Garen went over to pull out the rest of the shelf doors. The others were all either empty or similarly contained this strange black ball. All of them made the same woman’s voice, asking for a password.
But even then, only four out of the dozen doors had this black ball.
"Password?" Garen frowned deeply, knowing that he had hit the jackpot.
Originally, everything in this base should have been totally destroyed. After Goth exploded that time, he fought with the mastermind of the Obscuro Society, and ignited the base’s kinetic furnace. In the large explosion that ensued, the entire base was destroyed to the ground. Nothing remained.
And so Obscuro raged, sending assassins after Goth.
Garen was only thinking that since these things were going to be destroyed in the explosion anyway, he might as well use them himself. The one he felt would be the biggest waste was the unit factory. It’d be great if only he could take it away, but unfortunately…
And the black ball in front of him looked mysterious, so it was very probably one of the most important items in this base.
"Password, Obscuro." Garen attempted to reply.
"Incorrect. You still have two chances. Incorrect answers will cause total lockdown." The female voices from the four balls replied at once.
"Password, Phantom Light."
"Incorrect. You still have one chance. An incorrect answer will cause total lockdown."
Garen narrowed his eyes and scanned his surroundings continuously, but unfortunately, there wasn’t anything for him to refer to.
This black ball’s password was probably decided by the higher-ups, so its user required a password from the higher-ups. They then had to come to the base for the actual thing, and the two together were needed for them to use the black ball. So the password and the black ball should be totally separate.
Garen’s mind moved at high speeds, as he thought non-stop about the possible password. He could tell at one glance that this sort of thing was mass manufactured, and besides, the security and secrecy around it was so thick. It was probably used by the higher-ups only, and they would probably use a common password known to all the higher-ups.
"I’ll just wing it!" Garen knew, that the black ball in front of him was most likely the most precious thing here.
"Password, Hellgate!" Hellgate, the true name of the Obscuro Society’s mastermind.
"Incorrect. Password error, commencing lockdown."
There was a crisp sound.
Garen’s blood ran cold, and he knew it was all over. Once it was locked down, these things would be excruciatingly hard to unlock.
The continuous smacking sounds also stopped then. Garen suddenly noticed that only three of the black balls were locked down, while the third one in the center didn’t move or reply.
"Password correct." After a pause, a cold woman’s voice came from this black ball.
Garen was instantly overjoyed, rushing up to this black ball and watching its changes carefully.
Suddenly, the center of the black ball fell apart like countless puzzle pieces, slowly opening to both sides to form a medium-sized round hole. It revealed yet another black ball inside.
Another hole also opened up in the black ball inside, once more revealing another layer and another black ball.
The third layer of the black ball split apart again, revealing a fist-sized red crystal ball inside.
The crystal ball was propped up by a milky-white pillar like a champagne glass, glowing with a faint silver and red light.
"Ampera no.7, Derivator, for your perusal." The woman’s voice came from the black ball again, informing Garen.
"Derivator?" Garen was rather surprised, and then quickly took the black ball out, stuffing it into the pocket of his long robes.
No matter what, this was good stuff. With prize in hand, Garen grabbed a few more smaller, unactivated totems, and was just about to leave.
Suddenly there was a piercing wail from the shelf. It sounded like an alarm.
"There’s someone in the totem room! Hacca, you stall him!"
"Dammit! It was the brat I met just now! The Triple Soundwaves just now didn’t kill him! Siva, you stop him from the other side! Don’t let the brat escape!"
From a corridor far away outside, there was the sound of angry shouting.
Garen’s blood ran cold, and he quickly rushed out of the stone door, dashing down the way he had come.
Just now that one skinhead was already more than he could deal with, forget the other guy that sounded like he’d be at the same level.
Turning into the dark tunnel ahead, Garen used all his speed to dash madly down the corridor.
"Judging from the voices just now, it’s highly likely that they can see footage of the totem storeroom, so I need to leave as fast as possible!"
In the pitch black tunnel, Garen’s whole body nearly morphed into a black shadow, quickly dashing down the way he had come.
Suddenly there was a deep man’s voice calling out from up ahead.
Garen could vaguely hear the low roars and howls of beasts ahead. His heart gave a jolt.
Two red fireballs came flying suddenly down the corridor that had been dark just a while ago. They were as big as soccer balls and came spinning, drawing out two tracks of fiery red after-images, coming straight at Garen.
In the path of the fireballs, they lit every part of the passage bright red. Some of the mosses and grass were instantly charred and smoking.
With two loud smacking sounds, two stones shot out from Garen’s hands. They actually went directly through the fireball, becoming transparent red stones. They did nothing at all to hinder the advance of the fireball.
He leapt up, his feet gaining momentum by stepping onto the walls, and then his whole person shot out with a pop. He went right through the gap between the two fireballs.
