Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Due to the sudden event, everyone came out of the office, but not as many people came out as expected.
“Team Leader!” The team member from the next office rushed over, “What happened? How come everyone disappeared in a flash? I’m the only one left in the office.”
“Me too.” The person who came out of the other office quickly agreed, “I just went to pour a glass of water and everyone disappeared.”
He Xin looked at them before finally speaking, “It wasn’t them that disappeared, it was us.”
“What?” Ning Yangze looked at He Xin, “That means, this playfield has a limit on the number of people? It only selects some people to disappear, and isolates us in a space? Has such a playfield been analyzed by the Inspection Unit?”
“Of course not, our Inspection Unit only testeds the mass playfiel first, which is the optimal solution based on the consideration of the masses.” He Xin pulled his hands out of his white coat pockets to catch Shen Si who almost fell. When bending over the glasses on the bridge of his nose seemed to reflect a cold light, “How are you? Do you feel anything?”
Shen Si looked at him for a moment before looking down at his palms, “Nothing.”
“Is that so?” He Xin rubbed his chin and narrowed his eyes slightly, “My guess is, that the condition for your ability to evolve should be to enter the playfield, why would you not feel anything? Could it be other conditions?”
“Team Leader He, let’s get out of the playfield instead of this!” Xia Leyu shouted.
He Xin sighed and turned around and went back to the group, not forgetting to ask Shen Si to follow him.
Did he enter a playfield again? And in the headquarters of the Special Unit…
Shen Si thought of the phone call he had had with Xi Luo earlier, and felt more and more like he had set a flag.
He followed somewhat helplessly, when he stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the clock mounted in the middle of the corridor and wondered, Was there a clock here before?
This was the first time Shen Si came to the headquarters of the Special Unit, so this corridor was unfamiliar, and he had not deliberately observed the surroundings before, but he felt that… the clock shouldn’t be placed in this location?
“Shen Si?” Xia Leyu called out to Shen Si, “What are you looking at?
“The clock.” Shen Si pointed to the clock and asked Xia Leyu, “Was there a clock here before?”
“Yes, it’s always been there.” Xia Leyu thought for a moment, “But when was it put there? I don’t remember, it seems to have been here from the beginning, but why do you want to observe the clock? There’s nothing unusual about it.”
Shen Si withdrew his eyes, “I’m sorry.”
“There’s no need to apologize.” Xia Leyu quickly waved his hand, “Come on, let’s go, a few of us want to discuss what to do, we still don’t know what this playfield is about.”
Following Xia Leyu back to the office of the Special Unit, everything in the office was the same as before, everyone was sitting around the table, the expression on their faces was not nervous, but also not relaxed. The clock hanging on the wall was ticking away, and soon the second hand would go an entire circle.
Shen Si counted the number of people, including himself there were a total of twelve people.
Twelve people, and there happened to be twelve hours for a full rotation on the clock.
Shen Si followed and sat down, he felt that the clock outside was very strange. Obviously every office was equipped with a clock, but why would there be one in the hall? This was completely illogical.
“Just now I felt a tingling in my arm, and I found this.” Yang Yi was the first to speak up.
He rolled up his sleeve and put his arm on the table, and on the inside of his elbow was clearly engraved with the number 6. After the display, Yang Yi pulled back his sleeve, “Can you check if you also have it on your arms?”
The group rolled up their sleeves, Shen Si also took a look, and then saw the number on his own arm: 7. The twelve people present looked at each other for three seconds, and finally determined that everyone had a number on their arm, from 1 to 12, one on each person.
“4?” Xia Leyu looked at the number on his arm, “Which one of you is 1?”
A certain somewhat fierce-looking burly man Yang Yi had brought with him stood up, he had big chest muscles, and with his sleeves rolled up his arms looked thicker than Shen Si’s two arms put together, “It’s me.”
