Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editor: KarateChopMonkey (get your tissues ready)
Lan Yu sensed that what happened next wouldn’t be good, and held his breath.
Officer Liu wiped away the tear on the frame, his voice trembling slightly, “Last July 24, two months before we met, I had a week’s vacation, so I couldn’t wait to get on the Star Warship carrying supplies and go to the main Planet to meet him.”
The huge Star Warship slowly landed at the military docking bay of Sasu Planet, and Liu Zhao, carrying his simple luggage, waited at the exit of the ship early.
“Officer Liu, you’re so eager, the Star Warship hasn’t even stopped yet.” A Star Warship soldier who knew him well greeted him with a smile.
Liu Zhao explained calmly, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been back to the main planet, I’m a little excited.”
“Understood, understood.” The Star Warship soldier squeezed his eyes again, “Do you need me to introduce you to some bars? The Omegas and Betas in there are pretty intense.”
The Star Warship soldier often handed over to Liu Zhao when transporting supplies or prisoners, so he was more familiar with him and knew he was soft-tempered, so he joked about it.
Liu Zhao waved his hand, “No, no, I’m not interested in that.”
The Star Warship soldier laughed out loud.
After Star Warship came to a complete stop, the hatch opened, and the long gangway hung down to the ground. Liu Zhao was the first to step out of the cabin, jogged down the gangway, and boarded the ferry. It was already past ten o’clock at night, and the shipyard was very remote, so he had a hard time hailing a cab from the terminal. The result was that before the car was parked, a person came out of the sash and pulled the door open first.
If it were normal, Liu Zhao would never fight, just wait patiently for the next one. But not today. Every second before seeing Xu was so long and difficult. He couldn’t wait any longer.
Liu Zhao blocked the doorway of the car, not allowing the man to get in, saying, “This is the car I called, you can call another one yourself.”
The man looked at Liu Zhao from head to toe.
He didn’t wear a prison guard uniform today, just a very ordinary coat, the style was a bit outdated, but also antique, ironed straight. The few small lints on the cuffs were also carefully cut off before he left.
The leather shoes were generally the most beloved kind of leather shoes for middle-aged men, nothing special, a popular brand. Although the leather surface had a few wrinkles, it had been brushed very bright.
The man glared hard at Liu Zhao, trying to scare the plain man away, but he was undaunted, and his round, fat face even wore a kind smile.
“Unlucky…” The man grumbled, his hand left the car door as he took two steps back.
Liu Zhao got into the cab and closed the door.
“No. 12 Chanda Street, Lua District, next to Black Crow Bar.” He couldn’t wait to read out the name of the place that he had memorized in his mind.
It was the place Xu had rented in Sasu Planet, and he had taken a job at a nearby bar while he waited for Liu Zhao’s tenure to end.
As the cab headed for its destination, Liu Zhao sat in the car with both anticipation and excitement. He was sitting on the old single sofa, drinking a beer and watching today’s news program. He felt his coat pocket, felt the hard room card, and cupped it in his hand.
He would open the door quietly and stand in the doorway again, smiling and looking at his lover. Then Xu must have been full of incredulity at the first sight of him, and then smiled.
——With his usual smile, his lips curved from the end of his eyes, full of surprise.
Liu Zhao’s eyes looked at the neon sign beside the street outside the window, and he couldn’t help but smile as well.
“Sir is going to see his Omega? Smiling so happily.” The cab driver looked at him from the rearview mirror and asked.
Although Liu Zhao was no longer young, the longing and joy overflowed from his face, so that the driver who had read a lot of people could see it at a glance.
Liu Zhao wanted to say that it was his Alpha lover, but he didn’t feel the need to explain so clearly, so he smiled and nodded, “Yes, to meet my lover.”
The cab pulled into the Lua district, then into a narrow-looking street and stopped at the side of the road. The driver turned around and asked, “Sir, Chanda Street is here, number 12 is inside, but the road is too narrow. I’m afraid it’s not easy to turn around after driving in, why don’t you just get off here and walk for a few minutes?”
Liu Zhao kindly agreed and got out of the taxi after paying.
In front of him was the place where Xu worked, the Black Crow Bar, and his rented house was right next to the bar. When Liu Zhao passed the bar, he saw two security guards in black suits at the door, someone pushing the door in and out, and loud music drifting out from inside.
He was working as a janitor in the bar, and Liu Zhao thought it was too messy, so he asked him not to do it or to change his job, but he refused.
