Rhodes Island's Records of Originium - Rhine Lab

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Ifrit discovers an uninvited guest aboard Rhodes Island, a girl named Darya. Darya's small form casts a long shadow over Ifrit, Silence, and Saria as she conjures in them memories of a buried past.

Rhodes Island's Records of Originium - Rhine Lab is an Arknights manhua published by Terra Historicus as the second in the Rhodes Island's Records of Originium series. It is a prequel of Dorothy's Vision and Lone Trail which focuses on the relationship between Rhine Lab Operators serving for Rhodes Island and reveals the details surrounding the Diαbolic Crisis, a laboratory accident involving Ifrit with major ramifications mentioned several times in-game.

Synopsis

The story is a shifting timeline between the past and the present in which Ifrit's encounter with Darya, an Infected Ursine girl, recalls Saria's and Silence's memory back in Rhine Lab. Following the meltdown of Haydn Pharmaceutical by Ifrit's rampage, Saria brought the unconscious girl for emergency treatment, and Prof. Ahrens Parvis introduced the latest "Chimeric Treatment," a medical therapy that requires implanting minor amount of Originium shards, to treat her with Silence acting as its supervisor. However, as time went on, both Saria and Silence noticed Ifrit's worsening symptoms and dived into its mystery. Silence was furious to see Saria overseeing the "Project Diαbolic," a Columbian secret military program, and Saria, with Muelsyse's aid and the information provided by the Tin Man, learnt about Kristen's lighthearted approval of the project itself. The story reached its climax through Ifrit's rampage in R.L.'s lab, leading to the "Diαbolic Crisis." The incident caused Saria's resignation from R.L. after having a furious fight with Kristen and Silence's bitter misunderstanding with Saria.

Back in present, Silence attempts to keep Darya from Saria, believing that she might harm her again. However, Darya's Oripathy worsens as day passes by. Even then, both Ifrit and Darya become close friend with the former wanting to fulfil the latter's wish of searching for the legendary oasis that heals a water Elf. While the two are sneaking out of the Rhodes Island landship and crossing the wilderness, Darya goes rampage through her water Arts, and the kids are preyed by the desert Needleflies. Even though Saria and other R.I. operators arrive for the rescue, Darya is on the brinks of dying. In order to fulfil her last wish, Ifrit eventually brings her to the oasis where it would become Darya's burial site. In the meantime, the incident also lessens Silence's arrogance towards Saria and thanks her for protecting Ifrit during the mission.

Chapter summaries

Chapter 1: An Uninvited Guest
As workers are seen loading cargo onto a docked Rhodes Island, a man and a woman secretly smuggle a girl into the cargo despite their reservations. At the same time, Saria is welcomed aboard the ship after an absence. As Saria leaves to report to Kal'tsit, the smuggled Infected girl, Darya, climbs out of the cargo and starts running.

In her room, Ifrit sees she's seemingly alone and tries to sneak out, only to be caught red-handed by Silence, who scolds her for not finishing her homework. Ifrit tries to pass it off as her trying to get a snack, but Silence sees through her and prohibits her from visiting Saria, much to her annoyance. Once Silence leaves, Ifrit sneaks out again to find Saria, only to find Darya eating food from a crate instead. Darya splashes Ifrit with her water Arts, enraging her and causing her to fight back with her own flame Arts until Darya lures her into position to drop a deluge of water onto her. As both of them start laughing and having fun, Ifrit notices R.I. staff looking for a stowaway and quickly hides Darya before running away with her, also proclaiming herself as Darya's "boss".

Noticing Darya is hungry, Ifrit tries to sneak her into the cafeteria and get her food. The plan is initially successful, but Darya is overwhelmed by the good food, causing her Arts to go out of control and burst the nearby water pipes, triggering an alarm. Meanwhile, Silence and Joyce are finalizing a document, upon which Silence tells Joyce to make sure Ifrit never meets Saria, causing the other staff to wonder about what happened between the two researchers. As the alarm rings and alerts Silence to the incident in the cafeteria, she notices Ifrit is missing and rushes to the scene.

