Humans would naturally be afraid of death. They had the right to run away.
Looking at the scene, I didn't have much anger. At the end of the world, everyone would fight desperately to live just one more day.
It just meant that Tom and the others were humans, but not warriors. Their natural instinct when they saw death was to run. That was the natural instinct of humans on the ground, in any world.
Since they were not warriors, how could we judge their actions of running away from the point of view of a warrior?
He Lei and Yu Wen brought Lao Bai's dead body onto the spaceship. At least Lao Bai had fought until the end.
Harry stopped his spaceship on the runway. Then, he came out and stood next to me. Holding my shoulder gently, he adjusted the cape so that my body was entirely covered. He seemed like he didn't want anyone else to see me.
He Lei stood by the side of the spaceship, watching us from afar with a complicated expression.
Yu Wen took out a packet of cigarettes from his pocket and lit up. With a cigarette in his mouth, he watched the glacier blankly.
They had been through a lot today.
I could tell that this was their first war. This had been their first time seeing their comrades die before them. Their first time being abandoned by their comrades during a fight against the enemy. Their first time nearly losing a war.
Yu Wen and He Lei had been through too much today.
Then, we saw Tom’s leg on the surface of the ice. We could recognize it because that leg was wearing Tom’s pants.
We stood at the border of the base as we watched. Seeing that leg, He Lei and the others weren’t surprised. They seemed to have expected it. They only looked at it coldly in silence.
The base slowly moved past the ice that Tom’s leg was on, breaking through the thick layer of ice. Suddenly, a bunch of water ghosts dashed out from under the ice and bit Tom’s leg, dragging it underwater.
Water ghosts had gathered on a huge piece of ice. Blood had pooled over the ice, its pungent smell filling the air.
They’d gathered as though they were enjoying a feast, tearing and fighting for their share. Suddenly, Jason’s head rolled out and a water ghost seized it with one hand. When it saw us, its eyes turned ferocious. Opening its mouth wide, it roared, “Ah!”
Immediately, the water ghosts charged at us too. As they scattered, we saw two dead bodies that had been torn apart and scattered on the ice.
Harry swiftly covered my eyes while Yama shot a huge ball of flame at the water ghosts.
In this world, anyone who deserted the troop would die.
Tom, Jason and Joseph were actually just like many of the people in the Aurora Legion. They might have only wanted to pass as one of the people in the group, so that they had a place to stay.
They had only wanted to live.
Actually, that wasn’t wrong. The only mistake they’d made was thinking too highly of themselves. If they’d been afraid of death, they should have just told everyone: I am afraid of death. I am just an ordinary person, like the women and children. I only want to stay alive. I don’t want to participate in the war. Then, they would have been able to live well still. They wouldn’t have ended their lives this way, not to mention even nearly dragging us all down together.
In this world, every warrior had to be chosen carefully so that a strong team could be built.
I suddenly understood why Silver Moon City was so particular and strict. If recruitment wasn’t carried out with a strict process and merciless system, they’d be like the Aurora Legion. They might also have just been a disorderly mob.
My expectation and admiration towards the Aurora Legion had completely vanished today. Reality told me that the Aurora Legion wasn’t a proper troop. They had loose military discipline and they took recruiting too lightly. These would become critical concerns before the final war. I wondered if He Lei had realized it too.
We might not be afraid of god-like enemies but we would be afraid of pig-like comrades. If your comrades ran away midway through the war, how would you continue to fight against your enemy?
This was actually a lesson for the Aurora Legion to learn, that there had to be deaths in war.
The sky gradually darkened. Gale took out canned food from the warehouse. Before us in the sky appeared a magical aurora. We weren’t at the North Pole yet there was still an aurora. The moment I saw the aurora, my heart calmed. I leaned against Harry as I watched the huge aurora, which stretched as wide as the border of the center of the radiation zone.
The aurora seemed to connect the sky to the land, like a wall of light. Our base gradually passed by its foot. Surprisingly, the light wall was about three meters thick. As we continued to move through the aurora, the magical scenery instantly brought away all the thoughts at the bottom of our hearts.
I put down the hood of my cape so that I could see the magical aurora more clearly.
Everyone stood together again, full of admiration for nature’s beauty as we bathed in the magical aurora.
He Lei stared at Harry and me in a daze. When I glanced at him, he blinked and avoided my gaze. Instead, he lifted his chin to continue to watch the aurora above.
I turned around, confused. What’s wrong with He Lei?
Turning back, I extended my hand to touch the aurora in front of me. Colorful lights rippled before me. Suddenly, blue light spots appeared on the tip of my fingers. Then, the aurora in front of me seemed to be tinted with the color of the blue crystal energy as it turned into a translucent blue.
