Quality Check: Asuka
Lei Jue swore that, before today, his thoughts had never gone in such an outlandish direction before. At the very least, like most people, he’d thought that Xiao Lingyu was someone who had an S-rank physique, but not an ability user.
Obviously, either he was wrong, or Xiao Lingyu’s secret was bigger than he’d ever imagined.
Generally speaking, owning an elemental ability was something everyone dreamed of. It’d be impossible for anyone who had one to hide it, let alone someone whose family was in a situation like the Xiao family. But if Xiao Lingyu really did have an ability, why didn’t he say anything? What could his reason possibly have been?
He was sure that it was a powerful wave of elemental energy that he’d felt the instant he entered the bathroom. Without question, this proved it was very likely that Xiao Lingyu had elemental abilities.
Upon seeing that Xiao Lingyu still hadn’t come out, and that it was so quiet in the next stall that one could hear a pin drop, Lei Jue opened the door of an empty bathroom stall. Just when he’d undone his pants in order to get his business done, the sound of a door opening finally came from the next stall.
That was probably the sound of Xiao Lingyu coming out. Even so, he didn’t seem to have gone outside, but was instead cleaning his hands as he waited for Lei Jue.
After a moment, Lei Jue came out as well and began washing his hands next to Xiao Lingyu.
“How’re you feeling? A little warmer now?” Xiao Lingyu asked.
“For now, it seems like there aren’t any problems,” Lei Jue said, his eyes crinkling slightly. “But I think that you seem to have a few problems.”
“What problems?” Xiao Lingyu’s heart thudded.
“Yeah—” Lei Jue examined Xiao Lingyu for a moment, revealing a mysterious smile, “—I wonder?”
“Tsk, what are you pretending all mysterious for?” Xiao Lingyu asked and opened the door, as though nothing had happened. “Hurry up and find Eldest Brother to see whether you’ve recovered or not. It looks to me like the color has returned to your face quite a bit.”
Lei Jue also wanted to know whether it had been his self-recovery abilities that had destroyed ‘Plan A3’. Additionally, the fact that Xiao Lingyu looked like he didn’t want to talk more about it, he didn’t persist with his questioning.
When Lei Jue returned to the lab, other than Xiao Lingqi and the two friends he’d brought over, he could also see Xiao Zhicheng and a person he had brought along with him, somebody who Lei Jue had never seen before.
“Xi—Dad, you’re here,” Lei Jue hurriedly corrected himself, looking at the person beside Xiao Zhicheng.
“Yeah, I just arrived.” Xiao Zhicheng observed that Lei Jue’s condition looked like it was pretty good and felt a little more relieved. “How do you feel now? A bit better?”
“Much better, yes. I’m not too cold now, either. I was just about to ask Eldest Brother whether my self- healing abilities kicked in.”
“That’s good. It’s just as well that I’ve asked a neurologist to come over and take a look at you. I’ve already gotten your Eldest Brother to tell him the details, so if you have any questions you can ask him as well.” Xiao Zhicheng directed his gaze at the person next to him. “Doctor Chen, thank you for coming.”
“You’re too kind. I will definitely do my best.” Chen Zhaodong gave a slight bow, then motioned for Lei Jue tell him about the changes to his body and memories.
Seeing that Lei Jue was quite enthusiastically cooperating, Xiao Zhicheng told Xiao Lingyu to come out with him for a moment.
“What’s wrong, dad?” Xiao Lingyu asked after they’d gone outside.
“It isn’t very convenient for Little Jue to change the way he addresses us whenever we come across an outsider, so I was thinking that perhaps your mom and I can just adopt him as a son. Of course, this is only if Little Jue and you have no objections to it.” Xiao Zhicheng paid attention to his son’s expression. “This way, not only would it be convenient for Little Jue to address us, but no matter what’s in store for the future, he’ll always be a child of our family and we’ll always be able to protect him.”
“If he doesn’t mind, then… of course.” Xiao Lingyu nodded. Despite the feeling of lament in his heart, he still felt that his father had thought more compassionately than him.
Xiao Zhicheng also knew that his son wasn’t too happy about this, but with things the way they were now, it seemed that this was the safest course of action. At the very least, it would allow the kid to maintain his relationship with their family.
Xiao Lingyu smiled, hiding away the slight pain in his chest, as well as the familiar numbness that came after the pain. He pushed the door open and went back in. Seeing Lei Jue talking to Doctor Chen, he walked up to Lei Jue’s side and listened in.
Apparently, Lei Jue had asked Doctor Chen whether it would be possible to use surgery to get rid of the problem of ‘Plan A3’.
Lei Jue’s thoughts had gone like this: since there was a dot of light in the picture of his brain’s nervous system that Xiao Lingqi had shown him, and that dot of light was the ‘Plan A3’s point of origin, he wondered whether he could undergo surgery to cut out the part indicated by the light dot, then recover to how he was before via his body’s self-regenerative abilities. Or, if he couldn’t self-regenerate, wasn’t there still Elder Ming? With the Xiao family’s influence, as well as his identity as an A-rank wood ability user, it shouldn’t be too hard to ask Elder Ming to lend a helping hand, right?
