Chapter 239: Understanding The Nature Of The World
The carnivorous plant had a monstrous and well-developed root system. Within a range of twenty or so kilometers, this plant could hide its roots in the ground, ambush its targets, and absorb the fluids of its targets through the barbs on its roots. That was why there weren’t any creatures in the area. Despite absorbing so many nutrients, the plant actually hadn’t grown to look too special. It looked just like a normal fruit tree and was over twenty meters tall.
Bai Yi could more or less guess that all the nutrients had gone into forming the fruits of the tree.
After two days, they were finally able to pick this fruit and headed back to Doctor Wang. Since Doctor Wang needed them to work for him, he wouldn’t intentionally harm Bai Yi and the rest. Although the carnivorous plant was very strong, it still wasn’t a match for Bai Yi’s group. However, it would have been troublesome if they hadn’t been careful.
When they arrived back at the research facility, Doctor Wang only gave them a ‘you guys worked hard’ and showed no other form of appreciation. Instead, he immediately gave them another location from which to to go and retrieve something. Eleanor immediately became unhappy; he was just treating them like cheap labor!
“This was my intention from the beginning, you should know that research requires many materials. I didn’t have enough manpower before and they were all too weak; that’s why I asked you all to work for me for three years. What else did you think I wanted you guys to do?” Doctor Wang said as bluntly as possible. Although it was the truth, it still made them very uncomfortable when they heard it. Fortunately, Bai Yi wasn’t somebody who minded something like this.
“The injured stay behind. You will just drag us down if you go,” Bai Yi said and nodded.
“Of course!” Doctor Wang nodded.
Following that moment, Bai Yi’s group was tormented by running all over the isles to collect either animal or plant specimens. Things were fine if it was a plant because they could simply bring it back. If it were an animal, they usually needed a living specimen that was, ideally, unharmed. Fortunately, Momo had her Soul Charm which could charm most creatures to follow them, so it wasn’t too troublesome.
After more than a month of this, they got used to their life and things seemed easier to them. Over the course of the months, all of their bodies gradually changed back towards a human appearance. Bai Yi’s colored fur receded quite a lot, and he would probably regain his true human appearance soon. The rest of them had changed as well. Those like Woolf who initially had large bodies had gradually begun to shrink; however, even though they had begun to shrink, their bodies seemed to compact and become more dense and solid.
Occasionally, Bai Yi would ask Doctor Wang questions regarding the research. Through those conversations, Doctor Wang realized that Bai Yi had a decent amount of professional knowledge and could actually keep up with his research.
However, these kinds of days only lasted until a certain night a month or so later.
On a particular night, Bai Yi, Doctor Wang, and Eleanor were discussing some things when Momo suddenly entered the hall. She swept the room with her gaze, before finally stopping on Doctor Wang. Everybody raised their heads and looked at Momo as she suddenly drew her black sword.
With a quick and sharp swing of her sword, the sword qi and floating souls instantly flew toward Doctor Wang.
Bai Yi drew Red Kiss instantaneously and blocked the assault from reaching.
‘DANG!’ The sound of impact rang out!
‘Kacha!’ The sword qi sliced through the room with a great force and created a gash more than ten meters long in the hall. A half-meter-long wound appeared from Doctor Wang’s face down to his abdomen almost splitting him in half. Although Bai Yi could stop the sword qi that came directly at them, he could not stop the floating souls that assaulted Doctor Wang. The floating souls started to bite and tear at his soul, and Doctor Wang immediately collapsed to the ground, clutching at his clothes and spasming in pain.
At this moment, Momo had already rushed forward. Her black sword pointed straight at Doctor Wang, and the killing intent in her eyes was completely unconcealed.
“Bai Yi!” Cheryl shouted.
“Momo, stop first!” Bai Yi shouted.
Hearing Bai Yi’s shout, Momo finally paused. At that moment, the black sword just touched the center of Doctor Wang’s brows. Momo’s eyes were incomparably cold and abstruse, her pure pupils seemed like they were going to suck in all of their minds, making all of them shiver inside. At this moment, everybody suddenly recalled Momo’s words from before.
I will kill you straight away!
Back then, nobody had really taken Momo’s words seriously, but looking at this scene now...Eleanor’s heart trembled. Just what kind of upbringing did this girl get?! She had really meant to kill him without the slightest hint of hesitation. If not for Bai Yi moving fast enough, Doctor Wang would have most probably already died. What had he done to invoke Momo’s wrath?
“Momo, stop the attack of the floating souls first and tell us what exactly happened,” Bai Yi said.
“He tortured those animals very badly,” Momo said.
“What? Be more specific. Even if you want to kill me, I must at least die knowing why!” Doctor Wang’s voice trembled as he spoke, and even his words weren’t too clear anymore.
“The creatures that I brought back using Soul Charm: you are torturing them,” Momo said.
