My overworked arms felt sore. After washing the mop several times in cold water, I felt as if my hands were frozen. All the other children looked tired as well. It was understandable. We have been sweeping and mopping this huge laboratory since yesterday.
“You all, don’t be lazy and finish it all!”
As the researcher’s shouts rang, the hands of the children who were cleaning the windows sped up.
‘Will it kill you to let us rest for a while…?’
Groaning a bit, I wiped the windows until they were shiny. When the cleaning was over, the researchers in white robes lined up in front of the main door. I looked out through the transparent window shining without a single speck of dust.
Since yesterday, the atmosphere in the lab has been chaotic and I soon found out why.
The director of the institute returned…
With new children to use as test subjects.
The bridge connecting the laboratory and the outside world was lowered. A thick iron door, that wouldn’t open under normal circumstances, opened wide, and some people’s figures appeared through a sharp wind.
The director of the institute, who brought in the new victims, spoke,
“These are the children I have personally chosen. I’ve brought special kids, so this time, make sure to deliver some results!”
“Yes, Director!” The researchers responded in unison.
Because they had a much higher success rate than adults, only children were used for the experiments. Of course, not everyone is brought, only children with magical powers were valued as worthy test subjects. Among them, orphans and beggars were targeted the most. Children who wouldn’t care if they disappeared at any time and no family would reclaim them. The director used a mana-meter to select talented orphans and brought them here.
At first, I was also drawn as a test subject, but due to my low mana, I ended up being a mere errand boy.
‘If I had been used as a test subject, it would have been tougher… I was in no position to sympathize with anyone, but I was still worried about the future of those children.
“I don’t know how many of them will survive.”
“Who knows… well, it will be strenuous to make half through it.”
The researchers who were watching the new subjects’ arrival chatted leisurely. But even children have eyes and ears. They were taken to an unfamiliar place without knowing what was happening; they couldn’t help but be frightened after hearing such words.
“What are you doing? Hurry up and follow me!”
“Hiiik… Ho- home… Please send me home…”
One child sternly stood still. The other children hesitated as well as if the restlessness was contagious. The researcher who was leading the children sighed as if annoyed. He muttered in a harsh voice,
“…This is why I hate kids.”
Then it happened quickly.
The child’s small body, unable to withstand the sudden strike, fell to the cold floor. The children watched while trembling, frightened. The researcher raised his hand again.
I clenched my fists.
‘I have to stop him, I have to stop him but–’ My feet didn’t move. I was terrified that the violence might be directed at me. When I was first brought to the laboratory, I was beaten because I couldn’t do properly what I was asked to do. Thinking about those times, it felt like a heavy iron ball was attached to my ankle.
‘Wh- what should I do…?’ While hesitating, the researcher raised his hand even higher. I couldn’t bear to watch any longer, so I turned my head. It was then that a voice struck my ears.
A boy, with his arms wide open, stood in the middle, blocking the researcher as if protecting the child. I stared blankly at the boy’s face who had the courage to step forward. I gasped at his appearance.
He was a boy beautiful enough to mesmerize you. No, it wasn’t just the boy’s appearance that surprised me.
Black hair and red eyes. His unusual appearance naturally reminded me of a certain person. A person who endured harsh experiments and eventually became a transcendent and destroyed the laboratory.
It was the appearance of the male lead who was born in this hell and would end such hell with his own hands.
At the beginning of the novel, the male protagonist had no name. Because he was abandoned by his parents even before they could grant him one. However, after becoming a transcendent, he named himself
‘Emilian… I think.’ I looked at the boy, Emilian, with trembling eyes.
“You laboratory rat… step aside.”
The researcher spoke threateningly to Emilian, who was still blocking him. Even though he might be frightened in front of an adult taller than him, Emilian didn’t step back.
Knowing the researcher’s temper quite well, I was restless. He looked like he would strike him at any moment. Most of the researchers regarded the children used as test subjects as something inferior to bugs.
“You should be happy to dedicate yourself to him even like this.”
‘He’ was the person running all the experiments in the back, the one who established this research institute. I hadn’t read the novel to the end, so I didn’t know who this éminence grise is but… the researchers were all people who were loyal to ‘him.’ It was because he had promised the researchers enormous wealth and honor if the experiment was successful. That was the reason why researchers had continued inhumans experiments for so long.
[tl/n: an éminence grise is a person who has power and makes decisions behind the scenes. In korean novels is used to describe the mastermind villain]
And then, the children’s hearts are engraved with submission magic. Rejecting any command would give them pain as if something was squeezing their hearts. Having the means to control children, the researchers used to treat them harshly.
Therefore, keeping the researchers’ mood as light as possible was a necessity but…
Emilian spoke to the researcher while helping the fallen child.
“Call a physician.”
“We were told we are valuable subjects. Then you should make sure we don’t get hurt.”
It was an arrogant tone and attitude. And such behavior was enough to hurt the researcher’s pride. The angry man raised his voice.
“Cocky little… you don’t know your place and dare to talk back?!”
The researcher raised his hand as if about to strike Emilian’s cheek and the boy’s eyes fluttered slightly, but that was all he did, and then–
“What is this fuss?”
The researcher faltered at the sudden interruption. A middle-aged man with gray hair wearing single-piece glasses approached. He was the director.
“I was educating this subject who was causing a ruckus.”
At the researcher’s explanation, the director’s dry eyes scanned the children. When his eyes reached Emilian supporting the child who had fallen, the director clicked his tongue.
“How are you treating the specimens I have brought in with such hard work?”
The director ordered the injured child to be treated by a physician. It was indeed a human reaction. But I knew very well that it wasn’t because he was worried about the child. To him, children were nothing more than things that were thrown away when they became useless and ruined.
However, only the male lead was special. He was born with a lot of mana. The more mana the body had, the higher the success rate of the experiment. Of course, children with a lot of mana were rare.
The director, who would normally have been indifferent to this kind of situation, admonished the researcher.
“Take care of it. Finding a suitable specimen is not easy.”
The researcher, who was scolded in front of everyone, distorted his expression for a moment. But soon bowed his head.
“I apologize. I will take care of it.”
The director did not respond. He turned away as if it was not worth wasting any more time on this.
After the situation was settled, the researcher led the children again.
I looked at Emilian’s back as he moved away. For some reason, my eyes didn’t fall off his body. Because I knew very well how harsh things would be for that child from now on.
There was only one goal the director was aiming for conducting unethical and prohibited experiments. It was to create a transcendent being beyond human abilities.
And as the novel unfolds, Emilian was the only one to succeed in the experiment and become a transcendent. But until he awakens his powers, he will be in this lab subjected to all sorts of inhumane experiments. And when he finally becomes a Transcendent, he will destroy this lab.
The problem is that at the time of awakening, he couldn’t control his power and unintentionally caused a large explosion causing the death of all, including mine…
I took my eyes off Emilian and sighed low.
‘Now is not the time to worry about others.’
Fortunately, I remember reading about the spots of the lab where it was poorly guarded. After falling into this fictional world, I looked for the opportunity and tried to escape several times. However, it wasn’t easy to avoid the eyes of the many guards placed everywhere.
‘Didn’t I almost get caught last time?’ At that time, I was so scared and shocked that I couldn’t even think of escaping for a while.
And while I was so frightened, the male lead finally appeared.
And if it goes as the novel…
“Annis! The researcher is looking for you.”
Another errand boy called me.
As expected, it was happening.