A month later, in the Federal Square in the capital city…
For more than half a month, the capital city had been sunny and peaceful. The temperature was neither too high nor too low. It was the most comfortable time in autumn.
“Hurry. Hurry up! There’s a place here!”
A team of teenagers were yelling and shouting outside of the square. A tall, fat boy crammed into the crowd and shook his shoulders, creating room around him, before he gestured for the girl behind him to come over.
Guo Xiaohe was agile enough to jump to the high stairs. She looked at the front, standing on her toes.
Girls of her age recovered fast. The heavy wounds that she had suffered in the explosions a month ago had been fully healed, without the slightest scar left on her body. Every pore on her red skin was brimming with the youthful vigor. Revisiting the Federal Square today, Guo Xiaohe did not seem troubled by the bad memory at all, as if the accident had no effect on her whatsoever.
The rebellious young girl was amazed by the flags, the cramming heads, the balloons, and the flying pigeons in the Federal Square.
“Let me take a look. Have they arrived? Are they here?”
The fat boy tried to squeeze upward, only to be blocked entirely by Guo Xiaohe. As it happened, she was wearing a short skirt that day. The little fatty’s eyes shined as he raised his head. He changed his attitude. “Well, Xiaohe. You just stay there and watch. I can watch your share down here!”
“Alright, Si Mao!”
Guo Xiaohe raised her left hand and aimed the crystal camera on her portable crystal processor at the center of the square and began shooting. She also activated the share mode and shared the picture she took with her companions down there.
But as to where exactly the fat boy, Si Mao, was looking, only the heavens knew.
At the center of the Federal Square, and the center of everybody’s attention, a special team walked close slowly.
At first glance, the team was made of the most ferocious demons!
Some of them had arms and torsos that were covered in thin scales, some had long, black hair on their faces, some had tails with bone spurs behind their bottoms, and some even had sharp horns above their foreheads!
When they moved out of the crystal tanks, stood in neat rows, and marched toward the Rising Dragon of the Nine Stars flag at the center of the Federal Square, their hideous appearances and alien auras put the Federal Square in silence despite the pack of people.
Even Guo Xiaohe also gasped at the edge of the square and shrieked together with her companions.
However, nobody panicked or glared at them. On the contrary, people were looking at the demons with admiration, sympathy, and even some embarrassment.
The demons were not wearing the standard armor of the coalition army of demons, either, but the brand-new, black formal dress of the federal army. Every demon was wearing three to four medals in front of their chest. At the center of their hats, a Rising Dragon of the Nine Stars bag was nailed squarely!
They were not demons but the soldiers of the Flying Tigers Legion, who chased the enemy to the Dark Desolate Domain in the Battle of Dawn two years ago, only to be captured by the Nether World Watch and sent to the Nether World at the North Pole of the Blood Demon Sector for the experiments of the Demon God Virus!
Today was the day of their homecoming!
Led by Han Tuhu, the warriors, whose appearances had mutated but whose hearts did not, walked to the national flag firmly in goose-step on the land of their motherland with their feet that had grown sharp talons.
Below the Rising Dragon of the Nine Stars flag, their families were waiting for them. Their parents, their wives, and their children!
In that moment, the soldiers who had travelled in the foreign land for two years, tortured and deformed, could see nothing else. Not the crowd that was greeting them on the two sides of the road, not the leadership of the federal army in the auditorium who were showing complicated feelings, and not even the Rising Dragon of the Nine Stars flag that was flapping in the wind.
The only things that they could see were the faces of their family that were both familiar and strange, and their eyes that were speaking to him.
All the soldiers were hesitating. Their formation was no longer as organized as before. They seemed both eager to stride forward and short of courage to do so.
After Li Yao caught up to the troops in the drill and disrupted the war that was about to break out, the remaining soldiers of the Flying Tigers Legion had naturally been the happiest ones when the news was out.
Living in the foreign land for two months, they could not wait to go home.
However, they were faced with a tricky problem. They were all experiment subjects for the Demon God Virus, and every one of them had been subject to dozens of experiments. Their cells had mutated so deeply that they showed resistance to the ‘reduction drugs’.
The regular Divine Blood of Chaos, synthesized based on the blood of Jin Xinyue and the Children of the Nether World, was not enough to remove the features of the demon race at all.
It would at least take a year and a half before the drugs targeting their peculiar symptoms were developed, and even such drugs might not work out.
They were caught in a dilemma.
