Chapter 7: This New World
Translator: Pluto Editor: Tehrn
Under Lin Sanjiu directions, Marcie drove all the way to the 38-floor condominium and parked the car in a secluded spot for them to rest. This was a high-end residential estate after all, so there were lesser people compared to the outside. Even in this world that had changed beyond recognition, the garden still looked unusually peaceful now.
Hesitating for a moment, Lin Sanjiu sealed the broken window and switched on the air conditioner. Zhu Mei was no longer around… it made no sense to save that electricity. A cool environment would not only help her recover her strength, it would also be good for that wound on her neck. At least, it would reduce the chances of infection under such high temperatures… Despite how logical her decision was, she could not help feeling somewhat crestfallen as the cool wind started to blow.
Luther noticed her expression. He sighed and comforted, “Big Sis, don’t grieve too much. Your friend… at least your friend did not die at the hands of a duoluozhong…”
After experiencing that near death encounter together, their relationship had unwittingly grown closer. Lin Sanjiu could feel the kindness in Luther’s words and smiled. She only replied after a while, saying, “Can you stop calling me Big Sis? I am really not much older than you… That’s right, I haven’t had the time to introduce myself just now. My name is Lin Sanjiu. Well, I just… just evolved recently.”
“So your name is derived from the phrase, ‘Mortal affairs are discussed merely over three cups of wine’?” Luther immediately pouted. “My name can’t compete with yours. I will call you Xiao Jiu… And, why did you tie a towel around your neck?”
“Oh!” His words reminded Lin Sanjiu. She quickly took off the wet and warm towel exposing the messy, mangled wound. Luther suddenly drew a breath when he saw it. Marcie raised both her eyebrows, looking puzzledly at Lin Sanjiu. Lin Sanjiu opened a bottle of clean water and started cleaning her wound. As she did this, she recounted the incident with Ren Nan. Largely due to the fact that the two of them had saved her during that previous critical juncture, Lin Sanjiu was very willing to trust them.
Unlike Luther who listened dumbfoundedly, Marcie listened silently with knotted brows. Suddenly, she pointed to the bottle of clean water — Lin Sanjiu paused for a moment — and Marcie offered, ”Let me do it. I have studied medical science for a few years.” After that, she took a roll of bandage and some antibiotics from her waist pouch.
[Can a personality that had achieved a corporeal body actually have a set of life experience?] Lin Sanjiu shot Luther a look of confusion but did not say anything. She just lifted her head and swallowed the two antibiotics obediently. With Marcie’s skills, it did not take long for the wound on her neck to be properly dressed and bandaged.
After listening to her story, Luther was still a little engrossed in the details. “I have heard about such cannibalistic abilities… but Marcie and I have never met someone like that before. I always thought that it was just an urban legend. I can’t believe it was actually real. That Ren Nan probably only evolved recently too, that’s why you managed to easily get rid of him. Otherwise, if he was given more time, who knows how powerful he would have become!”
“Luckily, we didn’t meet such a person,” Marcie commented quietly.
After she had spent half a night with them, Lin Sanjiu could tell that even though Marcie was unable to engage in real combat, she was nimble, cool-headed and more… experienced(?); she felt more reliable than Luther.
“Can you explain to me about this world? What is happening? How many worlds are there?” Lin Sanjiu faced Marcie and could not help asking.
“Why are you asking Marcie and not me…” she heard a protest from beside her coming from Luther. As if she did not hear her question, Marcie replied with another question instead, “Have you heard about the theory of parallel dimensions before?”
Lin Sanjiu answered with an “Ah!” before continuing: “Apart from our universe, there is an infinite number of parallel universe. Every measurable behavior, even every single choice that a person made, will create a split, no, will create a new parallel universe?”
She had read many science fiction novels before, so she knew of such a thing.
Marcie nodded with a calm demeanor, saying, “I will just state first that this is just a conjecture. Some posthumans agree, and others disagree. Me? I agree with it. I am not sure how many people there are in your world. In our world, we had a population of 4.3 billion. Every single decision that a person makes in his or her lifetime will create a parallel dimension. If you decided to take the path to the left today, then the alternate dimension will be that you had chose the path to the right… and within that new dimension, everyone will continuously make decisions and create other new dimensions. If we take this into account, who knows how many ‘worlds’ exist? The number is just uncountable.
