In Virtual Reality
In Virtual Reality 32 ☆ Death Notice (16/25)
Updated: 7 hours ago
The archive might have been small, but in the darkness, without any lights on and with no sense of direction, every attempt to search and flip through the files was met with a handful of dust.
The group held their breath and furrowed their brows as they continued rummaging around in their designated areas.
Using the light from their mobile phones, the group makes faint rustling sounds in the dark.
Finally, Shen Jia found the archive of the Student Union in his designated area.
After a brief search, he saw a tan folder with “Little Zhou” written on it.
After bypassing the white cord tied around it, he whispered, “I found it!”
The group gathered around again, and the flashlight from their phones focused on the white paper in Shen Jia's hand.
The ID photo on top of it was the exclusive template of the Student Union, and only the name column could identify who belonged to the Student Union.
“Little Zhou, female, 21 years old, Deputy Chairman of the Student Union of Dark Virtue University…”
Shen Jia browsed through the content roughly and found no unusual information.
“Check the back,” said Silence.
Sure enough, tightly attached to the first page was a thinner second page, with a lighter black print than the first page.
Shen Jia couldn't help but lean in closer and continue reading the faint, small print: “Comprehensive performance…”
As soon as he started reading, he suddenly stopped and stared blankly at the file paper without saying a word.
Xu Qin, who was listening, became anxious and pushed aside Peng Jia Lang, who was shining the light for Shen Jia and stood behind him to continue reading.
“Due to the unauthorized theft of the private seal of the president of Dark Virtue University, a 'Death Notice' is issued.
Due to staying out all night without permission, a 'notice of criticism' is issued.
Due to the individual's outgoing personality, care for classmates, respecting teachers and elders, and good reputation on campus, after the successful execution of the 'Death Notice,' the president of Dark Virtue University awarded the position of 'vice president of the student union' to encourage the student to mend his ways and contribute to Dark Virtue University.”
Xu Qin's voice lowered considerably as he finished reading.
Shen Jia, who had just been lost in thought, said, “Look at the name column on this paper.” His eyes were deep, and it was unclear what he was thinking.
“It's not Little Zhou.”
“It's Zhou Xiao Han,” said Hoodie.
Now that the truth has been revealed, the “Student Union Vice Chairman Little Zhou” seen before is actually Zhou Xiao Han, who was executed with a 'Death Notice' in front of everyone!
[TN: Are you surprised, or have you guessed it before?]
Her face became the unified model of the Student Union members, and her voice became neutral and featureless.
Only her attire – that day's white chiffon blouse and khaki pleated skirt – became the present-day red dress and black skirt.
Shen Jia closed his eyes, his voice hoarse, “On the day of her execution, she shed a lot of blood.”
The flawless white color was dyed with the stench of blood, and the gentle khaki pleated skirt became an old-fashioned black skirt.
'Was she still alive? Or was she no longer herself?'
Although her secret had been revealed, Shen Jia felt like he was still drowning in a strange and perplexing quagmire, unable to escape.
The deep sense of despair and suffocation resurfaced, clutching at his throat, gouging out his eyes, and muffling his mouth.
Shen Jia coughed lowly, unable to hold onto the file, allowing it to sway unsteadily and then be caught by the hoodie.
“After a student who has been issued a 'Death Notice' is executed, they become a member of the Student Council,” Xu Jin Yi looked at the file of Zhou Xiao Han as if she had remembered something.
Suddenly, she asked, “Have you lost any classmates before?”
Xu Qin nodded, “There were a total of 50 of us.
In the past two months, 13 have left, some were dismissed by the broadcasting station with a 'Death Notice', and nine were…
“Did any of them have the surname 'Mou' (某)?” Xu Jin Yi asked.
“'Mou'is a surname?” Xu Qin was confused.
There is no student with the surname 'Mou', but there is one named 'Mou Run Ze'.” After Shen Jia finished coughing, he hoarsely spoke and retrieved a file he had already seen before.
He unwound the white string and pulled out the file paper, passing it to the hoodie.
