Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The Special Unit was on standby the entire time, and they reported to the higher-ups as soon as they noticed Ning Yangze and the others had disappeared, but there was nothing wrong with the scene except for the empty office that indicated they were missing.
“Where’s the surveillance?” The middle-aged man walked in through the office door in a hurry, “What did the people who went to check the surveillance say?”
“They said all the surveillance went wrong the moment Team Leader disappeared, and no one was in the restored footage after that.” The team member next to him reported in a panic, “Moreover, most people didn’t notice anything wrong, if someone hadn’t come to Team Leader in an emergency, we wouldn’t have found out about it.”
The middle-aged man nodded, and didn’t embarrass the young man, “Has the Inspection Unit come?”
“On their way.” The team member looked at the watch in his hand, “The last time we contacted you, we said it would take half an hour, so they’ll be here in about ten minutes.”
The Special Unit team leader and deputy team leader were missing, the organization Night’s leader who came to sign the contract was missing, several members of the Special Unit in the vicinity were missing, plus Shen Si who was standing in the corridor, a total of twelve people. This incident was completely without warning, nor did the playfield leave traces, but these people just disappeared into thin air.
The middle-aged man looked at the office, his eyes full of worry.
Now that the unlimited flow world playfields had opened all over the world, the Special Unit could be considered the only domestic organization specializing in this field. Ning Yangze and Xia Leyu were his selected elite, even if they were MIA, how could they deal with the increasingly violent evolution of the world in the future.
“The team leaders are both A-Rank Survivors. In the unlimited flow world they were partners, not to mention there is the leader of the organization Night as well, who’s also an A-Rank Survivor. They will be fine!” The nearby team member reassured the middle-aged man, “Moreover, they didn’t necessarily enter a playfield.”
The middle-aged man could only nod. The three A-Rank Survivors did give him a little comfort, but his heart wouldn’t settle down until he saw them with his own eyes.
How come the Inspection Unit hasn’t arrived yet…
“Wait a minute! Sir you can’t come in, sir?!”
The middle-aged man looked toward the place where the voice came from, and a man in a hospital gown came over holding the wall.
He lowered his head, his dark hair blocking his whole face, his wrists slim and thin making the cuffs of his hospital gown seemingly empty. His fingers were slightly red from holding the wall hard with the pads of his fingers, looking like an ordinary sick and weak patient; this person was none other than Jian Nian.
“Mr. Jian!” The team member hurriedly blocked in front of the middle-aged man, “What brings you here, Mr. Jian? Your body is very weak, it’s better to go back to the ward and rest.”
“Get out of the way.” Jian Nian raised his head, his face was weary, but his eyes were dark and cold, his gaze making people very uncomfortable.
The man didn’t move, “Mr. Jian, calm down, the situation has not turned critical yet!”
The middle-aged man held down the team member’s shoulder behind him, “It’s okay, get out of the way and let him be.”
“I approve.” The middle-aged man looked at Jian Nian, “Better than any of us, perhaps the S-Rank Survivors are more aware of what happened than we are, don’t be too harsh on others, everyone is a victim, whether it’s an ordinary person or a Survivor.”
Seemingly hearing the middle-aged man’s voice, Jian Nian gave him a subtle glance, and three seconds later Jian Nian turned his head as he reached out and pushed open the door to the Special Unit’s office.
The door creaked open, and the next instant, the clock inside the door emitted a crisp tick, and the moment the ticking finished, something fell from the sky.
THUNK, the distinct sound of a body smashing on the ground was heard. The body hit the chair, knocking the neatly placed chairs over, but when the Special Unit of people rushed over, the burly man was full of bruises and blood and had long lost his breath.
The middle-aged man looked at him with wide eyes, “Who is this?”
“Feng Jiancheng, a senior member of the organization Night, determined to have no vital signs.”
