The group arrived at the Ferris Wheel Hotel, and found Shao Qingge driving a suspension car and waiting for them in the parking lot. Lu Jiuchuan was also sitting in the car. He saw everyone and asked with concern, “Did the process of checking the genes go smoothly?”
Tang Ci nodded. “The identities of the 10 deceased have been confirmed. Zhang Shaohua on Capital Star is the real person.”
Shao Qingge sent the news to Qu Wanyue so that she could continue to follow up.
Meanwhile, Xiao Lou looked at Ye Qi and asked, “Xiao Ye, do you have an impression of your mother?”
Ye Qi shook his head. “Not at all. I lived in an orphanage before I was adopted. Why?”
Xiao Lou explained, “The bones of your mother weren’t found on the starship. You are now 19 years old and your father died 20 years ago. It is obvious that your mother was pregnant at the time and didn’t flee with your father. I don’t know if she was killed by the emperor or is secretly hiding… we have to check again.”
Ye Qi scratched his head and took off the necklace around his neck. Then he grabbed the necklace found with his father’s bones and put them together. “The necklace I’ve worn since I was a baby and my father’s necklace looks like two half moons. When they are put together, they are one round moon. Are there any clues hidden in here?”
Tang Ci took them and observed carefully for a moment before suddenly saying, “This is a smart chip. It is completely impossible to open if it is only a half circle. The half of Ye Qi’s necklace can be called the key to the smart chip carried by Ye Wenbo.”
Xiao Lou was happy. “Let’s take a look and see if there is any information on it?”
Tang Ci connected the unlocked smart chip to his computer. There was a folder in it called ‘Experimental Group Information’. He opened it and saw many familiar names.
Xiao Lou, Shao Qingge, Ye Qi…
Every case was clearly and completely recorded, including the days when the cells started to replicate, the daily development of different cells, the day when the cloned person was born, which nutrients were added, etc.
Ye Qi was stunned. “I wasn’t born when the plan restarted in 2985, right?”
Xiao Lou opened up Ye Qi’s case file. “Your mother was pregnant. Cells can be extracted from the embryo that are genetically consistent with your cells. Perhaps the clone Ye Qi was born even earlier than you.”
Ye Qi didn’t know if he should laugh or cry. “What type of children will be born in the future? Directly extract cells, clone them and raise them in the culture medium until they are five years old. Mothers don’t have to work hard to conceive, raise children and give them milk. They can directly send the child to elementary school.”
Shao Qingge said helplessly, “Then the entire social order will be in disarray. Your child can quickly be raised to the same age as you or even older than you.”
Xiao Lou looked closely at the chip. “This is full of the clones’ case files. In addition to the three of us, there are the children of the researchers involved in the project. Some even contributed their own cells. Our guess might be a bit wrong. The clones taken away from the Egret at that time by the merpeople might be more than three.”
Ye Qi lamented, “In this case, they will have more materials for experimentation…”
Yu Hanjiang told everyone, “Let’s go. We have to hurry up.”
Shao Qingge started the suspension vehicle and moved quickly through the air lanes to the fishing village by the sea.
It was dark and the fishermen had started to rest. Shao Qingge parked the car in a corner where no one could find it and used various displacement cards to return to the remote deserted island with his teammates.
There were still three hours until midnight when all the card skills were refreshed. Old Mo’s lazy sofa had a cooldown time and a restriction on the continuous effect, so they made full use of these three hours to rest.
Tents were set up on the deserted island. Xiao Lou started a fire and everyone sat around the fire, leaning against trees to sleep.
It was almost midnight when everyone woke up.
Liu Qiao asked, “By the way, where is my card pack?”
Gui Yuanzhang took out a card pack from his pocket. “It is here with me. You were unconscious when we saved you and we weren’t sure if you were the real Liu Qiao or a clone. Thus, we first took away your card pack. Chief Shao recommended to shrink you so we also used your Thumbelina card.”
Liu Qiao nodded in understanding. “That’s fine. It is good to be cautious. Then you don’t doubt me now?”
