QZ Chapter 5
Quality Checker: MochiMochi95
First Published on Ainushi.
Death Penalty. This frightening word successfully intimidated the young students.
“If a person has committed a major crime — the seriousness of which is enough to cause irreversible disaster to the entire nation, then the Military Adjudication Group has the power to sentence him or her to death. This is the harshest penalty in the laws of our country. But because the condition on which it can be used is also strict, it has been many years since someone was put to death. Military Ministry’s opinion is that they hope to completely abolish death penalty in the near future.”
“Wouldn’t this building be discarded then?”
“Well, not really…” It was rare for Yao Tai to hesitate. “In fact, this place is also used for another purpose: to perform euthanasia. Perhaps it is because Tianxiu people don’t have real death, people here don’t value their lives as much as other species do. Each year, there are some people who will walk in here themselves, and demand to end their life early.”
The students looked at each other, and asked her, “Why?”
“Because their other half has passed away. Many widowed Tianxiu people are unwilling to spend the rest of their life alone.” Yao Tai glanced at the Death Penalty Chamber. There were some complicated feelings in her eyes. “They have this superstitious belief that if they die shortly after the death of their spouse, then they will enter reincarnation together, wake up together, meet again, and fall in love…”
As he listened, Ling Xiao was also enthralled. “Then what happens in fact?”
“The truth is, as a soul passes through the Purification Pool, all of its memories from the previous life will disappear. The appearance and character of its reincarnation are all randomly generated. They will become a brand new person from head to toe, someone that has nothing to do with who they were in their previous life. Not to mention, sleep time also varies from soul to soul. Even if they die at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will wake up at the same time. To find, in such a vast crowd, someone whom you’ve already forgotten and fall in love with him or her once again–this wish sure sounds beautiful, but when it comes to fulfilling it, it’s just some idiotic nonsense.”
“This is why they say scientists are the least romantic creatures in this world.” Lan Sheng sighed, “They don’t allow you to have even a sliver of beautiful hope.”
“I’m kind of curious about who Dr. Yao’s other half is. If it’s another starchy scientist like her, how boring it would be for the two of them to spend all day together.” Ling Xiao secretly started to gossip as well.
“Ah, you two.” Ping Zong was both vexed and amused by them at the same time. “Do you really believe that if you die together in this life, then you will meet again in the next one?”
“I don’t.” Lan Sheng answered solemnly. “A life is a life. I clearly know your appearance in this life, your character, your personality–these are all things that my current self like. But what you look like in your next life, what kind of person you will be, whom you will be with, all of these are just an unimaginable future to me. Therefore, I won’t place my hope in the imaginary next life. Should misfortune befall us, and force you to leave me first, I will still keep on living alone while cherishing the thoughts of you.”
They looked at each other in the eyes, and the deep love between them reduced all other people and objects into a mere background.
“You two are really going to die if you were to spend even one day without being all lovey-dovey, huh?” Ling Xiao rubbed his arms in an exaggerated manner. “I’m about to be killed by your sappy romance if you two don’t commit suicide for love together right now.”
“Go away!” Lan Sheng laughingly cursed and took a temporary leave from the state of PDA. After passing by the Death Penalty Chamber, the Physical Examination Center, the Safety Examination Center, and a series of buildings in turn, they finally arrived at the main destination of this trip — the Hall of Reincarnation.
Ling Xiao originally thought that a place with a name like this should be a hall with a heavy religious atmosphere. After he arrived, however, he found out that it was actually an arena filled with ultra-modernized facilities. There were all kinds of high tech instruments displayed inside, and its pure white interior design resembled the style of a hospital or a research lab. The arena was so huge that one could barely see the edge of the building.
The research institute’s manager had been waiting for the students at the entrance of the Hall. He was a gentle, elegant man wearing a pair of gold-framed glasses. Behind the lens was a pair of light-colored eyes, which appeared to be smiling at all time.
Yao Tai walked over first. With a crowd of people staring at her, she exchanged a peck with him. It startled the students as each one of them widened their eyes and thought what kind of weird formality was this?
“Let me introduce him. He is my spouse, and also the Chief Researcher here. You can call him Dr. Zhi Shang.”
