Zhou Jiazheng retracted his fist in shock after what he had accomplished; his strength had increased far beyond what he had expected.
“Your hand…” Lin Lu approached and held up Zhou Jiazheng’s fist, only to see that his bruised joints were already starting to heal.
“You haven’t eaten anything ever since you came back from the mission, right?” Li Yiming asked.
“I’ve tried a nutrient solution, but I couldn’t swallow it down…” Zhou Jiazheng said he put some distance between himself and Lin Lu, knowing that his blood was infectious.
“You’re not going to be able to eat anything else than blood now…” Li Yiming sighed as he pondered over why Zhou Jiazheng was able to tolerate the power of the vampiric virus in the first place.
“What do you mean?” Lin Lu asked.
“Have you ever heard of vampires?” Li Yiming asked, directing his attention to the man behind Lin Lu, who seemed to be a high-ranking officer.
“That’s only a legend,” The officer said coldly, refusing to believe in such extraordinary tales.
“Well, that legend is standing in front of you.”
“You mean that he has been turned into a vampire?” Lin Lu exclaimed. While being forced to hide from the sun was not a huge issue for a secretive agent, needing to feed on other people’s blood went far beyond what was considered normal.
Li Yiming nodded.
“It’s okay. We have artificial blood here. It’s just going to be another kind of nutrient solution.” Zhou Jiazheng said.
“There’s nothing I can do about this virus for now, but I’ll try to find a solution. Until then…” Li Yiming suddenly paused and unleashed his aura.
“You can try to do research on this virus. If I find out that you’ve tried to replicate the virus through human experiments, I’ll raze this place to the ground.” Li Yiming said in a glacial tone as he stared into the eyes of the officer.
“Are you threatening me?” The officer spat out despite the tremendous pressure Li Yiming exuded. Just like Li Yiming had surmised, he had immediately thought about the potential the virus had for strengthening the army’s soldiers.
“Believe me, I won’t hesitate,” Li Yiming continued his threat.
The officer snorted and finally left the room, unable to bear the pressure any longer.
“Li Yiming…” Lin Lu said.
“To be honest, I should be killing you right now.” Li Yiming turned around and looked at Zhou Jiazheng.
“Li Yiming!” Lin Lu put herself in front of his fiance. While Li Yiming’s claim to raze the base to the ground and to kill Zhou Jiazheng, who was now a superhuman, seemed rather ridiculous, Lin Lu knew very well that he had the power to do so. There were many things she did not dare to even put into the report she had given to her superiors out of fear that they would label her as a lunatic.
“But I’m going to let you live, for her sake.” Li Yiming sighed as he glanced at Lin Lu. “Still, you shouldn’t cooperate with them should they decide to experiment on you. I think that you know just how hard it is to keep this virus at bay.” Li Yiming said as he recalled the fate of the old man he gave his equipment to, who was turned to dust after being cured of his cancer.
“Can you let me think of this for a while?” Zhou Jiazheng said he glanced at the corridor outside of the containment room. A dozen of fully-armed soldiers had made their appearance after Li Yiming’s threat.
“Take care of yourself.” With the commotion outside of the room, Lin Lu understood that she and Li Yiming had to leave. Despite Zhou Jiazheng’s not wanting her to do so, she wrapped her arms tightly around him before leaving.
The brigade of soldiers escorted them all the way to the exit of the facility. Although the process was peaceful, Li Yiming could feel the tension in the air. He frowned as he thought about the situation, for he did not want to make himself an enemy of the country.
“Tell me the truth, is it really hopeless?” Lin Lu’s mood was very low as she thought about her fiance’s situation. Even after being educated to be ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of the country, her conviction was now clearly wavering.
“I need to go see someone.” For Li Yiming, there was nobody better to consult regarding the vampiric virus than Eyeglasses.
“I’ll go with you.” Lin Lu insisted.
* * *
Qing Linglong rested on her long bench on the beach, wearing a bikini that let most of her skin tan away under the warm, radiating sun. Those who happened to walk by often glanced back and forth, attracted by her beauty.
A sound suddenly came from her cell phone. She looked at the number and hesitated for a few seconds before picking up.
“He wants to see me.” Eyeglasses voice came.
“Where?” Qing Linglong asked.
“Pure Water Herb Hall.”
“I’ll go with Qiaoqiao this afternoon. Have you told Big Beard?”
“I want to meet him alone,” Eyeglasses said after a moment of silence.
“Are you sure?” Qing Linglong asked as she sat up.
“It’s not a great time, but since he’s asking to meet up, he must have something in mind. I can’t refuse. Besides, if I go alone, it’ll be easier for him to take control of the situation if anything happens.”
Eyeglasses knew that even if Heaven’s Laws were to seize control of his body once more, he would not pose much of a threat to Li Yiming alone. In fact, if it was not for Qing Linglong’s asking, he would have gone to meet Li Yiming right away.
“Alright. Let’s keep in touch.” Qing Linglong hung up with a severe countenance. Although the beach was the same, she somehow could no longer feel the warmth of the sun.
* * *
Stargaze opened her eyes slowly and admired the endless forest of emerald bamboos around her. She took a deep breath before resuming her search, but the constant strain was taking a toll on her body. Unlike searching for someone in a specific location, searching for someone in the river of time was akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.
Stargaze looked at the desk nearby, upon which rested a yellow envelope. She waved her hand, and the envelope came flying toward her.
“Tian Yan went looked for him. Li Huaibei’s with her.”
The letter was not signed, but Stargaze could tell that it was written by Qian Mian, who did not want to disturb her while she meditated.
‘So she went looking for him… What can she see now? She should be safe with Li Huaibei, but what is Li Huaibei going to do once he sees Li Yiming…?’
Thoughts ran through Stargaze’s mind. She stood up to move her sore legs and considered the bigger picture.
‘The battle beyond the clouds is still ongoing. It’s going to take that monkey some time to seize full control of Heaven’s Laws… but I need to get my preparations ready before that…’
‘Li Yiming is undoubtedly a key player in the events to come. If the monkey is reunited with his staff, then it’s all over. But to make sure that Li Yiming remains free, I need to find Liu Meng… And yet…’
Stargaze brushed her hair to the side. To her dismay, a few strands of white hair were caught between her fingers.
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