In Virtual Reality 43 ☆ Elevator Safety Instructions (2/12)

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As Cao Wei Min approached the elevator, disappointment flooded him as the doors had already closed.
He leaned against the wall, feeling the cold marble tiles beneath his hand.
A sigh escaped his lips as he contemplated waiting for the next one, but then he spotted another elevator on the opposite side of the hallway.

The Prosperity Bay community was an impressive high-rise building with 32 floors.
For added convenience, each building had two elevators strategically placed to make travel effortless.
The elevator that had just closed was situated closest to the exit on the right, while the one on the left was still on the fourth floor, slowly descending.

Just as Cao Wei Min was about to hit the “up” button, a gentle voice, soft as a whisper, interrupted him.
“Don't take the elevator today…”

He paused, his finger hovering over the button.
He turned to see a young woman standing before him, holding onto the leash of a Chinese pastoral dog.
Despite her composure, her dark eyes were damp with worry, and she pursed her lips as she gazed up at him.

Cao Wei Min's instincts kicked in, and he noticed the subtle signs of her anxiety.
Was her reluctance to enter the elevator due to her fear of close contact with men, or was it something else entirely? Her words suggest the latter.

He considered the possibility that there might be something wrong with the elevator, posing a risk to its passengers.
But before he could voice his concerns, he noticed the girl's sudden change in demeanour.
Her face went pale, and she quickly crouched down, holding the rural dog named “Wheatley” tightly.

Wheatley!” she cried out, her voice laced with distress.

The girl clutched the dog's neck tightly, and tiny beads of sweat formed on her forehead, suggesting she was in significant discomfort.
Cao Wei Min asked with concern, “Are you alright? Do you need any assistance?” He wondered if the girl might have had a sudden ailment and required medication.

To his surprise, the girl did not respond.
Instead, Wheatley, the dog in her arms, growled at him, prompting Cao Wei Min to retreat.
However, he soon realized that Wheatley wasn't barking at him.
Stepping to the side, he realized the dog was growling at the closed elevator door.

Sensing that something was amiss, Cao Wei Min scanned the area and was stunned to find that the elevator display read “-18.”

'Negative 18th floor? Does Prosperity Bay Community have an underwater tunnel?' he pondered, aware that it was impossible.

Meanwhile, the girl crouching behind him patted Wheatley and whispered, “Let's leave quietly.” Standing up, she held the dog's leash tightly and prepared to leave.
Wheatley obediently closed its mouth and followed the girl out.

Sensing that the girl knew more than she was letting on, Cao Wei Min halted her exit.
“Wait a minute,” he said, causing the girl to become visibly tense.

“Shhh — What's the matter?” she asked, hushing him.

Cao Wei Min indicated the malfunctioning elevator display and inquired quietly, “Do you have any knowledge about what's happening here?”

“I don't know,” the girl said, nervously biting her lip and disavowing any knowledge of the situation.
“However, as you just observed, the display is broken.
For now, don't use this elevator.
I'll retrieve the 'under repair' sign from the security room.”

Cao Wei Min hastened towards the girl with a sense of urgency, scrutinizing her intently.
“Are you familiar with 'Ghost Blows Out the Light'?” he inquired with a piercing gaze.

The girl appeared confused, “I'm sorry, what?” she replied, clenching the leash tightly.
“I don't know,” she continued, “Excuse me, I need to leave.”

Cao Wei Min reasoned that the girl must be a resident of the Prosperity Bay community.
Given her peculiar conduct, she likely had prior knowledge of the strange occurrence involving the elevator.

He swiftly interjected, “A man had just entered the elevator, and it descended to the negative 18th floor.
However, as you are aware, there is no basement level so low.
Why didn't you stop him from entering? Your actions suggest that you knew what was going to happen.”

Instead of attributing the broken display screen to a technical malfunction, Cao Wei Min speculated an alternative explanation.

The girl murmured uncertainly, “I don't know.”

Cao Wei Min persisted, “That man may have stumbled upon the 'Ghost Blows Out the Light' phenomenon or also known as Spirit Shenanigans event, and it could lead to his demise.
You knew this beforehand, why didn't you stop him?”

