Lily whispered, “I’m sorry, madam. I was just worried about Sinan.”
“Is there anything you can’t say to me?” Madam Lu reached out to her and Lily obediently left An Zhe to be held by Madam Lu.
The last time they met at the Lighthouse, Madam Lu wore a mask and An Zhe could only see her eyes. This time, he finally saw the lady’s features. The lines of her face were soft, her eyebrows were curved but her thin lips didn’t smile. She slightly squinted and this added a bit of firmness to her gentle expression. Lu Feng didn’t look like her at all.
Yet inexplicably, An Zhe felt that her facial features were similar to Lily. If all the people in the base were grown from Eden’s embryos and all the embryos were from the women in Eden, then Lily might indeed be the youngest daughter of Madam Lu’s blood.
In this way, Lily’s behaviour when she saw Madam Lu was understandable. After all, she was the lady’s child, not his child. In this world, only the spore would never take the initiative to leave him.
Madam Lu watched him and An Zhe didn’t know what she would do with him. He heard Madam Lu ask, “Is he your friend? Were you looking for him in the stairwell?”
Lily and An Zhe glanced at each other and Lily’s sly eyes turned to Madam Lu. “He doesn’t want to go back. Can I invite him for a visit?”
She added, “We can have dinner with An Zhe. It is delicious.”
An Zhe knew that the little girl was trying to help him hide from the people searching below but he didn’t think Madam Lu would agree. After all, his sudden appearance here was too strange.
To his surprise, Madam Lu nodded. “Okay.”
Lily let out a ‘wow’ and said, “Madam, today you’re very good.”
Madam Lu lowered her head and touched Lily’s hair. “I have always loved you.”
Lily affectionately rubbed against the lady’s hand. “I like you too.”
An Zhe was taken to the 22nd floor of the Garden of Eden. The atmosphere was peaceful. Soft music played in the corridor and the white walls were full of images of flowers, butterflies, bees and clouds. It was like another world compared to the outside.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
In the spacious corridor, An Zhe also met other women. They all wore long white dresses, had dark or chestnut brown hair and had quiet faces. Whenever they saw Madam Lu, they gave her a friendly greeting.
Pc j meylmif bo atf qeyilm mjcaffc, Cc Itf tjv vlccfg. Pa kjr reujgfv wlix, tjio j gbjra mtlmxfc jcv j ybki bo nfufajyif mbgc rbeq.
Coafg vlccfg, Zjvjw Oe rjlv, “Pa lr alwf ab rfcv sbeg oglfcv jkjs.”
Olis jmafv mbdefaalrtis. “Ofa tlw rajs j yla ibcufg.”
Ktf ijvs lcveiufv tfg gfdefra. “Ktfc mbwf klat wf ab kjafg atf oibkfgr.”
Thus, Lily took An Zhe’s hand and they walked through the white corridor and came to another round room. An Zhe saw the lush red and green colours in the room. The centre of this room had a flowerbed that was several square metres in size and lush red roses were growing in them.
“My lover used to bring me some seeds from the wild.” Madam Lu told An Zhe. “Later, Lu Feng would do the same. I remember you stayed with him that day.”
An Zhe nodded.
“He rarely wants to be close to anyone else.” Madam Lu picked up the silver watering can placed on the flower rack. Just then, something flashed in An Zhe’s vision, He subconsciously turned his hand and saw the TV screen in the room. No one had pressed the remote control. It had turned on automatically.
“This is a message from the emergency response department.” The broadcaster spoke much faster than usual. At the same time, a photo of An Zhe was shown on the screen. “This suspect urgently needs to be captured. If there is a witness who can provide his whereabouts then immediately contact us.”
An Zhe’s body slightly tensed. The hour-long peace seemed to be just an illusion and the world was still a crisis for him as he glanced at Madam Lu.
Then he heard Madam Lu whisper, “Don’t be afraid.”
Madam Lu’s behaviour was unexpected. He initially thought she was a staunch supporter of the base’s rules but this didn’t seem to be the case.
An Zhe muttered, “You…”
Madam Lu smiled. “I won’t help you escape but I won’t hand you over for the time being.”
An Zhe wondered, “Why?”
“They always have many reasons to arrest a person.” Madam Lu looked away from the screen. She lowered her head and watered her rose bushes, crystal water drops rolling down the edge of the crimson petals, falling from the green leaves to the soil. “For example, they arrested my mother 40 years ago.”
An Zhe didn’t know what she wanted to say but she seemed to want to tell a story. He had met many people who wanted to tell him a story, as if everyone had some memorable past hidden in their hearts.
Therefore, he didn’t speak. He just listened quietly, the fragrance of roses surrounding them. Lily leaned down and plucked some petals, holding them in her hands before throwing them into the air. The petals fell down like rain, sprinkling on her hair and body. One petal fell on Madam Lu’ hair.
