QZ Chapter 14
Quality Checker: Isalee
First Published on Ainushi.
Ying Feng slammed his door shut, shutting Ling Xiao, who was still totally unreconciled, out of his dorm.
Leaning against the door, he tried to calm down for a long time before he was finally able to adjust his heartbeat back to its normal rate.
It was not like he didn’t want to get even with Ling Xiao. The humiliation of being beaten up in front of so many eyes to the point where he was completely powerless to resist was still vivid in his eyes. But, at the instant when Ling Xiao approached him, the throb which had been suppressed by the injection unexpectedly showed signs of coming back to life.
He looked down at his hand. A faint feeling of numbness still lingered in his blood. So this was what it felt like when a person was about to awaken. He didn’t feel it when he first learned about it at the infirmary just now, but after thinking about it, he found it somewhat inconceivable.
This was the symbol of maturation for the Tianxiu people —— one of the biggest milestones in their life. Facing a major change in his body for the first time, even someone like Ying Feng could not stay entirely composed.
At this moment, Ying Feng had already forgotten what Yao Tai had said to him about the medicine possibly losing its effectiveness if he was too close to people in their awakening phase. He only thought that it was due to the unstable hormone secretion in the early stage of awakening and never considered that there could be a second possibility.
——Don’t tell me that you’ve never felt lonely staying by yourself, that you’ve never thirsted to share your life with another person?
Yao Tai’s words once again sounded next to his ears. Ying Feng hesitated and fished out a peach-pit looking item from his bosom. Luckily, it wasn’t damaged at all despite going through a zero-defense beat up like the one he had during the day.
He was right here in this institute, at a place very close to him, still a Nestling now… That was all the clues Ying Feng had grasped so far.
But, feeling perplexed, he rubbed against the surface of the peach-pit with his finger, who could you be?In another dorm a dozen or so meters away from his, Ling Xiao woke up from his dream in a shock. He was breathing rapidly, the hair near his forehead completely soaked with sweat.
In his dream, he was entangled with another person; they were fighting at first, but the nature of their fight gradually changed as it continued. However, as a Nestling, he had absolutely no idea what it meant.
Lost in the haze of a pleasure he had never felt before, he was finally able to see his opponent’s face —— a familiar face with a familiar indifferent expression on it —— it scared him awake at once. Only then did he realize he was dreaming.
He was lying still on the bed, only his chest was heaving rapidly. Judging from the surrounding darkness, it was still late at night. He closed his eyes, the dream fragments still flashing across his retina —— why did he have a dream like that?
After a long time, Ling Xiao finally calmed down. He wanted to turn over and go back to sleep, but his hands and feet had become numb and stopped responding to him. He was unable to move a single inch as if his body was nailed to the bed.
Ling Xiao tried to move his neck but could barely turn a tiny angle. He then opened his mouth but found out that even the back of his tongue had turned numb. He finally started to feel nervous. In Bikong, everyone had their own dorm rooms. This meant that under such circumstances, when his entire body was paralyzed, he couldn’t even call for help.
Ling Xiao was forced to lie on the bed motionlessly, the beads of sweat on his forehead gradually turning cold as time elapsed, taking away part of his body temperature with them as they evaporated. A large area of the sheet under him was also soaked with sweat. The current environment definitely couldn’t be regarded as comfortable for him.
Many thoughts flashed through his mind, including ones where he was thinking that he was going to die. He thought and thought, but what he thought about the most was still that weird dream he had experienced just now.
He didn’t know how much time had passed before he once again fell back to sleep in drowsiness. By the time he woke up, it was already the next morning.
Ling Xiao blinked a few times, glanced around, then immediately jumped out of the bed.
He could move both his hands and feet. Puzzled, he studied his limbs; there was no trace of that uncomfortable feeling he had experienced earlier. Even the slightly damp blanket had been dried by his body temperature already. Everything that happened last night seemed like nothing but a nightmare.
Since he had recovered, the temporary accident last night was soon cast to the back of his mind. Ling Xiao grabbed two bags of ‘rations’. Right after he came out, he ran into Lan Sheng and Ping Zong who were heading to the dining hall.
Even though he didn’t have any money on his card, Ling Xiao still took pleasure in joining the crowd and followed them to the dining hall. He then proceeded to gnaw on the strawberry-flavored energy bread he brought with him in a well-behaved manner.
