Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Before the accident, General Luo told me that he knew a secret that could topple the Alliance, and that he had proof. He didn’t specify, but he was probably referring to the president,” Chu Feng said.
Luo ZhouZhou asked, “Did he tell you what the secret was?
“No.” Chu Feng shook his head.
“Then can you guess what it is?”
Luo ZhouZhou said frostily, “Then I still don’t know anything.”
“General Luo keeps his mouth shut, and there are things that only he can tell you. But I can tell you my story,” Chu Feng said.
Luo ZhouZhou was surprised and asked, “Is there something between you and the President too?”
Chu Feng pondered for a moment, and then replied, “Actually, I have always suspected that Calgar was involved in the death of my comrades, and have been searching for evidence for a long time.”
Luo ZhouZhou widened his eyes slightly, “How do you know that he is related to the death of your comrades?”
“The day we went on our mission, we were all crammed into one truck. Usually we could accomplish even the toughest missions, so this time, no one took it seriously, other than checking the guns we had with us, we were just joking around.” Chu Feng rested his hands clasped on the edge of the bed and turned his head to look out the window, lost in his memories.
“Everyone was relaxed, except for one person who was unusually nervous. He was usually a joker, but that time he didn’t say a word, just polished his gun. I was sitting right next to him, and when I bumped into him, I noticed he was shaking.”
On a deserted road in Bayard, two military trucks were driving, each with a Special Forces soldier holding a firearm in the back.
“Wang Jun, lighter.”
Chu Feng had a steel helmet on his head, camouflage on his face, and a cigarette slanting in his mouth.
Sitting on the outside, Wang Jun tapped down his body and tossed a small silver object to him, saying, “The cigarette never leaves your mouth, but you never carry a lighter with you.”
“As soon as I changed my clothes, I forgot about it.” Chu Feng commented lazily as he caught the lighter thrown in the air.
After lighting the cigarette in his mouth, he wanted to throw it back, but Wang Jun said, “Put it away, so you don’t have to ask me for it again later.”
Chu Feng wasn’t polite and put the lighter into his pocket.
“Aren’t you usually a heavy smoker? Why don’t you smoke anymore?” Chu Feng asked Gu Shuming, who was sitting next to him.
Gu Shuming, who was from Bayard with him, was usually the most talkative and couldn’t keep his mouth shut. But now he lowered his head without saying a word, and didn’t even pick up the cigarette passed to him.
“Old Gu, I’m asking you, why don’t you say anything?” Chu Feng touched Gu Shuming with his elbow.
“What’s wrong? What’s going on?” Gu Shuming jumped up and went to grab the gun beside him.
Chu Feng was shocked and looked at him in disbelief.
Gu Shuming reacted when he saw the scene inside the car, smiled and explained to Chu Feng, “I just fell asleep and was dreaming.”
After saying that, he wiped his face and sat down again.
Chu Feng saw that his face was unusually pale, and couldn’t help but ask, “Old Gu, are you not feeling well? I see that your whole body is out of sorts.”
Gu Shuming shook his head, looked at his hands, and said, “It’s nothing, just a dream.”
Chu Feng didn’t say anything else and slowly lowered his head to wipe the gun in his hand.
After wiping the barrel of the gun, he suddenly saw Gu Shuming’s hand trembling on his thigh out of the corner of his eye.
He put down the gun and whispered to him, “Old Gu, you’re not in the right state, should I ask the captain for a leave of absence from this mission?”
Gu Shuming gave him a sideways glance, his eyes somewhat strange. Then he leaned closer and said, “Chu Feng, you have to be careful in today’s mission.”
“I know, I’m always careful on every mission.” Chu Feng took him by the shoulders and patted him firmly.
“I’m not referring to this, if there is any unusual situation today, absolutely do not get too absorbed in the battle, retreat if you can, hide if you can, even if the captain hasn’t given the order yet, you have to hide.” Gu Shuming continued.
Chu Feng laughed aloud and said, “Old Gu, what’s wrong with you? We’re just going to exterminate a group of Truthers today, not face thousands of troops. Besides, if there are too many people on the other side, don’t we still have… that?”
He didn’t say it explicitly, but Gu Shuming knew that he was talking about Benzedrine.
Instead of relaxing because of his words, Gu Shuming became even more anxious, shaking his feet nervously, straightening his gaze.
“Chu Feng, trust me, as soon as the situation is amiss, hide immediately.”
