Eclipse Hunter Volume 3: Angel, Slaughter
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我(Yu Wo)
Chapter Six: Dangerous Thinking—translated by Trespasserby
It was a night where the moon was hidden behind black clouds. Most of the city was dark and silent except for the occasional dog’s bark and voices from somewhere that mixed among the lights and sounds from one or two cars whistling past.
A garbage truck was parked in an alley between two tall buildings. Garbage overflowed from it, and mice had torn into the bags. The ground was littered with trash tumbling in the wind, unacceptably dirty. Fortunately, few people frequented the alley. Both walls were lined with rundown metal doors that seemingly hadn’t been opened in ages.
In this seemingly coalesced darkness, one of the metal doors opened noiselessly, as if opened by a ghost. It seemed inconceivable that this dilapidated, rusted metal door didn’t make a single sound as it opened, even more silent than an automatic door.
It would have been enough to stir doubts in someone’s heart that maybe what had opened the door was one of the ghosts of the city?
But the next moment, a person wearing a red, tight-fitting shirt and a silver visor came out from behind the door. He was even carrying a large bag on his back. The outlines of firearms could be faintly seen through the lumps in the backpack.
This person clearly wasn’t a ghost, but his movements were so graceful and silent that he wasn’t too different from a spirit.
The man slowly closed the door. After he turned his head slightly to survey the surroundings, he began to think.
According to the Morse code, the rendezvous would be in three days. In that case, where could he go for now?
He had to find a place where he would not be found. So he wouldn’t be able to use his credit card to stay at a hotel. Even if he didn’t use his credit card, staying in a park wouldn’t work either because as long as it was public, he would definitely be found!
He really didn’t have a lot of choices, and he hadn’t gone to many places before. Apart from home and the Sun Alliance headquarters, he had only gone to school. Naturally, he could cross off the first two options so that left… I guess it’s just school?
He muttered to himself, “School, principal… The Principal’s office!”
Once he thought of “the Principal’s office,” he finally decided on his destination. He looked around the alley. There was only one path he could take, so his only option should have been to walk out of the alley.
But he didn’t move forward. Instead, he… went up!
He ran forward two steps then kicked off the wall, borrowing the force to leap up to the window of the second floor. Even though the window was covered by a curtain, a sliver of light shone through, illuminating the silver strands of his hair. He was, as usual, wearing a silver visor on his face.
Dark Sun grabbed the windowsill and flipped up. Both hands were planted on the top part of the second story windowsill. He did a handstand and sprang up into the air. Then his feet caught onto the windowsill of the third story. He did it another time and continued to repeat these clean and efficient motions to climb up.
He didn’t climb up to the highest floor, instead leaping onto the roof of the adjacent building once he reached the fifth floor. Then he continued running and leaping and even pulling himself up to speedily bound across the buildings. This whole time, he still hadn’t ascended to the highest floors but hadn’t dropped to the ground either. He knew those places all had surveillance cameras, and he would easily be tracked.
Only in this area between the floors of the buildings did the surveillance cameras have a blind spot. And as long as no one spotted him and the surveillance cameras didn’t catch him, his brother would have a difficult time tracking him down.
Aside from the surveillance cameras, he had naturally left the cell phone his brother had given him behind as well. Although he hadn’t inspected the cell phone, he could guess that there would definitely be a tracking device inside.
He continued moving forward in a manner that seemed to defy the laws of space. It wasn’t too long before he could already see the school buildings, and he further quickened his pace. After a short time, he was climbing up a flowerbox on a building next to the school. He surveyed the surrounding terrain and the positions of the security cameras. Then in the depths of the night, he agilely leapt toward the school.
Because the Principal had already agreed to remove the security cameras, Dark Sun directly went across the campus, heading straight for the Principal’s office.
He continued all the way until he was in front of the Principal’s office… Or more accurately called “the Principal’s building.” He turned around, rummaged around in his backpack and pulled out a card. After he had accepted the Principal’s missions, the Principal had given him this card as proof that he was an Elite Combat Class student.
The thought that he was a single person but had two Yelan Academy student ID cards made him want to laugh.
He swiped the card, and the doors to the Principal’s building opened in response. He walked inside. Amazingly, even though it was the middle of the night, there were still two or three people either walking around or sitting in front of a public computer to do research for a mission. No one paid any attention to anyone else, minding their own business. When the door opened, not a single person turned to look.
That made him relax. He strode toward a public computer, planning to search up several things and kill time until it was morning, when the Principal would be here. He could meet with him then.
