Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“I’ll go buy you a turtle’s nest instead! You can have any nest you want, and I’ll buy you the best and most expensive one!” Chen SiHan pointed his finger at Luo ZhouZhou with a pained look on his face, “Tell me, what kind of nest do you want?”
“Just… just an ordinary fish tank would be fine.”
Luo ZhouZhou spent the rest of the day lying down, except for being woken up for dinner. He listened to Chen SiHan’s constant calls to his terminal while holding Chu Feng’s T-shirt in his arms, sniffing it from time to time.
“Zhou Zhou, can I come in?” Chen SiHan finished a phone call, and knocked on the bedroom door.
Luo ZhouZhou looked at the door sadly as he answered, “Please come in.”
Chen SiHan pushed open the door and asked, “Zhou Zhou, are you sick?”
“I don’t think so,” Luo ZhouZhou took a moment to reflect on his physical condition and replied, “There’s no pain anywhere.”
“Then why did you lie still all day?” Chen SiHan wondered.
“Maybe it’s because I’m too lazy,” Luo ZhouZhou said.
Chen SiHan met his frank gaze for a few seconds, then acquiesced, “Okay, too lazy.”
At that moment, the terminal rang again.
“…So how many of you are there? …No, you’ll let the suspect escape like that… No, no, no!…” Chen SiHan assigned the tasks with a heavy face and a serious expression, and returned to the living room while talking on the phone.
Luo ZhouZhou couldn’t help but get up and walk out of the room when he heard that Chen SiHan seemed to have encountered a difficult official case. Four large and small screens were floating in the living room, half-filling it, and Chen SiHan was pacing back and forth in the room, stopping occasionally to reach out and flick the screens.
“Are you in some kind of trouble with the case?” Luo ZhouZhou stood at the bedroom door and asked.
“Finally up?” Chen SiHan answered with a question, and then replied, “Yes, there is a fraud case, where the suspect has been on the run for many years, and he was found in the last two days, so we need to take action tonight.”
Luo ZhouZhou saw that he was anxious and couldn’t help but say, “You can’t go to work because you’re keeping watch over me?”
Chen SiHan looked at him and stated, “I have to guard you, that’s why I can’t go. But you’re much more valuable than that suspect, and I’d rather let ten suspects go than be negligent and let something happen to you.”
“Or Chu Feng will kill me.” He slashed himself across the neck and made a clicking sound. Pointing out the window again, he said, “And there are people from the police station guarding down there, too, see?”
Luo ZhouZhou went to the window and saw that there were indeed several shadows in the neighborhood.
“How much trouble has Chu Feng gotten into, asking you to protect me like this?” Luo ZhouZhou asked with great concern.
Chen SiHan was silent for a few seconds before answering, “Not much. He was the one who discovered the fraudster’s whereabouts tonight, and was afraid he would come for revenge before he was caught.”
“I see.” Luo ZhouZhou was more relieved.
Chen SiHan nodded and said, “Yes, that is the case.”
The operation didn’t seem to be going well, and for the rest of the day, Chen SiHan’s terminal calls didn’t cease.
Luo ZhouZhou was quietly sitting on the couch and watched him unbutton the top button of his shirt, pacing anxiously as he allocated tasks.
After Chen SiHan once again scratched his hair out of place, Luo ZhouZhou couldn’t help but say, “Sheriff Chen, you go ahead and take care of the case, Chu Feng said this house is very safe, ordinary people can’t get in, and there are people guarding outside.”
Chen SiHan was about to answer when another call came in. “…Maniema Street Corner? I’m right in the area!”
He hung up the terminal and eagerly assured Luo ZhouZhou, “The suspect fled to the next street, where there is no pre-arranged manpower, Zhou Zhou, I’ll be back in half an hour or so.”
Luo ZhouZhou hurriedly said, “You should go quickly.”
Chen SiHan said as he walked out, “Remember to watch the surveillance screen and stay inside if there is a red dot, understand?”
“I understand, Chu Feng has taught me, don’t worry.” Luo ZhouZhou nodded his head.
