Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
No one slept, except for the children who didn’t understand the situation at all, everyone’s eyes were open in the dark. It snowed that night, covering the earth in white, and covering the red flowers on the ground.
The white and red tangled together with indescribable beauty, but now no one wanted to appreciate this beauty.
“It’s snowing.” Shen Si looked at the snow outside, “Every time this time of year it snows in the sky, it’s disgusting.”
Jian Nian stood next to Shen Si, and looked at him, who was speaking lightly about being disgusted, and his heart felt like a breath of air was blocked inside.
He didn’t know how Shen Si would feel watching this snow, and he didn’t even know how many times Shen Si had seen this kind of snow. Yes, unlike Xia LeYu, Jian Nian thought Shen Si had turned back time more than once, maybe a number that would surprise everyone if he said it.
It was scary, and it was sad.
“Tomorrow, what will the world be like?” Jian Nian asked.
“It will be a world full of snow.” Shen Si replied casually, “It’s not the last moment yet. The most the world can do is bloom flowers, but when the world really assimilates it will become different.”
“And what will happen when the final moment comes?”
Shen Si laughed a little as he looked at Jian Nian, “Something will happen that you don’t want to know about at all.”
“Let’s talk, tell us what you know and maybe we can be prepared.” He Xin came in panting from outside. He was covered in white snow and looked very tired, “We have to be prepared for the worst, especially now that the fusion with the unlimited flow world is unstoppable.”
Shen Si looked at He Xin, and after a moment he nodded, “It’s okay to tell you, but even if you know, nothing can be done. No one can save the others.”
“Let’s put this matter aside for now, Shen Si, first tell me about the future.” He Xin put his hand on his chest, “Xia LeYu just said to me that there is a consciousness body in the unlimited flow world? Is it the essence of the unlimited flow world?”
Shen Si nodded, “Yes, that’s what he called himself, the rule of the unlimited flow world, the one who dominates all the playfield.”
“Although I had guessed before that the unlimited flow world might have a master, I didn’t think there really was one.” He Xin wearily sat on the bench, “And then? What else do you know about the unlimited flow world?”
Shen Si pulled Jian Nian to sit over, and then Shen Si just opened his mouth. “The unlimited flow world doesn’t appear in a world at random. Whenever it wants to expand, the playfield will appear, by gathering Survivors to participate in the game to assimilate the world step by step to finally form a new playfield. This is the origin of the playfield, and also the reason for the appearance of the unlimited flow world.”
He Xin was shocked for a moment, “You said the unlimited flow world appeared just to turn our world into a playfield?”
“Team Leader He is a Survivor, right? Do you remember a legend that goes: as long as someone ascends the tenth floor can return to the real world?”
He Xin nodded, “Indeed there has always been this rumor around.”
“No, ascending the tenth floor will not allow Survivor to leave the world of unlimited flow and return home, it will only allow reality and the world of unlimited flow to assimilate. The tenth floor is an empty playfield that is designed to hold the new game that will be born.” Shen Si sat on the bench and sighed, “That’s just a front to make Survivors work harder.”
He Xin clenched his hand tightly, and only after a while did he feel his mood calming down a little before he spoke, “The end of assimilation is the new playfield, huh.”
“That’s right.” Shen Si nodded, “It was the discovery of this that made me go straight backwards in time. Once assimilation was complete, our world disappeared, and the first players to conduct the new playfield experiment were all the humans in the world.”
No one could escape, and no one had a future. Even if they barely escaped the playfield, they will be stranded in it to become a game NPC or even a game prop.
This was the most cruel future.
“That is to say you have actually seen the playfield that our world was finally transformed into?” He Xin looked at Shen Si, “What kind of playfield is that?”
Shen Si bowed his head, his white hair blocking his eyes.
“It’s dreams and aspirations.”
He Xin froze for a moment, he jerked up, “What did you say?!”
“The playfield birthed from the assimilation of this world and the world of unlimited flow is the dream and desire. In this playfield, all people can see a version of themselves achieve their dreams and get what they desire.” Shen Si voice and slow, “Even Team Leader He you have something you want to get, right?”
“A swamp will appear under the feet of the person who can’t let go of the desire, and the swamp will drag the person down, and once the person is in the swamp, he will become a mud sculpture.”
Said Shen Si looked up at He Xin, “Team Leader He, the only way to keep them alive is to give up their dreams.”
