Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Chu Feng hung up the call to his subordinate, turned off the fire, and brought out the steamed egg custard. As soon as he put it on the table, the terminal, which had not been turned on for a long time, rang continuously.
It was a flood of messages, and missed call alerts. He casually tapped on two of them, and found that many were from subordinates, mixed with the group of cops from Chen SiHan’s Police Department.
“Congratulations General Chu, on finally getting your own Omega.”
“Knowing that General Chu is on leave for seven days, the army held a party for you in the evening to celebrate.”
“General Chu, Sheriff Chen gave us red envelopes on your behalf, congratulations.”
Chu Feng browsed through the messages, his face indifferent and expressionless. After confirming that there was nothing important at the military headquarters these days, he turned off the terminal and turned to the kitchen to serve rice.
Only when he finished serving one bowl and lifted his hand to take another did he suddenly give a shallow laugh.
When Luo ZhouZhou’s heat was completely over, Chu Feng picked up the medicine he had bought and took him to see Aunt Liu.
This was the first time they had been out of the house for a few days, and the moment Luo ZhouZhou stepped out of the building, he felt his feet floating. He grabbed Chu Feng’s sleeve next to him and laughed, “I’m walking like an astronaut,”
Chu Feng also laughed and said, “Come, let me see your gland again.”
Luo ZhouZhou obediently leaned over, exposing a white section of the back of his neck. Chu Feng leaned in, sniffed him, and after seeing that no one was around, he quickly kissed him. Then he straightened Luo ZhouZhou’s collar and said, “Come on, your glands are recovering nicely, and our pheromones are fused, so congratulations on a healthy and perfect heat.”
Luo ZhouZhou pursed his lips and said, “Thank you.”
Chu Feng’s house was not far from Wang Jun’s, just a couple of blocks away. The afternoon was warm and soft, and the two of them were walking slowly along the sidewalk, holding hands. Luo ZhouZhou looked around as they walked, checking the goods in the windows on both sides and at the interesting pedestrians, and kept talking.
Chu Feng listened patiently and attentively, responding from time to time.
“What’s that one with the pointy roof?” He asked Chu Feng, pointing to a building in front of him on the right.
Chu Feng looked in the direction of his finger and answered, “That’s a church.”
“No, it’s not a church anymore, it seems to have been converted into an elementary school,” Chu Feng said. He went on to explain, “The Alliance has only been in existence for twenty years now, and until I was six or seven years old, it was the end of the Empire, and there were Truth churches built everywhere, basically every two streets. Many of the buildings you see in Bayard now, including theaters or libraries and the like, were converted from the original churches.”
The two men soon walked to the door of the elementary school, where the church once stood. The gate had been rebuilt, widened and equipped with a retractable door, and the name of the school was on the side.
Luo ZhouZhou looked inside and asked, “Is that little playground where the church used to be?”
“Yes, that playground used to be a big garden, but now it’s converted into a playground.” Chu Feng said, “It used to be my and Wang Jun’s favorite place to play.”
“I still remember the petunias planted in front of the church, and in summer, there were petunias of all colors everywhere, hanging on the wall like trumpets. Wang Jun and I used to climb over the wall and walk through those flowers and plants, and we would run around the empty church, playing hide-and-seek among other things. When we got tired, we would lie down on the benches and sleep.”
Luo ZhouZhou laughed and asked, “Didn’t you get caught by those priests?”
“No,” Chu Feng said with amusement, “This church wasn’t crowded in the afternoon. Chu Feng said with a cheerful face, “This church was empty in the afternoon, and was only open in the morning to preach to the believers, explaining the Flame Sutra and all that.”
Luo ZhouZhou tilted his head and imagined the scene. Two little boys running recklessly through the deserted garden, chasing each other through the empty area, laughing and chasing each other, spilling a lot of laughter.
“But there was one exception. We were playing in the back garden when many people from the church came and searched the garden. At that time, Wang Jun and I hid behind a flower bed full of petunias and weren’t discovered. In fact, it was the big people from the church who came there and had to clean up the area beforehand.”
