The military doctors operated the portable medicinal equipment tensely. Through various exploratory needles and patches, they obtained Granny Wang’s physiological parameters.
But they could do nothing to save her.
They sighed and explained the parameters to the granddaughter.
With teary eyes, Wang Xiaojuan nodded and signed on the emergency rescue report.
“The patient has signed the ‘corpse donation agreement’ while she was alive. The method of donation she chose is by volunteering to join the Red Dragon Army’s Eternal Journey. Based on the procedures, we will need her direct relative and five neighbors to stand as witnesses to ensure that the entire process abides by the rules and laws, and is logical.” The military doctor looked around him.
Granny Wang’s mahjong friends were willing to bear witness.
Meng Chao and Bai Jiacao stepped forward as well.
“Alright, witnesses, please sign here. Next, we will allow you to watch the video the donor has recorded beforehand to ensure that the next procedure is in accordance with the donor’s will.” The military doctor connected the video to Granny Wang’s TV.
The image jumped to several years ago when Granny Wang was still very energetic.
She sat cross-legged on her bed with her extra large shotgun placed horizontally over her lap. Her biochemical pet, Sword-toothed Hunting Dog called Big Tooth, was right next to her.
“Juan’er, if you see this video, it means that I’m dead, and I even became a zombie!”
In the video, Granny Wang remained as boisterous and lively as ever. “Don’t cry. Are you made of water or something, lass? You’ve liked crying since you were young. You’re completely different from Young Cao, the one living next door.
“Death is a natural process of life. Humans are just mortals. When we die, we have nothing. Rotting away slowly or turning into zombies is just fine.
“You don’t have to be sad for me, really. Dragon City transmigrated more than fifty years ago, and how many people managed to live through these fifty years? We’ve experienced a lot of crazy stuff, and I was fortunate enough to live until my age. I’ve already earned big!
“Don’t stop me. I’m not doing this due on an impulse. I’ve thought about this for a long time. Before I transmigrated, I was the same as you. When I was still in my teens, I had already thought about offering up my body in the future.
“It’s a long story. It started when I was still living in my old home on Earth. At that time, a pandemic happened in my hometown, and the entire city was affected by the virus. Many people collapsed out of the blue, and I was the same.
“But soon, doctors, nurses, and volunteers from all over the world came to help our city, and we received the best treatment and care.
“I’m old now, and I can’t remember a lot of things, but I’ll never forget a nurse with very pretty eyes. She took care of me meticulously, and when she had free time, which happened rarely, she came to tell me stories, sing to me, or dance for me.
“I will never forget how she was wrapped up in multiple layers of protective clothing at that time. Even so, she danced clumsily and looked like a fat swan.
“I also can’t forget the deep, red marks left on her face by the mask. Yet she was constantly smiling. She was happy and beautiful.
“Under her attentive care, I became better.
“But she... did not get to sleep for days and nights. She overworked herself and came into contact with many patients, which meant she caught the virus as well. After fighting it for some time, she did not manage to make it.
“On the last few days she was still alive, I accidentally heard the nurses talk, and it was only then that I learned that she had signed up the corpse donation agreement. She wanted to offer up her infected body to increase the speed of the research.
“I cried. I wanted to see her, but she was already sent into the ICU. Patients with light symptoms could not enter it.
“I was the first patient under her care who recovered. She had paid a lot of attention to me. During her last few days, she even asked the doctors to send me one thousand paper cranes from the ICU. She had folded them herself and even disinfected them.
“I opened all one thousand paper cranes. There were no words on them, just a girl who looked like me standing in a flower field while wearing a red dress. The sky had a smiling star with a smile, and it was very pretty.
“At that time, I was too young, and I couldn’t understand a lot of things. For example, why the nurse had traveled such a long distance from her hometown to mine, why she fought the virus day and night for months before dying quietly, or why she was willing to donate her corpse for the researcher.
“But I kept those one thousand paper cranes. Then, after I grew up and transmigrated to the Other World, I often looked at that picture. I looked at the nurse, who continued smiling even after she turned into a star in the picture. As I looked at it, I thought about what she had told me.
“Every time I ran into hardships I couldn’t get over, I thought about the nurse’s smile, and I felt a power protecting me. That feeling was great.
“That’s why I want to become a smiling star in the sky, just like her. I want to look over you, Juan’er, Young Cao from next door, all of Blessed Heavenly Garden, and all of Dragon City. I want all of you young’uns to be able to grow up safely and happily.”
Wang Xiaojuan was weeping so terribly that she could not say anything. She leaned against Bai Jiacao’s shoulder. “Granny!”
Bai Jiacao’s eyes stung, and all of her negative emotions turned into hot tears that flowed down her cheeks.
“Granny Wang...” she called out softly.
The old lady in the video seemed to have heard the girl calling out to her. She grinned and said, “By the way, Juan’er, aside from you, we only have Big Tooth left in our family now. If I’m no longer around, you have to stay in school and study.
