༺ The Aurillac (2) ༻
The bedrock was crushed, opening a passage.
Albrecht pulled out the excavator that had been attached to the wall, then looked inside and grinned.
“We were right.”
Beyond the hole, which was barely wide enough for one person to pass through, was the unmistakable sight of a laboratory.
One by one, Albrecht led the group who had been hanging into the wall through the hole.
Underneath four or five lanterns was a cluttered room of tables and bookshelves with test tubes filled with fluids. Fortunately, no one seemed to be inside.
“…Let’s investigate, starting here.”
At Albrecht’s words, the group quickly dispersed and began to skim over the records.
“We need to get clear evidence that the Tower Master was doing dangerous research. As long as we have the records, we can publicize it and catch the Tower Master.”
Albrecht spoke as he thoroughly scanned the table, an undeniable urgency in his voice.
Renee, who was unable to help look for the records, clutched her cane tightly and prayed silently.
She prayed for the job to end safely, and for them to leave this place unharmed.
As she thought about these things, Vera’s voice echoed through the laboratory.
“…I think I found it.”
Vera’s voice echoed throughout the lab.
Vera scowled and stared at a tattered notebook.
[The Origin of Species and Time].
The title was strange, but the content was definitely a record of research outcomes by date.
“Let me see.”
Albrecht said. Vera nodded, then placed the notebook on the table and opened the first page.
The eyes of the group were fixed on the journal.
Day 1, research and experiments on the origin species begin today.
The record continued without any introduction. Seeing it, Rohan narrowed his brow and muttered.
“If it’s origin species, then…”
“…It’s referring to ancient species.”
Vera replied with sunken eyes, then he turned the page of the journal.
Day 3, serum injected to [T – A – 0001]. Died an hour after administration. Lower the dosage.
Day 11, [T – A – 0007] died. A reaction caused by failure to produce antibodies. Accordingly, reduce dosage to stimulate antibody production.
Day 42, [T – A – 0043] died. Cause detected. The liver recognized the serum as toxic. In the next experiment, shut down liver function.
Albrecht’s fingers trembled as he turned the pages. His golden eyes were menacing. An angry voice echoed through the room.
“…All the corpses we saw back then were hollowed out.”
“Yes, it seems that what we saw then was the outcome of this experiment.”
Albrecht quickly turned the page. The numbers that started with 0001, turned into double digits, then triple digits, then quadruple digits.
It started with temporarily stopping an organ function, then replacing it with someone else’s, until it eventually escalated to removing it altogether, or injecting the ‘serum’ into the organ. The Tower Master was doing it at the expense of thousands of people.
Albrecht, who had made it to the last page of the journal, crumpled the page in his hand.
“We didn’t know about this until it became this bad…”
How is that possible? Albrecht, who thought about it, answered his own question.
She was able to get away by kidnapping people from the slums. It was a place where people disappeared all the time.
It was probably only a little later that she realized that the people in the slums were not enough, so she expanded her hands into the Capital.
In addition, since the experiment was already in its final stages according to the last page, she might have thought that it didn’t matter if she was caught.
Albrecht was furious. Apart from that, he felt a sense of shame.
He felt bad for not doing anything while it was going on.
However, there was a question on his mind.
“What is this serum…”
It came out as a mumble, and Vera answered.
“…It’s definitely to research the origin of species.”
Vera continued to think, remembering the title of the journal.
Research of the origin species. Serum. Journal. Human experiment.
The closest thing to immortality were the ancient species. The research was about them. The ‘serum’ was used to study them.
It all came down to one thing.
Vera’s eyes cast a grim glow.
“Isn’t she studying immortality?”
“Who is crazy…!”
Enough to do that? Albrecht could not finish his words. Inwardly, he was thinking the exact same thing that Vera did.
Albrecht gritted his teeth.
“We have to catch her immediately.”
Albrecht snatched the journal as he spoke and headed to the hole.
Meanwhile, Vera had been pondering the whole time.
Something was not adding up. He must’ve missed something.
As he thought about it, Vera’s body jerked to a halt.
‘Did this happen in my past life?’
He recalled something from his past life.
Aside from the fact that she would not have been able to take her spot in the slums because of him, it didn’t make sense that this kind of experiment had not been revealed until now.
‘Did it not happen?’
Was it an incident that did not occur in his past life? Then why? Why did the Tower Master do something she did not do before, and what was the reason for that experiment?