Chen SiHan added, “Half an hour, half an hour and I’ll be back.”
After saying that, he ran out of the door. 1
The house instantly quieted down, Luo ZhouZhou fell back on the couch and looked at the roof in silence. He wondered if Chu Feng had arrived at the border, and if things had been settled, and when he would be back. He put his hand on his terminal several times, but then felt that Chu Feng must be very busy now, and sending a message would disturb him, so he slowly retracted his hand.
Luo ZhouZhou tossed and turned on the couch and thought of Luo Pei again. Last night Luo Pei suddenly asked him to stay here, and although everyone including Chu Feng said it was fine, he felt a little strange and unsettled.
He hesitated, but decided to give Luo Pei a call to ask him about it, even if he was scolded a bit for it, he could put his mind at ease. The terminal played a pleasant music as a dial tone and Luo ZhouZhou waited patiently.
The song was almost over, but there was still no answer.
He was about to press ‘redial’, but on second thought, he dialed Linda’s number instead. If Luo Pei was busy and couldn’t answer his terminal, Linda would always be available. He listened to the music again, but this number didn’t answer either.
Luo ZhouZhou was no longer lying down; he sat up. He pursed his lips and dialed the two numbers over and over again, feeling more and more uneasy. None of the calls he made were answered, so he finally gave up and sat down on the couch in a daze with a sense of foreboding.
The projection in the room was playing the news, which Chen SiHan was watching but didn’t switch off. He never turned the sound on, so the young anchorwoman spoke animatedly on the screen, as if she were performing a silent mime.
Luo ZhouZhou looked at it subconsciously, his heart in a daze. At that moment, a new piece of news appeared, and as the video played and changed all of his attention focused on it.
The familiar view behind the anchorwoman was none other than the Starlight Villa area where his home was located. The shrub behind her was in the shape of a flying bird, which Luo ZhouZhou passed every day on his way to the bus stop.
He had stopped to take a closer look at the bush, and there was no mistaking it. Luo ZhouZhou quickly turned up the volume, and a clear female voice came out.
“The reason behind this operation by the military department, we are currently unclear, but—”
Here the picture suddenly stopped, as if the signal was interrupted. The anchorwoman’s mouth was open, frozen on the display with a ridiculous expression.
Luo ZhouZhou was anxious to check it out, and as soon as he got up from the couch, he saw the screen moving again. But this time it was no longer news, it was an advertisement. A teenager was holding a drink, describing the flavors of the drink in an excited tone, like he just won the jackpot.
Apparently the live broadcast had been cut off, and the commercial was only brought on at short notice. Luo ZhouZhou slowly walked up to the turtles’ trophy nest and stood in a state of mild shock. He looked down at his hand, his fingers were moving and his whole hand was trembling slightly.
He no longer felt tired or sleepy, as he got overtaken by a great panic.
Looking at the two unmoving turtles, he softly asked, “Big Crow, Little Crow, the General and the others… are they in trouble…”
After the two turtles had fallen asleep, Luo ZhouZhou stood for a while longer, then suddenly turned around and walked back to the bedroom. When he came back out, he had already put on his coat and scarf, and grabbed his backpack and put it on his back.
He quickly left a note for Chen SiHan, stating that he would be home soon, and then placed it discreetly on the coffee table in front of the couch. When he reached the door and was about to turn the handle, he hesitated, but returned to press the button for the surveillance.
The display, which showed the building and the neighborhood in real time, immediately emerged from the wall. The display was mostly green dots, with only five or six white dots surrounding the building, distributed throughout the neighborhood.
The white dots were the police officers in the police station, because carrying a firearm was originally a red dot, but it turned white after Chen SiHan changed their security status. Luo ZhouZhou looked at the white dots and was worried. If he went out like this, they would definitely not let him go.
After thinking about it, he put his backpack down and put only his wallet in his pocket, then went to the kitchen and took out the garbage bag, pretending to throw away the garbage and went out the door. When he stepped out of the elevator, he followed the layout map he had just seen, and turned left straight out of the building’s front door.