Wheatley, the girl's yellow and white dog, growled fiercely at Cao Wei Min in a show of protectiveness.
“Woof woof!!” it barked with ferocity, almost breaking free from its leash.
“How dare you intimidate my owner? I'll bite you if you don't back off!!” Wheatley continued to bark loudly and incessantly, “Woof woof woof woof woof!!!!”

“Wheatley! Wheatley boy! Calm down!” The girl grabbed the leash, consoling her pet.
“It's alright, don't scare him!” After pacifying Wheatley, the girl resolved to reveal what she knew.
“If that man doesn't enter, he'll certainly die,” she divulged.

Cao Wei Min was taken aback, “What do you mean?”

“I don't comprehend what you're referring to with 'Spirit Shenanigans' events.
However, I implore you to listen.
Prior to your arrival, Wheatley and I intended to take the elevator upstairs.
But when I noticed that the doors opened slowly and began to descend towards me…”

The girl's countenance shifted, and trepidation swept over her youthful features.
She tightened the leash, her voice quivering as she spoke.
“I was petrified…terrified even! I even imagined myself being cleaved in half by the elevator's sudden drop as soon as I stepped in.”

Cao Wei Min furrowed his brow.
'Is she suffering from paranoid delusions…?' “I'm not delusional!” The girl noticed his expression and swiftly defended herself.
“It's true! If I enter, I'll…die,” she emphasized the last word, enunciating it deliberately and with conviction, letting it hang in the air.

“What about the other person? He entered the elevator unscathed,” Cao Wei Min pointed out.

“That's precisely what I'm trying to tell you!” The girl's tone grew agitated.
“When the delivery man rushed into the elevator, I felt it again.
He had to enter that elevator, or else he would die,” she murmured.
“I don't know how, but I have a strong sense that he had to enter.”

Cao Wei Min narrowed his eyes and prodded, “Instinct? That sounds more like a guess to me.”

“But even if it is a guess, it's usually accurate!” The girl's gaze turned steely, and her eyes flickered with determination.
“I've avoided many such incidents…even the 'bus incident'.”

Bus incident?

Cao Wei Min's expression darkened as he confirmed, “You're aware of the 'Spirit Shenanigans' events.”


She realized she had divulged too much.
“I have these 'instincts' quite often,” the girl admitted, her voice subdued.
“They're not just limited to these 'Spirit Shenanigans' incidents…they're quite effective.”

Cao Wei Min furrowed his brow.
“So is this elevator truly a Spirit Shenanigans?”

This was the first time he had encountered something 'Spirit Shenanigans'…

“The feeling I get from this elevator is akin to that of the 'Eternal Bus,' which I have avoided several times.
It's even more perilous.
If the 'Eternal Bus' is a Spirit Shenanigans, then so is this elevator,” the girl stated firmly.

“Obviously, such occurrences are rare, otherwise, you wouldn't have found yourself almost going inside,” Cao Wei Min spoke softly, his words calculated and precise.
The young lady acknowledged his statement with a subtle nod.
“Given that situation, very well,” Cao Wei Min said, reaching for his phone and deftly typing a message to his colleagues at the police department.
“For now, I implore you to cooperate with me and remain here.
Can you?”

The girl was taken aback.
“What? Why should I listen to you and stay here? If it's a 'Spirit Shenanigans,' we should stay away!”

Cao Wei Min paused, his gaze shifting to the anxious young lady before him, and he showed a wistful smile.
“Forgive my hastiness, my dear.
I am, after all, a man of the law.
Allow me to introduce myself,” he put away his phone.
Before getting off the car, Cao Wei Min changed into casual clothes to avoid attracting too much attention, but he still brought his police identification.
“Cao Wei Min, Criminal Investigation Detachment of the Jiang City Public Security Bureau.”

The girl was momentarily stunned, scrutinizing the identification carefully before uttering, “My name is Zhang Ruoruo,” she shook the leash, “And this is Wheatley.
If you can ensure our safety, Wheatley and I will gladly lend our aid,” she said.

The countryside dog squatting on the ground proudly barked at Cao Wei Min.
“Humans, I got your backs/buts!”


