An Aging Hero
Xu Zhi returned to the house, entered the kitchen, and started boiling water. He was thirsty and wanted a cup of tea.
The fire of civilization had been lit.
The young bugape, with his body of thick hair and a physique that resembled that of Westerners, had been named Gilgamesh by Xu Zhi. The fact that he had chosen the name of a mythical king of the west for the bugape made it clear that Xu Zhi had high hopes for him.
Xu Zhi had even given him the genes of the white ants, which were what the bugapes had not been able to accept and assimilate during the previous test tube stage of the species. This showed that Xu Zhi held only the highest expectations for Gilgamesh.
Whether or not he would be able to truly rise to the top was really up to him.
Xu Zhi sat cross-legged at the entrance of the house and seemed to be very pleased. He looked around the yard and said, “I have cleared 100-Mu worth of land to build this sandbox, but there are still several Mus of land here. How about clearing the weeds as well?”
Xu Zhi thought for a moment and translated his words into action, though he had not thought about what he would do with the remaining land.
Knock, knock, knock!
A moment later, there was a knock on the door.
A shirtless Xu Zhi put down his hoe and went to open the door. Chen Xi stood outside, carrying a whole lot of food in her arms. She looked at him and then looked inside the yard intently. With eyes filled with curiosity, she asked, “Aye? You’re plowing the land?”
“Yes, just trying my hand at it while getting some exercise.” Xu Zhi picked up a towel and wiped off his sweat. She could not see what was going on in the sandbox, so she thought he was just plowing the land.
“Shocking! I would never have expected a high-achieving graduate, who has worked for a foreignpany, to quit his highly-paid job that earned several tens of thousands a year, suffer from a terminal illness, and return home to farm.”
Chen XI scratched her head. Xu Zhi’s upper body was in line with the golden ratio for men’s bodies. As she looked at the sharp, angular silhouette of his well-defined muscles, she flushed red and silently cursed to herself, certain that he had done something to fix his appearance. “Brother Xu Zhi, I’ll put the food here! Do you need help? I help my mother to plant the rice seedlings at home. The orchard in your place has been abandoned for a long time. Your orchard is around 100 Mu, right? It’s really a large piece of earth, and now that you’re all by yourself, it’s definitely too much for you to handle!”
“There’s no need.”
Xu Zhi chuckled and said, “It can’t be helped. The yard is big, so I’ll just cultivate a random piece of land, plant some interesting seeds, and who knows, maybe some beautiful flowers that earn everyone’s admiration will bloom.”
“Oh.” Chen Xi exhaled with curiosity. She patted her chest and assured him, “Then you should do your best and plant the seeds well! Let me know what you want to eat! Aunt Li and I will make anything that you want!”
Then, with a skip and a jump, she ran away.
But just she left, she said something that hit Xu Zhi with a critical strike. “You were so dispirited before. Now, you’re suddenly so full of life, looking in the pink of health, and even your hair has grown back. This must be what they call the final radiance of life before death… I guess these are the last few days of your life. Before you die, I’ll have to take good care of you.”
Does growing hair mean I’m going to die?
“To hell with you! You think this meal is my last supper? This young lass is too insulting. I’m only in the middle stage of gastric cancer,” Xu Zhi said in a huff. He glared at her as she left and opened the lunchbox.
Inside the small lunchbox was a meal that had been prepared with great care.
The meal consisted of sunnyside eggs, carrots, stir-fried vegetables with meat. It was a very simple and down-to-earth meal. Yet taking a big bite of it, he instantly felt as though his mouth was filled with fragrance. The feeling was simply so refreshing.
It was the taste of home!
Smells so good!
“This girl can really cook! Maybe I’m already a dead man. She should take good care of a dying cancer patient like me ande over every day to bring me delicious food…”
Cancer patients, especially those with gastric cancer, had to be very mindful of their diet, so delicious and nutritious food like this meal was perfect. Xu Zhi was so satisfied that he ate a huge amount. He lay down on the lounge chair in his yard and simply did not feel like moving at all.
After relaxing for a while, he started on some of his chores, including cleaning up some parts of the orchard as he had planned to.
After he was done with farm work in the yard, he was covered in mud, so he started washing his clothes. After wringing out the water, he hung the pieces of clothing and his underwear on the clothesline in the yard. “Right, I’ll have to find time one of these days to go into town and get a washing machine.”
The next day, Chen Xi returned to deliver another lunchbox. She had gotten addicted to delivering lunchboxes to him.
In the face of her act ofpassion and sympathy for a terminally ill patient, Xu Zhi simply could find no reason to refuse her help and turn her away.
He was staying home to plow and cultivate his land, and he even had someone to bring him delicious food and take care of a terminally ill patient like him. This made him feel that the world was full of love. Could there be any kind of idyllic farm life that was more nourishing tha this?
No, none at all.
As the lines in a poem went, while picking chrysanthemums beneath the eastern fence, I leisurely looked around and saw the Nanshan Mountains.
Just plowing the fields, planting seeds in the land, and leading an exceedingly carefree and simple life on the farm, he was beginning to vaguely feel like he had attained a seclusive state of mind.
This was a short day. For Xu Zhi, it was very short, just the time it took to eat his three meals and have a good sleep. But for the sandbox, it was a long time. A long period of one hundred years had gone by. For the bugapes, whose average lifespan was only about forty to fifty years, two generations of reproduction had passed.
Now, after two generations, that young and green bugape from a previous era had handed over the torch of civilization. Had he died of old age?
No, not at all.
He had given Xu Zhi a great surprise.
