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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Not having received an answer from Su Enya, Mu Jiashi remains quiet for a moment, before parting with her and leaving the house.

    He can see the bookstore opposite, but he decides not to knock, because he is too shellshocked and flabbergasted right now. He cannot hold any intelligent conversation.

    His mind is a mess. How could it be? How could it possibly be?

    Su Enya, and that woman in the Nightmare… They’re the same? How? Why did she end up… Why…

    Mu Jiashi returns to his house, mired in his own thoughts.

    He happens to just miss Fei and Wu Jian; if they met, Fei and Wu Jian would certainly have been able to answer some of his confusion, unfortunately, they didn’t see each other.

    When realising that Mu Jiashi was not home, Fei and Wu Jian wasted no time in moving on.

    The top priority is relaying the problems with the Tower residents to members of their organisation, especially their founder.

    While Fei is writing down her hypotheses, Wu Jian is excitedly muttering to himself, “this is definitely a big one! A never-before-realised… Terrifying…”

    Having written down several lines by now, Fei asks, “have you realised it yet?”

    Wu Jian, surprised, asks, “what?”

    “Assuming they do have such baggage dragging them down,” says Fei, using vague words, “then, how come they have never tried anything for so many years? Or rather, they must have tried, but they failed.”

    Wu Jian looks shocked.

    But after a while, he sighs, and repeats the phrase, “they tried, but they failed.”

    “Could the Missiontakers have failed to understand what they mean, or…” Fei seems hesitant to suggest, “that?”

    “I suppose the truth getting out is something that… NE will definitely try to stop,” replies Wu Jian, bitterly smiling as he continues, “that… or possibly, none of us just ever thought in that direction, because who could have suspected, NPCs in a game…”

    Fei remains silent.

    Yeah. Who could have thought that the NPCs in-game could be their kin?

    Presumptuous assumptions meant that to this point, nobody knew that in those ages long past, whether those insane Tower residents ever tried to hint at their own identity, or maybe they simply fell victim to the madness.

    Fei said, “that woman on the 16th floor… She said, they were first pretending to be mad, but some of them eventually became truly insane.”

    Wu Jian opens his mouth, and murmurs, “but, if they really were one of us… Then why would there have been that difference in the very beginning? When we’re… all players in this.”

    If the Tower residents and they, the outsiders, are both players, then why did they have to face such stark differences in the situation from the very beginning?

    Fei’s thoughts are firing up. The Tower. The Nightmare. The Apocalypse. There were forms of the Apocalypse…

    She quietly wonders, “what if, it was actually more than one single Apocalypse in the first place?”

    Wu Jian is staring at her blankly; he doesn’t get it.

    Fei shakes her head and frankly says, “we have zero proof of that; it’s all only speculation,” she puts on an equally bitter smile while bitting her lips, but still decides to say, “we might be simply overthinking it.”

    Everyone else may treat their speculation as mere conspiracies. Only they themselves are convinced they are reliable, scientific, rational deductions. Yet Fei can’t help but wish, but plead, that it was merely overthinking, merely overanalysis.

    Otherwise, oh lords, how hopeless must it all have been for the Tower residents?

    Fei shakes her head and gives up thinking. She finishes writing her analysis on paper, and then folds it neatly, before retrieving a utility card from her pocket.

    She carefully, meticulously separates the utility card; after all, the utility cards are still mere physical cards that can be damaged or torn. This is exactly what Fei has done, separating the pieces of paper making up the card into two stacks, solely for transmitting information.

    She puts the piece of paper in the gap created, before reattaching the sides of the utility card. From the surface, other than some creases, the utility card looks good as new.

    She repeats this whole process two more times, creating three such utility cards, and then draws a small, inconspicuous marking on the corner of the utility card.

    Then, she stands up to tell Wu Jian, “I’ll be going. Check on Mu Jiashi once again, see if he’s there. I’ll go there once I’m done.”

    Wu Jian nods.

    Then they leave their house behind.

    Wu Jian heads for Mu Jiashi’s house once again. It’s in a far corner of Respawn Avenue, but it is convenient that it can be reached merely by following Respawn Avenue along all the way.

    On the way there, he brushes past a female Missiontaker. The person felt slightly familiar to him, so he reflexively turns his head around to her silhouette, but he is unable to recall the person’s appearance anywhere in his memories.

    Wu Jian mutters, slightly bewildered, “did I mistake her?”

    It was actually Jiang Shuangmei.

    In the last Nightmare, she adopted the identity of Liang Shuang, having used her utility card, but it did not change the physique of her, that is why Wu Jian noticed her looking somewhat familiar.

    She’s hurriedly passing by Respawn Avenue for Lin Qin.

    In the last Nightmare, Lin Qin once said that, as he wanted the Nightmare resolved quickly, he can help the each of the rest of the Missiontakers present once, within his capabilities.

    They did not manage to promptly resolve the Nightmare, so Jiang Shuangmei does not know if Lin Qin will still make good on that promise.

    But she is at the end of her rope. She has to try it.

    When Jiang Shuangjie disappeared, Jiang Shuangmei was practically a toddler with riches beyond her control, flashing her wealth inadvertently wherever she went; the decadent Missiontakers were highly interested in the utility cards they once amassed, so they quickly approached her; it was an ‘alliance’ held flimsily together, but it did form into some kind of coherent force.

    Jiang Shuangmei never forgot, however, that they were here for the utility cards her older sister left behind.

    She might be a brute, but she’s not that dumb. She quickly sorted her companions into who she thought reliable and those that are not, and formed a small clique with the former, while trying her best to avoid familiar acquaintances in the latter. She even moved houses.

    Yet, she clearly didn’t have eyes for people as good as she thought she had.

    The simple Jiang Shuangmei, scouted in that Nightmare from before, alone, having bought into the excuses from those who she thought were her reliable companions.

    Yet when she quickly came home to report, she realised that her house is emptied; all the utility cards her older sister left behind, have been taken away wholesale.

    Now, the only utility card she had left on her, was ‘the Devil’s Mask,’ what she actually took away from her older sister’s killer.

    She stood there expressionlessly; she might have been thinking about things.

    She knew that it was probably ‘the Devil’s Mask’ whispering, deceiving, and trying to corrupt her again, even if she finds what it is saying endlessly appealing.

    … Why? How?

    Oh, she was truly useless.

    Her older sister is gone; she was not even able to protect what her older sister left behind. Who she thought reliable were equally opportunists who rose to the occasion for the utility cards. Now, she is alone. Once again.

    So… lost, confused, she wondered, what to do now.

    After a bit, her empty brain suddenly recalled, that promise from Lin Qin.

    She knew it was only an oral promise. Who knows if Lin Qin would even help her? But she has been left destitute, devastated, betrayed. If Lin Qin really could help her out just a little…

    Jiang Shuangmei thought, what if?

    She needed a bit of hope to cling to, to leave this terrifying abyss of despair that is swallowing her up whole.

    She did not want to be swallowed up by the malicious sweet nothings.

    … She wants those people dead. She wants to do it. Kill them. Take the utility cards back. Then, she would hide in her house forever, accompanied only by dust, and what her older sister left behind.

    She wants to kill them.

    But, a voice tells her, her older sister would not have wished to see that.

    Jiang Shuangmei stood there, murmuring, “I must listen to my older sister…”

    Then, with hurried steps, she leaves her house behind.

    And most likely, this house with nothing but heartbreak will never be her house anymore.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    In this part of the chapter, Fei and Wu Jian have arranged for information they knew to be relayed. And... Jiang Shuangmei was betrayed.

    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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