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    Chapter 123

    Whenever Lane thought she had grown accustomed to the players' antics, they would find new ways to prove her wrong.

    How could mere NPCs fathom the antics of these mischievous players? !

    Amidst the chaos, no one noticed the twitch at the corner of Lane's mouth. Judith sternly looked at Justice is on the Side of Beauty and said, "You know what you're saying, right?"

    "Yes," Justice is on the Side of Beauty replied, pressing their lips together. They returned Judith's serious gaze with equal intensity. "I'm sure."

    The operating room fell silent. Judith didn't speak, lowering her eyes to watch the wriggling eggs—be they insect or fish—gradually filling the bloody holes in the patient's body.

    "Leave us," Judith instructed the medical staff surrounding them. Having worked for the Bureau of Investigation for years, they knew better than to approach certain matters with conventional logic.

    Justice is on the Side of Beauty looked at Judith expectantly, but Judith hesitated to make a decision.

    Lane understood that it might be because Judith was aware that investigators who delved deep into the Rift of Dreams might also exhibit signs of mutation.

    But the players were unaware of this, mistakenly interpreting the alienation as a sign that the investigator had been possessed by the bizarre.

    Sure enough, the main quest notification that Justice is Beauty was waiting for didn't come. As the bloody holes on the operating table began to mend, Judith's furrowed brow gradually relaxed, suggesting her loyalty to her subordinate.

    Lane sighed. Closing his eyes, he communicated with his core self in his mind. The advantage of an avatar was that it didn't require a divine descent or incantations to borrow the power of the original form. However, if the avatar's strength wasn't high, it would shorten the lifespan of the borrowed body.

    Ian Pan's body was created by Lane using a spiritual seed, allowing him to use the power of his original form at most three times.

    After manipulating fate and invading the dreams of Arkham citizens previously, Lane had initially gained the ability to wield shallow dream power and mist. Although this wasn't his divine realm, he could still influence a person's subconsciousness in front of him, rousing them from their dreams.

    The man on the operating table blinked, confusedly opening his eyes.

    "I... Where am I?"

    Judith lowered her head in delight. "You're okay, Julian. That really scared me just now, but I'm glad you're unharmed."

    "That madman, who is he? I don't recognize him," Julian said expressionlessly.

    Justice is Beauty casually remarked, "Really? He seemed to genuinely hate you. There was a resentment of abandonment in his eyes."

    The live-stream viewers were in stitches.

    Thanks to the suggestions from the forum members, Justice Is Skin-Deep had also started a live stream, all to witness the moment when the main quest would commence. However, before the quest could begin, the audience was already astounded by Barbie's actions.

    "Laughing my head off! I was just wondering how Barbie would catch Judith's attention, and then boom, this happens. You guys never cease to amaze."

    "Well played, love it!"

    "Just a bit damaging to the NPC's reputation."

    "NPC reputation taking a hit here."

    Upon hearing Justice Is Skin-Deep's words, a hint of hesitation flickered across Judith's eyes. Then, she took a deep breath. "Forget it. As long as you're fine, that's what matters. When you're better, let's go to the canteen and try the cilantro pork. It's the latest dish they've introduced; I've heard it's delicious."

    Julian replied, "Very well, ma'am."

    In that instant, every player in the game received a notification in their ears.

    "Main Quest — The Dark Side of the Audit Bureau has been triggered."

    "Act I: Who Are You?"

    "Mission Description: Rumors have lately surfaced within the Inspectorate that some investigators have transformed into different beings. Many dismiss it as mere nonsense, but is the truth really so trivial?"

    "Number of Players for Mission: Unlimited."

    "Mission Reward: 100,000 experience points, 300 free attribute points, 500,000 Yuan rewards... Upon completion of the main quest, rewards will be distributed according to each player's contribution at different stages."

    "Warning! This mission is classified as Hellish difficulty. Players are advised to accept it with caution. The consequences of failing the main quest are irreversible."

    The final warning was a dark crimson, resembling the hue of coagulated blood, seemingly indicative of the perilous nature of the task at hand.

    In an instant, the live stream in Yan Jiuzhi's channel was flooded with comments.

    "Good heavens, it really triggered!"

    "Yan Ji Zheng is awesome! Barba is awesome! Black Cat is awesome!"

    "The Triumph of the Common Folk.jpg"

    "Didn't you guys notice the difficulty of this main quest? (Shivering) It somehow gives me the vibe that the Game Master is about to impose punishment."