The people didn’t dare to move this corpse, and they could only wait for the middle-aged man to issue the order. The middle-aged man didn’t pay attention to them, but looked at Jian Nian, so at this moment Jian Nian did not look at the corpse, instead he kept gazing at one place, the clock inlaid on the wall.
“Mr. Jian? Do you have any questions?” The middle-aged man asked tentatively.
Jian Nian looked at the middle-aged man, then he raised his hand and pointed at the clock, “That clock, when did it appear on the wall?”
The Special Unit ran over to look at the clock, and after a moment they whispered and finally started reporting as if they had reached a conclusion.
“There was a clock in that place to begin with, but this one might not be the same one as before, but we didn’t even notice because of the subtle differences.”
The middle-aged man’s spirit shook, “What difference?”
“The time is not right.” The Special Unit showed the watch on his wrist to the middle-aged man. “It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, but this clock is pointing to one o’clock, furthermore, the moment the body fell down just now was exactly one o’clock.”
The middle-aged man froze for a moment, “One o’clock? That’s impossible…”
There were twelve hours in a turn of the clock, twelve people had disappeared, and one person died at one. Did that mean that everyone would die in twelve hours?
“Xiao Qiao, you really don’t feel anything?” Xia Leyu looked at him with concern.
Qiao Xingye shook his head, “No, no feeling at all, is Mr. Shen really sure that someone has disappeared? I’m fine though?”
“In my memory, it’s true that there are only ten of us.” Ning Yangze counted the number of people over and over again, “And there are also ten people present, not more, not less, which corresponds to my memory of the people, so we are all okay.”
“There are also ten people in my notepad.” He Xin’s voice was small as he flipped open his notepad, which had everyone’s name and the number on their arm, and there were really only ten people recorded on it.
Shen Si leaned against the wall, and didn’t speak, nor did he do anything superfluous, there was little emotion in those dark eyes, not looking concerned about being suspected. His lack of words seemed to be a tacit admission that he was just talking nonsense.
“What’s wrong with this guy? Don’t you need to be responsible for what you say? Not even an explanation.” Sun Zhi looked at Shen Si strangely, “You should say something.”
Shen Si raised his head, he looked at Sun Zhi strangely, “Say what?”
“Like an explanation or something.”
“I don’t have proof.” Shen Si didn’t intend to dwell on it, “I said someone disappeared and you don’t believe me because you don’t have this person in your memory. Hearing is believing and seeing is believing, this is a fact, at such times being shackled can not be helped.”
“I didn’t say we don’t believe you, we are just doubtful. After all, now whether it is Team Leader’s recorded data or something else, it shows that our memory is the correct one.” Sun Zhi hurriedly explained.
Shen Si thought about it, and after a moment he apologized in a small voice, “I’m sorry, I can’t prove it.”
He didn’t see Feng Jiancheng disappear but Xin Ping’s disappearance happened in front of him. He just suddenly turned into air in the crowd, and not a single person around him noticed, even cleanly removing this person from their mind.
He became air, so where could he get proof?
After saying that Shen Si turned to leave, as he didn’t seem to intend to continue standing around in a daze. Sun Zhi watched him walk away, her face incomprehensible.
“Leader, this person is so strange, obviously not a Survivor nor a member of the Special Unit, but he just gives me a feeling that I can’t understand.” Sun Zhi complained to Yang Yi.
Yang Yi stretched out his right hand and rubbed his chin as he narrowed his eyes in some doubt, “Compared to this, there are other places I don’t quite understand.”
“If what this person said is right.” Yang Yi lowered his head, “Someone disappears in front of us and everyone else somehow forgets about the person, and only him remembering the event is a heavy burden in itself, especially if others don’t believe it at all. Why is he so calm?”
Sun Zhi blinked, “Uh?”
“No fear, no nervousness, not even feeling isolated, free of all burdens, how does he do it?”
