A train was traveling across a vast land, producing burnt smoke into the air.
This daily routine was, however, interrupted by a sudden flash, as if marking an opening to the upcoming drama. One of the lights landed inside the locomotive…
A slim figure was revealed out of nowhere inside the locomotive. Despite the unexpected intrusion, the lady reacted quickly and landed agily.
When she came under the sunlight, the metallic finishing of her left arm was shining. In contrast with her slim body, her whole left arm was made of metal.
Lan Fan: “Where is this...A train? One moment ago I was still having therapy on the hillside...Why am I...I wish master Ling was here…”
As Lan Fan stood up to look around, she found a huge, black hexagonal container at the center. It was connected with multiple pipes that extended along the train.
???: Help...Help me…
Lan Fan: Who?...Does that voice come from the container?
When Lan Fan was about to touch the container, she heard footsteps behind the door.
Lan Fan: “Someone’s coming in...Hide first!”
Lan Fan sneaked into the vent near the ceiling and concealed her trace inside. Click! The door was opened by a blond man.
The man came to the container and reached his hand towards it. Miraculously, his hand penetrated through the surface as if it melted; Meanwhile, the jet-black container gradually became transparent.
Copernicus: Hey, lemme tell you some good news. The experiment is about to be completed. All thanks to you and X1673.
Lan Fan: “It’s a...girl...A girl was contained inside...and all those tubes are stuck into her body!”
Shocked by what was going on there, Lan Fan involuntarily leant closer for a clearer image.
This tiny movement was not supposed to be noticed by normal people, but Copernicus, this man here, was no ordinary. In fact, he was one of the three headmasters of Lomond Manor.
Lifting his head, Copernicus smiled when his gaze met with Lan Fan’s.
Copernicus: Aw, looks like we have a little trespassing rat here.
Copernicus: Aw, looks like we have a little trespassing rat here.
Lan Fan: “Tut! Got exposed...Strike first!”
Lan Fan rapidly jumped out of the vent and threw a stun grenade at Copernicus. Boom! A blinding flash lit up the whole car——
Lan Fan: “I better grab this chance to run...Hm? My body is moving without control!”
Lan Fan wanted to leave, but her legs moved towards the opposite direction against her will as if an invisible force was dragging her. No matter how hard she had tried, she eventually ended up in front of Copernicus.
Copernicus: What an energetic rat. Luckily I got my all setup here just in case.
As Copernicus snapped his fingers, a glittering enchantment was revealed on the floor. Its tentacles had extended to trap Lan Fan’s legs, which explained the abnormal behavior of her body.
Lan Fan: “This man is incomprehensible like those homunculi…”
Copernicus: Wait, the elemental flow inside you is different from the others...Are you...brought by that experimental object? Interesting...This is absolutely interesting!
Copernicus: Extraterrestrial rat, let me study you.
While Copernicus was approaching the immobilized Lan Fan enthusiatically, Lan Fan thought of Ling Yao’s face.
Lan Fan: “Master Ling...Looks like I won’t be able to witness your coronation…”
However, Copernicus stopped when he heard some noises outside. Next second, two panicking researchers rushed into the chamber.
Researcher: H-Headmaster, a weird man intruded and beat everyone up!
Copernicus: ...Sigh. That leaves me no choice. I’ll continue the study after taking care of those who stand in my way.
Lan Fan: “Gotta find an escape route...What is this...A translucent wall?”
Earlier the day, Copernicus busted Lan Fan as an intruder. After knocking her out, he held her hostage to make Ling Yao his henchmen.
Much as she wanted to escape, she was imprisoned by a translucent dome, which didn’t move a bit no matter how hard she bashed it. At this moment, Copernicus barged in, grabbed Lan Fan and threatened her with a knife.
Lan Fan: “This aura...It’s him”
Lan Fan: Master Ling!
Greed: You’re...that woman.
Another man appeared at the exit. He was Ling Yao, who had his body occupied by Greed the homunculus and also the master of Lan Fan.
Copernicus: I’ll slit her throat if you come any closer.
Greed: I dare you——Mmm!
Copernicus: Just as I expected, you’re from the other dimension just like her.
Lan Fan: Master, just leave me——Mmm!
Lan Fan: “Master...Run…”
Her consciousness sank into the dark before she could say the words out loud…
Lan Fan: “Mmm...Why do I feel something wet on my cheek…”
Lan Fan was woken up by the weird feeling from her face. Opening her eyes slowly, she saw an extremely close face, who stuck out the tongue in order to lick her——
Lan Fan: Whoa! What are you trying to do to me!
The startled Lan Fan headbutted instinctively hard enough to bump the person away.
???: Ouch! It hurts! I licked you because you were wounded and unconscious, and see if it could heal you.
???: Boohoo...What if Stein leaves because I’m disfigured...Boohoo…
Bumped away by Lan Fan, the girl cried out loud while rubbing her swollen forehead. Yet Lan Fan, who had all her mind about Ling Yao, ignored her explanation in tears and grasped her shoulders tightly.
Lan Fan: Who are you? What are you trying to do to my master?
Nicole: My name is Nicole...Mmm? Who’s your master?
Lan Fan: Stop acting! Tell me! Where’s my master!...Please...Please tell me…
The agitated Lan Fan started dropping tears, softening Nicole’s heart. She held Lan Fan’s hand with tears rolling in her eyes.
Nicole: That master… must be important to you...I know how you feel. I infiltrated this train for my beloved Stein too.
Lan Fan: I thought you were with those men?
Nicole: No way! I mean, it’s true that all of us are from Lomond Manor, but they do bad things behind the organization.
Nicole: My kid’s father was sent to investigate this train, and I’m here because I’m worried about him, but I got caught!
Nicole: Then I saw you lying unconscious on the floor with a bomb tied on you. Then you attacked me after I untied it for you…
Lan Fan saw the disarmed bomb and recalled the memory before she had fainted.
Lan Fan: “She…isn’t lying.”
Lan Fan’s attitude softened when she found out the innocence of the pouting Nicole.
Lan Fan: I’m sorry...about headbutting you earlier.
Nicole: It’s okay. I know you did it out of desperation...Alright, break time ends. Let’s get ready for jail break.
Lan Fan: It’s impossible. This place is chanted by some strange spells. There is no way out.
Nicole: This should be the elemental barrier set by Copernicus, but all barriers have a breaking point. It’s my showtime now!
Putting on a pair of mechanical glasses, Nicole touched the floor and closed her eyes to let her mind connect with elements. In a split second, she figured out the elemental flow map within the car.
Nicole: I found it, the way to crack this barrier!
Lan Fan: Really?
Nicole: Of course! You’re talking to a grey scientist of Lomond Manor. Can you see the four crystal lamps at the four corners? Those are the nodes of the barrier. Once they’re cracked, the barriers will be gone.
Nicole: Mmm...The only problem is that the lights are outside the barrier. How can we break them...
While Nicole was in distress, Lan Fan took out four daggers, made an agile flip and threw them out. Clank! All four lamps were shattered.
Nicole: Whoa! That’s amazing! How did you do that? Can you teach me?
Nicole tried to give a hug but Lan Fan dodged her enthusiasum. Meanwhile, Lan Fan went to pick up her mask and put it back on.
Lan Fan: Let’s go find Master.
Lan Fan: “Master Ling, this time I’ll fulfill my duty to protect you.”