Chapter 7: The Laws of Survival
When the peryton’s tail came sweeping over, about to skewer through his eyeballs, the female doctor cried out in fear, while Li Qian and the engineer in black-framed glasses had their mouths gaping open, unable to say anything. Words could not describe what they were seeing on the screen; they felt as if they themselves had been killed on the spot.
“T-this has to be the result of CGI…” Li Qian stuttered.
“I can send you the video to study frame by frame if you really want to find out whether it’s CGI or not. After all, you’re the expert in that respect,” Wu Yun replied, smiling.
There were all kinds of blood-curdling screams coming from the video. They lasted for a few seconds until only death remained in their view.
When the screen changed to static, they had not yet managed to recover their spirits.
Wu Yun knocked on the table and time started to move forwards once again.
“The first law of survival in Nibelungen: Never show fear.” Wu Yun extended a finger. “Does anyone know why so many of the organisms in that world use fear to hunt for their prey?”
No one answered. Regardless of whether it was Li Qian or the other two, they were still immersed in the feeling of fear, unable to disengage from their state of mind.
“Because when you’re afraid of something, it implies that you’re not as strong as them. Since you’re not as strong as them, then in a world where the strong prey on the weak, you can only become the prey,” explained Wu Yun.
“Bullshit! How is that possible… whatever that monster was… who wouldn’t be afraid of it coming at them?” the engineer roared. His tightly clenched fists were still shaking.
“Oh, really?” Wu Yun’s gaze once again landed on Zhou Yu, but he quickly moved on. “The second law of survival in Nibelungen—Do not be tempted by anything beautiful. The more beautiful they are, the more dangerous.”
Another video started to play.
It looked like the inside of a cave. There were insects attached to the cave walls emitting a light blue glow. The entire scene was like a beautiful cave of light blue fireflies. Only, the fireflies themselves were even more striking; they had an ethereal and elegant beauty, glowing like the ancient light of stars.
A researcher entering the cave looked up and revealed an enchanted expression. He slowly reached out his hand, as if he wanted to touch the fireflies. A few of the small insects met his expectations. They lazily fell down like snowflakes.
The moment they made contact with his skin, the little insects suddenly bored into it. The researcher started to frantically scratch at his palms, wanting to take out the insects, but they had already entered his veins. In that short time frame, they managed to reproduce inside his whole body.
He fell to the ground. All the veins and arteries in his body turned blue and he was twisted painfully. His hoarse screams had the video’s audience frozen in terror.
All of a sudden, countless blue fireflies burst out from inside his body in a dense swarm, like a supernova.
They slowly rose up, and once again attached themselves to the cave wall.
The researcher’s remains were still scattered on the ground.
All was peaceful again, as if nothing had happened.
The engineer in the black-framed glasses suddenly lowered his head and started to vomit. The instant his glasses came falling off, Zhou Yu scooped them up with his finger.
Li Qian’s shoulders were also trembling. There was dread deep in his eyes.
As for the female doctor, she raised a hand to cover her mouth, her eyes wide open.
“I… I’m not joining whatever research project this is anymore! Let me go back! Let me go back!” The engineer had finished vomiting and started to pound the table hysterically.
They had already been told that the other world was dangerous.
But the extent of that danger completely exceeded their expectations.
“There is no going back. Juli Corp won’t give its own pawns an escape route.” Wu Yun came to stand behind the engineer and pressed down on his shoulder. He appeared to be helping him relax. “Mr. Li Sizhe, as long as you keep my words in mind and do what I tell you to do, you’ll survive until your contract with Juli Corp expires. Juli Corp never abandons their own, and as long as you don’t leak any of their secrets, you’ll be able to live a good life afterwards. Practically all your wishes will come true.”
The engineer Li Sizhe retrieved his glasses from Zhou Yu.
“Finally, I’ll talk about the third law, which is a rather important one. It may seem like it’s easier to accomplish than the previous two, but it is precisely this one that tends to overwhelm people.” Wu Yun put away his lazy attitude. Zhou Yu was unable to decipher his sharp gaze. “Do not trust any organism in Nibelungen, no matter how much they may seem to love you, how crazy they seem to be for you, or if they act like you’re more important to them than their own lives. Remember, they’re not capable of love. If they make you feel captivated, touched, or perfectly willing to put everything at stake for them, then it’s already over for you. They only want to reproduce, and it just happens that the composition of the human body is perfect for that purpose. Whether it’s the protein content or anything else, we’re the most well-suited for their offspring to grow in, not as a mate, but as a source of nutrients.”