He opened a web page to browse around and saw the daily news on it. The news headline was: Clash Between the Sun Alliance and the Purple Moon Alliance.
Ri Xiang Ye couldn’t help clicking on the page. As soon as he did, the page displayed photos of Ri Xiang Yan and Bai Lian Yue. There were even the letters “VS” between the two photos.
In the photo, Ri Xiang Yan had his head tilted slightly upward and was even dangling a cigarette in his mouth. His haughty attitude seemed like he was looking down on the whole world. On the other hand, Bai Lian Yue was looking straight ahead with a faint, enigmatic smile.
“Gēge…” Ri Xiang Ye felt sad looking at the photo. How will Gēge react when he finds out I’ve disappeared?
Thinking about how he wouldn’t be able to see his brother for many days, he felt a little lonely and in that moment, pressed the Print button. After Ri Xiang Yan’s photo had printed, he carefully gazed at it for a long time. Then he folded it up and tucked it in his shirt.
Just wait! Gēge, wait for me to bring An Te Qi-bàba back and our family will go back to what it used to be!
“Gēge, I don’t want to! I don’t want to go to school! I don’t want to leave Gēge!”
“Ah Ye, don’t be scared. Gēge will protect you.”
“Of course. If Gēge lied to you, I’ll eat lots and lots of bitter melon.”
“O.K. Pinky promise.”
“Bàba! Where is Ah Ye?”
“I was going to give him to you as your twenty-fifth birthday present…”
“Congratulations on successfully turning a youth into the ultimate bodyguard—Dark Sun.”
“Ah Ye. You are still my Dìdi. I swear, I will protect you.”
“Please, let me protect you, Gēge. Not only does Gēge want to protect Ah Ye, Ah Ye also wants to protect Gēge!”
“Ah Ye, why can’t you be a normal teenager?”
A head of brilliant golden hair spread across a black leather chair, causing it to be incomparably eye-catching. Ri Xiang Yan was lying like that in his office chair, fast asleep. His computer hadn’t even been shut off.
Even in sleep, his brows were knitted tightly as though some matter were troubling him. After his eyebrows twitched a few times, his eyelids suddenly shot open, revealing his beautiful, ruby-like eyes. However, his eyes were unfocused and even appeared a bit dazed, but after blinking twice, he was already fully awake. He tiredly rubbed his face with his hands and murmured, “Ah Ye…”
He looked at the clock on the wall. The hands were currently pointing to 3 o’clock. Of course, it wasn’t three in the afternoon, but three in the morning. At this hour, Ah Ye should be sleeping. It was just that the dream he had just had left him feeling panicked for no particular reason. It made him stop to think, Should I check in on Ah Ye?
With a little bit of thinking, he brushed aside his own thought. Absolutely not! Ah Ye isn’t a normal teenager. Even if I moved as lightly as possible, I’d definitely wake him. I can’t possibly disturb Dìdi’s rest in the middle of the night for no reason.
But why is it… Why is it that I feel so uneasy?
Ri Xiang Yan kept hesitating. But the more he thought, the more worried he grew as he thought about what could be wrong. Finally, he still couldn’t help but rush to his little brother’s room, unable to help the fact that he would wake up his brother. He paused in front of the door for several minutes but still pushed the door open.
As soon as he entered, his eyes went directly to the bed, but he didn’t see anyone there. He walked further in, opening the bathroom door as he passed by. There also wasn’t anyone inside. Finally, he walked up to the bed. The bed was spread with only a pillow and a neatly folded blanket. He reached out to touch it. The blanket was cold, as though no one had slept in it… Ah Ye is gone!
Ri Xiang Yan’s mind went blank for a long time. Then he finally remembered that the last time he had seen Ah Ye, Ah Ye was still in the room where Ezart was lying.
“Don’t tell me he’s still in the guest room with Ezart?”
Thinking this, he once again rushed out, even losing some of his poise. Even when he came across a row of bodyguards along the way, he didn’t pay them any mind.
Once he had rushed to the guest room, Ri Xiang Yan abruptly flung open the door, shouting, “Ah Ye?”
The room only had one person lying quietly on the bed. But it wasn’t the person Ri Xiang Yan was looking for.
Where on earth did Ah Ye go?
Ri Xiang Yan shouted in a panic, “Captain of the bodyguards!”
The door to the room immediately opened, revealing the figure of a ramrod-straight bodyguard leader. He responded, “Sir.”
