Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
During this period of time, Qi Fen didn’t leave the Underground Trading Floor Institute.
When Blue Shark learned about the big breakthrough, he wanted to help but couldn’t, so he could only send more people to guard the entrance of the institute, so not even a fly could pass by there.
Qi Fen lived and ate in the institute, 24 hours a day, and worked with Luo ZhouZhou to study the unknown cells and try to fuse them with Benzedrine. The unknown cells killed the Sunset Virus, and the Benzedrine activated the patient’s bodily functions, therefore with this two-pronged approach, there was hope that the patients could be cured.
Luo ZhouZhou also visited Xiao Yu at the Military Research Institute.
When he walked into the hospital room, there were colorful paper frogs all over the room, hanging all over the head and foot of the bed, and in a circle around the electric light in the middle of the room, the rest hanging on the window frame, fluttering slightly like wind chimes.
The moment Xiao Yu saw him, her eyes lit up and she grinned with a toothless grin. When Luo ZhouZhou approached the hospital bed, they just stared at each other and giggled.
After a while, Luo ZhouZhou remembered his business and said to Xiao Yu, “I did what I promised you, Sunset Face can finally be cured.”
Xiao Yu couldn’t speak at all now, and could only make a face of wonder to express her inner joy.
Luo ZhouZhou went on to say, “Don’t worry, the first batch of medicine is in the process of being made, and it will be ready for you in a week.”
Xiao Yu’s eyes slowly filled with tears, which flowed down from the wrinkled corners of her eyes.
“When you’re better, I’ll invite you to my house, to see Precious and Big Crow and Little Crow, and my Alpha.” Luo ZhouZhou looked around and found no tissue, so he tugged at his sleeve and clumsily and carefully went to wipe her tears.
Xiao Yu choked and nodded, while mouthing, “Okay.”
As the election was about to begin, Calgar spent his days at various events, either at charity events or giving speeches all around. Chu Feng, as usual, followed him wherever he went, with Willson at his side.
Although Calgar was threatened by him, he didn’t seem to take it personally and still held him in high regard. But Chu Feng knew in his heart that once the election was over, the blade hanging over his head would fall.
Today was a day to attend a charity auction and meet with some politicians and businessmen, and Chu Feng sat in the limousine, eyeing Calgar sitting opposite him without a word.
Calgar was leaning against the back of the seat with his eyes closed, and his face, with a rare expression that didn’t maintain a genial, standard smile, looked more than a little gloomy as the corners of his mouth drooped slightly.
“Chu Feng.” He spoke suddenly.
“I am here.” Chu Feng was sitting upright across from him.
When Calgar called him without speaking, Chu Feng waited quietly.
A little while later, Calgar slowly opened his eyes and asked, “Chu Feng, what is your dream?”
“Loyalty to Your Excellency and to build a better alliance,” Chu Feng replied fluently, without thinking.
Calgar didn’t comment on his answer and turned to look out the window. This was the busiest part of Bayard, lined with new high-rises and roads as wide as Aleisha’s. The only difference was that there were always one or two raggedy people sitting on the street.
When the red light came on and the driver stopped and waited, neither Calgar nor Chu Feng spoke. On the side of the street was a full garbage can, and the garbage that couldn’t fit in the can was thrown out at random. A crippled, middle-aged man was squatting on the ground, rummaging through the garbage bags.
“Do you know what my dream is?” Calgar suddenly spoke up and asked.
Chu Feng replied respectfully, “I don’t know.”
“I hope the world is fair and that Bayard’s children will no longer cry and will be able to sit in spacious classrooms. They have the same opportunity as Aleisha’s children to let their lives shine,” Calgar said.
Chu Feng’s hands on his lap squeezed slightly, “Your Excellency, you have achieved your dream, and now that many new schools have been built in Bayard, the children will not wander around.”
Pointing out the window, Calgar said, “But look, what hope is there for such people? His only wish is to rummage through the trash a little more, and the money he exchanges for a glass of wine, or to gamble a little more.”
“His leg is lame, Your Excellency,” Chu Feng whispered.
“A lame leg is no excuse, Chu Feng, the Alliance is a huge machine, and we are its axles, pushing it along with difficulty. The children of the Alliance are the tiny components that fill the machine with hope. The lazy people outside are the rust on the machine, their greediness covering the skin, heavy and useless, only gradually corroding the machine, making it harder for us to push.”
