Global Evolution - Chapter 126
"It's as mighty as I have just described to you." Chang laughed. "It's okay that you don't believe me, but I did warn you about its existence. When it decides to come back to Zhengzhou, don't blame me that I didn't tell you in advance."
"Stop talking nonsense, Chang. You would have died by my hand before, since I run so much faster than you."
"Hmm, you aren't wrong." Chang was left speechless for a second. "Never mind, let's eat the crab first."
"Wait, let me ask the chef out." Liu Xin's smile was full of childish delight when food was mentioned. He bounced into the sand hole and soon returned while holding on the collar of a middle-aged man as well as a big pot.
"He is one of the chefs that Papa brought here. He knows his stuff well, I love his dishes." Liu Xin placed the pot and the chef on the ground, grinning. "His name is Haiyong Li, you can tell he was born by the water from his name, which I adore."
"Hi, I am Chang Liu, just another captive here." Chang smiled to the other human.
"Haiyong Li, I am just a chef that cooks."
The middle-aged man smiled wryly. He then dug out a dry hole to set up firewood for the pot, which was too huge for his size. The chef returned to the sand hole for cookware, and he filled the pot with water before attempting to make a fire.
The chef did everything in a routine-like procedure, and Chang wasn't entertained, so he pulled Liu Xin's hand to take him down to the water again.
He was intrigued by the organisms that he saw in the river and wanted to take a closer look at what those behemoths and fish had evolved into. The reason behind it was that it might help him deduct the ecology of this area.
The river was lightly tinted a pale red. Chang followed after Liu Xin, then soon tilted his head to look up ahead.
He saw clearer under the water, and in most cases the depth of the Yellow River didn't reach seventy meters. Though it got dimmer when going deeper. When Chang was one meter below the water, he could see as far as seventy meters before himself, but when he stepped on the river bed, he was buried in edgeless darkness.
The water grass swayed around him, but there was nothing he could do down there.
Without a source of light, the organisms who resided on the river bed had evolved to eyeless animals. Chang tried imagining what would the ecology be in the ocean.
He held his breath firmly as he hadn't gained gills due to evolution. He saved up energy by constraining himself from any vigorous movement. He browsed around instead, and got trapped by a strand of water grass in a few steps.
The water grass was tenacious. Chang wasn't able to break it without putting in a good effort. The ripped water grass feebly flew about when he walked away from it.
Liu Xin followed after Chang at all time.
Liu Xin and Chang developed some sort of tacit understanding along the way. While they were exploring the river bed, Liu Xin would point out dangerous objects that he recognized. One of them looked like a rock but turned out to be a mutated turtle with perfect disguise;one had saturated skin color, which was both their lure and a warning sign for predators;some fish seemed harmless and as ordinary as grass carps, but when Chang grabbed one for a closer observation, the fish curved its lips to reveal two layers of spiky teeth.
Liu Xin waved his hand to Chang in a hurry when he noticed what Chang was clutching in his hand out of curiosity.
Because the communication between them was voiceless, Chang didn't get his message immediately. The same moment, the ordinary looking scales on the carp straightened and countless barbs poked out from beneath them. The carp changed into a sea urchin like object, and the barbs penetrated through Chang's palms.
It seemed like the barbs weren't meant to be a weapon but a defense mechanism as they retracted immediately.
Chang lost hold of his breath from the sharp pain. A stream of bubbles escaped from his mouth, and as a result, he felt the desire for oxygen growing stronger exponentially. He waved his hands and legs so that he could reach the water surface as soon as possible.
The blood on his palms spread out instantly from his struggles, and the water was dyed bloody-red.
"Ah!" Chang slowed down once he rose above the water and took a deep breath. He raised his hand in front of his face. "Holy sh*t, what is that fish! It's despicable!"
"We nicknamed them Spookies, they're extremely hard to deal with and they just love to call out to their friends. I'm not scared of them at all, but it's better that you go ashore since the blood will attract their attention for sure. Let's get your hands wrapped first." The blood was filtered through Liu Xin's gills when he passed by that area. "When the Spookies come, they'll gnaw you, flesh and bones."
"They sound like piranhas." Chang laughed. "Except the fact that they're more intimidating 'cause they equipped themselves with all those barbs."
"Well, seldom organisms are willing to bother them." Liu Xin smiled. "Even if it's me, if there is a big flock of them, I would choose to avoid instead of encountering them directly. Their bites are surely too weak to injure me, and they are slow, too, but it's always unpleasant to see this kind of fish around. They are just annoying."
