Chapter 55: Two worlds
“This is my only name.” Mo Ye opened the bag of potato chips, picked up a piece with his slender and beautiful fingers, and put it into his mouth. “Hmm… I have no idea why so many children and Li Qian like such foods. It’s not healthy at all.”
“You know quite a lot about the human world.”
“Of course. Actually, I really want to know what ice cream tastes like.” Mo Ye’s expression held a touch of naivety that was inexplicably endearing.
“I can take you to look for some later. Maybe there’s some in the dining hall.” Song Zhi replied.
“Forget it. Let’s get straight to the point. You already knew, in your heart, that the night spirit wasn’t strong enough to be my opponent. You didn’t have to work so hard to evacuate everyone here. In fact, you only wanted to separate Zhou Yu from me, correct? Because Zhou Yu will definitely try to put a stop to whatever it is that you want to do. Now that he’s gone, you can tell me what is it that you want.”
Mo Ye looked at Song Zhi, his eyes thoroughly penetrating.
His beauty transcended gender, and the longer one looked at him, the more they are engulfed by that invisible temptation.
Song Zhi drew out the pistol from his waist and put it on the table.
“These bullets are made from Zhou Yu’s spinal fluid. You grew up sucking Zhou Yu’s blood, so using Zhou Yu’s spinal fluid is the only way I can think of to control you.”
“How characteristic of Nibelungen’s higher life forms. But if you want me to shoot myself—are you crazy?” Mo Ye’s lips curved up with a sense of mockery.
He got closer to Song Zhi, wanting to look into his eyes clearly.
Song Zhi leaned back, unperturbed. “You should save your charm for captivating Zhou Yu, especially when he finds out what you are.”
“Hahaha! But you still haven’t told me why I would shoot myself yet.” Mo Ye said.
His voice was neither light nor heavy, just like the moonlight falling into a goblet, steady yet airy. A mix of two entirely different characteristics, just like the two inseparable sides of a coin.
“Because I input disassembly instructions in Zhou Yu’s shuttle cabin. You’re smart, you can grasp knowledge that humans take years to learn, but a computer program is still very complex. By the time you can master how to crack it, Zhou Yu will have already disappeared into the magnetic field.” Song Zhi answered.
“Didn’t you know? As what you’ve defined as an S rank organism, I don’t need to learn anything; all I need to do is look inside your brain. That’s how I’ve been learning about Zhou Yu.”
“Is it? So try it then. What’s in my brain?”
Song Zhi looked indifferent.
Mo Ye’s smile slowly disappeared, and as time ticked by, everything fell into a deathly silence.
He looked at Song Zhi, his gaze cold. “You’re the property of another S rank organism.”
Song Zhi raised his eyebrows. “Yes, although I don’t like how you said that, you can’t penetrate my mind because it is protecting me. There’s one minute left, Mo Ye. You decide whether to kill me and let Zhou Yu die, or we get along with each other like humans and eat ice cream, watch movies…”
Before Song Zhi could finish speaking, Mo Ye picked up the gun on the table and shot his own shoulder.
With a bang, the contents of the bullet spread rapidly through his body.
He tilted back his head, frowning. He felt every cell in his body being locked into place.
“Is it painful?” Song Zhi asked.
“It’s Zhou Yu’s spinal fluid, I’m happy for it to integrate into my body.” Mo Ye carelessly threw the gun down in front of Song Zhi.
His shoulder was gush out bright scarlet blood, like a butterfly on the brink of taking flight.
The wound healed quickly.
“It looks like you’ll have to be in human form for quite a while.” Song Zhi said.
“Revoke the disassembly order.” Mo Ye said coldly.
Song Zhi spread his hands open and shook his head apologetically. “Sorry, but that order didn’t exist in the first place.”
“So you lied to me?” Mo Ye raised his eyebrows, but his true emotions seemed to be submerged at the bottom of a gentle river, unable to be discerned.
“Yes. I know you must want to kill me right now, but I advise you not to. If you want to see Zhou Yu again, you need me.”
“That sounds reasonable. Am I the first S rank organism you’ve cheated?” Mo Ye asked curiously.
“Of course not. But I do want to know—if you really were a night spirit, would you save Zhou Yu, even at the cost of your own life?”
“Are you kidding? If I can’t interact with him on equal footing in my human form, then I’d rather eat him and make him a part of me forever.” Mo Ye said with a very serious expression.
Song Zhi chuckled and slowly got up. As usual, he straightened out his cuffs and shirt. “Let’s go.”
“Where to?” Mo Ye followed Song Zhi.