The students stood still for a long time with their mouths agape, especially Ling Xiao and Lan Sheng. They had been gossiping about him just now, and the next moment, the person in their conversation was already standing calmly and gracefully in front of them, his style completely different from the “starchy scientist” they had anticipated.
Zhi Shang was almost the same height as Yao Tai in her high heels. One of them had darker eyes while the other one’s were lighter, and because of it, one could easily identify their status with a quick glance.
“Hello, students.” Zhi Shang nodded gently and politely towards everyone. “Welcome to the Base. I’m very honored to serve as your guide today, and I will be responsible for explaining as we continue the trip down the main hall.”
The students were obviously more interested in gossiping than the Hall of Reincarnation, and the seemingly amiable Dr. Zhi Shang was soon surrounded by the crowd.
“Doctor, so you are Dr. Yao’s Qizi. This is the first time I’ve heard that Dr. Yao’s Qizi is actually a doctor in the research institute. It’s so awesome!”
“You two look great together! I’ve always wanted to know what kind of person a beauty like Dr. Yao would settle for, and the real person sure didn’t disappoint!”
Zhi Shang was wearing a smile on his face all this time. Whatever question the students had, he would explain patiently. For the ones that he couldn’t answer, he would reply with a smile and did not show any impatience.
In contrast, Yao Tai’s temper was not as good. “Heyhey! You’re attending a field trip for the Health Class now. Can’t you at least ask some questions that are relevant to the course?”
“But we are asking relevant questions. Isn’t understanding the working and living conditions of Qizi also considered health-related?”
“That’s right!” Someone immediately echoed, “I’ve always thought that a Qizi will have a relatively low position at work too, therefore it really surprised me that doctor is actually the Chief Researcher here!”
The students agreed with her one after another.
Zhi Shang smiled, “Did Ah-Yao  try to scare you with the whole hierarchy thing between spouses? Inequality may exist between a Qizhu and his Qizi, but everyone is equal in the overall society. I’m not any inferior to other Qizhu. In fact, a lot of the researchers under me are Qizhu themselves, but they still have to obey me while at work. ”
“So that’s how it is.” A student exclaimed while patting his chest. “It really scared me to death. I thought becoming a Qizi would even affect my job in the future.”
“Your concern is not totally wrong. After all, Qizhu, in average, has higher fighting strength than Qizi does, therefore in certain combat fields, Qizhu accounts for the vast majority of the number. But in other areas, everyone competes on equal ground. Your principal is the best example, isn’t he?”
Only after hearing what he said did the students finally recall that their principal was, in fact, a Qizi himself. They had all personally witnessed the scene back then — in order to catch a few senior students who had violated the school rules, the principal tore down half of the lecture hall with only one punch. It was almost impossible for the students to associate a person with such an insane fighting strength with the word Qizi — it was indeed as deceitful as that baby face he had.
“Gosh, I really can’t imagine who actually won the principal in the Adult Ceremony.”
Hearing these words, everyone nodded in horror.
“And that’s not something you little imps need to be concerned about.” Yao Tai snappishly threw cold water on their thoughts.
“Dr. Yao is so fearsome. Does she always bully you?” A student secretly asked.
“Right, does Dr. Yao make all the decisions at home? But it seems like Qizhu has the say anyway.”
“Doctor, you are a male after all, whereas she’s a female. How come you were the one who lost the fight?”
Zhi Shang laughed before he replied, “I didn’t lose to her. I offered her my heart-tip blood and became her Qizi out of my own free will.”
Many students looked puzzled. “Huh? Why?”
“Because I love her. As long as I can be together with her, I don’t care what kind of identity I have.” He answered casually.
“But, didn’t they say that there is a big difference in status between a Qizhu and a Qizi? No matter how much you love her, how can you be so willing to let her manipulate you all your life?”
Zhi Shang lowered his eyes and thought for a moment. “I don’t feel a big difference in our status after we bonded as partners. Ah-Yao and I were childhood friends. We fell in love when we were three years old in Nestling stage, and became partners when we were eleven. Whatever kind of relationship we had before, it stayed the same afterwards. I’ve always respected her, and she too, respects me. As for the difference in status you’ve imagined… Well, it might exist, but at least not between us.”
“It’s so romantic,” a girl was fascinated by the story. “So a relationship can be like this too.”