Ifrit tries and fails to talk down Darya before Saria appears and suppresses her Arts, just as Silence and her team also arrive; all parties soon identify Darya as the stowaway. Ifrit wants to stop Darya from being sent back against R.I.'s protocols, but Silence identifies that Darya is having a Oripathy attack and that she needs medical assistance, only for Saria to argue that treating a stowaway could also violate R.I.'s protocols. Ifrit still wants to protect Darya, but Silence begins arguing with Saria when the latter gets too close to Ifrit. This triggers a memory of Darya's traumatic upbringing, which causes her Arts to go out of control again. Saria and the others work to suppress her, but Darya quickly falls unconscious and must be rushed to the emergency room. Seeing Darya undergoing treatment makes Silence reminisce back to her days at Rhine Lab, specifically when Saria brought Ifrit in for the first time.

Chapter 2: Experimental Treatment
Silence recalls the day she first met Ifrit and Saria, where a severely wounded Ifrit was rushed into emergency care by Saria. Silence and Joyce take over the procedure before Silence is called out by her mentor, Dr. Ahrens Parvis. Parvis introduces himself and Saria before the latter explains that Ifrit was rescued from a lab in the Trimounts outskirts that exploded 5 hours ago, and that she's the only survivor. Saria proposes that Ifrit is their only real lead into the incident, but Silence notes she's unlikely to survive for long. Parvis then proposes "Chimeric Treatment", an experimental therapy that uses implanted Originium to coalesce the Originium within a body. Despite all of them acknowledging the risks of using such an unexplored treatment, they decide that it's worth a try to save Ifrit, and Parvis appoints Silence in charge of the treatment with Joyce to help her.

Suddenly, the three of them hear screaming from inside Ifrit's room, and Saria rushes in to find a panicking Ifrit threatening a researcher with a scalpel. Saria manages to talk her down and disarm her, but she panics again at the sight of the researchers wearing lab coats, prompting Silence to take hers off and comfort her. Ifrit promptly falls asleep from fatigue, letting the researchers treat her and begin the Chimeric operation.

Later, Ifrit is refusing to speak or take her medicine and terrorizing all of the researchers sent in to care for her with her fire Arts, which Silence attributes to her trauma making her lash out. Silence suggests for Saria to try talking to her and getting her to take her medicine, but Saria is incredibly blunt and awkward towards her, surprising the researchers when her method actually works. As Saria talks to Ifrit in private, the other researchers Albert and Lamy are baffled at how Silence thinks Saria is kind, recalling the myths surrounding her as an uncompromising paragon of strictness and indomitability, much to Silence's confusion.

Ifrit starts screaming from inside the room, and after Silence calms her down, Saria tells her that she had the outburst after she mentioned Haydn Pharmaceuticals, the lab that she was found in. Seeing that Ifrit trusts her, Silence tries to convince Saria to visit Ifrit more often, and Saria agrees. Together with Joyce, Albert, and Lamy, they begin looking after Ifrit together, all while Parvis praises Silence for her success with the Chimeric treatment so far.

Moving back to present-day Rhodes Island, Ifrit is delighted to see that Darya is awake and well, and Silence appears to tell her to take care of Darya. Outside, however, Silence is alarmed at the severity of Darya's Oripathy and does a background check on her. The staff find out that Darya contracted Oripathy from her mother during her birth, and her alcoholic father repeatedly beat both of them; one day, Darya lost control after he beat her mother to death, and used her hydrokinetic Arts to kill him through dehydration, much to the horror of the group.

Chapter 3: I Want Something Just Like This
Silence and the researchers note the potential danger of Darya's powers going out of control, but Silence resolves to save her anyways. She finds it odd that Darya's background info was already in R.I.'s database, only to find that Saria had already traced her hometown and investigated it.

Moving back to the past, Silence and Joyce are about to head off work from monitoring Ifrit. They overhear a trio of researchers led by Leon mocking Joyce's condition and making fun of the Infected, which angers them. However, Saria also overhears this and becomes enraged, cutting off the researchers and viciously reprimanding them for their actions and mindsets while defending Silence and Joyce. After seeing this, Silence meets up with Saria and explains they're finalizing a report, inviting her to come along.

At the office, Joyce quickly falls asleep due to her condition and is put on a couch by the others. Saria is quick to point out the recklessness of the experiment that damaged Joyce's brain, and Silence notes that Parvis said the same thing when he learned about it. Saria notes that she admires Parvis greatly, which Silence attributes to him giving her a chance to join Rhine Lab even after being infected in an accident after her graduation. Silence also thanks Saria for defending her honor as an Infected, to which Saria promises that them being Infected will not change her views of their excellent work, a view that is further amplified by Silence's excellent results with Ifrit's treatment.

