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Backstory

        Two men and a lady strode in a white hallway. Socrates, the burly man, took the lead and lengthened his stride with speed; Marie, the lady in a long dress, began to scurry, trying to catch up his pace from the back. “Can you slow down? Marie felt hard to catch up,” Edison spoke for her.

        “...I’m just too worried about the newcomers in that hall.” Socrates stopped walking. His face was filled with bewilderment.

        Edison put both hands at the back of his head. “What are you worried about? After all they’re the researchers invited by Lomond Manor. If this level of attack can kill them, then they’re not qualified for this job,” he said while eating a candy.

        “How irresponsible!” Marie berated. “Socrates and I are different from you in terms of rank. You’re a newcomer, and protecting you is our duty!”

        Marie and Socrates were a bronze scientist and a silver scientist of Lomond Manor, respectively. They received the order to give an orientation for newcomers in the hall, but then they were knocked out; And they found themselves in a strange laboratory after waking up.

        Originally, Socrates was with the newcomers. When he heard Marie’s scream, he managed to save her as he misunderstood Edison was a molester. Both of them started fighting each other until they figured out it was just a mistake. Before long, an explosion occurred in the hall of newcomers, and they rushed to save them instantly.

        As it was a race against time, Marie got rid of noble bearing and pulled up her long dress to run. “Just go. Don’t mind me,” she told Socrates.

        Insisted by Marie, they soon arrived at the destination. Strangely, there were no signs of explosion. Everything was intact except the door broken by Socrates before.

        “Can’t see anyone here.” Edison looked inside.

        “Perhaps they just went to other places?” Confused, Socrates kept searching door-to-door, but all he saw was nothing.

        As Marie was tripped by a metal chip as she stepped forward, but someone caught her in the nick of time——It was Socrates. His eyes expressed much concern, but she avoided the body contact and moved his hand away after she rebalanced herself.

        “Thank you.” Then, Marie freaked out when she found something missing. Looking around with great anxiety, she was lucky enough to get it back——A geometric metal brooch, inlaid with a sapphire.

        Marie stooped down to pick it up, but something gave her the creeps. She looked at the right side and saw a horrible thing——a time bomb with a countdown screen in red numbers.

        “This is a plastic explosive. We just have 10 seconds left before it explodes. Judging from the size and structure, it’s an ultrasound high explosive. I’m afraid we can’t do anything but…” Marie did not feel a flicker of fear, but kept thinking of solutions. Then, she took action.

        Wrapping up the right sleeve, she showed her slim, snow-white arm. It was astonishing that her skin was marked with some kind of azure spiral and geometric patterns.

        “Everyone, come over here!”

        “Little Marie you——Whoa!” Before Edison could toss a candy into his mouth, his collar was pulled backward by Socrates.

        He grabbed Edison to Marie’s side quickly. When he was about to go mad, a powerful explosion shut him up. Overwhelming flames and shockwaves struck them instantly. Marie put her left hand on her wrist; water element was summoned, falling on the patterns of her skin.

        Azure, gentle lights emerged and glowed lighter and light enough to cover them completely; Simultaneously, it was shining towards the bright red flames——

        Whoosh——!
        A deafening sound was echoing through the air when the blazing flame met the azure light, giving out a cloud of mist. The light kept engulfing the flames non-stop, eventually becoming a giant beam.

        “It’s...nitrogen! She boosts the nitrogen with elemental power to freeze the flames…” Edison analyzed the whole process and came to a conclusion rapidly.

        “Phew...We’re safe…” Marie pulled down her sleeve, heaving a sigh of relief.

        However, Socrates and Edison did not seem to think so. Before her question was asked, she heard an ear-piercing sound. She turned around reluctantly and saw the hallway shrouded in shadows——bats.

        “N-no——!” Fear flickered across her elegant face.

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