“I just saw the animals that I brought back. Dozens of them have already died. The ones who are still alive looked at me with eyes full of frenzied hatred. They were accusing me, accusing me of tricking them and abetting your cruelty toward them,” Momo said in an icy and severe tone. Momo’s whole body trembled slightly as she spoke apparently very agitated over this. To Momo, it was as if she had deceived those animals. It was something her young and pure heart couldn’t accept.
Bai Yi immediately grabbed onto Momo’s left hand. If she had clenched her left hand, Doctor Wang would have died for real.
“Cough, cough!” Doctor Wang coughed twice and forced the blood in his throat out.
“So, it was about this. I thought that it was something big. What did you think I was going to do? Bring the animals back to keep them in cages and look good? What experiments don’t need experimental subjects? Otherwise, how do you think the research data was gathered? From the looks of it, Bai Yi really protected you too well, you don’t know about the true coldness and cruelty in this world at all,” Doctor Wang said to Momo in a mocking tone.
“What did you say?!” Momo looked at Doctor Wang in fury.
“Bai Yi, you explain this yourself. I’ll forget about it and not pursue it this time,” Doctor Wang stood up and walked to the medical room with Cheryl’s support. However, Momo had really dared to do it. Even he had thought that he was truly done for just now. That was why it was the hardest to deal with this kind of person. Regardless of what kind of open schemes or secret plots one may have, if the person just killed you before considering anything else then it didn’t matter how monstrous a person’s intelligence was.
“Oh right, do you really think that your Soul Charm makes other creatures feel close to you?” Doctor Wang asked as he was about to leave.
“What do you mean?” Even Bai Yi was surprised now.
“I let Sunlight and Yeye do a simulation based on her past changes. Momo really doesn’t like these kinds of experiments, so I don’t have a complete data set, but I still can make a general conclusion about her abilities. Soul Charm isn’t an ability that lets her become close to other lifeforms, but it’s just the temptation of the restful embrace of death that entices other lifeforms, tempting them to enter the home of the dead.” Doctor Wang said.
Momo rejected it loudly, “You’re lying!”
However, Bai Yi and the few others surrounding Momo went deep into thought. The peace of death...there really seems to be this possibility. Originally, the Soul Release Tree had the ability to make the souls so ecstatic that they felt that they were ascending to heaven. They couldn’t be sure, but the Soul Charm might really be the temptation of the restful embrace of death. However, they couldn’t be sure of this now and Momo definitely would not accept this.
“Momo, come over here. Let me explain some things to you,” Bai Yi patted Momo’s little head. Momo was now 1.6 meters tall, so she wasn’t much shorter than Bai Yi.
“Momo, do you know about the food chain?” Bai Yi asked Momo after bringing her to the lake outside.
“En. The food chain is a network of links in a food web that connects different groups of lifeforms. In the food chain, most of the lifeforms act as either a predator or a prey. This is the food chain in the natural world. A food chain exists in the human world as well and that kind of food chain is even more apathetic and cruel!” Bai Yi slowly explained seriously.
“I know that you love little animals, but it’s impossible to live peacefully with every kind of creature. In reality, don’t we hunt other animals and eat their flesh as well?” Bai Yi looked at Momo.
“I, I’m not...!”
“My intention is not to let you become cruel and apathetic, but there’s an old saying in China: the Way is heartless1!”
“This is an extremely difficult saying to understand, and most people don’t actually have the time or interest to really ponder its true meaning. They only have a superficial interpretation of it, but not its fundamental nature or principles. I don’t understand it very well either. China’s ancient culture has always been very profound.”
“Listen to me. I don’t mind you maintaining your current pure and kind personality, but at the same time, you must understand the cruelty of the natural world and of the human social sphere. Only when you understand the nature of this world deeply can you stand at a higher position and look at the world with greater insight and completeness. The choices you make in the future will then be your true intentions.”
Bai Yi said a lot to Momo, but Momo didn’t understand most of it. She was only twelve years old after all, and the education she had received was incomplete. Her worldview wasn’t very complete, so her understanding of things like good versus evil and cruelty versus warmth were all very superficial. Although Bai Yi’s words to Momo today were very impactful, how Momo was going to change was solely in her hands.
“Think about it seriously and do the things you want to do without regrets. Even if you go and kill Doctor Wang, I won’t have any comments on it,” Bai Yi said and left after that. Vala and the other souls beside Momo didn’t come out and say anything either, leaving Momo sitting by the lakeside to ponder in silence.
Understanding the nature of the world, standing at a higher position, looking at the world with a more insightful and complete gaze?
- The Way is heartless: the Way is also known as the Path or Dao in other novels, and it really is an extremely complex and vague concept to explain. It can also be seen as the ‘truth’ about life, or the representation of reality and how it truly is. In this context, I think that Bai Yi was trying to say that firstly, that is just how the world is - good and bad exists, cruelty exists. Things can’t be ideal and peaceful all the time, sometimes we have to accept lesser evils, and that is how the world is. It’s a cruel reality, but the universe doesn’t care, it just simply is. That’s why the Way is heartless. Well, that’s my attempt at interpreting this complex idea!