Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When the topic wasn’t pursued again behind the stone, Lu RanKong sat down beside Lan Yu. Neither of them spoke, listening to the sound of machines digging in the distance, getting closer and closer. A few laughs emerged from the back every now and then, and a few people put their minds at ease once they knew prison hadn’t given up on them, joking with each other.
“Since your knee hurts, you should have said so at first, so I could think of something.” Lu RanKong’s eyes looked ahead, and said to Lan Yu, “You tried to do everything by yourself, that’s why it became swollen like this.”
“What could you do if I told you? The cave is so narrow, it would’ve been impossible for you to carry me to climb. Were you going to put a layer of spit on me before climbing?” Lan Yu whispered back.
Lu RanKong continued, “I can wrap my clothes around it, wrapping it thickly so that it won’t hurt to climb.”
Lan Yu moved his lips, wanting to say something but swallowed it back.
“Afraid I’ll laugh at you?” Lu RanKong asked.
Lan Yu didn’t make a sound.
Lu RanKong was silent again for a while, and asked tentatively, “Were you like this before?”
“What?” Lan Yu asked.
“It’s when you did all those…” Lu RanKong gave him a sideways glance, changing the words that were about to come out of his mouth, “When you did all those great things, you were also this delicate… and easily hurt?”
Lan Yu’s heart thudded, and he slowly turned his head.
Lu RanKong and he looked at each other, and the bottom of his eyes were calm.
“What do you mean?” Lan Yu asked in a cold voice.
Lu RanKong didn’t answer, just looked at him like that.
In his gaze, Lan Yu’s heart was so weak that he wanted to turn his head away. But he understood that the more such a moment, the more he shouldn’t retreat, so he insisted to continue to look at Lu RanKong, all cold and determined in his eyes.
Lu RanKong averted his eyes first and whispered in a voice that only two people could hear, “Although we spent two years together in the barracks, we had no contact with each other before, so I didn’t know, only that you were a very powerful character. Now it’s clear that you are not at all what I remember… I just think you must have suffered a lot.” He continued after two seconds of silence, “Why be so tough?”
So he didn’t suspect that he was a different person, and Lan Yu let out a long sigh of relief in his heart. At the same time, he was curious again.
He wondered what it was like for the old K. When he transmigrated, he fainted in the open doorway of the room, got up and entered the house in a daze, and then Kong Fei came in.
After a bullheaded conversation, he realized that he had transmigrated over to another world, and Kong Fei, thinking that he had lost his memory due to a sudden illness, scribbled down K’s information to him.
Lan Yu knew K’s secret and knew that he hid his Omega identity and went into the military camp. With all those past deeds, under all those crazy acting styles, he seemed to care about nothing.
What was he trying to do? Where did he go after he took possession of his body? Did he go to his side to be a movie star, or did he continue to stay in this world? If he continued to stay in this world, why did he never come to him?
“What kind of person was I in your eyes before?” Lan Yu asked in a low voice.
Lu RanKong looked ahead and deliberated for a moment before saying cautiously, “When you looked at me, your gaze was very spirited, but too cold to be comfortable.”
K and he had no dealings, but once they met, he would stare at him with a deadly gaze that was irritating for no reason. Lu RanKong interpreted this sense of annoyance as provocation, so naturally he saw K as a rival and stared at him with a deadly stare every time as well, until they brushed past each other.
“Very spirited?” Lan Yu asked inquisitively.
Lu RanKong explained, “Of course, I now understand that it’s just your habit of looking at people, not that you have malice.”
Spirited, malicious, cold, uncomfortable…
Lan Yu said, “Turn around and look at me.”
Lu RanKong turned his head to look at him and sucked in a cool breath.
Damn, that’s it, I especially want to hit him, gouge out his eyes, throw him on the ground and stomp on him. Lan Yu now looked at him with unscrupulous measuring, containing scrutiny, and indefinable meaning, gaze cold and killing.
After staring at Lu RanKong for a few seconds, he gathered his expression again and asked, “Was it like that?”
Lu RanKong clenched his fist and nodded silently.
Lan Yu understood, Lu RanKong’s feeling was right, K had malice towards him. Was it a competition between colleagues? If K wanted to move up, then with Lu RanKong’s excellence, he would definitely be a stumbling block on his way. But K’s crazy behavior didn’t seem like he wanted to climb up the ladder either.
