Recap from last chapter: Lin decides to explore the rock after many of its cells are swept away by the water current. It finds the white gel food and luminescent microbes.
Chapter Seventeen A Flashing Cavern
Was this sympathy?
What was that? Was this sympathy good or bad? This was a feeling that would occasionally appear when Lin wanted to kill.
But wasn’t it very strange? Lin would occasionally send the cells from its group to die, or kill it after testing for viruses. However, it did not feel anything when it did these things. Why would it feel for the cells that were not of its group?
Was it because it was “itself” that it didn’t feel anything?
Lin did not understand. Right now, Lin was only able to know that this sympathy would stop it from increasing and strengthening its cell group.
So Lin did not decide to comply with it.
Lin decided to name these light cells luminescent microbes. Then Lin decided to attack them.
Lin had the cell group which had gathered together scatter to attack the surrounding luminescent microbes. While the luminescent microbes did not have any ability to fight back, they were extremely fast, and Lin did not have any kind of cell that could catch up to them.
Due to this, Lin started to use encirclement tactics to herd the luminescent microbes towards the corners. This was a cavern, and there would be an end.
Soon, Lin successfully herded more than half of the luminescent microbes into the end of the cavern. With no other path, the luminescent microbes were squeezed together like an enormous being of light. The light was also so bright that Lin was almost unable to see them.
But this would not stop Lin from attacking them.
To deal with large numbers of enemies, Lin summoned the cell with the strongest firepower — the exploding balls.
These cells were filled with the fatal dissolving fluid, and these large cells that were prepared to explode at any moment could easily destroy large numbers of the enemy. While many of these slow-moving cells had been carried away by the water current outside, but there were still enough left to kill all the luminescent microbes here.
Lin first had a few dozen exploding balls move forward to go near the luminescent microbes at the end of the cavern. The exploding balls did not stop when they came into contact with their opponents. They furiously twisted their bodies to squeeze between the luminescent microbes, sucked in water to expand their bodies, and then — boom!
One exploding ball exploded, and the dissolving liquid that was released caused hundreds of luminescent microbes in its surrounding to become powder.
The exploding balls successively set themselves off. With every explosion, the luminescent microbe group would become a size smaller, and the light it gave off a bit dimmer.
Lin did not like to slaughter needlessly, but it would not stop before the last luminescent microbe was dissolved.
However, some special things happened during this process.
When some exploding balls sucked in water, they also sucked in some luminescent microbes. When these luminescent microbes entered the exploding ball, they would be quickly dissolved by the dissolving fluid. However, the remaining pieces would still be inside the exploding balls, and these pieces would give off blue light like the luminescent microbes themselves.
Some exploding balls that consumed more luminescent microbes would turn bright just like the luminescent microbes.
It really was wondrous. A new kind of cell — the flashing exploding ball formed.
It really was interesting.
Lin immediately changed its tactics. From having the exploding balls destroy the luminescent microbes with its explosion to having the exploding balls consume the luminescent microbes. Actually, the efficiency of this tactic was pretty good because the exploding balls were large, and the number of luminescent microbes it ate was not less than what it would kill in an explosion.
No matter what, Lin did not stop its massacre of the luminescent microbes.
Until the last luminescent microbe at the end of the cavern was consumed.
The extinction of the luminescent microbes did not cause the cavern to turn dark again. Its light was now stored inside the exploding balls. Right now, these enormous balls with the ability to explode also had the ability to illuminate.
However, Lin had only killed half of the luminescent microbes. There was still another half squeezed in at the other end of the cavern. They seemed to have detected that Lin had massacred its fellows, and so they were even more tightly packed, and the light they gave off even brighter. They even gave Lin the feeling that it was an enormous being.
This caused Lin to wonder. It thought that these luminescent microbes would escape from the cracks, or evolve ability to fight back. However, it did not do anything, and just squeezed together to wait for death.
Lin would not stop.
Just now, there were several hundred exploding balls that had evolved into flashing exploding balls due to eating the luminescent microbes. Lin felt that the number was enough so what was left was just simply killing them.
No matter if it was directly consuming, exploding, or cutting, Lin would take back all the fragments of the cells, and there would not be any waste.
Lin’s cells started to swim and go near the other end of the cavern — the last luminescent microbes.
This time, Lin decided to use the diggers and the cone-shaped cells to tear them apart.
The luminescent microbes seemed to detect the nearing presence of danger. They started to become anxious and restless. Some luminescent microbes did strange things. They swam towards Lin’s cell group, and then used their fragile bodies to charge at the denticles of the diggers and the cone-shaped cells, and then letting these denticles tear them apart.
What were they doing?
It was the first time Lin had seen this suicidal action. Lin did not understand.
Of course, the luminescent microbes would not explode on their own like the exploding balls. They would not release any toxin after dying, they were just simply killing themselves.
Lin found that about 30% of the luminescent microbes were charging forward to kill themselves while the rest were still piled up motionlessly.
Were they thinking to use a small amount of sacrifice to trade for the lives of the entire group? Maybe they thought that if Lin received enough food, it would not continue to kill.
It was a very simple to understand tactic … … a reasonable tactic … … this was most likely its only solution when it did not have any defensive capabilities.
But Lin’s cell group stopped moving … … why?
The feeling of sympathy seemed to come up again. Lin felt puzzled. Lin had clearly done this frequently, and had concluded that this was just a very rational tactic for survival … …
But why would it still feel “sympathy”?
Lin looked at the last luminescent microbes that were squeezed in the corner. In the end, Lin did not advance.
Lin moved away and decided to have these luminescent microbes leave on their own. While it could continue to kill them, it would have an uncomfortable feeling.
Lin did not feel that this was a good thing. It might have compromised at this time, but Lin thought that it had to eliminate this thing called “sympathy” sooner or later.
Lin turned to those white and soft food that Lin had named white gel.
They were really stuck together in layer after layer to the surface of the rock walls. They were everywhere, and took more than 90% of the cavern.
Taking over this place would mean that Lin could receive more resources than on the outside.
While Lin felt excited, Lin was also bewildered. Where did the white gel come from? Why would large amounts of it be stuck to the rock walls? It remembered that it had encountered an enormous piece of white gel before. If that place hadn’t frozen, Lin would have possibly developed over there.
Lin felt even more puzzled about the white gel. It felt that there would be a day that it would learn where the food came from, and what it was made out of.
But as its present abilities were not sufficient, it would slowly become stronger.
Lin had the cells move away and gather food. It saw that the group of luminescent microbes were still squeezed in the corner and didn’t know when it would come out.
However, Lin did not want to manage them. There were not many luminescent microbes. It was not possible to see when they were scattered apart, but after they had gathered, Lin estimated that it had only took about 10% of the cavern. There were only so few left that even if they were not managed, they would not affect Lin at all.
Lin started to consume all the food here to replenish the numbers it had lost to the water current outside.
While this cavern was safe, Lin did not plan on staying here forever.
Lin found some problems. No matter if it was facing living beings, viruses or other cells, it had a good chance of victory. However, when it faced things not alive — such as water currents or ice, Lin’s cell group didn’t have any immunity.
Also, these events would suddenly appear, and instantly damage Lin.
Lin needed to think of a way to fight back against these threats that would suddenly arrive.
Lin had already thought of a solution for the water currents outside.
Translator Ramblings: Lin, practicing conservation even as a cell since the era of single-celled lifeforms.