Chapter 14: Hatching
“Are you going to shoot them?” Dr. Daniel asked.
“There are too many of them. I don’t have enough bullets, although there are enough for suicide,” Wu Yun replied.
There was silence in the car.
Wu Yun turned back to look at Han Li, “I thought you’d cry about wanting to go home or about how you don’t want to die here or something.”
“…I chose this path, so even if my tears dry up and I’ll have to gamble my life away, I have to walk it to the end myself.” Han Li sucked in a breath and looked at Li Qian, who was beside her. “Suddenly, I really admire this guy. He’s just going through everything muddle-headedly.”
“I can also knock you out too.”
Just as Wu Yun’s words left his mouth, their car slowly started to lower, until it steadily landed on the ground.
Everyone held their breaths and no one dared to make a peep.
The rustling sound of the moving devil vines came from behind them, but they didn’t match the devil vines’ quick and violent behavior.
They acted as if they were being very careful and cautious, and afraid of hurting something.
After a sudden shaking of the car, the devil vines finally let go of it.
No one dared to move and, even after a minute, nothing happened.
“Did they give up on us?” Han Li asked.
“I don’t know, but that’s inconsistent with the devil vines’ behavior,” Wu Yun answered.
“Don’t you guys think the devil vines actually saved us?” Dr. Daniel asked.
“No way, how did you get such a fairytale idea?” Wu Yun thought it was funny.
“First, when we rushed into the devil vines, they let us through. With the speed at which they move, what’s the probability that we didn’t hit a single vine?” Zhou Yu asked.
“Yes, that’s impossible.” Wu Yun narrowed his eyes. “And second?”
“Second, the devil vines hunted the two-headed wolf spiders from beginning to end, but turned a blind eye to us. I would even go as far as to say that they specifically gave us a path forward. Is such ‘courtesy’ also just a coincidence?”
Everyone exhaled in unison.
“Third, we almost crashed the car but the devil vines stopped us just in time while also taking care of the engine. It’s impossible for us to crash into anything now.” After Zhou Yu spoke, he opened the car door and got out.
“Hey! Zhou Yu!” Han Li was worried.
Zhou Yu stood there for more than half a minute. Nothing happened.
The devil vines quietly spiraled around the trees, they showed no signs of moving.
Wu Yun patted his own head. “Fine, you always manage to achieve the unexpected.”
Zhou Yu looked at Zhou Qing. His questioning gaze made Zhou Qing look away.
No one in the car was an idiot. All of them could recall that it was Zhou Qing who told them to go west and into the territory of the devil vines.
Since Zhou Qing did not explain himself, no one asked either. After all, the most important thing was to stay alive. Now was not the time for an interrogation. Zhou Qing was a botanist, so maybe he was more familiar with the devil vines than the others. For example, compared to them, perhaps the devil vines preferred the two-headed wolf spiders as their food.
“We need to start walking again. Still, we won’t make it out before nightfall.” Wu Yun shrugged, helpless.
“Are you changing your name?” Zhou Yu asked while opening the trunk of the car. He took a gun and reloaded it, taking all of the magazines.
“Should I change it to ‘Good Luck’ instead of ‘No Luck’?” Wu Yun also started to pack up the ammunition.
Dr. Daniel distributed the rations and water.
What was the most worrying for everyone now was the effectiveness of the inhibitor. If they did not reach the base before the effects wore off, the results would be tragic.
Wu Yun passed a box of medication to Dr. Daniel. “Everyone gets one shot of the inhibitor. If you drop yours, then that’s your responsibility. No one else can take the blame for you.”
Dr. Daniel brought the last shot of the medicine to Wu Yun and Zhou Yu. “There’s only one more shot left, how will you two split it?”
Zhou Yu nodded at Wu Yun. “Give it to Wu Yun.”
“You don’t need it?” Dr. Daniel asked him in astonishment.
“I still have one,” Zhou Yu opened his waist pack to show him.
Wu Yun gaped in shock. “This was the one I tossed to you at the destroyed base. You haven’t been using it?”
“Yes, I didn’t use it. If there’s a need for it, I’ll save it for Zhou Qing.”
“From the start… you weren’t afraid at all?” Wu Yun’s eyes were opened very wide.
“I controlled it very well.”
“I don’t understand, how did you do it?” Wu Yun grabbed Zhou Yu’s collar. “Are you superhuman? Or a monster?”
“I only needed to do it once. As long as you’ve ignored fear once, you can do it for the second, and the third time.”
Zhou Yu looked straight and unwaveringly into Wu Yun’s eyes.
“I don’t believe you. Fear is a human instinct. What are you thinking of inside your head?” Wu Yun narrowed his eyes.