Chu Feng looked at his expression with a frown and asked, “Old Gu, do you know some kind of internal information?”
Gu Shuming remained silent without answering, and Chu Feng looked at him momentarily amidst the slight jolt of the truck. A long while later, he approached Chu Feng and said in a voice that only two people could hear, “This mission is definitely dangerous and I’m ready to withdraw at the first fishy sign. I’m telling you, this mission cannot be completed smoothly.”
“Why?” Chu Feng pressed in a low voice, “Since you’ve said all that, tell me the reason.”
Gu Shuming looked up at him, his eyes were bloodshot. He gritted his teeth and continued in an angry tone, “Calgar will stop us from completing our mission.”
Seeing Chu Feng’s startled face, he added, “Remember, if things go wrong, run if you can, don’t fight back. If anyone dies, put it on Calgar’s account.”
“As it turned out, something really went wrong with that mission. And it wasn’t as if Gu Shuming had expected that they would face a very harsh battle. Before they could even get to the battlefield, they all fell down without a word like that…”
After Chu Feng finished telling Luo ZhouZhou this story, he gazed out the window at the sky. There were a few pigeons passing by like little ink dots in the gray sky.
“So, you started to suspect Calgar?” Luo ZhouZhou asked.
Chu Feng shook his head and said, “I didn’t suspect Calgar just because of Gu Shuming’s remark, I thought he was just too nervous. It was a few days later that I really knew that Calgar was trouble.”
“A few days later?”
“SiHan and I couldn’t even see our comrades when we wanted to for the last time, and they didn’t give us any information.” Chu Feng laughed to himself, “We spent every day grinding our tongues with those junior officers, not knowing that they had actually been cremated on the day of the accident.”
“A few days later, I made a vow at their graves to find the person who handed me the cipher box. But how can I find the real killer for them when even a junior logistics officer can stop me? So, I needed the power and the authority to investigate the matter freely. All of us cadets in that group were able to contact Calgar directly, so I approached him. Said I’d give him my loyalty and my life as long as I was given the power to be able to investigate the matter.”
“So he agreed, right?” Luo ZhouZhou asked, holding his breath.
Chu Feng faintly replied, “He agreed.”
In the bright and spacious conference room, Chu Feng sat upright on a bench in his low-ranking military officer uniform, hands on his knees and his upper body straight, waiting for President Calgar’s summons.
“His Excellency has a meeting now. He asked you to wait here for a while.” The beautiful and dignified secretary lady brought him a cup of coffee and placed it on the coffee table at his side.
“Thank you.” Chu Feng nodded his head in thanks.
He was handsome, was tall and courteous, causing the secretary to make three trips to the conference room in the space of half an hour. However, the young officer seemed to be a man of few words, because when she brought up countless topics, all of them were cut off with a few words.
Chu Feng was secretly relieved when the secretary finally left with nothing to say.
Last night he had spoken to Calgar through his terminal, expressed his loyalty, and begged to be allowed to investigate the deaths of his comrades. After listening to him, Calgar instantly agreed and asked him to come to the Presidential Palace today.
When Chu Feng thought of this, his heart was filled with gratitude for the Alliance President. Many of the present Alliance officials were relics of the empire, and even though the empire no longer existed, they still retained a lot of class privileges and former extravagant practices, which caused the first president of the Alliance a lot ofheadache.
The nobles were as drunk as ever, and there were starving civilians on the roadside of Bayard. Seeing the growing discontent, the first president resigned before the end of his term.
Calgar answered the call at this point.
Although he was only a local consul in Bayard, he had always been friendly and popular, because he had fought for the rights of the common people, and was well respected by the locals. When he ran for president, his popularity grew. In the end, he defeated his strong competitor by ten votes and became president of the Tylen Alliance.
Within a few short years of Calgar’s accession to the presidency, the Alliance was moving in the right direction, and the old state of dilapidation had been swept away. He removed the power of the nobles, established an institute to conquer Sunset Face, and empowered civilians to receive basic education.
He even made the military academy admit commoners, and sent many officers of civilian origin to the military department. Through this series of measures, Calgar’s popularity has grown over the past two years, and his reputation among the public has reached its peak.
Because of last night’s phone call with Calgar, Chu Feng saw a glimmer of hope amidst his despair and bitterness.
