In Virtual Reality
In Virtual Reality 47 ☆ Elevator Safety Instructions (6/12)
Trapped in the confines of the elevator, two non-playable characters found themselves stuck.
One was a towering, gaunt figure, while the other was incapacitated [Zeng Zhi].
[Huang Yang] had pressed the button for the 32nd floor, limiting his exit options.
On the other hand, Xu Jin Yi had the freedom to explore most of the floors, but that freedom came with risks.
If she failed to re-enter the elevator before the doors closed, she would either have to locate an exit on the current floor, press the “up” or “down” button, and wait for another elevator.
But even if she chose the former, the chances of success were slim.
Without the player's assistance, the two NPCs, Zeng Zhi and Huang Yang would not survive the elevator.
Every decision made in this perilous, dark space was significant.
Whether one chose to “seek out an exit” or “remain in place, awaiting the next elevator,” there were inherent dangers.
Only by working together could the trio hope to escape.
As the elevator reached the 31st floor, the doors opened languidly.
Xu Jin Yi remained lost in thought, her gaze settling upon the tall, lanky figure with a missing leg.
He looked defeated, like a rooster who had lost a fight, hugging his remaining leg and cowering in self-reflection.
He appeared out of place in this elevator, where playfulness was strictly prohibited.
Xu Jin Yi turned her attention to Zeng Zhi, who leaned against the elevator button, motionless since the elevator stopped.
His posture and demeanour suggested fear had taken hold of him.
She concluded that there wasn't much to expect from him for now.
That left only one person: Huang Yang.
Xu Jin Yi turned around, squatting down to face him.
He avoided her gaze, but she greeted him with a warm smile.
“Hello, little brother,” she said, feeling like she had encountered him before.
Huang Yang's lips curved into a strained smile, attempting to mask his mounting unease.
The person in the hoodie, who went by the moniker “Silence,” had already taken on an eerie and bizarre quality in his mind.
Nevertheless, compared to the ghastly, spectre-like figure crouched in the corner, Silence at least resembled a normal person.
In comparison, the stump of the ghost leg was still oozing black blood and looked like smashed meat.
Huang Yang's overactive imagination had him feeling nauseated.
With renewed determination, Huang Yang shifted his attention to Silence, who met his gaze serenely.
In a hushed tone, Silence spoke up, “There's something I need to tell you.”
Huang Yang's eyebrows arched, “What is it?”
“It's like this,” Silence began, lowering themselves onto the ground, seemingly unfazed by the yawning elevator doors behind them.
Their pink hoodie bore black stains, remnants of the incident in which the tall, lanky figure got its leg cut off.
“If we're going to win, we need to work together.
Do you understand?” Silence's tone was measured and unemotional.
Win? The word echoed in Huang Yang's mind, raising more questions than answers.
Was this some kind of game to Silence?
It might have seemed like one to the calm and collected Silence, but to Huang Yang and Zeng Zhi – ordinary individuals – it was a hopeless nightmare.
Huang Yang didn't protest, merely nodding his head in agreement.
There was no point in questioning Silence's words.
After all, the pink hoodie was the key to their escape from the elevator, and it appeared to have a more intimate familiarity with the elevator than any of them did.
“Can you recall the exact floors that the barefoot ghost with disheveled hair pressed when he shared the elevator with you?” Xu Jin Yi inquired of Huang Yang.
She contemplated the buttons they had both pressed and included the 32nd floor that Huang Yang had selected.
“4, 9, 13, 17, 18, 22, 23, 29,” Huang Yang hesitated momentarily and wrinkled his brow as he recalled the buttons again, “I think that's all.”
Just as she had thought.
Xu Jin Yi nodded.
The barefoot spectre had only visited the 4th and 29th floors, forsaking the other floors on their heads.
“That guy over there,” Xu Jin Yi gestured towards the skinny, tall figure, “belongs to the 1st floor, much like Zeng Zhi.
Neither pushed any buttons, rendering them incapable of disembarking at any floors.” Xu Jin Yi explained, “I pressed the recently deactivated buttons, but that still left the 9th, 13th, 17th, 18th, 22nd, and 23rd floors.
we mustn't do alight at any of these six floors,” she emphasized.
