Book Five: Reality
Chapter 91: Control Ability (1/2)
On the east coast of Xia City was a dangerous section of the winding Huanhai Highway. Past the protective railings of the highway was a steep cliff. Fine mist-like rain drizzled under the darkness of the sky, erasing the boundary between the cliff and the sky.
This Huanhai Highway was the first highway installed with magnetic pavement, a Class 1 Highway. At first, it was just a technological implementation but it gradually turned into the superior choice for high-speed street racing due to its classical location. Even though the weather was bad, the drivers who chased thrills did not care. Sports cars came rushing at lightning speeds one after another on the highway, their speeds easily exceeding 300 km/hr under the effects of the maglev system.
The headlights cut across the road like a long sword. It sliced apart the curtain of night and the misty rain, making the cliff glow with light and stand out from the dusky ocean sky.
Bai Xinyan stood on the peak of the cliff. She looked at the ascending highway spiral for a few rotations before extending her gaze into the distance. The flying cars that moved like a hurricane on the highway were like fireflies going the wrong way as they gradually faded into the curtains of mist.
"Xia City still looks like the same. I can't see the difference between it and Los Angeles."
The giant metropolises were constructed hastily as a measure against the terrible environment of the war's aftermath. It was hard to preserve the special characteristics of human culture. A high degree of homogeneity was natural and expected. It was because of this that such a tedious steel jungle—though seemingly varied—was actually a monotonous human structure.
"It is because everything is so monotonous that those of the gifted class deserve to be treated with preference... That is, from the perspective of a having a diverse species."
Bai Xinyan’s hands were in the pockets of her jacket. She welcomed the ocean breeze blasting her face and strode out with a step. The fluttering fine rain solidified into fine ice crystals beneath her feet to bear her weight. Just like this, they would solidify, shatter and solidify again to form a faintly visible long staircase of ice crystals. This lasted until she crossed several levels of the highway to arrive at the lower section of the cliff.
There was not a trace in the void behind her.
Right now, Bai Xinyan was on a protruding platform about ten meters above sea level. There was enough space for two people to stand. Further down the platform was a recess that was over three meters deep and two meters high. One could see the traces of man-made cuts.
Bai Xinyan didn't go inside. Her gaze swept across the recess and she saw an opened waterproof metal box inside. Clothes that belonged to a woman lay messily over it. They were already soaked by the fine rain blown in by the wind.
"A relic from my casual life style. How many years has it been? I still haven't gotten rid of it..."
Bai Xinyan inched her gaze away. She stood on the platform that faced the ocean. Half of the ocean skies rained like a screen into a sheet of limitless reaches. The ocean wind spurred and sprayed the rain onto her jacket—creating pitter-patter sounds. Nonetheless, the rain could not make her wet at all.
Below the platform were piles of jagged rocks shaped like canine teeth. The tide slowly swelled and thick white froth vaguely created lines atop the tide that swung back and forth.
Bai Xinyan gazed at the surface of the ocean. After a moment, her lips turned into a slight smile. The rain that fell around her body transformed into fine ice crystals once again, dropping rapidly into the tide and the rocks and making rustling sounds.
In a few breaths of time, the endlessly rocking ocean tide froth transformed into crystal shards of all sorts of shapes. The chill continued to endlessly permeate deeper into the ocean waters. Soon, the reef and the half frozen tide merged together into a warped silhouette that was like the sinister face of a devil.
"One, two three!"
She counted to three in her mind. Suddenly, a clang was heard amongst the sounds of the ocean waves, the wind, and the rain. The sound came from far, far away. The devil face on the surface of the ocean suddenly tore and split, causing the reef to split as well. The ocean split in half and a slender human figure broke through from the parted seas. She laughed with a series of loud “ha ha”s:
"Freezing. I'm freezing to death! Freezing to death!"
Zhang Yingying rushed out from the surface of the water. Her red and black striped wetsuit displayed her nice figure very prominently. Despite this, a layer of floating ice hung from her body and pearls of ice had formed on her hair. She was messy and lacked standing, looking to be in a bit of a sorry situation.
Her bare feet tapped against the wall of the slippery cliff and she jumped vertically to fly onto the platform. The sharp aura that draped her body didn't dissipate. She cleaved through the rain, causing a hiss.
Atop the platform, Bai Xinyan didn't avoid her. She faced the figure that had charged up here and laughed with open arms for a vigorous hug. The khaki jacket was flipped over, covering the two together.
"Ah, ah, ah, ah, Bai Yan, White Salt, Bai Yan!" Zhang Yingying was extremely excited. She was itching to roll out from Bai Xinyan's embrace and get rid of the layer of ice droplets that clung to her.
Bai Xinyan paid zero attention to this. She held the young woman tightly in her embrace, sticking her chin lightly onto the hair covered with beads of ice. She didn't talk but she still had that subtle smile from the very start.
When the excitement and energy of seeing old friends barely died down a little, Zhang Yingying pulled some distance. She looked at Bai Xinyan's expression and couldn't hold back from fiercely gritting out:
"Oh my, you haven't changed at all. You didn't melt from spending all day in the lab!"
But when she truly came to, she lowered her head and saw that the chill on the surface of the ocean had yet to retreat. She swallowed her previous words back down her throat, "Wow! How did you do it? This kind of freezing air is already abnormal... You're not just an Architect, right? Are you an Extraordinary?"
"I'm not on that level yet. This is just a little bit of skill. It works differently from your White Rainbow. On the other hand, I haven't seen you in three years and now you've suddenly been training quite seriously."
Zhang Yingying rolled her eyes. "Yep, yep. I've made a fool out of myself. I need to save face."
"Did you now?" Bai Xinyan rubbed her cheeks lightly against the young lady's tender and cool cheek.
Zhang Yingying giggled, then she asked what Bai Xinyan's plans were. "No matter how things are, you'll need to stay in Xia City for a month or so. What's your schedule like? Why don't you live with me? We can play every day to our hearts' delight!"
"I'm seeing my boss tomorrow morning. Then I'll be handling other matters... I have an appointment tonight too but it’s just some formalities."
Having said this, Bai Xinyan's wristband vibrated. She glanced at it and nodded slightly. "Quite a number of new people have been dug up by the Society in recent years. This Scout is quite decent."
"Scout? Oh oh right. That fellow's your patient!" Zhang Yingying eyeballs spun. Some thoughts had floated up in her mind.
Bai Xinyan observed all of this. Once she was sure that the Scout had hung up the phone, she conveniently explained the situation to Zhang Yingying. "The precision of this person's mental senses is extremely impressive. His abilities must be precision slanted, heading towards micro-observation. How did he get the nickname Scout?"
"This person... Well, he actually does have a bit of talent." Zhang Yingying blinked her eyes, feeling a bit baffled. "You two haven't met, right? How can you tell?"
"I relied on technology." Bai Xinyan shook her wrist, letting the data be projected out from the wristband.
Zhang Yingying could only understand a portion of it but she was able to grasp the relevant information. "Frost River Waterway... That fellow has nerve damage and he hasn't awakened. Can he endure it? Tsk tsk. Is it worth it? To torment him like this?"
Bai Xinyan subtly smiled. "A patient needs to rely on their own two legs to walk when undergoing treatment. One leg is confidence. The other leg is obedience. I'm just strengthening the latter element."
Zhang Yingying's face was unreadable. "Sometimes, this fellow is a bit naughty but it shouldn't have started yet?"
"Yea, he's been good so far. I just want to make him more obedient."
"...yikes, you pervert!"