The middle-aged man next to the trash can, as if he had found something good, his eyes lit up. He slowly pulled out a pink object from the trash, slapped it, and pulled up the corner of his coat to wipe the stains from it.
It was a pink rabbit plush, half of its ears were gone, but the middle-aged man smiled gently and put it carefully into the big bag he had placed at his feet.
Chu Feng silently thought, Maybe the waiting children will cheer when he goes home and pulls the plush out of the bag.
The light turned green, the driver started the car, and the middle-aged man, still going through the trash, disappeared from view.
Calgar eased back into the seat, darkened the windows, and hid his face in the shadows. “Chu Feng, if the people who will only be a burden to the Alliance are gone, the next generation, and then the next, will live in an extremely beautiful environment.”
“Your Excellency, he is also trying to live, but with a lame leg…” Chu Feng said with his head bowed, “Maybe he is not rust, but given the right place, he will also be embedded in the machine and become the driving force behind the Alliance.”
Calgar sighed and replied, “There’s a lot of poor funding going on everywhere, and everyone is reaching out to me for it. There are a large number of Truthers at the border, and the military can’t afford to stop, but there are a large number of unemployed people in Bayard, waiting to receive welfare payments… By the way, what’s going on with that institute with Qi Fen? Is it actually useful to spend so much money every day to treat Sunset Face?”
Chu Feng slowly raised his head, his deep eyes unable to see what he was thinking.
“Your Excellency, do you mean that the Institute will be closed down after the general election?”
“What do you think?” Calgar looked at him and asked him slowly.
Instead of answering, Chu Feng asked, “Your Excellency, are you going to give up those patients if Sunset Face is not cured?”
Calgar didn’t answer his question either, asking instead, “So has Sunset Face been cured?”
Chu Feng laughed and said, “It’s still in development, but it’s said to be a bit of a breakthrough.”
Calgar waved his hand casually, “Let’s leave it at that for now.”
As the days passed, especially the day before Election Day, there was a general election atmosphere everywhere. People in brightly colored costumes handed out flyers on the street, a giant floating screen above repeatedly replayed the analysis of the hosts and guests, and a banner with balloons next to it spelled out the date the election opened.
When the long, tedious event was over, Chu Feng drove past the flyers floating down the street and quickly arrived at Xiao Feng’s building. The roll-up door on the ground floor opened, and he parked the car, then hurried upstairs to his room on the second floor.
Chen SiHan, standing in front of the window, also turned to look at the door, “Chu Feng, you’re here.”
Chu Feng took off his military cap and sat down on the couch, getting straight to the point and asking, “How’s it going? Did the investigation come up with anything?”
Second Lieutenant Lin, who had given Luo ZhouZhou the honey bear, stood up, clicked on his terminal, and a three-dimensional display appeared in the air.
What appeared on the screen was a picture of Calgar, and his biography.
“We disguised ourselves and started from the school he attended as a young boy, all the way from the university to the town of Amicus where he was born, and the information all fit together.” Second Lieutenant Lin said.
“No problems?” Chu Feng narrowed his eyes.
Second Lieutenant Lin smiled mysteriously and said, “But when we arrived at the town of Amicus, where he lived as a child, we found something very interesting.”
Chu Feng didn’t make a sound, his legs folded over the couch, and Chen SiHan eagerly asked, “What was the interesting thing?”
“We didn’t find anything, so we prepared to return home and sat down to eat noodles at a small noodle shop before the trip. The noodle shop had the news on, and it was him giving a speech. A drunken old man in the corner suddenly said: ‘Disgusting liar, who stole his brother’s presidency, you’ve all been cheated by him.’”
“Liar?” When Chu Feng heard this, he also sat up slightly.
Second Lieutenant Lin continued, “When Li Feng and I waited for the old man to leave the noodle shop, we followed him all the way and finally brought him to a bar, bought him a few drinks, and then got him to speak. The old man said that Calgar was his nephew, but not the guy on TV. He said the guy on TV was Calgar’s twin brother, Edie.”
“A twin brother?” Chen SiHan blurted out, and Chu Feng tightened his brows.
“Why did he say it was Edie?”
