Half-dreaming and half-awake, he smelled the wind in the midsummer morning.
The wind was full of moist grassy scent.
Jiang Jianming’s consciousness was hazy, he thought: Where am I?
The sun rays disturbed the pale green. It leaked from the branches and leaves outside, and the birds chirping softly was heard in the distance. The young cadet slept lightly on a reading table by the window of the Aslan National Library, with his right hand resting on the open page, and a soothing white light surrounded him.
A slender hand reached out and stroked his black hair.
Jiang Jianming’s eyes moved, and it took a long time before he flickered open his eyes. There was a slender figure standing in front of him against the light, with a head of white golden curly hair as soft as silk, bathed in brilliance.
The figure lowered its head slightly, his curly hair was scattered, and a pair of beautiful and clear eyes were faintly revealed in the backlight, like an emerald ice lake in winter in a fairytale.
The hand slid down, and the four fingers caressed Jiang Jianming’s cheek gently and fondly.
Jiang Jianming was still lying on the table, with his head tilted sideways, a strand of hair hung in front of his right eye.
He called out the name and was silent for a moment.
Moving his gaze, he saw the book under his right hand. It was the newly published collection of poems, and on one page it was written:
Warblades rest on a charred banner, mournful wind blows from north to south
The golden-haired, green-eyed prince leaned over and tucked his hair behind his ears for him. Between the opening and closing of his lips, he seemed to say something gently, but no sound came out. The shadow cast by the prince shifted with his movements, and the light and shadow were intertwined on the snow-white paper of the poetry book, as if day and night were rotating on the printed black letters.
The funeral bell rang in the early morning. Elegy was sung in the dark night. At dusk, beside the highest cliff, was a withered golden rose of iron garrison.
(Elegy is a poem written to the dead. It consists of two parts: music and lyrics. It was sung by the ancients during funerals.)
Inside the huge Aslan National Library, the second hand of the ancient earth standard wall clock chimed softly. There were only countless rows of lacquered wood bookshelves placed with old paper books, and no one else.
“Ryann.” Jiang Jianming called out again and sighed.
Then he raised his head and said calmly, “Your Highness, as I said, the dead will not come to my dreams again.”
The peaceful and bright dream suddenly broke, and the crack simply split the young and handsome crown prince in half. The bookshelves not far away, the glass windows and branches nearby, the reading table in front of him and the open book of poetry, all turned into fragments and dissipated in the dream.
Only the printed words were like a black butterfly chasing light, fluttering off the white paper, and the last two lines of the mourning poem gradually disappeared in mid-air.
Don’t cry. When the eternal sun falls, I see the heroic soul turn into a white bird and fly to the nest of the sea of stars.
“If you really want to appear in one’s dream and make a request,”
Jiang Jianming pushed away the dissipated collection of poems, slowly straightened his upper body and clasped his hands together, his eyes looked very sincere, “then you should go to Marshal Chen Hanke’s dream, and immediately tell the upper class and the royal family where the bones of His Royal Highnesses are—”
In front of him, Prince Ryann’s figure was shattering little by little. Jiang Jianming looked at it without sadness or joy, and said to himself, “But Ryann, I actually doubt that you have any bones left? Three years have already passed, have you really been eaten clean by vultures and jackals?”
Bang… Maybe because his harsh words were unbearable, the figure in front of him completely collapsed. Jiang Jianming closed his eyes. The next moment, the solid ground under his feet caved in, and his consciousness suddenly whistled down. In an instant, the darkness was over and he slowly opened his eyes.
What came first into his sight was the dark blue building of the Kaios Imperial Military Academy. The glass windows reflected beautiful colors under the rays of the sun.
Jiang Jianming had a splitting headache. He raised his hand to hold one side of his temple and slowly supported himself with the other to sit up straight on the bench. He held his forehead in a daze and said to himself, “Are there vultures and jackals in the distant star battlefield?… No, there shouldn’t be.”
After getting rid of the dream, the five senses returned. The sun in the early autumn afternoon was still a little hot, but it was cool when the wind blew. Not far away, the clamor and laughter of young students was heard and the sound of fast footsteps came through the shade of the trees nearby.
Graduation season in the military academy was always exciting, at least for most people.
Jiang Jianming stood up, patted the thin blue officer’s uniform that was wrinkled out of its folds, and his eyes fell on the report card in his hand.
About an hour ago, he received the paper report card of his last course, and found a place to catch up on sleep…and then had a not-so-pleasant dream.
Jiang Jianming glanced at the first page, tore off his name, crumpled up the paper into a ball, and threw it into the white trash bin.
….this thing was of no use to him.
He emerged out of the shade, ready to go back to the dormitory, when only after taking two steps, he was severely hit by a figure rushing over from the side.
A strange wave immediately followed. All the internal organs in his body were stirred with a dull pain in an instant, and Jiang Jianming staggered backward in two steps.
“Ah!” The one who bumped into him let out a cry of surprise. “Disabled…disabled human being!?”
