Chapter 55.2 – One-eyed (1)

Observing the situation at the lotus pond, Bystander Jiang saw someone receive a call midway through work.

The expression on Hu Li’s face, listening to the person on the other end, was full of frustration, and after a while, he muttered, “Release.”

After the call ended, unrelated personnel were asked to leave. Jiang Yujin was among those unrelated individuals and left the lotus garden amidst the working staff. They were ushered five hundred meters away, where they saw a heavily shielded heavy-duty vehicle passing by on the road.

The vehicle headed towards the lotus garden, too far for clear visibility, but they managed to see someone getting off.

Without further curiosity, Jiang Yujin turned and left, pulling out the flat glass piece he had picked up at the drain by the lotus pond earlier today.

The glass gleamed under the light, iridescent and somewhat dazzling, with an inscription at the bottom: [C—A2—3.0].

Tucking away the glass again, at a crossroads, he pondered briefly and chose one direction.

Stalking was tedious. Every half hour, Zheng Dao called the SIU to inquire about progress. The girl’s life, for now, seemed secure. The barber shop owner left to smoke a few cigarettes, returning to continue monitoring.

As he returned, the other party was making another call. Their conversation seemingly brought some relief to his expression.

It must have been good news. Given previous progress, Deng Jiang might have found the desired strange species. What remained was a safe exit.

Before the final step, the other party made a demand: they needed to know where he and the hostage were currently located.

“In the abandoned east city building,” Zheng Dao said. “I’ll release her upon receiving Deng Jiang’s safety confirmation. If he doesn’t call within half an hour, you’ll bear society’s blame.”

He hung up.

The barber shop owner subtly moved.

Less than twenty minutes, maybe even shorter, he saw figures outside the building.

Objectively, these people hid well, concealed enough. Unfortunately for them, they crossed paths with Zheng Dao.

Zheng Dao clearly noticed them but remained composed, waiting for the half-hour deadline, occasionally glancing at the phone placed nearby.

The rustle of leaves in the wind blended with the sound of combat boots on the cement stairs, pressing against small stones.

As time ticked away, the wind ceased, leaving the building in eerie silence, save for the caretaker’s terrified wide-eyed stare.

In a moment, the phone vibrated.

As the phone vibrated, a small knife slipped from Zheng Dao’s sleeve, his fingers instantly pressing against the caretaker’s neck, finding the artery.

Hostage situations didn’t suit him; he was indeed more suited for murder.

When footsteps were just starting downstairs, the knife had already pressed against the neck. When slight pressure was applied, a sharp, burning sensation came through.

Zheng Dao lowered his eyes, watching the knife disintegrate in his own hand, a searing heat piercing through to his very bones.

It was as if his hand began burning from within the bones.

His hand was his livelihood; without it, he was helpless. Shoving the person next to him away, he tried to extinguish the fire on his hand.

It was futile. He couldn’t put it out. The scorching flames spread up his arm, and realizing his hand was beyond saving, he lunged towards the person he had just thrown aside.

Even in death, he was determined to drag someone down with him.

The fierce blaze instantly expanded, separating him from the person on the ground. The decaying wooden boards, riddled with wormholes, ignited intensely, the heat rising skyward. The members of the SIU, initially ascending the stairs swiftly, were blocked by the fire at the staircase.

They hadn’t expected a fire here, and lacking any fire-retardant gear, they had to resort to immediate physical fire-fighting after a brief moment of thought.

Zheng Dao’s fingers were already contorted from the burns, the muscles in his arm starting to shrink. Zheng Dao, completely surrounded by flames, constantly scanned the surroundings, attempting to locate the other person still present.

When the fire first broke out, he had already realized who the other person at the scene was, but he couldn’t sense their presence at all. Eventually, he had to rely on his eyes to search.

When he looked straight ahead, he saw the person who had been crouching on the beam, silently preparing to leave.

This person seemed to have been there for a while, having smoked half a cigarette. The smell of the burning flames masked the smell of smoke, preventing him from noticing it earlier.

Indeed, it was this person.

The scars on his face were the gift of this person during the Insect Valley incident. After all these years, this person remained the same, with a contemptuous, disdainful gaze that instilled an inevitable sense of disgust.

Zheng Dao detested this gaze the most, as if he were a filthy bug in the gutter, perpetually inferior.

Using his mouth, Zheng Dao pulled out the small knife he had concealed on the side of his arm. Despite the scorching pain, he squatted, leaped, and swiftly jumped onto the beam. His body was continually burned by the fire, making his movements less agile than before, but he managed to reach the beam successfully. The tip of the knife aimed straight at the throat of the person opposite him.

Before reaching the throat, the knife melted in his mouth. After an intense piercing sensation, his mouth and entire lower jaw went completely numb.

The members of the SIU found the extinguishing device and quickly searched the upper floors after clearing a path. Soon after, in the distorted air, they noticed a light that didn’t belong to the fire and hurried toward it.

The source of the light was a phone, its screen lit up with no one around, but there was someone lying not far away, coughing in the thick smoke caused by the flames.

It was the abducted hostage. Breaking through the flames to reach them, several people quickly assisted and then escorted the hostage away.

With the hostage rescued, and the fire’s temperature soaring, the team had no intention of staying too long. Before leaving, they glanced again at the situation inside the building and spotted someone lying in a corner.

They gestured to leave. While others departed, a few approached and found that the person in the corner was none other than Zheng Dao, who they hadn’t found near the hostage.

It was evident that he had no signs of life; his entire face was charred, and his body bore varying degrees of burns.

After exchanging glances, before the flames could spread further, they took the body away.

Meanwhile, Hu Li was still chasing Deng Jiang while receiving a report on the situation near the abandoned building.