Silence tells Saria that she'll wait for Joyce to wake up, and Saria offers to stay with her. Saria notices her shelf, which has things like a neuro-anesthetic Silence prepared for a university course (which Saria notes is similar to those used in the Defense department), and some gifts from her fellow graduates. Silence becomes embarrassed when Saria tells her to drop her title when referring to her, with Silence claiming that Saria was a huge inspiration to her as a student. She also wants to meet Control, the other founder of Rhine Labs, but Saria merely says that she's often busy.

Back to Rhodes Island, Ifrit is frustrated with how much of a ruckus Darya is creating. When Silence reminds her about how they used to take care of her back at Rhine, Ifrit brings Darya a story about a boy and a water Elf to occupy her. She then tries to sneak out to find Saria again, but Darya constantly trails her, much to her annoyance. She finally relents and lets Darya follow her, but not before clearing up her misconceptions that Saria is a mean person.

Yato, Blaze, Lancet-2, and Kroos can't provide any useful info, and Ifrit and Darya end up being sent back to their room by Silence and Joyce. When asked about her past with Saria, Ifrit tells Darya that she sees Saria as her savior and family, and that she feels guilty because she thinks Saria hates and avoids her for some trouble she caused at Rhine Lab. Ifrit begs Joyce to let her see Saria, to which she declines as per Silence's orders; however, she lets slip that Saria will visit the Medical Department that night.

Chapter 4: Like You, Like Me
In a brief flashback to Saria's childhood, her father is seen scolding her about her weakness after she cries from bullies breaking her toy, telling her that crying and showing emotion solves nothing, and that she must use her own strength to overcome obstacles. Saria is then shown growing up under this creed, training herself to become strong and intelligent, but also becoming somewhat socially lacking due to her resulting lack of care for emotions and no-nonsense attitude towards even children.

Noticing her footsteps, Ifrit sneaks out of her room and has a tearful surprise reunion with Saria in the hallway. Ifrit apologizes for what she did, and Saria assures her that she's not mad at her, and that it's not why she can't visit her. Darya also comes out and, after coaxing from Ifrit, offers Saria a candy as thanks for saving her "boss" in the past. Their reunion is cut short by the local patrol Operator, so Ifrit tells Saria to visit her more often before going back inside.

Back to the past in Rhine Lab, Ifrit is starting to show increasing amounts of pain because of her increasingly large treatment dosages. Silence is concerned, but Parvis writes it off as a normal symptom of an experimental treatment; Saria later talks to Parvis about the same concern, and he assures her that he has it under control. Saria then has to leave for an investigation, but Silence first gives her one of her feathers - a gift just like the ones her fellow graduates gave to her, and the one she gave to Ifrit recently.

Saria and Muelsyse are rummaging through the ruins of the Haydn lab under the local mayor's request. As Muelsyse banters, they uncover a secret basement revealing the scale and technology of the lab to be among some of Columbia's greatest. They manage to find a damaged tape that shows them performing illegal experimentation on Ifrit, enraging Saria and making her vow to find out the truth behind the company.

As both Ifrit's treatment and Saria's investigation continue, Saria walks in on Silence discussing the treatment dosage with Parvis. Silence is arguing that the treatment has hit a bottleneck and that Ifrit's pain is getting worse, while Parvis proposes that the bottleneck can be overcome with an increased dosage. At Parvis' urging, Silence begrudgingly accepts the increased dosage, and asks Saria to stay with Ifrit so she at least feels safer despite the pain.

During the treatment, Ifrit panics at the sight of a restraint used to tie her down, so they forgo it in favor of Saria acting as a safety measure. As the injection begins, Ifrit starts screaming in pain and lashes out with her Arts, forcing Saria to intervene with her own. Silence is alarmed while Albert and Lamy are horrified, but Parvis merely tells Ifrit to endure it for a bit longer. The injection eventually ends, and Ifrit is having a traumatic attack, speaking for the first time as she yells for the experiments to stop and the bad people to go away. Saria feeds Ifrit a candy to pacify her, making her cry; despite being initially about to treat her with the same bluntness that her father treated her, Saria instead decides to declare that she will protect her.

As Saria leaves the room, Parvis shows concern for her injuries, only for Saria to ask him for a word about today's treatment.

