He Confessed in the Backlight

Chapter 69

Several hours later, the helicopter carrying Li Teng arrived at the Falcon Special Forces base in the northern mountainous region of China.

In November, the weather was gloomy, with thick clouds completely blocking the sunlight. The cold wind howled fiercely. The trees in the mountains bent under the strong wind, and their withered yellow leaves scattered across the landscape.

On the vast training ground, dozens of paratroopers in camouflage combat uniforms, carrying full gear, stood with stern faces, ready for action. From a distance, the soldiers resembled a row of poplar trees standing tall on the land, supporting the blue sky above.

The expressionless Li Teng strode to the front of the soldiers and stood still, his gaze sweeping over the young, resolute faces. He said in a deep voice, “Brothers, this mission is directly ordered by the Air Force Headquarters, with two objectives. First, to recover the top-secret military weapon data stolen from our country twelve years ago. Second, to capture the main perpetrator of a series of previous terrorist activities, Da En, and his accomplice Washa, among others. Commander Zhang’s exact words were to capture them alive if possible, but if necessary, they can be executed on the spot. Any questions?”

The soldiers responded in unison, “No!”


Li Teng continued, “Half an hour ago, I sent the latest enemy map provided by an informant to Vice-Captain Cheng’s email. Have you all seen it?”

Vice-Captain Cheng Chuan replied, “Don’t worry, Brother Li. I’ve printed the map, and everyone has a copy. They’ve all reviewed it.”

Li Teng nodded, his expression calm. “The map is not professionally drawn and only indicates the approximate locations of enemy ambushes and minefields. Upon arrival, the assault team will follow me and parachute first. The rest will converge on the target area according to the plan once they land. In case of unexpected situations, adapt accordingly.” He paused slightly, “This mission must succeed, failure is not an option. Understood?”

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Mbl pszeklap pbswvle zswezu, “Bdelapvsse!”

“Mbspl obs sqqlde Ubkdy—”

Mbl nasoe asyale, “Mbswtb qya, vblu xwpv cl rwdkpble!”

Mbl lnbs alhlaclayvle vbaswtb vbl xswdvykdp, alpswdekdt zswezu.

Nk Mldt, okvb elvlaxkdle lulp, pvsse yv yvvldvksd yde aykple bkp aktbv yax kd y pyzwvl vs vbl esgldp sq pszeklap. Mbl pszeklap, kd wdkpsd, yzps aykple vblka bydep kd pyzwvl.

G qlo plnsdep zyvla, Nk Mldt zsolale bkp byde, “Gv lypl. Gvvldvksd. Nlqv vwad—xyanb.”

Mbl pszeklap zkdle wr dlyvzu yde prakdvle vsoyaep vbl blzkrye, vbl ldvkal vlyx xshkdt pkzldvzu, okvbswv y pkdtzl osae prsjld.

Jlbkde vblx, yp Nk Mldt oyp ycswv vs vyjl y pvlr, y tszeld prlnj pweeldzu qzlo vsoyaep bkx.

He glanced down and saw a grain of rice flower that had somehow drifted into his palm.


Cheng Chuan happened to pass by and, seeing him standing still, was puzzled, “What’s up, Brother Li?”

“Nothing.” Li Teng, recalling something, gave a faint smile and opened his fingers.

The mountain wind was so strong that Cheng Chuan only vaguely saw a golden speck fly from between Li Teng’s fingers. Before he could see clearly what it was, it was quickly blown away by the wind.

Li Teng said, “Let’s go.” With that, he and Vice-Captain Cheng Chuan turned around and walked away without looking back.

But the wind forcefully blew that grain of rice flower towards the distant sky as if sensing something. The wind knew, it truly knew, where his lifelong attachment lay, where his beloved girl was.

After several hours of flying, multiple military helicopters arrived near the coordinates of Da En’s location. About 1500 meters above the ground, the six members of the assault team conducted their final checks on their combat gear.

Li Teng glanced around and said in a calm tone, “Got everything ready?”

“Yes.” The soldiers nodded, all smiling and replying, “All set.” “Everything’s ready.”

Li Teng smirked and looked at the shyest soldier among them, raising an eyebrow, “Haozi, are you nervous?”

The named soldier instantly blushed slightly and scratched his head, “A little, but it’s not too bad. It’s not my first mission.”

Li Teng teased, “I heard from Shitou that your wife is a great cook. After this mission, are you interested in inviting a few of us over for a meal?”

Zhao Chenghao was delighted, “Of course, I’m interested! Brother Li, not just one meal, ten meals if you like! My wife and I would be thrilled to have you over!”


He Hu scoffed, “Nonsense. Your wife complained last time about your poor drinking skills and how much she hates us making you drink. She probably doesn’t want us over.”

“She was just joking.” Zhao Chenghao put an arm around He Hu’s shoulder, laughing heartily, “Are you seriously holding a grudge over a joke? Acting like a woman.”

He Hu kicked him, “Get lost.”

