Translator: Letty Editor: DarkGem
"What brings you here, sir?"
Sanpang hesitated to get closer to the legend. He seemed scared, and hence, a distance was always kept between them.
"I'm visiting my friends, and taking this opportunity to pass some information over." Qing Shui nodded to Sanpang, straightening his body from the bar stool. He made his way to Chang and Jing, said with a soft tone. "Hey Jing, you're getting taller."
Jing was reserved when seeing Qing Shui. She lost her liveliness every time she met him, hiding behind Chang's back as how she did when she was younger.
"You're still scared of me." Qing Shui didn't mind her attitude but started teasing. "What have I done? What scared you so much?"
"Perhaps she instinctively fears species with higher index," Chang said, stroking Jing's hair. "What brings you here today? You don't come down here normally."
"Nothing special happened, I just felt like seeing you." Qing Shui then turned to Jing, asking, "Tell me what number do you perceive me as if you think of me as a threat?"
"One?" Jing pondered, her eyes closed; she was perplexed. "How do you make it?"
"I can't tell you about this. The information comes with exchange, what do you think if you dye your hair back to black?" Qing Shui teased Jing intentionally. "Blonde doesn't suit you well, no wonder Chang seemed disappointed."
"I'm not saying that you're causing trouble, but just don't forget that his tolerance has bottom line..." Qing Shui warned jokingly. He seemed to know intimidations best effect.
"I don't care!"
Jing stomped on the ground, her skin going down with goosebumps. She then turned around, running into her own room.
"Go check on her." Chang pushed Sanpang's back. "Please make sure she is safe."
"Got you." Sanpang glanced from Qing Shui to Chang. In his eyes, the two seemed to know each other well, but at the same time, he could sense the distance between them. It wasn't a good time to comment now.
Chang made a wry smile when Sanpang left the room. "Why are you winding her up? She is only sixteen years old, she wasn't behaving rationally."
"I was teasing her. She is being ridiculous these days," Qing Shui said. "And you, why aren't you more patient with her? Now she can always do whatever she wants. You can leave her to me, I promise you that once she comes out from the institute again, she would be the Jing that you remember."
"Come on." Chang heaved a deep breath, then said reluctantly, "I trust you on everything except for taking care of kids. She wouldn't be such a rebel if you didn't take her away last time. She does everything intentionally to go against my will as revenge. Who knows what you did to her!"
"Chang, I did nothing bad to her but put her into a special training program so that she can grow stronger both physically and mentally. However, I've never expect such reverse reaction from her." Qing Shui looked into Chang's eyes. "If I were to say, it's your attitude that caused her current behavior. When I took her away, she was begging in tears for you to not let her go, but you did the opposite.
"I told you that I was going to take her to the institute for three months, and you didn't listen to me at all... Jing was stubborn and highly dependent on you, her separation anxiety was as intense as expected. What you've done during that time didn't help her overcome but strengthen the syndromes. For every few days, you went to the institute to make sure she was okay. But your kindness interrupted my plans.
"Every time she saw you, she cried; and it became worse when you came more often.
"And that wasn't the worst part yet. In the end, you took her back before the three month agreement. It was your spoiling attitude towards her that made the current her of today."
Qing Shui's tone was full of pity.
"Well then what can I do now? This is the result that we got, and it was all my fault." Chang didn't argue back, as he knew that he wouldn't be able to make himself right.
"Then, let me take her to the institute for another three months? If you stop visiting her, I promise you I'll send her back with a stronger physique and mind."
"No." Chang shook his head. "Not in this way."
"Well, you have to deal with her yourself then." Qing Shui looked at Chang. "I can see that you'll be in trouble soon. She hates you when you send her away, and because she was an orphan, she developed strong dependence on you during the time we spent together. All the people around you, they can tell Jing's affection to you. The worst of all is that puberty hits at this time, so she will do anything as long as its against your will."
"Ah....It sounds like a dead end, there is nothing I can do, right?"
Qing Shui's words frightened Chang.
"There is one way out. She'll realized she was in the wrong if you're dead."
Qing Shui chuckled.
"Stop joking with me... Seriously, is there a way out?"