Lan Sheng couldn’t bear to look at it anymore, “Are you trying to lose weight? You eat this thing every day.”
Ling Xiao had already made up an excuse for it. He mumbled as he swallowed, “I’m saving up.”
“Saving up to buy what?”
“I’m not telling you.”
Lan Sheng couldn’t care less anyway. “One of these is enough to make a normal person full, and you ate two? You sure aren’t afraid of dying from eating too much huh.”
Ling Xiao was puzzled as well, “I don’t know why, but I was especially hungry after getting up this morning. Even if you give me one more, I can still eat it.”
Ping Zong felt sorry and gave him a croissant after hearing it, while asking him with deep concern, “Ling Xiao, are you starting to mature?”
Ling Xiao stiffened, still holding the bread with his mouth, “No way.”
“Huh. It’s hard to say,” Lan Sheng laughed, gloating over Ling Xiao’s misfortune, “With his level of obtuseness, he might not even know if he has awakened.” “Nonsense,” Ling Xiao kicked him under the table.
“It’s said that students are awakening one after another in the Institute.” Ping Zong reminded him earnestly.
“So soon?” Ling Xiao had already finished the bread in his mouth with lightning speed. “Who did you hear it from?”
“It’s news from the infirmary,” Lan Sheng took over the topic, “Those who were affected this time were mostly eleventh graders. Didn’t Dr. Yao say this before? Awakenings tend to manifest in large outbreaks.”
Most Nestlings entered their awakening phases during the tenth grade. The ones who were able to rise to the eleventh grade were either the rare cases who were slow to awaken or students who stayed because they couldn’t find a suitable mate. They were only a quarter in number compared to the tenth graders. There were even less students in the twelfth grade above them.
“We don’t interact much the eleventh graders, so it won’t affect us, right?” Ling Xiao asked in a silly manner.
Lan Sheng hit him on the head. “Are you an idiot? There are only a few eleventh graders. Seniors who are still single will of course come looking for girlfriends and boyfriends among the tenth graders who are about to awaken. They’ll eventually come into contact with each other after a few times. Bachelors like you will most likely to become their targets.”
Ling Xiao thought of the two filthy seniors from the other day and immediately turned his nose up, “I don’t want that at all. I think Bikong is very good and am planning to stay two more years here.”
“Two years is nothing. It’s okay even if you stay ten more years. I’ll give you my blessings so you may soon become the second Shen He in Bikong.”
”You damn jinx!”
Unfortunately, Lan Sheng’s words were proven right once again. The second wave of awakenings broke out among several tenth graders who had close contacts with the seniors and swept the entire campus in an instant. It caused a large-scaled chain reaction among the tenth graders, and within this group of people were Lan Sheng and Ping Zong.
Ling Xiao once selfishly hoped that this day could come a little later, but by the time he was really facing it, there was nothing left in his heart but blessings for his two best friends.
“When the three of us first met ten years ago, who would have thought that one day, I could personally send you two to the bridal room.” Ling Xiao sighed as he was deeply moved, “When three men get together, there is always a pair that will marry each other happily, leaving the other one by himself. ”
All of the friends accompanying them expressed their uncomfortableness towards a Ling Xiao that was so sensitive and emotional. The group of people shoved the bride and the groom into the bridal room —— the so-called “bridal room” was a double room in the medical building specially set up by the school. They just didn’t expect that they had to go through a strict security check before entering it. They even took away Ping Zong and Lan Sheng’s personal daggers for the time being.
“All unrelated personnel must leave before 6 pm.” The medical staff reminded them, “And you must take away anything you’ve bought. We’ll have people checking them.”
“People who do know understand that it’s going into the bridal room. People who don’t know might think it’s the security check before interstellar travel.”
A person that was with him poked Ling Xiao and laughed, “I’ve never seen someone more clumsy at speeches than you. We are seeing them off to their bridal room, not seeing them off for a journey.  You’ve stayed with Lan Sheng for so long that you have become a jinx as well.”
They giggled as they entered the bridal room. It was everyone’s first time in there.
“Crap! This bridal room is really too crude.” Ling Xiao shouted the minute he went in. The room was quite large, but there was nothing besides the most basic furniture. Everything was white. It was almost like a large, two-person ward.
