Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The sound of water still rumbled in the distance, but the two guards on duty no longer looked nervous, so the back of the hill should have been opened and the water diverted. Lu RanKong explained that the two of them were going back to the prison, and the way was full of inmates returning to their cells, in groups of two or three, and without guards.
Before they reached the back of the mountain, they heard the roar of water and machinery from afar, and when they got closer, they found that in this short period of time, the flooded area had an additional canal, which stretched out nearly 100 meters, through a gap blown out of the back of the mountain, flowing out to the mountain. There were people busy everywhere, both prisoners and guards, and the warden was standing on a bench with a megaphone commanding.
Lu RanKong walked up, and the two men spoke in low voices. When he turned around, the warden stood at attention for a moment with the loudspeaker and continued to direct in an orderly manner.
“Did you tell him about Officer Wang?” Lan Yu asked.
Lu RanKong nodded, “He will send someone to bring back Officer Wang’s body later, and will take care of the aftermath, and will also immediately notify the military.”
Seeing Lan Yu scowl, he asked again, “Can we still stay in the prison cell tonight?”
Lan Yu knew that there was no need for them to pretend to be prisoners anymore, and that they could go to their new residence, but he still said, “Let’s stay in the cell…”
The two of them walked towards the cell block, the night breeze was cool. Lan Yu had been running, so his body was hot and he felt comfortable in the breeze, his steps slowing down.
There were inmates coming and going around, going back to their cells, walking around, gathering under the ginkgo tree to talk… Anyway, everyone was busy, and those who couldn’t help just didn’t add to the mess.
In the distance, a hazy light was cast, he would empty his mind and think of nothing, just follow the footsteps of the people around him, slowly walking. The two shadows fell to the ground, shoulder to shoulder, and although they said nothing, it made him feel calm and relaxed inside.
Back in the cell, Lan Yu found everyone there, sitting up straight from their respective beds when they saw them both enter.
“You’re all here, didn’t you stay behind to help?” Lu RanKong asked casually as he walked toward the bathroom to wash his hands, while Lan Yu opened the cabinet to get his toiletries and prepare to take a shower.
The room was quiet, no one answered, and no one made any other sound.
Lan Yu sensed the unusual atmosphere and looked at them from the locker door, Lu RanKong also stopped and slowly turned back.
“Brother Qiao, Brother Bao,” After a moment of silence, it was still Liu Junjie who spoke first. But his voice was dry, and a bit rushed and deliberately relaxed.
Lan Yu saw Qiao Fei and Lin Lin lowering their heads without saying a word, Wang Jin and Qiu Dao eyes were peeking at the two from time to time. Only Chen Zheng still looked the same, half leaning against the bed and lost in his own world. Lan Yu put down the basin in his hand and straightened up, and Lu RanKong looked at each other.
“We’re all in the same cell, just say what you have to say, don’t hide it. Brother Bao is not a petty kind of person. As long as it’s not a big problem, it won’t bother me.” Lu RanKong spoke up.
Liu Junjie hesitantly wanted to speak, but closed his mouth again, but Qiao Fei asked straightforwardly, “Brother Bao, Brother Qiao, who are you two?”
Lan Yu knew that they had seen the exchange between Lu RanKong and the warden and were suspicious of their identities. The room was silent again, no one said anything, Lu RanKong laughed and said in a relaxed tone, “Brother Bao and Brother Qiao are indeed not prisoners, we are here because of other things.”
Their eyes lit up and Liu Junjie asked, “Agents? Spies? Secret agents?”
“An inspector team who came to prison for an unannounced visit?” Qiao Fei also eagerly answered.
Lin Lin asked, “Interstellar detectives?”
Qiao Fei slapped him on the head, “Fuck! You watch way too many movies, right?”
Lu RanKong said, “Don’t ask about the details, anyway, Brother Bao and Brother Qiao will not harm you.”
“That’s for sure, it’s just… It’s just that…” Liu Junjie sat on his top bunk scratching his head.
“Just what? Just say what you have to say, be cool.”
Qiao Fei said with some embarrassment, “It’s just that it seems weird that you’re not prisoners.”
Lan Yu put the basin with the toiletries on the floor and went to Lu RanKong’s empty bunk and sat down.
“Brother Qiao, come and sit here, there’s nothing on Brother Bao’s bed, my bed is soft.” Qiao Fei patted his bunk and said.
“No, I’m dirty, I’ll sit here.”