Jiang Jianming supported himself with the help of the tree and stood firm, his eyes turned to the people in front.
In front of him were two military cadets, the one who bumped into him was a brown-haired man, followed by a blond companion, and the two young people appeared flustered about getting into trouble.
Under the sunlight, the right hand of the two men were covered with a layer of crystal-like substance, glittering like the giant claws of a beast, and this was also the source of the fluctuations that he felt that made him uncomfortable..
This was the extracorporeal crystalline skeleton of a nanocrystalline human, commonly known as “crystal bone”. Since the advent of black wave radiation brought an end to the old blue star era, whether one had or not, had become the only criterion for dividing “new human beings” and “remnant” or “diabled human beings”.
The crystal bone was quickly retracted back into the body, and the two young men ran over in three steps and reached out to help him in a panic. “Classmate, are you alright!? We both thought there was no one–we really didn’t do it on purpose!”
Jiang Jianming refused their help. He stood up straight and shook his head. “It’s okay.”
“Hey, slow down,” the brown-haired boy was even more at a loss, “Ah? But I just released my crystal bone. Classmate, aren’t you feeling any pain, dizziness, chest tightness or something… or should I just take you to the infirmary?”
Jiang Jianming paused for a moment, raised his eyebrows and looked back.
He was very thin, and his skin was extremely pale, almost a pale white color that resembled a lack of blood. As a result, the shadows cast by the eyelashes and the bridge of the nose were even deeper, and this appearance naturally gave people a delicate and fragile feeling.
However, this feeling was only before he raised his eyes.
Perhaps it was because those dark eyes were too placid and tolerant, and his demeanor was too casual, which made the weak appearance on the outside be virtually erased. Instead, it brewed another kind of temperament that frightens people.
Jiang Jianming said in a warm voice, “Don’t be afraid, I’m really fine. I’ll just go back and drink a tranquilizer.”
The two young men stood there in a daze. Until Jiang Jianming turned around and left on his own. Only when the two saw his thin back, did they come back to their senses.
The brown-haired youth was still unsettled and said to himself, “Damn it, I’m scared to death, how can a disabled person be allowed here? Where can there be a class for a disabled human being on our campus? Are there even classes that a disabled human can take?”
His blond companion scratched his hair. “Maybe it was the little beauty from the Sixth College who came to find his partner.”
The brown-haired youth let out a long breath, patted his chest and said, “Beautiful and kind hearted, good thing that he’s generous and doesn’t mind, otherwise…. releasing crystal bone in front of a disbled human, according to imperial law, is a criminal offense. We both would’ve been put in jail.”
As he said that, he lifted his legs and walked forward, and unsurprisingly, he soon saw a bench in the shade under a tree, and a white recycling bin beside the bench. The barrel was quite clean, and on the top was finely printed, but crumpled paper.
The brown-haired young man was delighted, he couldn’t help but grab the transcript, and waved it while grinning at his companion. “Ah, there are people who throw away their transcripts on the day of graduation. Must’ve been tough.”
Human curiosity was always irrepressible.
The two young men smoothen out the crumpled paper of this unknown classmate with great interest, and wrinkled their noses at the row of low scores as they read the first page, “Fufu… It’s true.”
Crystal particle manipulation (57 points), Basic combat exercise (62 points), Advanced combat exercise (50 points), New crystal mecha driving (76 points), basic shooting (79 points)
What a horrible sight.
The brown-haired youth was speechless and flipped a page at random. There were more courses on the transcript. The blond partner next to him couldn’t help but let out a “huh”, because the grades on this page seemed to be a lot better.
New crystal weapons (87 points), Human evolution (89 points), Alien biology (91 points), Old era philosophy (90 points)…..
The two boys looked at each other in amazement.
The brown-haired young man turned his gaze back to his hands and said, “This person is taking really complicated courses, which school is it from… Fuck! Battlefield Psychology 94? Isn’t the highest score of this course just over 90 in our academy?”
The blond young man took a deep breath, pointed to a column and shouted. “Spiritual awareness projection 92 points! …… This is the most difficult main course in the Third College. But it is said that there are not many people who have even reached 80 this year.”
The brown-haired man swallowed his saliva, and suddenly felt that this seemingly ordinary transcript did not seem to be very ordinary after all.
With trembling fingers, he turned to the next page and his eyes widened suddenly. “Wait… Tactical simulation confront 97!? Imperial strategic history analysis 100 points!?”
That was the last page of the transcript, with the dean’s comment attached beside it. Comments, in fact, no matter which department, or even which school, was in the same format: how life is, where it is good and where it is bad, and a polite but routine blessing.
However, on this transcript, the comments were simple but shocking at the same time in just two lines:
Heaven envies a genius, and jade begets rubbish. I sincerely recommend the military to make an exception to the core civilian positions.
The two young people were stunned for a long time, suddenly agitated, and remembered to look at the name of the transcript.
However, when they turned back to the first page, they only found that the basic information column had been torn off, and only the following mediocre subject scores were still lying quietly on the paper.