Happy 5th Year Anniversary! It is by far one of my favorite Matthia novels to date, so PLEASE check it out! This was a joint effort by everyone in ExR for our 5th Year Anniversary. Thank you, Addis, Rikko, Aphelios, Ceti, KarateChopMonkey, gaeatiamat, and Rara.
Chapter 10: The Man with the Golden Eyes
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Very far away there was a wall. A wall the same color as the surrounding area, at the farthest end of what normal human vision could see. It was blurry, but it was indeed a wall.
“When did you…you find that…” The Landlord stiffened. It wasn’t anything horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but a chill ran down his spine.
“Just found it,” Fang Yuan said. “Yesterday I deliberately looked in that direction. I was wondering about how I had never seen such a long corridor. That wall must not have been there yesterday.”
The Landlord wanted to walk to the wall to see, but he couldn’t. No matter how much you walked, how many doors you passed by, the wall at the end was still so far away.
So he gave up, and decided to observe for a while.
The next day, the wall was closer. It was Fang Yuan who said that it had become closer, while the Landlord couldn’t see the difference for the time being. The third day was the same.
A week later, the wall got even closer. The Landlord walked towards it, and this time he could get closer, but still couldn’t get in front of it.
Fang Yuan probably couldn’t tell how strange the situation was, so he didn’t panic. He sat at his desk in the living room every day, and read and wrote, while he looked like an executive who was still at work, with no air of being dead.
Two weeks later, the wall continued to approach. One day, there was a Survivor in the white room again. Yes, before Fang Yuan could leave, there was another one.
She had honestly stayed in the room, without crying, but when the Landlord and Fang Yuan opened the door, she let out a cry and a ‘wow.’
Later they learned the reason. The girl was religious, and the doctrine she believed in said that devotees would reach the land of pure love after death (another expression similar to the paradise of bliss). Messengers of pure love would come to pick her up. They would stand to her left and right, escort her forward, and the messengers would sound and look exactly like her most adorable pairing.
“…pairing?” Back in the living room, Fang Yuan looked curiously at the girl who was still sobbing.
The Landlord whispered, “It’s also called ‘cp’ or ‘cipi’ in some places. It means a couple of lovers. Never mind that people from all kinds of worlds appear here. I’ve seen a lot of strange cultures and religions.”
“And what is ‘moe?’”
“It’s to like something in particular, to be motivated by the thought of it, to be especially excited about it, to be passionate about it, to pay attention to it even if it has nothing to do with survival or work.”
“Oh, it’s the kind of thing I used to have when I was trying to do something with Ji Wei.”
“Not that kind…”
Apparently, the Landlord and Fang Yuan were not the girl’s favorite ‘pairing’ in life, so when she saw them, she thought she was hated by God and might even go to hell.
She died as a result of a religious war, convinced of the righteousness of her views in a brutal dispute. She was later persecuted, and falsely accused of being a malicious heretic. Heretics would’t be accepted in the land of pure love, but would instead fall to the sub-zero poles (a place similar to hell in their culture) where the souls of sinners will be tortured by the bitter cold, and never rest in peace.
It took a few days for the girl to truly believe that she wasn’t in the land of pure love, or the sub-zero poles, but a place that had nothing to do with her original world.
As she read a book or watched a DVD in silence, Fang Yuan often sat in the corner and stared at her.
“You should not be interested in her, right?” Once, the Landlord asked quietly.
“No,” Fang Yuan said. “I’m interested in you.”
A chill ran down the Landlord’s spine as he thought about what Ji Wei had accused him of before. “Please explain the logic? I’m not going to ask what about me you’re interested in. First of all, why are you interested in me, but you need to keep an eye on her?”
“I was thinking that this is how you’ve always received Survivors before, right? You explain, guide, stay with them for a few days, then send them away.”
“That’s how it was. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing much. I’m just curious. Aren’t you bored?”
“No, I’m not. One is sent away, and there will be more.”
“With all the people coming and going, didn’t anyone ever say they wanted to stay with you?”
“Ha, of course there were.” The words brought back some interesting memories, although the Landlord doesn’t quite remember the names of those people anymore. “Those who said they’d stay were just impulsive. They don’t belong here and won’t really stay. Behind the door is the world that really belongs to them.”
The girl lived there for three months, after which she also found the door where she belonged. Before she left, she hugged each of the two men, and said with tears in her eyes, “I understand now that I have, indeed, arrived at the land of pure love. No one ever said before what the land of pure love is like, but now, I understand the true meaning of the oracle. The divine messengers do not become the pairing that I used to be moe about, but…will become a new pairing that is very moe to help me.”
“We, we are not…” Landlord tried to explain, not so much for himself, but mainly because he was afraid that the girl would take this fanatical way of thinking about faith to the next world.
However, she didn’t finish listening before she eagerly, and happily, ran and jumped through the door then disappeared into the light.
