Chapter 67: I Am Not A Merman (IV)
The plane hitting Star Record Marine Life Rescue Base quickly caused a sensation online. It was not because of the crash itself, nor was it because it had hit a Marine Life environmental protection agency. Instead, it was because many survivors claimed that they were rescued by a large ‘fish’.
There were all together one hundred and seventy-six passengers on the plane. Among them, one hundred and twenty-one survived because their life-saving cabins remained intact. The other fifty-five passengers had their cabins damaged and were swept away into the ocean. Even if they were strong at swimming, they were disoriented and injured and so were struggling to hold their heads above the water. But in the end, forty-seven of them that were rescued. A plane crash as severe as that with only eight victims was no doubt a miracle.
After the crash, the memories were still fresh in the minds of the survivors. But because they were in too much of a panic at the time, and it was rather dark, few actually saw the complete figure of that large ‘fish’.
As such, the rest of the survivors were skeptical. Some even attacked the news, saying they were writing false news and mocking them that they were willing to go so low just to draw readers.
However, not long afterward, a video was released online confirming the authenticity of the news. It was the entire course of events during which Flames rescued people, caught on the underwater cameras. It braved the wind and waves, saving those who fell into danger. That graceful and powerful body emitted a faint blue light and left a beautiful glowing trail while it swam in the dark seawater.
Viewers were moved beyond words when they saw that Flames had been attacked by the victims–nearly killed by one of them.
A ‘fish’ possessing enough intelligence to actually save people. But what kind of fish is it? It didn’t take long for people to start asking questions and analyzing the footage. Some speculated it was a mutated shark, going by its dorsal fin, but a shark would never actively rescue people.
This question did not last long, someone quickly gave the answer. This organism was not a fish, but an aquatic mammal called a ‘dolphin’, a creature that had gone extinct over two hundred years ago. They were intelligent and full of emotions, once holding an intimate relationship with humans.
Once the answer was announced, everyone was sent into an uproar. This was a dolphin? They went extinct two hundred years ago? Everyone immediately started to search for information on dolphins, but they were a relic of history with very little information on them left online. Only a few images and a simple introduction guide could be found.
As such, they turned their attention onto Star Record. This dolphin appeared near a Star Record base, so no one would believe it if someone said there was no connection.
Dr. Cui consulted Qin Yun’s opinion, who agreed, “Release a portion of the videos.”
Flames’ existence was already made public, so there was no meaning to hiding its existence any longer. Allowing more people to know it and protect it is not necessarily a bad thing.
After obtaining Qin Yuan’s permission, Star Record uploaded a video of Flames’ and Waves’ daily life onto their website.
Diving dolphins, jumping dolphins, smiling dolphins, spoiled dolphins, clingy dolphins, dancing dolphins… they showed all sorts of emotions and were amusing and cute.
The moment the video was publicized, the view count shot through the roof. In just a few hours, they more than quadrupled their record number of visitors. Waves of comments almost drowned the website.
【My god, there was actually such a cute animal in this world. I really want to keep it!】
【I only liked dogs and cats before, but now, I’ve decided to become Flames’ and Waves’ ultimate fan!】
【AHHHHHHHHHH, I really want to play with them!】
【Damn you, release that dolphin, let me at it!】
In a single night, the two dolphins trended throughout the entire world.
An extinct animal from two hundred years ago has reappeared, bringing popularity only bolstered by their intelligence and adorableness, making everyone crazy over them. Its act of heroism and fearlessness moved everyone. Innumerable masses applied to work at Star Record, wanting to see these two dolphins with their own eyes. Large sums of money were donated to them with the wish for them to obtain the best care. However, they did not know that their beloved Flames was currently in imminent peril.
Waves was hidden by Shang Ke in the water channels, so he was not injured. But ever since they returned, he was unwilling to eat and dithered around in the water alone, letting out a mournful cry from time to time, miserable and lonely.
Everyone at the base understood clearly that if they could not find Flames, their small Waves would not live for much longer.
According to reason, after the disaster, Flames should return to the base. But it has been two days and they still haven’t seen a trace of him. It was clear that something unexpected had happened.
Just as Qin Yuan’s patience was about to reach its limit, a piece of information reached him: Someone at Linhai Village had found an organism that was ‘suspected’ to be a dolphin.
Qin Yuan did not think much about the meaning behind ‘suspected’ and immediately called together his people and left for Linhai Village.
This day they arrived just so happened to be the day the villagers were offering sacrifices to the Sea Emperor. The village was bustling noisily unlike usual, with each person bringing their own fresh fish to the coast to be prepared and cut open.
The one that drew most of the people’s attention was the large fish the village chief’s son had brought back; 2 meters long and 140kg.
