Chapter 79: Objective (Part 1)
Translated by satellite of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
It was as though they suddenly found the string connecting a mess of beads scattered all across the ground.
All the little fragments of thoughts that had been floating about in Feisha’s mind suddenly came together, and he let out an involuntary “Ah!” sound.
How Gin and Hughes disappeared, Asa and Layton departed, Shamal was abducted, Antonio and Locktini vanished…they were all just pawns moving to a prewritten script. Each move had its purpose, slowly but steadily approaching its goal.
Without realizing it, he suddenly found himself the only survivor. Unfortunately he wasn’t exactly Conan, otherwise he would run straight up to the culprit, point directly at his nose, and declare: only one truth prevails! (1)
“Then what should we do now?”
Isefel replied, “Let’s wait and see.”
“…Is there a more…proactive course of action?” Feisha asked.
Isefel replied, “Before the ball begins, take a nap and recharge a bit.”
“I’m going to be attending the ball?” Feisha asked, rather shocked.
Feisha, stunned, sat down for quite a while before asking. “So, the next rescue operation will just depend on us now?”
Although many TV drama and movie climaxes would kill off the canon fodder supporting roles to highlight the importance of the protagonist, when this happened in real life, he still preferred not to be the hero in the limelight. Teamwork should still come first.
No wonder why the solitary heroes of those stories always seemed so lonely, even when they were with their friends and everyone else was having the time of their lives. It turns out they knew that even if they were sitting beside their friends now, at the crucial moment, those companions would vanish one by one. In the end, they would be left alone to survive the vicissitudes of life with only the weapons they held in their own hands.
“Sleeping already?” Isepfel couldn’t help but ask after Feisha’s long silence.
“No.” Feisha watched the sunset outside his window, mulled over his own situation, and let out a sorrowful sigh. “I’m just savoring this taste of loneliness.”
“Isefel, what are you doing?”
“I’m drinking my afternoon tea.”
Feisha gaped for moment before saying, “Here I am at the den of the lion, with danger lurking around every corner and my life in peril…don’t you think you’re a bit too relaxed?”
All the heroic determination he talked into himself, the will to face death with dignity, evaporated. “How about you tell me a story? But I don’t want to listen to the Tortoise and the Hare, that one’s too childish. I want to listen to something more meaningful. I want to listen to the Wizard of Oz!”
“I kind of miss your loneliness from just now.”
In Noah’s Ark, Isefel sat on the sofa and slowly sipped his coffee.
The minute and second hands of the watch ticked forward at once.
Seven ‘o clock.
Ever punctual, Geikie appeared at the doorway. “The ball has begun, and we welcome you.”
Taking his time, Feisha stood up slowly and and took off his cloak. Smiling, he said, “I wanted to attend as a representative of humans- that okay?”
Geikie’s expression didn’t change at all as he replied. “All can be done as you please.”
Somehow he thought his expression would at least change a little?
Feisha was a bit disappointed. He thought it through. Since everyone already knew what he was hiding, it didn’t matter if he tore down the screen or not. (2) He might as well make a show of revealing it openly.
“Can I ask you something?” On their way to the ballroom, Feisha asked.
Geikie replied. “Of course.”
“Who’s the mastermind behind this whole conspiracy?”
Geikie replied gently. “I’m not sure what this conspiracy you’re referring to is, so I definitely don’t know who the mastermind might be.”
“Then when did you realize I was a human?”
“When you took off your cloak.”
“I was really surprised” Geikie smiled.
“……” Feisha touched his nose, then advised him very seriously. “You should really consider going to the Beijing Film Academy or the Central Academy of Drama to pursue further studies. For real, you could go part-time as a production runner to in Hollywood too.”
Geikie’s smile didn’t change. “If I get the time, I’ll definitely take a look. Here is the ballroom. If you please.”
Feisha stared at the massive, gold-lined red door in front of him, and his right index finger unconsciously twitched.
The door slowly opened.
Bright lights filled his sight and gentle music rushed to his ears.
Feisha raised his hand and lightly touched the Black Star on his brooch, as if doing so could grant him endless courage. He took a deep breath, lifted his feet, and stepped through the door.