“Now that we know the floors where I can get off, we must search for more unwitting victims,” Xu Jin Yi concluded.
Huang Yang comprehended the import of “unwitting victims.” He blanched, yet his eyes sparkled with a newfound resolve.
“Is there anything I can do?” he asked resolutely.
“Absolutely,” Xu Jin Yi smiled at him and lifted him up, directing his attention to the 'Safety Instructions for Riding Elevators' signboard above their heads.
“Firstly, you must follow all of these rules.”
“What?” Huang Yang gazed up, confused, realizing for the first time that the thin, unremarkable placard was what Xu Jin Yi had been referring to.
“Next, keep a vigilant eye on Zeng Zhi and prevent him from leaving the elevator in a daze,” Xu Jin Yi glanced at Zeng Zhi, who appeared either unconscious or slumbering, her lips twitching.
“So far, I haven't been able to figure out why he wanted to close the elevator,” she murmured, not expecting a reply from the NPC.
Huang Yang: “…”
Ahem, it was best to refrain from mentioning how afraid they were of ghosts and, at the time, believed they were bringing them to the buffet; it is pretty mortifying.
“Finally, and most significantly,” Xu Jin Yi lifted her eyes, her expression earnest as she fixed her gaze upon him, “Don't let the elevator doors close before I return.”
“Under no circumstances,” he affirmed.
Once again, Silence ventured out of the elevator solo.
Huang Yang stood beside the button, his trembling right hand firmly pushing the “open door” button.
His gaze followed the ethereal, pale pink silhouette until it was devoured by the darkness, vanishing without a trace.
At present, the elevator's interior and exterior were silent and motionless.
In this eerie ambience, Huang Yang experienced a moment of tranquillity, allowing him to ponder the enigmatic nature of Silence, who had departed alone to lure the spectre.
He could not bring himself to believe that the other person was human, for Silence was too nonchalant as if they had traversed this place countless times before.
But if that were the case, would they still be considered a normal person undergoing such experiences?
a monstrous entity hiding behind human skin?
But as Huang Yang gazed into those eyes, those pristine black eyes without a hint of impurity, he suddenly realized:
Even if Silence was a monster, they were a good one.
Just like Stitch from his beloved animated movie.
As his thoughts drifted further and further away, Huang Yang shook his head to regain focus, calling back his scattered thoughts.
He peered into the pitch-black void beyond the elevator, awaiting the return of the hooded figure, the harbinger of hope.
She had to lure the monsters here; Xu Jin Yi knew that was what she needed to do now.
According to the “Elevator Safety Instructions,” the elevator could reach the 32nd floor, but the protagonist could not revisit the -18th floor once they ascended.
Therefore, the game only contained 32 monsters.
On the PC version, the protagonist could only press a floor button and wait for the elevator to arrive randomly at the destination before they could leave.
During this time, if the elevator happened to arrive at any floor without a pressed button, a ghostly apparition would appear and terrify the protagonist.
In the VR version, the floors she pressed didn't automatically bring in monsters.
Therefore, Xu Jin Yi had to manually lure them into the elevator for her team to clean up the mess left behind by the barefoot ghost.
As for Huang Yang's ability to help press the button and prevent the elevator from closing…
Wasn't there still a game save she could load?”
If all else fails, she could reload and switch to someone else.
Maybe Zeng Zhi could press the button?
Walking through the blackness, Xu Jin Yi could only hear muffled sounds as the darkness consumed her vision.
She halted momentarily, pressing the pause button to adjust the game interface to the brightest setting.
It was essential to see everything clearly, as a single monster's close-up roar could result in a GAME OVER before anything else.
Once she resumed the game, the surroundings became a little brighter, allowing her to barely distinguish where the monsters lurked.
A sticky sound emanated to her right rear, possibly indicating an octopus monster.
In front, a five-pointed star-like entity floated by slowly.
Meanwhile, she saw a large group of shadows on her left front, perhaps a flattened laughing face.
Suddenly, Xu Jin Yi's slow-moving steps came to a complete stop.
An elliptical shape swayed within arm's reach and stopped in front of her.
“What is it? A rugby monster or a UFO monster?” Xu Jin Yi had given these monsters memorable names based on their distinguishing characteristics on the PC side.