“We need money to go to Chaya Planet to buy a boat and to buy a cabin. Your salary alone is not enough, I have to save more and the bar gives high wages, and ordinary people aren’t my opponent at all, they should be afraid of me. So you don’t have to worry.” Xu reassured him.
Liu Zhao looked sideways at the bar and continued to walk forward, almost colliding with a person who came on the way.
“Sorry, sorry.” He was too busy to apologize and took a step back to the side.
The person who collided with him didn’t make a sound and continued to walk forward without looking back. Liu Zhao went to lift the luggage that slipped on the ground, and when he looked up, he subconsciously glanced at that person.
It was a tall, thin man, wearing a beige trench coat with perfect proportions.
When he passed by the Black Crow Bar, he looked slightly sideways, and Liu Zhao saw his side face with a high nose, casting a shadow on half of his face.
Although his exact appearance couldn’t be seen clearly, with this vague outline it could be seen that this person was excellent looking.
This was just a small episode, so Liu Zhao didn’t care about it, as Xu’s rented apartment had appeared in front of his eyes, and his heart began to thump with anticipation and excitement. He ran a few steps to the small building, and then followed the old iron escalator next to it, walking up to the second floor with light steps.
The second floor was a hall with single suites on both sides. Liu Zhao couldn’t suppress the smile on his face and stopped at the door of Xu’s apartment. He changed his luggage into a hand, took out that room card from his pocket, and before he could put on the identifier, the door of the room let out a soft creak and opened a crack.
The sweet tone of the news anchorwoman burst through the doorway, and Liu Zhao shook his head helplessly and tucked the room card away. Xu was still so careless, living in an unsafe place like Chanda Street, he even forgot to lock the door. He gently pushed open the door, and all in the narrow room was visible at a glance.
To the left of the room was a three-dimensional projection of today’s Sasu main city news, with a female anchor explaining a car accident behind her.
The sofa in front of the projection was empty, and the coffee table in front of it held a cup of hot tea, still curling with white smoke. On the floor between the sofa and coffee table, a person lay face down. Liu Zhao’s luggage fell on the floor, he quickly rushed over and turned the person over, Xu’s bloodless face appearing in front of him.
“Xu! Xu, what’s wrong with you?” Liu Zhao gently patted his face with his hand, his voice shaking a little from panic.
His eyes swept across the floor where Xu had just lain, where there was a sticky pool of blood, shockingly red. Liu Zhao’s eyes slowly moved down to see Xu’s left chest heart position, noticing a peanut-sized gunshot hole.
The bullet wound was still seeping out blood, the surrounding clothing had been soaked through, a blinding blood color. Liu Zhao at that moment only felt his whole body go cold, like he fell into the extremely cold ice cave, and his heart also stopped beating, hanging with thick white frost.
“Xu, Xu…” He shivered incoherently, and went to dial the terminal on his wrist, but his hand shook so much that he couldn’t press it several times, and finally used voice recognition.
“No. 12 Chanda Street, Lua District. Someone’s been shot… No. 12 Chanda Street, Lua District, please hurry up, someone has been shot…”
“Liu Zhao…” A thin, inaudible voice rang out and Xu opened his eyes slightly.
“Hey, I’m here, Xu, I’m here.” Liu Zhao pressed his hand against the gunshot hole, trying to keep the blinding red from continuing to seep out, his mouth trembling with reassurance, “Don’t be afraid, the ambulance and emergency personnel will be here soon, don’t be afraid.”
“Liu Zhao…” Xu’s disoriented eyes gazed into the void, and his mouth muttered.
Liu Zhao leaned down and put his mouth close to Xu’s ear and said urgently, “Xu, I’m here, I’m here, I’m right here with you.”
Xu had already entered the confusion of blood loss, only repeating ‘Liu Zhao’ in an inaudible voice.
“Don’t say anything, don’t you say anything! I’m here.” Liu Zhao’s face was as white as Xu’s.
He suddenly opened his eyes wide and mumbled something in his mouth, and Liu Zhao only heard the words prison and Lontan person. He suddenly opened his eyes, and his mouth was muddled with words.
Liu Zhao reached out to wipe the blood from his mouth, but the more he wiped, the more he sobbed, “I know, I know, don’t say anything…”
Xu’s voice was getting smaller and smaller, and the only thing left behind were his lips still slightly open and closed. Finally, his eyes completely lost their luster and he stared blankly ahead.
