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PFRG: Chapter 72

Ark Laboratory (4)

The three people who successfully entered Area D were led by the NPCs into the depths.

After stopping at the observation area along the way, they found that the entire Ark Laboratory should actually be a circular structure.

The rest room of these researchers was right in the center of the circle, making it very easy to get to any area.

The person in charge of Area D was obviously in a higher position than the senior expert in Area E. They were received in a private office.

In addition, in comparison, the characteristics of alienation were much more obvious.

There were almost no whites in the eyes of the person in charge when he looked up. His completely black pupils stared directly at the three newcomers who came in. This created a strong sense of violation in the smile that should’ve been quite approachable.

“Are you the new researchers who just came from Area E?” The unfocused gaze of the person in charge passed over the three of them one by one. He used a tone that could be called approval. “I heard that you just arrived today. You have successfully advanced the research progress to 20% so quickly. This is really excellent! Our Ark needs such scientific research talents. Please continue to work hard for a great tomorrow for humanity!”

As he spoke, he extended his hand to the NPC next to him.

The young researcher understood and handed over the work badges he had collected from the three people in advance.

After taking it, the person in charge opened the movement permissions for the corresponding area. Then he handed it back again, and the NPC returned it to the three people.

Chi Ting put his work badge back on his chest. He thought for a moment before asking, “Is there anything else I need to know?”

Such a question made the person in charge look at him again with a slight smile. “No, our Area D doesn’t have many rules like Area E. In fact, in the Ark Laboratory, the research progress is the absolute decision-making power. As long as you can maintain this type of research progress and make achievements, all the resources of the laboratory will willingly tilt towards you.”

He paused subtly as he spoke. “Of course, if I have to say something that you need to pay attention to, it is that the research progress is bitter and difficult. I know that this road isn’t easy, but I hope you can continue to persevere. In order to prove that you really have the firm belief to stay in the Ark, please ensure at least 2% research progress every day. This is the bottom line for our Area D researchers.”

Chi Ting nodded. “I understand.”

They came out of the office. The young NPC who brought them to the office also left.

Yue Ren stood in the corridor and glanced back at the closed office door. “This instance is quite suitable for being lazy. If I remember correctly, the daily research progress baseline in Area E seems to be 1%. Now this Area D is 2%. From this perspective, you can last up to 20 days in Area E and 10 days in Area D. Is this considered a humane instance design?”

“It is just a slow death.” Ji Xingque expressed a different opinion. “I think that the designer of this instance must be very perverted. After all, witnessing the increasing level of alienation every day is the real torture. It is actually better to make a quick decision. In the process of delaying the progress in order to stay in the low clearance area for a bit longer, we will inevitably need to contact these volunteers more frequently. This will further exacerbate our own alienation. Watching your human traits disappear day by day is far more terrifying than you think.”

He inadvertently raised his head as he spoke and met Yue Ren’s gaze. He became slightly startled. “What? Did I say something wrong?”

“That’s right. It makes perfect sense.” Yue Ren sighed sincerely. “This also makes me feel that after entering this instance, you seem to have suddenly grown a brain.”

He paused before adding sincerely, “It is a compliment, a compliment.”

Just as Ji Xingque was about to have a fit, he was directly blocked by the last words. “……” F*k!

He decided not to talk to this annoying guy. He turned around and asked, “Captain, what should we do next? Continue to push to Area C?”

“There is no rush.” Chi Ting thought for a moment before saying, “I remember that there are a few other players in this area who came in early. Let’s see if we can find them and learn the specific situation.”

The structure of Area D was as complex as Area E. This resulted in the winding maze-like structure becoming the biggest obstacle so far.

Finally, after repeated encounters, Chi Ting found the three other players in Area D in the laboratory to the north.

In fact, the researchers with different appearances passing by Area D was enough to give people a bad premonition. Then once they really saw the three players, the appearance that entered their view still made Chi Ting frown slightly.

According to the rules of the game, the development degree of the volunteers in the hands of the players in Area D should be in the range of 20% to 40%. If handled properly, the alienation degree of the players themselves should be kept lower.

But at first glance after opening the door, Chi Ting found that the state of these people was obviously much worse.

Except for this batch of new players, the three people in Area D were already among the slowest among all the players who entered the game in advance.

This was obviously to push forward the basic progress every day, only waiting for the high-progress bosses to take them away after clearing the instance. In addition, as Ji Xingque said, it was precisely because the progress of the experiment was delayed that the degree of alienation got infinitely close to the degree of development in the process of allowing these players to come into frequent contact with the volunteers.

At present, the three players in the laboratory had obvious alienation reactions. The pupils in their eyes had obviously been enlarged. The whites of their eyes weren’t completely swallowed up like the person in charge of Area D, but the proportions looked extremely inconsistent.

In addition to the inhuman features that could be seen at a glance, the eyes that seemed to be covered with a layer of fog already had a strong sense of dullness.

Obviously, their mental state was also being eaten away at.

It took them a long time to realize the identity of Chi Ting’s group. One of the players belatedly opened his mouth, voice as hoarse as dry bark, “A-Are you new players?”

The skin on this man’s face was already covered with clear cracks due to dehydration. Much of the dry skin was pitted and raised, making him look like he would be completely peeled off at any time.

The part of human cognition that he had lost didn’t allow him to have many obvious reactions to the gazes of other people. It was as if he remembered what he needed to do after a long time, and he gradually smiled. “Great. I can finally complete the task arranged by Captain Rong.”

Part of the skin on his face peeled off when he made such an expression. It gradually dispersed into pieces in the air.

