QZ Chapter 21
First Published on Ainushi.
The person outside was Lan Sheng. It had been over a week since Ling Xiao last saw him.
After that incident, Lan Sheng was forced into isolation by the school side. No visits were allowed. Ling Xiao pestered Yao Tai a few times over at her place but still wasn’t able to get even a glance of Lan Sheng.
There was another reason why Ling Xiao couldn’t have guessed the person outside was him: when Lan Sheng knocked on his door before, he usually either pounded or kicked. He had never acted like he did now–polite, yet alienated.
“I’m here to say goodbye to you.” Lan Sheng’s face looked extremely calm. Ling Xiao stared blankly at the person in front of him. Nothing had changed apart from the color of his eyes. He looked so familiar, yet also so strange that even Ling Xiao didn’t know what kind of expression to use when facing him.
Lan Sheng went on, “The school said that a Qizi like me, bereaved of their spouse during the maturation phase, must receive treatment at the Center of Mental Disease Control. I don’t know how long it will take, but we probably won’t be able to meet again in the near future.”
He brushed through the words “bereaved of their spouse” so lightly, but it was like a hammer pounding heavily on Ling Xiao’s heart.
Seeing Ling Xiao’s expression, Lan Sheng put up a faint smile, “Don’t worry about me. Since I promised Ping Zong that I would keep on living while cherishing the memories of him, I’ll stick to my promise no matter how difficult it gets. I already broke the promise to stay together with him for the rest of my life, I will not break this one again.”
Ling Xiao’s lips trembled, but no sound came out.
“Before I leave, I want to give this to you.”
Lan Sheng handed him a black box. Ling Xiao opened it. There was a dagger inside.
“My dagger has already been confiscated. This is the only thing Ping Zong left behind.”
Ling Xiao felt that the item in his hand suddenly became too heavy for him to hold, “It’s so precious. Why don’t you keep it yourself?”
“Because the place I’m going does not allow any weapon, and I feel bad to leave it to anyone else. You’re the only person I’m willing to entrust it to, and I have faith in you that you’ll keep it safe and sound.”
He paused for a second, then said, “There’s another reason I’m giving it to you. I’m the person who made you lose two friends on the same day…”
“You didn’t.” Ling Xiao quickly interrupted him, his voice choking a little with sobs, “You’re still alive, and Ping Zong will live on forever in my heart. I’ve never lost the two of you. I didn’t lose you in the past, nor will I ever lose you in the future.”
“I’m surprised to see you think this way.” Lan Sheng felt relieved, “How childish I was in the past! Yet I flaunted myself as more mature than you. It’s hard to imagine that this Adult Ceremony changed both of us. The fact that we have become the stepping stones on your path of growing up…is probably the only thing Ping Zong and I could comfort ourselves with. The reason that I’m leaving this dagger to you is to hope that you will never forget us.”
Hearing the stepping stone metaphor, Ling Xiao felt a lump forming in his throat and nearly cried.
Lan Sheng grabbed Ling Xiao’s hand and said, “Ling Xiao, even though you were the first one to wake up among us three, you have always been the most simple-minded one. Otherwise, how could you have never realized that I was dating Ping Zong for three years? Ping Zong cared more about you than he cared about me. I often pretended to be jealous of you because of it, but for me actually, you too are the person I worried about the most. Whenever I think of how both of us won’t be around you in the future, that you might not even realize when you awaken, or when you fall in love, I just can’t stop worrying about you.”
“Ling Xiao, promise me, that no matter what happens in the future, you must think of me. I’m a lesson for you to learn from. You must not make the same mistakes I’ve made before. Don’t ever let yourself live in remorse.”
Ling Xiao tried his best to hold back his tears. He nodded and asked, “Can we see each other again?”
“We’ll definitely meet again as long as you’re willing to wait for me. It’s just that I don’t know what you and I will look like when the time comes. Though I can probably assume that you’ll be taller than me by then.”
Ling Xiao’s voice choked deep inside his throat, “I’ve always been taller than you.”
Lan Sheng stepped up and hugged him tightly. Ling Xiao wished he could make him stay.
After a moment, the pressure around him disappeared. Ling Xiao had no choice but to let go of his hands in spite of his reluctance.
“Take care,” said him.
