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Chapter 45 - Good and evil… The recovery of hope
TL-ed by Wei
Edited by LD
“To think that there were beasts amongst us!”
Ran Hongxia’s face was drained of blood, and a silent fury was evident within her innocent gaze. As a woman, she abhorred individuals who committed rape, and while she was angry, a sense of absurdity arose in her.
‘Aren’t we all cla.s.smates? How can they take advantage of others during such a moment crisis... to establish happiness on someone else’s suffering?!
‘Didn’t the six guys know that committing such immoral actions would cause great harm to the girls?’
“Hongxia, this is human nature. Even during the peaceful era, demented people who committed sins, that garnered the G.o.d’s wrath and the resentment of men, existed as well. Moreover, our predicament at present is an imminent crisis. No one knew if they would survive the next day…
“Similar to the warring times, fear will cause people to: fall apart; start ma.s.sacres and exterminations; rape; pillage; and enslave others. Evil acts of every kind are merely commonplace.
“So, those boys had the mindset of pleasuring themselves before death came for them. It was to the extent that laws, morality, and judgement no longer mattered to them…
“In fact, we should rejoice that, out of two thousand men, only six degenerates emerged… This is already considered a very proportion.” Jiang Feng was not surprised. After all, he’d had more interactions with society and majored in both philosophy and history. So, his viewpoint towards humanity seemed to be much more thorough.
“I understand everything that you’ve just said… It’s just hard to accept it at the moment. Many of our cla.s.smates have fallen, and everyone’s feeling uneasy with fear… Not to mention, there’s the bone-piercing cold we have to endure tonight. Under circ.u.mstances like these, how could they have been aroused... and have the strength to even commit such a repulsive act? Does raping women really let them feel undaunted by the dangers and allow them to do it without regard for their safety? An ordinary guy would find it hard to even get erect, right…?” Ran Hongxia had an extremely gloomy expression.
“You are not a man. It’s only natural that you do not comprehend the ugliness of a man’s heart. For some sick individuals, the more precarious their situation is, the more excitement they feel… Sigh, forget it. There is no significance in explaining these. In any case, I already threw their corpses out the 13th floor after I snapped their necks. Also, I ordered those girls to maintain their silence for now…” Chu Xiang said.
Ran Hongxia and Jiang Feng exchanged glances and could see the distress and frustration in each other’s eyes.
Those few people—taking their lives did not matter much. When the overall situation was taken into consideration, dealing with them in secret might be regarded as a good method. There was no need to feel torn over their deaths. However, their deeds gave Ran Hongxia and the others a warning. It let them know that in this chaotic era, insects were not the only threat—there was also the human heart!
Sometimes, human nature may prove to be more terrifying than insects!
There was a faint worry in Ran Hongxia’s heart. She understood that with the gradual pa.s.sing of time, students who saw no hope whatsoever would turn for the worse. Their emotions and ideology would undergo an unpredictable change. Maybe things would turn out as Chu Xiang said. It might become something of a normal occurrence for people to raise weapons against and backstab each other.
...Particularly with the food problem!
Food was of the utmost priority. In order to survive, people had to rely on food. However, the amount of food the team had procured from the supermarket was not that much at all. There was only enough to go around for three days. Even if the entire school scrimped on food, it could prolong the period by a day or two at most… Afterward, everyone would land into a predicament in which there were no rations!
No one knew what they would do when that time came. Perhaps the only choices would be to leave the school grounds to scavenge for food, head to the dining hall to look for rotten ingredients, search the other supermarkets, or survive on tree roots and weeds.
It was possible that the students would fight over the finding of a quail egg or backstab someone for a sweater, so much so that there may be large fights over preposterous reasons.
Although the possibility of that occurring was very slim... that did not rule out the probability. Ran Hongxia knew that under extreme starvation and cold circ.u.mstances, there were some individuals who could resort to anything. Until then, out of ten students, not a single one would care about the friends.h.i.+p between cla.s.smates nor about manners and modesty.
