Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Several terminal beeps sounded, as a message arrived. Chu Feng clicked on it, and it was a message from Second Lieutenant Lin Yi, presumably all of Luo Pei’s data. He clicked on it, and the dense content appeared on the display in the air.
“Zhou Zhou, you were born at the end of the empire, let’s see, where was your home at that time…”
Chu Feng was fiddling with the screen, turning pages, and Luo ZhouZhou was watching him from the passenger seat. While flipping through the pages, he stopped, as if seeing something amusing, and looked at the screen with great interest.
“What is it? What did you find?” Luo ZhouZhou turned his body sideways, peering over to see.
Chu Feng tilted the display to the side, keeping it between them, “Look.”
On the screen, Luo Pei, who looked very young, was holding a dirty, four- or five-year-old boy in his hands. They were walking down a path with a vineyard in the background and the blue sea in the distance. The boy’s body was covered with mud, not a single spot clean, except for his round eyes, which shone with a clear light.
Luo Pei was holding him in one hand, holding an ice cream in the other, talking with his head down. The boy’s mind was clearly distant, but his eyes were staring straight at the ice cream in his hand.
Chu Feng smiled and asked Luo ZhouZhou, “Who do you think this boy is? What’s with the gluttony?”
Luo ZhouZhou also laughed twice, and gradually fell into a trance. As he looked at this picture, he felt something flash in his mind, like some fragments buried in the depths of his memory, which naturally surfaced.
There was a blue ocean in that memory, the water gently flooding his calves, and small fish gently touching his feet, tickling him. He seemed to hear a pleasant laugh, and a trail of tiny footprints on the beach. Down the beach path, a big yellow dog rolled in a mud puddle, and he heard the boy’s boyish voice, “Rhubarb, are you bathing? I’ll keep you company.”
“Luo ZhouZhou, I’ve been looking for you for a long time. See how you’ve rolled in the mud?”
There was an exasperated snapping sound from the edge of the mud pit.
He looked up, and there was Luo Pei with ice cream in hand.
Luo Pei was young, not fat or with a big belly, and as he scolded loudly, he held out his hand worriedly and said, “Come here, come to Daddy.”
“Zhou Zhou, Zhou Zhou.”
Chu Feng’s voice woke Luo ZhouZhou up.
He woke up suddenly and saw Chu Feng waving his right hand in front of his eyes.
“What are you thinking about? You were lost in thought.” Chu Feng asked.
Luo ZhouZhou looked at him and mumbled a little uneasily, “Chu Feng, I seem to have… I seem to have remembered something.”
“What have you remembered?”
Luo ZhouZhou was dazed and said, “I remember this photo when the General was looking for me to go home. We were still on the road when a hobbyist photographer took the picture.”
“You mean to say that the Luo ZhouZhou in this photo is you?”
“What the heck is going on here? I’ve been in the tribe since I was a child, so why do I have these memories?” Luo ZhouZhou’s face was blank.
Chu Feng looked at him quietly and asked a long time later, “Zhou Zhou, if you have two memories, do you remember how you came here from your vampire world?”
Luo ZhouZhou recalled, “It was early in the morning, and I had just gone back to sleep in my attic – I was sleeping in a coffin, a little old, but very comfortable.”
“Well, what happened next?”
“I was just drifting off to sleep when someone knocked on the door and called out to me that it was time for the young master to get up, and that the General and Madam were waiting downstairs.” Luo ZhouZhou scratched his face, “When I woke up, I was here.”
Chu Feng tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and asked tentatively, “Zhou Zhou, have you ever thought that maybe your memories really lied to you?”
“Are you saying the vampire thing is a lie?” Luo ZhouZhou asked.
Chu Feng looked at him and didn’ot reply.
Luo ZhouZhou’s eyes turned red in an instant, and two of his fangs stuck out. He tapped his fangs with his nails, made a tock tock sound, and said, “Look, this is real.”
He turned his head around and looked around the car, “I’ll show you a piece of iron that I can bite through.”
Chu Feng hurriedly said, “No, I believe your teeth are real.”
Luo ZhouZhou withdrew his vampire form and said, bewildered, “I always thought there was another Luo ZhouZhou, but am I really him?”
Chu Feng leaned across his body, took him in his arms, patted him, and said, “Take your time, there’s no hurry, everything will come back to you.”
Chu Feng started the car, the cross-country slowly started, and drove down the road to the west.
After driving for more than an hour, he got off the highway and drove onto a straight road. Although the city was not yet visible, it was already an early spring scene, with green fields and hills filled with flowers of all colors.
Luo ZhouZhou pressed down the window of the car and breathed in the fragrant, grassy mountain air.
“Do you know where we’re going?” Chu Feng asked.
“I don’t know.” Luo ZhouZhou was lying on the car window, a little smothered by the sun.
