Global Evolution - Chapter 135
"Just as I expected you guys would be, you deserve to be Qing Shui's clones." Chang kept his eyes closed. "I just have few questions;you don't need to answer if you don't want to.
"The first question is dumb, but this is what I'm most curious too. Do you, as clones, possess Qing Shui's memories?"
"No, we don't. We are independent of him and each other. We have different thought processes and personalities. The only thing that we have in common is the genes, which are identical to Qing Shui's. But keep this in mind, we are different because we encountered different things and that shaped us as humans," Qing, the oldest said. "Just like how twins can have opposite personalities.
"One thing that surprised us is that the way of thinking among us is similar, so are our abilities."
"I understand that." Though Chang seemed asleep, his olfactory system was functioning at its peak to detect what was lurking in their surroundings. "Essentially, you aren't Qing Shui at all but someone else. It's just that you guys are similar to him in appearance and mind."
"Basically." Shui, the second oldest nodded.
"Then, here comes my second question." Chang took a deep breath through his nose. "Since you share the same genome as him, do you guys have the same abilities and capabilities as him?"
Chang almost lost his control when asking this question. After all, if all the clones were similar to Qing Shui, the survival chance of their group would be almost 100%.
"Yes we are, but at the same time, no," Shui Qing, the youngest of the clones said. "We are still little;we simply can't fully utilize his abilities, it takes time."
"We inherited his abilities, but the limitation is that we will only be as powerful as he was four years ago," Shui Qing summarized.
"Wait, can you explain?" Chang asked.
"We were the first batch of clones that he made four years ago, and it took a year for us to be born. The age among us three isn't distinct, but in fact, we are four years old already, if you count the year spent growing," Qing said. "That also means, the genome in us is fairly old. We are replications of the Qing Shui from four years ago, before he underwent the second encephalon mutation.
"Even though we grew up and became stronger, the limitation is there, and this is something that we probably can't break through. We don't know how far Qing Shui has went with his own evolution, but what we are sure of is that he must have gone through multiple encephalon mutations already. He is crazy and maniacal, but he hid that well. Zhuo is no longer comparable to him. If we were to name someone who has similar abilities to him, that it would be XVII.
"XVII is the latest success from a year ago. The more powerful Qing Shui became, the lower the success rate. I'm pretty sure he didn't produce any clones successfully in this recent year. Therefore, no one actually knows how powerful he is now.
"Though what I can tell you is that, there aren't many that are more powerful than him."
"Wait, does that mean there is hope for Qing Shui to stay alive?" Chang's eyes went wide in surprise.
"No, the chance of survival is zero," Shui responded with a sneer. "No matter how capable he is now, he is still a baby to the Willow.
"You don't understand the Willow's physiological structure, but we studied it. The willow encompassed over millions of brains, can you imagine how much it knows? Although the accumulation isn't linear, the quantitative accumulation eventually leads to qualitative transformation. I doubt the Willow is still a being that we used to know. We just simply can't imagine what it can do," Shui said.
"Exactly." Shui Qing picked up the topic just right after Shui's statement. "Qing Shui is nowhere comparable to the Willow;I can assure you that it is impossible for him to win. The gap between how intelligent they are is probably similar to the gap in their physical capabilities."
"Is the difference really that high?" As if Chang was riding a roller coaster, his heart now fell from the very peak to the bottom. "The Willow can destroy a city in a blink of an eye;it is at least a hundred thousand times stronger than Qing Shui in raw power. But really? Based on intelligence as well?"
"Well, Qing Shui could be a little smarter than we imagine, but I won't say he is anywhere close compared to the Willow," Qing said. "Don't have false hope for him. He is crazy;he is trying to challenge a god with his ordinary human brain. And the only result possible is vanishing without knowing why."
"What you've said makes me very uncomfortable... Won't you guys be sad if he dies?" The eyes under Chang's eyelids were rolling. "After all, he is your family."