    "Definitely. It feels like this main quest wasn't supposed to trigger at this point, but the players forced it, you know."

    "What if we really fail?"

    "Huh, it says to accept it with caution... Can you actually decline a main quest? And what would happen if we don't take it?"

    "Well, perhaps the players won't participate. This NPC named Judith has clearly detected irregularities within the Investigative Bureau. If the players don't intervene, based on the usual plot, it'd likely be a scenario where the investigator attempts to resist the bureau's corruption and ultimately fails."

    "Sigh, it hurts, it really hurts."

    "No way, I feel like this lady is quite nice qwq"

    When Justice Through Appearance saw this message, her heart tightened, and she instinctively looked at Judith. The latter was bending over the injured person on the operating table, soothing their emotions with her usual gentle and dignified demeanor, showing no sign of having noticed the issues within the bureau.

    "Alright, take your time healing. Don't worry, we'll properly interrogate that intruder."

    After giving Julian her word, Judith led Justice Through Appearance and Lane out of the surgery room. As they turned, they witnessed Judith's gentle expression fade, replaced by a sharp glint in her eyes.

    "Let's go."

    Justice of Yan followed Judith in silence out of the operating room. She had already accepted the main quest and then, when they were alone, she suddenly tugged at Judith's sleeve.

    "I have something important to discuss with you."

    Judith looked at her newly promoted assistant in silence and nodded. She also pulled Lane along. "He'll come with us."

    Justice of Yan gave Lane a curious glance but didn't say much. The three of them went to an empty stairwell.

    "Mrs. Judith, I'm sorry. I stole your ID card before."

    With Lane and Judith's astonished gazes, Justice of Yan slightly bowed her head, looking apologetic.

    "I've been secretly investigating the rumor about the Audit Bureau. The reason I stole your ID card was that I suspected someone on the top floor of the internal hospital was conducting human experiments – the ones who transformed the investigators into monsters. When you took me for a checkup at the internal hospital before, I secretly took your ID card to investigate the top floor... I'm truly sorry for betraying your trust in me."

    "What's going on? Why did you confess?"

    "Well, I just praised Justice of Yan for doing well, but now I take it back. You clearly made a wrong move here."

    "Tsk, what was he thinking? The situation is currently advantageous. Judith is clearly going to be the central figure in the main storyline. Being by her side, Justice of Appearance would reap huge benefits. If he reveals the card theft now, there's no way he can regain her trust."

    The live stream chat was filled with criticism towards Justice of Appearance's poor move.

    "Black Cat: Really? I don't think so."

    "Guru, throw a Master Ball!"

    "Black Cat has been appearing too often lately, not worth a Master Ball. Just a regular ball will do."

    "Black Cat: (laughs and cries) Sorry for being such a frequent surfer. Alright, enough joking around. Honestly, I believe it's a good time to come clean. The card theft will be discovered sooner or later. It's a ticking time bomb between players and NPCs. It's better to explode now than at a crucial moment, causing rifts between Judith and the players."

    "Hmm, even if you say that, big shot..."

    "Black Cat: Besides, do you really think Justice of Appearance can keep it hidden for long? From her behavior just now, I feel like she's already revealed something. If Judith is an experienced investigator, she'd surely notice something off. If it's not addressed, it might not be a problem, but can Judith truly trust Justice of Appearance?"

    "Black Cat: Moreover, revealing it now has its advantages. It could immediately direct Judith's investigation towards the internal hospital, saving us from starting from scratch."

    "Ahh, that does make sense."

    "If that's your thinking, I can accept it, but only if Judith can still tolerate you after your reveal. Otherwise, it would be a loss greater than the gain."

    Justice Is in the Face also noticed the chat and anxiously observed Judith's expression, but found it hard to read anything from her tightly controlled poker face.

    Finally, Judith spoke up. "Why do you want to investigate this matter?"

    Justice Is in the Face was taken aback.

    She looked into Judith's eyes, who met her gaze without any sign of disgust or aversion. Instead, there seemed to be anticipation for her answer.

    Justice Is in the Face knew that this response mattered. She weighed her words carefully, considering whether to roll the dice for a persuasive speech.

    In the end, she answered, "I just wanted to do it, and I believed it was the right thing to do."

    It was indeed the genuine sentiment of a player. Why so many whys? If you want to do it, just do it.