Chapter 5: When It Rains, It Pours
Saria tells Parvis about the abnormal levels of pain Ifrit is feeling during the treatments, and Parvis argues that the treatment has been successful so far, and that the pain will only be temporary. Saria tells him that part of the treatment is reducing the suffering of the patient, and that Ifrit losing control would be devastating to the surroundings; Parvis counters this by citing the ineffectiveness of painkillers for the treatment, and that his Structural Department has reinforced the lab to be fireproof. Saria still makes her point about reevaluating the treatment plan, and makes a veiled threat to Parvis that the Defense Department may have to intervene if the treatment is still deemed unsafe.

Ifrit has become much more friendly with her caretakers, but Saria's investigation is turning up dead ends; the lab director Haydn Rant was killed in the accident, and his listed investors are all both fake and dead. Muelsyse reveals that she visited Ifrit a few times in the past, and also proposes a new lead; however, she tells Saria that she looks tired and needs rest. Saria recalls her promise to be there for Ifrit's treatment, and Muelsyse wonders why Saria continues to see her even though she can't get any new info out of her, to which Saria wordlessly tries to drive off without her.

After some time, Parvis proposes raising the dosage again, countering Silence's objections by telling her their end goal is to cure Oripathy, and that maintaining Ifrit's current state isn't enough. Silence still objects, but after Parvis points out how tired Saria is from attending to Ifrit, she begrudgingly accepts his proposal again.

After Saria wakes up from a dream of her childhood, she receives an urgent call and has to leave the lab immediately. Silence is worried about doing the treatment without Saria, but Parvis assures her that she'll be able to handle it. With Saria gone, Silence is helpless to stop Leon from tying down Ifrit for safety, and Ifrit tearfully tries to endure the pain like she promised Saria. Her Arts engulf the room and Silence begs Parvis to stop the treatment, but he only mumbles that the injection just needs a little more time.

Meanwhile, Saria meets with Muelsyse, who shows her a tape that reveals that Ifrit's Arts outburst was what destroyed Haydn Pharmaceuticals. Rushing back to Rhine Lab, Saria intercepts Parvis and demands that he stops the treatment immediately.

Back to Rhodes Island, Saria meets with Silence and Joyce regarding Darya's situation, with Saria proposing the risk of Darya losing control of her Arts. Silence is angry at Saria for showing up, accusingly asking her if she plans to deal with Darya the same way she "dealt with" Ifrit. However, their argument is interrupted by Ifrit bringing Darya to them in a panic; the girl has fallen unconscious after a nosebleed, with a later diagnosis declaring that her Oripathy has progressed to the point where her chances of surviving the week are now below 20%.

Chapter 6: Same Old, Different People
Saria demands that Parvis stop the treatment, telling him that Ifrit destroyed the Haydn lab and that her losing control again could be catastrophic. Silence tries to stop it, but Parvis stops her by telling her that the treatment cannot be stopped without his approval. Saria ignores him and forcefully stops the treatment, to which Parvis angrily reprimands her for interfering with another section's work, telling her that she's broken the rules of Rhine Lab. Saria argues for the safety risk and demands that the Defense Section be given authority to review Structural's treatment plan, which Parvis angrily refuses. Parvis decides to report the incident to Control, and Saria decides to let her have the final verdict.

Saria has a flashback to a banquet from after one of her and Kristen's lectures, where she meets Kristen herself on a balcony. Kristen voices her disappointment at how Columbian science cares more about money and power than true progress, and how the others slander her family and parents, who died in a flight accident. Saria promises to defend her honor, since they're friends and she respected the Wright family's research as a child. Declaring her intentions to go beyond the skies themselves, Kristen proposes the creation of a company dedicated solely to true scientific progress, one capable of solving even Catastrophes and Oripathy. With the two of them as co-founders, Rhine Lab was born from that ideal.

In the present, Saria and Parvis meet with Kristen and tell her everything that happened. Kristen hears them out and gives her approval to continue the treatment, citing that Ifrit's condition has improved and that they can't let their progress be held back because of Saria's concerns. Despite Saria's objections, Kristen only cares about the progress of the treatment, giving Parvis the okay to keep working as long as he takes Saria's info into account. She also brings up Saria and Muelsyse's investigation into Haydn Pharmaceuticals, and tells her to abort the investigation at the behest of the mayor; when Saria objects to her trying to cover up the truth, she merely claims that the public learning of what happened will only interfere with their research. Saria is upset at Kristen's callousness towards stopping the illegal experiments, but accepts her verdict.