The two went ashore and laid down flat on the beach for a brief rest.
"You are living a quality life in the jungle."
"That's because we are strong enough for this terrible yet brilliant era. The red fog, it brought us a second Cambrian period, and we were given a chance to better adapt the nature." Liu Xin raised his head, staring the sky.
"I am sick of this era, it took away my family, and almost all my friends. They died because everything changed in one night, and no one protected them."
"I am standing on the opposite side from you. I love this era, it gave memy family, and everything I have now," Liu Xin said.
"I miss my old life."
"That's because you had too much."
"I miss the old city."
"Those metal structures aren't worthy to be remembered with fondness."
"Have you ever had a mother?"
A human and an amphibia were surprisingly having a good time chatting on the beach. From what they loved for food to the excretory structure of amphibia;they explored their physiology to the extent that Chang got to know if amphibia needed to consume water and the lack of genital organs. Chang pulled off a hair of his for Liu Xin, and in return, Liu Xiu let Chang touch his smooth skin.
Their conversation lasted for a long time, and they didn't stop even when the crab was served.
At the very end --
"Do you think that humans and amphibias have any chance of communicating and working together in any way?" Chang asked.
"Only on the level of individuals, such as you and me." Liu Xin took a few seconds to ponder. "Papa told us that a human and an amphibia can be friends. However, humans and amphibias as species can never be friends.
"The reason is simple, humans aren't valuable for us to exploit. If our population grows to a reasonable base, I don't see humans having any competitive advantages in this survival game. Elimination is just a matter of time, right? This is a competition between two species, neither of us will allow the other to survive as the other will eventually become an irremovable threat."
"Makes sense." Chang slurped a mouthful of crab roe, then he turned to Haiyong Li with appreciation. "Hey, bro! You cooking skills are superb!"
"I don't consider myself the best, but I am not bad either." Haiyong was busy eating the crab as well.
"Do you have any relatives?" Chang shouted to Haiyong, who was sitting a distance away from Liu Xin.
"Not at all, they're all dead. I was living in the countryside, and I bet you know what those places have become. Except for a few villages that were fortunate enough to avoid the inroads of plant mutation due to the landforms, the rest were drowned in plants. I was lucky enough to run away from there." Haiyong avoided eye contact with Chang. "I don't have a purpose for lingering in this world anymore. They kept me alive, and I thought, so be it."
"You're living a relatively peaceful life here, which isn't bad."
"It isn't bad, at least I don't need to worry about food and shelter. To be honest, the amphibias aren't terrible, even the big guy is kind."
"True, I can tell." Chang nodded.
"Humans would never bear the existence of another species that is intelligent." Haiyong heaved a sigh. "In this world, every individual has their own thoughts, and thoughts bring divergence. I figure, if everybody held same thoughts, then we wouldn't have disagreements..."
"What you think of is an ideal world," the amphibia interrupted. "I remember I saw a word, utopia, right? That's exactly what you're talking about, and that's unachievable."
"It isn't impossible." Chang burst out laughing. "Remember the Willow that I told you about?"
"It..." Liu Xin sunk into rumination for exactly five minutes;he didn't stuff the crab meat in his mouth until it got cold. "Utopia sounds like an ideal place, but it isn't that good as it sounds like..."
"Yes, you wouldn't be having this delicious crab meat, nor could you have kidnapped me in a utopia. As for me, I couldn't flirt with girls anymore, nor would I have the freedom to do whatever I want," Chang said. "That's why I think that differences are great."
The amphibia chuckled, then continued stuffing the crab meat in his mouth.
The two hung around the beach after dinner until the sky got dark.
Chang was to stay in Liu Xin's room tonight;the bed was huge enough for both of them, and they laid down comfortably, yet he couldn't fall asleep whatsoever. First, the sandcastle was extremely humid, and he felt sticky all night. Second, the body temperature of Liu Xin was about ten-degrees in Celsius lower than a human's. And third, Liu Xin was a bad sleeper. He could only sleep on the side as he had a long tail;when he made a turn, the tail always slapped Chang's stomach.
Therefore, on the morning of the next day, Chang complained, "I'm done sharing the same bed with you! I didn't get to sleep last night at all!"
"Nothing important, I'm just missing my girl." Chang didn't want to elaborate, so he made up an excuse on the spot.
Chang had learned that there was no concept of se* or gender among amphibias. Since they couldn't reproduce se*ually, they had absolutely zero interest in talking about se*ual desires. Whenever Chang brought up the topic, Liu Xin was reluctant to get involved in the conversation.