“Then which big person arrived there?” Luo ZhouZhou asked, “Do you remember?”
Chu Feng nodded his head and said, “When the searchers left, Wang Jun and I heard talking coming from the main hall, so we sneaked over and hid behind the door to peek.”
“Then what did you see?”
“I saw a group of believers surrounded by an old priest in the middle. The priest had a crown on his head and was holding a staff encrusted with precious stones,” Chu Feng said. “When I grew up later, I realized that who I saw that day was actually the archbishop of Olin Truth Church at the time.”
“Wow.” Luo ZhouZhou’s eyes widened.
Chu Feng added, “But shortly after I met him that day, the Alliance was formed and he was sent to the gallows to be executed. Those were some of the happiest years of my childhood, and my parents were both still alive.” Chu Feng stopped in his tracks and looked at the church through the fence.
His eyes were far away, as if he was looking at the steeples, or caught up in memories, with a light smile on his face.
Luo ZhouZhou followed suit, looking at the children running around the playground, the arched windows and the stained glass. It took a while before Chu Feng picked him up and walked on, saying, “Come on, let’s go see Auntie Liu.”
Both Aunt Liu and Wang Su were at home, and the moment Wang Su opened the door and saw Chu Feng, her eyes lit up. Then she saw Luo ZhouZhou beside him, and their clasped hands, and her eyes dimmed again.
But she immediately adjusted, opened the door, and greeted him warmly, “Brother Chu Feng, Zhou Zhou, you are here.”
Chu Feng nodded to her and took Luo ZhouZhou through the door. Auntie Liu was still sitting on the rattan chair in front of the window with a blanket on her lap. She happily greeted the two of them, “Wang Jun, Chu Feng, you’re out of school?”
“My name is Luo ZhouZhou. I was here last time and spoke to you.” Luo ZhouZhou knew that she couldn’t remember, so he went forward and introduced himself.
“Oh oh oh, Luo ZhouZhou, you are Wang Jun’s classmate, aren’t you?”
Luo ZhouZhou hesitated for a second and said, “Yes.”
“Yes, it was you last time, that pretty boy, come over here and let me see.” Aunt Liu laughed.
Luo ZhouZhou took a few steps forward, dragged over a chair, and sat down in front of her.
Chu Feng smiled and stood aside. After seeing Luo ZhouZhou and Aunt Liu chatting, he called Wang Su aside and asked, “How is Aunt Liu’s health these days?”
“It’s fine, thank you Brother Chu Feng for your concern.” Wang Su replied.
Chu Feng said, “I was a little busy this last week, Auntie Liu’s medicine is almost finished, so I hurriedly sent some more over today.”
Wang Su looked at the big paper bag on the table, “There is still more medicine. The medicine you had put in the barber store downstairs a few days ago is still not finished.”
“Oh, I almost forgot.” Chu Feng responded after a moment of silence.
The two of them looked at Luo ZhouZhou and Aunt Liu, who were chatting.
Auntie Liu reached out and touched his face, saying, “Zhou Zhou, if anyone bullies you at school, you can tell Wang Jun and Chu Feng to help you fight back.”
Luo ZhouZhou turned his head suddenly to look at Chu Feng. Chu Feng nodded his head, and he turned to Aunt Liu and said, “Okay, I’ll make them help me.”
Wang Su watched the small interaction between Chu Feng and Luo ZhouZhou and suddenly said, “Brother Chu Feng, congratulations.”
Chu Feng knew she could see that Zhou Zhou had been permanently marked, and smiled as he answered, “Thank you.”
“Stay here for dinner today, I’ll go buy some good food.” Wang Su offered.
Chu Feng stopped her and said, “I have something to do, so I won’t eat. By the way, do you have enough money?”
“Where can we use that much money? Besides, I still have my own job, and I haven’t even touched the money you gave me.” Wang Su quickly explained.
Chu Feng stopped saying anything and only looked at Luo ZhouZhou and Aunt Liu.