“Let’s ask Uncle Meng and Young Cao to take care of Big Tooth, shall we? Young Cao likes Big Tooth the most. Every day, after school, she could come to our house to play with Big Tooth. She won’t bully Big Tooth, and Big Tooth won’t bully her either.”
Wang Xiaojuan stopped crying and bit her lip. “Alright!”
Bai Jiacao nodded seriously as well. “Granny Wang, don’t worry. I’ll take good care of Big Tooth!”
The Saw-toothed Hunting Dog in the video heard his master call his name and stood up on the bed.
The Saw-toothed Hunting Dog in reality, who was now a few years older, stood up as well. He shook his tail vigorously.
Even though his master had gained a very frightening appearance and his instincts told him not to get close, he still had an urge he could not understand. He wanted to save her from the torment afflicting her.
Bai Jiacao picked up the Saw-toothed Hunting Dog with slight difficulty and hugged him tightly.
Big Tooth struggled a little before he stopped resisting. He let out tiny whines before he buried his head in the girl’s shoulder.
The video was about to end.
Granny Wang yawned and looked around, then revealed a mischievous smile. “Ha, when my husband was alive, he always said that he’s been in the Red Dragon Army his entire life, and even after he dies, he will definitely join the Eternal Journey. He even started sprouting poetry at me and said something like ‘Now, I shall go to Hell and gather all my fallen subordinates. Together, we shall head to kill the King of Hell.’ He really knew how to boast. He was just a foot soldier, so where exactly was he going to find subordinates? More like, he was going to become someone else’s subordinate!
“I didn’t expect that the old man’s luck would be so bad that he’d be torn to pieces by a monster. Instead, I’m the one who has the chance to join the Eternal Journey. When I see the old man again, I’d like to see how he can still toot his horn!
“Ah... It hasn’t ended yet? You recorded this part as well? Oh well, since you recorded it, let it be. Don’t delete it. Why should I be worried about the old coot hearing it? Even if he hears it, he can’t do anything about it!”
Granny Wang grinned and turned off the recording.
“Family of the donor, was the video clear and complete? Do you have any objections?” the military doctor asked.
“It’s clear and complete. I have no objections,” Wang Xiaojuan said with red-rimmed eyes.
“Witnesses, do you have any objections?” the military doctor asked.
Meng Chao, Bai Jiacao and all three of Granny Wang’s mahjong friends shook their heads. “None.”
“Alright, since the family member and the witnesses have no objections, the donor’s corpse has now officially become a volunteer for the Eternal Journey. The conversion ceremony will begin now. First, everyone, please bow three times to the volunteer’s corpse to show your utmost respect.”
The military doctor’s expression was stern. He led everyone to take a step back and bowed methodically.
,Granny Wang was gradually turning into a zombie on the metal frame before them.
Her pupils were dilated and she could no longer react to the strong light in the outer world. No spark that suggested a shred of humanity remained in her eyes.
Her shrieks became sharper, and it did not sound like anything that came from a human or a living creature. It sounded like the viruses and bacteria in her were propagating at large quantities and were putting pressure on her organs, deforming them, and mutating them. The shrieks were made by the air flowing in her.
Her bone cells were stimulated, which resulted in her canines protruding from her mouth. Her lips and gums continued withering as well, which made her look incredibly terrifying.
The chains made of alloy made creaking sounds because of how much she yanked at them. They were drawn into a taut, straight line, as if they were about to snap at any moment.
But Meng Chao and the neighbors were not afraid. They slowly and solemnly completed the ceremony to pay respect to Granny Wang.
“Next, we will inject the virus suppression serum.”
The military doctor stepped forward and used a large needle to inject a tube full of faint green medicinal liquid into Granny Wang’s body.
They could clearly see it flowing through Granny Wang’s entire body due to her protruded veins.
The old lady’s violently twitching body calmed down a little.
But her murky eyes still shone with a hungry light.
“For the third step, we will implant her memories. We will implant the volunteer’s mutating cerebral cortex with the automatically generated video she made when she signed the agreement.”
Two military doctors went forward cautiously and placed a superbrain on Granny Wang’s head.
Granny Wang’s fierce eyes were covered by the helmet. As the superbrain started whirring into action, she gradually calmed down, as if she was hypnotized.
Wang Xiaojuan asked timidly, “Military Doctor, sir, I’d like to ask, what sort of video did my grandma generate? Is it about me?”
“No.” The military doctor shook his head. “It’s the video your grandpa recorded when your father was born.”
The group understood what had happened.
The consciousness of the old lady on the bed had disappeared. Her brain had started rotting away, and the terrifying virus was flowing through her veins and nerves of her broken body, reducing her from a noble human to a deformed monster.
But in the deepest parts of her dark mind was a small fire that continued burning. In that fire was the first sigh she emitted when she had just become a mother. That sigh was filled with wonder and joy as she looked at the small, weak, and soft baby in her arms.
If there was a strength that could allow her to win against the rampaging zombie virus, it was memories like these, which were etched deep in a human’s soul.
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