Later, Saria meets with Muelsyse, who reveals that Kristen also turned her down when she wanted to continue the investigation. The two of them decide to take matters into their own hands, and Muelsyse tells Saria that the tapes they recovered mentioned the Haydn lab already being hunted down by a mysterious entity, which she theorizes is a known vigilante organization dedicated to forcefully shutting down illegal experimentation.

At Rhine Lab, as Joyce prepares to undergo treatment for her brain damage, Parvis confronts Silence about how she trusts Saria over him. He scolds her for leaking Structural's data to Defense, and tells her that her rapport with Saria has damaged her ability to make rational decisions. As a result, Parvis forbids Silence from partaking in any of Ifrit's treatments, much to her shock.

Back to the present at Rhodes Island, Silence and the others have managed to keep Darya alive, and Ifrit is quick to talk to her through the intercom, as Darya is too weak for Ifrit to directly talk to her. She continues the story about the water Elf, describing how the sprite got very sick one day, and the protagonist hero found that the sprite of the desert oasis would be able to save her life.

Back to the past at Rhine Lab, Ifrit's next treatment is starting and Silence is forced to watch from afar. Albert takes over Leon's task when Ifrit refuses to be tied down, and reassures her about Silence's absence. Despite her horror at Ifrit's suffering, Silence only follows Parvis' directions and reports the data; when the experiment finishes, she is still forbidden from seeing Ifrit right away by Leon. The painful experiments continue over the next weeks, and Silence can only reassure and care for Ifrit between treatments, which makes her greatly distressed. She tells Albert and Lamy that the treatment is getting unreasonable; rather than a treatment, she believes it to be an experiment disguised as one.

Later, Silence argues with Leon about Ifrit undergoing her third treatment that week, especially when she learns that Parvis has increased the dosage beyond the maximum limit, accusing them of using Ifrit as a lab rat. However, Leon immediately shuts her down, threatening her with his status of being in charge of reporting directly to Parvis. Silence is in disbelief that the professor she used to respect so much would do something like this.

Silence meets Parvis and apologizes for her previous actions, prompting him to thank her and restore her previous authorizations. She also needs Parvis' authority to override the safe limit for the injection, so Parvis offers her his work card. However, when she logs into the terminal, she instead digs into Ifrit's treatment and uncovers "Project Diabolic", revealing that the true intentions of the treatment were to turn Ifrit into a living weapon. As she steps back in shock, Parvis reveals himself to be standing right behind her, menacingly asking SIlence if she's seen everything already.

Chapter 7: Everything I Can
Parvis isn't upset with Silence for seeing the secret data, claiming that he intended to show it to her anyways at some point. Silence is outraged that Parvis would condone such inhumane human experimentation, asking why he's okay with this but decried the experiment that damaged Joyce's brain. Parvis explains that he disapproved of the experiment not because of the premise, but because a valuable researcher hurt themselves doing it rather than a "desperate volunteer."

Silence accuses Parvis of not valuing Ifrit's life, but Parvis argues that Ifrit's life has value because her sacrifices and contributions will be immortalized in history, and that he doesn't understand Silence's anger, coldly stating that all scientific progress must come with sacrifice, and that to enjoy said progress while decrying the necessary sacrifices is hypocritical. Parvis tells Silence that compared to the other children dying of Oripathy, Ifrit is lucky not only to have been saved, but to be able to dedicate herself to scientific triumph. Silence is enraged, claiming that Saria and Control would have never allowed such a thing; Parvis chides her for her lack of rationality and reveals that not only did Saria help cover up the Haydn Lab incident, her signature of approval is on the design for the flamethrower made for Ifrit. Silence is shocked by the news, and Parvis assures her that Saria promised Control that if Ifrit went out of control, Saria would personally "eliminate the threat" for Rhine's safety.

Back to the present at Rhodes Island, Ifrit is still reading the story to Darya, who wants to see the magical oasis. Kal'tsit and Warfarin meet Silence and Joyce, where Silence tells them that normal treatment is ineffective due to Darya's state. She proposes using Chimeric treatment, understanding the risks of doing so more than anyone, and volunteers to lead the operation.

Back in the past at Rhine Lab, Ifrit has just tested her new flamethrower under the pretense of relieving her Arts-related stress. Silence is still shocked and enraged at the recent revelations, but is interrupted by Saria, who unintentionally scares off Leon and the others as Ifrit embraces her. Albert is relieved to see her, but shocked to see how upset Silence is at her presence. Saria praises Ifrit for enduring the experiments, and offers her a candy, which Ifrit splits with her.

