Doomsday Wonderland Chapter 531
The prevailing darkness robbed Lin Sanjiu of her sight. She couldn't see anything. All she could register was the creaking sound of the door as it swung open.
Pulling herself together, she focused solely on her hearing. She did not want to miss any other sounds that might put her in immediate danger. However, the person inside the cell wasn't an actual human, and there was no sign of human activity at all. The moment a gust of wind grazed her cheek, it was already too late. She quickly turned around to find that "person" had already arrived in front of her.
In the next second, she felt a cold sensation spreading from her wrist, followed by a warm feeling.
A pulse of severe pain shot straight up to her brain, and before she could groan out in pain, her vision blurred. As the pain continued to drill deeper into her body, she found her sight had returned. She opened her eyes, and what met her gaze were three things: a rough cement wall, a riddled straw mat, and a small glass window.
They had been sent back to their cell again.
Lin Sanjiu raised her right arm, gasping in pain. When her gaze fell to her wrist, she froze, unable to say a thing.
Her entire right hand from her wrist through her palm was gone, vanished.
Since she was in her Higher Consciousness form, there was no blood or bone. If one were to see inside the fracture, he would find nothing inside, just like the Higher Consciousness, formless, and colorless.
Lin Sanjiu had suffered many injuries over the years, yet none of them were comparable to the pain she was feeling right now. Losing a portion of her Higher Consciousness felt as if somebody had sliced off a part of her brain or ripped her soul apart. She couldn't do anything other than lay on the ground, writhing and twisting in agony.
She remained on the ground for quite a long while until the pain had tortured her enough and ebbed away. She pulled herself up from the ground and looked ahead to see J7 squirming on the ground helplessly like a flipped turtle. Its two wheels brandished around in the air, trying to flip itself over, but its attempt bore no fruit at all. Just when she wanted to go forward and help it up from the ground, she noticed that its 'tail' was gone.
Understanding instantly dawned on her. It seemed that the "person" in the cell had severed both her hand and J7's tail at the same time. Without physical contact, both of them were thrown back to their cell.
"Are you alright?" Lin Sanjiu picked J7 up and reorientated it with only one hand. It appeared to her that she needed more time than ever to recover the Higher Consciousness she had lost.
"Not so good."
J7 reconstructed its body by rotating its body parts, leaving one mechanical arm for Lin Sanjiu to hold. Lin Sanjiu let out a bitter smile; then, she pointed to her right wrist, "I have lost my right hand, so I have only one hand left. Do you think you can make your arm longer and coil it around my waist?"
Even so, without her right hand, there were a lot of things she couldn't do. Standing stock-still at the door, her brows creased in concern as she peered into the darkness. After a short introspection, she turned her head and glanced around the cell.
"Take these two straw mats. Roll them into sticks so that we can use them to guide us around in the dark. Just like the white cane a blind man uses." As Lin Sanjiu spoke, she took a mat from the ground and rolled it into a stick. The mat was pretty thin even though it was rolled into a cane so she could hold it easily with one hand. She swung it around, and though it was a little bit soggy, she found it useful as a tool to guide them through the dark hallway.
"This is so… primitive," J7 judged begrudgingly as it gazed at the mat.
Since J7 originated from a more advanced world where science and technology blossomed, it somehow found Lin Sanjiu's idea intolerable, "If we were not in the Astral Plane, perhaps I can make an infrared detector out from my body."
But they had no other options left. Holding a roll of straw mat each, they walked carefully and quietly into the dark.
Lin Sanjiu realized that they were exposed because they talked the last time, so she did not dare to speak this time. She would use the straw mat to feel her surroundings first before taking a step. The good thing was that they were both in their Higher Consciousness Form, so they did not have to worry about the susurration of their clothes. They tiptoed in the black void for a long while until Lin Sanjiu's straw mat touched something in front, releasing a slight jarring sound into the air.
