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IRNDGL - Chapter 84: The Sky Was Really Falling

“What did you say?”

For a moment, the researcher with the file in hand thought he had heard wrongly. He raised his head now and asked with a perplexed look on his face, “What do you mean by they were attacked?”

“Who asked you not to bring along your comms—— The ‘Clay Idol Project’ factory reported an attack!”

The researcher on the ladder climbed down quickly and repeated each and every word.

“Someone intruded into the Machine Loop. Factories 01, 07, and 13 have been completely destroyed. Not to mention the stockpiled resources and materials, the third batch of semi-finished artificial humans, as well as the newly refined philosopher’s stones, are all there—It’s a big problem.”

Taking a deep breath, he continued, “We must hurry and head to a safe zone. Factory 07 isn’t very far away from here. If the philosopher’s stones that haven’t been stabilized ignite, even this place would be obliterated.”

His partner instantly paled and pointed to a direction with a slightly panicked look on his face. “Maiss, let’s head in that direction. It’s quicker this way.”

Maiss had already picked up his toolbox on the ground and started walking. As they walked, he prattled on, “Sigh, what a pity. Those artificial human samples were the most completed batch yet. Although the majority of them were still in the embryo stage, their vital signs had already started to stabilize. The aetheric affinity had also achieved an unprecedented level of 150%...”

As he went on and on, he asked his partner, “Rick, who do you think attacked us? Picking such a time where a large amount of our effort and attention was on the newly appeared S-Rank dream beast is just too much of a coincidence.”

Rick picked up some of the scattered papers he had dropped in his fluster and replied, “Don’t bother too much about it. Would all your worrying help the higher-ups with their strategic planning?

“We need to hurry! We will lose our lives if it really blows!”

Just as he finished speaking, the two researchers heard a loud crash.

The two of them simultaneously turned around towards where the sound came from and witnessed a thick blast door falling from a height. From where they were, they could vaguely discern the blast door’s severely deformed shape.

They watched as the door fell in front of them, followed by the sound of metal colliding and shaking all around them.

This place was primarily an intersecting zone for factories with a hollow ring support and many attached pathways.

The two looked down for a moment when another explosion sounded from above.

This time, it was louder and more intense.

In the distance, thick smoke emitted from the ends of an elevated pathway, which covered the upper floors in an instant.

The two researchers immediately exchanged glances and saw the frightened face of the other. It has really blown up!

"Run!"

Both of them started running like hell.

Midway through their escape, Maiss’ comms suddenly beeped again.

Maiss flipped out his communications device and halted in his tracks when he saw what was displayed.

“What’s wrong?”

Rick was opening a door when he turned around to ask. A very bad feeling appeared when he saw Maiss’ pale and defeated face.

“The Aether Annihilation Cannon has been destroyed,” said Maiss through chattering teeth.

Rick froze for a second before he rushed over and grabbed the communications device to see the message on it.

“All personnel take notice. The Aether Annihilation Cannon has been destroyed. Status is raised to Category One alert. Personnel of D-Rank and higher are to remain at their posts. P-Rank and A-Rank personnel are to head to safe zones immediately...”

A second message arrived just as he finished reading.

“All personnel take notice..."

A third message was received.

The three messages that were sent in quick succession were entirely the same.

Even though Rick was already in shock, he couldn't help questioning, "Why was this message sent three times? To emphasize a point?”

"Did you ever read the segment on notification formats in our factory's manual for important matters?"

Maiss remained expressionless as he saw Rick shaking his head and muttered, "Only a single notification can be sent regarding the same matter."

Rick stayed silent for a moment before grimacing. "That means to say that a total of three Aether Annihilation Cannon batteries were destroyed in succession."

Glancing at the still dusky sky that had ceased raining, Maiss heard the rumble of a factory collapsing in the distance.

He felt that the sky... was really falling.

———

Boom...

Steel framework collapsed and explosions rang out. Flames leaped out from the scorched building rubble, licking away at everything and filling the air with the acrid smell of smoke.

Reagent fluids that sprayed all over the ground and flammable material around combusted and intensified the blazes.

Each and every transparent glass vessel had already been smashed. Light-blue embryonic culture fluid flowed out from these damaged vessels and bits of broken glass littered the ground. Some of the deathly pale embryos no longer had any vitality left, while a few were still hanging from the attached sustenance tubes and dripping with fluid.

"Quick! Check if there are any remaining philosopher’s stones first, then search for the injured or casualties and apply first aid or appropriate measures.”

Baam!

A set of doors were knocked open, and a team of fully-armed scholars entered. The mechanical armors they equipped on were matte black and half attached to their bodies while giving them a sturdy exterior.

They first did a quick survey from left to right to confirm that there wasn't any abnormal aetheric activity before lowering their weapons to start rescue works and dealing with the fire.

“Examine carefully and report any findings to me. Don’t miss out on any single detail.”

The one standing at the door was the person incharge of this sector. Right now, his face was extremely unsightly as he surveyed the devastation within this laboratory.

Someone had broken in here and had destroyed every single artificial human specimen.

“Reporting, six researchers found. Five deceased, one still breathing. Critical care is being provided right now.”

“Reporting, found some remnant aetheric traces. Uploading imaging analysis.”

“Reporting, Specimen 1374, 1383, 567, and 277 are missing. Sending experiment data.”

The man incharge’s expression changed when he saw the data of these four specimens from the laboratory’s database.

The data of these four specimens were categorized as especially outstanding. Three of these experimental specimens were from the third batch, and the last one was from the second batch.

Amongst these, one of them from the third batch was the most complete specimen at present. Clearly, this intruder had a clear objective.

Furthermore, the remnant aetheric traces were from the detonation of philosopher’s stones at the center of the laboratory. Given the laboratory safety measures, it was simply impossible for an outsider to stand in the middle of this laboratory and do such a thing.

That meant to say...

The person who had destroyed and looted the laboratory might not have been an intruder but rather an internal member of the Truth Union.

———

“Sigh, it’s really bad.”

A scholar transporting the wounded on a stretcher muttered as he glanced at the glistening blood from injuries all over the body.

He couldn’t help commenting, “It’s lucky that we are only responsible for medical aid. Working in this sort of highly dangerous laboratory is really difficult.”

His partner at the front end turned around for a quick glance. Half of the victim's face had practically been blown off, and he could vaguely make out that this victim was quite a young lady. “One mishap and she’s fighting for her life.”

The scholar behind was curious and asked, “Speaking of which, have you seen her before? I don’t remember seeing such a young lass in this laboratory in the past...”

As he said this, he reached out for the work badge hanging around the victim’s neck.

Squelch!

A slender and pale arm suddenly thrust forward, piercing his throat like a knife. As blood spurted out, the victim leaped up, crisscrossing her arms around the front researcher’s neck as he turned around and snapping his neck.

Two lifeless corpses fell to the ground limply.

The victim in a white scholar coat sprang away nimbly like a cat and vanished silently into a ventilation duct, only leaving behind the scent of fresh blood.

BeetleBarker's Notes:

Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing

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Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
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Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN
IRNDGL Manhua translation by Zeroscans
Written by Great Calamity Of Fire (万劫火). Translated by BeetleBarker.