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    Chapter 90: "Let Me Think" (3100+)

    Their capture of Luo Le wasn't primarily due to Du Wei; the main reason was the insects.

    The mercenaries had remained silent under torture and threats before.

    That was because they felt they had support.

    And the fleeing insects had been largely eradicated.

    After dangling the carrot of freedom, they did manage to extract some information.

    The insects wanted to resume research from decades ago, but most of the subjects had died, while the survivors were either crippled or on death's door. There were barely any left suitable for experimentation.

    After a round of selection, they chose Luo Le.

    As for why the mercenaries would aid the insects, it was because their leader – that refined man – held a grudge against the Empire's second prince.

    If the experiment were successful, it would enable them to devastate the Empire's troops on the battlefield.

    Even if they couldn't breach the Empire's defenses, it could plunge the Empire into crisis.

    It was just that no one expected Luo Le to vanish for three years, and the First Army to start rigorously combating the insectoids under Huo Lanjing's leadership.

    Before his disappearance, Luo Le had been injected with a serum by the Empire. From the insectoids' accounts, it was a drug that caused numbness, facial stiffness, and even intensified the Omega's heat cycle if there was no Alpha's pheromones present.

    Eventually, it led to complete loss of rationality.

    Raising his gaze, Huo Lanjing recited the symptoms from the files.

    Luo Le's expression remained unchanged, but his body stilled momentarily.

    Huo Lanjing continued, "That's why back at the Huo residence, you..."

    With a forceful toss, Luo Le slammed the bottle in his hand, creating a loud crash. "Shut up."

    Huo Lanjing cast a glance at the bottle that had leaped out of the empty trash bin, pursing his lips. "I don't mean anything by it. I just hope you'll take a look. You haven't seen it in the past three years, have you?"

    Luo Le remained silent.

    Huo Lanjing continued, "Chen Chen has always been waiting for you, not me. Of course, I have the responsibility to raise him, but it's unfair to him with you in your current state."

    To avoid any misinterpretation, he added, "I don't intend to use Chen Chen to bind you. But with you under the influence of medication, I can't be sure if this is truly what you desire. I hope you make your choice when you're in a clear state of mind."

    Luo Le's eyes flickered slightly, seemingly pondering over Huo Lanjing's words as she lowered her head.

    Huo Lanjing began, "I..."

    Luo Le interjected, "Okay."

    Seeing that he didn't need to persuade further, Huo Lanjing promptly agreed and recommended a physician – one who also worked in this hospital.

    Noticing the pale hue of Huo Lanjing's lips, Luo Le carried the porridge over to him.

    Huo Lanjing promptly moved the documents on the table onto the bedside cabinet, his actions hindered by his injuries.

    As Luo Le placed the food boxes section by section on the table, the corner of his eye caught sight of the slightly reddened bloodstains on Huo Lanjing's chest.

    "You... didn't change?"

    Upon hearing this, Huo Lanjing glanced down at his chest, a barely perceptible smile tugging at the corners of his lips.

    "Mm, no."

    After finishing a bowl of congee, Luo Le waited for Chen Chen to return and see him finish his meal before going to bed.

    Walking down the hospital corridor, Luo Le recalled the clearly changed bandages on Huo Lanjing's body and altered his course.

    He headed for the doctor in charge of Huo Lanjing's care, and fortunately, the physician was in his office.

    He went straight to the point, inquiring about the nature of Huo Lanjing's injuries and why they weren't healing despite being treated in a healing chamber.

    The doctor gave a concise explanation. It turned out that the dagger that pierced Huo Lanjing had been coated with a substance that caused human flesh to necrotize and decay.

    The treatment chamber had repaired the necrotic medication within, but it hadn't fully recovered. Therefore, Chen Chen still needed to stay in the hospital for observation until the drug was completely metabolized and new skin grew.

    After obtaining all the information, Luo Le returned home.

    The next day, Luo Le went to see the doctor recommended by Huo Lanjing.

    Huo Lanjing was right. It wouldn't be fair to Chen Chen or himself if he made a decision in his current state. Besides, he had intended to get a checkup anyway. He couldn't avoid seeking medical help just because of his apprehension.

    Luo Le held the checklist given by the doctor, listing the items he needed to examine. Glancing at the directory, he headed towards the elevator.

    "Which floor?"

    Lost in thought, Luo Le suddenly recognized a familiar voice.

    Looking up, he confirmed that it was indeed Huo Lanjing, who was holding a similar checklist as him.

    Luo Le: "Floor eighteen."

    The elevator arrived just in time, and Huo Lanjing stepped in first. "Me too, let's go together."

    Luo Le followed him into the elevator.

    However, no one else joined them, and the doors closed gently.

    This elevator was for patients and their families, while this particular one seemed to be exclusively for the Huo family, provided by the hospital.

    Huo Lanjing casually inquired, "What did the doctor say?"

    Luo Le waved the sheet of paper in his hand, and Huo Lanjing instantly understood that a diagnosis could only be made after the tests were completed.

    Silence ensued within the elevator.

    Ding! They had arrived.

    Huo Lanjing exited the elevator first.

    Luo Le emerged as well, looking at the person who had turned around to wait for him. He suddenly asked, "Porridge or nutrient solution?"

    Huo Lanjing reacted, understanding the hidden meaning in those words. A spark of joy flickered in his dark red eyes. "Porridge."

    This implied that Luo Le would come and visit him again.

    Luo Le remembered why Huo Lanjing had taken that blade for him, so he couldn't just stand idly by.

    After seeing the medical report, the doctor instructed Luo Le to spend three hours daily in an A-class treatment chamber in the hospital, along with oral medication and special nutrients for his recovery.

    Thus, Luo Le would bring some food to spend time with Huo Lanjing and Chen Chen in their ward in the morning. After the treatment, he would take Chen Chen downstairs for a stroll.