Only after Lan Sheng turned around did Ling Xiao finally saw the two Adult males in white uniform standing not far from them. The last time he saw this uniform, the people wearing it claimed that they were from the Center of Disease Control, that mysterious yet fearful place.
Ling Xiao had heard about people going to the CDC and never returning. What he didn’t expect was that one day, he would be seeing his best friend off to that same place.
Now Ling Xiao finally understood why the school side would allow Lan Sheng, someone who had attempted suicide before, to come to him by himself while carrying a weapon. He stared blankly as Lan Sheng left together with those two people, as if this glance was their last farewell.
After Lan Sheng left, Ling Xiao passed an entire day in depression. People around him originally thought Ling Xiao had already walked out from that event, but after seeing him like this, they started to feel worried about him again.
In order to talk Ling Xiao out of it, several of his good friends gathered together in private and came up with a bad idea.
That night, not long after Ling Xiao left again for his training appointment, a student named Ting Lei from the classroom next to his stopped him, pushing him into his own dormitory without saying anything further.
“Ling Xiao, come over.”
“For what?” Ling Xiao asked perplexed. “I have a training appointment.”
“You train everyday. Aren’t you tired? Just take a day off.” Ting Lei lowered his voice and said mysteriously, “I’ve got some good stuff.”
“What good stuff…” asked Ling Xiao as he thought, ‘…that you have to act so sneakily.’
Before he could finish his question, they already pushed him inside the dorm. He looked around, there were already a few students in there, all crowded together. It looked like they were watching something.
“Hey! Ling Xiao! Quick, over here!” The people inside immediately called out as they saw Ling Xiao had arrived, “We got this especially for you! To keep you away from boredom!”
“It’s obvious that you just want to see it yourself.” Another person roasted him.
“Then get out. Don’t make it sound like you don’t want it at all.”
Seeing the way they bickered so harmoniously, Ling Xiao couldn’t help thinking of Lan Sheng and himself. Another lump came to his throat. In order to hide his emotions, he immediately bowed his head and pressed a few times on his personal terminal, “I need to message Ying Feng that I’m not going.”
“Are you really dating him?” Ting Lei made a fuss and shouted out, “So it was not a joke when you said you wanted Ying Feng to be your Qizi?”
“What are you talking about?” Ling Xiao’s hand paused for a second. “We just agreed to train together.”
“Well, you train, and train, and then you fall in love! Also, Qizi’s ability will be added to their Qizhu’s. If you really can subdue him… Woa~, Ling Xiao, won’t you be invincible in the whole universe then?”
Ling Xiao saw him bringing the topic further and further away, so he quickly changed the subject, “Aren’t you going to show me some exotic stuff? What is it after all that has you acting so mysterious?”
Ting Lei immediately threw the last topic to the back of his head. Somewhat proud of himself, he decided to keep Ling Xiao guessing, “When you see it, you’ll know how hard it is to come by.”
So as if to correspond to his words, someone suddenly turned off the light in the dorm. The light source was replaced by the projection on the wall. So they were just playing a movie.
In an era where 3D projection films were prevalent in, screen films were no longer popular among the people. Ling Xiao became curious as well. What kind of outdated film were these people so excited about?
The moment the film started, Ling Xiao recognized that it was not a native film. The name of the production company was shown in a language he didn’t understand. The actors looked a little like the Langxiu people living on the planet next to theirs, their skin was darker, and their ears slightly sharper. When the first line came out, Ling Xiao was stunned.
“It’s not dubbed and there’s no sub. How are we going to understand it?”
A classmate gave him a push and teased, “You won’t need dubs or subs. Just watch!”
Ling Xiao had no choice but to stay patient and continue to watch. The projected people said a few more sentences that he couldn’t understand, then they started to take off their clothes.
Ling Xiao: =O=
Now he finally understood why he didn’t need dubs or subs, the content of the film was so obvious and easy to understand. However, the method where this content was carried out was so abstruse and complicated at the same time for Nestlings like them who had absolutely zero sexual knowledge.
These Nestlings who had never had this level of stimulation before all held their breaths, gazing at the scene without even blinking. Even Ling Xiao, who wasn’t very interested in the beginning, couldn’t help but become fascinated by it.
The leading actor and actress were touching each other almost selflessly. Just as they thought this would be the climax of the film, another character came into the room. They exchanged a few words–this time Ling Xiao didn’t complain about it being incomprehensible. Afterwards, the new-comer soon joined the battle.
