At two o’clock in the morning, with heavy rain, the sudden ringing of the doorbell would probably not wake an ordinary person. Nonetheless, to Ink, who was lying on the bed with his eyes shut, hands desperately clutching on to the quilt, it was as loud as a siren. He clearly sensed the four humans standing outside the door. Other than the two persistently ringing the doorbell and banging on the door, there were two more men that were armed with weapons, hiding in the shadows. In addition to that, the strange young man who helped him remove his collar was heading towards the door one step at a time.
Ink wanted to scream at the man; for him to not open the door, but his body would not listen to him and was frozen in fear.
He did not know if he would be, once again, dragged back into the dark research institutes, enduring and suffering the painful torture of those crazy people; whether he would implicate this kind young man and be the one who fed him poison. The tension in Ink’s mind had gathered, like a thin thread pulled taut, so taut that if a light breeze blew or with the slight movement of grass, it would break.
Qin Luo opened his mouth and a string of curses flew out fluently in a British accent as he opened the small window on the door. He immediately saw two men in uniforms, flashing the local police’s ID. What had made Qin Luo speechless was that one of them, who had a thinner frame, was the researcher who activated the self-destruct device in his previous life. It was because of him, Qin Luo had no choice but to swallow that device into his mother space, which in turn led to his rebirth and all the subsequent changes.
“Sir, there is an extremely dangerous criminal who recently escaped. We suspect that he may have sneaked into several nearby homes.” The other man who was taller and had held the police officer’s ID explained to Qin Luo.
“What?” when Qin Luo heard that there was a fugitive, he immediately pretended to be worried but he did not let his guard down, “Could you first pass me your ID for confirmation.”
The man did not hesitate, directly inserting the documents through the small window. Qin Luo checked the ‘authenticity’ of the documents before opening the door. “We are really unlucky, if it isn’t the fugitive that is a moron, then it must be the police who are morons. There are so many mountains and wild plains to escape to, yet he ran to a place where the number of houses could be counted.” Qin Luo muttered.
The two men’s faces twisted into an ugly expression when they heard him. If the signal had not suddenly disappeared around here, they would not have come by to search in this specific location. It was as the young man had said, there were only so many houses around. If he had really hidden somewhere around these houses, he would have been easily caught.
Walking into the living room, the two first swept through the floor with their eyes, especially the man with the thin build; he looked particularly, meticulously and ran his hands carefully around several places. Qin Luo pretend to be ignorant of his actions and pointed to the rooms where Qin Ke and Ink were in, “There are people sleeping in those two rooms, if it’s not too much to ask, please be mindful of your movements when you do your search.”
After saying this, the door to Qin Ke’s room was opened gently. The two men gave the entrance of the room and the window a glance but did not do a thorough search. Qin Luo did not question their behaviour and gently closed the door when he saw that they had no intention of searching Qin Ke’s rooms. He then brought the both of them to the master bedroom where Ink resided and gently open the door. The two men followed their previous actions and only gave the room a superficial sweep with their eyes, mainly the windows and bedroom entrance.
Just as Qin Luo shut the door, the thin man suddenly opened his mouth and asked, “Who was that person sleeping on the bed?”
Qin Luo frowned and gave the two men a suspicious look, “Do you need to ask? There are only a number of households here, for you two police officers who always patrol around this block, you should know who it was just from the view of his back. Don’t tell me that you two aren’t familiar.”
The tall man glared fiercely at the thin man, outwardly accusing him for asking a stupid question. The man rubbed his nose awkwardly and no longer spoke.
Qin Luo mentally sneered twice at their stupidity and then guided them around the rest of the house. Of course he did not leave behind any suspicious traces for them to find, and naturally the two did not get the result they wanted. After checking all the rooms and just as the two were planning to leave, they were stopped by Qin Luo.
“Officer, since there is a dangerous fugitive running around, isn’t it better if you left a person behind to protect us? If he hides in their neighbourhood, what should we do if he walks in and attacks us after you all have left?” Qin Luo asked seriously.
The two heard this question and for a moment they were dumbfounded, how were they going to get out of this situation? Qin Luo saw that they had no excuses prepared and said, “I’ll pour you a glass of water, it would be better if you all stayed.”
The two looked at each other, they weren’t really policemen and they had fabricated these documents for the convenience of their search. They couldn’t really sit here and waste their time with him. In the event that their identities were uncovered, there will be a scandal and it would be even more difficult if they had to take their lives to silence them. Don’t assume that it would be easy to live in this remote area, to be able to live here, they would have to be people with influential backgrounds. Otherwise they would have directly rushed onto the property and searched instead of carefully sneaking around.
