Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Lan Yu was frozen with his mouth slightly open. He wanted to explain, but he had been caught red-handed and couldn’t. But Lu RanKong’s smug look and his eyes that showed that he knew everything made him feel bad. When he saw that the person in front of him had crawled away, he clenched his teeth and went after him.
The two people crawled through the passage for half an hour, and hadn’t yet climbed to the end. Each step forward, with the knees and elbows scraping against the rough prison fabric, because of the friction the skin was chaffed and might even be bleeding; it was painful.
But in this situation, Lan Yu had to persist through the pain, so he has been holding back not to say anything.
Lu RanKong suddenly stopped moving and said, “There is a larger space in front of you, so we can rest there for ten minutes.”
The two of them sped up, soon climbed through the passage, and came to a large cave. This was a natural cave of about one or two hundred square feet, spacious and tall, but unlike the dryness of the passage, the air was very humid, and the soil underfoot was also very soft.
Lan Yu pounded his back, lamenting in his heart that he could finally straighten his back.
“It’s humid here. Is there a water source?” He asked.
“Shh, listen! There is the sound of water.” Lu RanKong raised his index finger to his own lips.
Lan Yu listened carefully, and there was the sound of water dripping from some direction.
Lu RanKong reached out and pressed the cave wall on his side, saying, “The cave wall is permeated with water beads, so there must be a water source in this section. If we find the source, we can follow it out. Even if we can’t get out, we won’t die of thirst here.”
Seeing Lan Yu pointing to his back, he took off the lamp and put it on the ground, “Let’s rest for a while, ten minutes before continuing.”
The cave was also dotted with large and small ores, and the surface was quite clean. Lan Yu found a boulder and sat down, and when he saw that Lu RanKong wasn’t paying attention to him, he turned sideways and lifted up his trouser leg to check his knee, which was sore from the friction.
His two knees were already bruised and had broken the skin in several places with red blood and transparent ooze covering the areas. He reached out and touched it, shivering with pain.
Lan Yu was very afraid of anything bleeding and if there was no injury, he was okay. But once his wound was bleeding, the pain would be instantly doubled in his consciousness.
Usually shooting movies where he had to be connected to a safety harness, his waist would have large bruises, and his assistant would be heartbroken. But with multiple small wounds, he couldn’t even look at them.
“Bone injury?” Lu RanKong just turned his head, saw him shivering, and asked.
Lan Yu said, “No…”
Lu RanKong didn’t believe him and walked over. Lan Yu’s tears were welling up in his eyes, and he didn’t want Lu RanKong to see them, so he hurriedly turned his head to look away.
In Lu RanKong’s eyes, it was as if he was angry with him.
“Why are you still grumbling, show me.” Lu RanKong squatted down in front of him. Lan Yu hurriedly reached for his trouser leg and was held down by him, “Don’t move…”
The soft glow of the lamp presented both of Lan Yu’s legs to Lu RanKong’s eyes.
The clear white skin showed that his knees were bruised and battered, and there were places with broken skin, oozing crimson blood. Against the surrounding intact skin, it looked particularly hideous.
He looked at the two knees, his heart suddenly uncomfortable. He felt that the two bruises were especially an eyesore.
Lan Yu blinked, forcing back the moisture, turned his head and looked down at his knees, speaking in a flat tone, “It’s just a little purple, let it air for a while.”
Lu RanKong looked up at him and saw that there was nothing unusual about him, but he was still unsure, so he reached out to press his knee and said, “Don’t move. I’ll press the underside.”
“No…” Panicked, Lan Yu’s voice changed its tone. He was afraid that Lu RanKong would touch his broken skin, and grabbed both of his hands tightly.
Lu RanKong saw that his fingertips were white, and his heart sank. K was holding back the pain, his bones inside must be broken. He quickly recalled the scene in the passage, but didn’t find anything unusual.
Maybe it was at the beginning when the cave roof collapsed and the stone smashed down. He had been forced to endure it after crawling.
“How can you be so brave? Even when you are injured, you are still holding back, is face that important?” Lu RanKong’s voice took on an angry tone.
Lan Yu’s voice began to shiver, “It’s just a small injury.”
“This is still a small injury? In your eyes, what kind of injury would make you show a little weakness?” Lu RanKong said in a deep voice, “K, there is no shame in getting hurt.”
“Do you really think it’s not a minor injury?”
Lu RanKong, “Absolutely not…”
Lan Yu stabilized his mind and said in an indifferent tone, “But in my eyes, it’s not even a minor injury… It’s not even a small injury.”
He just drew in a sharp breath in the middle.
Lu RanKong didn’t expose him as he said, “I just checked, the next passage is very spacious, so there’s no need to crawl. I’ll carry you.”