Chu Feng said, “We’re going to the place where you lived as a child, where your father’s things might be hidden. It’s just that if we think of it, people will think of it too, and we’ll see who can get to it first.”
Luo ZhouZhou didn’t reply, letting the wind blow his hair on his forehead and squinting comfortably.
Chu Feng put out a free hand, rubbed his head, and said, “Like a kitten.”
“Meow.” Luo ZhouZhou cried out and tilted his head back to lick his palm.
Chu Feng withdrew his hand and said with a smile, “I’m warning you, if you do that again, you won’t be able to go, and you won’t be able to get there even after dark.”
“Do you hear me?”
The SUV passed between the fields and woods, gradually the air became moist and full of a fishy, salty smell. Another half hour of driving, after turning a corner, what appeared in front of them was an endless turquoise blue sea.
“Sea! The ocean!” Luo ZhouZhou cried out excitedly, stood up from his seat, and hit his head with a thud.
Chu Feng quickly stepped on the brakes, reached out to touch his head, and asked, “Did you feel any pain? Does it hurt?”
“It doesn’t hurt.” Luo ZhouZhou only looked ahead.
“It hurt to hear that noise, and you say it doesn’t hurt?” When Chu Feng lifted his head over to look closely for a bulge, and Luo ZhouZhou peeked out from under his arm and continued to stare ahead, as the azure blue gently swirled and shimmered in the sunlight.
Luo ZhouZhou felt that this scene was very familiar, that the sea existed in his memory.
“Fortunately, there is no bump.” Chu Feng examined him carefully, released his head, and restarted the car.
Seeing Luo ZhouZhou still looking at the sea, he asked, “Is this the first time you’ve seen the sea?”
Luo ZhouZhou nodded his head, then shook it again.
Chu Feng laughed and said, “You must have seen a lot when you were little, your house was right on the beach.”
“…I don’t know if that was me, but… it was probably me. That’s a lot to see.”
As they followed the coastline, there were more and more houses around, and a small town appeared in front of them. It was a typical seaside town, with small houses, and all kinds of dried fish drying in front of each house.
“This is our destination today, the town of Saisu.”
Chu Feng drove into the town.
As he looked at the road signs, he said to Luo ZhouZhou, “You were born at the end of the empire, when General Luo Pei was just a small administrator in Eben County, in charge of the town of Saisu, where your family lived at that time.”
Luo ZhouZhou looked out the window of the car for an instant, seeing the two-story buildings and gardens and the carved fences covered with vines. As he passed a vineyard off-road, he saw a puddle of water outside the garden.
The puddle was supposed to be the usual water reservoir, and the water was very clear. But Luo ZhouZhou knew that whenever it rained, the mud and sand from the nearby hills washed down, and it would be very muddy in there, which was how he got the photo of himself, covered in mud, only his eyes shining.
“Ah, there—” he cried out in a short voice, pointing his finger at the puddle and looking back at Chu Feng.
Chu Feng looked down in the direction he was pointing and asked, “What’s going on there?”
Luo ZhouZhou withdrew his hand again with some embarrassment and said, “Nothing.”
Chu Feng knew he wasn’t telling the truth when he saw his guilty face, smiled, but didn’t point it out.
“What are you laughing at?” Luo ZhouZhou peeked at him secretly.
“Nothing, I just remembered a phrase.”
“What is it?”
“Children can have secrets too.”
The town was empty, everything was quiet, and time seemed to have stopped flowing. It was not until he saw an old man sitting in the courtyard, sunbathing, that he found out the address of Luo Pei’s house.
Luo Pei’s house was just a short distance ahead, and according to the old man, it took only ten minutes to get there. The front and back of the house had large gardens, which were surrounded by an iron fence. In front of the gate there was a wooden mailbox with the word Luo Pei written on it.
The characters were painted with white paint and twisted, and the character Pei was written with great difficulty because of the many strokes, twice the size of the character Luo, and looked like it was written by a child.
“You wrote this, didn’t you?” Chu Feng looked at the mailbox and asked.
Luo ZhouZhou walked over to the mailbox and gently stroked the two characters with his hand.
In a trance, he saw his young self, saying Luo Pei’s name while carefully brushing the words with a small brush.
Linda was standing in the garden, watering the flowers, smiling at him.
“I wrote this.” He whispered.
Chu Feng reached out to push the iron gate, which was locked. He looked around, quickly climbed over the bars next to the door, reached down, and said, “Come up.”
Luo ZhouZhou grabbed his hand and climbed up, then slid carefully along the bars and into the courtyard. The courtyard was overgrown with weeds, soft to the touch, and in the middle was a small building, painted white.
The walls were a bit faded over the years, but they could see the owner’s love for the home. Chu Feng took him by the hand and circled around the house. There was a garden in front of the house, a lawn and a swimming pool in the back, but not much of a garage or locust tree. There was just a window at the back of the house.
