Chapter 65: I Am Not A Merman (II)
Shang Ke and Waves, who was the small dolphin, would undergo examinations by the medical personnel every few days. That was understandable, since the dolphins were eliminated by a plague once upon a time, and it was hard to say if they still carried that kind of fatal bacteria on them.
Fortunately, up till the present, he and the small dolphin’s state of health was positive. The staff of the base carefully studied the research material and notes their predecessors left behind, and learned that the dolphins were animals that were full of emotions. Upsetting them and placing too many restrictions on their freedom would make them depressed, and may even drive them to commit suicide. Further, the life expectancy of a human raised dolphin was shorter by 7 to 10 years compared to wild ones, their mortality rate was higher as well compared to their wild counterparts by about 5%.
The mental capacity of a dolphin is second only to humans, even higher than an orangutan. They were capable of forming questions and answering them, had self-awareness and the ability to understand and process their emotions, as well as undertake similar kinds of high-level mental cognition processes. In other words, if the brain of a dolphin was developed to the point of humans. They could possess wisdom, ingenuity and social awareness not inferior to humans.
As such, the staff were very gentle with Shang Ke and Waves. Even when they needed to examine and study them, they tried to do it in the gentlest way possible and form bonds of trust with them both.
Compared to the world Shang Ke once lived in, the people here treated dolphins with such care that the difference couldn’t be any greater; they were taken care of like their own children. The moment they noticed that the two dolphins were unhappy about something, everyone would immediately tense up and fall into prepared-to-fight mode.
What was gratifying was that the two dolphins were very clever and obedient. Not only did they not burden the staff, they made everyone very happy. In just half a month, they had won over everyone’s hearts.
The outer pool of the base was connected to the sea. The world below the waterline was not that much different to the wild, hosting all sorts of aquatic organisms. Every half a month, they would open the watergates to freshen the pools. However, with the arrival of the two dolphins, they would now first place a net blocking the entrance before opening the gates to prevent the dolphins from swimming back to the sea.
It wasn’t that the base wanted to confine them, but that they were far too precious to be allowed back to the ocean where danger lurked around every corner, or rather, reef. The dolphins of the past were herd mammals, having anywhere from ninety to hundreds of members in a pod. The largest groups numbered in the several thousands. Such large groups had the power to confront other dangerous animals. But now there were only two, if they were to meet with a shark they would be bitten to death in minutes.
“Flames, Waves, Mr. Qin came to see you two again.” The director, Dr. Cui shouted toward them with a smile.
At the moment, the two dolphins were showing their bellies to the sky and practicing swimming backward, just lazing about and having fun. Shang Ke immediately flipped over upon the arrival of Qin Yuan and swam in a way he personally believed to be very elegant as he made his way to the shore. Happily, he raised his head and cried out.
“A present.” Qin Yuan had people put down the half-human sized rubber duck in the water. The bright yellow object almost blinded Shang Ke.
Shang Ke gave it a look of disdain and used a flipper to push it away. But Waves, who have never seen such an object before, rather liked it and took the yellow rubber duck to play with in the water.
“You don’t like it?” Qin Lun took the tablet his assistant handed over, opened up a web page and held it in front of Shang Ke. “See what you like, I’ll buy it for you when I get back.”
Dr. Cui at his side, staring at the scene. Mr. Qin was letting a dolphin choose what it wants from a web page?
He thought that Flames would take the tablet as a toy and bite it, or maybe as a dangerous object and hit it flying. He did not expect it to actually browse through the items on the web page!
He watched as Shang Ke moved closer and stared at the images of goods on the lit screen, then pointed at a squid with his snout, releasing happy yipping noises. Qin Yuan put that item into his shopping cart without a word of objection. Then, Shang Ke picked out a shark and ship model.
Dr. Cui watched the human and dolphin pair picking and selecting toys, and suddenly felt that he did not understand the world anymore. A dolphin was actually keeping up with modern times and had learned how to shop online?
After Flames was done picking, Qin Yuan handed the tablet back to his assistant.
His assistant praised with a smile, “This dolphin is so smart.”