Ran Hongxia dared not contemplate further because there was no need to worry about these. Compared to the internal strife between students, it might be better off worrying about whether the insects would continue invading the campus. Although more than half of the insects had been cleared the previous night, who knew if insects might swarm into the school once more?
As long as strong enemies like Crimson Crowned Beetles existed, the entire Xijiang City would be thrown into chaos and be just like a human purgatory. During these times, no one would have the courage to forage. Most would choose to starve to death at home, than to risk their lives in search for food because that meant they were likely to end up in an insect’s stomach!
If Li Jiayu were here… perhaps, they would not have these headaches. Despite his presumptuousness and obstination, he was decisive and not overly cautious. With him around to suppress the situation, it would be less likely that the students would act up. Additionally, they would not have to worry too much about those terrifying insects.
However, Li Jiayu had fallen… Other than Li Jiayu, who had the strength to protect the entire university?
When Ran Hongxia thought of this, her heart was filled with bitterness and extravagant hopes. She sipped her tea gently and turned to look at the ink-like, pitch-black clouds outside, allowing the wind to send her hair fluttering. She couldn’t help but mouth a prayer. As matters stood, the only thing she could do was to pray.
‘Oh, G.o.d… I beg of you to take pity on Li Jiayu. Bless him so he can regain consciousness without a hitch. The entire university will be able to see a thread of hope only with Li Jiayu to oversee the situation...'
Having noticed Ran Hongxia’s look of ponder, Chu Xiang drew back the corners of his lips and heaved out a sigh of melancholy. Out of all the people present, only he and Ran Hongxia knew of Li Jiayu’s real condition. Chu Xiang sincerely envied Jiang Feng and Feng Liaoyuan because not knowing about Li Jiayu’s death was much better. At least, they were able to keep an optimistic outlook.
“President Jiang, President Ran, what are you guys talking about?” Several Art Faculty female students ran over stealthily to Ran Hongxia’s side and asked quietly, fearing they would wake those that are asleep.
“It’s nothing… We’re merely discussing strategies. Look at your haggard looks, did you guys cry? Don’t worry… With me, Chu Xiang, and also Li Jiayu around, your safety is guaranteed, so you should go rest up. If you’re hungry, I have a few ham sausages here. Take them with you,” Ran Hongxia said gently.
“No, no, no. There’s no need. We just ate a few pieces of chocolates, so we’re not that hungry… President Ran, you know, we’re Li Jiayu’s faculty mates, and we’re also on good terms with him in that we treat him like our sister… But, he has never appeared since last night, so we’re very worried. Did he only lose consciousness? There aren’t any severe injuries, right? Why don’t… you let us visit him? Even a single glance is fine, we’ll not disturb him.”
Ran Hongxia’s gaze flickered, and with an unnatural expression, she said softly,
“En, I know you’re worried, but rest a.s.sured, he’s fine... He just suffered some minor injuries and will not wake up soon. With Vice Princ.i.p.al Hsiao’s care, I believe he’ll wake up soon… En, however, it’s true that his injuries are a slightly serious, and he needs to recuperate. If the students visit him now, it may be too overwhelming. So… please understand.”
“But we won’t disturb his recuperation. We’ll just look at him from afar. Please make it an exception for us…”
“No can do. Right now, Li Jiayu’s recuperation takes priority. Forgive me for not being able to accede your requests.”
The girls from the Art Faculty then said sadly,
“It’s fine. We only wish to affirm Li Jiayu’s safety. Worrying groundlessly is of no use… Oh, right. President Ran, these are the paper cranes we folded earlier. The lighting was limited, and there was not enough paper, so we could only fold 360 of them. But our sincere blessings are inside them, so please hang these by his bed. We believe these will bring him good fortune.”
After that, the girls pulled out a bunch of paper cranes that were strung together. These had been made meticulously. Every single one seemed vivid and lifelike, appearing unspeakably gorgeous under the flickering illuminance of the candle. Ran Hongxia felt slightly sick at heart as she finally understood why these girls had remained awake for a night. It turned out that they were folding paper cranes. If it had been in the past, several thousand of cranes would not be a problem for these girls. However, at present, the night was bone-piercingly cold, conditions were crude, and they wore so little. Only G.o.d knew how they had been able to endure it...
