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Translated by zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

Editor: dragonmoons

 

The border defenses of the Thai Independence State were not as dense as those of the Asian League. The night sky was a much deeper color than that of the League. The stars shone brightly, and the moon glowed softly, hanging in the west side of the dark veil over them.

The scent of grass, wood, and moist soil slowly rose around Chen Boqiao, scattering in the thin fog that gathered at night.

After bidding farewell to the young man, Zhang Jue brought Chen Boqiao out of the grove where the passage was located and took several turns to go down the mountain. They walked into a small and dilapidated public parking lot, and finally stopped next to an old pickup truck. Zhang Jue found the key taped underneath the truck rim and opened the door. He started the car and drove down the mountain.

The winding mountain road had been around for a few years, and supply trucks heading to border defense stations often passed by, and left dents of various sizes in the road, which were hard to avoid if the driver wasn’t careful. Zhang Jue concentrated on driving, the sleeves of his beige cotton shirt rolled to his elbows, revealing his pale and slender forearms.

The smell of worn leather mixed with pungent diesel surrounded them. This gave Chen Boqiao a strange kind of peaceful feeling.

Suddenly, the military-grade walkie-talkie that Zhang Jue had placed in the cup holder began to vibrate. Zhang Jue picked it up and listened to the other party without saying a word, and only occasionally responded with a few sounds of affirmation. It was not until he hung up that he spoke the longest sentence in the entire conversation, “Okay, follow the original plan.”

Chucking the communicator back into the cup holder, Zhang Jue stared ahead again. The windows of the car were not closed tightly, and the surroundings were so quiet that the sound of tires crunching over gravel could be heard.

As they approached the bottom of the mountain, Chen Boqiao got so bored that he was about to reach out to the radio dial on the car when he heard Zhang Jue ask, “Are you hungry?”

Chen Boqiao was stunned for a moment. Before he could answer, Zhang Jue said, “We’ll arrive in town in another 20 minutes. What do you want to eat?”

“What’s good there?” 

As if he had memorized it several times, Zhang Jue perfectly recited a lot of cuisines for Chen Boqiao to pick, and cautioned, “It’s not safe for you to show your face right now. If you want to eat anything fancier, I can go out to buy it for you when we get to the safe house.”

Chen Boqiao thought about it for a while and chose a simple sandwich. He then thanked Zhang Jue.

Zhang Jue did not look at Chen Boqiao, and quickly responded, “No problem.”

Chen Boqiao smiled softly, and reached out his hand again to twist the radio dial until they could hear the white noise. Chen Boqiao lowered the volume, and slowly turned the knob to switch channels.

He switched from the melodious Thai music station, to the local news, to the panel interviews, and eventually stopped on the international news station.

The female anchor’s English was good, but the radio signal was poor. Chen Boqiao heard, “breaking news from the Asian League…fugitive Chen Boqiao…a premeditated crime that caused…serious… …directly responsible for…officials resigned due to pressure from…the stock market…the voters…”.

Although he could not hear the whole broadcast, Chen Boqiao caught the keywords and listened with interest.

However, before he could finish satisfying his curiosity, Zhang Jue’s left hand suddenly moved from the steering wheel, grabbed the tuning knob and turned it roughly forward back to the music station.

The song that was playing before was approaching its end, and the voice of the well-known female Thai singer first rose and then fell with melancholy.

Chen Boqiao glanced at Zhang Jue. Zhang Jue’s brows were pinched together, and Chen Boqiao didn’t know what he was upset about.

“Don’t like listening to the news?” Chen Boqiao asked hesitantly.

“It’s too noisy.” Zhang Jue explained.

Dim lights dotted the area ahead of them as they approached a residential area of the small town Zhang Jue had talked about.

Chen Boqiao focused himself and sat up straight.

“We’re staying here tonight,” Zhang Jue said softly over the hum of the music station, and continued, “After confirming the security, we will drive to Bangkok tomorrow morning and leave the country by boat.”

“Will you be accompanying me?” Chen Boqiao asked him.

“Yeah,” Zhang Jue nodded, and explained, “I’ll get you to North America, and then to the New Independent Republic, where there will be someone who has guaranteed your safety.”

“Thank you,” Chen Boqiao said.

Zhang Jue paused and replied, “It’s fine.” 

His brows smoothed out, looking a lot more relaxed than before, and he added, “There is some simple makeup and costumes in the safe house. We need to make you look like the guy on your fake passport.”

Chen Boqiao looked at Zhang Jue and agreed.

Throughout the whole journey, Chen Boqiao intermittently tried to recall what Zhang Jue was like when he was a student, but there was not much to remember.

If it wasn’t for Pei Shu to mention him occasionallysometimes, Chen Boqiao would have forgotten that there was such a person.

However, Pei Shu’s description of Zhang Jue was different from the Zhang Jue standing before Chen Boqiao.

Pei Shu insisted that Zhang Jue was an antisocial loner, assertive, and cold, but Chen Boqiao felt that his attitude was not that bad and that he just didn’t like talking much.

Maybe because the night was so quiet, or maybe because of the dangerous situation they were in, Chen Boqiao did not restrain himself in inspecting Zhang Jue from top to bottom.