Second Lieutenant Lin replied, “Shortly after Edie and Calgar were born, their mother was out pushing them in the sun, and Edie was stolen. Witnesses said that he was taken away by priests in robes. His family searched all the churches without finding him and finally had to give up.”
“What did their mother find at the time?”
“She said she was teasing the child, saying that one of them cried during the day and the other at night, and that seeing his brother during the day was like seeing him at night, and that it was torturous. A priest passing by heard this and came to see the child, and amused him for a while. When he left, the poor woman went to buy a handful of groceries, and within a minute, when she came out, Edie was gone.”
Chu Feng tapped his finger on the wooden arm of the sofa and asked, “Did the old man say anything else?”
Second Lieutenant Lin recalled and said, “The old man said that Calgar hadn’t been back to town since he finished college and must have been replaced by the missing twin brother. He recognized his nephew Calgar right away, because his ears were a bit floppy, his lower lip was bruised, and the right side of his mouth was higher than the left when he spoke, but he didn’t see him on TV.”
He took a deep breath and said, suppressing his excitement, “The old man said in one breath that this president… he must be Edie.”
“The real Calgar was impersonated after college, would that be possible?” Chen SiHan couldn’t help but ask.
Chu Feng spoke softly, “It’s not impossible.”
“Then did you find any evidence that he was not himself?” Chen SiHan asked again.
Second Lieutenant Lin shook his head and said, “It’s hard. The old man kept saying the same thing over and over again, and couldn’t come up with any other evidence. He just swore that he wasn’t mistaken, that Calgar had been impersonated by Edie, and that the real Calgar had been killed after he finished college.”
“Isn’t it possible to compare the information base?” Some officers nearby asked.
The one who went with Second Lieutenant Lin, Li Feng, interjected, “We had someone quietly compare the data, and the information is the same, whether it’s DNA or pheromones, Calgar and the information base all fit together.”
Chu Feng waved his hand and said, “It’s useless, even if Calgar is really Edie, the information database has already been processed.”
Second Lieutenant Lin scratched his head and said, “Li Feng and I thought it was a big discovery, and with the idea that we might dig up something, we came back and visited our classmates during Calgar’s college days. We both said that we needed research information for the election, and they were very cooperative and told us everything.”
“And did they tell you anything useful?” Chen SiHan followed up with a question.
Second Lieutenant Lin looked at Chu Feng, who was contemplating, and said, “They said that during his university years, Calgar was very lively and outgoing, had a wide range of hobbies, loved photography and travel, and had never been involved in politics. He had also said many times that he would travel around and photograph wildlife after graduation. They were quite surprised that Calgar suddenly changed his mind about politics and went to study for Bayard’s executive position right after graduation.”
Chu Feng rested his head on the couch, closed his eyes and said, “I pulled up Calgar’s resume, and it says he graduated from the university the year the Truth Church fell and the empire was overthrown.”
“That matches up with the time that the old man spoke about. He said that Calgar never went back to his hometown after graduating from college, and that he came back every holiday before that, and would even talk and drink with his uncle.” Second Lieutenant Lin said.
An officer sitting by the window was puzzled and asked, “If Calgar was the fake identity of Edie, why didn’t he use his own name, instead of killing his own brother and using someone else’s?”
“Because of the problems with his original identity, he had to take the place of someone else,” Chu Feng said softly.
“What could be wrong with his original identity? A fugitive from justice? Murder, jailbreak, robbery? Or loan default?” A subordinate speculated.
Chu Feng didn’t reply, but got up and walked to the window, clasped his hands in front of his chest, and gazed into the distance.
No one dared to disturb him, only waited quietly.
A flock of doves flew across the sky and landed on the steeple of a church a few hundred meters away, squatting into a row of small black dots.
The church had also been remodeled and was now a public library.
Chu Feng looked at the doves and murmured, “One day, the star will be picked up from the sludge and shine with its own light. …Twenty-seven stars, shining forever on the Alliance…”
Chen SiHan looked blankly at Second Lieutenant Lin, who shrugged his shoulders at him and spread his hands to show that he didn’t understand either.
Chu Feng was silent again, turned back and said, “I suddenly remembered a little story about the Truth Church. In the final years of the Empire’s overthrow, when the Truth Church was at its most rampant, they seized power and, on the verge of madness, expelled all those who suffered from Sunset Face, sending them to a desert or island where they were left to their own destruction.”