Despite the distance, he managed to catch up as soon as he saw the other person making a call, but this person was challenging to pursue.

He knew how to escape well, not heading into the wilderness but constantly running through the city, maneuvering between tall buildings, blending into crowds, making the use of firearms difficult.

Approaching the city center, they happened upon a group of celebrities performing on the roadside. The audience below was crowded, making it difficult to see anything but a sea of black heads. Deng Jiang didn’t hesitate to dive straight into the crowd.

Without looking back, he kept moving forward and knew how to navigate through the dense crowd, continuing to move forward at a reasonably fast pace.

Throughout, he focused ahead, paying little attention to his steps. When he lifted his foot, he was unexpectedly intercepted, and due to momentum, his body continued forward and plunged to the ground. Nearby individuals noticed his impending fall and moved aside.

Someone tripped him.

His gaze repeatedly lowered, among the sea of legs, he noticed someone departing. When he lifted his head again, all he saw was the silhouette of a person wearing a hat.

Given the crowded setting, his collapse wasn’t inconspicuous, drawing immediate attention from those nearby. Realizing he might be apprehended again, he quickly reached for his pocket, only to find it empty.

His belongings were taken, and there was a cigarette on the ground, with what seemed like a hastily scribbled “10” on it.


The whole day had been quite a tumult, yet the uninvolved seemed remarkably undisturbed.

After being instructed to leave the lotus pond, Jiang Yujin wandered the streets. Later, he received a call stating that his new acquaintance had been rescued. Due to inhaling some smoke and sustaining injuries, the acquaintance was currently in the hospital, and he was invited to visit.

So, he went to pay a visit.

Upon his arrival, the members of the SIU were still outside. Despite having rescued the hostage and captured Deng Jiang, they hadn’t located the research findings, and their expressions weren’t exactly pleasant.

The cause of the building’s fire was still under investigation. Besides them, there was no evidence of anyone else at the scene. Therefore, the initial investigation concluded it was an accidental fire. There was an odd theory that with Zheng Dao carrying so many knives, it was not implausible that a spark caused by friction ignited some nearby discarded plastic.

Jiang Yujin visited the caretaker in the hospital room. The individual lay in the hospital bed, her once healthy complexion now a bit pale, still trying to recover from the recent events. Only when she saw Jiang Yujin did she slightly curve her lips.

Not long ago, members of the SIU had inquired about what happened to her, but at that time, she was on the brink of death and dared not open her eyes, hence unaware of what transpired then.

Listening intently, Jiang Yujin smiled, and the caretaker smiled back. Her eyebrows gradually softened, and the feeling of being alive returned.

They chatted for a while until the girl’s eyelids grew heavy, and Jiang Yujin exited the room.

The other members of the SIU had already left, leaving only Hu Li by the corridor window. He had changed into his flamboyant floral shirt and casual pants, looking like he was ready to head straight to the seaside for a vacation, the picture of leisure.

He waved, catching Jiang Yujin’s attention. “What’s up?”

Hu Li’s eyes lifted at the corners as he asked, “What were you doing this afternoon?”

Jiang Yujin replied, “Conducting scientific observations on the daily lives of the city residents.” Translation: strolling around aimlessly.

Hu Li looked at him, smiling. “You didn’t take anything, did you?”

“In all honesty,” Jiang Yujin chuckled, “I’m not that poor… even if I were, I wouldn’t resort to petty theft.”

He finished speaking and wandered off. As he left, he glanced at the hospital, suddenly remembering he had a big son hospitalized there, so he made a call to offer some comfort.

Hu Li watched as Jiang Yujin’s figure disappeared into the elevator.

Exiting the elevator outside the hospital, Jiang Yujin hung up the phone, turned the corner through an alleyway, and got into a car parked by the roadside.

The barber shop owner sat in the driver’s seat, cigarette in hand. Seeing the person in the back seat take out a small glass block from their pocket, inside it a slender black worm squirming slowly, the other person tossed it over, and the owner caught it.

He glanced down. “This organization sure has some skills.”

“Indeed,” Jiang Yujin leaned back in the chair, eyes lowered. “But once you’ve touched what you shouldn’t have, the limelight ends, and it’s curtains.”

Taking back the small glass block, he opened the car door. “I won’t head back for now. I’ll pay a visit to that building you were at today.”

As if remembering something, he tossed the pack of cigarettes from his pocket to the barbershop owner. “A gift for you, no need to thank me.”

The barber shop owner took the cigarettes, opened the pack, and noticed one missing. He casually put it away and asked, “Where are you off to?”

Jiang Yujin replied, “I have a meeting with One-eyed over there.”

This person still didn’t remember Deng Jiang’s name. The barber shop owner asked: “Wasn’t he already arrested?”

Jiang Yujin shook his head. “He can get out.”

One-eyed wasn’t as easily manipulated as he seemed.

It was easy to guess. Deng Jiang was behaving too well this time. Unless he met Xu Tonggui, there was no reason for him to be caught again unless he wanted to.

Without further inquiry, the barber shop owner relaxed, got into his car, and left.

Jiang Yujin arrived at the building right at 10:00 PM, neither a minute early nor late.

Someone was already waiting in front of the building, one eye rotating, the other hollow and entirely black.

One-eyed had indeed escaped, appeared to have a limp, but after a few steps, walked normally.

Initially puzzled by the cigarette left in front of him earlier, he got caught by the SIU and heard about the fire at the abandoned building in the eastern outskirts of the city. Realizing his partner had died inside, he understood why and came here at night.

It seemed his understanding was right.

Jiang Yujin waved from a distance. “Good evening.”

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It’s 2024! Happy New Year! May your dreams and aspirations come true in the coming year~ <3

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