Lu RanKong also slowly paced over, and said seemingly offhandedly, “Liu Junjie, you’re a substitute for someone to take the blame. For the interstellar richest youngest son, of your six-year sentence you have served two years. How much money did he give you?”
Liu Junjie was still lying on the top bunk looking down, with a smile on his face, but after hearing this sentence, the smile froze on his face.
Lu RanKong sat down next to Lan Yu and asked, “How much money do you owe for gambling, and do you still need to pay someone for your crime?”
Everyone looked at Liu Junjie, except Lan Yu who was looking down at his nails.
“Brother Bao, I…” Liu Junjie said in a bewildered voice.
“If you get out, will you still gamble?” Lu RanKong asked faintly.
Liu Junjie lowered his head, and when he looked up again, his eyes were red. He wiped his face and said, “When I finish my sentence and get out, I swear I’ll never gamble again. I just want to live a good life and to be by my parents’ side.”
Lu RanKong added, “Qiao Fei, Lin Lin, one of you was coaxed to make fake money templates, and the other was pitted by the boss who absconded with the money, but in fact the main crime isn’t on you, you are the shield for someone.”
After a moment of silence, Qiao Fei began to choke, Lin Lin also took off his glasses to wipe the fog above.
Lan Yu wondered at what point Lu RanKong had all these people investigated, after all, the information given to them by the military department wasn’t very complete, and to think that he seemed careless, but actually did things very carefully.
Lu RanKong looked at Wang Jin and Qiu Dao, smiled and said, “Brother Wang, Brother Qiu, I admire you both.”
“Admire us for what?” Qiu Dao and Wang Jin, both sitting on the bottom bunk, looking at each other blankly.
“You two have been adopted by the interstellar bandit chief since you were young, and although you have done some wrong things, none of them were serious. As far as I know, you two secretly donate your usual share of money to welfare organizations, so I have to say that admire you.” Lu RanKong said.
Qiu Dao squirmed and Wang Jin also showed embarrassment, “Because we are both orphans we just wanted those children to not end up like us, just… It’s no big deal.”
Lan Yu looked at the two, and couldn’t help but reveal a smile. He was an orphan himself, and after he started making movies to make money, he would donate a lot of money to orphanages every year, and on days off, he would buy a lot of things when visiting those children.
The room was quiet again, and only Qiao Fei’s occasional choked sobs could be heard.
“My dependent sister was pushed from upstairs by someone, struggling, and by the time I arrived from the recital, she was already lying in the cold morgue.” A cold, clear voice suddenly rang out, breaking the silence.
Everyone was stunned and looked towards Chen Zheng’s bed. Chen Zheng had sat up, his face was no longer the usual indifferent look, but full of sadness and despair. Maybe it was because he’s been suppressed for too long without anyone to talk to, his voice was trembling, “Even if the evidence is conclusive, what’s the use? He is too powerful, all the evidence was wiped clean, and I’m just a small piano player. I could only go to banquets waiting until after the performance for the opportunity to stab him to death…”
“Stab to death? This kind of person should be stabbed to death.” Wang Jin said through gritted teeth.
Chen Zheng smiled miserably and said, “If I stabbed him to death, I wouldn’t just be serving a ten-year sentence here.”
At night, Lan Yu lay on his side in bed, unable to sleep, looking at the wall very close to him with his eyes open. Behind him, Lu RanKong was facing him, breathing lightly. The prison cell was quiet, the usual snoring and teeth-grinding dream talk was absent. Apparently tonight everyone was touched by the heart and had collective insomnia.
“Can’t sleep?” Lu RanKong whispered very softly behind him, so soft that it was inaudible, only the airflow blowing on his ears could be felt.
Lan Yu nodded imperceptibly.
“Save those for tomorrow. Even if you can’t solve it, there’s still Brother Bao,” Lu RanKong said softly. He asked again, “Do you want Brother Bao to pat you to sleep?”
“No, I’m not a child.” Lan Yu closed his eyes, not noticing that his voice was soft and a bit pouty.
Lu RanKong seemed to laugh lightly.
Qiao Fei in the opposite bunk rolled over and made a sniffling sound, apparently shedding tears in silence just now.
Wang Jin’s position also made a sighing sound, and Qiu Dao asked in a low voice, “What’s wrong, are you cold?”
“You know shit. Sleep your sleep.” Wang Jin said.
“I can’t sleep when you’re awake.”
“So you mean I’m to blame for you not being able to sleep?”
“Why are you so unreasonable?”
“It’s not the first day I’m unreasonable, you don’t like it?”