Lin Sanjiu's heart skipped a beat at the creaking sound that sliced through the darkness. It turned out that she had bumped into a steel door that was left ajar. The door slid open wider. Before she could get deeper into why the door was left open, the hair on her nape bristled. She pounced forward, narrowly avoiding a gust of wind that whistled past over her head.
A prisoner was wandering around in the hallway!
Lin Sanjiu had not slightest notion of how the prisoner managed to cut off one of her hand, but she knew that it was best not to allow him to touch her body. However, that also meant that she couldn't attack.
In desperation, she yelled at J7, "Shoot him with your gun!"
"That'll produce a lot of sparks," J7 said matter-of-factly, "And when there are sparks…"
"I know!" As they talked, Lin Sanjiu once again narrowly dodged another ambush that scraped past her, inflicting her skin with searing pain. "This will work. You have to believe me!"
The moment the words escaped her lips, she cursed herself inside her heart.
As she had expected, J7 immediately replied from the dark, "Negative."
Lin Sanjiu chided again inwardly, the feeling of exasperation welled in her breast. It was just she did not have the time to say anything as the prisoner threw another attack at her again. She couldn't understand why the prisoner would target her first rather than going after J7. Sprawling utterly flat on the ground, Lin Sanjiu found herself without a place to run anymore. She made a desperate attempt and swept her leg over. When her leg connected with the prisoner, an excruciating pain immediately bolted up to her brain.
Although the prisoner wasn't an actual person, he wasn't formless.
Seeing that there was no response from the dark, Lin Sanjiu couldn't help hopping around, dodging the attack while continue to persuade J7, "Our goal is the same: to get out from here! I know how to deal with him, but I need your assistance!"
She didn't know which words she said had convinced the machine to follow her plan. She paused for a moment, and the next thing she heard was a whirring of a machine in the air, followed by J7's voice bereft of any emotion, "Show me where to shoot."
Lin Sanjiu let out a sigh of relief, and she was almost in tears. She grabbed the rolled-up straw mat and threw it at the prisoner when he leaped at her, "Now!"
A muffled sound was emitted when the straw mat clashed with the prisoner. Taking that as its cue, J7 fired a barrage of bullets at that spot. The prisoner seemingly screamed in pain as the bullet hit him, but Lin Sanjiu couldn't tell if her ears were playing a trick with her or if it was real because she was busy lunging herself at J7. She hugged it and rolled into the cell the moment it stopped shooting.
A massive number of gunshots ensued as the machine guns shot down the hallway in unison right after they had rolled into the cell, raising sparks and smoke into the air. Motionless, lying prone on the ground behind the door, they waited.
Since the game was entirely made up of Higher Consciousness, the firearm did not do any damage to the hallway. Everything remained the same as if nothing happened at all.
"Is he dead?" Lin Sanjiu whispered, fearing that the prisoner would suddenly lunge inside.
"Out of the 53 bullets I have shot, 47 bullets hit the mark," J7 said. Lying on the ground, its shadow looked just like a turtle shell.
"Forty-seven shot, he should be dead, right?"
Huffing, Lin Sanjiu helped herself up and leaned against the wall. The pain in her leg still felt vividly clear. She lowered her head, and to her relief, her right leg had remained intact, despite being severely wounded. She just hit him once, and her right leg was now full of holes, looking miserable as if a strong acid had corroded it.
So, what should they do next?
In reality, they had barely traversed no more than ten steps away from their original cell, and now they were once again locked behind bars.
Uncertain as to how to proceed, she turned around to discuss with J7 about their next move. As she did, an alarm went off wailing with a loud noise. The commotion outside the cell grew louder and louder, like a stream expanding into a sea, but it didn't end there. They also heard the jarring of something metal. The door to the cells opened.
The voices of people, the alarm, footfalls, and a slight humming when the light was turned on all flooded into the cell they were in right now along with the blinding light
"Attention all inmates! Attention all inmates! There are now two convicts on the loose. I repeat, there are two convicts on the loose," A loud broadcast cut through all the noise, "Whoever succeeds in subduing the two convicts, will be lessened by 220 years. Effective immediately."
