Chapter 142: “Earring”
With this collective escape of more than a thousand people, even if the prison guards are completely drugged it was impossible for them not to notice it.
154 had warned them that the system would definitely enter an alert state the moment everyone leaves the exam and breaks into the Twin Tower.
The only difference between it and prison guards is that no matter how urgent the situation may be, the system would still follow the set protocols.
Sure enough, the system’s cold, mechanic voice sounded from the exam centre:
【Abnormality detected. No examinees found. Abnormality level A. Invigilators please address this immediately!】
With all the invigilators standing in line along the platform outside the window, 922 double checked, “Everyone, have you all changed your phone network to line 1?”
Everyone waved their phones to indicate that they had already done so.
922 nodded at 154.
The next second, the system’s voice sounded again.
【Line busy. Unable to contact invigilators. Reattempting connection.】
With this, the system would not be able to hold the invigilator’s responsible for the exam going awry.
Generally speaking, the system would try to contact the invigilators three times and the entire process would take about half a minute.
If all three attempts fail, the system would adjust the risk level to S and transfer the authority to address the issue to other invigilators who would be directly transferred over from afar to sort it out.
As far as they knew, this typically follows the order of their ranking ——– With the head invigilator given priority. That used to be A in the past and now it is 001.
If this transfer fails as well, the system’s alert state would once again go up another level such that it is now deemed as something that could pose a threat to the system’s core and the systems core programs would step out to address it.
Once it reaches this stage, the situation is very serious.
It would close off the entire involved exam and directly destroy it. At the same time, the core and its related programs would temporarily go through some updates and changes.
In the past, this kind of adjustment would require the involvement of You Huo and Chu Yue because they are the system’s learning targets. This was also the reason for their extremely high authority within the system.
After the failure of the ‘rebellion’, invigilators were no longer allowed to be involved with this.
“Although invigilators cannot be involved, you should know that when a system is most vulnerable to loopholes, it will definitely undergo some self-adjustment.” 154 discussed this with You Huo and Qin Jiu, “The moment the core does this, it’s defence would become a little more unstable. We can use this opportunity to get inside.”
Because the system would become ‘closed off’ soon after that, the core would become its temporary place of refuge.
The true core isn’t monitored because no one would monitor themselves. This was the same for the system.
Just like how a person’s eyes grow on their faces, it’s purpose is to look out, not look inside the body.
In the past, Chu Yue would usually be guarding this core. Here, she could say a few truthful words to You Huo without having to worry about being watched.
Now, there was no one there.
【Line busy. Second attempt failed. Reattempting connection.】
“From now until the system closes off the core, there is a total of three minutes.” 154 explained to the other invigilators, “It is impossible to transfer everyone and there isn’t enough time. Since we’re currently in the punishment area, you should find a relatively safe bugged examination centre that’s connected to this place and take refuge there with the examinees.”
“What about you guys?” Someone asked.
“We’re going to the core to try and interfere with the system’s self-adjustment and open up a channel between the bugged examination centre and a rest stop. We’ll meet up there.” Qin Jiu said.
“Rest stop?” Everyone was puzzled, “Why are we going to the rest stop?”
“Replenishing supplies, reequipping weapons and pick up another good student card along the way.” You Huo pulled out his two remaining cards, “Need to complete a set.”
“Teaming up?” Di Li who knew about their team circumstances instantly understood.
The other veteran invigilators were taken aback, “Y-you guys are going to——–”
Qin Jiu: “With the situation right now, what’s the difference between this and all of us wanted as fugitives? Since it’s already like this, it’s better to just form a team and gamble a little.”
【Line busy. Third attempt failed.】
【Joint examination centre will be destroyed and completely sealed away.】
【Countdown of five seconds.】
“Then we’ll see you later.” Leaving this line behind, You Huo and the others had already boarded the elevator.
With the help of 154’s control, the elevator ‘whooshed’ down.
Please read this from kk translates
Gao Qi stared at the elevator with wide eyes and pointed, “Is this going down? Isn’t that just free-falling?”
“Don’t talk nonsense and hurry over. We also don’t have much time.” 021 went over to the large French window as she urged everyone to hurry.
【3, 2, 1—–】
As soon as they reached the edge, there was a sound of explosions one after another.
“It really did blow it up!” Someone exclaimed.
