Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Duan Yang didn’t wake Lin Chen up in the end.
The militants downstairs seemed to think it wasn’t enough and kept torturing the poor woman’s body. There was no more painful pleading. Duan Yang could only hear cruel laughter that was so unbridled that it pierced the sky.
He silently closed the curtains, feeling that it was enough for him to witness alone.
Lin Chen was still asleep at the other end, while Xing Conglian retracted his head back at the same time.
Xing Conglian returned to his subordinates and kicked open the door.
Xiao Wu and Kang An were sitting together, while Wang Chao and Xiao Liu were muttering about something.
“Boss!” The four of them stood up.
Xing Conglian didn’t bother talking nonsense with any of them. “Xiao Wu and Xiao Liu, go determine the number of available combatants among the Gaomeng people and what’s left of the ammunition reserves. We’re going to evacuate…”
“Take… How many people are we going to take to evacuate?” Xiao Liu asked anxiously.
“Everyone in this building and all the Gaomeng people who were captured by the Zaratul tribe.”
“But where are we going to evacuate? Zaratul wants the Gaomeng people, and I’m afraid that no one in the entire Dana Region, including neighboring countries, would dare accept them.”
“Do you know now?” Xing Conglian sneered coldly.
“Boss…” Xiao Liu laughed.
“At the mouth of the Dana River, in the port of Kagasi. I’ll arrange a boat to take them to a country that’s willing to accept refugees.”
Wang Chao couldn’t help it. He raised his hand and asked, “Then Boss, what about me?”
“Cut the crap. What can you do? Can the five of us cover the evacuation of so many people? Of course, we have to find more people,” Xing Conglian said.
Wang Chao rolled up his cuffs and his eyes lit up. “Are we calling for some help to bring weapons? How many people should we call? I remember there are still many secret militant bases of various countries nearby. There is also a branch of the Black Hawk Security, a mercenary organization. Boss, which one should we call? I’ll handle it!”
“What are you thinking?” Xing Conglian was annoyed. “Check who has recently traveled and find three of them.”
“Three?” Wang Chao asked.
“A sniper, a heavy firepower, and a bomb expert.”
“Understood.” Wang Chao quickly took out his phone, clicked on the chat group, and sent a group message. Soon, the pinging prompt sounded like popping beans. “Boss… They said they are all free…”
Xing Conglian didn’t bother to care about how many tasks those people skipped so that they were “free”. He simply said, “Since they’re all free, let Zhang Long, Zhao Hu, and Ye Zhu come. I’ll give you the equipment list later for you to tell them what to bring.” He looked at his watch. “I want to see someone before noon tomorrow, Dana time.”
Wang Chao nodded vigorously.
As soon as his voice fell, Kang An raised his hand abruptly and said actively, “Boss, what do you need me to do?”
“Do me a favor,” Xing Conglian said coldly.
“What kind of favor, Boss? Just ask!”
“Stay out of my sight and don’t let me see you!”
Kang An made a bitter face. “I’m sorry.”
“All right. Get out and grab two of Zaratul’s soldiers and interrogate them about the layout of the mine, then scout their troop arrangements.”
“Got it!” Kang An finally recovered from the state of a wilted eggplant and rushed out the door like the wind after speaking.
“You have terrible judgment.” Xing Conglian glanced at Xiao Wu as he said coldly.
When Lin Chen woke up, he saw Duan Yang’s quiet face, which looked quite different.
The young man was wearing a mask and was standing in front of a test bench, staring at a blood sample in front of him. Lin Chen wondered what he was doing.
He coughed softly, causing Duan Yang to hurriedly turn his head. He put down the work at hand, squatted down after washing his hands, and put his cold fingers on Lin Chen’s wrist. He briefly measured his body temperature and heartbeat, then carefully checked his eyes.
Perhaps because Duan Yang was wearing a mask, Lin Chen felt he seemed a bit colder, but soon, the coldness in his brows was replaced by deep worry. “Consultant Lin, what’s wrong with you?”