“Before I joined the Penguin group, he had already been issued a 'Death Notice' due to three mistakes.”
This wasn't from the Student Council's file but from the ordinary ghost student file area.
His position was also a student, not an officer, in the Student Council's dormitory management department.
The male student in the ID photo was slightly frightened, with his head slightly lowered and his eyes looking up at the camera from below.
“It didn't seem like the person in front of them resembled what they had in mind as a member of the dormitory management department.'
Xu Jin Yi didn't pay attention and continued to flip through the pages.
“Due to being late for class, he received a verbal warning; due to leaving early once, he received a verbal warning; due to returning late, he received a verbal warning; due to returning late again, he received a 'Death Notice'…” Xu Jin Yi's mouth twitched.
“Due to making too many mistakes with small offences, after the successful execution of the 'Death Notice,' he was given the position of member of the dormitory management department' by the president of Dark Virtue University.”
It's Dark Virtue University President again…He hasn't been seen on campus, but there were rumours of him everywhere?
There were more records about Mou Run Ze's actions at Dark Virtue University than Zhou Xiao Han's overall performance in his file.
“…Abusing his power for personal gain, lacking respect for authority, using vulgar language, and seriously violating the school's regulations, he has been punished with death by Professor Sophora Sophora Sophora (Huai Huai Huai) of this school.
He voluntarily resigned from his position as a member of the dormitory management department.
He was demoted to an ordinary student.”
Xu Jin Yi narrowed her eyes and said, “After being listed in the 'Death Notice,' the person will become a student council member.
If they make another mistake, they will be demoted to a mindless, ordinary ghost student with stiffer movements.”
Shen Jia continued her words and said, “I remember the philosophy of the student council is to 'serve the majority of students,' so the student council members don't need different appearances and voices.
They abandon their individual characteristics, strengthen homogeneity, and that appearance is the image of the 'student council.'”
Death has three outcomes: the first is the passing of life, the second is the passing of the personal idenity, and the third is the passing of personal thinking.
Even if the former two are lost, some people may still remember you, but when the consciousness of being human is lost —
“Will anyone remember them?” murmured Xu Qin.
He looked at the file in the hoodie's hand and hesitated.
“If Mou Runze is like this, then Zhou Xiao Han should still have some of her thoughts?”
“Are you talking about the 'protection fee' that Mou requested from you?” Xu Jin Yi raised her eyebrows.
“Mou didn't recognize you at the time.”
This brings us back to whether the “dead” still have their own thoughts.
If Zhou Xiao Han did not have her own thoughts, why did she show mercy to their subordinates?
“No, maybe it's not showing mercy to subordinates,” Shen Jia shook his head, recalling what the former vice president of the student union, Little Zhou, had done.
“She was just doing what she should be doing in her current position.”
Serving the students as the vice president of the Dark Virtue University Student Union.
“No, she still remembers!”
Peng Jia Lang, who had been silent all along, suddenly spoke up, looking at the file paper on the table excitedly.
“She won't forget us…
and she won't forget you!”
Shen Jia was bewildered by the sudden accusation.
“Do you think no one else noticed that you delayed your enrollment for a month before starting school? You are too naive, Shen Jia!”
Peng Jia Lang seemed a bit crazy as if the tense nerves had snapped upon seeing this file paper.
“She has been covering up for you and creating the illusion that you have been at school all along, just because you are in a different major and no one has accidentally run into you on campus…
I was her classmate before coming to Dark Virtue University.
She is a brilliant person.
She could have to lead us out of here if it's her!”
Peng Jia Lang said, “She told me you were competent, Shen Jia! Her high appraisal of you made me want to help you.
Now that she's dead…
you're the only one who can lead us out.
“I didn't know she would take such a big risk to modify my file…
why did she do it?” The boy stepped back a few steps, hitting the dusty table corner and murmured in a daze.
With the fragmented information and some reasonable deductions, a clue could be quickly pieced together:
After entering the school, Zhou Xiao Han might have been collecting clues to leave this eerie university and coincidentally met her only familiar classmate, Peng Jia Lang, during the collection process.
