Chapter 48 Carrier
“You are not intelligent? How could that be possible?” Owning seven different human brains and able to handle the conversation with Qing Shui in a wise way, no one would believe that the Willow was not intelligent.
“Nothing is impossible, I am not intelligent myself but am only possessing and utilizing these brains. In fact, the ability of organizing the language I am speaking with you comes from the signals of these brains. Hence, I, as a tree, am not intelligent.”
“But I thought if you can utilize these brains, it means you are intelligent too, aren’t you?” Qing Shui was still confused by the Willow’s words.
“It’s different, I am merely a carrier.” The hollow voice spoke again, “My consciousness was given by these brain; in some sense, I am more of a person who changed its body, but not a tree who grew brains! Because my thoughts and everything are generated by the seven brains, I myself, don’t have the ability of thinking.”
“I can even say this is a cross-species human evolution essentially, because I only possess human brains, but the thoughts and ideas were all produced by them, not me. I am simply a provider of a stronger body and a bond of connecting these brains.”
“I have learned that in science fictions, humans are planning to relocate their brain into an artificial body when the technology becomes advanced enough to do so, so that human can live longer. Right now, even though I am a willow tree, I am like the artificial machine that humans have been aspiring for. The ability I gained from the mutation was absorption and possession, it was a coincident that I was able to acquire a human brain. But what am I really? I am still a willow tree.”
“It sounds reasonable.” Qing Shui pondered over the Willow’s statement, “But in the end, you are still different from machines as you are constantly evolving; right now you are already aware of your own existence, I dare to say you are only steps away from having your own intelligence. By the time it comes, you are not limited to possessing human brain but will truly exploit their intelligence and make them your own.”
“I am curious about what kind of world will be created by an organism like you that aggregates intelligence of all mankind.”
“You will see that day coming…” The last word of the Willow sounded determined but with hesitation. It chuckled for a few seconds and its figure began to disappear. The shadow on the top of Qing Shui’s head was getting smaller and smaller, and the warmth of the sun sprinkled on Qing Shui again.
“Where are you going?” In the very end, Qing Shui shouted to the vanishing figure.
“To the south. I am biding my time. I’ll come back when I am able to think as an individual.” As the Willow said, the shadow completely became invisible, the world returned to bright red.
Gazing at where the Willow left, Qing Shui didn’t make a sound for a very long time.
“Mr. Li, Mr. Li…” Qing Shui did not recover until Jing grabbed on his shirt.
“Mr. Li, let go of the Willow, we still have to find formalin.” Jing didn’t consider too much about the Willow, her world was simple and she had someone and something more important to think about compared to the existence of the Willow.
“Chang and the others are still waiting for us, if we go back late, that bullfrog will expire and we’ll starve again.”
“Right…right! You are right.” After Qing Shui was interrupted by Jing, he grinned to himself mockingly, he looked down to the ground again “I can’t even guarantee my own safety now, why would I think of those problems?” He again glanced at the direction where the Willow disappeared and carried Jing on his back “Let’s go for the formalin!”
“Now that the Willow is gone, we can take advantage of its power; it is certain that there are no other dangerous organisms around us now.” The courtyard was as peaceful as it had been; they found the chemical storage room, and they didn’t run into other dangers as they expected.
In the room, Qing Shui easily found the pungent chemical solution he wanted – formalin.
After confirming the tags on the plastic bucket, Qing Shui picked up two units without hesitation, he also grabbed some small packages of medication just in case. Then the two walked as fast as they could to go back to Chang.
The return was fairly smooth and with Jing’s detection, they avoided some dangerous creatures which were circling around the hospital; half an hour later, they found Chang and the others.
“Why you were so slow? The meat almost gone bad.” Seeing Qing Shui with the buckets, Pangzi asked anxiously “You didn’t encounter any beasts, do you?”
“Yes, in fact, an extremely dangerous one which almost killed me.” As Qing Shui spoke, he walked to the front of Chang, and Chang had been able to stand up, apparently he had regained mobility, although he still looked weak and his upper body was still charred and crimson, he seemed to have no serious problem.
“How? I thought nothing should be able to get close to you with Jing’s forewarning. Was it something that came from underground?” Chang stepped over to check Qing Shui and Jing in haste, but found out they weren’t injured at all.
“We are fine, it is too complicated for me to explain what exactly happened to us right now. I’ll tell you when we get back to the base. Now, let’s treat the bullfrog first. Pangzi, you guys dissected the frog, didn’t you?”
“We did it long before you came back, we even deboned it. See, me and Lin have packed them into the bags.”
‘Great, thank you.’ Qing Shui walked to those big woven bags and opened one bucket of formalin, he evenly sprinkled the chemical solution into every bag with a wisp of grass, he said
“The formalin will slow down the rotting, we’ll find some barrels to dilute the formalin with water after we go back to the base, and then we can put them into the barrels. With this strong preservation, our food can be preserved for three or five days even now.”
“Alright, we are ready to go, the longer we stay, the more dangerous it will be.” Seeing Qing Shui had organized everything, Chang turned to the doctor “Thank you for today, please come with us.”
“I didn’t help much, you don’t need to thank me about this, your body was strong enough to recover itself.” The doctor was still expressionless; she spoke unemotionally “Let’s go.”
“Coming.” Chang nodded as he turned to his friends; Qing Shui, Pangzi and Lin carried one woven bag on their back respectively.
“Do you need help?” Chang walked with Lin.
“I might not be able to carry this before, but don’t worried, I have become stronger than before too.” Lin had a pale smile on her face “You got burned, mind yourself first.”
“Hahaha, good, good.” Chang laughed, he waved his right hand as a sign to ask Jing to follow him, the six walked back together.
As they walked on the gravel pavement, Chang was behind the group to ensure everyone’s safety, he lowered his voice and asked Jing “Jing, can you tell me about the danger you ran into?”
“It was a big willow, a gigantic one! I couldn’t see what it looked like at all, I only knew it was there; it was so big that It blocked the sky! And even when it was right in front of me, I couldn’t sense anything as if it nullified my ability.”
“A willow?” hearing the words made Chang frowned. A hospital, and a willow, he recalled the second day of the red fog, he also had encountered a willow when he went to the hospital for medication; it consumed human blood and flesh, and it hung those hollow human skins on its branches as if they were trophies. The level of that willow was higher than 100 already by that time, and it was only the second day! The strength and the rate of the mutation were horrifyingly fast growing.
In fact, Chang clearly knew that he had rarely met any organisms over level 30 these days. That only implied one thing, even though the rate of evolution and mutation had been escalated, the willow was still one of the kind in terms of the rate of mutation. If the one he met and the one Qing Shui ran away from were both willows, he believed the one that Jing was talking about, was the one he had escaped from.
“If you really ran into it, it was impossible for you to come back alive!” Chang gazed at Qing Shui’s back thoughtfully. Qing Shui was weighted down by the woven bag on the shoulder, his footsteps were heavy.