If he could get the support and help of His Excellency the President, he would be able to find the murderers of his comrades and take revenge on them. Chu Feng was now alone in the large conference room.
The dark red velvet curtains were drawn, and sunlight shone through the arched windows.
Chu Feng squinted at the lawn outside the window. The beautiful secretary lady came back in and thoughtfully asked, “Second Lieutenant Chu, His Excellency the President’s meeting will be a little longer, is there anything else you need?”
Chu Feng took a sip of the third cup of coffee she brought in, smiled and said, “No, thank you.”
Then he turned his head and continued to look out the window. After a few more moments, the secretary walked out of the conference room.
As soon as she walked out of the door, Chu Feng heard her shouting, “The lamp in my office is broken, go change it. Also, the paper shredder is out of order, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, so go check it out.”
“As you wish.” Someone answered at the other end of the hallway.
After the secretary left, silence returned to the conference room, except for the chirping of birds outside the window and the occasional rattling of the janitor opening the door of the next room.
Chu Feng remained seated in his chair, waiting patiently for Calgar. At that moment, there was a noise from a room not far away, as if someone had fallen to the floor, letting out a short cry of pain.
“How are you? Is everything okay?” The secretary’s shriek followed.
Chu Feng got up in a hurry and walked out of the conference room. A door on the right side of the hallway suddenly opened and the secretary came out in a panic.
When she saw Chu Feng, she hurriedly asked for help, “Second Lieutenant Chu, the maintenance worker fell down while changing the bulb, can you help me?”
Without saying a word, Chu Feng ran over. The room was small, but it was full of filing cabinets filled with all kinds of documents. In the middle of the room was a stool, and a maintenance worker in blue overalls was sitting on the floor, holding his feet with a pale face.
The floor of the room was hard marble, and he had fallen so hard that red was oozing from his knees.
“Are you okay?” Chu Feng helped him up and asked.
The maintenance worker’s mouth hissed with cool air as he replied, “Ankle… ankle pain.”
“Let me see.” Chu Feng squatted down, lifted up his pants, and saw that his ankle was swollen. He reached out and squeezed it before speaking to the maintenance worker, “It’s not a problem, it’s just a small sprain, just rub some medicinal wine on it and rest for a few days.”
“So can he still walk?” The secretary lady stood at the door and asked.
The maintenance worker let go of Chu Feng’s hand, took a few steps on his toes, and replied cautiously, “Yes, I can walk.”
The secretary wrinkled her eyebrows and said, “Then go back to the break room, and I’ll tell the doctor to take a look at you.”
“But the bulb has just been replaced and I haven’t had time to check the shredder yet,” The maintenance worker said with some apprehension.
Chu Feng saw his terrified face; apparently, the secretary was usually quite strict, so he didn’t dare to leave even if he was injured.
Chu Feng turned to the secretary and said to her, “Miss, if you don’t mind, I can take a look at the shredder.
The secretary looked surprised and asked, “Do you know how to fix a shredder?”
Chu Feng replied, “When we were in military school, we had to learn a little bit of everything.”
The secretary lady smiled and said, “If Second Lieutenant Chu can fix it, it would be a great help for me if you could check it, of course. But will it take up your time?”
“Miss, you’re very kind, but I’m sitting there anyway,” Chu Feng responded.
“Then I’ll trouble you.” The secretary smiled.
After the maintenance worker left, Chu Feng opened the toolbox he had left behind, picked up the tools he needed. Then he took off his military jacket, pulled up his shirt sleeves, and began to take apart the shredder to examine the inside.
“My name is Li Siqi.” The secretary lady sat down in the chair, looked at his small, muscular, smooth arms, and ventured, “Second Lieutenant Chu can call me Siqi.”
Without raising his head, Chu Feng said, “Miss Li, please hand me the red screwdriver.”
“Don’t be polite, just call me Siqi.”
“Miss Li, please hand me the screwdriver, the red one.” 1
Li Siqi’s smile disappeared, as she calmly handed him the screwdriver with a blank face, not speaking again. The room was quiet, and only the sound of Chu Feng repairing the shredder could be heard.
“It’s fixed, let’s try it.”
Ten minutes later, Chu Feng straightened up and let out a long breath.
Miss Li turned around and opened the password locked cabinet behind him, took out a pile of file folders and put them next to the shredder.
“See, all the scrap paper I have to shred these days is here. Two big folders a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, can’t even be disposed of, so they’re all piled up here.”
