In Virtual Reality ☆ 1: The Eternal Bus (1/4)

—— A bus that loops forever.

—— A haunted house that accepts screams as payment to skip scenes.

—— A dark and shadowy university that demands the best behaviour

—— A lift that leads to hell and back.

—— A stairwell that doesn't let you leave until you reveal its history.

—— A library that was filled with death and secrets.


In the 23rd century, the struggle between life and death was being played out worldwide.


People blessed with “good luck” were forced to wander through mysterious dilemmas and pay attention to its rules.



“—— Don't disturb the driver while driving.”

“—— Don't push the lift button at random.”

“—— Don't pile up your rubbish in the stairwell.”

“—— Don't make a lot of noise in the library.”



But all changed when someone finally noticed that amid all the recent spirit shenanigans, a person in a pink hoodie consistently strung out.






Xu Jin Yi, who had a sizable collection of single-player horror-themed RPGs, was pleasantly delighted to discover that several of them had been upgraded to a VR version.


Using VR's default avatar with a pink hoodie, Xu Jin Yi relied on her bountiful experience to beat bosses, break puzzles, and tease NPCs.


There was only one obstacle she couldn't beat.


NPC: “…
I don't know your name yet, pink hoodie.”


Xu Jin Yi hesitantly entered her ID: “…


[Blocked word detected.
Please re-enter ID]




Chapter 1: The Eternal Bus (1/4)


“— Riverside (江城Jiang-Cheng) Station is here! Passengers getting off the bus, please bring all your belongings and get off through the back door.”


At seven o'clock in the evening, the sun had long since set in the west, and the surroundings were quiet.
Only the voice announcement of the approaching bus rang in Wang Zhou Zhou (王周周) ears.


An orange and red bus parked next to the lush greenery.
The “25” was loosely plastered to the glass window, looking no different than a normal bus.
After a short pause, the front door opened with a bang.


The boy paused the video playing and boarded the bus with his head bowed while pulling out the code on his phone.


“— Code swiped successfully.”


Holding his phone, he found an empty seat.
As he sat down, he noticed that there were unexpectedly many people on the bus at this time of day.


He sat by the window in the seat second to last before the back door.


While the bus had not left, Wang Zhou Zhou casually surveyed the people inside.
In front of him, to his left, sat a hunched-over old man with his head bowed and a round black plastic bag at his feet.
Directly in front of Wang Zhou Zhou were two rows of seats facing each other, and in one of them, a man who appeared to be a social animal was reclining.
[TN: slang for an office worker like a corporate slave] But the other man's back was turned to Wang Zhou Zhou, so he could not see his face clearly.


And the rest…


Wang Zhou Zhou slightly tilted his head and looked sideways.


To his left, two men sat behind him in the last row of two seats.
For some reason, his intuition told him that the two men looked strangely at each other.
As if they wanted to beat each other up.
There were many empty seats on the bus, yet they were sitting close together.


Sensing his gaze, both of them turned their heads in unison.


The stern expression on their faces and the empty pupils of their eyes startled Wang Zhou Zhou.
He turned his head hastily and stopped looking.


Wang Zhou Zhou looked at the time: 19:10.
This was the terminus of this bus route, and the bus would start its journey in five minutes.


The bus was so silent that Wang Zhou Zhou was too embarrassed to play on his mobile phone.
He rummaged through his pockets and finally found his headphone cord, which had knotted into a tangled mess.


Wang Zhou Zhou: “…”


He resigned himself to his fate and began to untangle the ball of yarn.


“— Code swiped successfully.”

“— Code swiped successfully.”


Two more passengers boarded the bus.


Wang Zhou Zhou casually glanced up.


'Ah, it was them.'


The two girls got on the bus one after the other.
After looking around, they decided to sit in the double seat a row away from the old man.
Wang Zhou Zhou plugged in his headphones and nodded in greeting.


These girls went to the same driving school as Wang Zhou Zhou.
Tomorrow they'll do their second test together.
The instructor had shown them around the exam centre today, so they got off a little later than usual.


Luckily, they also caught the last bus.


The two girls were chatting quietly at the front, but the atmosphere around them was so quiet that at one point, the two little girls stopped talking and silently looked at their phones.


At the last minute, before the bus left…


“— Code swiped successfully.”


The last man was also from the same driving school.
He was gasping for air and looked all sweaty.


Wang Zhou Zhou remembered him.
He wasn't serious at all when they learned to drive.
The first time behind the wheel, he nearly knocked over the instructor directing them into the open field.


He was the last to board the bus and nearly missed it, perhaps because the instructor had him remain behind to scold him.


Wang Zhou Zhou doubted he'd pass tomorrow's test.


The man cursed under his breath and then sat down in front of the social animal.


Wang Zhou Zhou averted his gaze.


Finally, the bus drove off.


“Vehicle is starting; please sit still and hold on tight.
Next stop: Riverside Station.”


Wang Zhou Zhou's hand holding the headphones paused for a moment.


'Which station? Wasn't this the Riverside Station?'


Under the driver's professional skills, the bus smoothly departed from the stop and moved forward.


'…Maybe I heard it wrong.' Wang Zhou Zhou hesitated for a moment and withdrew his gaze.




The # 25 bus stopped right in front of Wang Zhou Zhou's front door, so it was convenient for him to get to and from school every day.


It only took him seven stops from the bus terminal to get home.
He wasn't familiar with other passengers, but occasionally he saw those two girls on the bus when he got off.


But today, something very strange happened.


“— Riverside Station is here! Passengers disembarking, please bring all your belongings and disembark through the back door.”