He Xin froze in place, his hands trembled a bit, and after a moment he turned around and walked into the office. Jian Nian could see He Xin’s slightly despondent look as he walked into the office.
Just like Shen Si said, even if you know it, you can’t stop it, and even if you get the result, you can’t save others at all.
The reason why a dream is a dream is because it cannot be easily given up. Even if you know you will lose your life, there are always people who cling to it.
This was simply not the same as other playfields, this was pure psychological damage.
This conversation didn’t bring them good news, but rather unbearable bad news. The unspeakable malice that something as beautiful as dreams and aspirations could be combined with playfield and become the culprit of hurting oneself filled everyone’s heart with anger.
He Xin sat at his desk, he picked up the paper cup next to him and took a sip of water, then he looked out the window. The snow was still falling, white covered layer after layer.
If only the snow could freeze those messy flowers to death.
Let that white cover all the bad things and make the world clean, or at least don’t let things like the playground ruin everyone’s dreams.
…What a wonderful longing.
He Xin threw the paper cup to the ground, then he directly laid down on his back. The day’s running made his whole body very tired, but he couldn’t sleep, because there were still a little more than two days left, and even if it couldn’t stop this thing from happening, he must be prepared, he couldn’t even have any means to resist.
Getting up, He Xin took the data and walked into the office inside, where Wu Qiu was working feverishly on the potion.
The moment she saw He Xin, Wu Qiu cried out, “Team Leader, you’re back, take a look at the potion. No matter what I do, there is no way to increase the power of this potion!”
“Don’t cry, I’m here, give me the data.” He Xin took Wu Qiu’s data, and after reading it he pointed to a number to show Wu Qiu, “Try to enhance the value of this a little more.”
In the hallway, Shen Si closed his eyes as he leaned on Jian Nian’s shoulder, his white hair glowing in the light.
There was no aggression, no sense of detachment, and no indifference. Jian Nian felt Shen Si’s breathing and lightened his body so that Shen Si could lean in a little more comfortably, but the quiet atmosphere was a little too peculiar, and Jian Nian didn’t even feel like he dared to turn his head to look at Shen Si.
And the situation outside was also not suitable for them to talk about love.
What a nuisance.
“Do you want to get back together with me?” Shen Si suddenly spoke.
Jian Nian’s body stiffened, and he turned his head to look at Shen Si. In his line of sight, Shen Si still had his eyes closed, and his expression was mild, and there was nothing wrong with him.
But, just now Shen Si was talking to him about getting back together?
“I’ll agree to get back together with you when all this is over, after all, we shouldn’t have broken up in the first place.” Shen Si exhaled a breath, “I am very happy, every time in the timeline you will chase after me. It would be a lie to say that I wasn’t lonely, because later on I understood that I had to seal up my memories to live like an ordinary person.”
“How many times?” Jian Nian suddenly spoke, “How many times did you go back?”
“I don’t know.” Shen Si opened his eyes, “I no longer have much concept of time. Time doesn’t mean much to me, but someone told me the specific number earlier. This is the seventh time.”
“…Seven times.” Jian Nian murmured in a small voice.
Shen Si got up and stretched, “Don’t mind it.”
What’s the point of caring? For Shen Si, even if others cared he would keep doing it, so Jian Nian didn’t continue to speak, and closed his eyes with a slightly tired look.
Even now, Jian Nian was able to deceive the eye. He had beautiful and delicate beauty, pale face, and as he was tiredly leaning on the chair, it was totally a scene of a sick beauty.
“My dream is to be able to be with Shen Si, that’s the only thing I’ve thought about since I came to college. Because for me, Shen Si is the only one worth caring about and the one I love.” Jian Nian explained, “Shen Si, what is your dream?”
“Dream?” Shen Si thought for a moment, and then he smiled, “I haven’t thought about it.”
“Haven’t thought about it?”
Shen Si shook his head, “I don’t want much, and I desire very little. Although I have seven emotions and six desires, but as long as I can do what I want to do, I don’t have a dream that I can discard all to pursue.”
“Want a simple and normal life?”
“Maybe it wasn’t like this before.” Shen Si murmured, “Maybe I used to be a person with dreams, but not now, I can’t have dreams now. Dreams that will be swallowed up by the swamp can’t exist at this time, I must make sure I live until the last moment.”
Jian Nian looked at Shen Si, “For what?”
“For the sake of…” Shen Si raised his hand as he looked out the window at the night through his own fingers, “For a better future.”
