This chapter has been brought to you by me, and WanderingGummiOfDoom.
Last chapter recap: Lin encounters a sea star attack.
Chapter Twelve Explore
The basic cells continuously dividing. Relying on the food stored by the fat cells that Lin transported over, they were filling up the oval worm’s empty shell.
Muscle cells filled the segmented limbs of the chitin carapace. The heart and the blood vessels formed at the center. The important parts of the segmented limbs were filled with flexible and reinforced cells. Lin also constructed an esophagus that was the same as the one destroyed at the mouth. However, Lin filled the esophagus with cone-shaped cells and acid ejectors. The esophagus had a similar structure as the devourers. Muscle cells controlled this esophagus which could contract and crush what was swallowed.
After creating the basic structures, Lin found there were many empty spaces in the shell, especially the long tail of the oval worm that was almost completely empty. This kind of tail was not suitable for swimming. Lin remembered that the oval worm moved using its segmented limbs.
While it didn’t know what this space was used for, then it would keep the structure empty. Lin could use it to store fat cells and such. Also, Lin found that the oval worm had many cracks and small openings over its body other than the mouth. Lin didn’t know what they were for so it used hardened cells to block them off.
After the cells finished, Lin tried to move the oval worm. Completely covered in the hard shell, Lin had a feeling of “safety” but Lin was not nimble when it moved. At the beginning, Lin was not used to this. After practicing for a while, Lin had a basic understanding of how to move the oval worm’s body.
Lin primarily wanted to use the oval worm as a guard for the mothership so it called this being the “protector.”
Then Lin had the “protector” leave the ice cave and climb beside the mothership. With this, when Lin encountered something similar to the oval worm next time, it wouldn’t have to fear it as much.
Turning back to the mothership, Lin found that after taking care of the sea star, many other cells had stuck onto the mothership’s ectoderm. These cells would not attack the mothership’s ectoderm but they stuck on motionlessly. Lin didn’t know why they did this but it ate them all.
At the same time, Lin attacked the other leaf worms. These sandbags supplied large amounts of food for Lin. Also, they were unlike enemy uni-cellular colonies that would eventually produce cells that would subdue Lin’s cells and abilities after a while these did nothing. Lin had killed many leaf worms but none of them had produced any abilities to fight back.
It seemed that multicellular beings evolved slowly.
Even if they changed, it probably would be difficult to have the change appear on such a large being.
After eating more leaf worms, Lin’s mothership grew to three times as larger than before. Lin added two more swimming tentacles. Lin felt that it should not continue to get bigger. It must guarantee that it had enough food to survive. If it ate and grew uncontrollably, it would eat all of the leaf worms. If Lin could not find other food, it would be terrible. Due to this, Lin started the “longevity” plan. It would eliminate some old cells, and decrease the need for food as well the overall growth rate.
At the same time, Lin started to make a new cell combination called “nurturers”. They were transparent sphere that moved used tentacles to move. Their use was to raise the green cells in the pens. Because the “nurturers” could move, they could move the green cells places with the most light. However, Lin had them usually swim around the mothership.
After making these preparations, Lin was not afraid of lacking food.
At the same time, Lin was preparing to make some of the sea star’s structures. Lin had one thing it did not understand. The injecting teeth of the sea star were useful, but everything around it was so hard. Its teeth would not be able to pierce other organisms. Also, Lin did not feel that the sea star would be able to bit onto the crucial parts of the oval worm with its movements and speed.
Were there other organisms that were soft and vulnerable to the sea star’s attacks?
Lin’s mothership slowly swam onto a relatively tall mound of sand and looked over. Everything on the sand patch other than the leaf worms were organisms like the round disks. There were no other organisms.
Maybe Lin should observe the entire area and see how deep these beings reached. Then it could calculate how long it should grow.
This was correct.
As Lin thought, it started to act after the protector arrived.