After a while, Wang Su said, “Brother Chu Feng, I can see that you are very happy now, and I am also happy for you. This is not a good place to live, and it won’t help mom’s recovery. We will move to the new house you bought for us next week.”
Chu Feng looked at Wang Su and saw that she meant what she said in her frank eyes.
“I’ll send someone to move you guys then.”
“Okay.” Wang Su readily agreed this time.
After staying a while longer, Chu Feng took Luo ZhouZhou with him and said goodbye.
“Zhou Zhou, come visit us again when school is over.” Auntie Liu took Luo ZhouZhou’s hand reluctantly.
“Okay Auntie Liu, I will visit you often.”
Chu Feng grabbed his shoulder, “Let’s go.”
Wang Su took them downstairs as usual and said, “Zhou Zhou, next time you can come to our new house to play.”
“I’ll be there. Thanks for the invitation.” Luo ZhouZhou politely said goodbye to Wang Su this time as well.
Walking down the street, Chu Feng saw Luo ZhouZhou’s happy face and asked, “What are you so happy about?”
Luo ZhouZhou tried to open his mouth, then shut it again when he saw the bantering look in his eyes, ran forward two steps, and then walked ahead of him with his hands behind his back.
Chu Feng watched his back with a smile on his face and then turned his eyes away to look at the pointed roof of the elementary school. The smile faded and his countenance turned thoughtful.
They went to the supermarket to buy some groceries before going home hand in hand. Just a few steps into the neighborhood, they saw a young officer standing in front of their building, holding a plush in his hands and wearing a straight military uniform.
The officer saw Chu Feng from afar, stood up straight and saluted, holding the large plush brown bear, half a body sized, with a big pink bow tied on it.
The young officer also looked embarrassed as the people passing by stared at him, “General Chu.”
Luo ZhouZhou, led by Chu Feng, looked at the brown bear as he walked forward, his eyes wide.
Chu Feng stepped forward and asked in an even tone, “Second Lieutenant Lin, what can I do for you?”
Second Lieutenant Lin was about to say that the prize you made me get from the game company to ask for had been sent to you, when he saw the warning in Chu Feng’s half-lidded eyes and his cold gaze, so he immediately shut his mouth alertly.
Chu Feng’s request in the terminal was to send it to him, but he felt it wasn’t serious enough, so he respectfully hand-delivered it to his door. But it looked as if something was wrong, not what he had envisioned.
He saw Luo ZhouZhou staring at the brown bear in his arms, and a lightbulb appeared in his mind.
“General Chu, the military department received a delivery from the game company to send you this brown bear, and I delivered it to you.” Second Lieutenant Lin probed with a stiff scalp.
Luo ZhouZhou was finally sure that this was the prize he had won, and jumped up in joy, giving a short ah. He didn’t want to take it away from him, but quickly looked over at Chu Feng and tugged on his sleeve.
Chu Feng patted his hand reassuringly, the warning in his eyes faded, and said, “You’ve worked hard.”
Second Lieutenant Lin’s tense heart suddenly eased up, and he was glad. It seemed that this was the right direction to take. He handed over the bear in his arms, and Luo ZhouZhou quickly reached out his hand to receive it.
When he received it, he hugged it tightly and said, “Thank you.”
Second Lieutenant Lin saw the smile on Chu Feng’s face and added, “This is the game company’s grand prize, so the prize plush is half the size of a body.”
“Grand prize?” Luo ZhouZhou was surprised.
Second Lieutenant Lin explained without changing his expression, “The top ten who finish the game the best and fastest get the grand prize.”
Although he had asked the game company directly to bring the bear, it was indeed the grand prize, which was twice as big as the first prize. Second Lieutenant Lin considered this, so he replied in a very straightforward manner.
Luo ZhouZhou looked surprised and turned to look at Chu Feng again.
Chu Feng walked up to him, touched his head, and said to Second Lieutenant Lin, “You’ve worked hard, go back.”
“Yes, sir.” Second Lieutenant Lin immediately turned around and was about to leave the neighborhood.
