In Virtual Reality 36 ☆ Death Notice (20/25)
Updated: 3 days ago
Xu Jin Yi returned to the main interface, her gaze fixed on the spinning voice messages.
“Apart from the one designated for you, there are also voice messages for two other individuals,” she announced, raising an eyebrow.
“Who could they be?”
Although Xu Jin Yi asked Shen Jia to guess, she continued to speak, “Peng Jia Lang and Liu Xin.”
Zhou Xiao Han was acquainted with both individuals – Peng Jia Lang, a former classmate, and Liu Xin, a current roommate.
“Peng Jia Lang, if possible, please assist Shen Jia next, ensuring your own safety first.
He is quite astute, and I am confident that he can decipher the secrets of this university and guide you out.
Regardless, keep hope alive!”
“Liu Xin, flee! They have found me!”
Shen Jia and Ah Ma pondered the distinct implications of each voice message.
“It appears quite evident,” Xu Jin Yi remarked, flipping through her notes.
“That day, Peng Jia Lang saw Zhou Xiao Han and her roommate Liu Xin.
Unless there are unforeseen plot twists, Liu Xin is highly suspicious…” she drawled, elongating her tone.
“For instance, she may have betrayed Zhou Xiao Han.”
Ah Ma instinctively interjected, “But why would she do that? I don't understand.
They were cordial roommates.
Zhou Xiao Han's actions benefitted everyone.
It doesn't make sense for Liu Xin to behave this way!”
Xu Jin Yi mentally questioned which “Death Notice” team member concocted such a convoluted plot.
“Are you certain they had an amicable relationship?” Shen Jia inquired, seated in a chair adjacent to Xu Jin Yi, unconsciously tapping his right hand on the tabletop in a rhythmic fashion.
“I only encountered them during the cafeteria commotion.
Though I was not acquainted with them, at first sight, I could discern that Long Xiao Hui possessed a dominant personality, while Liu Xin's personality appeared more subservient,” he recollected their gestures and movements during the event, analyzing them in detail.
Suddenly, he posed a query, “How many live in their dormroom?”
“Four,” Ah Ma responded.
“Zhou Xiao Han, Long Xiao Hui, Lin Lian, and Liu Xin.
However, Lin Lian has…departed.”
No matter how frequently they discussed the deceased, Ah Ma felt uneasy.
Occasionally, she wondered if all of this was merely an absurd dream.
Upon awakening, she would still be in that warm and harmonious reality.
She lowered her gaze, pursed her lips, and fidgeted with her hands unconsciously.
This was Ah Ma's habitual sign of anxiety.
Peng Jia Lang had perused her dossier in the archive room.
Shen Jia and Xu Jin Yi exchanged glances as their voices merged, both feeling a sense of dread in their hearts.
“If this were a game of Werewolf, we may have already uncovered the wolf,” Xu Jin Yi said, her expression complex as she pursed her lips.
Shen Jia was hesitant to believe it.
“Are you sure? It doesn't seem right.”
“What are you talking about?” Ah Ma inquired, puzzled by their conversation.
“Did you find something important?”
Shen Jia explained their findings, his eyes wandering over to Zhou Xiao Han's phone.
“We discovered that Lin Lian was executed for cheating and that Zhou Xiao Han was accused of stealing the principal's seal, resulting in a 'death notice.' Furthermore, we know that Liu Xin was the last person with Zhou Xiao Han before her death, yet she hasn't mentioned anything about that night to anyone.
Isn't that suspicious?”
“Perhaps she was afraid,” Ah Ma suggested, hesitant to implicate Liu Xin.
“She and Zhou Xiao Han were close friends.”
Xu Jin Yi, however, let the evidence speak for itself.
She pored over Zhou Xiao Han's phone, scrutinizing every detail.
Zhou Xiao Han's phone contained a wealth of information, including a memo of her and Liu Xin agreeing to visit the principal's office on August 11th.
While this didn't necessarily prove that Liu Xin had betrayed Zhou Xiao Han, Xu Jin Yi remained unconvinced.
“Let's consider why Zhou Xiao Han chose Liu Xin instead of her other roommate, Long Xiao Hui,” she proposed, scanning the phone for clues.
“Perhaps it's because Long Xiao Hui is impulsive and strong-willed, which might have led her to act contrary to Zhou Xiao Han's expectations.
But there's another reason.
Ah, here it is.”