His name was Feng Jiancheng, a cadre-level person in the organization Night, even though looked a bit rude and reckless, in fact was not a reckless person. On the contrary, the average person present was not as calm as him, he was a typical character who could rely on appearance to deceive others.
“Jiancheng?” Yang Yi followed and stood up, “Do you feel anything?”
“No, so far, the numbers are just numbers.” Feng Jiancheng looked around, “Who is the 2nd one?”
The Special Unit member who came from the next office raised his hand, he was as calm as the others, marked as number 2 he also didn’t feel anything.
Each person stated their number, but even then they still didn’t understand the meaning of it.
Obviously a playfield, but in addition to the towering walls outside, nothing had changed and nothing was happening, very unlike a terrifying playfield. Everyone present was either a Survivor or someone who worked in the Special Unit. They were well aware of the horrors of a playfield and didn’t dare to relax their vigilance at all, Shen Si could almost see everyone tensing up.
“Sitting down like this is not an option.” He Xin suddenly spoke up, the number on his arm was 10, “Let’s split up and look for strange things around here, only then can we tell what playfield this really is. Sitting on the sidelines should not be our course of action.”
“He Xin is right.” Ning Yangze agreed, “Everyone scatter and meet back here in thirty minutes at the latest.”
Watching the crowd scatter in pairs, Shen Si stood up from his chair and left, and calmly stepped out of the office. He didn’t look for his companions, as walked out of the place alone. Looking at the forlorn back, Feng Jiancheng, whose number was 1, watched Shen Si leave, then called out to He Xin, “Team Leader He.”
“Hmm?” He Xin put his equipment on his back, “Mr. Feng, do you have any questions?”
“What’s with that Shen Si?”
Feng Jiancheng noticed Shen Si from the beginning, not because he was an ordinary person standing in the corridor of the Special Unit, but the action of Xia Leyu who quickly ran out after hearing that the playfield would open soon. The moment he saw Shen Si, Xia Leyu, He Xin, and Ning Yangze obviously knew it had something to do with him.
He had to know the reason for that.
“Shen Si?” He Xin fiddled with the instrument on his back, “We suspect Shen Si has the ability to passively make playfields open early, but we’re not certain. At the same time, he may be immune to some of the playfield’s effects. Again, it’s just speculation, no need to care much.”
Feng Jiancheng raised his eyebrows slightly.
Immune to some of the playfield’s effects?
Shen Si walked down the corridor, walked to the ward area from memory, and took a step into Jian Nian’s ward.
There was no one in the empty ward.
The bed was nicely made up with white sheets spread on the bed, and there was no one lying in a deep sleep. Shen Si let out a breath as he sat in the chair, looking a little emotional, neither tense nor relaxed, as if he was simply sitting here staring.
From the Special Unit office to here Shen Si was sure of one thing, and that was, in here and before, there was absolutely no difference in the slightest, whether it was decorations or something else, Shen Si didn’t find anything that was possibly out of the ordinary.
Perhaps the only thing that could be called strange was the clock in the corridor of the Special Unit.
Shen Si deliberately went to the downstairs floor corridor when he came, and there wasn’t a clock like the one in the other corridor. If it was really the style of decoration, then the same clock should have been installed on each floor, but indeed, only that floor was inlaid with that clock.
However, everyone in the Special Unit said that the clock had always been hung there, was it really a special bit of decoration on this floor?
It was suspicious.
Looking at the time, Shen Si got up from his chair, and walked out of the ward to the previously agreed meeting point, hoping that the others could find some clues.
Both Team Leader Ning Yangze of the Special Unit, and He Xin, the team leader of the Inspection Unit, were better than him and knew more about the playfields So they might be able to quickly grasp the objective in a short time based on the details, and then they could all get out of here safely.
With his hands in his coat pockets, he walked all the way to the corridor of the Special Unit. There was no one in the corridor now, only Shen Si was quietly standing there, and the sound of the clock ticking was very distinct.
0:56, had almost an hour passed?
Shen Si leaned against the wall and looked at the clock. It kept ticking, round and round, until it hit 12 and clicked.
