Chapter 56: A reason to go back
This surprised Zhou Yu. Zhou Qing had been stuffy as a kid, but even he would have moments where he could speak so fiercely. It wasn’t like Zhou Qing at all, who was usually well-mannered and proud.
After they’d stuffed themselves full, Zhou Yu watched TV for a while. Zhou Qing continued reading over some files. He eventually fell asleep hunched over the table.
Zhou Yu got a coat to cover Zhou Qing with, but when he glanced over at the files Zhou Qing had been reading, he found that it all had to do with how to grow soilless plants. He patted Zhou Qing on the shoulder. Zhou Qing narrowed his eyes and arched his back, but he didn’t wake up completely.
“Sleep in your room if you’re drowsy. You shouldn’t be staying up late in the first place.”
Zhou Yu was worried about Zhou Qing’s brain tumor. He hadn’t had a detailed examination since coming back.
After Zhou Qing went to bed, Zhou Yu also went to sleep in the room next door.
Pillowing his head in his arms, he stared at the ceiling.
He found that although he’d returned to his original world, the most important thing was left behind on the other side.
Every time he went to bed, Mo Ye would snuggle up beside him. Before sleeping, he was used to stroking the fluff on his back. Now, the bed was several times wider than the sleep capsule in the base, but Zhou Yu felt empty.
In a state of half-wakefulness, he saw something pass through the ceiling and come to him. Its elegant and elongated lines formed an inscrutable black streak… It was Mo Ye!
Zhou Yu suddenly woke up to stare right into Mo Ye’s amber eyes.
He was like a messenger of the night, mysterious and noble. His wings slowly opened and enveloped Zhou Yu’s world, as if he would take him away.
He lowered his head, the tip of his nose gently touching Zhou Yu’s forehead in the most tender way Zhou Yu knew of.
Warmth surged into his heart. Zhou Yu reached out to embrace Mo Ye.
At that moment, Mo Ye’s pure black body turned a transparent silver-white color. Zhou Yu’s eyes widened, and as he was about to push him away, Zhou Yu was controlled by his absolute power.
“Come back to me… I’m thinking about you…”
The ethereal voice sounded as if it came from millions and millions of lightyears away.
They were so close, yet so far away.
“Who are you?” Zhou Yu asked.
“I am your Mo Ye.”
It suddenly turned into a young man. Zhou Yu still remembered that elegant and striking face; it was the S rank organism that showed up before him from time to time.
He was getting closer and closer to Zhou Yu, just like a miracle that could not be possessed.
His breaths were so real that they brushed past Zhou Yu’s eyes. The world and all its things quickly vanished, leaving behind only the two of them.
This was not reality. This was an illusion.
Zhou Yu said to himself.
“Of course I’m real, Zhou Yu. I live for you, I exist for you, I do not fear death. This is my law…”
He held Zhou Yu’s hand and gently covered his own cheek with it. It was the warm touch of flesh.
“I can be anything you want, just to be acknowledged by you.”
He kissed Zhou Yu’s eyes reverently.
The pounding of a heartbeat could be heard. Zhou Yu’s peaceful world seemed to come alive all of a sudden.
When he opened his eyes, the young man disappeared.
“Mo Ye—” Zhou Yu raised his hand and tried to catch that moment that belonged solely to him, but he ended up empty-handed.
Zhou Yu instantly sat up in bed, only to find that it had all been a dream.
The sky had already begun to marble white in the approaching dawn outside the window.
Zhou Yu covered his eyes, feeling immensely weary.
What was going on? He really missed Mo Ye so much… He missed him like crazy… If it wasn’t because of Zhou Yu’s uncertain physical condition, he would have immediately applied to return to Nibelungen. Even going to Base 2 where Dr. Ron was was fine!
But why had he imagined Mo Ye as that young man?
There was no resemblance between them at all!
Mo Ye was like a child; willful and naughty but lovable, his intentions laid out like an open book to Zhou Yu.
However, the young man that the S rank organism had transformed into was different. He appeared to be beautiful, but Zhou Yu could feel that he was hiding many secrets… as well as danger.
He knew he had to go back to Nibelungen and see for himself that Mo Ye was still alive.
At nine o’clock in the morning, after Zhou Yu had sent Zhou Qing off to school, he called Dr. Cook and told her that he wanted to return to Nibelungen.
“Our research program has not fully launched yet and the damaged base is still being repaired, but we do need you for something.”
