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 7: Real Misfits
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After the speeches, the participants exchanged ideas on their own.
Those who believed in the dimensional rift were whispering to the speakers, while those who didn’t were impatiently leaving the room except for Ji Wei who was still sitting alone in the corner as he stirred the drink in front of him.
He wasn’t thinking about the dimensional rift, but about whether he could return to the laboratory building safely.
It was a waste of time to come out, and risk running into Fang Yuan just for the sake of it.
The cafe waiter gently came over, sat in front of Ji Wei, and asked him what he was thinking about.
Although Ji Wei didn’t trust them, he still maintained a rational attitude of discussion, which was his preset attitude when he faced anything unknown.
“There’s something I don’t quite understand.” Ji Wei asked, “Each of you had the different last worlds, didn’t you? All four of you are different.”
“Mn, we do come from completely different time and space. We don’t even have quite the same types of civilizations.”
“You guys said that since the language converges when you get to that dimensional rift, and you don’t need to learn to communicate with any one, then is there no language barrier when you come to your new world?”
“Yes. The feeling is quite difficult to explain.”
“Does it sound to you like I’m speaking your native language?”
“No,” said the waiter. “It’s not like simultaneous interpretation, but more like something in my head has been changed. I naturally think and speak in the language I speak now, instead of the language I spoke when I was in the last world. I don’t really remember what that was even like…”
Ji Wei asked, “But you remember the things that happened?”
“Because those things were so profound,” the waiter said. “So tragic. Who could easily forget them? So we do remember some of the ins and outs. But if I were to recall what movies I had seen in the last world, what sights the city had to offer, I wouldn’t be able to remember. I become highly identified with the present world. What once happened to me, it’s like a piece of someone else’s experience. I can feel the sadness and joy, and I can remember the larger series of events, but there is no sense of tangibility.”
When he heard him say this, Ji Wei suddenly remembered a theory. Memory can be eliminated, but it also can be created.
There have been cases around the world where people claimed to have suffered extremely horrible abductions, some saw prehistoric monsters, some saw aliens, so they would seek hypnotherapy to try to recall the full memory of that period. But hypnosis instead deepened the psychological suggestion, so that the original illusions and misunderstandings were deepened into a solid, detailed memory. Eventually, they became even more convinced that they were indeed abducted by a mysterious creature.
In order to test the theory, some scientists had conducted experiments in which hypnosis was used to instill in a volunteer subject a childhood experience that he never had, and the result was that the subject was almost completely convinced that he had that memory after the hypnosis session.
If the same phenomenon occurred in these four people, then the identity of the “dark-haired, golden-eyed, late twenties male” would be obvious. He was probably a hypnotist or something. For some reason, he instilled some absurd information into these people to convince them that those events really happened.
The waiter saw how Ji Wei was silent for a long time,and asked him what he was thinking. Ji Wei concealed his true inference and only said, “I was thinking, since you guys are from a different era, is what you experienced the so-called time travel?”
“It’s not time.” The waiter smiled. “It’s crossing time and space. We were each originally in different four-dimensional universes, so the timelines couldn’t have been the same. There is no relationship between my past, and the past of the other three regarding who came first and who came after. It wasn’t until we came to the same world in the present, that we could measure our behavior in terms of time.”
The current cafe waiter, the former ‘man who could have children,’ was talking seriously about “different four-dimensional universes” …Ji Wei was more than sure that these people must have been indoctrinated with various theories by someone.
They did say that they had learned a lot of complicated and wonderful knowledge in the place where the “black-haired, golden-eyed, late twenties male” had lived.
“So, why you guys?” Ji Wei asked again. “Did the four of you have anything in common before? Why you guys and not someone else?”
The waiter shook his head, “You must have wandered off just now. As we said, the four of us are not the only ones who have been to dimensional rift. The man with black hair and golden eyes has received countless reborn people, and it is said that there are so many that he can’t remember them all. The four of us just happened to end up in the same new world. I think that in other times and spaces beyond our reach, there must be others who are looking for companions and thinking about the reasons.”
“You want to find the reason?”
