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    Chapter 80 (3000+)

    Initially, Luo Le suspected that Huo Lanjing was lying to him and had secretly visited his workplace.

    There, he saw Huo Lanjing lifting a heavy object with dust smudged on his face from an unknown source.

    Only then did Luo Le believe that Huo Lanjing hadn't been deceiving him.

    As the days went by.

    One day, Huo Lanjing arrived late, and Chen Chen asked where Uncle Huo was. Luo Le was taken aback.

    It seemed that Chen Chen had grown accustomed to Huo Lanjing's daily visits for dinner.

    Similarly, Luo Le had also gotten used to Huo Lanjing's presence and no longer felt the same initial aversion towards him.

    This kind of habit was terrifying.

    Thus, that very night, Luo Le unilaterally quarreled with Huo Lanjing, ordering him to return to wherever he had come from.

    From then on, Luo Le's days returned to their previous tranquility, but his heart did not regain its former calm.

    Hasn't Luo Le forgotten?

    How did Huo Lanjing treat you before?

    Didn't we agree never to have anything to do with Huo Lanjing again?

    After a long absence, Wind City sent word today that he had successfully withdrawn his troops and was coming home.

    There was a hint of melancholy in his tone.

    Luo Le offered to go and see him off.

    After some thought, he decided that a farewell gift was in order.

    It being weekend, Luo Le took Chen Chen shopping for a present. After browsing for the whole morning, they settled on a small spaceship model.

    After having lunch with Chen Chen, they prepared to head back home.

    Upon reaching the entrance, a waiter accidentally bumped into Luo Le, spilling the cold dishes all over Luo Le's clothes.

    The mercenary promptly rushed over.

    The waiter hurriedly apologized.

    Luo Le glanced at his soiled clothes and said it was fine, asking the waiter to find him a change of clothes.

    Then, he instructed the mercenary to wait outside while he took Chen Chen into the staff changing room.

    The waiter even brought a basin of water for him to clean up.

    Their changing rooms were individual cubicles.

    Luo Le brought Chen Chen inside with him.

    "Daddy, I'll hold your clothes for you," Chen Chen offered.

    Luo Le replied, "Alright."

    He then promptly stripped and tossed his clothes aside, giving himself a quick rinse.

    Once the greasy sensation on his body was gone,

    Luo Le took the clothes from Chen Chen's hands and began dressing.

    Just as he finished, he heard a thud. Lowering his gaze, he saw Chen Chen lying on the ground.

    What happened?

    Luo Le hurriedly squatted down to lift him up.

    But suddenly, his vision darkened, and with a thud, he too fell to the ground.

    In the garden, flowers bloomed in vibrant competition. Ten meters above the water surface, there was an ornately carved platform suspended in mid-air.

    Qin Cheng observed the one lost in thought, poured a cup of tea, and nudged it over. "What are you thinking about?"

    Huo Lanjing gradually regained his composure. "Nothing."

    Qin Chen nudged him. "Tell me, maybe I can be of assistance."

    Huo Lanjing pushed him away with disdain. "Stay away from me."

    "Hold on, let me tell you, I really owe you this time. If you need any help in the future, just ask."

    Huo Lanjing glanced at him lazily. "Your Majesty, if you have free time, attend to your official duties."

    Qin Chen stepped back sheepishly. "I was just keeping you company."

    Qin Chen's rise to this position was largely due to the Huo family's assistance.

    "Honestly, why did you agree to help me?"

    Huo Lanjing had previously looked down on him. He had only been testing Qin Chen's attitude that day, but unexpectedly, Qin Chen had agreed.

    Huo Lanjing pondered for a moment, then looked at him and said, "Because you are more suitable than he is."

    Qin Chen chuckled and patted his shoulder. "What do you mean?"

    Huo Lanjing felt an inexplicable sense of panic, causing him to abruptly stand up.

    Qin Chen was startled. "What's wrong?"

    Huo Lanjing didn't respond and walked straight out.

