They walked hurriedly and came straight towards Dong Zheng. It was too late to escape. Dong Zheng had just stood up when the two people who’d just turned the corner bumped into him.
They were two prisoners who had participated in the escape activities. They looked bedraggled with blood on their bodies, having clearly experienced some unpleasant things. Seeing Ding Zheng, they stopped vigilantly.
One of the two prisoners had bird-like wings on his back and two small horns arched over his head. From a human perspective, his face was quite handsome. Meanwhile, the other person had a barbed tail and dark blue and white stripes across his skin. It was clear that they both weren’t humans.
They were wearing prison uniforms like Dong Zheng. Even though the nameplates on their chest were stained with blood, the numbers 527 and 411 could still be seen.
Whether it was Dong Zheng or 527 and 411, they all could see that the other side wasn’t hostile. Dong Zheng and the two look at each other, their eyes wary.
From the moment their eyes met, something unusual quietly happened, but no one noticed.
Dong Zheng took the initiative to give way and stepped to the side.
The two prisoners took another look at Dong Zheng and walked away from him.
“Go to the safe house you mentioned.” As other buildings were being destroyed one after another, he may encounter more people. Dong Zheng followed Murphy’s directions and found the entrance to the underground safe house.
At the same time, the two people who had just passed by him also found a seemingly hidden office in the corner, and stopped to take a break.
They smashed the lock on the desk, found two packets of biscuits inside, and took the water from the drinking fountain to have a meal.
527 slumped on the leather sofa, with two wings slightly converging to wrap his body, as if he was about to fall into hibernation, and said exhaustedly, “I knew that those guys wouldn’t let us out so easily.”
“Everyone knows that something must be up, but didn’t all of them choose to participate?” 411 squatted beside the flourishing bamboo plant in the corner, sniffed gratifyingly at it, and stuffed a handful of leaves into his mouth. “As I said, let’s just honestly find a place to hide. Even if we’re locked up for a lifetime, isn’t it better than dying?”
“But I would rather die. I don’t want to stay here anymore.” 527 sighed. “If I knew that the interstellar police were there, I wouldn’t have agreed to the stinky old man’s request to transport the microchips.”
“You smuggled micochips?” 411 looked back at him. The criminals in the prison were divided into three, six, and nine grades, and those who entered due to extreme violence was only a part of it. The criminals who had disrupted the order of the interstellar network through their own efforts were considered the most superior, followed by cruel murderers and high-IQ criminals. Aside from those, the other criminals who came in due to other various reasons didn’t have much status at all.
“Yeah, I worked for K9. You know, that star thief who is most wanted by the Empire and the Federation. I’m the technical director of his site5, and I also contract private work outside to make money.”
In this critical moment of life and death, the both of them had feelings of sympathy toward each other, holding on to the idea that since they couldn’t leave anyway, they might as well just talk. 527 recalled the incident that had put him behind bars. “I’ve been working with that old man for a long time. He was the capital’s best black market dealer and had been taking microchips from me and selling them to internet addicts. He ordered a very large batch that day, and I personally went to ensure the safety of the goods.”
527 still remembered that it was gloomy and snowing. Dark clouds covered the moon that night, and only the warm yellow lights from the street lamps illuminated the falling snow. In this slum, there were countless rats, homeless people, and desperadoes.
He jumped off the aircraft and met the black market dealer who was waiting at the door. As they talked in low voices, his men drove the aircraft filled with cargo into the warehouse. 527 noticed a girl hiding quietly by the door of the warehouse. She was very thin and was sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a white dress under a thick plush coat. A black blanket covered the calves exposed by her skirt, and her blue eyes stared straight at him. Her thin figure was like a ghost hiding in the shadowy darkness.
“Who was that?” His cigarette lighter paused, and his eyes narrowed vigilantly.
The dealer looked back and said, “Ah, that’s my daughter. She hasn’t been in good health, so that’s why I didn’t bring her over for you to see.”
The dealer yelled to the girl and told her to go back to bed. The girl nodded. 527 watched as she turned her wheelchair around and went back into the room. Her small figure disappeared from the doorway.
Thinking of this, 527 seemed to think something was wrong, but when he thought about it, he didn’t know what it was. He’d been working with that unmarried dealer for ten years. Did he really have a daughter?
Yes, he did.
The memory after that was chaotic. Before the dealer was aware of it, he’d already been spotted by the police. The transaction itself was a trap. 527 tried his best to escape and ended up injuring more than a dozen policemen, but he still failed to escape and was surrounded.
After a series of trials, the procuratorate confirmed his identity as K9’s technical director and sent him to the felon prison on this lone star in the vast universe.
After telling his story, 527 looked at No. 411, who’d already eaten up the entire pot of rich bamboo leaves, and asked, “What about you. How did you come in?”