“Actually, this is what the relationship between a Qizhu and a Qizi is really like. Cruel impacts may exist, or they may be imaginary. For any two people, as long as their hearts are equal, then so will their status be, regardless of the relationship between them.”
“Woa,” They all exclaimed, “You two really are a married couple. Dr. Yao said the exact same thing before.”
Zhi Shang and Yao Tai looked at each other and smiled, as if they had already anticipated it.
“Doctor,” Zhu Yue, who had been staying outside of the crowd with Ying Feng, suddenly asked, “have you ever regretted offering your heart-tip blood on your own initiative?”
Zhi Shang firmly shook his head, “No, not even for a moment.”
“Even at the cost of sacrificing your own growth?” He questioned further.
Zhi Shang lowered his head and looked at himself up and down puzzledly. “I’m very satisfied with my state of growth. Besides,” he turned his head and looked at Yao Tai with a smile. “A certain person can even have more charming curves because of it, which is pleasing to my eyes too, isn’t it?”
After hearing what he said, Zhu Yue clenched his fist even tighter as if he had made some kind of resolution. A bunch of students started jeering with all sorts of funny noises. Yao Tai glanced at Zhi Shang out of the corner of her eyes. It was clearly a look of despise, but her pursed lips gave away the smile, hidden deep inside her eyes.
“That’s enough.” Zhi Shang exaggeratedly cleared his throat. “Let’s get back to the main topic. Your Dr. Yao will be unhappy if we continue to digress like this. Sometimes, I still have to pretend to be afraid of my Qizhu, right?”
Zhi Shang successfully won over the students’ heart with his charm in a rather short time, and they listened carefully to everything he said afterwards.
“I’m sure Ah-Yao has already explained this to everyone while you were outside. After the physical body of a Tianxiu person dies, his soul will return to the Base via the guidance of the Lighthouse, go through baptism in the Purification Pool, and eventually reach here.”
Zhi Shang led them all the way to the control panel. He pressed down the control button, and the sealed chamber of one of the instruments opened, revealing the glass cover inside. A youth was sleeping in it, but what differentiated him from the others was that his body was translucent.
“The instrument that you see right now is what we call an energy capsule. We place the returned soul inside the energy capsule, and after a period of nurturing, the soul will transform to into a human shape. At first, the transparency will be very high, but it will settle down slowly. By the time it completely materializes into a body, like the ones we have, the soul will then wake up. The time this stage takes is different for each person, but it usually requires ten to twenty years.”
“It actually takes that long?”
“It’s already very short compared to Tianxiu people’s lifespan. The general Nestling stage of the Tianxiu people is 10 years, but the gap between the life expectancy of Adults is rather huge. Some people can only live for one or two hundred years, while some can live up to three or four hundred. According to the research result we have now, the more harmonious the spousal relationship is, the longer their lifespan.”
“The spousal relationship is crucial to every Tianxiu person. Only partners with an intimate relationship can fully mature. If a person chooses or is forced to part with his spouse before he fully matures, no matter if he is a Qizhu or a Qizi, even if he is considered an Adult in terms of identity, he will maintain the body and appearance of a Nestling.”
“The growth of an adult is not unlimited. There is a maximum value for everyone. Once it is reached, your body will stop growing and remain in that state–which is also what we call the best state–until the nominal death. It won’t reverse. It won’t age.”
“But no matter how long a Tianxiu person lives, as long as he has a normal death, which is to die of old age, he will be able to foresee it before it comes. Because we are an ‘immortal’ race, we are not afraid of death. We even consider it as a ceremony that’s worth celebrating for. Everyone, before their end arrives, will gather their friends for a last celebration, and sometimes, people will even come together and escort the person about to die to this place and wait for his end to arrive.”
“Everyone will return here, no matter who they are?”
Zhi Shang shook his head with sadness. “That’s not true. There is one kind of people. Their death is seen as that they are unfit to survive in the society and therefore should be washed out by the mechanism of survival of the fittest. Once this kind of person dies, their soul will become scattered, and will no longer exist in this world.”
Everyone immediately asked, “What kind of people?”
Zhi Shang looked at the students, his eyes brimming with loving care. “That’s you, all Nestlings who haven’t gone through the Adult Ceremony yet.”
 Ah-Yao: Putting an “Ah” before one of the characters in a person’s name is an intimate way of calling people.