QZ Chapter 7
Quality Checker: MochiMochi95
First Published on Ainushi.
Ling Xiao flashed through the energy capsules. Even if someone were to stare at the monitor with unblinking eyes, all they could catch was barely a gray shadow flitting across the screen.
After dashing from one side of the hall all the way to the other side, Ling Xiao finally spotted Ying Feng at the end corner as the other person also flashed by.
“Don’t even think about getting rid of me.” Ling Xiao sped up and leaped before him. Ying Feng simply threw him a faint glance, not at all surprised by his appearance. “Don’t forget, I’m also one of the shareholders.”
Ying Feng showed no signs of welcome or rejection. He threw the chip they got from Shen He into the air, then made a gesture to zoom in. The transparent map opened up. All routes on it were marked in detail by white lines. As they moved, the map also panned along with them and could even turn in accordance with the direction they were facing. Even the surveillance cameras along the way were carefully marked out.
Under its guidance, they avoided all the monitored areas and came directly before a remote laboratory. There was a warning on its door–Important Place for Research, Admittance of Staff Only.
Perhaps they thought no one would come, the door was not locked. After Ying Feng put away the map, the two of them pushed open the door and walked in.
The so-called important place for research was much simpler than what Ling Xiao had expected–a few devices whose uses were unknown, some medicines with different colors, piles of old documents on the bookshelves, and a very ordinary computer in the corner. The model of the computer was almost ancient, a lot of people today wouldn’t even bother to use it anymore.
“It seems like this master named Tai Yin really was a nostalgic person,” ‘regardless of people or things.’
Without any hesitation, Ying Feng pressed down the power button. The outmoded machine hadn’t been started for a long time, its rusted motherboard produced a burst of impatient rumbles. Ling Xiao gave the dusted keyboard a hard blowing, raising a cloud of choking dust which immediately dragged him into a series of coughs.
Ying Feng had already covered his mouth and nose vigilantly before the other person made the blowing action. The dust cloud dissipated, revealing Ling Xiao behind it. There were tears in his eyes from coughing, and his hand was still fanning incessantly in front of him. The dust particles which could be seen with the naked eye danced wilfully in the air as he moved.
“Idiot.” Ying Feng cursed under his breath.
Ling Xiao stared at him, teary eyes full of complaints, thinking, ‘It was to prevent your hands from getting dirty when you type on the keyboard later!’ Unfortunately, none of the words left his mouth because of all the choking.
Ying Feng didn’t want to waste time. He plugged the decoder Shen He gave them directly into the computer, and the progress bar immediately appeared on the screen.
After a short period of time, the password was successfully deciphered. An extremely outdated system showed up before them. Ling Xiao had only seen this kind of operator interface on a textbook for Computer Development History.
Ying Feng was typing rapidly on the keyboards. Utterly amazed, Ling xiao was curious about when the other person had actually learned how to use these antique machines, “Why do you know how to use it?”
Ying Feng knew Ling Xiao would not let the matter drop unless he gave an answer. “There’s a place called library.”
“You specially borrowed books from library just to learn an operating system that has already phased out?” Ling Xiao couldn’t understand it. “You’ve really worked hard searching for your sweetheart in previous life.”
“You won’t understand.” Ying Feng had already entered Tai Yin’s research journals and started searching agily using keywords.
“It’s this one.” Hearing Ying Feng’s words, Ling Xiao immediately moved himself closer to take a look. This was the first time that the two of them had been so close with their heads next to each other.
——X Year X Month X Day. Today, Shang Yang attempted suicide. He stole my dagger and cut his own wrist.
“So the name of Tai Yin’s Qizi is Shang Yang.” Reading up to here, Ling Xiao couldn’t help but said, “I wonder whether it’s his name in the previous life or this one.”
“Previous life for sure.”
“How do you know?”
“Because the journal was written by Tai Yin. For him, this Nestling has always been the previous Shang Yang, regardless of his name now.”
Ling Xiao could not argue with it, so he twisted his mouth and continued reading.
——After I had discovered his action, I went up to take the dagger away. He also injured me while resisting, and our blood dripped to the ground at the same time. Suddenly, something unimaginable happened.
——The blood that flew out from his body rushed forth towards mine like something alive. Our blood attracted each other as if they were magnetic. Both of us were shocked by the scene, and his suicidal action was also halted because of it.
——In the end, the two pools of blood gathered and intertwined with each other, and no distinction existed between them anymore. I suspect that it is because his blood hasn’t been tainted yet in this life and still carries the memories of his past life.
——If this hypothesis is correct, then every Nestling who hasn’t gone through the Adult Ceremony can use this method to find their partner from the previous life. It is a pity that I can’t find more blood samples to verify whether this conjecture of mine is true.