    Justice Is in the Face felt that her answer was weak and unconvincing, but Judith's lips curved into a small smile. "Is that so? Just doing what you want, such a nostalgic answer. Unfortunately, I no longer possess that kind of courage."

    "Are you not angry?" Justice Is in the Face asked cautiously.

    "Initially, I was angry, but not because you stole my card. It was due to your reckless actions," Judith said. "But you've given me an answer, haven't you? You did it because you believed it was the right thing to do."

    Judith placed her hand on Justice Is All's shoulder and looked earnestly into her eyes. "Remember, doing what you believe is right is more important than following rules. In our world, the only thing we can hold onto is the voice within ourselves."

    Was that... considered a safe passage?

    Justice Is All's eyes reflected Judith's brown ones as she nodded, dazed.

    "Alright, now tell me about your findings. I believe you would have come to me sooner or later, even without today's incident, right?"

    Justice of Face promptly replied, "Yes, I did find something."

    She immediately recounted the scene she'd witnessed on the rooftop to Judith, who knitted her brow. "You saw some sort of monstrous, flesh-like conduit connected to the patient's body?"

    "Indeed, believe me, there must be something amiss in that area," Justice Is Ugly declared assertively.

    Judith was lost in thought, contemplating the bizarre substitute for the investigator... Could this be the handiwork of someone from the Secretariat?

    She found herself glancing at Lann, the red-haired youth who listened to their conversation quietly, his face devoid of overt surprise, perhaps indicating a lack of intimate knowledge about the workings within the Audit Bureau.

    Or perhaps the Secretary's Office had already been infiltrated by the strange, thus leading to these incidents?

    Judith knew that if such an infiltration were true, it would be the gravest stain in the Bureau's history. She and the impostor Julian had worked in the same office for so long without noticing anything amiss. If not for today's unexpected turn of events, they might not have uncovered the truth for years to come.

    What did the strange beings intend to do after replacing humans? What could they even do?

    Judith felt a chill run down her spine, her hairs standing on end – a sensation she hadn't experienced since leaving the front lines of investigations. The feeling of Death's breath on her face was back.

    "Alright, we'll investigate this together," Judith said with a serious expression. Then, she turned to the silent Lane. "Sorry, Ian. The investigation into the aliens might have to wait a little longer."

    Lane remained calm. "It's alright. I understand priorities."

    "Oh, who's this NPC? He looks familiar."

    "You're right. He does, but I don't think we've seen him in the storyline."

    Intrigued, Beauty Is Justice gave Lane a few more curious glances. Lane smiled at her. "Hello, I'm Ian Pan."

    "Don't worry, he's trustworthy," Judith assured, patting Lane's red hair. "Since you've been honest with me, I'll share something with you as well. I've actually been secretly investigating the Secretary's Office personnel too."

    "The Secretary's Office?" Justice's face lit up, and he hurriedly asked, "What happened to them?"

    "Another case is involved here. The Audit Bureau once sent an investigator to infiltrate a cult, but they accidentally uncovered a mole within the bureau during their undercover work," Judith explained briefly. "I've been investigating this matter for years."

    "Hmm, she's talking about Outsiders, right?"

    "Probably. I didn't expect that the girl was originally on our side."

    "And now, after hearing what you've said, there might be a connection between these two incidents."

    Justice nodded repeatedly and blurted out, "Perhaps it's someone from the Secretary's Office who's behind the conspiracy to replace humans with anomalies!"

    "Well, that's a direct completion of the main storyline, huh?"

    "Isn't that progress too fast? They just triggered the main quest, and now it's finished? That's not logical at all. How do they balance the game?"

    "But we knew about the dark truth of the Audit Bureau from the start, so it's no surprise that it's the Director and his loyal henchmen, as expected. They gave away the answer right from the beginning, so what can we do?"

    "Not to mention, this main storyline is poorly done. There's no suspense at all."

    "Is it really that simple? It feels too surreal, as if there might be another underlying reason."

    "Let's not rush things. Let's observe first."

    With that, Justice of Appearance watched Judith's reaction with some anxiety, while the main mission remained steadfast.

    Judith responded, "It's too early to draw conclusions. How about we go to the hospital rooftop as you suggested?"

    "Sure," Justice of Appearance agreed without hesitation.

    As they moved to the hospital, the number of viewers in Justice of Appearance's livestream continued to grow, and many of the chat messages were from familiar veteran players' usernames. She felt both thrilled and nervous, sensing that she was under the scrutiny of these gaming giants.