    Noticing that something wasn't quite right with Huo Lanjing, Qin Chen pondered for a moment before calling down, "Wind City!"

    Wind City's face was cold as he replied, "Here."

    Qin Chen didn't mind and pointed at Huo Lanjing's retreating figure. "Follow him."

    Wind City glanced at the nearby figure reluctantly before acknowledging the order and trailing behind.

    Before Huo Lanjing could exit the palace gates, he received a message from the mercenaries.

    Luo Le was missing.

    Huo Lanjing's pupils constricted. It only took one day of not keeping watch for something like this to happen.

    He glanced back at Wind City, who had been following him since the beginning, and said, "You."

    Wind City replied with a sour tone, "What now?"

    Huo Lanjing spoke, his voice tinged with annoyance, "Have His Majesty seal off all exits from the empire."

    In the dark crimson pupils, Wind City detected a hint of panic.

    Realizing something, he stepped forward and asked, "Is something wrong with Brother Le?"

    Huo Lanjing's tone was laced with urgency, "Hurry, it'll be too late if you don't."

    Aware of the urgency, Wind City immediately sent a message to Qin Chen.

    Upon receiving a response, he instructed his men and looked up to ask Huo Lanjing for details, only to find that the man was already gone.

    Wind City cursed under his breath and turned back.


    By the time Huo Lanjing arrived at the shop, the mercenaries still hadn't found any suspicious individuals.

    No one resembling a burdened laborer had been seen before or after the incident.

    Spatial rings could only store inanimate objects; it was impossible to stow living beings inside.

    Huo Lanjing glanced around the shop and asked, "What were they out doing today?"

    The guild leader stepped forward, "To choose a farewell gift for a friend."

    A friend?

    Huo Lanjing twirled the ring on his unoccupied finger.

    A friend? A farewell gift?

    It had to be Wind City.

    Huo Lanjing pondered over the mercenary's words.

    Luo Le had come here to dine after making his selection but ended up drenched in oil by a server, prompting him to head to the changing room...

    The changing room.

    Huo Lanjing suddenly looked up and asked, "Take me to the changing room where he vanished."

    He followed the mercenary to that particular cubicle.

    Scanning his surroundings, Luo Le's discarded clothes were sprawled unceremoniously on the ground.

    Huo Lanjing pondered for a moment, then crouched down to knock on the floor. It was solid.

    The mercenary noticed his action and said, "We've checked the other cubicles too. The floors are all solid."

    Upon hearing this, Huo Lanjing's gaze darkened. He stood up and asked, "What about the walls?"

    The mercenary was taken aback and instructed his team, "Go check them out now."

    Seeing Huo Lanjing's furrowed brow, the mercenary hesitated for a moment before apologizing, "Mr. Huo, I'm sorry. We failed. We'll refund your full payment later."

    Huo Lanjing's icy stare pierced through him, "Right now, the priority is to find that person for me."

    "Boss, this wall is hollow."

    The mercenary could only press his lips together, swallowing his words unspoken.

    Huo Lanjing approached first and examined the wall the man pointed at. "Break it open."

    It turned out that the wall connected to the adjacent restroom.

    Unfortunately, the surveillance cameras in the neighboring shop were malfunctioning.

    Huo Lanjing requested the two proprietors to stand together.

    His face was darkened, and a subtle aura of his pheromones leaked, carrying a heavy sense of intimidation.

    As Huo Lanjing posed his first question, the two shopkeepers exchanged a glance before lowering their gaze, unable to meet his eyes.

    Huo Lanjing asked his second question with unwavering composure: Why is it necessary to open up this wall?

    In an instant, beads of sweat formed on both their foreheads.

    Huo Lanjing emphasized his words. "Are you feeling guilty?"

    In unison, they replied, "No."

    Huo Lanjing didn't waste any more time with them and immediately ordered that both shop owners be taken back for interrogation.

    Upon investigation, it was discovered that one of the proprietors was a gambler in deep debt, while the other had offended someone from the Empire's Lin family.