There were many more people attending the ball than he expected.
The scene he originally imagined, where the entire audience would immediately turn towards him when he stepped through the door, did not come to pass.
In reality, most were holding their own partners as they danced across the floor without a care for anything else.
Feisha stood near the doorway and suddenly felt as if he had been abandoned.
Black hair, blonde hair, blue hair, red hair……there were people with all sorts of hair colors. Here, he blended into the crowd, completely unexceptional.
His fear vanished in an instant, Feisha quickly shook it off and walked to a corner of the dance floor and quietly reported the current situation to Isefel. After finishing, his expression turned bitter as he asked, “Just now, was I being a bit too impulsive?”
If he knew it was going to be like this, he wouldn’t have tried to act all heroic and reveal his identity dramatically. Maybe Geikie really didn’t know he was a human.
“You’re not just saying it to make me feel better?”
“But really, no one’s paying any attention to me.” Somehow before he got here, he thought he already had everything figured out for sure. He had mentally prepared himself for the storm ahead, but who knew it would end up being like this.
“That’s because they don’t need to.” Isefel said calmly. “Because to them, there’s only one enemy here.”
Feisha suddenly felt his back go cold.
Then in turn, wouldn’t that mean everyone before him was an enemy!?
Feisha surveyed the room. All around him were crowds of people, impossible to even count.
He heart began sinking lower and lower.
“If it really comes down to it,” Feisha clenched his teeth before continuing. “That promise, I’m going to pretend I never heard it.”
Even if Isefel were to arrive in-person, there’d be no guarantee in making it out of this safely…let alone relying solely on the mirage from the Black Star brooch.
“I mean it.” Feisha clarified quickly, afraid that Isefel would think he was up to his usual crafty tricks. “In any case, mankind has an overpopulation problem anyway. Every day, new people are born. Even if I were to disappear…haha, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Besides…”
“Do you remember who I am?”
“Huh?” Feisha paused. “You’re Isefel.”
The Black Star flashed.
Isefel’s figure suddenly appeared before him.
It was still that familiar face of unparalleled beauty, the same, unchanging cold indifference upon it. But in those eyes that were deeper than the darkest night, there seemed to be a nearly imperceptible ripple of emotion. (3)
“You…” Feisha stumbled back half a step in shock. “Didn’t you say that you’d only appear if I shouted loudly for you?”
Isefel replied. “I just like hearing you shout.”
“….” So the spell was just a spell, and had nothing to do with the volume it was shouted at?
Feisha gaped. (3)
Isefel turned and looked to the representatives of different worlds and clans dancing across the floor. “They’re very happy.”
Feisha sighed. “I keep feeling like I’m attending a feast to partake in Tang Seng’s flesh.” The saddest part of this was that in this scenario, he was basically Zhu Bajie. (4)
Isefel suddenly raised his hand and snapped his fingers.
The crystal chandelier in the center of the ballroom suddenly crashed down without warning. But because most of the attendees were keeping relatively low profile, no one happened to be dancing in the center. So although they were shocked, no one was actually hurt.
As if they were all on the same wavelength, the entire room turned towards Feisha at once.
Being the subject of hundreds of stares was enough to set anyone on edge. But Feisha wasn’t particularly panicked because Isefel was standing before him. Even if it was just a phantom, he could still feel the undeniably reassuring strength emitting from his body.
Clap clap clap… (5)
The applause broke crisply through the room.
Everyone on the dance floor suddenly parted, leaving a path down the middle. At the end of the path, a middle-aged man with wavy, flaxen hair stood and smiled at them. In his elegant features was a faint resemblance to Hughes. “This ball has not only been honored by the appearance of a human representative, but also the Angel of War that has not left Noah’s Ark in ten thousand years. It is truly amazing.”
Feisha whispered to Isefel. “Who is he?”
Isefel replied in his usual indifferent tone. “Mani. The Lord of Genesis.” (6)
“…Hughes uncle? He doesn’t seem like a good guy, right?”
Mani slowly descended before the fallen chandelier, and the corner of his mouth curved into an enigmatic smile. “When an angel falls from heaven, does he resemble this crystal chandelier, shattered into a fine powder, losing all worth?”
