hree seconds before deciding to kick the boy awake.

—The door to the barracks creaked loudly.

A frigid winter breeze bored in, aerating the humidity formed from people cramped within the small space.
Although a chill bit into their bones, it refreshed the mind.

The footsteps of several people rang from the corridor.
Two people were flanked at the centre, and from the footfalls, one set was heavier than the other.
The heavier set fell down in shorter intervals, whereas the lighter set had a longer interval between each step.

It was obvious.
One man was heavier than the other; one man was shorter than the other.

“Get up, it’s time for inspections, frogs.” The warden’s shrill voice called out.
“Citizens of the God of Truth are already hard at work, but Korosha mongrels are still lazing in bed.
After we open the gates you’d better line up properly.
I want to reward each of you with a lash.”

Without a doubt, the heavier, shorter-legged man was the chief warden.

As for the other—

Yu Feichen crossed his arms, leaning against the wall of the cell.
He was watching Bai Song who slept like a corpse on the ground at first and hearing the sound, he raised his eyes slightly.

A pair of silver-buttoned black boots first entered his vision.

“Senior officer, right here.” The chief warden’s flattering voice was subtly laced with sarcasm.
“Those two cinder-eating mongrels disappeared from here.”

The young officer bent his body to inspect the lock.
His military uniform was the type with a long cloak, and gleaming silver tassel chains hung down from his shoulder to his chest, half-blocked by the long platinum blonde hair over his shoulders.
All in all, there was a neatness in him that was not commonly seen, out of place with the people around him.

Perhaps due to having just come from outside, a frosty chill emanated off him.

“What else happened that day?” he asked the chief warden.

“Nothing much, senior officer,” said the chief warden.
“When I shut the gates the previous day, the headcount was correct.
But the next day when I inspected the rooms, the people were gone, and the gate was still properly locked.”

“What about the others?” A cold gaze scanned the interior of the cell.

Colonel thought it a great disgrace that naughty snakes of Korosha actually managed to escape and asked the remaining few people.
They said that they had seen them before they slept but never heard anything after, and they were already gone by the time they woke up.” The chief warden laughed.
“They were covering up for the fugitives, and even wanted to clear themselves of blame.
Colonel killed them all.”

The chief warden went on to say, “But Tincloud mobilising someone to investigate two rogue snakes on the loose is overkill, senior officer.”

His senior officer only said three words.
“Open the gate.”

The chief warden awkwardly opened it, and two soldiers dressed differently from the area guards entered to search the room.

“Our barracks is watertight, there’s no way to escape.
That was just a one-off exception—” the chief warden rattled on and on, until the soldiers rummaged under an unused straw mat and found a bent piece of wire.

The soldier handed the wire to the senior official.

And he saw this man snap the padlock shut again, poke the wire into the hole.
Less than a few minutes later, the lock core clicked open.

The chief warden, who was standing outside, stammered.
“Uh, this… We still have another door outside, even if they got out using this method, they wouldn’t be able to get past the entrance door as well.”

Yu Feichen took in this scene before him.
The young officer was not only far better at polishing his gun than others, but his lock picking skills were also perfect.

With the arrival of the senior officer, the situation became a little clearer.
Two prisoners were missing from Oak Valley Detention Centre.
Despite the military guards at the detention centre waving it off as a trivial case, their superiors took it seriously enough to send someone to investigate—namely, this captain from Tin Cloud Military Academy.

However, after what happened last night, the incident of prisoners escaping might not be as simple as it appeared.
Yu Feichen thought this to himself, and his mission objective from the Gate of Eternal Night also required further reassessing.

“It’s a virtue to treat prisoners with kindness, Chief Warden.
Though I don’t yet know how your company conducts things in Oak Valley.” The young officer’s tone was cool.
The bite on his words was light, yet distinctively clear, carrying a certain tone of antiquity and nobleness.
“But if you are unable to restrain yourself, then at least do so with discretion.”

The chief warden wiped sweat from his forehead.
“We will raise our guard and not let a third person slip.”

“Someone who could pick the lock wouldn’t leave his tools under the bed.” Icy green eyes suddenly looked straight towards Yu Feichen.
“Did anything unusual happen last night?”

There was a brief silence.

“No,” Yu Feichen said.

And, in this manner, they stared at each other for several tense seconds, until the senior officer shifted his gaze away.

From beginning to the end, those eyes were as calm and transparent as a frozen lake in the winter.

“Search Oak Valley.” The senior officer turned around, the corner of his cloak lifting from his movements, leaving the cell with a cold chill.

The sound of their footfalls gradually faded away, and Bai Song had long awoken.

He stared at the disappearing silhouette of the senior officer as he left, then looked at Yu Feichen, and finally back at the corner of the wall.

He clearly remembered that there were three strange and sinister bloodstains on the wall.
But now that he looked again, the corner was very clean, leaving nothing at all.

Bai Song’s pupils were slightly lax.

“You… He… I… This…”

Driven by the guards, the prisoners lined up to go to the lavatory.
As he passed by Bai Song, Yu Feichen said in a low voice, “When we go to the brick kiln today, find a way to bring something back.
Anything will do.”

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