“To train new recruits. Our staff suffered heavy losses and we are in need of fresh blood. According to Mr. Song’s report, you accepted the memories of Elpis, an A rank organism in Nibelungen, and you know more about the ecosystem there than our researchers and field workers. We hope you can share this information.” Dr. Cook replied.
“Is Song Zhi still alive?” Zhou Yu asked again.
“I can’t answer that for the time being.” Zhou Yu’s breath caught. He was still waiting for a definite answer.
Dr. Cook’s reply remained both formal and disappointing.
“When’s the next assignment?”
“Three months from now. As an elite in your field, you are our first pick.”
Three more months…
For the first time, Zhou Yu found that he had lost the patience to wait.
In the labratory, Zhou Qing took out the fruit of Elpis and put it into a soilless culture dish.
He knew that Juli Corp’s labs were all under surveillance. Once the seed germinated, it would belong to Juli Corp.
However, it was the only connection between him and that S rank organism.
He didn’t want to lose this connection, but he knew that the consequences of Elpis growing in the human world would be unpredictable and possibly even devastating.
But in his mind echoed the voice of that S rank organism: it’s time to plant it, Zhou Qing… Please trust me.
Zhou Qing couldn’t resist the voice’s control. He poured the liquid sample he’d secretly brought over onto the seed, setting up the optimal quantity levels and temperature for soilless cultivation in the human world and waiting for it to germinate.
Three days later, Zhou Yu was sent to the new training base by Dr. Cook’s staff. It would be the start of a month-long closed training session.
Zhou Qing was strongly against it. He grabbed Zhou Yu and asked him seriously, “It hasn’t been easy for you to return to your normal, everyday life. Why are you in such a hurry to go back?”
“Zhou Qing, I’m just going to teach.” Zhou Yu smiled and patted his brother’s shoulder.
“You’re not just going to be their instructor… You can’t let go.”
Zhou Qing looked at Zhou Yu. His thorough understanding of Zhou Yu was reflected in his eyes.
“Yes, there’s something I have to go back for. And take care of yourself. I’ve already contacted Dr. Daniel. If anything happens to you, he will be the first to tell me, so don’t hide it from me like you did last time.”
Zhou Yu said this very seriously.
Zhou Qing released his hand because he also had something he needed to return to Nibelungen for.
After Zhou Yu left, Zhou Qing returned to his lab. Over the past few days, he’d gotten used to the feeling of having his older brother at home. Zhou Qing did not want to return to an empty home at all.
When all the research assistants had left, Zhou Qing remained alone at his desk, where he lay down.
It was approaching the early hours of the morning and Zhou Qing was sleepy, so he sprawled over the table and fell asleep.
Only barely conscious, something seemed to caress his cheek.
It was a little chilly inside the lab so Zhou Qing subconsciously tightened his collar. Then, a warm cloud surrounded him, as if he was in someone’s arms.
His lonely thoughts were smoothed out and Zhou Qing slept deeply.
Until someone shook his shoulder. “Professor Zhou! Professor Zhou! How could you fall asleep here! You’ll catch a cold!”
Zhou Qing opened his eyes and saw his graduate student.
“Oh, I just wanted to take a nap, I wasn’t planning to fall asleep…” Zhou Qing stood up.
“Doesn’t your neck hurt?” The graduate student asked again.
Zhou Qing twisted his neck and found that not only was he not feeling uncomfortable, but he also felt quite energetic after waking up.
“Ah, Professor Zhou, it looks like your soilless seeds have sprouted.”
“Really?” Zhou Qing ran over at once. He was in such haste that he stumbled over a chair. Fortunately, the graduate student next to him caught him in time.
“Professor Zhou, is this some kind of special plant? You seem to care a lot about it!”
When Zhou Qing arrived at the dish, he saw that there was a green sprout between the cracks of the fruit. As if it had been squeezed out of the most unyielding of crevices, it looked like it might shrink back inside at any time.
Zhou Qing’s heart was racing. He carefully reached out his fingers and touched it. That soft and fragile feeling instantly filled Zhou Qing’s heart.
“It’s not a special plant… It’s a gift from my friend. It’s of special significance to me.” Zhou Qing forced down his inner excitement.
It had only germinated. It would take tens of thousands of years to grow up, but for Zhou Qing, this was a miracle.
With its germination, Zhou Qing no longer wanted to go home at all. He stayed in the lab 24 hours a day.
Even Zhou Qing’s graduate students felt like Professor Zhou had been possessed.