“Xu, Xu…” Liu Zhao murmured a call, burying his head in the side of his neck, the skin his cheek touched still warm and still carrying his familiar scent.
He didn’t move a muscle as he wrapped his arms around Xu and knelt on the floor like that. He didn’t know how long it took, but there was the sound of an ambulance in his ears in a trance, footsteps coming from the stairs, and people talking around him.
“Sir, please cooperate with our investigation, who are you to the deceased? What just happened here again…”
“July 24, less than two months before I was reunited with him.” Liu Zhao put the photo frame in his hand back into the drawer and slowly closed it. There was silence in the small prison guards’ quarters, and neither Lan Yu, nor Lu RanKong made a sound after listening to his account.
Liu Zhao continued in a hoarse voice, “After dealing with the aftermath of Xu’s death, I thought over his words many times and came to the conclusion that Prison had a Lontan person and that person killed him. I know that idea is ridiculous and no one would believe it, but other than that, I couldn’t find any other clues, so I renewed my contract with the prison. I’m going to stay here and find out who that person is.
“I went around collecting information about the Lontan people, whether it was true or not, and collected it all before analyzing it. So after I saw the painting in your cell, I knew that it was of Kaiju Planet, but that three-legged gull wasn’t. I’ve been keeping an eye on everyone in the prison to see which ones are suspicious and then rank them, but I just haven’t been able to find that one yet.” He paused and asked sideways, “Can I now prove that I am not a Lontan person by telling this experience?”
Lan Yu met his red, pained eyes and knew that every word he said was true. If all this deep mourning was an act, then he had really been a movie star for so long. He looked at Lu RanKong and replied, “I believe that you are definitely not a Lontan person.”
Lu RanKong didn’t make a sound, apparently agreeing with him on this statement.
“Last July 24… more than half a year ago. That means that the Lontan person who killed Xu was in the prison six months ago.” Lu RanKong whispered, “He didn’t come through the interstellar channel that opened six months ago.”
Lan Yu saw that Liu Zhao’s mood calmed down a bit, so he asked carefully, “Then you didn’t report this to the head?”
Liu Zhao wiped his face and said, “I know that Lontan Planet is a very important matter, and Xu also said that he was in QuYa Prison, so I didn’t dare to report to anyone in prison. I wrote a confidential letter and sent it directly to the upper echelons of the military through the channels that I was informed about.”
“I didn’t receive any response, the secret letter was like a stone sinking into the sea.” Liu Zhao looked at the drawer in front of him and said indifferently, “Yes, how can a few words from Xu make the military think that he has met the legendary Lontan people? So I simply looked for it myself and tried to uncover the Lontan person.” He turned his head to Lan Yu and said in a dumb voice, “I can’t believe the military department really sent someone, I can’t believe…”
Lan Yu knew this was because the interstellar channel was opened and the Ministry of the Army began to pay attention to this. But he said, “We came here this time, the Ministry of the Army received a report, saying that in cave Alpha someone found Lontan blood. According to the projection, the time is on April 13. Do you have an impression of this matter?”
“April 13, April 13…” Liu Zhao frowned and fell deep in thought.
A rumbling sound rang out in the sky, interrupting Liu Zhao’s memories, and a snowy light spilled outside the window, and the three of them couldn’t help but look out of the window in unison.
A huge Star Warship slowly brushed past overhead, and the black metal belly of the ship could be seen reflecting the bright light, which was a thick layer of cold ice formed on the surface as it traveled through space.
The Star Warship swept over the prison, illuminating the following as if it were daylight, but also the opposite of the prison guard office building a few dozen meters away. There was no one working there at night, the whole building wasn’t lit, only the windows were open and the glass was shining. The rumbling sound faded away as the Star Warship slowly flew to the docking bay and landed a short distance away.
Lu RanKong looked at the office building across the street, took a few steps back, and said, “Don’t even go near the windows.”
Lan Yu knew it was out of caution, so he and Liu Zhao also took a step back and closed the curtains.
“The Star Warship is here to transport the supplies.” Liu Zhao explained to them, “The Star Warship will leave later after delivering the supplies, and the next visit will be in a month.”
“It’s leaving later.” Lan Yu sighed unconsciously and turned his head to look at Liu Zhao.
Liu Zhao was also looking at him, their eyes met and then immediately moved away.
Lan Yu’s heart was surprised, no matter now or in normal times, Liu Zhao would always look at him intentionally or unintentionally, and sometimes he would deliberately say a few words.
