Without a single tourist in the tower, it was so spacious and desolate. The crack was a reminder of the incident that had occurred here.
Two days prior, lots of cracks suddenly split open in the tower's floors and walls, and rapidly expanded. It caused a huge panic and nearly set off a stampede.
Before it's confirmed that the cracks won't keep spreading, the tower has been shut down.
MC: Such big cracks. Will it be a problem?
Closer inspection showed cracks both big and small in all the walls, glass, and the ceiling.
It made me worried they'd keep growing, causing the whole tower to collapse.
Kiro: It won't be a problem. I ran some calculations. The cracks may look scary, but they haven't damaged the load-bearing structure.
MC: But isn't this some freak accident?
Kiro: Maybe it wasn't an accident. Only a powerful Evolver could have such a precise effect.
Kiro: If his power went out of control, the lobby would probably be entirely destroyed.
Kiro took out a small computer he carried on him and opened a file on the desktop.
A 3D image of the whole tower appeared on the screen, with dozens of red lines running from its base to the top.
Kiro: These are all the routes to the top of the tower.
MC: Who knew there were so many? So which one do we pick?
Tourists usually only took one route. The other routes on the screen were completely new to me.
Kiro: We can rule out a few from here.
As he spoke, he brought up a black interface. The screen split into nine squares, each corresponding to a surveillance camera.
After a few seconds, it then switched to another batch of feeds. Everything going on in the TV tower was clear to see.
A feed with people in it was quickly singled out, two security guards still on duty.
There were also several suspicious figures flashing by. No telling who they were.
Kiro: It'd be best if we avoid them entirely. There's also some other places closed for repair.
Kiro: After ruling out all these routes, the only ones we have left are...
One by one, the red routes on the screen disappeared, until only three were left, all of them overlapping at one part.
Kiro sent the map to his phone. The 3D structure simplified into a flat map that we could follow.
Kiro: Now that the route's settled, let's take the service elevator to the 90th floor observation deck.
MC: But will the elevator be working now?
Kiro: They shut down the tourist elevators, but the other ones are still in normal operation.
MC: That's good, otherwise getting to the top would be a huge problem.
The service elevator stopped at the ground floor. We got in and started going up. The numbers on the screen jumped quickly. 20m... 30m...
The air inside seemed stagnant, and I couldn't help thinking of everything that could go wrong.
Kiro: Why are you so quiet? Nervous?
I really wanted to say no, but I nodded my head truthfully.
MC: All this crazy stuff straight out of a movie keeps happening to me. I'm in way over my head. After all I'm not some action star.
Kiro: But you have me! I'm Key after all!
I paused a second. Having a legendary hacker like Key was good, but he wasn't a fighter either.
MC: Our attack stats combined probably wouldn't even add up to 5...
Kiro: Don't worry, we've already escaped twice, haven't we? Doesn't that make you less nervous?
Seeing how unassured I was, Kiro reached out and stroked my hair. Strangely enough, my restless heart really did settle back down.
The elevator went all the way up, reaching the 90th floor observation deck.
We crossed the lobby, and through the glass wall, we saw a completely different scene outside.
Under an azure blue sky and a brightly shining sun, the city looked like a forest of buildings crisscrossed with streets stretching out into the distance.
Kiro: Let's come here for fun next time.
Everything was going smoothly, and I was about to agree, when l heard someone talking.
Stranger A: ...Did they come in?
Stranger B: I heard they came in through underground parking.
We've already been discovered!?
Kiro reacted instantly, pulling me behind a recess in the wall, a perfect blind spot along the curved corridor.
Kiro stood in front of me, his body tensed.
In this stillness, footsteps on the marble floors sounded loud and clear. They were coming our way.
I couldn't see them as they neared. I unconsciously held my breath.
All of my senses were focused on the steady sound of footsteps and the warm hand holding mine.
The footsteps stopped close to us, and I could just see a piece of the person's black clothing.
Have they spotted us? Will they spot us? My mind raced nervously.
*Ding* The sudden sound of the elevator made me tremble. Cold sweat dripped down my back.
After several more minutes, we didn't hear any more sounds.
Kiro: It's okay. They're gone.
MC: Oh geez, I thought we were gonna be found out...
My legs felt like jelly.
Kiro: But there's no telling if they'll come back. We've gotta hurry.
Kiro had his head in his phone, studying our route.
Kiro: We can't take this elevator for now, so we'll have to take the freight elevator.
MC: But... didn't we rule out the freight elevator because it wasn't safe?
Kiro: It's possible it was affected by the cracks, but it still runs.
The freight elevator was in a fire escape passageway. The black tiles under us had miniscule cracks that you'd barely notice if you didn't look closely.
We waited in silence as it ascended from the first floor. Soon it smoothly came to rest on our floor, and the doors opened.
I inwardly let out a breath.
But then the moment Kiro stepped into the elevator something happened.
Kiro: Stay back!
A strong force suddenly pushed me back. I lost balance and fell to the floor.
The elevator suddenly dropped before my eyes. I watched wide-eyed as Kiro disappeared from view.
The elevator doors slowly closed shut.I seemed to hear a loud "bang".
My mind went blank.