The one who had gone mad was a physicist named Luo Su. He was young, in his thirties. The people in the laboratory were rushing out when Xia Lei got to the laboratory. Luo Su was inside waving a experiment-use hammer about and smashing the equipment up. The floor was a mess of papers and broken pieces of equipment.
Xia Lei spotted Ning Jing. Her head was bleeding and she was in such a panic that she did not see him and ran straight into him.
“What happened to your head?” Xia Lei grabbed her by the hand and asked in concern.
“Luo Su…” Ning Jing suddenly started crying. “He’s gone mad. He wanted to smash the bronze book and I went to push him away but he was stronger. He hit me on the head with the hammer… Whuuh…”
She was weak and timid and could not bear this sort of horror.
“Don’t cry. I’m here, no one can hurt you,” comforted Xia Lei.
It might’ve been better not to comfort her for Ning Jing buried herself further in his embrace and cried even more loudly.
The group of experts who had escaped the laboratory all looked at the embracing pair, their gazes odd.
Xia Lei was embarrassed but he could not simply push the sobbing Ning Jing away; it would be too ungentlemanly of him.
Two soldiers came running over and they charged into the laboratory to subdue the rampaging Luo Su.
“You pieces of trash! I am one of the Eastern Depot’s Embroidered Uniform Guard*! Kneel before me!” Luo Su shouted as he struggled to release himself from the soldiers.
The soldiers were men who depended on their brawn for their livelihood - Luo Su stood no chance. The soldiers seized him and moved him out of the laboratory like a trussed chicken.
“Mama, why did the sky go dark?” Luo Su suddenly said, his voice child-like.
Xia Lei’s heart thumped. ‘He’s in the same condition as Chen Kexue. His personality keeps changing rapidly and it doesn’t matter if it’s man, woman, elder or child. Is the same power affecting his brain?’
Xia Lei’s gaze went abruptly to the two pieces of ancient alloy in the laboratory. The experts here called it ‘Metal X’ but he preferred to call it ‘ancient alloy’.
The two pieces of ancient alloy still sat on a metal platform but the scanning equipment had been destroyed by Luo Su’s hammer.
Just then, Wang Lei and Long Bing came running over. Long Bing’s hair was still wet and it was apparent that she had rushed out of her shower before even having the time to wipe her hair dry. However, she had not forgotten to put on the anti-bacterial suit as per regulations in her haste; she was just missing the face-mask.
Long Bing saw Ning Jing sobbing broken-heartedly in Xia Lei’s arms the moment she arrived and she wrinkled her brows as she muttered, “This punk. Always a woman wherever he goes…”
“Doctor Ning, go to the medical room and patch yourself up,” said Wang Lei in dissatisfaction. “You are already in your late twenties. What is there to cry about for a small thing like this? Go on, move. Don’t disrupt the work that has to be done here.”
Ning Jing felt wronged and looked gloomily at Wang Lei before she pulled herself out of Xia Lei’s embrace and walked to the medical room.
Wang Lei was an old, strict scientist and a little unfeeling. Ning Jing did have a problematic personality but he should not have berated her so, especially in front of so many people.
Xia Lei had some level of respect for Wang Lei at first, especially since he was an established National Scholar and a Doctor of the sciences but he now felt some disgust towards him.
It was a virtue to respect and love one’s elders but it was not right to take advantage of one’s seniority to bully others.
Wang Lei went to Xia Lei after making Ning Jing go away. “Mr Xia, didn’t you say that you had some thoughts on the matter? Tell me. Tell me now.”
“I said I needed some time to straighten my thoughts,” said Xia Lei.
“Tell me everything you know. I’ll help you straighten your thoughts out.” Wang Lei was anxious.
Xia Lei wrinkled his brows. “Scholar Wang, do you think I am a person who needs your help to straighten out my thoughts?”
Wang Lei paused, and his face turned ugly. No one had spoken to him like that, not for many years. Xia Lei was the first.
Long Bing drew close and nudged Xia Lei, telling him to watch his tone.
Xia Lei pretended not to notice. “Scholar Wang, I was the one who brought this alloy back. I nearly lost my life in Afghanistan because of it. You guys don’t know what I’ve been through. I bribed the armed tribesmen to make the journey easier and open up paths for us to take. And what is this now? Excluding me and limiting me, as if I’m going to steal that alloy and the results of your research away. Let me tell you that I wouldn’t even hand it to you if I didn’t feel like it.”
“Mr Xia, I know you have contributed much,” said Wang Lei with a solemn face, “But this is not the time to talk of contribution, or credit for work done. You just need to tell me all that you know.”
Anger flared in Xia Lei. “Are you saying I am here to claim credit?”
“Then what do you mean?” Wang Lei’s face was dark with discontent.
