Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Luo ZhouZhou, the scumbag, distributed the files one by one according to the principle of ‘nearest to furthest’, leaving only a small stack in his hands. He identified the label at the top of the pile – “Pathology Department” – and searched for the Pathology Department in the cobweb-like corridors of the Institute.
The Institute took up two floors of the military building, and the various sections were identical. The snow-white walls and the tiled floor, which reflected the cold light, soon disoriented him. With no one else in sight, he walked further and further into a passageway he had never seen before.
A stark metal door with two large words above it 1 – Case Department.
Luo ZhouZhou compared it to the Pathology Department, which was only one word away 2 . Maybe this was the place, but it was misspelled on the files? He tried to pull the door, but it was only ajar and opened with a slight pull.
Luo ZhouZhou walked in, holding the data. It was a quiet white passageway, no one in sight, only the central air conditioner’s air vent sounded silently. The soft-soled leather shoes fell on the tile floor, and the slight rustling sound was noticeable as he walked inside.
Compared to the busy halls of the lab area, this place was unusually quiet. On both sides of the passage were rooms with room numbers written on the doors and bars set in the upper glass windows.
He walked to the nearest room, 001, and peered in through the glass.
The room was small, and the furnishings were simple, with only a single bed in the middle of the room. There was no light on in the room, and a small window was barred and dark because of the lack of light.
On the bed, there was a bulge covered with a sheet that looked like a sleeping person, so Luo ZhouZhou hesitantly reached out and knocked on the door when he saw no one else.
“Hello, I am Luo ZhouZhou, here to deliver some documents.” He knocked twice and said through the door. The sound broke the silence abruptly.
The person on the bed may have fallen asleep and didn’t reply, but after waiting a moment, he knocked again, “Hello, I’m here to deliver some documents. May I ask who I should give it to?”
There was still no response from inside the room, and Luo ZhouZhou suspected that the bed was empty, but the sheets had not been tidied.
He tried to twist the doorknob, but the door was locked and could not be opened. He was about to turn around and continue looking for someone when the bulge on the single bed moved.
Was this someone awake now?
“Hello, I’m Luo ZhouZhou, here to deliver—” the rest of his words caught in his throat.
He saw a skinny arm, like dry wood, sticking out from under the snowy white sheet. He recognized it as an arm rather than anything else because it was covered with a pale blue sleeve.
The hand slowly pulled down the sheet to reveal the head with its back to the glass window, and slowly turned around.
When Luo ZhouZhou locked eyes with the face, he thought he saw a moving skeleton.
The eye sockets and cheeks were deeply sunken, revealing a face full of wrinkles and high, sharp cheekbones, and the entire head seemed to have lost flesh and blood, covered only by a loose layer of skin.
“—to deliver files.” He finished his sentence slowly.
The person looked steadily out of the glass window at Luo ZhouZhou, eyes unblinking. Unlike the aging, withered appearance, the eyes beneath those creased eyelids were unusually bright and luminous.
The person suddenly smiled, mouth parted to the sides, revealing a toothless hollow, strange and ghastly.
Luo ZhouZhou also looked at the person closely, noting that the skeleton’s hair was long and tied in a bunch on a pillow at the side of the face, with a small pink cloth bow at the end of the hair tie.
It was a woman, if he was not mistaken. In her other hand, she had a clear tube connected to a vial of medicine on a stand beside the bed, through which a milky liquid was slowly dripping.
She was clearly not a staff member of the Institute, Luo ZhouZhou looked at her and suddenly understood the meaning of the Case Department.
She was a patient.
“Luo—Zhou—Zhou,” the female skeleton’s mouth was opening and closing, as if she were speaking. Based on the mouth shape, Luo ZhouZhou thought she was pronouncing his name.
“Yes, my name is Luo ZhouZhou,” Luo ZhouZhou said aloud, then reached out and wrote the three words on the glass window.
She smiled again, with only two rows of dark brown gums in her mouth. Only her eyes were as clear as a young girl’s, and they looked strangely at odds with her dry, aging body.
She looked at Luo ZhouZhou and pronounced two words silently.
Luo ZhouZhou recognized that it was an introduction, and guessed from the mouth shape, “Xia Wu?”
She shook her head slightly.
The woman on the bed kept shaking her head, and only when Luo ZhouZhou said the word ‘Xiao Yu’ did she stop moving, her eyes brightened and she looked happy.
“Hello, Xiao Yu.” Luo ZhouZhou waved at her. Then, not knowing what to say, he just stared at Xiao Yu through the door glass.
Xiao Yu just looked at him with a smile on her face. After a few more moments, he held up the file in his hand and said dryly, “I have to deliver the file, I have to go.”
Xiao Yu stopped smiling and nodded gently.
“It was nice to meet you, ma’am.” Luo ZhouZhou put one hand in front of his chest and bowed slightly.
When he looked up, he realized that the glass of the door was only so high that only his head was showing, and she couldn’t see the bow he had just made. But as if she had guessed his action, she laughed again, and the bed sheet was shaking with her.
Luo ZhouZhou waved at her again, before turning to leave.