She grinned in triumph.
“It's Zhou Xiao Han's voice memo from August 11th.”
“This is a grave matter…indeed, everything I've encountered since enrolling in this university has been grave.”
Compared to her tone on WeChat, the female voice in the memo was weightier and more composed.
“I have discovered the means to depart from this university, and it lies within the Dark Virtue University seal in the Principles's Office on the sixth level of the Research Building,” Zhou Xiao Han uttered with a bitter grin.
“Regretfully, I did not seize the seal during my previous visit to the Principles's Office, even though I had a valid reason to do so.
The process of dealing with those ghostly professors was extremely tiresome, but it was not devoid of benefits.
Unfortunately, I doubt I'll be assigned tasks similar to organizing books in the Principles's Office in the future.
On occasion, I fear that I may have to bid farewell to everyone in the next moment when confronting those ghosts…
or worse, not have the opportunity to say goodbye at all.”
“This evening, I intend to go with Liu Xin to retrieve the seal from the Principles's Office,” she added.
Zhou Xiao Han took a brief pause before continuing.
“I'm truly grateful for her assistance, particularly since she is the only individual aside from me who has not undergone 'criticism and self-criticism' at this university.”
“Little Xin will aid me outside the Research Building and inform me of any issues while I undertake this mission…
as for the others, they have all committed errors to some extent.
I am uncertain of the consequences if we are caught, but if they are severe, like being subjected to 'criticism and self-criticism'…
then I don't believe it is necessary for others to take risks with me.”
“But Little Xin is quite astute.
She sensed my intentions before I had the chance to reveal them and offered to assist me…
it reminds me of that boy, Shen Jia.
If his records weren't so precarious, maybe we could replicate the miracle of turning the tables again?”
She jested and chuckled.
“I have faith in Little Xin.
Although she may be a bit introverted, I perceive the passion within her heart—she is a courageous girl! I believe the coordination between the two young ladies will be more seamless.”
“We shall undoubtedly triumph,” Zhou Xiao Han whispered.
Following the conclusion of the recording, the trio exchanged glances.
“It appears to be her personal audio diary,” Xu Jin Yi stroked her chin.
“Zhou Xiao Han's second and third reasons for selecting Liu Xin have been revealed.”
“Secondly, because Liu Xin has an unblemished record and has not committed any errors,” Ah Ma stated.
“Thirdly, because Liu Xin took the initiative to approach Zhou Xiao Han and volunteered to assist her,” Shen Jia added.
“It seems that there is no issue.
Did I misconstrue something?” Xu Jin Yi inquired.
No, based on her comprehension of the plot twists in Horror Game, there will undoubtedly be an unexpected turn of events.
Xu Jin Yi's eyes flickered coldly.
“Let us first locate the seal that Zhou Xiao Han concealed,” Xu Jin Yi stood up.
“As for the truth, you all can ascertain it yourselves.”
At present, she simply wanted to get THE HAPPY ENDING as expeditiously as feasible!
The simulated treadmill called out to her from a distance, tempting her to take a step forward and embrace its challenge.
As for the TE (True Ending)….
it can remain unexplored for now.
It wasn't too late on her second, third, fourth, and Nth playthroughs.
Xu Jin Yi turned to Shen Jia and posed a thought-provoking question, “Shen Jia, if you were in Zhou Xiao Han's shoes, how would you have dealt with the situation?”
In the principal's office, she carefully retrieved the Dark Virtue University seal from the left-hand drawer and deftly concealed it within her pocket.
As she stepped out into the hallway, she was met with a swarm of patrolling ghosts and long-armed teachers filtering into the first-floor lobby through a zigzag corridor.
While relaying voice messages to Shen Jia, she approached the secluded fifth-floor library.
As she heard footsteps drawing closer, she retreated to a quiet nook.
She secured the seal on the bookshelf before sending another message to Shen Jia.
With the fifth floor sparsely patrolled, she descended to the fourth floor, only to find it heavily monitored.
With no other choice, she stashed her phone within a vending machine.
Shen Jia opened his eyes to find himself in a dimly lit corner.
As he surveyed his surroundings, his gaze fell upon a green book that stood out amidst the others on the shelf.
“The Tea Culture,” he whispered as he plucked it from the shelf and noticed a seal hiding behind it.
“This is it.”
Xu Jin Yi retrieved the seal, explaining its functions to Ah Ma.