“Originally, we all lived our lives peacefully in our own dimensions. Within our lifetime, there was no way that we would ever meet someone from another dimension. But for some unknown reason, some of the dimensions started mutating… just like this one.”
While Marcie paused for a while, Lin Sanjiu quickly interjected and asked, “Did they all turned out like this? Do they all have high-temperature climates?”
Luther replied to her with a rare look of seriousness, “Not necessarily. For our world, half the population died due to an epidemic which was caused by a virus outbreak from a laboratory facility.” It suddenly occurred to Lin Sanjiu that he had probably lost his family and friends in his world.
The space in the car fell silent for a few seconds. Marcie broke the silence, and continued, “No one could tell with certainty how many of these dimensions have mutated. The only thing that can be confirmed is that it is not a small number. At that time, we survived the epidemic and evolved. We thought that we only had to strive our best to survive on. But…”
Marcie stopped, she seemed to be deliberating on the best method to explain the situation.
“On the 14th month, Luther and I were already accustomed to the New World which was filled with epidemics and duoluozhong. Misfortune struck on a normal night.”
“When Luther and I woke up, we found ourselves lying in the middle of a battleground. Can you imagine? We had just opened our eyes, we did not even understand where we were, and suddenly a bomb fell just fifty meters away from us…” Marcie added aptly.
“Even though, we were not unable to comprehend what had happened. At the very least, we quickly understood one thing: we were no longer in our original world. We asked around and finally found out that the world was called, ‘A Land dyed black by Blood’. In that world which was governed by wars, we survived miserably for another fourteen months. On the last day of the 14th month, the same thing happened again…“ Luther’s voice sounded distant.
Even within the cool air-conditioned interior of the car, a drop of sweat rolled down Lin Sanjiu’s forehead. She understood, and before Luther could say another world, she softly said, “You appeared here.”
Luther sighed and nodded, “Hyperthermal Hell.”
Lin Sanjiu opened her mouth, about to say something, when Luther had already guessed what she wanted to ask, “It doesn’t happen only to me. In the two worlds that we have been, all the posthumans that I’ve met were sent away after fourteen months. Furthermore, everyone will go to a different place each time.”
Her heart pounded hard for a few moments. With some doubts, Lin Sanjiu said, ”Does that mean, after fourteen months, I will also…”
“Reach another ‘New World’,” Marcie replied confidently. “It is probably because I am just an alternate personality, so I will follow Luther wherever he goes. However, we were separated from all our past companions.”
Waves after waves of unimaginable information flooded Lin Sanjiu’s brain. After she mulled over it for a while, she suddenly realized something. “Wait… you mentioned that every posthuman will be sent to a different world. Does it mean that we are just flung out into an infinite abyss of apocalyptic worlds by pure chance?”
Did this mean that once she left this place, she might not be able to return to this world, where she grew up in, within her lifetime?
No, not only that — it almost meant that once fourteen months have passed, Luther and Marcie will be sent to some unknown world and they might never meet again. She had just met two people that she could trust, yet she was immediately informed that they will separate. It was a weird feeling.
The car’s windows were long covered by a thin film of condensation. It was clear that even within the short time of their conversation, the temperature outside had risen again. Lin Sanjiu turned up the temperature of the air conditioner slightly. As she was immersed in the silence, she suddenly thought about another possibility. “Wait. From the point of a parallel dimension theory, there is an infinite number of ‘me’. That is to say, I might meet myself in another world?”
Unexpectedly, Marcie shook her head firmly.
“Just like Darwin’s theory of evolution, the theory about parallel dimensions is only the best explanation for these apocalyptic worlds. It is limited to what we know and just a conjecture, it is not actually a fact. But what you’ve just said, it precisely the flaw in this theory. Because in another New World, there will never be another you.”
Lin Sanjiu felt a little overwhelmed. She received too much information for tonight. She could not help leaning back on the seat as her brain was filled with information about everything regarding the New World. She remained silent and in a daze.
Suddenly, she heard a swoosh. She lifted her head and saw that Marcie’s nails had transformed into those long metal nails. Marcie was looking with a hopeful glint in her eyes, “So, can you let me draw your blood now?”
Translator’s note: Sanjiu is literally “three wine” in Chinese. The translated phrase [Mortal affairs are discussed merely over three cups of wine] is not derived from any classical poem, it is a modern saying telling people to take things a little easier as life is fleeting.
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