"They have released all the inmates to capture us?
"So, that means we can mix among the prisoners and escape?"
Lin Sanjiu came to a mental halt when she thought about this.
Outside the cell was bright as day. J7 remained motionless on the ground. Though it wasn't hurt by the machine gun, it had become much smaller. Initially, it was pretty large, standing at the height of an ordinary human, and it's size remained the same even after it had reconfigured its body. However, now it suddenly had become tinier, and it probably just reached Lin Sanjiu's waist when it stood up.
"What happened?" Lin Sanjiu got closer and whispered in its ear, "Why did you become so small?"
"Remember, this wider side is my face," J7 replied before turning its body to face Lin Sanjiu and continued, "My bullets are refillable when outside, but when inside the Astral Plane, all my bullets are my Higher Consciousness."
"What? So are you saying that you can only shoot for a few more rounds, and you will end up exhausting your Higher Consciousness and disappear like soap?" Lin Sanjiu snarled.
"Don't worry. It'll recover in time," J7 said; its tone was flat, "Anyway, I have waited for half a year. It's not a big deal to wait for another couple of days."
Lin Sanjiu wanted to say she couldn't wait for so long, but the words were stuck inside her throat. She couldn't say it. She sighed, and she had no idea how they could pull their escape off in their current crippled shape. She pulled herself up from the ground and peered outside through the small glass window on the door.
The hallway had become entirely different from a second before.
The glaring bright light from the incandescent lamps filled every corner of the hallway. Every cell door was open, and countless prisoners poked their heads out from their cells and began to walk the hallway. All of them wore a similar orange jumpsuit. They looked around expressionlessly, and the murmur spread across the entire prison like a fog.
Lin Sanjiu's plan of mixing into the crowd and escape vanished from her mind the moment she saw the group of prisoners.
They were, after all, characters created by the gaming platform, specially designed to impede the players' escape. All of them wore the same uniforms, and they all had a similar expression. She could hardly differentiate their genders, let alone anything else.
Hence, she was confident they would be recognized as soon as they walked into the hallway.
She turned around and caught a whirring of a machine with her ears. Then, a stapler-shaped body part raised to her ear. J7 had reconfigured its body again, and returned to its usual body shape, despite a size smaller. Since it wasn't tall enough, it had no other choice but lifted its "head" to the window.
"That prisoner is dead," Lin Sanjiu pointed to a body, "Your bullets weren't wasted."
There was a corpse lying lifelessly in the hallway not far away from the door. The prisoner's entire body was riddled with holes, and his face unrecognizable.
"But the wounds weren't deep," J7 described calmly, "This means that roughly 20 bullets did not penetrate through the surface of his Higher Consciousness. This could also mean that my Higher Consciousness isn't strong enough."
"How about me?" Lin Sanjiu asked.
"On a 100-point ratio, if I'm 55 points, then you should be around 36 to 40 points."
"You hit him with your Higher Consciousness form. He's perfectly fine, but look at you, your leg—"
"Okay, I understand," Lin Sanjiu interrupted, "... You don't have to say anymore."
"Okay," J7 answered indifferently, "I was going to comfort you, but I don't want to say it to you anyway."
Lin Sanjiu had never expected that a highly advanced robot like it would hold the grudge for so long.
Sighing, Lin Sanjiu prepared to speak again, but just as she was about to speak, she saw a dozen prisoners had gathered around the corpse out of the tail of her eyes.
All of them were staring at the body, and one of them suddenly said, "If it isn't Ol' Shen from cell No. 1,325?"
Lin Sanjiu's heart skipped a beat as the group of prisoners raised their head in unison towards her direction.
"Shit!" She chided inwardly as she pressed J7's head down, but she was too late. Somebody from outside yelled, "Found them! Warden, they are in cell No. 1,325!"
The call was like a drop of blood dripped into the sea that instantly aroused a large group of shark. In a second, every floor fell into a commotion. Countless prisoners hustled to the level where they were.