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    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    Fei, Wu Jian and Mu Jiashi sit there in silence for a while, when finally, Mu Jiashi stands up to say, “I’ll visit Xü Beijin now. I have to talk to him, about his Nightmare. Maybe he will provide some clues.
    He told me to look for him in three days, but I’m thinking going earlier would show my resolve better. It should be fine this way.”

    Fei and Wu Jian nod, and leave the house, seeing him off.

    After Mu Jiashi has left their earshot, Wu Jian asks, “what do we do now?”

    “NE,” answers Fei.

    Wu Jian seems stunned for a moment, before asking, “uh, we’re going to kill it?”

    Fei “…”

    She gives her companion an amused ‘are you for real right now’ look.

    Wu Jian seems embarrassed.

    Fei says, “we’re going to collect information on NE, and also tell our people to relay a message before they leave – bring information on NE down to the bottom floor.”

    Wu Jian says, “isn’t the information we have on NE just vague nothings? Do you think there are new clues that could be found?”

    “I don’t know,” Fei answers honestly, and forces a smile, saying, “regardless, we have to do something, and… the bottom floor of the Tower, here.”

    Wu Jian looks confused, not knowing where she is going with this.

    Fei tells him, “maybe, there are also rumours about NE here we don’t understand yet.”

    Wu Jian suggests, “we can try the Marketplace; with all the original Missiontaker demographic of the bottom floor basically gone, though, I’m not sure if there might be many merchants left.”

    Fei nods, and says, “let’s go, then…”

    When Mu Jiashi arrives at the bookstore, Lin Qin is also here.

    Another True End, another time Lin Qin has chosen to stay.

    If people asked why he stayed, his answer is probably still going to be, he’s not interested.

    Xü Beijin seems used to his visit, too. He merely waved a greeting before turning around to look for whatever he is looking for right now.

    Lin Qin walks over, curious, and asks, “what are you looking for?”

    Xü Beijin says, “I’m looking for… a book,” he says hesitantly, “yes, it’s a book.”

    “A book? What for?”

    Before Lin Qin even arrived, Xü Beijin has already been searching, but he couldn’t find it.

    The bookshelves in this bookstore reach all the way up to the ceiling. They’re not particularly neatly organised, either.

    There is a categorisation by genre, but to find the book he’s looking for from the tens of thousands in the store, is probably too tall an order.

    Xü Beijin stops searching, and asks, “do you know what all these… all these books in my bookstore imply?”

    Lin Qin, looking around the bookstore, shakes his head honestly.

    Xü Beijin says, “they’re clues on Nightmares… direct or indirect ones.”

    “Oh, I see,” Lin Qin has a largely neutral tone. He doesn’t seem to be able to appreciate the weight of what these clues in books would carry. Then he says, “so are you looking for the clue that corresponds to your Nightmare?”

    Xü Beijin nods.

    Lin Qin’s rather muted response was a relief to Xü Beijin.

    Would Lin Qin actually not know the value of what he just said? Of course not. He’s unaware, but he’s not dumb.

    He just didn’t care; when Xü Beijin said it, he’ll give him an ‘oh’ or ‘I see,’ to acknowledge what he said.

    Or maybe, his instincts know to rein in his reactions a little?

    Lin Qin says, “but, it’s your own Nightmare… you don’t already know about it?”

    Xü Beijin says, “what I’m looking for, is not the kind of clue you’re imagining… spoilers or directions. None of that.”

    He looks like he has a hard time explaining, “it’s something I have no idea where to even begin with, but put simply, it’s something special.”

    Lin Qin blinks, seemingly lost.

    Xü Beijin sighs, and tells him, “a really long time ago, I found it, and I’ve even read it, but it’s been too long, so… I’m not sure if it’s still helpful. I have to see what it looks like now…”

    As he mumbled along, Xü Beijin is sinking down into his own thoughts, and his words trail off into silence.

    Lin Qin is used to him becoming distracted by himself already, and knows this is not him being rude or unfriendly.

