Chapter 47: Antibody
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Gu Nianzhi lifted her bag over her head, and ran towards Mei Xiawen.
The umbrella wasn’t quite big enough for the two of them; they stumbled awkwardly under it as they made their way to the car park outside the library.
The umbrella was tilted towards Gu Nianzhi the whole way. Mei Xiawen was already drenched on one side when he finally got in the car and put the umbrella away.
“Xiawen, do you have a change of clothes in your car? You should take off your windbreaker and put on some dry clothes,” Gu Nianzhi said, in case he hadn’t thought of it.
She was only human, made of flesh and blood. How could she not care about him?
Mei Xiawen had been very good to her, and she knew it. She was so moved by his sincerity she had changed the way she addressed him, without even realizing it herself.
Mei Xiawen was ecstatic to hear Gu Nianzhi call him by his first name. He smiled widely, and said, “No worries. This windbreaker is waterproof.”
“Well, that’s all right then. I wouldn’t want you to fall sick after getting drenched by the rain. I’d feel really bad about it.”
“Oh, but I want to get sick. You’ll come visit me when I’m sick, won’t you?”
Gu Nianzhi’s face had gone slightly pink. She gave a small cough, and side-stepped the question by saying, “It’s raining really heavily now. Let’s just have lunch at the cafeteria.”
“Okay.” Mei Xiawen turned the steering wheel and drove towards one of C University’s cafeterias, Cafeteria Three.
He had planned on taking Gu Nianzhi to lunch somewhere outside of campus, but she was right. Although they had a car, it was raining, which meant traffic was going to be worse than usual.
They entered the cafeteria. Inside, couples were everywhere, spoon-feeding each other and taking frequent breaks from eating to exchange kisses. It did not seem to occur to these couples that their mouths may be a little too greasy for kissing, right now…
Gu Nianzhi used to be indifferent to the sight of these couples. Now, however, she found it disgusting. She averted her gaze, and resolutely stared at a fixed point just ahead of her as she followed Mei Xiawen. They found a spot by the window with two open seats.
Mei Xiawen said, “Sit, I’ll go get our food.”
Mei Xiawen was a very thoughtful and considerate man.
Gu Nianzhi had a wonderful time having lunch with him. It was so much more enjoyable than the expensive Italian dinner they’d had the night before, and that had cost more than 10,000 yuan.
After lunch, Mei Xiawen escorted her to the library. He sat with her the whole afternoon.
The two of them busied themselves looking up references for their graduation theses. Whenever they were tired and needed a breather, they would look up and smile at each other. As the day progressed, the distance between them slowly, but surely, decreased.
For the rest of the week, Mei Xiawen brought Gu Nianzhi breakfast every morning. They also ate lunch and dinner together.
Even when he was busy, he made sure to call her three times a day, during meal-time; he told her, over the phone, what he had been up to, and wanted to know if she was doing okay. He also asked her if she would go out with him over the weekend.
Gu Nianzhi was still waiting for Huo Shao’s phone call. It was now Friday, and still she had not gotten a response from Huo Shao. She did not want to call Chen Lie again and insist that he follow up on the matter, and she was still more embarrassed to ask Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze about it – and so she had dragged her feet for the entire week. On Friday afternoon, after her final class for the day, she found herself apologizing to Mei Xiawen, who had been looking forward to spending the weekend with her. “Xiawen, I can’t go out with you this weekend. Something’s come up. I have to go back to my apartment.”
“Oh? What is it? Do you want me to go with you?” Mei Xiawen had only just made a little headway in his relationship with Gu Nianzhi, and was therefore reluctant to part with her now.
Although he was graduating soon, and his graduation thesis was almost done, he was a very busy man: he still had his responsibilities as a member of the student council, not only for his department, but also for the university in general. He had been sleeping for only three or four hours a day just to find the time to be with Gu Nianzhi.
It was finally the long-awaited weekend, when the two of them would be able to spend time together without any interruptions – and Gu Nianzhi wasn’t even going to be on campus.
Gu Nianzhi did not know what to say.
She had to return to the apartment; Chen Lie had insisted on it.
She had to have her weekly health check.
Although she did not think there was anything wrong with her, Chen Lie was the doctor, not her. If he thought it was necessary for her to get a check-up every week, who was she to argue?
Gu Nianzhi’s voice was gentle and full of warmth as she said, “It’s my guardian. I’ll let you meet him when we have the time.”