“Oh, me.” 411 licked his lips, still unsatisfied with the amount of his food. “I ate all the plants on the planet and was charged with the destruction of the planet’s ecological balance.”
“Eat up an entire planet’s plants?” This was the first time 527 heard of something like this. “Was it because of your race?”
“I’ve always been a bit strange. Since I was young, I couldn’t control my desire to eat. No matter how much I eat, I would still feel unhungry and dissatisfied. I’ve never experienced what it was like to be full.”
It was impossible for his nature to be suppressed in this way forever. Finally, one day, he could no longer bear the hunger that was driving him crazy, and so he escaped from the tribe.
En route, he lost control and injured a girl, a foreigner who’d come to travel. She looked like a teenager, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was so thin that she looked as if she would fall when the wind blew. He was overwhelmed with hunger, and he thought she wanted to stop him. His sharp claws pierced her shoulder, and her white dress soon became stained with blood, but there was no surprise or fear in her eyes.
In the four months before his arrest, he’d nearly eaten up the entire planet.
“And now? You’re still not eating like that, right?” 527 became vigilant. Although 411’s race was strictly herbivorous, if they’re really hungry, they may also eat other things.
“They conducted an experiment on me and seemed to have cut off a certain part of my brain, which prevented me from feeling any hunger,” 411 murmured. “Damn, why did I sign up for this jailbreak? After another two more years, I would have proven that I’m no longer a danger and might have been sent out.”
They didn’t notice that, in their memories of the past, there was the same thin girl with blond hair and blue eyes.
Dong Zheng quickly found the safe house.
The door could only be opened with a key and only the prison staff who had already left knew where the key was. However, Dong Zheng only needed to press on the recognition panel with one hand, and his consciousness sank into it. It was time to crack the anti-intrusion system.
Murphy could have easily opened all the doors here, but since Dong Zheng could handle it, she didn’t offer to help. Instead, she was looking at Dong Zheng’s memory with interest. After realizing that Murphy could read his memories, Dong Zheng immediately sealed everything about him in the real world, along with secrets about the team, and left only the little minor information outside.
In all the fragments of memory, Murphy could see the figure of a black-haired youth. It was obvious that the owner of the memory often watched him in secret. She didn’t respond much to love, but felt that Dong Zheng was such a person. It was a bit strange for someone to have a crush on someone else for so long. She soon lost interest and went to other places in his kernel.
But she couldn’t get close to the extremely dazzling grand temple in the sky.
With a soft beep, the door opened in front of him. Before he’d even entered, Dong Zheng already smelled a faint bloodied scent. He frowned slightly and warily took a step inside.
A dagger lay across his neck, the blade touching his throat.
If Dong Zheng moved the slightest bit, the blade would cut into the flesh of his throat. He stood straight, and his eyes slanted downward. He saw a middle-aged woman with sharp eyes and ragged breathing.
She was in her fifties and was less than 1.6 meters tall. Her slightly thick body was wrapped in a prison uniform. The height difference made the act of lifting the dagger a bit more laborious, and she stared at Dong Zheng nervously.
“I’m not malicious.” Dong Zheng stepped back to avoid the dagger. “I just wanted to hide here until everything blows over.”
The woman stared at him, still showing no signs of giving in. Dong Zheng glanced down and saw that she had a wound on her leg. It seemed to have been pierced by something, and after being bandaged up, it was no longer bleeding.
He chose to continue using gentle means to reduce her hostility. Just as he was about to say something, he suddenly saw something unusual from the camera in the stairway.
His expression changed, and the woman also looked abnormal. She immediately stretched out her hand, grabbed Dong Zheng’s arm, and pulled him directly into the room. She slammed the control button on the wall, and the door closed in front of them, issuing a heavy rumbling sound.
Immediately, there came the sounds of something violent hitting the door. The violent vibration made the two of them stagger at the same time. Dong Zheng used the wall to support himself and grabbed the woman’s shoulder when she looked as if she would fall down.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The creature sensed the breath of creatures in the room and hit the door more persistently. The woman clenched her dagger vigilantly, ready to react when the door broke open. Her nerves were stretched taut as a string, Dong Zheng knew this was a specially made safe house and that it should be able to withstand the attacks of an S-numbered monster. Therefore, he wasn’t as nervous as she was.
When the thing came, it had swallowed the camera by the door. Dong Zheng could only use the other nearby surveillance cameras to survey the situation outside.
Five minutes later, the impact gradually stopped. The surveillance camera showed an amorphous creature oozing out of the underground site. Dong Zheng secretly breathed a sigh of relief and told the woman, “It’s gone. We’re safe for the time being.”
The woman nodded. She took a few steps back, keeping a safe distance from Dong Zheng so that she could react in time should he make a move against her. The thrilling experience had eliminated part of her hostility, but her vigilance remained.