Chapter 73: I Am Not A Merman (X)
Finally realizing and understanding the depths of his mistake, Qin Yuan went to find a jewelry designer without another word. He wanted it made in the same style as the one he was wearing and started to look for a beautiful, matching sapphire.
On the other side, the people of the research institute recruited several sets of married couples as volunteers to conduct artificial embryo cultivation. The technology had progressed to the point that it could imitate the development of embryos, to the point that they could be completely developed outside of the body. The ten couples all voluntarily offered their eggs and sperm and signed a confidentiality agreement.
The initial results of the first stage were gratifying; seven embryos had survived the early stages of development out of the ten. Although they had not taken form, it was already enough to thoroughly please and excite everyone. They all paid close attention to the embryos as they matured, waiting for the new lives to come into being.
During that period of time, Shang Ke reveled in a rare period of peace and happily led Waves out into the ocean to play. They found many bizarre items on the seabed. With the rate at which they were progressing in their scavenging, they would have enough to open a treasure exhibition hall at this rate. The ocean area was larger than land by several folds, so who knows just how much treasure is hidden within its depths? Shang Ke would discover something new every time he went out and fell deeply in love with the sea.
Qin Yuan built a treasure room for Shang Ke to store the things he found and brought back. He just hadn’t expected the dolphins to make a hobby out of collecting things, or that they would have such good taste in what they brought back. The things he gathered all held some sort of value and there were visible trends between groups of objects.
Qin Yuan found Flames already sleeping when he entered the bedroom. His head was leaning on the dolphin pillow, his breathing even and his lips slightly parted, looking as if bubbles would be blown out at any moment.
Qin Yuan’s gaze was full of gentleness as he quietly walked over and leaned down to plant a kiss on his forehead. Then, he took Shang Ke’s left hand and slid a sapphire ring on his finger. The stone was azure like the deepest parts of the sea. It was recognizable as a match to the one he was wearing.
“Flames, I wish for you to stay with me forever, as my lover.” Qin Yuan dipped his head down to press a kiss on the stone this time, his deep voice like the low-tone of a cello, echoing in the quiet room.
Qin Yuan silently gazed at Flames for a moment, then placed his hand inside the blanket. He got back up and headed for the bathroom.
Listening to the sound of the bathroom door opening and closing, the formerly-sleeping Shang Ke suddenly opened his eyes. He raised his left hand to look at the ring Qin Yuan had placed onto his finger and a happy smile unknowingly made its way across his face. He hugged his pillow and bit into it to muffle his squealing, then jumped out of bed and tiptoed his way to the bathroom. Pausing outside the door, he gently pushed the door open, poking his head in like a ghost ready to cause trouble, staring at the naked man showering inside.
Upon hearing the faint scraping of the door Qin Yuan turned to see what caused it, and his eyes met a pair of gleaming, clear crystals that could drown him in love so easily.
“Flames, you’re awake.” Qin Yuan pretended to be calm, assuming a straight face immovable by beauty.
Shang Ke’s hand slowly drew circles on the door, the sapphire on his finger gleaming as he did, and he slowly spoke, “I suddenly really want to play with water.”
Qin Yuan’s heart was tickled by the motion of him drawing circles on the door and his abdomen tightened, but he managed to speak without any obvious change to his demeanor, “It’s late, so let’s not play with water anymore.”
Shang Ke gave him a disdainful look: Still pretending to be an upright gentleman? Maybe make sure you’re calm down there before trying to convince anyone!
“Alright, I’ll go to sleep.” Shang Ke put away his lustful expression and prepared to go back to the bedroom.
But he had only barely turned around when an arm hooked around him and tugged him back, and the bathroom door closed with a careless thunk.
Qin Yuan pressed Shang Ke against the washstand, kissing him intensely as his hands skillfully groped at him. The dense fog quickly dampened the two men’s entangled bodies. Shang Ke’s legs were wrapped around Qin Yuan’s waist as their lower bodies rutted together. Qin Yuan straightened up and dove straight in.
Soon, a string of ambiguous dolphin noises came from the bathroom, mixed intermittently with rough pants and splashing water…
That night, Shang Ke learned something new. His man should not be so casually teased!
The two confirmed their relationship formally entered the honeymoon period. The project and their feelings were developed in union and they lived very comfortably.
However, an unfortunate piece of news came by them and ruined their bliss. A problem emerged with the first embryo the lab had cultivated.
In the eighth week, the researchers discovered that the shape the embryo was developing into was not that of a normal human’s. The head, upper torso and arms were all very normal, but the lower body did not have legs. Instead, it appeared to be something akin to a fish tail.
The researchers were very much gobsmacked by this turn of events. They did not foresee that they would create an entirely new species through their experiments.
Some proposed they cease further incubation of the embryo before it completely takes form. Otherwise, when it was fully developed, they would be in a hell of a lot of trouble with the governments’ humanities and human rights department.
Another group of researchers fought against that suggestion. They believed that the embryo’s continued existence would be an exceptional experiment to experience. For the legendary merfolk to come into this world by human hands could be considered a great achievement.
The two sides disputed the issue for a long time before the latter finally obtained popular opinion and it was decided to continue the development of the embryo.
As time passed, the development of the merfolk embryo steadily matured. The researchers determined that the embryo was male and all his vital signs were very healthy. They estimated that he would be able to separate himself from the artificial womb in two months.
Apart from him, there were six other embryones and only one other had the same shape as him. The rest of the embryos were regular human shape. The second merchild was also male. Out of the remaining five, four were female and one was male.
Shang Ke was rather surprised from what he heard from Qin Yuan about the merfolk fetuses bred by the laboratory. He thought to himself that his additional mission really does have something to do with the experiments. He found merfolk, or should he say, his genes have created them.