This isn’t just being smart anymore! Dr. Cui spoke, well beyond shocked, “Squid are a dolphin’s food of choice, the shark it chose is their natural enemy.”
“And the ship?” The assistant curiously inquired.
“There are a lot of ships in the ocean catching fish, they don’t have much protection awareness toward precious marine life. The number of marine creatures that have died at their hands is too many to count.” Dr. Cui answered with certainty. “Flames has a very high capacity to understand and recognize things.”
“But,” the assistant hesitated a bit before asking, “It’s understandable for the squid to be chosen, but why also choose the things that are a danger to them?”
Dr. Cui stood quietly, looking as if he were struck by lightning. That’s right, why were they chosen?
Qin Yuan thoughtfully looked at the small dolphin who was playing with the yellow duck, then turned his sight back to Shang Ke, only to be met with the sight of Shang Ke tilting his head to a 45-degree angle and giving him a ‘charming’ expression. Then, he dove back into the water and leaped high into the air in the next second. In the air, he performed a set of three perfect somersaults, countless drops of water splashing out and shining like crystals under the sun.
Qin Yuan fixed his eyes on Flames’ graceful beauty, the drops of water on his face going unnoticed by him. Flames’ eyes curved happily, his head bobbing and swaying, asking for a gentle stroke to his head.
Qin Yuan looked at his watery and shiny head and his fingers twitched, but in the end, he did not pet him.
Shang Ke looked at him resentfully: I gave you the chance to pet me but you didn’t take it. If you want to pet me in the future, I won’t let you. Hmph!
He looked upward and flipped onto his back, his belly aimed at the sky. After he flipped over, he swiftly swam away.
Qin Yuan’s face went a bit stiff. A trace of sadness flashed through his eyes.
That very afternoon, the toys Shang Ke chose were delivered. Qin Yuan and Dr. Cui stayed on the shores, wanting to take a look at Shang Ke’s reaction.
Shang Ke first thumped the squid once. He didn’t know what it was made of, but it was soft. Once it was hit in the water, it would float right back up. Giving it a bite he found it was actually pretty tough and fit for grinding teeth.
Following that, he called over the smaller dolphin and patted the shark with his fin, educating him, “Remember how this guy looks. If you meet this guy when you grow up in the future, quickly make a break for it.”
The small dolphin swam around the shark toy in confusion at first, then used his short snout to poke it. The one poke caused the belly of the shark to cave in, startling him into immediately jerking away.
Shang Ke then pushed over the ship model, and earnestly explained to him what was dangerous about it.
Dolphins are very curious animals, when they see moving objects like a ship, they would always like to go over and take a look. Countless dolphins lost their lives because of this curiosity.
From Shang Ke’s point of view, the small dolphin by his side is the true remaining national treasure of this world. He was just an outsider who might not live two years before having to die heroically. Before that, he wished to be able to protect Waves well and ensure his future safety. Although he was unable to truly understand the world of a dolphin, he still tried to the best of his ability in his own way to tell him how to avoid danger.
Qin Yuan’s assistant watched the two dolphins chirping at each other in the water and hitting the toys here and there, so he asked curiously, “Dr. Cui, what are they doing?”
Dr. Cui answered a bit uncertainly, “It looks like, they’re… passing down knowledge?”
Qin Yuan: …As long as he’s happy.
Qin Yuan stayed at the base for the day and left at night. Before leaving, he got a copy of the film of the two dolphins.
Many surveillance cameras were installed underwater. They were used to observe the activity of other marine animals before, but now were mainly used to film the two dolphin’s way of life. Playing, frolicking, jumping, rolling, being intimate, eating, sleeping, and causing trouble… all these scenes were enough to make a ‘life of dolphins’ documentary. If they publicized these films, who knows what kind of uproar it would cause.
Qin Yuan temporarily blocked off the information on the dolphins, the main reason being to prevent the reporters, experts and fanaticals from disturbing them. A dolphin’s sense of hearing was very keen, so too much noise would make them uneasy. Over two hundred years ago, humans would train dolphins to participate in performances. Besides some of the more forceful methods used to train them, in addition to the applause and cheers for the dolphins, it could speed up a dolphin’s death.