    Upon learning about Huo Lanjing's hospitalization, Huo Fei came to tease him before hiring an auntie to cook for the two patients.

    After that, Luo Le no longer needed to bring meals.

    The drug injected into Luo Le's body had long since spread throughout his entire system.

    Only the remnants of the drug that couldn't be metabolized were causing Luo Le's body to become increasingly abnormal.

    An A-class healing pod can eliminate abnormal medications through the bloodstream.

    The medicine they consumed could then aggregate the substances again.

    Within a week, a significant amount had been expelled, and Luo Le was no longer in pain.

    "Master Xiao and Mr. Luo have returned. Come, dinner is just about ready."

    Huo Lanjing, who was seated at the table reading a book, put down his book upon hearing this and watched as Luo Le led Chen Chen over.

    As they took their seats, Huo Lanjing looked at Chen Chen and spoke in a commanding tone, "It's time for you to go back to school."

    Chen Chen's hand holding the small spoon froze. He turned to glance at Luo Le and shook his head. "No, Chen Chen isn't well yet."

    With that, he buried his head in his food.

    Luo Le also picked up a chopstick and took a bite of the dish.

    Huo Lanjing had Chen Chen's best interests at heart. No matter how pitiful the situation was, Luo Le couldn't intervene.

    Luo Le seemed to recall that although the Huo family's training was rigorous, it might actually be more suitable for Chen Chen.

    Huo Lanjing warned with a hint of threat, "Luo Chenyue."

    Chen Chen lowered her head even further but still insisted, "No."

    Huo Lanjing asked, "What do you want?"

    Chen Chen turned to look at Luo Le. "I want Papa to send me to school every day."

    Huo Lanjing scoffed. "Impossible."

    Chen Chen inquired, "Why?"

    Huo Lanjing replied flatly, "There's no reason."

    Seeing Chen Chen's distressed expression, wanting to speak up but too afraid to, Luo Le's heart twinged. Almost instinctively, he said, "It can be arranged."

    Huo Lanjing looked at him with some surprise.

    Chen Chen clung to his hand with delight. "Daddy, really?"

    Luo Le had told him countless times not to call him that, but he never listened.

    "There's a condition."

    With eager eyes, Chen Chen asked, "What is it?"

    Trying to ignore those big, sparkling eyes, Luo Le replied, "Don't call me Daddy."

    Chen Chen lowered his head, looking hurt. "Okay."

    Just as they had agreed, a voice interrupted, "That won't do."

    In unison, they asked, "Why?"

    Huo Lanjing calmly took the plate offered by the auntie and replaced the one in front of Luo Le.

    "Hopping between the hospital and school will be tiring," Huo Lanjing said, looking up at him.

    Luo Le couldn't bear to turn Chen Chen away and acquiesced, "It's alright, it's not too far."

    Chen Chen then recalled what Uncle Wang had mentioned earlier and looked at Luo Le, "Dad... um... Uncle, Chen Chen wants to see you get better. Grandpa Wang can pick me up and drop me off."

    Luo Le shook his head. "It won't be a bother."

    Seeing Luo Le's determination, Huo Lanjing offered a suggestion.

    The two exchanged glances, and Chen Chen agreed first, followed by Luo Le.

    And just like that, the matter was settled.

    Luo Le and Chen Chen would live together, with Uncle Wang taking Chen Chen to and from school while Luo Le took care of hospital visits during the day.

    After Chen Chen left, the number of times Huo Lanjing saw Luo Le could be counted on one hand.

    Another week passed, and Huo Lanjing's wounds had healed, no longer requiring medication.

    On this particular day, Luo Le sent Chen Chen to school as usual. After bidding farewell to the teacher, he headed towards the car.

    Suddenly, three individuals appeared before them.

    Uncle Wang, noticing this from behind, hastily rushed over from the car. "What are you all doing?"

    Luo Le looked at Qing Yi, Qing Er, and Qing San in front of him and addressed Uncle Wang. "Uncle Wang, these are my friends."

    Qing Er couldn't help but genuinely smile upon seeing Luo Le, who had started to consider others.

    Qing Yi surveyed the noisy surroundings and said, "Qing Si, let's find a place to sit down and talk."

    Luo Le, eyeing the nearby café, waved at Uncle Wang and then walked with them.

    They found a small private room.

    After settling down, Qing Yi cut straight to the point. "Qing Si, we've taken on a new mission. Are you... still coming with us?"

    Luo Le paused in his attempt to grab the coffee. "I..."

    Qing Er observed his hesitation and asked, "Qing Si, is that child yours?"

    Luo Le was momentarily at a loss for words, sipping his coffee. "I... I'll think about it."

    Qing Yi responded, "Alright, the Xu family has arranged a spacecraft to send us. In three days, we'll be waiting for you at Xu Family's Riverside Flight Field."

    Luo Le paused before nodding. "Okay."

    With that, they left, leaving Luo Le alone.

    He watched their departing figures through the window until they vanished into the bustling crowd.

    Lowering his head, he swirled the coffee, gazing at the churning liquid. His mind was as chaotic as the whirlpool in the cup.

    Luo Le stayed there all day, until he noticed an increasing number of people gathering at the school gate.

    He slowly rose and went to pick up Chen Chen.

    On their way home, Chen Chen shared amusing anecdotes from school, while Luo Le responded intermittently.

    "Daddy, we're here."

    Luo Le regained her composure and responded before following Chen Chen back home.

    Just as she put down the items in Chen Chen's hands, a voice suddenly came from the sofa: "Didn't you go to the hospital today?"

    Looking down, Luo Le saw Huo Lanjing. Why was he back?

    Moreover, how did he know she hadn't gone to the hospital?

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