Now, she couldn't see their features, making it impossible to discern who the newcomer was.
Even when luring monsters, she still had to find the right target.
One too small or too fast wouldn't suffice; Xu Jin Yi couldn't guarantee that she wouldn't be caught herself before she reached the elevator.
Not to mention, the monster couldn't be too frightful to bear.
After all, they would be confined in the elevator for an indefinite amount of time.
Although Xu Jin Yi herself was unfazed, given the guts of two brothers, they would likely lose their composure as soon as they encountered anything scarier than the ghost from before.
what is it this time?' Xu Jin Yi wondered calmly but with an underlying sense of unease.
As expected, the shaky figure in front of her moved closer, prompting Xu Jin Yi to take a step back.
'…Wait, there's a monster behind that thing!' Faint footsteps echoed in the darkness, but Xu Jin Yi's quick-wittedness allowed her to recognise the source.
Her mind raced as she tried to match the information in front of her with the monsters in her memory bank – 'It's the clown!!' she realised.
As this realisation sunk in, a flashlight suddenly appeared before her, shining up from the bottom, directly onto the clown's face.
The clown's features were terrifyingly distorted – its smile was torn and jagged, its skin painted a sickly white, and the cracks produced by the solidified paint on its skin made it look even more grotesque.
It held a red balloon with a thin white string, emitting a creepy 'hehe' laugh that seemed to echo throughout the darkness.
Without hesitation, Xu Jin Yi turned and ran!
'Effing Damn, I hit the jackpot!!' she thought as she fled.
Xu Jin Yi's fingers deftly pressed down on the arrow key as she abruptly sat up from her previously recumbent position on the bed.
With the agility of a feline, she assumed a tense and cross-legged posture.
The sinister laughter of the clown echoed through her headphones, and the music of the tense pursuit stimulated her eardrums, setting her heart racing.
'Run! Dash the elevator!' Xu Jin Yi urged herself.
She knew that the other side would be forced to obey the elevator's rules once she entered the elevator.
But the clown was almost as fast as Xu Jin Yi.
She had to remain vigilant; if she let her guard down for even a moment, the thin red string of the balloon would entangle her.
And if the balloon were to burst, the damage wouldn't be limited to the balloon itself; the head of the person entangled by it would also be shattered.
Xu Jin Yi expertly manipulated the game character, causing it to lower its head and barely avoid the thin string.
Meanwhile, behind her, the clown holding a massive flashlight screeched and shone its blinding white light on Xu Jin Yi's body, turning her into a beacon.
Now Xu Jin Yi realised that the monster pursuing her wasn't just the clown; other monsters were also closing in on her from all directions, their shadows looming and their sounds deafening.
Refraining from exclaiming out loud in consideration of her sleeping roommates, Xu Jin Yi suppressed her urge to greet them 'politely'.
Relying on the indistinct outlines of the monsters and the tumultuous sounds all around, she skillfully dodged one pounce after another.
Finally, the white light emanating from the elevator appeared before Xu Jin Yi.
She was so close!
With the clown hot on her heels and other terrifying creatures lurking in the distance, Xu Jin Yi's lips curved into a wry smile.
She barked at Huang Yang, who was gaping in disbelief inside the elevator, “Close the door!”
“Close the door? Now?!” Huang Yang was bewildered, but his hand moved swiftly, pressing the 'close door' button.
Meanwhile, Xu Jin Yi kicked it up a notch and hurtled towards the slowly closing elevator doors.
Undeterred, the clown followed closely behind her and squeezed into the elevator.
Xu Jin Yi's hand was shaking so much that she almost slammed the character she was manipulating into the elevator wall.
However, she released her grip just in time, and the character safely remained in place.
“What the hell…” Huang Yang exclaimed, his eyes wide with terror as he let go of the button, watching the monster that had entered the elevator along with the pink hoodie.
The clown still held onto the thin string, but the red balloon at the other end had vanished into thin air.
A clean cut in the string indicated that the elevator had severed the balloon and the string.
The Prosperity Bay community was now fully enclosed, both inside and out.
Most of the residents had already been evacuated orderly, except for the three buildings in the community that had not been cleared.
Due to the dangerous elevator in this building, the police had warned residents not to leave their homes and only allowed them to observe the courtyard through their windows.
