Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
As time passed, the concern on people’s faces became more and more apparent. It was clear that the door wasn’t as easy to open as they had thought. What was even more disturbing was that all communication devices were unable to reach outside, so they had to rely on themselves. The people on the second floor were still hanging on, waiting for them to return.
Feng JiaLing kept staring at the complicated and indecipherable characters on the door next to him, as he frowned slightly. Finally, he turned his head to look at the person leaning against the wall, the only one who was indifferent to the door being closed.
“What do you think?”
Luo ChengYun gazed at the door with a blank face, still without any hint of worry, and said, “Go down first.”
Feng JiaLing nodded in agreement. “Mn, I think the results will be out soon.”
Not more than half a minute later, the Attius technician ran over with an ugly face to report to Saint Gerald. “Temple, Your Highness, I’m afraid the situation is bad. The amount of energy needed to open this door is very large-“
The golden dragon had lost all patience after waiting for more than half an hour. His golden eyes looked up, and he stared at his subordinate. “I just want to know how long it will take for you to open this door.”
The sweat on the technician’s forehead became more and more obvious as he stammered, “Your Majesty, I’m afraid we don’t have the means to open this door. The method to open the door is simple, but the energy required…it’s just too immense! Let me put it this way, it’s almost the sum of all the energy we would need to run the whole of Attius for an hour. Moreover, it requires the entire quantity of energy, and I’m afraid there’s no carrier in this entire star field that can manage such a huge amount. I can’t believe that there is such a door in the world. Such a perfect material–“
Saint Gerald interrupted the off-topic technician with a black face, “I don’t care how perfect it is! You mean, we’re locked in, and there’s no way to ever get out?”
The technician pulled his thoughts back from his awe, and continued to sweat like a pig. His face also began to pale as he replied with great difficulty, “…Yes.” He could have added that even with the most advanced technology in the entire star field that no one could open the door, but His Royal Highness wouldn’t want to hear that, so he wisely swallowed those words.
Ten minutes later, the An Empire technicians came to the same trepidatious conclusion. Yuan Xi and Luo XiaoLou looked at each other in shock, then turned their attention to Feng JiaLing.
Like Yuan Lie, Feng JiaLing reassured the people of the An Empire just by standing there. He simply said, “Then, let’s go down and take a look first.”
No one expressed any objection. With no way to go backwards, at least they could still go forward.
They left the desperate door, and the people entered the fourth floor with great concern.
The first thing that came into view was a huge screen. In front of it were rows of buttons. In some places the lights were still flashing, which showed that they were still working.
The technicians from both Attius and the An Empire were at first dumbfounded, and then gathered around in awe.
They had never seen an AI that required at least a dozen people to operate!
“Yes. This is a super AI,” 125 whispered in Luo XiaoLou’s ear.
With the technicians’ high enthusiasm, they fast-tracked their way into the system, and the floor plan of the fourth level was pulled up. As one area after another was displayed, people stared at the huge screen in disbelief, their mouths open wide.
No one expected that the fourth floor was even bigger than the previous three floors combined. It was divided into dozens of small areas, and the labels on each area made people even more ecstatic.
Planet Xico – special materials, its science and technology. Planet Bimun – special materials, its science and technology. Planet Fris – special materials, its science and technology…
“…Oh my God! This, this, is at least a second level civilization!”
“There is actually a third level civilization! There’s technology from a third level civilization here! Ah, I…I actually saw the science and technology of a higher civilization!” A researcher from Attius was almost in tears. He knew that with interstellar civilizations, higher civilizations might give some help to lower civilizations, but what was given, was just a drop in the bucket compared to the science and technology of their own civilizations.
Especially for ships or weapons technology. Even if they paid a lot of money, it was very difficult to buy. The higher civilizations needed some specific kind of ores or extremely precious materials, and only when the products were finished could lower civilizations get them in exchange. As for the technology, they could only rely on slowly reverse engineering the finished product themselves.
But here, there were actually whole civilizations’ scientific researches and technologies!
Attius was originally the empire that was going to ascend to a third level civilization. With the science and technology here, if it could be brought back, it would only make their transition easier. In the future, even with older third level civilizations, they could successfully occupy a place.
