Chapter 24: Return to the Base
Zhou Yu’s mood instantly smoothed out. He picked it up with one hand.
“Where did you run off to? I almost left without you!” Zhou Yu expressed his annoyance at his companion lacking in discipline.
“Hrrn?” Mo Ye tilted its head and knocked the thing it had in its mouth against Zhou Yu’s mouth.
Zhou Yu hurriedly took the branch from it and found that there were coffee-colored fruits hanging off of every third or fourth leaf. Mo Ye had pressed it to his mouth, could it be that Mo Ye had brought it for him to eat?
“You want me to eat this?” asked Zhou Yu.
Mo Ye nodded.
“Did you run off because you wanted to find something for me to eat?” Zhou Yu asked, uncertain.
Mo Ye nodded again.
Zhou Yu felt a slight warmth. He suddenly found Mo Ye to be extremely cute. It knew how to comfort him, it accompanied him in their most dangerous moments, and it took care of him in its own way.
Zhou Yu took it into his arms in a hug.
Mo Ye’s tiny wings lightly trembled, it seemed to be overjoyed.
Humans couldn’t eat just anything they found in this place. Mo Ye had only been born a few days prior, so no matter how intelligent it was, it couldn’t have a better understanding of the organisms in this world than Zhou Yu.
Mo Ye saw that Zhou Yu only carried the branch with no intention of eating the fruit and became discontent. It headbutted Zhou Yu and whined into his ear.
Zhou Yu thought it was funny. He really was extremely hungry, and if he didn’t eat anything soon, he wouldn’t last long enough to make it out of the forest.
Zhou Yu plucked a small fruit from the branch and sniffed it. It had a faint, sweet scent, and appeared to be refreshing. Zhou Yu felt that a fruit like this should be very low risk, and as for whether or not it was edible, he would only know after he ate it. Just like in the olden days when tomatos were thought to be poisonous until someone tried it, thought it was tasty, and lay in bed waiting to die, only for the sun to rise as usual the next day.
Zhou Yu decided to be the “first person to eat the tomato.”
He placed the coffee-colored fruit into his mouth and slowly bit into it. There was a burst of sweet juice, the taste lingering on his tongue. A refreshing feeling washed over his body and revitalized his spirit. His digestive system also warmed up. Just one fruit was enough to make him feel full.
Zhou Yu ate two more, then plucked off the rest and placed them into a pocket that didn’t have any holes.
After walking for a long time, Zhou Yu realized that his mental state was still in good shape. He didn’t feel tired and he was clear-headed.
The fruits Mo Ye had brought him hadn’t been poisonous.
“Thank you,” said Zhou Yu, poking it with a finger. It immediately latched onto his finger with its mouth.
Before the sun could set, Zhou Yu finally made it out of the forest.
He looked up. Bathed in the sunset, there was a feeling of coming back to life.
Ahead of him was an open space, and the faint shine of light reflected on metal could be seen.
The base was just up ahead.
Suddenly, Zhou Yu stopped.
He had pondered over a decision his entire journey. Now was the time to make it.
He petted Mo Ye, then placed it on the ground.
Mo Ye look at him in confusion. Zhou Yu knelt down on one knee and looked into its eyes with a solemn expression.
“Mo Ye, listen, I’m very grateful for your company on this journey, but I can’t take you to where I’m headed to.”
“Mmm?” Mo Ye tilted its head and looked up with eyes that could melt anyone’s heart.
However, the softer his heart became, the more clearly Zhou Yu knew that he couldn’t continue to bring it along.
“Between you and me, we’re equals. I’m not your owner, and you’ve also saved me… so no matter what you think of me as, I consider you a brother. The same as my former vice captain Chen Chong, my liason officer Xiao Mei, my younger brother Zhou Qing… If any one of them were in danger, I would do everything I could to save them, even at the cost of my life. That’s why I can’t stand anyone treating you like an object of research. It would be fine if they were only observing you, but it’s very likely that you’ll get hurt. They can’t give you the respect and equality you’re looking for… You’re an intelligent creature, your feelings will definitely be hurt.”
Mo Ye really did understand Zhou Yu’s words and the wings on his back drooped down.
“So, go on. But you have to remember the three laws of survival. First, never show fear, fear will mark you as prey. Second, don’t be tempted by beauty, the more beautiful an organism is, the more dangerous they are. And third… it shouldn’t affect you much, but stay as far away as you can from S rank organisms.”
Zhou Yu petted Mo Ye’s head, then gently pushed it.
Mo Ye still remained where it was, unmoving.
Zhou Yu stood up without any hesitation and strode away. Mo Ye remained in its spot, whimpering.
Once Zhou Yu set his mind to something, he would press on without turning back. However, this was the first time his heart had hurt so much.
