Chapter 35 – Room 103, Cursed Room – ‘Athanasia’s Human Farm’ (4)
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 103 (Cursed Room – Athanasia’s Human Farm)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
What should I do to escape from this farm?
The answer to that question was rather simple.
I would never be able to escape from this place by myself. How would a chicken possibly escape from a poultry farm by itself?
If I can’t leave by myself, then the right answer would be to borrow the power of a being that could leave.
And the being that could leave – the Teacher was currently imprisoned by the Athanasias.
In the end, there was only one key element in the escape plan.
How could I liberate the Teacher from the hands of the Athanasias?
Plan A of directly controlling the Athanasias with Diverse Perspectives to lift the restrictive system had failed. Now, it was time for Plan B. I had to look for the ‘collaborator’.
From the heavens to the earth – the lands leading all the way to the horizon were filled with strange ‘faces’. Some faces let out a subdued scream without an end, while others appeared to have lost the power to even scream.
Thanks to that, the entire lands were echoing with chilly shrieks and groans.
Unfathomably innumerable number of faces of intellectual beings were filling the plains.
If my mind hadn’t been worn out from all the terrible sceneries I had seen during my long time at the farm, I might have screamed the moment I arrived at this place.
Because the ground was covered with faces, walking was already a tough job. Let alone the soft and mushy feeling on my feet, those strange mouths constantly tried to bite my feet so I had to hop around like a rabbit.
The Teacher told me that the collaborator was somewhere within this vast ‘Farm of Pain’. Where was it?
I was arduously walking forward when an Athanasia appeared from the distance.
For a second, I wondered if I should hide but decided not to.
There was nowhere to hide in this expansive plain filled with faces, and more importantly, the fact that I could see the Athanasia (who excelled at all the senses than humans) meant that the Athanasia was intentionally walking towards me after discovering me first.
At this point, I was more used to seeing Athanasias than humans.
The large humanoid organism that reached at least 6 metres in height with thick tentacles instead of arms and legs walked up to me. After coming nearby, it silently observed me before turning around and walking at half the previous speed.
It was probably telling me to follow from behind.
Has the Devouring One recovered its power
What? Did it just talk to me?
I was so surprised that my feet unknowingly came to a stop. I had never communicated with Athanasias before!
Can you not comprehend my thoughts?
“That’s not it, but… can you guys talk in human language as well? I’ve never heard it before.”
Let’s just say I’m special. Let me ask again. What is the current state of the Devouring One? You should know yourself that you won’t be able to leave without his power.
“By Devouring One… are you talking about the Teacher? He stopped all the Athanasias that were inside his room.”
Then he should have recovered enough power to send you outside.
It was my first time talking to an Athanasia.
I asked a question that had been in my mind ever since I came to this place.
“This place filled with faces… The Teacher called this place a prison of the Athanasias.”
It is a hell created by pulling out and imprisoning the heads of the intellectual beings that resisted against the Athanasias.
“Why… are you guys doing this? How could you be so cruel to humans, and other living beings?”
What a foolish question. Has ‘humans’ ever been merciful to living beings that have a lower status than them?
I was immediately lost for words, but the Athanasia continued.
As a matter of fact, the premise of that question is already incorrect. It is not the ‘Athanasias’ that created this hell.
I have no idea if the ‘real Athanasias’ outside are operating a hell like this or not, but at least this one here was made not by the Athanasias, but the Tower of Trials itself.
‘Tower of Trials’. Was it talking about the Hotel?
“Let me ask another question. Why exactly are you helping with the escape of the Teacher – I mean – the Devouring One? Aren’t you an Athanasia as well?”
What meaning is there behind the race given to me in a puppet show?
Puppet show – I realised something immediately after hearing those words.
It was aware that all of this was just a part of the inner works of the Hotel.
Just like the ‘Teacher’.
Also, I noticed something from your question. It seems that you are still unaware of the principles of this place.
The objective of the Devouring One is not to escape. He knows that he won’t ever be able to escape from this place.
That was another surprise. The Teacher wasn’t trying to escape?
“Then what is his goal? And what is yours?”
You will notice what the Devouring One’s objective is when the time comes. As for my goal… you can say it is the continuance of my consciousness.
“Continuance of your consciousness?”
It seems that you have some idea about the principles of this place but not everything. I have a request to make so let me explain.
The Tower of Trials has existed for a very long time and has been drafting countless intellectual beings… and the ones that reached the end of those trials were able to lay their hands on miraculous treasures.
As expected, the Tower of Trials appeared to be referring to the Hotel.