“I feel uncomfortable all over,” Lin Chen said with a smile.
“I’m asking you very seriously.”
“I also answered very seriously. It really hurts all over. If you really develop a new type of poison, please give me the first shot.”
“Please stop joking,” Duan Yang said with a serious expression.
Lin Chen struggled to get up, and the doctor began to get angry. As a patient, he should be more obedient.
Lin Chen nodded and looked at the experiment table again. “Are you really studying the drug?”
Duan Yang felt a little embarrassed. “You were sleeping just now, so I checked a few of the rhesus monkeys that were locked up. There is indeed a problem with the monkeys here.”
“Of course there would be a problem if they were injected with a high-purity drug.”
“New drugs are always different.”
“The drugs injected into the rhesus monkeys here are different from common drugs. Typically, addiction comes with severe psychological cravings, but some of these monkeys, despite being agitated and restless, don’t seem agitated because they are unable to obtain something. They seem to still be in a normal state after being injected with drugs. How long has it been? It’s impossible…” Duan Yang muttered to himself. “I didn’t understand before how the new drug developed by Zhorui Pharmaceutical was related to this kind of drug, but it may indeed affect some substance in the brain…”
“It is indeed strange.” Lin Chen struggled to stand up. “Help me take a look.”
“You—you, don’t get up.” Duan Yang pressed Lin Chen back to the ground. “I put the monkey in the lab window to show you, so just lie down and watch.”
Lin Chen thought for a while and said, “No need. I should trust your judgment.”
“What were you doing just now?”
“I see that there is a sliding phase column here. I want to use the most primitive method to separate the drugs from the blood and see if we can recover it.”
“I see.” Lin Chen nodded. “But after you’re done, remember to destroy the results. Only you can know it.”
“Where were we?” He asked Duan Yang.
Duan Yang had an expression of annoyance at being interrupted, but he still answered seriously. “You said that the masked man captured us because only he could communicate with us here without worrying about us informing anyone else. You emphasized that this was important, and then there was no further mention of it…”
“Of course this is important. It reminds us that when making an escape plan, we must take the language barrier into account. In other words, we only have one option, which is to kidnap the masked man and escape with him. We must also make sure to control his weakness beforehand, forcing him to take us out alive.”
“Escape?” Duan Yang’s eyes widened. “Are we going to escape?”
“What else? Sit still?” Lin Chen opened some of the experimental coats covering his body and asked rhetorically.
“But how can we kidnap him?” Duan Yang thought for a while. “There are a lot of knives in the dissecting room. If all else fails, I can even load a glass slide!”
Lin Chen said coldly, “The surveillance system here tells us that once you rush to draw a knife to restrain him, soldiers will soon rush in and beat you into a bloody pulp with their AKs.”
“Then…” Duan Yang shuddered, and his face wrinkled. “You mean, just the two of us, we have to quietly subdue the masked man under surveillance and force him to take us out? How can this be done?”
“I have no idea.”
“There’s only one general direction.”
“For example, are you making a love potion right now?”
“What?” Duan Yang showed an incredulous look.
“What I mean is, I need a drug that will make him forget who he is and obediently follow our orders after he takes it. For example, a hallucinogenic spray that can make people give up all their possessions after a single spray.”
“There is no such drug. It’s all a lie,” Duan Yang said with a serious expression.
“Well, you’re being too honest,” Lin Chen said regretfully. “Then we are screwed.”
Duan Yang suddenly said, “You mean, a knife isn’t good, but it’s okay to drug him?”
Lin Chen nodded. “The reason why a knife won’t work is simple. We only have one chance. It’s very difficult for you to covertly control his lifeline with a cold weapon under surveillance.”
“What if it’s a needle?”
“A small syringe…” Duan Yang said suddenly, looking at the monkey outside.
Lin Chen’s thoughts turned, and he understood Duan Yang’s meaning. “I think, let’s give it a try. If it doesn’t work, we’ll just die. It’s no big deal.”