Saria and Silence take Ifrit for a walk in the garden, where Silence questions Saria about the Haydn incident, to which Saria can't tell Silence anything due to confidentiality. Silence tells Saria she wants to stop the Chimeric treatment and that Parvis disagrees with her, and Saria also mentions that Control approved of its continuation as well. Finally, Silence asks if Saria is prepared to "deal with" Ifrit if she loses control of her Arts, and Saria can only reply that they must do everything in their power to stop that from happening in the first place.

Encouraged by Saria's words, Silence decides to take matters into her own hands. After getting Albert and Lamy on board, she plans to lace one of Ifrit's candies with the neuro-anesthetic like the one she made before, which will let them feign her death. Then, the trio will intercept Ifrit at the morgue and take her, letting them sneak Ifrit out of Rhine Lab. Albert asks why Silence isn't asking Saria for help, and Silence responds that the situation is too complicated, with her suspecting that Saria may even be involved already.

The time for the treatment arrives, and Silence feeds Ifrit the drugged candy. Although it initially appears to have worked as Ifrit's heartbeat stops, Ifrit quickly becomes conscious again and erupts into a massive explosion, killing Leon and destroying the test chamber. As the researchers evacuate, Parvis is shocked to see a fiery demon manifesting from the rampaging Ifrit.

Back to the present, Silence is in despair over her Chimeric treatment failing, leaving Darya with scant time to live. However, she is cut off by an emergency alarm calling her to the ICU, informing her that Darya has gone missing.

Chapter 8: All Good Things
Security footage reveals that Ifrit had taken Darya and snuck out of the landship, with Silence and Saria deducing that she's trying to take her to the nearest oasis. They mobilize a team to rescue her, and Silence begrudgingly allows Saria to come with her.

Back to Saria and Muelsyse's investigation into Maylander, they finally received an invitation to meet one of their agents. Saria expresses her concerns about Rhine's internal strife due to Control's negligence and the other directors' machinations, and worries that Silence may have gotten in over her head. Regardless, she follows a trail of clues that lead up to a bar, where the Tin Man, a renowned Columbian detective, is waiting for them. The Tin Man expresses confusion that they're trying to expose the incident rather than cover it up, given Rhine Lab's history of experimentation. He agrees to help the duo albeit warning them of the difficulties ahead, and tells them the truth about "Project Diαbolic": it is one of many experiments conducted by the Columbian Department of Defense to create human weapons using the "shards" of the now-extinct Diablo Sarkaz, to which he bitterly laments the desecration of his kind. Saria discovers that although Haydn Labs didn't have the clearance to perform such experiments, they were actually doing it under a contract from Rhine Labs and Kristen themselves. Saria and Muelsyse realize that many of their previous projects and affairs had actually been building up to Project Diαbolic, including the disguised flamethrower blueprint that Saria unknowingly approved; Saria also deduces that the Tin Man revealing he knows this much about Rhine Lab is his way of indirectly threatening them. However, Saria receives a call about Ifrit's outburst and leaves urgently, leaving Muelsyse to finalize the deal.

At Rhine Lab, everyone is evacuating, and Silence is determined to find Ifrit before Saria inevitably meets and kills her. Silence calls out to her, but Ifrit doesn't recognize her and knocks her out. Parvis tells the arriving Saria that the reaction was caused by an unknown anesthetic and questions her about Silence, but Saria angrily waves him off and promises to deal with him after she handles the situation.

When Silence awakens, she continues looking for Ifrit, only to be horrified when she sees Saria pinning her down with a raised knife. Saria manages to subdue Ifrit without killing her and gives her to Silence, who is terrified and enraged by both the situation and Saria's actions. As for Saria, she leaves without saying a word to Silence and heads upstairs to directly confront Kristen.

