Chapter 169: Requiring The Specimens

Can you number from one to ten?  → Shen
Yes. I can up to one thousand. But after that, I’m not sure what’s next.

Since when are you locked in these facilities?  → Shen
I’m not sure. I was never able to tell the seasons from this place, but I think I had 15 years when I got kidnapped from the slums…
Slums… So that’s why you don’t know the alphabet… Now you look in your twenties, so that means you stood here for a while now… The fact that you stood for so long in these places without turning insane or into a monstrosity is already amazing.  → Shen
I never said I didn’t…

I was able to tell that she didn’t wish to tell me that, but now it was too late to take it back.

W-what I meant was-!
Leave it at that. It doesn’t matter as long as your mind is still stable. From now on, you won’t need to worry about anything else.  → Shen
… Thank you…

After being able to calm her again, I asked her to show me around, until she told me to enter through the third door of the corridor, only to find behind it another corridor.

Just how big is this place?  → Shen
It has around three floors.
What?!  → Shen

I exclaimed shocked, bewildered. I already knew that this place was an entire facility, but to be this huge?

Actually, wait… To create hydras and such giants, they do indeed need a lot of space…  → Shen
Monsters? They created other monsters than us?
Say that one more time and I’ll slap that mentality out of your head. I know someone who was a failed experiment from these cursed places and I won’t let anyone call her a monster. Same for you, stop thinking of yourself as a monster.  → Shen
Y-yes…?

She was somewhat surprised by my reaction, but I simply continued, ignoring her confused thoughts.

And yes, there are true monsters in here. I’m not sure where they keep them, but I’ll have to find and release them no matter what.  → Shen
… Why you go so far for us?
Because I want to.  → Shen
Huh?!

Do I need a reason to punish mad-men? Do I need a reason to save a life? I asked myself that many times, but never was I able to come with an answer good enough to take action. But I was able to tell how I would feel uncomfortable if I did nothing. So, in the end, I came up with the best answer.

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“Just do what you want.”  → Shen

Discarding reason and going by how I felt proved at times to be the best option, not always though. And at this moment, this answer was the best and the truest so far. Rationally speaking, I had no reason to save them because I’m still not sure if I’ll get something in return, while I’m sure I’ll lose many healing potions and medicinal plants. If I abided by the law or not: I just destroyed a defensive outpost of Victoria without the consent of the kingdom. So I can already say that I’m a criminal at the top of the blacklist. But with all of that put together, I still felt like trampling on these laboratories as much as possible before we’re discovered.

Stop thinking of such useless things and tell me which way from here. → Shen

I sent her a telepathic image of the crossroad in front of me. I felt her shock and surprise after she received the foreign image in her mind, but she asked nothing as she started to tell me the way.

Go right. There should be an iron door. Behind it’s a long hallway… You should find the others there… But I’ll ask you to prepare yourself before entering.
Alright. → Shen

I went the way she told me then I used the golden card to open the iron door. An insupportable stench of rotten flesh, excrements, and blood permeated the air. Just as the tiger-woman said, a long and spacious hallway appeared before me, and left, right, and even on the ground, iron doors and traps with sturdy iron bars were kept locked and unmoving.

“Ah… Ser Swartzen. I suppose the half-beast subject failed to meet your expectations as well?”

Something that’s supposed to be a man with a huge hump, long and skinny fingers, and covered by a similar cloak as any other mad-man inside this underground place, welcomed me with a crooked smile on his face covered by the hood. However, after getting closer, he felt like something was wrong, especially after seeing my red eyes shining above the mask that covered half my face.

“Y-you… You are not Ser Swartzen… Who are you? Intruder?”
“Intruder? No. I’m a guest invited by the elder king himself. As for you lot. I guess you’re the intruders.” → Shen

Dark aura emanated from me as it slowly enveloped the crooked man, a cold air befalling the entire place.

“The elder king should know nothing of this… You… who are you?”
“Not important. Now, I have a few questions and you better answer them accordingly.” → Shen

The old man seemed unperturbed, then, with a dark smile, he took off his hood and what appeared made me freeze in place.

[You think you can scare me with such puny tricks?]

Under the hood, Rosabhi’s head appeared and stared at me with his one bloody eye while making a bloody smile with his sewed mouth.

