Tang Ci had already sorted out the guest list for the wedding and handed it to Xiao Lou. Long Sen had sealed the church with marble bricks so no one could escape.
What just happened was too strange. What clones, self-healing ability and regenerated limbs? It was like watching a movie and the witnessing people couldn’t believe it was true!
The church had calmed down but no one dared to speak. Most of the guests lowered their heads and trembled with fear. The church was so quiet that even the sound of breathing couldn’t be heard.
Xiao Lou glanced around and spoke calmly, “There will be no media coverage about what happened in the church today. Everyone here should know what to say and what not to say.”
He looked at Yu Hanjiang who nodded and walked to the crown prince’s side. “His Majesty is old and weak. He died unexpectedly due to excessive excitement at the wedding. There was an assassination attempt on the crown prince and his wife on the way back. In order to protect the crown prince, the princess and General Lin were unfortunately killed by the assassin. The assassin’s name is Rod Bell. He is a star thief wanted by the Stellan Federation for many years.”
The group sucked in a breath the moment they heard the calm words of the captain of the royal guards.
This was reversing black and white and confusing the public. Not a single sentence was true!
However, the emperor was the ruler of the Locke Empire and Xiao Lou’s biological father. If he didn’t find a suitable excuse, how could Xiao Lou explain burning his father, sister, father-in-law and fiancee at the wedding?
What would people think of him?
Moreover, the cloning program had broken the bottom line of scientific ethics. Making all of this public would only cause panic among the people. The more worrying thing was that the crazy scientists who were interested in cloning, would perhaps start the research again after hearing the truth. It was hard to guarantee they wouldn’t reproduce version 4.0.
The best method was to bury the secret forever and destroy all data about Noah’s Ark. This would completely end the cloning of human genes.
For the guests present, Xiao Lou decided to use hypnosis to make them forget what happened today.
In the beginning, Liu Qiao and Tang Ci experienced hypnosis after they were rescued by the merpeople. The merpeople were best at hypnosis. Before the wedding, Xiao Lou had found a way to contact Liu Qiao and Gui Yuanzhang was already on his way to the Locke Empire. He would be here soon.
Outside the door, Lu Jiuchuan drove the long prepared Arrow Corps starship to above the church. Long Sen put away the marble. All the people in the church were escorted to the starship and secretly sent to the pre-prepared territory.
That night, the imperial news published a heavy obituary.
“At the wedding of Prince Xiao Lou, His Majesty the Emperor died of a sudden cerebral infarction due to excessive excitement. On the way back, the crown princess and General Lin were killed by assassins. His Highness was injured and is being taken to hospital for treatment.”
The happy event turned into a funeral. People were very worried about Xiao Lou’s situation and the entrance of the hospital was crowded with reporters.
The captain of the royal guards, Yu Hanjiang, told reporters with a cold face that the prince had only suffered trauma and was in a stable condition. However, the prince had a heavy heart from the loss of his loved ones and temporarily didn’t want to accept any interviews.
On the forum, people spontaneously offered flowers for the emperor and prayed for the prince.
The sky over the empire was overcast and people were worried.
All those who attended the wedding didn’t go home that night.
Once they woke up the next day, their memories were almost the same as what was described in the news. However, they always felt that their memory of the wedding was a bit vague. It seemed that something was wrong but they couldn’t remember what went wrong.
At this time, the ‘wounded in an assassination attempt’ crown prince was standing in the laboratory on the top floor of the royal hospital.
In front of him lay two coffin-sized glass containers containing his closest family in this world.
On the left was the emperor and on the right was Xiao Rou.
Both of them were in a state of ‘brain death’. This meant their body organs and tissues were still working normally but their brain cells had lost their activity. They were like two vegetative people who would never wake up.
Yu Hanjiang finished dealing with the reporters and came up to the top floor laboratory. He found Xiao Lou standing in front of the two glass containers with a serious and thoughtful expression.
Yu Hanjiang went to him, gently holding his shoulder and asked, “Is there anything else you don’t understand?”
Xiao Lou said, “The Xiao Rou in the laboratory looks like she is only 20 years old. This is the age she got married. Obviously, her body has been frozen here since before she got married that year. In other words, the Princess Xiao Rou who got married and went to the Azure Empire 20 years ago was actually the clone.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at the young girl in the glass container and a trace of regret flashed in his eyes. “Xiao Rou hugged you before you got married and said you must grow up quickly. Was that the real Xiao Rou or the clone Xiao Rou?”
