Last chapter recap: Lin makes a new kind of cell whose primary trait is the ability to divide continuously and encounters a segmented worm chased by another organism.
Chapter Sixteen – Strange Crystals and Shallows
That was … … a darkness worm?
Lin found that the organism chasing the segmented limb organism was another darkness worm, and one slightly smaller than the one Lin had just killed.
The segmented leg organism quickly ran to where Lin was and lured this darkness worm towards Lin.
The mothership’s enormous hammer immediately rose and struck the darkness worm’s head, killing it in one blow.
The segmented limb organism escaped but Lin had obtained more food.
Lin looked in the direction the segmented limb organism fled in, and suddenly thought, maybe it could use the other organism to capture more darkness worms?
… … Alright, that seemed to difficult to do.
However … … Lin hadn’t expected so many surprises in the dark night.
Lin had the devourer start to deconstruct the darkness worm. These were true worms without outer shells. The devourer could easily tear off large cell structures. The devourers quickly consumed the two darkness worm. Now, Lin had replenished the nutrients it expended in the water current, fighting against the jellyfish, and in making the lantern, and had extra as well.
After feeding, Lin continued to advance. It found the protector in a sand pit. They finally met up.
Then where to go now?
Continue to hunt darkness worms? Or …
Lin had a great amount of fat storage. The need to search for food did not seem to be great. Maybe it should explore this dark night and see if there were anything interesting.
After the easy victory against the darkness worm, Lin became confident. The feeling of danger in its mind was replaced by curiosity and excitement. Even though the range of the lantern was only two times the length of the mothership, Lin still started this journeying in darkness.
Lin found a random direction and moved. The light wavered in the darkness. Small organism swarms appeared occasionally at the perimeter of light. Some were unicellular, others multicellular, but they were difficult to see clearly.
Lin arrived at an unfamiliar area without any leaf worms, no familiar scenes. Even the sand below it had slowly grown larger in size, they could be called “rocks.”
Lin had never come to this place before.
Lin had left behind the sand, and the large rocks here replaced sand. Many unicellular organisms gathered in the crevices of the rocks, and a kind of small jellyfish floated around.
The small jellyfish were about the size of the devourer. Lin could easily grip them by having the protector reach in with the segmented limbs.
However, Lin only took a look and them threw the jellyfish away. Jellyfish were an unprofitable organism. Their bodies looked big and swollen, but they were really just a few thin layers, and Lin would have the danger of being pierced by toxic stingers. The jellyfish were organisms not worthy of being eaten.
Lin continued to advance. It found the rocks were becoming larger and larger. Rows of tall and enormous rocks appeared up ahead.
Lin swam above the giant rocks. Suddenly, its lantern swept a strange thing.
This object was about the size of the mothership, and its surface was as clear and transparent as the ice with many rhombus protrusions.
This thing was not ice because it was not cold upon contact. Lin tapped it and found it was far harder than ice. This was something that could be described as “Crystal.”
Lin was certain it had seen something similar before.
A long time ago … ..
Yes … … observer.
The only single cell with vision. While Lin stopped using it after learning how to make eyes, the observer was still inside Lin’s mothership. The observer had a piece of crystal exactly the same inside its body.
The crystal in the observer was extremely small, but if Lin looked closely, it could see the similarities.
This crystal gave the observer vision.
But why was this object special? Why could it give the observer the ability to see?
Lin swung its hammer to strike the surface of the crystal. Some small fragments fell off and Lin had the devourers take these pieces back into the mothership.
Lin had the devourers turn the fragments into smaller fragments until single cells could envelop them. Lin planned to have basic cells eat these fragments and then repeat the order it had made at that time: “Receive light, see everything in the surroundings.” Then Lin would see if these cells could obtain sight.
… … No effect. The basic cell that ate the crystals did not react at all.
While it had been a long time ago, Lin still remembered the initial situation clearly.
It had proceeded completely according to those steps, but why were there no effects? The only explanation was this crystal seemed similar but was not the same kind as what the observer had consumed.
