Chapter 178: Jailor
This sudden voice gave everyone quite a fright.
Everyone simultaneously turned around. Those with weapons drew them, while those without weapons gathered their Origin Energy. Whether one had a weapon or not, everyone was preparing for a fight.
But when they turned to face the direction the voice had come from, they discovered the speaker wasn’t an actual person.
Not far away from them was a stone table. On that stone table was a slab of seemingly unassuming gray rock. Both the stone table and the rock were covered in beautiful, intricate carvings, and they radiated an incredibly profound aura.
In that moment, a hologram of a person was floating above the stone table.
He wore the Arcana Race’s typical magic robes and held a three-headed serpentine staff in his hands. He wasn’t too tall, and his eyes were a deep blue. Without question, he was an Arcana Race member.
“What’s going on?” Everyone approached the stone table cautiously.
Su Chen glanced at the stone slab and then the table, noticing that the carvings on the stone table extended all the way into the ground and then continued radiating outwards in a spider web fashion. He suddenly grasped the situation and said, “It seems like you’re the central control mechanism here.”
Central control mechanism?
Upon hearing these words, everyone understood what was happening.
Earlier, when they had been climbing the mountain, the Origin Formations had adapted again and again, making it seem like an intelligent lifeform was controlling them. However, after thirty-six thousand years, it was inconceivable for any lifeforms to have survived to this point.
But now, it appeared that the center of the mystery was right in front of him.
Ji Ruoyu stared dumbly at the Arcana Race hologram as he said, “This is the central control mechanism? What is he? A Tool Spirit?”
Su Chen replied, “Even though top-tier Origin Tools usually all have Tool Spirits, they only appeared after the Arcana Kingdom fell into ruin. This individual in front of us is less of a Tool Spirit and more of a specter or a ghost, a specter within the control mechanism.”
Upon hearing these words, everyone stared at the hologram in shock.
The Arcana Race hologram trembled slightly. “So the Arcana Kingdom was destroyed? Then right now, the Primordial Continent is under the control of the humans.”
“You can think of it that way. So who are you, then? Why are you in this stone slab?” Duan Jiangshan asked.
“I……” A trace of confusion appeared on the hologram’s face.
He thought for a moment, then replied, “I think my name is Ilaine, Ilaine Lamburn, an assistant to the mighty Master Patelocke…… Sorry, I’ve been kept here for so long that I have trouble even remembering my own name.”
“But you didn’t forget how to make trouble for us,” Yu Mengnan crossed her arms and said.
“Oh, are you talking about the matters from earlier? Yes, that was me,” Ilaine Lamburn replied. “But it evidently was of no use.”
“Does that include what happened with the Ferocious Race group too?” Su Chen said.
Ferocious Race? What happened with the Ferocious Race?
Everyone else was confused.
Ilaine Lamburn replied, “Yes, I was the one who shut down the Origin Formations around the mountain so that they could chase you.”
“What?” Duan Jiangshan’s temper instantly flared. “So the Ferocious Race youths were able to catch up to us because of you? Dammit!”
It wasn’t until now that poor Duan Jiangshan knew how the Ferocious Race youths had caught up to them so quickly.
He charged forward, wanting to squash the hologram. However, Ilaine Lamburn’s figure just distorted slightly as Duan Jiangshan’s hand passed right through him, completely ineffective.
“Enough, Jiangshan. There’s no need to fight with a specter like this, especially one that’s been shut in for thirty thousand years.”
“Yigu died because of his actions!” Duan Jiangshan replied.
“I know, but that’s not going to bring Yigu back. Besides, as the owner of this place, he has the right to refuse us entry. We were the ones who barged in here in the first place; we can’t blame him for not welcoming us,” Su Chen slowly said.
Everyone was stunned by what Su Chen said. Ilaine Lamburn gently smiled. “I’m delighted to meet a youth who knows how to be reasonable. I think we will have a pleasant conversation.”
“Whether it’s pleasant or not, you won’t be able to stop us from doing anything,” Duan Jiangshan harrumphed. “We’ll be taking all of the treasures here.”
“You mean those ingredients?” Ilaine Lamburn smiled slightly. “If your goal is just those things, I have no objections.”
“Hm?” Duan Jiangshan froze in place.
Ilaine Lamburn laughed, “As you can see, I’m just a specter who died nearly thirty thousand years ago, and I’m still around only because of a few special circumstances. I have no interest in those treasures because I have no need of them.”
“So why didn’t you let us in?” Yue Longsha asked.
“I just hoped to prevent you all from making a big mistake,” Ilaine Lamburne said. “You want treasure? No problem. Anything you can take, take it. The only thing you shouldn’t touch is that crystal ball.”
“What is it?” Yu Mengnan asked.
“A key to what?” Ji Ruoyu asked.
Ilaine Lamburn waved his hands. A wall not far from them actually began to turn transparent.
Everyone could see that there was a strange lifeform just lying there behind the transparent wall.
Its appearance was strange because it looked just like a pile of meat lying on the ground. If it weren’t for the fact that this meat pile actually had a mouth, they might have thought that it really was just that.
