Ying Feng and Ling Xiao had been wrestling back and forth on the ground for a while. As soon as Ling Xiao revealed his canine teeth, Ying Feng instinctively sensed incoming danger. When the other person aimed at his chest and bit down, a unprecedented resentment welled up from the bottom of his heart along with an alertness to danger and a fear of the unknown that was even greater in magnitude than when he was facing the Kui.
At this critical moment, when Ling Xiao was about to bite in, Ying Feng dealt his heaviest blow and finally drove the other man off him.
The punch allowed him a moment to breathe, but it soon ended when Ling Xiao once again pounced on him desperately. Completely out of control, he couldn’t feel any pain and paid no attention to his wounded body. The only thought left in his mind was to push down the person before him.
Ying Feng didn’t understand why Ling Xiao had become like this, but every time the other person approached with his sharp teeth, the fear rooted in Ying Feng’s heart would intensify somewhat. ‘I must not let him succeed no matter what’ became the most penetrating voice in his mind. It was linked with his each and every nerve and reflex, allowing him to strike back with no hesitation at Ling Xiao’s attacks.
Just like this, they each suffered a few blows from the other and gave a few punches in return as they gasped for breath in this violent clash.
They fought without any technique, like two barbarians who knew nothing about wrestling, attacking each other with the most primitive brute force, completely ignoring their personal images. Their uniforms, which were already stained with mud and blood, became even more dilapidated.
If anyone was here, they would not be able to tell that these two people were the two outstanding tenth graders in Bikong. They might even think that they were just two mad dogs fighting over territory.
Ying Feng gained an upper hand with a flip. Using his body to press Ling Xiao onto the ground and leaving him no chance to explain, he hit the other person right in the face in an attempt to wake him up from this chaotic state.
“Are you crazy?” In his eyes, Ling Xiao in his current state looked just like a madman who was totally out of his mind.
As if he had lost the ability to sense pain, Ling Xiao took the full blow without putting up even the most basic defense. Suddenly, he exerted all of his strength and turned the situation around. Their positions were reversed, and Ling Xiao delivered a similarly heavy blow straight at the side of Ying Feng’s face.
Ying Feng tasted blood in his mouth. There was a sharp pain at the back of his tongue — He must have bitten on it so hard that it bled. His anger soared. The Kui didn’t kill them, but they were here killing each other. Ling Xiao was looking at him as if he wished to kill Ying Feng.
Whether it was because the enhancing effect of Embers hadn’t completely worn out yet or Ying Feng had just experienced a series of accidents and his stamina was still far from its peak, the Ling Xiao in front of his eyes appeared to excel compared to his usual self in terms of both speed and attack power.
Whether it was practice or field training, Ying Feng could always come to a draw with Ling Xiao or even beat him by a move or two. This time, however, he was obviously the one at a disadvantage. Several times, the other person almost had him under control. In fact, were he not strengthened by instinct, he would barely be Ling Xiao’s match.
After several dozen more rounds of dogfighting, Ying Feng became clearly aware that he was not fighting a normal human. A sober person would never have the eyes that Ling Xiao had.
The fierceness inside Ling Xiao’s eyes and the guttural snarls were no different from those of the beast Kui —— He had no reason, no fear, no concept of pain. He was a beast, a machine; the materialization of a single thought.
And that thought was to sink his teeth mercilessly into Ying Feng’s chest.
“Have you awakened?” After being forced to the ground once again, Ying Feng slowly realized at last.
Ling Xiao let out another frightening growl. He kept Ying Feng firmly under him. His pair of canine teeth pressed down closer and closer and were about to pierce into Ying Feng’s chest…
There came another round of violent quakes. People in the rescue team had to hold onto the wall in order to save themselves from falling down.
“Listen!” Fu Yao suddenly said.
They pricked up their ears and listened. There seemed to be a muffled rumbling from a far, unknown direction.
The noise ended and everything returned to tranquility. The surrounding environment stopped shaking. Occasionally, some restless sand and stones would answer to the call of gravity and rush towards the ground. The sound of their clattering as they hit the ground somewhat added a heightened sense of silence to the surroundings. The entire scene resembled the abrupt stop of a grand performance, where the audience was left ignorant of what was going on.
“The waves are… gone?” The instructor asked quietly.
A alarm rang in everyone’s head. Peace often implied greater danger. If the legendary beast had really appeared, the strength of two Nestlings could not possibly be enough to fight it. However, if its power disappeared, then most likely there was another serious cave-in deeper inside the mine that buried all living creatures underneath.
It would be the worse consequence. The loss of every Nestling was the most serious blow to their nation. If the number happened to exceed one, then it could be counted as a catastrophe.
The principal and the major general’s expressions changed at the same time. They each threw out a crystal and then grasped it in their hands simultaneously. The crystal disappeared, and their palms started to glow white.
They put their palms against the boulder on the right. A miracle happened. The firm rock started to melt like ice. The two of them created two stone caves on each side of the hard surface.
The instructor was all tensed up as he watched. While they were able to make their hands hot enough to melt anything, they would also receive damage caused by this type of high temperature. Not all Tianxiu people could grasp such a self-destructive skill.
This kind of slow erosion was the only way to avoid invoking another cave-in. They soon exhausted their energies, and only a thin layer of the stone wall remained.
The principal and the major general’s right hands dropped to their sides at the same time. The instructor knew that the two of them could no longer use their hands before they received adequate treatment.
The other people immediately stepped up to help them cautiously opening a slit on the stone wall. As they expanded the slit, a nervous Nestling appeared behind the wall. He sat on the ground with his knees against his chest, gazing at every single person in front of him with alarm and fright.
It was the Nestling in Team A who couldn’t even hold his dagger steadily. The instructor’s heart, which was almost in his mouth, fell one-third of its way back down. He didn’t want to see any of his students getting harmed, no matter how weak and incapable they may be.
“Fear not. It’s me.” The principal extended his still functional left hand to Zhu Yue. “I’m your principal. Hand me your weapon.”
Little by little, Zhu Yue was able to identify what the person approaching him was saying as he slowly recovered from the state of extreme fear. After he realized that they were people coming to rescue him, his dagger dropped to the ground with a clang.
The principal waited until the other people from the school had finished helping Zhu Yue get on his feet before asking, “There are still another two students trapped inside here. Have you seen them?”
“Still?” Zhu Yue’s eyes blinked in puzzlement. He thought he was the only one trapped behind this rock since with the other students’ abilities, they should have escaped here easily a long time ago. “Who?”
“Ling Xiao from Team B, and the other one is your teammate Ying Feng. Have you seen them?” The instructor quickly interjected.
Zhu Yue’s eyes widened at once. “Ying Feng is also missing?”
His reaction was itself a clear answer to the principal’s question. Everyone present exchanged a gloomy look with their companions after knowing that Zhu Yue, too, was unaware of those two students’ whereabouts. The hope in their hearts once again plunged to the bottom.
Ling Xiao’s canines pressed closer and closer. After realizing his intention, Ying Feng finally understood why the other person would act like this.
He exerted himself to knock Ling Xiao off to the side. All he wanted was to escape from this tightly sealed stone cave as quickly as possible. Ling Xiao seemed to have completely lost control of himself due to the side effects of Embers, but Ying Feng didn’t want to be pulled into the Adult Ceremony because of such a ridiculous reason.
When Ling Xiao launched another attack on him, the great potential hidden inside Ying Feng’s body broke out, and he started to counterattack Ling Xiao madly. He must bring the person in front of him under control in the shortest amount of time in order to stop this absurd incident.
After they rolled and wrestled a few rounds on the ground, Ying Feng finally seized an opportunity to get Ling Xiao’s throat while throwing a few punches with the other hand, all of which landed on the weakest, most tender parts of Ling Xiao’s body.
Ling Xiao was already seriously wounded at the start of his fight with the Kui. Were it not for the Embers, he would have collapsed at the first blow. After receiving such a beating, he temporarily lost the ability to strike back.
Ying Feng knew that the other person would soon recover his strength. In a cave where he couldn’t find any other substitutes, he clenched his teeth, tore off Ling Xiao’s already ragged clothes, and firmly tied Ling Xiao’s wrists together.
After he was done with all that, Ying Feng slumped down against the wall. His irregular breathing and rapid heartbeat — everything reminded him of a terrible fact.
The abnormal physical reaction was not entirely due to intense physical exhaustion. Another hidden cause had gradually emerged to the surface, and it appeared to be even more plausible. Only then did Yao Tai’s warning finally resounded in his head:
——“Bear in mind, even though this sedative injection can suppress your bodily reactions, you still need to pay attention to not get too close to people in their awakening phase. Otherwise, the hormone secretion inside their bodies may affect you as well and indirectly cause the medicine to lose its effectiveness.”
Ying Feng had no idea that in the hospital, the practice hall, the training field, in practically every place during the past week, he had already had way too many interactions with someone who was already pre-awakened yet had no awareness of it himself. There were quite a few times when the overly frequent physical contact had caused the suppressant in his body to lose effect. Even the last injection Yao Tai gave him had long lost effect.
After the fight just now, Ling Xiao’s out-of-control hormone levels even triggered a hormone disorder in him, and Ying Feng, who was heavily influenced by Ling Xiao, could no longer restrain his own physical reaction.
At the other end of the narrow space, Ling Xiao was struggling with all his might, fighting madly with the ‘foreign matter’ that had shacked his wrists. It was such a simple and crude bondage that it would only be a matter of time before Ling Xiao freed himself from it. At this extremely pressing moment, Ying Feng suddenly remembered the suppressant spray that Yao Tai had given him in case of emergency.
He immediately checked the spray in his pocket. Even the terminal screen was smashed into pieces under the Kui’s brutal attacks. Fortunately, this spray bottle had somehow miraculously survived intact.
Without the slightest hesitation, Ying Feng raised the bottle to his nose and pressed the nozzle. He then took a few deep breaths. Along with the flow of air, countless tiny misty particles poured into his nose, went through his trachea, entered his lungs. and quickly bound themselves to his cells as they started to take effect.
The thought of it worked like a placebo and pacified him temporarily. Ying Feng closed his eyes to rest. This interval did not come easily, and he was trying use the time to regain his usual calmness as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, so short was the time that before Ying Feng could even realize the unusualness of the drug, he was already drawn into a new round of battle.
Ying Feng’s alertness dramatically increased as he heard the sound of wind suddenly coming at him. He slid swiftly to the side and dodged Ling Xiao’s attack.
The fist smashed deep into the wall, and dozens of broken rocks jolted as they rolled downward, some of which spurted out at great speed. One of the rocks hit the bottle in Ying Feng’s hands and shattered its hard case into pieces.
The liquid inside quickly evaporated. The colorless, odorless gas filled the entire space. The Embers extract capable of causing sex hormone imbalance in the human body which was misplaced by Zhu Yue thus permeated into the two Nestlings’ nearly, or perhaps already out-of-control bodies.
Finally, Ying Feng let out a bellow as well. Instead of passively fighting back, he actively launched a powerful offensive on Ling Xiao. His punches and kicks rained onto the exposed parts of the other person’s body.
Both his strength and speed more than doubled from his usual stats. The gap between him and Ling Xiao shortened little by little, and he was eventually able to surpass the other person in the end. As the fight continued, the more serious injuries that Ling Xiao suffered allowed Ying Feng to gradually gain an upper hand.
Due to the unavoidable body contact, their body temperatures continued to soar, burning up the last drop of their blood just as the name ‘Embers’. As the boiling blood burnt their reasoning, the defenseless offensive gradually turned the battle into a slaughter.
What was more formidable than a Tianxiu person were two out-of-control Tianxiu people. They fought desperately in the cave on the verge of collapse, twisting and tussling. Gravel continued to fall down due to all the shaking and rumbling, while dust and sand sprinkled ruthlessly onto them, onto the ground, and even formed a thick layer covering Kui’s body.
Ying Feng’s last conscious thought was to conquer the person in front of him by fair means or foul. He used all of his strength to strike down the other person, pounced on him, and pressed down his four limbs. He opened his mouth and revealed the dreadful canine teeth.
Ling Xiao was still trying his best to push the person away when those sharp teeth pierced into his chest, but his struggling soon weakened and became less and less of a threat. As the blood was sucked out of him, the hand he had raised in midair finally fell feebly to the side.
As if someone pricked a needle into the corner of his unfocused pupils, little by little, the black pigment inside was extracted, leaving only a tint of gray behind.
The extracted ink was injected into Ying Feng’s eyes using the same method. The color of his irises settled and deepened, until it finally became a bottomless black.