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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    It would appear that Xie Ji is well aware of the experts’ opinions, but she is in disagreement with them.

    She seems to hold complicated feelings towards the unidentified object – perhaps excitement and honour from observing it for the first time, anxiety from its strange metallic tinge that suggests harm, and simple curiosity and question surrounding the whole thing.

    She was going to change the world with this discovery – though not necessarily in a good direction.

    Xie Ji falls silent.

    Fei nods after listening to all that, and can’t help but ask, “you said it looked metallic, so, would you say… it was manmade?”

    “Manmade?” Xie Ji gives a weird chuckle, as she says, “no, mankind cannot have created such a thing. That’s ridiculous… Something that crosses light-years in mere days, through the vastness of space, to land on this planet…
    It would be a terrible joke.”

    Xie Ji looks like she could almost cry when she says, “and we, we are going to die in this terrible joke.”

    There seems to be a detachment from reality in the whole story; it’s like Xie Ji herself doesn’t really want to treat it as true.

    In fact, since her first observation of the object a few days ago, she has lived almost in a daze.

    Everything is like a dream; a mix of a happy dream and a nightmare. Everything felt unreal, it was all mirages.

    When she wished Ke Zhu would acknowledge the Apocalypse, she is like a demanding girlfriend that wants to hear her boyfriend say that the romance drama they watched was a really good movie; she was unreasonable, hysterical, only able to accept one single answer.

    If Xie Ji was able to express herself more clearly to the Missiontakers here, they would have been able to conclude with certainty that she is the owner of the Nightmare.

    But the Missiontakers have probably also realised, that Xie Ji is the only possible candidate left to be the owner of the Nightmare.

    Because only then could it explain how Xie Ji knows all the materials in the library by heart; only then, could it explains how Xie Ji’s memories of the unidentified object are so vivid.

    Even if Ke Zhu felt remorse and longing for his girlfriend that he had this Nightmare, he could not have generated such detailed, specialist knowledge of what Xie Ji did, based on his own memories.

    So here comes the obvious question.

    The Tower resident, was a man.

    He spoke with a male voice. He had a male build; even if Xie Ji deluded herself to act like Ke Zhu, she still shouldn’t have had a full on transformation in the ‘reality’ outside the Nightmares.

    This is the problem if Xie Ji were the owner of the Nightmare, that the Missiontakers must take into account when analysing this Nightmare.

    It’s not impossible to come up with forced explanations; she could have went through gender reassignment surgery, or she got a simple plastic surgery after the Apocalypse, somehow… Since none of them have confirmed the identity of the Tower resident back in the Tower, after all.

    But a more unsettling thought stemming from that, would be… is the Tower, actually reflective of ‘reality’?

    In other words, they might assume the Tower outside the Nightmares correspond to their ‘reality,’ but if Xie Ji’s gender change was not something she did, then the Tower itself may be home to rather supernatural elements.

    Changing genders… is a bit over the top.

    Fei can understand how a grown woman might imagine herself as her much younger self in her own Nightmare, when she met the event that traumatised her for life; but gender?

    How did the Tower resident end up a man when she is clearly a woman here?

    The Missiontakers find themselves stunned beyond belief, looking at each other blankly.

    They’ve managed to confirm the Nightmare owner’s identity, sure, but now they have a new, basically guaranteed unanswerable question in place of that.

    Honestly, maybe they still shouldn’t rule out Ke Zhu being the Nightmare owner entirely.

    Not just the Missiontakers, but the viewers of the stream are confused as well, but the mood is much lighter there.

    “wow, gender bender”
    “hey, nightmares, anything goes, amirite?”
    “you act like a guy, dream like a guy, dont be surprised when you wake up a guy [doge emoji]”

    Clearly, the viewers can’t figure it out, and are messing around already.

    Xü Beijin, meanwhile, looking at Xie Ji like that, was both surprised and also, had an epiphany.