The bodyguard captain’s respectful actions made Ri Xiang Yan realize his mannerisms were lacking. He didn’t immediately issue instructions, instead taking a deep breath to steady his emotions and at the same time, straightening out his thoughts. He tried to think about his little brother’s possible movements. Once he had calmed down, he frowned and asked, “Where is Ah Ye?”
“The young master is in this room and has not left,” the bodyguard leader said. At the same time, he anxiously realized that this room held no traces of Young Master Ri Xiang Ye.
“You are certain that Ah Ye was in this room the entire time and never left?” Ri Xiang Yan asked once again.
“No, the young master did go to the basement earlier and carried a bag of firearms up, saying he wanted to take them with him as luggage. Then he returned to the room once again and did not come out.”
Hearing this, Ri Xiang Yan’s emotions once again flared out of control and he furiously roared, “And you didn’t inform me?”
“No, I did not.”
The bodyguard braced himself and replied. By now, he had already realized his future was looking bleak. He really had been too careless. But it was because he had been treating the young master as an employer rather than a prisoner, and therefore hadn’t thought much about the possibility of him fleeing. Furthermore, who could have guessed that the young master of a rich family would be able to carry a bag of firearms that was so heavy a normal person would have trouble lifting it and run away from home?
Even though he had calmed down earlier, Ri Xiang Yan once again became so upset that his breathing turned ragged. Even the bodyguard captain was staring with wide eyes. It was just too unbelievable. The entire time he had been following the Sun Emperor, he had never seen the Sun Emperor’s emotions as wildly out of control as they were now.
After all, when the Sun Emperor had been threatened by criminals with the lives of thousands of employees being held hostage, he hadn’t treated it as a large matter and even picked up the menu to order his dinner… Wasn’t the Sun Emperor supposed to be a cold-blooded person like that?
Ri Xiang Yan had probably seen that the bodyguard was so shocked that his eyes were about to fall out. So he walked over to the wall, opened up the small painting on the wall and keyed in the secret code to open the hidden door. Then he commanded the bodyguard, “Go down to the hidden room and see if he’s still there!”
“Understood.” The bodyguard immediately went through the hidden door after receiving the command.
As soon as the bodyguard left, Ri Xiang Yan’s façade of strength crumbled. Like a balloon with its air let out, Ri Xiang Yan weakly collapsed onto the bed. He murmured, “Ah Ye, did you want to save An Te Qi that much? He’s a traitor…”
Traitors had to be punished to let everyone know that betraying the Sun Emperor would lead to a fate worse than dying at the hands of the enemy. Not only would it lead to your destruction, but the Sun Emperor’s fiery wrath would descend upon your friends and family… It was better to heroically sacrifice your own life than to betray the Sun Emperor. At least the huge sum of compensation paid to your family would be enough to ensure their future well-being.
This system had sustained the Sun Alliance for many years now. So after An Te Qi chose to betray them, Ri Xiang Yan ordered his death without the slightest hesitation. But An Te Qi was a solitary individual; he didn’t have any family, much less any friends to drag down with him. This was probably one of the reasons he had dared to become a traitor.
Did Ah Ye realize I wasn’t planning on rescuing An Te Qi anymore, so he went to save him himself?
“Damn it!” Vexed, Ri Xiang Yan couldn’t help cursing.
I was too careless! He had always assumed Ah Ye wouldn’t disobey him, so he hadn’t even ordered the bodyguards to watch Ah Ye closely.
At this moment, the bodyguard also came back up. “Report: the young master is not in the hidden room.”
Ri Xiang Yan had already guessed that would be the case, so he wasn’t particularly surprised. He dully commanded, “Return to your posts.”
Ri Xiang Yan walked back to his study. As soon as he sat down, he called his secretary, not caring in the slightest that it was currently three something in the morning.
Normally, Kyle would have answered the phone before the second ring, but since it was the middle of the night, the phone rang for longer this time. As Ri Xiang Yan waited, his fingers tapped lightly against the surface of the gleaming black desk. His face was expressionless.
After the phone rang five times, it was picked up. A tired voice that was still trying to remain professional came over the phone. “Good morning, Sun Emperor. This is Kyle.”
“Morning, Bill.” Ri Xiang Yan succinctly and quickly explained, “Ah Ye ran away from home taking a large bag of firearms with him. He should be trying to save An Te Qi.”