This ‘fish’ was Shang Ke, he was currently laying a bucket below the offering table, dying.
With an announcement of “Begin the Ceremony”, Shang Ke was raised out of the bucket and placed on the table. His head and tail were held down by other villagers.
Dolphins do not have scales, so the fish cleaner directly aimed his knife at his belly and made a slit.
Shang Ke could only feel the acute pain, his body twitching powerlessly as he could feel his life draining slowly onto the altar…
“Stop!” A holler came from nearby, stopping the fish cleaner from digging out Shang Ke’s internal organs.
Qin Yuan simply could not believe his eyes. Cute and kind Flames was currently being treated like a dead fish and being gutted on a wooden table. Injuries littered its body, there was a hold on its tail where a sharp weapon had speared, its belly slit open so they could almost see the flesh inside.
Killing intent rose in Qin Yuan’s heart, Dr. Cui and the others were also unable to restrain their towering rage at the sight.
“F*ck off!” Qin Yuan quickly ran over, his fist raised and heading toward the one who cut Flames open. His bodyguards followed to protect him.
“Who are you people? Why are you hitting me?” the fish cleaner wailed.
“Motherf*ckers, you dare to destroy our sacrificial ceremony to the Sea Emperor? Go everyone!” the chieftain shouted.
The villagers grouped up with their families and started to fight with Qin Yuan’s bodyguards, the scene immediately falling into confusion.
Qin Yuan did not care about the fights surrounding him, his attention solely focused on Flames’ safety.
“Flames, Flames.” Qin Yuan softly called its” name, fearful that if he spoke too loudly, he would scare it.
Its eyes were half open, when it saw Qin Yuan, the originally dark eyes lit up and immediately curved into a happy smile.
“Hold on, I’m taking you home.” Qin Yuan’s eyes were red as his heart screamed for Flames and tried to comfort it.
“The water tank is here, quick, lift Flames into it.” Dr. Cui and the others pushed a large water tank over. With each other’s cooperation, they gently placed Shang Ke into the tank.
The moment he was placed in the water, Shang Ke felt a wave of comfort. The pain he was feeling lightened significantly.
【Congratulations to Host for completing the main mission—Become human food.】
【Host has gloriously survived the main mission, System gifts five years of detain time.】
Shang Ke heard the System’s voice while in a daze and felt somewhat strange. He hasn’t been eaten yet, so why was the mission complete?
【The mission is to become human food, whether you are actually eaten or not is not important.】
Shang Ke: …Hehe, so that’s how it is.
Ahh… so tired, let’s take a nap first…
Shang Ke was temporarily taken back to Qin Yuan’s private aquarium. He had a complete set of medical equipment there, and no one would disturb him.
While he was receiving treatment, the Linhai Village villager that was beaten up by Qin Yuan’s bodyguard reported the Qin Clan to the high court for charges of violence, robbery, destruction of offered sacrifice… a row of criminal charges.
As an internationally recognized company heir, news about Qin Yuan was naturally paid attention to by the crowds. This event was quickly passed about online. Everyone who saw the photographs of the villagers being beaten all felt that Qin Yuan’s forceful methods needed to be restrained and asked for him to be harshly treated.
The public opinion was entirely inclined toward the Linhai villagers. The villagers took this chance to request Qin Yuan to compensate them for injuries, property loss, psychological damages, and so on. Altogether, it was over fifty million they demanded in recompense.
This lasted until a horrifying post was released online—《That dolphin that saved people was killed by us!》. Following it was a set of photographs.
Dolphins were the hottest topic at the moment, so once this post was made, it immediately attracted countless people’s attention. They had thought it was just a bait post, but once they saw the photographs inside, they were all angered beyond words.
The photographs showed Flames in the middle of being slit open. The Flaming Sky Flower on its chest seemed to be withering and it stabbed everyone’s heart.
A couple of days earlier, it was swimming valiantly through the waves and had saved forty-seven lives; now it was meat, killed by a human’s knife and leaving the world alone.
When they saw those shocking photographs, the internet fell silent, followed by a torrent of anger.
【F*ck them, this simply cannot be forgiven!】
【I won’t accept that that’s Flames!】
【Flames eyes look so sad, I really want to cry.】
【I am already crying, that is really too cruel.】
【No wonder Director Qin would hit them, if it were me, I’d kill them!】
【And they actually dared to ask for compensation? Injuring a national treasure, they would be lucky to get away with not going to jail.】
【The fisherman’s actions can be understood, they might not know that that is a dolphin, and may not pay attention to the news about Flames. However, the harm they caused is inexcusable.】
The public opinion online immediately flipped. Those villagers who gained sympathy from the public turned into a target of condemnation. Article after article about protected animals appeared one after another, echoing through society.