“…”

I looked intently at the head and observed how he became more and more terrifying, dark aura enveloping him entirely.

[Yes. Fear me, evade me! Run from me! That’s how you should be your entire life-]

-BAAM~!-

[Uggrh~!!!]

In a blink, I appeared in front of Rosabhi and slammed his head on the iron traps below us.

[Y-you! How can you even move- GUH!]

-BAM! BAM! BAM!…-

I continued to slam his head until the iron trap broke down and we both fell inside the underground cell. My red eyes flashed with terror and fear, but rage and fury burned even stronger, making me react instinctively at the appearance of the only thing I feared, but at the same time the only thing I hated the most.

“I don’t know how you took Rosabhi’s appearance, but you better turn to your original form or I might really kill you by mistake.” → Shen

I raised him by the collar of his cloak and observed how blood was now dripping slowly from his head. Rosabhi’s head suddenly turned back into that of an ugly, wrinkled and bloody one of an old man with a bigger and smaller eye. He seemed to have passed out, making me unable to extract any more information from him now.

Tsk! Damn trash. Inspecting the darkness inside a person then use illusion magic to take the form of their deepest fears?… I should also research such a spell actually. → Shen

I thought for a moment then simply threw him to the side and looked around, only to see dozens of pairs of terrified eyes staring at me, frozen in place from fear. I looked around and saw even more people of all races that weren’t looking my way, but were listening intently to what was happening. However, there were also a few that didn’t even bother to move as they stood unmoving by the wall beside me, still sleeping. A few were even standing up, walking along the walls further away from here. Aside from some of their weird behaviors, all of them had the same thing in common: white spots all over their bodies, some with their heads fully white, completely covered in dust and dirt, smelling of filth and with a weakened aura. A total of around 150 such people, of ages between 7 and 30 filled the entire underground dungeon, but it seems that less than a half of them were looking at me, a third were only listening, a few weren’t even minding me as they distanced themselves and the rest stood where they were. Then I grabbed the arm of a man that slept right beside where the trap collapsed and tried to examine him.

… His eardrums are busted and the nerves on most parts of his skin have been burnt… This guy can’t hear or feel anything that’s happening around him. No wonder he’s still sleeping. → Shen

Then I got up and looked around with the devil’s eyes. The ones who could see trembled in fear as they saw my red eyes staring at them from up to down. While looking around, I was able to see red, dark, dark purple and dark green smoke emanating from them.

This time, the colors didn’t represent their feelings, but their health state.

Red shows that they’re in a critical state. Purple shows that a deadly miasma has contaminated them. The dark green shows poison in their system. While dark… dark means their death is unavoidable. → Shen

Then I shook my head and touched the wall from behind me. Without the slightest sound, the entire wall succumbed and disappeared.

“Oah?!”
“Huh?”
“Eh?”

Kids of different ages and races fell down as they were eavesdropping on what happened on the other part, while other older ones watched and listened from behind with curious gazes. On the other side of the wall, there was exactly the same view.

“Watch it.” → Shen

I stepped forward and caught the 3 kids who almost fell, but their already white faces paled even more as they retreated without thinking of the ones behind them, tears slowly falling down their cheeks as they covered their heads with both arms.

“P-please don’t hit me!”
“I-I’m sorry!”
“Pl-please forgive us!”

I looked at them with calm eyes then stared around, until I saw a rather calm young wildcat-girl, looking at me with clear eyes. I sneaked a string of chi inside her and examined her ears. Seeing that what was affected for her was only her smell, I thought that she might be able to keep a normal conversation. However, feeling my gaze on her, the young girl made a step back from panic as she wished to slowly hide behind a wolf adult, her eyes now shining with terror, such making me give up the thought of trying to converse with her.

She’s a defective one.

Suddenly the tiger woman’s voice resounded inside my mind, surprising me of how fast she adapted to the telepathic powers.

So you can now connect with the senses of the one you’re in contact with? → Shen
I-I think… I’m sorry for doing this without your permission. It won’t repeat again.
No. Rather than mad, I’m impressed. It seems I found a new talent. Now tell me, are they all “defective”? → Shen
Yes. This is Room: D where the low and pariah are kept in one place. The ones like me are in the upper cells.

I stared upwards and observed doors upon doors of iron, each representing a cell in where more victims have been locked. I was quite surprised by how high the ceiling was to fill dozens of such cells stacked one atop the other.