The other end of the phone was silent for a while. Although Kyle had definitely heard him, what he was actually waiting for was the Sun Emperor’s order.
“He snuck out from the hidden room. Dispatch a tracking team immediately. I want him brought back as soon as possible.”
Ri Xiang Yan didn’t issue any further commands, but he also didn’t press the button to end the call. The silence continued like this for some time.
Kyle was never the one to end the call first. He could only keep on waiting. Finally, he couldn’t help but ask, “May I ask if I should rescind An Te Qi’s death sentence?”
Kyle inquired gingerly. Although he should not be questioning the Sun Emperor, it didn’t seem ideal that the Sun Emperor had an order to kill the person Young Master Ri Xiang Ye had unhesitatingly left home to rescue. And perhaps the reason that the Sun Emperor was delaying the end of the call was that he wanted to show mercy to the person who Young Master Ri Xiang Ye wanted to save, but was unable to give the order to rescind the command to kill a traitor.
And so, Kyle brazenly asked this question to give the Sun Emperor a way out.
But contrary to Kyle’s expectations, although Ri Xiang Yan was silent for a long time and did not agree to it or turn it down, he still ultimately said icily, “No. Kill him. I won’t let a traitor exist!”
After he finished speaking, Ri Xiang Yan pressed the button to terminate the call. On the outside he looked as cold-hearted as usual, but in his heart this time, he really had to pause. That pause was because of his only weakness.
If I kill An Te Qi, will Ah Ye be sad?
But if he didn’t kill An Te Qi, even if they were able to rescue him, that wouldn’t be a good thing. An Te Qi had too much influence over Ah Ye, and Ah Ye was his own only weakness!
If one of his enemies wanted to threaten him and indirectly used An Te Qi to hurt or use Ah Ye, that wasn’t something he wanted to see ever happen.
If An Te Qi were like himself and saw Ah Ye as family and his highest priority, and would never turn on Ah Ye, then Ri Xiang Yan might have considered saving him.
However, An Te Qi’s betrayal this time clearly illustrated that An Te Qi had never thought of Ah Ye as his most important family. Or perhaps it should be said, he might have treated Ah Ye like family, but obviously family wasn’t as important to him as himself or his experiments.
This kind of person who had such a large influence over Ah Ye but didn’t care for Ah Ye enough was way too dangerous!
Ri Xiang Yan covered half his face with his hands. His ruby eyes buried within the darkness of his palms shone with a cruel, bloody gleam through his fingers. “An Te Qi must be eliminated!”
This was definitely the right course of action. Only, the correct choice doesn’t necessarily mean Ah Ye won’t be sad… Why was it that even at the height of power, the simple wish for his little brother to never be sad was impossible to grant?
What kind of Sun Emperor am I? I’m just an awful older brother who can’t even make Dìdi happy. I don’t even know if the order I just gave is right… or wrong.
The laboratory had the same facilities, and the whole lab was just as messy. The same zombie-like person was standing in the lab.
Nothing seemed to have changed. The only difference was that there wasn’t a silver-haired teenager who would burst in, reciting a long list of his older brother’s instructions while tidying up things along the way and then saying he would bring dinner later.
Normally, An Te Qi would be annoyed as soon as he heard that long list of demands because he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on his experiments. But now he felt the lab was too quiet, so quiet that he couldn’t focus on his experiments.
Before it wasn’t like that at all. In the past, he would have given anything to have a lab where he wouldn’t be disturbed by anyone. But now… Did something change?
An Te Qi was caught in a quagmire. Although he wanted to figure out what went wrong, he also clearly knew the problem had something to do with that noisy teenager. But he wasn’t willing to and couldn’t admit it. He had already betrayed that person, so what point would there be in admitting the problem?
“So I’ve heard that Ri Xiang Yan has already issued your death sentence.”
His attention was drawn back by a silky male voice. But he didn’t turn his head to look back. He just blandly replied, “Oh, is that so?” As he replied, his scalpel moved with lightning speed.
“You don’t care?”
Bai Lian Yue’s seductive, lithe figure emerged from the shadows. He had a bewitching smile on his face and his finger lightly twirled his long hair. Almost coquettishly, he said, “Not a single person the Sun Emperor has issued a death sentence for still lives you know?”
“I know. I’ve read the Sun Alliance employee handbook. It’s written out very clearly there.”
An Te Qi pushed his glasses up his nose. He recalled the rule written in the handbook that couldn’t be any clearer about a traitor’s fate, just stopping short of giving a list of every possible punishment.