Both examinees and invigilators held their breaths as a hot rush of air and shockwave blew past. Some were even almost blown away.
Everyone staggered back slightly because of this. When they returned to the edge, the examination centre had disappeared, and the scene below had changed.
【Contacting Invigilator’s District.】
Just as 154 had said, the system had moved onto the next stage after destroying the examination centre.
Unsurprisingly, this method of contact had also been disrupted by 154 but it didn’t mean that it would stop the old man who watches over this punishment floor from returning. That small glitch wouldn’t keep him away for long.
“We’re now changing exam centres. Hurry!”
“Quick! Let’s hurry!”
A few seconds later, the invigilator in charge of the switch shouted, “Okay! I’ve found a relatively easy one!”
“It’s okay if it’s a little troublesome. With so many invigilator’s here, how could we not be able to fix a small bug in an exam centre? Are we only for show?”
“Yeah, we are after all the first-generation invigilators.”
After saying this, they all laughed.
“Get ready———-” 021 said.
The examinees were still confused, “How to enter? Climbing down the same way we came from?”
021 shook her head, “Climbing is too slow.”
Examinee: “Then how?”
021 took off her sunglasses, “This is something I learnt from two certain individuals. I’ll give you a demonstration. Watch carefully——-”
She took a deep breath and then jumped out the window without any hesitation.
Gao Qi scratched his cheeks, “It’s a pity this young lady didn’t join 001’s team back then. This character of hers really suits it.”
Zhao Jiatong rolled her eyes and proceeded to kick him off. She soon jumped off after him.
A moment later, the scene there had become rather shocking——–
A thousand people jumped off at the same time.
“One-minute left.” 154 frowned and seemed a little anxious.
The elevator going to the system’s core had not been used in a long time and it had taken 154 a lot of effort to successfully activate it.
They were now standing inside the elevator. Its exceedingly fast speed made everyone’s heart feel heavy.
“When you get out of the elevator, you will see a corridor and three doors.” 154 quickly explained, “The first one on the left is the special punishment sector. Boss Chu knows about it.”
Chu Yue nodded.
“The structure there is simple and suitable for hiding. We’ll hide out in there first and wait for the system to close its core off.” 154 said “The second door leads to a place similar to a garbage collection side. To the system they are garbage, but to us it is very important.”
Because the key to recovering their memories was there.
“I’ve long wanted to come here but every time I mentioned it, someone would say that I’m crazy.” Qin Jiu joked.
Chu Yue: “I said it.”
154 joined in with his cold expression, “You’re indeed crazy. They’re not wrong.”
Qin Jiu raised a brow.
154 added, “This place is the system’s sensitive area. All actions must be specially authorised. It’s something like a key and this key is the main problem for us. If I was given a month, I can assure you that I can gain access but there isn’t much time right now, so the probability of succeeding is only 30%. I know that you guys will want to try even if it’s only 30% but let me say this first——”
He glanced at Qin Jiu and You Huo: “There is a 70% chance that we will fail. This place is the system’s core and the system will respond immediately if anything was to happen. There is a very high chance that it will employ a destruction program to clean itself up and if it is the case we will need to get out of here as fast as we can. Even if we’re 0.1 second too slow, we will die tragically; the kind where not even bone or flesh is left behind.”
“Okay.” You Huo agreed to it.
Qin Jiu also nodded.
154 said, “As for the third door, that leads to a part of the system’s main control centre. I will try to open a channel to a rest stop for those examinees as soon as I can.”
You Huo and Qin Jiu’s memories had been affected and they did not have a good understanding of the system’s core. Chu Yue also hadn’t been here for several years, so she wasn’t clear on the changes that it had undergone during her absence. To be on the safer side, 154 took on the leader role.
【Joint examination centre risk level changed to SSS.】
【Core self-adjustment is about to start.】
【Core soon to be closed off.】
【Emergency program to be activated for five seconds. Cleaning the core.】
154 held his breath. The elevator suddenly changed into a slow crawl.
Everyone’s momentum was disrupted by this sudden change and some couldn’t help but feel nervous. Even Chu Yue’s breathing had turned heavy.
【5, 4, 3——】
Red lights scanned across all corners of the place. Even the dust in the air let out some static sounds, like it was being zapped by electricity.