Xu Zhi had carefully documented the progress of their civilization.
In the first decade following Xu Zhi’s departure, Gilgamesh led the bugapes as they continued their escape.
He was amazed to learn that the world had fire that wielded such amazing powers. It was fire that cooked food, drove away giant beasts at night, and provided warmth during the cold nights to maintain body temperature.
The use of fire represented the birth of civilization.
And the Sword of Damocles that Xu Zhi had left behind was an invincible weapon in this giant primordial forest. Gilgamesh had used this sharp weapon to slay countless Dora beasts that resembled the wretched egg-stealing Oviraptors, allowing his people to just about pull through a deathbed struggle. They began to fight back.
In the second decade, Gilgamesh was no longer a youth and was moving into his thirties.
He had be tall and majestic. In the course of leading his tribe, he had be the most powerful hunter of the bugape tribe and was known by the people of his tribe as the Hero King.
He even used fire to burn the land to make it fertile. Then he began to cultivate this land to carry out some simple farming.
He was unstoppable, arrogant, brutal, and extremely self-conceited. The Great Beast of Wisdom handed him the Three Treasures of Civilization. He clearly knew that civilization was the inheritance of knowledge and history, so he boldly developed the cuneiform script and an innovative language to record the history of his race.
He considered himself to be part of the first intelligent species to give rise to a civilized world. He recorded the history of how he created his civilization in books, sang praises of it in hymns, and without feeling any shame, he boastfully named it ‘The Genesis’.
He was peremptory, tyrannical, and yet extremely charismatic.
In his tribe, he had a hundred and thirty-one beautiful wives to bear him offspring, most of whom were strong and powerful and had inherited his stature and intelligence.
But a bugape’s lifespan was only thirty to forty years. And at this time, Gilgamesh was already in his thirties.
The great hero had reached the end of his race and ushered in old age. The bold and uninhibited Hero King who wielded the Sword of Damocles hade to the end of his life.
In a wooden treehouse, red hot flames were blazing within the fireplace, radiating heat waves into the atmosphere.
“That is the Torch of Civilization that the Great Beast of Wisdom bestowed upon me. It is so radiant and beautiful, like leaping and dancing fiery-red flowers.”
Gilgamesh was sitting calmly on a giant chair woven from the fur of the Alla Beast, looking into the flames, his gaze was thoughtful and distant. His entire imposing and mighty body had aged and be slow. Turning his head, he looked at the skulls of giant beasts that were hanging on the wall.
There were all kinds of skeletal bones and skulls of giant beasts. They looked hideous, unyielding, and powerful, and they could make people tremble in fear. And all these wild and savage beasts that had been thought to be unstoppable had all been conquered by him.
The entire wall was like a record of all the glorious conquests of his life.
His entire life had been glorious and brilliant enough.
He had fulfilled the dreams of his youth.
He was content.
“The next leader of the tribe has been determined. It will be my son, Aga of Kish, who is no less capable than I am. He can lead the entire tribe in taking on the giant beasts and will lead the tribe to future glory.”
Gilgamesh clearly felt that his life was graduallying to an end. Death was the inevitable end that all living creatures had to face. He was already close to resigning himself to his fate. He silently took out the Blood of Power that he had been given years ago and said with a sigh, “I no longer have anything to fear or worry about. The Great Beast of Wisdom said that only the bravest warriors of the world can drink it and possibly survive death. And one who survives will gain unparalleled great power.”
“I’m the world’s most courageous warrior, am I not?”
“Let me see!!” The aging hero had a gloomy look in his eyes and was slightly shocked. He stood in a trance as he remembered the glorious years of his life. And suddenly, he wept. Silently, he pierced his hand and poured the Blood of Power over the wound.
It was pain beyond measure!!!!!
Gilgamesh began to struggle.
The aging hero fell to the ground. He had survived countless battles over the years but never before had he experienced such pain. It sent him reeling violently from the agony as he gasped for breath.
Eventually, the pain faded. He had survived death and got to his feet. All the thick, black hair on his body had gradually fallen off to reveal the sturdy abs on his chest. The thick and dense black hair that covered his face was also fading off, thus revealing a face that had the perfect beauty of a god.
He was no longer a grayish-black color. His entire being had turned into a bugape homo sapien with snow-white hair.
His skin was delicate and crystal clear, and he looked like a snow giant that had walked out of a blizzard. His physical built conformed to the golden proportion of a Greek Sculpture, and his beautiful, streamlined muscles were bound to leave a strong impression.
“This kind of power is…”
This stalwart young man with snow-white hair slowly stood up and said, “The Blood of Power. This power wields such an imaginable might.”
He lightly squeezed a handrail that was made of sturdy skeletal bones, and it instantly shattered.
At this time, in the tribe, Aga of Kish, the son of Gilgamesh, was standing tall above all. He raised the Sword of Damocles high and announced his succession as leader of the tribe.
Aga of Kish was wise and powerful, capable, and virtuous. Unlike his tyrannical and arrogant father, he was a qualified and kind leader. Gilgamesh was also aware of this, so when he approached old age, he was willing to give his position to his son. He was unwilling to see his tribe and its civilization that had prospered under his leadership head towards destruction.
But now, it was different…
It waspletely different.
The very kind and beloved Aga of Kish had great respect for his father and had never thought of robbing his father of his position. Besides, Gilgamesh would not have tolerated such potential dangers.
“I’m back. So, the position of leader is still mine.”
On this day, blood was spilled, and wails of woe rang aloud throughout the Sumerian tribe. The Hero King, Gilgamesh, had regained his position as leader and started his second life by killing his son.
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