Was Gu Nianzhi saying that she wanted to introduce him to her parents?
Mei Xiawen was overjoyed to hear this; he nodded again and again as he said, “Well, call me if there’s anything.” Then he asked, “Do you have enough money? What’s your Alipay account? I’ll send you some money.”
“What? Um… I don’t have an Alipay account,” said Gu Nianzhi, stuttering. She lowered her head as she said this, feeling guilty and awkward.
She did have an Alipay account, but Zhao Liangze had complete supervision and control over it. He would be notified at once if there were any transactions.
This was exactly why Gu Nianzhi did not want to give Mei Xiawen her Alipay account.
If he knew about her account, and transferred money to her, Huo Shao would know about it. She did not know what Huo Shao would think of that…
As for Mei Xiawen, his sympathy for Gu Nianzhi deepened after hearing what she said.
How could her guardian not have thought to prepare an Alipay account for her? That was just unacceptable.
There was a long moment of silence as Mei Xiawen wordlessly busied himself on his phone. He used his own bank card to register a new Alipay account for her, then texted her the account number and password. He said, “I may not be in the city this weekend, either. Here, use this account. Now you won’t have to worry about a thing.”
Gu Nianzhi: “…”
Her phone remained in her hand as she returned to her dorm room to pack and make preparations for her trip back to her Fengya Precinct apartment. Green Tea Fang saw that Gu Nianzhi was spacing out; she put her arm around her shoulder and asked, “What’s wrong? Is something worrying you?”
Gu Nianzhi looked at Green Tea Fang. She knew that she was wise and astute when it came to relationship matters. She showed Green Tea Fang her phone. “…This is what’s bothering me. Mei Xiawen gave me an Alipay account. I don’t know what to do about it.”
Green Tea Fang leaned over to look at her phone, then laughed and patted her on the back. “Not bad, not bad at all. Looks like our class rep may be a bossy CEO in the making – one minor disagreement, and he gives you an Alipay account, just like that! Lil Sis, keep this account, and remember to buy something with it for your sisters, as a memento.”
Gu Nianzhi did not know whether to laugh or cry when she heard this. She shook her head and said, “Well, I’m not going to use it. If you want to use it, let Mei Xiawen know about it beforehand. I certainly don’t have the right to use it.”
“My, how decent and honest of you!” Green Tea Fang poked her on the forehead cheekily, then turned and got her backpack. “Well, I’m out of here. See you next week!”
All of her roommates had gone. Gu Nianzhi was the last to leave.
She called for a taxi, and after a circuitous journey through the city arrived at her duplex apartment, on the top floor of the 28-storey Block C apartment building in Fengya Precinct. It was nearly dark by then.
Chen Lie was already waiting inside. When he saw her come in, he immediately waved her over and asked, “What took you so long? Come on, I’ll run some tests on you.”
Gu Nianzhi was very surprised to see him. “Brother Chen, why are you here today? It’s only Friday. I thought you were coming tomorrow.”
Chen Lie had spent the week in a state of extreme agitation.
Using the data Huo Shaoheng gave him, he had reverse-engineered the manufacturing process for the virus. However, he wasn’t able to guarantee that the reverse-engineered drug worked exactly the same as the original.
After all, he couldn’t very well follow Oda Masao’s example and test it on living, breathing women, his fellow countrymen…
In comparing the two sets of data, he had discovered something very interesting. The blood sample he had obtained from Gu Nianzhi appeared to have an inhibitory effect on the virus.
Unless he was completely off the mark, all signs pointed to Gu Nianzhi’s immune system having taken down the virus on its own.
In other words, if she continued to be healthy for the next month or so, it was probably safe to assume that her body had produced antibodies.
The creation of antibodies was a major milestone in defending against synthetic bioweapons such as man-made viruses.
It was normal for the human body to produce antibodies against natural viruses, but this was not the case for synthetic bioweapons. This was especially true for H3aB7, which had been created with specific human targets in mind. It was simply not possible for these human targets to produce the necessary antibodies.
If the targets were able to generate antibodies, that would mean the virus was a complete failure as a bioweapon.
Oda Masao’s synthetic virus was already in the refinement stage, one of the final stages of production. This meant that the virus had already proved to be a viable bioweapon: no human body would be capable of producing the antibodies for it.
And yet, Gu Nianzhi’s blood had produced something that had suppressed the virus – and they looked very much like antibodies!