“What is that?”
“Patelocke’s Nightmare!” Ilaine Lamburn sighed. “Perhaps you might think that it doesn’t have any strength, but believe me, it’s one of the most frightening things in this place. If you were to release it into the wild, this thing would dominate the entire Primordial Continent in less than ten years.”
The students looked at one another.
Su Chen asked, “What exactly is it?”
“A kind of combined lifeform from Patelocke’s lab, a byproduct from the pursuit of our dreams,” Ilaine Lamburne replied. “This creature is completely invincible. Regardless of if you use flames to burn it, water to drown it, or any other methods, it just won’t die. It has an insatiable appetite. Metals, plants, ores – it can eat anything. Whenever it consumes a certain amount, it will split, turning from one into two, then into four, splitting itself without end……”
Su Chen and the others were dumbstruck.
No wonder Ilaine Lamburne said that it was a nightmare. If such a frightening entity were to enter their world, it would definitely cause a calamity.
“Why would you research these kinds of things?” Duan Jiangshan asked angrily.
“Why else? Of course, it’s to create an immortal lifeform,” Ilaine Lamburn sighed.
An immortal lifeform?
So this was the owner of the lab’s plan.
Ilaine Lamburne said, “Patelocke’s dream was to achieve immortality. He was a master of the biological sciences, and performed countless experiments to achieve his dreams, eventually resulting in the creation of Patelocke’s Nightmare. However, it wasn’t originally; it was called the Dream of Immortality, and carried with it the burden of all our hopes and dreams.”
“At that time, we had already discovered that our own lifeforce stems from one of the most foundational substances in our bodies. The extension of an organism’s lifeforce depends on how many times this substance separates, and the number of possible separations is limited – hence the reason why our lifespans are limited. Thus, we tried to create a type of organism that could separate this substance an unlimited number of times, then extract its power.”
“We succeeded, and we also failed. The lifeform did have the ability to separate this substance an unlimited number of times. However, to accomplish this, it constantly swallowed everything it ran across. When we realized this problem, it was already too late.”
Traces of fear appeared on his face as he said, “We began to panic and tried to come up with a way to exterminate it. But at that point, things had already begun to move out of our control……”
A long time later, he said, “We spent a lot of energy, but we were still unable to kill it; on the other hand, we ourselves were badly injured by its attacks. In the end, all we could do was keep it locked up in this eternal prison. And I died in the course of that battle. When I awoke again, I discovered that I had been turned into the form that you see now. That’s how I’ve continued to survive until this point.”
So that’s how it was.
“What about the other Arcana Race individuals who survived?” Yu Mengnan asked.
“I think they’ve probably left. Since something this serious happened, the best thing to do to ensure their own safety was to just place this entire research lab in a void. I was responsible for keeping watch over Patelocke’s Nightmare. That was also the reason that they resurrected me.”
Upon hearing these words, everyone somewhat understood why Ilaine Lamburne had done what he did.
He was unwilling to let everyone in because he was worried that someone would accidentally open it and release such a frightening beast.
“As long as you don’t touch that crystal ball, I can help you find all of the treasures in here. I even know of a few extremely hidden treasure stores.”
Upon hearing these words, everyone was extremely excited.
“Awesome!” Ji Ruoyu said excitedly. “We agree!”
The others also nodded.
There was no reason not to agree.
Su Chen said, “So, where’s the hidden treasure?”
“No need to be in such a rush, young man,” Ilaine Lamburn laughed. “First, you need to take this stone tablet off of the table. Do you see the inset hole there? Just place the stone tablet into that divot and turn it three times. That should be enough.”
“Okay,” Ji Ruoyu replied and was about to pick up the stone tablet.
Su Chen stopped him. He asked, “What does this have to do with the hidden treasure stores?”
“Because this is how to open the treasure rooms,” Ilaine Lamburne replied.
Su Chen, however, was still apprehensive. He continued to ask, “Can you not open it on your own?”
“I’m just a specter,” Ilaine Lamburne replied. “Even though I have my own thoughts, I cannot touch physical objects.”
“Oh, so that’s how it is?” Su Chen muttered.
“So can you do it now?” Ilaine Lamburne laughed as he asked Su Chen.
Ji Ruoyu was about to advance again when Su Chen held him back yet another time.
Everyone stared at Su Chen with a confused expression. Su Chen lowered his head in thought.
Ilaine Lamburne began to grow impatient. “What are you thinking? Young man? Are you not interested in the hidden treasures?”
Su Chen replied slowly, “I was just thinking that if you couldn’t touch physical objects, how could you control those Origin Formations? And what would be the point of leaving you here to watch over Patelocke’s Nightmare if you couldn’t do anything?”
Ilaine Lamburne was stunned.
Everyone else was stunned.
Su Chen continued, “If a jailor can’t even use the key himself but still claims that he’s there to stand guard over the place, isn’t that pretty ridiculous?”
“Let me put it this way. You aren’t the jailor, are you? You’re a criminal who got locked up, isn’t that right, Master Patelocke!”