The two fireballs basically exploded at once, the intensely high heat enveloping Garen in an instant. They simply became a ball of fire in mid-air, and burst.
With a pop, a charred black body fell down from mid-air, and moved no more.
"Hmph!" There was a cold snort from far away. Followed by the sound of hurried footsteps hastening away.
A dozen seconds after the footsteps faded, the charred black body finally moved a little. He opened his blue eyes, and glanced around warily.
Garen slowly crawled up from the ground. His whole body had been burnt, and not a single spot didn’t sting and hurt from the heat. His blood and qi was continuously roiling, having been nearly scattered by that hit just now, and only regathering now.
His face, his neck, his arm, were all blistering, like so many flesh-colored grapes, round and filled with pus.
His previously fair skin was not red, but charred black. In some of the more grievously injured areas, his stomach and forearms had even started to carbonize and harden.
He gritted his teeth against the pain, and quietly but quickly moved forward.
A guardpost soon appeared in front of him. It was a dent in the wall, with a small bed, a few large wooden crates and barrels, and a few half-melted candles burning on top of those barrels. This type of candle lamp was created by putting candles in a glass bottle. The dim yellow light shone through the blurry glass, making it seem even dimmer.
Going past the guardpost, and after progressing for a certain distance, he somehow entered a large empty space. It was as big as a football field, and he could vaguely hear the sound of flowing water.
It was yet another dull sound, as though something exploded.
Garen knew that this was Goth’s battle with the leader here after his explosion.
He considered his surroundings, and vaguely felt as though this was no longer part of the underground base. It was obviously an underground cave.
He had been following the previous path back this whole time, but despite it being the same path, this time he reached not the exit, but such a cave as this.
Garen slowly moved to the other end, following the walls of the cave. There were large rocks arranged close to each other on the ground, and water flowed through the cracks to make the splashing sound.
He advanced for a while, feeling his lungs struggle more and more for breath. The more he moved, the faster his blood and chi flowed, and the more the burns on his body hurt.
He pushed himself for a while, working up a huge sweat. The salt-tinged sweat flowed past his burned skin, stinging so much he couldn’t help but groan.
Suddenly, a wary voice came from the other entrance stretching out from the cave ahead.
A tall and thin figure walked out from the entrance, leaping from one large rock to another as he entered the cave.
His gaze swept about the surroundings, on high alert.
"Come out! I already saw you. Hehe, did you think I wouldn’t discover you hiding behind the rocks?" The man laughed coldly.
He waited for a pause, but there were still no movements. Only then did he relax, and slowly ran towards the entrance into the underground base.
By then, Garen had already quietly moved to a spot by the wall on the opposite of the cave. He found a gap behind a large rock and sat down.
Right now, his whole body was scalded and his blood qi was a mess. It practically had to be adjusted and activated again from the start after being shattered apart. The Divine Statue Technique had extremely strong healing powers, and was continuously cleaning up the heat toxins in his organs and on the surface of his skin.
But even so, he was basically partially paralyzed now, and couldn’t move at all. His physical qualities had dropped drastically, and he was being haunted by powerful Totem Light, so he temporarily couldn’t heal.
This was a special type of fire, that seemed to have some polluting properties. It completely polluted and destroyed most of the Garen’s cells that had been scalded in the high heat within an instant. This pollution also contained heat toxins, infiltrating his organs and notoriously hard to deal with. Plus, it was constantly worsening.
If it was a regular person, they would have probably breathed their last as soon as the flames exploded, killed instantly by this polluting power.
"I need to increase recovery speed!"
Garen glanced at the Attribute Pane at the bottom of his vision. He clenched his teeth, and added a potential point to his Vitality attribute, that hadn’t healed completely yet.
His Vitality instantly rose from 2.5 to 2.76, the highest point his body achieved in the previous life.
Exactly as the value changed, an ice cold current flowed out of his brain into every other part of his body. His organs, his skin, his bones, anywhere that was hurt were all soaked into that current.
In that moment, cold and heat weaved together, creating a pain several times more intense that shot into Garen’s brain. It was followed by waves of extreme itchiness. Every inch of his skin that was burned began to itch mysteriously.
He wanted to scratch, but he kept himself in check. He didn’t want to move, and couldn’t move. His whole body went limp, his back leaning closely on the stone wall to prevent himself from falling.
The polluting power of the Totem Light that invaded his body kept crossing swords with the cool current from his special power, mixing vigorously inside Garen and making him sweat waterfalls. His sweat dripped onto the scalded wounds, bringing a fresh wave of even more intense pain.
Pain and itchiness wove together. Garen was completely and totally stiff, the blisters scalded onto his body popping one by one. The pale red pus drenched his nearly charcoaled clothes, emitting an unbearable stench.