Lin was slightly disappointed but this was not something major. It quickly dismissed this matter, moved around the large crystal and continued its advance.
Lin found many similar crystals in the surroundings. They stood among the rocks of various sizes, but they didn’t seem different compared to the surrounding rock. The nearby organisms did not pay attention to them.
At this time, the surrounding darkness slowly faded. The light of the lantern became less obvious. This meant that daytime was close.
The night was slightly shorter than daytime … … Lin remembered how long daytime and night took. Next time, it would be prepared.
As the surroundings grew bright, Lin could clearly feel the temperature slowly start to rise. It withdrew the lantern back into the mothership, and released the rearing pen holding the green cells. At the same time, the organisms in the surroundings started to retreat into the crevices in the rock. It seemed they only moved and hunted during night.
At this time, some small organisms did the opposite. They came out of the crevices in large numbers and swam in the brightening waters.
Lin found these organisms were small but unique in appearance. Shaped like leaf worms, they could also use their flat bodies to swim in the water.
Lin called them “flat worms” and released devourers to eat a few. The organism’s structure was similar to the devourer but above their esophagus was a round and hard structure that connected to the tail. Lin didn’t know what it was for.
Also, they each had a split in their side filled with many soft tentacles. These tentacles would absorb the gas bubbles that floated towards them. They seemed extremely useful. Lin considered if it should make one similar.
When daytime fully came, the surrounding crystals seemed to absorb the light and became extremely blinding. The flat worms that swam out of the rock crevices gathered towards these crystals and glued their round and flat bodies to them.
What were they doing?
Lin swam over curiously and touched the surface of the crystal with a tentacle. It found that these crystals had become warm. Did the flat worms attach themselves onto the crystal to increase their body temperature?
Lin wasn’t afraid of the cold after experiencing freezing multiple times. Even in the coldest of times, Lin could move quickly. These flat worms, due to staying in the darkness for a long time, were slow in their moment. After warming up on the crystals, their movements would become rapid.
They would attack Lin’s rearing pen, but they did not eat Lin’s rearing pen. They desired to attack the green cells inside. However, the flat worms did not have teeth. They could not penetrate the rearing pen’s transparent outer layer.
Lin immediately released large numbers of devourer to hunt the flat worms that were still on the crystals and hadn’t warmed up completely. It also had some devourers guard the rearing pen against attacks.
The flat worm and the devourer were about the same size, but, when completely warmed up, they were faster than devourers and had eyes. Lin had to capture them before they finished warming up.
After hunting for a while, Lin ate hundreds of flat worms. However, there seemed to be many more in the surroundings. They also had finished warming up and it was difficult to catch them.
Lin planned on releasing the injectors but the flat worms suddenly did something strange. They quickly swam in one direction as though they were fleeing something. In a few moments, they completely disappeared.
The direction the flat worms ran in was the direction Lin had come from. Lin was puzzled when he received a strange pain in his thoughts.
This feeling was from the mothership’s ectoderm. The surrounding devourers could also feel this on their outer membranes. Lin remembered this feeling. This was similar to when temperatures were too high and the cells were being damaged.
The protector did not feel this. It had to do with its hard outer shell.
This kind of pain came from above. Lin looked up. Through the surface, it saw the light from the gas realm.
So daytime above the water was this bright … … unlike the starlight of night, this was a pure light, so bright … … it terrified Lin.
… … Water surface?
When did the water surface become so close to the bed of the ocean?
Lin finally realized. The surface of the water had neared the mothership at some time. Due to this, the ultraviolet light penetrated through the surface and damaged Lin’s outer membranes. Lin immediately moved its devourers away and sped back the direction it had come from.
However, enormous stones appeared in front of Lin and blocked its path.
This was … … the enormous stone that it had encountered when it had come? Lin hadn’t cared back then. But now, these rocks were above the water surface!
Translator Ramblings: There isn’t any kind of characteristic for me to speculate what kind of rock the crystals are. But soft enough Lin could hammer a piece off … … maybe it is salt?