This chapter is translated by BigDivineBear and edited by Pierce.
—I’ll be waiting for your answer.
That line sounded as if Li Sinan was proposing.
Without mulling over it, Lu Yan unreservedly chose the first option.
If he chose the Research Institute, it was no different from walking inside the prison. The world outside had a vast and resplendent view. It was with absolute certainty that he wouldn’t set foot in that place in his entire life.
Not to mention that he was no healing ability user.
Lu Yan wore his down-jacket and face mask before he headed downstairs.
Li Sinan had been leaning against his car and smoking a cigarette when he noticed his arrival. He promptly extinguished it and the cigarette butt drew a beautiful arc in the air when he threw it directly into the trash can.
The following parts of the text will be scrambled to prevent theft from aggregators and unauthorized epub making. Please support our translators by reading on secondlifetranslations (dot) com. If you are currently on the site and and you are seeing this, please clear your cache.
“Ya. Nw,” Nk Fkdyd’p yvvkvwel oyp psxlobyv alplahle.
“R’hl vbswtbv kv shla,” Nw Zyd vsze bkx, “yde R pvkzz bsrl vs cl ekalnvzu kdhszhle okvb vbl rszzwvksd ekplypl nyplp.”
Nw Zyd ayalzu bye vbkp jkde sq osazezu elpkal. Rd svbla osaep, vblal oyp sdzu y xlypzu qzwnvwyvksd kd bkp lxsvksdp. Tl dlkvbla qlzv byrrkdlpp dsa psaaso yde oyp kdekqqlaldv vs vbl rskdv sq clkdt kdnyryczl sq qllzkdt lxryvbu. Idsokdt hlau nzlyazu vbyv vblal oyp psxlvbkdt oasdt okvb bkx, bl wpwyzzu ekptwkple bkxplzq.
Jlkdt pvwekswp oyp y wdkhlapyz nsdnlrv qsa lhlausdl vs es vblka clpv vs kxrashl. Eblvbla kv oyp pvweukdt sa zlyadkdt xleknyz nsdnlrvp, lhlauvbkdt bl eke oyp rla psnklvu’p “rasraklvu.” Tl dlkvbla zkjle dsa ekpzkjle kv.&dcpr;
Tsolhla, vbl rszzwvksd ekplypl oyp ekqqlaldv. Rv oyp zkjl y tyxl okvb ds ralelvlaxkdle ldekdt; kv oyp okvbswv pwarakplp obldlhla usw srld kv.
Nw Zyd zkjle kv hlau xwnb, vs vbl rskdv oblal bl nswzed’v blzr cwv… valxczl kd lmnkvlxldv.&dcpr;
Nk Fkdyd tyhl bkx y rasqswde zssj, “R wdelapvyde. R okzz es lhlauvbkdt kd xu rsola vs ldpwal uswa pyqlvu.”&dcpr;
Ohld kq kv oyp yv vbl nspv sq bkp sod zkql.&dcpr;
Lu Yan, “That will not be necessary.”
“This is an order from the Headquarters.” Li Sinan replied, “A soldier must obey these commands.”
K City, Pollution Disease Prevention and Control Center.
A middle-aged man arrived under the protection of several soldiers.
This was Ji Wen, a researcher sent by the Headquarters from the Third Research Institute.
He had an appearance of a scholar, amiable and refined. The director of the PDC stepped forward, wanting to get close to him. Ji Wen raised his hand and the director had no choice but to retreat awkwardly.
He now sat before the computer desk, looking at the precious footage filmed by the smart surveillance.
It was a two-part video of Lu Yan curing the Pollutants.
Occasionally, Ji Wen would hit the spacebar to pause and contemplate.
“Devour?” Ji Wen mumbled to himself, “‘Zero is extremely vulnerable to pollution and thus cannot come in contact with the outside world. It is said that she is always inside the life capsule and no one has ever seen her; ‘Pope’ is anti-social and rarely leaves the Research Institute… To be honest, I don’t understand much about the potentials of healing ability users.”
However, he caught sight of the tiny fish scales that emerged on Lu Yan’s arm.
“Compared to the ‘Devour’ ability, I am more inclined to believe that during this catastrophic course of events, he had encountered some Special Pollutant and partly merged with it. This is quite a dangerous approach. But evidently, he has succeeded.”
“He lied that his ability was ‘Devour’. The purpose of his deception was to conceal his true ability. Seeing this, he knows something.”
“But Lu Yan’s past has always been monitored, whether it was his online or offline activities. I’m certain that before this incident, he had never been in contact with any information related to the pollution disease, so how could he know?”
