Chapter 74: I Am Not A Merman (XI)
Shang Ke noticed that the growth rate of the mermen was very slow. Two month old infants would have grown to at least twice their initial size, but the two mermen were nearly the same size as when they were born. The only change was in their tail. The translucent pink, fleshy quality of the tails had disappeared, replaced by a pale ash-blue. They could swim in shallow water for dozens of minutes, but as soon as they entered the deeper areas, they would sink to the bottom, struggling to swim back up to no avail.
Besides the outsider breeder Shang Ke, there were three researchers in charge of taking care of them. Because the mermen were still too young to be confirmed as stable, they mainly performed standard examinations and observations without any live experimentation.
Shang Ke was pleased with their attitude. He had hoped that, while the young merchildren could not make their own decisions, others would not take their lives lightly.
Shang Ke stood in the water, holding the little merman and carefully feeding him. The little merman lay in the crook of his arm, his tail swishing from side to side as his eyes glanced around at his surroundings in curiosity.
The other little merman that had already had his fill was lying in the shallow water, staring unblinkingly at Shang Ke and his little brother.
The two little guys were each named “Yu Miao” and “Yu Ge”, chosen by Shang Ke and Qin Yuan. The other scientists did not care for these names. They just called them by number.
After coaxing the two to sleep, Shang Ke tidied things up and left.
He happened to run into the research institute leader when he was leaving the laboratory so Shang Ke smiled and greeted him politely. But the other only nodded coldly and turned away.
Shang Ke did not really like the research leader, not because he and Qin Yuan did not get along, but because of the way he ignored animal life. If it wasn’t Qin Yuan in control, his methods of researching wouldn’t be so restrained.
However, Shang Ke had still underestimated this man’s coldness.
The next day, when Shang Ke arrived at the laboratory, he discovered that one of the mermen was missing. Following the passing researcher’s enthusiastic discussion, Shang Ke looked into another tank and found Yu Miao.
Shang Ke couldn’t quite understand what he saw at first, torn between shock, sickness and a boiling rage. The little merman’s appearance had undergone an immense change. His face was twisted and deformed, a light blue carapace was growing out of his back and his small hands had turned pincer-shaped. His tail was split into two, greatly resembling… a lobster!
“What the hell is going on?!” Shang Ke furiously glared at the researchers.
One of them replied, “Leader used the little merman and a lobster to perform a frequency resonance test. The result is as you see.”
The eyes they used to look at the little merman were full of amazement, along with rejection and a fear toward the unknown.
Frequency resonance test! The little mermen have the genes of dolphins. In other words, they were guaranteed to inherit the dolphin’s assimilation ability and be able to turn into other organisms. But they were still so young, so they are unlikely to change by themselves.
However, the research leader’s experiment induced a premature change in the infant.
The little merman in the water tank sensed Shang Ke’s nearby and gradually unfolded his curled body. With his back deformed and inflexible he swam toward Shang Ke, crying softly. Humans would not be able to hear it, but Shang Ke could understand it clearly.
He was in pain and needed comfort from someone familiar.
For such a cute little merman to turn into such an ugly and deformed creature, it really ripped into his heart.
Shang Ke could only feel his heart contract and a rage that he had no hope of restraining bubbled up.
At that moment, the research leader’s voice made itself known, “This is unbelievable! This organism is simply the pinnacle of reproductivity. They can adapt to almost any habitat!”
Adapt your sister!
Shang Ke could no longer tolerate it. He rushed up and viciously slugged the research leader in the face, sending him flying with a single blow.
Everyone watching was dumbstruck. Shang Ke striking the research leader was a completely unforeseen event. By the time they reacted, the research leader was howling in pain on the ground.
Shang Ke did not spare him a glance as he turned around and picked up the little merman out of the tank.
“How dare you!” The research leader finally stood back up with the assistance of a subordinate. He started to curse at him, his face twisted, “Put down that merman and scram, get the hell out of the research room.”
Shang Ke turned a completely deaf ear on him and left with the little merman.
“What are you lot still standing around for? Hurry up and drive him away.” The research leader berated.
One of them softly spoke, “Leader, he’s one of Director Qin’s people.”
“Like I care who backs him!” The research leader flew into greater rage, “My lab will not tolerate him!”
A couple of researchers hesitantly went up to Shang Ke and softly spoke, “Hai Yan, you should go home for today. When the leader’s no longer angry, have Director Qin put in a word for you.”
“If you want me to leave, fine. But I am taking these two with me.” Shang Ke placed Miao Miao into the tank, his finger gently soothing his deformed body. Miao Miao rubbed against his finger, his face relaxing.
“You know that’s impossible.” One of the researchers held an expression of helplessness.
“What are you guys chit chatting around with him for?” The research leader once again spoke, “Hurry up and get him out. A mere breeder dares to run rampant in front of me when you only got this position because you got into Qin Yuan’s bed.”
Shang Ke did not look back. A cold, sharp light flashed through his narrowed eyes.
