Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 42: Carnivorous Plant
Tang Yibu stepped into the medical room and closed the door smoothly with his back foot. The lack of an anti-locking mechanism on the doors of Elysium’s medical room was a bit of a shame.
Similar to the medical room of the Shade Refuge, there was no sunlight that entered through the windows. Since this was originally a shopping mall that was on the surface, it naturally didn’t need to install fake windows to cover up the ruins. Rather, it was just curtains being installed to cover up the unsightly scene outside.
The table was neat and clean, with bottles of fake flowers that looked as if they were real.
The doctor at the table looked to be in his late forties. Ruan Xian glanced at him, not quite sure if the other party was born with a pair of squinted eyes or if he was too sleepy to open his eyes at all. The doctor was wearing a crumpled white coat, and his face was sallow and a bit listless.
There was a simple timer floating on his left hand, and the numbers jumped up and down. He was two and a half minutes away from twenty hours. The cup he was holding in his right hand was empty with only dark brown stains on the bottom left. The air was filled with the smell of refreshing drinks that made it smell a bit bad.
“What’s the matter?” The doctor asked in a hoarse voice, barely able to make a sound. He looked at Tang Yibu’s injured leg in a daze.
‘The choice was right,’ Ruan Xian thought.
Sober people would exude a refreshing and warm smell like summer dew, while a sleep-deprived person smelled like moldy cheese tinged with sour fatigue and exhaustion. On Elysium, the weary had another feature—they had a strong odor of flickering grass on them, like they were scarecrows stuffed with them.
As soon as Tang Yibu entered the room, he looked at the table full of medicine. While the doctor was still struggling to look at Ruan Xian, he quickly flashed to the doctor’s side and injected a syringe full of soothing agent into his neck.
The doctor knocked his head on the table with a bang.
“The surveillance has been changed.” Tang Yibu retracted the syringe and threw it into the disinfection bucket among the pile of other syringes.
“Their medical system is really incompetent.” Ruan Xian pressed the unconscious doctor’s hand on the control desktop to activate the light screen. “Let me see… There is no medical record from last night.”
He operated the light screen in front of him intently and shook his head gently after a while. “There’s no trace of modification. However, this system is indeed backward, so they may not necessarily record medical records in a standardized manner.”
“Nn.” Tang Yibu didn’t sound surprised. He quickly opened the door of the room that had been turned into a laboratory, and the peculiar smell of animals came pouring out of it.
The laboratory was a mess. The door of the wardrobe against the wall hadn’t been closed yet, and a few white coats had been hastily put outside. Ruan Xian closed the partition door of the laboratory, and a piece of clothing almost got stuck in the door.
There was no shortage of basic inspection equipment. The bulky machinery, ranging from old to new, was densely packed in a narrow hut, making a buzzing noise. Elysium even had a decent ultracentrifuge machine. Although it wasn’t as good as the one Ruan Xian saw in the ruins of the hospital, it was enough.
Ruan Xian wasted no time. The second Tang Yibu mentioned “borrowing the medical room”, he knew exactly what the other party wanted to do. He found the tubes of blood drawn from Jiang Lin in the storage box and took out one of them.
After twelve years of improvement, the centrifuge machine efficiency was much higher, so the extraction process was very fast. The substances that should’ve been in the blood were filtered out, and the unknown components were successfully separated from the blood.
It revealed a clear light green color in the test tube.
Tang Yibu didn’t turn around this time. He also skillfully took out a few clean petri dishes and set them up. Then he took the newly obtained firefly, crushed it carefully, and licked it a little bit with the tip of his tongue.
“In addition to the ingredients of the flickering grass, there are also a lot of edible starches and sweeteners in it.” Tang Yibu smacked his lips, carefully filtered the powder grounded up from the piles with a molecular filter paper, and sifted out the bright green spots.
“I’m done here.” Ruan Xian dangled the test tube. “Give it a try.”
The two got together, held their breaths, and mixed the ingredients separated from the blood with firefly extract. Unfortunately, time passed slowly, and the green droplets lay quietly on the grass with no reaction. No matter how they adjusted the ratio, they could only at best change the shade of color of the mixture.
Ruan Xian thought for a few seconds, changed to a petri dish, kept the firefly extract, and then dripped it into untreated blood. He moved very carefully, and the amount dripped each time was basically the same.
The reaction happened very quickly this time.
After the sixth drop of blood dripped in, a thin fine root appeared in the dark red of the blood, and then the red color gradually subsided. The blood became clear, and a green bud tried to emerge. Unfortunately, after the blood completely lost its color, it stopped growing and it looked wilted without the slightest sign of flickering.
“The seeds of the flickering grass melted into the blood of its users.” Tang Yibu leaned closer with interest. “If I’m not mistaken, it needs to devour the cells of other creatures to grow.”
“Is it a mechanical life?” Ruan Xian asked quietly.
“No.” Tang Yibu shook his head. “Mechanical life may consume plants to obtain specific fibers, but the flesh and blood of ordinary creatures are useless to them, just like humans don’t specialize in eating plastic.”
“In other words, the S-type Prototype will not affect its growth.”
Ruan Xian lowered his gaze, took out a knife from his pocket, and used it to cut his fingertip.
The cut flesh was gently placed near the roots of the bud which cause them to seemingly wake up from their sleep and greedily entangled the flesh and blood. The bud grew bigger visibly to the naked eye.
Ruan Xian hummed, and then cut a piece off a piece of flesh from his finger.