Yet before Lei Jue could feel happy over his plan, Doctor Chen poured a bucket of cold water on him. “That spot of light only shows that there are abnormal additions to your episodic memories, not that there is some kind of physical object that can be taken out. It’s something that’s attached to your memory. Even if you had that part surgically removed, it would also be recovered as you recover. Put plainly, ‘Plan A3’ isn’t a disease. In fact, it’s like hypnotism that exploits its victim’s weakness. Traditional hypnotism would combine an individual’s experiences, thoughts, likes and dislikes, and so on to produce a tailor-made influence on the individual. The ‘Plan A3’ you have now is of an even higher level than that, using technological hypnotism on top of traditional hypnotism.”
Lei Jue suffered a critical hit.
Disappointment was apparent on Xiao Lingyu’s face as well. Doctor Chen spoke again, “As of now, the best plan is to freeze it first, until we find the stimulus that activates it. Then we can formulate and build a new, non-invasive procedure.”
“You mean as long as we find the stimulus we can solve this once and for all?” Xiao Lingyu’s spirit revived immediately.
“That’s right. Although the procedure is very complicated, it is, for now, the most effective method that enables us to solve the problem at its root,” Doctor Chen explained. “But the stimulus is very difficult to find. Right now, we can’t even confirm whether the plan is single-stimulus activated, or dual-stimulus, or even more complex. If that’s so, then…”
He left his sentence hanging, but everyone present could infer the rest. The more stimuli there were, the more screwed they were. It was troublesome enough with just one stimulus, let alone two or more.
At the moment, both Xiao Lingyu and Lei Jue simultaneously thought of He Yunshu. She was on scene for both activations and, most importantly, she had a potential motive.
The two’s gazes met, as if their thoughts were linked. Then Xiao Lingyu said, “We’ll think of something to do about the stimuli. When we find them, we’ll need to trouble you for your advice again.”
Doctor Chen gave a wave of his hand, “It was within my abilities, so no need to mention it. Also, if you are going to freeze it, it would be best to do so now, while there’s still nothing wrong with your body.”
Lei Jue didn’t want to freeze it at all. He’d been frozen for the entire morning and was already sick of it, so he politely declined the proposal. He then went to give Xiao Zhicheng another treatment. He wanted to do it now, while he was still clear-headed. Otherwise, if something happened and he became muddle-headed again, he wouldn’t be able to treat him even if he tried.
But Xiao Zhicheng felt that resisting ‘Plan A3’ was already something that would be quite time consuming, so he didn’t accept the treatment this time, merely telling Xiao Lingyu to take good care of Lei Jue before leaving with Doctor Chen.
It was only then that Xiao Lingyu asked Lei Jue again, “You’re really not going to freeze it?”
‘I’m not. I don’t like t-things spiralling out of my control, s-so, let’s leave that u-until I can’t endure it anymore.” Lei Jue smiled. “I’ve brought you trouble today, Eldest Brother.”
“No need for that between family. Then, you guys be careful when looking for the stimuli. Also, Little Fifth, you need to be on alert. Lei Jue can’t have any sharp weapons or the like around him.” After all, there’d been cases of people losing control and harming themselves before, and it would be bad if that were really to be the case.
“Rest in ease, Eldest Brother. I’ll take him back first, then.” There was no point in staying here anyways, and right now their top priority was to find the stimuli. Lei Jue and Xiao Lingyu boarded their aircraft and discovered that it was still on a high-temperature setting inside. A wave of heat blasted at them the moment they entered, like they were in a steamer. As Lei Jue recalled Xiao Lingyu’s panicked demeanor at the time, he didn’t know why but he wanted to laugh—so laugh he did.
“What are you laughing at?” Xiao Lingyu asked.
“Because I wanted to. How’s it any of your business?” Lei Jue replied.
Xiao Lingyu thought Lei Jue was being a bit random, but didn’t think much of it, because he remembered that he’d wanted to join the military early not long before. By the looks of it, that plan was going down the drain.
Lei Jue looked at the flight path that Carrera had mapped out, “Let’s go back to the floating villa, otherwise, if something happens to me again, Grandmother and Mother-in-law will worry too. Not to mention that it would be troublesome if I really did lose control.”
Xiao Lingyu gave a nod, then directly corrected the direction Carrera was flying in.
They hadn’t come back here since the night of their wedding. However, with the robot servants cleaning it every day, the house was still very liveable. After Lei Jue went inside, the first thing he did was bathe, since the discomfort from before had brought him a body of cold sweat, and even his clothes had gotten damp. All he wanted was to bathe, then change into crisp, dry clothes, eat something, and sleep.
