Chapter 91: Control Ability (2/2)
Luo Nan stood at the entrance to the metal passageway. He was appreciating the blurred boundary between fantasy and reality when Nina's portrait appeared on his retinas. "Explorer Luo Nan, for the sake of infiltrating the planet's defensive circle, you will need to execute another short-ranged jump. Please enter the jumping pod."
This plot felt very familiar. Last time, Mo Han had tricked him into coming here and experiencing it. Things were more or less the same now.
Luo Nan walked into the opened metal passageway and the lighting gradually dimmed. There was a control console shimmering with light at the end of the passageway. Dots of stars from the depths of space could be seen in the transparent ring-shaped window of the operating system.
Behind the control console was a classical high-back starship chair. Luo Nan walked over and sat down. He followed Nina's guidance to calibrate the devices and amended the parameters on the control console one by one. Everything here aimed to help the player adapt to the virtual environment by reducing the influence of reality to the greatest degree.
Luo Nan used his picky gaze to examine the sensation on his fingertips, the changes in the lighting, and the shifts in perspective. However, he found it hard to find a distinct hole... The level of this simulation was quite intense and it had actually already exceeded the limit of the Realities geared towards the public. In order to come here, someone must have guided him mentally ahead of time.
Everything was all set. The window displayed some absolutely meaningless coordinates for an adventure area. Nina's voice rang once more, "Please close your eyes and seize your balance. Endure the vertigo of the short hop. Begin the adventure!"
Luo Nan's body slightly trembled. A peculiar glowing whirlpool appeared in front of the jumping pod. The pod started and accelerated. Luo Nan was pushed back into his chair by the force of inertia while the whole world began to spin and roll back and forth. Luo Nan instinctively closed his eyes. The noise of electromagnetics, the noise of machines in operation, and the cries of alarms further in the distance were all exceptionally clear.
Another jolt immediately followed. The sensation of high-speed rotation suddenly faded away. The complete reversal of inertial force caused him to be suddenly flung outside.
He was welcomed by the cold water of a river. A muffled boom rang out and water splashed everywhere. Just when he felt pain, a more serious chill penetrated into his bones.
There was no doubt that this was a rough landing.
Within the game that was Frost River Waterway, the moment of falling represented the complete conversion between reality and virtual. The overwhelming majority of the participant's senses were produced by the stimulation of electrical signals to the nervous system.
Luo Nan's experience was more real than the vast majority of participants. When compared to the tragic experience from before, this ‘reality’ was something that could be treasured.
He opened his eyes and stood up from the river. His surroundings were still pitch-dark but a weak lustrous light flickered in the corner of his vision. The waves of water were up past his knees. The flowing rate wasn't slow and the water was cold enough to chill the bone. There were even fragmented ice floes on the surface that collided with his body, causing him a subtle sensation of pain.
The communications device on his collar vibrated slightly at this moment. Nina's slightly urgent voice came through. Some messy background noises were mixed within the call, further embellishing the environment of this reality:
"Explorer Luo Nan, you have just experienced a failed short-range jump. Your combat clothes have been damaged to a certain extent. Please attentively look over the report. Please scout out the surrounding situation for the time being and send relevant information back to help us decide the next step and directions."
Before her voice could fade away, the communications device rang with static noise. A bizarre and odd voice spoke, "Welcome to the Frost River Pub. Please follow the waterway forward. We've already prepared some fine liquor for our guests to warm up their bodies."
Nina's voice cut back inside, "It looks like there are other people here. You can do a side adventure. From the information you've sent back, please take note that some odd material has been mixed into the water of the waterway. The water temperature is already below the freezing point. Please amply move your body to avoid being frozen solid."
The challenge of Frost River Waterway began from this moment on.
In accordance with the rules of Frost River Reality, the winner of the challenge will be taken to Frost River Reality to receive a prize. The winner's game ID would be recorded and entered into the global rankings. Only, Luo Nan didn't know how the outcome of this ability user version would be like.
Luo Nan followed the guidance lines from the tactical helmet. He went against the flow of the water and pressed on forward.
The purpose of Frost River Waterway was to test the ability of the player’s body to adapt to changes in a low temperature environment. Luo Nan had tried this before but at that time he had retreated in defeat. He didn't have a real understanding of the inner details of the circumstances.
He just knew that the length of the waterway was very indistinct. He had heard that it was 1,500 meters before and he had also heard that it was 3000 meters. Frost River Reality had never made the true data public but it was super clear was that the waterway was split into three sections in total. In other words, three difficulties.
The early stage began upon entering the waterway and was approximately five-hundred meters in length. This test aimed to see if one could maintain body activity under cold stimulation.
The medium stage was from the five-hundred meters to the thousand meters mark. It involved diving underwater to discern underwater skills.
The later stage didn't have a definite length. It involved skill at an extremely high level. It specialized in testing the limits of a person's survivability.
Last time, Luo Nan could only persevere for a hundred or so meters before he was unable to take it any longer. He was kicked into protected mode and his performance was appropriately embarrassing.
The overall trend of the Frost River Waterway was to go downwards. After ten meters, the depths of the icy waters would begin to gradually increase. Soon, the waters would go above his waist. The gurgling flow of the icy waters made it a difficult job for those inside to walk forward—especially the penetrating chill. The feeling of numbness made it easy for a situation to occur.
Luo Nan took a deep breath. Last time he had walked in the Frost River Waterway, it seemed that the icy waters had reached his waist in an instant. He had lost all feeling in the lower half of his body. This time, it looked like things were pretty much the same.
This was unrelated to the quality of one's body but rather something that was highly related to the sensitivity of one's nervous system.
The only thing different was that last time Luo Nan was a bit ignorant. He was extremely sensitive to the stimulation but he did not know where his sensitivity laid. Right now, he was able to clearly feel the external stimulation acting on the cold sensory receptors of his skin to form nerve impulses that entered his central nerves. They were conducted to the temperature regulation center of the hypothalamus.
His clairvoyance over the state of his own body had already entered a level that was praiseworthy by ordinary people. Though it was taxing to use his near 1/10 millimeter sensing precision to penetrate on the scale of human-cells when it was combined with his personal awareness, he should be able to grasp an approximate outline.
But this would require a great increase in the flow of necessary information to process. A feeling of weariness soon invaded him and the temperature of his body rapidly reduced, sharply increasing his energy consumption rate.
Then one of his legs grew weak and he fell into the water. The protection from his helmet made it so that he didn't choke but separated by a layer of armor was the torrential current bound with chunks of ice. They collided with him and made clanking sounds. The icy water flowed into his damaged combat clothes, causing a chill to penetrate deep inside.
This excessive stimulation caused his blood to circulate. According to his body's instinct, his inner organs took precedence. His limbs quickly went numb, making him lose the ability to move.
A giant chunk of ice suddenly collided against his head with a bang. His helmet became damaged and icy water seeped inside. Luo Nan was choked to an inch of his life; he was seeing stars.
His consciousness became a bit blurry. Nina seemed to have said something next to his ear but he was already unable to hear it.
When his consciousness recovered back to total clarity, Luo Nan had already returned to the high-back starship chair from before the jump.
As expected, he had failed the Frost River Waterway challenge.