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Taking the opportunity when Qin Luo turned around to pour water, distance that was meant to be covered in 3 steps were done in 2 and they both rushed out of the living room. They left an echo of their words as they rushed out, “You can rest assured, we will send additional personnel to aid the search.”
Qin Luo quickly chased them all the way to the door, he called out with a helpless voice, “You must catch him as soon as possible.”
Closing the door, the sides of Qin Luo’s mouth quirked up into a mocking smile. He was well verse in the Institute’s typical tactics. When searching through civilian locations, they will not use equipment that was too expensive because from the start, they would not suspect Ink’s collar could be removed by a man as young as him nor expect their culprit would openly accept their inspections.
Qin Luo turned and walked to the master bedroom. Opening the door, he saw Ink, sitting on the bed and looking at him. Particularly his big eyes; they shone with a luster in the dark, like the stars in the night sky.
Qin Luo sighed and sat on the bed before offering some comforting words, “You can sleep in peace now. They will all leave after a while.” With that he lifted the quilt, allowing Ink to lay back down before covering him with the quilt.
Just as Qin Luo was about to rise and leave, Ink quickly grabbed onto his clothes. Qin Luo was a little startled. Ink’s pale fingers looked even more fragile in the dim light, as if a small struggle would break his fingers. Qin Luo did not move, he just turned his head to look at Ink.
“Can – can you accompany me for a little longer? Just… just a little longer…” Ink’s voice was a little rough.
Qin Luo felt that his move was like that of a pure and well-behaved child, and could not help but to feel soft hearted. It is likely that Ink was once a poor white mouse at the research institute, suffering various kinds of unspeakable and disturbing experiments.
“Sleep. I will stay here with you.” Qin Luo leaned against the head of the bed and moved into a comfortable sitting position.
Seven to eight vehicles were parked by the road not far from the several houses. The two police officers who had just come from Qin Luo’s house and several others disguised as policemen rendezvous in one of the big vans. There were three staff members in that vehicle, staring the computer screen and carrying out a ground search in the area. A middle-aged man, who wore glasses, with a serious expression was whispering something to them. They immediately turned their attention to the newcomers once they were spotted.
Several men shook their heads and said that they did not find any clues. Four of them, who had worn special glasses, handed over their eyewear to the middle-aged men. The men connected the wires of the hidden glasses to the laptop. The computer immediately replayed everything they saw in the houses, focusing particularly on the floors that were specifically captured.
The man’s brow furrowed, regarding the escape of the experimental body, this was not the first time. Although ‘Zero’ had escaped ten years ago, he had returned because the collar had been impossible for him to remove. He had assumed that because Zero’s legs were injected with a large amount of silver ion, his escape would have been extremely difficult. Who would have thought that he could still walk, moreover escape such a considerable distance.
“Dr. Charles, since the signal of ‘Zero’s’ collar had disappeared around here, shouldn’t we carefully search for it once more?” A tall and thin man suggested.
The middle-aged man waved his hand, “To be able to remove our coded collars without triggering the explosive mechanisms, that person is definitely not someone trivial. Especially ‘Zero’s’ collar, which is a permanent device, it cannot be removed.”
“Is it possible that it had already exploded?” The tall and thin man frowned.
“No. Impossible. If there’s an explosion, it will definitely be indicated here on the tracker. From my deductions, that collar must have disappeared into thin air. Not only are we not receiving the signals of life or the signals from the explosive mechanism, even the basic tracking signals are not being received.” The face of the middle-aged man was getting darker and sterner, “Unless…”
The tall and thin man’s face paled, “You mean that he and his people are looking for it?”
The middle-aged man glared at him and said, “What are you afraid of? We were able to kill their king then, we are able to do it once more. Not to mention ‘Zero’ is not entirely theirs. I’m not sure if he will be accepted by that group. What I’m currently worried about is that once they find Zero, they will tear him into pieces instead and that would turn all our efforts to waste.”
His words did not provide any sense of security. The face of the tall and thin man was still pale. He could imagine the fearsomeness of that group. He had personally witnessed the one time Zero acted up. Zero had once broke away from the restraints that held his hands and feet, he tore apart the researchers that were within his reach and fed upon their blood.
The middle-aged man narrowed his eyes at the tall-thin man who was shivering, “Leave one car to monitor the area, if there’s nothing suspicious by dawn, head back and regroup. If Zero has really been taken away by them, we will have to rethink our strategy. If necessary, I will request for the upper echelons to confer with their current ‘King’. After all, there’s nothing that cannot be exchanged for benefits.”
The pale, tall-thin man and three others were left behind. In the dark cover of the night, three large vans surrounded by several heavily armed off-road vehicles gradually disappeared down the dark road.
Translator: DC Proofreader: Naito