Fang Yuan watched the whole process from the sidelines. Counting Ji Wei, this was the second time Fang Yuan had seen a Survivor leave.
Back in the living room, the Landlord said, “According to my available records, the longest time a Survivor has stayed here is more than five months. You want to break that record?”
“Oh. I’ve been staying for almost four months…,” Fang Yuan said, and leaned back on the sofa.
“You still don’t feel like you belong to a door?”
“No. Actually, I can leave without it.”
“I’m not leaving,” Fang Yuan’s tone was more resolute than earlier. “I’ve thought about it. I’ll stay with you.”
“Whatever you want. I’ve heard that a lot.” The Landlord skimmed his lips.
“Well, it’s good that you agree. Because I’ve already decided.”
The Landlord remembered that Ji Wei said before he left, once Fang Yuan decided something, it wouldn’t change because of other people’s opinions, only if he himself really wanted to change.
However, whether to leave or stay was never a Survivor’s decision.
The Landlord didn’t argue with Fang Yuan, but only had a bitter smile silently in his heart. Now the people say it firmly, but one day they will leave this small world.
He suddenly found that he seemed to be lamenting, and disappointed. There was obviously nothing to be disappointed about, it was only normal that no one stayed.
Fang Yuan did break the record for the longest Survivor stay.
If there was no need, the Landlord wouldn’t specifically count the number of days. Anyway, ‘time’ there wasn’t meaningful. He could only roughly record that Fang Yuan had lived there for nearly six months.
The wall at the end of the corridor was getting closer and closer. Every time it got closer, the Landlord’s fear increased, as if his heart was gradually being squeezed tighter and tighter. It seemed that something in the dark was sending a message. Its proximity would be the most horrible thing in the world.
He strongly felt a certain limitation. He appeared here, lived here, and rightly knew a lot of knowledge, but he wasn’t all-knowing. Even Fang Yuan could only make a big guess about the moving wall, but the Landlord, with all his common sense and memory, couldn’t analyze why the wall was getting close.
Whenever Fang Yuan talked about the wall, the Landlord would digress to other topics. He was afraid to look deeper, and kept trying to hide this fear.
Finally, on another occasion, Fang Yuan asked directly. “Are you afraid of the wall?”
The Landlord denied it. “I’m not afraid. It’s mostly that this phenomenon is strange and unprecedented, and people are upset by new phenomena.”
“You’re just afraid. You don’t want to explore it, you don’t want to talk about it, and when you look over there you have fear in your eyes. See, even now, when I talk about the wall, you clench your mouth and tense your muscles. What is that if not fear?”
Without waiting for Landlord to retort, Fang Yuan continued on his own, “It’s okay. even if it’s not a good sign, at least there’s me with you.”
“You are really inexplicably confident…” The Landlord pulled on the armrest, and intended to go back to the living room.
Fang Yuan was about to say something else, when he pulled on his wrist.
It might be hard to believe, but it was actually the first time in six months that they had direct physical contact.
The Landlord looked around and took a few steps back. He wasn’t eager to retrieve his hand. He was taken aback by Fang Yuan’s appearance at this point.
Fang Yuan kept his head down and maintained the same posture as earlier, just like an overloaded dead computer, and it took him a while to come back to his senses.
When he raised his head again, the Landlord shook off his hand, and stumbled back.
Fang Yuan’s eyes had turned golden. The exact same golden brown as the Landlord’s.
“Who are you…” The Landlord’s entire body leaned against the stair railing. He didn’t dare approach Fang Yuan, as if the person who stood before him wasn’t a Survivor, but the wall.
Fang Yuan’s face was stiff. It took several seconds to even manage a simple smile, as if a wax figure was slowly transforming into a human being.
“I remember.” He stood still, but his eyes began to look around. “I remember…If only I had hugged you earlier.”
“No, no. It would have been nice to touch you a little earlier.”
Perhaps he sensed that the statement was too abrupt, so Fang Yuan smiled and lowered his head in embarrassment.
A watery mist spread over the golden eyes, and slowly slid down the cheeks.
This was not the expression of Fang Yuan at all.
He was a strange man with a good thinking ability but a lack of empathy. The cold man who died because of revenge, and took Ji Wei only up to dimensional rift.
He never smiled like this, nor did he shed tears.
Finally, Fang Yuan’s gaze settled to the front. He didn’t look at the Landlord, but behind the Landlord.
Following Fang Yuan’s line of sight, the Landlord also slowly turned around.
The wall that he secretly feared was now close at hand.
The other end of the corridor could still be infinitely extended, but this end of it had come to his side.
On the wall appeared a door. Mahogany, brass handle…exactly the same as the other doorways in the corridor.
The Landlord’s hands were shaking as he tried to back away, as the door opened on its own.
The words that had drifted away, the images that had turned into crumbs…a large number of messages and emotions converged into a tsunami that overwhelmed him instantly.