The only thing that was different from his past life was his existence.
However, it could not be attributed to himself, as there was no contact between him and the Tower Master in his past life.
Vera’s expression turned serious. The tension of the incidents was getting tighter.
But something else was strange.
‘…At the junkyard.’
How were the corpses prepared for a surprise attack when they came? No matter how much he thought about it, there was no way that their plan had leaked
Weaving together his thoughts, Vera thought of a possibility.
The intervention of someone who was different from his previous life, the one who had filled his empty seat.
If it was not the Tower Master, then who was running the new cartel if she was only benefiting from it?
If someone was working with the Tower Master, if someone was urging her to do the experiments… If that someone was using the cartel and scattered forces in the junkyard to prepare for an invasion…
One incident after another. He recalled the title of the journal once again.
The serum was already there from the start of the research. Furthermore, the solution to the failed experiments was to adjust the dosage, not the serum. It was to control the subject of the experiment.
‘…The serum was already completed.’
The Tower Master simply experimented with the completed serum.
The possibilities took shape, and something came to his mind.
If there was an outside intervention, and she had planted forces in the junkyard, she was probably hiding something…
“We have to go there. There should be a clue there.”
If there was an outside intervention, and if there was someone who could hand over the ancient specie’s serum to the Tower Master… If that person wanted to accomplish something with it…
If there was someone who wanted to accomplish something without being exposed and was using the Tower Master as a shield…
‘We have to find him.’
They had to find out who he was and what his goal was.
As he continued to think, Vera approached Renee and spoke.
“Excuse me, Saint.”
Renee, who had been listening to the conversation, looked up, surprised by Vera, but then nodded and submitted herself to him.
Vera scooped Renee up in his arms and pushed Albrecht aside, heading for the hole.
“We did not look carefully at the junkyard at that time.”
“…Yes, we couldn’t afford to take risks to look further at that time.”
“The entire junkyard was an artifact with spatial expansion magic. There must have been a reason to expand the space to that extent.”
Albrecht’s eyes widened.
“I’m taking the journal. We need to gather more hard evidence over there.”
With that, Vera slipped through the hole, looked in the direction of the junk shop in the middle of the slums below, and opened his mouth.
“We’re going down, Saint.”
Renee’s body became stiff.
Shortly afterwards, Vera jumped off the Aurillac.
There was a loud crash as Vera fell to the ground. The noise was caused by the jumper’s gear failure just before they reached the ground.
Renee let out a breath that had stopped because of her trembling, then she pulled away from Vera.
“Are we in front of the junkyard?”
“Yes, the others are coming down too.”
Vera looked up and watched the group descend, one by one.
A short time later, Albrecht, who came down right after Vera, asked in surprise.
“Are you okay?”
He asked because he saw Vera’s landing. Vera nodded in response and checked on Renee’s condition, while the others descended to the ground.
“Let’s head inside.”
Albrecht pulled out Pure Blood. Wasting no time, Albrecht kicked the door of the junkyard.
The junkyard was empty.
There was nothing. No hidden attacks. The junkyard had been stripped of its contents, its tables and shelves, and the metal fixtures that had been lining the walls.
Vera, who had followed the dazed Albrecht, stared at the empty junkyard and thought.
‘There must be something.’
There had to be a clue. There must have been an intention in leaving the space empty.
Vera deducted as he walked further inside.
‘It’s probably not a place that’s revealed on the surface.’
There had to be a purpose for the spatial expansion. The intention lied in that purpose.
If so, where would this intention be?
Vera, who had been pondering over it, stopped in the middle of the junkyard and stared at the floor.
Hardwood floors that were caked in dirt and dust.
‘Twilight fell on top of a corpse’s chest.’
In a place where the bodies had been disposed of, Rohan’s Twilight went on top of a corpse’s chest. And the corpse was lying on the floor.
‘If it wasn’t the chest.’
What if it was pointing towards the floor?
He moved quickly.
Vera pulled out his Holy Sword and gathered his divinity.
The group was shocked, and Albrecht tried to restrain Vera.
“What are you doing…!”
Vera struck the floor.
Dust and dirt filled the air, obscuring their vision.
Vera brushed his robe’s hem to clear his view, and his eyes lit up at what was revealed underneath.
Where the dust had cleared, what was visible underneath the floor was a large cavity.
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