The iron bed creaked with a shaking sound as the two of them fought again.
Qiao Fei interjected with a strong nasal voice, “Can you two stop fighting tonight? Let’s have some peace and quiet for one night.”
The two of them stopped at once, and both stopped fighting.
“The moon is bending, shining on the sea, the lights are dotted, the fishermen’s boats are returning…” A low voice rang out, and Lu RanKong hummed a song.
It was a nursery rhyme that Lan Yu had heard him sing. The last time he handled the bus Lontan person, the military department sent a car to pick them up to return, and when the SUV was driving in that desert, he hummed the same song. Lan Yu’s back was next to his chest and he could feel a slight tremor there.
Lan Yu gently opened and closed his lips, silently singing along, “The moon is bending, shining on the beach, the light of the planet is shining, it is your eyes…”
Qiao Fei’s occasional sobbing stopped, and the others didn’t sigh anymore, each lying quietly in bed.
The night was late, the outside light spilled in through the window, giving the interior a layer of white frost. The whole prison was quiet, only the roar of the excavator could be heard from the foot of the hill. After a while, Lu RanKong slowly stopped humming and checked Lan Yu’s face. Seeing that he was asleep, he laughed silently and lay down to close his eyes.
The next morning, instead of hearing the whistle at dawn as usual, it was almost eight o’clock before a guard shouted at the door of each cell, “Wake up, wake up, all of you! Stop sleeping, get up!”
The person behind him moved, so Lan Yu followed and woke up, but surrounded by the warmth, he continued to close his eyes and act as if he was still asleep. The sound of other prison inmates talking came in.
“Wolf – sir, is it a dig or something today?”
The guard replied, “No mining or work today, everyone rests after breakfast.”
Cheers burst out from the cells, and others were knocking on the bars excitedly.
“Sir, why are you the one who woke us up today?” Someone was asking curiously.
Officer Wang and Officer Liu were unknown to all the prisoners except Lan Yu and Lu RanKong.
The guard was silent for a moment and said, “They are both sick.”
“Why are they sick? Yesterday afternoon they were fine.”
The guard’s voice sank, “What’s it to you? Don’t ask what you shouldn’t ask.”
“I… Wolf dog…” Some prisoners started to curse again.
“Sir, how is the water in the back of the mountain?”
Speaking of this, the prison guard’s serious face gentled a bit and said, “You did well yesterday, the warden gave you seven consecutive days off and an extra chicken leg for each meal. Also to report this, each person can get the appropriate reward.”
He didn’t explicitly mention what the reward was, but the probability was that it was related to the reduction of sentence. The prisoners started to cheer again, and they didn’t shout ‘wolf dog’, only earnestly calling him “sir”.
Lan Yu couldn’t continue to pretend to sleep because of the noise outside, so he raised his hand and rubbed his eyes.
“Awake?” Lu RanKong’s voice was sober, obviously having been awake for a long time.
Lan Yu nodded his head.
“Get up and wash up, I guess we’ll be leaving later.” He whispered.
Lan Yu was about to ask where he was going when he realized he was talking about leaving QuYa Planet, so he shut up.
The automatic door-opening system was activated, and each cell door clanged open at the same time. Everyone in cell 11 got up and took turns washing up before heading to the cafeteria. Lan Yu and Lu RanKong didn’t get a separate table this morning, but sat with their roommates from their cell block, eating breakfast in silence.
“Brother Bao, Brother Qiao, you’re leaving today, right?” Qiao Fei asked, stirring the porridge in his bowl with a spoon and bowing his head.
Lu RanKong had just opened his mouth when a loud roar sounded outside, drowning out his voice. All the prisoners looked at the sky from the window, and Lan Yu was no exception. A Star Warship was slowly landing in the clear blue sky.
“It’s not an ordinary transport ship, it’s a military warship,” Some prisoners recognized it and started whispering.
“This is a prison out of the way and the top rushed to check?”
“I guess this year’s interstellar Ming Planet prison will fizzle out, and the warden will die of anger.”
Several people have been looking at that Star Warship, until it completely disappeared from view, only then did they all turn back their heads.
“That Star Warship is here to pick you two up, right?” Qiao Fei asked again.
Being watched by several pairs of eyes, Lan Yu said calmly, “Yes…”
Several people stopped talking and ate with their heads down. The quietness of this table was in stark contrast to the excited clamor of the other tables.