He heard Lu RanKong say uncomfortably, “In the future, you don’t have to be strong in front of me, say when you are in pain, rest when you are tired, cry when you want to—”
The rest of his words were swallowed by Lan Yu’s fierce glare.
For the rest of the day, the two sat in silence, listening to the boring mechanical sounds. The few people behind the stone looked like they were also tired and didn’t make a sound, presumably all resting.
Lan Yu began to fall asleep listening to the humming sound, sleepy floating up, his eyelids were getting heavier and heavier, and his head also followed a little bit. He hazily touched something, immediately leaned against it, adjusted to a comfortable position, and instantly sank into a deep sleep.
He didn’t know how long he slept for but a sudden explosion woke him up. Before he opened his eyes, there was the voice of a man on the loudspeaker, “Are the people inside okay? Are there any casualties?”
“Sir, we are all safe, no casualties.” Liu Junjie shouted back excitedly.
“Not a single casualty?”
“No, not a single one.”
It seemed that the prison finally dug a passage through.
Lan Yu rubbed his eyes and sat up straight, and when he turned his head, he realized that he had just been resting on Lu RanKong’s shoulder, and suddenly he stiffened a little.
Lu RanKong didn’t care and whispered, “The warden himself is here to dig us up.”
As long as the biggest stone was dug through, the rest was easy to do. After only half an hour, a gap was made at the top for people to pass through.
“Brother Bao, Brother Qiao, you guys wait a little longer, we’ll go out first.” Liu Junjie turned to them.
Lu RanKong replied, “Okay, you guys go first.”
Lu RanKong heard that they were climbing out under the arrangement of the prison staff, soothing Lan Yu, “We still have a layer of rocks here, so wait a little longer, don’t rush.”
“I’m not in a hurry…” Lan Yu said. Seeing Lu RanKong still wanting to talk, he couldn’t help but ask, “Why are you getting weird?”
“Weird?” Lu RanKong asked curiously in return.
“You’re so nosy…”
He didn’t know if it was an illusion, but ever since he had seen him cry, Lu RanKong seemed to be more careful with his words, which made him feel very uncomfortable inside. He didn’t want to expose his vulnerability and cause others to sympathize. Especially in front of Lu RanKong.
“You should treat me how you want to treat me, no need to be especially careful, I feel awkward.” Lan Yu said with his head bowed.
Lu RanKong was even stranger and said, “Haven’t I always been like this with you?”
“You recall yourself, did gege treat you badly? Before you cried, you wanted me to carry you, even though you grumbled, didn’t I also carry you?” Lu RanKong said.
Lan Yu replied with a cold face, “I didn’t grumble, and I didn’t want you to carry me.” He gave Lu RanKong a sidelong glance and said, “I didn’t cry either…”
“No, you didn’t cry. It’s all in my head.” Lu RanKong answered quickly.
As soon as the words left his mouth, a loudspeaker blasted in his ears, “Are the people inside okay? Are there any casualties?”
Someone was behind the rock they were leaning against, holding a megaphone and shouting through the gap. Both of their ears buzzed and they jumped up from the rocks they were sitting on in unison
“Fine, we’re both fine, no casualties.” Lu RanKong hurriedly yelled.
The voice continued to shout, “Well then, you guys back off and hide, we’re going to push the rock down.”
Lu RanKong and Lan Yu hurriedly ran back a dozen meters, Lu RanKong saw a depression in the cave wall, dragged Lan Yu and hid in, pressed him against the wall, as he faced him in front of him.
Both of them breathed a little sharply, and Lan Yu felt a hot breath spraying on his face, so he hung his head a little uncomfortably. As a result, his face was buried in Lu RanKong’s shoulder, and his lungs were full of his body’s smell. It was also mixed with the thin smell of sweat, but strangely he didn’t feel unpleasant, and even quietly inhaled a few mouthfuls.
Standing still and waiting for more than ten seconds, the loudspeaker asked again, “Are you hiding?”
Lu RanKong shouted, “Hiding!”
Lan Yu covered his ears and punched him in the shoulder again, “Can you stop yelling into my ear?”
The other side didn’t hear him, and asked, “Whoever else is inside, please answer, are you hidden?”
Lu RanKong turned his head, took a deep breath and said in a loud voice, “Yes!”
As the words fell, there was a loud boom and debris flew.
