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    Asianovel

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    Chapter 81: It Can't Be... (3100+)

    The man had a scar on his face, and he menacingly commanded, "Get up and come with us."

    Luo Le still felt weak and was unable to resist.

    After some thought, he picked up Chen Chen with one hand. His body trembled as he stood up.

    He had no idea what kind of drug they had used; its effects still lingered until now.

    The intelligent brain has been damaged, and the ring has been taken away.

    Luo Le had no notion of how much time had passed.

    A plump man led the way, while the menacing one followed behind, keeping a watchful eye on Luo Le to prevent any escape attempts.

    The journey was an unbroken expanse of dense forest, where the trees stood unusually tall, and the path was mere earth, giving the impression that no one had ever dwelled here.

    Before losing consciousness, Luo Le thought it was someone sent by Gu Heting, but it was not until just now that he realized it was not the case.

    After a while, Luo Le was led in front of a small villa.

    Pushing the door open, she saw a gigantic table inside, with an elegant scholar-type man sitting at the head of the table.

    He pointed to a seat beside him and said with a smile, "Please be seated."

    Before Luo Le could react, Chen Chen, in her arms, asked, "Daddy, can I open my eyes now?"

    Before Luo Le could respond, the refined man spoke, "It's alright, I just wanted to invite you both for a meal."

    "Who are you?" Luo Le kept her hand on her hip, still wary as she looked at him.

    The man chuckled. "Just a space pirate, that's all."

    Luo Le felt a sudden tension. "Why did you capture us?"

    "Come, let's eat first. Don't let the child go hungry."

    Looking at the bountiful dinner on the table, Luo Le furrowed her brow.

    "Don't you understand simple language?"

    The man's expression shifted abruptly, like a rogue hovering on the edge of the law.

    As his words faded, the menacing man slapped down on his back.

    Luo Le stumbled, nearly falling.

    He knew there was no escape from this meal.

    He went over to gently lay Chen Chen on the chair and whispered in his ear, "Have a good sleep."

    After that, he turned to look at the man. "I'll eat then."

    Though it was phrased as a question, his tone left no room for argument.

    The man shrugged. "Of course, help yourself."

    Seeing that he couldn't avoid it, Luo Le scanned the table filled with chunks of meat. Eventually, he picked a perfectly sealed nutrient pack, tore it open, and drained its contents in one go.

    He dropped the trash in his hand and asked, "Can we talk now?"

    The man clapped gently. "Very well, of course we can."

    Putting his hands down, he continued, "Since you're so straightforward, I won't beat around the bush. Someone has put a price on your life, and also your body."

    Luo Le was taken aback. "Who?"

    "Do you know Du Wei?"

    Who's Du Wei?

    Luo Le pondered for a while but couldn't recall who this person was.

    The man chuckled. "The Fifth Planet, the Mecha Competition, does that ring a bell?"

    With his reminder, Luo Le remembered – it was the one who stole his work.

    "Why him?"

    Didn't he just win the argument? They didn't do anything to him after that. Could they possibly hate him this much?

    The man seemed surprised. "You don't know?"

    Luo Le looked at him quizzically. The man smiled and said, "The Huo family suppressed his family's businesses everywhere. Eventually, the Du family was left with only their headquarters on the Fifth Planet. After Grandpa Du passed away, the Du family fell."

    Luo Le paused, disbelief etched on his face. "You're sure it was the Huo family?"

    "What, you don't believe me?"

    It was one thing for him to believe or not, but shouldn't this be something the person involved would say?

    Luo Le stared directly at the man. "No matter how much he offers, I'll pay four times that amount to let us go."

    The man suddenly laughed. "With the little money he has, it's just an extra bonus."

    Luo Le's brows knitted together. "What do you mean? Wait, who's the other person?"

    Judging by what he said, it seemed like another group was involved.

    The man replied, "That's something I can't tell you."

    "Luo Le," he started, but the ground began to shake beneath him.

    He was angry, but this reaction seemed excessive.

    No, that wasn't right.

    "You what?!"

    Luo Le toppled onto the table, sending a glass tray crashing to the floor with a clatter.

    The man snorted coldly, his previous smile now vanished from his face.

    Chen Chen, hearing the commotion, opened his eyes and witnessed the scene. He scrambled to his feet and grabbed his father's arm, calling out persistently, "Father, Father..."

    The man snapped his fingers, and the intimidating figure approached, lifting Chen Chen by the back of his collar with one hand.

    Chen Chen felt suffocated with his collar gripped so tightly.

    The man shot him a sharp glance. "What? Do you want me to strangle you and hand you over?"

    Upon hearing this, he put on a pitiful expression that, combined with his features, was hard to describe.

    Despite his looks, the man was actually an S-class Alpha, someone they all feared the most.

    He carefully picked up the child and acknowledged before leaving.

    As the door closed, the man stood up and spoke to the shadows behind him. "Come out."

    From the darkness emerged a lizard-like creature with only its left hand and half of its face resembling a human – Du Wei.

    In his left hand, he held a small knife, his demeanor bordering on madness. "My dosage was just right."

    Walking behind Luo Le, he plunged the blade into the man's abdomen. It was a common silver knife, which he deliberately twisted back and forth, causing blood to spill instantly, pooling on the table.

    He tilted his head and watched the cold sweat trickling down Luo Le's forehead, laughing. "Just enough to paralyze you without losing consciousness. Aren't you the Empress? Rise up then, why can't you move now?"