“If you don’t want to be embarrassed, then learn your place and remove yourself from my sight. Otherwise, don’t blame me for being impolite.” The research leader did not like Qin Yuan in the first place. He was so friendly towards his people, he naturally did not like them anymore than their boss. Plus, he had hit him in the face in front of so many colleagues just now.
“I already said, if you want me to leave, fine. But I will take the mermen with me.” Shang Ke repeated.
“Just who do you think you are?” The research leader pointed a finger and cursed, “The mermen are one of the most important resources in the country, you can’t take even a single strand of hair.”
“What are you doing?” While the two were in a deadlock, Qin Yuan strode into the room. Seeing everyone surrounding Shang Ke, his eyes froze over with ice.
Everyone subconsciously took a step back to make way.
Qin Yuan walked to Shang Ke’s side, checking him over first before sending him a questioning gaze.
Shang Ke held the small deformed merman up to Qin Yuan and icily answered his silent question, “Look at the wonderful wonderful experiment His Highness the research leader did.”
Shock went through Qin Yuan at the appearance of the little merman.
The research leader now spoke, “This experiment results are very valuable. The merfolk gene possesses an extremely amazing ability to adapt. According to different environments…”
He had only spoken to this point when he suddenly stopped. A thought suddenly occurred to him. The genes of the mermen came from dolphins. In other words, the species that truly holds this ability was not the merfolk, but the dolphins.
The research leader’s eyes shone with delight as all sorts of ideas and possibilities flashed through his mind.
Qin Yuan frowned as he stared at the research leader before addressing everyone, “Cancel all the experiments for today. Everyone can take a vacation and come back tomorrow.”
They waited for the research leader to oppose his order, but he was still immersed in his own thoughts so he did not react.
Everyone scattered when they saw that. The research leader left with everyone as well, filled with excitement.
When Shang Ke was sure everyone had left, he told Qin Yuan, “Don’t let him hurt the little ones again.”
“He is the research leader appointed by the higher ups, I can’t do anything to him for now.” Qin Yuan comforted him, “Don’t worry, I will bring it up with the higher ups and ask them to choose a new research leader.”
Shang Ke dipped his head to the little merman in his hands, “Before that, I am going to take them with me out of here.”
Qin Yuan carefully thought over it and nodded, “Place them with Waves for now. I will confine them to the shallow water so they won’t be injured by other sea creatures.”
That afternoon, the two little mermen were taken by Shang Ke to the area where Waves lived.
Being placed in a new environment, the two confused little mermen were both curious and nervous as they refused to stray from Shang Ke’s side.
“Waves, these are your younger generation, you can’t bully them.” Shang Ke strictly warned Waves.
Waves repeatedly nodded his head excitedly as he eyed the two tiny children. The little mermen seem to not fear him either as they timidly reached to touch him.
Waves’s sneeze scared the little mermen into hiding behind Shang Ke before coming out to explore again after a moment.
Shang Ke found it funny as he watched, encouraging them to get along from the sidelines.
To prevent them from falling into any sort of trouble, Shang Ke decided to turn back into a dolphin and guarded them day and night. He also tried to guide Miao Miao back into his original form.
Shang Ke had thought the research leader would come and cause trouble, but he unexpectedly didn’t show up at all, giving him several days of peace. When Miao Miao finally returned about halfway back to his normal form, the research institute sent news over. They decided to set up a new research project. The project was kept completely confidential and summit directly authorized it to the research leader. Only a couple of authorized researchers could know about it. Unless the research leader agrees, then not even Qin Yuan could know.
Shang Ke could feel that something bad was going to happen, but he didn’t know what. He could only raise his guard even higher to protect the little mermen.
However, what he didn’t expect was that the one in danger this time was actually him, the dolphin, and not the two little mermen.
Shang Ke waited for the little mermen to sleep and evaded the cameras to change into a human. He went ashore to find Qin Yuan for ready dinner and temporarily left the protection of the little mermen with Waves.
What he did not know was that his transformation process was entirely recorded by a new, hidden camera.
Ever since the last resonance experiment, the research leader became aware that the dolphin gene’s evolution was far further along than he anticipated. Not only could it raise an organism’s reproductive ability, it could also recombine the genes and allow it to change into all sorts of shapes to adapt to its environment.
From there, he thought of another question. Does Flames already possess the fully matured ability to transform? If he does, what would he turn into?
In order to understand that further, the research leader installed several more invisible monitors underwater. A day later, he would have the recording of a scene that left him very excited.
In the bright and clear seawater, Flames was gradually being covered by silk threads of white fog. Like cotton, they twined around him layer after layer and turned him into a white cocoon.
Only a dozen seconds later, the white cocoon turned into sea foam and fog then scattered, and in its place was a naked young man. He slightly turned his head, showing his beautiful and delicate side profile to the cameras. Must to his shock, it was the breeder who had joined the laboratory midway through the year— Hai Yan!
“It was actually him?” The research leader was first dumbstruck, then excitement and ecstasy immediately overtook his expression.
Discovering new species wasn’t surprising, but finding an organism that could turn into a human is something else altogether!
At that moment, the two little mermen became insignificant to him. As long as he could properly examine and experiment on Flames, he would become the greatest scientist in the history of humanity.