Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When they arrived at the canteen, the prisoners who had gone out to mine early in the morning had not yet returned, and the large canteen was empty. Lan Yu finished his meal, carrying his plate and went to stand in front of an empty table, looking around for a chair, as if he was going to sit here.
When Lu RanKong also sat down with his plate, he walked backwards to three tables before sitting down with his back to Lu RanKong. He picked up his chopsticks and just picked up a piece of tofu when a shadow appeared in front of him.
Lu RanKong sat across from him again with his plate.
Lan Yu put the piece of tofu into his mouth, eyes fixed on the dish in front of him, chewing slowly.
“What did I do to offend you?” Lu RanKong asked.
Lan Yu swallowed the food in his mouth and said slowly, “Nothing…”
“Go ahead, don’t deny it.” Lu RanKong leaned back in his chair, eyes slightly narrowed at him.
Lan Yu’s heart was in turmoil, and he felt that he was indeed a bit abnormal.
Before hearing him talk about the flowers in the garden, he only thought the man was scum, but didn’t feel anything else, and judging from his reaction, it was difficult to say whether those words were true.
But today he heard him talking about a friend, and saw him showing a low mood and his heart began to feel uncomfortable. Is it because they did tasks together and spent time together, so they felt closer to each other, and with it came a desire to possess?
But in the previous films he had others he had to act as a couple with for several months, and there were no such strange emotions back then.
Maybe because this time the situation was special, and was really life and death related, so he felt his heart would have a little different feeling.
Lu RanKong was cheerful and would certainly have many friends. He was just a friend to him, so it would be funny if he even had to take this into account. Lan Yu figured out the trick and stopped dwelling on it, ignoring the knot in his heart and letting his calculations dissipate. While he was thinking, Lu RanKong didn’t stay idle and began to remember what he had done today and what had upset him.
Suddenly remembering something, his face changed and he slowly sat up straight.
“That, I only used a little.” He put his fist against his mouth and said in a small, vague voice.
“Huh?” Lan Yu was interrupted in his thoughts and looked at him a bit confused.
Lu RanKong glanced at him quickly, realized it wasn’t because of this, and immediately leaned back in his chair, continuing to put on an interrogative look.
Lan Yu, alert, put down his chopsticks and said, “What’s just a little?”
“What exactly are you upset about?” Lu RanKong asked soberly.
“I’m asking you now.”
“I’m asking you now, too.”
Lan Yu said, “You tell me first, and then I’ll tell you.”
Lu RanKong shifted his position, his legs moving restlessly over each other, his eyes drifting to the side. Lan Yu slightly lowered his head, his eyes looking at him from under the peak of his eyebrows, his gaze distinctly sharp.
After a few moments of silence, Lu RanKong turned around and said, “I just used some of your skin cream this morning, and it was as big as a soybean grain. No, half the size of a soybean grain.” Seeing that Lan Yu still had that look on his face, he stretched out his pinky and pinched the top bit, “Look, it’s not as much as this.”
“That’s it?” Lan Yu asked.
“That’s it…” Lu RanKong added, “I just wanted to smell it.”
Lu RanKong said, “Every night when I’m close to you, your body smells so good, so I wanted to put some on too.”
Lan Yu’s heart relaxed, but a little tension rose again, and he stared at the plate in front of him as he said, “You can use it if you want, you helped me find it.”
Lu RanKong said, “But without your fragrance, I don’t want to use it anymore.”
After saying this, the two seemed to sense that something was wrong, and both fell silent.
The quiet environment suddenly became noisy, and the strange atmosphere at the beginning was swept away.
“Mn, then tell me why you’re not happy.” Lu RanKong put his hands on the dining table and his eyes looked straight at Lan Yu.
“What are you talking about?” Lan Yu began to play dumb.
Lu RanKong said solemnly, “We can’t have any disagreement between us, do you understand? If there’s something, say it right away, and we’ll solve it.”
There were inmates coming and going with their dinner plates, and Lan Yu was about to speak when someone stopped by their table.
“Boss, the best table at the window is empty, do you want to—”
“Go away…” Lu RanKong interrupted without looking at him.
The prisoner didn’t delay and walked away with his dinner plate.
