As Fu Shiwu’s group of five entered a spacious room upstairs with the two scientists, Ouyang introduced themselves: “I’m Ouyang Cheng, a Ph.D. in Physics. This is Zuo Zhuan, a Ph.D. in Biology. “
Zuo Zhuan’s face turned a tad displeased: “Don’t call me Doctor Zuo. Call me Dr. Z, or Z‧Z is also okay.”
Fu Shiwu and Tang Xuhai cast a glance at each other, then Fu Shiwu finally spoke: “You already know my name. They are Tang Xuhai, Wen Zhaoming, Miao Jia and Liu Peiqi.”
“So you all came together.” Zuo Zhuan knew this well. He pulled out a sheet from the stack of documents behind him: “This is your report, Fu Shiwu.” His eyes gleamed very brightly. Watching Fu Shiwu closely, he said in an almost-hysterical tone: “Your body contains 4% heterogeneous molecules, but the proportion of heterogeneous cells is zero. Do you know what this means?”
Fu Shiwu firmly shook his head: “I have no idea. I don’t know the meaning of these data, but I do know that my ability right here is marked with all question marks.”
Ouyang raised his eyebrows: “You mean you have a special ability? What are the specific indications?”
Fu Shiwu looked at his teammates and said after a little hesitation: “I don’t know how I should put it. It’s like all my senses have been amplified. Sometimes, a clear three-dimensional image is formed in my mind, and it feels like I’m out of my body, flying up high to look down at everything below. Some other time, I’m able to see through the floor and scan what’s underground.”
Hearing this, Miao Jia and Liu Peiqi gaped at each other, completely taken aback, and Wen Zhaoming also lifted an eyebrow.
They only knew that Fu Shiwu’s marksmanship was stellar, and he seemed to always know something that others didn’t, but they never really understood how he did it. This was the first time that they had heard Fu Shiwu share about his ‘ability’ in detail.
“Really? So it’s like that…” Dr. Zuo murmured to himself, falling into deep thoughts.
Ouyang cast a helpless glance at Dr. Zuo, who was forgetting everyone’s presence. As his brain couldn’t help but start imagining at its peak power, he said to the others: “I think you all know that the large-scale outbreak that happened to humanity was caused by the spread of heterogeneous molecules from the sky veil. Now the whole outer layer of Earth is contaminated with these elements.”
Fu Shiwu and the others nodded, expressing that they all knew about this.
“Well, it’s this kind of heterogeneous molecule that causes people to develop special abilities after a fever. I’ll describe in detail how it is caused.”
Ouyang pulled out a chart and explained to the group: “Look at this graph. This value represents the sum of various substances in the human body, and when the heterogeneous molecule percentage reaches 1.5% of the human body, the immune system will be activated. Reaching this point, as long as the person is alive, a new kind of cell called the ‘heterogeneous cell’ will be formed in the body. This is the result of the human body’s compromise in order to survive. This cell will continuously transform the heterogeneous molecules absorbed by the body, maintaining this proportion within a certain range and allowing the person to continue living.”
Ouyang pointed to the second chart: “Then look at this. In fact, our research has found that the heterogeneous molecule itself contains extremely powerful energy, but this energy cannot disseminate without external force. Nicely enough, the heterogeneous cell is able to stimulate the heterogeneous molecule’s energy. When the proportion of heterogeneous cells inside the human body exceeds 0.1%, the person will awaken his special ability. The type of this special ability isn’t specific, and sometimes it’s based on the environment, while sometimes it’s based on their genes. Different classifications will also result in different types of abilities.”
At this juncture, Ouyang pulled out a piece of paper from the pile of documents behind him, held it up and said to everyone: “For example, Mr. Tang Xuhai.”
“Me?” Tang Xuhai straightened up and hugged his arms, gazing at the doctor with immensely sharp eyes.
“Yes, your metal-type ability belongs to Mutated classification. The heterogeneous cells in you are different from other ordinary metal-type ability users. Can you tell me what was different during the process of awakening your ability?” Ouyang asked politely: “Of course this is subject to your own comfortability. If you don’t want to say it, I won’t force you.”
Tang Xuhai said frankly: “There’s nothing I can’t say. My fever was caused by inflammation of my leg injury. My right leg had a comminuted fracture, so a steel plate was put in it. After the fever was over, I found out that the steel plate disappeared, and now that I think carefully about it, it has been absorbed by my body.”
Ouyang was keenly surprised, but still, he nodded calmly: “Your experience is very special. I think it’s due to this special circumstance that your ability has mutated.”
Ouyang then took out Miao Jia’s report said: “The only person among you who has no abilities or mutations is Mr. Miao Jia. His proportion of heterogeneous cells is exceptionally low, sometimes even less than 0.1% and only reaching 0.0-something percent. Such data have become very common lately, but now, there’s a person who doesn’t have a single heterogeneous cell in his body. It’s Mr. Fu Shiwu.”
As everyone turned towards Fu Shiwu, he tried his best to keep a still face and looked at Ouyang with a blank expression.