The house had not been lived in for a long time, and the wooden frame of the window was a little decayed, so Chu Feng just pinched one of them and pushed out, and with a few clicks, the window was open. Chu Feng jumped into the house and pulled Luo ZhouZhou in.
While patting the dust off his body, he looked around the house. It looked like a kitchen, with an empty cooking table and sink, no kitchen utensils, and only two rows of closed cabinets. Chu Feng opened each cabinet and looked through them, but found nothing, only a few leftover bottles of spices.
“Someone has been here, and they’ve been looking for something.” He looked up at the hanging lamp that had been dismantled.
“So they didn’t find anything, did they?”
“No, this is your old house, Calgar must have sent someone to search for it.” Chu Feng patted the dust on his hands and said, “Let’s go and look in the other rooms.”
It was a two-story building, and the ground floor lobby had been emptied, so there were no two pieces of furniture left. Luo Pei was only a small administrator at that time, so he took everything he could use when he moved.
They went back up to the second floor and pushed open the doors of each room. These rooms were just as empty as the ones downstairs, all the wooden floors and ceilings had been pried open, and there was no place to hide Luo Pei’s so-called evidence.
Only after pushing open one of the doors, did the two stop moving.
Luo ZhouZhou stared in stunned silence for a moment and slowly walked in. It was a child’s bedroom, with light blue walls, painted with colorful crayons. There were simple letters of the alphabet, the sun, the sea, and little people with long, crooked noses and short legs.
In one of the drawings, there were three people standing hand in hand on a green lawn with a bright sun on their heads. The painting should be of Luo Pei and Linda, playing with Luo ZhouZhou.
Luo ZhouZhou stroked his fingers over the colored lines and saw his young self, sitting on the ground with a pile of crayons around him, drawing carefully on the wall.
“Zhou Zhou, let’s eat.” Linda called from downstairs.
“Just a minute, it’ll be ready soon.” He shouted back.
Luo ZhouZhou looked slowly along the wall and stopped when he came to the window on the right.
On the wall next to the window was a crayon drawing of two people, an adult and a child.
The adult was wearing long clothes that reached down to the soles of his feet, while the child was also wearing long clothes with his hair tied back in a ponytail.
Chu Feng saw him staring at the painting for a long time and came over to him.
After examining the wall carefully, he asked, “Is this a picture of Linda with a little girl?”
Luo ZhouZhou stared at the painting in stunned silence, as if he hadn’t heard Chu Feng’s question.
“What happened? Is something coming to mind?” Chu Feng looked at him and asked.
After a while, Luo ZhouZhou turned around slowly, his expression strange and his face flushed with an unusual redness.
“Chu Feng, Chu Feng…” His voice was shaking.
Chu Feng took another look at the painting and asked, “Zhou Zhou, what do you remember?”
“No, it’s this drawing.”
Chu Feng saw him start to wheeze, held him by the shoulder and said, “What’s wrong with this drawing? Take your time, don’t rush.”
“This drawing… it’s of the chief and me.” Luo ZhouZhou took a deep breath.
“What? The patriarch and you? The vampire patriarch?”
Luo ZhouZhou pointed to the adult and said, “He’s not wearing a skirt, he’s wearing a blue robe, look at his long beard, he’s the chief of the clan.” He then pointed to the child and said, “This is not a little girl either, it’s me, when I was in the clan, we little vampires wore purple robes and our hair was tied back in a ponytail.”
Chu Feng lowered his arm around the drawing and walked forward to take a closer look at it.
The adult had smeared lines on his chin with black crayon, which was clearly a drawing of a beard. The two of them didn’t look like they were wearing dresses, but rather blue and purple robes.
“But why are you drawing the chief here?” Chu Feng was confused at the moment.
“Chu Feng, it’s true, this is the chief and I.” Luo ZhouZhou’s eyes watered with excitement, “This Luo ZhouZhou is me, we are the same person.”
“I know, I believe you, just…” Chu Feng stared at the drawing and asked, “Then what do you remember about this drawing?”
Luo ZhouZhou recalled for a moment and said blankly, “I don’t remember anything.” He became anxious and pressed his hand to his head, “Why can’t I remember? How come I can’t remember anything at all?”
“Shh shh shh, don’t worry, don’t worry.” Chu Feng took him into his arms, “It’s no big deal, even if you can’t remember.” Chu Feng shook him gently, “Don’t think about it if you don’t want to. Maybe after a while, the memory will automatically appear in your head, right? It’s like when we look for something and can’t find it, and then suddenly one day it appears out of nowhere.”
Luo ZhouZhou lay in his arms and slowly quieted down, nodding his head silently.
“All right, let’s keep looking.” Chu Feng kissed the top of his head.