They all discussed privately about what the plant could be.
A week later, the bud of the Elpis plant grew a tiny leaf.
When Zhou Qing walked up to it while carrying tea and saw this scene, his cup fell to the ground.
“How is this possible? How is this possible! It grew a leaf!”
Zhou Qing thought it would take years or even decades for Elpis to grow its first leaf, but it had only been a few days! Had its life cycle synchronized with the living things here, after it was brought to the human world?
The leaf was a soft green color that emitted a faint blue glow under the lighting in the lab.
The more Zhou Qing looked at it, the more he felt that something was calling to him.
He could hear it whisper in his ear.
It was a wonderful feeling.
Zhou Qing stroked the tender leaf with his finger. He was worried that he would break it, but he could not restrain his desire to make contact with it. The moment he touched it, the tender leaf slowly rolled up in an arc to fit against the curve of Zhou Qing’s finger, as if to give Zhou Qing a hug.
Zhou Qing was immersed in that wonderful feeling.
Until his graduate students came into the lab.
“Oh, Professor Zhou, did you knock over the tea?”
“Professor Zhou, you won’t be staying here all night again, will you?”
Zhou Qing withdrew his fingers and the tender leaf slowly drooped down, as if it was despondent at Zhou Qing’s departure.
Meanwhile, Zhou Yu met the new batch of special combat team members selected by Juli Corp in the sealed training base.
Most of them were young and energetic, but also difficult to discipline.
Wu Yun was their combat instructor, but given Wu Yun’s character, he had not seriously taught them anything. They were already highly proficient in interpersonal combat, but how to fight in that other world can only be learned there.
The youngsters had already seen Wu Yun’s abilities and suffered at his hands. Even if they were unwilling to accept it, no one dared to do anything rash in front of Wu Yun. Needless to say, Dr. Cook, who was in charge of their training program, informed them in a cold tone that among the special combat team members sent to Nibelungen, Wu Yun was the only one who had made it there and back alive, thrice. He was the most experienced one out of them.
The last thing they wanted to sit through was theory class. When they heard that someone would be coming in to teach them about the biology of that world, they all thought it would be a doctor, professor, or researcher, but later, they learned that it was just a field worker who had been to Nibelungen. Even though they knew that if they wanted to keep their lives and earn Juli Corp’s payout, then they couldn’t miss a single word of it, they were still reluctant to accept it in their hearts.
But what they weren’t expecting was that Wu Yun also came.
In the expansive lecture hall, watching everyone sitting in their combat suits, Wu Yun also found it a little comical.
“Hey, I’ll say two things before your biology instructor comes in. First, I will beat up whoever starts fooling around or sleeping during his lecture. Second, even I have to listen well to whatever he says, so please, make sure you drill it into your brains.”
“Instructor Wu, who is Instructor Zhou?” One of the youngsters raised their hand and asked.
“My partner. And someone who saved me many times.” With that, Wu Yun came to the front row and sat down, crossing his arms and looking towards the platform.
This surprised everyone. Someone who could save Wu Yun many times must be very skilled. But why was he coming in to teach biology?
A few minutes later, a tall man in camouflage stepped in. He was expressionless and he did not carry any files with him, as if he hadn’t prepared at all.
But when he put his hands in his pockets and looked over at everyone, he exuded dominance.
“Hello, I’m Zhou Yu. Now, I’ll introduce some hostile organisms that are commonly found in Nibelungen to you. I will say everything only once, and every word only once.” Zhou Yu didn’t waste time on pleasantries and went straight to the main topic.
This also made the recruits sit straight up, because Zhou Yu’s words were treated as valuably as gold, and he seemed to be very efficient.
The first creature that appeared on the projection screen behind Zhou Yu left everyone speechless.
“This creature is called a Peryton. Their brains are not where we’re used to it being, but in their abdomen. They have no eyes, ears, or nose, so they have no vision, hearing, or sense of smell. In Nibelungen, 70 percent of all organisms hunt through fear, and the Peryton is representative of that. They have a strong self-healing ability, but of course, most of the organisms in Nibelungen have strong regenerative abilities. Ordinary bullets can’t hurt them, so in that world, the bullets you will be using are specially made with compounds. Don’t waste them. One shot is enough, assuming that you hit it, of course. As for its strength, you can see for yourself.”
With that, Zhou Yu moved away from the projection screen.
The video was the same one that Wu Yun had shown them at the beginning.