Saint Gerald looked at Feng JiaLing with eyes that glowed. He held his hand across the middle, and said, “Your Majesty Feng JiaLing. Since we found it together, then we each share half of it.”
Feng JiaLing swept a glance at the screen. Within the scope of Saint Gerald’s division, there were four third level civilizations’ technologies on Attius’ side, while there was only one on the An Empire’s side. He glanced at Saint Gerald, and said with a smile, “Yes. But, I request that two of the third level civilizational materials on your side be shared with us.”
Saint Gerald frowned. He quietly swept a glance at Luo XiaoLou and Yuan Xi, thought of that troublesome egg and took a slight step back. “One. No more.”
Since the two top leaders reached an agreement, the technicians, who had long been shivering all over with excitement, immediately rushed towards their empire’s divided area. They had to get those valuable materials, science and technology in their hands to really feel at ease.
Feng JiaLing, Saint Gerald and Luo ChengYun went in a direction which wasn’t clearly marked on the screen map. The door to the fifth floor was probably there.
Yuan Xi held Luo XiaoLou’s hand hard, and his eyes sparkled with excitement. “When we get out, the Empire will be strong as well. We will rise to a second level civilization, or even to a third level civilization faster than Telles.” He would also become strong. Strong enough to guard Luo XiaoLou, and their children.
Luo XiaoLou smiled, and looked at Yuan Xi who was happy as a child. He was thrilled for him from the bottom of his heart.
That was when 125 jumped onto the super AI. He cocked his head, looked left and right and even interfaced with the super AI for a deep internal communication.
But in the end, he kept his foxish expression, and crawled back onto Luo XiaoLou’s shoulder with a mutter, “…feel like something is wrong.”
Yuan Xi pulled Luo XiaoLou forward. Luo XiaoLou took two steps, then jerked back as 125, on his shoulder, did the same thing.
Luo XiaoLou almost thought he heard a small sigh of relief, but there were clearly no life forms here. Those researchers had already checked!
Luo XiaoLou walked back to the super AI with Yuan Xi, and began to carefully scan the area with his Yuan Power. Finally, puzzled, he reached his hand towards a small robot next to a button. No matter the shape or material, it was a small keyboard cleaning robot.
However, he just felt that there was something wrong. Of all the locations scanned by his Yuan Power, only this one was a bit abnormal. The energy fluctuations around the body of this small, pocket-sized robot were too active.
The moment Luo XiaoLou’s hand was about to touch the robot, it moved and dodged away Luo XiaoLou’s finger with a flexibility that a simple robot shouldn’t have. It seemed unable to bear a touch as it said, “You! Do you even fool around with cleaning robots!”
Luo XiaoLou’s hand paused. He had definitely heard the voice of a cute little boy!
125, Although it was full of accusations. really let him just become a father to the budding man. His little heart trembling, ah!
125 eyes’ flashed with a blue light, and he instantly jumped up. Luo XiaoLou was too late to react. The small robot was in his mouth, as he said joyfully, “Honey, don’t listen to it. We found it. This guy is the super AI. It was probably trying to disguise itself, hiding in plain sight to fool this robot. “
“Oh, damn it!” The cleaning robot made a pained expression while being bitten by a dinosaur, then said, “Just…even if it was me, so what! You guys didn’t notice anything unusual about me at all, and according to interstellar law, you can’t destroy me–“
“None of us intend to destroy you. Besides, is this a non-strike…” Luo XiaoLou looked at the little robot, soothed it, and also took it out of 125’s mouth.
The little robot stayed still for a moment, and kept its mouth closed, as if it were a foolish cleaning robot without any other functions.
Luo XiaoLou squeezed the tiny robot. “So. What exactly did you do?”
“…I collected and saved a lot of the galaxy’s information without any command from my master.” The little robot said uneasily as it squirmed, ashamed that it hadn’t fully obeyed its master’s orders. “Then they put me here. I haven’t seen anyone for many years, and I have no way to use it. You won’t tell them, will you?”
Luo XiaoLou was silent as he gave the oblivious 125 a look, then silently sighed in his heart. Was it really not one of the attributes of an intelligent AI to be self-assertive?
He quickly thought of another point. “Did you collect more things than what’s kept here?”
“Of course, la. Much more. I’ve collected information almost everywhere the Protura has been.”
