Chapter 507: The Arrangement Comes into Effect
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The chopper slowly landed on the helipad of Sanctuary Three. Bennett finished adjusting his collar, holding onto his hat as he stepped onto land. He looked down and saw a peaceful and harmonious sight as far as the eye could see; there were no incidents of violence happening at the moment. On the helipad stood a group of people in black clothing. The current head of the Sanctuary Three, Huang Yu, was there with his subordinates.
“If you needed something, you could have called, sir. There’s no need for you to have come personally, ” Huang Yu respectfully said.
Bennett waved his hands, indicating for Huang Yu to lead the way as he replied, “I need to see a few people. The situation is urgent, could you gather them for me?”
“I’ll convey your intentions. They will be waiting for you in the meeting room.”
This delegation walked all the way to the core area of the Sanctuary. After navigating through the complicated passageways, they arrived at a meeting room. Bennett left his bodyguards outside, walking into the meeting room with Huang Yu. Sitting inside were three women—Hila, Aurora, and Emerald Grass. The three of them looked toward the newcomers as they walked in, their attention focused on Bennett.
“Sir.” Hila remained impassive, slightly nodding her head. Because Aurora had not been turned into jam, Hila did not walk the extreme path. While she remained cold to everyone, toward someone like Bennett, she would still show the minimum respect.
“Cut the nonsense. I still have two more sets of experiments to perform today. Why have you gathered us?” Emerald Grass got straight to the point.
Bennett had a serious expression as he took out a few reports concerning the recent riots, sharing them with the trio as he spoke calmly. “Roughly a year ago, you guys first reported abnormal sightings. At that time, I did not notice it before, but right now, the matters seem to be connected to the strange sightings you have seen. Your group are the elites personally picked by Black Phantom himself, and with his ability for disaster prediction, I would like to hear your thoughts on this matter.”
Because the trio were elites that Han Xiao had personally asked Bennett to take care of, he did not limit their freedom. Before Han Xiao left, Hila had always spoken of wanting to travel the world with Aurora after her body had fully recovered. However, Han Xiao had been gone for over two years, and Aurora’s body had long recovered, yet Hila continued to stay within the Sanctuary.
Bennett naturally would not chase them away.
Aurora’s Esper ability allowed her to sense lives, and the huge surge of life force that she had detected that vanished after a few days had allowed her to memorize the ‘scent’ of that lifeform. This was one of the functions of her ability, to record life signatures. The signatures were like a unique brand, allowing her to differentiate between each lifeform.
While the huge life signature was short lived, Aurora discovered that the scent of that particular lifeform was spreading, with increasing numbers of lifeforms having that particular scent on them. It did not differentiate between plants or animals.
Aurora spoke in a timid voice, slowly explaining what she had felt. Bennett’s face grew graver as he listened.
If this is a sort of virus, then hundreds of millions of people could be infected in this world… that’s not right. If we include the various flora and fauna, then the infected amount will truly be terrifying!
Aurora looked at everyone, hesitating for a moment before mustering her courage and pointing at Huang Yu. “He has that smell on him as well.”
Huang Yu’s face blanched. He immediately felt around himself, exclaiming, “I… I don’t feel it!”
Bennett clapped a palm on Huang Yu’s shoulder, his energy pervading Huang Yu’s body through his fingers. However, even after going through a few rounds, he let go and sighed. “I could not sense anything out of the ordinary. What sort of virus is this? While I don’t know the reason, it seems like only Aurora can tell apart who is infected or healthy.”
Everyone turned to look at Aurora. She trembled, before blinking her large eyes as she nervously stuttered, “I… I can really be of help?”
Bennett had the urge to give out a benevolent and encouraging smile, but due to the pressing situation, he simply had no mood to do so. He could only solemnly nod.
Aurora seemed to be extremely happy to hear that. She had always been under the protection of others and had been looking forward to the day that she could return the favor.
After flipping through the report, not only did Emerald Grass not show any hints of shock, her face even revealed some form of fanaticism as she exclaimed, “I was right, my instincts were right! Indeed, my entire year of research has not been wasted!”
The moment she spoke, everyone immediately looked over, their expressions those of shock.
“What do you mean?” Bennett asked.
“Follow me.” Emerald Grass immediately stood up, walking straight out. The rest could only follow her from behind.
After passing through the security perimeter, the group reached Emerald Grass’ lab. Even the sentries did not dare linger around that place. They were afraid of inhaling any strange poisonous mist, leading to a coma or nervous disorder. If they were even unluckier, they might even experience a loss of ability in their procreation tool.
Emerald Grass brought the company to an open-air greenhouse, where many plants were being cultivated. Because the Esper ability of Emerald Grass was the control of plants, her medicinal raw materials were mostly planted by herself. Within this cultivation ground existed just one type of plant, which grew out fan-shaped green leaves from the ground. Its appearance could not have been more ordinary, and if it was placed in the wild, nobody would give it another look.
“This is the Rhodes Fan Leaf. It has a harsh growth environment and is extremely difficult to artificially cultivate. Because of that, it is an endangered species that has a small number of living specimens around the world. However, its extreme rarity does not indicate a high value. In fact, the Rhodes Fan Leaf has no medical function, and its only purpose is to be ground into a paste that can be eaten after cooking… provided you’re a herbivore. In short, there is close to no value in cultivating this plant.”
Emerald Grass simply introduced the plant, leaving everyone at a loss.