From here to the entrance of the neighborhood, he would only bump into one white dot, and if he was lucky, he wouldn’t be discovered.
It was raining lightly outside and the temperature was a bit low. Luo ZhouZhou had just walked ten meters 2 or so out of the building when he saw someone sitting with an umbrella and a newspaper on the half-collapsed flower bed in front of him. He quickly put up his coat collar and lowered his head, put one hand in his coat pocket and the other holding the garbage bag, and walked past the person.
The man quickly glanced at Luo ZhouZhou, his eyes noticing on the garbage bag in his hand, then without a word he turned his eyes away and continued to stare at the entrance and exit of the building. It seemed that he was lucky to meet a police officer who had never seen him before, and that the police officer’s guard was focused on strangers entering the building, not on residents walking out.
Luo ZhouZhou didn’t breathe a sigh of relief until he was out of the neighborhood gate.
The situation with Luo Pei and Linda was so strange that he had to go home no matter what. But looking at the empty street, he remembered Chu Feng’s advice and hesitated to stop at the corner of the street not far from the gate.
At that moment, someone on the right passed by in the direction of the neighborhood, holding a cigarette in his mouth and talking on his terminal. Luo ZhouZhou recognized this policeman, having seen him before at the Bayard Police Station, so he hastily lowered his head, pretending to be a passerby watching the time.
“…Finally caught this fraudster, we have to celebrate tomorrow…”
Luo ZhouZhou heard this as he passed by and felt a sense of relief.
Now that the suspect had been arrested, he was safe and could go home to check. Standing by the road outside the neighborhood, he began to wave down a cab.
Bayard winters were always particularly cold, let alone this drizzly night, so he waited a long time until his feet were almost numb, before he could stop a cab, “Is this going back to Aleisha?”
Luo ZhouZhou sat in the back seat and looked out the window.
“The temperature has been falling especially fast this year, and on such a cold day, it’s necessary to go home quickly.” The driver, a Beta in his early forties, was very talkative, and had been talking to Luo ZhouZhou all the way home. However, Luo ZhouZhou was now full of worries, and he was only making a few perfunctory overtures.
The driver saw that Luo ZhouZhou’s mind was elsewhere, and after a few sentences, he stopped talking, so Luo ZhouZhou could finally have some peace and quiet. The taxi quickly passed through the checkpoint and drove outside the entrance of the villa area, where the driver stopped the car.
“What’s wrong?” Luo ZhouZhou asked.
The driver said, “It seems like there’s something going on up ahead. A cordon is up, and there are many officers standing there, so it’s impossible to get through.”
Luo ZhouZhou was startled and looked out from between the seats. There were many cars parked in front of them, and many people in military uniforms were standing there. That location seemed to be the General’s residence.
“It’s not the police, it’s the military. It looks like some senior officer has committed a crime.”
The driver looked ahead a little excitedly, but it wasn’t until the door slammed and Luo ZhouZhou ran by the cab that he remembered the customer hadn’t paid.
“You haven’t paid your fare yet, handsome boy.” The driver shouted hurriedly.
Luo ZhouZhou braked, took out a bill from his wallet, handed it to the driver, and turned around to walk away again.
“Hey, hey, I haven’t given you any change yet, na.”
The driver squeezed the bill for a few seconds, looked at Luo ZhouZhou’s back and tsked, “These young people nowadays are so active in watching the fun.”
The rain fell a little heavier, rustling the leaves on both sides of the tree. Luo ZhouZhou jogged toward the General’s residence, the tiny raindrops falling on his shirt, wetting his shoulders and hair. He lifted the wet hair from his forehead and stared intently at the spot, his breathing rate increasing.
Halfway through his run, he saw two soldiers in front of him close the cordon across the road and retreat quickly to the sidewalk. Then, the parked military vehicles started up, and several police cars with red lights flashing opened the way and drove over.
Luo ZhouZhou slowly stopped and stood on the sidewalk, catching his breath as the convoy passed in front of him. As one of the military vehicles passed by, he caught a glimpse of a man seated inside, his side obscured by two soldiers, but revealing clothing of a pattern and style he knew very well.
