Xiao Lou’s heart was full of many doubts. For example, his older brother who died at the age of one that the emperor mentioned to him and the invisible man who sneaked into the Twin Palaces on the day of the birthday banquet. Did his sister know about these things?
Just as he was about to ask, he heard a conversation between Professor Edwin and Prince Herman outside the door.
Prince Herman’s voice was anxious. “How long will the check take?”
Professor Edwin said, “The princess wants to do a comprehensive physical examination. She said she is feeling stuffy so I arranged for a cardiologist to carefully check her heart and draw blood to check her hormones… Don’t worry, the doctors are experts I contacted in advance. The nurse took the princess to draw blood just now. After having blood taken, she will return to the ultrasound room.”
Prince Herman’s footsteps stopped at the door before he turned around and said, “Very well, call me when she comes out.”
The doctor left with Prince Herman. Xiao Lou knew that time was tight and he had to make a long story short. “Sister, I have a few questions to ask you.”
Xiao Rou nodded. “Yes.”
“Father told me that I once had a brother and he was assassinated before he reached one year old. Therefore, Father experienced the loss of a son. Is this true?”
Xiao Rou’s face was slightly pale. “There was indeed a prince who died before the age of one. Mother received a heavy blow from his death. At that time, she was pregnant and she stayed in the hospital for half a year before giving birth to you. As for whether he was assassinated or not, I don’t know. Father just announced that he died of illness.”
It seemed the emperor hadn’t deceived him about this.
Then Xiao Lou asked, “Father and Mother gave birth to you less than two years after they got married. So why did they have another child only after 13 years? Did they have emotional problems or genetic problems?”
Xiao Rou carefully thought about it for a moment. “I remember when I was five years old, Mother was pregnant and it was with twins. Unfortunately, there was a miscarriage after less than three months. I don’t know the specific reason for the miscarriage. Mother cried very sadly. The miscarriage caused a lot of damage to her body and she spent the next few years recuperating. The key problem for having no children during those years should be her weak body. Father loved her very much and didn’t want to marry again.”
Xiao Lou seized the time to ask, “Was the invisible person who sneaked into the Twin Palaces on my birthday sent by you?”
Xiao Rou wondered, “Invisible person?”
Xiao Lou said, “Yes, he was invisible except for a dark shadow when he left.”
Xiao Rou decisively shook her head. “It wasn’t me. I got married to the prince of the Azure Empire at the age of 20. It is hard for me to leave the palace at ordinary times and there are no more than five people I can trust here. I couldn’t send someone to find you…” She seemed to think of something and suddenly said, “Actually, I have heard some legends about invisible people.”
“Azure Planet is one inhabited by humans but it isn’t full of just human beings. Nearly 50% of it is all ocean. I heard that there are magical creatures in the ocean that humans can’t see. People call them invisible creatures.”
“Since they are fundamentally invisible, how can it be confirmed that they exist?” Xiao Lou was puzzled.
“Legend has it that fishermen by the sea occasionally hear strange songs at night but they can’t see who made the sound. When I got married and came here, many elders scared children by saying ‘the invisible people who sing in the middle of the night will eat them’. Of course, these are just rumors. No one has seen these so-called invisible people. I also thought about them when I heard you mentioning it. Do you think it has something to do with the person you met?” Xiao Rou was nervous.
“……” Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other and saw a hint of surprise in the other person’s eyes. Strange singing? Didn’t this match with the mysterious existence that saved Brother Jiu’s life?
Xiao Lou asked, “Sister, you mentioned the sea. Which specific sea area? Is there a special place?”
“It is all just rumors. No one has seen them.”
The sound of Prince Herman’s footsteps was heard again.
They had met privately for 10 minutes already. If it dragged on any longer, Prince Herman would definitely become suspicious and break into the examination room. It would be difficult to explain why two interns were giving the princess the checkup.
Xiao Lou went to Xiao Rou and gently put his hand on her shoulder. “Sister, protect yourself and your children. I will see you again once I resolve these things.”
Xiao Rou’s eyes instantly turned red and she choked out, “I’m doing fine. But you… how many of those clones who look exactly the same as you are still alive? What if they want to pretend to be you? If necessary, I can testify that you are the real crown prince.”
Xiao Lou smiled. “Is there a difference between real and false?”
Xiao Rou was shocked. “You mean?”
Xiao Lou calmly said, “For Father, we are all his offspring, whether it is a clone or the real person. In any case, we are all called Xiao Lou and our genes are the same.”
Xiao Rou stared in disbelief. “How can he do this? Mother worked so hard to give birth to you! He actually took your blood to make more than 100 clones! If Mother knew then she would be so mad!”
Xiao Lou helplessly said, “Mother has passed away. No one can control him…”
Xiao Rou’s face was full of loss. “Then what will you do?”
Xiao Lou told her, “Sister, rest assured. I will live well. Take care of yourself.”
Xiao Rou hurriedly said, “You also take care! I can’t help much but if one day you need to prove your identity, I will help testify for you!”
