In Virtual Reality
In Virtual Reality 45 ☆ Elevator Safety Instructions (4/12)
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“May we leave this place now?” Zeng Zhi asked, his voice trembling as he looked at the cold-eyed apparition.
He turned slightly towards the hooded figure by his side and whispered, “Do you think it's safer outside than in this elevator?”
Unbeknownst to Zeng Zhi, the hooded figure had descended from the negative 18th floor.
Huang Yang knew this, so nowhere did the delivery guy feel secure.
He wished he could just black out and awaken from this ghastly nightmare.
“We haven't pressed the button for the fourth floor,” Xu Jin Yi interjected, wary of the NPC losing its bearings and frantically fleeing the lift.
“If you leave, you die.”
“I understand,” Zeng Zhi replied, his tone resigned.
How could they discuss death so calmly, as if it were an everyday topic? It was insane!
The elevator doors remained ajar, showing no signs of shutting.
This wouldn't do.
Xu Jin Yi deduced that it would remain stationary if no one left the elevator.
The game had to proceed.
Her gaze swept over the two trembling youths flanking her.
'Should I sacrifice my companions to advance?' Xu Jin Yi briefly entertained the thought.
Had she live-streamed, the live stream chat would cheerfully support this move, proclaiming, 'The power of sacrifice knows no bounds!' while relishing the betrayal of NPCs.
Meanwhile, the two huddled youngsters discerned the hooded figure's pointed stare, and their hearts fluttered.
Would they expel them all just because they couldn't stand the sight of the barefoot ghost?
But before they could voice their concerns, the hooded figure withdrew their gaze and extended a long arm, snatching the barefoot ghost's wrist.
Xu Jin Yi beamed at it and said, “Don't be shy; come with me~.”
With those words, the figure exhibited strength, yanking the barefoot ghost before them.
Swift as the wind, the two people behind Xu Jin Yi darted towards the opposite corner like magnets with the same poles repelling each other.
She blinked and saw two 'giant mushrooms' cowering there.
Xu Jin Yi lapsed into silence.
Why were these two NPCs more cowardly than Peng Jia Lang in the last game?
Nonetheless, it was better that they had the “timid” attribute than being foolhardy.
At least they wouldn't slay their comrades in arms from the get-go.
She averted her gaze and turned to the barefoot ghost who still stared at her.
The second “Elevator Safety Regulations” decreed that all fooling around in the lift was strictly forbidden.
Hence, any act of violence in the lift was verboten.
Although Xu Jin Yi had acted, it was not a prank, merely a kind-hearted gesture to remind the co-passenger not to forget to disembark from the lift.
She blinked and extended her hand, making a gesture of goodwill, and then guided the barefoot ghost out of the elevator with a gentle yet firm hand.
Huang Yang, who held his spicy hot pot, looked beyond the two unknown entities and saw the “4” button on the elevator panel extinguished when the barefoot ghost stepped out.
He let out a relieved sigh, only to be rendered breathless by what he saw next.
That hooded figure, the enigmatic “Silent,” whom he couldn't quite distinguish as human or ghost, yanked the barefoot ghost back in.
Huang Yang's eyes rolled up, and he collapsed from the blood pressure.
Zeng Zhi felt his body go weak and his mind spin.
He was also tempted to surrender to the unknown and leave everything to fate.
But then, he looked at the delivery guy and saw how he clutched the plastic bag with the spicy hot pot tightly in his arms as if clinging to a lifeline.
At that moment, Zeng Zhi found a glimmer of hope.
He hesitated momentarily, then turned to face the hooded figure and the barefoot ghost once more.
With his left hand, he pinched Huang Yang's philtrum, determined to meet the thrill of the unknown head-on.
“Join me in this perilous journey, my temporary ally!” Zeng Zhi's face was grim, but Huang Yang remained unresponsive, as if in a deep slumber.
His nose turned red, and his eyelids remained shut as if sealed by iron.
Zeng Zhi whispered to Huang Yang in a voice full of urgency, “Wake up, or you'll lose your five-star rating.”
The delivery guy, who had been in a deep coma, bolted upright, smacking his forehead into Zeng Zhi's nose, eliciting a pained yelp from the urban legend adventurer.
Still shaken from his ordeal, Huang Yang gazed around the small, enclosed space in confusion before slumping back against the wall, feigning death to the extreme.
He was at his wits' end.
While all this was unfolding, Xu Jin Yi was lost in thought.
She knew that it was not possible to abandon the NPC teammates, especially not [Zeng Zhi], who was acquainted with [Wang Jin Long] and had appeared in the “Murphy's Amusement Park” test version.
