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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Finally, Ding Yi takes a step back metaphorically, to have a better look over the Nightmare itself. She looks over the distraught couple, and murmurs, “now, who’s the Nightmare’s owner here?”

    Her gaze first lands on Ke Zhu.

    All signs have come to point out that Ke Zhu is the true owner of this Nightmare; he’s a guy, and he has a backstory which would motivate the formation of the Nightmare – his fiancée most likely died in the Raining Hellfire.

    If they want to be on the safe side, the Missiontakers can try and track to see if it is Xie Ji who dies during the Raining Hellfire.

    Although Ding Yi doesn’t exactly like the idea. They should avoid letting the Nightmare crumble more and more.

    If it were anything like the Nightmare Ding Yi once went through with Mu Jiashi, then it would become nigh impossible to resolve.

    If Mu Jiashi , they might have had a really, really bad time in that Nightmare.

    That’s why Ding Yi is hoping that they can resolve the Nightmare this run. There is still some time left.

    While she is thinking, two men and women are approaching from the west. It’s Buzzcut and Ye Lan, with Xü Xiaoli and Zhang Minglian in tow, having used the same excuse as last time.

    The two Missiontakers returning to the library seem surprised at this scene in front of the library.

    Buzzcut cracks a joke, “yo, everyone’s here? Quite lively here.”

    The Missiontakers, plus the couples, all give him speechless glances.

    Buzzcut, unabashed, simply ‘tch’s and then asks about what’s happening.

    After that, he looks over the distraught Ke Zhu and Xie Ji, and says, “Ke Zhu must be the owner then, right?”

    Ding Yi still has reservations about that.

    She thinks something doesn’t add up, but she can’t put her finger on what.

    Ding Yi doesn’t know the detective dalao’s great three-point Conflicts thesis in the stream, but she has already subconsciously noticed the underlying strangeness permeating through the Nightmare and its clues.

    Buzzcut, seeing her reservations, thinks about it and says, “how about this. We’ll use an Infocard.”

    Ding Yi is surprised at the abrupt mention.

    Buzzcut explains, “they’re cheap and everywhere anyway. Might as well put them to use.”

    He made the decision, not simply because of how ubiquitous Infocards are, of course.

    More importantly, when he sees that Ke Zhu and Xie Ji are here, he has immediately realised that Fei and Wu Jian’s group would not have made any progress on their front; this means they should try to resolve the Nightmare quickly.

    And if all else fails, they can still re-enter the Nightmare in a the future, at least for a while, to try getting a True End.

    As someone from the higher floors, Buzzcut is all too keenly aware of how dangerous a Nightmare that has began crumbling is.

    He would much rather not succumb to a Collapsed Nightmare, especially not when he has abandoned everything, when he is at the possible cusp of discovering a possibility of escape after returning to the bottom floor.

    He wants to ensure safety above all else – his own safety.

    And hence, the proposal.

    Normally, Missiontakers would avoid mentioning utility cards in the Nightmares, worried about pickpockets, and also worried being mistaken for a pickpocket.

    Missiontakers generally go through Nightmares completely ignoring the existence of utility cards.

    Buzzcut doesn’t share the usual concerns, though.

    Since, when he and Ye Lan came in here, he only brought a single Infocard──

    Yes. An Infocard that everyone and their mother would carry. Since Buzzcut and Ye Lan decided that, for the first time entering this Nightmare, they should focus on information gathering, instead of forcing their way to a True End.

    So he can simply tell them about the Infocard here without restraint.

    It’s a good shortcut, in this case.

    As it is usually not the case that Missiontakers would have such an awkward situation of being completely unable to isolate the owner of the Nightmare down.

    Some Nightmares have red herrings, but they still clear up soon enough as exploration progresses, like the Nightmare with the malfunctioning elevators Fei and Wu Jian was in. The more they explored, the clearer it was that only the little girl could have been the Nightmare’s owner, even if her age wildly differed with the Tower resident in question.

    In this Nightmare, though, the situation is completely different.