    He also realises that Xie Ji was probably the Nightmare’s owner – and he can explain it, because he once saw, in the Tower, the full process of how Su Enya turned into a man.

    This transformation of a Tower resident from female into male, would be a hint to a truth in this Nightmare, if the Missiontakers saw it.

    But Xü Beijin still wonders the reason behind it. Could it really be, that because she missed her fiancé so much, that she fantasised herself to be him? That she started acted like her late fiancé?

    As for the shock the Missiontakers feel over the gender, Xü Beijin finds it a much less pressing question.

    In any case… Tower residents are, fundamentally, Actors Acting ‘mad.’ There are a not insignificant amount of androgynous Tower residents around, too. Maybe the Missiontakers simply mistook her──His?──gender…

    Instead, Xü Beijin is more interested in why this status has arisen.

    Maybe Xie Ji has become insane the moment she observed the unidentified object?

    If the madness that spread through humanity really was related somehow to this unidentified object hurtling for Earth, then one could imagine that it would have had far more possible effects than simply causing Raining Hellfire.

    Xü Beijin continues watching Xie Ji closely, with a deep, unreadable expression.

    Time continues passing along, as the Missiontakers reanalyse the Nightmare with the premise that Xie Ji is the owner.

    The Difficulty lies in the Tower resident’s features not matching up exactly with any of the candidates for the owner within.

    Thinking outside the box, then it would be easy to see that Xie Ji is the most likely candidate for the owner.

    The reason it was so utterly difficult is because humans scarcely question their own brains – when they’ve subconsciously assumed the owner to be male, they end up juggling different candidates that are all false, until… the intervention using utility cards.
    Also, until Mu Jiashi’s question.

    Buzzcut is suddenly looking at Mu Jiashi now – Even after Wu Jian used the utility card to confirm who Xie Ji was, he still thought Ke Zhu was the true owner, as it was what he had confirmed.

    That would be part of the Difficulty as well – to doubt the premise that Nightmares had only one owner to begin with. Who could have thought? There are two here.

    Maybe they are the same person inside, but here in the Nightmare, it was nightmarish for the Missiontakers.

    Mu Jiashi’s question was a light piercing through the foggy haze – the Missiontakers could leave the trap behind almost instantly.

    Buzzcut largely saw Mu Jiashi as a man of few words who was quietly tagging along for the ride, but now, with that valuable question, he is forced to question another of his impressions – is Mu Jiashi actually a capable Missiontaker? Or did he dumb luck his way through it?

    He has no answers.

    Mu Jiashi, meanwhile, is focused somewhere else, staring at Xie Ji, still confused.

    It is close to when the Raining Hellfire should happen, so the Missiontakers all retreat into the library, leaving behind Xie Ji, still standing outside, under the blazing sun, blanking out.

    She is proving her resolve with her death.

    She does not fear death, as long as, he does not pass away;
    Ke Zhu shuts his eyes to everything, in a corner of the library.

    Then, the Raining Hellfire strikes.

    Suddenly, the Server, NE, notifies them of the completion of the True End.

    Mu Jiashi is standing by the doorway of the library, watching Xie Ji as she is swallowed up by the dust and debris, when suddenly, she turns to face Mu Jiashi.

    Mu Jiashi is surprised; this seems out-of-character, all of a sudden.

    Then Xie Ji extends her hand, wrapping herself up, until her palms touch her back, in a sort of foetal hugging posture, as if something is scaring her from behind. Something cruel. Something dark.

    She looks like… just like, Su Enya, when she has her back to the wall, shivering, cowering.

    Just before she is swallowed up to die, she shows Mu Jiashi an explicitly suggestive smile.

    Mu Jiashi’s pupils contract rapidly, as he finds himself fall deep, into a metaphorical abyss.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    In this part of the chapter, Xie Ji is confirmed to be the owner, even if many questions remain. Also, this is the official end to the arc, so do stick around to see what happens to Mu Jiashi now.

    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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