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Big Beard checked the time — it was eleven twenty-seven AM. Everything would be over before noon if he were activate Eyeglasses’ set-up. ‘A shame, they were good teammates…’
Big Beard sighed and pushed down the button on the remote controller.
A moment later, the whistling of wind was heard as a man with bloodstained clothes appeared.
“You’re late. But I’m glad you’re here. Shame that you’re the only one though…” Big Beard joked and raised the controller to show that he had already sealed the deal.
“I shouldn’t have gone to find you…” Eyeglasses struggled to remain on his feet as blood gushed down his legs.
“Do you have wine? Half an hour is more than enough for us to enjoy a drink.” Big Beard asked in an apologetic voice.
“I’ll go get some…” Eyeglasses vanished in a flash, leaving behind a small puddle of blood.
“Right, I forgot that you can’t drink…” Big Beard muttered as he stared in the direction Eyeglasses left.
* * *
Liu Meng stood in the middle of an empty football stadium, looking at the fluffy clouds floating peacefully above her while she reveled in the sun’s warmth.
The small metallic box Liu Meng held was suddenly punctured. A golden liquid slowly seeped out of the fissures.
‘Looks like it’s started.’ Liu Meng stared at the substance flowing out blankly.
Right after the golden liquid, a cloud of thick blue smoke burst out of the metallic container.
‘Ouch…’ Pain was the first thing Liu Meng felt. As soon as the smoke came into contact with her, she felt as if her flesh was being eaten away by thousands of bugs. Following the pain, her eyes soon became numb from being burned by the toxic gas.
Rays of red light burst from Liu Meng’s body before setting her ablaze and engulfing her entirely. Protected by her barrier, Liu Meng held onto the metallic box and looked at the blue smoke as it spread into the air.
‘I wonder who is it...’ Liu Meng spent her some time admiring the sky’s beauty, fully aware that it was going to be her last time.
‘I’m sorry, Yiming.’ Liu Meng had thought that she was ready to sacrifice anything in the world just to be with Li Yiming, but when push came to shove, she found herself unable to do so. The scenes of her teammates risking their lives to protect her flashes through her mind. Just like back in Tianshan, someone in her team had chosen to give up their life so that she could live. She finally understood that friendship, like love, was one of the most invaluable things she could ever have in life.
‘Yiming, I’m so sorry… They risked their lives to protect us last time. Now it’s time to return the favor…’ The fire around Liu Meng contracted and then burst into a massive firestorm. The flames quickly caught up to the blue smoke in the sky and burned all of it away in an instant.
“Ahhh!” A bird-like screech was heard from Liu Meng. A phoenix tattoo appeared at her torso and began flapping its wings, moving around Liu Meng’s skin as if it was alive. From closer, one would notice that its colorful feathers were decorated with sparse blue specks, and that the bird had only one leg.
* * *
“You can still stop her if you wanted to...” Stargaze was observing the scene from the rooftop of a building in the distance.
“Let it burn. The fire of the phoenix will cleanse away all sins in this world…” Li Huaibei said as he took out a worn-out gourd and drank a large mouthful of wine.
“Burn? And then what? You’ll watch all of them die? She doesn’t see where this will end, but you surely do.” Stargaze was surprised at seeing Li Huaibei genuinely becoming drunk. After all, it was hard to find any kind of wine that had such potency.
“She knows…” Li Huaibei slid his hand across his gourd. He sat there for two whole days and pondered, yet could not come up with an answer.
“Are you just going to let her die?” Stargaze was confused.
“No. She can’t die…”
Li Huaibei picked up his gourd with his left hand and extended his right one. A small sword appeared from his right palm and a second later, the sword dropped out of Li Huaibei’s hand, growing in size as it fell from the rooftop until it became a gigantic shadow that sliced a skyscraper into two halves cleanly.
“Are you crazy?” Stargaze could no longer remain calm.
“I know that I can’t die right now. I have to wait until that day comes…”
“But there are some things I can’t afford to lose. Otherwise, what’s the point of it all?” Li Huaibei smiled as he caressed his gourd.
* * *
“Fire?” Qing Linglong looked at the blaze which had tainted half of the sky into a bloody red.
“It’s Liu Meng!” Qing Qiaoqiao jumped onto the roof of the car.
“She knows…” Qing Linglong knew that Liu Meng would not have unleashed such a fire to kill just one person. ‘So she’s made her choice.’
“Liu Meng…” Qing Qiaoqiao’s face went pale. She finally understood why she had lost to Liu Meng, and why Liu Meng was the only one whom Li Yiming would devote his love for the rest of his life.
* * *
“Wait. This isn’t normal. The virus couldn’t have possibly made that big of an explosion!” Big Beard looked at the crimson clouds in the distance.
“It’s Liu Meng!” Eyeglasses suddenly exclaimed and rushed in the direction of the fire.
“Shit!” Big Beard cursed and a jetpack appeared on his shoulders. He flew toward the direction where the redness shone brightest.
* * *
As the flames reached the clouds, yet another unexpected guest arrived in the gymnasium. It was a man who possessed a well-sculpted body, tanned skin, and every other charm of masculinity but had delicate facial features that even the most attractive women could only dream of.
“Sai Gao?” Li Huaibei readied himself for a fight as he prepared his sword and put away his gourd.
Sai Gao walked slowly toward Liu Meng. He even had the time to light up a very long and thin cigarette. After a long whiff, he looked at Liu Meng, who stood in the center of the blaze.
“Freeze.” Sai Gao said a single word, and something flew out of his eyes and was shot into Liu Meng’s forehead.
“Wait! He’s not trying to harm her.” Stargaze stopped Li Huaibei, who was about to rush to Liu Meng’s rescue.
Liu Meng fell unconscious, which in turn quickly caused the flames to dissipate.
“What is he trying to do?” Li Huaibei closed his fist slowly, commanding his sword to come back to him.
Sai Gao looked up at the blue smoke in the air and opened his mouth. Gusts of wind gradually concentrated in an area above his mouth, generating a tornado which inhaled all of the toxic gas into his body.
Sai Gao burped after swallowing the last bit of smoke from the fire and even made a playful grimace. “I forgot I can’t handle spicy.”
“Liu Meng!” Eyeglasses suddenly appeared between Sai Gao and Liu Meng. He rushed to Liu Meng’s help despite his still-bleeding wrist.
“Do you have water?” Sai Gao asked Eyeglasses as if they were old pals.
Big Beard landed right after Eyeglasses had arrived. He pointed the two arms of his mecha toward Sai Gao, each one of which transformed into a giant hollow cannon tube.
“Can you spray water out of those?” Sai Gao repeated again.
With a loud boom, a white car broke through the fences around the stadium and stopped after drifting on the grass. Two people jumped down before the car had even halted completely and ran toward Liu Meng.
“Do you have water in your car? It’s so spicy…” Sao Gao asked once again, this time to the Qing sisters.Previous Chapter Next Chapter