Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Dear Mister Zhang Wei,
Comrade Zhang Aidao died heroically at the Huadong Battlefield during a Mara strike on December 22, Paradise Year 503. He has been promoted to Demon Opposition Martyr. His Certificate of Martyrship will be issued by Donghua City.
We offer our heartfelt sympathy to you and your family members. We hope that you take solace in his brave service, and turn your sorrow into power to strive for the development of civilization and protection of mankind.
Reading the condolence letter in his hands, reading those short lines, Zhou Bai fell silent for a long time. Then he said slowly, "This world is really in a precarious state."
A young man wearing a police uniform sat in front of him. Seeing Zhou Bai's downcast expression, he said helplessly, "I found this in his room. It was delivered this morning. The old man's primordial spirit might have become irritated after he read it…"
"Yes." Zhou Bai nodded, then slowly said, "He already had senile dementia."
The young man nodded, "That makes sense then. If his mental state was already unstable, and he gets a big shock, there is a chance of being infected by Spark, leading to mutation into a goblin."
Zhou Bai's head shot up. He stared at the young man and asked, "Isn't the Spark in Donghua City purified? Didn't he get a primordial spirit adjustment? Didn't he get a rune vaccine? Why…why did he still mutate?"
The young man fell silent for a moment, then said slowly, "None of them are one hundred percent secure. Even within Donghua Tao Academy, there have been incidences of students mutating. The pollution level of Spark has been getting more severe in the past few years…"
Zhou Bai put his head down. "Officer Li, how did Zhang Aidao die?"
"He encountered Mara during a wilderness patrol. I heard half of his team died. He was one of them."
Zhou Bai let out a breath slowly. "Can you…can you let me see him?"
"Sorry, all mutated subjects will be turned over to Paradise to prevent secondary pollution. And by studying their bodies, we can better understand the current situation of Heavenly Tao distortion."
"Phew…" Zhou Bai clenched his fists for a long time before he relaxed them.
A few minutes later, Zhou Bai followed Officer Li out. He saw an old woman with a numb expression and tears streaming down her face. Her family members stood around her and consoled her.
When Zhou Bai heard their consolations, he paused in his steps. "And she is?"
Officer Li asked, "She's Zhang Aidao's mother, Zhang Wei's ex-wife. Do you want to see her?"
"That's…that's not necessary."
He followed Officer Li to pick up Elsa. Officer Li looked at Zhou Bai, who had his head down the entire time, and said, "You don't need to feel responsible or guilty. Once the mutation has been completed, and the person turns into a goblin, it's nonrecoverable and irreversible. Death is the only escape. You were right to call for help immediately."
"No, I'm not feeling guilty," said Zhou Bai. "I'm just thinking about when I can annihilate those Mara."
Officer Li went blank for a second. He looked at Zhou Bai with raised eyebrows. When he walked Zhou Bai out of the police station, he gave him a slip of paper. "My name is Li Xiuzhu. This is my contact information and address. If anything happens, you can always come find me."
Zhou Bai took Officer Li's paper slip. He nodded and led Elsa away.
Watching Zhou Bai depart, a smile appeared on Li Xiuzhu's face.
Zhou Bai walked back to the old man's apartment with Elsa.
The whole apartment was barricaded with quarantine runes by the police. The blue runes lit up like neon lights, enclosing the entire crime scene.
Zhou Bai found a place to sit on the side. He rubbed Elsa's head and said, "Good Elsa. There's nothing for you to eat today. It'll be dawn in a few hours. I'll find you something to eat at school.
"Speaking of…you can probably keep dogs in Tao academy, right?"
Zhou Bai looked at Christina in his mind, but saw Christina curled up in a ball, rolling around.
Ever since Zhou Bai threw her out, Christina had never spoken again. She closed herself up until now.
Seeing how she was, Zhou Bai said helplessly, "All right, Nana. Don't be angry. I was just trying to save everyone."
"Who are you calling Nana?" Christina grunted, "How could you throw me over? Never mind—my heart is cold."
"I wasn't actually throwing you out, I was just throwing you to attract his attention, and then I brought you back."
"Ha! It's not a problem of whether or not you took me back. The important thing is you threw me out!"
Zhou Bai rolled his eyes, "Why are you being so petty?"
"Petty? I'm petty?" Christina was infuriated. "You threw out your cat when you encountered danger, and now you're calling me petty?"
"All right, all right all right. It was my bad." He was too lazy to argue with her. Zhou Bai said, "I'll never throw you out again. Is that okay?"
Zhou Bai's eyes lit up. He didn't expect that Laziness would increase when he was too lazy to argue with Christina.
On the other side, Christina nodded. "It's agreed. If you throw me out again in the future, we'll cut ties and never see each other again!"
Seeing Zhou Bai agree, Christina hastily added, "I want to come out! I don't want to stay in your mind all the time."
Zhou Bai nodded and agreed to that too. He was planning on showing Christina as his pet cat anyway. Otherwise, it would be too troublesome. If Christina had to hide in his mind all day, she wouldn't be able to do anything.
Thus, he let Christina out of his mind. She ran around cheerfully.
Zhou Bai yawned, slowly lying down. He closed his eyes and watched Laziness increase point by point.
Elsa sat on the side for a while, then leaned over. She squeezed into Zhou Bai's embrace, then lay down.
Zhou Bai stroked Elsa's fur. He thought, I must…become stronger. Strong enough that I will never be helpless in any situation, I'll never…not be able to do anything.
After Zhou Bai fell asleep, Christina walked over too. She sat down on his chest and fell asleep.
The next morning, Zhou Bai felt someone shake his body.
He opened his eyes. Jing Xiu stared at him, "Bro…brother Zhou, why are you sleeping on the street? And what happened back there?"
Zhou Bai sighed and said, "Someone turned into a goblin in the place I was living in. I could only sleep on the street." He didn't want to explain too much to Jing Xiu, so he summarized the situation.
Zhou Bai stood up and stretched his back and neck. He glanced at his board.
After another night of lying down, in addition to the Laziness he obtained from being too lazy to argue with Christina:
Degree of Taoification: 0%
Primordial Spirit Value: 99
Divine Map: Deva Nine Disasters
Zhou Bai nodded contentedly. He looked at Jing Xiu and said, "Let's go. Let's enter school."
"Eh?" Jing Xiu asked, "Brother Zhou, don't you need to bring any luggage?"
"Didn't Tao academy say they would provide it yesterday," Zhou Bai said with Elsa's leash in his hand, "I have nothing else to bring besides this dog and this cat. Oh right, can I keep pets in Tao academy?"
Jing Xiu said, "…I think you can."
The Tao academy was extremely efficient. It finished assigning rooms, student IDs, and other living necessities to the 600 entering students that morning.
Zhou Bai was assigned a single dorm. He left Elsa in the room while Christina hid in his mind and went with him to the first class that afternoon.
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