“Officer Liu, do you know me?” He asked in a cold voice.
Liu Zhao froze and said, “Colonel K, I don’t know you.”
“Then you…” Lan Yu didn’t finish the rest of his sentence, but Liu Zhao instantly reacted and understood what he meant.
He spoke with a bit of difficulty after a moment of silence, seemingly weighing his words, “Do you remember me mentioning that I bumped into someone when I passed by the Black Crow Bar the night that Xu was killed?”
“Mn…” Lan Yu remembered this part of his recounting of a near collision with a man in a trench coat between the Black Crow bar and Xu’s residence.
“I saw Xu when he had just been shot, no more than five minutes at most. And I didn’t meet anyone else along the way except the trenchcoat man I bumped into.”
Lan Yu had a vague bad feeling about his next words.
Sure enough, Liu Zhao looked at him and said hesitantly, “When you first arrived at the prison, I noticed that your back and profile resembled that man.”
Lu RanKong couldn’t help but ask, “Didn’t you say you didn’t see the man’s face clearly?”
“Yes, because I didn’t care at the time, so it was difficult to find the person later, I simply couldn’t describe his appearance. Later I found some acquaintances to transfer the surveillance to me, but that section of the footage is of low quality, in the only section left his head is down, so the face is not visible. When I saw K, I felt that he and the man should be very similar.” Liu Zhao said.
He saw Lan Yu having little expression, but Lu RanKong face vaguely darkened, so he added, “But the moment I saw Xu was shot, my mind was empty, and didn’t bother to see if there were other people nearby, I even forgot to search the building. If the killer was hiding somewhere, it’s possible that he left afterwards.”
Officer Liu hung his head in remorse, then raised his eyes a moment later and asked hopefully, “Colonel K, was it you that we met that night? Were you at Sasu Planet at that time? If so, did you find anything at that time?”
Last July, Lan Yu hadn’t transmigrated over then so he couldn’t indicate whether he was there or not, but said vaguely, “I don’t remember…”
“Indeed, what happened last year, even if it was you who I met at that time, I guess it was just passing by. It’s normal not to remember.” Liu Zhao gave a bitter laugh, his voice sounded very low. In an instant he picked up his spirits again and continued the conversation, “Let me think about what I was doing on April 13.”
After saying this, he opened the terminal in his hand and checked the memo inside.
“There was a prison meeting on March 20… On March 28th, a colleague was absent from work, and I filled in… April 10 prison carry out study…” Liu Zhao scratched up the virtual screen quickly, and mumbled. “April 13, April 13, I should’ve been on vacation that day.” He walked towards the desk in front of the window and went to flip through the work schedule book inside, “Let me see what was going on that day.”
Pulling out the work schedule book, he then started flipping through it at the window, his shadow falling on the curtains. Lu RanKong was about to remind him to step back next to the window when he heard a bang of a gunshot from outside. The window glass shattered at the same time and the curtains flicked slightly.
Lu RanKong, in the moment of hearing the sound of gunfire to the window, crouched behind the wall lifted the corner of the curtain to look out, Liu Zhao also followed the crouching body.
After waiting for a few seconds, the gunshots didn’t ring out again, Lu RanKong asked, “Is everything okay?”
“Yes…” Lan Yu also crouched down and rushed to the other side of the window to look out.
“Where’s Officer Liu?” Lu RanKong asked.
Liu Zhao didn’t reply.
Lan Yu abruptly turned around and saw Liu Zhao kneeling on the ground, his hand covering his chest slowly spreading out. The palm was red with blood, and the clothes on the chest were spreading rapidly with dark traces.
Then, he slowly fell to the ground.
In the drift of consciousness, Liu Zhao felt himself stepping on the cramped iron escalator, carrying his luggage bag while walking and measuring, and stopped in front of a door. The door was stained with paint, and there was a scuff mark on the handle. Everything looked familiar. He found the door open, the sweet voice of a news anchorwoman, and the soft clink of a teacup on the coffee table.
He was a little breathless and pushed the door open with a shaky hand. The floor lamp put out an orange light in the corner, the whole room was bright and warm.
There was a person sitting on the old sofa, turning his head to look at him for the first time, first his face filled with incredulity, and then with a smile.
——With his usual smile, his lips curved from the end of his eyes, full of surprise.
Liu Zhao’s face pressed against the cold floor, revealing a light smile.
I legit teared up, ngl.
The author has something to say:
Liu Zhao will not die.