46 A Different Poisonous Insect
After Huan Qing left, I asked Gaoqin Jiuye to join us to the laboratory to find Jie Pa and Song Lu. When we entered the lab, Jiao S was also present.
"I placed the chemical agent that you gave me on Laurel. So, can you locate her now?" Nie Zun asked as he walked in.
Jiao Pa's expression was stiff. He said, "We'll get to that later. I've discovered something else."
"What is it?"
Jia Pa exhaled and replied, "I've examined all the corpses, and as I suspected, the perpetrator today was likely a failed experiment. But I also discovered that Song Lu's blood carries another kind of poison."
"What does it do?" I asked curiously.
With a grave expression, Jia Pa said, "The flow of her blood seems to be able to stimulate her split symbol, which is how she heals so quickly. Although her abilities aren't as strong as someone who's physically inserted their splitting key into their symbol, like Nie Zun or myself, they're certainly not weak. As you're all aware, using your split symbol may stabilize your mental force, but it comes at a cost. So with this type of blood inside her, there must be some kind of side effect. I just have no way of discerning what that side effect may be."
He paused and then continued, "I also suspect that Ms Song Lu isn't a finished product. If she's also a failed experiment, then there must be a corresponding price to pay. I'm not certain of it, but I'm very worried."
I felt my chest immediately tighten. Jie Pa was very rational and cautious. If he said he was very worried, then I could only imagine the worst.
Song Lu stepped forward. She looked exhausted. Her eyes were sunken, and her expression looked distant. She grabbed my hand and said, "It's fine. There aren't any major problems right now, so don't worry."
Her gaze dimmed. "I don't know whether Yu Liang is dead or alive. If he's still alive, I don't know what kind of pain he must be suffering. Aside from him, there's nothing that could worry me."
For as long as I knew her, although Song Lu simply appeared like a sexy, warm woman, I knew that she was very strong. A lot of the women in the Western District were very strong. Whether it was Li Qing, You Ji, or Song Lu, they were all stronger than me.
I felt disgusted with myself. But looking at how haggard Song Lu was now, I knew that being upset or sad was pointless.
Living in a place like this, it was best not to get too emotional. Because what were emotions and good feelings worth in the end? What we had to consider, first and foremost, constantly, was how to continue living on.
So I grabbed her hands in mine. "Don't worry. Jie Pa's already found some clues. We'll be able to find Laurel soon, and we'll definitely find Yu Liang and bring him back to you."
I knew that I wasn't exactly a competant commander, but I will work hard. I will work hard to protect the people of the Western District who have always been by my side.
I looked at Song Lu firmly, and I saw a glimmer of hope start to appear in her eyes. I wanted to embrace her, to try to get closer and comfort her. She reached out, to reciprocate, but just as she was about to hug me, she suddenly frowned.
"What is it?" I asked anxiously. I watched her face twist with confusion, as if she were feeling uncomfortable.
She shook her head, to show that she was okay, but then she suddenly covered her mouth with her hand, as if she had to vomit. She bent over, her long curly hair falling, both hands now covering her mouth to suppress her nausea. I reached out to pat her back, but seeing her hair covering her face, I decided to move it out of the way.
Jie Pa asked with concern from the side, "Are you having any adverse reactions?"
Song Lu was still bent over, two hands covering her mouth. Her body trembled, but she didn't speak. I gently moved her hair to her back, holding it with one hand, about to help her up with my other hand.
I looked at her face.
She bent over more, falling to the ground, her hands tightly held to her face. I sensed something was amiss. While I held her hair with one hand, I motioned for Jie Pa with the other, asking him to come help. He hurried over, wanting to help Song Lu up. But she didn't want to stand up, bending over even more.
Finally, I saw her back trembling greatly as she pressed her hands to her mouth. I grabbed a hair band from my right wrist and tied her hair, and then I crouched down to look at her. I looked up at her face, and Jie Pa stood at her side, patting her back.
But when I saw her face, I froze. Song Lu's face had turned completely red and her eyes were opened wide. Her hands were pressed tightly to her mouth, almost like she were trying to stop a demon from pushing its way out. Her hands had turned white and her eyes were bloodshot.
"Y-you... Song Lu jie, what's wrong?" I asked.