“Isn’t that more of an indication that he’s lying?” Sun Zhi was indignant, “Only a liar would be so calm at a time like this, because nothing this terrible has ever happened!”
“Shh, shh, calm down.” Xia Leyu came over and he smiled to keep Sun Zhi quiet, “Although Mr. Shen doesn’t have evidence that he is correct, but similarly, we can’t exactly assume that Mr. Shen is lying, because in a playfield like this where lives are at stake, lying doesn’t do any good.”
As much as Sun Zhi wanted to go on, but she had to reluctantly shut her mouth, considering that this man was the deputy team leader of the Special Unit and her own leader was also present. In her opinion, a person didn’t need a reason to lie at all, anyway, he was just trying to attract everyone’s attention. Otherwise, why would this guy go and dye his hair white, and make a show of only dyeing the bottom half?
Just then, Shen Si came back, only this time he didn’t come back empty-handed, but carried a not too high ladder, clutching two screwdrivers in his hand. The group looked at the tools in his hand amazed, they didn’t have a better idea for the time being.
Now the only thing they clearly knew was that something was wrong with this clock, other than that nothing was certain. But no one wanted to try to move this clock for a while; as Survivors they were always cautious, because the playfields were full of traps, so they subconsciously excluded doing anything that may do harm.
“Hey! Are you serious?” Sun Zhi ran over, “What are you going to do?”
“Looking for some kind of… evidence.”
Sun Zhi wanted to stop him, but was pulled back by Yang Yi. Yang Yi shook his head at her, everyone present looked at Shen Si, acquiescing to his action. They also wondered what would happen if they took the clock off the wall. The situation was too strange now, nothing happened for more than two hours.
If there were some accidents, maybe there would be a breakthrough.
Climbing up the ladder, Shen Si took down the clock set on the wall. He turned it over, but didn’t see anything at all to adjust the time behind with, and this whole clock was strange, it didn’t have any removable screws at all.
Shaking it hard, Shen Si also heard no rattling of parts.
“It doesn’t look like an ordinary clock.” He Xin stood next to it and took notes in his notebook, “You can’t see any ports, can you?”
“For now no.” Shen Si stood up and answered calmly, after he finished he let go of his hand, and in the group’s startled gaze, the clock hit the ground hard with a harsh sound.
Under the group’s astonished eyes, the clock that was dropped on the ground turned into a light and disappeared, and in the next instant, the intact clock appeared on the wall again. Shen Si looked at the clock and sighed with some regret, “It looks like we can’t find any evidence relying on this clock.”
Shen Si stepped down from the ladder and proceeded to bring the tools away, the group watched his back, and a moment later Yang Yi stepped forward.
“It’s just too reckless, what’s wrong with that man? Ning Yangze, you guys just watch him fool around? What if something had just happened?”
“In theory, this kind of attempt is normal.” He Xin didn’t think Shen Si had done anything wrong, “In a situation like this where there is absolutely no breaking point, we can only start with this clock, and even if it wasn’t Shen Si, I would still take the clock apart to see what it is.”
Yang Yi frowned and reached up to pull the brim of his hat, “You guys can do your research, but don’t drag us along.”
“It’s not good to be overly cautious.”
Ning Yangze hurriedly came out to persuade, “Okay, okay, let’s not quarrel over this matter, now there are only ten of us, only by working together can we leave safely. At least we know this time that the clock cannot be destroyed and deformed, right?”
Although they were a little angry, this was indeed true, the only point they could be sure of at the moment was this clock, and if this clock couldn’t be destroyed, they could indeed study it properly.
So, when Shen Si returned, he saw the rest of the group working on the clock.
They tried to use various methods to make the clock work, even damaging the surface, but all to no avail, the clock was still running normally, the hands still turning in a circle.
Shen Si leaned against the wall, he fished his cell phone out of his pocket, and then pointed it at Qiao Xingye, who was currently number 1.
“Three minutes short of the full hour.”