“In the four human bases, 23,371 agreed to the following declaration with zero votes of rejection: I voluntarily dedicate my life to the fate of humanity, to accept genetic experiments and accept all forms of assisted reproduction to continue the cause of the human race’s struggle for survival.” Madam Lu repeated the Rose Declaration that An Zhe had heard from Lily in a very light tone. However, her voice seemed clearer and more cheerful than the little girl.
“This declaration was one with a prerequisite. It was on the premise of having basic human rights. They would accept genetic experiments and accept all forms of assisted reproduction. In addition, the initiator of the declaration reached a consensus with the bases that women would manage the women.”
Her fingers touched the soft edges of the rose. “However, that was almost 70 years ago. At that time, everything seemed hopeful. The future of humanity was in front of us. As long as we continued, things would turn out for the better. If I was one of the 23,000 women at the time, I would’ve agreed without hesitation. Everyone was sacrificing themselves and I would be willing to contribute as much as I could for the benefit of humanity.”
“During that time, the embryo in vitro culture technology wasn’t mature and children had to stay in their mother’s body for at least seven months. The base hoped for a large population so the uterine rest time shouldn’t exceed 15 days.” Madam Lu gazed up at the steel ceiling. “The task of childbearing was too heavy. The women’s entire lives were destroyed and life was passing by them. They hoped the base could relax the requirements but no one agreed.”
“The women who voluntarily signed the Rose Declaration and the girls who were born afterwards took dedication to this declaration as a matter of course. We need a large population too much. The Lighthouse and the military think so, most of the main city and the outer city think so and even the women managing other women think so.”
Her tone was so gentle that it evoked emotional resonance. An Zhe quietly listened and saw Lily sitting still on the edge of the flowerbed.
“To fight for the protection of basic human rights, some women launched a protest movement. 40 years ago, my mother was the initiator of that protest movement, even though she was one of the first initiators of the Rose Declaration.’ Madam Lu smiled. “However, all the images and texts of the protest were destroyed. I was too young to remember many things. I can only remember one night when the soldiers of the United Front broke in. My mother locked me in my room and then a gunshot was heard… I saw blood flowing through the door into my room. Later, I was sent to the Garden of Eden.”
“Later, they found the most effective way to keep reproductive resources firmly in their own hands and deleted a phrase in the declaration. The new generation of girls was gathered and not allowed to leave, only being taught about their responsibilities by the Garden of Eden, nothing else. In this way, the base doesn’t have to worry about the decline in fertility, nor do the girls know the pain of losing their human rights due to uninterrupted births.”
She looked at the surrounding walls and seemed to be seeing the entire human base through the walls. “I feel pain about this but I also know my pain is only a trivial part. In this place, someone dies every second. The only way for humans to survive in this era is to turn themselves into a creature. People with different responsibilities are different organs of this creature. The Lighthouse is the brain, the military is the claws and teeth, the people of the outer city are the flesh and blood, the building and walls are the skin and Eden is the womb.”
An Zhe glanced at her and she seemed to read An Zhe’s eyes. “I have never resented this place.”
She leaned over and picked up Lily, who buried her head in Madam Lu’s shoulder.
“I just often get confused slightly.” She stroked Lily’s hair with her fingers. “We resist monsters and heterogeneous species. We resist foreign genes contaminating human genes and want to avoid our unique willpower being ruled by beasts… yet in order to achieve this purpose, everything we do is in violation of the rules of human nature. The collective we have formed, everything it does—gaining resources, strengthening itself and breeding offspring—just reflects the nature of beasts. Humans actually aren’t any different from the monsters. It is just that the flexibility of our brains have made us deceive ourselves. Humans are just one of the animals. We are born like all life and will die like all life.”
Madam Lu’s eyes had a dead look. “Human civilization is as worthless as its science and technology.”
She stopped talking and stared up at the ceiling for a long time. An Zhe saw her palms press against a dark knob and then turn it slightly.
The radiation-proof metal on the ceiling was opened. This was the top floor of the Garden of Eden and there was a limitless sky outside the glass. At night, the solar wind stopped temporarily and the silent twilight and Milky Way poured down together.
An Zhe whispered, “There will be a better day.”
Perhaps there would be a day when judges didn’t have to kill their fellow humans, soldiers didn’t have to die in the wild and the girls of Garden of Eden would be free again.
“No,” he heard Madam Lu say. “The time is coming when the world will be completely broken.”
“Lily.” She turned to the little girl in her arms. “Do you want to fly?”
An Zhe saw her gentle side profile, heard these words and suddenly got a chill.
He heard Lily ask in a clear voice from where she was holding onto Madam Lu’s neck, “Can I? Like Sinan?”
At this moment, An Zhe finally understood Sinan’s intentions behind sending Lily back to the Garden of Eden. It was contrary to their guesses at the time.
Go back to Eden—not because it was safe.