“This seal works with the Exclusive Ink Bottle and can only grant permission for certain actions.
It allows us to open the cafeteria window and shoot promotional videos, but it does not grant permission to leave the university directly,” she clarified.
“Why not?” Ah Ma inquired.
“Because these actions directly benefit Dark Virtue University.
Enhancing the cafeteria's quality can improve the students' impression of the university, and promotional videos can attract more students to enroll,” Xu Jin Yi elucidated.
However, granting students permission to leave was too direct and outside the university's best interest.
“You must complete the final exam and submit a stamped application to be granted permission to leave.
” Xu Jin Yi concluded with a chuckle while brandishing the seal.
“Outstanding students can actively recruit new students, you see.”
“Have you ever met the president of Dark Virtue University, senior?” inquired Ah Ma.
Her expression was complex, and a chill ran down her spine as she recalled Xu Jin Yi's words.
“The principle…” Xu Jin Yi remained poker-faced.
“I haven't had the pleasure.”
But she already had a theory brewing in her mind.
“Now that we have the seal, we can accumulate more study hours and apply for early exams.
If we pass, we can leave sooner.”
Amid her plans, she suddenly halted.
“Oh no, I forgot to retrieve the coffee powder!”
The others also remembered their primary goal: to retrieve the coffee powder!
Together, they pivoted on their heels…
Ah Ma bit her lip and swallowed the scream threatening to escape her throat.
A member of the Student Union was peering at them through the windowpane.
“That's Zhou Xiao Han!” exclaimed Shen Jia.
“It's Vice President Zhou,” corrected Xu Jin Yi, interrupting his excitement.
“Don't forget how we were chased last time.”
Shen Jia's frenzied mind finally settled, and upon looking back at the window, Zhou Xiao Han was no longer there.
“Perhaps she still has a slither of sanity left, but not much,” muttered Xu Jin Yi.
Her emotions were tangled when it came to the storyline and character of “Zhou Xiao Han,” her feelings were tangled.
“Now that we have obtained the seal, she probably has no reason to visit this library.”
But if NPC 【Liu Xin】 was the one who betrayed 【Zhou Xiao Han】, what made her trust her at the time?
After Xu Jin Yi's unyielding efforts, she finally obtained the 【Coffee Powder】.
Now, she stood in the cafeteria, testing her new product: 【Coffee Powder Water】.
…Granted, based on her ratio, it was mostly water with a dash of coffee powder.
Regardless, with 80 study hours' worth of coffee powder, she concocted 100 cups.
Ah Ma stood beside her, silently scrutinizing the so-called “coffee” so faint it resembled water.
Could this really be sold?
Yet the senior had sold it, even for eight study hours a cup.
Ah Ma: “…?”
Wouldn't this be cause for complaint?!
“Rest assured,” Xu Jinyi beamed with a radiant smile.
“The impact of 【Functional Beverages】 on Yinde University students is immense.
And compared to the adjacent cafeteria's meagre combo meal that offers no real advantages and only fills you up, my coffee, at the very least, provides two additional hours of study time.”
Ah Ma did not comment on this since this could greatly help others.
The senior had clarified that only study hours earned from their exams would be taken back.
At the same time, the remainder could be distributed among themselves.
【Coffee】 instantly became a popular commodity at the cafeteria.
Ah Ma asked some of her classmates to follow Shen Jia to the school's vending machines to purchase 【coffee powder】 while she busied herself mixing the coffee powder with water.
Truly, she vowed to never turn into such an unscrupulous vendor after leaving this place.
Ah Ma felt both regretful and elated as she mixed one hundred cups.
“Ah Ma, have we switched professions?” the newcomer inquired as they stood by the cafeteria window.
“What are we selling?”
“Coffee,” Ah Ma instinctively replied, then realized something felt off.
Liu Xin, a member of Dormitory 2, Room 503, curiously leaned over Ah Ma, her eyes glistening with the same radiance she had shown when she saw Shen Jia at the cafeteria.
Although Ah Ma didn't want to prematurely assume Liu Xin was the werewolf in the game 'Werewolf Game'…
From Ah Ma's current perspective, the light in Liu Xin's eyes was genuinely terrifying!!!
What was Shen Jia's frame of mind when she smiled so tenderly back then?!
——— Translator's Notes ———
“Criticism and self-criticism” is a form of self-reflection and criticism used in Communist Party organizations in China.
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