To live broadcast or not?
Shanta did not immediately give an answer. Instead, he pondered for two minutes before laughing. "I feel that this question would be better directed at Mr. Fang Zhao, don't you agree?"
Despite smiling, Shanta's penetrating gaze did not let up. He was not afraid to lose face on the live broadcast as long as they were able to excavate a grade A power ore. Face was not an issue, but if they were unable to excavate it...
Fang Zhao met Shanta's gaze straight on, then tilted his head toward Kevin Lin and said, "Turn it on."
"Really?" His question had just left his mouth, but Kevin Lin felt that his own question had been unnecessary. He then coughed out quietly, "When should we start?"
Shanta, Edmund, and the other high-ranking officers all looked to Fang Zhao. They also wished to know the answer.
"Do you need to make preparations? Feel free to let us know," Shanta said. For the sake of excavating grade A power ores, he was willing to offer assistance to Fang Zhao. Even if this young fellow took the opportunity to fish for benefits, he was willing to give them.
"No need. We can start right now. After digging, it'll be just in time for lunch." Fang Zhao turned around, picked up the pickaxe beside him, and walked into the tunnel. This time around, he no longer wore a helmet.
Fang Zhao's reaction caught Shanta unprepared. Shanta then asked, "Do you need us to do anything?"
"Maintain silence," Fang Zhao replied.
Shanta nodded his head and instructed a soldier beside him, "The others stay outside."
Hayden had decided to follow on inside but was obstructed. Not just him, even the other old miners were stuck outside. All of them were considered as "others."
Including Kevin Lin, two soldiers, two engineers, and the three high-ranking base officers, including Shanta, formed a party of eight and entered the tunnel.
Conscripts originally mining in the tunnel had already been cleared out. The conveyor belts transporting ore and waste material had also been stopped.
Work inside the other tunnels of the mining site had already ceased. All the other conscripts were already taking a break in their assigned areas. They did not know what had happened and could only gather and have muted discussions. They also did not dare to wander off. Soldiers standing guard in the area were all wielding guns. Half a year of military service life had told them that, in this place, it was best to follow the rules.
In their hearts, everyone was thinking the same thing: Something big definitely happened!
Online, god knew how many people were monitoring S5's latest news. The moment Kevin Lin had turned on his live broadcast mode, many people had switched over to watch. Whether they were bragging or chatting idly in whichever forum, the moment a live broadcast notification was received, they all flooded to channel S5's comments section.
"Finally the live broadcast has started again!"
"Hurry, hurry, hurry, tell me whether the situation where Fang Zhao excavated a grade A power ore is true or not."
"No media outlet has a definite answer... Channel S5, what are they doing?"
"Is this inside the tunnel? Is the person in front Fang Zhao? Why is he alone? Where are the rest?
"What is Fang Zhao going to do? Where is the grade A power ore? Is it real or fake?"
The camera followed behind Fang Zhao, and the lens focused on him. In the shot, only Fang Zhao was there. There was nobody or any activity around him.
The sounds of successive pounding rang out.
Fang Zhao held the pickaxe and walked deeper into the tunnel. As he walked, he used the side edge of the pickaxe to knock against the uneven surface of the rock wall, creating a clanging and banging sound.
Online audiences were a little stunned.
"This pounding beat makes me feel like doing a little rap."
"No wonder he has a composing background. Even knocking against the rock wall can produce such feeling!"
"But why is he knocking against the wall?"
"I just want to know if he is alone over there?"
"The scene looks kinda suspicious. If this were in a movie, this would be the part full of suspense in a horror flick."
"Has channel 5 gone with a supernatural style?"
As though the discussions of the online audiences could be heard, the camera made a 180 degree turn, and the people following Fang Zhao appeared within the image.
Right at the front was Shanta. The general's star on his military uniform told the online viewers of his status.
"Dang! There are so many following behind him?"
"Look at the star. That is probably planet Baiji's commanding officer, Lieutenant General Shanta."
"So many people following behind Fang Zhao. What are they up to?"
"The ranks of those behind Shanta are also not low. The few highest-ranking officers of Baiji are all here."
"With the serious expressions on their faces, perhaps the grade A power ore is real?"
"Even if it is real, shouldn't they be digging? What are they following behind Fang Zhao for? Listening to his musical performance of knocking on a stone wall?"
None of the people shown on the live broadcast made a sound.
Kevin Lin could guess the doubts online viewers were having, but he did not explain. He was afraid Fang Zhao would not excavate a grade A power ore, and if he had explained to everyone beforehand, it would not turn out well.