Xiao Lou looked at her with a gentle smile. “Of course. You know about the secret rooms we have experienced. How can you be fake?” He paused before saying to Gui Yuanzhang, “Senior, please return the pack to Xiao Liu when you enter the water later. She will be able to protect herself with the card pack if there is any danger in the sea.”
Yu Hanjiang suddenly said, “Leave the Daughter of the Sea and the Witch cards to me. Daughter of the Sea can turn everyone into merpeople so we can go to the deep sea to join you. The Witch card has the antidote. Chief Shao and Ye Qi’s Bug King cards have been used. In a critical moment, the witch’s antidote might be able to save lives.”
Gui Yuanzhang handed these two cards to Yu Hanjiang before returning the card pack to Liu Qiao.
It was soon midnight. Xiao Lou got up and looked at the dark sea in the distance. “The three of you, act quickly and pay attention to safety. If you encounter the patrol troops, you can use the invisibility cloaks to avoid them. If you encounter danger that can’t be solved, call me using Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings and I will pull you back to the Peach Blossom Spring.”
Xiao Lou summoned Qin Guan and connected to Old Mo using Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings.
Yu Hanjiang advised, “Old Mo, after finding the clone laboratory, immediately use the mark and pull us over.”
Mo Xuemin nodded cautiously. “Yes, we will complete the task.”
The trio glanced at each other before leaping into the dark water, jumping flexibly.
The green, blue and silver tails hit the water and created beautiful splashes. In the blink of an eye, the three merpeople were no longer in view. They could travel at a speed of 200 km/hr and the effective range of the team headset was only 10 kilometers. Therefore, they had to communicate with each other in their minds.
Xiao Lou told Old Mo using Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings, “This plan is very risky. You must be careful. If you really can’t do it, call me directly and I will pull you back.”
Old Mo replied, “Professor Xiao, don’t worry. I have an idea in my heart.”
On the deserted island, Xiao Lou frowned as he watched the waves die down and calm return to the sea. His brow was furrowed and full of fear. Under the moonlight, his face was much paler than usual and his hands by his side were clenched into fists. He seemed very uneasy.
Yu Hanjiang stepped forward and gently wrapped an arm around his shoulder, telling him in a low voice, “Don’t worry, Senior Gui and Old Mo already know the truth. They will definitely be more careful. Our plan is risky but it is also the best solution.”
The man’s low voice made Xiao Lou feel much better. He took a deep breath and managed to squeeze out a smile. “I hope everything goes well and they don’t get trapped in the labyrinth.”
Ye Qi optimistically said, “No, they won’t. The three of them grew up in the deep sea and their actions are more flexible and lighter than our large group. In addition, Old Mo has the strongest sense of direction and the strongest ability to move through the labyrinth. As long as there are no strange mechanisms and he just has to explore the way, I believe Old Mo can find the path soon.”
This labyrinth was quite special. In the previous labyrinths they encountered, there was no one else and it didn’t seem crowded for them when walking together. Meanwhile, this merpeople palace was full of merpeople and patrolling troops. If their group entered the labyrinth then it was easy to attract the attention of the merpeople. It would only be worse for them if they were besieged at that time.
The deployment of vanguard troops might be risky but it was by far the best strategy at present.
By this time, Liu Qiao, Old Mo and Gui Yuanzhang had reached the palace.
The palace in the middle of the night was much more active than during the day. There were patrolling guards walking around but this wasn’t a problem for the three people who had grown up in the palace since they were young. In addition to their merpeople abilities, they had many cards.
Gui Yuanzhang used his brush to increase their speed in the palace.
In addition, they wore the invisibility cloaks so the guards couldn’t find them at all.
The palace buildings on the west side had been checked previously and there were more forked paths on the east side.
The three people quickly explored the way and Old Mo remembered the path in his mind.
After all, the invisibility cloak only lasted for 30 minutes. Once the cloak failed, it was possible to be surrounded by merpeople. “Time is running out. The three of us will split up. Remember to leave a mark at the junction of dead end roads and use the voice headset to keep in touch.” Old Mo instructed.
The distance inside the palace wasn’t over 10 kilometers so the three of them could communicate with each other using the voice headset.
