Chapter 2 – Metamorphosis

After several highly concentrated anaesthetic shots went down, the monster finally shrivelled up and fell to the ground, motionless.

Feng Yeran couldn’t believe it. Because he seemed to have heard the flesh calling him “Ye’er, Ye’er”! This had never happened before. Even the fetuses with the highest intelligence couldn’t learn to recognise people at birth, or even speak and call out to them without being taught. And that nickname was only ever called by his mother. It was probably just a coincidence.

The accident resulted in a total of one death and three injuries. Fortunately, the one who died was a cloned mother, which was specially used for experiments and had no consciousness, thought or emotion. It was just like an experimental device made from a human shell, completely controlled by a computer. The most seriously injured was Gao Chuan. His left forearm had been gnawed clean, so he had to be fitted with a prosthetic limb.

The little monster was put into the electric prison—a place of absolute terror for newborn fetuses. For the weak species, being put into there was equivalent to being sentenced to death. Because it was full of monstrous and incomplete test subjects, they had to learn to survive by killing each other in the space without enough food and filled with hostility.

But the little monster should be grateful. After all, it wasn’t shot on the spot.

* * *

After that incident, almost no one thought the experiment was a success, except Feng Yeran. Perhaps it was because Feng Yeran was running out of time, so that he stubbornly ignored all the conditions the little monster had that didn’t match his expectations, thinking that it was a success and that it must be his hope. Or perhaps it was because Feng Yeran was the only one who had heard the little monster’s calling out.

No matter how busy he was, Feng Yeran would go see it every day. Just as if it were still in its mother body, he went to talk to it every day. He observed carefully and would record everything he got that day in a plain black leather diary.

December 26th

I could hardly sleep last night. I was so afraid it’d just disappear. Early this morning, I went to the electric prison to see it and found that the electric prison was much emptier, but it was still there. Great! Old Zhang, who was guarding the electric prison, told me: It’s simply a monster that can’t be beaten. He pulled up ten hours of footage for me. 347 had actually eaten the “boss” of the electric prison! And it was so fast. I could barely see it catching and eating in the dark.

When I was about to leave, I found that it was leaning on the glass and “watching” me. It seemed a little bigger than yesterday, but still had no eyes. Its tentacles were moving slightly, and it seemed to be agitated. Even the door was shaking. It was obvious that it was saying something, but we couldn’t hear through the heavy glass. To be honest, it wasn’t a good feeling. It was that kind of heavy feeling, like the air had turned sticky, and something was squeezing our heads, the back of our heads tightening and our ears constantly ringing. Old Zhang kept complaining and took out his gun. I really felt sick and sat down on the floor unconsciously.

Strangely enough, the feeling soon disappeared. When I recovered, I found that it was still “staring” at me through the glass. It was tapping one tentacle against the glass and the others were drooping, which actually reminded me of a discouraged puppy.

December 27th

I just remembered that this little guy was born on Christmas. It’s really a good day, but unfortunately, it caused a disaster. I unexpectedly found its eyes today. They’re in the flesh slit, so small that you really can’t see them without looking closely. It’s too young. It doesn’t seem to be able to open its eyes yet, but I can feel it constantly trying.

I really couldn’t stand to see it continue to prey on its own kind, so I brought it eggs, milk, chicken and so on. I watched it through the glass for two hours, but it didn’t eat. I tried drinking the milk in front of it and eating the diced chicken with relish. Sure enough, it didn’t take long for it to move towards the food and start chewing it bit by bit. The way it disliked it was really a bit funny.

December 28th

Its habits and characteristics are contrary to the current information on the Adesir. Sometimes, I even wonder if we had gotten the genes wrong in our initial experiments. But sometimes, I’m inexplicably convinced that everything is right. Perhaps, it’s just a premature infant that hasn’t yet matured, and its appearance, limbs and so on all need to be developed after birth. Today, its eyes are more obvious. I can feel its torso developing in the growing piece of flesh.

And its intelligence can’t be doubted either. It appears early every time I go over. Its tentacles that sometimes stretch and sometimes curl up seem to tell its emotions. It’s very good at imitating, imitating the way I eat, and even imitating the way I sit on the chair while holding my cheeks. It’s very clever.

