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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Flipping through the book, Wu Jian’s gaze turns from shock to blanking out to pain to despair. His emotions are roiling. He can’t calm down at all.

    He is wondering if this is what once happened on Earth. Did this once happen to human civilisation?

    … An endless disease of madness?

    At the end of the book, the author tried whatever they could to stave off the bleak and probably insane mood of the book to sound positive and optimistic, to wish for humanity to overcome this challenge and return to normalcy and leave the strange madness behind.

    Yet, would it succeed?

    Wu Jian does not know, but he is simply wondering, if humanity really succeeded against the madness, then why would they have still ended up in the Tower?

    And the other confusing thing for him is… ‘impurities’?

    The very specific keyword is triggering Wu Jian’s memories of an equally specific Nightmare – the one featuring the dream in a dream atop the ruins.

    It was also a Nightmare of the bottom floor, though this one currently boasts to have inexplicably came down from the higher floors of the Tower.

    Is there some sort of connection? Why is this book mentioning that Nightmare? Would this kind of phenomenon be an isolated, coincidental example in this Nightmare, or would it be a common occurrence?

    No, wait, Xü Beijin already said something hinting at that building from another Nightmare; if that is also an example, then this Nightmare would certainly be at least somewhat special?

    … Wu Jian has made the astute conclusion that, if this Nightmare really contains such traces of other Nightmares, then could this really be the one? The so-called Ultimate Nightmare?

    Wu Jian hopes so, but his mind is telling him, no way.

    He knows it cannot be this simple. If the Ultimate Nightmare really would surface so easily, then even if it only visits random floors, there is no way for there to have been no news of it for so long.

    Besides, Mu Jiashi already said he’d once been to this Nightmare, hasn’t he? If he has been to this Nightmare, and got a True End to boot, then why is he still in the Tower?

    So in that sense, this Nightmare cannot possibly have been related to the Ultimate Nightmare.

    Even so, reading about all these types of phenomena on the book, Wu Jian can’t help but think with a glimmer in his eyes, that this book… certainly looks important. Besides the mentioning of ‘impurities,’ it is also a pair of eyes that helps them look into the past.

    He falls into a trance just watching the cover of the book.

    Suddenly, he slaps himself on the face, going, “no, that’s not it. The book being here must mean it has some critical clue about this Nightmare…”

    He kept thinking about the Apocalypse this, the Apocalypse that, and he’s forgotten even the most basics.

    They’re in a Nightmare. They’re dangerous, ruthless and bloody. He can’t afford to be so casual around here.

    Even if Mu Jiashi does know how to resolve this Nightmare already.

    (TL: And Lin Qin is also here)

    … Oh damn, he feels like he can slack off even more.

    Wu Jian holds the book in his hands with a long face. He’s not sure what he should be doing for now.

    That is when someone suddenly pops up – its the female Missiontaker of the couple, poking her head down the spiral staircase not far from where he stands.

    She says, “come quick, we found a normal person.”

    Let’s reverse time to around ten minutes ago.

    While Wu Jian was engrossed in his readings, the Missiontakers who claim to be a couple has arrived on the third floor.

    They first went all the way up to the fourth floor before going down to the third floor.

    Since according to what Xü Beijin told them, the fourth floor should contain big and empty rooms while the third floor contains smaller reading rooms. Clearly, the fourth floor would be much quicker to explore, so the couple went up there first.

    While Wu Jian was doubting them of being a couple, they at least have the tacit cooperation part down pat. They’ve made it through the entire fourth floor without a word.

    Finally, when they were about to head back down, Buzzcut said simply, “nothing on my side.”

    “Nor here.”

    Buzzcut then says, “I see. Then let’s go to the third floor, Ye Lan.”

    The woman whom he addressed as Ye Lan nods without another word.

    If any of the other Missiontakers were here, they would probably be surprised to see Ye Lan, who looked all introverted and worried before, look so cold, calm and at ease here.

    Then they would probably diss how these Missiontakers who came down to the bottom floor sure enjoy putting up an act of weakness.

    That is exactly what Ye Lan and her companion planned, including the part about pretending to be a couple, because that would be a simple relationship that would put other people at ease generally. Not that they were planning to engage in any conflict with the rest of Missiontakers, but they did that to ensure an easier time during the division of roles in a Nightmare.

    Ye Lan would act like a woman of few words that seem anxious, which would largely put her off the radar of other Missiontakers, and allow her to observe their actions in turn and also to think about the clues for the Nightmare more quietly.

    As for whether this is effective… Well, maybe insofar as the placebo effect can play out.

    It is simply because the bottom floor of the Tower doesn’t require any of these scheming at this point. The Missiontakers from the higher floors have decided to work together and reach a consensus much faster than those Missiontakers of the bottom floor who have ascended to higher floors.

    They need to work together.

    And especially because Nightmares of the bottom floor do not require competition anyway, so the efficiency-minded, pragmatic Missiontakers immediately adopted new modus operandi.

    The Missiontakers who still remain on the bottom floor now must either know some rumours or have their own plans, or… they are still not yet ready to give up on the possibility of the Ultimate Nightmare.

    That last possibility describes Buzzcut and Ye Lan perfectly.

    Or it is more accurate to say that, after struggling and making it through day after day in Nightmares on the upper floors, they have already lost hope of ever leaving the Tower. So for them, their best way out is to wish that the existence of the Ultimate Nightmare is true.

    Compared to an Ultimate Nightmare, the prospects of them reaching True Ends over and over again endlessly and rise higher and higher until they finally reach the highest floor of the Tower… is so much lower, it is practically zero.

    Well, or rather, it is zero.

    They can never do it.

    Much smarter, wiser, stronger people than them have failed, so the two of them know they cannot do it.

    Therefore, perhaps wisely, or perhaps simply being hotheaded, they’ve come back down to the bottom floor of the Tower, to chase another possible but implausible light of hope.

    How many people are on the bottom floor right now that are like these two Missiontakers?


    Wu Jian follows Ye Lan up to the third floor, and sees the ‘normal person’ Ye Lan described in one of the reading rooms.

    He’s a… 17- or an 18-year-old student, it seems, wearing thick round glasses.


    Meanwhile, the Missiontakers who’ve headed north from the library have finally come across something.

    Fei stops in her tracks.

    She can see the sign in front of her, and narrows her eyes to read it out loud by reflex, “500m ahead, Space Agency?”


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the chapter has covered the effects of the damning book on Wu Jian, and also gives us the background on the Missiontakers calling themselves a couple.

    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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