Should they continue staying in the Blood Demon Sector for a year and a half, or even longer, and reunite with their family after their original appearances were restored, or should they go back immediately… with such hideous appearances?
The moment they heard that they were able to go home, all the soldiers had been so excited that they had chosen the second path without any hesitation.
However, after they did come home and returned to the sunlight of the Heaven’s Origin Sector and their compatriots, fear and panic had popped up in their devastated hearts again. Some of them had even halted and hesitated, looking at the front with reluctance.
The soldiers and their family, one side with the appearance of demons and the other side as normal human beings, seemed to be blocked by an invisible wall. They were close to each other, but they were far away.
The Federal Square was absolutely quiet. The hundred light beams floating in midair sent the pictures from all angles to the audience, casting all the citizens of the federation into silence and thought.
Guo Xiaohe was so nervous that she held her breath and clenched her fists.
She was too young to understand how many feelings were concealed in the wet eyes on the light beams, but she could not help but start hoping for the best.
The soldiers and their family were silent for a long time like group sculptures.
A green-faced, long-tusked soldier seemed to read something from the face of his family after he saw them in the crowd. He covered his tusks in self-abasement and stepped back. He lowered his head, meaning to run away.
But before he turned around, an aunt whose hair was half white had already run out and held both him and his tusks and claws in her arms.
A mother’s devastating cry was echoing in the sky of the Federal Square that was dead silent. “My son!”
The invisible ice was shattered into pieces by the cry. The two silent group sculptures turned into two surging tides that crashed into each other!
“Mom. I’m back. I’m back!”
“Honey, let me look at you. Let me look at you!”
The Federal Square was simmering. According to the procedures of the ceremony discussed earlier, the soldiers would raise the national flag, sing the national anthem, report to the commander-in-chief of the federal army, and be given the new flag of the Flying Tigers Legion. But none of the ceremony could be conducted anymore. The soldiers were hugging their family, the soldiers and the Cultivators were hugging each other, and all the citizens of the federation who knew each other or did not were hugging each other.
Fireworks were lit up. Two colorful words were shot into the blue sky and the white clouds.
It was an unprecedented event even for the Federal Square, which had witnessed countless ‘victory ceremonies’ and ‘triumph parades’ in the five hundred years of history of the Star Glory Federation.
However, over the past month, unprecedented changes had been happening everywhere, in every level, throughout the federation.
Jiang Hailiu, the Speaker of the Parliament, rested for only a day and a half before he dedicated himself back to work again, correcting the previous mistakes and controlling the situation at the highest efficiency.
The special squad led by Guo Chunfeng, acting director of the Secret Sword Bureau, worked day and night. After only a fortnight, the complicated social network of the Patriots Partnership was uprooted, and most of its bases were demolished!
After Lu Zui and Zhou Hengdao, the two leaders of the organization, were captured and killed, the Patriots Partnership had essentially lost the ability to counterattack. It was merely catching its last breath.
In the meantime, within the Patriots Partnership, not everybody had been aware of Lu Zui’s plan, either.
In fact, few people knew that Lu Zui had been prepared to butcher tens of thousands of compatriots and blame it on the demons. Even Iron Commander Zhou Hengdao had been unaware of it beforehand!
Some of the ‘patriots’ only knew that they were going to assassinate the Speaker in order to ‘save the federation by removing the national traitor’. Some other ‘patriots’ did not even know that they were planning to assassinate the Speaker. They only maintained that human beings and demons could not live under the same sky, and a war had to be fought no matter what. With that in mind, they had helped the organization.
When the truth was out, the members of the Patriots Partnership who had been fooled completely collapsed.
Some of them turned themselves in, and some of them even killed themselves after leaving a note. Even the most obstinate diehards were unveiled one after another after being reported by their companions.
That day, one month later, the Patriots Partnership had been crushed and could stir no more trouble.
The preliminarily communication channel between the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector had been established, too.
In fact, the soldiers of the federal army led by Han Tuhu returned to the Heaven’s Origin Sector partly for the home visit and partly to demonstrate the wish of peace of most of the chaotic-blood demons on behalf of the Skyfire, the newly-risen force in the Blood Demon Sector.
The soldiers who had features of the demon race would be the best bridge for communication between the two parties.
After Han Tuhu broke the ice, in the near future, Jin Xinyue, the new ‘Dark Lady of the Nine Heavens’ of the Pantheon of Demons, would arrive in the federation to officially discuss the terms of peace with a large-scale delegation.
After the agreement was signed, it would mean that the Blood Demon Sector had completely surrendered!