It was a satin-cotton laced robe, dark brown with a deep red circular pattern. He had seen Luo Pei wearing it numerous times, sitting on the couch with a coffee cup and reading the newspaper.
He ran after the car, looking in through the window as he ran, trying to get a better look. As the rain slanted across the glass surface, it blurred a little, so he moved closer to it and struggled to identify him.
This place was outside the cordon, so there were a dozen or so spectators who had been waiting on the sidewalk outside the police line, and now, seeing the motorcade coming out, they moved forward and took a curious look inside the cars. At that moment, the man sitting in the middle of the military vehicle leaned forward, slightly past the soldiers on his side to look out the window, and locked eyes with Luo ZhouZhou.
When Luo ZhouZhou realized that he was Luo Pei, he stood still in a daze.
But he reacted instantly, rushed up to him, and continued to stare at him through the car window.
Luo Pei looked at him with an expression that didn’t change at all. He just made a quick mouth gesture, then turned his head away as if nothing had happened, and leaned back on the seat.
Luo ZhouZhou saw his mouth clearly say, “Go”.
The motorcade sped up, leaving Luo ZhouZhou behind, whistling out of the villa’s gates. He was left behind and slowly stopped running, walking blankly toward the gate. After walking for a while, he suddenly remembered that he hadn’t paid attention whether Linda was in the car.
He immediately stopped, turned around, and ran back toward the General’s residence. The General’s residence was still brightly lit, giving Luo ZhouZhou hope as he was getting closer and closer. He burst through the wide open iron gate, stepped over the trampled lawn, and ran up the steps into the villa.
He stood at the entrance, gasping for breath, and looked at the mess in front of him.
There was no one in the living room, the furniture cabinet doors were open, and the contents were tossed out and scattered all over the floor. Even the couch had been turned over, with its bottom cut open, exposing the inside.
“Madam!” Luo ZhouZhou shouted. His voice was dry and harsh, echoing in the empty space.
“Linda!” He shouted upstairs again.
After a few seconds of waiting, there was no response, and Linda was apparently gone as well.
“Butler Li!” For the first time, the usually omnipresent Butler Li didn’t come out to answer.
Luo ZhouZhou went up the stairs to the second floor and pushed open every door without stopping to look. Every room was empty and unoccupied, also tossed into disarray. The bedding had been thrown on the floor, and every bed had been cut open, with its duck feather fillings scattered all over the room. Even the wallpaper was ripped off the walls and the ceiling was removed.
Everywhere had been searched, as if they were looking for something.
Luo ZhouZhou went back downstairs, walked slowly into the living room, and picked up the broken couch cushions in front of him and piled them up on the sofa. After looking around, he went to the dining room, picked up a white porcelain and blue-flowered salt shaker from the carpet, and put it back on the dining table.
It was Linda’s favorite salt shaker, but the lid had rolled away somewhere. He searched around and finally found the lid under the cabinet inside the small bar. He knelt down on the floor and leaned over, stretching out his long hand to pull out the lid.
As soon as his fingers touched the smooth round porcelain lid with difficulty, he heard footsteps coming from outside.
He was surprised. Could it be Linda or Butler Li returning?
He was about to get up from the ground when he suddenly felt that something was wrong. The unhurried footsteps, with the muffled sound of boots hitting the marble steps, couldn’t have been Linda or Butler Li. Who would come to the villa at this hour?
Luo ZhouZhou slowly knelt up and hid behind the bar, only his eyes showing through the glasses and utensils on the bar.
A man walked into the villa and stood in the living room.
From the first moment he appeared, Luo ZhouZhou recognized him as the same Sky Wolf who had fought with Chu Feng a few days before after he came out of the sanatorium. Sky Wolf looked around the living room, and his eyes fell on the few sofa seats in the middle.
The sofas were knocked over on the floor, but the cushions were placed on top of them. He came to a stop in front of the sofa, pressed the cushion with his hand, looked toward the dining room again, and slowly walked over.
He stepped so lightly, that when the soles of his boots fell to the floor, it only made a rustling sound.