    This is the third run of the Nightmare, but they have not isolated even candidates for the Nightmare’s owner;

    Ke Zhu, Xie Ji, and to a lesser extent, the other Tower residents, are all unable to be completely proven, or disproven to be the Nightmare owner.

    Of course, Xie Ji is the wrong gender, but… what if? She has the strongest connections to all the important locations here.

    Maybe she had gender reassignment surgery. Or… maybe, for example, in the Nightmare, she… he, decided to interpret himself as a woman? Who knows what insane people would dream about?

    Or maybe it’s Ke Zhu who died in the Raining Hellfire, and in her grief, Xie Ji started hallucinating about her fiancé, and has confused reality for hallucinations, you know? Or she simply started dressing like him and acting like him, and they wouldn’t know because no one would be quite unhinged enough to physically confirm a Tower resident’s gender in the Tower.

    They have, at best, an educated guess based on the tone of voice and body size of the Tower resident in question. Maybe the ‘he’ is a woman?

    Anything and everything goes at this point.

    The Infocard will at least help them ascertain, if someone is or is not the Nightmare’s owner.

    So after the brief shock, Ding Yi says, “please do,” and then she pauses before adding, “if you need compensation, I can provide.”

    As the ex-billionaire of the bottom floor of the Tower, even after giving her entire commerce kingdom away, Ding Yi’s wealth is still quite beyond the grasp of any other average Missiontaker.

    Buzzcut flat out cuts her off, though, explaining, “sure are generous, aren’t we? But no, no need. It’s just an Infocard.”

    Ding Yi nods, and stops pushing the issue. Her utility card would have subtly affected Buzzcut and make him trust what she says implicitly. For example, here, Buzzcut isn’t rightfully thinking about whether she had any exterior motives to offer a utility card like that.

    Of course, the clause is an if-conditional, so Buzzcut’s willingness to accept the offer wasn’t at all affected.

    Since Buzzcut turned her offer down, Ding Yi has left it at that.

    Meanwhile, Mu Jiashi, standing to the side, gives Buzzcut a discreet glance. Ha, these foolish higher floor Missiontakers.

    They must have not been down here on the bottom floor for an exceedingly long amount of time. They’ve probably never heard of Ding Yi, nor would they even be aware of the absurd amount of favours they could pull having Ding Yi owe them one.

    Buzzcut, who is ‘blissfully unaware’ of the advantages he’s missed, takes an Infocard out, and points it over at Ke Zhu.

    Then shortly after, he says, “that’s it. He’s the Nightmare owner.”

    Ding Yi responds with surprise, “it’s really him?” She pauses, and then starts muttering, “not that it was completely out of the blue…”

    Ke Zhu seems to be confused by what they’re doing.

    Buzzcut, rubbing his chin, and looking at Ke Zhu, says, “what he fears, what bugs him… is likely Xie Ji’s death? So if we can avoid Xie Ji’s death, the Nightmare should reach an Ending.”

    “A Normal End, most likely,” Ding Yi adds, “considering the likelihood that identifying the owner is the Difficulty of this Nightmare, now that we’ve skipped that step, that seems the most probable outcome.”

    While they’re in the middle of the discussion, though, they hear someone calling out to them.

    Fei, Wu Jian and Mr Suicide are finally back at the library from the Space Agency. At the same time, Xü Beijin, Lin Qin and Lu Chengzhe have left the library to come check the ruckus out.

    This means that, other than the old men – the Director of the Museum and the elderly security guard – all the possible key persons of this Nightmare have assembled here.

    Wu Jian, after listening a bit to the discussion, though, wonders aloud, “you’ve confirmed that Ke Zhu is the owner?” He can’t help but add, “Fei and I both think Xie Ji is much, much more likely to be the owner, though.”


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the Nightmare confirms that Ke Zhu is very important in this Nightmare! And now, for some reason, everyone is in front of the library. Is something about to happen? By the way, I worded everything in this short note very carefully, if you can spot it, hehe. Minor spoilers 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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