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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Fei isn’t here to join to astronomers’ argument, even if the possibilities they are raising intrigues her a little. Most of what they’re talking about are ridiculous anyway.

    She wants to ask more about Xie Ji instead.

    “Xie Ji?” Someone is looking at them oddly, “why are you asking about her?”

    “Xie Ji’s fiancé asked us to come,” Fei borrows Mu Jiashi and Ding Yi’s excuse, and tells them, “they’ve been quarrelling, and so he wanted us to come and talk a little. Since she’s a part of your group, I was thinking you might know her thoughts on all this…”

    “Quarrelling… Oh, I know, I heard Xie Ji complain that he didn’t believe in the object, right?”

    Fei nods.

    Someone makes a snide remark, “Xie Ji deserves it; the way I see it, what use is there telling people about a catastrophe beforehand? We were the ones who knew first-hand, so there was no helping us, but her fiancé didn’t know. Why did she have to tell him and make him panic anyway? We don’t even know if it’s actually true.”
    “Hey hey, what do you mean by true or false? We all saw it, so obviously it’s true.”
    “Well, yeah, but Xie Ji… I didn’t even dare tell my parents about it. They’ve got a bad heart at their age, so I don’t want them panicking… Maybe, it’ll be fine?”
    “Are you even listening to yourself? The experts are all arguing because they’re just armchair theorists! They might not even have the equipment at home to observe it, and they’re simply working off existing theories, but we…”

    The person then points to the great structure of a telescope behind them, and asserts, “we saw it ourselves!”

    “Yeah, we all did…”

    Fei has to interrupt them now, “I wanted to ask more about Xie Ji…”

    “Well, I know what you’re here for. You want to mediate and have us help soften Xie Ji up a little. Tell you what, though, Xie Ji, she’s just like her fiancé. They’re both stubborn as a mule. I doubt Xie Ji would even be happy seeing someone intervene in their relationship.”

    The person saying that looks cold as he says it.

    “That’s right, when Xie Ji came today, she looked really depressed so we asked her about it. That’s when she told us; we also told her to go easy on him, but she wouldn’t budge an inch on the matter.
    When she left earlier, she was huffed up again. Maybe she’s going to the Museum to argue with her fiancé again…”
    “Didn’t they say Xie Ji comes from a family of soldiers? She sure got the personality down pat… I suspect it might be bad enough that their engagement would be called off this time around…”
    “Nothing doing. Their views are unreconcilable…”

    Here, Fei narrows her eyes, as she gives Wu Jian a glance.

    Wu Jian is muttering, “why do I feel like this might have actually happened?”

    Fei then ominously continues, “then Ke Zhu sees with his own eyes, that his girlfriend who wanted to break up because he wouldn’t trust her, die in the Raining Hellfire that he was adamant was fake…”

    Wu Jian gasps, and murmurs, “that must be a lifelong trauma.”

    Fei is still slightly concerned though. Something isn’t adding up.

    But thinking more about it, she can’t pin it down exactly.

    She decides to let go of her concern for now, and ask, “do you all happen to know Xie Ji’s fiancé, then?”

    “Well yeah…” Someone replies, pointing to the Space Agency behind them, “it’s quite run down now, but there’s far more than the eye can see underground. I heard that they’re emptying out the Museum, and securely storing the collections here.”

    Oh, so that’s why Ke Zhu is driving his box truck here. Fei gets it now.

    “We saw them move all the valuables around these few days when we’re camping out here. It’s a shame… we’re all going to die anyway.”

    Someone laments.

    Some dissenting voices are also heard, though, “if Xie Ji didn’t see that thing…”

    “Don’t blame her. To be honest, I’m glad I at least know why I’m going to die.”

    Fei, though, picks up something from the wording, “Xie Ji, she was the first person to observe the unidentified object?”

    “The first in the entire world!” Someone says proudly, and then bitterly smiles, adding, “not that that’s something you’d ring home about, though.
    It was less than a week ago, I think, when we had one of our regularly scheduled space observation activities; after the madness spread, we would come here every so often to try and maintain and clean the telescope.
    Anyway, at that activity a few days ago, Xie Ji saw that thing… I don’t really know why or how, but like, her face went ghostly pale after she saw it.
    She wouldn’t tell us what she saw, but it was painfully obvious something was wrong from the way she looked. And after that, we all saw it.
    A few of us who were there that day who weren’t regulars were on the verge of fainting, too. We get why she wasn’t willing to say anything… Who could have thought? Something is flying right for you overhead, and you have no idea since when it’s been there!”

    “Tch, you’re the one who was close to fainting!”

    “Shut up; anyway, then the news got out and the world knew… Well, I suppose it would have been someone else if not us, but we saw it the earliest, probably because we happen to be in the right place at the right time… To see the bell that is due to give us our death knell. Ho.”

    “Hey, you know Xie Ji is actually pretty admirable in that regard, and we can all learn from her… She said that, what, ‘I fear a lot, but death is not one of them’ or something like that when she broke the news?”

    “Who cares about that. I’m scared of death; it’s only human.”

    “I’m still in my 20s. I haven’t even had a date with anyone. I haven’t even enjoyed life. When our boss went mad and gave us a year of paid leave, the next second you’re telling me the world is over… Damn it, damn it all, what the hell.”

    The mood is at its lowest so far.

    Someone then asks, “how long do we have?”

    “An hour… or less. Maybe just 40, 50 minutes.”
    “A countdown to finality, huh.”
    “Just fucking shut your trap. I’m going to live, I’m going to live long after this. I’ll hide inside when it comes; maybe it can’t kill me.”
    “Yeah, yeah, good luck with that.”
    “Ha, I’m going to take you up on that…”

    Fei stops tuning into their arguments. Instead, she mutters, “so Xie Ji was the first person to see the object? The very first one?”

    Wu Jian quietly points out, “it seems… like an important identity?”

    Fei is quiet for a bit, and finally, she says with a forced smile, “if we didn’t know the Tower resident was a guy, I’d have put Xie Ji down as the only possible owner of this Nightmare.”

    “Yes, if we simply look at all the clues we have in the Nightmare so far. Xie Ji is the most owner-like candidate here, but…” Wu Jian points out, “how could that possibly be?!”


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the chapter features some more exposition on Xie Ji and some background setting. Stick around for more developments in the last part tomorrow~

    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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