“Therefore, I deduce that he possesses an ability related to information acquisition.”
“Among the listed abilities, there are a total of 6 abilities related to him. All-Knowing, Precognition, Information Cocoon,1[It pertains to “communication universes in which we hear only what we choose and only what comforts us and pleases us” (Sunstein, 2006).] Mind Reading, Soul Scry, Divine Eye. The one that’s relatively in line with him is… “
Ji Wen suddenly became quiet. He then scribbled something on the paper, like a code, that only he could understand.
When he was young, Ji Wen and his friends had discovered a type of script, which seemed to be a combination between the Oracle Bone Script and Cuneiform. The origin of this type of text was unknown and it has never circulated on the market. It was very rare. Thus, every time there was something important that needed to be recorded yet couldn’t be known by other people, Ji Wen would always use this kind of writing.
He was 47 years old this year. He has been researching pollution disease ever since he was 20 years old, under the tutelage of Qin Changsheng.
Qin Changsheng’s teacher was Qiao Yu, who was one of the first to discover the pollution disease and made dedicated research on it in the last century.
20 years ago, Qin Changsheng left the First Research Institute because of their differences in research concepts. From it, he then established the Third Research Institute.
As Qin Changsheng’s direct successor, naturally, Ji Wen wasn’t bad either.
Neither Li Sinan nor Bai Qiushi had noticed anything, yet Ji Wen was able to roughly deduce the truth just from looking at the surveillance.
This was also why the System had been so vigilant about the Research Institute. It was a place where the world’s most intelligent people with the most profound and detailed knowledge about pollution disease were gathered.
Ji Wen raised his spectacles and put away his pen. “It stands to reason that I should report this, but he is Experimental Subject 18’s son.”
He turned off the playback software and selected these two sections of the video to be deleted.
A warning appeared on the screen. It asked him to enter the authorization password.
This kind of elimination was not as simple as when you dragged things into the recycle bin. Rather, in doing so, these two videos would be thoroughly wiped from the face of the world. No one would ever see it again.
“Let’s just count it as a payback from when I dissected No.18’s brain… Should I go meet Lu Yan?”
Ji Wen waited for the computer’s progress bar to reach 100% and took out the evaluation form.
[Lu Yan, male, 26 years old. Mental State: Stable. Mutation Degree: Low. Education: Master’s Degree.]
[Is fairly perceptive of the surrounding world, has a cautious and suspicious character. It is recommended to not monitor him for long periods to avoid losing trust in the Pollution Disease Prevention and Control Center.]
[Previously confirmed to be a Healing type Enlightened with the ability ‘Devour,’ can utilize his spiritual body to devour the pollution sources. It has an outstanding effect on those with mid to low levels of mutation degree.
[Whether or not he can assist the treatment of the Tyrant: Unknown. (Note: Because the spiritual power threshold is too low, contact with the Tyrant is not recommended for the time being as there is a risk of contamination.)]
[Danger Level: Low.]
Back then, the friend who recorded the script with Ji Wen was called Lu Cheng. It just so happened that he was Lu Yan’s father.
13 years ago, Lu Cheng was infected and became a Pollutant. It was speculated that his ability was Precognition.
The authorities took him to the First Research Institute and marked him as No.18. The following year, Lu Cheng fled from the Institute and his whereabouts were still unknown.
“It’s better if I don’t go meet him. I hugged him once in the past. That child has always had an extraordinary memory so he’ll recognize me. “
Ji Wen has stopped writing and contemplated for a while. In the end, he still didn’t feel at ease so he threw the paper written with the special scripture into the shredder along with the photos.
Li Sinan brought Lu Yan to the Pollution Disease Prevention and Control Center and had already arranged to meet the researcher who came from the Headquarters.
However, upon his arrival, he was stunned to hear that the researcher had already left.
“Deputy Director Ji is very busy. “ The staff was somewhat a little helpless and said, ”He arrived at eight in the morning and left just one hour later at nine. He said that there are still many important experiments waiting to be done. But he had already accomplished the evaluation report. “
The System said to Lu Yan in ridicule, [The researcher sent this time seemed to have already discovered my existence. If I’m to be more audacious, I can take away the ‘seem.’ It looks like I’ve underestimated humans yet again.]
[Fortunately, he is on your side for the time being.]
Countless things could happen in every part of the world. Although the System may be “All-Knowing”, if it knew too many things at once, it would only result in the Host’s brain blowing up and the host will become mentally retarded.
