Escape the Infinite Chamber Chapter 8 part1
At the time, Feng Yu Lan didn't know that this one tiny piece of paper would be the turning point in his life. It didn't matter whether he was losing or gaining something, he would never be able to escape from this endless cycle, struggling for eternity. From start to finish, all that was left for him was grief and despair.
Luo Jian bought some congee for Feng Yu Lan, then hurriedly ran back to the hospital. He stared at Alan eating spoonful after spoonful; in the end, he patted the other's shoulder and said, "I still have a bunch of things to do at the company, but I'll come back and see you again. Also…I notified the police, so some police officers will be coming in a little later for your statement. If there's anything else, just give me a call…"
Luo Jian rambled on pointlessly, and Feng Yu Lan merely nodded like a chicken pecking at some rice. Soon after, Luo Jian stood up, ready to leave, but he then remembered something and took a glance at the note he placed on the bedside table. Without examining it, he reached with his hand and immediately stuffed it in his pants' pocket. If not all, Feng Yu Lan was also too preoccupied with eating, so the words on the note and his writing his signature on the paper had long been forgotten by him, out of sight and out of mind.
The following days were very peaceful; Alan was no longer subjected to any attacks, and according to the police, it seemed that the perpetrator, who committed this violent crime of recklessly killing others, didn't have any specific target in mind. It was essentially at random. If you were hacked to death, then you were unlucky, and if you survived after being stabbed, then the murderer wouldn't attack you again.
During this period of time, tension was rising amongst the people in this small city. The masses relentlessly accused the police of corruption and incompetence; a long time had passed, and yet the murderer still hadn't been brought to justice. But the internet was even worse; speculations regarding several consecutive cases of wanton murders and serial killings stirred the pot, causing even more dissent among the people, and soon, many arguments and opinions on 'murders' emerged.
But none of this had anything to do with Luo Jian. He reckoned the time today was the tenth day, and if nothing went wrong, he would be dragged into that strange chamber tonight.
This matter was certainly unnerving. Luo Jian immediately returned home after leaving from work early today; he sat down in his room, turned on his computer, and aimlessly browsed through the web. In reality, he wasn't conscious of what he was looking at; instead, he carefully recollected the details of his first chamber escape experience.
"According to the boss, the first level all rookies have to pass is fairly simple. But in order to prevent accidents from happening, the chamber will specially prepare a variety of items and props to increase the player's chance of survival. For example, if I was a bit on my guard when running into that murderer, and if I was also holding the gun in my hand, then I could've shot at his forehead. Maybe the situation would've been completely different if that were the case."
Luo Jian mind was chaotic as he thought aloud. As a matter of fact, he himself was clear on that matter. Even if he was actually holding a gun in his hand, he figured that he'd never be able to pull the trigger and open fire. He simply didn't have the courage. It didn't matter if the murderer was dead or alive at the time, he didn't have the courage to open up Pandora's Box1.
"Don't be afraid, Luo Jian. You'll die if you stay a coward." Luo Jian persuaded to himself. His pale face stared at the computer screen in front of him, his hand gripped at the mouse, but he was motionless. He attempted shifting his attention from the chamber and tried thinking about how Feng Yu Lan was recuperating in the hospital, how he went to see that kid today, and how his precious face and appearance was all too heart-breaking.
The clocked ticked, the time passed by quickly, and soon, the sky outside was completely shrouded in darkness. Luo Jian gritted his teeth, he went to the bathroom to wash his face, the military knife was tightly secured in his arms, and then he lied down on his bed. The boss mentioned that whatever was found inside the chamber could not be brought back to reality; likewise, items from the real world could not be taken into the chamber (except for the clothes they were wearing; anything else inside the pockets of the clothes didn't apply). However, this combat knife was the only exception. It didn't matter where Luo Jian put it; as long as he entered the chamber, the knife would appear on Luo Jian's body.
So, generally speaking, Luo Jian didn't need to fall asleep with his knife, but Luo Jian was still frightened. He insisted on holding onto something so that he could to calm his nerves. Despite all that, he tossed and turned in his bed, unable to fall asleep. He constantly wondered about when he would be entering the chamber. Then, for some strange reason, a sudden bout of extreme drowsiness rushed over him, and after pondering for a while, he fell asleep.
It was hazy all around, he seemed to be dreaming.
Luo Jian often had this dream. There was always this person who would speak to him, but he could never clearly see their face.
He loathed this dream.
Luo Jian dazedly opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was the vast midnight skies; a few twinkling stars scattered across the black curtains of the night, emanating a mysterious atmosphere. Luo Jian's whole body felt rather stiff; the damp wind blew on his face, and the salty taste of the ocean accompanied it.
Luo Jian instantly sat up, and he suddenly realized he was on board…a ship!
The ship was very much old, like one of those large sailing vessels of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There was a wooden deck, many places were dented and hollowed out at a few corners, and the wooden railings along the edge of the ship were darkened and moldy, lofty and bristling, looking as if they would collapse with a single tap.
Luo Jian found himself leaning against the main mast of the ship. There were no sails on it, only a few scraps of clothes were hung above it, and some decayed ropes were also loosely suspended above it. In view of the foremast was a helm with ancient inscriptions engraved on it. The helm was used to control the rudder, which in turn, controlled the ship's course.
The lone ship floated on the surface of the sea. The midnight skies and the dusky sea intertwined, merging into one dark mass; the horizon's edge was nowhere to be found. Luo Jian couldn't help but shiver. The air was dense and humid, if not merely cold, and he wrapped his arms around himself. He was wearing but a summer outfit, and indeed, this didn't keep him warm.