“Yes. Of course. It is not the whole of my life, just a little goal for the rest of the day.”
“To explore yourself? To find your true self?”
“Not really, I like the world as it is, and I know who I am. It’s not so much to explore the ego as it is to figure out who the Landlord is.”
“Mn, the man with black hair and golden eyes calls himself the Landlord. We don’t know his real name.”
Ji Wei’s thoughts had completely turned to “Is it true that human memory can be manipulated?” “Is the human brain so unreliable?” and “Is that therapist’s practice illegal?” At first he thought the event was a bit boring, but now he has changed his mind, and was curious as to what the real experience of these four people was.
Ji Wei only sat through the event until it was completely over because he wanted to hear more of what was being said, and also because he wanted to wait for more people to come along.
For the past two years, Ji Wei had been like this. If he had to go out, he had to try to have company. Once he was alone, he could be pestered by Fang Yuan’s men.
Finally, he left the cafe with the explorer and lifeguard.
On the subway, those two men chatted about the new restaurants in the city, the silliest commercials on TV, etc., looking no different from ordinary young people.
Ji Wei had been silently speculating. What was their so-called ‘experience’ in the end? Was it simply a lie, or has it been a tampered memory?
“We still remember the Landlord, but he certainly won’t remember us,” the lifeguard said.
The explorer said, “Not necessarily. He said he rarely saw two Survivors walk through a door at the same time. We should have made more of an impression on him.”
“But he’s hosted so many Survivors, and the time in that place is different from what we have now, so who knows how many more he’ll be hosting in the future…”
Ji Wei joined in carelessly, “If I see him, I’ll mention you guys to him, and ask him if he remembers.”
They were words that made those two immediately go quiet.
After a while, the lifeguard said with a grim face, “Don’t think like that. It’s not good to see him.”
Ji Wei asked, “Why is it not good to have a new life after death?”
“The people who saw him haven’t seen anything good,” the explorer told him. “They encountered murder, coercion, betrayal…they have experienced great suffering, without exception. It’s as if your whole life is a mistake, and then it’s interrupted by something out of the blue. It was really good to see him, and I had a new chance, but no one would want to experience so much fear and hate first, and then gamble on whether they could see him after being tortured to death!”
The lifeguard also patted Ji Wei’s shoulder. “I’ve seen many girls joke that if they were drowning, they could be artificially resuscitated by a handsome lifeguard. Each time I correct them. Drowning isn’t fun at all. It’s very scary, so don’t look forward to drowning in order to get artificial resuscitation.”
Ji Wei felt a bit of embarrassment. He just said it casually, but these two were serious as hell.
Just as the subway entered the station, Ji Wei pretended to look out of the car window, and didn’t continue the last topic.
There were a lot of people getting off at this stop. Ji Wei had tried to avoid the doorway as much as possible, but there were still people who kept squeezing him. At the same time, the people getting on the train also pushed the explorer and lifeguard deeper into the car.
Ji Wei’s hands were free of the metal bars. He was being pushed by the people getting off the train and was about to reach the door, so he thought he might as well get off first and then follow the train.
Two hands suddenly reached out from the crowd, grabbed his shoulders and dragged him out from the car.
He looked around in panic, and found that all the people around him, both men and women, who were deliberately crowding him, were darting their eyes away, as they pretended to be unconcerned, but they were glancing at him all the time.
Ji Wei’s body was cold. These were Fang Yuan’s people! Fang Yuan’s surveillance never stopped, he just changed his group of people, and changed his way to be more covert.
While Ji Wei was on his way to the gathering, Fang Yuan’s people hadn’t done anything, probably because they couldn’t tell what Ji Wei was going to do, or in case the person Ji Wei was going to meet had an appointment with him and he disappeared. Then they would quickly find he was missing.
Now that it was over, the solitary Ji Wei was going back to the lab building where he was on vacation, so even if he disappeared, no one would notice immediately.
Ji Wei was just about to call for help, when a thin needle stuck into the skin of his neck. There was no pain, just like a small insect bite. His feet were weak and drained, and he was carried like a drunk on the shoulders of the young men and women around him as he was walked towards the exit.