Prominent knuckles, bluish veins, rugged, and thin. It was by no means a normal healthy Alpha physique, but from his skydiving performance, it seems that he was even more fierce than the average Alpha.

If he remembers correctly, Zhang Jue’s father is a political figure in the New Independent Republic. The NIR and the Asian League broke off their diplomatic relations many years ago and instead were close with North America.

Chen Boqiao could feel an oncoming migraine.

In the evidence presented in court today, the records of his communication with North American government officials were indeed fabricated. However, Zhang Jue’s appearance and breaking him out today seem to be confirming his treason.

But since they’ve already gotten this far, it was too late to say anything. He decided he would cross that bridge when he got to it. It was just that… Zhang Jue… could he be trusted?

What does he want from this? Will he follow orders?

Chen Boqiao paused his pondering and whispered Zhang Jue’s name.

Zhang Jue quickly responded in a soft voice. 

“What’s the matter?”

Chen Boqiao questioned, “Who do you represent?”

Zhang Jue was silent for a few seconds, and he responded, “I represent no one.”

Chen Boqiao looked at Zhang Jue’s side profile.

Zhang Jue’s lips were pursed in a thin line, and his eyes looked straight ahead. He looked stubborn. After some thirty seconds, Zhang Jue stated again, “The Asian League has no right to judge you.”

Chen Boqiao remembered that Zhang Jue is about the same age as himself. People who are twenty-eight or twenty-nine years old should be mature enough to not say such emotional and idealistic things. But Chen Boqiao was still amused by how seriously Zhang Jue said it.

“Is that so?”

Zhang Jue was still serious, and he told Chen Boqiao, “Originally I did not intend to act so early on, but after the demonstration at the Presidential Palace last week, the Fifth Military Prison suddenly changed a few of the prison guards. Two of them worked for the father of the current president.”

Chen Boqiao’s expression turned serious.

“Don’t worry,” Zhang Jue noticed the changes in Chen Boqiao’s demeanor, so he assured him, “The Asian League isn’t powerful enough to intervene with the NIR.”

Chen Boqiao thought about it, but did not speak.

“But…” Zhang Jue turned his head and said slowly, “When we get there, you have to do me a favor.”

Chen Boqiao glanced at Zhang Jue and asked, “What favor?”

“I want you to open a genetic lock from Zhaohua Energy.”

Chen Boqiao was slightly startled.

Every gene lock from Zhaohua Energy was guarded as a top secret of the Corporation. After Chen Zhaoyan’s death, Chen Boqiao was the only one who could open them.

Not many people knew about the genetic locks, so how did Zhang Jue know?

Chen Boqiao thought for a bit, and cautiously asked, “Which one?”

“The space medical capsule prototype from Zhaohua Energy. I need to take a vial of medicine that was recalled to be destroyed thirteen years ago,” Zhang Jue explained. “Can you do it?”

Chen Boqiao did not answer immediately.

He looked out of the car window, watching the welcome sign with colorful lights approach them and get left behind.  Zhang Jue drove the car into the town. Chen Boqiao lowered the window with the old hand crank to let the stifling night breeze into the car.

Unable to get a reply, Zhang Jue seemed to be a little nervous and added,  “The medicine is only for my personal needs. If there was any other way, I wouldn’t be asking you for help. My father only provided me with this much assistance in this operation because I told him I’ll get you to help me…”

Before Zhang Jue could explain more, Chen Boqiao leaned towards Zhang Jue and put his right hand on Zhang Jue’s shoulder, “I see, where is the prototype capsule you mentioned?”

Chen Boqiao felt the muscles of the shoulder he touched stiffen, saw Zhang Jue’s light-colored lips pursed before him, and then slightly open while replying in a small voice, “My house.”

~~~

“Hi, I’m Ai Jiaxi, I can’t answer your call right now, please leave your message after this voicemail  is over.”

“Jiaxi, call me back when you hear this. Thai Independence State is not fun for you, go home immediately, don’t throw a tantrum.”

“Hi, I’m Ai Jiaxi, I can’t answer your call right now, please leave your message after this voicemail is over.”

“I’ll come back and explain it to you, remember to call me back.”

 

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WangXian31
November 30, 2021 3:12 pm

Fascinating.
Thank you for translating and editing.

Xiaofanfan
November 30, 2021 3:17 pm

Strong start! Thanks for picking this up!

The way the author used answering machine snippets to give more flavor to the story is interesting.
Ah, and curious how the dynamics between Zhang Jue and Chen Boqiao will change bit by bit.

Privmlem
November 30, 2021 5:48 pm

super interesting so far! really looking forward to how the story progresses 👀

Aleckincaid
December 1, 2021 9:05 pm

Corresponding using phone recorder😅🙈😅🙈😅🙈

Solis
December 1, 2021 10:52 pm

Thanks for the chapter! ❤️

Loneplum
December 30, 2021 11:20 pm

Wow, first chapter done! That was a long one.

Those phone calls are so intriguing. What is this medicine that Zhang Jue needs?

Excited about this novel! Thanks for translating!

Rameowae
May 3, 2022 9:03 am

now who is ai jiaxi and what’s the capsule for

Best novel on ExR (as voted by fans)

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