Mo Ye was too small. Even though its adult appearance was unknown, at least it would be free. It would certainly be in better condition than the perytons locked up in the Research Institute.
Seeing that Zhou Yu had no intention of turning back, Mo Ye immediately started scrambling after him on his little claws.
Zhou Yu abruptly stopped in his tracks and Mo Ye crashed into his leg. Zhou Yu glared down at Mo Ye, “I said, don’t follow me anymore!”
Mo Ye paused in shock. It had never seen Zhou Yu show such an expression before.
“Do you want to grow up behind a glass case? Do you want to be cut open so that researchers can study your internal organs? Do you want your blood to be drained? Do you want your head to be cracked opened and your brain to be cut into slices?”
Mo Ye stepped back a little, frightened.
Zhou Yu’s heart felt like it had been rubbed with sandpaper. It was painfully hot.
He turned around and quickly left.
Don’t follow me anymore.
You and I… we were never of the same world to begin with.
Mo Ye continued to whimper, making Zhou Yu feel endlessly remorseful. He shouldn’t have named it, because now he will remember its name forever.
And miss it often.
After Zhou Yu had walked a very long distance away, he finally couldn’t resist turning back.
In the afterglow of dusk, he could no longer make out Mo Ye’s silhouette.
There was a particular feeling in Zhou Yu’s heart.
But what was done, was done. He would no longer look back, nor would he be reluctant to leave.
“Goodbye, Mo Ye. You have to become an outstanding organism and live on proudly.”
When Nibelungen was completely submerged in the color of night, Zhou Yu arrived at Juli Corp’s base. What he wanted to know the most was whether or not Zhou Qing and the others had arrived safely.
Zhou Yu walked up to the metal door and placed him palm onto the identification panel. It immediately made contact with the base’s communication center.
After reporting his employment status and identification code, the metal doors slowly slid open. Zhou Yu knew that human civilization was just on the other side of that door.
Armed guards dressed in camouflage appeared in front of Zhou Yu. Everyone wore a guarded expression, as if Zhou Yu was a monster.
Zhou Yu frowned as someone walked out from behind them. It was Song Zhi.
Song Zhi opened his arms, but he didn’t take another step forward.
“Zhou Yu! How absolutely incredible, you were able to return to us after falling from the Angel Horns! It truly is a miracle.”
Zhou Yu sneered, “Is this how you’re welcoming me back, Mr. Song?”
“It can’t be helped. The organisms here can be complicated, and we can’t be sure that there aren’t parasitic organisms in you, or that you aren’t carrying any germs or infectious diseases with you. You could already be some organism’s “nutrition” for their reproduction. After you pass our full-body examination, I promise to treat you to a glass of red wine and steak.”
Song Zhi pointed to a special passageway.
“Forget the wine. The steak, I really need.”
At this time, some people squeezed past the guards. It was Wu Yun and Zhou Qing.
Zhou Qing was overjoyed at the turn of events and wanted to throw himself over to hug Zhou Yu. However, Wu Yun held him back.
“Wait until he finishes the examination.” Wu Yun wore a grave expression, but his eyes were happy and hopeful.
“I understand. Thanks, Wu Yun.”
Wu Yun’s caution was just what Zhou Yu had wanted to see. No one knew if something would happen to Zhou Yu’s body one day.
Zhou Yu walked towards the special passageway at gunpoint. Disinfectant gas was sprayed out. Through the passageway, each part of Zhou Yu’s body was scanned and the data was inputted into the computers.
Everything from his blood circulation to scans for dangerous substances in his body indicated that Zhou Yu was perfectly normal.
Next, Zhou Yu was instructed to lie down on a bed to undergo an MRI scan.
Song Zhi came to the monitoring room and asked, “How is his body’s condition?”
“Everything is normal.”
Song Zhi narrowed his eyes. “He’s not even injured?”
“There are no signs of any bleeding or parasites.”
Song Zhi’s gaze dimmed. “He fell from the Angel Horns! It’s impossible for him to return unharmed.”
The last step was a blood test. All results indicated that everything was normal. There were no signs of bacterial or viral infections, and in fact, each indicator showed him to be more healthy than the average person. He was simply in peak condition.
“There really are no problems,” the monitoring staff replied.
Song Zhi nodded, “Good. He’s very special, I don’t wish to see him die either.”
However, his eyes were full of suspicion.
Just as Zhou Yu walked out, he was hugged by Zhou Qing.
“You’re not dead! Wonderful! You’re really alive! This is wonderful!”
Feeling Zhou Qing’s warmth, Zhou Yu experienced the sensation of truly being alive again.
Wu Yun came to stand in front of him and fist bumped him.
“Looks like I won’t need to find a new partner anymore!”
“Why don’t you change your name first?” laughed Zhou Yu.