He Confessed in the Backlight

Chapter 58

When Li Teng first joined the Falcon, he was known throughout the troop as a prickly character. Perhaps due to his young age, he was competitive, unwilling to admit defeat, proud, and rebellious. At that time, Yang Zhengfeng was the captain of the Falcon, and in order to discipline this thorny recruit, he came up with many punitive measures.

One particular punishment left a lasting impression on Li Teng.

During a field training session, he clashed with Yang Zhengfeng. At the time, Yang didn’t react much, just reprimanded him a bit and let him return to his unit. Li Teng thought that was the end of it, but that night, at two in the morning, Yang Zhengfeng kicked him out of bed and onto the training ground.

He was ordered to do two thousand frog jumps.

The former captain of the Falcon had a penchant for punishing recruits in the middle of the night. As Yang himself put it, “There’s no punishment worse than kicking someone out of bed in the middle of the night.”

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From then on, every time Yang Zhengfeng punished Li Teng, it was at two in the morning.

Over time, this time of night took on special significance. It became a symbol of Li Teng’s youth and a testament to the camaraderie between Li Teng and Yang Zhengfeng.

To Li Teng, Yang Zhengfeng was both a teacher and a friend. They were the best partners and the best brothers.

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Wkhl eyup bye rypple pkdnl vbyv dktbv’p rbsdl nyzz, yde lhlauvbkdt oyp nyzx.

Wkdyzzu, sd vbl pkmvb eyu, yv vos kd vbl xsadkdt, Zydt Hbldtqldt’p nyzz nyxl ytykd.

Nk Mldt oyp zukdt kd cle, yde yzxspv kdpvydvzu bl srldle bkp lulp, pyv wr, yde alynble qsa bkp rbsdl sd vbl clepkel vyczl. Jlpkel bkx, Swyd Lkydnbw pzlrv rlynlqwzzu, wdekpvwacle cu vbl dskpl, cwv qwaasole bla casop pzktbvzu.

Nk Mldt dsvknle yde kxxlekyvlzu pokvnble bkp rbsdl vs pkzldv xsel.

“…”, bla casop tayewyzzu alzymle yp pbl vwadle shla yde oldv cynj vs pzllr.

Tl nshlale bla okvb vbl czydjlv yde oyzjle vs vbl zkhkdt assx clqsal ydpolakdt vbl rbsdl.

“Tlzzs.”

“Elald’v usw vbl sdl obs ypjle xl vs jllr yd lul sd vbyv Uyxcsekyd wdkhlapkvu pvweldv?” Zydt Hbldtqldt’p hsknl nsdhlule nzlya elzktbv, “Gqvla plhlayz eyup, ol qkdyzzu qswde psxlvbkdt.”

Hearing this, Li Teng’s tone remained unchanged, “What did you find?”

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“I sent someone to check Lain’s bank account in Cambodia. Ten days ago, this account received a deposit of up to one hundred thousand dollars. How could an ordinary university student, who used to rely on your support for living expenses and tuition, suddenly have so much money in his account? Something’s not right, so I investigated the identity of the depositor. Guess who it was?”

“Da En’s people.”

“Yes.” Yang Zhengfeng said, “The depositor’s name is Vanessa, which is Washa’s real identity in Cambodia.”

Li Teng lit the cigarette in his mouth and chuckled, “It seems that things will soon come to light.”

“Now we’re about ninety percent sure that Lain is connected to Da En.” Yang Zhengfeng pondered for a moment, then continued, “Even if Da En is cunning and hasn’t disclosed his whereabouts to Lain, if we catch Lain, we should still be able to get some information out of him.”

“We’ll start by finding Washa, the one who made the deposit for him, and then trace it back to Dan.”

“Right.”

“But relying solely on a bank account doesn’t fully prove that Lain is working for Dan.” Li Teng’s tone was very indifferent. “We must be cautious before taking action. If something goes wrong, it will only alert the enemy.”

“For now, we’ll continue gathering evidence.” After Yang Zhengfeng finished speaking, he sighed deeply and shook his head. “When you rescued that kid from Tuwa back then, you went through hell for him. Even his real father couldn’t match what you did. What an ungrateful dog.”

Li Teng was silent for a few seconds before saying, “He chose his own path. If he’s wrong, no one can help him.”

Neither of these men was one for small talk.

Every conversation was about business, and the call would end as soon as they were done.

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Li Teng held the phone in silence for a few seconds, flicked the ash off his cigarette, and said, “I’m hanging up. You should get some sleep.” Without waiting for Yang Zhengfeng’s response, he ended the call.

He sat quietly on the sofa for a moment, then stubbed out the cigarette and turned his head. Ruan Nianchu was standing at the door of the room, wearing his regular military uniform. The clothes were oversized, making the girl in the dark look even more fragile.

