Ge Xiu felt as if he was falling endlessly.
As if being dragged down into the deep sea by invisible gravity, all the sounds were left blocked above the distant water surface, it felt as his heartbeat was the only sound remaining.
Gurgling bubbles brushed past his ears and floated towards the top of his head.
He couldn’t struggle, couldn’t breathe, and could only fall powerlessly deeper and deeper into colder abyss.
There was a vague call in the distance.
Ge Xiu couldn’t hear what the other was saying, but in his heart, he just somehow knew that the that person was calling his name.
He opened his eyes suddenly.
As if the bubbles around him were suddenly burst, all the sounds, colours and disorganized scenes rushed towards him, smashing into his temples violently like a heavy hammer, making him unable to concentrate and think.
Ge Xiu was in severe pain all over his body, and he couldn’t move from the tips of his fingers to his toes.
It took him a while to clear his blurry vision little by little.
Above his head was a falling and floating rain of fire.
The fire that was burning between the sky and the ground seemed as if it wouldn’t stop burning for three days and three nights. The crackling sound and sharp howls of the scorching insects reverberated under the sky, and the pungent burnt smell permeated the flames. Even from far away, one could feel the boundless heat emitted by the flames.
Ge Xiu realized that he was being held carefully in the mecha’s hands, protected tightly by the arms wrapping around him against the breastplate.
He looked with difficulty in the direction from which he had just flown.
On the ground not far away, among the dense layers of scorched corpses, the silver-white mecha he had just piloted turned into the wreckage, and was hit beyond recognition by the huge heatwaves generated by the explosion, black smokee curled around it.
A brilliant red light was reflected on the scratched metal surface of the mecha.
Ge Xiu thought it was a fire at first.
Until he raised his eyes—in the distant place where the sky and the earth meet, the slightly reddish sunlight pierced through the dim night sky, and the seemingly miraculous golden glow illuminated the dark and deep gray-blue, dispelling the darkness.
The rising sun rose from the horizon.
The morning light of dawn illuminated the devastated ground, reflected on the broken mecha, shocking to the core, directly hitting the hearts of the people.
Blood and smoke stained Ge Xiu’s cheeks, his lips were pale from the overusing his strength, and his vision was blurred.
But the golden-red sunlight was reflected at the bottom of his eyes, like a scorched red mark, deeply branded in the depths of his pupils.
As the distance increased, the mechs in the battlefield gradually disappeared from his field of vision.
The young man’s vision was once again dark, he slowly closed his eyes, and fell into a deep coma.
When Ge Xiu woke up again, he was already in the hospital.
The white walls and white lights made the whole room seem cold and quiet, except for the even constant beeping sound of the instruments.
Ge Xiu moved his eyes.
The environment and layout of the ward seemed very familiar…
It should be the hospital where he stayed when he was brought back from the Marauder — he really didn’t expect to come back one day.
He moved his throat.
The burning sensation spread from the depths of the throat into the mouth, and the dry feeling of not being able to swallow was really uncomfortable.
Before Ge Xiu could speak, he felt a sudden cold on his lips.
A piece of ice-cold and wet crushed ice touched his lips, and with a little force, the ice cube slid into his mouth, melting slowly at the temperature of his mouth and lips. The ice-cold liquid flowed down the throat, and as the ice cube slid into his mouth the burning dry pain was relieved a little.
He turned his head hard and looked around.
He saw Haines sitting on a chair by the bed, holding a glass with crushed ice in his hand.
He was still wearing the clothes from the previous battle. The smoke and dust covered his wrinkled front and cuffs. There was still dried blood on the front, and he looked quite wretched.
Haines looked down at Ge Xiu, his dark eyes flashing with a dark blue.
His voice was low and hoarse: “How do you feel?”
Ge Xiu swallowed the ice that melted in his mouth and nodded with difficulty.
He propped up the edge of the bed with his hands and tried to sit up, but both of his arms were limp due to the exhaustion, and he could hardly exert any strength.
Upon seeing this, Haines leaned down halfway, grabbed Ge Xiu’s shoulders, and helped him up carefully, then put the pillow from beside him behind his waist, so that Ge Xiu could lean on it more comfortably.
Ge Xiu took a few quick breaths, calmed down a little, and then raised his eyes to look at Haines, who had retreated.
His voice was hoarse and unpleasant:
“I… how long have I slept?”
Haines sat down on the chair beside him, glanced at the electronic clock beside him, and said: “37 hours and 25 minutes.”
Ge Xiu looked at him in surprise.
Has he been there this whole time?
Haines leaned slightly towards him, shook the glass in his hand, and as the crushed ice hit the glass wall with a crisp sound, he asked, “Do you want more?”
Ge Xiu swallowed the last bit of ice water that had melted in his mouth into his throat and nodded slightly.
Haines picked up a piece of crushed ice and put it to his lips naturally, and Ge Xiu held it in his mouth.
The man’s warm fingers brushed against his lower lip, stopped for a moment, and then retracted back as if nothing had happened.
The sound of a needle falling to the ground could be heard clearly in the silent ward.