“The dining hall, to look for ice cream.”
“Hey, you paralyzed my nerves and weakened my abilities with Zhou Yu’s spinal fluid. Don’t tell me that was all just for me to stay here with you?” Mo Ye’s hands were behind his head, showing a bored expression.
“It’s to study you, of course.” Song Zhi answered.
“Oh—so through me, you want to find the weakness of that S rank organism you’re suppressing and being controlled by at the same time, correct?”
“Yes.” Song Zhi made no secret of his purpose.
“But are you certain you want to break free from it?” Mo Ye drew out his words as if he wanted to tear apart Song Zhi’s facade to reveal something raw.
“That’s my business.”
They really went to the dining hall. The power hadn’t been cut there, but the chef and other staff had not been able to evacuate in time.
At first, they thought that some kind of dangerous creature had come in. The chef even took out a kitchen knife for self-defense. When they saw that it was Song Zhi, the chef slowly put down the knife.
“M-Mr. Song …Why are you still here?”
Song Zhi sat down at a table, Mo Ye sitting opposite him.
When the chef and others saw Mo Ye, they were stunned.
Song Zhi’s fingers tapped the table. “How much longer can we last on the food supply reserve?”
“If it’s only us, then we manage for a year.”
“Very good. Within a year, the people on that side will surely come to pick us up.” Song Zhi turned to look at the chef and said, “Fry me a steak. Prepare gourmet ice cream for the gentleman opposite me.”
“Y-Yes, Mr. Song!” Even when agreeing, the chef’s eyes never strayed from Mo Ye’s body.
Song Zhi snapped his fingers. Mo Ye looked at the chef and said, “I want to eat ice cream.”
The chef snapped out of his daze and went into the kitchen to prepare. A series of crashes came from within, possibly from something falling or breaking.
“Why choose the form of a night spirit?” Song Zhi asked with one hand on his cheek.
“Of course it’s because, out of all the various biological life forms, the appearance and characteristics of a night spirit are the most likely to attract Zhou Yu.” Mo Ye answered.
“Oh? What appearance and characteristics?” Song Zhi propped up his chin while looking at Mo Ye.
“Not too beautiful, but with a loyal and unwavering heart. Just like Zhou Yu himself.” Mo Ye answered.
“I didn’t know you’d chosen Zhou Yu right from the beginning.” Song Zhi smiled and shook his head. “So what do you want from him? You show him your special dependence on him. Apart from his blood, you won’t eat from anyone else. In this world where danger lurks behind every corner, you protect him like his knight in shining armor. You take great pains to hide your true self and try and understand his world. If you only see him as your prey or as nutrition for your offspring, wouldn’t it be a waste of effort to act with so much deliberation?”
The chef brought out the gourmet ice cream for Mo Ye.
Mo Ye merely smiled at Song Zhi. As the world slowed, the chef couldn’t move his eyes away.
Mo Ye scooped up the ice cream, put it into his mouth, then narrowed his eyes, as if he was appreciating its creamy taste, sweetness, and chilled sensation. Then he showed a disappointed expression. “Zhou Yu still tastes better.”
Song Zhi crossed his arm and looked at Mo Ye without saying a word. His eyes were saying to Mo Ye: answer my question.
“Fine, fine, Mr. Song, you’re quite the impatient guy. For you, in order to survive in Nibelungen, there are three great rules. First, never show fear. Fear is the sign of the hunted. Second, do not be charmed by beautiful organisms. The more beautiful they are, the more dangerous. Third, don’t be misled by the mimicry of S rank organisms. The organisms in this world don’t have love. I can reluctantly accept the first two, but the third one is terrible.” Mo Ye shook the spoon in his hand. “You humans are egoists, through and through. S rank organisms are not without love. We also yearn to establish a special connection with other creatures. But our connection is absolute, pure, and can’t tolerate any hesitance or betrayal. Humans, by nature, are not perfectly committed; their so-called love comes and goes as they please. And you’ve betrayed the one who trusted and relied on you the most.”
Song Zhi’s eyes glimmered a little, but there was no fluctuation in his mood.
“For most S rank organisms, there are three rules of survival we needed to follow ever since you humans arrived… First, do not yearn for human beings, because you are selfish. Second, do not think that human beings are beautiful, because you are hypocritical. Third, don’t believe in human beings, because you are thoroughly egotistical.” Mo Ye leaned in to Song Zhi. His eyes were like lakes in the sky, encompassing the sun, moon, and stars.
“You have a good command of human language.” Song Zhi said.
Mo Ye smiled. “It’s because of Zhou Yu.”
