In the courtyard of a countryside mansion, Stargaze sat quietly at the table, around her shone a faint light which flashed rhythmically with her breathing.
“What is it?” Stargaze asked as she opened her eyes, which concealed within them a silver luminescence resembling that of the stars in the night.
“Chen Jiawang has been arrested by National Security.” Qian Mian, who had waited by patiently, said.
“The one who recently awakened his alchemy talent?” Stargaze’s eyes returned to normal as her breathing slowed down.
“Yes. As you’ve instructed, we’ve sent someone to contact him, but he seemed quite wary and refused our invitation.” Qian Mian said in a slightly discontented voice.
“Remember that the goal of our organization is to protect guardians. We can’t force people to join us. Let him be then.”
“The only problem is, he’s been far too reckless with his talent. Who knows what’s going to happen if they study him thoroughly…” Qian Mian said anxiously.
“They’ll know sooner or later. We can’t dictate he says or does.” Stargaze said as she looked up at the sky.
“So we’re just going to let him be?”
“No. We should remind the world that some things have changed.”
“Don’t worry. Even if we don’t do anything, someone will.” Stargaze chuckled and looked in the direction of Hangzhou.
Stargaze’s line of sight flew past trees and buildings for hundreds of kilometers, stopping at where a black car was seen entering the underground parking lot of an office building. Li Yiming, who was sitting in the car, noticed that he was being watched by more than twenty different people from multiple hiding spots, and that was excluding the surveillance cameras.
“He’s on the floor above.” Lin Lu said as she disembarked.
Li Yiming nodded and followed Lin Lu. Just as he passed through the entrance, he perceived yet another few attentive glares. ‘Looks like I’ve been underestimating just how much ordinary people can do with the right training…’
Li Yiming was guided through circuitous hallways and plights of stairs until he arrived at a room sealed by a heavy metal door. When he entered the room, he saw a young man he instantly recognized as being the waiter back at the Yunlong Group banquet.
“You…” Chen Jiawang broke the silence first.
“Do you know me?” If Chen Jiawang truly remembered Li Yiming, then it would have meant that he was not a newly-awakened guardian. It would be no surprise for guardians to be aware of Li Yiming’s identity a year ago as every single one of them was given the same mission by Heaven’s Laws.
“Your face looks familiar…” Chen Jiawang said as he tried to remember when he had run into Li Yiming.
“Can we have some private time?” Li Yiming asked Lin Lu.
“Of course.” Lin Lu exited the room and closed the door behind her.
Li Yiming sat down right in front of Chen Jiawang and began staring at him.
“What… what would you like to ask? I’ve told you everything I know…” Chen Jiawang said nervously, as Li Yiming gave off a completely different feeling from the previous National Security agents.
“I’m going to repeat myself. Can we have some private time?” Li Yiming repeated as he glanced at the surveillance camera in the corner of the room. Even after seeing the power indicated on the camera turn off, Li Yiming decided to stay silent.
“Alright. Let’s cut everything off. Break time.” Lin Lu said as she signaled to her colleagues in the control room.
“Are you sure?” One agent questioned the order, as Chen Jiawang was by far the most peculiar case they had to deal with.
“Yes.” Lin Lu sighed. She knew enough about Li Yiming’s temper and power at this point that she did not want to risk angering him over trifling matters.
Obeying Lin Lu’s orders, the agents closed up to eleven different switches and the control room fell into complete silence.
“Alright, we can talk now. So you said that you’re a guardian?” Li Yiming asked.
“Yes, Yes.” Chen Jiawang nodded despite his confusion.
“When did you awaken your ability?” Li Yiming was ready to detect any lies under his blank expression.
“Two… two months ago.”
“Two months ago?”
“Yes. I woke up in my apartment that day and went to brush my teeth, but then suddenly my cup changed color. I then touched my toothbrush and it also turned into gold.”
“Wait, so you saying that you gained this ability after waking up from your sleep?” Li Yimin did not detect any lies coming from Chen Jiawang’s story, but he wanted to make sure he was making misunderstanding Chen Jiwang’s tale.
“Yes. All of a sudden, after I woke up.” Chen Jiawang had wondered countless times why he was the one who awakened this ability. Right now, his biggest worry was becoming a test subject for inhumane experimentation.
“You never went onto the Stage of Ascension?” Li Yiming asked as he squinted.
“The Stage of Ascension? What’s that?” Chen Jiawang was confused, as Li Yiming’s question seemed even more extraordinary than his own experience.
“When did you learn that you were a guardian?” Although Li Yiming himself did not go through the Stage of Ascension, he had heard from Bai Ze that this was the first step any guardian would have to go through to awaken their talent. Its secondary purpose was to instruct the guardians about their duties.
“A strange man came to me a few days ago. He told me that I was a guardian.”
“What else did he say?”
“He invited me into this organization called the Star Alliance.”
“Yeah. Something about helping each other as guardians. It kind of creeped me out, so I declined.”
“And then what happened?”
“Nothing. That guy just left.”
‘Star Alliance? A guardian organization?’ Li Yiming made a mental note of the name.
“So, you still don’t know how you got your talent, or why it came to you?” Li Yiming asked again to confirm.
Chen Jiawang nodded.
“Alright, show me your ability.” Li Yiming ordered as he gave a lighter to Chen Jiawang.
“Oh?” Chen Jiawang’s eyes lit up as he had been observing Li Yiming closely and could have sworn that the lighter did not come from his pockets, since he had both of his hands on the table the entire time.
“I am your friend.” Li Yiming said as extended his fingers. A small metallic ball levitated into the air right above his palm and fell back down, finally melting into his skin.
“You… You’re really….” Chen Jiawan suddenly grew excited at meeting someone else like him in the world. He had thought of himself as being the only person with such a supernatural ability, which created an unbearable feeling of loneliness.
“We’re the same kind of people. I’m also a guardian. Don’t worry, I’m here to help you,” Li Yiming said.
“So he wasn’t lying… I really am a guardian…”
“Alright. Can you show me your ability now?” Li Yiming asked again.
“Of course.” Chen Jiawang picked up the lighter. After a flash of light, the lighter turned completely golden.
‘Level one…’ Li Yiming made his assessment. Just as Chen Jiawang said, he was a newly-awakened guardian.
Li Yiming gave Chen Jiawang an encouraging look, took the golden lighter, and sank into his own thoughts.
“Do you know what it means to be a guardian?” Li Yiming said after a long silence.
Chen Jiawan shook his head and waited eagerly for the follow-up.
And so, just like Bai Ze taught him when he first became a guardian, Li Yiming explained everything he knew to Chen Jiawang.
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