IWOL Chapter 174: Time to Hunt

Compared to the first night when they were caught off guard, all pilgrims hid in the factory. The workers in coveralls silently cleaned up the blood stains on the floor and on the factory walls. 

Based on Cui Zuojing’s observations, there were about 80 pilgrims in the [Factory] arena. A few of them were in the same team, while some have chosen to cooperate with one another and temporarily form a team.

During the day, the place was a chaotic battlefield, but at night, silence descended. Out from the darkened corners, who knew how many pairs of eyes were quietly watching the “maintenance workers,” waiting vigilantly for them to leave their factory so they could go back to resting. 

At this moment, Cui Zuojing fell from the sky.

Under the bright lights, the figure of the young man jumping down the steel frame was like a god descending to earth. Before the creatures could react, he landed on one coverall that was bent over to clean. The huge impact smashed it to the ground so hard that its bones made a cracking sound!

A steel sheet slid out of Cui Zuojing’s sleeve and slammed into the worker’s wrist, directly cutting off one of its hands!

The coverall was like a wheat sprout that had been stepped on. It laid silently on the ground, blood spilling from the gaps in the clothes that tightly wrapped its body. There was no struggle, no cries, just like…a machine that had been broken.

The severed hand flew up in the air, crossing a blood-colored parabola. Cui Zuojing grabbed it in midair and smashed the steel rod into the other coverall that was about the pounce on him. Its body flew out of the encirclement. The pilgrims hiding in the dark watched as he jumped up, grabbed the edge of a three-meter tall container with his right hand, and climbed up. 

As dexterous as a wild cat. 

The coveralls immediately chased after Cui Zuojing. He ran, jumping between containers. They chased along the ground, and despite having passed through six or seven factories, he couldn’t throw them off. It seemed as if, at this moment, they were on a hunt, and he’d become the primary target. 

They had a fatal attraction to their companion’s body, which was the same as mentioned in 3008’s file. In Endless IKEA, the owner of the diary on record had once lived in a base where a small piece of employee meat was stuffed between the gap of two boxes, attracting endless IKEA employees that ultimately destroyed the base. 

He had to move faster! Although their fighting ability wasn’t too strong, it wouldn’t be easy for him to deal with so many of them at once.

Where was it?

Cui Zuojing ran into another factory and finally found the machine sitting in the corner. 

The five settings were marked in a semicircle and below the words was the turning knob that acted at the “key.” He rushed over, and as he passed by, he saw that there was a girl hiding underneath a box covered in tarpaulin, looking at him with murderous eyes. After their eyes met for a few seconds, Cui Zuojing ran on indifferently. 

When he reached the processing machine, he put the worker’s rubber gloved hand into the intake booth, selected the Very Fine setting, and quickly turned the key.

As the coveralls neared, the machine began to run.

Cui Zuojing took out three pieces of steel from his waist and threw them out. The pieces of steel hit the hall, forming what appeared to be a three-step ladder one meter apart.

He stepped on the steel plate and jumped to a height of five meters. When his body was in the highest position, he held onto the steel plate and affixed himself to the wall. 

He immediately borrowed the steel pieces in his hands and used them to climb up to the steel frame of the roof. 

Finally, he knelt on one knee and raised his hand to wipe the sweat that was flowing down to his chin. He parted his lips, panting slightly. Although he seemed to be soaked with sweat, he still felt completely cold.

In the factory, the fans were only used for ventilation and so it was still quite stuffy. 

The machine rumbled. 

Before, it took a full half an hour for the machine to convert a few screws. Therefore, the time required for the Very Fine setting would probably take longer.

The workers in coveralls hurried to the machine, sensing the presence of their companion inside it. They raised the wrenches and hammers in their hands high and began to madly beat the conversion machine. After a few hits, the machine’s outer shell started to become mangled.

It can’t go on like this!

SCP-914 could be damaged. Its interior was composed of many complicated and exquisite gears, like a giant clockwork. It was a sophisticated and complicated machine. If it was destroyed before the conversion could be completed, then wouldn’t he have wasted his time?

Cui Zuojing sighed and was about to go down again to draw away the coveralls. 

At this moment, the coveralls suddenly stopped.

They seemed to have come back to their senses all of a sudden, not understanding why they were attacking the machine in front of them. After looking around in confusion, they began to disperse one after another.

Cui Zuojing breathed a sigh of relief. 

It seemed that the severed hand had been processed to the extent that the workers could no longer recognize it.

He relaxed and patiently watched the conversion machine with its banged up outer shell. 

In SCP-914’s file, 05 Command had issued an order that there be no experimentations done with living organisms. 

However, before the order was issued, researchers had put in living D-class personnel and animal corpses. Although the output resulted in [DATA EXPUNGED], it wasn’t difficult to infer from the words that converting living raw materials would result in a terrifying anomalous creature. 

This transformation machine wasn’t as powerful as 914’s functions, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to make something strange.  

*********

Dong Zheng hurried down the corridor, leaving the area of the prison that was loudly being destroyed behind him.

There wasn’t anyone in the cafeteria, in the hall, or in the corridor. There was not a single uniformed figure found on surveillance. It seemed that all the prison staff had evacuated within the two hours time frame, leaving this prison as a battlefield to the prisoners that were left behind.

Earlier, Dong Zheng had secretly kept track of the people who’d signed up to participate and found that the participants numbered 200 prisoners, including 70 to 80 pilgrims. In other words, they not only have to collect secret letters and struggle with other pilgrims, but they must also contend with twice as many monsters.