Along the passage, the rooms on both sides of the room increased from 001 to 002 and 003…
Luo ZhouZhou looked closer into some of the rooms and found that they were all just like Xiao Yu’s, with only one bed, on which there was a motionless, shriveled, aging person who seemed to be dying at any moment.
When they heard Luo ZhouZhou’s footsteps stop, some would turn their heads to look at him, then avert their eyes indifferently. Some would close their eyes and ignore him, like a dried-up corpse. Luo ZhouZhou noticed that their eyes were bright, in contrast to their extremely aged appearance.
He eased his footsteps, not wanting to disturb the people in the rooms on either side of him, and continued on with the file in his hands. When he reached room number 060, he finally reached the end of the hallway, and a door with the word ‘Pharmacy’ 3 written on it.
Luo ZhouZhou lifted his hand to push the door, but stopped when he saw 060 on the side of the room. He saw a man in white overalls sitting in front of the bed in the center of the room.
The man, with a thin face and wearing high prescription glasses, was the director of the institute, Qi Fen. He was facing the door of the room, concentrating on the person on the bed, in contrast to his usual seriousness and indifference, he was actually smiling and his eyes were very soft.
Luo ZhouZhou was very uncomfortable with this Qi Fen, and almost thought that he was looking at the wrong person. Then, he saw Qi Fen suddenly leaned over and gently kissed the old person on the lips.
Luo ZhouZhou: ……
Qi Fen’s eyes were full of tenderness, and the kiss was so careful and loving that one would not think that he was kissing his own family or elder.
He was only about forty years old, but the man on the bed was obviously a dying old man, but he was Qi Fen’s lover?
Although Luo ZhouZhou didn’t do anything, he felt somehow guilty, as if Qi Fen had bumped into him and someone else kissing. Seeing that the kiss was over, Luo ZhouZhou was afraid that he might be found, so he gently pushed open the door of the pharmacy and quickly fled inside.
There was no one in the pharmacy, only all kinds of medicine, so the staff might’ve been sent away.
Luo ZhouZhou put down the documents and sat down on a stool.
If he went out now, Qi Fen would find him. He might as well stay here and wait for him to leave before going out again.
He counted quietly, ready to count to one thousand first.
With such a long number, Qi Fen should have finished kissing, right?
After counting to three hundred, he was drawn to the glass bottle on the counter. The milky-white liquid was exactly the same as the medicinal drops Xiao Yu had just been given. He reached for the glass bottle and tried to find the instructions on it to figure out what disease Xiao Yu had.
However, there was neither an instruction manual, nor a manufacturer’s license, nor a manufacturing directions, etc. on the bottle, but only a white Post-it note attached to it, with a word simply copied on it.
Diluted Benzedrine solution.
What is Benzedrine? Luo ZhouZhou searched his mind for a long time, but couldn’t come up with a single thing about it. There were a knowledgeable teachers in the clan who often told the newborn members that they should be wise and intelligent vampires, lest they be too stupid and sooner or later become extinct.
Luo ZhouZhou was also very obedient, and had been studying hard. Although he didn’t understand most of what was said, it didn’t stop him from memorizing it. Every time his teacher checked, many playful little vampires failed to answer.
Only Luo ZhouZhou could recite word for word, and then got his unstinting praise. But then came the most unhappy moment, because he couldn’t explain any of the questions the teacher picked out. Every time this happened, the teacher would touch his head and sigh again.
When the group of young vampires left the herd later, the chief gave them each a long, long lecture.
The little vampires all said impatiently: Got it, got it.
Luo ZhouZhou was the only one who quietly waited for the patriarch to explain himself.
When it was his turn, the chief looked into his eyes, and finally only said: Zhou Zhou, just remember one thing: don’t trust other humans except your mate, protect yourself and stay away from them.
Luo ZhouZhou was a little frustrated at this thought, he still hadn’t listened to the chief’s words, not only did he live with General Luo Pei and the others, but he also exchanged terminal numbers with Chu Feng and got a job. He even went on a blind date.
Luo ZhouZhou retrieved his scattered thoughts and continued to search his memory for Benzedrine. But after going through everything regarding the name, he could not remember Benzedrine. 4
A little discouraged, he put the medicine back in its original position. At that moment, the terminal on his wrist suddenly beeped, which was particularly jarring and alarming in the quiet room.
He was afraid of being heard by Qi Fen, so he poked it open with his finger.
The display showed a message from Chu Feng.
【ID54367】: Autopsy determined that the bruises are post-mortem.
Luo ZhouZhou was not sure whether it mattered whether the hemorrhages were caused before or after death. After all, those people were dead, and this result wouldn’t bring them back to life.
But because of the gravity of the message, he replied seriously.
【Luo ZhouZhou】: Oh.
He nodded his head as he typed the word, mouthing a silent “oh”.
He returned the message and stared at the display for a while to make sure Chu Feng would not reply before turning off the terminal. Thinking that this was enough time to count to several thousand and that Qi Fen must have left, Luo ZhouZhou got up, ready to return.
He walked gently to the door of the pharmacy, listening at the door with his ear pressed to it for a while, and then slowly pulled it open. When the door opened, he almost shrieked.
Qi Fen was standing outside the door, staring at him coldly, his high-prescription glasses shining white under the overhead light.