Lan Yu squeezed the chopsticks in his hand and poked them around the plate mindlessly.
“I’m having a little problem of my own, it has nothing to do with you.” He said.
Lu RanKong looked at him and asked, “Really?”
“Really…” Lan Yu looked at him frankly.
It was indeed his own problem, and it had nothing to do with Lu RanKong.
Lu RanKong asked, “Then do you need my help?”
“I’ve already solved it, it’s fine.” Lan Yu said.
Lu RanKong nodded and said nothing more, his eyes only stared at the plate in front of Lan Yu with a thoughtful look. Lan Yu’s face was expressionless, but his heart was a bit apprehensive, “What are you thinking about?”
He was unhappy from when the two of them were eating the Zikang vegetable, and if Lu RanKong went along and guessed the reason, it wasn’t impossible. But if he asked, he wouldn’t admit it anyway.
It would be too humiliating, and it would make him feel good, right? He was sure he’d be pleased and would use it to make fun of him.
Lu RanKong said slyly, “I wonder how you can eat this plate of food.”
Lan Yu paused in his chopstick poking motion, looked down at his plate and found that the braised tofu inside had been poked to pieces.
Lu RanKong picked up his own plate, gave him half of the vegetables and said, “Eat…”
Then he buried his head and took a big bite of rice into his mouth. After two bites, he looked up again and said vaguely, “I haven’t touched that dish, so it doesn’t have my saliva on it.”
Lan Yu said thank you in an inaudible voice and started to eat.
Today was the weekend, and according to the prison’s practice, after the afternoon work, they had half a day off. During this half day, the recreation room in the prison building was also open for the inmates to relax and enjoy themselves.
When Lan Yu and Lu RanKong returned to the cell block, they saw that no one else was in the room, except Liu Junjie, who was walking out of the bathroom with his hair slicked back with water, having his hair styled.
“What are you doing? A date?” Lu RanKong asked.
Liu Junjie smiled and said, “Brother Bao, you and Brother Qiao are sweet, don’t make fun of me. I’m just going to the recreation room to have some fun, so there must be some ritual.”
Lu RanKong asked with interest, “What’s in the rec room?” He touched Lan Yu’s shoulder, “If there’s a fencing room, we’ll go and play.”
Lan Yu didn’t say anything, but he was looking forward to it.
“There is a reading room with comfortable sofas, and people will gather in there to play cards.” Liu Junjie said.
“The music room, which plays good music, has a nice environment, and people will play cards in it.”
“The physical therapy room, some inmates have been working for a week and their bodies are sore, so they can go inside and lie down and be massaged with the instruments—”
Lu RanKong interrupted, “You can play cards while getting a massage, right?”
“Yes, yes, that’s why the physical therapy rooms are usually very crowded.”
Lu RanKong looked at Lan Yu and asked, “Do you still want to go?”
Lan Yu shook his head and said, “No, let’s just go outside and walk around.”
“Okay, let’s go outside.” Lu RanKong said.
The two of them separated from Liu Junjie and walked out of the prison building.
In front of them was a basketball court where a group of inmates were playing basketball, and there were many onlookers actively placing bets on the court.
“Want to have some fun?” Lu RanKong inclined his head toward the court.
“You go ahead, I’ll sit on the sidelines for a while.” Lan Yu said.
“Okay, then I’ll go and move around.” Lu RanKong ran two steps away and turned back, asking, “Do you have that thing with you?”
Knowing he was asking about the needle, Lan Yu patted the upper left side of his prison jacket, where the inner pocket was. Lu RanKong nodded his head and ran towards the field.
Lan Yu saw him arrive on the field, high-fived the other prisoners, and quickly joined one of the teams to start playing, while he himself paced slowly along the edge of the field toward a ginkgo tree on his right. This ginkgo tree was a rare green on QuYa Planet, with lush branches and leaves rustling in the wind.
Below the tree was a bench with a circle of inmates sitting around it, chatting.
Lan Yu wanted to pass by the group and move on, looking for a random step or something to sit on. He didn’t expect the group to see him going in that direction, immediately stop talking and look at him nervously, then scatter like birds and beasts, leaving only an empty bench.
He slowly walked to the bench, sat down, picked up a leaf on the chair and turned it in his hand.
