Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Luo ZhouZhou was stupefied after hearing Chu Feng’s words. Only a little while later did he whisper, “Do you mean that the General killed your comrades?”
When he said this, his voice trembled uncontrollably and his eyes were filled with panic.
Chu Feng put down the beer can in his hand, held Luo ZhouZhou’s shoulders and said, “I don’t think the General did it.”
“Shouldn’t it be the General’s doing?” Luo ZhouZhou asked, “So, it could have been him, too?”
Chu Feng sighed, looked into the distance, and said, “I have been investigating General Luo Pei for a long time, and I can’t find any reason for him to do this, so I don’t think he did it. But he obviously knew some clues, but he wouldn’t reveal any of them.” Chu Feng looked at Luo ZhouZhou again, “Zhou Zhou, until I find the truth, General Luo Pei is not completely innocent.”
It was late at night, and Luo ZhouZhou was standing on the right side of the villa’s garden, staring at the warm yellow street lamp beside the stairs, startled and distracted. He had been standing in this position for some time, ever since he had been driven home by Chu Feng and pushed open the villa’s iron gate.
The light that Luo Pei had ordered to be left on every time he returned home at night, and not turned off until he did. Luo ZhouZhou had never cared about these details before tonight, nor did he think Luo Pei was his father.
Luo Pei was someone’s father, and Luo Pei’s wife was someone’s mother, but they didn’t know it, and thought of him as their son.
And when Luo Pei was not at home, even the air was sweeter.
But after hearing Chu Feng’s words, he realized that Luo Pei was involved and he was sad.
It was like the time when the patriarch was seriously injured and he stayed by the bedside, whispering in the patriarch’s ear, Don’t die; if you die, I’ll be so upset, that I’ll go and bite everyone to death.
The door at the top of the stairs suddenly opened and someone came out. Luo Pei, wearing a robe and carrying a cup of coffee, strode down the steps and looked through the iron fence outside the garden into the distance.
Every time a car passed by in the distance, he had to stop and crane his neck to look at it, and then continue drinking his coffee until it was far away. Luo ZhouZhou knew that he was watching to see if he had returned.
“General.” He called out.
Startled, Luo Pei turned around and saw Luo ZhouZhou standing on the right side of the garden at the bottom of the stairs with his backpack on his back.
“When did you get back? Why are you standing here and not going in?” Luo Pei asked with a bit of surprise. Then his face fell, “Look at you, did you get into some trouble outside?”
Luo ZhouZhou didn’t reply, only silently shook his head.
Luo Pei looked at him questioningly, then, as if he had thought of something, slowed down his tone, “What’s wrong? Lost a fight with Lin Fan?”
When Assistant Qin picked him up from work in the afternoon, he said he was going to Lin Fan’s house, and Assistant Qin turned around and reported to Luo Pei.
Luo ZhouZhou said, “There was no fight.”
“Then what’s the matter with you? You have such a sad face.” Luo Pei frowned, “Who bullied you?”
Luo ZhouZhou looked at Luo Pei’s angry and worried face and suddenly blurted out, “General, may I ask you something?”
“What is it?”
“A thing of the past.” Luo ZhouZhou sounded a bit rushed.
Luo Pei froze, slowly withdrew the expression on his face, and narrowed his eyes to examine him. After a few moments, he asked, “You didn’t go to see Lin Fan this afternoon, but were with Chu Feng instead, right?”
Luo ZhouZhou was silent for a few seconds and answered, “Yes, I was with Chu Feng.”
“Then what do you want to ask?”
Luo ZhouZhou plucked up his courage and said, “I want to ask you if you had anything to do with the death of those twenty-eight Special Forces soldiers.”
Luo Pei sneered and said, “I see now. He made up a bunch of nonsense to you, and you believed them, so now you’re interrogating me.”
“No, this isn’t an interrogation, and he didn’t make up nonsense about you,” Luo ZhouZhou said.
Luo Pei’s volume rose sharply, and he snapped, “I am your father, I have raised you for twenty years, pouring my heart and soul into you, Luo ZhouZhou, and you have listened to a few nonsense words from others, and you are going to turn against your father.”
Luo ZhouZhou gripped the straps of his backpack and argued loudly, “I didn’t… I didn’t mean to confront you, I just wanted to ask for clarification.”
“Since you have already asked the question, it shows that you suspect Dad, Luo ZhouZhou, you are stabbing me in the heart.” Luo Pei slammed his coffee cup down on the ground, and it broke apart with a loud crash.
Luo ZhouZhou shook all over and cried silently.
Luo Pei took one look at him and walked into the house with his hands behind his back.
As soon as he stepped up the stairs, he heard Luo ZhouZhou’s trembling voice behind him asking, “General, did you really have nothing to do with the death of those twenty-eight Special Forces soldiers?”