December 29th

It likes music very much and is easily influenced by it. Music full of rhythm excites it, while quiet, soft music puts it to sleep quickly.

January 2nd

I didn’t go yesterday because I fainted. The lower part of my stomach has been hurting badly since the night before last and taking medication didn’t help. As soon as I got home, I fainted. Fortunately, I didn’t knock into anything.

When I went to see it today, I was startled. I heard a baby crying, sometimes shrill, sometimes dull, sometimes urgent like it was about to choke to death. I was so anxious that I was sweating. I asked Old Zhang what was happening. Old Zhang shook his head and said: I don’t think it’s going to work.

It got sick and had a high fever caused by chickenpox. It was sweating all over and the chickenpox was so dense it was frightening. If it went on like this, it would die within a night. Despite Old Zhang’s dissuasion, I carried it from the electric prison to the closed lab and gave it emergency injections to cool it down. Its consciousness was blurred. Its eyes and tentacles, which were normally visible, were completely gone. It was back to its original ugly form, with a strong odour that was indescribable, the smell of blood and sizzling mixed with the smell of decay. It resisted all the drugs, struggled spasmodically, and then stopped moving as if it had fallen asleep. At around 3am, I heard its intermittent crying again. I rushed to get a thermometer to test its temperature, but found that a hard white “skin” had formed on the surface of its body, which reminded me of a cocoon or snakeskin. I hadn’t read any relevant records and had no idea what to do. I tried to peel it off, but found the skin quite hard. But its cries gradually subsided, and the heart-like part was still beating. I believe it will survive.

January 3rd

It didn’t cry or wake up.

January 4th

It’s morphing and growing. But it still hasn’t woken up. I’m really worried that it’ll just…

January 5th

No movement at all.

January 8th

It hurts. It hurts a lot. How much time do I have left? I don’t care about the cold words around me anymore. I just hope it can wake up soon. The doctor advised me to be hospitalised immediately, but I knew that my body was no longer fit for surgery. I felt that once I was hospitalised, I wouldn’t be able to be discharged. Instead of lying in pain, it’s better to wait with hope.

January 13th

I had a dream that when I entered the lab, I saw a huge cocoon. Thick, white filaments wrapped around it in layers, covering the entire room. I passed through the filaments, and it was like walking through a maze. Suddenly, there was a burst of light. I saw the cocoon split open, and countless, blue butterflies gushed out of it—

I ran to the lab to see it, but it remained motionless.

I stayed by its side, talking to it as if it were still in its mother body. I think it can hear.

January 15th

Until now, I couldn’t believe it. It was all like a dream.

Yesterday, I had another very real dream. I dreamed that I was back in my childhood. I was crying and telling Mum that my stomach hurt. Mum let me lie on her lap and gently rubbed my stomach with her hands, constantly saying to me: Ye’er, Ye’er, don’t cry, don’t cry, it won’t hurt after rubbing it. Her slightly yellowed hair was very soft and fell in curves from above. She always looked at me gently, and occasionally looked out the window with a smile in her eyes.

When I woke up, I was much better. My eyes were blurry, but I felt someone touching my face, their fingers warm.

It was unbelievable… I asked myself at least a hundred times in my mind: Feng Yeran, are you sure you’re not dreaming?

A boy who looked one or two years old was sitting in the broken cocoon, his body wrapped with silk threads. He had soft, black curls, his skin was white and red, and the blue irises in his large eyes were indescribably beautiful, reminding me of the countless butterflies in my dream, exactly the same colour… His torso wasn’t fully developed yet, parts of his skin were uneven, and he even still had a foul smell, but it was this ugliness that proved his identity.

Break the cocoon to become a butterfly. Those were the only words that flashed through my mind at that time.

But my reason simply couldn’t admit that such a thing could happen. How could a piece of meat, a monster, undergo such an exaggerated transformation in just a few days? No book on the Adesir had ever recorded that they were capable of metamorphosing like a completely abnormal insect…

My mind was in a mess, and then I saw him reach out and touch my cheek again. I subconsciously touched it. He was actually touching my tears. He looked at me with wide eyes, like an expressionless doll, as if he was wondering what that liquid was.