Since everyone’s end goal was to escape from prison, it stood to reason that they should work together. However, fact proved that this was obviously not the case. The brief chaos in the corridor just now perfectly explained everything.

These prisoners were cruel and lazy by nature, and they also had enmity with one another. With no one to restrain them, the mania that had been suppressed for so long finally burst out. For them, the best way to find relief was through destruction and violence.

Better to hide away first. 

Dong Zheng went all the way to the prison guards’ dormitory area, picked one at random, unlocked the electronic door lock, and entered in an open manner. 

During the time when they’d arrived at the Top of the Giant Tree, Dong Zheng’s abilities had undergone some qualitative changes. From activities like him and Fu Zhe infiltrating Shiratori’s database and stealing information to practicing with his tablet every day, all of these had caused Dong Zheng to progress at a steady rate. 

Now, his kernel could almost perfectly connect with external terminals, as if he’d become a computer himself and his brain the best CPU.

In his current state, if he were to be placed back on Snow Parasite Trail, he wouldn’t need an authorization card to open closed doors at all. General electronic security systems could no longer bar him.

However, the mental burden that came with this way of unlocking doors was not small, and so it couldn’t be used without restrictions. 

The door closed automatically behind him. This was a prison guard’s room. The bed was neatly made, the table top was clean, and there was basically nothing in the closet. There was only a folded uniform left in a corner of a cabinet.

Dong Zheng sat down on the bed. The prison guard didn’t appear to be rushing to pack up. It was clear that he, or all of them, had left in an orderly manner, as if he’d long known the news of this amnesty.

Aside from the limited information he’d seen and heard since entering this arena, Dong Zheng had no other knowledge of this interstellar prison. He didn’t know what this so-called once in a hundred year amnesty was.

He doubted the truth of the whole story. It stood to reason that, as a participant in the elimination, Dong Zheng would only need to expand efforts to collect cards and secret letters in these upcoming two days; he didn’t have to think so much about it.

But, he’d long become accustomed to mulling over the little bits of subtle clues that he’d sporadically collected. This may be related to the fact that he often performed a great deal of logic training in line with training his kernel ability. Therefore, whenever he saw data that could be analyzed, he couldn’t help but do so.

Judging from the weird ways the prisoners were breaking out of their cell, this prison was likely full of vicious and high-risk prisoners. From the perspective of the prison staff in this era, humans were the more dominant, intelligent creatures. Their bodies hadn’t undergone any significant evolution and so they could only use advanced technology to keep these prisoners under safe custody.

If a prisoner were to succeed in breaking out of prison, it would definitely cause great panic in the outside world.

It was impossible for prison authorities to let this happen. 

Dong Zheng remembered the warden and the old man’s subtle attitude when the amnesty was announced, and he slowly frowned.

Every surveillance camera told him that there was really no prison staff left in the prison. Left unattended, could electronic security measures alone really have the ability to stop these prisoners that wielded magic?

He figured that they must be absolutely certain that no one could escape.

So, what exactly was this prison’s hidden trump card?

What was the purpose of this amnesty?

A rumbling noise sounded from the sky, and Dong Zheng tapped into the monitors and saw that some prisoners had already arrived at his location and were wrecking havoc. 

He drew his card out from his pocket and saw a small cow and cat curled up on the card, sleeping in a ball. 

He stood up, found a dagger hidden in the nightstand and carried it with him, ready to go outside and look for secret letters.

At this moment, from all the speakers in the entire prison came a cold, robotic voice.

“Nanometer ion defense partition opened. Tesla solenoid default underground nuclear defense base closed. All unnecessary personnel have safely evacuated.”

“Skaros-072 program launched. Lifting No. S000010’s confinement and initiating release.”

In a gloomy underground prison, a pair of eyes opened silently one after another. 

In the scarlet eyeballs with their dark, vertical pupils, there was a violent cruelty that had become more and more profound after thousands of years.

The countless locks that imprisoned its body began to melt, and those that were tightly pressed to its skin directly melted into molten iron. 

Sacrifices had been presented at the altar, and the “Skaros-072” program was launched for the 96th time, one hundred and fifty years later.

It was time to hunt.

—————-

Xixi: It has come to my attention that the “Like” button isn’t working. Just disregard it for now. Sigh. Blogger is being clunky as usual. On the bright side, I’ll likely be migrating everything over to a different platform soon so hopefully things will work better then. Thanks for the info, Anonymous. 🙂

 


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Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you for the chapter~ Aww, and here I was looking forward to raining more love on the story~ I'll look forward to the future site! 😀

For a moment there, I thought Cui Zuojing was trying to lead the coveralls into the processing machine O.O And then I thought he was trying to get them to destroy the machine. I didn't expect him to actually try and manufacture some new organism. I wonder what that will turn out like~ And I'm so glad that Dong Zheng's box has a reason for the amnesty. It adds a more realistic flair. I wonder what that Skaros-072 thingy is O.O Is it another SCP based creature? Things are getting pretty exciting >w<

Nova
Nova
2 years ago

I like the mc and ml but I do wish we saw what happened to the other members of the team, even briefly. Especially after Allen, I’m so worried about them.

Kala
Kala
2 years ago

Thank you so so so much for all of your hard work ❤️.
Every chapter is bringing us closer to the truth but also making everything more confusing 😉… and I quite love being in this state of constant confusion…
Don’t know why but it feels like DZ arena is way harder… but it might be just my misconception. I think that they logically should be on the same level of difficulty.

theeggmonger
theeggmonger
1 year ago

Goodbye Skaros, it’ll be fun to see how you either become part of the team or are beaten. Thank you for the translation!