Luo Pei stopped in his tracks and stood there.
“If you had nothing to do with it, why did you avoid Chu Feng again and again, without explaining this clearly? General, did you kill them, I’m so sad, I’m so sad…” Luo ZhouZhou cried with his mouth open.
Luo Pei slowly turned around, looked at Luo ZhouZhou with an angry face, and pointed his finger at him.
“Dad, I’m so sad, was it you or not, Dad…” Luo ZhouZhou’s voice grew louder and louder, closing his eyes and calling out repeatedly for his father, tears running down his cheeks.
Butler Li and Linda heard the voice and came out of the house.
“What’s wrong, baby? Why are you crying like that?” Linda stepped down from the stairs in a panic and hugged Luo ZhouZhou in her arms, aggrieved. She turned to Luo Pei and said loudly, “General, even if ZhouZhou has done something wrong, don’t punish him too much.”
“I have gone too far in my punishment? Am I scolding too much?” Luo Pei wanted to say something, but when he looked at Luo ZhouZhou’s tear-filled face, he sighed and stopped talking.
“You guys go in first, I need to have a few words with Zhou Zhou.” He waved his hand, and seeing that Linda was still holding Luo ZhouZhou alertly, he wearily said, “I really didn’t scold him, but I have something serious to talk to him about.”
“Baby, was it something your father said?” Linda quietly asked Luo ZhouZhou.
Luo ZhouZhou sobbed and said, “No-no… it was me who-who started crying by my-myself, we-we still have to talk.”
Only then did Linda let go of him and waved to Butler Li to go back to the house, looking worriedly behind her as she walked away.
Luo Pei waited until the two of them entered the house, looked at Luo ZhouZhou, who was still sobbing, and sighed again, saying, “Zhou Zhou, I really didn’t kill those people, but why should I kill them? It’s true that I sent my men down to deliver the drug that day, but I just gave the order, and then they were intercepted on the road and took the cipher case with the drug in it.”
“But-but, why-why didn’t you give him a clue? You must… you must know something.” Luo ZhouZhou asked with a hiccup.
“Come here.” Luo Pei said.
Luo ZhouZhou did as he was told and walked over to him.
Luo Pei reached out his hand to wipe the tears from his face and said, “Zhou Zhou, there are some questions I can’t answer, but I’m not a bad person. It’s for your safety if I don’t explain it to Chu Feng, okay?”
“No buts and no more questions, Dad assures you that I’ll tell him when I can.”
“Really?” Luo ZhouZhou lifted his red, swollen eyes and looked at Luo Pei expectantly.
“Really.” He replied in a resolute voice.
Luo ZhouZhou looked at Luo Pei’s expression and saw that his face was honest, so he finally breathed a long sigh of relief and relaxed his tense body.
Luo Pei stroked his head, his voice tinged with sadness, “I don’t know how much longer I can protect you, Zhou Zhou, a storm is coming, and I hope you will have grown up by then.”
Luo ZhouZhou didn’t say anything else, but having received Luo Pei’s reassurance, he finally settled down, reached out and hugged Luo Pei’s waist, burying his face in his chest.
Luo Pei patted his back gently, “How old are you, still spoiled.”
“You just said it. I haven’t grown up yet.” Luo ZhouZhou said in a jarring voice.
This was the first time he was this close to Luo Pei, but it felt natural, and not at all awkward or embarrassing.
Luo Pei laughed dumbly, “Yes, yes, yes, you haven’t grown up yet.” Then he seriously added, “Zhou Zhou, promise your father that you won’t hang out with Chu Feng anymore.” When Luo ZhouZhou didn’t say a word, he sighed, “Dad is not prejudiced against him, but if you hang out with him, I’m afraid there will be unforeseen dangers.”
Luo ZhouZhou raised his head and asked in confusion, “What kind of dangers?”
Luo Pei replied, “In short, I want you to stay as far away from all unsettling factors as possible, the farther the better, and it’s nothing against Chu Feng as a person.”
Luo ZhouZhou stood up straight in his arms and seriously said, “General, I will not go farther and farther away from him if I don’t have a good reason to do so.”
Luo Pei locked eyes with him for a moment and waved his hand, “Suit yourself. you just called me Dad, but when Chu Feng was mentioned, it reverted back to General.”
The next day at work, Luo ZhouZhou was in a much better mood. He was very quick when he was told to run errands by Qi Fen, and his attitude was also very good.
Qi Fen curiously asked, “Why didn’t you give me that dead look today?”
“What kind of dead look?” Luo ZhouZhou couldn’t help but ask rhetorically.
Qi Fen thought about it and said, “I can’t describe it, but looking at it makes people angry.”
