Chapter 78 – Heroes With No Home
The cruise ship had just started its journey, so even if Minamoto Hajime was quite arrogant, it was difficult to say whether it was him who had acted this time or not. Jiaming felt uneasy, but in the next moment, the power recovered and the countless lights on the ship turned on again. Since there were no strange incidents like a sinking ship or hitting an iceberg, when darkness had suddenly descended, Shasha had clung onto Jiaming while Yahan and Lingjing were both holding each other. The four of them exchanged a few embarrassed glances and then quickly let go… Shortly after, on the deck, the three women were chasing after Jiaming to beat him up.
“That scared me… don’t jinx things…”
“Do you really want the ship to sink?”
“Who’s the king of the world? Huh, tell me!”
“Help! I’m innocent! It was all a coincidence… Only a coincidence…”
As the four of them chased each other on the deck, fireworks flew up into the sky and exploded magnificently into thousands of beautiful flowers. According to the ship’s staff, they explained afterwards that the brief power outage was just an accident that occurred during the ship’s system checks as it was still relatively new. However, during the fireworks show, Jiaming had noticed some guards hurrying somewhere and he sighed internally. It seemed that he had guessed right and Minamoto Hajime was really aboard this ship.
Night time, Control Room #1 on the cruise ship.
In front of a control station monitor was a melon-shape faced, delicate young woman. She was continuously tapping away at a keyboard, as a flood of data regarding everyone on the ship appeared on the screen. Her fingers were skillfully clicking away, and a faint frown was showing on her face. There were several differently dressed men surrounding her.
After a long moment, the tapping on the keyboard started to slow down and eventually stopped. A thin-faced man next to her asked, “Guolin, have you found anything?”
“Didn’t find anything at all,” the young woman smiled indifferently, “However, that doesn’t mean there’s no issue. I just have a nagging feeling that the power outage wasn’t normal.”
“Yeah,” the thin man nodded, then looked at the other people around them, smiling. “Since little sis Guolin says there's a problem, then there definitely is a problem. Let's be alert over the next three days; Guoyi, Guoan, increase your inspection rate in the sensitive areas; Guolin, please inspect the system here a few more times. If we can get through this event safely, I'll treat everyone to a meal.”
“We know, we know. Let's skip on the meal though; bro Guohua, everytime you say you'll treat us, we have to help pay the bill as well,” the young woman named Guolin smirked as she scratched her cheek and the others burst out laughing.
“That's right, boss. The food on this mission is a few hundred times better than what you can treat us to. So, because of the caviar we're eating tonight, we'll do our best to not let anything happen during this trip.”
“I really gotta say, Boss, all the money you earn you send home to donate to those few kids, if you have any money left over to treat us to a meal, you might as well save it to marry a wife instead. If you go on another matchmaking date, we're gonna have to end up paying for you, haha…”
Hearing their opinions, Cui Guohua blushed, feeling self-conscious, but he also good-naturedly waved his hand, “If you want me to treat you to a meal, then I will, otherwise just don’t bother. Shoo, shoo, there’s things to do and take care of, as to matchmaking… You guys suggested it! You know how many women are crushing on me back at the base? Why would I need to go on on a matchmaking date…”
They snorted in unison, as the most handsome one, Lin Guoan, adjusted his clothing, “Boss, I know how many women send you love letters. When we were rooming together for a short while, some of those love letters ended up transferring over to me, you didn’t think that they were being sent to you, did you?” The young woman called Guolin also nodded and smiled, “I can testify for Boss, a lot of women did crush on Boss, but when they gossiped about it…”
She paused for dramatic effect as the men listening looked at in anticipation, and she smirked, “One night’s worth of passion is enough, and no thank you to marriage.”
“Mmm…” They looked at each other before bursting into wild laughter. By this time Cui Guohua was completely flushed, so he swept up and kicked the still giggling men as he chased them out of the control room. They disappeared quickly, but strains of their laughter could still be heard and the monitor reflected Guolin’s smile as she turned back to reinspect the console.
She thought to herself: <i>Brother Guohua is a very good person. He always does everything to the best of his ability; so much so that sometimes he returns from missions covered in severe wounds. People highly respect him, but are also extremely worried for him at the same time. His salary can not be considered low, but he always sends some of it home and then sends the remaining part to the orphans living in the mountain area. All the ladies at the base have come to a consensus that they would not want to marry him, because no one would willingly spend their life with a husband that could die at any time.</i>
However Guohua was not the only one that acted like that. Among them, aside from Guoan, who seemed to have a different girlfriend every month, the others did not try to involve themselves with others. They were restraining themselves in that aspect to prevent themselves from having any liabilities. ‘Heroes do not have a home’ as Guohua often said. Compared to the other hidden organizations, the difference in overall strength of Ancestral Awakening was still too big. Thus, every time they had a mission, the only thing they could do was to throw their life on the line and complete it no matter what. This was the type of mentality that Cui Guohua would adopt whenever he accepted a mission. Through two generations’ worth of hard work, Ancestral Awakening had finally become an organization that could be compared to Peroka and Wisdom of Heaven.
From the outside, it seemed that the people that joined Ancestral Awakening were fiercely passionate, even to the point of fanaticism. There were organizations where people were not afraid of death, and those relied on their belief that they would be able to complete their mission regardless of what they did. So, even if they had to grit their teeth, they would persist to the end and bite their opponent to death. This attitude was what set the people in Ancestral Awakening apart — only they would be able to do that. Ancestral Awakening was best at brainwashing and turning people into machines, or at least that was how the outside world perceived them and why they were feared.
As to whether they became machines or not, Guolin could not say. When there were no missions, they wore ordinary clothes. They did not drive expensive cars or live in mansions. They ate normal meals in the cafeteria or returned home to eat with their family. Their leisure activities included reading books, playing basketball or table tennis. On the base, if the staff was free, they would play some games on their computers and they would usually have quite a sunny disposition… if these people were that easy to satisfy, it’s possible they really were machines. But regardless, she knew she wanted to become like that… If that made her a machine, then so be it.
Turning back to the screen, Guolin sat up properly and switched her focus back to inspecting the ship’s control system again.
At the same time, a gray-clothed Jiaming was secretly operating in Engine Room #2 on the cruise ship.
He was holding a small instrument with a display screen in his hands, moving in between the large machinery like a demon, disappearing into the shadows and then appearing in the next location. Whenever he saw one of the staff members, he would take a detour. Shortly after, he was standing between two giant atmospheric pressure pumps. He raised his head and looked up towards the lampshade.
Determining that there was no one around, he nimbly scaled the pressure pumps and then took out a small screwdriver. He unscrewed two bolts with his gloved hands and pried open the lampshade to examine it. A small black box was attached next to the yellow light bulb.
Just as he was about to retrieve it, he was suddenly alerted. He quickly took out a slip of paper from his pocket as well as the screwdriver and placed it into the lamp cover. Soon after, his figure disappeared into the shadows around a corner.
The next moment, another figure soundlessly appeared. The silhouette noticed the open light shade and came to a stop.
It was Natalie Annis!
Taking a look around and seeing no one, a curious smile appeared on her face. Just as she was about to look closer at the light shade, a fierce killing intent suddenly surged. Even after all these years, she had never experienced such a fierce killing intent warning her, ‘This is none of your business. Leave!’
Next chap is June 18.
I'm taking a short break these two weeks as I can only sporadically post. Will aim for 15 ch/month as usual, but we'll see.