Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 368: The Burrow

Chapter 367: Beta (2)

The Duo ’s destination was the headquarters of a pharma giant Xen Biologies.

For what it was worth, the days they had spent with the military were not a complete waste of time. They were the best source of information to track the path that the cat people had taken.

This company was the biggest suspect. They had found a load of information about visitors from different races vanishing and all were somehow connected to this place. It was just that law enforcement lacked evidence and interest in investigating these cases.

Maybe Xen Biologies even had a deal with the government beforehand. Who knew? It was the best place to start looking.

Neither Jess nor James had the skill, but they had their phones and a map of B-City on them. Despite GPS not working, they were able to find their way.

What they saw on their travel was horrifying. The streets were filled with corpses and monsters gorging on was a grim reminder that the apocalypse was far from over. Even a place that seemed stable like Beta was overturned in a matter of days.

Obviously, the two did not travel on the streets. In the time before they became adventurers, they were forced to take part in many less than legal activities. One of the less honorable skills they had acquired was the ability to travel unseen through the rooms and gaps between tightly packed buildings.

If the opponent you hide from was on the streets and in the skies, it was much easier to escape through the living space they could not enter so easily. Running through hallways, breaking through doors, jumping across alleys from one building to the next.

Although neither of them chose a thief class, their talent was obvious. Completely unseen they managed to use the building themselves to sneak all the way to their destination.

Xen Biologies HQ was an imposing skyscraper a little off of B-City ’s center. What completely surprised the pair was not the chaos on the streets here, but the lack of it.

In front of the doors of the building were piles of monster corpses and strange humanoids guarded the vicinity. They had some features like beast people, but they seemed off overall. There was something uncanny about the way they walked and looked.

”Let ’s observe the place for now. Judging by the pile of corpses, those things are not weak. ”

Jess just silently nodded at James ’s suggestion. They were currently crouching in the third story of the building opposite of the HQ. Similar to their target, this was once the building of a big company, but the giant skyscraper was now empty, except for some piles of rotting meat.

Although the streets were patrolled by the fishy invaders, the building was left empty. Most of their forces were probably occupied with chasing the refugees. They did not bother to search already pacified areas.

The only ones stubbornly holding their ground were those disturbing humanoids. It reminded them of some of the smaller scandals that came out right before the system came. Back then the media was filled with reports about the worsening climate and the catastrophes.

Scandals and suspicions about human experimentation and illegal genetic manipulations happened but were only secondary to the overall dramatic situation back them. Only after seeing these now, did they remember those footnotes from that almost forgotten time. It felt like decades had passed since they saw the news on the television or smartphone.

”Do you think they found a way to use magic for… Gene splicing? ” James muttered.

”The hell? Where did that come from!? What do you know about gene splicing? ”

”… I- I saw it in a cartoon one time. ” James blushed a little embarrassed.

”… I think I saw that one, too. I really liked its dark tone. I agree this looks just like in the show, except… maybe those things are mindless clones or something? ”

”That would explain why they move and act so awkwardly, you are right. ”

Since they were just sitting there and had nothing better to do, they kept coming up with theories about what those things might be, while observing Xen Biologies.

The objective was easy to sum up but hard to execute. Infiltrate the building, look for information on the kitties and then get the fuck out. There was no way for a rescue operation with just the two of them, even if they found the cats were inside and alive.

They did not dare act until before thoroughly scouting out the building. For this, they kept changing locations to get a view of every detail and entrance to the building.

It took them a few hours to thoroughly observe and note down the movement of the guards and the entry point of the front, right side, and the back with the delivering entrance. They had just changed locations to the building to the left of the HQ when they heard a commotion at the entrance.

At first, they thought it was just another batch of beasts attacking, but they could soon hear the cries of weapons clashing with each other. It couldn ’t be a monster.

Finally, their curiosity won, and they came to the front to see what was going on. There, down on the street, was a dark figure flickering between the eerie guards and dispatching them with powerful sword strokes.

Despite their lack of emotion, every time they face the demonic mask their movements would halt for even just a moment. But it was enough time for the wearer to bring them death.

It was Lord Jonah valiantly pressing on against the waves of guards that came flooding from inside the building. These things grew more and more grotesque as time went on and with their deformities grew their power until even Jonah was getting pressured.

”We should help him. ” James finally uttered.

”You think we can? Look at the situation. With those kinds of enemies, we will be more of a burden, than some help. ”

”But we can ’t just watch this go on! ”

”Exactly. I say we go in. Lord Jonah is pulling out huge masses of beasts. With him as a bait, there shouldn ’t be too many still inside, right? ”

”… I guess you are right. To fight Lord Jonah like this, they must be their Elites. ”

”Even if they aren ’t, if we can get info on their strength, it will already be a huge contribution. The best case would be if we can confirm the whereabouts of the kitties. ”

James nodded grimly. Although it was against his wishes, they would have to leave the distraction to Jonah.

He was still observing the street while Jess was working on creating an entry point for them. With the current chaos on the ground, there was no way they would use one of the original entrances.

Most of their scouting had been for naught thanks to Jonah ’s actions.

Jess cast a Flame Lance and shot it at the glass facade of their target. It was something they had used a few times in the last hours. It was interesting how silently the penetrative fire magic could create a hole into the glass of a skyscraper.

After casting the advanced magic, she climbed on James ’s back, who proceeded to leap across the alley with a mighty jump and entered Xen Bilogies ’ building through the whole the mage had created.

Except for the noises from outside, the inside of the building was silent. It seemed completely deserted. They checked the rooms in the surrounding, but they were mostly empty offices and laboratories.

The power was out and of the computers they checked worked.

”Everything here is covered in dust. They did not just leave yesterday, ” she muttered, rubbing some of the dust between her fingers.

”Up or down? ” James asked where to go next when they reached the staircase.

”If you want to hide something, it ’s common sense to put it underground, right? ” she said, implying to go down.

”But those monsters are flooding from the lower floors. ”

”We could use the elevator. ”

”But the power is- Oh, you mean we should rope down the elevator shaft? ”

James forced open the doors of the elevator upon which they stared down the dark abyss of the shaft.

”But if they wanted to hide something, this probably won ’t get us there. ”

”Yeah, but we can reach the ground floor and cellar without encountering an enemy. ”

Once again, she climbed on his back before he jumped into the shaft to grab a hold of the elevator cables. Thanks to the epic gloves he wore, he felt nothing as they started sliding down the cable. With his increased stats it was easy to control their descend along the rough cable.

This way they came as low as the building underground parking lot where they exited the elevator shaft. The lot was also completely deserted, only dark emptiness greeted them here.

”And now? ”

”Explore, what else? ”

James had just found the kitchen when jess called him over. On the ground floor, she was crouching at the door that led to a hallway. At the end of the hallways was the lobby, which was filled with beasts.

”Just where are those coming from? ” James asked. They had not seen any other living thing in this place, except for these beasts.

Suddenly, they heard a snarl behind them in the hallway and hurriedly pulled their heads back. They gently closed the door and hid.

In tense silence and with bated breath, they heard the steps of a group of beasts single-mindedly trudging toward the lobby. It felt as if their hearts would jump out of their chest as they listened to the group pass the door they hid behind.

”Where did those come from!? Didn ’t you check back there? ”

”I did! Everything was empty. ”

”Tsk, let ’s better look again thoroughly this time.. If they were not here before, that must be the place where they come from. ”

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