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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    The two Missiontakers were about to go to the irritated man when suddenly, a well-worn, and also tired voice speaks up from behind them, “ladies, how are you feeling right now?”

    It’s the old Director of the Museum!

    He Shujün and Ding Yi gave each other a look and immediately abort going to the man. Instead, they turn around to speak with the Director.

    He Shujün smiles, saying, “I feel much better. The doctor is very good at his job.”

    “Certainly, certainly,” the Director nods at the remark, saying, “he’s a very good member of our staff, doing his work diligently during work hours. We may have few visitors nowadays, but he still clocks in timely and gives his best for the job. He is a true exemplar of a good employee.”

    He Shujün forces a smile along.

    Then the Director asks, “if you’re feeling better, should we be resuming our tour of the Cityscape Hall?”

    He Shujün would rather not, and so changes the topic, “we looked around the Museum a little, and saw these people moving the collections,” she points to the people outside the side door to the Museum, then asks, “what’s going on?”

    The Director also looks in the direction of the people, and after a brief silence, he tries his best to smile and answer, “they are… transferring them to safety. They are moving the relics and valuable items to safe locations.”

    He Shujün then asks a pointed question, “you definitely do not seem willing to let them go?”

    “Willing?” The Director murmurs, “of course I’m not willing. These antiques have spent far longer a life in this Museum than I, and they should have continued their retirement here forever, even after my own passing.
    But… the world has changed.”

    He Shujün is certainly surprised at the amount of sadness pouring out of the old Director, who says, “I cannot bear to see them go, but I have to. This place is no longer safe, and I’m only doing my best to hold on myself…”

    His eyes almost seem as clear and crisp as that of a child when he then says, “there might be people who would tell you, that I’ve gone mad.”

    He Shujün blanks out, not knowing what to say.

    Ding Yi shakes her head subtly.

    The Director isn’t paying attention to their reactions either. Instead, he is looking at a painting being loaded onto the truck.

    He then speaks up, “that painting depicts the year Cangcheng was formally granted city status. The painter focused on the prominent, vast fields of nanohana blooming in brilliant blossom outside of the city. I suppose young ones these days would find all the yellow boring, but they have never known how useful as well as aesthetically pleasing a field of them were as a crop…”

    Both Missiontakers are listening quietly.

    Neither could discern any longer whether they are listening to the Director’s words because they want to resolve this Nightmare, or simply because, they are the laments of an old man.

    They cannot tell anymore.

    They merely listened on.

    The Director then says, “everything on display in the Museum, I can speak of its origin, speak of its own story. Each one of them has a rich narrative woven intricately into the development of this city. They shine just as brilliantly as the great residents of this great city.
    We should remember them, even if many people can’t, but at least someone has to; our past, our stories that built us up into who we are… I believe it is important people know.
    Maybe I really am mad…”

    The Director blabbered on.

    He Shujün comments rather dryly, “but the spread of the madness has changed everything.”

    “That’s right!” The old Director turns around to face her, and says, “you’re absolutely right! That is the reason I’m doing all this! This is all that I have the power to do. I have to, I must…”

    He Shujün, looking at the somewhat unhinged look the Director now sports, is regretting her choice of words.

    “No one is coming to the Museum anymore, nobody… but why? Why would no one come?”

    I must identify the reason. I must resolve this situation. It has lasted all these years. I cannot allow the Museum to fall into obscurity in my own hands…”

    The Director trails off into a murmur.

    He Shujün feels really complicated about this.

    “Without the Museum, we will no longer remember our past, neither our glory nor our pains…”

    The Director suddenly starts sobbing, and says, “if we lose our memories, we will lose anything and everything!”

    He Shujün and Ding Yi both fall silent at this moment.

    They are unable to retort.

    They are sure the Director is insane, insane because of what has befallen the Museum, but…
    They still cannot refute.

    “Losing memories, is losing everything.”

    Ding Yi quietly repeats the words.

    She is falling into thought.

    Thoughts about themselves, the Missiontakers, the humans trapped in the Tower.

    She looks at the Director, at the Museum, at this city, which is still standing tall, yet to be defeated by the Apocalypse.

    She is thinking about the present, and the past.

    What really happened? What was it that the Missiontakers have forgotten? Why are they in the Tower, why did they forget everything, why are they forced into these Nightmares that all seem to imply something?

    Even someone as usually collected and calm as Ding Yi, cannot help but tighten her fists at the thoughts.

    Pain grips her heart like thorns. Her eyes inevitably well up.

    Losing memories, is equal to losing everything.

    They have already lost, everything.

    When they forgot about the past, when they know nothing of the truth, when they have no way of fighting back against what faces them right now…

    Tears streak across Ding Yi’s face, but she has turned her head around in time, so no one present could see.

    At the same time, the viewers on the stream saw that the camera has abruptly switched over to someone else.

    They type some question marks on the comment barrage, confused that Xü Beijin switched that when… the Museum is still quite lively with everything, isn’t it?

    Clearly, the Director has told everything he could yet. Why did Xü Beijin already change scenes?

    But it is precisely thanks to the camera cutting away, that no viewers noticed the moment Ding Yi teared up.

    And when the new scene came up, the viewers are immediately faced with a shocked tone of voice. It is from Wu Jian.

    “What did you just say?!”

    Wu Jian is staring at the teenager dressed like a student in front of him.

    The teenager pushes his thick glasses up a little, and repeats himself, “I looked through dozens of newspaper articles, checked dozens of news channels and other media, and finally, I found this piece of news in this obscure publication. I finally have the time pinned down…”

    Wu Jian is still looking at him in disbelief.

    Then the teenager merely gives him a cold smile and says, “just read it yourself. It’d be far more effective than my own words.”

    Wu Jian then reads the news article carefully.

    “Unknown Extraterrestrial Object on Collision Course with ?”

    The subtitle reads, ‘Experts estimate impact at 1600 hours, July 23.’

    Wu Jian almost reflexively looks up at the large electronic display of the clock on the third floor.

    Right now, the time reads, 15:30.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the chapter contains some rather touching commentary on a modern lifestyle that seems to have forgotten about our own roots. Meanwhile, the end is nigh.

    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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