She quietly looked at him, her expression calm but with a mix of surprise and confusion in her eyes.

He also looked at her calmly.

The fat cat crawled out from under the coffee table, shook its fur, meowed, and ran to Ruan Nianchu’s feet, circling around her.

After a while, Ruan Nianchu tried to move her lips, “…Lain works for Da En?”

Li Teng responded indifferently, “Not confirmed, but is a suspicion.”

His indifference seemed to irritate Ruan Nianchu. She frowned hard and spoke loudly, “You knew Lain had issues earlier, why didn’t you tell me clearly? Why did you keep it from me?”

Li Teng said, “You considered him such an important friend, I was afraid you’d be too heartbroken.”

Ruan Nianchu sneered, “Is it because you’re afraid I’ll be heartbroken, or because you’re afraid I’ll keep my distance from him once I know, and then your bait won’t work anymore? Captain Li Teng, you’re really ruthless.”

She spoke without reservation, getting more and more outrageous. Li Teng furrowed his brows, a restrained anger in his eyes, and reprimanded in a low voice, “What’s gotten into you? Do you even know what you’re saying?” Taking two steps forward, seemingly unintentionally, he kicked the vase next to the TV cabinet.

“Crash!” The porcelain shards scattered all over the floor.

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“Meow—” The fat cat was startled, its fur standing on end as it hissed and hid under the sofa.

“You even broke the vase?” Ruan Nianchu yelled even louder, her voice trembling, tears welling up in her eyes. “Li Teng, I’m telling you, you have to explain everything to me today!”

Li Teng’s voice was low and cold, “Ruan Nianchu, let me tell you, I’m not in a good mood right now, so stop messing with me.”

Ruan Nianchu shouted, “I will mess with you! What can you do to me?”

Then came the sound of things being broken and knocked over again.

“What? Your true colors are showing, and you want to hit me today, don’t you?” Ruan Nianchu’s voice was shaking with anger, her breath catching, as she grabbed whatever she could find, the remote, the lighter, and threw them. “I want to break up with you!”

Then there were hurried footsteps, from the living room all the way to the front door.

Li Teng grabbed her wrist and pulled her back, dragging her into the bedroom. “Running away? Can you run to the heavens? Come inside, I’ll explain slowly.”

With a final “bang,” the chaos came to an end.

The bedroom door was slammed shut.

As soon as the door closed, Ruan Nianchu pulled her wrist away, getting closer to him, and said in a volume only he could hear, “What’s going on? What are you doing?”

Li Teng sneered, lowering his voice, “You don’t even know what I’m doing, yet you’re making a scene here?”

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She widened her eyes, “You deliberately let me hear your call with Yang, just to provoke me, didn’t you?”

“You knew I did it on purpose?”

“Normally, you’re afraid of waking me up, so your phone is on silent after ten. So when your phone rang today, I guessed you must have deliberately woken me up to tell me something. So I followed you out.”

He raised an eyebrow, “And then you started making a scene?”

Just as the words fell, there was a meow from outside the door.

The fat cat squatted in front of the door, looking at it pitifully, “Meow.”

In that instant, Li Teng suddenly couldn’t tell if Ruan Nianchu was truly foolish or if she was cleverly playing dumb.

He hugged her tightly, pulling her close, his lips pressing against her earlobe, his tone low and gentle, with a hint of coaxing, “Ruan Nianchu, do me a favor. Can you?”

She was tickled by the warmth and asked, “What favor?”

“Ask your friend, Qiao Yufei, about Jiang Hao.”

Ruan Nianchu was puzzled, “Why suddenly ask about Jiang Hao?”

He replied, “You said he’s a bad person.”

Ruan Nianchu was momentarily stunned by his words, “Li Teng, I was just guessing randomly. Isn’t it a bit hasty for you to act like this? Just because I say he is, doesn’t mean he is.”

Li Teng said, “Taking a chance.”

She still hesitated, “But what if he’s not?”

“Say it anyway,” he said, his tone very indifferent.

After replying, she felt her phone vibrate, and when she checked, there was a new message from Yang Zhengfeng: “You asked me to check Lain’s social connections, and it turns out, he didn’t make many friends after coming to China, the closest one being a D University student named Jiang Hao. What’s even more coincidental is that Jiang Hao had a ten-day trip to Cambodia six months ago. That’s when they met.”

Li Teng locked the screen, closed his eyes, and rubbed his forehead. Something wasn’t right.

Da En’s caution and cunning surpassed his father Kunsha’s by far. It took him four and a half years to catch Kunsha. This time, the mission was a hundred times more difficult.

He and Da En were both trying to figure out what the other was thinking, trying to anticipate each other’s next move.

In this game, neither could afford to lose.

*

Several days ago.

At two in the morning, Li Teng called Yang Zhengfeng.

“You’re still not sleeping at this hour.”