“It can be said that so far, you’re the only human on the planet who has successfully immunised the heterogeneous molecule and lives on your own strength.” Ouyang’s tone and eyes were full of admiration: “That’s even more valuable than a Giant Panda, that’s why all the biologists are going crazy. If we can’t find anyone with the same state as you in the future, you’ll be the last pure human in the world!”
As soon as this larger-than-life responsibility was put down on him, Fu Shiwu felt the pressure suddenly multiply.
“I am not… but why?” Fu Shiwu said in confusion: “I’m just a very ordinary person, how did I become like this?”
Ouyang simply shook his head: “I don’t know, this is an unsolved mystery. But I think that nature is very magical, and sometimes such an implausible miracle does appear.”
As though finally snapping out of it, Zuo Zhuan blinked, and he said in a tone that sounded like he was sleepwalking: “There’s also… another possibility… I know it’s very dubious, but it might be indicative of the root cause. Of course, if this had happened before the sky veil appeared, I myself wouldn’t have believed this to be true.”
“What?” Looking at Zuo Zhuan’s dreamy expression, Ouyang felt his hands almost itchy and this close to smacking the man.
Zuo Chuan took two steps forward, seemingly wanting to touch Fu Shiwu with his own hands to worship him, but he was blocked by Tang Xuhai, who was putting up an annoyed, vigilant expression.
Zuo Chuan totally ignored his expression and stared at Fu Shiwu with a particularly fiery gaze: “The only possibility is that Fu Shiwu himself had a unique ability before the sky veil appeared. This ability allowed his body to build a very strong defence. I think… he’s an esper, like those that exist only in the legend.”
“What?!” Miao Jia gaped at Zuo Zhuan in shock.
Liu Peiqi blinked and said hesitantly: “What you mean… is that our commander is a superhuman, like those X-Men in the fantasies?”
“Hahaha!” Tang Xuhai laughed out loud: “Now this theory has gotten too funny!”
Fu Shiwu also found it utterly hilarious. He nodded in agreement: “I was really an ordinary person before, really, nothing unusual at all.”
Tang Xuhai felt that this Zuo Zhuan was getting more and more outrageous by the second, and coldly he sneered: “That’s right, I can ascertain that we’ve been neighbours for two years. He’s not only very ordinary, but also the homely type.”
“It’s not necessarily the case.” Ouyang stood aside calmly and echoed his friend: “Before there’s a chance for their powers to manifest, espers will appear very ordinary. Perhaps without the stimulation of the heterogeneous molecules, Mr. Fu Shiwu’s superpowers will never be awakened in this lifetime. He might just live an ordinary life till the end.”
“Do you really feel that there has been nothing out of the norm about yourself since childhood? Think about it carefully.” Zuo Chuan asked grimly.
Fu Shiwu shook his head: “Nothing at all.”
“That’s it! Listening to them is a waste of time!” Tang Xuhai grabbed Fu Shiwu impatiently and turned him around: “Basically your research is still not clear. Fu Shiwu’s power might be a type of special ability.”
Zuo Zhuan shouted behind them: “To know whether it’s a superpower, you just have to let us do a detailed experiment.”
Fu Shiwu paused for a second but was directly dragged away by Tang Xuhai.
Turning his head, Tang Xuhai said angrily: “Give me a break! Don’t even dare to think of him as your guinea pig!”
Miao Jia shivered, Scientists, experiment, guinea pig, so scary!
Wen Zhaoming’s eyebrows furrowed as he cast a brief glance at Ouyang’s solemn and Zuo Zhuan’s eager expressions, then he turned and left with his teammates.
On the way back, Fu Shiwu was unusually silent.
Tang Xuhai gripped the steering wheel tightly while saying in an exasperated voice: “Don’t think about it! So what if it’s not a normal type of special ability? There are so many types out there, and you never show conspicuous signs at all. No one will think you’re strange.”
This last line exactly hit the spot where Fu Shiwu had been feeling most troubled. He glanced at Tang Xuhai gratefully and let out a deep “uhm”.
Seeing that his mood was still down, Tang Xuhai couldn’t help but free one hand to rub his head. Sadly, Fu Shiwu washed his hair after getting up this morning, so the usually stubborn lump of hair at the top of his head was now well-hidden.
Miao Jia also leaned over and said humourously: “That is to say, in any case, now the aliens are invading and everyone is overwhelmed, hence there are no specific regulations or systems for special abilities. As long as we don’t say it, no one will know that what you have isn’t a special ability.”
Wen Zhaoming nodded: “Shiwu, if you’re really bothered, we won’t ever talk about it.”
Originally it was just a small problem that kept him tangled over, but if it caused his friends to worry so much, Fu Shiwu started feeling a tad embarrassed: “I won’t make you worry about it anymore. In fact, I was just a little bothered by it, for if it isn’t a special ability, there may be many aspects that’ll be different from yours. In that case, I don’t know how to develop or grow its power.”