Chu Feng glanced at the folders and saw that they all had the date written on them, and that they were marked as either morning or afternoon. It seemed that Li Siqi, as a secretary, was very meticulous in her work. She took a document folder at random, took out a few more files, inserted them into the mouth of the shredder, and pressed the button.
The shredder was motionless and unresponsive.
“Still no good.” Li Siqi looked at Chu Feng.
Chu Feng raised his eyebrows and asked, “What’s wrong with it?”
“His Excellency Calgar is good at everything, but he is too reluctant to spend money. This shredder is always out of order, and I have to fix it every time, because he can’t afford to replace it with a new one,” Li Siqi complained.
Chu Feng didn’t answer, still examining the shredder, holding his chest and wondering.
“Ah! How forgetful I am.” Li Siqi suddenly smacked her head and said, “I unplugged the shredder when the maintenance worker came just now.”
After saying that, she squatted down and reached behind the shredder to plug it in. Chu Feng waited for her to plug it in and lowered the cuffs of his shirt. His eyes unconsciously slid over the folder of documents on the side, and then suddenly stopped.
When Li Siqi was pulling out the documents, the lower ones were also taken out, and half of them were exposed outside the folder.
The top one had a line clearly printed on it: “Bavo Church Operation Request”.
Underneath was a line of small black letters, stating the reason for the request of the mission.
Below that was a list of the personnel who would be conducting the operation, and Chu Feng saw several names he instantly recognized. Chu Feng was familiar with this kind of application form, and every time before a mission, the captain would quickly print it out and send it directly to the military headquarters.
When the application was approved, the captain would go back to the military headquarters at the end of the mission, sign the application form, write that the mission had been completed or failed, and then seal it up in the classified room.
The captain would read it out loud every time he wrote the application form on the terminal with a knitted brow and gritted teeth, asking if it made sense.
So the first time Chu Feng saw this request form, he realized that it was the mission request form that the captain had sent to military headquarters before the operation.
The mission was to be carried out in the afternoon of June 5th. But the date on the packet was the morning of June 5. That means that these documents were voided on the morning of June 5 and were due to be shredded.
In other words, the documents weren’t prepared to be signed by the captain again on the application form after they returned from their mission, which was completed. It turned out that before they even left, it was clear to them that the mission was impossible.
When they were eating in the mess hall, discussing the afternoon’s operation, or when they were smearing oil on their faces and sitting in the back of the truck, or when they were wiping the barrels of their guns, they were already dead in the eyes of others.
“Second Lieutenant Chu, Second Lieutenant Chu…” Li Siqi called out, waking Chu Feng up.
He saw that Li Siqi had taken two steps backward and was looking at him with a fearful face.
“Second Lieutenant Chu, are you okay?” Li Siqi’s voice had changed its tone.
Chu Feng tried to calm down his voice and said, “I’m fine.”
“You looked so scary just now…” Li Siqi couldn’t help but look at him for a few more times.
Chu Feng said, “I was distracted and was thinking about something else.”
Li Siqi was obviously frightened by him, and warily said, “The shredder is working, thank you Second Lieutenant Chu, go wash your hands, the meeting with His Excellency Calgar will be over soon, and he will meet you in the conference room when he comes out.”
Chu Feng’s officer uniform was on his arm, and he walked away from Li Siqi and into the bathroom.
He locked the door behind him and washed his hands over and over again, recalling the documents he had just seen. He splashed water on his face, closed his eyes, took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down.
Only when he could no longer see the hatred on the face of the man in the mirror did he wipe off the water, put on his uniform and tidied it up to be without a single wrinkle, and return to the conference room. He sat calmly on a chair in the conference room, his hands still on his knees, and his upper body straight.
After hearing the footsteps and voices of Calgar and his party, he stood up and faced the direction of the conference room door.
Calgar strode into the conference room and smiled at Chu Feng.
Chu Feng jumped to his feet, gave a standard military salute and yelled, “Chu Feng meets His Excellency the President.”
“Sit down, sit down, don’t stand around, you’ve been waiting impatiently, haven’t you?” Calgar smiled, went behind his desk, pressed the intercom again, and said, “Two coffees.” He looked up again and asked Chu Feng, “Do you want sugar?”
Chu Feng pinched himself hard, and with an appropriate, flattered expression he replied, “No sugar, thank you, Your Excellency.”