Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Are you all right?” The poet looked at him with concern. “I just spotted you, so I pulled you out. Come on, those people might come after us.”
He gave the group of fanatics a wary glance, and dragged Duan FeiZhou toward Paddington Station.
“What are they?” Duan FeiZhou asked faintly.
“A group called Beautiful Gaia.” Yeats said. “They preach some strange theory that Etheric crystals can cause disease, and that all dirigibles must be stopped.”
“Ether crystals can cause disease?” Duan FeiZhou’s eyes rounded.
The biggest difference between this world, and Duan FeiZhou’s original world was the existence of a wonderful substance called Etheric crystal.
It was a strange crystal buried deep underground. It was originally colorless and transparent, but when burned, it emitted a dazzling brilliance. The energy it contained was so huge that it was unimaginable. It was because of the existence of the Etheric crystal, that this world line invented the steam powered dirigible early on. A piece of Etheric crystal the size of a fist was enough to let a Percival class dirigible soar through the sky for a full day and night.
The purity of the Etheric crystal varied according to the different mining processes. The higher the purity, the more energy it could naturally have. Its price was also naturally daunting, and was said to be equivalent to gold.
Duan FeiZhou had read in the newspaper countless times that Etheric crystals were pure energy crystals that didn’t produce any harmful gasses when burned, which was what many scientists had consistently experimented with. If not for the scarcity of Etheric crystals, it wouldn’t be that only a few industrial enterprises supplied them, and people would hate to even build a furnace to use them.
However, what Duan FeiZhou heard today was very different from what he had heard previously.
Yeats frowned, “Those people call it Etheric Disease. It’s said to be a disease with a very high mortality rate. But many medical doctors believe that Etheric Disease is just a generic term for some rare diseases. Since current medicine isn’t advanced enough to find the cause of the disease, patients blame the disease on the crystallization of the Ether. It’s like when people thought diseases were spread through miasma before they discovered bacteria.”
Duan FeiZhou was noncommittal. He remembered that Al’s father had died of Etheric Disease. However, he had never heard of this disease in modern times. The biggest difference between the two worlds was the presence of Etheric crystal in this world. If it was said that Etheric Disease was caused by Etheric crystal, Duan FeiZhou kinda believed it.
The sound of a whistle rang out from behind them. A group of uniformed patrolmen arrived at the scene in a carriage, and were blowing their whistles and waving their batons to disperse the crowd.
The Beautiful Gaia crowd immediately scattered, but there were a few slow runners caught by patrolmen and pressed to the ground. Some of the spectators took the opportunity to cheer, but the result was also expelled by the police patrol.
The woman holding the placard dropped it and fled in a panic. When she saw that the police were about to come after her, she had an idea and hastily hid behind Duan FeiZhou and Yeats.
“Kind gentlemen, let me hide for a while!” she said pitifully.
Duan FeiZhou and Yeats looked at each other. Duan FeiZhou thought that Yeats would definitely refuse the woman’s request and hand her over directly, but Yeats put his luggage in front of the woman, then put Duan FeiZhou’s luggage on top of it.
The woman was small. Crouched behind the luggage with Duan FeiZhou and Yeats acting as a block next to her, so long as the patrol didn’t seriously check, they would absolutely not see her.
The patrolman only gave them a quick glance, and then went after the others.
When the patrolman was gone, the woman poked her head out from behind the suitcase and bowed gratefully to Duan FeiZhou and Yeats. “Thank you, kind gentlemen. Beautiful Gaia will not forget your kindness! If you need Beautiful Gaia in the future, we will definitely do our best to help you!”
Yeats waved his hand, a little impatient. “It’s nothing. We have a train to catch, so take care of yourself.”
After that he pulled Duan FeiZhou towards Paddington Station.
“Why are you helping that woman?” Duan FeiZhou asked in a low voice after entering the station.
“They are also pitiful people.” Yeats frowned slightly. “They have lost their families because of disease. I heard that this disease is still incurable at the moment. They joined that organization just to make themselves feel better.”
Paddington Station was crowded with people. Passengers came and went with the weary and dead look on their faces that was characteristic of beaten workers. Duan FeiZhou looked around for Al’s figure.
“Master!” a familiar call came from behind.
Al, who carried his own tiny suitcase, ran towards Duan FeiZhou like a little rabbit. When he saw Yeats beside Duan FeiZhou, his steps slowed down. He was confused and in awe.
Duan FeiZhou made the introductions. “This is Mr. William Yeats, a famous poet, and my… counterpart.”
Al understood him, and bowed toward Yeats. “I am Alfred Vilyuy, Mr. Chester’s apprentice and personal servant.”
Yeats shook Al’s hand in a friendly manner. Al was flattered that a famous poet and occult practitioner would shake hands with him despite the difference in status.
“Your mentor told me about you,” Yeats smiled and said. “You’re lucky to have such a thoughtful mentor. He even asked me to buy a lot of textbooks for novices in order to teach you ‘that knowledge’. Other scholars might not have been so patient.”
Al looked at Duan FeiZhou excitedly. “Really, Master? Thank you so much!”
Duan FeiZhou was a little embarrassed by his stare. In fact, he bought those books mainly to improve his own ability, and teaching Al was only incidental. Still he couldn’t admit that, he could only squeeze out a smile.
Al thought he was sure of his words, and he became even more ecstatic. Duan FeiZhou was on the verge of feeling guilty, since he looked as if he was sleepwalking as he kept whispering, “Master is so good to me.”
The train entered the station. Duan FeiZhou picked up his luggage and got on the train with Yeats and the others. There was no compartment in their train carriage, so Yeats and Al sat together, while Duan FeiZhou chose the seat opposite them. He was putting the luggage on the rack when a dreamy voice came from behind him.
“Oh my God, look who it is!”
Duan FeiZhou was instantly struck by lightning, and fumbled the luggage. Even as he saw that the luggage was about to smash in the top of Al’s head, a hand stretched out like the wind and held it.
“Watch out.” Z lowered his head. A few strands of white hair hung over his shoulder, and reflected the sunlight.
Xenophon followed him, and curiously surveyed the interior of the carriage, as if he were visiting some famous monument. Duan FeiZhou felt like he was suffocating.