Translated by zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The camouflaged helicopter flew close to the ground, as it passed over the lush mountains.
Chen Boqiao changed out of his prison uniform in the narrow space behind the cabin.
The sweater and slacks that Zhang Jue prepared for him were neatly folded and placed on an iron rack welded to the ground. The clothes were simple in design, clean, and fitting. They were slightly worn, and the whole outfit seemed to be carefully picked from a thrift store.
To avoid flying into the canopy of the forest, the helicopter flew at an angle for a short while, tilting the surface of the cabin floor due to which the prison uniform piled on it slid down to the lower part.
However, Chen Boqiao stayed rooted. He zipped up his slacks, buttoned it, and looked at himself in the small round mirror on the wall. Then he walked back to Zhang Jue and sat down beside him, putting on soundproof headphones.
Zhang Jue was looking at an electronic map on a tablet, and the red dot representing their coordinates was slowly moving southward.
An hour later, they approached the border between the Asian League and the Thai Independence State.
The border posts in the forest were a frequent sight, and each of them had enough ammo stocked to knock their planes out of the sky. There seemed to be little hope of survival if they flew directly over.
Chen Boqiao looked around, and noticed that there was no safe place nearby for the helicopter to land, so he approached Zhang Jue, tapped his shoulder, and gestured, “How do I get there?”
Zhang Jue turned his head to look at Chen Boqiao, and asked confusedly, “What?”
Chen Boqiao sighed and moved closer, pulling Zhang Jue’s headphones down. He pressed against his ear and asked, “Zhang Jue, how are we gonna get there?”
Zhang Jue probably heard him this time and his already fair complexion further paled. He leaned back subtly and replied to Chen Boqiao, “Just follow me.” Chen Boqiao shrugged nonchalantly.
After a little more flying, Zhang Jue reached out and tapped the mercenary sitting in front of them. After making a gesture, the person got up from their position and handed them the packed parachute.
Chen Boqiao turned it around for inspection after receiving it, and inquired, “How do you open this parachute?”
“You don’t know how?”, Zhang Jue was surprised.
“Never jumped a wing parachute,” Chen Boqiao explained. The two were very close, and Chen Boqiao saw strands of Zhang Jue’s black hair fall into his eyes from where they had been tucked and flutter gently as Zhang Jue moved his hands.
Zhang Jue thought for a while, and then strapped his parachute onto his back. He let Chen Boqiao stand in front and used the spare lock ring to secure Chen Boqiao’s waist, tightening it inward.
Zhang Jue buckled Chen Boqiao’s waist up so fast that it was as if someone was rushing him.
“This is the only way, bear with it.” Zhang Jue explained to Chen Boqiao as he finished preparations.
He glanced outside the window, and Chen Boqiao followed suit. Chen Boqiao could see a small canyon representing a light-colored gap cut out between the dark green mountains.
Chen Boqiao stood in front of Zhang Jue. They first kept a short distance, and after deliberating for a while, Zhang Jue held his arm.
Zhang Jue pulled at Chen Boqiao, arms encircling him from behind. Zhang Jue’s shirt was very thin, and his waist was small. Chen Boqiao could feel Zhang Jue’s body heat through the fabric, making this innocent posture seem a little too intimate.
Chen Boqiao tried his best to keep a polite distance, but the two bodies were seamlessly fitted together, and he could not help inhaling the very personal pheromone of Zhang Jue. It was a light musk fragrance mixed with the smell of bitter almonds. It was not a very intrusive smell, neither did it make Chen Boqiao feel uncomfortable, but Zhang Jue may indeed seem unattractive to Omegas.
Alphas grew taller after differentiation in the puberty stage, their toned muscles became more visible to the naked eye, and their scent scattered, attracting the other sex.
To protect the adolescent students from being affected by too many pheromones, the alma mater of Chen Boqiao and Zhang Jue would re-allocate dormitories and campuses after the students differentiated into their sex. To protect their children, most parents of Omega students chose to transfer them to Omega schools after their children were presented with Omega traits. If Chen Boqiao’s faded memories served him right, Zhang Jue should belong to the kind that didn’t change much before or after the differentiation.