From time to time, there were loud cheers from the center of the court, and the sound of basketballs hitting the rim. He looked over there and saw Lu RanKong leaping up, grabbing a basketball with his right hand and dunking it in the basket. There was applause and cheering from both sides of the court as he ran and raised his hands to greet people, his face glowing.
The sunlight fell on his body and dyed the jumping black hair into a dark brown. Even in the most shoddy and ugly prison clothes, he was still handsome and striking, still standing tall and standing out among the group of prisoners.
Lu RanKong ran and looked around, Lan Yu guessed that he was looking for him. Sure enough, after he turned his head and saw the bench, there were points of light darting in his eyes. Facing Lan Yu again, he backed up and trotted, making a victory gesture.
“Brat…” Lan Yu made a gesture at him.
He didn’t notice that the corners of his mouth were unconsciously curled up.
A gust of wind rustled the leaves of the ginkgo trees overhead, and Lan Yu tilted his face up, squinting comfortably in the dappled sunlight.
“Yo, this is a bit of a treat, blowing in the wind and sun.” A warm voice suddenly sounded beside him.
Lan Yu opened his eyes to look over and found Officer Liu standing not far away. Officer Liu smiled at him, took a step his way and sat down at the end of the bench.
Neither of them spoke, listening in silence to the leaves clattering overhead and the cheers on the court. Lan Yu didn’t know when Officer Liu arrived here, and wasn’t clear if he sat down next to him because he really wanted to take a break from the sun or had other ideas.
Thinking that the Lontan person was in the middle of the QuYa Prison staff, he continued to look ahead with a calm face. But with both hands around the chest, his right hand quietly slid into the left inner pocket of the prisoner’s jacket, pinching the needle in his hand.
In the quiet, Officer Liu suddenly turned to him and asked with a smile, “How are you getting used to being here in QuYa Prison these days?”
Lan Yu nodded slightly and said, “Pretty well…”
Officer Liu said, “Many inmates can’t adapt when they first arrive, and some of them are even looking for death. I see that you are very easy-going, not like coming to jail, but like you’re taking a vacation, and after a period of time, you’ll leave after having your fill.”
Officer Liu laughed as he spoke.
Lan Yu remembered that he and Lu RanKong were worried about not being able to approach the prison staff, and now Officer Liu took the initiative to talk, so he followed suit and tugged at the corners of his lips.
“I don’t think you look like an ordinary prisoner.” Officer Liu looked at the distant mountains and said plainly.
Lan Yu’s heart was pounding, but his face didn’t show it the slightest bit as his eyes were staring at the court.
Lu RanKong, who was playing ball, apparently also found the situation here, he threw the ball in his hand to the ground, brushed aside the people in front of him, and was about to walk his way.
Lan Yu stopped him with his eyes and shook his head unnoticeably.
Lu RanKong stopped and walked to the edge of the field, pretending to talk to the people around him, his eyes fixed on his location.
Officer Liu turned his head to Lan Yu and continued to speak gently, “The cell you are staying in is very nice, the inmates in it are not very evil people, and they get along better.”
Lan Yu’s heart moved when he heard this, whether Officer Liu was the Lontan person or not, he decided to give it a try. He said, “Yes, they all get along well and are well educated, and some of them even paint murals on the walls, which is very nice.”
Officer Liu nodded in agreement, “Yes, I’ve seen the mural in your cell, it’s very good.”
Lan Yu simply turned around and put his arm on the back of the chair, facing Officer Liu, and said, “Does Officer Liu know what that painting is?”
Officer Liu smiled and asked, “The last time a prisoner in your cell had a stomachache, I took a cursory look at it when I went in that time, and the painting was of a forest in the early morning, with dew on the leaves.”
“I don’t know if Officer Liu has heard of Kaiju Planet,” Lan Yu’s mouth hung a meaningful smile.
Officer Liu looked ahead again, squinted his eyes slightly and repeated, “Kaiju Planet… I’ve heard of it. Although that is confidential, among interstellar people, who doesn’t like to secretly circulate a few secrets?”
After saying that he laughed a few more times.
“Yes, that mural is the painting of Kaiju Planet,” Lan Yu finished this sentence, his eyes were staring at Officer Liu, observing every slightest change in his expression.