Gui Yuanzhang nodded. “Okay. Be careful.”
The fluorescent Four-way Arrow card might be easy to notice but it was safer to leave a mark. The three of them agreed to leave a sharp arrow-shaped mark at the intersections with dead ends.
After a while, the three of them met at a big intersection. Due to the invisibility cloaks, they couldn’t see each other and almost ran into each other.
Senior Gui immediately said, “I moved through over a dozen forked paths and the end of the paths were just the residences of merpeople. Nothing abnormal was found.”
Liu Qiao nodded. “Me too.”
Old Mo wondered, “There are so many forked paths but no clues. What is the structure of the east side?”
Senior Gui had a headache. “I have an ordinary sense of direction. I still have to rely on you to move through the labyrinth.”
Old Mo nodded. “I’ll go forward, Xiao Liu will go to the left and Senior Gui will go to the right. Continue to explore!”
Soon, Senior Gui and Liu Qiao met up but there were no traces of Old Mo.
Liu Qiao wondered, “Where did Uncle Mo go? Is his path the right one?”
Just then, Mo Xuemin’s familiar voice was heard in their ears. “I understand it now. The east labyrinth is actually a complicated fishbone structure. The many side roads are the residences of the merpeople and no laboratory has been found. There is only one main road in the labyrinth, which is like the backbone in the middle of the fishbone.”
Liu Qiao’s eyes lit up. “It makes sense. No wonder why there are so many interference roads. These forked roads are the ribs of the fish. Uncle Mo, will the laboratory be in the position of the fish head? Or is it the fish tail?”
Old Mo answered, “I’ve reached the fish head. It is a beautiful 270 degree viewing platform surrounded by colorful fish. It is like an aquarium. I didn’t find any obvious mechanisms. The laboratory is probably at the fish tail.”
Gui Yuanzhang wondered, “Should we go the other way?”
“Yes, turn around and go straight to try it.”
Old Mo quickly returned to Liu Qiao and Gui Yuanzhang and they continued the investigation in the opposite direction.
Just then, they saw Xiao Lou passing through a spacious corridor. The surrounding guards looked at him and immediately saluted him respectfully. “Your Highness.”
Xiao Lou frowned and asked, “You still haven’t found the princess?”
A guard lowered his head in shame. “This subordinate sent troops to search the nearby seas but they haven’t been able to find the princess. In addition, Elder Gui and Mr Mo have also disappeared.”
Xiao Lou ordered, “Keep looking. Report back to me immediately if there is any news.”
The three people didn’t dare to go out. They held their breaths and hid until Xiao Lou passed by and disappeared at the end of the corridor. Then the three people sighed with relief.
Liu Qiao suggested, “Should we follow him? This is the area where the elders live and he usually doesn’t come here. He suddenly passed by today and headed to the depths of the labyrinth. Perhaps he is going to the cloning laboratory?”
Gui Yuanzhang nodded. “It makes sense. Let’s follow and take a look.”
The three of them followed Xiao Lou from a distance and reached the fish tail position of the labyrinth.
This was very similar to the V-shaped tail of a normal fish, with a branched path to the left and right. Looking closely, the left and right sides were exactly the same. There was also a door on either side with a strange figure-shaped switch on them.
Old Mo looked blank as he whispered, “The two doors are exactly the same?”
Gui Yuanzhang frowned. “The theme of this secret room is clones. Since people have a real and fake self, the labyrinth should also have something real and false. If we open the real door, we can enter the cloning laboratory. If we open the false door, perhaps we will die.”
Old Mo was happy. “Fortunately, we met the 5th Xiao Lou and he showed us the way.”
The trio couldn’t follow too closely so Xiao Lou had already disappeared from sight. However, Senior Gui was keenly aware of a clue. “He went to the left. You see, the sea waves on the left are different from the right. Someone has obviously just passed by.”
Old Mo nodded. “Yes, I have informed Professor Xiao. He told me to use Li Qingzhao’s mark to summon everyone over and solve this 5th Xiao Lou first.”