Cao Wei Min stood outside the third building, looking at the many people called in, and turned to the man beside him, puzzled.
“He Du, why are so many people here this time?”
Beside him, a tall and upright male police officer turned to answer him.
“Captain Li distributed it.”
“From today on, the Investigation Department will be officially established.”
“Officially established?” Cao Wei Min was momentarily taken aback, and his eyes lit up.
“Are you saying that they will start recruiting specialised personnel now?”
It was no longer the kind of Investigation Department that was put together haphazardly.
From now on, specialised personnel and equipment will investigate “Spirit Shenanigans”.
He Du nodded.
His gaze moved away and landed on the building in front of him.
“What about the people in the security room?”
He was referring to Zhang Rou Rou and her dog, Wheatley, who was currently held in the guard room.
“As a police officer, you should be aware that you cannot coerce an ordinary citizen into doing something as dangerous as this,” said the other officer, his tone stern.
Cao Wei Min replied, his voice tinged with helplessness, “If only I possessed her remarkable abilities, I wouldn't mind undertaking this mission alone.
I am deeply apologetic for my rash actions earlier, and I will offer an explanation to Captain Li upon our return to the station.”
As for the consequences of his actions…
Cao Wei Min rubbed his nose apprehensively, feeling a sense of unease wash over him.
But for now, he thought, let's attend to the current matter.
“The entire building is now on lockdown, and numerous officers have been dispatched to every floor to apprise the residents of the situation.
To prevent any unforeseen mishaps, they are stationed on every level.” He Du interjected, “Captain Li had just concluded a meeting in the city and hasn't made it back to the station yet.
He trailed off as a truck revving behind him echoed through the air.
“Some equipment designed for 'abnormalities' has been authorised for our use.
Under He Du's orders, officers donned protective gear and armed themselves with the Spirit Shenanigans 'abnormality' equipment to scan every elevator on every floor.
Cao Wei Min and He Du marvelled at the equipment's recent development as they suited up.
For some reason, Zhang Rou Rou and Wheatley followed suit, despite being confined to the guard room.
“Please, take me with you,” Zhang Rou Rou implored Cao Wei Min, holding tight to the dog leash.
He Du signalled Cao to handle the situation.
Cao Wei Min hesitated, glancing at the equipment piled up in the car before fixing his gaze on Zhang Rou Rou.
“I need to apologise to you first,” he said.
“For what?” Zhang Rou Rou looked perplexed.
“I acted impulsively earlier and failed to consider your feelings and the danger of the environment,” Cao Wei Min admitted.
“I won't make excuses.
I'm truly sorry.
Now that the department has brought in safer testing equipment, I don't think you need to go inside.
Your safety is paramount.”
Zhang Rou Rou remained silent, her lips pursed.
“After we resolve this incident, I hope you'll accompany us back to the station,” Cao Wei Min said.
“What you said about 'intuition' could prove invaluable to our investigation of these 'Spirit Shenanigans'…!”
He noticed a movement behind him.
He Du retracted his foot, poised to kick Cao, and strode into the third building.
Cao Wei Min:?
'Did I say something wrong…
Zhang Rou Rou looked embarrassed and said, “If you could trust me, it would make me happier than anything.
I wanted to escape before because no one believed me, no matter how much I explained,” she said firmly.
“I can protect myself and Wheatley.
My intuition won't let me get into trouble, but I can't guarantee the safety of others.
Please let me help.
Maybe I can find details that the detector can't detect.”
'I also want to discover the truth of this world.' Zhang Rou Rou recalled how so many people had perfunctorily smiled at her.
Even her parents, who loved and believed in her, never trusted her on such matters, not even a single word.
Cao Wei Min opened his mouth to speak, but then he heard He Du's voice from his communication device.
“Cao Wei Min, a red balloon appeared out of nowhere on the 31st floor of building three.
Hurry over.” There was new development! “Received.”
Cao Wei Min turned around and was about to enter building three, but then he stopped.
He turned his head and looked at Zhang Rou Rou, “You…
Remember to wear protective gear.”
Cao Wei Min sighed and resignedly walked up the stairs to the 31st floor.
How many days will Captain Li suspend him after going back? Will he still be able to continue as a police officer?
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