“When the believers drove the last of the Sunset Face patients out of the border, one of them, a wise and highly respected man, said to the believers: You have defiled the holy religion of Truth and made it evil, but your future will be either at the point of a gun or on the gallows, and this land will be swallowed up by darkness and turned into an uninhabited desert.“
“The wise man told them not to grieve, saying that it had been foretold in the Flame Sutra that the true Son of Truth would go with them to an unknown place and return one day to save the people of this land.
Second Lieutenant Lin was puzzled and asked, “They were driven out by the Truth Church, so why should they believe in the prophecy in the Flame Sutra? And the wise men said something about the holy religion of Truth, which has always been an evil devil.”
There were a few knocks on the door, and everyone stopped talking.
Xiao Feng brought in some coffee, put it down, and then left the room.
Chu Feng picked up the cup of coffee, took a sip and said, “I have read the Flame Sutra, which expresses inner happiness and equality. It’s about the generations of believers who deliberately misinterpret the meaning of the scriptures to satisfy their own desires.”
“And this… has something to do with Calgar, no… with Edie?” Chen SiHan asked blankly.
Chu Feng narrowed his eyes and said softly, “On page 90 of the Flame Sutra, there is a prophecy: ‘The ascetic saw the Holy Son of Night in the mirror of day, and finally followed it to find him. He is taken to an unknown region and guarded until he gradually awakens and finally returns to save his people.’”
Chen SiHan contemplated for a moment and suddenly said, “You mean that Calgar, no, Edie, was recognized as the Holy Son by those people of the Truth Church, so they abducted and raised him? Seeing the Son of the Night in the mirror of day means identical twins, who consider themselves ascetics, guarding the awakening of the Holy Son.”
“When Calgar became president, it was the return of the Holy Son they thought would save their people.” Second Lieutenant Lin brightened and answered.
Chen SiHan’s eyes gleamed and said, “When the Truth Church fell, there was no escape for Edie, so he killed his own twin brother and took his place.”
He stood up with a clap of his hands and said excitedly, “That explains why Calgar decided that our group of Special Forces would fail the mission and would destroy the application in advance, because he wouldn’t let us catch the archdeacon and give him up.”
“When we were on the Bavo Church mission, Gu Shuming was shaking in the car and said that if anyone died, he would put it on Calgar’s head, so he must have learned the secret somewhere, and he understood quite a lot.”
Chu Feng turned back again and looked at the church in a daze.
“Calgar was once our honorary rector, and it was probably at that time that Gu Shuming discovered something.”
Chen SiHan also fell silent, and after a moment said, “Maybe he ran into a conversation between Calgar and Wang Jun.”
Neither of them spoke again, but looked out of the window silently.
The officer sitting at the round table mumbled, “No wonder the Alliance has so much money, but never enough, and the Truth Church at the border is growing stronger and stronger. Maybe he has taken all our funds and is trying to revive the Truth Church.”
Second Lieutenant Lin coughed and said, “But without evidence, all our inferences are just inferences.”
Chen SiHan sighed and covered his forehead, “Tomorrow is the election, and if he is re-elected, he will clean us up one by one, so it will be hard to get another chance.”
Chu Feng put his coffee cup back on the table and said, “I think this may be the secret that General Luo has.”
Chen SiHan looked at him desperately, “But Luo Pei won’t tell us, so we have no choice but to watch.”
“Soon.” Chu Feng suddenly said.
“What’s coming soon?” Chen SiHan asked.
Chu Feng said, “If my estimation is correct, General Luo will see me today.”
Chu Feng narrowed his eyes and said, “The last time I saw him in prison, he said he would come to me if he figured it out, proving that he has his own channels to get news from the outside world. Although it wasn’t a direct order from Calgar, Luo Pei won’t hold onto the evidence any longer, and he can’t afford the possibility of Zhou Zhou being in danger again in the future.”
“Are you that sure?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, Chu Feng’s terminal beeped with a message.
He looked down, smiled and said, “Someone contacted me and said Luo Pei wants to see me.”
Chen SiHan opened his eyes wide and exclaimed, “You really did guess.”
“It wasn’t a guess,” Chu Feng said.
“Then what’s the reason?”
Chu Feng stood up, straightened his cap and replied, “Because we both love Zhou Zhou.”