“But you still cultivated so many of them? Why did you bring us to see this?” Bennett asked.
At this time, Aurora stretched out her finger, curiously touching one of the fan blades. Suddenly, her eyes widened, and she exclaimed, “These plants are all uncontaminated by the smell!”
Bennett was startled. His face lit up with joy as he understood the meaning behind it.
“Your hypothesis is correct. A year ago, some of the plants gave me the impression that they were spying on me. This attracted my attention, and after searching through many areas, I found that this plant is the only botanical life that does not develop this spying sense. I don’t understand the nuances behind the spying, but I realized that the Rhodes Fan Leaf can neutralize them, so I started to cultivate this plantation. However, the Rhodes Fan Leaves are too difficult to cultivate, and the seeds are scarce. These fans are all that are present at the moment.” Emerald Grass confirmed everyone’s suspicions.
“Have any clinical trials been held yet?”
“I’ve only experimented on botanicals for now. By extracting the juice of the Rhodes Fan Leaf and adding a few extra ingredients, I’ve produced a medicine that can inhibit the spying sense of plants for a period of time.”
“Great, we have no time to waste. There’s no knowing when the riots will take place. In a bit, I’ll get someone to send over those rioters who have been isolated. You are to test if the inhibitor drug works on them.”
Bennett was very decisive. During this time of chaos, he could not afford to care if there were repercussions from such a drug. He instead felt relieved that Emerald Grass could come out with such a countermeasure. At least they were much better than compared to the Six Nations, which were still at a loss.
“That’s okay. However, there’s something I need to warn you beforehand. Because of the rarity of the Rhodes Fan Leaf, the production of the drug is limited to small amounts. Furthermore, the collection of the plant’s juices at any one time cannot be past a certain limit, or else the plant will die, reducing a potential source of supply. Every cultivated stalk comes from great difficulty.”
Emerald Grass shrugged in response.
In the previous timeline, Emerald Grass had only managed to escape from the Bell of Death Island when the Mutation Disaster had completely blown apart. It was only after a long period of research that she finally came out with the prescription of the inhibitor. However, in this timeline, Han Xiao had freed her from the Bell of Death Island well in advance, allowing her to research. Han Xiao had changed the storyline once again, allowing her to invent the inhibitor when the Mutation Disaster had only just begun to rear its fangs. The impact was huge.
While the inhibitor drug could not eliminate the Mutation Disaster and could only provide temporary containment, this was one of the rare few methods to use against it. In the past timeline, the devastated Six Nations had fought red-eyed for possession of Emerald Grass, wishing to obtain the recipe for the drug.
However, Emerald Grass was now based in Sanctuary Three, under the protection of Bennett. Whether this would attract the covetous glances of the Six Nations was yet to be confirmed, but the initial reason behind Han Xiao, who was currently far away in space, gaining Emerald Grass was because of this scenario. He wanted Sanctuary Three to be the first to manufacture the inhibitor, which would attract a swarm of players to the Sanctuary. He had foreseen this from the very beginning.
Aurora had also been saved by him. Her Esper ability was able to distinguish those infected and was an important factor in changing the story. Because the mutation virus was extremely latent, everyone would begin to grow suspicious of each other after the disaster occurred. Everyone would be worried about their friends suddenly turning into enemies, but Aurora could at least prevent such a problem from plaguing Sanctuary Three. This would also attract more people toward Sanctuary Three to seek peace of mind…
Under the influences of Han Xiao, Bennett and the others could react to the issue well in advance. The Great Mechanic Han had long set the scene for Version 2.0, and the effects were gradually emerging.
After everyone had left the greenhouse, Hila suddenly asked, “If this was the disaster that he foresaw… do you think he will keep his promise and come back?”
Everyone paused mid-step. There was not a single person present who was not closely related to Han Xiao. Every time that they mentioned this Black Phantom, their facial expressions would turn complicated.
“Maybe…” Bennett could only sigh.
Black Phantom had mentioned that he would venture into outer space to find a solution to solve the disaster, but there had been no news from him for a good two years. They could not fathom just what Han Xiao had come across during his journey in space. To them, space exploration was something shrouded in mystery. It represented a higher, grander world, one that was the ‘real’ world. It stirred the curiosity within people, making them wish to take this step.
Every time they looked up into space, they would inevitably think of Han Xiao. However, they had no way to contact him.
At that point, even Bennett no longer held much hope.
Even for Hila, she felt that the chances were slim. She pulled out the key that Han Xiao had given her beforehand, weighing it in her hand. Her eyelids drooped, covering the glow in her eyes.
Maybe… he was never coming back.
Far away in space, Han Xiao did not purposefully monitor the situation of Planet Aquamarine. He had long known of the evolution stage for the Mutation Disaster, and he did not personally take another look to confirm. Time was money, and wasting time was equivalent to wasting money. This was something unacceptable to him!
In Version 2.0, the players would only return after the Mutation Disaster had completely blown up. Han Xiao calculated the time and estimated that around a month or two before the new version was launched, signs of the Mutation Disaster would start to show, and the virus would leave its incubation period to infect and evolve into a calamity.
This was the important stage for players to enter interstellar travel. There were only so many chances in life. If one grabbed hold of the opportunity, one would soar into the sky. Han Xiao followed the prescribed order to carry out his plans without any anxiety.
Following each objective on Han Xiao’s prepared list being struck off one by one, the date also drew ever closer.