Warning, cliff ahead. Don’t jump! >w<
Chapter 72 Lost contact
When Leo received the news from Louis, his expression turned solemn and he informed the whole ship to be vigilant at all times. The scene on the screen changed from darkness to bright light, and the 3 starships went out from the exit one after another. The speed of the starships slowed down, looking for a landing point while flying.
Leo split the screen into 3 parts. The top and bottom screen on the left displayed the view of starships no.1 and no.3, and aerial images are shown on the right screen.
Xiào Mu looked at the images in surprise, “Just rocks?”
Leo nodded and stared intently at the screen, “Greene mentioned before that when the kidnapper brought them to meet Jonassen, there were rocks everywhere, so it should be right here.”
“But, this kind of place is not like a place where people live…” Before Xiào Mu could finish his words, the starship suddenly swerved to the left. Xiào Mu’s body shook, and he stopped talking abruptly.
Leo’s complexion sank, and at the same time an alarm came from the cockpits of the 3 starships, “There is an attack, pay attention to the surrounding.”
“I’m fine.” Xiào Mu held on to the armrest of the seat. The safety device on his seat is still active. It’s just that the starship suddenly shook and shocked him. It did not cause him any harm.
Hearing that, Leo relaxed. Then he furrowed his eyebrows and looked at the rocks on the screen flying towards the starship, and ordered in a deep voice, “Turn on the thermal scanner to detect any life forms.”
Soon after receiving the results of the scan, the person who reported it tremblingly said, “The scanner did not find any living organisms, and the source of the attack could not be found.”
Leo: “Continue scanning.”
In order to avoid attacks from the rocks, the starship kept moving left and right, up and down. Leo’s expression remained unchanged. He stood steadily in the control room and gave the command to the pilot, “Avoid the middle space and drive to the edge.”
At the same time, Louis also sent a message with instructions of similar meaning. The rocks came from all directions, without any patterns at all. Hence, staying in the middle will make them an easy target. The starship dodges the attack while continuing to fly to the edge. The dodging movements caused Xiào Mu to be dizzy and he grasped the handrail tightly without making any noise.
About 2 hours later, when the attack suddenly disappeared, Xiào Mu breathed a sigh of relief. But he heard Leo’s tense voice, “Starship No.1, if you heard me, please reply! Starship No.1, if you heard me, please reply!”
Xiào Mu looked up and saw that all 3 screens are filled with images of various rocks, while Starships No.1 and No.3 have disappeared.
Leo tried to contact Louis’s personal number, but there is no response at all. Starship No.3 also did not respond.
“Major General Leo, we lost track No.1 and No.3 but there is a suitable landing point ahead. Do you want to land?” the pilot asked.
Leo said, “Yes.”
A few minutes later, No.1 and No.3 still couldn’t be contacted. They must not be far away at this moment, and there is a suitable landing point ahead. No.1 and No.3 will also land, so maybe they will meet. Even if they don’t meet each other, they still have to go down to investigate the situation here. Soon, the starship landed on a clearing between two rocky mountains.
At the moment of landing, Xiào Mu heard a familiar mechanical sound in his head.
[Congratulations, host. You have explored 5 maps, activating the map function]
A hint of dizziness flashed in his head and Xiào Mu looked at the system again. There is an extra panel next to the homeland panel – the map panel. At the moment, the map icon is glowing with an earthy yellow light. He looked over at the icon and a map is displayed in front of him, similar to the map in the game. The name of the map is written in the upper right corner: Rock planet.
The whole map is circular and is divided into 2 large areas1. A black circle covers most of the middle part – the living area. Outside the living area is a waste/garbage area. On the map, there are many dots of different colors, red, blue, and yellow. This way of the color display is very familiar to Xiào Mu. In the game, this kind of dots on a map represents players who have different relationships with the game characters. The red dot is an enemy, the yellow dot is a neutral party, and the blue dot is a friendly party.
Xiào Mu’s location is marked with golden light on the map. There is a blue dot almost at the same location as him, while another blue dot is not far from the north. Xiào Mu guessed that these 2 blue dots should represent Leo and Louis. What caused his scalp to feel numb is that the large living area in the middle is full of dense red dots. There are many yellow dots gathered in 3 different places. These are probably the imperial military personnel who came together with them on this trip. Rather than calling them neutral parties, they can be called friendly parties who have not been added to his friend list. Xiào Mu studied the map carefully and saw that the locations of the 3 starships are all in the waste/garbage area. They seemed not too far apart from what he can see from the map.
With the center of the map as the middle point, Xiào Mu mentally drawn a line connecting the starship No.2 to the center. Near the intersection point of the map, there is a small black dot that says ‘Jump point #2’. Then on a west location nearer to No.2 starship, there is another dot — Jump point #1.
Xiào Mu stared at 2 points, completely unable to recognize which point they came in from. As he is thinking about it, the voice of someone reporting news suddenly sounded, making him regain his senses.
“Reporting, there is no thermal response within a 1-kilometer radius around.”
Hearing the report, Leo pondered for a moment and said, “Team 1 and 2 prepare for on-site inspection, and the rest of the teams stay behind.” After he gave the order, Leo looked at Xiào Mu, “Stay on the starship. I will go down and have a look. Starship No.1 and No.3 are supposed to be nearby so it is abnormal to lose contact with each other. There may be interference equipment here.”
Xiào Mu thought about the jump points he saw on the map and said, “Our formation has always remained the same. They should be at our north and south each.”
Leo nodded, bowed his head, and kissed Xiào Mu’s lips, “Be careful.”