At this point Qiao Xingye mingled in the crowd studying the clock, looking inconspicuous as He Xin stood next to him recording the data, re-recording the names and numbers of those present every ten minutes in order to ensure the accuracy of the data.
“2:59.” He Xin glanced at the time and then began to write the figures down.
Right in the middle of a stroke, the clock made a sound at the full hour and Shen Si heard the voice from that clock again.
“Number 1 is disappearing!”
He Xin’s hand abruptly paused, and he froze for about three seconds, his hand clutching the pen and staring at the paper, not knowing what he was looking at.
Pressing the shutter, Shen Si took several pictures one after another. In the camera, Shen Si was able to clearly see Qiao Xingye instantly turn into air, while the people around him didn’t notice at all.
“Number 1 disappeared!” The voice rang out for the second time.
He Xin continued to write his notes, and when he was done he nodded, there were only nine numbers and nine names on that piece of paper.
Shen Si looked at the photos he had taken. In those photos there was no Qiao Xingye who had disappeared, only the other people gathered around to study the clock, except that in the middle of them, there was an obvious vacancy, and that one person’s empty position was the proof that Qiao Xingye had existed.
But this couldn’t be used as evidence.
Shen Si hung his head, the phone clutched tightly in his hand. He didn’t feel bad because the rest of the people didn’t believe him, he just felt that the situation seemed to be hopeless, even helpless.
Each person had a number, and they would disappear one by one in the order of the numbers in one hour intervals. There was no solution and no way out, a complete and utterly unsolvable problem. In the world of unlimited flow, those people were facing such challenges?
“Even in the world of unlimited flow there is no insurmountable playfield.”
Shen Si looked up at Xia Leyu standing beside him, different from his previous slightly jumpy demeanor, this time he looked a little gentle, “Although I have never entered a playfield, and am an ordinary person like you, I have read a lot of playfield information, so my conclusion is: there is no completely unsolvable playfield. Think about it, even the last horrific playfield was also broken by you, which proves that there must be a solution.”
“But at the moment we don’t even know what’s going on here.”
“No, the only ones who don’t know are us, and you have found the exact rules of the game.” Xia Leyu smiled and locked eyes with Shen Si, “I’ll take your word for it.”
Shen Si looked to Xia Leyu, “You believe that someone really disappeared?”
“In my memory, there are only nine people who were confined here and stayed for three hours without the slightest progress, which is unlikely no matter how you think about it.” Xia Leyu lowered his head, “No playfield can go on for three hours without the slightest change.”
The playfield in the unlimited flow world was a real life and death game, not one of those GalGames that can be reset or even archived, those playfields had only one purpose, and that was to kill as many people as possible.
So how could there be a playfield that would let people live through three hours properly?
“Is that so?” Shen Si didn’t get excited about being believed, not even his tone changed much, “Believe it or not, I don’t have any solutions either.”
“I will help you.”
Shen Si looked at him, “What?”
With a slight sigh, Xia Leyu pulled up his sleeve, and on the inside of his arm, the number 1 was unusually obvious. He looked at that number then looked at Shen Si.
“If you’re right, every hour the number 1 dies, then it’s my turn to be next.” Xia Leyu lowered his sleeve, “If I die, then many things can be solved, in the Special Unit, the traces of my existence will not be erased so easily, even if the memories are replaced, it will still leave bugs. Shen Si, seize this opportunity.”
“No buts.” Xia Leyu was unusually forceful, “Half of the documents piled up on the desk in the office have my signature, the back of the coffee machine has my engraving, the homepage on the forum has my personal identification. Even if all these disappear, just ask Ning Yangze and ask him why the Special Unit doesn’t have a deputy team leader.”
Shen Si looked at him with slight surprise, “Why?”
Why would he face his own death so openly…
Xia Leyu didn’t answer, he just smiled a little before speaking in a small voice, “Please, be sure to remember my existence and tell others that I existed.”