Blacksmith of the Apocalypse
Chapter 271 - 271. The Exam Registration
A terrible headache wreaked havoc in his brain. What happened? Where was he? It felt as if he just woke up, but he had no idea whether he had slept or not.
Just what had happened? He looked around himself. It was a dim clinical room. Weird devices surrounded him to the left and right with displays he couldn ’t make sense of.
As if left in a hurry, plates of various syringes with colorful liquids and other tools had fallen to the ground. Some tubes hung free while some led to catheters on his hands.
What… what was going on? The thinking was slow as if his thoughts swam in honey. He stumbled forward and almost slipped on the liquid from broken flasks and plastic bags.
Carefully he walked forward step by step having a hard time keeping his balance. For a moment he was held back by the tubes stuck in his body, but he ripped himself free. Almost losing his stand in the process.
He pushed open a wide double door and stumbled into a just as dimly lit hallway. The linoleum flooring felt cold and smooth under his naked feet. The only light came from the read, flickering warn lights at the ceiling.
Was something going on? At this moment he couldn ’t even register that it was a weird lighting choice.
For a while, he didn ’t consciously act and just wandered through the labyrinth of rooms and hallways. It was hard trying to remember what happened. He remembered living in a city. He had fought, why had he fought?
An icky sticky liquid stuck to the sole of his foot and brought him back to the present. With shock, he realized his surroundings. Blood splatters covered the ceiling, floor, and walls. Cell doors lined the hallway, many of them left ajar with blood trails leading into…or out of them.
Just…where had he ended up? Listening closely, he could hear the quiet sounds of crunching flesh. He backed away from the hallway filled with cell doors.
A door with green light caught his attention and he entered without much thinking. It was not an emergency exit but some kind of security office. Maybe he could get some information on this place? He carefully closed the door to not get the attention of whatever was in those cells.
The blood trails on the ground indicated that the guard had left and wouldn ’t come back any time soon. There were blacked-out video screens, paper strewn across the ground from the file cabinet that had fallen over.
The moment of calm helped him sort his thoughts and his mind became clearer. Still, he couldn ’t remember much from before. He started picking up the papers. Maybe the files could help him?
The files described how test subjects, only named by numbers, were supposed to be handled. Danger categories, level of intelligence, diet, and environmental preference… Nothing helpful to him in his current situation. He kept reading anyways.
The description of a tremendous status increase after increase tickled a memory. Status?
Title: ”Brave ”
Race: Artificial Druid
Class: Martial Artist/ Tigerclaw Monk
A Status window popped up in front of his eyes. He was assaulted by a heavy headache again. #967? He was sure he had a different name! What happened to him? Was he also a…test subject like those beasts in the files?
No! It couldn ’t be true. He denied his thoughts. He was still human. He was still himself? Who was he even? His mind stopped. He picked up the chair that had fallen to the ground and sat on it.
Staring at the desk he fell into a loop of thinking about his own existence. It was incredibly hard for him to catch a clear thought. As if out of an old habit he started operating the computer. He grabbed the mouse and zapped through the security cameras. It was the only accessible option.
Those labeled by cell numbers were blacked out, but those of the surrounding corridors still worked. He found a hallway with a stair sign and writing on the wall. The doors to the staircase were ripped out and rested on the floor.
”Floor 8 ”
It was the trigger he needed to get out of the loop he was trapped in. He didn ’t know who he was, but he could try to find out! There had to be more information on other floors. And if not? He could leave and try finding out who he was outside.
Even without all his memories. He was still himself and he would simply get back what they had taken from him!
The problem was reaching the stairs. Leaving this room meant entering a corridor full of open rooms filled with… things. He stared at the control panel for a while until he found the dirty makeshift label saying, ”Door Controls ”.
Was it a good idea to try this? He had no idea why all doors were open, in the first place. Would they close or would he just alarm the beasts inside?
The staircase wasn ’t far. There were three possible outcomes. The first was the doors closed shut and were held up. In that case, he was completely fine to leave without any worries. In the case that nothing happened he would just have to sneak out. Nothing would change.
Worst case, the doors closed but couldn ’t hold back the beasts. It would buy time to run and escape through the staircase.
His chances were good, and he decided to press the door controls. His heart almost jumped out of his chest when a loud siren rang together with the sound of tens of doors slamming shut. Did it work?
Carefully opening the door, he looked down the hallway. All cells were shut. He could hear the banging behind the doors, but it didn ’t seem like they would open any time soon.
The sight calmed his weary heart and he confidently left the security office in the direction of the stair. He came before the entrance to the staircase, only to be told that he had celebrated too early. From the staircase before him emerged a giant beast.
Its jaws and body were covered in blood as if it waded through a sea of carnage.
The creature barely fit between the floor and the ceiling with its giant build. Like a bear on steroids but the size and skin of a small elephant. The head seemed amphibian or reptilian with rows of sharp teeth and two cold eyes fixed onto him.
Frozen in place, he could only stare as it got close. A jolt ran through his body, like a cold shower. It sniffed on him and the aggression in its eyes receded. Three sniffs one snort and it shoved him to the side to pass by. It proceeded to enter the place h just came from and smash open the doors one by one.
No need to wait around he said to himself and ran down the stairs. Only to reach floor nine! Did he remember wrong? Down should lead out, but why did the floor number increase?
Was this place underground? Now that he thought about it, he had not seen anything like windows. Going down meant getting deeper into this weird facility. Going up should lead to the exit.
#967 decided to go down. Escaping this place felt less important than finding out more about what happened to him. But before he continued further down the stairs, he checked the 9th floor. The floor was filled with offices and laboratories.
A great shock hit him when he saw his reflection in one of the glass windows. Had he looked like this before? He may have lost his memories, but his skin didn ’t look like this before!
His eyes had turned a crimson red without pupils. His skin was rough with a pale gray-blue tinge. His head was smooth with a mohawk of fleshy spikes. But his appearance changed as he was watching and slowly turned back to a human.
He had no recollection of his own face, but he had an easier time identifying with this face…
#967 already knew that something was wrong with him. he continued looking around floor 9. Some offices were completely smashed, others looked like the researcher had only left a few minutes ago to get a coffee. Like on the floor above he saw no corpses, only blood.
The papers he found here talked about all kinds of serums and their effects. There were a lot of words he could not understand. The information he could garner from these papers was that this place was called Hive-5. A subterranean facility in the vicinity of a place called Beta.
After a while, he returned to the stair and kept descending into the darkness.
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