Duan Yang took a long breath, unable to laugh or cry. “Consultant Lin, you’re so sick. Can you stop joking.”
“It’s good to joke. At least it can cover up my true mood right now.”
“What are you covering up?”
“Because I’m afraid that you will lose your faith in perseverance if you know that I’m dying of illness.”
“Consultant Lin…” The young doctor frowned again.
“Duan Yang.” Lin Chen suddenly raised his voice.
The young man in front of him shuddered.
“If you want to get out of here alive, stop putting any emotion on your face.”
“I… I’ll try my best.”
The setting sun of the rainforest gradually descended from the side of the Xazi mountain range, and darkness gradually covered the entire forest.
Xing Conglian’s former subordinates had already scattered and worked separately while he sat alone in the room smoking.
Outside, there was the sound of hungry Gaomeng people sharing the only dry food left. The charcoal fire crackled, mixed with the voices of parents comforting their children, couples consoling each other, and, of course, the voice of the doctor checking on the patients’ condition. In short, those soft Gaomeng words fell on Xing Conglian’s ears, which made him irritable.
He flicked the cigarette butt away and fell asleep on the haystack.
The door of the room was pushed open, and Duan Wanshan’s stumbling figure appeared.
Xing Conglian opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Duan Wanshan closed the door. At the moment the door closed, Duan Wanshan’s entire body seemed as if it were being pulled from his spine as he visibly collapsed, falling to the ground with a thud.
Xing Conglian stood up and helped the man to the haystack to lie down. Duan Wanshan laid on the haystack, like a candle that had burned the last of its remaining life and had exhausted all his strength. He opened his eyes slightly and stared at Xing Conglian with a weak but serious gaze, as if he had a lot to say.
Xing Conglian felt unpleasant. “Professor Duan, you look as if you’re going to leave me with something, but I don’t want it.”
“It’s not a consignment.” Duan Wanshan struggled to reach into his pocket. “I have a bottle of liquor in my pocket. Take it out and see if it’s broken.”
Xing Conglian lowered his head and saw Duan Wanshan’s right hand trembling. He hadn’t pulled the zipper of his jacket open even halfway. He raised his eyebrows and helped out. Sure enough, there was a palm-sized bottle of liquor in Duan Wanshan’s arms. “It’s Erguotou, from my hometown, Niulanshan.”
Duan Wanshan was lying on the ground, struggling to sit up.
Xing Conglian couldn’t bear to watch anymore, so he leaned the person against the wall.
Duan Wanshan handed him the bottle.
Xing Conglian didn’t take it. “What’s this?”
“A gift as thanks.”
“This gift is too light.”
“But the sentiment is heavy.”
Duan Wanshan held it in his hand persistently and said, “I took the trouble to ask a friend to bring this from Taipei and never drank it. It has been put away for a whole decade.”
“Then I can’t accept it even more, because the next thing you’ll surely say is that you won’t have a chance to drink it in your life anyway.” Xing Conglian curled his lips and responded coldly.
“Hahahahahaha.” Duan Wanshan laughed heartily. His laughter was weak, but he seemed to have a carefree attitude towards life and death. He mustered up the strength to twist off the bottle cap and took a big swig, saying, “I still have a chance to drink.”
Under the moonlight, the doctor’s face was pale, perhaps signifying he was close to death. Surprisingly, from the old-farmer-like face of Duan Wanshan, Xing Conglian saw some traces of his youthful handsomeness. Actually, the word “youthful” wasn’t appropriate, as Xing Conglian had seen Duan Wanshan’s resume. This doctor was just in his forties, and according to the existing age classification of the United Nations, people in their forties were still considered young. But perhaps the years in Dana had aged Duan Wanshan beyond his true age.
Xing Conglian couldn’t help but say, “You can’t die.”
“Everyone has to die.”
“Your current state makes laozi feel like I went through all this trouble to come to Dana to save you, but as soon as you see me, you give up and say you’re going to die. It makes me feel like helping you is what’s going to kill you.”