This entry of the research journal ended right here. The verification method it introduced was much simpler than what Ling Xiao had imagined, only that even Tai Yin himself was unable to confirm its certainty.
“Do you think what he wrote is reliable?” After a long period of silence, Ling Xiao asked first.
Ying Feng appeared to be pondering about it too, but he didn’t state his opinion.
Ling Xiao thought for a moment. “Do you want to give it a try?”
Ying Feng frowned at once, “Try what?”
Ling Xiao turned his head towards the computer on the side. This was enough of a hint for Ying Feng.
“There’s no need.” Ying Feng was not moved by his suggestion.
“Why no need?” Ling Xiao stopped the other person’s hand from turning off the machine. “Do you think it’s impossible for us to be partners in previous life? Well, I find it impossible too, but just in case you were my Qizi before…”
“Impossible.” Ying Feng interrupted him coldly. “Even if it was my previous life, I would not have been anyone’s Qizi.”
“How would you know if you don’t try?” Ling Xiao remained expressionless as he continued to provoke him. “Or could it be… that you’re afraid?”
Ying Feng pulled out a dagger with his right hand in a flash. “Who’s going first?”
Ling Xiao had been feigning his composure all this time, but after seeing Ying Feng taking out his dagger, he took it away at once. “I’ll go!”
Ying Feng was quite displeased about his dagger being snatched. “Can’t you use your own?”
“Didn’t bring it. It’s too troublesome.”
Ying Feng simply didn’t know what to say about him. Dagger was an essential personal weapon for every Tianxiu person. Its importance was almost comparable to that of their terminal and ID card, yet Ling Xiao didn’t even bring it.
As Ying Feng was criticizing Ling Xiao in his mind, the other person had already pricked his fingertip without any hesitation. Holding his bleeding finger while glancing around for quite a while, he finally chose the relatively spacious window sill. A drop of the deep red liquid was thus dripped onto its snow white surface.
“Your turn! Your turn!” He returned the dagger to Ying Feng, and watched him prick his finger the same way he did it; he was about to drip it at a place nearby.
“It’s too far.” Ling Xiao hurriedly pulled Ying Feng’s hand closer to his own drop of blood. “If it’s that far away, it won’t be able to flow here even if it wanted to.”
“Are you done yet?!” Ying Feng shouted at him in a low voice, “You might as well just drip mine onto yours!”
Even though he said so, Ying Feng still shifted his finger slightly under the external force from Ling Xiao before dripping his blood on the window sill at a place only a finger-length away from the other blood drop.
Ling Xiao’s eyes were firmly fixed on the two droplets of blood on the window sill. He was exceptionally nervous, as shown by his tightly pursed lips.
“Enough!” Only after hearing Ying Feng’s yell did Ling Xiao finally realize he was in fact still gripping the other person’s hand.
He released his hand at once. His palm was burning hot, so he wiped it against his clothes with dislike, and Ying Feng’s face became even darker.
A blood drop not far from them suddenly trembled. The two people who were about to start a fight turned their heads simultaneously with disbelief, their shocked stares almost piercing through the window sill.
No one knew that in an abandoned laboratory a hundred meters away from them, there were two people who were in the middle of such a “ceremony”. They were all attracted by the image on the huge monitor screen–the meteorites which had survived after breaking through the atmosphere were now whistling down from the upper air with raging flames. The 3D visual effect let people suspect that they would smash onto the roof of the main hall right the next second.
This was the first time that the students witnessed this kind of astronomical phenomenon in such a direct view. The daring ones were unable to take their eyes off, while the timid ones had already cried out in shock. It was a rare opportunity for a teaching demonstration. After Zhi Shang finished assigning tasks to all the posts, he stepped down the command podium and started a live commentary among the students.
“Because of the existence of the nebula vortexes around the Tianxiu Planet, asteroid disintegration happens occasionally. In response to such an accident, the Base is equipped with a protection shell even more advanced than the one used in Military Ministry. It can defend against not only physical collision, but also high temperature, radiation, magnetism, poison–even the ultraviolet ray emitted by the Sun will be purified as it goes through.”
In order to better demonstrate it to the students, and also due to the security consideration at the same time, Zhi Shang ordered the staffs to activate the protection shell for the Base. A gigantic transparent semi-spherical shell slowly rose from the ground encasing the entire Base within it. The visibility of the shell was extremely low. One could not perceive its existence at all without paying close attention to it.
“Okay, now we are absolutely safe. There’s no need to worry even if the meteorites impact here directly.”
This guarantee calmed part of the students, but there were still a few who were inevitably anxious.
“May I ask if they have found our classmate?” asked Ping Zong. He was still worried about Ling Xiao.
“Ying Feng didn’t come back either. Has anyone seen him?” Zhu Yue was probably the first one to find out that Ying Feng was missing.