Perhaps this was an Easter egg, or a sneak peek provided by the developers.
Xu Jin Yi diverted her attention to the barefoot ghost, who had been the one to press the elevator button.
As far as she knew, the ghost would not perish merely by stepping out of the elevator.
She pulled the barefoot ghost back because she had an inkling that this wraith had pressed more than one button, and she was not about to let it go just yet.
Huang Yang had pushed “32”, Zeng Zhi was too preoccupied to press anything, while Xu Jin Yi had observed the various lit buttons when they first boarded the elevator.
If the NPC could be believed, then all those buttons were likely the handiwork of the Barefoot Ghost.
It was quite an impressive feat, Xu Jin Yi mused to herself.
While she had pressed additional buttons for the thrill of it, the ghost had done so purely to ensure the player's demise.
That was the essence of “Elevator Safety Instructions,” a game that was pure in its design: each ghost had only one goal – to make the player GAME OVER.
On the gaming forums, players had dubbed the game “I'm Thicker-Skinned Than NPC Ghosts” and “I Don't Move Unless They Move First.” But what happened when the ghost and the player refused to leave the elevator? They would start to scare each other in a game of psychological warfare.
This included such acts as ripping off their own face, displaying a toothy grin of 32 teeth, contorting into a spring man yoga pose, or even revealing their own heart and lungs.
These tactics were not adjectives, but they were enough to scare players away on the spot.
However, if they did leave the elevator, they would be executed by the fair elevator door the moment they stepped out.
With swift and decisive movement, the Barefoot Ghost pressed the button for several floors, but Xu Jin Yi wondered where the other floors were.
With only three people in the elevator, including herself, the ghost had definitely pressed more than three buttons.
Even sacrificing a teammate would not suffice.
But in the VR version, they could reuse it multiple times! Xu Jin Yi delicately held the Barefoot Ghost's wrist, interlocking fingers as she gazed tenderly at it.
“Oh~ I apologize; I just realized you had not pressed the fourth floor.
It's my fault,” she lowered her head with guilt written on her face.
“You're not angry with me, are you?”
The Barefoot Ghost: “……”
It raised its other claw, and Xu Jin Yi swung it down with a sudden jerk!
“Do you want to play with me~?” she asked, smiling coyly.
Zeng Zhi held his camera numbly in front of his chest, observing the hoodie that smiled shyly.
“Meanie~ But it seems the elevator doesn't allow it~!”
The grey-black claw abruptly halted mid-air, and the Barefoot Ghost silently withdrew its hand.
It then attempted to pry open the hand Xu Jin Yi was holding.
Xu Jin Yi smiled slyly, “What are you doing?”
Her tone was meaningful, carrying a subtle hint of tea flavour.
“I'm just worried you'll glance at the wrong number again and end up on the wrong floor later?” Xu Jin Yi spoke with a hint of grievance, but her smile did not wane.
It grew even more arrogant as she continued, “Do I have any ulterior motives~.”
The Barefoot Ghost: “……”
You have too many ulterior motives!
The Barefoot Ghost lifted its head in fury, attempting to intimidate Xu Jin Yi with its blood-red, silk-covered eyes.
Sure enough, the hoodie's expression finally shifted, and her eyebrows furrowed.
The Barefoot Ghost felt victorious!
Xu Jin Yi's expression turned grave as she confronted the Barefoot Ghost.
“You…” she began, her voice low and menacing.
“Don't you frequently burn the midnight oil?”
The ghost looked taken aback, unsure how to respond to the sudden accusation.
“You see, your eyes are so red!” Xu Jin Yi exclaimed with a mixture of pity and concern.
She took hold of the ghost's two paws and continued chatting away, her words laced with a subtle hint of admonishment.
“If you don't value your well-being, how can you expect anyone else to care for you? We must prioritize self-care, regardless of our spectral gender,” Xu Jin Yi proclaimed, her voice becoming more impassioned with every word.
“Looking after ourselves is the foundation of a healthy existence, my dear friend!”
The ghost, now referred to as a “dear friend,” was momentarily rendered speechless.
It eventually managed to shake off Xu Jin Yi's grip and let out a panicked wail before darting out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened.
They were on the 29th floor – the same floor the ghost had initially pressed.
Xu Jin Yi couldn't believe that the NPC ghost had such a fragile psyche and felt a pang of regret as she watched it disappear down the hallway.
She had almost reached out to try and catch it, but it was too quick for her.
The elevator doors shut again, leaving Xu Jin Yi with her regrets.
