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Backstory

        Quick footsteps echoed through a silent hallway. Darwin and Newton arrived at the entrance of a huge room. They had to pass through a 10-ish feet deep pool in the center before reaching the exit opposite the room. The pool was filled with thick, smoking liquid, and it was obviously not water.

        Newton swung his sword against the wall and a metal plate dropped instantly. Then, he threw it into the pool. As soon as the plate touched the liquid, a cloud of smoke popped up with a sizzling sound.

        The plate melted in simply 10 seconds.

        “It’s strong acid. We’ll be completely eroded within 3 seconds if we touch it,” Newton whispered.

        “That man is still a fan of vicious tricks.”
        Darwin shook his head and grumbled, “this way is not working. Let’s go back to find another one.”

        “No, there is no other way. We’ve searched through the entire place already, except this.” Newton looked at the exit. “We have no choice but to find a way to cross the pool. If we can’t swim across it, the only way is to fly.”

        Newton raised the sword to conjure elements around; embers were drawn to him slowly, eventually absorbed into the blade.

        “Ouch!” Newton got his hand burnt by fire element out of control, letting go of the weapon. Shocked by his own blazing sword, he looked around and found that the fire elements in this place were more concentrated than usual.

        “The concentration of elements is multiplied here. That’s why it’s easy to lose control…,” Newton murmured.

        “It seems the enemies are good at using elements,” Darwin said calmly as he touched his chin, which was in stark contrast with the desperate look of Newton.

        At this moment, the flames went out. He picked it up regardless of the heat and insisted, “Let me try one more time. I can do it——Mmm!” Darwin pinched his cheeks to stop him from talking.

        “Calm down, boy.”

        “Mmm——!” He nodded. Then, Darwin let go of his hands and wore a confident smile. “Leave this place to me. I’ve got a plan already.”

        “...How?” Newton asked while rubbing his face.

        “Hoho, you’ll see,” smiled Darwin. “But first, we need to catch some bugs.”

        “Bugs?” Newton repeated in puzzlement.

        “Right, flying bugs. But it might be hard to find here.”

        “No, it’s easy.” Newton walked out of the room to the hallway, summoning fire elements with his sword. A small flame was ignited at the point of the blade, attracting a swarm of moths. He caught one of them and gave it to Darwin, “here it is.”

        “...Hohoho, you’re truly an interesting boy.” His action made Darwin laugh, but Newton had no idea what was so funny about it, looking at him in confusion. After a while, Darwin quieted down.

        “Alright, Time for the biology lesson now.” Darwin wiped out the tears of joy and took the moth.

        After taking a deep breath, Darwin raised his right hand to absorb elements nearby. The elements went into the test tubes embedded on his metal arm and catalyzed the substance inside. This time, an aromatic smoke was generated.

        A wisp of smoke began to coil the moth; and thickened until it was turned into a pupa. The size of which was even bigger than Newton, giving out an emerald light. As the gleam faded away, the moth has evolved into a new form——a creature with hard shell and two pairs of wings.





        “This is…” Newton was amazed. His eyes glittered with curiosity. Darwin’s demonstration had ignited Newton’s researcher spirit.

        “I blend elements with all sorts of substance to catalyze the life core of the moth, which has undergone metamorphosis to a stronger species. The effect can only last for a short period for now, but it can be improved with more researches.”

        “I...want in.” Newton showed his rare excitement. “Can I join you?”

        “Of course! It’s my pleasure to have a talent like you.” Darwin rubbed Newton’s head and smiled. “After escaping this place.”

        Riding the moth, both of them successfully crossed the acid pool to the exit. As they were about to walk out of the room, Darwin stopped suddenly.

        “Before we leave, let me change the moth back first.” Darwin absorbed the elements back into his right arm. Soon, it had changed back to its original form. The moth then flew away.

        “Why don’t you just leave it be?”

        “Because of my code of honor.” Darwin’s eyes filled with wisdom accumulated from the past. “I don’t mind seeking truth or studying unknown things, but we have no right to alter the nature in any way, boy.”

        Newton only had a vague idea about what he said. Both of them walked out of the room to a high-ceilinged place. There was a spiral staircase down to somewhere.

        Running all the way, Newton slowed down gasping for breath. Because of this pausing, he was free from the incoming attack.

        Yet it wasn’t so lucky for Darwin——

        Bang! Darwin was knocked flying to the wall in front of Newton, and dropped down like a broken puppet.

        As it was all very sudden, Newton could not even make a sound. At this moment, someone was approaching——

        “One down.” A man said hoarsely in a mechanic-like flat tone.

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