Second World

Chapter 24 - 24. The Block Puzzle

oked up and saw one of the floating blocks moved.

So the hologram from the panel was a control panel to move the floating blocks. But what ’s the point? He studied the holographic blocks. It was much easier compared to the floating blocks above, they were too big and so it was difficult to see the whole picture. After observing for a while, he thought he might have grasped the secret. The blocks were some sort of puzzle. They looked disconnected from each other but some pieces he noticed had edges that might fit with each other if brought together.

Excited, he started to work on the blocks. He moved the blocks around and tried different combinations. It was not easy, as the blocks were not able to move freely, there were some invisible patterns that he needed to follow in order for them to move, which made the effort harder. But he enjoyed the process.

One other hobby he had other than playing VR games was playing puzzle games. Whether it was computer game puzzles or traditional block or jigsaw puzzles, he played them frequently during his free time.

There were more than a hundred blocks in the holographic constellation in front of him, solving it would take a long time. Without realizing it, time flew by. It took him around two hours to complete half of the blocks. There was now a colossal half cube floating above the pedestal, the remaining blocks scattered around it.

It took him another two hours to complete another one quarter. Strange, he assumed it would be easier when the blocks became fewer, instead he used more time to complete fewer blocks as they became more complete. He realized it was due to an invisible link that allowed the block ’s movements. At the start, there was more freedom to move the blocks around. As more were completed, the links decreased. He could only move them in a limited way now, which increased the difficulty.

After being aware of this rule, he decided not to rashly connect the blocks anymore. If the final block was left with a link that cannot fix with the rest of the cube, he might end up failing the puzzle. He was not sure if he could have a redo if he failed.

It was around twenty blocks left now. He studied them all and visualize their possible movement patterns. Like a chess player figuring out several moves ahead. Good thing he brought a pen and paper in his inventory. It didn ’t provide any effect but he was used to carrying them around. He used them to write notes and draw maps on important landmarks when he traveled.

He jotted down the possible movements of the blocks onto the paper, and imagined several simulations. He tried several configurations on paper to make sure he could complete the entire block. He met several dead ends when arriving at the last few pieces and had to redo them again on a new paper.

He was glad that he realized this early, or else he would have failed the puzzle. But as each configuration failed, he was worried that maybe he had made a mistake prior, so the remaining blocks might no longer be possible to be completed. He drove away the pessimistic thought and continued to work on the puzzle. On his forty-sixth tries, he finally reached the last piece and got the completed configurations.

”Yes! ” He screamed out. A sense of achievement was always there whenever he completed a puzzle, that ’s why he enjoyed them so much.

He followed the configurations recorded in the last paper. He carefully moved the blocks. If he made the wrong move, then it would waste all his simulation efforts just now. When the last piece was inserted into the cube, the hologram vanished. He saw the floating cube started to hum and glowed. It began to revolve, slowly at first but then the rotation was so fast that he could no longer saw the cube shape, it looked more like a round object now. Several electrical discharges shot out from the cube.

Jack moved away, afraid that the electrical discharges might cause him damage.

Suddenly there was a bright flash followed by a loud explosion.

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