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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    A few minutes later, Jiang Shuangmei is outside of Lin Qin’s house, but she is utterly disappointed to find Lin Qin not home.

    She blankly stares at the door for a while, feeling her depression and hopelessness coming back all the stronger. She finally realises, that not even Lin Qin could be her messiah. Nobody could. It was laughable to even depend on Lin Qin for help in the first place.

    Did she really think there would have been another person who would shower her with affection as genuinely as Jiang Shuangjie?

    No. There is no one else.

    And she has already lost her older sister forever.

    She lowers her head in a daze, looking at her fingers. She starts trudging along the bottom floor of the Tower slowly, slowly; she does not know where she is going, but she is merely walking.

    It feels cold on her face. She touches it, and realises, she is crying.

    … What use are tears! You useless trash!

    She cusses at herself, cursing, as if she could expel her uselessness, her powerlessness, and all those other emotions like this.

    Finally, she comes to a stop.

    She realises, her walk, has taken her to Ding Yi’s house.

    … Ding Yi.

    When she remembers the name, she can’t help but feel ashamed.

    Why did she subconsciously seek out Ding Yi? She’s even left the bottom floor a while ago; even if she hadn’t, the three of them had split up an even longer time ago.

    So many years past, they were the best of companions, the most excellent of comrades. They were inseparable, they had no secrets, they reigned supreme over Nightmares. By the time Ding Yi stopped, Jiang Shuangmei and Jiang Shuangjie still pressed on.

    Yet, when even they come to a stop, they realised, Ding Yi was already completely beyond their reach.

    Sometimes, the more naïve Jiang Shuangmei would wonder, what would have happened if Ding Yi didn’t leave? Actually, why did Ding Yi leave in the first place?

    Wouldn’t it have been nice for the three of them to just keep going in this grey cesspit that is the Tower?

    Then, Jiang Shuangmei only had her older sister. Then, Jiang Shuangmei lost her older sister. Then, Jiang Shuangmei lost any ‘companions’ she thought she had.

    Ah, she chose companions so haphazardly. The others probably just saw a group of people trying to cling to the thighs while it was worth something. To her companions, she was probably only ever Jiang Shuangjie’s little follower, a burden.

    … Not that she thinks they had it wrong.

    After being forced away from her older sister, she has achieved nothing. She failed completely.

    She lowers her head again. She should leave now.

    Yet that is when the door to the house behind her suddenly opens up. A familiar female voice calls out, “… Shuangshuang?”

    Jiang Shuangmei freezes up.

    … Ding Yi, she came back?

    Lin Qin went to find Xü Beijin.

    Obviously.

    He didn’t even make a stop back at his own house before he went straight for Xü Beijin’s bookstore.

    When Xü Beijin has come back to be from the Nightmare, it wasn’t long before Lin Qin, as if he’s back at his own place, just lightly knocks on the door before going straight in.

    Xü Beijin has yet to remove himself from his complicated thoughts and give some time to think about the complicated relationship between himself and Lin Qin. So he couldn’t help but complain, seeing Lin Qin like this, “you might as well just move in entirely.”

    Lin Qin is looking at him, surprised, asking, “I can?”

    Xü Beijin “…”

    Gritting his teeth, he replies, “you can’t .”

    Then, he hears the little apple give a muffled ‘oh.’

    … Xü Beijin then puts up his best ‘puffed up’ face.

    Lin Qin doesn’t wallow in his sadness for long before looking over Xü Beijin closely; he has never observed Xü Beijin as closely as he is now, making Xü Beijin feel like he’s being treated as some object of scientific research.

    Feeling very awkward indeed, Xü Beijin asks, “what are you trying to do?”

    He immediately has bad feelings about what he just asked, because he should be very well aware that Lin Qin’s mysterious brain is wired in such a way to misinterpret the topic and take it to some illogical extreme.

    Lin Qin replies, “I want to see how your body is doing.”

    Xü Beijin tells him, bemused, “I’m already out of that Nightmare, so I’m fine.”

    “But you never sleep,” Lin Qin says, “do you not feel unwell in the Tower?”

    Xü Beijin “…”

    He gives Lin Qin an odd glance, wondering if the little apple is… concerned for his body?

    … They’ve known each other for a while now, haven’t they? (tl: i.e. Lin Qin should know better)

    Xü Beijin makes a sigh while simultaneously feeling exasperated and amused, saying, “Lin Qin, I don’t necessarily require sleep here…”

    “But is whether you need or not need sleep, anything to do with my caring about how your body is when you do not sleep?” Lin Qin poses a question, “I’m simply worried about your body.”

    Xü Beijin averts his eyes slightly awkwardly.

    Lin Qin stares at him for a while before saying, “so you do feel uncomfortable.”

    Xü Beijin remains quiet for a bit before reiterating, “I cannot let others into my Nightmare.”

    “If…” Lin Qin seems hesitant, but then suggests, “if you trust me, then you can sleep here. I will keep watch for you. I won’t let anyone touch your door.”

    Xü Beijin’s eyes widen.

    It’s a solution… well, a ‘solution’ in Lin Qin’s eyes, at least, which would be a good solution if Xü Beijin simply did not want anyone into his Nightmare. Then he would simply need someone to guard his door.

    With Lin Qin’s physical prowess and his reputation on the bottom floor of the Tower, this would not have been difficult for him.

    But Xü Beijin has never thought to do that.

    Because…

    It is not simply a matter of whether he trusted Lin Qin or not, but that aside, why would Lin Qin go so far for him? Merely because he wants to help him sleep well for once? Simply worried or his physical well-being?

    Is there even a need for Lin Qin… to worry about his body so?

    Everyone knows this is just a game. Not sleeping or taking any rest whatsoever in the game merely gives him mental fatigue, but nothing physical. And with how much of a big, big, exaggerated deal Lin Qin is making this out to be…

    Could it all fundamentally boil down to, Lin Qin liking him?

    Xü Beijin looks at him in silence.

    Lin Qin then tilts his head to ask, “do you not want to sleep well for once?”

    Xü Beijin answers in his mind. Of course. Of course he does, but…
    But…

    He sighs, and calls out, “Lin Qin.”

    Lin Qin looks at him, waiting for his next words.

    “You are making me troubled,” Xü Beijin tells him, “if… if what you are doing, and what you are suggesting, is all because you say you like me.”

    Lin Qin furrows his brows, not understanding him well.

    Then, parsing the logic again, Lin Qin seems to understand now and so tells Xü Beijin frankly, “it is my thing to decide to like you, so you don’t have to feel troubled.”

    Xü Beijin “…”

    He watches the little apple for a bit, before suddenly coming to a realisation.

    Could the little apple have thought, that liking someone romantically, is the same as brawling?


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    Jiang Shuangmei might be receiving help from unexpected sources, or maybe not. It’s a cliffhanger. Meanwhile, Lin Qin seems to be... well, seems, in any case, to be potentially making progress on his path of thorns to Xü Beijin’s affection! I’m rooting for you.

    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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