This was the kindness of humanity that shone during times of hards.h.i.+p. Despite the harsh conditions, there existed people who were able to hold onto their kindness. No matter how big the price was, they acted for the sake of others. Maybe, this was humanity’s most commendable point.
When one compared these girls to the six boys, the difference was as stark as the difference between the light and the dark. Ran Hongxia finally understood what was known as the goodness of humanity as well as the dark side of humanity.
“Alright… I will bring these paper cranes to him. I’m sure he’ll be touched after receiving such generous gifts from his good friends.” Ran Hongxia spoke seriously as she took the cranes, but within her heart, she churned with pain.
‘Li Jiayu, oh, Li Jiayu. If you don’t wake up, who knows how many people will be sad? Do you have to heart to see them shed tears for you?’
“Then we’ll leave everything to you, President Ran. We’ll go take a rest now,” The girls said wearily after trudging through the night.
“Hold on, bring this curtain with you and cover yourselves when you sleep. Ah, right. You should just sleep in my spot. It’s much more comfortable sleeping here…”
“President Ran, are you not sleeping?”
“I’m not sleeping. I’m going to go take a look at Li Jiayu… Oh, you guys can have this cup of tea to warm yourselves up. It’ll help slightly in expelling the cold. You guys probably don’t mind drinking from my cup, right?”
After saying that, Ran Hongxia greeted Chu Xiang and left the hall. She headed toward a utility room where two juveniles were standing guard. This pair was one of the select few that knew the inside story, and their duty was to prevent anyone from visiting Li Jiayu so that Li Jiayu’s situation would not be leaked.
“You have worked hard. Go take a rest, and leave this post to me.”
After they had been sent away, Ran Hongxia entered the room which was filled with an unpleasant scent of disinfectant. There was a large sofa-type ma.s.sage chair placed within the narrow s.p.a.ce. Hsiao Wanqing, who donned a new set of clothing, was sitting in it. The new clothing was a white woolen overcoat that had been given to her by a girl. On Hsiao Wanqing’s lithe body, it made her appear natural and unrestrained, graceful yet with a tinge of maturity.
It’s just that, Hsiao Wanqing seemed slightly fatigued, and her limpid eyes were haggard. She had Li Jiayu in her embrace, resting her chin on his ice-cold forehead as she exuded a faint milky-white glow.
She was the Priestess of Radiance—the legendary profession that brought fortune to all citizens, and the representative of light. With just a swipe of her hand, Hsiao Wanqing was able to resolve humanity’s suffering. However, she knew that she was currently a mere Junior Priestess of Radiance, and that she was far from the level of being able to revive the dead and regenerate flesh.
The only thing she could do for Li Jiayu was to transfer her Sacred Light into him. In fact, she did not how much use this was as she only knew how to use it to apply a healing effect on others. If there was a chance that Li Jiayu may revive, the sacred light would amplify that probability. Even if the effect was close to zero, she had to press on.
“Aunt Hsiao, how is the situation? Did his condition improve…?” Ran Hongxia hung the paper cranes cautiously behind the ma.s.sage chair and inquired as she noticed Hsiao Wanqing’s haggard expression.
“Probably… I feel his body getting slightly warmer…”
A mesmerizingly sweet and piteous smile played by Hsiao Wanqing’s pale face. Naturally, Ran Hongxia could tell that Hsiao Wanqing was clearly saying that to comfort Ran Hongxia and herself, but it may be just Hsiao Wanqing’s misconception.
“Aunt Hsiao, take a breath. Don’t tire yourself out. Your sacred light can’t be used for too long. If you overuse your mental energy, the consequences will be disastrous. When that time comes, not only will Li Jiayu not be saved, but you’ll also fall ill. I don’t want to lose you...”