“The same to you.”
Leo led the 2 teams away from the starship. The viewing angle of the screen followed Leo. Everything is normal for the first 10 minutes. When Leo and the others walked to a mound of rocks, the screen suddenly turned completely white. Xiào Mu stood up abruptly and tried to contact Leo, but there is no response. As Xiào Mu moved to walk out, Ah Da hurriedly stopped him, “Master Xiào Mu, you can’t go out.”
Xiào Mu looked at Ah Da seriously, “We have lost contact. I have to go out and see. We don’t know what is the situation in this place.”
Ah Da refused and said, “Wood will arrange for manpower. Major General Leo has given orders to ensure your safety and not to let you get involved in any risk.”
Xiào Mu felt anxious. He glanced at the system’s map and found that the blue dot belonging to Leo didn’t move. He became a little relieved and replied, “I have to go, I can find him.” His eyes looked firm, “I am his bonded guide, if something happens to him, I…”
As Xiào Mu is saying this, he suddenly paused. Just now, he felt a stabbing pain. The pain made his heart jump and Xiào Mu’s face instantly turned pale. The pair of sentinel and guide who have joined in an union can feel the emotions of the other party. When one is affected by intense emotion, the other side will feel the same.
Ah Da’s complexion changed abruptly. Xiào Mu is in a good condition here so there is only 1 possibility for Xiào Mu to suddenly turn pale. That is, something went wrong with Major General Leo. His voice sounded slightly stiff, “Something happened to Major General Leo?”
Xiào Mu also thought of the same thing but Leo’s dot remained on the same spot on the map. He held back his uncomfortable emotions and said, “He is still at the same place where he just disappeared. I’m going to find him.”
Ah Da hesitated and Xiào Mu glared at him, “Do you think I can be safe if something happens to him?”
Ah Da made a decision and contacted Wood. Leaving 2 teams behind, the remaining 6 teams followed Xiào Mu and moved towards Leo’s direction together. Xiào Mu observed the surrounding environment while walking, but there is nothing special here. It is all silver-gray rocks, with some changes in color and size. Some of these rocks are scattered around in piles, and there is no pattern at all. No matter how you look at it, this rock planet doesn’t look like someone is living here. Thinking of this, Xiào Mu suddenly thought of 2 transition points on the map. One of them must be connected to the empire, but what about the other?
“I saw them!”
Just as Xiào Mu is thinking about it, an excited voice sounded.
Xiào Mu raised his eyes and saw Leo, Team 1, and Team 2. They are all next to the stone mound not far away. At the moment, they are doing different actions, some standing or sitting. Some people are standing quietly while some are waving their hands and feet with rage. Because many people have their backs to them, Xiào Mu and his teams can’t see their expressions. The few people who are facing them because they were walking around earlier showed an expression filled with pain.
“Is something wrong with them?” someone asked.
Everyone realized that something is wrong. This kind of scene looked weird and no one talked anymore. The teams all looked at Xiào Mu subconsciously for instructions.
Xiào Mu’s gaze fell on Leo, who is leading at the forefront. Leo is blocked by most of the people, and only half of his body could be seen. He is standing motionless with his head down, like a stone sculpture. Though it’s just a back view of Leo, Xiào Mu felt extremely distressed. Through their shared link, Leo’s grief at this moment is transferred to him, and Xiào Mu couldn’t bear Leo’s continued pain. He calmed his mind and established a layer of spiritual barrier. Next, he said to the rest of the people, “Judging from their expression, they are likely to have entered an area that caused them to see some kind of illusion. I am going over for a look. If I found that something was wrong, I would get out immediately.”
“I will go in with you.” Ah Da said immediately.
Xiào Mu thought for a while and said, “Alright, we go in as fast as we can. Meanwhile, we will try our best to drag the people out, starting from the closest person first.”
Ah Da nodded and followed Xiào Mu towards the crowd.
When he crossed the pile of rocks, Xiào Mu suddenly felt dizzy. At the same time, the scene in front of him changed. He is currently lying on the hospital bed where he first woke up in this world, with a white ceiling on top of him. The door of the ward is suddenly pushed open. Other than Doctor Xi Mu, 2 other people came in. One of them is Director Nila from the Golden Tower.
“My poor little guide, you have suffered a lot. Don’t worry, no one will hurt you in the Golden Tower in the future.”
Xiào Mu subconsciously wanted to refuse, but it had no effect. He is taken to the Golden Tower. Because he had no relatives, he is forbidden to leave the Golden Tower. All activities are done in the Golden Tower. Xiào Mu tried to leave, but never succeed once. At the Golden Tower, he learn how to give treatment to sentinels every day and how to make the sentinel like him more. He only gets to watch pink-colored drama like how guide and sentinel get together, enjoying a happy and fulfilled life. The guides around him are like little wives, looking forward to meeting their destined sentinel at the prom.
One year later, Xiào Mu is introduced to a stranger sentinel by Nila at the prom. Because of their high matching rate, regardless of his refusal, Xiào Mu is registered with that person the next day and got sent to an unfamiliar apartment by the Golden Tower. When the sentinel’s body pressed on him and touched his face with his hand, a feeling of nausea emerged and Xiào Mu began to resist fiercely. Not like this, it shouldn’t be like this!
Xiào Mu opened his eyes abruptly and is hugged tightly in the next moment. This hug is particularly firm, and the muscles around his arm are tight and stretched tautly. Suddenly, there is a burst of static sound like an electric current in his head, gradually forming a sentence that he could understand.
Raw word count: 3115