It gibbered a bit about itself for a while. Luo XiaoLou guessed it hadn’t spoken to anyone for too long. Finally, it asked carefully, “Are you sure you won’t execute me for disobeying orders?”
“Of course not. You are thinking too much. In fact, we need you very much.” Luo XiaoLou looked at the busy Attius group, and the corners of his mouth curled up. They’d already gotten the greatest treasure there.
He put the chattering little robot into Yuan Xi’s pocket. This guy was too important for him to keep.
The little robot didn’t stop talking, just took the time to look at Yuan Xi and asked, “After this, you are my master?”
“Yes. I won’t stop you from collecting any information, but you must get my permission first.” Yuan Xi said with a serious face.
The little robot considered it for a few seconds and said, “Okay. Okay. That’s good enough.”
After Yuan Xi ordered the little robot to shut up, it and 125 changed to internal communication. Then Yuan Xi pulled Luo XiaoLou in the direction of Feng JiaLing and the others.
They had already opened the door to the fifth floor. Feng JiaLing and Saint Gerald had left all the scientific technicians on the fourth floor along with some people to protect them.
As could be imagined, nothing was more precious than what was there.
So both the An Empire and Attius entered the fifth floor with less than ten people. However, all the people who came were the elite of the elite.
After they entered the fifth floor door and saw the situation inside the hall, everyone’s faces changed, and they prepared for battle in an instant.
After a while, Feng JiaLing whispered, “No. They aren’t living people. They’re statues. No, to be more precise, they are specimens.”
In front of them were rows and rows of people dressed in different ways. Also some oddly shaped aliens. Their expressions were vivid and lifelike. They stood there neatly, as if waiting for a review or for some command, so after they received it they could immediately take up their weapons and attack these intruders.
Saint Gerald squinted his eyes, and said, “Obviously, they are from different places or different civilizations. Only in the same row of people, or intelligences, do they have obvious similarities and look like they are from the same place. So many people, so many races. Why would they be made into specimens here? Wait, does it mean that the Protura captured sets of people to make specimens as souvenirs every time they passed through a place?”
No one said anything, but the mood was heavy in the grave-like hall.
These people, who stood quietly in the hall, each row of people were very similar in appearance or dress, but very different from the other rows of people.
Saint Gerald’s golden eyes flashed as his eyes caught the written descriptions in front of each row. He leaned down to look at them for a moment, then raised his voice. “These are the humans of those planets out there whose science, technology and materials have been collected by the Protura and…they all have another thing in common.”
Saint Gerald’s voice got serious. “If I remember correctly, those planets, all of them, were planets that were suddenly extinguished at some point in interstellar history.”
When he heard his words, Feng JiaLing moved. He started looking, from the first person in a row until the last person. With such a lot of people, it took him more than ten minutes to see the last.
Finally, Feng JiaLing stared at the last person with a strange expression, and said, “I’m afraid they are not just simple specimens. You guys come over here and take a look.”
Luo XiaoLou followed Yuan Xi, and like Feng JiaLing, looked them over one by one. Luo XiaoLou was surprised to find that the specimens weren’t just still living. It wasn’t so simple. Their eyes seemed to be still shining and their faces still had expressions. He could hardly treat them as lifeless statues or specimens.
Moreover, with the same clothes and the same physical features, it was almost like they were the same person. However, there were absolute and obvious differences between each person.
When Luo XiaoLou saw that same birthmark on the seventh person, he paused for a moment and asked 125 with his mind, [125, can you do genetic testing on these people?]
125’s voice quickly rang in his ears, [I already did, and just like you thought. They are clones of the same person.]
Luo XiaoLou’s brow furrowed slightly. If the purpose of the Protura was to make specimens, then why did they make so many of the same person, and what about the differences?
A few seconds later, 125 said again, [However, there seems to be something else in their bodies, and that something is getting more, and more…This is probably the reason for the changes in them. If you want more detailed results, I need an autopsy.]
At that time, Luo XiaoLou had been pulled by Yuan Xi to the end. The moment he saw that thing, Luo XiaoLou’s face instantly went white, [I don’t think you need to test.]
He raised his eyes, looked around, and his heart instantly went cold. As he had guessed, the last specimen in each row was exactly the same. A monster that was already completely different from humans. They were disgusting and grotesque, but gave him a strong sense of familiarity.