Tang Yibu looked at the healing wound in surprise. When the knife passed through the flesh, the other party’s brows frowned tightly, as if he was deliberately suppressing the pain. However, his partner didn’t hesitate for a moment and used pre-prepared gauze to catch the gushing blood to ensure that they wouldn’t leave traces on the floor.
The other party seemed to be accustomed to pain.
The blood that hadn’t been absorbed by the skin flowed down his fingers, creating a dark red line across his pale skin, and traces of ice cracks started to appear along the skin texture. After the man put the cut-up flesh away, Tang Yibu grabbed his left wrist and sucked on the remaining blood from his fingertip.
The moment his fingertips were wrapped in warm lips and tongue, Ruan Xian retracted his hand like he had just experienced an electric shock.
“The injury on my leg,” Tang Yibu said succinctly.
“I’ll give you a tube of blood in a while,” Ruan Xian said coldly as his ears became a little hot.
The reason wasn’t hard to guess. They have had more intimate behavior than this. At the time when he was first kissed by the other party, he felt nothing but anger, but now, while anger was still present, there was some uncertainty and fear in that anger.
Ruan Xian couldn’t tell what the source of this was, so he took the most direct solution. He stood a little further away from Tang Yibu.
Tang Yibu didn’t seem to understand his partner’s approach of giving up the near and seeking the far*. He licked the blood stains on his lips and focused his attention back on the bright grass that continued to grow after getting more flesh and blood. The young bud happily grew a little taller.
*It means giving up what’s close at hand to seek something far away || In this context, Ruan Xian could just let Tang Yibu suck on his blood to heal him rather than give him a vial of blood later (he’s already bleeding at the moment, so why not).
Ruan Xian did several sets of controls, and the results were the same almost every time. Sufficient nutrients, higher concentrations of psychedelic ingredients, and a little shuttle agent were used as primers. As long as the conditions were met, the grass would definitely grow.
This thing was like being coded into some kind of simple program, eating as much as it was given, growing as much as it ate, and the effect was immediate.
On the other side, Tang Yibu had opened a small cage and grabbed a lab rat. “If you don’t plan to cut off your hand to feed it, I suggest something else.”
“Wait.” Ruan Xian stopped Tang Yibu with one hand, ignoring the rancid smell that rushed into his nose, and pulled out a few rat corpses and deformed young rats from the trash can on one side. He skillfully cut open the pile of corpses and threw them at the flickering grass.
After getting enough corpses, the grass grew to more than half a person’s height in just half a minute. Fleshy red flowers appeared at the top of the plant, and the flowers exuded an unpleasant fishy smell.
After that, feeding carcasses or fresh meat would only darken the flower, but it showed no sign of bearing fruit. For artificial pollination, Tang Yibu fiddled with the stamens for a while before finally sneezing at it. It continued to gnaw at the corpses with its roots and slowly bore fruit.
The small bunch of gooseberry-like fruits looked no different from what they had seen in the hospital.
“That’s not right,” Ruan Xian said.
“Huh?” Tang Yibu rubbed his nose, sounding a bit muffled.
“It smells different from the ruins of the hospital.” Ruan Xian grabbed a fluorescent green fruit. “The smell of the fruit of this plant is much lighter.”
Tang Yibu directly put the one from Ruan Xian’s fingertips into his mouth and chewed it. “The psychedelic ingredients are 10.5 times stronger than fireflies.”
“At least now we know where the people who went upstairs have gone. This thing is quite easy to grow as long as you feed it enough meat. The fifty-nine people who went upstairs are likely to have become nourishment.”
Ruan Xian changed his gloves. His white coat remained pristine as it wasn’t stained with any corpse sewage or blood.
“Conservatively estimated, Elysium has about 800 people. Relying on this method alone to produce fireflies—unless there is a steady supply of corpses, the output won’t be able to keep up.”
“The source is not just those people. Captives, people who have died unexpectedly, and other animals other than humans can theoretically be used to cultivate the flickering grass. The expats didn’t come back, the prisoners were executed… Excuses are easy to find.” Tang Yibu cracked his knuckles. “They will also look for wild plants. I think it has something to do with the concentration problem you mentioned.”
No, it was more than that. The conditions were still lacking.
Ruan Xian stared at the emerald green plant, which now flickered feebly.
During the first encounter with the people from Elysium, the wounded person Jiang Lin tried to rescue just died quietly and didn’t attack anyone, but in the second encounter, Jiang Lin’s two teammates became crazy because of the fruit of the flickering grass and suddenly chased them to the annihilation point.
There must be something different, such as…
“Dr. Hao? Dr. Hao, what’s the matter with you?” An anxious female voice sounded outside.
It was Duan Lili’s voice.
“He’s fine, breathing normally. Maybe he’s too tired.” A young male voice responded to her.
Tang Yibu jumped up like he was electrocuted. The android threw the petri dish into a bucket, then rushed into the closet with Ruan Xian in his arms. He directly shredded the flickering grass and stuffed it into his pocket. The whole process was smooth, like he was drifting among clouds; it was obvious that he had been prepared in advance.
It wasn’t until his field of vision darkened that Ruan Xian realized he had been moved.
“Yeah, like what I told you.” Duan Lili sounds a little depressed. “But it saves trouble. Feng Jiang, come with me. I will help heal you.”
The door of the laboratory opened in response.
“Strange.” The sound of high heels stopped not far from the wardrobe. Duan Lili muttered, “Mr. Ruan and Mr. Tang should be here.”