“Number 1 is disappearing!” The sudden sound startled Shen Si, he stepped away from the wall, then looked around, after looking around he moved his gaze to the clock on the wall.
“Number 1 disappeared!” The clock aptly sounded again.
Shen Si walked over carefully and looked at the clock, but it never made a sound again. Shen Si stood there bewildered, but just then, someone tapped his shoulder from behind. Shen Si turned his head and subconsciously reached out to attack, but was grabbed by the arm by the person behind him.
“Don’t be so nervous, I’m not the enemy.” Xia Leyu smiled and looked at him, “Why are you here by yourself?”
Shen Si looked at Xia Leyu, and only then did he drop his hand, “Did you hear that just now?”
“Hear what?” Xia Leyu was a little curious.
“Just now the clock said that number 1 disappeared.”
“…No.” Xia Leyu shook his head, “I came from the back of the corridor, I didn’t hear anything strange, and number 1, number 1 is alive and well now, so don’t worry, no problem.”
Shen Si looked at Xia Leyu, and after a moment he nodded, “Okay, thanks.”
“Really, no need to be so polite, it’s not the first time we met.” Xia Leyu smiled, “Well, it’s almost time, let’s go back to the office and wait for the others to come back, maybe Team Leader and the others can find a clue, I just walked around and saw nothing.”
Shen Si responded, “Me too.”
Five minutes passed, the people came back one by one, Shen Si secretly counted the number in his heart, and at the count of 11, the last person who came in closed the door.
“This way, we’re all together.” Yang Yi said, “How’s that? Did you guys get anything?”
Shen Si looked at them, after a moment he stood up. Yes, there were only 11 people now, where was Feng Jiancheng?
“Wait a minute, is there one person missing?”
“One person is missing?” Xia Leyu looked at Shen Si somewhat strangely, “How can there be one less person? This time, eleven of us were trapped in the playfield, and I was afraid of making a mistake and counted again, exactly eleven people, Shen Si, what happened to you? Could it be that something has affected your sanity?”
“What about number 1, Mr. Feng?”
“Mr. Feng… Who is that?” The crowd looked at each other, and finally Ning Yangze’s voice was tinged with doubt, “Isn’t number 1 Xin Ping?”
Xin Ping, the previous member of the Special Unit with the number 2, rolled up his sleeve and showed his arm towards Shen Si, on whose arm the number 1 was very conspicuous.
Lowering his head and rolling up his sleeve, Shen Si expressionlessly watched the number on his arm which had changed from 7 to 6. He didn’t continue to speak, nor did he continue to refute. The crowd looked at the silent Shen Si quiet for a few seconds, before continuing to discuss the state of affairs.
Everyone was paying full attention to the current situation, making guesses and insights, but no one remembered that there was another person who was also here before.
This feeling was difficult to describe, Shen Si sat in place to listen to them finish the discussion, but there was still not the slightest progress in the end. They murmured why nothing happened in the playfield, completely unaware that there had been a person who completely disappeared from the playfield, even erased from their memories.
Number 1 disappeared, so it turned out to be this kind of disappearance.
“You guys really don’t remember Feng?” Shen Si spoke again.
The group that was thinking of countermeasures looked at Shen Si, then looked at each other, finally frowning slightly. He Xin stood up, he picked up the instrument and scanned Shen Si, shaking his head in regret after.
“There is no sign of possession.”
“Then why is he talking nonsense?” Yang Yi was clearly not convinced, “Who is Feng? We don’t have a Feng in here, right? Could it be a ghost? A ghost that lurked among us in the beginning? Team Leader He, is this also a possibility?”
He Xin nodded, “Playfields where ghosts are hiding among Survivors disguised as Survivors do exist. Shen Si, where did you see this Mr. Feng?”
“But none of us have seen this Mr. Feng, is he the only one who has seen him?” Sun Zhi looked at Shen Si with some suspicion, “I still think he was possessed by something.”
