Chapter 21: Swordbone Butterfly
Zhou Yu was about to close his eyes. He was unable to think of anything else.
Maybe it was one last mirage before his death…
A figure swam towards him.
It was a youth with short black hair softly drifting along in the water like an illusory dream. He had a fair complexion, an elegant brow, and a pair of shining eyes, innocent and limpid, as if to bind up all the forgotten expectations in Zhou Yu’s heart.
“You won’t die, Zhou Yu.”
At that moment, a voice that did not belong to him sounded in Zhou Yu’s mind.
Peace seemed to have been bestowed upon all living things.
He was getting closer and closer to Zhou Yu, like a divine messenger about to bring Zhou Yu over into another world.
His eyes met Zhou Yu’s eyes, and the tip of his nose lightly touched upon Zhou Yu’s, pure and without desire.
He stretched out his arms, threading them under Zhou Yu’s to embrace him, and then headed towards the light above their heads.
The warmth of a body in the ice-cold waters made Zhou Yu want to stay…
I’m so tired, let me go to sleep, just like this…
An indefinite amount of time later, Zhou Yu’s fingertips twitched. It seemed like something was using its strength to jump up and down on his chest. His stopped heart suddenly trembled, and he drew in a gasp of air. Zhou Yu choked on water and started hacking violently.
He was about to cough up his lungs.
Zhou Yu felt the water on his face and found that it was the little thing who was jumping up and down on his chest.
As soon as the little fellow noticed that he was awake, it impatiently cuddled close to him and rubbed itself against Zhou Yu’s chin. Zhou Yu petted its head that was still wet with water.
Only then did he realize that he had been washed into the shallows with the skeletons of some creatures beside him. He and the little thing were the only ones alive.
Did the little thing keep jumping on his chest to give him first aid?
In such violent waters, this fellow should’ve been washed away, so how come it was still next to him?
All of his doubts became insignificant once he looked into to its eyes.
Zhou Yu forcefully rubbed the head of the little thing, as if he was saying, “So you even know how to give first aid, who did you learn that from?”
The little thing proudly raised its head, as if to say, “Reward me, hug me!”
Zhou Yu really wanted to hug it. In such a dangerous situation, the little thing hadn’t abandon him. Who said that the creatures here were inhumane?
“Luckily, you’re not an S rank organism. Otherwise, I would think that you have ulterior motives.” Zhou Yu thought to himself that it probably regarded him as its parent.
Zhou Yu felt his shoulder and found no pain there, but his jacket was torn. Looking at his abdomen, it is clear that his body had been pierced through, but there wasn’t even a scar!
What had happened?
There was also a corresponding hole in the abdominal region of his jacket…
What he had experienced in the water was not a hallucination.
What was that silver creature larger than the reverse scale dragon?
Who was that youth who had embraced him?
Zhou Yu’s chest felt tight. Was it a so-called S rank organism? Then the underwater youth was the form of its mimicry?
If that was the case, then why did it save him?
Song Zhi had said that S rank organisms were considerably arrogant and lived in isolation. Did he inadvertently intrude upon that S rank organism’s territory?
Zhou Yu stood up and looked around warily. Other than the primeval forest and a few small creatures, Zhou Yu found nothing else.
He strongly kneaded at his head.
Maybe it was because he had been lucky enough to be saved by some S rank organism on a whim?
Wait a minute. Was it an S rank organism at all?
Maybe it really had been his own imagination from beginning to end.
In any case, the most important fact was that he was still alive.
Drenched, Zhou Yu took off his shoes and poured out the water in them.
The little thing lay belly-down on Zhou Yu’s shoulder and looked over him.
He was lucky enough to have been washed across to the opposite shore of the river.
Although it was a little far off, at least he should be able to find his way to the base after getting out of the forest.
His backpack was gone, which meant that he had lost his supply of rations and water. To be honest, he’d just drank so much of the water in the Angel’s Tears that it was possible that he’d ingested some harmful microorganisms. If there was a problem, then he would have to wait until he got to the base for a check-up or for treatment.
He felt around his waist and found that his pistol had also washed away, not to mention the sniper rifle.
No weapons, no water, no food, only one… unknown organism following him.
Oh, at least the watch on his wrist was still there. The watch was configured in the same way as Wu Yun’s and there was a compass in it to indicate the direction.
As long as he followed its general direction, he would eventually find the base.
“Let’s go,” Zhou Yu let out a sigh and hooked his finger at the little thing.
The little thing ran for a few steps on the ground, then suddenly jumped up and clung onto Zhou Yu’s arm. Then it bit Zhou Yu’s finger.
The pain from the bite didn’t come. The little thing was like a baby, demanding to suckle on something.