For some reason, Zhou Xiao Han, who had abundant resources, had been helping other classmates she could contact, including Peng Jia Lang.
Perhaps during one of the investigations, she learned that Shen Jia, who should have entered Dark Virtue University with them, had not appeared.
Zhou Xiao Han found Shen Jia's file in the archives and knew that if he did not enrol, Shen Jia might die.
But if he registered now, a “death report” would still be issued to Shen Jia.
So she came up with the idea of 'modifying the file.'
However, there were still many doubts.
Xu Jin Yi frowned.
'Hiss, the 'death report' suddenly became more complicated.
Why did it become so convoluted?'
For example, how did Zhou Xiao Han know about Dark Virtue University? To what extent did she understand it? Why did she have a stockpile of food? How did she know that Shen Jia had not enrolled? And how did she get into the archives? The key to the archives was clearly still in the principal's office, and it had not gone missing like the seal.
There were many doubts, and the truth was like a book stained with ink, impossible to discern.
Her hands started to fidget again, wanting to open a new thick notebook to record further information.
But time was running out; let's tackle the first week for now and start a new notebook for the second week.
As Xu Jin Yi was lost in thought, the atmosphere among the group became a bit tense.
Xu Qin scratched his head and said, “I'm not very familiar with Zhou Xiao Han; she didn't ask me for anything.
As for you, Shen Jia, I just simply think you're a bit…weak.”
Indeed, compared to the towering Xu Qin, Shen Jia's height of only about 1.8 meters was not very impressive.
After all, Xu Qin's physique looked like he went to the gym frequently to lift weights.
Shen Jia responded, “…thank you.”
He struggled to say just that one sentence.
“But do you really not know Zhou Xiao Han?” Xu Qin asked curiously.
“A girl who went to such lengths for you, don't you have any impression of her?”
Shen Jia replied, “I am certain that I have never heard this name before.”
Didn't he also want to know?
But even if he racked his brains, he had never heard of this name.
Zhou Xiao Han…Zhou Xiao Han…
He really hadn't heard of her!
“You can think about it some more,” Xu Qin said, leaning back and pushing his hands against the table behind him.
It seemed like he pressed on something.
He looked back and saw the light from his phone illuminating a name.
“Hey! It's Silence's file!” Xu Qin's eyes lit up as he picked up the file.
“Senior, can I take a look?”
The person in the hood seemed to be contemplating something and said uninterestedly, “Do as you wish.”
Xu Qin got permission and opened the file with some excitement.
“Uh…is it just me, or is this too empty?”
As the file in front of him came into view, the papers were clean and concise compared to the previous ones.
Before he could look closer, a hand snatched the file from Xu Qin's hand.
Xu Jin Yi looked at the file in her hand.
The name on it was marked with a [Silenced/噤] symbol, and the gender column was filled with [none].
She couldn't help but chuckle; she had found another BUG!
Xu Jin Yi looked at the name column.
Can the ID be modified?
[Please enter your ID]
It really can be changed!
Her eyes lit up.
The last time she entered her ID, she could not add [prohibited words] and [sensitive words] to her in-game name.
Xu Jin Yi pondered for a moment and then carefully entered —
[Your Mother] (你娘 slang, a vulgar insult that literally means “your mother”)
[Detected sensitive words]
[Your Ancestors] (祖宗 literally means “ancestors”.
However, when used as a slang insult, it is considered impolite and offensive)
[Detected sensitive words]
[Your beloved mother] (你亲爱的妈妈 literally means “your beloved mother”.
However, when used as a slang insult, it is often used sarcastically and implies the opposite of its literal meaning.)
[Detected game player's malicious intentions]
Xu Jin Yi: ???
So intelligent? Could it be manually detected?
Xu Jin Yi was suspicious; she tried several times with a furrowed brow but eventually gave up when she could not succeed.
The archive room was hushed.
Through the dim light from his phone, Shen Jia could see Silence, who was holding their file, frowning and lost in thought.
