

    While trying to straighten her thoughts out, she tells Mu Jiashi, “I realise that this Nightmare contains many… contradictory clues.
    We have the arguing couple, for example. Both Xü Xiaoli and Zhang Minglian fit most of the bill except for their gender; Ke Zhu and Xie Ji fit the gender and everything else, but the link between Ke Zhu and the other scenes are practically non-existent.
    Then there is the Raining Hellfire. Why was the object only observed a few days prior to its impact? The distance at which humans could observe an astronomical object of that scale, and how far it travelled in such a duration, does not correspond. It would have to have been flying at a ludicrous speed to have become observable and then cause a deep impact in this short a time.
    A lightyear is the amount of distance light travels in a whole year. The unidentified object traversed through a significant fraction of that in mere dozens of hours instead of a year? Has it always even been in this solar system, or even our solar neighbourhood?
    Why would it only have been observed that late in time?”

    Ding Yi finds it all the more absurd the more she thinks about it.

    While she didn’t think about it deeply, and simply bought into the whole ‘an unidentified object observed a few days ago is falling towards us’ earlier, and, because of the Raining Hellfire they personally experience, she didn’t question it, but, it would appear that the keyword of ‘a few days ago’ is itself quite problematic.

    No wonder the astronomers are in an uproar, trading flurries of words through newspapers and magazines. No wonder so many people think they must be out of their minds.

    Even the experts are suspecting this to be some elaborate hoax or great misunderstanding.

    It is something that contradicts humanity’s knowledge of the cosmos.

    It is completely running against fundamental laws and laws of probabilities that humanity has proven.

    Mu Jiashi then says, “the two questions, are certainly… important. In fact, that latter question serves as a reference or your first question.”

    Ding Yi’s eyes widen, then immediately says, “wait, let me think. I’ll think about it a bit more.”

    She looks down at the special issue of the ‘Astronomical Journal Weekly’ in her hand.

    A reference?

    What does he mean by reference between the observation of the object, and whether it is situated close to us in the universe?

    Wait, or does he mean, between the discussion of the unidentified object, and the two different arguing couples?

    Ding Yi knows Mu Jiashi cannot elaborate further without tainting her understanding. So she falls into thought to think about it. She is also wondering if the other Missiontakers have made other progress. Have they confirmed who the arguing couple the residential block is talking about actually is?

    Right now, Buzzcut and Ye Lan have found Xü Xiaoli.

    He is still standing in the blazing sun, waiting for his girlfriend outside the kindergarten.

    If the Missiontakers haven’t taken him away, one wonders where he and his girlfriend would have been during the Raining Hellfire.

    Though Buzzcut and Ye Lan have just barged right over instead, to interrupt Xü Xiaoli’s worried thoughts.

    “Hey there…” Buzzcut says frankly, “we heard that you were arguing with your girlfriend because of the object falling from the sky?”

    Xü Xiaoli seems utterly stunned for a second by the suddenly confrontation.

    He isn’t an assertive man at the best of times, and when a stranger suddenly accosts him with such a tone, he goes, “uh… yes, yes. What is it? Is something wrong?”

    “No, not really,” Buzzcut shakes his head, and explains, “we just heard from the others in the neighbourhood that you were arguing.”

    “Oh, um?” Xü Xiaoli looks confused then, “but… but we weren’t here last night.”

    Buzzcut and Ye Lan give each other a look. They’ve realised the problem here.

    Xü Xiaoli seems a little embarrassed now as he explains, “my girlfriend and I are getting married already. We moved out after I got a down payment; it was last month.
    Did my mom say something to you? … My parents are still in this neighbourhood, but I’ve moved out.”

    Buzzcut has realised that earlier, when they heard about this couple having had an argument, they simply assumed it was an argument taking place in this neighbourhood!

    But that was not the case!

    Zhang Minglian works here, but not necessarily lives here; Xü Xiaoli mentioned offhandedly that he lived near the library while he worked, which they took as meaning to be here.

    However, the key thing to note, is that what he technically said was that his home was close to the library when he was working there.

    So if he lived here while he worked, and, as he said, his mother forced him to quit his job after the madness spread, that would still put it at possibly up to a year ago.

    After all this time, they should not have assumed that Xü Xiaoli was definitely still living here.

    The Missiontakers assumed that he did, living in this residential area, and also assumed that this was the couple the residents said were arguing, when instead, only Xü Xiaoli’s parents still lived here, and Zhang Minglian only worked in the neighbourhood; they themselves lived elsewhere.

    So Buzzcut murmurs, “So it can only mean that the argument the residents heard… was in fact, Ke Zhu and Xie Ji,” he pauses, then says, “well, we should confirm it carefully.”

    Of course, the Missiontakers heading for the Space Agency would confirm that carefully already.

    The Missiontakers Fei, Wu Jian and Mr Suicide would confirm it, and as Buzzcut and Ye Lan were questioning Xü Xiaoli, they just reached the Space Agency.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the chapter contains riddles from Mu Jiashi. Meanwhile, Buzzcut and Ye Lan have confirmed that Xü Xiaoli and Zhang Minglian are, in fact, not the couple that argued loud enough for everyone to hear. That begs the question of what they are even doing in the Nightmare in that case, though.

    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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