Haines stared fixedly at Ge Xiu, his expression was extremely focused, as if there was only one person in his eyes.
Ge Xiu chewed the ice cubes and swallowed them little by little. The burning dryness in his throat was finally relieved a little, and the heavy pain in his brain seemed to be less obvious.
He opened his mouth and asked: “The battle… What happened later?”
Haines hooked his lips and showed a faint smile: “Thanks to you, the main Zerg’s force was wiped out in one fell swoop, and my fleet arrived not long after you fell into a coma. After arriving, the same is true for the reinforcements from the Federation. The remaining Zerg were no longer a threat and were soon wiped out. Now my people are assisting the army in cleaning up the city.”
He raised his hand to tuck in Ge Xiu’s quilt:
“Now I sent someone to assist the government in investigating the reasons behind this attack.” Haines narrowed his eyes, and a ruthless and cold light flashed in the depths of his dark eyes: “If the attack on the army happened before the protective cover was breached, it means that there must have been humans assisting it — the weapons they used were indeed well-concealed, but the channels for acquiring such weapons are very limited. They can’t escape.”
He still had some connections and influences that could be used in these areas.
Ge Xiu nodded.
Although he had only woken up for a short while, he was already tired.
He yawned and continued to ask: “What about the casualties?”
“Not too many.” Haines restrained his violent expression and lowered his eyes to look at Ge Xiu, his voice gentle: “The evacuation of the civilians was very timely. For a planet that survived the insect wave, the number of casualties was so low it was unbelievable, your father and brother are not seriously wounded and their injuries are not even as serious as yours, don’t worry.”
After he finished speaking, the changed the subject, asking with concern, “Are you tired? Do you want to lie down?”
Ge Xiu yawned again.
“…No.” His eyelids were a little heavy, but he shook his head forcefully: “I’m not very tired…it’s fine to sit.”
Haines shook his head disapprovingly:
“The consumption of your mental energy was too great, and your internal organs have been damaged a lot because of the explosion. Now is not the time to be awake.”
He pulled out the pillow from behind Ge Xiu’s back, and then slowly laid him back on the bed again, his movements gentle but unquestionable.
Ge Xiu did not resist this time.
He rubbed his cheek against the soft pillow, and curled up habitually, like a cat dozing all the time at noon: “Where’s my mecha? How is she?”
“She was hit by the explosion and then was almost completely disintegrated by the shock of the explosion and subsequent fall.” Haines leaned down, pulled up the quilt to Ge Xiu’s shoulder, lowered his eyes and whispered:
“But it doesn’t matter, I can build another one for you.”
Ge Xiu blinked slowly, his vision gradually blurred little by little.
He frowned childishly, and murmured sleepily in a low voice,
“…but I just want this one.”
In fact, when a mecha was damaged so badly, the cost of putting it back together and repairing was far more than building a new one.
But Haines didn’t say anything.
He raised the corners of his lips slightly and replied in a low voice, “Okay.”
Haines raised his hand and brushed away Ge Xiu’s messy forehead hair, gently stroked his pale cheek with his fingertips, and then said indulgently:
“Then I’ll find someone to fix it.”
Ge Xiu closed his eyes heavily.
The skinny and slender figure of the young man was almost swallowed under the thin quilt, he seemed so fragile and easily broken.
Haines stood by the bed, watching him silently, listening to his even breathing.
Finally, he retracted his gaze, then turned and walked out — for the past thirty-six hours, Hines had been by Ge Xiu’s side, and not until he finally opened his eyes that he felt relieved — there were many things to deal with. Whether it was to discuss this post-war reconstruction with the federal government, or to investigate the real culprit behind this insect tide, Haines needs to be present.
Just as he raised his hand to open the door in front of him, he heard Ge Xiu’s slightly hoarse voice coming from behind:
Haines turned his head to look at him.
The boy narrowed his eyes slightly, the corners of his pale lips were raised, and his pointed tiger teeth were exposed, looking a little childish:
“I won the game this time.”
Haines chuckled, his eyes suddenly softened: “Yes.”
—whether it was the number of kills on the battlefield this time, or something else.
Even now, Hines could still clearly remember that the moment he saw the silver-white mecha falling in the distance, the fear in his chest almost suffocated him, as if the most important part in his life had been forcibly taken away. He has been on the battlefield for nearly 20 years, and he has experienced countless critical moments in his life — this was the first time he had lost his composure in front of the enemy.
He lost terribly.
Haines closed the door of the ward gently, and was about to turn around to walk away, but he bumped into the doctor who was walking towards him.
The doctor’s expression was extremely solemn.
He handed the terminal in his hand to Haines and said,
“Hello, about the patient you asked to be tested, his situation is a bit complicated…”
The doctor paused, then continued with an ugly face:
“We conducted a comprehensive examination on him, and in addition to the wounds he received on the battlefield, we found that…the organs in his body had begun to fail for no apparent reason…and…we couldn’t find the cause.”
Bamboo has something to say:
Uh-oh, here we go again…
(sorry for brief break, had been in a bad state, tut)