Xiao Lingyu’s thoughts were pretty much the same, so he asked the AI chef to cook something. He didn’t take a shower just yet, however, because he wasn’t sure that something wouldn’t suddenly happen to lei Jue. Instead, he used this time to arrange for people to look into the stimuli, then took out the pictures from the day of the wedding to look over them. When the food was ready, he called Lei Jue down to eat.
Lei Jue had changed into white pyjamas before he came down. His appetite was quite good when he ate, especially when he drank the hot soup. It felt like his whole body was being warmed up.
“On the day of the wedding, do you remember whether you noticed anything before it was activated?” Xiao Lingyu asked.
“He Yunshu. Didn’t I mention it to you that day that a girl was looking at you?” Lei Jue let out a long sigh, “F*cking hell. I’m finally not stuttering anymore. Her presence today was pretty sudden, wasn’t it? I saw your reaction at the time. It didn’t look like she was someone from your social circle.”
“Mm. Lu Xian is already investigating it, and I’ll get the results very soon.” Xiao Lingyu served another bowl of soup for Lei Jue. “Was there anything else? You said that you heard someone singing while you were battling. Was their voice familiar to you?”
“I felt like I’ve heard it before, but it didn’t feel real. It felt quite… ethereal, sometimes strong, and other times weak.” Lei Jue had also puzzled over just where he’d heard the sound before, but couldn’t recall it.
Xiao Lingyu saw that Lei Jue’s forehead had wrinkled up again, so he knocked his middle finger lightly on the desk, making two thudding sounds. “Let’s not think about that for now. Go rest a little after you’re done eating. Although you have strong self-recovery abilities, you still can’t be too harsh on your body.”
Lei Jue glanced at the bowl of soup in his hands, nodded, then finished it and turned to go back upstairs.
He’d originally wanted to send Lei Jianying a video to let him know that he was feeling perfectly fine, but seeing the time, he decided to take a nap first and send one later, after he had woken up, because by then it would be in the later half of the night in Lin City. He wanted that b*stard to have a taste of what it felt like to be rudely awakened while he was sleeping, too.
Then again, Lei Jianying must be so steadfastly waiting for him to go back right now. Would he even be able to fall asleep?
With a smirk on his lips, Lei Jue closed his eyes.
As it turned out, his smugness came back to bite him in the a*s.
Right after the thought of making Lei Jianying suffer a little crossed his mind, doom was spelled out for Lei Jue. He had just fallen asleep when the next disaster struck. It felt like he was dreaming, but the dream was so realistic and vivid. The hands wound around his neck were so tight it felt as though they were strangling him, making him unable to breathe. A cacophony of desolate shouts, sobs, and pleas rang sharply in his head. But he couldn’t escape them. The only thing he could do was watch on as those fragile lives crumpled in front of him, one by one. Then, at the very end, a plump and pale child with a green sprout growing from his head reached out a hand toward him, begging for help, but a person with a black mask next to the child suddenly opened fired and turned the boy into a pile of bloody flesh with a shot from his gun…
“F*ck!” Lei Jue sat up violently, hands pressed against his chest. He found that the terrible, piercing pain hadn’t disappeared, and worse still was the dampness coating his face.
“Little Jue, are you okay?” Xiao Lingyu slammed his hand against the door. He had seen from the communicator connected to Lei Jue that there were abnormalities with Lei Jue’s vital signs.
“I’m fine,” Lei Jue replied, wiping his hand down his face. When he got out of his bed, he stumbled and almost fell. He tightly gripped his clothes and did his best to adjust his expression before opening the door, calming asking, “What’s wrong?”
“Your heart rate wasn’t normal.” Xiao Lingyu’s line of sight lingered for a moment on the fleeting sight of Lei Jue’s collarbone, then moved on to his face. “Do you feel uncomfortable anywhere?”
“I’m fine, I just did…” Lei Jue caught sight of Xiao Lingyu’s state of undress and his words suddenly stuck in his throat. Xiao Lingyu was wearing nothing but a pair of black underwear, fully displaying the robust muscles and slender thighs that were normally hidden. Especially those abs, as well as the large bulge below…
“I thought you were asleep, so I was just about to shower.” Xiao Lingyu saw Lei Jue checking him out, and a strange hoarseness entered his voice.
“Hmm.” A blaze lit up in Lei Jue’s eyes, and even the sharp pain emanating from his heart was almost forgotten by him. He raised an eyebrow, sweeping his gaze over Xiao Lingyu’s obviously growing bulge. “And here I thought you’d come here to warn me not to use my sensuality to test your… well, big member,” Lei Jue said with a wicked grin laced across his mouth, a thin layer of sweat still beading his forehead from enduring the pain. His eyes were tinged with red, too, making his features a little more bewitching than usual.
Xiao Lingyu’s eyes darkened immediately and he smiled along with Lei Jue. “That’s where you’re wrong, baby. It’s ‘don’t use your sensuality to test my… self-control’ instead.”
With that, he suddenly pushed Lei Jue against the wooden door, then leaned in with a forceful kiss!