“By the way you lot present yourselves, I suppose you already had your share of experiments already done on you.” → Shen

At these words, most of them who were able to hear started to tremble as even the girl hiding from me now had her face pale, thinking that the worst will now befall upon them. However, my next words made everyone stare with huge eyes. Even the blind opened their eyes wide in shock as the ones who were now sleeping, suddenly woke up in shock.

[I will ask you all to pay attention to my next words now: The ones who seek freedom, come with me. The ones who have no will to live, are free to remain. I will force nobody as the outside world is with nothing kinder. Especially for pariah like you lot.] → Shen

A mass telepathic connection has been made as I transmitted my words straight into their minds to everyone inside the dungeon. Even to the ones who were locked behind the doors stared now through the bars of their iron doors with shock and even some fear. They then looked at me with restless eyes as I slowly levitated and opened every door with a snap of my fingers. They seemed much healthier than the others down below, but still many scars were visible on their bodies. Although they wore something like a white sheet to cover their bodies, it still didn’t hide the scars all around them.

These are the pariah… So the ones from up there are the lower ones as you call them? → Shen
Yes. And they’re like me… Those who have gone through numerous experiments and were able to survive them, but are no longer normal…

I then remembered her wild look after she left the room. Covered in blood, with long sharp nails, bestial eyes like those of an animal and quite aggressive the moment she saw me.

Then I looked at a wolf-man in front of me which I just released and observed how he had a hard time to control his breathing. Sweat fell down his forehead and, while staring at me with surprise and even some fear, his eyes were bloodshot and a slight glint of killing intent was visible, suppressed by the collar around his neck.

His Heart Chakra has been forced to absorb more mana than able to handle, while his Third-eye Chakra has focused chi inside, just like how the Tantian was supposed to be. This will cause him to go mad from the headache while his over-exhausted heart looks like it will snap the moment he’ll start to do something burdensome like fighting… Quite amazing that he’s still alive. → Shen

I then pointed at his heart and half of the energy stuck inside his chest was suddenly absorbed by me, the fact that made him take a deep breath of air then exhale calmly. Afterward, I pressed my thumb on his forehead and with a quick move I slid my finger downward toward his stomach. The wolf-man felt a current go through his body as he felt his head clear up while his Tantian filling, brimming with power and energy while his chi was now slowly stabilizing from the previous chaotic circulation. He looked at me shocked and I answered.

“I took what you had an excess of, and moved what was up, down. Next time be sure to strengthen your aura. Being stolen of energy just like that shows just how weak your defensive aura is.” → Shen

After every door has been opened, more than 300 people were now facing me intently. Those who couldn’t talk would listen, those who couldn’t hear would look, and those who couldn’t do both would let the ones beside them to guide them toward wherever they will need to go.

I looked at them all and talked with all of them through the same telepathic connection.

[You all are free to choose: You can stay here and die as dozens of monsters will trample and destroy everything inside these laboratories, or you can go outside with me. Whenever you’ll be able to get back what you lost, build back what has been destroyed, or achieve something new entirely, all will depend on you. I will force nobody as this is your life and you’re free to choose.] → Shen

At my words, most of them were frozen stiff from shock, others trembled and even collapsed on their knees, and almost every child started crying and sobbing loudly from emotion. There was not one person from the entire group who didn’t feel like crying out loud from emotion, but the older ones tried to keep it inside as they were still unsure what would await them in the future.

Just as I wished to leave, one of the healthier group raised his hand with a rather shaking hand.

“What?” → Shen

I asked immediately after I’ve seen his hand raised. The one who raised his hand was a lion-man and pointed with quite some bloodthirst at the old crooked man in the cloak and asked:

“What about him?”
“… After the children leave this place, you are free to do as you wish.” → Shen

I answered coldly and the lion-man understood immediately what I talked about. When I freed them, I made sure to take off their collars as well. Although that means there is a chance for an insane backstabber to have a go at my neck, I made sure to examine and calm their minds beforehand for as much as possible. Even so, there seems to be some that are simply too desperate for revenge as they won’t let go to their wild sides as long the wrongdoers are still alive.