Ran Hongxia knew clearly that since Hsiao Wanqing woke up, she had been carrying Li Jiayu in her embrace while emitting the sacred light continuously. The longest she could persist for was only five to six minutes, then she would take a break for at least 10 minutes and jump into the healing right almost immediately afterward. This process repeated continuously for an entire night, and Hsiao Wanqing had not slept a wink. She had already exhausted herself greatly, and it was to the point that even her thigh that supported Li Jiayu’s body started to bruise.
“Rest a.s.sured, I know what I should do. I am the princ.i.p.al of Xijiang University. I have a great responsibility, so I won’t collapse that easily… Li Jiayu on the other hand, he sacrificed too much for our sake. If this child hadn’t saved us, how would he have ended up in this state…” Hsiao Wanqing shook her head gently, her tone laced with a faint feeling of guilt.
“Aunt Hsiao, don’t be sad. Li Jiayu has good fortune and a long life ahead of him. Nothing will happen to him. I’ve learned a little bit of face reading from Grandfather, and in between Li Jiayu’s brows, there’s a faint baleful aura. Removed from blood relatives and love... It seems that… he’s a person that’s bound to have a bitter life as the bane of others’ existence. However, the outline of his face showed that he is not someone who will die young. Oh… right. Grandpa said his appearance is one of a person that will scourge the world for at least a thousand years!”
“Don’t spout nonsense, Hongxia. Li Jiayu isn’t a scourge. Besides, fortune telling should not be trusted so easily. Additionally, you learned it in a disorderly manner—Li Jiayu’s fate isn’t something you can talk about casually.”
It was a rare thing for Hsiao Wanqing to reprimand Ran Hongxia. Despite Hsiao Wanqing’s hair falling onto the face of the sleeping Li Jiayu, she watched him silently as her black hair swayed gently. After a long while, she exhaled helplessly,
“Hongxia… I genuinely feel that Li Jiayu’s body has gotten warmer. My hand is frozen stiff. Help me touch Li Jiayu, and see if he has truly gotten warmer.”
“Aunt Hsiao… it’s probably an illusion because you’re too fatigued. If he really came back to life, his chest would start undulating. Not only that, his breath would also blow onto your face. The warming up of his body probably doesn’t mean much. It may just be due to the transfer of your heat… Okay, okay. I’ll go touch him, alright? You don’t have to glare at me…”
Ran Hongxia extended her fair hand and touched Li Jiayu’s face. It was still as cold as a block of ice, without a single shred of warmth.
“Aunt Hsiao, his body still feels cold…”
“No, not his face… I feel that the warm energy is starting to get even more evident. Touch his abdomen. That’s right, his abdomen is heating up! Li Jiayu’s body is finally showing reactions!” Hsiao Wanqing yelled with ineffable excitement as her haggard gaze flickered with vigor.
Ran Hongxia extended her hand to touch Li Jiayu’s abdomen, and indeed, it was emitting hot energy. His thigh felt warm to the touch as though it had the rays of the sun, and it was getting significantly hotter, to the extent that Ran Hongxia almost scalded her hand!
“It’s true! Aunt Hsiao, his thigh feels so hot… I remembered! When Li Jayu killed the vine creature, Chu Xiang shoved the core forcefully into Li Jiayu’s mouth. It must be the core displaying that it’s taking effect!”
“Then that means the chances of Li Jiayu returning to life are great, aren’t they?”
“It’s hard to say… The thing emitting heat isn’t Li Jiayu but the core in his stomach. Li Jiayu’s body has already died. Even if the core heals his body, it’s probably for naught. So, Aunt Hsiao, don’t hold too much hope…”
As Ran Hongxia’s voice faded, Li Jiayu’s abdomen began to glow with a faint green radiance that permeated through his clothes and shone an ocean of green in the narrow utility room. Li Jiayu’s body had also started to glow with vitality, and Hsiao Wanqing could vaguely make out the fragrance of green gra.s.s. It was as though she could see countless seeds shooting out as tender sprouting at dawn.