    Upon arriving at the hospital, Judith took the initiative to call Dr. Hans. The doctor hurried down from the elevator and arrived at the entrance, complaining, "If you're coming for a visit, you should have let me know beforehand."

    Justice of Appearance closely observed his expression, rolling the dice for psychology, but didn't detect anything out of the ordinary. He seemed genuinely annoyed by the interruption to his work.

    "Sorry, I was just concerned about my former teammate," Judith's eyes held a subtle sadness. "As you know, I've kept in touch with their families. This child has come all this way, and he's desperate to see his cousin."

    Judith placed her hand on Lane's shoulder, which startled him, but he composed himself, putting on a sorrowful and eager demeanor.

    The doctor fell silent, then sighed. "Well, what can I say? The progress of experiments doesn't bend to our will either... Come on, let's go."

    Under the doctor's guidance, the group entered the elevator. "This elevator doesn't have a direct access to the top floor. It's a security measure to prevent intruders. So, we'll head to the ninth floor first."

    Judith was undoubtedly aware of this, so the doctor explained it specifically to Justice and Lane. Lane asked, "Are all these floors hospital wards?"

    "There are wards, as well as consultation rooms, rest areas for doctors and nurses, and recreational spaces. Generally, the lower three floors accommodate patients with mild conditions, maybe just some 'mental flu' or minor symptoms. From the third to the sixth floor, you'll find regular hospital wards where patients require extended treatment."

    Above the third floor?

    Justice was momentarily taken aback. She suddenly recalled the investigator she had seen yesterday, whose name seemed to be Bill. He was staying on the third floor...

    But he looked so normal from the outside.

    "What about the floors above the sixth?" Justice inquired.

    "The top floor is the experimental area, filled with equipment. As for the sixth to ninth floors..." The doctor gave a wry smile. "You'll see soon enough."

    With that, the elevator doors opened.

    In fact, Beauty Is Justice had visited the ninth floor once before, but she had merely taken a quick glance and then ascended directly to the top floor, never actually exploring this level.

    Now, she finally got the chance to see it in its entirety.

    The ninth floor was designed to be bright and airy, with glass walls wherever sunlight could penetrate, giving the space a warm, rather than ominous, ambiance.

    However, this did little to mask the eerie sounds emanating from within the patient rooms.

    Doctor, walking ahead, explained, "The patients here are all very special. Their minds and consciousness are trapped in a state of madness, preventing them from awakening. So, while you're touring, please do not draw their attention."

    No further elaboration was needed; Beauty Is Justice had already noticed.

    Peering through the windows of the patient rooms lining the corridor, she saw patients in hospital gowns engaged in bizarre activities – some banging their heads or bodies against the walls, one meditating on the bed, another muttering prayers to the outside world...

    It was, in a word, a scene reminiscent of a mental institution. The only difference was that, upon considering that these individuals were once investigators, there was nothing amusing about it.

    Lane knew even more and associated it with the second layer of the Dream Rift trial; many of these patients might be investigators who couldn't escape their madness.

    He gazed at Judith, who led the way, noticing the tension in her jaw as she walked straight ahead, lost in thought.

    Suddenly, they passed by a ward where an occupant suddenly rushed to the window, violently pounding on it. "Captain! It's me, Captain! Get me out of here!"

    Judith halted and turned her head towards the patient in the ward.

    Upon catching her attention, the patient's expression grew even more agitated. "Let me out now!"

    A dark cloud seemed to gather over Judith's face. "Leon, do you know where you are?"

    "Get me out of here, Captain! It's me! I'm your team member!" The man with short black hair yelled from within the ward. "Monsters surround us, all of them! They're really here to harm us!"

    Justice Is Appearance and Lane exchanged glances, their hearts stirred as they observed the man's frantic expression. In contrast, Judith and the doctor appeared calm, as if accustomed to such outbursts, their eyes reflecting a quiet sorrow.

    Sure enough, in the next second, the man with short black hair abruptly stepped back from the ward entrance and shouted into an empty corner of the room. "Let her go! You monsters! I'll fight you!"

    With that, he lunged at the wall. Fortunately, the walls of the ward were padded with soft material, so his impact only left him disoriented. Struggling to his feet, the man then charged in another direction, shouting as he went.

    "I was so scared for a moment there; I thought the patient had figured something out."

    "Me too. It seems I just had an episode."

    "But it feels... so sorrowful."

    Judith didn't respond, instead quickening her pace, walking urgently as if she wanted to escape the place. Lane and Justice hurried to keep up with her.