    "Is being an Imperial Admiral so grand? All I did was take one of your chips. I've apologized; must you be so relentless? High and mighty Empress, I suppose you've never known the taste of pain, huh? Today, I'll teach you."

    Du Wei had forgotten that he himself used to be the one who bullied others with power.

    If he were truly in control, Luo Le would have fared much worse.

    "I should have aimed my sniper a fraction more to the side last time," Du Wei said as he flipped Luo Le over, running the blade across his chest.

    He paused at one spot and continued, "This way, your heart will—bang!—explode like a tomato in an ionizer. Oh, what a spectacular sight that would be."

    Just as he lifted the knife to strike, someone grabbed his hand.

    Du Wei turned around, fury blazing in his eyes. "Qing Song, what are you doing?"

    The man, Qing Song, smiled. "Enough. If you kill him, how will I fulfill my mission?"

    Du Wei gritted his teeth. "I paid for this."

    With a forceful shove, Qing Song sent Du Wei reeling backward.

    "That's already beyond your means, considering what you've done."

    Upon finishing his words, seeing Du Wei charging at him like a madman, Qing Song stood in front of Luo Le and kicked him to the ground from a considerable distance.

    Du Wei felt a stifling sensation in his chest, followed by a mouthful of blood.

    "Hold on, take him down for treatment. Also, lock up Du Wei," instructed Qing Song.

    Two men entered from outside and lifted each of them, responding with a nod before departing.

    *

    "Are you certain they're here?" Wind City gazed at the towering forest, his brows slightly knitted as it seemed like monsters could emerge at any moment.

    Lieutenant Lin glanced at the general who remained silent and turned to Wind City, "All the evidence we've gathered points to this location."

    Huo Lanjing pretended to be asleep with his eyes closed, ignoring him, though inwardly, he was in turmoil.

    A few days prior, he had arrived at the First March using the fastest spacecraft available.

    Upon arrival, Lin3 Captain informed him that remnants of the former Worm King were still at large. Somehow, they had struck a deal with a faction of interstellar pirates, securing financial support.

    This led to the reopening of a decades-old telepathy experiment.

    Decades ago, the insectoid research facility developed a drug capable of suppressing mental power development.

    These substances were distributed among various planets.

    Even until a dozen years ago, before the Empire's crackdown, there were still victims.

    Strangely, those children who had taken the drug began passing away one by one, their time running out.

    The First Army started tracking this issue five years ago. Only recently did they discover that Luo Le was also a victim.

    Recalling this, Huo Lanjing clenched his fists. He now understood the immense suffering Luo Le had endured within the Luo family.

    Thinking back to how he had treated Luo Le when the latter sought help for the family, Huo Lanjing wished he could go back in time and punch himself. Reflecting further, Luo Le never appeared genuinely joyful whenever he claimed to have resolved issues.

    Yet, he hadn't noticed it before.

    "General, we've arrived. From here on, we can only proceed on foot."

    The group then alighted and entered the dense forest.

    After a short while, they heard the wailing of a child up ahead.

    Wind City exchanged a glance with Captain Lin.

    Chen Chen.

    Upon looking in the direction of the sound, they saw Huo Lanjing had moved away from them at some distance.

    They immediately hurried after him.

    Just as they pushed aside the undergrowth, they saw two people lying on the ground. Huo Lanjing was flipping through the blood-soaked clothes of the child in his arms, asking, "Where are you hurt?"

    The moment Captain Lin saw a hint of gentleness flash across Huo Lanjing's icy gaze, he knew they had found the right person.

    Chen Chen was still weeping, unable to stop.

    Spotting the marks on his neck, Huo Lanjing's icy gaze darkened. He looked down at the person on the ground and said sternly, "Don't cry."

    Dying was too easy for him.

    Startled by Huo Lanjing's menacing expression, Chen Chen forgot about his tears, and his sobs gradually subsided.

    Seeing that he had quieted down, Huo Lanjing tried to soften his demeanor. "Where's your father?"

    If Chen Chen was here, where was Luo Le?

    He had just searched Chen Chen's body and found no wounds. So where did all the blood on him come from?

    It couldn't be...

    He dared not imagine it.

    "Daddy was eating and fell asleep. I fought the bad guys, but they caught me... Waaah..."

    Chen Chen sobbed as he spoke.

    Despite the disjointed manner of his speech, Huo Lanjing managed to comprehend it.

    "Do you remember where you came from?"

    With tears streaming down his face, Chen Chen pointed in a certain direction.

    Huo Lanjing gazed at the narrow path and pressed, "Are you sure?"

    Chen Chen was dumbfounded for a moment before slowly nodding. "Mm."

    He was a clever child. He wouldn't forget the paths he had taken.

    Lieutenant Lin and Wind City observed this heartwarming scene between father and son without uttering a word.

    Suddenly, Huo Lanjing placed Chen Chen into Wind City's arms. "Take care of him for me."

    Wind City recalled his mission to find Luo Le, but he was unsure if Chen Chen would be willing to stay with a stranger. As for Huo Lanjing, there was no way he could remain here.

    After some contemplation, he looked at Huo Lanjing's solemn expression and said, "Alright."

    Almost immediately after, Huo Lanjing left, leaving only his departing figure behind.

    Wind City paused for a moment before turning back and carrying Chen Chen.

    Lieutenant Lin followed Huo Lanjing, leaving a carriage full of people to protect Chen Chen.

    Exhausted from crying, Chen Chen was soothed to sleep by Wind City.

    Gazing at the dense forest, Wind City thought to himself, Brother Le, you have to be okay. I'm still waiting for your farewell feast.

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