He summoned Li Qingzhao and used the marking skill, Stray Into the Depths of the Lotus Flowers.
Li Qingzhao’s mark could teleport all teammates to this position after five minutes. As long as they waited five minutes, their teammates could instantly appear in front of them. The trio hid nervously and waited for the right time…
Five minutes later, Xiao Lou’s group appeared in front of them.
At this point, the invisibility cloaks of the trio had lost their effect. Xiao Lou walked up to Old Mo and asked in a low voice, “Are you sure that the 5th Xiao Lou entered the door to the left?”
Old Mo nodded. “Yes.”
Xiao Lou ordered, “Let’s go to the right.”
Liu Qiao was startled and wondered, “Why should we go to the right? Didn’t he go to the left?”
Xiao Lou smiled slightly as he looked at Liu Qiao. “He is a clone, a fake. Then the place he went to is naturally the false one. Maybe he discovered you and wanted to deliberately lure everyone to follow him into the false door.”
Liu Qiao suddenly realized. “It makes sense.”
Xiao Lou had just finished speaking when Yu Hanjiang arrived at the door to the right.
There was a graphic mechanism on the door. Old Mo said, “It should be a fishbone. The floor plan of the labyrinth is like a fish bone.”
Yu Hanjiang used his finger to draw a fish bone on the mechanism and the door opened.
He looked around vigilantly and walked into the room.
The scene inside was simply shocking. There were coffin-sized glass containers filled with light blue liquids placed one after another. ‘Specimens’ of human beings were lying inside them. Among them were Xiao Lou, Shao Qingge, Ye Qi, Lu Jiuchuan, Tang Ci…
After seeing so many copies of himself suddenly appearing in the laboratory in the weird nutrient solution, Ye Qi couldn’t help feeling a chill going down his back. “I will definitely have nightmares later!”
Just then, a vessel in the laboratory started to shake violently.
A girl actually climbed out of a ‘transparent coffin’. She was covered in a strange blue liquid and her hair was sticky. Her skin was dehydrated by the nutrient solution and she looked a mess.
She and Liu Qiao had exactly the same face!
Liu Qiao took a horrified step back. “She… is my clone? When was I copied? In addition… she was raised to be 18 years old like me!”
The Liu Qiao covered in nutrient solution stared at her other self coldly. Due to being soaked in the nutrient solution for too long, her voice seemed a bit hoarse but her words were extremely calm. “You are the clone.”
Liu Qiao looked to Xiao Lou for help. “Professor Xiao, she actually wants to try to create chaos by passing off the fake as the real?”
Xiao Lou immediately connected with Liu Qiao using Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings and asked through the mind channel, “Have you seen the traditional Chinese medicine books on the 23rd floor of the medical school’s library?”
The Liu Qiao in a disheveled state quickly replied, “Our medical school’s library doesn’t have 23 floors. It is only 12 floors and the Chinese medicine books are on the 6th floor.”
Xiao Lou decisively ordered, “Take her and withdraw!”
The next moment, Yu Hanjiang tied up the Liu Qiao next to Xiao Lou with the white silk card. Then everyone disappeared from the merpeople palace in an instant and appeared under the peach blossom trees.
It was a collective transmission to the Peach Blossom Spring.
Both Liu Qiaos arrived in the Peach Blossom Spring. One was in an embarrassing state while the other was well-dressed.
Xiao Lou took off his coat and placed it on the former Liu Qiao. Liu Qiao glanced at him and said gratefully, “Professor Xiao, I didn’t expect you to find me so soon.”
The neatly dressed Liu Qiao had a pale face. “What do you mean? Do you believe her instead of me?”
“I already knew you were a fake. You fell into my language trap without being aware of it. The library of the medical school doesn’t have a 23rd floor.” Xiao Lou looked at the girl in front of him. His voice was calm but his eyes didn’t have the usual gentleness. “We acted in front of you because we wanted to rescue the real Liu Qiao as soon as possible.”
Yu Hanjiang’s eyes were sharp. “You cooperated with the 5th Xiao Lou to lead us to the palace. You wanted to destroy all of us at the bottom of the sea, right?”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality