Ying Feng sat alone on a bench along the corridor of the medical building. Out of habit, he unconsciously fished out the peach-pit and slowly rubbed it in his hands. Doing this would usually calm him down immediately. However, today it only made him more restless and uneasy. The thing in his hands became strangely heavy, leaving him no choice but to stuff it back in hastily.
Ling Xiao spent much more time inside than he did. Ying Feng wondered why the two were taking so long. What did Yao Tai have to say to Ling Xiao that would take so much time? The corridor was very quiet. He could vaguely hear some voices from within the room. Also, if he wanted to, he could actually listen to them more clearly. Yet his brain purposely turned off the function of interpreting any information from the outside world, therefore making the dialogue separated by a wall a blurry mess that could not be distinguished.
It was only after a very long time that the tightly shut door was opened. Yao Tai personally sent Ling Xiao out.
“Why don’t you go back first to pack your luggage? If you are any later, you won’t be able to make it. I’ll inform you if there’s anything else.”
Ying Feng did not understand what she meant when she said “pack your luggage”. Only after Ling Xiao left, did Yao Tai say to Ying Feng, “You can come in now.”
Entering the infirmary once again, Yao Tai did not say anything and just gazed at him with unknown intentions, making him feel anxious on the inside.
“What is the matter exactly?” At last, even with this personality of his, Ying Feng could not hold it back and had to ask.
“The both of you have already done it, right?”
This question was too straight forward. Ying Feng’s expression turned unnatural for a split second, but following that he silently acknowledged it
Actually, it was too obvious from the appearance. When Ling Xiao took off his shirt, Yao Tai discovered something suspicious, and his medical report turned this suspicion into a confirmed truth.
“Other than this, I cannot think of any reason why the side effects of Embers in Ling Xiao’s body was suppressed. Looking at the drug usage records from the medical centre, they did not even inject the purifier for Ling Xiao. To be able to save each other by accident, despite me being in the science field, I can’t help but admit that destiny can be a wonderful thing sometimes.”
No matter how matured and calm Ying Feng usually appeared to be, he was unable to discuss this kind of matter like Yao Tai did, as if it were common.
After all, he had only just become a adult less than a day ago. Therefore, despite not understanding many of the terms he heard, he pretended not to care and refused to ask.
Yao Tai could tell that he was not used to this kind of topic, and so she skipped the silence, placing two medical reports in front of Ying Feng.
“At the medical centre, Ling Xiao’s psychological assessment was still considered to be a slight risk, but in the short span of two hours, it turned into high risk. Can you give me an explanation?”
Ying Feng did not expect the changes to be so drastic either. “He was brought from the medical care centre straight to the detention centre, but we bailed him out very quickly. All these happened within half an hour.” He concisely summarised the whole process in one sentence.
Yao Tai had guessed that would be the case. “Ling Xiao’s current psychological assessment is grade E. Grade E is a high risk grade, and an F is a serious warning grade. Looking from safety’s point of view, we ought to quarantine him. But in reality, I am unwilling to do that. The reason being, no matter how advanced the medical treatment is, it cannot compare to having the accompaniment of the Qizhu. Forceful quarantine usually ends with the Qizi getting worse psychologically, until his psychological assessment drops to a G.”
“And once a person’s psychological grade drops to a G, the suicide rate is 99%. And the only difference being whether it’s a successful or a failed attempt. Although Ling Xiao may look calm on the surface, but this kind of peace may also be a warning sign for despair. This definitely warrants attention.”
“I don’t care whether the both of you are together because you wished to or were forced to. It has already happened. This cannot be reversed. He is now your Qizi, you have the responsibility of protecting him.”
“Qizi, especially those who have just been through the Adult Ceremony, their psychological states are very easily affected by the Qizhu. Your every action, whatever you say or do, could cause him to progress in the extreme direction. The ten days after the Adult Ceremony is very crucial. Any small mishap may result in a irreversible mental damage.”
“The colder you are towards him, the more he uneasy he will feel. Once the negative emotions have accumulated to a certain level, at best he would harm himself, at worst he might take his own life. Being a school doctor who has seen nearly more than hundreds of tragedies happen with my own eyes, I’m definitely not just saying this to frighten you.”
Ying Feng stayed silent for a moment. “So what do you want me to do?”
“Hugs and tender love. Meticulous care. All this can relieve the Qizi’s uneasiness. It all depends on whether you are willing to do it or not.”
“Then, what if I’m unwilling to?”
“Then control him, control his inner heart, control his actions, such that he won’t do anything that harms his own life.”
“How do I do that?”
“Focus and think. Overcome his mental barrier. No matter how he resists or how much pain he appears to be in, ignore it.”
“You did this to the professor as well?”
“We are different. I didn’t face such a severe problem. I had plenty of time to break down his mental barrier bit by bit. It took me half a year to master this ability.”
“Then how can you be so sure I can master the ability, that took you half a year to master, in such a short time?”
“As long as you focus your attention on it, you can do it. This should not be difficult for you.”
“Since it’s so simple, why was Ping Zong unable to do it?”
“Because he has feelings for Lan Sheng. Do you have feelings for Ling Xiao?”
Yao Tai hit the nail on the head. Ying Feng did not say anything anymore.
“Ying Feng, Lan Sheng and Ping Zong also used to be your classmates. You were also there when they went through that incident. I do not believe you have not been affected. Do you have the heart to let Ling Xiao follow in the same footsteps?”
“You and Ling Xiao have been classmates for ten years. Even if there’s no love, there must be some other affection? Even if it’s just a friendship between classmates? Treat it as I’m begging you, I really do not wish to see any more souls flying away from this institution .”
Ying Feng averted his eyes, shunning her expectations.
“There’s something more. Maybe as a school doctor, it might not be suitable for me to say this. But among all of the tenth graders, the pair I did not wish to see most for the Adult Ceremony, is the two of you.”
“But, if the two of you unavoidably have to take on each other, and there has to be a winner,” Yao Tai looked at him with complexity in her eyes, “Ying Feng, I wish that person is you.”
Ying Feng was slightly moved.
“I admit, this thought is unfair to Ling Xiao. But if the person who loses is you, you will definitely not choose to live.”
“But if the person who loses is Ling Xiao, whether or not he can survive, depends on you. Furthermore…”
Yao Tai stopped abruptly. Ying Feng found it strange. “Furthermore what?”
I’ve been humiliated enough already. Could you please leave me this last bit of pride?
Yao Tai shook her head, dismissing this lingering image from her mind, “Nothing much. Ling Xiao should be waiting for you outside your dorm now, you should hurry back.”
“Why must he wait outside?”
“You don’t know yet? Qizis have no rights to own the master card. When he became a Qizi, his card and room have both been cancelled. He can only live at the place where you stay. This is also out of consideration for his psychological well-being. Being apart will cause him anxiousness, especially at night time. Remember what I said, only you can help him.
Yao Tai showed him to the door. It was only until he disappeared from sight did she turn around to discover someone standing in a dark corner of the corridor.
“Principal? Why are you here?”
The principal walked out slowly from the dark corner. “ I couldn’t put my mind at ease, so I came over to take a look.”
“I have said whatever that should have been said. Whether it’s achievable,” Yao Tai had low hopes as well, “it all depends on themselves.”
“How do you think it will turn out?”
Yao Tai sighed heavily, shaking her head, “If a person is not conscious of their own feelings, then by the time he realises, it would usually be too late.”
Ying Feng returned to the dorms. As expected, Ling Xiao was already waiting by the door.
He, together with his luggage, was standing there, all lonely, just like a homeless stray dog.
Ying Feng slowed down his steps, purposely delaying this moment right in front of his eyes. Ling Xiao was lost in his own thoughts, and only registered his appearance at the very last moment.
He immediately looked away. There could not be any moment that was more embarrassing than this. Even the last time when he came here to find him, only to be pinned against the door ruthlessly, could not compare.
Ying Feng opened the door and walked straight in. The door was left open, but there was no sign of letting him enter as well. Ling Xiao stood at the door, wondering whether to go in or not. Just like that, he stood stiffly outside for quite some time.
Until he could drag it no longer, he braced himself and stepped into the room. Ying Feng’s room had the same layout as his. Now he finally knew why single-person rooms had been provided with double beds. He thought of how ridiculous he had been when he used to joke this was to prevent people from rolling off the bed when in deep sleep.
Ying Feng did not show any expressions about having one more person in his room, as if Ling Xiao’s presence had nothing to do with him.
He did his own things without uttering a single word. Washing up. Switching off the lights. Getting on the bed. Ling Xiao stood there like an extra ornament. Ornaments, at least, had the use of beautifying and decorating the room. The owner of the room did not even spare a single glance for him.
After the lights were switched off, Ling Xiao felt more at ease. He looked at the bed. Ying Feng was already sleeping. He took up the left half of the bed. The right side of the bed was empty.
He remembered how Ying Feng would rather sleep out in the woods than share a tent with other people. Furthermore, this would be on the same bed. But he looked around, and there was no place for him to sleep on the floor. Furthermore, he had brought his sleeping bag to the field practice and its whereabouts was still unknown.
Ling Xiao stood in the darkness for a very long time, then unwillingly inched forward a small step.
Although Ying Feng was already lying down, but he did not fall asleep until he heard rustling noises in the room. He heard Ling Xiao enter the bathroom and sound of water. The sound of water stopped not long after. Ling Xiao walked out from the bathroom, and stopped beside the bed.
He could imagine the inner battle within Ling Xiao. After a very long time, Ying Feng felt the portion of the bed behind him sink. He knew someone finally laid down. His actions were as light as possible, afraid of being noticed.
Ling Xiao took up a narrow border on the other side of the bed. A whole shoulder distance was forcefully left empty on the double bed, it was even more than enough to fit another person.
The room was extremely quiet. No one made any more sound. This was their “wedding night”, and it happened upon them quietly just like that.
Ying Feng was certainly not suited to live with others. It was after a long time that he finally fell asleep. But after what felt to him like only a short while, he was woken up by a weird noise.
He half propped up his body and turned his head around to look to see Ling Xiao, who had originally laid down, hugging his knees in a corner. Despite strongly controlling himself, his body was still trembling. Ying Feng was woken up by these tremors.
He bit his own wrist hard, to prevent himself from making any noise. His eyes were also fixated on a spot. Ying Feng remembered learning about this in class. When a person was suffering great pain, this method could help to forcefully lock his concentration, so that the pain would not lead to him becoming demoralised.
Because it was possible to capture any subtle light in the dark, Ling Xiao’s half-transparent eyes seemed especially bright, as if they could glow in the dark. It was a pity that his eyes did not carry any vigour. In them were all fear and uneasiness.
So this was the harshest night of the disorder period. If Ying Feng had not seen it with his own eyes, he would not have imagined even Ling Xiao, who was always so eager to win, would display this kind of behaviour.
Just as he said a word, a pillow came flying over. After swatting it away, Ying Feng saw a Ling Xiao that was completely different from the morning. Anger shone through the pair of eyes that seemed to glow, as if he was annoyed at Ying Feng for seeing him like this.
“I don’t need you to care about me!” His voice had now gone out of control, shouting almost hysterically.
Ying Feng had a dominant personality, and he always expected others to give in. If the other person was aggressive, he would be even more aggressive than the other person. Hearing this, his eyes darkened, and felt as if his concern that had just vaguely surfaced was unnecessary.
Ying Feng turned around and plopped down on the bed. Ling Xiao said not to care, so he really just turned his back to him, not caring even slightly about how much pain Ling Xiao was in. He had completely forgotten the words, the disorder phase.
At this moment, whenever Ling Xiao closed his eyes, it was as if he was in endless darkness, no matter whether front or back, left or right, or up or down. It seemed as if he had lost any form of support. Sometimes it felt like he was floating, sometimes spinning, and sometimes he was endlessly falling.
At the clinic, Yao Tai had lectured, that if a new Qizi were to have no body contact with the Qizhu, it would be as if the soul had separated from the body, and it would be impossible to sleep at night. But as compared to self-deprecating in order to seek Ying Feng’s care, he had hoped to be able to hold his head up proudly in front of the other till the very end. Yet, his embarrassing predicament was seen by the other.
Ling Xiao thought the day time was already endless. Unexpectedly, a night was equivalent to several days. When he finally endured with difficulty till the wee hours of the morning, the feeling of the soul leaving the body receded, but his body was drained.
Because his sleep had been interrupted, Ying Feng woke up a little later than usual. The first reaction he had when he woke up, was that his body had changed. Although there were also changes like this during pre-awakening phase, but it was not to this degree.
Ling Xiao pretended to be asleep before Ying Feng woke up. Ying Feng took a glance at him, then got up and went to the bathroom to wash away this “trouble”. When he came out, he realised Ling Xiao had also woken up. Seeing that the bathroom was empty, Ling Xiao was about to enter.
Ying Feng did not know that he had been unable to sleep at all. He thought after going through what happened last night, he would sleep for a while more. Therefore, he said in an annoyed tone, “What are you doing?”
Ling Xiao replied more coldly than him, “Going to school.”
Ying Feng reminded him, “You’re on leave.” A whole fifteen days of honeymoon leave. He previously heard other classmates discussing this holiday with a very meaningful tone.
How could Ling Xiao be unaware? He was one of those people who used that kind of tone to discuss this leave. He had always said they never went out on a vacation, yet took a honeymoon leave, it must be because they did that so much they could not leave the house. Because of this, Ling Xiao was even more insistent on attending his classes.
“I don’t need to take leave.” Finishing the sentence, he closed the bathroom door heavily.