Song Lu didn't look at me. With wide eyes, she stared down at the floor. The knuckles on her fingers creaked from the pressure she exerted.
Hearing my words, Jie Pa immediately crouched down on the other side of Song Lu. He looked carefully at Song Lu's face. Suddenly, he stared at her fingers, as if he'd seen something between them.
"What's wrong with her?" I looked at Jie Pa anxiously.
Jie Pa's eyes were still on Song Lu, but I saw his lips tremble slightly. He opened his mouth, and then he finally said, "M-Ms Ah Shen, everyone needs to step back!" As he said that, he'd already leapt back a distance.
I was still mulling over his words when Nie Zun grabbed my dress from the neck. He pulled us back and away from Song Lu.
On the other side, Jiao S and Gaoqin Jiuye didn't quite understand why, but seeing all of us move away, they followed suit and distanced themselves from Song Lu.
As Nie Zun pulled me back, my eyes remained on Song Lu. I started to shake my head, unable to believe what I was seeing.
Song Lu's hands loosened around her mouth, like she'd already used up her strength. She was still bent over, but I couldn't see her face clearly at this distance. All I could see was her hanging hair.
And then, something started spilling from her mouth to the floor.
One after another, creatures as hard as beetles gushed forth from her mouth, falling to the floor, wave after wave. These weren't the same as the black, poisonous bugs with pincers that had previously fused with her body. They were something else entirely, something else I've never seen before.
They were about the size of a fist, red-violet in color, and shimmering with light. They were shaped like a semi-circle with feet underneath, slowly rising from the ground.
Song Lu grabbed her stomach with both hands, looking in pain, as these large creatures climbed out from her. Her once gentle, beautiful, and sexy eyes now looked sinister. She whimpered.
At first, I was stunned by what I was seeing, but I quickly recovered and tried to get away from Nie Zun's hold, to help Song Lu.
"No! Let go of me!" When I tried to pull away, Nie Zun suddenly wrapped both his arms around me, holding me still. He slipped his two arms under my own and held me at the waist, his gloved hands clasped together, unwilling to let me move forward.
Anxiously and angrily, I turned back, yelling, "Let go of me! Song Lu...! She...! Just let go of me!"
Nie Zun was silent.
Jie Pa stared at the red-violet beetles on the ground, crawling slowly, and he raised a hand to signal us to stop. "Calm down. I don't know what kind of pain you'll feel if these bugs get onto your bodies. Please keep a distance from Ms Song Lu!"
"You must be kidding me! Jie Pa! How can I just watch idly by as Song Lu's in such pain?!" I shouted out, and I felt Nie Zun's hold on me tighten.
Jie Pa's initial fright from the bugs seemed to have resided, replaced by his ever-calm demeanor. He spoke solemnly, "Ms Ah Shen, don't act rashly. I'll do my best to help Ms Song Lu. Don't worry."
Then he turned to Jiao S and Gaoqin Jiuye. "Can you two freeze things with your control of air?"
Gaoqin Jiuye also seemed a bit taken aback by the turn of events, but he nodded. "Yes, but when I freeze things, they will shatter."
Jiao S looked at Gaoqin Jiuye with a complicated expression. Then she said, "Mine as well."
Jie Pa considered things for a moment, and then he said, "Then, destroy those bugs now. Just leave one behind."
Although Jie Pa was currently commanding two people who weren't exactly known for their benevolence, Jiao S and Gaoqin Jiuye weren't the type to fuss over such a small matter. So, the two of them activated their mental force.
The red-violet beetles were whipped up into their vortexes, frozen, and shattered. Soon, they disappeared from sight.
Jie Pa quickly captured the last beetle escaping Song Lu's mouth into a glass jar he'd taken from the laboratory. Then he tied a strange knot and said, "Trap!" The jar closed and tightened, until finally the struggling beetle inside slowly stopped moving.
Song Lu had stopped vomitting. I undid Nie Zun's arms around me and ran over to her.
Song Lu looked like she'd aged several years. Her expression was haggard and depressed, and then she passed out. There were dark, greenish marks around her eyes. I clenched my teeth, trying to hold back my tears.
I held her, and with a touch of mental force, I picked her up. "I'll send her back to rest."
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