“Qin Yuan, how will the researchers deal with them?” Shang Ke asked concernedly.
Qin Yuan pondered over it carefully and answered, “Merfolk are a new species, so they may be viewed as protected experiment subjects.”
“Protected experimental subject?”
“It’s the same situation as with dolphins. We’ll conduct a reasonable degree of research without harming them.”
Shang Ke was deeply sceptical about this, and asked: “Then, how are you guys going break the merfolk situation to the two couples that offered their sperm and eggs?”
Qin Yuan fell silent. The appearance of merfolk was an unpredicted outcome. It was likely that it wouldn’t be made public until the cause of them had been properly studied.
Although Qin Yuan did not say anything further, Shang Ke easily gleaned the answer from his expression and pressed no further on the topic.
If humanity really chose to treat the merfolks as protected experimental subjects, then he could accept that, albeit reluctantly. After all, he could not say for sure that these merfolks could adapt to the environment of the sea, nor could he be sure of how strong their vitality would be. Rashly fighting for their so-called human rights and freedom already was unrealistic. Those things can only be sorted after they were born.
Two months later, the first merman baby was born smoothly. Shang Ke couldn’t restrain himself and went with Qin Yuan to the laboratory to witness the birth of the first merman with his own eyes.
His birth was not much different from that of an ordinary baby. After taking in his first breath of air, he produced a loud cry.
The researcher cleaned him according to normal procedures and curiously stroked his fishtail. The tender and lovely fishtail did not have any scales and had the same texture as normal skin. The translucent pale pink resembled a pink crystal.
At first, the merman showed normal behavior, but after a dozen minutes, he started to cough dryly. His small face turned red from a lack of oxygen, like he would die at any moment. Everyone started to panic at this turn of events and found that they did not know what to do.
“Put him in the water!” A crisp voice suddenly cut through the crowd and they reacted accordingly.
The researcher quickly placed the small mermaid into the tank carefully. As soon as he entered the water, the small merman flipped over nimbly, and then slowly began to swim around in the water.
Everyone was astonished and gathered around the tank, as if admiring a work of art.
Someone couldn’t resist reaching out to try and touch him, but they were avoided. The merchild swam about a little, sticking his body to one side of the tank as he blew bubbles towards the outside.
He was directly facing Shang Ke.
Shang Ke felt some connection with the child that everyone else was unaware of. The dolphin genes seemed to carry echoes of instinct, and thus the newly born mermaid had some sort of natural imprintment of Shang Ke.
A week later, the merman had begun to gradually adapt to being in water and on land. He could stay out in the world for a full day now. The researchers were very fond of him and were extra diligent in taking care of him. But he still preferred Shang Ke. Every time Shang Ke came to visit him, he could find him in moments, then would cry at him with ‘yiyi yaya’s’.
That naturally made the researchers jealous and they complained one after another that even the little merman was an existence that judged by appearances and was only close to the prettiest one.
After several interactions, they straightforwardly handed over the job of taking care of him to Shang Ke.
After another month, the second merman baby and a human female baby were born in succession. The number of mermen Shang Ke needed to take care of turned from one into two. If there were any more born, he might just end up as a merfolk nanny.
Even if he did, Shang Ke did not mind. It was just that his time with Qin Yuan was cut down after becoming busy.
He took care of the little mermen in the day and spent the evening with Waves. The time he had with Qin Yuan was all but squeezed out of his fingernails and a certain Qin felt very much aggrieved by this.
The other five babies developed by the experiment were all healthy. After an examination, they showed nothing unusual and the researchers kept some of their blood, hair and other samples before giving the babies back to their parents. The only thing they asked for after that was for them to bring them back for monthly checks.
The couples who got their children all wept with joy.
This piece of information soon attracted the widespread attention of society, and every major media station scrambled over each other to report it. In an era where birth rates are so dangerously low, for five babies to be born successfully, how could the world not be fired up? Countless couples who desired a child applied to be part of the next experiments one after another, all hoping to become the next lucky ones.
However, this artificial breeding clearly could not be generalized. One, because the supply of dolphin genes was limited, and two, because there was a chance that they would take the form of a merfolk instead.
While the research institute requested Qin Yuan provide more dolphin genes, they postponed the development of more embryos. They concentrated on their research of the two mermen instead.
Provide more dolphins genes? That depends on whether Flames has time to mate with him! He hasn’t been intimate with Flames for a long time! He was as lonely as the snow and empty to the extreme.
Shang Ke’s attention nowadays was focused on the little mermen. Every day, he would swim around with the two tailings, firmly giving Director Qin the cold shoulder.
Before he realized it, Director Qin had turned into a mobile snow mountain. Wherever he passed, frost would spread all over.
Shang Ke took put aside some time that night and used his warm human body and dolphin’s romantic tendencies (i.e. a hot like a raging inferno of passion) to melt Qin Yuan into a puddle of snow water…
Qin Yuan: Don’t you think that the description of “melt into a puddle of snow water” is a bit horrifying?
Shang Ke: Then how do you think the act should be described?
Qin Yuan: You could say ‘became putty in his hands’ This is both subtle and beautiful.
Indigo/EN: Look. I just want to set this straight. Dolphins are mammals. They do not possess gills, and thus cannot breathe underwater. The whole scenario of the merbaby being unable to breathe is complete and utter bull. Most likely it would begin to dry out, yes, but it would not suffocate. Unless, in this fantasy world, dolphins have crossed species and become a fish, you can rest assured that your dolphin/human children would be fine breathing oxygen like normal mammals.
Also, as an aside, never trust your children with dolphins. Just… don’t.
SnowTime: Wanna just rewrite that piece and pretend it never existed?