Qin Yuan would not repeat such a disaster, not just because they were precious, but because they were intelligent and cute. As they interacted more and more, Qin Yuan’s love toward these animals gradually grew. From initial visits every three to five days, it gradually turned into visiting them everyday.
“What are you guys doing?” Qin Yuan had just entered the base when he saw a group of researchers surrounding Flames, one of them holding a syringe.
Qin Yuan’s face was dark. He knew that Flames had his blood drawn just yesterday. He reminded Dr. Cui that the number of times they could draw his blood for samples can not pass four times a month. The interval between each time must be at least five days apart. Furthermore, they have to make sure it was done while Flames was healthy.
Qin Yuan strided over angrily, a cold aura covering his entire body.
One of the researchers immediately explained, “Mr. Qin, I’m very sorry, we are not trying to hurt Flames. But Dr. Cui told us to take a sample because he had found something wrong with Flames’ body, so he wanted to confirm it.”
“Something wrong?” Qin Yuan’s expression turned worse, “What is it? Is he ill?”
“Doctor didn’t really explain it, but it shouldn’t be that.”
Qin Yuan frowned and coldly ordered then, “Don’t do anything for the moment, let me ask Dr. Cui what is going on first.”
He looked at Flames again after and then headed for Dr. Cui’s laboratory.
Shang Ke watched his leaving figure and floated in the water, lazily blowing bubbles.
To tell the truth, besides being unable to freely swim in the ocean, his daily life was the equivalent of living as an Emperor. The staff members were at his beck and call and falling over themselves to serve them. Every time they drew his blood, they were very cautious and serious, fearing that they would hurt him. Every time he felt the slightest discomfort, they would immediately stop.
This made Shang Ke feel both gratified and vexed. He was grateful because even after he leaves, the small dolphin would still be given the appropriate care. He was vexed because, with how they value him, how was he supposed to heroically offer himself up as food to humans when the time comes?
A short while later, Qin Yuan and Dr. Cui both came out.
Dr. Cui ordered, “Continue to take his blood, but be careful.”
Qin Yuan wore a calm and collected face as he remained silent, but his eyes were gazing at the researcher without blinking.
The researcher was scared witless by his stare, his fingers trembled, and the syringe only extended halfway before it fell into the water.
Qin Yuan’s face turned even darker. His eerie gaze felt like piercing swords that stabbed at the researcher.
Shang Ke saw how nervous the researcher was and feared that he would hurt him in the process at this point. Acting accordingly,, he took a detour around the researchers and dove back into the water. Everyone believed that it would not cooperate today and were just about to say they would try again another day when, in the next moment, it once again emerged from the water, holding the fallen syringe in its mouth.
it moved closer to the researcher and placed the syringe in his hand. After that, it looked at him with bright eyes, as if saying: No problem, come on.
The researcher looked at it, then looked back at the syringe in his hand and suddenly had the urge to throw it away. Why would humans create such a dangerous weapon? Faced with Flames’ completely trusting eyes, they simply didn’t have the will to do it, alright?
Furthermore Flames, what is with you letting people taking advantage of you? Don’t you know human hearts are sinister? You need to be more alert!
With the dolphin’s natural smile and adorable face, Shang Ke raised half of his body out of the water and swayed his fin, like he was urging them to do it quickly.
The researchers were all speechless and worried themselves half to death in their hearts for Flames.
Qin Yuan stared at Flames’ and the researcher’s interaction, feeling strangely unhappy about it. He mentally exchanged the researcher with himself, patiently comforting Flames and gently stroking its back, carefully giving it a shot, and it would use its flipper to slap his arm and use its head to touch his chest…
Letting that thought wind around his mind, Qin Yuan suddenly felt that being a dolphin keeper was simply paradise. But it was a pity that he could not swim, so he was preordained to be unqualified for that line of work.
After Shang Ke was done being stuck with a needle, he sensed that Qin Yuan’s mood was a bit low. So, he raised his head and tail and splashed in his direction.