As for the highest-ranking officer, Shanta, he was feeling a little absurd. Never had he expected that he would one day encounter such a situation. If Fang Zhao could not excavate a grade A power ore, many people would probably treat them as jokes, but for the sake of getting a quick answer, Shanta was willing to take this risk!
Is this little fellow really able to hear it? Shanta gazed at the figure walking slowly before him, trying to distinguish any sounds. He was unable to hear any difference.
Inside the tunnel.
With every knock on the rock wall, there were vibrations. Soundwaves dispersed outward, in the air, through the rock wall, and spread further out.
There was an echo within the tunnel, but under the special rhythm, it did not sound at all clamorous.
Fang Zhao continued on deeper into the tunnel. As there were no longer any other conscripts inside, the tunnel's lighting was much worse and it became dusky. In an environment where his sight was not as effective, his hearing was stimulated by the environment and became even more active.
Whatever noise there had been in the tunnel seemed to have settled. Only the sound of striking remained, one after another, as if it was an undulating rhythm, bringing about a hard-to-describe air of mystery.
For Edmund, this mining area was something he should have been very familiar with. However, at the moment, he felt as if this was his first time entering the tunnel. Everything had started to seem strange. There was a feeling of novelty, and his mood and thoughts seemed to be being pulled along to the sounds.
The striking frequency was changing. The tempo was no longer as it had been when entering the tunnel. The sounds that drifted into the ear seemed to have an elegant crispness and were deep and resounding. The resounding echoes as the sound bounced of the tunnel walls created a strange harmony.
It was obviously just a mining pickaxe striking against the rock wall, yet it felt like there was a percussion team putting on a performance behind the scenes.
As they continued deeper into the tunnel, the tempo of the striking increased. The sounds were not the slightest bit chaotic, and they maintained their original harmony, yet the pressure they produced gradually built up to seem stifling.
An air circulation system was installed in the tunnel, and there would not be a situation where there was a lack of oxygen, but now, everyone felt a little suffocated.
This form of listening seemed to put mental stress on their nerves.
With everyone in silence, only the sounds produced by the continuous striking added on to the building harmony, as if building up for an unseen battle, from the gentle probing at the start till the confrontation.
The striking rhythm was still picking up pace, and the tension seemed about to erupt. Behind him, Shanta was spirited and tensed up.
Kicking up a cloud of dust? Or was it the honest truth?
As he thought about it, Fang Zhao, who had always been in Shanta's sight, stopped in his tracks. Turning slightly to the side, his wrist flicked, bringing the sharp edge of the pickaxe to the front, and he faced the rock wall. Raising his arms, he brought the pickaxe down in a simple and agile downward arc.
Chiseling without any hesitation, large and small pieces of rocks fell down in succession.
Shanta's whole body shook with excitement. Has it been dug out?
A few people strode forward and simultaneously took out flashlights.
In a split second, it seemed like a spotlight had been shined at the spot on the rock wall that had been chiseled, as if welcoming the debut of a dazzling superstar.
At the spot was something reflecting all the lights.
As the commanding officer of the base, Shanta's mood was in a jumble, and he could not speak very coherently. "...Is this it?"
"Should I dig it out?" Edmund asked.
"No, let me!" Shanta took a pickaxe that was handed over by one of the soldiers. Carefully, he starting chipping away at the spot, delicately chipping away at the rock supporting the little piece of mineral that was similar to what Fang Zhao had excavated a while back. However, after this piece was excavated, it was slightly bigger than the one Fang Zhao had excavated earlier.
Shanta gently picked up the newly mined ore and used the specialized instrument brought in by the engineers for appraising power ore.
The camera focused on the display screen of the instrument as the meter rose upward. As expected, only after it had risen above grade A did it stop.
Edmund looked at the instrument and then looked at Fang Zhao before muttering, "He really... really can hear it!"
Even though it felt outlandish, everything that had just happened in front of them clearly proved that what Fang Zhao had said was true!
Exactly what kind of ear was this, with the ability to precisely distinguish the sound of ores?
Could his hearing really be like the Diting from ancient myths?
Shanta's voice shook a little as he said, "How much of these sorts of ores are in this tunnel?" His gaze on Fang Zhao was no long as incisive as before. Now his expression was restrained ecstasy and gratefulness.
"There are still many. As the tunnel gets dug deeper, there will be more, but as for a concrete amount, that would require using the adjusted instruments to probe," Fang Zhao replied.
"Good! Hahahaha!" Shanta was no longer able to hold back any longer. Laughing heartily, he flashed Fang Zhao a thumbs up. "Fang Zhao, these two ears that can listen to the position of ores are absolutely... the entire planet's most precious ears!"