The elevator's bright lights still shone above, yet Huang Yang felt a chill creeping up his neck, causing him to furrow his brows in discomfort.

“The ventilation in this lift is excessive,” he muttered, his hand still rubbing his nape.

Balancing a customer's scorching hot pot in his left hand, he idly scrolled through his phone with his right, absently refreshing the screen.
But alas, no response came from the device.
Huang Yang realized that most elevators had weak signal reception, leaving him with no choice but to stow away his phone.

“This elevator is moving at a snail's pace,” he complained, his mind drifting away as he glanced up at the towering display screen, desperate to catch a glimpse of the floor they had reached.


Huang Yang's thoughts were interrupted by confusion.
“Why are we still on the first floor?” he questioned, doubting himself.
He had been confident that he had pressed the button for the 32nd floor upon entering the elevator.
Could he have misremembered?

His eyes fell upon the buttons, arranged sequentially, and the circular one for the 32nd floor glowed with a brilliant white light.

Dong, dong, dong…!

Huang Yang's heart leapt into his throat, a sharp ache surging through his chest as it pounded with an accelerated rhythm.
The elevator was indeed ascending, and the button for the 32nd floor gleamed white, indicating that it had been activated.
So why did the display stubbornly read “1”?

Had it malfunctioned?

Swallowing hard, Huang Yang reached over and pressed the button for the 32nd floor once again, hoping for a different outcome.

As Huang Yang relentlessly pounded on the elevator button, his eyes were fixated on the display screen, which still showed the elevator on the first floor.
What on earth was happening? A sense of panic slowly crept over him, engulfing him in its icy grip.

Suddenly, the elevator jolted to a halt, and its polished silver doors slid open with a hiss.
Huang Yang looked up, hoping for some explanation, only to be met with the sight of a boy entering the elevator while absorbed in his own world and carrying a camera.
He paid Huang Yang no heed and, without a second thought, pressed the button for the fourth floor.

As the doors gradually closed, the light in Huang Yang's eyes faded, replaced by a sense of foreboding that sent a shiver down his spine.

The sight outside the elevator starkly contrasted with the average apartment building's first floor.
Instead, Huang Yang found himself staring at an abandoned building with solidified grey mud and a solitary rectangular pillar standing in the distance.
It was as if he had been transported to another world.

As he took in the scene, he realized with horror that it was now nighttime outside.
He remembered seeing a girl with a dog outside the elevator in the daytime just moments ago.
The sudden and dramatic environmental change was more jarring than a solar eclipse.
How could it turn from day to night in the blink of an eye and from the first-floor lobby to an abandoned building?

Fear gripped Huang Yang's heart as he huddled in the elevator's corner, his hands shaking as he fumbled for his phone.
He needed to call the police, but when he tried to make the call, he couldn't.
Despite the weak signal, he should have been able to make the call.
But now, he was cut off from the outside world, trapped in an elevator that seemed to be moving through time and space.

Huang Yang's hand trembled as he watched the call he had just dialled abruptly hang up.
He struggled to steady his nerves, barely able to hold onto his phone.

The elevator continued its ascent, its movement slow and deliberate.
Finally, it stopped on the fourth floor, and Huang Yang's heart skipped a beat.
He had to remind himself that the boy who had entered the elevator with him was still there, a living presence in this surreal and nightmarish situation.

Summoning all his courage, Huang Yang spoke up, his voice barely above a whisper.
“Uh, then…”

The boy pressed the button for the second floor; his demeanour was inscrutable.
Huang Yang found himself at a loss for words as if his throat had suddenly constricted.

The boy's actions left him baffled.
What could he be doing in this strange and terrifying place?


“My bros, I have discovered a newly refurbished edifice with barebones infrastructure, replete with an elevator,” Zeng Zhi declared, holding his handheld camera and sauntering into the empty lift with an air of playful mischief.
“Today, I've snuck in here to test an urban legend about elevators,” he continued, his voice light with laughter as he spoke to the camera, pressing the button for the fourth floor.

As the floor display rose, he raised the camera lens to capture the moment.
“The fourth floor,” he announced with a grin.
They arrived at the fourth floor, greeted by an unfinished cement wall outside the elevator.
Zeng Zhi remained inside the lift, pressing the button for the second floor.