Feisha raised his hand. “Err, that, esteemed Lord of Genesis, perhaps this one’s comprehension is a bit lacking. If I misspeak, please do not take offense. I was just thinking, the ceiling and floor of your house serves a rather poor comparison to Heaven and Hell. As for the crystal chandelier…ahem, actually, even comparing yourself with an angel would be a bit too much of a reach. So perhaps that comparison you drew just now might just be a bit of overthinking on your part?”
The entire room went silent for about three seconds, then a light coughing sound broke out.
Mani kept his expression well controlled and slowly replied. “Mister Shi, it is truly as they say– hearing of your reputation is truly no comparison to meeting your person.” (7)
Feisha said, “Actually in your honor’s case, I think hearing of you is better than meeting you directly.”
“Why so?” Mani smiled very gently.
“Because I’ve always felt that you should have been just a little more good-looking.”
Feisha continued in a most sincere tone. “Really, I’ve always thought anyone that ends up being the big boss shouldn’t be too ugly.”
Mani’s smile twitched. “Am I very ugly?”
Feisha clasped his hands together. “Amitabha, beauty is shaped by that which we have been blessed to see.” (8) He saw that Mani wasn’t quite convinced and asked, “Among Almedande, Lucifer, and Michael, which do you think you could compare to?” (9)
Mani carefully controlled his breathing, then smiled again. “How about we talk about business now?”
Feisha’s entire body suddenly stiffened.
Mani turned and, with everyone’s gaze trained upon him, calmly walked onto the ballroom’s only stage.
“Dearest representatives, it is my honor to witness this glorious moment with all of you.” He paused, and his expression began gradually gaining excitement. “For many diverse reasons, among the nine worlds, Genesis has always been been at a disadvantage. But soon, this will all be in the past, relegated to a page of our history. From today onwards, Genesis will create countless wealth with its own hands, carving its place out in a glorious new future.”
A thunderous applause filled the room.
Feisha watched as the sea of people before him grew so excited they forgot themselves. He quietly spoke. “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Isefel said, “That hunch of yours is going to be proven very quickly.”
Mani suddenly raised his voice. “Now, as the Lord of Genesis, I solemnly declare that our world of Genesis…will officially withdraw from the Novem Union!”
1. Didn’t change anything here, this was actually a direct reference to the Japanese manga Detective Conan (published as Case Closed in English)! It’s popular enough that most of you guys have probably heard of it.
2. Originally the expression used here was “这层纸桶不捅破都一样”, lit. “It doesn’t matter whether or not you poke a hole through this layer of paper”. Basically the paper screen isn’t hiding anything, so it doesn’t matter whether you tear it down or not.
3. His expression here was an emoji in Chinese, the character “囧” for his face.
4. This is again a reference to the Journey to the West. Tang Seng, or Tang Sanzang, is the Buddhist monk travels West (the guy the famous Monkey King is protecting). All the monsters and demons they face want to eat his flesh because they believe it’ll make them immortal. Zhu Bajie, sometimes known as ‘Pigsy’ in English, is part human and part pig and joins their party as another disciple. He’s known for his gluttony, laziness, and occasional stupidity. You can read more about it here:
5. In Chinese, papapapa for the sound of clapping.
6. His name is 摩尼 (mani), which I’m guessing from a couple searches is a reference to the prophet Mani, known as the Founder of Manichaeism. More here:
7. The idiom here is “闻名不如见面” (lit reputation does not compare to meeting). I’ve gone pretty literal with it since Feisha plays off it in the next sentence and it explains itself well.
As a side note, in this passage, Feisha is speaking very politely (in theory) and using rather verbose language, and I’ve tried my best to convey as much in the translation.
8. The original text is “相由心生”, which literally translates to something like “appearance follows the heart of the individual.” It’s an idiom that basically means our mindset frames how we view the world, and I’ve translated it more verbosely to show how Feisha’s kind of feigning a very cultured appearance right now.
9. Minor note, but Feisha drops the more polite “您” form of “you” in that last question and opts for the regular “你” instead.