“He speaks very little.”
“He said a lot to me. And what he says is the same as what he thinks in his mind. This is my favorite place.” Mo Ye pointed to his own head with a finger.
“You just said those were the rules of survival for most S rank organisms. What about you?” Song Zhi asked.
Mo Ye’s gaze dropped, and he continued to stir the ice cream with his spoon.
Song Zhi turned to the side. “Although the food supply here is enough to last us for a long time, there’s not much ice cream.”
Meaning, try not to waste it.
“I want stewed beef and potatoes with rice.” Mo Ye suddenly spoke.
“You won’t get used to it. No matter how much you want to feel what Zhou Yu has felt, your sense of touch is different. No matter how you try the food Zhou Yu eats, your sense of taste is different. Now that Zhou Yu has gone back, and you can only remain here. Your worlds are different.” Song Zhi answered.
“Don’t tell me you’re not going to let Zhou Yu come back.” Mo Ye raised his eyebrows.
“He’s very outstanding, so of course not. And you’re here. Knowing his personality, he’ll be willing to go through hell to come back for you. “
Mo Ye closed his eyes and smiled. His smile was gentle. “Your words make me happy.”
Song Zhi turned to the chef and said, “Make a serving of stewed beef and potatoes with rice.”
“Yes, Mr. Song!”
“Thank you.” Mo Ye smiled.
“Then, for today’s last question, what was the problem with the sample of the night spirit’s remains we brought back? Why was the night spirit so bloodthirsty? Is it its nature, or was there something wrong with our research and technology that caused genetic defects?”
“That’s more than just one question. You claim that it’s the last question, but it’s not the last one.” Mo Ye sighed. “What were your conjectures on why the night spirits died out in the first place?”
“They were attacked by other, more powerful enemies. It’s the most probable explanation.”
“Well, disease is a powerful enemy.” Mo Ye answered.
“Disease? What kind of disease? Night spirits are creatures with a strong healing ability…” Song Zhi was very surprised.
Mo Ye beckoned to several staff members who were watching them not too far away.
One of them came over.
Mo Ye closed his eyes and the staff member immediately appeared as if possessed. When he came to Mo Ye, he also closed his eyes.
“What are you trying to do?” Song Zhi frowned.
“I’m studying your human knowledge so that I can explain it in a way that you can understand. I can’t read your thoughts, so I can only read from others.”
A few minutes later, Mo Ye suddenly opened his eyes again. The worker sat down on the ground as if he’d lost his strength. He panted hard, looking worn out.
“The night spirits were infected by a virus, their regeneration systems were destroyed, and their genes evolved due to the virus. Sometimes evolution makes a species more adapted to their environment, while other times, it can cause the species to perish. The night spirits slaughtered each other on that island, and so, the species disappeared. The night spirit sample you brought back for breeding was problematic in the first place. So from a technical point of view, your breeding technology is superb, but unfortunately, the foundation was wrong.” Mo Ye leaned back in his chair and looked at Song Zhi with an easygoing smile.” Zhou Yu reminded you many times about the sample problem, but the desire for the unknown made you blind to the risks.”
Song Zhi bowed his head in contemplation.
At this time, the chef brought Mo Ye his potato and beef stew. Mo Ye raises his chopsticks, his long, slender fingers skillfully picking up vegetables.
“You can use chopsticks?”
“I’ve observed them so many times, how could I not learn?”
“How does the stewed beef and potatoes taste?”
Mo Ye closed his eyes to chew, then nodded. “Mmm… It’s super delicious!”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure.” Mo Ye seemed to have an appetite. “I bet Zhou Yu must hate ice cream, so I didn’t like it that much.”
“I think we’ll be together for quite some time. I hope we can get along well.” Song Zhi extended a hand to Mo Ye.
Mo Ye smiled and shook his hand. “The premise of getting along well is that my Zhou Yu will come back.”
Meanwhile, Zhou Yu’s shuttle cabin had successfully landed at Juli Corp’s magnetic field terminal. As it jolted to a stop, Li Qian’s heart almost leaped out of his chest.
The hatch slowly opened, everyone staring outside. Had they arrived in their original world safely, or would there be more carnage?
When the light shone in, Li Qian and Zhou Qing both let out sighs of relief.
They felt as if they’d be taken back to a lifetime ago as they walked out of the shuttle cabin.
Standing in front of them was a woman in a black suit and skirt, her long blonde hair pulled to the back. She looked like a capable and efficient woman.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Amanda Cook. I’ll be in charge of your return.”
Li Qian was relieved and hugged Wu Yun, who was next to him.