I left the room as I busted the door down and continued on my way forward. The others helped each other to leave the hallway as well, but there were still many that wouldn’t move, even if the children or other friends of theirs would beg them with tears in their eyes to move. They would remain there, unmoving, with no longer any will to live in their eyes.

“Please… please come with me!”

A little wildcat girl cried uncontrollably as she tried to pull the skinny arm of a wildcat man that sat down with lifeless eyes. He smiled bitterly at the young girl and he tried with weak movements to release his hands and push her toward the exit. His ears were destroyed while his spine seemed to be broken, rendering his legs unusable. I was able to see how a thick dark smoke emanated from him, showing that he was already close to death and nobody was able to save him.

“A-ah~… Ah~!!”

A deaf young bear boy sobbed weakly as he tried to bring his already dying bigger sister with him. His sister was both blind and deaf while her Chakras has absorbed a huge amount of miasma. Even if I were to absorb it, full recovery would be impossible, being already predestined to die after one more year. She already knew about her upcoming doom as she searched around until she found her brother’s face. She gently caressed his cheeks then pushed him away, having a bigger bear-man show him the way toward the door. While crying loudly, the boy kept on glancing backward, still half unwilling to part with his bigger sister.

More similar scenes unfolded in front of my eyes as the ones who were enveloped with the dark smoke of death, or had neither sight and hearing, tried to push away the dear ones, while they tried to bring them together toward the world outside. It was exactly like the image of the living trying to bring death to life again, something that’s impossible as long as it’s not through the natural wheel of rebirth.

You seem… unfazed…

The tiger woman’s voice resounded again in my head, making me aware one more time with how fast she was able to advance with her telepathic connection.

…I’ve seen worse. Now stop digging into my head or I’ll have to kick you out. → Shen
Y-yes. Sorry…

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Just as a form of paying my respect, I used [Cleanse] to both the ones who wished to follow and the ones who remained. Actually, the area of effect of the spell was much greater than expected, cleaning the entire dungeon and making the foul smell to disappear.

The ones who wished to leave with me were hastily trying to move their numb and sickened bodies toward me while the stronger ones remained behind and tried to help the weaker ones in case they fell. Even so, a group of five separated and dragged the crooked old man inside a cell and closed the door, ready to take their revenge upon him. Aside from the violent noises that resounded and the pool of blood that appeared under the iron door, nobody was able to tell what was happening there. One thing was certain, the old man died an ugly and sickening death.

We continued on forward while 5 of the stronger ones who were now bloody all over, followed after with bloodlust in their eyes.

“Ugh…”

A little boy of not even 8 years was barely able to walk as his breath was rough and sweat formed on his forehead. He slowed down and separated from his group because of his sick body. Being too small, nobody was able to identify him as most of them already had their hands full with helping others. The 5 from behind caught up with him and, while staring at him with bloodthirst, their sharp teeth and nails were now shining red. Feeling a cold down his spine, the boy slowly turned around, only to see the beastified men, bloody all over as they looked coldly at him.

Grrr~… You’re slow.”

The dragoon in the middle growled and raised his claw to slash at the boy.

“N-no-“

Too weak to shout, the boy of the same race observed with desperate eyes how death was descending upon him until a silhouette appeared in front of him and blocked the claw with one arm.

[Wake up.]

With a few words, the dragoon and the other four behind him shook then their eyes widened as they finally became aware of what they were about to do. They looked at me with huge eyes then fell on their knees, bowing down while trembling and sweating profoundly.

“W-we’re incredibly apologetic, Sire!”
“W-we never wished to do such a thing!”
“P-please spare us, Sire!”

I looked calmly at them then used [Cleanse] to wash away the blood off them. Afterward, I took the young boy in my arms and tried to energize his immunity system to fight the sickness. This child had red with green smoke emanating from him, meaning that if not treated soon, the color will turn to black and not even I will be able to heal him.

While infusing the young boy with energy, I glanced at the five and turned back, going forward toward the front of the group of around 200 people, the rest remaining behind.

“Now that you’re back to normal, let’s continue onwards. You 5 will have to beg for forgiveness to this child, not me.” → Shen
“Y-yes Sire!”

The five got up and rushed toward their group, chatting between themselves about what just happened in confusion and fear. Meanwhile, we all arrived back at the entrance and there were more scientists that, at the moment were being dragged by their hoods inside a room from where more screams were being heard.


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