“Everyone, please rest assured. Our colleagues are already out checking the related areas. For the rest of the students, please stay where you are. Don’t move unless you have permission.” The staff blocked Zhu Yue, who had already become restless.
However, the person Zhu Yue kept in his heart all this time was now, contrary to his usual calm behaviour, also staring fixedly and unblinkingly at the two drops of blood on the window sill. They were still lying there, motionless, making people wonder if the trembling just now was but an illusion.
A minute past yet still there was no change to the blood. Ying Feng came back to himself first, feeling extremely stupid for agreeing to do such an experiment with Ling Xiao, and the fact that he even felt nervous for a second was all the more stupid.
“You’re satisfied now?” His voice resumed his usual indifference.
Ling Xiao’s expression changed a few times within a moment, but unfortunately he himself did not know what these expressions meant, let alone Ying Feng.
Activating the protection shell for the Base was doubtlessly an overprotective action, for most of the meteorites were burnt up during their fall, leaving only some thick smoke behind them surging in the sky, while a few survivors fell into the sea and created huge waves.
“Is the Lighthouse next to the sea?” Lan Sheng suddenly asked after carefully observing for a while.
“Yes,” Zhi Shang answered.
“Then isn’t the most dangerous place where the Lighthouse is?”
As if he was trying to prove the validity of Lan Sheng being such a godlike jinx, a staff reported an emergency, “Chief, we’ve spotted a meteorite with relatively large volume. Based on the calculation of the direction and angle in which it is traveling, the Lighthouse is right on its path!”
“Activate the protection shell for the Lighthouse.” Zhi Shang calmly commanded.
A moment of silence.
“Inform! The remote control for the Lighthouse’s protection shell isn’t responding! The activation is invalid!”
Zhi Shang rushed over and pressed the activation button a couple times, but there was no response in the direction of the Lighthouse.
“Isn’t there a routine check performed on a daily basis? Who’s responsible for today’s security check?”
“Inform, it’s me!” A person stepped out. Zhi Shang frowned as soon as he saw him. This assistant named Yu Quan was very solitary and taciturn, and he rarely talked to anyone.
Publicly speaking, Zhi Shang was his current boss, while in private, he was Yu Quan’s senior before. But even such a double relationship failed to shorten the distance between them. Apart from conversations necessary for work, the two of them barely had any contact with each other.
“Have you checked the activation device today?”
“Yes, everything was normal at that time.”
“Then why is there suddenly a breakdown?”
Yu Quan’s poker face didn’t change. “I don’t know.”
“Calculate the remaining time before the meteorite hits the Lighthouse.”
The answer was given almost instantly. “Two minutes and thirty seconds, twenty-nine, twenty-eight…”
Zhi Shang passed the command over to the adjutant, while he himself entered the teleporting device in the hall.
“Chief, where are you going?”
“There’s an alternate manual start button on the Lighthouse.”
“But it’s impossible to get there within such a short time…” Before the adjutant could finish his sentence, Zhi Shang had already disappeared in the teleportation device.
“Hey, come and take a look at this.” While Ling Xiao was rummaging through the documents left by Tai Yin in his laboratory, he found something interesting on one of the pages.
He pointed to the photo on the profile, “Isn’t this Dr. Yao’s Qizi, Dr. Zhi Shang?”
Ling Xiao flipped back to the cover of the profile, making sure that he did not misread. “So Tai Yin was Dr. Zhi Shang’s teacher before.”
Ying Feng turned off the computer and answered casually, “They are the former and current Chief Researcher in the Base, so the teacher-student relationship is not at all surprising.”
As Ling Xiao turned to the next page, he shouted in surprise, “So Dr. Yao is actually Tai Yin’s student as well? She was also a researcher in the Base before?”
Ying Feng was also attracted by the news and walked over to browse it together with him. The number of Tai Yin’s students were quite limited, and the register came to an end as they turned to the next page.
“So the last three apprentices this genius Chief Researcher had taken before he defected were Dr. Zhi Shang, Dr. Yao, and this… assisting researcher named Yu Quan. Shen He said the reason Tai Yin’s plan fell through was due to the betrayal of his student. Could it be one of these three people?”
Ling Xiao heaved a sigh, “Out of his three students, one is now the Chief Researcher, one became the school doctor in an elementary institute, and we’re not sure where the other one is. I wonder what they were doing back then while their teacher was turning the world upside down.”
Ling Xiao conveniently put the profile back in its place, but the colorful medicines on the lab table caught his attention.
“What are these…”
Right after he said these words, an immense force suddenly dragged him to the corner of the laboratory. His instinct told him to shout, but he found out that the other person had already covered his mouth.
“Someone is coming!”