Xia Lei was so angry he gave a laugh. “What do I mean? Simple. Do I owe you guys anything? You’ve been arranging for me to do this and that from the moment I arrived, and I don’t know what’s going on - who knows what you’re trying to make me do!”
“You-” Wang Lei was rooted to the spot with anger.
Long Bing knew that Xia Lei had definitely not come to claim any credit, and that Wang Lei had misunderstood him. She knew what it was like to have been mistaken by others and it was normal for Xia Lei to feel uncomfortable about it but such a strong reaction was just too much. The development put her in a spot and she didn’t know how to resolve it.
Xia Lei thought to himself, ‘I’ve already decided to bid Bureau 101 goodbye so offending Wang Lei is a great excuse to exit. It’ll be better the angrier he is, so there’s no need to hold back.’
“Fine. Fine!” Wang Lei caught his breath at last and he pointed a finger at Xia Lei as he said, “Leave! I don’t believe that we won’t be able to conduct any research without you!”
“Sure, I’ll leave. You think I want to stay here? I wouldn’t want to come even if you carry me here on a palanquin!” Xia Lei was really ripping into Wang Lei.
Wang Lei shook with anger. He pointed at Xia Lei but looked at Long Bing. “You see this, Chief Long? See what sort of person you’ve brought here! I’ll be reporting this to the higher-ups!”
Long Bing smiled wryly and forced herself to chide Xia Lei. “Xia Lei, hold back your words, okay? It’s nothing big anyway. You…”
Xia Lei boldly cut her off. “No, say nothing more. I’ll go see Doctor Ning and I’ll leave.”
He was going to grab the opportunity to ask for valuable information in the medical room, then make himself scarce. Let Wang Lei be hopping mad!
Just as Xia Lei was about to walk to the medical room, a woman wearing a white coat came running from the medical room, crying out in panic, “Oh no, no…It’s terrible...”
“What’s the fuss?!” snapped Wang Lei.
The female doctor took a steadying breath. “Doc, Doctor Chen Kexue is de, dead!”
“What?” Wang Lei and the group of experts were stunned.
Xia Lei and Long Bing’s gazes met, and both were filled with surprise and confusion.
Then everyone’s gazes went to the newly-crazy Luo Su at almost the same time. They were all thinking the same thing - If Chen Kexue died, then would Luo Su die too?
Luo Su, who had been mumbling all this while, suddenly laughed hollowly. “All of you shall rest with me in my grave!”
It was hair-raising for the whole group to hear that. The people close to Luo Su quickly scrambled to get further away.
“What are you still standing there for? Quick, take Doctor Luo to the medical room!” said Wang Lei.
The two soldiers hurried to the medical room with Luo Su. From their expressions and quick strides, it was obvious that they had long wanted to throw him in the medical room and put distance between him and them.
With Chen Kexue’s mysterious death, the newly-crazy Luo Su was now like a leper and no one was willing to come into contact with him.
“Come, let’s go take a look.” Wang Lei wiped at the cold sweat on his forehead and led the way to the medical room.
Long Bing made to follow him but Xia Lei pulled her back by her arm.
Long Bing looked back at him. “What?”
Xia Lei drew close to her ear and said quietly, “If it’s some sort of virus then they are probably mostly infected already. Don’t get too close to them.”
“Huh?” Long Bing’s expression shifted.
“Put on your face-mask on.” Xia Lei had put on the anti-bacterial suit properly when he had rushed over, mask over his mouth and all.
Long Bing followed suit and patted Xia Lei on the shoulder gratefully.
Some people stayed around the doorway and some followed Wang Lei in to see Chen Kexue’s condition. Everyone had their anti-bacterial suits on and their faces covered.
All eyes were on Chen Kexue on the bed.
Chen Kexue’s face was bloodless. His eyes were closed and his mouth half-open, frozen in a death rattle. Other than these, there were no signs of poison or other abnormal things on his body which could have caused his death. He looked like he was asleep.
“I tried to save him but it was useless. Doctor Chen said he would die and he did. There was no indication of death before he actually died,” said the female doctor.
“Put Luo Su in isolated observation. Gather all the doctors and make a special team. We must find the cause of Doctor Chen’s death, and we have to protect Doctor Luo,” said Wang Lei.
“Yes, I’ll make calls right now.” The female doctor walked further into the room.
At that moment, Luo Su, who had been bound to the bed by the two soldiers suddenly started screaming in terror. “Don’t come here, DON’T COME HERE… DON’T KILL ME… AAAAAHHH....”
A scream. A gurgle. Luo Su opened his mouth slowly and it did not shut again. His eyes closed, never to open again.
“Crap! Doctor Chen said the same thing earlier and died!” The female doctor rushed to Luo Su’s side and pressed him on his chest. There was no response. She then used the cardiac defibrillator on him.
She gave up a few minutes later.
The room was filled with silence as a wordless terror spread in everyone’s heart.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
More information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embroidered_Uniform_Guard