At her office, Kristen welcomes Saria and asks her about the anesthetic, with Saria taking the blame for it. Saria slams Kristen for her negligence and apathy towards Project Diαbolic and Ifrit's situation, and Kristen just says it's fine as long as they can cover it up well enough. This enrages Saria into attacking Kristen, which she counters with the "Shockwave" defense system in her office, which allows her to manipulate vibrations alongside the metallic ribbons scattered throughout the office. The two clash physically and ideologically, with Kristen proclaiming that unrestricted progress is the only way to save humanity, and Saria declaring that it'll be for naught if it comes at the cost of ignoring humanity itself. After a prolonged fight, Kristen destroys Saria's calcification with the Shockwave's vibrations and blocks her with its barrier, but Saria punches it with her bare hands until it finally shatters, her bloodied fist stopping just short of killing Kristen. Saria then turns around and announces her resignation from Rhine Lab, promising Kristen that although she can't change her here, she can use her own means to make things right. As Saria leaves, Kristen just looks to the stars above her, muttering that Saria will understand eventually.

Back to the present, Saria is driving towards Ifrit, but Silence is injured ahead of her. She's shocked to hear that Darya's Arts have gone out of control, causing her to go on a rampage.

Chapter 9: Ere the Break of Day
Right after Ifrit's suppression, Silence is mulling over what she did wrong when Saria enters the room. Silence is angry at her and threatens to expose the scandal to the public, but Saria tells her that not only is that tantamount to suicide, she's discovered a way to help Ifrit. Silence agrees to keep her mouth shut, but refuses Saria's help, telling her to stay away from Ifrit.

In the present, Darya and Ifrit are attacked by Needleflies in the desert. The two of them manage to fight them off, but Darya goes berserk from the exertion, pulling groundwater from underground and attacking indiscriminately. Ifrit and the Rhodes Island team engage Darya to suppress her, and Silence prepares a batch of neuro-anesthetics to knock Darya out; however, the ground has turned to quicksand from Darya's water Arts, and a Needlefly attack results in Silence losing all but one vial of the anesthetics. A Rhodes caster freezes the quicksand to give them a foothold, and Silence moves in to inject Darya, but the child manages to blow away Silence despite being distracted by Ifrit.

Darya begins draining the fluid from all the people around her, giving them a few minutes at best. Silence is attacked again, but Ifrit unleashes her Diablo power, protecting her while maintaining control over herself. At the same time, Saria arrives and uses her calcification to harden the quicksand before the Rhodes caster can collapse, and takes the anesthetic before preparing to suppress Darya - but not before promising Silence that she won't kill her.

Saria and the empowered Ifrit take on Darya together, and Ifrit is insistent on taking Darya to the oasis, even knowing that it's just a fairy tale, just because she promised her. Saria understands and promises to help her keep her promise, and as they fight, Saria flashes back to how she fought Ifrit in a similar way during her outburst back at Rhine Lab. She had tried talking down Ifrit, but decided to take drastic action after learning that the entire block was in danger. Just as she was about to kill Ifrit, the girl regained her senses and offered Saria half a piece of candy, revealing that her saving half the drugged candy for Saria was what caused Silence's anesthetic to fail.

In the present, Saria decides not to make the same mistake. throwing away her blade at the last moment and injecting Darya with the anesthetic, knocking her out. With Darya back to her senses, Ifrit finally takes her to the oasis and recalls the fairy tale, where the oasis sprite managed to heal the water Elf, and the sprite and hero lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, in reality, Darya's Oripathy has advanced too far from her outburst. Darya tells a despondent Ifrit the oasis is beautiful, and thanks her "boss" for everything before dying in her arms.

Back at the landship, Silence is consoling Ifrit over the loss. When Ifrit brings up the topic of never being able to see people she cares about again, Silence explains that mortality is why people must spend their lives being together with their loved ones, as to not regret anything when they pass away. She assures Ifrit that she's proud of her for letting Darya leave the world with no regrets.

Outside, Saria and Kal'tsit discuss the failed treatment and Silence's efforts. Saria tells Kal'tsit that Silence is dedicated but naive, but Kal'tsit believes that her naivete will be her greatest strength once it turns into resolve. She asks Saria if she needs more time to rest, but Saria declines, telling her that she must stop Kristen and prevent anything like Ifrit's situation from happening again. Kal'tsit asks her if she wants to tell Silence the truth, to which Saria merely says that although she thinks it's not time yet, she'll think about it.

Outside the landship, Silence gives Saria half of a candy that Ifrit saved for her. She thanks Saria for for saving them, but tells her that she still can't forgive her, Control, Parvis, or Rhine Lab as a whole, which Saria agrees is justified. Despite knowing her weakness, Silence resolves to keep doing everything she can to save others, impressing Saria with her resolve. As they part ways for now, Saria tells Silence she believes in her, before eating the candy Ifrit left her.