Just like Shen Si said, nothing changed on the second day and even the third day, the flowers were still covered by the snow. The Special Unit and Inspection Unit used these two days to pass the message that the playfield was a dream and aspiration to everyone, hoping to get a little help.
As everyone waited in silence for the future, Shen Si was called to a place.
The middle-aged man stood in the forefront, his hands behind his back. The room was somewhat dim, and the middle-aged man’s shadow was plastered on the wall, looking unusually heavy.
Shen Si walked over, and sat on the chair without saying a word, as if this silence was an eternity.
“It’s not the first time we met, Mr. Shen.” The middle-aged man turned his head and smiled kindly, “My name is Shi Gu. The Special Unit was founded only at my suggestion, so I can also be considered as the creator of the Special Unit. This time I called you here alone for a little matter.”
Shen Si nodded, and he spoke gently, “Please go ahead.”
“I’ve heard about you regressing time in order to keep the world from dying out. It must’ve been a very difficult decision and destined to be a very lonely journey.” He walked to Shen Si and sat opposite him, “I admire your courage.”
“There’s nothing to admire, it’s just time.” Shen Si’s voice is very soft, “Moreover, I actually have little memory, I haven’t really thought about being lonely or anything like that.”
Shi Gu shook his head, looked at Shen Si, and a little sadness flowed from his eyes. A moment later he spoke, “Mr. Shen, can I ask you one thing?”
“What is it?” Shen Si looked at Shi Gu.
“If things have really reached a point where it is impossible to turn the world around, I hope you can turn back time again. I know I am being very unfair in this request, I can even say it is moral kidnapping, but…” Shi Gu said with a slight bitterness, “There might really be no other way out.”
Shen Si looked at him for a moment before he spoke, “No one will remember anything about the future after reversing time.”
“But there are always people who are willing to believe. You don’t have to go back twenty years, ten or five years would do. I will tell you something about me that is not known to outsiders, so when you find me to make me believe in this future thing, I will believe you.”
“The first time you find out that someone else knows your private information besides yourself, you will be annoyed, right?” Shen Si let out a slight tease.
“I will definitely believe it.” Shi Gu cut to the chase, “So, I beg you.”
Shen Si silently looked at the envelope handed to him by Shi Gu, and suddenly he understood one thing. Let himself become a butterfly idea was correct, even if history was repairing, in the line of time, something changed.
The Survivors who returned to reality early, the Special Unit and Inspection Unit who worked for the whole world, and the ordinary people who were never there. It didn’t matter if Xia LeYu or Shi Gu were all passers-by in other timelines, now they were changing everything.
Perhaps with their participation, there would always be a day of success as long as the effort continued. But how many more rounds would it take?
Shen Si smiled and pushed the envelope back as he said, “No need for that. I’m not going to go backwards in time.”
“Be optimistic, the future is impossible to predict.” Shen Si smiled and said, “The past can’t be changed, but the future can’t be predicted. The reason why we can’t change is because we keep cycling in this timeline of the past, so if we want to change the future then we have to step back into that line of the future.”
Shi Gu didn’t understand Shen Si’s meaning at all, “What do you mean?”
“Believe in the future.”
This phrase was understood by Shi Gu.
He admitted that he might have a generation gap with the young people nowadays, and he didn’t understand what Shen Si’s words meant at all, but Shen Si’s smile and easy words told Shi Gu that his words must have some hidden meaning. Shi Gu didn’t feel that Shen Si who could set twenty years of time back for the world, would be against the world.
After looking at the envelope in his hand, Shi Gu finally put it into Shen Si’s hand.
“You take it since I already brought it. Wouldn’t it be humiliating to take it back?” Shi Gu looked at Shen Si, “Although I don’t know what you intend to do, but, I believe in you.”
The grey jacket was raised by inertia when he turned around, and finally disappeared behind the closed door.
There were still three hours before the world of unlimited flow fused.
After leaving the room, Shen Si went out of the Special Unit, stood at the entrance, then sat on one of the stone chairs. The weather was very cold, and the stone chairs were so cold that it was like ice. Sitting down for a short time, his whole body was cold to the point of dread, but Shen Si just sat as if he didn’t feel the cold.
Soon after it snowed again, and Shen Si raised his head to look at the snowflakes, his dark eyes imprinted with the traces of snow falling.
Shen Si stretched out his hand and watched the snowflakes fall on his hand and melt. After a few moments Shen Si shook the water off his hand, snapped his fingers and a near broken clock emerged behind him.