Everyone else mocked at him, “This is exactly why we said you’re so pure. A bed is all a bridal room needs. What else do you want?”
Ling Xiao mumbled in defiance. There should at least be a bouquet or something like that.
He went around the room once. In the end, his attention went to the wall.
He asked, “Do you find this room very strange?”
“What is strange?”
“This wall.” Ling Xiao punched it as hard as he could, but it only brought up some dust. “This wall is made of exactly the same material as the training room. It’s just a bridal room. Do they need to use such a durable material?”
“Are you still concerned about that? Come and have some liquor.” The “liquor” in their mouths was but a beverage with very little alcohol content that the Nestlings were allowed to drink.
No one paid attention to Ling Xiao’s doubts. Ling Xiao lost interest in it as well. He tried to pull over a chair to sit on but found out that even the chairs in the room were fixed to the ground.
“What’s with this place?” Ling Xiao pushed the chairs, the table, the bed… There was no exception. The only place he knew that had furniture nailed to the ground like this was the ICU.
One of his classmates commented, “Ling Xiao, you’re really weird today.” Another person echoed, “That’s natural. His two best friends are going to hold the Adult Ceremony. He might be more nervous now than the party actually involved,”
Ling Xiao gave an awkward laugh.
“Hurry up and come over. Just sit on the floor. There aren’t enough chairs even if you can move it over.”
Hope that it’s just me being oversensitive. Ling Xiao thought as he rubbed his nose, then went over and joined them.
Low alcohol beverages could still get people drunk if one drank a lot. Soon, Ling Xiao started to feel slightly tipsy. He cast all his previous concerns behind him and recalled the follies they had done together over these years as they ridiculed each other, catching each other on the raw. Laughs, jeers, all kinds of emotions filled the room, making it such a lively place.
Ling Xiao and the others played around for no less than two hours before they finally agreed to leave as if they were trying to squander every last bit of Lan Sheng and Ping Zong’s time as Nestlings. Before leaving, Ling Xiao hugged them tightly. He cried and laughed. It was like they were going to part forever after tonight.
In the end, a few students tried everything they had and were finally able to drag away Ling Xiao who had his arms around Ping Zong like a koala bear, refusing to let go. Only after Ling Xiao was several hundred meters out in the cold wind did his emotions finally calm down gradually.
“Are you all right?” A classmate went up and patted him a few times.
Ling Xiao waved his hands, “I’m fine. Just drank a bit too much and I feel a little dizzy.”
“Go back to your dorm and rest.”
“It’s still so early,” Ling Xiao glanced the sky, “I’ll take a walk by myself.”
The other people were sensitive enough to not bother him. Ling Xiao walked and stopped in the campus by himself, and before he knew it, he was already at the rooftop of the lecture hall.
The rooftop was where his friendship with Lan Sheng and Ping Zong had started. That year, they were still new students who liked to gather on the rooftop every noon, making quips and jokes. All of those were his happy memories.
There was a high platform that towered over the rooftop. Ling Xiao liked to sprawl out on it the most, and the people below wouldn’t be able to see him. The first time he climbed up there, he was so comfortable that he ended up falling asleep. Lan Sheng and Ping Zong couldn’t find Ling Xiao anywhere down there. They thought he fell off the building and nearly brewed up hysteric chaos.
Ling Xiao once again climbed up to his favorite location. It was not noon anymore. The seemingly burning setting sun didn’t bring much warmth as it shone on people from the side.
“Why are you following me again?” Ling Xiao’s eyes widened the moment that person opened his mouth. His muddled brain sobered up in an instant.
Why did Ying Feng come to the rooftop? Who was he speaking with?
After the second person started to talk, Ling Xiao’s eyes immediately turned grave. Why was he always running into these two people seeing each other wherever he went?
He heard Zhu Yue hum and haw, “Ying Feng, I…”
Ying Feng was quite impatient, “What do you want to say?”
“Actually, I wanted to tell you… I had my first awakening reaction yesterday. Dr. Yao said I had a false-awakening, and I’ll officially be in the awakening phase in ten days.”
Every normal person would have said ‘congratulations’ after hearing this, but Ying Feng’s expression didn’t change at all. “So?”