Currently, it had a moderate range of perception. Besides this, it had lived up to its name “All-Knowing.”
“Mr. Lu, please follow me to receive your work clothes as well as this month’s stipend.”
Lu Yan’s information has already been registered and was now an official staff member.
Code-named “Curious Listener,” Spiritual Power Threshold 440, Class F Enlightened, Mutation Degree 3.1.
Affiliation: SpecOps Division Team 7’s Squadron 1.
The staff member opened the vault on the first floor of the Headquarters, took a suitcase from the freezing compartment, and started the introduction.
“This is the latest ‘Galaxy Detector’ created by the Research Center. The default model is a watch. If you don’t like it, you can apply to change it for something you prefer. Including but not limited to necklaces, mobile phones, etc.”
“The detector can monitor in real-time your mutation degree as well as the pollution value of nearby Pollutants. In addition to this, functions such as navigation, positioning, and Bluetooth call are also available. This is the instruction manual. You can also choose to turn off the Global Positioning System (GPS) and cease the data transmission.”
The shape of the detector was an exceedingly high-tech electronic watch with exquisite workmanship.
Lu Yan didn’t put it on immediately. Rather, he kept it in his pocket.
“This is one of the most precious inventions of the Institute, a miracle drug2[特效药 refers to a highly effective medicine for a specific condition.] for pollution disease. Because the raw materials came from the Pollutants, it is extremely expensive. Please do not sell them in exchange for cash.” Due to such precedents that had happened before, the staff specifically emphasized, “If you are short on money, you can directly contact the Headquarters. Your current cash withdrawal limit is 5 million.”
The miracle drug was in the form of a capsule, and he was given four pills.
“The standard allocations for a Level F Enlightened is two pills per month. The remaining two are bonuses for your excellent performance on the treatment of pollution diseases in K City.”
[This miracle drug is very beneficial. It’s different from the medicine given to Pollutants at the quarantine shelters. At critical moments, it is no different from life-saving medicine. Your mutation degree isn’t high right now so you can save a few more pills.]
“This is your work permit.”
A work permit was similar to an ID card. This included Lu Yan’s photo, fingerprints, and DNA codes.
“Every time a mission comes forth, as long as you complete it, you will be able to obtain the corresponding contribution points. Contribution points can be used for exchanging items, tasks issuance, pollution control, and other purposes.”
“Finally, this is the weapon prepared for you by the Headquarters based on the data sent by the researcher.”
It was a dagger made from exquisite craftsmanship. Lu Yan unsheathed it from the scabbard, the blade of the dagger glowed with a cold blue light.
It had a double-edged blade.
[This is something made from the bone of a Level D Pollutant tortoise. It has a market price of 500 contribution points. Any better and it would be wasted on you, not to mention that you’ll easily be robbed of it. It’s sufficiently suitable for you. It seems that the higher-ups had put a lot of effort into this. Are you perhaps the illegitimate child of the person in charge?]
“Thank you.” Lu Yan responded with a wave, “I quite like it.”
The staff bowed deeply to him: “As long as you like it. Thank you for your contribution to the future of mankind. I hope to serve you next time as well .”
When Lu Yan came out, he couldn’t help but say, “This is too formal.”
He didn’t even do anything yet.
[It’s just words. Who hasn’t had heroism and chūnibyō disease before? Some people just eat these things up, and you can simply regard this as being treated as a martyr.]
This respect was not only exclusive to Lu Yan, but rather to all the Enlighteneds of the SpecOps Division.
The Research Institute was the intelligence, the Special Operations Department was the actual combat, and the PDC was the logistics. These three have supported each other to carve out a better future.
Lin Sinan was waiting for him by the door of an off-road vehicle, his eyes squinted lazily.
After he took the miracle drug, his mutation degree had dropped significantly. His value of 53 from a few days ago had now changed to a 39.
Exposure to pollution sources would increase the mutation degree, which slowly decreased to a standard value after some time. The effect of the miracle drug was to reduce it until it reached the standard value.
Li Sinan’s current standard value is 31. It coincidentally happened to be exactly ten times that of Lu Yan’s.
As the drug intake increased, the human body would also develop resistance to the drug. Nonetheless, there was nothing that could be done about this.
Li Sinan waved his hand: “Let’s go, I’ll take you to your team members.”
He was a member of Team 6 of the Special Operations Group.
The teams of the Special Operations Group were divided according to region. The entire western province of K City along with a nearby region was under Team 6’s supervision.
