Chapter 77: I Am Not A Merman (XIV)
【Additional Mission 2: Prevent Dipson from spreading the mutated gene.】
Shang Ke’s entire body quivered in response to the System’s voice. The last death mission had been released.
Prevent Dipson from spreading the mutated gene? What mutated gene? Could the System please point it out?
【System Notice: Dipson’s mutated gene can force humans to irreversibly assimilate other organisms. Here is an image of Dipson’s current appearance— (:◎)≡, please take note to protect your nose, mouth and hands against his excretions.】
Shang Ke: “……”
After seeing Dipson’s mutated form, Shang Ke simply could not believe that this soft-bodied, tentacled, human-faced squid monster was actually him. Just how desperate must this man be to experiment on his own body?
Judging the breed by the lesser mutated parts of him, Shang Ke concluded that he was some form of a Giant Squid. According to what he already knows about the species, the Giant Squid was a powerful creature that dared do bloody battle with even a sperm whale. However, Giant Squids were extremely large. Even while young, they would usually be at least three meters in length. However, Dipson’s mutated body was roughly only thirty centimeters long. He hasn’t practiced some form of body-shrinking technique, has he?
Shang Ke was still immersed in his thoughts when Qin Yuan walked over wearing a dark expression, his body emitting an icy aura that he had yet to be dispelled.
“What’s wrong?” Shang Ke asked.
“Nothing.” Qin Yuan sat on the bedside and ruffled his hair. His tightly knitted brows somewhat relaxed.
Shang Ke paused for a moment, then asked again, “Did something happen over there with Dipson?”
“It’s fine.” Qin Yuan did not want Flames to worry, so he decided not to tell him about the situation with Dipson for the time being. It was an oversight on his part this time. He hadn’t expected Dipson to have used the transformation gene on himself to turn into another organism in order to successfully run away.
From the material he left behind, they were guessing he might have assimilated with some kind of soft-bodied organism’s gene. They still needed time to find out which exact species it was.
Shang ke noticed that, no matter how much this man’s appearance and identity changed, his essence remained the same. He knew him well enough that he could accurately analyze his mood from the micro-expressions on his face and his body language. Judging by his current appearance, Qin Yuan had already met with the human-faced squid up close, otherwise, he would not be leaking as much killing intent over his escape.
Shang Ke thought a bit and felt that he needed to give him a warning, “Qin Yuan, the dolphin gene cannot be used for forceful human genetic modifications. The transformation would be irreversible. If someone were to spread it, it would be hard to anticipate the results.”
“Irreversible?” Qin Yuan quickly asked back, “You mean, this kind of change is one-directional? The moment someone turns into another organism, they would be unable to turn back into a human?”
“Yes.” Shang Ke nodded.
A pondering expression overtook Qin Yuan’s features, and after a moment, he got up. “Flames, have a good rest. I will come back to see you later.”
In a certain place under the sea, the squid that was once Dipson bore a twisted face. His whole body was twitching while his copper, bell-sized eyes were bloodshot and manic. Angry and pained shook the waters around him and scared away shoals of tiny fish.
He had discovered that he was unable to transform again, forced to wear the skin of a squid. He could not accept this reality, that his dreams and ambition had all turned into wisps of water. That he would never have the chance to fulfill them.
Dipson howled his intolerance, entirely unwilling to accept his new circumstances.
A moment later, Dipson stopped. A crazed hate flashed through his eyes: Qin Yuan, this is all your fault! Just you wait, I will never let you off for this!
The recuperating Shang Ke looked toward the window. He swore he heard something. An uneasy feeling took root in his heart…
When Qin Yuan obtained the test results from the professionals, he was certain that the animal Dipson chose to assimilate was the Giant Squid. He passed down an order to security to be on the lookout for anything that looked like a squid. If they find one, they must catch it immediately. At the same time, he dispatched people to expel all squid from the waters around the marine building.
That one action gave rise to Waves strong discontent. His favorite food was squid, so watching the humans using fishing nets to scoop up squid one after another, he firmly bit down on a net. There was no way he was letting them snatch away his food.
The only one capable of controlling Waves was Flames, who wasn’t around, so the marine building staff were left helpless.
They did not see that a certain squid was hiding in the coral. Its body had been shrunk until it was about the size of a bowl, and its skin color shifted to match the surrounding coral.
“Waves.” Qin Yuan stood at the shore, yelling to the troublemaking Waves. “Let go of the net. These squids will all be yours in the future, don’t worry.”
Waves whined and groaned, refusing to let go.
Qin Yuan spoke again, “If you don’t let it go now, I won’t take you to see Flames ever again.”