    In fact, he prides himself on it, as a sign that Xü Beijin is able to wholly relax in front of him.

    Shortly after, Xü Beijin snaps back to reality, and tells him, “I don’t know where I last put it… Anyway, I’ll keep looking for it.”

    “I’ll help,” Lin Qin says, “what is the title?”

    Xü Beijin seems frustrated as he explains, “that’s the problem. I have no way of telling you anything about it.”

    Lin Qin says, “it’s fine. I’ll look for it.”

    Xü Beijin, recalling Lin Qin’s almost beast-like instinct, thinks it might help a little.

    A minute later, he receives the ‘Update Log’ Lin Qin hands him with a blank facial expression.

    Lin Qin is still mumbling over there, “the last time I already saw this book, and I was going to ask, but I forgot. It’s still there, though… so what kind of book is this, actually?”

    Xü Beijin receives it, and answers, “it’s exactly what it says on the cover. It’s the thing I’m looking for, thanks for helping out.”

    Lin Qin nods, not seemingly feeling at all weird that he found what took Xü Beijin hours of looking in under a minute.

    He’s simply wondering, ‘exactly what it says on the cover’?

    So it is an ‘update log’?

    But an update log of what?

    Lin Qin, having no idea what it could be about, can only watch Xü Beijin read through it quietly.

    A while later, Xü Beijin slaps the thick ‘Update Log’ shut, furrowing his brows a little. He looks both relieved and concerned at the same time.

    Lin Qin asks, “so did you find what you were looking for inside?”

    “I did; well, more accurately, I didn’t…” Xü Beijin narrows his eyes, “which should not have been the case.”

    “So is it a good thing?” Asks Lin Qin.

    Xü Beijin mumbles, “it is a good thing, even if it is really strange…”

    “So what was it that you were looking for?”

    Xü Beijin remains quiet for a bit, and answers, “a bug.”

    Bug?

    Lin Qin turns his attention to the ‘Update Log,’ and wonders, so a ‘bug’ is recorded inside the log?

    He can’t help but wonder again what kind of log this is. What bug does Xü Beijin mean by that?

    Though he decides not to ask anymore when Xü Beijin looks as troubled as he is right now. Instead, he tells him, “don’t think too much about it. It’s already a good thing, right?”

    Xü Beijin smiles, although it looks a little forced. He then pushes the Update Log into some random slot on the shelves without care.

    Then he mumbles, “you’re right… at least, the bug is still there. That is good.”

    He still can’t help but wonder, though, why the bug is still there. Did NE not report it? There were no lines about the bug being fixed in the ‘Update Log.’

    It’s inexplicable.

    Could NE really have switched over to the human’s side?

    Xü Beijin can’t help but recall – for him, it was the streaming system──And Lin Qin──That he overcame his slump. But then, what spurred NE into action? What could have motivated him?

    He’s an AI, the Server to a game. Why would he have gone against his presumed original protocol?

    Xü Beijin cannot figure out an answer after a while of thought, and shakes his head.

    He shouldn’t think too much about it. It’s not like he can understand NE, anyway.

    Human brains operate on a fundamentally different scheme to artificial intelligences. They cannot mutually understand one another.

    In any case, looking at the corner of the shelves into which he just shoved a book, Xü Beijin concludes, that it is a good thing.

    That’s it.

    With the bug still intact, there is some hope that he can escape the Nightmare unscathed. In fact, he might even…

    His gaze is deep, piercing and dark, Anyone else seeing it would have suspected him to be scheming something.

    However, Lin Qin is merely looking at Xü Beijin’s eyebags, and thinking about how to make his Beijin sleep.

    Didn’t he say that he’s going to make a decision in three days, by the way?

    Lin Qin moves to ask Xü Beijin about it.


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    This part of the chapter reveals... flags. Apparently there is some ‘bug’ the Server has not reported and fixed, which Xü Beijin can abuse. You’ll see what it is in not-too-many chapters.

    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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