“You and I can be considered life-long friends. I’ll let your childish behavior pass.” Amused, Zhou Yu deliberately tried to fling it off, but it held on tightly.
Zhou Yu walked on and entered the forest.
A flock of perytons ran up ahead, wagging their tails as if they were hiding from something in fear.
Zhou Yu frowned, then he saw a large swarm of blue, palm-sized butterflies flying towards him.
“What is that?” Zhou Yu’s memory did not defy natural order like Zhou Qing’s did. He vaguely remembered one of the many dangerous organisms mentioned during his training, but as for what exactly they were called and how dangerous they were, he couldn’t recall.
For him, it was inconceivable to run away.
The kaleidoscope of blue butterflies quickly drew closer, shrouding the sky.
The little thing holding Zhou Yu’s arm let out a “Hrrn” sound, as if it was afraid.
Zhou Yu knew how terrifying fear was. He covered the little thing’s eyes with his other hand. “Don’t be afraid, they’ll leave soon. Soon…”
As for whether they would leave or not, Zhou Yu didn’t know.
He searched for the inhibitor on him, but it had washed away. If the inhibitor had still been there, he would have given the little thing an injection.
Having received Zhou Yu’s comfort, the little thing quieted down.
Zhou Yu also closed his eyes.
The butterflies were beautiful, and there seemed to be transparent golden veins on their wings, which reminded Zhou Yu of the fairy tales Chen Chong’s daughter often read.
The butterflies were like the elves in those fairy tales.
Occasionally being brushed by their wings, Zhou Yu could feel pain blossom on his skin. His face and his body were cut by them.
A dozen seconds later, Zhou Yu could no longer feel the presence of those blue butterflies.
Slowly, he opened his eyes. Sure enough, his arms were covered with scratches and scars and his face probably looked just as colorful.
He turned around and saw the blue butterflies off in the distance.
On the ground were the bodies of perytons.
Riddled with wounds, the scene was horrific.
Zhou Yu narrowed his eyes. He knew first hand just how fast perytons could run and how strong they were. Yet, in a the few seconds when the blue butterflies had passed by, they…
That’s right, that was the “swordbone butterfly”!
They could grow hard bone spurs from their bodies at any time and stab into their prey to absorb nutrients before quickly leaving. Although they were small, they were in the same rank as the reverse scale dragon.
Zhou Yu exhaled. He had just missed the gates of hell once again.
The little thing that had its eyes covered by Zhou Yu twisted around. It seemed to be very dissatisfied that Zhou Yu could see, but why couldn’t it see?
Zhou Yu sighed, the little thing would eventually grow up one day.
One day, it might become prey or nutrition for other organisms in Nibelungen. Although the little thing’s growth had diverged from its natural path, it was still necessary for it to understand the horrors of nature.
For example, if it ever cluelessly came across the swordbone butterfly… it could lose its life.
Zhou Yu really hoped that when it faced more powerful and dangerous organisms than itself, it could let go of the fear in its heart.
He took his palm away.
When the little thing first saw the perytons’ corpses, especially the dense wounds caused by the swordbone butterflies, its innocent eyes were dumbfounded.
Zhou Yu knew that he was being cruel.
But cruelty was a compulsory lesson in order to survive.
“Do you see? They died miserably. Do you know why they died so miserably?”
Hearing Zhou Yu’s voice, the little thing suddenly seemed to come to its senses and it immediately burrowed into Zhou Yu’s arms.
Its head was already hidden under Zhou Yu’s arm but it was still trying to burrow even deeper. It had really suffered a fright.
Inexplicably, Zhou Yu’s heart also started to hurt. He petted the exposed back of the little thing and said softly, “Those dead creatures, we human beings call them ‘perytons.’ Although they have no eyes or ears, they’re nimble and quick, and have a B rank danger factor. My best friends were killed by this creature.”
It seemed to sense that Zhou Yu was down. The little thing poked out his head again and nudged against Zhou Yu.
Zhou Yu picked it up and spoke as he walked.
“They use ‘fear’ to locate their prey. Of course, many of the creatures here hunt in the same way. At first, I thought it was incomprehensible to hunt by fear, but in fact it very closely follows the natural law of things. No organism would be afraid of something weaker than it. If you can sense the fear of the other organism, then you are at least stronger than they are. The strong preying on the weak is the law of the natural world. It’s the same in my world and here.” Zhou Yu petted its head again and again.
“Mnn…” the little thing replied. It wasn’t as soft and cute as before, it now looked wilted.
Haven fallen into the Angel Tears, it was fine facing scary creatures such as the reverse scale dragon, but the sight of the perytons’ bodies was what really gave it a fright.