Lan Yu weakly insisted, “I can walk by myself…”
Lu RanKong didn’t say much, just pulled down his pant leg from his knee, and squatted down with back towards him, saying, “Come up, it’s not like I have never carried you. Why are you still pretending?”
Lan Yu turned his head, looked at his broad back, but didn’t move.
Lu RanKong also didn’t urge him, just quietly kept squatting on the ground, and after a while, felt a hand slowly being placed on his shoulder and then a warm body against his back. He stood up with Lan Yu on his back, hung the lamp around his neck, and started to walk onward.
Lan Yu whispered, “It’s not that I’m afraid of pain, but I’m just a little tired of walking. And who told you to have such a comfortable back?”
“I’m a very strong Alpha.”
The next passage, as Lu RanKong said, was no longer a narrow one, and was in fact very spacious. Lan Yu, ambling on his back, felt a little embarrassed, and began struggling to get down.
Lu RanKong slapped him twice on the buttocks and ordered, “Be good…”
Lan Yu stiffened up and became still. Lu RanKong continued to wrap that hand around the crook of his leg, but his fingers slowly curled up.
In the quiet, neither of them spoke, only the echo of Lu RanKong’s shoes could be heard as he was walking. The further they went, the more humid the air became, with the sound of dripping water everywhere and small puddles of water pooling in the lowlands.
Remembering the scene when the collapse began, Lan Yu asked, “Do you think one of them did it?”
“If there’s a Lontan person among them, then it was one of them.” Lu RanKong replied.
Lan Yu asked curiously, “Why do you say that?”
“You used the word ‘if’, ‘if there is a Lontan person among them’.” Lan Yu said, “But the Lontan person has to be among them.”
Lu RanKong looked down at the road under his feet and said, “Do you remember who said that the Lontan person was among them?”
Lan Yu, “Military secrets…”
Lu RanKong said, “Eighty percent of what I know about military secrets is misinformation.” He jumped over a puddle and then added, “The so-called military secrets cannot be trusted, we have to judge them and investigate them by ourselves.”
Lan Yu pondered on his back for a while and analyzed, “None of them really look like that, at least not under my meticulous observation.”
“That’s right…” Lu RanKong said, “Qiu Dao and Wang Jin are no problem, Liu Junjie is a criminal who took the blame. I talked to Lin Lin and Qiao Fei, they are completely normal. Then there’s Chen Zheng…”
“Chen Zheng also has no problem.” Lan Yu said, “He’s a pianist by profession, and I noticed that when he was dazed, his fingers would inadvertently make movements to hit the keys. Last night he played blindly on the sheets, and his fingering was very skillful.”
Lan Yu waited for Lu RanKong to continue the conversation, but he asked, “You play the piano?”
“Just a little bit, I can’t say I play well.”
Lu RanKong asked, “Did you learn it as a child?”
Lan Yu responded vaguely.
One winter when he was seven or eight years old, he was taken to the police station by a kind-hearted person while rummaging through a garbage can in his bare feet on the roadside. He was dressed in unseasonably short sleeves and shorts, frozen blue and shivering all the time.
The police asked him his home address, parents, name, and his origins, but they were all forgotten, anything that they asked, he would only shake his head.
“Son, you really don’t remember anything?” The policeman asked in a low voice.
He said timidly, “I don’t remember anything.”
After a month of searching, the police sent him to the nearby orphanage, where he was named Lan Yu by Director Lan. He grew up in the orphanage, and although he didn’t freeze and starve and received a basic education, where would he have had the opportunity to learn the piano?
But he did like the piano, so he hired a private teacher as an adult, and learned a little bit in his spare time between filming, but his skill was superficial.
Now when Lu RanKong asked him about it, he muddled through.
Lu RanKong asked a couple of questions and then continued the conversation, “If this accident hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have been sure if the Lontan person was among them, but after this, I know.”
He propped Lan Yu up and around a small puddle before saying, “When we were digging here yesterday, no one had the opportunity to smear etching oil on the roof of the cave, so it could only have been set up in our absence. All the prisoners acted collectively, coming together and going together, so no one had that opportunity.”
Lan Yu quickly asked, “You mean the person who put the etched oil on the roof of the cave would not be a prisoner?”
Lu RanKong said, “His identity gave him free access to the prison, and he came alone when no one was here and smeared the etching oil on the roof of the cave.”
“Free access to the prison… So he’s a prison guard?” Lan Yu’s heart was tense, and the hand around Lu RanKong’s neck was unconsciously tightened.
Lu RanKong hissed, “Lighter! Do you want to strangle me to death?”
Lan Yu hurriedly loosened his arm.
Lu RanKong then said, “It doesn’t have to be a prison guard. It could be a cook, a handyman, a driver… Anyone who is free.”