Hearing the name ‘Flames’, Waves finally, unwillingly, let go. Then, he glared at Qin Yuan: You have to keep your words, otherwise, I will tell on you to Flames.
Qin Yuan looked at his smiling face and could not feel any power behind his glare.
While Qin Yuan was watching the activity of the staff, a tentacle quietly extended under water, climbing onto the floor and slowly stretching toward Qin Yuan.
Qin Yuan felt something tighten on his ankle, then his entire body was dragged into the water. A loud splash resounded around the pool.
Waves was the first one to hear the event and he immediately flipped and dove under water. He saw Qin Yuan being dragged into the depths by a tentacle and quickly followed. The other lifeguards that noticed the situation also followed closely behind.
Qin Yuan held his breath and took out a dagger from his waist. With a twist, he viciously sliced toward the tentacle and cut it into two. Blood immediately spouted from the cut and dyed the water a foggy red. However, before he had the chance to swim up toward the surface, two more tentacles extended from somewhere hidden. One encircled his waist and the other gripped his hand, stopping him from throwing them off.
The remaining oxygen in his lungs bubbled from his lips and his vision began to blur
At that moment, Waves charged in and bit into a tentacle that held Qin Yuan.
His eyes brightened. This flavor… this seems to be squid! So he put even more energy into biting it, quickly chomping through the limb holding Qin yuan’s waist.
A lifeguard who followed swiftly behind arrived and quickly took in the situation Qin Yuan was in. He swam over to help, but when he came close, a powerful shockwave slammed him away. Soon after, an enormous squid appeared from the depths of the water. His body was at least a dozen meters long, and on his cylindric head was an extremely twisted human face. The pupils of his eyes glowed with a lush green light in the water.
The lifeguards around them were stupefied and unable to react.
In fact, they didn’t need to react, because the human-faced squid had already moved ahead of them and reached out a long tentacle that acted as a whip that sent all the lifeguards flying. His sheer strength overpowered their ability to move in moments, and only a small number of people who were still holding on were able to send a signal up for help.
Waves was also scared by the human-faced squid, but once he saw how the humans were flung away, he loyally charged forwards to take revenge for them. But much to his surprise, another tentacle shot out and hit him.
Waves cried in pain and retreated, finally feeling the fear. He saw how Qin Yuan was still wrapped with tentacles, his struggles were becoming more and more weak. He rushed to the water’s surface and issued a sharp cry for help.
Qin Yuan once again used his dagger to escape the entanglement of tentacles, but under water, his movements were greatly restricted and he was unable to evade the writhing limbs.
His body began to shut down from the lack of oxygen and his vision grew darker and darker. Just as he was about to lose consciousness, a familiar figure quickly swam toward him.
Waves cry for help was immediately received by Shang Ke. In spite of his condition, he had tossed on some random pajamas and, staggering in his steps, rushed out of the room. To the surprise of the staff members outside, he leaped into the water outlet and quickly swam for the waters outside like a fish.
In the wake of his actions, the bandages on his body blotched red with blood, but he did not have time to worry about that. His figure was fast as lightning and left a white strip of waves in his wake.
In the blink of an eye, he had arrived in the spot where Waves was hiding. He instantly spied Qin Yuan tangled in the tentacles a human-faced squid, the dagger in his hand slipping from his slackening grasp.
Shang Ke quickly swam over, caught the dagger, and sliced down hard on the human-face squid’s tentacle. Using the opening he had while the other was suffering from the sudden and sharp pain, he grabbed ahold of Qin Yuan and swam upwards, gripping him by the waist and providing him with air.
Qin Yuan slowly opened his eyes. His expression mildly dazed but tender and gentle landing upon the man in his embrace. But when he caught sight of the blood seeping from his waist, alarm and anger immediately shot through him.
The two in the water silently observed one another, exchanging their concern and worry with quiet understanding. Just when the two were about to break through the surface, Qin Yuan suddenly felt his arms lose their hold, and in the next moment, he saw Flames being dragged back down by a tentacle. The sudden pressure and drag of the tentacle caused the wounds on Flames body that were almost healed to rupture. Large amounts of blood blossomed through the water.
Qin Yuan’s eyes blazed red with fury and he chased after Shang Ke. Vaguely, Shang Ke noted that he looked suicidal, a madman in his panic.
Waves acted at the same time.
However, they hadn’t even gotten close when they were sent flying by the other tentacles.
Qin Yuan felt as if the blood in his body was boiling, like it was about to explode. Waves also issued an angry whistle and charged at the human-faced squid again and again.
Shang Ke, who was tightly bound by the tentacle, groaned in pain. As he stared at the increasingly clear and horrendously disfigured human face, he brokenly spat out a name: “Dip-son!”