What could be so important on that almost empty sheet of paper?
Standing at their's side, Shen Jia could tell that their gaze was fixed on the name field.
Silence's expression was severe, a rarity for them.
It wasn't anger or pretence, but genuine seriousness…with a hint of pain.
Shen Jia was stunned and took a closer look.
Yes, it was pain.
Like pure black pearls, the pair of black eyes were staring absentmindedly at their name, and the eyelashes trembled slightly, inexplicably fragile.
Silence reached out their right hand and gently pressed one finger on their name, whispering something in a very soft voice.
It seemed to be…”I'm so tired?”
Then Silence closed their eyes, and when they opened them again, they had returned to normal.
Silence stuffed the file paper into a brown-yellow file and casually threw it aside, appearing very suave.
“It's getting late; let's go back.”
Looking at Silence's particularly suave figure in a pink hoodie, Shen Jia couldn't help but sink into thought.
This university was very mysterious, so what about Silence? What kind of person chose to study here? What was their story?
When leaving the archive room, the group did not take the unsealed file of Shen Jia, firstly because they were afraid of alerting the authorities and secondly because they lacked a seal to make it official.
The clock had already struck past 2 am, and all the male students in room 412 had classes in the morning, so they quickly decided to return to their dorms.
However, they didn't expect to be spotted by a patrolling security guard right after leaving the teaching building.
The guard was an intimidating figure, standing three meters tall, and running made the ground shake beneath their feet, adding to their dread.
Thinking on his feet, Shen Jia shouted, “Run!”
Upon hearing this, Xu Jin Yi's eyes lit up.
It was a chase game she loved! “Run to the dormitory!” she yelled, leading the charge.
During the escape, the security guards emerged from all directions, making it nearly impossible for Shen Jia and his two companions to run smoothly like the guards and Hoodie did.
As Xu Jin Yi looked at the wall not too far away, she was about to use a QTE to jump up when she suddenly thought of the unlucky ones behind her.
“Oh, forget it; let's make it a happy ending.” She suddenly stopped, turned around, and grabbed Peng Jia Lang, who couldn't brake in time.
“Let's go!” '
The 1.8-meter-tall male student was thrown up in the air with a confused expression.
Next was Shen Jia.
Seeing what Xu Jin Yi was doing and hearing the dull thud and cry of pain from the other side of the wall, Shen Jia struggled back.
“What are you waiting for? Waiting for the ghosts to catch you?!” Xu Jin Yi didn't care and grabbed his arm and waist, throwing him up without hesitation.
At the back, Xu Qin sighed, “…” and thought, 'Whatever, struggling was pointless, so it was time to go for it,' he put his head down and rushed forward, then was grabbed by a massive force and tossed up.
As the flashlights from all directions were about to shine on her, Xu Jin Yi remained calm.
She narrowed her eyes and sprinted briefly before pushing off the slightly protruding wall with her foot and leaping up!
In the next second, the blinding white light illuminated the empty wall.
——— Translator's Notes ———
某 (mǒu) is a Chinese character that is often used in formal or legal contexts to refer to an unspecified or anonymous person or thing.
It can be translated as “a certain” or “an unnamed”, and is often used to protect the identity or privacy of the subject being referred to.
For example, in a legal document, a person's name might be replaced with “某某” (mǒumǒu) to keep their identity confidential.
牟润泽 (Móu Rùn Zé): the name can be interpreted as “nourishing and abundant grace”.
牟 (Móu) is a Chinese surname that is not particularly associated with any specific meaning.
barley / to moo / to seek or obtain
润 (Rùn) means “nourishing” or “moistening”, and can also be associated with “grace” or “benevolence”.
泽 (Zé) means “abundance” or “prosperity”, and can also be associated with “grace” or “blessing”.
“屏蔽词” and “敏感词”: These terms are related to censorship in online content.
“屏蔽词” refers to prohibited words or phrases, while “敏感词” refers to sensitive or taboo topics that are not allowed to be discussed in online spaces.
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