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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    He Shujün is finding the interior of the bus to be way too quiet. Furrowing her brows, she turns to Ding Yi, asking, “don’t you think it’s strange?” She looks towards the passengers, “these people… They might as well be in a vegetative state.”

    Ding Yi replies, “perhaps the way their madness manifest is to sit in a bus carriage quietly and be a good passenger?”

    He Shujün can’t help but chuckle, and teases Ding Yi, like the good friends they are not, “well that’s quite the madness indeed. Maybe they were right on the bus when whatever happened and they got trapped… here…?”

    She blinks, and asks again, “no way, right?”

    Ding Yi is staring at her in silence.

    He Shujün knits her brows, wondering, “really?” She starts muttering to herself then, “this is seriously creepy…”

    Ding Yi shakes her head, and then, suddenly says, “we’re at a stop.”

    “What’s this one?” He Shujün reflexively asks, and then answers herself, “I think it was… some art gallery?”

    The bus stops. When the two Missiontakers thought no one would be alighting here, a few passengers shoot up like bamboos and walk mechanically off the bus.

    Now, three passengers, the driver, and Ding Yi and He Shujün remained.

    He Shujün gulps, and says, “I think I’m starting to regret boarding this bus. Something feels really not right here…”

    In what way, though? What kind of madness does this bus have?

    It should be fine. Yes. The bus allowed passengers to board normally and started up normally. It could be that its madness is simply repeating the tourist line forever. That’s it.

    That said, there was still the bloody murder at the bank and the lunatics who run onto the streets every now and then. It makes He Shujün nervous, and she can’t help it.

    Slapping herself on her cheeks lightly, she murmurs, “oh xiao-He, xiao-He, you chose to return to the bottom floor and enter this Nightmare yourself… You’ll have to stay strong…”

    Ding Yi, glancing at He Shujün who is cheering herself up a little next to her, can’t help but feel like laughing.

    Shaking her head, she turns to look at the buildings flying past her view in a blur.

    Suddenly, she asks, “do you feel like…”

    “Huh?”

    Ding Yi sounds hesitant, but then says firmly, “this bus seems like it’s accelerating over time.”

    He Shujün, surprised, then pokes her head out the window to observe the distance to the next stop. Normally, this would be an extremely dangerous thing for a passenger to do, not to mention this is a Nightmare which would increase the risk even further.

    Though it is not in He Shujün’s concerns right now.

    Barely a few seconds passes before she sits back down and says with a serious tone, “it’s true. We’re already closing in on the final stop…”

    Ding Yi asks, “could it be… a road to death?”

    He Shujün seems shocked, then asks, “you mean, the last stop means death? This bus would crash into something later willingly?”

    Ding Yi says, “it’s possible. It keeps accelerating and accelerating, like it’s trying to smash itself hard.”

    “But…” She looks over at the few remaining passengers on the bus, and her lips tremble a little when she asks blankly, “then wouldn’t the first run of the Nightmare end really quickly?”

    “Possibly because we boarded the bus,” Ding Yi is still analysing rationally, “it could have triggered some mechanism. You remember how the driver and passengers both looked at us earlier.”

    He Shujün appears quite uneasy, and she mutters, “it, it can’t be… Or maybe it’s simply trying to avoid something, so it’s speeding up, right?”

    Ding Yi answers, “yes, that is also possible.”

    He Shujün has explanations, but none of that helps their situation any. The bus is still speeding up, and He Shujün can almost hear the sounds of the wind whipping past.

    Finally, she rises to her feet and rushes for the driver.

    Ding Yi, shocked by her sudden course of action, quickly follows.

    They see the driver is still expressionless like some mechanical doll, but according to the speedometer, the speed of the bus is still rising.

    He Shujün can already see the bus stop sign with the grand structure of the museum next to it, and yells out, “driver! Please stop! We’re getting off, it’s the stop already!”

    The driver’s mouth opens, and he speaks, “the last stop, is voided. You, alight later.”

    “Why is the stop voided?!” He Shujün asks in astonishment.

    “Museum stop, is voided,” the driver says with really rigid stutters, “no stop, here. There was, announcement; you, did not read.”

    “What announcement?” He Shujün asks hurriedly, “what happened here?!”

    The bus has already whirred past the museum.

    The driver immediately lets go of the pedal then, and the bus immediately starts decelerating until it comes almost to a crawl. Some kind of emotion seems to have passed through the driver’s soulless eyes as he steps on the gas again and head for the terminal parking lot.

    He quietly says again, “the Museum. Must not go.”

    He Shujün, her brows still furrowed, asks, “were you driving that quickly because you were scared of the Museum?”

    Ding Yi quietly adds next to her, “your guess was right. The bus was avoiding something and so it was accelerating.”

    He Shujün mutters, “but what, exactly? What could be there in the Museum?”

    The driver doesn’t speak, he maintains his unchanging expression.

    The two Missiontakers hear footsteps coming from further in the bus. Turning their head around, they see the three remaining passengers have already stood up, and are quietly standing before the door to alight at the back of the bus, waiting.

    The driver continues driving, and doesn’t answer them.

    The atmosphere is so cold that He Shujün finds it suffocating.

    Finally, after half a minute or so, the bus has come to a stop at the open bus parking lot, right opposite a somewhat unsteady-looking building. The door to the bus opens, and the passengers alight one after another.

    The driver undoes his seatbelt to alight as well.

    So she stops the driver to ask, “what actually happened here? Why are you still driving right now? Why do you not stop at Museum?”

    The driver is staring with his cold and unfeeling eyes, then he speaks, “the Museum, is insane. We, origin-ally, stopped running, but, they did not, let us.”

    “The Museum’s people asked you to keep the tourist line open?”

    “They said, they need, visitors, and people, visiting, or it affects, tourism. They, forced us, to keep going, so, the depart-ment issued notice, we do not stop, but, the bus, still drives. I, have to, keep working.”

    He Shujün takes some time to understand the driver’s words, and then expresses her shock, “the Museum is fighting against the what, Department of Transportation? One forces the city to keep operating for tourists, the other suspended the corresponding stop, but… but… it’s already like this. Why do you even keep working?”

    The drivers eyes are empty, merely standing there like a husk.

    Ding Yi asks, “don’t you think that he looks just like a robot?”

    “A robot…” He Shujün murmurs, “is this how he has gone insane? To become a slave to working?”

    Ding Yi says, “possibly, or a slave of this bus, or of the tourist line itself.”

    He Shujün shudders a little, murmuring, “that’s horrible,” then she shakes her head to add, “and so are the people of the Museum… some mad pursuit of quarterly figures? Number of visitors?”

    She guesses, while moving to the side to allow the bus driver to alight. He is probably off work at this hour, and after seeing He Shujün and Ding Yi alight as well, he shuts the door to the bus.

    As he moves away from the bus, his steps seem to become slightly more natural. The pace seems to suggest he is relaxed.

    Soon enough, he is out of the Missiontakers’ sights.

    He Shujün sees him off, before turning around to look in the opposite direction. Her tone cheers back up again, “let’s go. We still have to go see the Museum.”

    They start walking back.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    So it turns out the bus is still operating due to some ridiculous circumstances and fighting between some tourist board and the transportation agency that manages the city. Phew, it wasn't trying to murder our two Missiontakers. Do keep reading if you want to see what happens next.

    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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