    Initially, they refused to divulge any information, but under the pressure of Huo Lanjing's exploitation of their vulnerabilities, they finally spoke.

    It turned out that a group had unexpectedly approached the first store's owner, requesting him to host an event with Lego giveaways to entice children.

    The other incident involved tampering with the security cameras and secretly breaking through the walls days in advance.

    Huo Lanjing further inquired, "Where were they planning to go?"

    Both men shook their heads in unison. "Sir, we genuinely have no idea about that."

    Despite all their efforts, they had no clue.

    All exit routes from the empire were sealed, yet the Huo family searched high and low without finding that group of people.

    Huo Lanjing received a stream of grim news, his eyes dark as if submerged in an abyssal river.


    Luo Le sensed many voices around him but couldn't make them out or rouse himself.

    After an indeterminate period, Luo Le felt the weight on his body lift.

    He slowly opened his eyes to an encompassing darkness, with a single beam of light filtering through a high window.

    "Chen Chen..."

    His voice was hoarse, like a guqin that had been sealed for a millennium, causing a subtle ache with each vibration.

    No one answered him.

    He tried to retrieve a flashlight from his spatial ring but failed; upon touch, he realized it was missing.

    It must've been taken by them.

    Luo Le's heart tightened, and he attempted to rise and search around.

    Before he could stand, he collapsed. The drug's effects were still in place, leaving his body numb and tingly.

    Just as he hit the ground, his hand brushed against a small hand.

    Luo Le felt around, realizing it was likely a child curled up into a ball.

    "Chen... Chen..."

    As he called out, he continued to feel around. Suddenly, his touch met with a chilling sensation on the child's neck.

    Luo Le froze, then touched again. The body was icy cold, without a pulse.

    It couldn't be...

    "Chenchen!" His voice was bordering on despair.

    If anything were to happen to Chen Chen...

    He dared not entertain such thoughts.

    Luo Le felt as if time had come to a standstill, leaving him disoriented and unsure of his surroundings.

    Suddenly, he heard a hoarse voice behind him, "Father?"

    Luo Le crawled toward the source of the sound, gradually approaching Chen Chen.

    In no time, he touched Chen Chen's warm little body.

    A wave of warmth washed over Luo Le's heart. He held Chen Chen tightly, burying his head in the child's neck, his hands clasped around him.

    Just now, he had imagined countless possible outcomes.

    But none of them involved him surviving.

    Thankfully, thankfully, Chen Chen was unharmed.

    Chen Chen inquired with confusion, "What's wrong, Father?"

    Luo Le nuzzled against him. "Nothing, Father just misses you."

    Chen Chen rubbed his eyes. "Father, Chen Chen is sleepy."

    Luo Le scooped him up into his arms and leaned against the wall. He patted Chen Chen's back. "Go to sleep."


    As soon as Chen Chen finished speaking, he hadn't even had time to close his eyes.

    A blinding light suddenly pierced through.

    Luo Le shut his eyes and then reached out to cover Chen Chen's. "Close your eyes."

    A rough, unfamiliar voice echoed, "Still alive, huh."

    After adjusting to the light, Luo Le opened his eyes. Upon seeing the scene in the room, his pupils constricted abruptly.

    The room was littered with bodies, some limbless, some eyeless, and some... headless.

    They were of all ages—adults, children, and the elderly...

    The floor was stained red like a carpet of blood.

    His once-white clothes were now crimson, and his hands felt moist against his skin.

    At first, he thought it was dirty water, but to his horror, it was blood.

    Chen Chen tried to pull his hand down, asking, "Daddy, what's wrong?"

    Luo Le clamped his eyes shut even harder. "It's okay, close your eyes. Don't open them without Daddy's permission, understand?"

    Chen Chen pondered for a moment before nodding. "Okay."

    "Putting on a show of fatherly love, are we?"

    With a forced swallow to suppress nausea, Luo Le asked into the light, "Who are you? Why have you captured us?"


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