"Or, you accept her invitation. She would definitely be calmer."
While Qing Shui was speaking, he bursted into a series of wild laughter. It sounded weird.
Chang knew that Qing Shui's personality was always reserved and he was candid yet unruffled. However, every time when Chang met with Qing Shui, his change in personality made him feel absurdly uncomfortable.
"Aren't you affected by Zhuo too much? Why are you making jokes like this?"
Chang tried hard to frown.
"Zhuo? I think Zhuo was a great person to be friends with. He was forthright and daring. I don't see a lot of men living like him."
Their conversation stopped when Jing's door opened. It was Zhizhi who walked out from it.
"Mr. Li, " she said in a shaky voice.
If Qing Shui was disliked by Jing, then to Zhizhi, he was a deep-rooted fear in her soul. From her amputation and the time she was treated as an experiment subject, Qing Shui had become an instant trigger for her defense mechanism.
Qing Shui's attitude was clearly different when Zhizhi faced him. His eyes grew cold, and he said nothing more than her name.
"Would you like a drink?"
Zhizhi tidied up the liquor bottles on the shelf before they ordered their drinks, then she poured a glass of spirits for each of them.
"Thank you." Qing Shui's index finger slid to the edge of the glass. He pointed at Zhizhi's hook on the stump, teasing. "Are you sure you don't want something that is more helpful?"
"Thank you for your kindness, Mr. Li. I'm afraid that I can't step into any lab again." Zhizhi smiled and glanced at Chang. "Enjoy your time."
"Thanks, Zhizhi." Chang took a sip of the spirit. He as well glanced back at Zhizhi, but then a question rose. "Oh right, I forgot to ask you why you came down here today. We've been talking about Jing the whole time."
"Right, I was gonna show you this."
Qing Shui fished out a small bottle from his inner pocket which contained a strange plant with a moss-like appearance.
"What's this?" Chang supported his chin on the bar counter, observing the content.
"A kind of mutated plant, a true evil," Qing Shui said.
"We can see mutated plants everywhere, this must be something unusual."
It was clear to Chang that Qing Shui hadn't just come by to chat about some ordinary discovery.
"You are correct. The aftermath of using Agent Orange finally comes to us, thanks to Zhuo's devastation plan and his Crystal Pea." Qing Shui took out another bottle, saying, "This is the modified Agent Orange that he used four years ago. I'll show you the interaction between them."
The plug for the bottle that contained the plant was made of glass and the gap between the bottle was filled with rubber. Qing Shui unplugged the bottle and sprayed some Agent Orange into it. Before the plant reacted, he secured the plug back in again.
As soon as the plug was tucked back, a high pitched shriek came from within the bottle.
The plant screamed.
Chang opened his eyes wide. The moss-like plant sprang up from the bottom like a fish in contact with sulphuric acid. It struggled, shrank, expanded, and screeched. It distorted into shapes just like a human suffering from torment. The screaming itself was bizarre enough to cause headache to Chang.
"Gross..." Chang rubbed his temples. "This is gross, it's evil."
"Exactly, this is what I thought too. And because of its characteristics, I named it Evil Moss. Not only does its vitality outperform that of any other species I met before, but also its reproduction ability is one of the best. One shocking fact is that it destroys."
Qing Shui kept shaking the bottle, and the Evil Moss tinkled in the bottle like a piece of metal ramming against glass.
"What do you mean it destroys?"
Chang stared at the Evil Moss in the bottle.
"You might not notice that this is a specially made container. If I were to use any ordinary sample bottles, it would've shattered already," Qing Shui said. "The moss is a parasite of the Crystal Pea. In theory, Zhuo's product should've been able to repel all parasites and pests by itself as it was carefully designed to do so. But this, it overcame the barriers that Zhuo set up for it. It sucked up the nutrient from the ground so that it is the only beast wherever they passed. I found it strange when I discovered it, and that's why I collected it.
"Let me put it into an example so it's easier for you to understand its nature. It's like HIV in the nature, it mutates rapidly to resist multiple defoliants. Whenever we use a new kind of defoliant, it always overcomes the drug's effect somehow. It was born to destroy."
"A species that is born to destroy?"
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