Shen Si stood up, and walked straight out of the Special Unit office to the clock in the corridor that was moving slowly. Tick. Tick. Time was passing, the people in the office looked at him from the doorway, and after a moment they looked at the clock that Shen Si was looking at, completely confused about his intentions.
“What does he mean?” Yang Yi asked Xia Leyu behind him, “Why does he keep looking at the clock?”
“I don’t know.” Xia Leyu shook his head, “But he did seem to ask me if this clock has been here before. What’s the point of asking something like that? This clock has been set here since we moved in. Right, Team Leader?”
Ning Yangze thought for a moment, “Was it set here when we moved in? Why do I remember that it was installed afterwards.”
“Huh? What? Then I remembered wrong.” Xia Leyu looked at the group members behind him, “Do you remember when this clock was set?”
Several members of the Special Unit were stumped, they only roughly remembered that the clock seemed to have been here all along, but they had no recollection of when the clock was put here. Even if they tried to think about it, their memories were vague, the only thing they could be sure of was: the clock had been here for a long time.
“That’s not right.” He Xin looked at them, “None of you can remember exactly when this clock was installed? You’re members of the Special Unit, and most of you are Survivors, and you can forget about the date of a clock?”
Realizing that something was wrong, Xia Leyu hurriedly ran back to his office to look for the photos of the base taken when he was previously supplied to his superiors for reference, constantly checking the photos. Xia Leyu finally found a photo facing the clock, but in the photo, the wall was empty and there was no clock at all.
“…No, there isn’t.” Xia Leyu’s face turned pale, “There’s no clock at all.”
He hurriedly walked out with the photo, looking at He Xin and Ning Yangze’s questioning eyes, Xia Leyu frowned and nodded, then handed the photo to them.
Looking at the empty walls in the photo, He Xin flipped open his book to jot down the current events on it. “This playfield can affect our memories and make us blur key items, but Shen Si noticed, yes, he was unaffected, so he was able to sense that something was wrong with the clock.”
Yang Yi remembered something, “…Then what he said about Feng…”
“That person might have really existed.” He Xin frowned, “But he was erased from our memory.”
Yang Yi scratched his head, pacing around with an anxious face. In fact not only him, but the people around him also felt worried about the current situation, this feeling of being anxious but unable to do anything about it made them very annoyed. The possibility of disappearing, disappearing and then making everyone forget about you, this kind of thing!
“Who the hell is Mr. Feng?” Yang Yi’s voice was tinged with trembling as he understood the gravity of the situation now after realizing that someone had really disappeared, “Is he… A senior in my group?”
No one but Shen Si knew the truth, but Yang Yi didn’t dare to ask Shen Si.
Disappearing and then having to be forgotten, not even being able to remember his name until now, Yang Yi was almost swallowed up by the emptiness inside him.
“Let’s go to Shen Si’s side and don’t separate for now.” Ning Yangze suggested, “That way, we can notice immediately if someone disappears, and even if we forget, Shen Si can still see it. This is the safest way now.”
There was no need to reply at all, everyone walked towards Shen Si, who was leaning against the wall with his head down. He looked calm and didn’t say a word no matter how the group gathered around or how he was acting now.
A little time passed, tick, tock, and the clock reached 12, followed by the same words as before.
“Number 1 is disappearing!”
Shen Si looked at Xin Ping, who was currently number 1. He didn’t seem to hear the clock, but the next instant, his fingers trembled, then he quickly turned into air, not even having any time to react. It was like being pulled away from space by someone who opened a hole.
“Number 1 disappeared!” The second one sounded.
Shen Si pulled back his sleeve and watched as the number on his arm changed from a 6 to a 5.
“It doesn’t seem like anything happened.” Xia Leyu spoke, “Xiao Qiao, you’re the number 1, right? Did you feel anything?”
“No.” The youth who was called Xiao Qiao shook his head.
…Qiao Xingye, the person who originally had the number 3.