Duan Wanshan shook his head. He bowed his knees and rolled up his trouser legs layer by layer. Only then did Xing Conglian see the wounds that had been covered under the trousers and had been festering for many days. It should be a gunshot wound. The wound was blocked by a wooden stick. In the rotting wound, muddy and smelly blood was still oozing out. Duan Wanshan seemed to have applied herbal medicines to the wound, but for a gunshot wound, this kind of treatment was simply a drop in the bucket.
Xing Conglian raised his eyes and looked at the doctor’s slightly flushed face after drinking, but he knew very well that this flush was more like a return to the light.
“Sepsis*. The toxins have already spread throughout my body. Even amputation won’t help. But I’m not trying to make a point. I’m just telling you that I’ll die whether you come or not,” Duan Wanshan said. “But it just wouldn’t be worth it.”
*Also known as blood poisoning, is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. It requires immediate treatment. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
“Do you think it’s worth it for you to die now?” Xing Conglian asked rhetorically.
“Haha.” Duan Wanshan’s chest rose and fell with a mixture of laughter and pain. “I just have to face it head-on since there’s nothing else I can do. What else can I do?”
When Duan Wanshan responded with the rhetorical question, “What else can I do?”, upon hearing it, Xing Conglian suddenly realized that there was no other choice for someone like Duan Wanshan but to face the situation head-on. Abandoning over a thousand people and escaping alone wasn’t an option.
He sneered again and found that the number of times he sneered had increased day by day since he came to Dana.
“Have you ever thought that if you lived, with the rest of your remaining life, you might be able to save ten or even twenty times more people than those that are out there?”
“I didn’t know I was going to die either until I got shot.”
“What if you knew you were going to die?” Xing Conglian insisted.
“Do you have to ask such harsh questions?”
“It’s a very interesting proposition, and it makes sense to ask these questions to someone who is going to die.”
Duan Wanshan lowered his eyes, as if in deep thought, but Xing Conglian clearly saw the various emotions that flashed on the doctor’s face. Finally, after careful consideration, Duan Wanshan looked up at him. “I should still help.”
“Because no one can tell what will happen in the future. The 10,000 people in the future have their own people who can save them. And I’m pretty sure that if I see these Gaomeng people die without reaching out, then I will live in regret and guilt for the rest of my life, which is more painful than death. I think your subordinates think so too,” Duan Wanshan said slowly.
“Why do you want to be a peacemaker when you’re dying?” Xing Conglian felt that when Duan Wanshan talked about regret and guilt, he was just stating facts without any emotions. “Do you really feel regret?”
Duan Wanshan said bluntly, “This matter is weird. I haven’t investigated it clearly yet, so I don’t want to let it go. But I’m still sorry to involve you in it.”
“What do you mean?” Xing Conglian glared at him. “Do I look like someone who will be irritable because of such trivial things?”
Duan Wanshan shook his head and sighed. “Because you have been angry with your subordinates.”
“I can’t scold my own men?”
“You know that’s not what I meant.”
“I’m not angry because of them. When they came to find me, and even when you finally found me, I didn’t feel anything…”
“As long as the reasons are justified, solving these problems that make you guys suffer is just a piece of cake for me.” As Xing Conglian spoke, he took out a cigarette, put it in his mouth, and lit it with a snap of his lighter.
Duan Wanshan opened his mouth slightly and looked at him in surprise.
“This is the meaning of the existence of people like me,” Xing Conglian said quietly.
The rainforest was excessively bright as the silver moon rose.
After a long time, Duan Wanshan spoke. “But you’ve been constantly cranky.”
“I’m cranky because of a personal matter.” Xing Conglian’s tone turned sour again.
“A person like you would still be bothered by personal matters?” Duan Wanshan leaned against the wall and took another swig of the bottle.
Xing Conglian felt that Duan Wanshan was probably really nearing the end of his life, becoming less and less like the old farmer he was before. After all, an old farmer wouldn’t be so sharp-tongued towards his benefactor.