I knew there was no way he could understand what I was saying, but I couldn’t help but ask, “Are you really a little monster? It’s just incredible… How did you do that?”

He looked up into my eyes and suddenly smiled. The voice from his mouth still sounded a little vague, but I knew he was calling out, “Ye’er… Ye’er…”

* * *

The little monster gave Feng Yeran hope.

He made Feng Yeran feel that his life wasn’t going to be nothing. A ferocious piece of rotting flesh without any facial features could actually evolve into a human form in just over half a month, from a chickenpox fever so high he was about to die, to no trace of fever and not a single scar on his body. Whether it was his growth speed, self-healing ability or anything else, it was all unprecedented, astonishing. At this rate, his growth potential would be infinite in the future.

Feng Yeran dedicated all of his time to the little monster. He reported the matter of little monster 347 to the president and received his approval. The president said that as long as 347 was harmless to people, he could continue to keep it. Even the director, who’d previously made things difficult for Feng Yeran at every turn, subtly praised him, saying that 347 had unlimited potential and that it was entirely possible to study the secrets of metamorphosis on his body, to study his brain, his flesh and blood, and to stimulate his supernormal powers that were different from those of humans. Once this studying was successful, his 18-year-old official news conference would shock humanity. After that, Feng Yeran became the person in charge of 347.

It was clear that Feng Yeran’s health was deteriorating, but this good thing strongly motivated him. As long as he could stand up, he would be full of energy as he accompanied the little monster. He gradually trained the little monster to dress, eat and rest like a human, and brought him many children’s books, comic books, little picture books and so on, as if raising a young child.

The little monster learnt very quickly, and was especially interested in Feng Yeran.

For example, this incident:

Because of his work, Feng Yeran always had a name tag around his neck. The little monster always liked to play with the name tag with his chubby little white hands, seriously tracing the words on it. Then, he slowly said, “Fen… Ye… Rang…”

At that moment, Feng Yeran couldn’t help laughing as he corrected him word by word. At that moment, although the little monster occasionally learned to speak, he couldn’t yet read, much less write. Feng Yeran’s name was still a little too difficult for the little baby.

After learning it a few times, the little monster took out his sketchbook, held a pencil, and hatefully scratched on it.

Feng Yeran thought that he was throwing a tantrum. He went over to look, only to find that he had actually written many words on it, all of them Feng Yeran’s name! But he didn’t write them well. For him, “Ye (烨)” and “Ran (然)” were difficult to write, so he wrote “Feng (封)” a lot, often only the right of “Ye”, and very little of “Ran”.

When the little monster saw Feng Yeran coming, he pointed to the paper and said, “Na…me! Feng… Ye… Ran.”

His pronunciation was already very standard, and his voice was soft and particularly cute.

“Great!”

Feng Yeran couldn’t help but rub his soft hair like a cat’s.

It suddenly occurred to him that the little monster didn’t have a name yet. He couldn’t keep calling him little monster or 347.

“What’s a good name for you?” Feng Yeran asked.

The little monster pointed at the name on the paper. “Feng… Yeran!”

“Haha, that’s my name. Now we’re going to give you a name.”

“Feng Yeran~”

“You’re calling it more and more familiarly. But we can’t call each other the same name. Otherwise, how can we tell the difference?”

The little monster looked like he didn’t understand, but suddenly pouted, with an expression of ‘I must be named that’.

Feng Yeran shook his head helplessly. He thought for a moment, then circled two words on the page with a pencil: “Feng” and “Hua”.

“You always write ‘Ye (烨)’ without the fire (火) and ended up writing a lot of ‘Hua (华)’. It seems you like this word very much. Then why don’t we just call you Feng Hua.”

“?”

“Little fool, I mean, I’ll call you Feng Hua from now on!”

“Feng… Hwa?”

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8 thoughts on “Chapter 2 – Metamorphosis”

  1. Im willing to die for Feng Hua 😭 what an adorable litlle bun you areee. Also I can feel the Feng Ye Ran’s deep sadness 😟 that im tearing up,, he just sounds soo lonely and nowww Feng Hua entered his life its all gonna turn upside downn.

    Reply
  2. Umm, they are already so advanced that they’ve made cloned mothers yet people still die from cancer???
    And the child is such a cutie ☺️

    Reply

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