After finishing the meal, they left the cafeteria together with a tacit agreement, and at the fork in the road leading to the back of the hill and the cells. There stood two soldiers in military uniforms, and as soon as they saw Lan Yu and Lu RanKong, they stood still and saluted.
Liu Junjie scratched his head with his usual smile, “Brother Bao, Brother Qiao, they are here to pick you up, right?”
Lu RanKong hugged him.
They hugged each other in silence, and when Chen Zheng finally came forward to hug Lu RanKong, he suddenly whispered in his ear, “Actually, I knew you weren’t a prisoner the first day you came here.”
Lu RanKong was stunned.
“Because I’ve seen you at the Valen party.” Chen Zheng added.
The two men patted each other’s shoulders and parted.
Lu RanKong saw that no one was looking and made a gesture at him, “Thank you…”
In the wide courtyard, Lan Yu and Lu RanKong followed the two sergeants out. The ginkgo tree was still full of prisoners, and they all stood up in shock at the scene.
“Where did that wild dog come from, to take Boss and Brother Qiao?” Some people began to shout indignantly.
The wiser ones hurriedly interrupted, “Fuck you, can’t you see that those two wild dogs have a lot of respect for Brother Qiao and Brother Bao? What the hell are you shouting about?!”
“It must be that they both saved us yesterday, and the military department wants to commute their sentences and send them to a better prison first.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re still smart, that must be it.”
“Boss, Brother Bao, Brother Qiao, take care!”
While Lan Yu only looked at the road in front of him, while Lu RanKong waved at them like a hero on a glorious trip. The inmates began to cheer and applaud, causing the two sergeants to look back frequently, unsure of what was going on. After walking through that courtyard, a row of houses appeared on the left, and then past it was the prison’s medical clinic.
Lan Yu stared over there and gradually slowed down his pace.
“Let’s go check and say goodbye too.” Lu RanKong knew what he was thinking.
Lan Yu nodded and said, “Okay…”
The medical clinic was a small, separate building, very quiet. The first and second floors were the consultation rooms, where guards accompanied the prisoners, and the third and fourth floors were the wards. The two men took the warden’s pass card and soon arrived at Officer Liu’s ward on the fourth floor. Lan Yu walked to his bed and stood in front of it, while Lu RanKong stood at the door.
The room was quiet, and the only sound heard was the ticking of the medical instruments.
Officer Liu was lying motionless on the hospital bed, his face didn’t look too good, but he had regained some blood color. The thin quilt was resting on his body and heaving slightly at his chest in a calm manner.
“We’re leaving and should never come back, so we came to say goodbye.” Lan Yu spoke.
A medical officer came to the door and said in a very soft voice, “The patient is still in a coma and needs more rest, so try to hurry.”
Without turning his head, Lan Yu heard Lu RanKong respond in a soft voice, promising to leave in a moment.
After the medical officer left, Lan Yu then said, “The Lontan person in the prison is dead, you can rest easy. When your body recovers, you have to pick yourself up and live a good life to fulfill the promise you made with Xu. You can go see the sea of Chaya Planet on his behalf and taste the wine that you have not drunk. Your eyes are his eyes, and everything you see he can feel too.”
Officer Liu didn’t open his eyes, but the fingers resting outside the covers moved.
“Live well, and Xu will always be in your heart.” After Lan Yu said this, he stood in silence for half a minute, turned around and walked out.
Lu RanKong had been standing in the doorway, but didn’t move aside as Lan Yu approached, only looking at him with a strange, flashing look of unknown meaning.
Only when Lan Yu looked up in confusion did he hastily avert his eyes and ask, “You’re done?”
Lan Yu didn’t make a sound, only nodded his head.
“Then let’s go…” Lu RanKong walked towards the staircase.
When they reached the prison gate, the guard on duty admonished them as they stepped out, “Although you two have made merit and transferred to other prisons, you shouldn’t be complacent and relax your rehabilitation. Strive for better performance and get your sentence reduced and get out of prison soon.”
Lu RanKong also didn’t explain, smiling as he answered, “Thank you, officer, we will definitely do well in our rehabilitation.”
After leaving the prison, arriving at the docking bay and boarding the warship, Lan Yu stepped into the cabin and saw a female Alpha officer in a skirt-style uniform. It was Lu RanKong’s cousin, Jiang Zhi, the deputy chief of staff of the Third Army who had given them both the assignment in the first place.
“Congratulations to Colonel K and Colonel Lu on the successful completion of their mission.” Jiang Zhi quickly glanced around Lu RanKong before extending her hand to Lan Yu, “Colonel K, good work.”