Tang Xuhai said nonchalantly: “What’s so important about that? Have you forgotten that your current ability is much stronger than when you were in Dongtian Theater? Once outside, you’ll use it often and engage in frequent battles; naturally, it’ll grow. Didn’t that scientist say that your ability is something that has stayed hidden and that it was the heterogeneous molecule that stimulated your hidden power? It sounds no different from how our special abilities are awakened.”
“Hidden power…” Fu Shiwu pondered.
By the time they got to Villa No. 7, Hollande and the others had also returned. Among the three of them, only Zhen Zi was a special ability user. Apart from reminding her to go to the Institute of Science for a test, none of the five men mentioned anything about the other unexpected event that took place.
Zhen Zi’s attention was only slightly distracted by this matter, and thereafter, she fully devoted herself to showing off the fruits of her labour.
To no one’s surprise, Hollande sat on the sofa with an exhausted, numb expression. At first, he thought that his goal was simple and clear, which only required buying daily clothes and some costumes for outside events. He didn’t expect these two women to walk till the end of Earth, and worse, they were still unsatisfied by the time dusk crept in.
In addition to carefully picking clothes that matched each person’s style, they also browsed different shops, picking one piece by one piece.
Liu Peiqi said to Hollande with much sympathy: “Are you drained?”
Even though Hollande was dead tired, being a gentleman, he responded in one concise sentence: “I’m okay.”
Wang Dan put the clothes into different shopping bags, separating each person’s into their own pile.
Almost scared out of his wits, Tang Xuhai stared at the clothes that were piling up on the sofa: “How much did you actually buy?!”
Zhen Zi said: “Not much. Here we have clothes for all four seasons, and we also bought thick clothes for winter and thinner ones for summer. They’re all on sale, super cheap now.”
Tang Xuhai was speechless: “Can’t we just buy when the time comes?”
Zhen Zi said as-a-matter-of-factly: “That won’t work! Who knows if there will be any clothes on sale then? Now production schedule is also not guaranteed.”
Fu Shiwu looked through the clothes in front of him. They were all jackets, windbreakers, shirts and cardigans meticulously hand-picked keeping in mind his psychological issue.
“Thank you.” Fu Shiwu offered them his sincere thanks.
“You’re very welcome.” Wang Dan smiled at him.
Later, Tang Xuhai made dinner for the group. His cooking skill was much more decent than both Fu Shiwu’s and Liu Peiqi’s.
After strolling around the city for a day, Hollande and the two ladies kept describing the current situation of Pei City’s business to the rest. Many shops were open, where almost any sorts of goods could be found, and the most important thing was that the prices weren’t exorbitant. The group might’ve made some fortune thanks to the items they had unexpectedly scavenged, but Contribution Points earned through ordinary works would still be sufficient to live by.
Not long after dinner, someone rang the doorbell.
“Who would be here at this hour?”
The members looked at each other. They hadn’t met any familiar faces here, and even the people who left the team earlier didn’t know their current address.
“I’ll open the door.” Miao Jia volunteered.
He walked to the wrought iron gate, and to his surprise, standing outside was an officer in military uniform.
Having always had a particular respect for soldiers, Miao Jia hurriedly opened the gate.
“Hello, what’s the matter?”
Seeing Miao Jia’s youthful face, the officer was startled for a moment, then he asked with a grave tone: “Is there where the Dragonbone Corps live?”
“That’s right.” Miao Jia nodded.
“Well, this is a notice for a defence mission. Please give it to your commander.” The officer handed him an envelope.
“Hey~ OK.” Miao Jia quickly received it with his hands.
“Then I’ll take my leave.” Saying so, the officer immediately turned around to leave.
“Come in for a bit first!” Miao Jia yelled.
“I can’t. I have to go to other places to deliver the notice.” The officer waved his hand and walked to the other villa.
“Who was there?” Wen Zhaoming asked.
“A soldier. He said he was here to deliver a defence mission.” Miao Jia raised the envelope.
Tang Xuhai stood up, shrouded in such a solemn air: “Give it here.”
This was a notice for a defence mission issued in the name of the Civil Hall. It was the first time that Tang Xuhai’s team had received a defence mission from the Pei City army.
Every corps and guild would receive a request for assistance from the army before an alien wave struck the city. After all, only the army had a firm grasp of the aliens’ movements.
When Tang Xuhai’s team came here, they knew that the aliens had gathered on a large scale and that Pei City would face an attack sooner or later, but they honestly didn’t expect it to come so suddenly.
“Tomorrow, the alien pack closest to Pei City may launch a siege.” Tang Xuhai said with a grim voice.
“Tomorrow?” Wen Zhaoming thought for a moment and said: “Miao Jia, we’ll have to use your help this evening. Could you check if any useful information can be found? Tomorrow, when we head for the defence mission, you don’t have to tag along. Just stay in the villa.”
Miao Jia nodded seriously: “Okay.”
Translator and reviewer at Strictly Bromance blog. In essence, she lives to indulge in plot-driven stories sprinkled with camaraderie and slow-burn drama-free romance, especially more so if they belong to adventure, mystery or supernatural genre. A trope that she always thirsts after: “Comrades who go through life and death together”.