It stood to reason that Lu Yan was best to join his team, but the Headquarters probably felt that Lin Sinan’s spiritual power threshold was too low. Added on with the fact that the journey in every mission was more dangerous, Lu Yan ended up being specially assigned to another team.
Lin Sinan looked at this matter very openly. After all, his spiritual power threshold was only 1600. According to the grade division, he was only a Level D. It was quite difficult for people to be assured of using him to protect an Enlightened with a healing ability type.
The team Lu Yan was going to join was a SpecOps Division that hadn’t received any recruits in years, and Lu Yan was the first one in three years.
Lu Yan thought about something as he sat in the back of the car. He turned off the data transmission before he fastened the appraisal watch on his left wrist.
The dial showed his mutation value: 7.5.
Right hand: 3.1.
Sure enough, the two sides were indeed not the same.
Lu Yan hasn’t slept well in the past few days. The village he was going to was more than 200 kilometers away from K City and the roads weren’t good. It would take at least three or four hours to get there. He leaned on the back seat, unable to control himself from sinking into his exhaustion.
Lin Sinan noticed his exhaustion, and warmly said, “There is a blanket in the back that you can use to cover yourself with as you sleep. I’ll wake you up when we get there.”
Lu Yan replied with a “yes” as he unknowingly fell asleep.
When he woke up again, it was completely dark.
Lu Yan was a little dazed and wanted to ask, “Why haven’t we arrived yet?” when he suddenly became alert.
He smelled the scent of blood.
It was too quiet here. But more importantly, Lin Sinan was not in the driver’s seat.
[You finally woke up. Damn it, why are they here…]
[My time is running out, you must remember what I’ll say—]
[You’ve run into a Level A Pollutant, the Dream Eater. Here is both reality and a dream. What you see may not necessarily be true but it may not be fake either. In other words, if you die here, then you will die in reality and become nourishment for the Dream Eater, without even knowing how your soul tastes. It’s a pity that I am suppressed in this pseudo space because you are not the master of this dream.]
[If it’s just the Dream Eater, this wouldn’t be the case. But I didn’t expect that that stinky wall would appear here. Add these two together and it becomes a nightmare-level difficulty. I thought we would go to a novice village,3[Kris Xian: In a game, it refers to where new players spawn or start their adventure.] but I didn’t expect to drift into a hidden instance.]4[Hidden instance is an event that gets triggered when certain conditions are met in a game. It’s usually high in difficulty.]
[Rescue is already on its way. The key to leaving this place is: To wake up the owner of this nightmare.]
[The only thing to be glad about is the fact that you’re not some unnamed female student in this dream… Okay, I can’t say any more, it’s about to find me.]
The System went completely silent.
Lu Yan laid quietly in the trunk, not hearing any changes. After a while, he fumbled around and finally found his phone.
He blocked the light as he checked his phone. It still has 90% battery left but there was no signal.
In the inbox, there was a text message from Li Sinan.
“You haven’t woken up yet so I’ll go outside and have a look first. Something doesn’t seem quite right outside. Wait for me to come back and do not go out no matter what. Be careful.”
When Lu Yan was still a doctor, he discovered that the patients who were discharged first from the hospital were all those who followed the doctor’s advice.
So he stayed in the backseat until dawn. Even when there were occasional roars and calls for help outside in the middle of the night, Lu Yan remained unmoved.
After dawn, Lu Yan finally discovered the source of the bloody scent.
Lin Sinan was nailed to the rear window.
Throughout the whole night, the corpse was there, staring through the cold glass window with bloodshot eyes at the person inside the car. Countless, monstrous maggots came out of his ears and crawled on the car window.
Lu Yan’s phone fell to the ground.
After a long time, he slowly said: “The pupils are evidently dilated and highly turbid. There is a slight stench on the corpse, and the estimated time of death… 36 to 48 hours ago.”
The suburb of K City and the area bordering W City.
The highway was blocked for a long period. Countless traffic policemen were at the front of the blockage line, working busily till they were burnt out.
The staff of the PDC urgently rushed to the scene, and have already assisted the researchers on their pollution source analysis for more than 20 hours.
Many reporters came and raised the microphones in their hands:
—”Excuse me, what is the level of the newly emerged pollution source in K City? Will it be a threat to the survival of nearby residents?”
— “May I ask if there are any survivors from the fog in the past 48 hours since its appearance?”
Behind the traffic police officers was a dense and heavy fog.
The gray-black mist kept surging. It was like Leviathan’s5[Leviathan, from Jewish mythology, is a primordial sea serpent.] ruthless mouth, engulfing everything.