In fact, Chen Boqiao couldn’t remember whether Zhang Jue had confessed to him before or after Zhang Jue’s differentiation. Chen Boqiao had rejected too many people, and remembering the details of each one too clearly could easily make things awkward. Therefore, for the sake of politeness, he never bothered to remember. Judging by common sense, if Zhang Jue did confess, it should have been before he was presented as an Alpha.
While Chen Boqiao was spacing out, the helicopter cabin door opened, and the wind from outside came rumbling in, cutting their exposed hands and faces.
“I’m going to jump,” Zhang Jue said, pressing the back of Chen Boqiao’s hand with his cold fingertips and then immediately let go.
Chen Boqiao glanced back reflexively, only to see Zhang Jue’s pink earlobes. Since Zhang Jue was very fair, the flushing was particularly obvious.
But before Chen Boqiao could think more about it, Zhang Jue jumped off with him in tow.
The free-falling period of low-altitude skydiving was very short. Zhang Jue quickly adjusted his posture, opened the parachute, and floated down into the canyon.
The bottom of the gorge was filled almost entirely by strong currents of water, and one could find a narrow strip of flat land only if they looked closely.
The sound of the water and the wind surrounded them. Chen Boqiao clung onto Zhang Jue’s shoulders. Seeing the ground get closer and closer to them, Zhang Jue’s shoulder muscles became very stiff. It could have been because he was concentrating, but it could also be that he was nervous.
Not long after that, the two dropped to the ground and took off their equipment.
There was a small cave at the end of the flat ground. At the entrance of the cave stood a brown-skinned young man, wearing a thick padded jacket. As they approached him, he scrunched his neck and rubbed his palms, looking like he had been waiting for a long time.
When he saw Zhang Jue and Chen Boqiao, he said, “Sir, you are very punctual,” but his eyes were fixed on Chen Boqiao.
Zhang Jue nodded, and asked the young man flatly, “Can we go through?”
“Yes, I just checked the surveillance,” the young man responded, turning to Chen Boqiao suddenly, and informed him, “Colonel, don’t worry, business has been pretty slow recently, and everyone has gone to the city for the winter. I’m the only one here today. We’ll be absolutely safe going through. No other person will know where you have been.”
After that, he turned on a flashlight and led them into the cave.
After walking a short distance along the dim and wet cave, they reached the entrance of the secret passage leading to the Thai Independence State.
The entrance switch was located next to the stalactite above his head. The young man turned the dial a few times, and a door by his foot slowly opened.
The young man held the flashlight in his mouth and climbed down the ladder first.
Chen Boqiao did not immediately follow him. He looked at the rough but practical door, and turned to ask Zhang Jue, “Illegal smuggling group?”
“Yes,” Zhang Jue glanced at him, explaining to the youth, “He’s one of your supporters.”
Chen Boqiao smiled and did not comment. He walked to the door, stepped on the ladder, and slowly descended.
The secret path used in crossing the border illegally had existed for some years. There were rechargeable energy-saving lamps hung on the mud walls. Most of the lamps were giving off a faint light, but some were out of power and hadn’t had the opportunity to be replaced.
Twenty-five years ago, the satellite navigation plan of the Asian League, which was fully supported by the current President Zhao Kun, began its construction. It cost hundreds of millions of dollars and launched a total of 29 satellites. They have been in operation for more than ten years. The satellites claimed to cover the whole globe without missing anything, and yet, this secret passage which had been in use for many years had not been found.
Chen Boqiao stepped onto the uneven path, silently following the young man.
Two hours later, they could see the stars above the Thai Independence State.
“Hello, the owner cannot answer your call right now. Please leave your message after this voice message is over.”
“I met my uncle and talked to him. Zhang Jue, you are so heartless! You are using me again.”
“Ah, whatever, as long as the part about the τ-differentiation agent is true, I’ll reluctantly forgive you.”
“My father just arrived home. He told me that the negotiations between the Asian League and the neighboring independent countries with established diplomatic relations have ended, and a large-scale joint search for you guys has begun.”
“I hope you and that person have already arrived in the Thai Independence State. It’s safer there. I’ll still go to Bangkok tomorrow.”