“Speak.”

Yang Zhengfeng was instantly alert, half asleep, and then quieted down, his voice deep, “Have you figured something out?”

“Da En is very smart and cautious. The only way to make him make a mistake is to let him win.” Li Teng was very calm.

Yang Zhengfeng was confused, “Let Da En win?”

“Only when he’s complacent can he let his guard down.”

“I see. What’s your plan?”

“Counter-intention.”

“Counter-intention means to expose the other side’s plot and cunning schemes, and cleverly counterattack using their own deceitful tactics against them. The key is to make it seem real, so the enemy falls for it, believing it to be true and making mistakes in judgment, leading to wrong actions. Then, seize the opportunity to capture them.”

*

Regarding Jiang Hao, Ruan Nianchu knew very little. She only knew that he was a young man whom Qiao Yufei met at a bar, in his early twenties, a junior at D University. He was not a local.

In Yuncheng, such young men, who used their family’s money to go to college but spent their days in bars and nightclubs, were as common as dirt.

Therefore, Ruan Nianchu couldn’t understand why her friend, who was hailed as an emotional expert, was interested in Jiang Hao. She was willing to give up the entire forest for this young sapling.

Li Teng asked her to inquire about Jiang Hao. Ruan Nianchu found this a bit difficult. To inquire about a friend’s man, she had to extract useful information without causing any rifts with her friend. It was indeed a tricky skill.

She struggled for a whole morning.

It wasn’t until lunch break that she found a seamless entry point. She immediately took out her phone and sent a WeChat message to Qiao Yufei: “Can you ask Jiang Hao if they vaccinated the stray cat after treating its wounds?”

After a few minutes, Qiao Yufei’s reply came: “He said they did.”

Ruan Nianchu replied: “So they don’t need to do it anymore in the future?”

Qiao Yufei: “Jiang Hao said you just need to vaccinate the cat once a year. I recommend the triple vaccine for cats.”

Ruan Nianchu: “Did the doctor tell him that?”

Qiao Yufei: “Didn’t I tell you? He’s originally a veterinary professional. For such a simple question, there’s no need to ask the doctor.”

Veterinary professional.

Ruan Nianchu looked at the four words on the screen and then recalled what Li Teng had said last night. She narrowed her eyes, and something flashed through her mind like a bolt of lightning.

When Li Teng picked up Ruan Nianchu after work, it was already dark. The two of them grabbed a bite to eat outside before heading home.

As soon as they entered, the fat cat Li Xiaojiu rushed over, meowing.

She squatted down, smiling and teasing it.

Li Teng took off his uniform, unbuttoned the three buttons at the collar of his shirt, preparing to take a bath. With a sweep of his eyes, he saw Ruan Nianchu pressing the fat cat to the ground, scratching it with her fingers near its wound while deliberately or unintentionally groping around the area of the injury.

The fat cat seemed to be in pain, struggling and trying to bite her.

But Ruan Nianchu ruthlessly pressed the cat to death, then carefully felt the wound left by the accident.

Suddenly, a distinctly articulate large hand grabbed hers, stopping her movements.

Ruan Nianchu looked up, and Li Teng looked at her expressionlessly, his gaze deep and cold.

Their eyes met for only a few seconds before she understood.

She let go of her slender hand.

The fat cat regained its freedom and immediately fled under the table as if escaping. It stared at them vigilantly, its round eyes observing them secretly.

With a deliberately cold tone, Li Teng said, “Don’t forget what I told you. Apply for leave from your unit tomorrow and come with me.”

Ruan Nianchu stood up casually, dusted off her clothes, and replied coldly, “You didn’t say what it was for. How can I apply for leave without a reason?”

These two, because of the eavesdropping, seemed to genuinely look like they had a big fight that couldn’t be reconciled.

“Sweeping graves. With Yang’s team and other comrades.” Li Teng said as he turned and walked into the bathroom. “Tomorrow is Lao Gao and Lao Xia’s death anniversary.”

As soon as he finished speaking, Ruan Nianchu’s nose suddenly tingled.

Despite the seemingly indifferent tone, the strong sense of heaviness and pain between the lines couldn’t be concealed, no matter how good an actor he was.

Suddenly, Ruan Nianchu felt very sorry for him. What this man had experienced, what he was experiencing, and what he was about to experience, she might never be able to empathize with in her lifetime. She wasn’t smart enough, not savvy enough, didn’t know much, and didn’t know what she could do for him.

So she followed him into the bathroom, wrapped her arms around his waist from behind, pressed her cheek against his back, and rubbed against him, feeling those rugged scars.

Li Teng remained silent for a moment, then turned around, hugged her, and held her tightly in his arms.

She tiptoed, her lips approaching his ear, and whispered softly, “Li Teng, do what you want to do with peace of mind. I’ll be with you.”


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