It was Riverside Station again.


But he had obviously boarded the bus at Riverside Station!


The next stop should have been East Riverside Station!


At first, Wang Zhou Zhou thought he had misheard, but why was it still Riverside Station after one stop? The other three people in the driving group also noticed something.


They had been learning to drive for more than twenty days and had ridden that bus more than fifty times.
It made no sense that all four had misheard.


It grew even quieter around them.
Nobody got on at this stop.


The bus continued to start and move forward.


Wang Zhou Zhou's hands trembled as he desperately tried to tell himself, 'I'm just imagining things, I'm just imagining things'.


He glanced at his mobile phone screen.


There was no signal.


Instead, the phone's screen still played a video commentary on an endless loop:


【Seven people took the evening bus and disappeared.】


【The seven people on the late evening bus are suspected of being accidentally involved in a Spirit Shenanigans Event!】


No pop-ups.
No comments.


Wang Zhou Zhou could only view the statements discussed by one netizen on his cellphone.
He couldn't do anything else.


He couldn’t dial 110*.


Finally, the bus stopped again.


“— Riverside Station is here! Passengers disembarking, please bring all your belongings and disembark through the back door.”


Wang Zhou Zhou: “…”


He was getting a bit desperate.


The other three didn't act, probably because they were clinging to their luck like him.


But this time, the electronic transmission dashed their hopes again.


“— — Code swiped successfully…”


Wang Zhou Zhou: “!”


He jerked his head up.
Someone else boarded the bus?


At the bus's front door, a boy(?) in a pink hoodie picked up swiped their phone and walked to the end of the bus with a relaxed expression.


The bus started up again, and the inertia of the movement caused the person to stagger along.


They then sat down on their buttocks next to Wang Zhou Zhou.


Wang Zhou Zhou: “……”


He opened his mouth and held it for half a minute without saying a word.
The person didn't look at him either; they sat next to him and played with their mobile phone.


“Vehicle is starting; please sit still and hold on tight.
Next stop: Riverside Station.”


The hoodie didn't have headphones on but still looked calm when they heard the announcement.


Wang Zhou Zhou suddenly thought: 'Apart from the four of them, were the people in the vehicle really alive?' He shook his hand and put his headphones back on to listen to the video, which he hadn't yet finish.


【…surveillance shows that seven people boarded the #13 bus, but three days after the time had elapsed, the police still hadn't found the bus or its passengers.】


【Is this a new Spirit Shenanigan Event? Will these seven people stay on this “Eternal bus' forever? What happened on the bus? Why didn't the seven people get off the bus after sensing something was wrong?】


Old Li (老李) in the video paused and frowned as he offered his opinion:


【Maybe some of the seven passengers may have attempted to exit the bus, but those who did may not have returned to reality.】


【The officers are still doing everything they can to investigate.
Old Li says the police likely shared this information so that we might all survive.】


【After all, we never know when an unexpected Spirit Shenanigans Event may occur.】


Wang Zhou Zhou paused the video.


He collapsed into the padded bus seat, his nose was suddenly sore, and he wanted to cry a little.


The Spirit Shenanigans Events had only occurred in the last few years.
Still, they had occurred so infrequently that everyone had assumed they were the lucky stars not involved in them until now.


Wang Zhou Zhou sniffled.


He was a little indignant.
'I've got my fucking second exam tomorrow!'


He didn't know if the others thought so too, but suddenly the other man stood up.


“Open the door!” The man went to the driver's seat and knocked on the protective door in an unfriendly tone.
“Open the door, I want to get out!”


The driver didn't say a word as the bus drove on.


“I fucking told you to open the door!!!”


The driver's calmness eventually exploded the man's already bad mood, and he started banging on the door.
The protective door was of good quality and didn't bother the driver.
The man was breathing heavily.
He turned and walked toward the rear.


Wang Zhou Zhou looked at him hesitantly but didn't stop him.
'Maybe he can really get off?'


With that in mind, he let the man grab the armrest of the bus's rear door and shake it vigorously.
“Open the door!!!” “Open the door for me! I want to get off!!!”


The bus drove on while the man cursed, took a few steps back, lifted his foot, and started kicking.














After the third time, the bus jerked to a halt, and the back door opened quickly.

The man stepped out unexpectedly.


'He really got off the bus?'


Wang Zhou Zhou's eyes widened.


——— Translators Notes ———


Over the years of reading Chinese novels, I have found that character names sometimes play a role in the story.
Authors either imply or explicitly state: he is the bad guy; this will be a crybaby, and so on.
As a result, when readers are merely provided simple pronunciation without meaning, they miss out.
That is why I'll put here the character names with Pinyin.


Wang Zhou Zhou

王周周: character approximate name meaning, Wang = king or monarch / best or strongest of its type / grand / great, Zhou = cycle/something that repeats itself, Eternal King?


Old Li

老李: lǎo = prefix used before the surname of a person or a numeral indicating the order of birth of the children in a family or to indicate affection or familiarity / old (of people) / venerable (person) / experienced / of long standing / always / all the time / of the past / very / outdated / (of meat etc) tough; Li = plum


Riverside Station

江城Jiangcheng: Jiang = river, Cheng = city walls / city / town


Spirit Shenanigans

诡秘: guǐmì = secretive / furtive / surreptitious / bizarre / mystery / weirdness / bizarre]


*110 Emergency Calls (Special Service) Call 110 when you meet common criminal or public order cases, emergencies and need help.
Call 119 when there is a fire breaking out.
Call 120 when you need emergency care and first aid.

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