I was shocked, and everyone stared at me in shock too. I looked down at my hands. Light spots encircled my fingertips, morphing from blue into a myriad of colors too. As if I had given the aurora blue and it had given me colors in return.
Spreading my hand, a beautiful rainbow flower bloomed in my palm. I smiled at the sight of the flower in my hand. My messy hair hung by my cheeks, while the colorful light shone on my face. Rays of evening light veiled my hair, and a layer of dreaminess covered my eyes.
It was a gift, a gift from God. This rainbow flower would stay in my heart, forever painting my world in beautiful colors.
Everyone watched me and the rainbow flower in my hand.
Maybe that was what God was trying to tell us too. This world was not only made of the redness of massacre and the blackness of death. One who had colors in their hearts would be able to see the beauty that the world had hidden beneath.
The rainbow flower gradually disappeared as we left the aurora. My lips were cold from losing too much blood. Suddenly my body grew weak. Alarmed, Harry immediately extended his hand. But someone had already held me up. The human breeze created by his speed blew at my hair. It was He Lei.
He looked at me with concern. Then, he picked me up and traveled at lightning speed. When we stopped, he’d already gently placed me on the bed in the resting room.
Knitting his eyebrows, he stood by the bed. He looked guilty and disturbed yet he didn’t say a word.
“Don’t blame yourself, He Lei. I know that you didn’t want this to happen and…” I lowered my head to look at the blood on my cape. “This is war. Someone is bound to get hurt.”
“I will bring Harry to take care of you,” he said, then disappeared from my side. Then, he reappeared again with Harry in his arms and placed Harry next to my bed.
Harry glared at him impatiently. “Can you not carry me in your arms next time?”
“It’s more convenient this way.” With that, He Lei vanished from the room.
Harry held his forehead. “I still can’t get used to his speed.” Turing to look at me sorrowfully, he sat by the bed and touched my cape that was tainted with blood. “Does it still hurt?”
I shook my head. “I had anesthetic. I can’t feel it.” I couldn’t feel my entire left arm.
Harry extended his hand and touched my forehead gently. “The speed of the base is a little slow. We will only arrive at the Aurora Legion tomorrow.”
Harry sat next to me and held my shoulders for me, letting me lean on him. Caressing my head gently, he leaned against me. “Let’s go back to Noah City when we return.” He hugged me, his voice revealing a tinge of fear.
What was the fearless Harry afraid of?
“What’ll happen the next time?!” He was angry. Losing control of his anger, he held me even tighter. “Let’s return to Noah City. We won’t fight anymore.”
“How can you give up what you’ve believed in for so long just because I got injured?” I held his hand that he’d put on his thigh. “I’ll be fine with you around.”
“But I didn’t protect you today.” He held my hand up sorrowfully and kissed the back of my hand.
I lifted my chin and looked at him. “I will take good care of myself.”
Looking down at me, he touched my face. There was pain in his amber eyes. “Promise me. Hide and do not play the big man.”
I nodded and smiled.
He was lost in thought as he stared at my smile. His amber eyes twinkled like crystal. Then, he slowly moved closer to me, his hands that were holding my face beginning to heat up.
My heart began to race as he drew closer to me. My lips that had been cold from blood loss began to heat up from blood rushing to my face. Just as I felt dizzy, a kiss landed on my lips. His warm hands began to move to my neck as he deepened our kiss.
Slowly, he left my lips. Intense desire was churning in his amber eyes, barely buried by his clear gaze and bright smile. He gazed at me with a smile. “I suddenly thought of He Lei’s speed...”
“Huh?” I gave him a confused look.
He smirked maliciously. “Sometimes, it’s not a good thing for a man to be that fast.”
“Huh?” I was still confused. His smile grew wider. Suddenly, I understood what he meant, and I couldn’t help but laugh and pinch his arm. “Pervert!”
He let out a burst of hearty laughter. We leaned against each other. No matter how dangerous the upcoming war was, with each other by our side, we would be fearless.
On the second day, we arrived at the base of the Aurora Legion. The people in the base cheered as we returned. In their eyes, we had returned victoriously!
However, when we brought out Lao Bai’s dead body and when they saw the bloodstains on me, they all went quiet. Some even hid behind the crowd in fear. I saw all kinds of emotions in their eyes. Some were angry, some were afraid, some were determined, some were frightened. The Aurora Legion still required a lot of training. There were very few people among them who had what it took to become a warrior.
Captain Chaksu took over Lao Bai’s dead body in sorrow and led everyone to send him off.
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