As for those villagers, not only did they not get compensation, they were faced with a series of legal charges over injuring a protected animal.
While the outside world was quarreling in full swing, the subject of the topic, Shang Ke was quietly recovering from his injuries in the aquarium at Qin Yuan’s place.
A cozy environment, proper treatment, and Shang Ke’s own powerful healing ability had healed over half of his wounds in not even half a month. Even the dolphins from two hundred years ago could heal until they were as healthy as before, not even a scar being left behind. The current evolved dolphin’s healing ability has reached an even more unbelievable stage. Dr. Cui had said: “As long as the important areas haven’t been injured, even if they are near death, they will be able to heal until not a trace of that damage is left.”
Those words of his attracted Qin Yuan’s steel fury and Dr. Cui tasted for himself the pleasure of death by a thousand cuts.
After Shang Ke was sent to Qin Yuan’s aquarium, Waves was also sent over. There was nothing they could do about it. If they didn’t let them reunite, Waves would die from starvation.
Shang Ke heard that Waves actually went on a hunger strike and gave him a lecture, telling him to cherish life and bravely stand against the cruel world.
Waves happily clung to Shang Ke like a small bee and he did not know if he was understood or not.
The outside world was beyond curious about the two dolphins and asked to see them one after another, but were all rejected by Qin Yuan under the excuse of Flames’ healing. There were some powerful agencies that wanted to participate in the research of dolphins, but they were ignored even more adamantly by Qin Yuan.
He was not only a businessman, he was also an honorary member of the World Environmental Protection Organization. Every year on the world contribution rankings, he would be number one. He had already provided financial aid and built several wild animal rescue bases and specialized medical teams.
The accident this time made Qin Yuan blame himself. So as to not repeat such a disaster, he did not spare any expenses on making huge investments, and altogether upgrading the defense system and reinforcing other defense measures.
Qin Yuan’s aquarium was round, divided into three, and each section was connected and could be exchanged. The inner area was crisscrossed with moveable glass tunnels and enormous streams of water. All sorts aquatic animals traveled through them, like a compressed little ocean world.
When he arrived at the Marine building, he watched with astonishment as Shang Ke played with the slide, jumping up on it and sliding down, then repeating. Following him was Waves, who also loved to play.
Qin Yuan’s eye twitched a couple times and he strode over to the pool, sternly scolding him, “Flames, you aren’t fully healed yet, don’t play such a dangerous game!”
Shang Ke fell into the water with a splash, then he emerged from the water again with Waves, their two sets of eyes shining brightly as they looked at Qin Yuan.
Qin Yuan’s heart was soothed by the scene and he slowly spoke, “I will have more toys sent to you guys in a few days.”
“Bo~~” Shang Ke leaped high in the air and did a flip.
Qin Yuan: …It seems to be very happy. What to do…? Should I go in and pat it? Or directly go into the water and swim a couple laps with it?
After thinking over it for five seconds, Qin Yuan decided to go in the water.
Shang Ke made a couple of graceful circles in the water once he saw that. An aura of excitement emitted from him.
His man was gonna do underwater plays with him!
Looking at his well-built muscles, Shang Ke couldn’t help but use his tail to smack them a few times. They were pretty impressive. His line of sight trailed down further. A certain item’s form and size looked good, world-class even. He used a flipper to feel it, then when Qin Yuan looked over at him, he revealed a natural smile.
Qin Yuan, whose tofu was eaten: …Was it really not on purpose just now?
Qin Yuan and Shang Ke, with an additional light bulb (third wheel) Waves, swam a couple of circles in the water. Qin Yuan hugged Shang Ke and felt as if he was holding onto a huge jelly, cold and slippery–he loved it.
He then checked the wound on Shang Ke’s belly and tail. Only a faint trace was left behind and his heart calmed. Thinking back to that moment at Linhai Village, when he saw its appearance, he had almost believed it to be unsavable. That fury and fear he felt at the time was a first-time experience for him.
“Flames, don’t worry, I will never allow you to be hurt again.” Qin Yuan kissed Shang Ke’s forehead and promised softly.
Shang Ke looked helplessly at Qin Yuan: Although you say that, you are simply unable to stop me from courting death.
【Congratulations to Host for opening the gate to a new world.】
Shang Ke: …What’s the meaning behind that?
【Now issuing an additional mission—Find “Merfolk”.】
System, are you sure you aren’t joking? There are Merfolk in this world?
There’s even a mission reminder? Since when was the System anything resembling kind?
【Please take note of the quotations, Host.】
Shang Ke: …Hehe 凸凸.