Xiao Lou nodded to her and gave Yu Hanjiang a look. Yu Hanjiang used the headset to send a signal to Brother Jiu. Lu Jiuchuan immediately used the teleportation of the Peach Blossom Spring.
Xiao Rou’s eyes were filled with reluctance and concern as she saw Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang disappear.
Immediately after, Prince Herman pushed open the door. He looked at the empty room and frowned. “The check took so long?”
Xiao Rou held her temple and pretended to be weak. “I just checked my heart and was taken by the nurse to draw a tube of blood… where is Professor Edwin? Let him take me to do the ultrasound.”
Herman examined the room. Once he saw nothing suspicious, he helped Xiao Rou away.
Xiao Lou’s group of six gathered in the Peach Blossom Spring.
Tang Ci wondered, “How did it go? Did you gain anything from meeting the princess?”
Xiao Lou told his teammates what his sister knew.
Lu Jiuchuan couldn’t help scolding the emperor after hearing this. “F*k, what the hell is the emperor doing? Cloning a hundred sons? This is simply a mass assembly line production!”
Xiao Lou said seriously, “We have previously speculated that the emperor cloned the prince because the empress couldn’t have another child. In addition, the premature death of the eldest prince at the age of one made him suffer the pain of losing his son. He was worried that no one would inherit the throne if I died. He simply cloned a few more to guarantee at least one would be able to live long enough to inherit the throne.”
Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin. “If he is worried that no one would inherit the throne, it is enough to clone two or three. If there are 100, won’t there be a mess?” He looked at Tang Ci. “Xiao Tang, would you copy so much backup data?”
Tang Ci was expressionless. “Even data engineers will only make two or three backups of the core data. No one will be idle and bored enough to copy it onto 100 USB flash drives. Fundamentally, backing up data is for security reasons. If the original data is damaged, it can be repaired. Having a large number of backups can backfire.”
Lu Jiuchuan agreed. “That’s true. For example, I can make two copies of important information on my computer for security. However, if I make 100 copies, isn’t it easier to lose one or for it to be stolen?”
Ye Qi scratched his head. “Yes, the emperor made 100 clones of the prince. If they are used by other people, won’t it be giving himself trouble? What if all these clones gain their own self-awareness and start competing for the throne? This is more exaggerated than the fight over succession in the Kangxi era. 100 identical princes competing for the throne? You can’t even shoot a movie like this!” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangxi_Emperor#Succession_disputes)
Ye Qi’s description made people want to laugh and cry.
100 princes competing for the throne wasn’t that simple. Not to mention that these 100 people looked the same.
Yu Hanjiang said, “The emperor will naturally think about this. Don’t forget, Xiao Lou’s father is a man who has sat on the throne of the Locke Empire for decades. He can’t be so foolish as to create 100 crown princes to trouble himself.”
Xiao Lou added, “The 100 princes is what my sister saw back then, not what we might see now.”
The group heard this and their expressions changed slightly.
Shao Qingge had been silent this whole time. Now his eyes narrowed. “Do you mean that most of the princes might be dead?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes. Hanjiang is right. The emperor would’ve certainly thought about this. He naturally didn’t make 100 clones to raise them all and create trouble for himself. If they compete for the throne then it will just make the palace messy. How could he do a thing that doesn’t benefit himself? Maybe he planned all this from the beginning. He cloned so many princes in order to choose the best prince to raise.”
Ye Qi looked at Xiao Lou and blurted out, “It is just like planting potatoes. Plant a large area first, choose the best looking ones and throw away the others?”
Xiao Lou closed his eyes. It was hard to imagine a life that looked exactly like his own being copied and then killed one by one.
However, his heart was telling him that it was true.
The cloning plan was so cold-blooded and brutal.
Xiao Lou opened his eyes, calm restored to his face. “It is survival of the fittest. First, mass produce the goods, select the best to stay and destroy all defective products. Isn’t this the principle of many enterprises when producing high-end goods?”
Yu Hanjiang also thought of this. “Including Xiao Lou, there are three crown princes at the palace. The other two are presumably the elites screened out of the Noah’s Ark program.”
Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci looked at each other. They somehow remembered the scenes they saw when the bugs integrated with each other on the bug planet. The low level bugs fused together to high level bugs and eventually became a queen.
Lu Jiuchuan’s expression sank. “Why does this plan sound like…”
Xiao Lou’s voice was soft. “Raising a Gu.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gu_(poison))
Ye Qi sucked in a breath. “Surely this isn’t inspiration from researching the bugs?”
Xiao Lou nodded with a white face. “Low level bugs fuse into high level ones. This has been witnessed by several military officers who went to the bug planet. This is very similar to raising a Gu. Many people have heard the legend of a Gu king. To create a Gu king, you must first put many poisonous insects in the same vessel and let them kill each other. The weak will be killed and eaten and the one who lives to the end is the highly toxic Gu king.”
Yu Hanjiang’s voice was low. “On the day of the birthday banquet, the invisible man who sneaked into the Twin Palaces said something to Xiao Lou that I didn’t understand. Now it seems his words were implying that the cloning plan is actually a Gu breeding plan.”
“He said—the one who lives to the end is the winner.”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality