“We’ll go look for the missing students, but you must leave here first.” The principal picked up Zhu Yue’s dagger and handed it back to him. He then arranged for the other rescuers to escort Zhu Yue from the cave.
“No.” Zhu Yue objected anxiously, “I’ll go look for them together with you all!”
“It’s too dangerous in here. There may still be many unexpected incidents. We can not allow a Nestling to stay here. The doctor is right outside the cave. He’ll send you back to school safely.”
No matter how strongly Zhu Yue wished to stay, they still forced him out in the end. After he left, the principal turned and asked the instructor, “How far are the other two students from here?”
The instructor checked the tracking device. After all the students were evacuated, there were only three black dots left on it. “They were last observed some distance away towards the northwest.”
Fu Yao only eyed it before he pointed out the direction accurately. “Aim in this direction, and proceed onward.”
The soldiers continued to work in perfect order. They carefully cleaned up the rocks that were blocking their way, and a path was revealed in front of them. This place had even more serious collapses. They had to stop to clear the roadblocks for practically every small section of advancement.
After repeating this process endless times, someone in the forefront suddenly reported, “Major general! We’ve got something!”
Everyone immediately rushed to the front. The person who found the place first handed the items he collected to Fu Yao.
Everyone present recognized them. One was the remains of a personal terminal that had been smashed to pieces, and the other was a dagger that had broken into two halves.
Everyone couldn’t help but feel their hearts sink. The Tianxiu people did not leave corpses behind after they died. Every item they found could be the person’s last remnant. Based on the extent of the damage to these items, their owner had a very slim chance of survival.
The fragments of the terminal were scattered everywhere. Most lay at the foot of the wall, but some screen shards were even found at the center of the empty space. It was impossible to tell whether all these fragments belonged to the same terminal or two different ones.
“This is where the signal was lost?” After walking around the site, Fu Yao asked.
The instructor double checked carefully before answering, “Yes.”
Fu Yao crouched down and started to run his left hand across the ground. “There are obvious traces that living creatures have passed through this area. The target was probably very large, and the tunnel was too narrow for it. The stone wall surrounding it was damaged in many places, probably due to heavy impacts.”
He then looked back, “The footprint stretched for a long distance, which means it must have been running very fast. All the sand moved in that direction, therefore it should be running this way. It was very likely in pursuit.”
He stood up and pointed ahead, “If there was a pursuit, then there was an escape. And an escape means hope. Don’t give up. Continue digging!”
Almost all the high-tech explosive weapons became useless in a place like this. Fortunately, they still had equipments with sharp blades. The rocks along the path were broken down into tiny pieces. The mine had stopped shaking since then. Danger seemed to have passed already.
But the more tranquil a surface appeared to be, the greater the possibility that there was something worrisome lurking underneath. The rescue team wanted to find clues, but at the same time, they also feared that they would find another broken dagger. With such a conflicted mindset, they continued to race against time as they pushed forward.
Ying Feng sat quietly in the dark until he heard a small sound from afar. His hearing, his vision, his ability to perceive… Everything was now sharper than before. He could not have detected such a small sound a few hours ago. But now, he could even differentiate between several people’s voices.
So this is the difference between a Nestling and an Adult. No. It’s the difference between a Nestling and an Adult who has become the Qizhu.
If he could hear them, then surely people on the other side of the stone wall could hear him too. Ying Feng picked up a stone next to his hand, targeted where the sound came from, and flung it precisely in that direction. The stone hit the wall and bounced to the opposite wall. After bouncing a few times, it finally used up all of its kinetic energy and tumbled to the ground.
Fu Yao suddenly stopped the officer’s movement with his hand. “Stop!”
Everyone stopped in reflex, and their officer seemed to be listening to something.
“Is someone there?” Fu Yao raised his voice and asked.
He was answered with another faint crack. This time, quite a number of people heard it. The principal’s brows were tightly furrowed. Except for the breaths of the people around him, he couldn’t hear anything.
But the people who could hear it were all happily surprised. Even Fu Yao’s voice clearly sounded different, “Press onward!”
The rescuers were so greatly encouraged that even their productivity had greatly increased. When the last roadblock was finally removed, a voice overwhelmed with unexpected delight came from the front of the team, “We found someone! Two of them!”
It immediately uplifted the people who were already mentally prepared for the worst. This was a result they dared not even dream of.
The principal immediately pushed himself to the front of the team. Inside the sealed stone chamber, one person was sitting against the wall with his face turned down. His uniform was torn in many places, and quite a few of places were still covered in coagulated blood.
Meanwhile, the other person’s condition was even worse. He was lying on the ground, eyes tightly closed, seeming to be on his last breath. His uniform top had already disappeared, and his pants seemed more like they were put on in a rush. His exposed skin was covered with suspicious marks. Everyone present was an Adult, and they knew instantly what that meant.
The principal didn’t have time for anything else and went up quickly. The person on the ground slowly raised his head. Their eyes met, and the principal’s footsteps froze immediately. He stared straight at Ying Feng’s face as if he was rooted on the spot.
This strange scene lasted for quite some time. In the end, Ying Feng actually spoke up first, “What’s wrong?”
Realizing that he had lost himself, the principal immediately lowered his eyes, “Nothing. How do you feel?”
Ying Feng had already rested for a while before they arrived. The excellent self-recovery mechanism was already repairing his minor wounds. He had also recovered some stamina during the long wait.
“I’m fine.” He glanced at Ling Xiao who was lying on the ground. “You should be more concerned with that one.”
The principal looked back. Ling Xiao was obviously more seriously injured than Ying Feng. The medical staff in the rescue team gave him emergency treatment the moment they came in. He was surrounded by a lot of people. There was already no room left for others to step in.
Fu Yao was the last one to arrive. The space was very limited. So many people rushed in simultaneously, making it appear a little crowded.
Someone came up and reported to him as soon as he arrived, “Major general, it’s a Kui.”
Fu Yao raised his eyebrows in surprise. He passed through the crowd and saw someone cleaning the sand and dirt on the ground. The object buried within had already revealed part of its true identity. It was none other than the legendary rare creature that only appeared in documentaries —— The Kui.
The Kui died a horrible and painful death. Even battle hardened veterans like them felt a slight sense of cruelty. Fu Yao looked around and saw its two broken arms.
The person on the ground was still unconscious, so Fu Yao walked up to the one sitting at the other end. He also expressed surprise upon seeing Ying Feng for the first time. He turned to the principal, then looked back at Ying Feng, his eyes brimming with curiosity.
However, he rolled his eyes and quickly dismissed the suspicion that formed in his mind.
“How did you do it?” He asked Ying Feng, who was still sitting on the ground, his voice full of interest.
Ying Feng’s eyes drifted to the side. Sure enough, following his guidance, Fu Yao found something extremely unusual.
He strolled over and picked up a portable syringe among the sand and stones. The liquid inside was already used up, leaving only a tiny bit of orange behind.
“Interesting.” He played with his new discovery and raised his voice, “Bring everything back from here. Don’t leave anything out!”
The military rescuers had already skillfully assembled a stretcher. They carefully carried Ling Xiao to it and were even thoughtful enough to put a blanket over him.
“Are you able to get up?” The principal asked Ying Feng. He wanted to reach out to help him, but hesitated in the end.
Ying Feng gritted his teeth as he stood up from the ground. As long as he was still conscious, his pride would never allow him to exit with the help of others.
Assuming that he didn’t need any help, the principal hesitated. Using only one hand, he barely managed to take off his jacket and passed it to Ying Feng.
Ying Feng was slightly stunned by such an action, but in the end, he still appreciated the other person’s kindness. After all, his image was far from good now. However, the the principal’s unusualness also attracted his attention.
“Principal, your hand?”
“Just a minor problem. Nothing serious.”
The principal brushed over the question in a light manner. Following the military personnel, he sent the two injured students out of the cave. The Kui’s dead body was too big to be carried out, so they had to leave some people there to look for another way to do it.
The team doctor had been waiting outside anxiously all this time. After seeing the two students come out safe and sound—— since any injury could be cured for the Tianxiu people, to be alive itself meant that they were safe and sound—— the weight on his mind was finally lifted.
“What exactly happened inside?” He rushed up, “Why was there a cave-in?”
“A triple-S ranked creature appeared in the cave.” The principal briefly explained to him, “When we found them, we also found the corpse of a Kui.”
“Kui?” The team doctor shouted in disbelief, “Corpse? Who did it?”
The principal turned his eyes to Ying Feng, while Ying Feng turned to Ling Xiao on the stretcher. The answer was clear.
However, the team doctor did not carry on this glance relay, since surprises rarely came alone. “Your eyes…? You…?”
The principal patted him on the shoulder, signaling him to stay calm. “We can ask about other things later. What’s most important right now is to send them back for treatment as soon as possible.”
“Ah? Oh…” The team doctor finally remembered his own job. Just as he was about to order the others to carry Ling Xiao on board Bikong’s flying device, Fu Yao interjected.
“There’s an emergency medical care center set up by the military ministry right around here. We’ll take the students there for emergency treatment first.”
“That’s fine too…” Before the team doctor could finish, he was interrupted by the principal.
“We have enough medical resources at the institute to handle this.” The principal out front rejected him. “We can bring them back for treatment.”
Fu Yao lifted the syringe in his hand. “I’m afraid it’s not up to you to decide this time.” He waved his hand and ordered, “Bring them back to Fenying.”
This was what the principal worried about the most. Fenying was the military spaceship under Fu Yao’s jurisdiction. It was too strange for two students from an elementary institute to be able to turn the tide in battle and even defeat a Kui, so the military side would definitely involve themselves in the investigation. The institute’s medical treatment capabilities could not compare to the military’s. The principal only insisted on bringing Ying Feng and Ling Xiao back for treatment in hope that things would be under the institute’s control, but now it seemed like that hope had already been extinguished.
“Then I’ll go together with you.” The principal made a slight concession.
This time, Fu Yao didn’t object, “As you wish.”
The medical caring center that Fu Yao talked about was indeed very close. In spite of it only being an emergency care center, it had the most technologically advanced medical equipment. It had enough to provide treatment as needed for the wounded soldiers.
Ling Xiao was taken elsewhere as soon as they arrived, and no one knew where they went. Meanwhile, Ying Feng followed the medical personnel and did a full set of physical examinations.
“His body is injured in many places, and there are even fractures in the most seriously injured areas. Fortunately, no organs were damaged.” Ying Feng’s treating doctor stared at the examination results on the instrument as he said to the other person, “But 80% of the wounds have already begun to heal by themselves. All the physical indexes are excellent as well. I haven’t seen a set of data so outstanding for many years. I’m sure Major General Fu Yao will be very happy to see it.”
“They accidentally completed the Adult Ceremony when they were doing field training. Both Qizhu and Qizi are Nestlings with extraordinary strength. You don’t always see a power couple like them. Given their exceptional talents, it will only be a matter of time before they become people highly sought after by the military.”
“But there’s the biggest hidden danger for a power couple.”
“You mean the mental condition of the defeated? That’s true. If the Qizi can’t survive the disorder period, the Qizhu can’t develop fully either. Even if he can make it to the military academy, he still won’t be able to get into the military ministry due to lack of growth potential.”
“Ah.” The first person sighed, “I hope the other person can survive it smoothly. Both children are so excellent. It would be such a pity if anything happens.”
“Major General.” One of them glanced around and just happened to see Fu Yao coming in. He immediately got up and saluted. Another person followed closely behind him and stood up as well.
Fu Yao had just finished treating his hand. He returned a salute and walked over, “How are the examination results?”
The doctor immediately printed out the examination result. “Here’s the report.”
Fu Yao asked as he skimmed through it, “Is there anything abnormal?”
“If I have to say,” The doctor-in-charge mused, “His sex hormone secretion is a little high. But it is not impossible if you consider the fact that they just finished the Adult Ceremony.”
“Is it possible that this result is caused by the hormone disorder in the other person?”
“Of course it’s possible. They were already Awakened Nestlings before this, and it was normal for them to have unstable hormone levels, which could be easily influenced by the outside world. Excessive physical interactions with another person who is having a hormone disorder—— including fighting, intimacy, and even unconscious contact—— may lead to such a result, even if they have been injected with suppressant beforehand. Major General, since you’ve asked like this, does it mean there were some problems with the other person?”
Fu Yao gave them another report that he brought with him. “This is the examination result from next door.”
The two doctors immediately gathered together to look at it. With their professionalism, they immediately spotted something strange, “This is so weird! How could it be?”
“Do you also think it’s not normal?”
“His sex hormone level is too high. It far exceeds the regular numbers. People won’t secrete as many hormones, even during the Adult Ceremony.”
“But the result you see is not at its peak value. When we collected his data, the hormone level in his body was already under control, which means the number was much higher during the time he was truly out of control.”
The two of them looked each other in puzzlement.
With a look of deep significance, Fu Yao said, “It seems that only the other report can tell us the truth.”
The third report came just in time together with some shards of unknown origin.
“We’ve inspected these shards scattered on the scene. They’re fragments of a very common medical spray container. No residue was found on it, so we can’t tell the composition of the medicine it once held. Luckily, however, there’s a label on the bottle.”
When finished, he handed the label which they pieced together to the medical staff member here to identify. The label was badly damaged, but one could still vaguely make out the words on it.”
“This is a suppressant spray for Nestlings in the Awakening stage. It has the same composition as the injected ones, but this is for emergency. It’s very normal for an Awakened Nestling to carry such a spray with them.”
The other person added, “This kind of spray bottle is common, but there’s something special about the material it was made from. All liquid medicines that need to be contained in such bottles have a common trait. They are extremely unstable. Once exposed to large amount of air, they will quickly vaporize and decompose. Even the most accurate instrument will not be able to detect their contents in the air after a period of time.”
Fu Yao summed up their speeches, “Therefore, one of them lost control for some reason and wanted to take the other person’s heart-tip blood. The other person didn’t want to be involved, but as they fought, the suppressant in his body lost its effect during the frequent body contact. Then the bottle containing the suppressant was smashed, eventually leading to his hormone level rising uncontrollably.”
“In an absolutely inescapable situation, he was forcibly dragged into the Adult Ceremony in the end.” Fu Yao sneered, “I always feel like I’ve heard a similar story somewhere.”
“But the problem is,” The doctor-in-charge stated the doubt in his head, “Why did the first person suddenly go out of control?”
“This report will tell us.” Fu Yao finally took out the report and flipped right to the end where the examination results were. The corner of his mouth stretched into a smile, “And I was right. The syringe we found at the site was Embers.”
“Embers?” The other two people’s faces turned pale with fright. “How can a Nestling get a hold of Embers?”
“Not just Embers.” Fu Yao’s eyes passed through the glass and land straight on the Ying Feng inside the transparent therapy chamber. “It’s Embers 2nd, the one that even the army is forbidden to use.”