Xu Jin Yi whirled around to find the elevator empty.
It wasn't until she lowered her gaze that she noticed two teammates cowering in the corners, their faces towards the wall, unwilling to look in her direction.
She spotted Zeng Zhi, curled up like a black sesame ball, his face obscured by a hoodie.
“Hey,” she walked over and squatted beside him, prodding him gently.
Zeng Zhi flinched and trembled.
“Zeng Zhi, can I ask you a few questions?”
The black sesame ball remained silent for a long while before turning around to face her.
His eyes, darting and alert, took in the sight of Xu Jin Yi's smiling face.
Xu Jin Yi sat down before him, her chin resting on her hands, and inquired, “When does the XXXX open?”
Zeng Zhi's brow furrowed, “What did you say?”
Did he have tinnitus? Why was there static? This wasn't an edited video!
Xu Jin Yi regarded him with a look of helplessness before rephrasing her question, “Does Wang Jin Long plan to visit the amusement park anytime soon?”
“Ah?” Zeng Zhi appeared baffled, “Is he planning to?”
Xu Jin Yi's face fell, “No? Then, do you happen to know a person named Ye Cheng Jing?”
Zeng Zhi appeared puzzled, “Should I know him?”
Xu Jin Yi's expression sank, 'So it was just a coincidence with the name and not a lead? I got my hopes up for nothing.' She pursed her lips and straightened herself up, disappointment creeping in.
Would she ever get to witness the official version of “Murphy's Amusement Park” in her lifetime?
As the elevator chimed again, the silver-grey doors slid open before her.
Xu Jin Yi pivoted to glance back, deliberating over her next course of action.
She had pressed the button for the first floor, which meant she could successfully conclude the game when she stepped out and found the exit.
Her eyes flickered to the two teammates, both cowering in their own corners.
Zeng Zhi stared at her vacantly while Huang Yang clutched himself with fear still in his eyes.
With a sigh, Xu Jin Yi turned on her heels and strode out of the elevator.
“It appears to have departed,” murmured Zeng Zhi, prodding Huang Yang, who remained crouched in the corner, quivering.
The darkness outside the elevator yawned like a cavernous maw, eager to swallow anyone who dared to move.
The figure in the hoodie dissolved into blackness until the tender pink hue was no longer visible, and then Zeng Zhi turned his gaze back towards the elevator.
Were they abandoned, or would they survive in the ghosts' clutches? And what of Silence, who had aided them—were they human or ghostly? With so few words, how could he trust this stranger so readily?
Zeng Zhi leaned against the elevator's inner wall, attempting to ignore the queasiness in his gut.
Despite his inclination to believe that the enigmatic figure was a good person, he couldn't shake off his unease.
Why was a person like that here so composed and serene? And what about Huang Yang, who had suddenly materialized in the elevator with him? The only thing Zeng Zhi knew for sure was that he was still human.
He glanced over at Huang Yang, who remained silent and sighed.
If only he had known that this would happen, he would never have followed Wang Jin Long's advice to make an adventure video about the urban legends that swirled around elevators.
Although the video would have been successful, he needed to return home alive to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
Zeng Zhi and Huang Yang sat silently, facing the elevator's harsh white light and contemplating their predicament.
“It seems that as long as we stay inside the elevator, we won't encounter any major problems,” Zeng Zhi eventually said.
“But can we endure being trapped here for an extended time?”
Even if their bodies could withstand it, surviving an hour without succumbing to monsters would be remarkable.
The elevator doors slowly closed, sealing out the surrounding darkness.
“Open the door!” a loud shout boomed from the darkness outside the elevator.
Zeng Zhi's nerves jangled, and he strained his eyes to see a pink blur hurtling towards them through the diminishing gap in the elevator doors!
Zeng Zhi was paralyzed with shock and struggled to comprehend what he had witnessed.
But Huang Yang, facing the wall, reacted even more quickly.
Upon recognizing the voice, the deliveryman whirled and impulsively pressed the “open door” button.
As the pink figure approached, illuminated by the elevator's light, the two finally saw the hooded figure sprinting towards them…
along with a two-meter-tall, emaciated ghostly shadow looming behind them.
Zeng Zhi's jaw dropped in bewilderment.
Huang Yang hastily withdrew his hand and darted back to the corner.
He stammered and asked, “Did Silence lure the ghost to devour us?!”
Zeng Zhi lunged towards the button and frantically pounded the “close door” button with a contorted expression.
“Ah! Ah! Ah! Hurry, close it! That traitor Silence has turned against us!!”
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