After he successfully drew Qin Yuan’s attention, he immediately started to move. He danced a strange circle dance in the water, then broke through the water and performed an extremely difficult backward-aerial-somersault. Finally, he poked his head out of the water, beaming at him: How is it? This Lord performs pretty well, right? Have you started feeling like dolphins are your gods yet? Please give me a smile, some flowers, and likes!
Qin Yuan: …Why do I feel like I know what it is expressing?
“Very good.” Qin Yuan’s tone was steady, but his eyes showed gentleness and the cold aura radiating off his body disappeared without a trace.
Shang Ke swam a few circles in the water as a hint, then used his eyes to charm him: Want to come down and swim with me? You can enjoy a special service of playing with two dolphins~
Qin Yuan suddenly felt that the seawater was very attractive and he really wanted to try jumping down.
The heavens seem to intent to satisfy his request, as someone behind accidently bumped into him, pushing him into the water.
“Ah, Boss!” Qin Yuan’s assistant turned pale with fright. He had placed all his attention onto watching Flames perform and lost his balance when he tried to get a closer look, causing him to knock Qin Yuan into the pool.
The entire base knew that Qin Yuan could not swim, so the moment he fell, several people jumped down to save him.
However, when they got down into the water, what they saw was Qin Yuan being stolen away by the dolphin!
Shang Ke was charged with excitement when he saw Qin Yuan hit the water. In moments, he had rushed over and settled under his body, propping him up and swimming away with him.
Qin Yuan choked harshly on a few mouthfuls of water. When he steadied his state of mind, he finally noticed that he was lying on Flames back, half of his body above water and the other half submerged. He looked as if he was drifting on the surface.
Qin Yuan held onto Flames’ body, calming his breathing and letting it take him where it pleased. He took a breath and Flames took them under. Qin Yuan slowly opened his eyes, dark blue waters rippling in front of him, gleaming waves and countless small fish swimming by him. It was like a fantasy world.
After a while, Shang Ke carried him back up to the surface. After he took a few breaths, he was once again brought down into the water. Qin Yuan sensed Flames’ carefulness and his nervous state gradually calmed. He relaxed and grabbed onto its dorsal fin, allowing himself to float and drift in the water, following it to wander the underwater world.
Ever since he was nearly drowned at the age of nine, Qin Yuan never tried to learn how to swim again. Now that he threw his fear of water away, he realized the water world was not as frightening as he expected.
At that moment, the smaller dolphin, Waves, also swam over. He was very unhappy with Qin Yuan lying on Flames, so he bumped into him.
Qin Yuan’s waist bruised lightly from the bump and he subconsciously held onto Shang Ke tighter.
Shang Ke’s body circled in the water, and with Qin Yuan in tow, he headed for the surface. One man and dolphin tangled together made a beautiful scene under the dark blue sea water and gleaming waves.
The staff members who went down into the water to save Qin Yuan all exclaimed the admiration in their hearts. They had been worried that Qin Yuan would be in danger, but now it looks like he was playing pretty happily with the dolphin in the water.
Shang Ke delivered Qin Yuan to the shore and rubbed his head against Qin Yuan’s cheek: Isn’t it fun? After you learn how to swim, we can change positions and play some more.
Qin Yuan looked down at Flames in his arms and mentally prioritized learning how to swim.
A couple of days later, Qin Yuan wore a swimsuit as he stood next to the pool and earnestly told Shang Ke, “I learned how to swim. I believe that I will become a qualified dolphin keeper soon.”
Shang Ke looked at him in amazement, he learned how to swim in just a few days?
He swam toward the center of the pool, then turned back and called out a few times: Come, let me take a look at the result of your swimming training.
Qin Yuan did not beat around the bush and leaped straight into the water.
Dr. Cui, the assistant and the other staff members ashore all had a stupefied look.
The usually tidy, well-dressed, severe and stiff Qin Yuan… was actually wearing a swimsuit and jumping into the water to play with the dolphins. The scene was just so beautiful, they almost didn’t dare look at it…
That day, Mr. Qin, who claimed that he had learned how to swim, after swimming for an hour, was fished out of the water and sent urgently to the hospital due to a cramp.
Shang Ke: It’s impossible for his man to be so weak…