Chi Ting glanced at it before retracting his gaze. He captured the key in these words. “Captain Rong?”

“Yes. Captain Rong of the Watchtower team.” An expression of hope appeared on the player’s dull face when he said this. “They came in to save the situation. Now they should’ve already arrived in Area B. As long as we can wait until they enter Area A and successfully push the development level to 100%, they can take us through the instance to leave together.”

“Watchtower?” Chi Ting subconsciously looked at Yue Ren. Once he saw the other person shaking his head, he realized with a smile that he had asked the wrong person. He instead turned to Ji Xingque.

As a result, Ji Xingque also shook his head. “Don’t look at me. I don’t know.”

“You don’t know about the Watchtower team?” The player’s expression showed some confusion. He seemed to work hard to turn his slow brain before asking a relatively important question, “Didn’t you come in from the Sanctuary/ Or did you enter a random passage from the 5th World?”

Ji Xingque replied, “No, we are from the 13th World.”

The player: “……”

After a while, he asked again, “Where did you come from?”

Ji Xingque repeated, “The 13th World?”

The player wondered, “What world?”

“The 13th…”

The two of them stared at each other for a long time. The player shook his head fiercely and looked at his other two companions in despair. “…Has my degree of alienation increased again? Why do I feel that the frequency of hallucinations is getting higher and higher? Is it getting higher?”

“……” Ji Xingque couldn’t help pulling the person back. “Why is this an illusion? You heard it clearly. We are from the 13th World. One and three. That’s it. Is there a problem?”

The player shook for a long time before finally accepting this reality.

He staggered back and said in a daze, “So I’m not hallucinating? This is an instance of the 5th World. If you came from the 13th World…?”

His mind finally turned a corner, but the surprised expression on his face made him look even more terrifying. “You didn’t buy a water curtain movie ticket and came here specifically to die, right?”

“D*mn, I’m here to earn achievement points. Why am I here to die?” Ji Xingque didn’t have much patience and finally became a bit angry.”

However, before he could say anything else irritably, he felt his body lighten up. He came to his senses and found that he had been dragged back by Chi Ting.

The conversation between the two people just now made Yue Ren laugh, but it also gave Chi Ting a headache. At this time, he had to interrupt the useless conversation and bring the topic back to the main point. “So what mission did Captain Rong of the Watchtower team give you?”

“Ah yes, that’s it!” The player finally remembered the point. The expression on his face gradually recovered, and the skin didn’t continue to peel off.

He turned around and confirmed it with the other two before looking back at Chi Ting and the others. He paused before saying with a solemn face, “Captain Rong asked us to tell all the players we encounter that they must not rush forward with the progress. It is because after previous confirmation, there is no way to reduce the degree of alienation in Area D and Area E. This means the same situation might occur in other areas.”

“Can’t find a way to reduce the degree of alienation? What does this mean?” Ji Xingque was dumbfounded.

“According to the previous instance strategy, you just need to find the corresponding research records in the database and you can use the method recorded to reduce your own alienation.”

The players had obviously accepted this cruel reality for a long time. There wasn’t much excitement in one player’s tone as he stated, “Our group of players came in and found nothing. Later, we met the Watchtower team and conducted an all-round search of Areas E and D together, but no clues were found. I don’t know what is going on in Areas C and higher, but at least so far, there is no way to reduce our alienation level. It is very dangerous to continue going into higher level areas.”

After hearing this, Yue Ren laughed silently and looked at Chi Ting. “It seems that you did correctly guess the method to clear the instance before, but this method seems to have inexplicably failed.”

Chi Ting was a bit surprised by this development.

The first time he met these players, he thought that since they could maintain such sanity in their current state, they should have a hidden way to deal with this instance. He didn’t expect that the clue that should’ve existed was now gone?

If that was the case, how could these players still be able to… under such a degree of alienation…

Chi Ting’s eyes fell on these players, and he examined them. “So you are stalling in the low authority area, waiting for the Watchtower people to take you through? But your degree of alienation seems quite high now, and you seem quite sober. Have you found other coping methods in this instance?”

“Huh? Other ways to deal with it?” The player was stunned for a moment before realizing what Chi Ting was asking and shook his head. “No… there is no way to deal with it. The information in the instance is gone, let alone the progress. It has become a very difficult thing to live normally. In fact, we couldn’t stand it a while ago. It is only thanks to a member of the Watchtower team, who came back every few days and used his ability to suppress it a bit. That is the only way we can barely stay awake like we are now. Without him, we would’ve been taken in as the new batch of volunteers.”

Ji Xingque was a bit surprised when he heard this. “Is there actually a person in Watchtower who can perform spiritual healing? This skill is very rare!”

The player nodded. “Brother Song is a very nice person. He is willing to spend a lot of effort to help us every time.”

“Brother Song. The team member in Watchtower is also named Song?” This surname combined with the ability of spiritual healing made Ji Xingque look at Chi Ting. “Captain, it can’t be such a coincidence, right?”

Chi Ting was naturally familiar with the ability to suppress and even heal the degree of alienation.

He gently stroked the beads on his wrist, found one, and took it off.

There was a snap of his fingers, and a vague shadow appeared in front of the shocked players.

Chi Ting walked up to the phantom, pointed to the face that looked world-weary at a glance, and asked slowly, “Is this the Brother Song you are talking about?”

The players apparently didn’t realize what was going on and just nodded in shock.

Ji Xingque exclaimed, “It is really Old Song!”

Chi Ting steadily stared at the player in front of him. “You said he comes here every few days. When will the next time be?”

Under such a gaze, the player subconsciously blurted out, “It should be just these next few days.”

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  1. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the update

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