Chapter 31: Lying Low (Part 2/2)
Xie Junping raised his head after jumping from the exit of the hidden passageway. The camouflage film looked like a whole metal plate, blocking his line of sight perfectly.
Who would ever expect there to be a short and narrow hidden passageway with the peculiar space of a tree hole right behind it?
Luo Nan did not utter a word, maintaining silence during their return trip. Xie Junping gave another glance at the monitoring video and caught up using two urgent steps. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Luo Nan, but he soon found himself regretting his decision.
Each of the system modules of the laboratory had recovered back to normal operation right now. The way back was no longer a pitch black darkness. Unique black light illuminated with a dark purple glow within the glass walls. It made the watery area turn phantasmal and dreamlike.
But this long and tedious road was simply torture from Xie Junping’s perspective.
The mental state of Luo Nan next to him was abnormal after all…..
During the journey, Luo Nan continued to stifle his state of mania from the tree hole, his thoughts spinning in endless circles the entire time. Sometimes he would suddenly stop his footsteps, turn his head, and look back down the long corridor. Sometimes he would look at the increasingly gloomy waters next to him and was lost in thought for a long time. The blood within his eyes glistened with vividness each time he did this, causing it hard to look at his eyes directly. And there was even a few times when Xie Junping could hear the low sound of teeth grinding.
So several minutes past while moving in this walk-and-stop manner, causing Xie Junping to confirm all the more:
That Luo Nan was going mad!
He had no doubts whatsoever; if there was some person who dared to say, “I am the one who has been living in this tree,” Luo Nan would immediately throw himself over, crush that person’s throat with his teeth, and then roar in interrogation:
What the hell do you damn think you’re doing here!?
What was he thinking…… If he continued thinking like this, Xie Junping felt that he too would go mad!
He had to do something at least.
Xie Junping racked his brain as he recalled back to a few communications courses he had taken. He framed his words and hesitated for a long time before opening his mouth:
“Hic. Junior. You don’t know much information about Auntie, your mother, right?”
Luo Nan was clearly stunned; his defenses had been broken into and the force that did it came from his thoughts of affection for his mother. These wonderful feelings were like a gushing river that cleansed his heart. It was a bit painful, but it wasn’t bad.
A long time passed; only then did Luo Nan nod: “Yes, not much.”
There’s a way!
Delight filled Xie Junping’s heart. He rushed persistently: “Auntie didn’t have many relatives?”
Luo Nan continued to respond: “My mom was a war orphan. She grew up in an orphanage since she was small.”
Xie Junping nearly choked, but thinking of the time period, Bu Qingwen certainly was born during the third war.There were many people of that generation with similar circumstances.
Regardless of how it happened, at least a conversation was started with Luo Nan.
“Was she a local? If, Junior, you want to collect more information, I still have some capabilities in Xia City.” Xie Junping took complete charge with quite decent results.
Luo Nan faced him with a half bow: “Thank-you Senior.”
Here we go again! He felt that Luo Nan was just like a person from the previous century, or perhaps he was following procedures completely by the book to perform his actions….. Ugh, that might be it.
Xie Junping’s speech until now was filled with sufficient confidence in this conversation. He gestured with his hands: “In fact I really admire Auntie to be able to design Gear and still have people scratching their heads over it twenty years later. I just assumed it was a masterpiece from an expert master.”
“This is also my first time I knew about this.”
“Then Junior, what sort of things did you know before? Your family hasn’t mentioned a single thing about Auntie?”
The sudden silence made Xie Junping nearly believe he had overreached himself, like he had tried to be clever and ended up with an egg on his face. But Luo Nan still opened his mouth in the end:
“My mother passed before I was born……”
“You said that before.”
Hic. Wait wait. Didn’t those words sound a little bit strange?
Before Xie Junping could realize what was wrong, he heard Luo Nan speak again: “My mother and him. They got to know each other at Acumen College. They also went to the wilderness together to join with grandpa. My auntie had a really messy relationship with them. She doesn’t know much at all.”
Luo Nan’s words were somewhat incoherent and they also contained some subtle implications. Xie Junping combined this with his previously collected information and he finally came to an understanding.
Luo Nan’s parents probably got to know each other and fell in love when they attended Acumen College, then later they went to the wilderness together to assist Luo Nan’s grandpa with his research. Luo Nan’s current guardian was his aunt, but she didn’t have a good relationship with his main family. She didn’t know much pertaining to the situation. Under the circumstances where his grandfather went crazy and his father went missing, naturally it was hard for Luo Nan to receive relevant information about his mother.
Luo Nan unconsciously extended his hand as he spoke. His fingertips touched the glass wall to produce the muted sound of friction: “I only know one thing about my mom since I was little; she had already passed before I was born.”
It was this sentence again, and the same bizarre feeling emerged once more.
Xie Junping mulled the words twice over before finally realizing where the issue lay:
If she had already died, how could she give birth to a child?
Hmm. He had heard something like this before. In the relatively backwards medical circumstances at the time, for the case of a difficult childbirth, it was still possible to save the child even if the mother had already passed.
Did this happen to Luo Nan, more or less?
Xie Junping felt that he had figured out this secret and was just about to continue the subject. But then he saw Luo Nan take out that fluorescent pen from his black leather notebook and draw an object shaped like an oval. Next to it sat the silhouette of a skinny character.
The lines of the drawing with simple to the extreme, conveying the content extremely openly and clearly.
“This is my mom……”
Luo Nan’s voice was exceptionally gentle: “I’ve never seen her with my own eyes, but I’ve heard that she gave birth to me in this way.”
“Hic?” Xie Junping was a bit bewildered.
Apparently it was June of the year 80, when I was 7 months…… inside mom’s stomach. The base went into disorder and mother was heavily injured. She sealed off the laboratory room and used a sustainment pod to save me. Look. This is me.”
Luo Nan had draw a small small circle within the oval, within the middle of the sustainment pod.
Xie Junping opened his lips, yet not a sound was uttered from them. He originally wanted to ask how a fetus within a stomach could be placed within a sustainment pod. But when these words came to his lips, he suddenly comprehended the bitter course of events and instantly stood there in shock.
Luo Nan pressed lightly against the edge of the silhouette and spoke in the same gentle, but fear-inducing manner: “I can’t see her, but she’s always here…… This is my mother.”
Xie Junping looked at the fluorescent lines dull-wittedly. He didn’t know how he should respond for a time.
Luo Nan walked forward, swapping to a different area, and drawing out another few lines. He borrowed the illumination of the lamps of black light to form a sheet of depressing shadow. In front of the shadow was the prison-like structure of a fence. A person sat within it and the small shadow of another person was besides it.
“Then three years later, my grandfather was prosecuted, imprisoned, and he went mad. The laboratory data was no more, as well as the results of his research….. And at this time, someone else was no more as well.”
Luo Nan gave an odd laugh to Xie Junping: “He should be here, but he’s not here…… This is my father.”
They just happened to walk to the starting location of the underwater corridor at this time. Luo Nan retrieved his fluorescent pen and faced Xie Junping with a bow once again:
“I’ve said some boring words just now. I’ve bothered senior.”
Luo Nan had clearly understood Xie Junping’s intentions. Conversely, Xie Junping had finally pried a crack into the twisted, heavy, and melancholic inner world of Luo Nan’s heart. Furthermore, Luo Nan’s mood had clearly become much more tranquil. This should count as a good deed right!?
Xie Junping secretly hushed out a breath and was just about to respond when the sounds of voices came from not too far away. Seven~eight people came in the underwater corridor from the surrounding resting area. There was even someone who greeted Xie Junping:
“Bro Ping. We’ve arrived.”