Officer Liu suddenly said, “The plants on it were unseen and the birds were rare.”
“Yes, the vegetation, the birds, the sunlight, there’s nothing that doesn’t match the real Kaiju Planet,” Lan Yu said softly.
Officer Liu looked at him and said, “You guys, Planet Kaiju is just a legend, no one has ever really seen it, and it’s hard to say whether this planet exists or not, you just know nonsense.” He stood up, patted the non-existent dust on his legs and said, “Come on, I’m off today too, you can rest here for a while, there are other things to do tonight.”
After saying that, without waiting for Lan Yu’s reply, he put his hands behind his back and left slowly.
Seeing Officer Liu’s back disappear at the other end, Lu RanKong ran over and asked, “What do you think? Do you think he looks like him?”
Lan Yu shook his head slowly and said, “It’s not him…”
Lu RanKong sat down beside him, a fine bead of sweat still on his face, and asked in a low voice, “Why do you say it’s not him?”
Lan Yu frowned and said, “I used Kaiju Planet to test, but his answer and expression were very natural, not even a little bit out of place.”
Lu RanKong leaned back in his chair and looked at the person on the court, and said, “It’s a gain, after all, one person has been investigated, and if not, there is one less target to suspect, so let’s move on to the next one.”
Lan Yu heard these words but didn’t respond, still frowning, staring fixedly at the bench in front of the wooden bar, not moving.
“What’s wrong?” Lu RanKong followed his line of sight to the bench, but didn’t find anything wrong.
Lan Yu said confused, “I think it’s weird.”
“He came over to talk to me at first, obviously interested in me. But after a few words, he suddenly got up and left. What made him not want to continue the conversation?”
Lu RanKong said, “Repeat your conversation back to me exactly as it happened.”
Lan Yu recited ‘action’ in his heart, and instantly entered into acting mode, switching to a friendly expression and asking Lu RanKong with a smile, “How are you getting used to being here in QuYa Prison these days?”
When Lu RanKong was in a daze, he changed to a cold face again and said indifferently, “Pretty well…”
Lu RanKong violently pressed his fist against his mouth and choked loudly.
“What are you doing?” Lan Yu asked, sinking his face.
Lu RanKong waved his hand, coughing and saying, “Go on, go on.”
“Then don’t interrupt.”
“No interruptions, no interruptions.”
Lan Yu took out his line memorization skills and recited it word for word, “Many inmates can’t adapt when they first arrive, and some of them are even looking for death. I see that you are very easy-going, not like coming to jail, but like you’re taking a vacation, and after a period of time, you’ll leave after having your fill.”
He imitated the words perfectly, even Officer Liu’s intonation and pauses were perfectly copied, and after he finished, he even gave a laugh.
Lu RanKong kept his hand against his mouth, glanced at him and then darted his eyes away.
Just as Lan Yu was about to continue acting out his reply at that moment, Lu RanKong suddenly interrupted him, “He was testing you…”
Lu RanKong said, “Although I don’t know his purpose, in this paragraph, he was testing you.”
Lu RanKong said, “Go on…”
Lan Yu went on to retell the scene, and when he finished the sentence “Yes, the vegetation, the birds, the sunlight, there’s nothing that doesn’t match the real Kaiju Planet” in a soft voice, Lu RanKong interrupted him again.
“Wait, stop here.”
Lan Yu stopped his performance and looked at Lu RanKong.
Lu RanKong tapped his chin with one finger, pondered for a moment, and said, “Did you see a bird in that painting?”
Lan Yu recalled and shook his head uncertainly, “I don’t think I saw a bird.”
“But he mentioned the bird first, didn’t he?” Lu RanKong asked.
Lan Yu imitated Officer Liu’s words again and said in a dazed tone, “I said I had never seen the plants on there and the birds were rare, so it was the Kaiju Planet.”
The moment he turned back to his own tone, his face solemnly said, “He said this paragraph first, I then said the birds… It was he who first mentioned it.”
Lu RanKong got up abruptly and said, “Come on, let’s go back to the cell.”
“Back to the cell?”
“Yes, let’s go back to see the painting.”
Lu RanKong strode towards the prison building, and Lan Yu rushed to follow.