“Wait.” Chu Feng called out to him again.
Second Lieutenant Lin stopped in his tracks.
“Very clever, not bad.”
Ensign Lin’s eyes glowed brightly, leaned back on his feet to salute, and replied loudly, “Thank you General Chu for the compliment.”
As they entered the elevator, Luo ZhouZhou handed the honey bear to Chu Feng’s arms and said, “This is for you.”
“Do you like it?” Luo ZhouZhou was asking him, but his tone was very positive. He didn’t think anyone would dislike Honey Bear.
“I like it.” Chu Feng answered.
“This bear belongs to you, and you can have it as a companion for Precious.” Luo ZhouZhou stroked the bear’s head fondly.
“Yes, I can keep Precious company 24 hours a day.”
Luo ZhouZhou looked up at him, puzzled.
Chu Feng changed his mind and said, “I also want him to be with me, but Precious is more important.”
Luo ZhouZhou stopped, looked at the bear in Chu Feng’s arms from time to time, and laughed to himself.
“What are you laughing at?” Chu Feng asked.
“It’s the grand prize, I actually won the grand prize.” Luo ZhouZhou was beaming and couldn’t contain his excitement, “I’m so good at my first game, so I—”
“Stop, don’t go on thinking about it.” Chu Feng, fearing that he might have built up some kind of confidence in him, put an end to his gaming career.
Luo ZhouZhou kept his mouth shut, but his eyes wandered to the corner of the elevator, apparently still immersed in his imagination.
Chu Feng added, “You are very good, but there are only ten grand prizes, so if you win the honey bear, what will happen to the others who play the game?
“Ah… oh.” Luo ZhouZhou let out a long sigh.
When the elevator stopped and he walked out, he said, “Never mind, one honey bear is fine.”
“Figured it out?” Chu Feng asked.
Luo ZhouZhou walked in front, swiped open the door, and said, “You won’t cherish more than one, and if there were ten of you, I might just—”
Chu Feng was still waiting for the rest of his sentence, but he suddenly stopped in his tracks.
Luo ZhouZhou turned around slowly and said with a longing face, “Chu Feng, if there were ten of you, it would be wonderful.”
Chu Feng reached out his hand, turned his head back slowly, pointed out the window and said, “See the sun?”
“I see it.” Luo ZhouZhou nodded his head under his arm.
“The sun is still up, what are you dreaming of in broad daylight?”
Chu Feng put the honey bear in his arms and said, “Do me a favor and introduce him to his new mate Precious while I cook.”
“What do you want to eat?”
Luo ZhouZhou asked, “Can I eat anything I want?”
“Order away.” Chu Feng replied confidently, taking off his jacket and hanging it by the door and starting to roll up his sleeves.
“I want to eat…” Luo ZhouZhou began to think hard, and Chu Feng waited for him. “Just make whatever you want. I love whatever you make. I can’t think of anything.”
“Then let’s have bread,” Chu Feng said deliberately.
“Okay, let’s eat the bread.”
“Cut the white bread, spread a little jam on it and it’s dinner.”
“All the bread you cut is delicious.” Luo ZhouZhou tossed the honey bear.
Chu Feng laughed, took him into his arms, and kissed him hard on the lips and face. Luo ZhouZhou’s face was deformed from the squeeze, and he kept grunting and crying out in pain, but he didn’t reach out and push the man away.
When Chu Feng finally let go, Luo ZhouZhou’s face was covered with red teeth marks, his hair was ruffled, and he looked at Chu Feng in frustration.
“If you keep looking at me like that, I’m going to kiss you again,” Chu Feng said softly.
Luo ZhouZhou whispered, “Then be gentle.”
After saying that, he leaned forward again.
Chu Feng’s breath hitched and he asked, “Why are you so good?”
“Well, I guess I’m fine,” Luo ZhouZhou said.
Chu Feng laughed again, smoothed his ruffled hair, and said, “Let’s eat before kissing, can’t let you go hungry. So go, bring Precious to meet his new friend, and I’ll make tomato noodles.”