“So,” Zhu Yue mustered up all the courage he had in his life, “I’m willing to offer you my heart-tip blood, are you willing to be together with me?”
Ling Xiao firmly clutched his chest. Where did this sudden pricking pain come from?
His state of mind turned anxious so easily today. It must be because of Lan Sheng, and Ping Zong, and the stupid liquor.
“I refuse.” The temperature in Ying Feng’s voice made people wonder what kind of words would be required to move him. “I’m not going to be with you. You can give up on this thought.”
He refused so straightforwardly that even Ling Xiao found it embarrassing for Zhu Yue.
Zhu Yue had subconsciously anticipated such an answer, but hearing it from Ying Feng in reality still frustrated him.
“Ever since you saved me from the hands of the seniors last time, I’ve had my mind set on no one else but you. I know you are not close to anyone, but you actually helped me out. Does that mean that in your mind, I’m not really as negligible as the others, even if it’s only for a tiny bit?”
“I only helped you because we are classmates. I don’t regret helping you. I’ll do the same even if it were to happen again but only as a classmate. Don’t think too much about it.”
“I don’t believe it,” Zhu Yue eagerly refuted. “If it was someone else at that time, if the person being attacked was that Ling Xiao who’s always acting against you all the time, would you still help him without any hesitation?”
“Ling Xiao doesn’t need me to save him,” Ying Feng answered expressionlessly. “He’s much better than you in that aspect.”
Zhu Yue’s face became deathly pale. He walked to the entrance of the rooftop, hesitated for a moment, then turned around and said resolutely, “As long as you’re not together with anyone, it means I still have a shot. I’ll stay in Bikong forever until you accept me. I hope you can remember that you’re the only person I’m saving my heart-tip blood for.”
He left as soon as he finished. Ying Feng only wanted to come up here for some fresh air at first, but his mood was completely destroyed by this incident. Just as he turned around to leave, he saw Ling Xiao who was sitting on the high platform.
“How heartless you are,” Ling Xiao said from above, “He spoke so sincerely. Even I was almost moved by him, yet you actually had no reaction at all.”
Ying Feng lifted up his eyes indifferently. “You were eavesdropping.”
“I was here first. How could you call it eavesdropping? I’m just curious what kind of person can move you. You can spend so much money buying information whose authenticity you can’t even confirm. Could it be that you’re really looking for your lover from the previous life?”
Ying Feng turned his head away. He didn’t want to pay attention to him.
“It’s hard to imagine you being such a faithful person when it comes to love. But what can you do even if you find him? Dr. Yao already said that the chance you two could meet again is close to none. Even if you can find him, his appearance and character would have already changed to a completely different person. Maybe he’s already someone else’s Qizi.”
Ying Feng looked displeased. “Are you done?”
Ling Xiao came down from the platform in one leap and landed right in front of Ying Feng. “Now, there is someone who voluntarily offered you his heart-tip blood, but you still rejected him. What kind of person are you looking for after all?”
Ying Feng wasn’t going to answer him at first, but looking at Ling Xiao before his eyes, he suddenly curved his lips maliciously. “I don’t know, but if you are going to voluntarily offer me your heart-tip blood, maybe I’ll think about it.”
“Ha!” Ling Xiao sneered at him. Just as he was about to retort, an immense yet indescribable sorrow welled up from the bottom of his heart. He lost his words for a moment.
Ying Feng gave a start. “What are you crying for?”
Ling Xiao touched his face almost mechanically. It was indeed wet. He stared blankly at the liquid on his finger, while more and more tears uncontrollably came to his eyes.
He glanced at Ying Feng in a fluster. There was a rare astonishment in the other person’s eyes. After realizing how abnormal his behaviors had been, Ling Xiao turned around and immediately broke into a run, leaving the rooftop in a way that almost seemed like fleeing.
Behind him, Ying Feng was staring at his own hand perplexedly. This hand had unconsciously raised itself halfway up after he saw the other person’s tears as if it was trying to wipe them away.
Right then, a strange sensation coiled around his fingertip, like a light kiss coagulated by the air. It all happened so quickly and vaguely, and then it disappeared in a flash.
Was it an illusion?
 An alteration to the famous Confucius line “When three people are walking together, there is always someone to learn from.”
 “Seeing someone off for their journey” also means accompanying someone before they die.