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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Fei is looking at the bus approaching from the end of the road, until it gradually comes to a stop by the Missiontakers.

    The door opens, and the three Missiontakers, looking at each other, do not take a step yet.

    The driver isn’t hurrying them along either, and merely waits there in silence.

    Finally, Fei speaks up to ask, “excuse me, sir, but does this bus stop at the library?”

    The driver makes a somewhat stiff nod.

    So the three Missiontakers board the bus.

    They probably won’t make it back in time to share everything on foot, but with the bus, they’ll arrive at the library soon enough, hopefully.

    There are no other passengers on the vehicle; it’s almost like the Space Agency is the line’s starting terminal.

    Fei is also amazed at the fact that there are still busses running in this Nightmare when it’s like this.

    She looks up at the clock installed on the bus itself, and sees that it reads 15:30.

    Taking a note of the time, she thinks that given what she’s heard, the thing in the sky might be impacting them at around 4 pm, with about half an hour left for them… probably.

    The Server, NE, could almost be said to have a quirk in obsessing itself with time arrangements in Nightmares. It’s an unspoken rule that pretty much everyone knows on the higher floors.

    Of course, they might say it’s a rule, but exceptions would certainly arise as well.

    Fei is finding her mind wandering a little, so she decides to chat with the bus driver.

    “Mister, is it not dangerous for you to still be driving the bus when it’s like this?”

    “There are, of course, dangers,” the driver replies very slowly, “but, it was, required, by the de-part-ment. I, also love, my job.”

    Fei gives the driver a slightly odd look, realising that he might also be insane.

    She then continues, “we just left the Space Agency, and those people were saying that something is going to fall out of the sky…”

    “Do not, believe, in them,” the driver suddenly interrupts Fei, “those people, all, liars. Mad. They, preach, their ideas, but, all, lies.”

    Fei is astonished.

    Lies?

    She then looks out at the sky by reflex.

    It is still the cloudless, sunny day out there.

    It is true that nothing appears anomalous. If some great disaster really was to befall this planet in half an hour, there should be signs. At least, the object should already be visible in the sky, right?

    It’s flying through the universe and about to land here, you know.

    And also, those people are only amateur astronomers at best. Who knows if they might have simply mistaken some space junk for a meteorite?

    And how could they confirm that the object is on a collision path with this planet? Did it go through rigorous, precise measurements and calculations?

    What the driver said gave Fei countless thoughts, but since the driver himself has also gone insane, it is unknowable how reliable what he says is.

    She can’t help but smile bitterly and bite her lips. She asks, “mister, how are you so sure?”

    “Because, I just, know,” the driver is shaking his head monotonously, and continues, “lies; all, lies. Those theories, explainers, only to show, where, madness, came from. They, are, liars.”

    Fei takes a moment to comprehend the driver’s meaning.

    Since earlier, she also heard the enthusiasts claim the object flying through the sky to be the culprit for causing the madness in humanity; either through some undocumented changes in the magnetic field, or simply pointing their fingers at ‘aliens.’

    It may very well be the case that these theories have widespread appeal in broader society.

    The weird madness came out of nowhere, and whatever the human scientists did, they couldn’t come up with a unanimous verdict.

    They do not know how to cure it, nor know where it came from.

    Humanity’s research into the brain is still very much at the beginning. So in the face of such a madness, they can only put their hands up in defeat.

    This only ends up being a breeding ground for conspiracy theories, either grounded in reality or completely absurd, regarding the origins of the madness.

    After all this time, the information has become so saturated and contradictory that people, like this driver, would not believe in any of them.

    That said, the situation does give Fei another idea.

    While most of the conspiracy theories would clearly be baseless and ridiculous, but what if there are also some that are correct by pure, dumb luck?

    Especially, theories that incorporate the object about to fall out of the sky…

    Since, they have to remember, they’re in this Nightmare to resolve whatever it was haunting the Nightmare’s owner.

    The fact that their entry was at that moment in time, then the core of Tower resident’s Nightmare must also be related to whatever happens, or is about to happen at that time.

    What might haunt a person more than the disaster about to strike their home planet, sparing no one?

    Fei takes a deep breath.

    This logically leads to another, even more fantastical idea.

    What if, to resolve this Nightmare, they actually need to resolve this disaster itself?

    How could that even be possible?!

    Fei finds the thought morbidly amusing, and decides she must have simply drawn the wrong conclusion. There are probably more clues to be found first.

    Several minutes pass with Fei in this nervous state.

    And finally, after around 10 minutes, the bus is right at the library.

    By this time, Wu Jian is already waiting at the door to the library.

    Not long ago, Wu Jian just found out about the newspaper report on the ‘unidentified object’ and all the related guesses.

    The teenager showed the Missiontakers the results of his several days’ worth of research efforts in full.

    Though it is notable that, despite how much of a key piece of information Wu Jian has come to obtain, he still can’t help but feel disheartened at the whole affair.

    He had the same train of thought as Fei… What, they are supposed to stop this disaster from happening?

    And also, if this thing really did happen in the past, to their Earth…

    Then, could this have been, the Apocalypse, which they experienced, and then forgot about?

    Wu Jian exhales loudly, depressed.

    The Missiontakers have left the third floor and gone back down to the first floor; the teenager followed after them.

    They were there to ask Xü Beijin if he could lead them up to the fifth floor, the staff-only area. They were sure he could.

    Buzzcut went to negotiate with Xü Beijin, while Wu Jian walked out of the library to see if any Missiontakers have finished their exploration and are making their way back.

    He hears the sounds of an engine when he walks out. Looking in the direction, he sees a box truck driving past the road, heading to the north. Wu Jian can only wonder where it came from.

    Looking north towards the road, he then sees another small black dot appear in his vision, moving past the box truck, and getting larger in his vision.

    Wu Jian narrows his eyes to watch carefully, and now sees clearly that it is a bus.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the chapter explains what everyday people in this maddened world probably thought at the time of the disaster. Meanwhile, the Missiontakers are finally meeting up!

    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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