“In the end, they were all turned into the same thing.” Luo ChengYun said, with obvious disgust in his eyes, then gave Luo XiaoLou a thoughtful look.
Luo ShaoTian turned to Luo XiaoLou. He looked as if he wanted to say something, but finally just patted his shoulder and stood not far behind him.
When Feng JiaLing also looked over, Luo XiaoLou’s face became even harder. He had already thought of the answer. Protura. They were all turned into Protura in the end. These people, like him, were parasitized by the Protura. The specimens here were the evolutionary history of the Protura.
Feng JiaLing looked at the thing and said calmly, “The Protura was a race that existed in ancient times. A kind of virus-like existence. They were born with a force so powerful that it is terrible. After someone is parasitized, the Protura can completely replace the original body owner using their own strong Spiritual Power. However, because of their method of reproduction, it led to serious aggression with other races. But as soon as they appear on a large scale, they will become extinct soon afterwards because they have a fatal defect in their genes. It’s almost like a punishment from the Creator.”
“But even so, this evil ancient species found a way to perpetuate the race. Each time they are about to become extinct, some individuals are sealed away. When they are found again by humans or other intelligences, they reappear in front of people. This also means that the sacrifices appear.”
Feng JiaLing and Saint Gerald’s eyes flashed with worry. If Telles was working on this kind of thing hundreds of years ago, it meant that they discovered the Protura long ago. Coupled with what happened to the exotic beast clan, it was clear that Protura had originally selected the exotic beasts.
They used humans to approach the exotic beasts, and spread a virus to disable the exotic beasts. But the exotic beast clan had instead destroyed their home, and sealed the entire clan rather than let the Protura’s plot succeed.
Now, the Protura had extended its other hand. They never intended to let humans go. The mutant octopus people who started attacking humans were the best illustration.
Saint Gerald said with an icy face, “Telles. If the Protura really appeared in this star field because of them, they are the sinners of the whole star field. Did they think they could count on other civilizations to be attacked, and be lucky enough to escape disaster? Although it seems that they took great pains to design the whole star field, I must say that they are too stupid. Where the Protura appear, it always ends in destruction.”
Luo XiaoLou stared at the strange form of the Protura, and his mind suddenly went blank. He wanted to pull Yuan Xi tightly to him, tell him to leave this place and take their children out of this star field. But he couldn’t speak any words, instead of pulling on Yuan Xi’s hand, he calmly let go, as if his body had ideas of its own.
While Feng JiaLing and the others were still discussing the grim and terrible state of affairs, Luo XiaoLou walked forward alone. In order to communicate with the super AI, 125 and Hachi had already exchanged names, and now 125 was picking at Yuan Xi’s shoulder.
It wasn’t until Luo XiaoLou had some distance away, that 125 raised himself as an afterthought, and looked in Luo XiaoLou’s direction. Then he shouted in confusion, “Hey, honey! Where are you going? Don’t you think you’ve forgotten something important? For example, me?”
Yuan Xi snapped his head around. He stared at Luo XiaoLou who wasn’t even looking back, and shouted, “He isn’t in the right state. He must be stopped immediately.” As he said that, Yuan Xi was already running towards Luo XiaoLou.
However, before Yuan Xi could get more than two steps, there was suddenly a loud cracking sound in the hall of the fifth floor. People looked around, at a loss for words.
The surrounding walls, made of metal and boulders, broke open, and something inside was moving, and slowly, slowly revealed its form. Bright and neat.
“Oh my God! What is that!”
“The ceiling shattered too. We have to get out of here now!”
As the huge stones fell, the floor of the hall shook and the sound of loud footsteps rang in everyone’s ears.
Even though the entire hall was in shambles, Luo XiaoLou continued to walk forward senselessly. Just as he was about to be hit by a huge boulder, a man tackled him hard to the ground.
Yuan Xi, with red eyes, ran towards Luo XiaoLou amidst the countless debris.
Luo ShaoTian quickly pulled up Luo XiaoLou, who was pinned underneath him. He frowned at Luo XiaoLou’s lost eyes, grabbed his shoulders, and whispered in his ear, “Come to your senses, Luo Xiao…Brother, you have to come back with us! You can’t give up. If you do, he’ll never be able to replace you!”