Please read this from kk translates
If a living person just happened to break in at this moment, they would probably be permanently removed from the face of this earth just like those dust particles.
The moment the countdown ended; the red light disappeared. The elevator door just happened to open at this moment.
“Hurry! Get in the first door!” 154 urged.
【Initiating second cleaning.】
Everyone seemed to have entered through that door at the very last second. A trace of the red light leaked through the crack in the door, coming into contact with Qin Jiu’s elbow. The moment it came into contact, a small piece of fabric there disappeared in an instant.
You Huo grabbed onto him.
“I’m fine. Didn’t get hurt.” Qin Jiu unhurriedly rolled his damaged sleeve up a few times.
The two were still okay but the faces of the others had turned pale.
Very soon, the system sounded again.
【Third round of cleaning is over. Core is closed off. Self-adjustment program initiated. Estimated time is 48 minutes and 12 seconds.】
143 said, “After this, cleaning will be initiated once every ten seconds. We have to keep an eye on the time.”
922 noticed an important issue, “Wait. If the cleaning outside is initiated every ten seconds, what’s going to happen if we fail the task and have to rush out quickly as possible and the two timing just happens to coincide……..”
“Then we’re over.” Chu Yue said, “That’s why I said that entering the middle room is crazy!”
“Don’t worry.” Qin Jiu and You Huo glanced at each other, “You can just wait here. The two of us will go over.”
154 let out a long sigh. He carefully pressed a lock, “I’ll work hard.”
When he was done saying this, the door opened with a beep.
The next moment, You Huo and Qin Jiu had already rushed out.
The people in the room didn’t dare breath. Only when they heard the click of the door closing next door did they slightly return to their senses.
“I….” Yu Wen swallowed nervously, “If this happens a few more times, I think I may get a heart attack!”
While they were waiting anxiously, You Huo, Qin Jiu and 154 had already entered through the second door.
The structure inside was very complicated. Countless transparent tubes twisted and turned before finally connecting to an electric pole and there were various machinery and control panels scattered around.
Just the sight of this place made Qin Jiu stop in place.
According to his knowledge, this place should have only been seen by You Huo and Chu Yue. When he became 001, the authority to enter a place like this had already been removed.
But this place gave him a sense of familiarity, as if he had taken great risk in the past to sneak in here before.
“I have seen these before.”
Qin Jiu murmured.
154 who’s mind was still concentrating on figuring out how he should remove the restrictions without alerting the system was only able to react a few seconds later.
“You’ve seen it?” 154 was stunned.
Soon after that, he realised that they were in trouble!
This moment of distraction had only lasted for two seconds but the authorisation check had already started.
154’s expression changed. Just as he was about to say “get out and try again”, he saw that the red scanning light had already scanned over before stopping by the side of You Huo’s face.
The next moment, a line of words appeared on the screen:
Authorisation key detected. Verification passed. Orders can now be revoked.
The room fell into a long period of silence. The three of then hadn’t expect something like this and were stunned in place.
After a long time, You Huo reached to touch the side of his face. He furrowed his brows and muttered, “Authorisation key?”
Immediately afterwards, his fingers came into contact with his earlobe. Something sharply pointed slowly warmed up under the red light.
It was the ear stud he had always been wearing.
On a particular day a long time ago, Invigilator A suddenly gained something new on his earlobe. It was something that didn’t match with his typical personality.
Qin Jiu asked him: Why are you suddenly wearing an earring?
He said: No reason. Just had a dream last night.
It was a very strange dream. In there were two Qin Jiu’s of two different identities and two of himself also with two different identities. After waking up, the only thing he could remember was the large blazing fire and the look Qin Jiu gave him as he sat on the table.
Qin Jiu had said: The place you stood was too dark, I couldn’t see you clearly.
And so, he found something bright and pinned it to his safety zone. With this, no matter where he is, he would be seen by the other party.
Then it was another day from a long time ago. Under the veil of smoke, Qin Jiu had quietly replaced it with a key that he had taken some risk to get.
If they were to unfortunately fail, something like this would eventually come in handy.
Once this key is activated, his memory would be restored.
In it was his past, his beliefs, and his love.
All of that made up a complete Qin Jiu.
My dear, if I left myself by your ear, would you be able to hear me?
May we meet again in a world where the smoke is gone.
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KK has something to say:
OMG The earring!!