This was the first time these kids had tasted the forbidden fruit, yet they had already come across such a hot scene, how could they hold onto themselves anymore? All of them felt their mouths getting dry and their face burning. By the time they reached the sixsome chaos in the end–some of the Langxiu people even switched to beast forms–a few students were already soaked with sweat.
“What a treat!” After the movie ended, someone reflected on it as he licked the corner of his mouth.
“It’s such a hot film! Where did you get it?” One of the students asked Ting Lei curiously.
“Don’t tell anyone else. I bought it on the internet. It costed me almost half of my living expense for the month!” Due to the natural limitations, Tianxiu had no porn industry at all. Adult movies like these were all smuggled from other galaxies and therefore cost a great deal.
“Underage District sells these too?” They were not allowed to enter the Adult-only Districts on the internet after all.
“There was a store on commodity street that sells everything. It secretly stocks a lot of good stuff. The part-time worker over there even gave me a 10% discount after hearing that I’m a student in Bikong.”
Ling Xiao: ‘…I knew it!’
Looking at it this way, Shen He was truly someone whom everyone in Bikong had heard about yet only a few personally knew of. Besides, most people would think he was just a Nestling working part-time in the shop when they saw him, who would have expected he was, in fact, its owner.
After they finished discussing the source of the film, they went on vigorously onto its content.
“Hey, has any of you ever been like that as in the film?”
“Like…” The student was too embarrassed to say it out. He gestured with his hand abstractly, but surprisingly, the others all understood.
“No,” Several people shook their heads in a row, “Never had that.”
“I also learned for the first time after seeing this, that you can get hard down there.”
“Right, are we going to be like that in the future?”
“I think so. It’s probably because we haven’t awakened yet so we still don’t have reactions.”
“I really wish to awaken sooner…”
“Ling Xiao, what about you?” Ting Lei gave Ling Xiao, who had been spacing out, a slap.
“Have you…ever experienced that? Like what happened in the film?”
Ling Xiao was dumbfounded for a second, “No. I’m just like all of you. I haven’t awakened yet, how could I have physical reactions?”
“Pff.” Everyone felt a bit disappointed.
Some of them didn’t get enough of it and wanted a replay, and some others were planning on getting more films from Shen He’s shop. Ling Xiao didn’t want to participate in it anymore. He made up a random excuse and left at once. The other people simply used Ling Xiao’s anxiety as an excuse to secretly watch movies together. At this moment, they weren’t in the mood of minding him anymore and just let him leave.
Ling Xiao returned to his dorm by himself. Perhaps because he had watched a movie like that at night, he felt that the room was slightly hotter than usual. His body kept sweating.
He re-adjusted the AC system in the room, then took off his clothes and stood below the shower. Water that was slightly cooler than his body temperature sprinkled onto him, bringing a cool and refreshing sensation that was hard to put into words.
His body was gradually cooling down, but the stir in his mind could not be pacified no matter what. The longer Ling Xiao washed, the stronger feeling he had that something was wrong. He lowered his head and was surprised to find out that the part that had been sleeping for over ten years had now lifted its head energetically, just like what he saw in the film tonight.
Ling Xiao stared blankly at the change of his body and slowly realized, ‘I…I haven’t just awakened, have I?’
“All physical indexes look normal. Congratulations to you for officially entering the awakening phase. Are you sure you don’t need any suppressants?”
“I’m sure. Thank you, Dr. Yao.”
Yao Tai nodded. She opened the door and walked the student who had just entered the awakening phase out, “Just remember those things I listed that you need to pay attention to during your awakening phase, and you’ll be fine. Also, you can’t participate in the field training organized by the Institute that’s starting the day after tomorrow.”
After the student left, Yao Tai realized there was another person standing outside the door.
“Ling Xiao? Is there something you need?”
Ling Xiao’s attention was completely drawn by what Yao Tai just said in the end. He knew nothing about the suppressant. All he heard was that people were not allowed to participate in the field training after entering the awakening phase. He had been looking forward to the annual field training for a long time. How could he give it up for something like this?
Field training was only going to last three days. It should be fine…to delay the reporting for a week, right?
Thinking of this point, he quickly shook his head. “No, never mind, I’m fine.”
Staring at his receding figure, Yao Tai felt somewhat suspicious. Would people come to the infirmary especially for nothing?