“You’re warning us about love? There’s no way we’d find those monsters attractive!” The female doctor thought that Wu Yun’s words were unbelievable.
“The evolutionary path of the organisms in Nibelungen is very unusual. Here, the highest life form is humankind, because we are better at intelligent thought than the other animals. But in there, when an organism has progressed to a certain degree, it will develop abilities that you’ve only seen in sci-fi movies. We divide the organisms there into five ranks. The organisms in the highest S rank have a common skill, which is mimicry. Their mimicry is different from ours, their cells can regenerate and recombine. For example, they can take on the appearance of a human… a very attractive human. If they want to tempt someone, then they’ll change themselves into what will captivate them the most.”
Not only did Li Qian and the rest show astonished expressions, but even Zhou Yu was shocked.
Could an organism really change itself into something entirely different?
This time, the video showed a pregnant female researcher. She was enclosed in a sealed laboratory, her face betraying her fear and horror. Over and over again, she kept screaming, “save me, please save me.” She beat at her own abdomen, and under her stream of tears, there was only despair.
“I recognize her… She’s a renowned pathologist… What happened to her?”
“Dr. Han Li, isn’t it obvious? She’s pregnant,” Wu Yun replied.
“I mean… what’s with the child in her womb?! Why would she act like that? If she’s pregnant, then why would you treat her like that?”
“Because inside her womb is an S rank organism from Nibelungen.” Wu Yun spoke with regret. “I warned her countless times, but that woman still wasn’t able to handle it. What’s more, women are emotional, thinking that they will be the ‘exception.’ During a field expedition, she had a chance encounter with an elegant and sexy man, then next thing you know, she was with child.”
A few seconds later, the pathologist died. Han Li covered her eyes, not daring to look at the scene. The pathologist’s screams continued to ring in their ears.
Li Qian buried his head between his arms. Li Sizhe wanted to vomit again but there was nothing left in his stomach.
Only Zhou Yu watched it from beginning to end without the slightest wrinkle between his brows.
When the video finished playing, the entire room was silent. No one had any desire to speak.
Wu Yun indifferently said, “Don’t be so nervous. As long as you keep the three laws of survival in mind, it isn’t likely that you’ll die. Li Qian, you’re the youngest out of everyone here, do you still remember what those three laws are?”
Li Qian opened his mouth, but his mind was a complete blank. It was as if everything he heard before had been poured out of his head. He couldn’t remember any of it.
“No way, you’re the youngest, I’d have thought that your memory would be the best too.” Wu Yun sighed, “Listen up, I’ll say it for the last time. Number one, fear is the sign of the hunted, so never show fear. Number two, the more beautiful an organism is, the more dangerous they are. Do not approach them. Number three, do not be tempted by the mimicry of an S rank organism, they don’t have human emotions like love, and no humans are an exception to them.”
Even if the three laws were remembered, they were sometimes impossible to uphold.
Because they went against human instinct.
After class, Li Qian and the others left for different places. They were all geniuses of specialized skills, but they had a far lesser chance of really being in danger, compared to Zhou Yu.
In the next half of the year, Zhou Yu underwent a series of rigorous training sessions, including lessons on the uses of special weapons, identifying the organisms of Nibelungen, team coordination, and more.
Zhou Yu knew that even if he trained there for a lifetime, it would never be as useful as staying in Nibelungen for a minute. Only a real combat situation could determine their life and death.
However, Zhou Yu did not see the instructor from their first lesson, Wu Yun, again.
After six months, Zhou Yu received a notice that he would be on the next dispatch team to Nibelungen. This news did not significantly affect Zhou Yu’s mood, but he understood that the team would also include Zhou Qing.
A high-precision magnetic shuttle installation connected the two worlds. When Zhou Yu entered the control room, he saw countless numbers flicker by on the ubiquitous computer screens. The technical staff and researchers were bustling about, and it resembled a space agency’s preparations for a rocket launch.
“All party members to be dispatched, please enter the shuttle bay.”
An ice-cold voice from above their heads announced.
In front of Zhou Yu was a ring-shaped metal door. Parked in front of it was what looked like a cable car. It looked a bit like a satellite that was about to explore the universe, compact and cold.
Just as he was about to go up to it, someone called out to him.
“Hey, Zhou Yu.”