“Hongxia, quickly go and wake up Dark Octopus. Get it here as soon as possible! Hurry!” Hsiao Wanqing sensed that this maybe a crucial juncture for Li Jiayu. So, in order to prevent any mistakes, Dark Octopus had to be present to check if it had any opinions on what was happening.
“Okay! I’ll go now!” Ran Hongxia pried open the door and hurried with the intention of rus.h.i.+ng towards Dark Octopus’ resting place. However, when the door opened, the radiance from Li Jiayu’s body refracted outwards, inevitably attracting the attention of the students in the hall. They knew that Li Jiayu was recuperating in the utility room opposite them, so the unbelievable green light, that shone from inside the room, attracted 100% of their attention!
A dozen juveniles strutted toward the utility room, wis.h.i.+ng to see what exactly had happened to Li Jiayu and also to see what had occurred to refract such a dazzling light. However, when they reached the entrance, the group noticed Chu Xiang walking over and obstructing their path.
“Chu Xiang, what happened to Li Jiayu? Let us visit him…”
“He’s right. There was such a bright green radiance s.h.i.+ning out... Did something happen?”
Chu Xiang shook his head with force, hugged his arm and said roughly,
“It’s none of your business! Li Jiayu’s condition is stable. There’s no cause for worry. Go back to your work. Don’t disturb Li Jiayu’s rest!”
However, that did not acquire the desired effect Chu Xiang had in mind. On the contrary, it garnered more curiosity from the students. At the back, there were another over ten boys and girls who had swarmed up. Regardless of how Chu Xiang advised them, they would not back down. They gathered and surrounded the utility room, all in an attempt to take a glance at Li Jiayu as they would at ease only after they had seen Li Jiayu with their own eyes.
Meanwhile, Li Jiayu’s temperature rose even more in Hsiao Wanqing’s embrace. First, it was the abdomen and then his body. Then finally, his entire body was burning hot. The initial skin that had been frozen stiff now regained its elasticity. Faintly, Hsiao Wanqing could feel Li Jiayu’s heartbeat!
Hsiao Wanqing’s heart shuddered. Her eyes widened, and she stared incredulously at Li Jiayu’s face!
‘Did Li Jiayu’s heart beat?
‘No way! It’s probably my misconception!
‘...Unless his heart beats once more!’
Hsiao Wanqing placed her hand on Li Jiayu’s chest, feeling it cautiously.
One second, two seconds, three seconds… It was an endless yet brief wait. Hsiao Wanqing felt as though she had waited for an eternity. After ten seconds, there were no movements whatsoever. Hsiao Wanqing became more downcast as the seconds pa.s.sed by...
‘Was that really an illusion?’
A powerful heartbeat resounded, and it originated from Li Jiayu’s chest!
Hsiao Wanqing felt as though she had been electrocuted, and she felt both stunned and surprised! There was definitely no mistake this time around! She hadn’t heard the heartbeat, but her hands had felt it!
There was no mistake!
Li Jiayu had regained his heartbeat!
Very quickly, Li Jiayu’s heartbeat had begun beating like usual with a strong and robust beating. Hsiao Wanqing could even faintly hear the churning of the blood within his vessels, like the flowing of a river!
An abundant vitality flowed through Li Jiayu’s body, recovering his life force. The Li Jiayu’s breathing soon reached Hsiao Wanqing’s ear. The hot breath blew onto her ear, tickling it, and it made her feel numb!
Li Jiayu had truly revived! Hsiao Wanqing hugged his body tightly, shedding tears of joy! She knew that everything was going to be fine now!
“Indeed, you never let us down… Li Jiayu, as expected, you did not disappoint us…”
( ◕ . ◕ )/
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If you find any errors in the translations, it'd be great if you can point them out to us and we'll fix them ASAP. We want to make the reading experience as enjoyable as possible, so thank you in advance for helping out! Please contact us via Discord: Wei#4089 (Translator); LD#8735 (Editor).For those who are interested in VR novels, be sure to check this novel out! [Reign of the Hunters]