"Of course, we'll feel sorrow at his death, but we don't want to let you guys know about it explicitly," one of the clones said. "Plus, his existence puzzles us, none of us wanted to be a replication of someone else. Perhaps his death can solve our struggle."
"Ha! How cold-hearted you are." Chang tilted his head. "You guys are nothing like Qing Shui regarding this."
"We aren't indifferent," Shui Qing said. "We just don't express our deepest feelings with words and gestures."
"All right." Chang took a deep breath. "According to what you know, Qing Shui is doomed to die."
"Yes, he is."
"But if he is a baby compared to the Willow, then who can stop it in this world?" A surge of desperation hit Chang hard.
"I don't know. If you are thinking this way, humanity is way more fragile than it had expected," one of the clones said. "But you don't need to feel despair either;we had seven billions of people on this planet, there must be someone who can defeat it."
"Yes, I don't think Qing Shui is our only hope." The clones were surprisingly optimistic. "If the other species can mutate and evolve into a super life, why would you think that humans can't? There could have been a pioneer.
"Don't worry, even the seventeen of us can probably change something a few years later. Don't forget that we'll grow up too! The Willow will be stopped by other intelligent beings when it expands to a certain extent. And because it is way too intelligent and aggressive, any species with intelligence will become its enemy."
"We are not alone." The other two clones chuckled. "See, even though initially the amphibias refused to cooperate, they still agreed to take care of XVII at the end. We're just curious what XVII will turn out to be."
"Ha! Interesting, interesting," Qing commented, and they all stopped talking no matter how many more questions Chang asked them.
Chang soon lost interest in pushing further. Eventually, he emerged from his thoughts of Qing Shui and dreams took over.
The second day.
The clique left their camping site immediately upon sunrise, walking towards Xin Xiang.
At the same time, another wave swept across Zhengzhou—Qing Shui made an official announcement about the Willow through the military.
For a short while, the citizens completely lost control, the riot resumed, and it was more chaotic than ever.
The last few weeks, the commoners were suffering from unstable emotions and hopelessness. The shortage of food worsened the situation. And Qing Shui's message was a bomb, causing explosions in every corner.
And even the military rebelled when they heard it.
Any form of power was useless now.
The commoners started losing control in succession, and most of them began to attack each other. There were some severe cases were people completely lost their minds;they robbed food from anyone they could for the upcoming march.
The city went crazy.
A lot of people attempted to break into the institute to take revenge against the one who caused the chaos, but the frenzied revenge seekers were terminated in only half an hour.
This was because everyone who entered lost signs of being alive as soon as they rushed into a three hundred meter circular zone of the institute. No exceptions.
The corpses layered up, forming a strange circular wall around the institute. They had all died facing the same direction, as if in a clear warning for the remainder of the mob. Whoever passed the line was certainly going to die.
Thus, after realizing revenge was unrealistic, most of the people swallowed down their anger and targeted something else.
The military was also banished from the institute, which later became a forbidden zone where only Qing Shui stayed by himself.
His lab was so quiet that if a pin dropped, the clinging would be crystal clear.
Qing Shui opened a bottle of wine, then swirled the burgundy liquid in a wine glass. He took a sip and froze for a moment, as if thinking of a solution for something.
"Another two days." His eyes lost focus. "I can meet you again in two days, Willow."
The red wine dripped down the glass' side when Qing Shui placed it, now empty, on the table. He then went passed a number of doors until he reached the most inner room. There was a surgical bed positioned at the center of the room. It was dark, but not because of the lack of illumination;a black wall absorbed most of the light.
Qing Shui's pupils contracted when he laid down on the surgical bed. In his right hand, there was a trigger, the only trigger in this room. The light above his head was as bright as if the gate of heaven had just opened up for him. Without a second thought, he flicked the trigger, and numerous needles reached down from the ceiling toward him, all of them precisely piercing his veins.