“And now, the second floor,” he intoned with a hint of theatricality as the elevator descended.
They arrived at the second floor, and without missing a beat, Zeng Zhi announced, “The sixth floor.” The elevator ascended, and soon they arrived at the sixth floor.
Zeng Zhi then pressed the button for the second floor once again, and the elevator descended to its destination.

Zeng Zhi looked down as the elevator doors glided open, intending to press the button for the tenth floor.
But what he saw made him freeze in his tracks: a foot.

It was a foot unlike any he had ever seen, with blackened nails, bulging veins, and dry, calloused skin creased with deep wrinkles.

Zeng Zhi stood there in stunned silence, his mind reeling.
Finally, he managed to stammer out a single word: “…what?”

His mind was a blank canvas as he slowly raised his head, only to be confronted by a dishevelled person standing before him.

The person walked into the elevator slowly and jerkily, sending chills down Zeng Zhi's spine.
With a modicum of reason controlling his body, he felt stiff all over.
He moved in the opposite direction, trying to avoid contact with the person.

The person walked to the lower left corner of the elevator, where a horizontal row of elevator buttons designed for visually impaired and disabled individuals was located.

Nervously watching, Zeng Zhi saw the figure suddenly make a “click clack” sound.
Then the head, initially facing away from him, rotated 180 degrees to look at him! A gap in the person's fine black hair revealed a black and white eye.

Zeng Zhi pressed himself against the cold inner wall of the elevator, too scared to move, and dared not take his eyes off the figure.
Then he saw the black and white eye completely filled with crimson colour!

It was a double-critical hit!!

Zeng Zhi was scared out of his wits.
Were there really ghosts in the world he lived in?! What about science?

The figure suddenly grinned, then returned to the horizontal elevator button and pressed many buttons randomly with its grey, dusty hands and feet, all amid Zeng Zhi's terrified gaze.

4, 9, 13, 17, 18, 22, 23, 29…
The elevator doors closed, but the ghost didn't leave.
Instead, it stood in the elevator with Zeng Zhi.

Zeng Zhi could not utter a word.
All he wanted was to escape this nightmarish situation.
Zeng Zhi's brain was experiencing a storm of rage and powerlessness, but his body was honestly turned away from the ghost, trembling with his head lowered.

According to the urban legend about elevators, a woman was supposed to appear when he pressed the 5th-floor button.
However, he only pressed the 2nd-floor button, and a person appeared instead.
Let the urban legend exist as an urban legend; what was the point of it being real?!

He really wanted to escape!

Suddenly, he saw a person squatting behind him in the elevator corner.
It scared him out of his wits.

The guy who came to film the urban legend video moved forward again, pressing against the cold elevator wall and praying to God for protection.

The elevator stopped again, but this time it wasn't the 4th floor that the black-haired ghost had pressed, but a button that had never appeared on the elevator before — The negative18th floor.

The elevator door slowly opened, and Zeng Zhi's eyes lit up.
He subconsciously wanted to rush out without seeing the floor number displayed on the screen.
Suddenly, a touch of tender pink broke into his vision and directly bumped Zeng Zhi, who was already standing unsteadily, back into the elevator.

The elevator door slowly closed behind the newcomer.
Zeng Zhi, sitting on the ground hugging his camera, could now feel the presence of the two “things” behind him up close.
Zeng Zhi, who was already completely desperate, gave up hope and looked up — 'Let me see what kind of ghost thing came in this time!'

——— Translator's Notes ———

“Ghost Blows Out the Light” refers to a popular Chinese novel and its adaptations that feature treasure hunting and supernatural elements.
鬼吹灯 (Guǐ chuī dēng) 鬼 (Guǐ) – ghost 吹 (chuī) – to blow 灯 (dēng) – lamp or light

“田园犬” (countryside dog) is a Chinese slang term for mixed-breed dogs that are often found in rural areas.

Huang Yang 黄扬 曾 (zēng) is a surname and it can also mean “previously” or “once”.

智 (zhì) means “wisdom” or “intelligence”.

Zeng Zhi 曾智 could be translated as “previously wise” or “wise from the past”.

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