Dipson’s face stretched into a strange smile, as if he was admiring their sorry figures as they struggled for survival.
“Don’t get happy just yet. A knockoff will never be comparable to the real deal.” A cold lightly flit through Shang Ke’s eyes, and at the same time, his body started to emit a white fog.
Dipson recognized the sign of an impending transformation, so how could he let him continue? A set of tentacles shot toward the white fog, but the moment he made contact, his tentacle began showing signs of transforming as well.
“Finally, let me tell you a quick fact about the dolphin. Dolphins are the predators of squid.” Shang Ke’s voice disappeared into the fog.
Dipson promptly yanked back his tentacle, watching in bewilderment and unease at the white cocoon gradually took shape.
A dozen seconds later, a dolphin about two meters long shot out from the cocoon, heavily slamming into Dipson’s eye.
Dipson’s body jerked back from the sudden pain.
A Giant Squid transformed from a human cannot be compared to a true Giant Squid. However, if Dipson could endure and patiently wait for a while to completely familiarize himself with his new body, then nothing in the ocean would be able to stand against him—a Giant Squid with the intelligence of a human. In addition to this, the genetic mutation research he had been unraveling was enough for him to create a great monster army. When that time comes, humanity’s future would inevitably be determined by him. Although the path he would walk would be a villain’s, it would be in accordance to his nature and inhumane yet grand goal.
It was a pity that the first thing he had thought of was not to be patient and wait for revenge after his transformation and become a super villain, but to impatiently rush for revenge.
Shang Ke dodged the attacks of the tentacles and swam over to the top of Dipson and bit down on his sharp head.
Dipson’s tentacle frantically swung around, hitting Shang Ke’s body, but he was still unable to make him let go. Blood flowed from his wound, and the pain made Dipson howl wretchedly.
Intense waves rocked every being in the water and kicked up billows of sand, stones and shells rolling about in a violent dance. The originally clear waters became muddy and coarse.
Shang Ke’s intent was not to bite Dipson to death, but to drag out time. He knew that Qin Yuan could quickly bring in reinforcements to save him. The longer he could drag this out, the more likely he was to succeed. It was a choice made out of helplessness. His injuries were severe, so he could not utilize agile and nimble hit-and-run tactics. He could only use the technique that grandpa Turtle used to use, bite and never let go.
TL Note: Grandpa turtle is a character from a xianxia drama.
Tentacle after tentacle whipped his body and left behind ghastly welt after welt, and he felt as if all the bones in his body was breaking at once. But Shang Ke’s teeth still firmly remained lodged in Dipson’s flesh.
Shang Ke’s consciousness gradually began to blur and his body began to turn numb. The tears that dripped from his eyes rolled into the seawater, unseen and unnoticed.
I just need to hold on a bit more, just a bit more…
The anxious shout from Qin Yuan seem to float by his ear. Shang Ke did his best to remain conscious as he looked beyond the muddy seawater and saw the silhouette of a dozen people swimming in his direction… was that Qin Yuan?
Blood seeped from Shang Ke’s eyes, dying his world bloody red.
Qin Yuan stared vacantly at the badly mangled body, the image of the bloody Flames imprinted in his eyes as his heart pained him so much he could hardly breathe.
He raised his gun, crazily shooting at Dipson.
Die, die, die!
His eyes were filled with hate and fury, his expression warped into something crazy.
Dipson was shot full of holes until he imitated swiss cheese. The seawater was dyed red by his blood and his large body began to wither, shrinking from a dozen meters to about as many centimeters.
Shang Ke relaxed and his body slowly slid toward the water.
Qin Yuan threw aside his gun and quickly ran to his side. He held onto his battered body as tears streamed from his eyes.
A group of lifeguards quickly came forward to help Qin Yuan drag Shang Ke to the surface. Waves anxiously swam around them, crying out dolefully.
“Flames, Flames!” Qin Yuan called for him over and over, but the Flames in his arms remained silent.
He lay quietly on the ground, his body in tatters without a single shred of skin unbroken. His vertebra was shattered, a couple even breaking through his flesh and visible from the outside. Such a gory and heart-rending scene, onlookers could hardly bear to watch.
A lifeguard examined Flames for a moment, then looked at Qin Yuan to say something, but then hesitated. In the end, he did not say anything at all, merely sighing and closing his eyes in respect.
Flames was dead.
Indigo/EN: The stuff about their size and attack sperm whales are true. But I want to point out that all squid have this really big bone thing, so they couldn’t actually squeeze through narrow passageways or make tight turns unless they were absolutely tiny. Squid are not technically soft-bodied. They have hard bodies. But fantasy, so whatever.