In Xiao Lou’s childhood memory, his sister wore a white wedding dress and walked along the long red carpet of the palace. There was no joy on the bride’s face, only a trace of loneliness. Her voice was very gentle as she leaned over to speak in Xiao Lou’s ears.
Xiao Lou always felt that she should be the real one. Her tone of perseverance and the nostalgia in her eyes didn’t seem to be pretend. Moreover, there was no need for the clone to disguise herself in front of the 5 year old Xiao Lou.
Xiao Lou took a deep breath to remain calm. “My sister who left the palace in her wedding dress should be real and she was changed on the way. 20 years ago, Xiao Rou saw our clones in the laboratory. She should’ve met Rod Bell, the star thief leader who was in the cloning laboratory at the time.”
Yu Hanjiang thought carefully for a moment and speculated, “In other words, Xiao Rou saw Rod Bell at the laboratory and had her clone replace her for the wedding at his instigation?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “This star thief is extremely cunning. At that time, Xiao Rou was a simple princess and she didn’t want to marry a man she didn’t love. She was bewitched by the star thief and promised to let the clone marry Prince Herman in her stead. Therefore, she cooperated with the star thief in an act and left the palace in her wedding dress. She switched halfway and let the clone replace her.”
Yu Hanjiang followed along with this line of thinking. “Unfortunately, she didn’t expect that the so-called ‘replacement’ was a real replacement. Since then, the clone became Princess Xiao Rou while the real Xiao Rou was placed into this glass coffin by the star thief, never waking up again.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes, the words she told me when I was 5 years old were actually a farewell forever.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “Xiao Rou’s clone probably had a consciousness at the time and listened to Rod Bell. She cooperated with the star thief to guide General Lin’s starship to the deep sea, where it crashed due to the whirlpool.”
The star thieves had been traveling around the universe all these years and sold precious minerals. He probably knew about the merpeople for a long time and borrowed their hand to kill the humans on the starship.
The plot had been guessed 70-80%.
Rod Bell had the genes of the bugs and survived the deep sea. He deleted the information of the Noah’s Ark project and cooperated with the fake Xiao Rou to build a secret laboratory among the merpeople.
On the surface, Princess Xiao Rou was monitored by her husband Herman.
Yet in fact, it should be the other way around. It was the fake Xiao Rou who was watching her husband Herman. Through her husband, she kept abreast of the empire’s movements and reported them to Rod Bell.
Therefore, after developing version 3.0, Rod Bell sent the invisible man to the Twin Palaces to look for Xiao Lou and guided him and Yu Hanjiang to leave the palace to find clues. Once Xiao Lou came to Azure Planet, the fake Xiao Rou induced them to check the fishing village. She led them step by step into the trap among the merpeople.
Rod Bell was a hunter and the fake Xiao Rou was the tool he used.
Yu Hanjiang took Xiao Lou’s right hand and looked at the ring on his finger. “Then how do you explain the Spirit Fox activation ring that His Majesty gave me?”
Xiao Lou looked at the glass coffin. “How old do you think my father in the container looks?”
Yu Hanjiang examined it. “The emperor looks the same age as the emperor who was burned yesterday.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “It is possible that the emperor we met when we first entered the secret room was actually the true one. Therefore, he summoned you to test if you can distinguish the true from the fake and gave you the activation ring of the smart mecha.”
Yu Hanjiang found Xiao Lou’s speculation unexpected. “You mean, the original emperor was the real one? He still had a bit of affection for you, the genuine prince, so he gave you the mecha so you can defend yourself. Later, the emperor was replaced by the clone?”
Xiao Lou answered, “It is very likely. The hunters failed to kill us in the merpeople’s palace, failed to let us die with the crashed starship and we even broke through the siege in the bug’s underground labyrinth. Three consecutive plans failed so they had to put all their eggs in a basket to try and get rid of us on Capital Star.”
If so, the real emperor might’ve only been killed and replaced by the clone in recent days.
The emperor might be crazy and abnormal but he wouldn’t kill his son himself. He just used the Gu raising plan to make all his children compete fairly. Since the second Xiao Lou had the self-healing ability of the bugs, he gave his real son the smart mecha to balance out their strength.
How did he die? When was he replaced by the clone?
A figure flashed in Xiao Lou’s mind and he suddenly wondered, “By the way, where is the third Xiao Lou?”