Luo ZhouZhou restrained the expression on his face, looked at the ground with faint eyes, and with the corners of his mouth slightly lowered, he asked, “Is it like this?”
Qi Fen drew in her breath as if his teeth hurt, “You seem to know very well that you are deliberately putting on this face to annoy me, right?”
“Not really, it’s just that I think you look irritated every time I’m like this.” Luo ZhouZhou tilted his head.
Qi Fen frowned and waved his hand, “Get out, get out, and go do the experiment by yourself. I’m annoyed by your voice now.”
Luo ZhouZhou sneaked out of the office and trotted off to the lab area to find Hong Fan.
Hong Fan had her own independent lab because she was afraid of interacting with people, so when she needed to communicate with other researchers, she would not meet with them if she could use a terminal, even if it was next door. However, she was very relaxed with Luo ZhouZhou and asked him to come to her whenever he wanted.
Luo ZhouZhou knocked on the door, and Hong Fan asked from inside, “Who is it?”
“It’s me, Zhou Zhou.”
“Oh, Zhou Zhou, come in.” Hong Fan’s voice was pleased.
Luo ZhouZhou went in and saw Hong Fan looking at something with a microscope, with only the purple light on in the room, illuminating her face with a purple glow. Hong Fan turned around, and Luo ZhouZhou grinned at her, “Hello, Hong Fan.”
“Ah!” Hong Fan called out a short cry, almost jumping up from his stool, “What the hell.”
Luo ZhouZhou was also shocked and stood frozen in place.
Only then did Hong Fan react, went to the wall and pressed twice, and the purple light was replaced by an incandescent light. She patted her chest and said, “That white teeth and purple face you just had was really scary, you were just like a vampire.”
Luo ZhouZhou laughed out loud with joy, “Really? Like a vampire?”
Hong Fan looked at him and helplessly asked, “What do you want from me, little vampire?”
Luo ZhouZhou hesitated and whispered, “Hong Fan, I would like to ask you a few questions.”
“Asking for advice?” Hong Fan laughed and simply said, “Ask me anything you want, I’ll answer if I can.”
Luo ZhouZhou pursed his lips and asked, “Do you know about taking Benzedrine and injecting it into ordinary people?”
The smile on Hong Fan’s face suddenly disappeared, “Who said that? Nonsense.”
Luo ZhouZhou looked at her and said it outright, “The army used to do experiments in private, injecting soldiers with Benzedrine, you’ve been in the institute the longest, so you must know something.”
Hong Fan looked at him silently, suddenly turned around and said, “I don’t know anything, you go out, I’m going to do the experiment.”
“Every time a patient wants to use Benzedrine, the doctor will bring you a note, and you will dispense the drug yourself. Hong Fan, you should have been the one to dispense the medicine when the special forces had that accident.” Luo ZhouZhou was unmoved, still insisting. “What was the dose of Benzedrine they took from you that time?”
Hong Fan took a deep breath and looked at Luo ZhouZhou with unprecedented seriousness on her face, “Zhou Zhou, I don’t know why you are interested in this matter or from where did you hear about us supplying Benzedrine to the military. You’re right, the army did want to give it to soldiers, but the proposal was rejected by a group of scientists headed by Director Qi. Benzedrine should be used to save patients, not as a war machine.”
Luo ZhouZhou hesitated and softly said, “But twenty-eight special forces soldiers did die from overdose of it.”
Hong Fan closed his mouth and began to look down at the microscope, which meant that she refused to talk.
Luo ZhouZhou waited for a while and whispered, “Pardon me for the interruption.” He turned and walked slowly toward the door.
“When the army wanted to take Benzedrine, it wouldn’t go through me. I don’t have that much power, understand?” Just as Luo ZhouZhou’s hand was on the door handle, Hong Fan suddenly spoke up.
Luo ZhouZhou asked, “But… but if a doctor needs Benzedrine, he can only get it from you.”
Hong Fan raised her head impatiently and said, “Who made the rules of our institute?”
“Since he can set the rules, who do you think has the most power in the Institute?”
Luo ZhouZhou dropped his voice and said, “But isn’t Qi Fen the most determined leader among those who opposed the use of Benzedrine for the military?”
“One has to bow one’s head under the eaves.” Hong Fan only said quietly, and then stopped talking.
Luo ZhouZhou stood at the door of the director’s office and saw Qi Fen intently comparing the pictures of the strains on the 3D image. His eyebrows were knitted together, his glasses were glowing with a colored light, while his face was stern. When Luo ZhouZhou saw him like this, the courage he mustered up flew away, and he retreated back to the corridor, pacing back and forth sorrowfully with his hands behind his back.
“What are you doing? So sneaky.” Qi Fen’s cold voice rang out, “Get your ass in here.”
Luo ZhouZhou shuddered and slowly walked in.