The mothership swam at a relatively high height as the protector climbed along the sand. This empty shell was much faster than the past oval worm, perhaps because it was not completely filled. The two maintained the same speed as they moved on the sand patch and observed the surroundings.
Almost all the organisms in the surroundings were leaf worms and round disk worms. Lin occasionally saw some sea stars. These sea stars were unlike the one that Lin had seen before. They had six tentacles, and were colored like the sand. They kept on throwing sand into the water. Lin thought that they were going through the sand in search of cells to feed on.
Lin ignored them and advanced through the and. After moving forward for a while, Lin found that the density of organisms around it started to decrease. The organisms once packed in the surroundings were scattered in groups.
The leaf worm and other stationary organisms relied on cells that flowed by for food. There seemed to be fewer cells in the water here for some unknown reason.
Lin discovered a completely different organism after passing over a sand hill. It was not different in appearance but in size.
That was an enormous leaf worm that was more than five times as large as the ones Lin encountered previously. It was even larger than Lin’s mothership. But it did not look any different than the previous leaf worms.
Many of these large leaf worms were scattered in the surroundings. There were none of the small leaf worms here.
Was this a gathering place for large leaf worms? Lin swam in front of a large leaf worm, and reached out with its hammer to tap it.
This large leaf worm didn’t feel harder than the small leaf worms. Why did it grow so large? Right, Lin would smash it and see if the interior structures were any different.
As Lin was thinking, the large leaf worm suddenly shook and then the “leaf tip” sprouted a large volume of white fluid.
What was that? Toxins? Lin looked at the fluid the leaf worm sprayed out and its first reaction was to immediately retreat. However, the fluid did not sink down to where Lin was but floated into higher waters. At the same time, Lin discovered the surrounding leaf worms all sprouted a fluid like this into the air.
What were they doing? The leaf worms produced this fluid constantly until it filled the surrounding waters but Lin could not understand the meaning in their actions.
Lin had the mothership and protector stay on the sand to avoid touching the fluid. Then Lin sent some small devourers to swim upwards and see what the fluid was.
This was … … cells?
When the devourers observed from a closer distance, they found that the fluid that had been produced was composed of a type of small cells.
Lin had found this kind of cell before in the bodies of the leaf worms when it had eaten them. This kind of cell was stored in a sac close to the end of the leaf worm. Lin did not know what this kind of cells were used for back then, and now, it was even more puzzled.
They were spraying large numbers of cells out? What was the meaning in this?
They were clearly not attacking Lin because these cells didn’t have any offensive power. There were two kinds. One kind were small needle-like cells. The other were round white cells that were slightly larger. None of them had any damaging structures. Lin even had the devourers eat some. They were not poisonous.
Lin suddenly found that when the smaller needle cells touched the white round cells, they would burrow into the round cells. Then the round cell would become yellow, and the cell membrane seemed to harden. Other cells were not able to burrow in if they came into contact.
What was this for? Lin didn’t understand at all! It was the first time Lin saw something as strange as this. It didn’t now how to explain it.
But right now, Lin did not have the attention to spare for these strange cells.
The eyes of the devourer saw some other organisms gradually come closer. These organisms were not single cells but enormous beings composed of many cells.
These organisms were mostly round and flat. They were not like the organisms that were buried in the sand. They appeared soft and slowly floated through the water. There were dozens, and each had up to a hundred slender long tentacles under the round disk. The round disk’s body was just one-tenth of Lin’s mothership. However, if the tentacles were included, they were as large as the mothership.
Lin’s devourers saw a great number of them as they looked around. The devourers found that there were at least a hundred swimming over. These organisms seemed to be attracted by the large volume of cells the leaf worm had sprayed into the water. Some of the organisms started to wave their long and slender tentacles to feed as they entered the cell colony.
Editor’s note: Lin’s limited vocabulary makes editing so hard. Also Earth day for a biology webnovel.
Translator Ramblings: Because I was travelling on Earth Day, the video’s late.