    Eventually, they reached their destination, a gathering area on the ninth floor for patients, similar to the one downstairs. However, unlike the others, most individuals here were wheeled about by nurses, their limbs bound to the wheelchair handles, their eyes devoid of life and expression.

    "Who... are they?"

    "Same as the investigators whose minds have been lost in madness, but with a difference – their families have signed consent forms for the treatment within this experimental protocol."

    "In experiment? The one you mentioned taking place on the top floor?" asked Justice Is All.

    The doctor nodded frankly. "Indeed, I believe I mentioned it yesterday. Our objective is to find a way to awaken these souls trapped in their insanities. They all entered willingly, with the consent of their family members, and we've already seen some promising results. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself."

    Hans gestured to the nurse pushing a wheelchair in the center, who promptly approached. Seated in the wheelchair was a young man with a blank expression.

    Upon seeing the youth, Judith nudged Lane, who quickly regained his composure and stepped forward. "Cousin, do you remember me? We used to play together all the time when we were kids. What has happened to you?"

    The young man's gaze was dull, showing no reaction when it landed on Lane, but a glimmer of life seemed to enter his eyes upon seeing Judith.


    Judith's eyes widened slowly. Instinctively, she stepped forward and took the young man's hand. "Hadley..."

    "Le- Leader," the young man smiled at Judith, but his expression quickly returned to its blank state.

    Judith couldn't believe the outcome of her mere test. She turned to the doctor with disbelief.

    The doctor chuckled. "What do you think?"

    "This is unbelievable," Judith panted. "Did you really do it?"

    "We're still in the experimental phase, and we can only restore a short period of sanity for now," Dr. Hans replied modestly, though his pride was evident. "But yes, I can confidently say that we're on the right track! We've managed to temporarily restore reason to an investigator who had succumbed to madness!"

    "Holy shit, seriously?"

    "It doesn't make sense. Could it be that our investigation was misguided? Is this doctor actually a good guy?"

    "I don't believe it."

    The doctor replied, "Through our efforts, the patient has shown occasional responsiveness to the proximity of loved ones without succumbing to that frenzied state… But it seems we still have a long way to go."

    Judith, looking at the young man, couldn't hold back her emotions as her voice trembled. "No, it's already remarkable. Thank you, thank you so much."

    Lane and Justice, standing by, furrowed their brows. However, they remained silent, for it was evident to all how significant this was to Judith.

    Moreover, if the experiment the doctor mentioned were to succeed, the tragedy that befell the investigators on these floors might never repeat itself.

    "It seemsJudith is about to turn against us," I muttered, sensing a shift in her allegiance.

    "Betrayal seems unlikely, but the suspicion towards Doctor would indeed be lessened in her perspective."

    The doctor patted Judith's shoulder soothingly, his expression kindly. "If you don't mind, I'll show you the rooftop. That's where we usually record our data."

    They ascended to the top floor, the very spot where Justice had last noticed something amiss. Her nerves instantly tightened, and she instinctively peered into the ward nearby.

    "Inspiration: The Art of Failure"


    As the doctor walked, he explained, "All the facilities in these wards are state-of-the-art. We employ various cutting-edge methods to stimulate the patients' neurons – medications, electroshock therapy, hypnosis, and so on... We're searching for the fastest and safest way to awaken their rationality. Once we succeed, the investigators residing in this building will be reborn."

    "He's painting an enticing picture, just like my mentor used to."

    "A familiar scene of seeking investment. At least he has a knack for storytelling."

    "Are all these methods safe?" Justice asked, unwilling to accept it without assurance.

    "Of course. Feel free to look around. All our areas are open to the public, including our experimental data," Dr. Hans said with an open expression.

    Without hesitation, Justice strode straight to the ward she had previously visited. The person in the bed was still the same as yesterday, except that this time, she saw no sign of the flesh tube.

    The doctor led them on a tour. Almost every ward looked identical: a patient lying in bed, connected to various machines, while in a few, figures in white coats huddled around the equipment in discussion.

    Suddenly, Judith halted, staring in shock at a figure in one of the rooms. "Bill?"

    Hearing this, Justice also looked up, her face filled with surprise. The patient inside was none other than Bill, whom they had encountered earlier.

    Judith turned to the doctor. "I'm sorry, could we have a moment alone?"

    The doctor shrugged and opened the door to the ward, gesturing for the others to follow him out temporarily.