"That's right, the note, the note…"Luo Jian blanked out for a moment, then he quickly climbed up to search for the slip of paper. Soon, he found that familiar printed note attached to the main mast. Luo Jian tore it down. As always, the cursive writings were as elegant as ever:
【Dear Mr. Luo Jian】
【Welcome to this wondrous2 chamber once again. This time, you have one new companion, but it truly is a pity that your new partner has such tragic luck. He is currently somewhere on this ghost ship, being hidden by the ghosts. You can stay on this ship for six hours; however, you must find your partner within one hour. Otherwise, he dies. 】
【Of course, by all means, you can also give up on searching for your partner and use that extra time for yourself to find a way to escape the chamber.】
【Believe me, this ship will be drifting on the sea for all eternity. There will be no course and it will never dock. It is a moving chamber, so to speak. So, if you do not want to become one of the ghosts on board, you had better try your hardest in finding a way to leave this ghost ship!】
【Naturally, I will give you some hints.】
【First: Do not jump into the ocean unless you wish to be dinner for the sea monsters.】
【Second: Do not constantly focus on the ocean. The sky is the best shortcut for leaving this chamber.】
【Third: In the event that you are unable to take a shortcut, don't forget to be silent.】
【Additional tips: The pocket watch that can show you the time is in the pocket of your trousers.】
【The aforementioned hints are over. I wish you the best of luck!.】
"The fuck3?! What the fuck is this damn thing?!" Luo Jian gripped the note hard in his hand as he finished reading. He couldn't wrap his mind around it for a long time. He touched his pants' pocket, and sure enough, there was a pocket watch as big as his palm. He opened it to take a look, and it displayed the time: 12:05.
"In other words, the amount of time I can spend on this ship is from twelve o'clock to five o'clock4." Luo Jian calculated as he put the pocket watch back in this pocket, then he reread the text on the note once more.
"What partner?" Luo Jian was confused, how could he suddenly have a partner? Didn't the boss say that unless the player invites someone to the team, he could only play the game solo? But Luo Jian couldn't recall when he had invited another person.
"Even worse, if I really have another partner, wouldn't that mean the difficulty's been doubled?" Luo Jian immediately broke out into a sweat. The ocean's breeze added to his chills, and he stared trembling from the cold.
Luo Jian hadn't experienced how troublesome it was when the difficulty increased, and his limited creativity wasn't sufficient enough for him to imagine how it could be. But it didn't matter, one only needed to hear the name of the ship—Ghost Ship! Luo Jian already felt that he himself had died so terribly.
Having no other choice, Luo Jian reluctantly flipped the note over and, as expected, there was a paragraph written on the back of the note:
【In the seventeenth century, the maritime industry greatly flourished, hence the rise of pirates! However, the sea was so vast and mysterious, filled with the unknown. Folks couldn't possibly imagine the treacherous perils that lurked in these seas. After plundering a great deal of treasures, one pirate ship navigated to the Bermuda's Triangle, but it was soon bedeviled by the tempest's fierce waves. It was never to be seen again, forever unable to escape from the Devil's Sea.】
"The Devil's region?! Fuck!" Luo Jian trembled. The deck was freezing, and he couldn't stay down here any longer. He turned on his feet and looked at the entrance of the cabin. It was so dark that it gave Luo Jian the creeps from looking at it. This was apparently a ghost ship? So are there real ghosts?
Luo Jian was scared to death, but he didn't want to stay on the icy deck until he froze to death. He touched the military knife on his waist, unaware of how it'd gotten there in the first place, then he bit back the bullet and went towards the direction of the cabin. The ship was extremely old, the deck beneath his feet creaked with every step. He soon reached the cabin's entrance, but he couldn’t help but take a step back. It was too dark, there weren't any lights! At least Luo Jian could see the shine from the stars when he stood on the deck, so although it wasn't overly bright, it wasn't particularly dark either. But the interior of the cabin was pitch-black.
"It's too dark. If I encounter anything bad, I won't have any time to react. I'll just go back." Luo Jian had no choice but to retreat, and he returned to the deck. He walked over and began to overturn the place, hoping to find something useful, and immediately after, he rummaged through a pile of rubbish.
A long rotten rope was nearly torn in half. Several large barrels had nothing inside. A box was nailed shut. And lastly, there was an oil lamp without any oil.
"There isn't any difference between this oil lamp and having no light." Luo Jian first studied at the lamp. The lamp had been shattered, the glass exterior had already been broken into pieces. There really wasn't any difference between this and a piece of junk. As for the other objects, Luo Jian looked around; it seemed to him that the only thing worth examining was the wooden box that was nailed shut.
1Original actually said "to open/start the ring of sins", but Pandora's Box seemed a better fit. Pandora opened the box, despite being told not to. She basically 'sinned' by opening the box of evils/sins/etc. and created so many problems after…But if anyone has a better suggestions, do tell.
2无奇不有—Wú qí bù yǒu. "Nothing is too bizarre/Full of extraordinary things"
4Not too sure if this was just an error on the author’s part, or if she’s excluding the time he has to find his ‘partner.’
Hey guys, I’ve some exams coming up, so I’ll be a bit busy, meaning I probably won’t be able to update several chapters a week so don’t expect any updates for the next few days–I will definitely try my hardest to update as much as possible, but I can’t guarantee that I will update. Thanks for understanding!