Extra 1: In Return
During the investigation into Maylander, Saria had dragged Muelsyse to a grocery store for advice when buying Ifrit more candy. Muelsyse gets to work, and Saria decides to buy "a certain Liberi" some coffee-flavored candies as a return gift, despite learning that it won't actually help with drowsiness. At the cashier, Saria buys an extra fruit candy for Muelsyse, to which she's surprised that Saria actually remembered which brand she liked.
Extra 2: Make A Wish
While Ifrit is asleep at Rhine Lab, Muelsyse uses one of her water clones to visit her, posing as the water Elf from Ifrit's book. Unable to pronounce her name, Ifrit just calls her "Mumu" before upsetting her by asking if the water sprite should be more beautiful. Regardless, Ifrit prays to the "Elf" for a wish, and Muelsyse plays along by promising to punish the bad people who hurt Ifrit. Right as Muelsyse prepares to leave, Ifrit says that Saria also offered to protect her, and asks for Muelsyse to protect Saria, to which she agrees. As her clone vanishes, a confused Silence walks into the room, believing Ifrit to have wet the bed from the stain, only for Ifrit to nonchalantly tell her that it was the water sprite.
Extra 3: Silence
When Silence rescued Ifrit and brought her to get medical help, her fellow researchers shunned her and wanted to kill Ifrit for the damages she caused, while the Defense Department wants to take her. Parvis appears to defend Silence and proclaims the importance of saving one of Rhine's most valuable test subjects. Parvis offers her his key card and tells her to use a backup emergency room to treat Ifrit; Silence is still disgusted by Parvis' actions, but angrily takes the card to save Ifrit.

Their operations fail to significantly improve Ifrit's state, and although Silence wants to try again, she passes out due to several days of fatigue. When she wakes up, she's surprised to find that an unknown benefactor has given them a bottle of medicine with Rhodes Island's logo on it. Albert recognizes the logo from a slum charity they had some time ago, where a man used a drug with the same log to treat his child and begged them not to investigate where he got it from. Silence, Albert, and Lamy visit the slums again and dig into the drug's origins, but Silence is overwhelmed by fear and nausea when she sees how many people in the slums idolize Rhine Lab and want to work there or volunteer as test subjects out of desperation for treatment, unaware of the truth behind the Lab that Silence now knows. She's bailed out by Jane, an old acquaintance, and meets with Lando, the R.I. member who sold the drugs. Although he initially refuses her, he's moved by her determination and sincerity after many subsequent visits, and takes her to Rhodes Island.

Kal'tsit welcomes Silence aboard, but asks for some background info on how she managed to get such a high-level partnership approved in Rhine Lab as a normal researcher. Silence recalls how Parvis and the rest of the lab thinks Ifrit is too valuable to leave for dead, and Parvis agreed to let Silence bring her anywhere for treatment as long as Control approved it, but not before telling her that Rhine Lab is where her ambitions can truly shine, and that he'll await her return. When Silence meets Control, she signs the approval without even looking at it, angering Silence when she realizes that Control doesn't care about Ifrit in the slightest. Taking the signed approval, Silence merely tells Control that she won't disappoint Rhine Lab before leaving.

Characters

Main
Ifrit icon.png
Muelsyse icon.png
Ptilopsis icon.png
Saria icon.png
Silence icon.png

Ahrens Parvis icon.png
Kristen Wright icon.png
Supporting
Tin Man icon.png
Minor
Kal'tsit icon.png
Cameo
Blaze icon.png
Kroos icon.png
Lancet-2 icon.png
Warfarin icon.png
Yato icon.png

Ferdinand Clooney icon.png
  • Darya
  • Albert: A Caprinae researcher of R.L. who works with Silence and helps take care of Ifrit.
  • Lammy: A Liberi researcher of R.L. who works with Silence and helps take care of Ifrit.
  • Leon: A Pythian researcher of R.L. with an arrogant demeanor. Works under Parvis and eventually becomes in charge of reporting directly to him regarding Ifrit's incident.
  • Jane: A Pythian researcher of R.L. hailing from a town where Oripathy had became a serious problem. Oddly enough , she criticizes how some of her coworkers and patients are Infected too.
  • Lando: A Perro Rhodes Island Operator who provided medical supplies for the Infected community in the Shantytown of Trimounts. He was also the one who introduced the company to Silence.

See also