Chapter 681 Mysteries Part 1
‘Solus, how could we understand a dead language.’ Lith thought after replaying the events in his head until he was certain that it wasn’t just a hallucination.
‘Not “we”, you did. I heard only gibberish until you translated it for me.’ Her answer hit Lith harder than everything he had witnessed so far. He even asked Phloria and the Professors, but they confirmed to him that all they heard was unknown words.
That bit of news shocked Lith. The last thing he needed was more unanswered questions.
The door to the second underground floor was ripped off as well, but the signs of struggle stopped halfway through the U shaped corridor. The creature’s limited range of action had prevented it from conquering the whole building.
The floor was empty, only corpses remained and this time they all belonged to prisoners that the Odi had left locked inside their cells. The administrative office was intact, so while the language experts studied the medical reports, the others examined the bodies.
The first thing they noticed was that once again the cells were small and cramped with up to six beds. Lith noticed that some of the inmates had runes of power surgically carved over their skeletons. Most of them, however, shown bite marks and the only clean bones were as brittle as breadsticks.
‘I can understand the cannibalism. If the Odi abandoned them here, hunger must have driven them insane, but why a set of brittle bones in each cell?’ Lith thought and even Solus had no explanation to offer him.
Since there was no threat, no relic, nor anything worth studying, the Forgemasters went examining the next holographic pad to discover its password while waiting for the linguists.
This time they didn’t need Lith’s help. The Professors had learned their lesson and thoroughly examined the uncommon characters too. Ellkas and Gaakhu only needed a glance to guess the password.
“Seems that enchanting living being was a total bust.” They explained. “There were only two possible outcomes for the Odi’s experiments. The first and more common was death by mana poisoning.
“Those who somehow adapted to the foreign mana were barely one in a hundred and they would die in a way as slow and painful as mana poisoning that the Odi called ‘mana drain’.
“Basically, their bodies were unable to fuel the enchantment with their innate mana and would collapse over time. They tried to fix the problem by Bonding the specimens with mana crystals, but the survival rate was 0%.”
There was a total of five underground floors and each one of them recorded a different kind of madness. The third floor was for intellect enhancement experiments, but aside from failure reports and corpses with deformed skulls, there was nothing to see.
The fourth one was the Immortality project, but since all the prisoners were dead there was no doubt about its failure. On the fifth floor, the Life Merging process truly scared them.
The whole floor was empty. There was no corpse lying around nor documents left in the office.
“Oh shit! I think this one succeeded.” Morok said. “Also, there must be a secret passage around here. Otherwise we should have found much more Odi corpses on our way here.”
“Indeed.” Yondra nodded. “If the Odi locked themselves in here to escape from the hybrid, they would have died like all the others. Instead not only did they manage to continue their experiments, but they also had the time to clean everything.”
After searching the floor, they discovered the existence of an elevator in the wall near the stairs. It wasn’t actually hidden, just hard to notice since on Mogar elevators didn’t exist and its doors were so perfectly sealed for security reasons that nothing distinguished them from the nearby metal walls.
Unfortunately, it was useless. It required both a password and a key to access to each floor, clearly to keep the different research teams in the dark about what others had achieved.
It was barely past lunchtime, but everyone was exhausted, so they decided to call it a day and go back to the camp.
Lith and Phloria spent all of their free time with Quylla. Lith explained to her all the failed experiments they had witnessed and their consequences.
“Gods, I’m really starting to believe that the Odi’s life force underwent so many modifications that they became utterly insane.” Quylla could tell by Phloria’s face turning green at the recount of the events that Lith was sparing her the most gruesome details.
“Body Sculpting is named so because it’s almost a work of art. The smallest mistake can scar forever your patient, that’s why we practiced so much on slimes before treating people. The Odi, instead, seemed to hammer randomly and hope for a masterpiece.”
Quylla’s words sparked a crazy idea in Lith’s mind, something that gave Solus the creeps.
“What do you think they could achieve with the Life Merging project?” Lith handed her the translated documents that they had retrieved from the main administrative building.
“I understand all the other projects, but this one is beyond me. It has no military application nor it would have brought the Odi any closer to achieve eternal life.”
“Maybe, and maybe not.” Quylla moved closer to Lith, sitting beside him before Hushing the area around them.
“Good gods, that one too? Leave something for the rest of us. That’s not cool bro.” Morok said before hitting on Jerth and being hit in return.
“As you know, life force determines the life span of an individual. By merging two life forces, you could in theory live twice as long.” Quylla ignored the Ranger, explaining her hypothesis.
“Of course there would be the problem of split personalities, the fight for dominance, and the risk of rejection that could kill both subjects at once. So maybe the Odi were trying to remove the side effects. We know that it’s possible because Thrud succeeded.”
“I know that, but Thrud had centuries at her disposal as well as Arthan’s Madness, whereas the Odi society collapsed soon after they began their experiments.” Lith said.
“Your theory would make sense if they experimented on other Odi, but judging from the cells, they kept working on ‘lesser races’. Also, there’s the contradiction that they apparently succeeded and yet there isn’t a single Odi alive.
“What did they use such technology for, then?”
“I have no clue, but I’ll see if there’s anything useful in these notes.” She said hugging Lith a bit too close for comfort. “Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out. Where there’s a will there’s a way.”
At first, Phloria thought that Quylla was just talking about the current mission, but Lith’s shocked expression told her otherwise.
“How do you know about it?” Lith asked.
“How does she know about what?” Phloria echoed, reminding him of her presence.
“Smooth move, Lith. All my efforts to be as vague as possible are ruined. Do you tell her or do you want me to do the honors?” Quylla said, letting him go and allowing herself to sniffle a little.
“You have yet to answer me. How do you know about it?” Lith said.
“Everyone in the light department knows. The Professors treated you after Balkor’s attack, remember? Do you think they could miss such a thing? I…”
“What are two hiding from me?” Phloria cut her short, her patience was running thin.