In that instant, Lu RanKong’s arms closed around him, holding Lan Yu firmly in his embrace.
The boulders blocking the passage collapsed and tumbled to the ground, revealing a small gap above. The two waited until the smoke cleared before covering their mouths and noses with their sleeves and stepping out of the recess where they were hiding.
“Ah, 0357, 0356, how are you two doing?” Someone rushed over from the smoke and dust.
Lu RanKong answered back, “Reporting to sir, I’m fine.”
When they came to the front, Lan Yu saw that they were the two guards in charge of the Alpha cave.
Officer Liu said while choking and coughing, “We were really scared to death by you guys.”
Officer Wang covered his nose and pointed to them with his other hand, “You guys are lucky this time. It just so happens that the higher-ups came to check the safety of the prisons, and the warden gave an order to get you out alive no matter what.”
“Let’s go, let’s not talk about it, let’s go out first.” Officer Liu pushed him, “The warden is also in a hurry and is waiting outside.”
The warden, a serious middle-aged man, didn’t say anything when he saw them crawling out of the gap, and turned around and walked out. The group of guards and staff around him followed and went to take the sliding car in front of them.
The prisoners outside the cave were still waiting, and Officer Liu and Officer Wang rushed to go first. Anyway, they weren’t worried that Lan Yu and Lu RanKong could escape from here, so they let them both wait for the car behind them.
The two stood still and watched the engineering vehicles clear the rocks in the cave. Waiting for the sound of the arrival of the slide car ahead of them, they took a step in that direction.
Lan Yu had just taken two steps when Lu RanKong suddenly blocked in front of him, half crouching at the knee. Although he didn’t make a sound, it was obvious that he was going to carry him. He didn’t make a sound to ask, only hesitated for two seconds before putting his hands on him and climbing onto his back.
Lu RanKong wrapped his arms around the bend of his legs, supported him upward, stepping on the ground full of debris, towards the slide car.
“Do you think it will be one of those two?” Lan Yu asked in a whisper in his ear.
Lu RanKong knew he was referring to Officer Wang and Officer Liu and said, “I don’t know, just keep an eye out.”
“If it’s them, then their acting is too good, I just don’t see any flaws.” Lan Yu looked up and thought about it, and then leaned in and said, “Do you think that that so-and-so person in their original place is an actor or something like that?”
Lu RanKong gave a laugh and said, “Maybe, maybe it’s an actor.”
“I’m telling the truth.”
“I’m telling the truth too.”
Lan Yu put his arm around his neck and thought for a while and said, “But there are so many guards and staff, it may not be them. I have to watch carefully to see how each one reacts.”
“Mn, every one of them is a suspect.” Lu RanKong agreed, “But although we’re not in trouble, that person will definitely not dare to strike again anytime soon, so this period should be safe. Also, he’s not sure whether we have entered that small hole and found those crystals or not, I guess he will find a chance to go in and see. I will ask the warden to send someone to keep an eye on the area.”
“Don’t, the warden doesn’t know who it is, what if the one sent there is that?” Lan Yu said, “Now we have to include the guards, and no one can say what will happen. We have to be skeptical.”
Lu RanKong sighed and said, “Then only we can pay more attention, but it’s okay, as long as our identities aren’t exposed, the crystal can’t be moved.”
As they spoke, they arrived at the slide car, so the two people went into the compartment, Lu RanKong pulled down the overhead gate, and the slide car moved towards the cave outside.
Liu Junjie and the others waited at the entrance of the cave, the car had not yet stopped when they greeted them, asking a lot of questions, but were then called back by the prison guards.
Officer Wang waved his baton and said, “All right, all right, people are fine. Everyone, get in the car and go back.”
The warden and his group had already left, and the other inmates followed them back to the prison, leaving only the people from their cells, sitting in two engineering tracked vehicles back to QuYa Prison.
It was now almost dark, and the distant sky was like an expired salted duck egg, with tainted dark patches of color, gray and chaotic.
“Did you guys just get scared?” The driver driving the car suddenly asked.
Liu Junjie was also in the car, and hurriedly replied, “Certainly scared to death! When the first big stone fell down, my heart was going to jump out of my throat. I thought I wasn’t going to live! I had a small life and was about to lose it, but fortunately there are diggers there to hide beneath.”