“So there are a lot of them. QuYa Prison is so big, there are dozens of handymen alone, right?” Lan Yu asked.
Lu RanKong replied, “Three hundred and fifty prison guards, and ninety-seven handymen, cooks and drivers combined.”
“And the warden…”
“Yes, there’s also the warden.”
Lan Yu was silent for a while and asked, “So the man who tried to kill us, was it a Lontan person?”
Lu RanKong said, “It could have been an enemy of one of us, but the information shows that none of them have any feud with the others in the prison, and there is no competition for interests, so it should be the Lontan person, and it’s coming for both of us.”
Lan Yu fell silent, and after a while, let out a long sigh.
“What are you sighing for?”
Lan Yu said despondently, “I thought I had played my part well enough, but the Lontan person still saw me out.”
“A psychopathic murderer?”
Lu RanKong looked left and right at the road and said, “You played it well, very perverted. I guess my acting skills weren’t good enough and I got caught.”
“What didn’t you act out well?”
“I wasn’t lewd enough. A rapist has to stare at people’s asses every day.” Lu RanKong said.
Lan Yu grunted, “If that Lontan guy slept in the same bed with you, he wouldn’t suspect you.”
Lu RanKong laughed and said, “Then he has to have the opportunity to sleep with me. He’s not you, so how could he get into my bed?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, both of them felt that there was something wrong with the words, so they both shut up.
The passage was very long, and although Lu RanKong was carrying him, he still walked very easily, not tired at all, but Lan Yu still wanted to come down.
After all, it was just a broken skin.
“Hey, let me come down and walk by myself.” He patted Lu RanKong’s shoulder.
Lu RanKong said impatiently, “Are you done? Can’t you just lie on my back quietly? You can’t exert your feet now, so don’t walk so hard that you’ll be a cripple when you grow up, having one long and one short leg.”
Cripple, one long and one short leg.
How could broken skin make me become a cripple with one long and one short leg? Lan Yu thought he had made a mistake and was about to ask for clarification when Lu RanKong slowly stopped walking.
Lan Yu followed his line of sight to take a look around, and also froze.
Only to see a few dozen meters ahead of the passage, the place not illuminated by the gas light, but no longer a darkness, there was a vague layer of blue light, falling on the cave wall like water lines, faintly moving.
“There is water ahead…” Lan Yu said.
Lu RanKong hummed, “Probably a big pool of water. Let’s go see.”
He picked up his pace, almost trotting forward.
The passage was getting more and more spacious, and the edge of the end could already be seen. At the farther end was a pool of water, they couldn’t tell how big, but there was actually light.
Lan Yu had an instinctive fear of this unknown scenery, and wanted Lu RanKong not to go closer, but the man ran to the mouth of the passage in a flash and stepped out. The view opened up steeply and there was no cover.
Lan Yu only felt his breath choking for a few seconds at that moment, and his brain was dizzy.
The view in front of him was as beautiful as a picture scroll.
In the huge space, he couldn’t see the boundaries of the underground and the lake was a pure blue, caged with a layer of white smoke that was like a light gauze or a wisp of silk, drifting, quiet and cold. The lake mbledrese a piece of emerald, flooded with light, reflected in the cave walls and cave roof, covering the cave with a layer of soft light shining in scale patterns.
There were unknown, fluorescent insects flying in the air, the whole image was unrealistically beautiful.
Lu RanKong was obviously also stunned, standing silently in place. He took a long time before coming back to his senses, slowly walking forward, standing on a boulder at the edge of the lake.
Lan Yu held his breath and murmured, “I can’t believe there is such a big lake under the ground, and it’s so beautiful.”
His voice was small, as if he was afraid of disturbing the silence.
“This is Pelican Lake… The vanished Pelican Lake!” Lu RanKong exclaimed, “The blue jewel of QuYa Planet, Pelican Lake, actually didn’t disappear and dry up, but sank underground!”
“How did it sink into the ground?”
Lu RanKong’s voice was also small, “I don’t know, maybe the earth’s crust shifted, or there were too many mining holes, which destroyed the surface, and the lake water leaked down.”
“Then why is the lake glowing?” Lan Yu asked.
“Pelican Lake, the blue gem of QuYa Planet, the gem. It would glow, wouldn’t it?” Lu RanKong explained.
Lan Yu frowned as he replied, “Gems glow only when they are illuminated.”
Lu RanKong went on to explain, “It’s a gemstone classified as a luminous pearl, QuYa Planet’s blue luminous pearl.”
Lan Yu: …
He gently placed Lan Yu on the boulder and said, “This cave is a bit odd, I’ll go check the other places, you sit here and wait for me.”
- Addis: During this scene, I thought of a documentary I saw about glow worms. The mucus they regurgitate glows in the dark caves where they live.