Not caring about the broken clock, Shen Si knocked on the clock, it trembled, and the next instant it turned into a light in front of Shen Si spread out. Like the past timeline, each point in time there were countless images, those images were things Shen Si had experienced.
Pulling the picture upward, the circling lines became straight again, only this time Shen Si could clearly see the seven overlapping repetitions of time.
Time was advancing one minute at a time, and soon would be able to go to the node of time overlap.
That was the real future that was stopped by Shen Si.
Shen Si just waited for the time node alone, just like in the past timeline. He waited until this moment and then chose to go backwards in time, again and again, and finally even caused the unlimited flow world consciousness to get annoyed and show up to ask Shen Si how many more times he would do it.
Time passed, finally, the second hand pointed to the final time, and after a tick, the sky went black, the flowers on the ground withered, the assimilation of the unlimited flow world was complete, and finally the playfield descended.
Shen Si stood up, he didn’t choose to go backwards in time this time, but faced the future.
He got up and walked forward, and soon disappeared in front of the Special Unit. Jian Nian was standing on the second floor, watching Shen Si’s back, until Shen Si completely disappeared from sight.
“You didn’t go after him?” Xia LeYu walked over from the side, “I thought you must stick to Shen Si’s side.”
“I’ll go over later.” Jian Nian’s voice was tinged with disgust, “If I follow him now, I’ll disturb him, and if I accidentally mess up his stuff, I’ll never get back together with Shen Si again. It’s hard to get Shen Si to let go, so I have to behave better now.”
Xia LeYu shook his head helplessly, “Okay, I get it.”
He knew he wouldn’t feel comfortable letting Shen Si leave alone.
The world was quiet, the flowers wilted, only the snow was falling in a patter. Some people came out carefully, taking off their breath-holding masks, what they smelled was no longer the sweet and greasy scent of flowers, but the pure fresh smell of white snow. Some people tried to walk over and pick apart the snow, and there were no flowers under the snow, only bare ground.
“Can we go home now? There’s nothing left to do, is there?”
Most of them forgot what the Special Unit had warned them before in an instant. They ran out crying and laughing, like embracing spring and opening their arms to breathe in the fresh air, and the fear of even days seemed to fade along with those flowers. The Special Unit members tried to stop them, but they could not beat the weight after all, and finally they could only pray that nothing would happen, and it was all a fluke.
Unfortunately, the word ‘fluke’ was not a positive word.
A girl mixed in the crowd cried and looked at the sky, and just then she suddenly saw something familiar pass by her. The girl froze for a moment as she turned her head to look over and saw herself. She was walking on her high heels in a fine dress, and she was on her way to the exhibition ceremony of her painting, looking anxious but full of smiles, for it had always been her dream to paint and to start a painting exhibition.
A voice shouted in the girl’s head.
Just follow, and you will fulfill your dream, see? She is the future you.
The girl couldn’t help but take a step forward, and the next instant she felt herself stepping on a cloud of mud and water. She lowered her head in bewilderment, and then found a mud bog beneath her feet, which was colored, like the paint she used when she was painting, and she let out a scream and her whole body sank down.
“Help me!” The girl let out a miserable scream.
The people around her were horrified, then hurriedly moved away from the girl. The Special Unit members next to her rushed over to try to pull the girl out of the mire, but to no avail. The mire was like a man-eating monster pulling the person hard in, no matter how hard they pulled, they couldn’t pull the person out.
“Give up your dream!” The Special Unit member immediately reacted to what the situation was, as he shouted at the girl, “Give up now!”
Tears dripped all over the girl’s face as she struggled to crawl out, and even at the moment she was swallowed in she didn’t utter the words ‘no more painting’. At the last moment, there was only one sentence in the girl’s mind.
She could never paint again? What is the difference between this and death?
The Special Unit member’s eyes widened, and just then, the mire disappeared and the girl’s colorful clay sculpture was spat out, which lay on the ground and turned into colored sand in the next second.
“Help! Ah! What is this?!”
The Special Unit member who saved the girl rushed to his feet, and in his sight, both the ordinary people and the Survivors were running away. Dozens of different mud bogs were spreading on the ground, and in each of them were struggling people, and all remembered the Special Unit’s warning, and all began to say: give up your dreams and desires.
But not one person was spit out by the mire, not one person chose to give up.
At this moment, the Special Unit members who had never been in a playfield suddenly understood why everyone in the Special Unit abhorred playfields. Because they bring, always, indiscriminate destruction.