He wanted to see through Zhou Yu, but Zhou Yu continued to be as simple as always. There was nothing for him to ponder or investigate.
“Once you realize that some things must be done even if you die, then there is nothing to fear anymore. There are feelings more powerful than fear,” Zhou Yu answered.
“Like anger. Like telling yourself that you have to survive.”
Wu Yun froze, then he let go of Zhou Yu’s collar. “Being partners with you is one hell of a wild ride.”
“I thought you’d say that it’s an exciting ride.”
Wu Yun lightly scoffed, “Just keep an eye on your younger brother. Our great Professor Zhou’s sixth sense has been startlingly accurate.”
“The so-called ‘six-sense’ is signals our brains have accumulated through knowledge and experience. Zhou Qing has studied the many organisms of Nibelungen. It’s not strange at all that he used his sixth sense to save everyone.”
Zhou Yu looked to the side in Zhou Qing’s direction. His expression was calm.
When Zhou Qing hefted up his pack of rations and water, he said “Thank you” inside his head.
That familiar voice once again echoed back, “It was my pleasure. You will leave this forest safe and sound.”
That was a promise.
Zhou Qing’s fingers trembled. None of this was his own imagination. In the world of Nibelungen, hierarchies were rigid. S rank organisms were above other organisms, and they could control similar organisms beneath them. The devil vines must have saved them under the control of that S rank organism.
“You saved us, so what do you want me to do for you?” Zhou Qing asked in his mind.
He thought he would answer him, but more than ten seconds passed and no one replied.
Did that S rank organism leave his mind?
Or maybe, as a high-ranking organism in this world, he was watching them with an amused and transcendent gaze as they struggled to survive in the world. Was all of this just a pastime to him?
When Wu Yun lifted out the box containing the embryo, it suddenly started to shake.
“Oh my God! What is that?!” Han Li jumped in shock.
Zhou Yu immediately raised his gun.
“Hey, hey, hey! Watch your aim! If you’re going to aim at something, aim at the box, not at me!” Wu Yun was extremely nervous that Zhou Yu would shoot him.
“What’s going on? What’s in that box? Why did you bring it with us?” Dr. Daniel walked over.
“An organism embryo,” replied Zhou Yu.
“What? You brought an organism embryo?! You don’t think we’re dead enough as is?!” Han Li felt like she was in a mental asylum.
“Why did you tell them? Look, now you’ve scared them!” Wu Yun said helplessly.
“Put down the box,” Zhou Yu nodded at it.
“Fine, fine,” Wu Yun slowly bent down and placed the box on the ground.
“Open it,” Zhou Yu said again.
“You want me to open it? What if it bites my head off?” Wu Yun looked at Zhou Yu with an expression that said ‘how could you be so heartless?’.
“Either you get your head bitten off, or I smash your head in, you choose.” Zhou Yu’s eyes said “You were the one who insisted on bringing this box, you take responsibility.”
“You’re a tyrant!” Just as Wu Yun was about to open the box, Han Li voiced her disagreement.
“What if there’s a two-headed wolf spider inside?”
“Then I’ll kill it,” Zhou Yu coldly said.
“Also, you’ve been carrying that box with us this whole time, Wu Yun, don’t tell me you don’t know what’s inside of it,” Dr. Daniel gave Wu Yun a suspicious look.
Wu Yun sighed, “See the color of the box? It’s black.”
“Its color means that it must be safely delivered,” Zhou Yu answered.
“That’s why I’m only carrying out a compulsory mission,” shrugged Wu Yun.
“So that’s to say that there’s most likely a B rank or even an A rank organism inside?” Han Li became nervous.
“Maybe it could be S rank,” Wu Yun made a gesture of “I don’t know.”
“Juli Corp has not yet been able to breed S rank organisms.” Dr. Daniel replied, “Also, an embryo is extremely valuable. Even if it’s a B rank embryo, it’s still significant to the study of the origin of life in Nibelungen. It’s just that… has it hatched? The embryo should be in a dormant state…”
“This size can’t be higher than a B rank organism anyway,” Zhou Qing said.
Han Li sighed in relief at Zhou Qing’s words.
“Wu Yun, if you don’t open it any time soon, it’ll suffocate in there,” Dr. Daniel reminded him.
“Isn’t it better if it suffocates in there?” Han Li was still very nervous.
“Fine, fine, I’m opening it.”
Wu Yun put his hands on the side of the box and faced it towards Zhou Yu. If there really was something dangerous inside, Zhou Yu would shoot it.
“One… Two… Three!”
The box was opened, and in the second he had his breathing under control, Zhou Yu saw a pair of limpid eyes like amber. It was innocent of worldly matters, fragile and innocent.
“Huh? What is that?”