    Judith stepped inside, closed the door, and for the moment, they were alone in the room.

    Bill was about to speak when he noticed Judith's serious expression. "Bill, do you remember the name of the movie we watched together five years ago?"

    Bill was taken aback. "When did we ever go to see a movie?"

    Indeed, it was the genuine memory. Judith sighed in relief and looked up at the ceiling of the ward, which appeared to be free of any surveillance cameras.

    Seeing Judith's wariness, Bill reassured her. "Don't worry, they haven't installed anything like that here."

    "Why are you here?" Judith asked. "Your mental state shouldn't be severe enough to warrant participation in such an experiment, should it?"

    "Well, I had nothing else to do, and when the doctor asked if I wanted to join, I agreed," Bill said absentmindedly. "The doctor wanted a mix of mentally stable individuals, those with minor issues, and those with more severe ones for comparison. Normally, I don't have to do much—just take some medication and be observed, like in regular therapy sessions downstairs."

    "How long have you been part of this project?"

    "It's been a while." Bill sensed the gravity in Judith's expression, one he was well acquainted with, and his own demeanor sobered accordingly. "What's going on?"


    Bill responded, "Captain, I thought you were captain."

    Judith sighed. "Alright, I have a suspicion that there might be something amiss with this project..."

    Judith shared her doubts about some investigators possibly being compromised. She knew that Bill, with his experience, would eventually deduce it anyway.

    Upon hearing Judith's words, Bill deliberated for a moment. "You suspect that Dr. Thompson's experiment might be the reason they've changed? But I don't think so."

    "In what way?" Judith inquired.

    "I've been here for quite some time now, and there are no suspicious areas here. The doctors have only conducted normal experiments on me, which have indeed had an effect," Bill said after some thought. "If you don't believe me, you can ask my primary physician. My initial mental state was classified as 'dangerous,' and I was supposed to stay here for at least six months under observation. However, after participating in this project, my recent diagnosis allows me to move down to levels one to three. I believe it won't be long before I'm discharged."

    "Moreover, personally, I think that doctor is a good man. He tirelessly converses with those investigators who have lost their minds. You have no idea how challenging that is."

    Judith's expression wavered at Bill's words.

    She knew Bill better than anyone, for he had once been her team member. He was cautious during investigations, so if there were any anomalies here, he should have detected them.

    "Of course, if you still have doubts, I can keep an eye on this place for you," Bill said with a smile. "You're still my captain, after all. You can give me orders."

    "I'm no longer an investigator," Judith replied, the tension in her face gradually easing. "Then I'll have to rely on you to be vigilant."

    "Sure thing, Captain," Bill said cheerfully.

    They didn't reminisce for long, as they left the room quickly to avoid arousing suspicion from the doctor outside. During their tour, Hans even showed them the experimental data. Justice Is Beauty couldn't make sense of it, but she took screenshots to share with other players.

    "There doesn't seem to be anything suspicious in the surface data."

    "Damn, no leads at all."

    "Could it really not be the doctor? Or is this some act put on by the doctor? Could the real culprit actually be the Secretary's Office?"

    "We're not sure yet, let's keep looking."

    Justice Is Beauty couldn't help but doubt herself. Had she misjudged the situation? Or could that flesh conduit have been just one of the healing methods?

    Soon, the group finished their tour and left the hospital.

    "Sorry, ma'am," Yan Jiushi said, looking defeated.

    "Take it easy. What you saw might not be wrong. We don't jump to conclusions so easily during an investigation," Judith consoled her. However, from the struggle in her expression, one could tell that she was also pondering over it. Primarily, the sudden recovery of the young man had left a deep impact on her. It was easy to imagine the uproar that would ensue when the doctor's findings were announced within the Bureau of Investigation. At that time, the investigators might start protecting the doctor's research themselves, as he was the only one who could save them when they were driven mad.

    Lan En remained silent the whole time. Just as they were leaving the hospital, he turned his head for a glance.

    He saw a colossal headless angel hovering above the hospital, its neck barren, with its lower body cut off at the waist. Its skin was cracked and ashen, devoid of life, while a red angelic halo lingered above its empty neck. The angel's meaty wings lacked feathers, and in some spots, there wasn't even flesh, only shriveled bones connected by sinews.

    Countless blood vessels extended from the hospital into the sky, resembling numerous veins that eventually led to the severed waist and abdomen of the angel.

    It seemed as though... it was continuously receiving nutrients from the hospital.


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