But most are not able to make it to the end. The losers are forever locked in the Tower and become an actor of the plays run by the Tower. At times, they kill the participants or get killed by the participants, and later they even forget their own identities and become a part of the Tower…
“So that means you…”
I am a loser.
I cannot even remember my own self anymore. Let’s go back to the first question.
Why am I helping the Devouring One despite being an Athanasia myself? It’s because they’re not real.
They are beings that don’t even know who they are, nor what this place is, and do nothing but blindly follow their roles given by the Tower to operate this farm of intellectual beings.
But in fact, they too are just animals locked in this farm created by the Tower.
How can I possibly call them my kindred?
Keep this in mind. There are only two real existences in this ‘room’. One of them are the participants like you, and the other is the ‘Devouring One’.
“According to your words, you know so many things about the Tower, and you have also woken up from the ‘role’ you were given, so aren’t you practically ‘real’ as well?”
I am just a parasite who needs the help of the ‘Devouring One’ to keep my consciousness… ‘He’ regularly destroys my ‘role’ and recovers my sense of self.
But is this even the real version of myself?
I might just be a puppet created by the Devouring One. I might just be a tool that waits here for participants like you to arrive.
That is why I would like to request this of you.
When you overcome enough trials of the Tower, then you will either arrive at the ‘Buddha’ or the ‘Room of Resurrection’.
When you get there, please pray for the salvation of me, ‘Estavio’…
I am an Athanasia.
I am stronger than most of the existences you will come across in the Tower, and will definitely be of help.
It was something I had heard of before. When Kain-oppa was hurt at the pool, that was the request he heard from the ‘Doctor’ who came to Room 105. That was when we realised that there was some type of ‘repechage’ or a consolation match in this Hotel.
After the Doctor was Estavio.
I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say, so I walked forward without saying anything in response.
Estavio likewise didn’t say anything else so we quietly walked across the lands filled with faces.
Around 2 hours went by.
Actually, walking on top of these faces was very tiresome so I gasped for breath in less than 30 minutes and Estavio picked me up without saying anything else. He walked for a long time while carrying me as we then arrived at some type of structure.
It looked inexplicably different.
The strangest thing was that this building looked like a large living being no matter how I saw it.
After walking into the horrendous building, Estavio touched a control panel as it then started moving downwards. This building might have been some type of an elevator.
“Where are we going right now?”
Did you not hear from the Devouring One?
“He told me to find the collaborator and that the collaborator would help me neutralise the restrictive devices.”
One of those devices is in the basement of this facility.
“Will the Devouring One be released when we deactivate that?”
There are a total of 3 that need to be deactivated. I can help up to 2 but… the rest will have to be in your hands.
That is probably the last trial that this Tower has put in place for you.
Why was this Hotel constantly giving me trials when I had never even wished for treasures or anything of the kind?
Estavio seemed fatigued from the previous conversation and didn’t reply to anything else I said.
When we arrived at the basement, we were met with other Athanasias. They didn’t raise any doubts after seeing Estavio and carried on with their business when Estavio nonchalantly ambushed them from behind to get rid of them one by one.
It was as if – he had been doing this hundreds and thousands of times.
Estavio himself might just be stronger than normal Athanasias but… seeing how fluent all of his actions were made me think that this wasn’t just a matter of his strength.
Perhaps this procedure of the Teacher sending participants to Estavio and Estavio guiding the participants to free the Teacher…
It might have been repeated countless times already.
Shaking my head, I removed those thoughts from my mind. This was something that we could talk about with everyone else on my team after leaving this room. There were plenty of other people in the team that were cleverer than me.
I had to focus on leaving this room for the time being.
After some time, all the Athanasias other than Estavio were dead.
Even the transcendent Athanasias that could shake the minds of humans with a flick were nothing but large yet immobile starfish after their heads were pierced by the tentacles of another Athanasia.
Even a human is like a god in the eyes of a dog.
Now, I could understand what those words meant. These Athanasias weren’t superb transcendents, nor were they gods. They were just a little bit stronger than humans.
At the centre of the underground facility, there was a translucent hologram.
Estavio dropped me back down on the ground.
From hereon, it will be up to you.
“Do I have to do something with the bracelet? Instead of me, how about you…”
‘Diverse Perspectives’ is impossible for anyone else to use apart from its owner. The fact that you can use it is because the Devouring One has done something to the device that I cannot even fathom.
I lifted my arm.
Once again, the sense of my soul soaring into the air filled my head.
This time, the target was that hologram.
As soon as the bracelet activated itself –
I realised the absurd identity of this facility.