“If someone is waiting for you to go home, but you can’t return for the time being, won’t you feel irritated?”
“Your wife?” Duan Wanshan asked.
“My… friend, but probably a future boyfriend,” Xing Conglian said decisively.
“Because before we established our relationship, I was suddenly reeled in by an idiot to deal with your pile of shit. I don’t know if he will accept me when I return.”
Duan Wanshan almost choked on the liquor. “Wait, boyfriend?”
“Are you homophobic?”
As soon as he spoke, he saw Duan Wanshan laugh absentmindedly. The doctor picked up the bottle and took another small sip, looking at the moon outside the window, silent for a long time.
Seeing Duan Wanshan look as if he was missing someone, Xing Conglian hurriedly stepped back. “I don’t really want to hear your love history.”
Duan Wanshan smiled. “Just listen to it. Listen to the feelings of a dying man. Maybe it will inspire you.”
“Well, alright.” Xing Conglian thought about it, then responded solemnly.
In the laboratory, Duan Yang was hungry.
Because Lin Chen had fallen asleep again and the masked man hadn’t arrived, he continued to complete the extraction work he had previously done earlier and also checked on all the samples he had taken from the rhesus monkeys.
He put down the lab test tube, stretched, and looked at the ground beside the experiment table.
Lin Chen had wrapped himself in a few lab coats and fallen asleep again.
Although Lin Chen was constantly joking, Duan Yang knew very well that the time Lin Chen spent awake was decreasing. He had previously diluted the anhydrous alcohol solvent in the lab to 75% and given Lin Chen a simple disinfection treatment, but it was clear that what Lin Chen needed now was a large dose of antibiotics to help him fight the infection in his body.
He looked at the time, squatted down with the alcohol, and took out Lin Chen’s injured hand from the layers of lab coats.
Due to the infected wound on his palm, Lin Chen’s originally pale and thin hand became swollen, and his fingers were also red and swollen, doubling in size. Duan Yang used cotton soaked in alcohol to clean the wound, and yellowish pus flowed out along the wound.
The wound disinfection should have been extremely painful, but Lin Chen only slightly restlessly struggled in his sleep. He didn’t even open his eyes, which only made Duan Yang worry even more.
He capped the bottle of alcohol, stood up again, put things back in place, and only after a while did Lin Chen reluctantly wake up.
Duan Yang looked down.
Lin Chen, who had just woken up from a semi-comatose state, braced himself to open his eyes. The moment he saw him, the festering focus in Lin Chen’s eyes gathered in a very short time and instantly regained clarity.
Duan Yang thought that Lin Chen’s willpower was probably one of the strongest he had ever seen.
“Did you kill the monkey?” Consultant Lin, who was lying on the ground, sniffed the smell in the air and looked at the location of the dissection room.
Duan Yang squatted down. “I’m preparing for tomorrow’s great escape.”
“It’s all up to you, Doctor Duan,” Lin Chen said with forceful cheerfulness. “But if by then there’s a chance that my physical condition doesn’t allow you, I want you to go alone.”
Upon hearing this, Duan Yang trembled. He looked at the psychological consultant, who had rapidly weakened due to infection but had been continuously using various words to stimulate him to cheer up. He kneeled on the ground, and put his hand on Lin Chen’s hot forehead.
“Consultant Lin, I have been thinking about <The Secret> you mentioned. Although you have been talking about dying, you have never given up, have you?”
Lin Chen didn’t speak. He just lay on the ground, gasping weakly.
Duan Yang became a little anxious. He felt that he couldn’t understand Lin Chen’s thoughts more and more, so he could only try to awaken his will to survive. “Didn’t you say before that someone like that exists? Someone you want to persevere for and try to hold on until the end?!”
“Yes, of course there is.” There was a smile at the corner of Lin Chen’s mouth.
“Who is it?” Duan Yang asked smoothly.
“Of course, it’s the person I love, idiot,” Lin Chen said lightly.
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