Chapter 264: Darkness Underneath The Light

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From the current look of things, though the whereabouts of the other two homunculi were unknown, S-277 already appeared just like a human and seemed to have established independent thinking and emotions.

As a homunculus, she was undoubtedly an unprecedented successful specimen!

The only problem was that the second batch of homunculi were still experimental mainly for the purpose of trial and error. The philosopher’s stones used were only slightly better than low-grade, and therefore the physical capabilities and aether compatibility of these homunculi weren’t up to mark.

Of course, this inadequacy wasn't relative. No matter how inferior the philosopher’s stone, their aether compatibility was still far superior than most ordinary transcendent beings.

If a near-perfect philosopher’s stone were to be used as a replacement… S-277 would no longer be a successful specimen but a perfect human being reborn instead!

The Clay Idol is about to be polished into a shiny gem.

Andrew couldn't help but sigh. As a scholar of the Truth Union as well as a participant and supervisor of the entire project, he couldn't help but feel a sense of pride.

Sure enough, only Mr. Lin is able to uncover an unremarkable, buried gem unseen by others.

If S-277, or rather, Mu’en, had remained in the laboratory, she would have more than likely been destroyed...

Andrew's scholar’s heart was further filled with respect and appreciation toward Lin Jie. At the same time, his hatred toward his old, foolish self intensified. To think that he actually had the audacity to doubt the abilities of the bookstore owner in the past!

He found himself a spot and sat down. As he waited, he thought to himself, Seems like... Mr. Lin had probably known everything already from that time.

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No, Andrew suddenly realized his own stupidity. Is there anything that Mr. Lin doesn’t know?

He knows everything. Regardless of whether it was the Path of the Flaming Sword or anyone else.

Even if this organization itself was already like a ghost that didn't exist, extremely intimidating, and possessing formidable abilities while capable of infiltrating several organizations without being detected.

Having previously assumed that even though he wasn't yet at the peak but was surely one who could have a glimpse of the peak, Andrew only now realized that there were taller peaks lying in succession behind with powerful beasts hidden within, unbeknownst to all.

This was excessively frightening for someone like Andrew who had already reached a high position and wielded great power.

But when it came to Mr. Lin, nothing could escape his eyes. No matter how secretive the Path of the Flaming Sword was, they were but mere petty clowns to him.

Didn’t that Supreme-rank, who had yet to reveal himself and was operating in secrecy, still present Mr. Lin with a gift?

That Supreme-rank had probably gotten wind of Mr. Lin’s command and thus resorted to getting rid of Jerome and turning him into the philosopher’s stone, which Andrew was tasked to bring back to the bookstore.

This was a division of labor and it couldn’t be any clearer.

I would gulp down an entire batch of low-grade philosopher's stone if this isn't all planned out by Mr. Lin!

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At this point, Andrew's stiffened up for a moment. He couldn’t help but stare at Mu’en who was operating various machines to concoct pearl milk tea behind the counter. A sudden realization came over him as if a bell had suddenly been struck in his brain.

The Supreme-rank whose whereabouts... Unknown whereabouts?


There is still a place!

The city within a city — Machine Loop!

The place where all the Truth Union's laboratories and factories were set up; where all their experiments with the inferior philosopher’s stones and homunculus were conducted, and where S-277 was created.

During this period, even though the entire Truth Union had practically been combed through and anyone with the possibility of being a mole had been investigated, those moles had still managed to remain unidentified.

The initial plan was to continue waiting and bide time for an opportunity. However, Jerome’s death had thrown a wrench into Andrew's plans, and if this mastermind had further schemes, surely someone would be sent as a replacement.

And that time would be when they seize the opportunity.

But Mu'en standing before him and the flitting flashbacks had knocked some sense into Andrew.

In fact, not all places owned by the Truth Union had been searched. Besides the general headquarters, there were still factories and laboratories within Machine Loop as well as some ruins within ruins that had been abandoned.

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Machine Loop was located 'Underneath' Norzin's Central District connecting the Upper District with the Lower District. The lowest point of this city within a city were the gates to the Lower District, which was heavily guarded with many layers of security which basically only employees of Rolle Resource Development had access to.

No one knew how much of the entire construct was usable because a great deal of area had been abandoned and sealed off. It was rumored that some dangerous experiments had been conducted in the past which turned the place into a wasteland where it was prohibited to step foot on.

Furthermore, Machine Loop had been constructed together with the rest of Norzin. The sole blueprint was said to have been laid to rest somewhere in Azir along with the great scholar, 'Ethereal Wisdom' Raziel.

Apart from Raziel, there probably wasn't any other person in the world that would know the complete layout of Machine Loop.

And this was exactly a place that would serve as a sanctuary for those operating in secrecy.

There's no one that knows the actual situation in those long sealed-off areas. We do not have the slightest clue whether they were still dangerous. Furthermore, these areas occupy a far greater space than the existing areas which are currently in use.

What if there are people hiding there?

Besides being used as a base of operations, the immense resources that were sealed off could be used as well without any worry of being found out.

That’s right… It is the darkness underneath the light!

Andrew had a ghastly look on his face as beads of cold sweat formed on his forehead.     

The large mass just beneath their noses had been neglected by them all this time. If someone had indeed taken over and occupied these sealed areas, it was a mind-numbing thought to imagine the years that they had spent living together with the enemy, only separated by a wall.

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“Here’s your pearl milk tea.”

A young girl's voice broke Andrew's train of thought as a glass of pearl milk tea was put before him.

"Hmm? Oh... Thank you." Andrew gathered his thoughts, taking a deep breath as he carefully received the milk tea.

"Huu..." He exhaled sharply and raised his head, gathering his composure as he watched the back of Mu'en gradually moving further away.

Had it not been for seeing S-277 again after such a long time, he definitely wouldn't have considered Machine Loop that quickly because it was a mental blindspot.

Mr. Lin's intention of having him come to the book cafe was to actually give him a prompt with regard to the enemy’s hiding spot and save him plenty of trouble.

It’s only to be expected of Mr. Lin!

Andrew’s gaze burned with a fervor as he took a sip of the pearl milk tea in his hand.


He froze as the pearls seemed to have squirmed in his mouth.

Andrew glanced at the 'pearls' in his cup which were staring at him with wide-open eyes as countless thin tentacles extended out, bobbing up and down in the milk tea…

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