As Zhou Yu had imagined, the special combat recruits were frightened. This was consistent with Juli Corp’s style; they wanted to filter out those who do not have enough courage and determination.
When the video ended, Zhou Yu calmly explained the characteristics of other organisms such as the two-headed wolf spider, devil vines, El Nino water dragon, swordbone butterfly, etc. As for how many of them really listened, that was unknown.
“That’s all for the morning class. I wish you all good appetites.”
From beginning to end, Zhou Yu did not smile once. The knowledge he imparted was not a joke to him.
As they were leaving, Zhou Yu nodded to Wu Yun.
Then the recruits burst into chatter.
“That Peryton was terrifying! If we didn’t have the inhibitor to suppress our fear, it could kill us all in a second!”
Wu Yun chuckled.
“Instructor Wu, what are you laughing at?”
“I laughed… because even without the inhibitor, someone can kill a Peryton. And without using modified bullets.”
“Who? Do you mean yourself, Mr. Wu?”
“Me? I don’t have that ability. It’s Zhou Yu.” Wu Yun got up.
He was stopped at once by several of the recruits.
“Mr. Wu, we know that you are experienced and skilled, but are you saying that Zhou Yu can kill a Peryton? We don’t believe it.”
“Believe it or not, that’s up to you. He hasn’t gone too far yet, you can test his skill.” A smile full of evil intentions appeared at Wu Yun’s lips. He seemed to look forward to watching Zhou Yu straighten them out.
The recruits’ curiosities were aroused. Was Zhou Yu really more powerful than Wu Yun, and to what degree?
They were eager to try it so they left the lecture hall and quickly went after Zhou Yu.
After their special training, their footsteps were nearly silent. They knew that Zhou Yu would turn the corner in the corridor, so two of them circled to the other side, intending to catch Zhou Yu from both the front and back.
The security camera in the hallway was transmitting the scene to Li Qian.
Li Qian stretched out his arms then took out a bag of chips. He wanted to watch a good show. “You guys better be able to take a punch. Don’t let me…”
Before he’d finished speaking, he saw Zhou Yu kick one of them in the abdomen, and using that force, rebound off the wall to deliver an accurate side-kick to the second man’s neck. As he fell back to the ground, he twisted the third man’s wrist to dislocation, quickly followed by knocking down the fourth and fifth persons.
Zhou Yu looked at them coolly and said, “You will all die very quickly over there if that’s how fast you can react.”
And with that, he left.
Li Qian blinked. “What the… I haven’t even opened my chips yet!”
Then Li Qian frowned. He replayed the video clip again.
“This speed… It’s so strange… Can an ordinary person be that fast?”
Wu Yun, crossing his arms, went up to the special combat team members and squatted down while smiling. “Hey, how was the experience?”
One of them sat up with difficulty, looking incredulous. “He… Is he human?!”
Zhou Yu’s movements were fast, ruthless, and accurate, without any superfluous actions or brute force.
Wu Yun didn’t know whether Zhou Yu had always been so powerful or whether the Nibelungen experience had tempered him.
“Maybe one day… none of us will be human.” Wu Yun smiled at himself derisively and stood up.
Before Zhou Yu had gotten far, he received a call from Dr. Cook.
“Zhou Yu, your brother, Professor Zhou Qing, was found unconscious in his lab by his students at 8:30 this morning.”
“What?” Zhou Yu felt a chill go through his heart. “Has he been brought to the hospital? Which hospital is he in?!”
“His tumor returned. According to test results, it has already occupied one-third of his brain.”
Zhou Yu was shocked. “How is that possible? Wasn’t he examined when he came back from the other side? At the time, the tumor hadn’t reappeared yet! It hasn’t even been a month!”
“It means that the tumor has been growing rapidly since he left Nibelungen.” Dr. Cook replied. “Dr. Daniel is operating on him.”
Zhou Yu took two steps back. Even if Daniel was able to not do any harm to Zhou Qing’s brain, this was his second craniotomy. Even if Zhou Qing survived, what kind of impact will it have on him? Zhou Yu dared not think about it.
When Zhou Yu got to the hospital in a car sent by Dr. Cook, Zhou Qing’s operation had just finished and he was in the intensive care unit.
His graduate students were all standing outside the ward, very concerned about his condition.
One of them was holding a soilless plant in his hands.
When Dr. Daniel saw Zhou Yu, his expression was poor.
The author has something to say:
Mo Ye: In this chapter, I only showed up in Zhou Yu’s imagination, damn it. I’m not happy!