Bai Lian Yue gracefully sidled over to the doctor. He moved his face up against An Te Qi’s ear and breathily crooned, “Oh, so you were already prepared to descend. Into. Hell. Darling Dr. An Te Qi?”
“Instead of worrying about me, worry about yourself.” An Te Qi’s gaze remained on the experiment. He didn’t turn to look at Bai Lian Yue and deliberately asked, “The Sun Emperor must be putting a lot of pressure on you.”
After hearing those words, Bai Lian Yue’s tone suddenly turned sullen. “It is none of your business.”
An Te Qi couldn’t help smirking. Ri Xiang Yan really wasn’t giving this guy any room to breathe.
Perhaps Bai Lian Yue discovered what An Te Qi was thinking and stopped being coy. After a cold huff, he got down to business, “The Sun Emperor has issued your death sentence, so it is guaranteed that the assault force will be invading soon. We cannot stay here. Pack your things to leave.”
“Mhm.” An Te Qi nodded.
“Have you made modified humans who can utilize the Death Scythe yet?”
“Nope,” An Te Qi lightly replied.
After dealing An Te Qi a forceful slap, Bai Lian Yue shouted, “An Te Qi! I’m warning you, I’m running out of patience!”
An Te Qi slowly turned his head back. Half of his face was red and swollen but he made no move to soothe it. His expression still remained indifferent as he blandly said, “I can see that you have no patience, but as I’ve told you from the start, wielding the Death Scythe requires extremely high speed and strength working in coordination. Not just any random modified human can wield it. Even if you don’t need a hundred percent of the Death Scythe’s strength, just using it would require three months of repeated modifications, testing, and experimentation.”
The expression on Bai Lian Yue’s face was ugly after he heard that. He knew it required three months as An Te Qi had said clearly since the start, but he also knew there was no way the Sun Emperor would give him three months.
Previously, he had been relying on reports that Ri Xiang Yan did not want to kill An Te Qi and would be unwilling to act rashly in case An Te Qi accidentally died. But now that Ri Xiang Yan had given the order to kill, his subordinates would no longer need to care about a hostage’s life and naturally, they would take much quicker and deadlier actions than before.
Was I too reckless? Bai Lian Yue subconsciously nibbled on his nail. He thought, Maybe leaving that message in Morse code really did…
No, no matter what, Ri Xiang Yan would never allow An Te Qi to be in the hands of the enemy for three months. One and a half months at most. If he still couldn’t save An Te Qi, he definitely would have ordered him to be killed.
In that case, it was better to stake everything on luring Dark Sun out.
“So be it. Forget about the Death Scythe. How many modified humans have you created?”
“Three. If you hadn’t come to disturb me, it could have been four,” An Te Qi couldn’t help taunting him in reply.
Bai Lian Yue coldly said, “Don’t get smart with me. Pack your things to leave.”
An Te Qi turned his head back around and indifferently said, “Got it.”
Bai Lian Yue huffed again, turned around, and left.
An Te Qi waited until Bai Lian Yue had left before resuming his work with the scalpel and muttering to himself, “How terrible, between having a gun pointed at my head and being slapped, I’m starting to miss the gun. As long as the trigger isn’t pulled, it’s not going to hurt. But even if it were pulled, I probably wouldn’t feel any pain either.”
An Tei Qi fell silent for a while before he muttered, “And at least Ah Ye would be there telling me to eat dinner and breakfast. Not like here! Even if I starved to death, no one would care.”
But what am I doing right now?
Modifying humans to be powerful enough to annihilate the person who tells me to eat! An Te Qi couldn’t help stopping his scalpel and bitterly laughing at his own actions.
But it doesn’t matter. That bro-con Ri Xiang Yan would definitely smother Ah Ye with protection. No matter how strong I make the modified humans, I wouldn’t be able to hurt his beloved dìdi under the Sun Emperor’s watch.
That guy always is overdoing things. There’s an eighty percent chance he’s lined up a huge number of special forces carrying heavy weaponry to make a human wall, then used the human wall to circle his beloved Ah Ye three times over. And on the outermost layer, there’s what looks like an ordinary residence but is actually a house that bullets would bounce off of.
With that kind of setup, don’t even mention a few modified humans, even if you flew a couple bombers over it, Ah Ye wouldn’t even have a scratch.
That’s right! Even if four modified humans come at him together, Ah Ye definitely wouldn’t get hurt.
The scalpel in his hand started rapidly moving again.