“Excellent! Wonderful! We’re all still alive! “
Wu Yun patted Li Qian on the back and said with a smile, “This has been my luckiest time yet.”
“Dr. Cook, what is the situation in the base on the other side? Is Mr. Song still alive?” Zhou Yu asked immediately.
Time seemed to crawl forward at a snail’s pace for Zhou Yu in the shuttle. His palms were still sweaty.
As long as Song Zhi was still alive, it meant that Mo Ye had defeated the other night spirit.
Dr. Cook looked at Zhou Yu and said, “I’m sorry, but we haven’t been able to contact Mr. Song yet. From what we know, the base sustained substantial damage. If Mr. Song is still alive, he will definitely find a way to contact us. We will also actively confirm the situation of Mr. Song’s base through the other bases, but it will take some time to determine this information.”
Zhou Yu heaved a sigh.
Throughout the journey, he had been worried about Mo Ye.
Would they ever see each other again?
If Mo Ye survived, then Zhou Yu wished not to see him again, so that he could at least be sure that Mo Ye was finally free.
No, no, no… He wanted to see him again, no matter what it would take… The connection they shared reached deep down to their blood and cells and could not be severed so easily.
“The corporation will arrange a vacation for everyone, although you will still be on standby. Professor Zhou, you can go back to your institution for now and continue your research.” Dr. Cook said.
“Thank you.” Zhou Qing nodded.
“Everyone else, please comply with the confidentiality terms you signed off on in your daily life. For those who violate the terms, I trust that you all know what Juli Corp is capable of… The consequences will not be as simple as monetary compensation.” Dr. Cook’s warning was grim.
“Come on, really? I have to listen to Dr. Cook repeat the confidentiality terms every time I come back. Why don’t you record your speech and play it on loop in the shuttle cabin every time we come back? It can work for brainwashing.” Wu Yun waved.
Dr. Cook threw him a glance, then turned away.
Zhou Yu and Zhou Qing took a private car arranged by Juli Corp to return to their city, Wu Yun went to the hospital to see his daughter, and Li Qian stayed behind at Juli Corp as a systems tester.
As the urban landscape flew by the windows on both sides, Zhou Yu felt as if everything had happened a lifetime ago.
There were no dangerous organisms, no primeval forests, and the scent of the air was more complex. The world was filled with noise, advertisements, and car horns.
Tall buildings in a steel garden.
There was no Mo Ye in here.
Everything in Nibelungen had been like a movie.
“I know you’re worried about Mo Ye.” Zhou Qing looked at Zhou Yu and said.
“There’s not much left I have to worry about.” Zhou Yu replied. He had lost all his teammates, and maybe even as soon as tomorrow, he could also lose Zhou Qing.
They got out of the car and Zhou Qing went back to his living quarters at the school.
“Brother, are you going back to your original city?” Zhou Qing said with his head bowed as he sorted out the bed sheets and covers.
“Where would I go? I’ll stay here. You’re not well and I don’t want you to be alone without any family when you’re feeling ill.” Zhou Yu replied.
Even though he didn’t know whether it was important to Zhou Qing that he stayed.
Since they didn’t know when they would return to Nibelungen, Zhou Yu had planned to rent a place near Zhou Qing’s school.
“Then… stay here with me.” Zhou Qing suddenly said.
“If I live with you… I’m worried you won’t be used to it…” Zhou Yu was surprised.
“How could I not be, we’re family! Let’s have hotpot tonight!” Zhou Qing’s eyes lit up.
Zhou Yu was reminded of his childhood, when he and Zhou Qing had sat around a hotpot. Their family wasn’t well-off and their parents bought very little meat, all of it gone after being put into the pot. Every time their parents picked some out for the two children, Zhou Qing could give his share to Zhou Yu.
“Okay.” Zhou Yu nodded.
Although Zhou Qing’s wasn’t smiling widely, the happiness in his eyes could not be concealed.
In the evening, the two brothers went to the supermarket to buy vegetables. Zhou Yu called Song Zhi when Zhou Qing wasn’t paying attention. His display showed that no one picked up. It looked like Song Zhi had not returned from Nibelungen yet. Zhou Yu knew that he wasn’t a core member of Juli Corp and that it would be difficult for him to find out about the situation in that world.
That night over hotpot, Zhou Qing cracked open two beers. The two brothers talked about their childhood while drinking.
“They didn’t bully you anymore after that, did they?” Zhou Yu and Zhou Qing clinked cans.
“I told them that if they bullied me again, then my brother would break their teeth.” Zhou Qing replied with a smile.