“But it is strange, how did it collapse? The other day, we checked and the cave wall was very strong. We didn’t find any safety hazards ah.” The driver asked again.
Lan Yu moved his eyes from the driver responsible for their car to Officer Liu’s face. The two men looked uncharacteristically curious, and Officer Liu smiled gently as he made eye contact with him.
Liu Junjie scratched his head and said, “I don’t know, I think the foundation was dug loose before, and it just so happened that two people were loading rocks at that time, and the cart overturned and hit the cave wall.”
Officer Liu said, “It’s good that people are okay, it’s good that you are okay. You’ll go back and take a shower and have a good meal. Although it’s past dinner time, the canteen has left some good food to treat you guys, so go after showering.”
“Thank you, Officer Liu…” Liu Junjie said with a smile on his face.
Soon back at the prison, Lan Yu waited for the others to finish showering before going to the bathhouse with Lu RanKong as usual.
Lu RanKong kept looking down at his legs all the way.
“Why do you keep looking at my legs?” Lan Yu asked him.
Lu RanKong said, “Can you get your knees wet? Why don’t you sit inside and I’ll wash you so it doesn’t touch the water?”
“No, it’s just a little skin, it’s not a big deal.” Lan Yu decisively refused.
When he arrived at the empty shower room, he waited for Lu RanKong to open the locker to check his things, and as usual, he quickly stripped off his clothes and went to the cubicle, only his knee hurt so much that his legs trembled several times on the way.
It wasn’t until he finished washing and turned off the water that he realized the bath was quiet, hearing neither the sound of water nor any sound.
“Li BaoZi, Li BaoZi,” he tilted his head and shouted twice.
Not waiting for Lu RanKong’s response, he gently pushed open the door of the cubicle. The entire shower room was empty and unoccupied, so he darted to his locker to put on his clothes. Just as he finished putting on his clothes, the door of the shower room was pushed open and Lu RanKong walked in.
Lan Yu saw that his hair was dry and asked curiously, “Where did you go just now?”
“I went to the medical officer to get your medicine.” Lu RanKong said. Lan Yu then noticed that he was carrying a glass bottle and a small bag of medical swabs.
“Sit down and let me put the medicine on.” Lu RanKong patted the bench in front of him.
Lan Yu slowly walked over and sat down.
Lu RanKong squatted in front of him, rolled his pant legs up very gently and frowned at his knee. Then he used a cotton swab to dab some of the medicine in the glass bottle and pressed it on the bruises. The coldness of the medicine caused a stinging pain, but Lan Yu did not squeak, only dropped his eyes to look at the person in front of him.
Lu RanKong’s hair was still covered with dust, and his black hair became gray, his high nose had a smudge across it, as if smeared with camouflage paint. He looked focused, as he usually does when carving those stones, carefully applying the medicine on the cotton swab gently on his knee.
The room was silent, Lan Yu looked that way at Lu RanKong, only to feel that some place in his heart was gently tweaked.
Lu RanKong finished putting medicine on both knees carefully and waited until the medicine was dry before he rolled down his pant legs and said while tightening the cap of the medicine bottle, “Okay, I’ll put the rest of the medicine and cotton swabs back in the cell locker, remember to rub them tomorrow.”
After saying that and not waiting for a response, he looked at Lan Yu inquiringly.
Lan Yu was staring at him, hastily averted his eyes, lowered his head and said, “Got it…”
“Come on, let’s go back.” Lu RanKong stood up and went to get his own basin.
“You haven’t showered yet.” Lan Yu hurriedly reminded.
Lu RanKong regained his senses and said, “Ah, yes, I haven’t washed yet. Do you want to go back first or wait for me here?”
“I’ll wait for you…” Lan Yu said, staring at his feet.
Lu RanKong took two steps, then stopped and turned back and said, “Since you’re waiting for me here, why don’t you go give me a back rub?”
Lan Yu looked up abruptly and replied quickly, “I don’t want to give you a back rub.”
“I just came all this way to get your medicine, and now I can’t even get a back rub from you?”
“No way!” Lan Yu yelled.
Lu RanKong shook his head as he walked towards the shower room, “What a white eyed wolf, I shouldn’t have bothered with you at all if I had known…”
Lan Yu watched his back disappear at the door of the shower room before he turned back with a puff of anger. The momentary heartbeat just now was an illusion, this person was still so annoying.