Yu Hanjiang was slightly taken aback. “Do you mean the one around the emperor who was slow-witted and obedient?”
“We saw three clones of me in the secret room with a consciousness. The second one participated in the engagement banquet and birthday banquet. His demeanor and temperament is most similar to the original. The third one is the obedient prince whom you saw. The fourth one was taken away by General Lin and saved by the merpeople after falling into the deep sea. The fifth one was improved according to number four and became the prince of the merpeople as well as a hunter.”
Xiao Lou looked seriously at Yu Hanjiang. “The clones among the merpeople were burned by us and the second Xiao Lou at the wedding was killed by us. Then… where is the third one?”
Surprise filled Yu Hanjiang’s heart. “Number three hasn’t appeared. I have only seen him once.”
At that time, he used the behavior and eye analysis to determine that the Xiao Lou attending the birthday banquet wasn’t the same as the one he met. Yu Hanjiang defined them as the second and third Xiao Lous.
During this time, the one who made the public appearance was always number two. He was the one who resembled Xiao Lou the most.
Out of all the clones, number three was the one with the weakest sense of existence. He had been by the emperor’s side and was like a good and obedient pet…
What if he suddenly did something to the emperor?
The emperor would be caught off guard.
Clones were a community of interests. The existence of the version 3.0 chips meant they were easily controlled by Rod Bell.
Xiao Lou said, “On the way back to Capital Star, the star thief took control of the third Xiao Lou and asked him to kill the emperor. He hid the emperor in the laboratory on the top floor of the hospital and woke up the emperor’s clone, letting the clone replace the emperor. They wanted to resolve us at the wedding but they missed a person, Zhang Shaohua.”
Xiao Lou hadn’t found Zhang Shaohua’s real DNA from the bones found on the sunken ship so he speculated that Professor Zhang on Capital Star was the real one.
Zhang Shaohua pretended to be a fool for 20 years and helped Xiao Lou find the most intact information. This allowed him to determine that there was a problem with the identity of the emperor and Xiao Rou. They made a detailed plan in advance and completed a clean counter-attack at the wedding.
Rod Bell’s hunting plan failed again.
Xiao Lou said, “I don’t know if he will come to make trouble? I need to stabilize the situation as soon as possible.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded and looked at him gently. “Don’t worry, I’ll arrange it.”
The next day, the reporters announced that Prince Xiao Lou was discharged safely.
The imperial cabinet held an emergency meeting and successfully passed the proposal for Xiao Lou, the crown prince, to inherit the throne.
On the day that Xiao Lou succeeded the throne, the royal guards escorted Xiao Lou all the way under the leadership of Yu Hanjiang. Yu Hanjiang held Xiao Lou’s arm and personally sent Xiao Lou to the gate of the largest palace building in the imperial palace.
Xiao Lou wore the emperor’s clothing and looked calm and dignified. He walked in an unhurried manner toward the exquisite and luxurious throne.
He turned and sat down slowly on the throne, the symbol of the highest power. Then he faced officials from all walks of life filling the hall.
Everyone placed their right hand on their chest and bowed in unison. “Your Majesty.”
Xiao Lou smiled and raised his hand. “Everyone, you can dispense with the courtesies.”
At almost the same time, notifications popped up in the floating box in the upper right corner of Xiao Lou’s vision.
[Congratulations to Xiao Lou’s team for smoothly clearing the Q secret room: Interstellar Voyage.]
[You can either go back to your personal space to collect your rewards or stay in this secret room for the rest of your lives.]
[Please make a choice: A. stay. B. Return to your personal space.]
Xiao Lou didn’t hesitate to press the B option and returned to his personal space with his teammates.
For him, there was no need to stay after clearing the secret room. They had to hurry to the next secret room and leave the Card World as soon as possible.
The clones of the Q level had left a serious psychological shadow on his teammates.
In later secret rooms, they must first confirm the authenticity of the other person when seeing each teammate. They almost died because of an oversight. It was still terrifying when thinking about it. In addition, they hadn’t even seen the big boss of this level, Rod Bell, let alone take care of him.
This man didn’t show up until the end.
Clearing the secret room didn’t require them to kill the hunters.
The hunters were in the darkness while they were in the light. The future K level was still uncertain but there were only two levels left. Then they could leave this strange Card World.
They had to give it their all.
Partially proofread: Paranoid Kitten