Shitou fastened his parachute knife to his belt. He suddenly remembered something and casually asked, “By the way, Brother Li, is our sister-in-law a good cook?”

Li Teng’s eyes lowered slightly, fiddling with a lighter, and replied nonchalantly, “I do the cooking at home. She can’t.”

The whole cabin was stunned. Their leader, a man who had survived countless deadly missions, putting on an apron to cook? It was almost unimaginable.

Even the usually quiet and reserved Jiang Rui couldn’t help but say, “What? Brother Li, you cook?”

Li Teng raised his eyes to look at him, calmly saying, “What, you got a problem with that?”

“No, no problem.” Jiang Rui forced a laugh and fell silent.

This casual conversation lightened everyone’s mood a bit.

Moments later, the soldier in the cockpit glanced at the coordinates, his expression turning serious, “Captain Li, we’ve reached the target location, currently 1500 meters above the ground.”

Li Teng said, “The enemy is ambushing. The longer we stay airborne, the worse it is for the operation. Lower the helicopter to 300 meters.”


“Yes.” The soldier piloted the helicopter lower.

A few seconds later, Li Teng looked around at He Hu, Shitou, Zhao Chenghao, Jiang Rui, and Xu Xiaowei. These young soldiers were members of the Falcon Special Forces’ assault team, the elite among paratroopers. The youngest, Jiang Rui, was only twenty-two, and the oldest, He Hu, was twenty-seven.

Li Teng looked at them, then took out a lighter from his pocket and said calmly, “Alright, the usual routine. Everyone take out your lighters.”

They all complied.

This was a long-standing tradition in the Falcon team. Before a jump, the soldiers would make a wish before the flame of their lighters.

In the cabin, the sound of lighters flicking open filled the air, and the flames illuminated their determined, handsome faces.

Li Teng held up his lighter and looked at Jiang Rui, “You’re the youngest. You go first.”

Jiang Rui pondered for a moment and then smiled, “My wife has never seen the sea. After this mission, I want to take her to a coastal city.”

Next was Shitou, “My wife has always wanted to go to Dali. I’ve been too busy these past years. This time, I must take her there.”

Zhao Chenghao said, “It’s been a long time since I visited my parents. After the mission, the first thing I’ll do is go back home.”

Xu Xiaowei said, “I’ve been dating my girlfriend for several years. When I get back, I’ll marry her.”

He Hu took out a photo from his pocket, showing a little girl with pigtails, grinning with a missing front tooth. He gently touched her smiling face and said, “When I get back, I’ll take my daughter to an amusement park.”


Finally, it was Li Teng’s turn.

He stared at the flame, as if seeing something far beyond. After a long pause, he softly said, “I want to see her smile again.”

Once, twice. Many times.

After he made his wish, the cabin fell into silence.

Li Teng looked up at the soldiers and spoke in a low, steady voice, “Remember, give it your all to complete the mission and survive. Prepare to jump.”

“Yes, sir!”

Outside the cabin, the wind howled.


After Li Teng left, Ruan Nianchu felt something missing. Although she was still herself, the city was still the same, and life was as usual, there was an emptiness.

It was as if her heart had been split in two. One half was still with her, while the other half had been taken away by Li Teng.

Even a few short hours seemed interminably long.

After leaving the psychiatric hospital, Ruan Nianchu returned to her home in the military district’s dormitory. She had been living there for some time and had become familiar with many of the women and elderly residents in the neighborhood. Although they didn’t know each other well, they would smile and greet each other when they met.

She smiled all the way into the apartment building, her face beginning to feel stiff.

Back home, it was still empty. The little fat cat lazily curled up in its bed. Seeing her return, it poked its head out and meowed.

Ruan Nianchu walked over and picked up the chubby cat. As she stroked its fur gently, she whispered softly, “Li Xiaojiu, do you know? Your master has gone on a mission, so it’s just the two of us these days. Don’t be afraid, he’ll be back soon.”

She wasn’t sure if she was saying this to the cat or to herself.

“Meow…” The chubby cat seemed to understand her words, softly meowing and placing its paws on her shoulder, as if comforting her.

Ruan Nianchu rubbed the cat’s head against her chin, “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine.”

The cat licked her hand in response, “Meow.”

Later that evening, as Ruan Nianchu lay on her bed chatting with Qiao Yufei on WeChat, a call came in. She glanced at the screen and saw that it was from Lei Lei.

“Hello, Officer Lei.”

“Do you have a moment?” Lei Lei asked.

Ruan Nianchu felt a bit curious, “What’s up?”

Lei Lei paused for a moment before saying, “Lain has already returned to Cambodia. He wrote a letter to me before leaving, asking me to give it to you.”

Ruan Nianchu’s eyes flickered slightly, remembering that Li Teng had indeed asked Lei Lei to keep Lain in custody. After a moment of thought, she said, “Where are you right now?”

“I’m on my way home,” Lei Lei said. “Meet me at the entrance of the dormitory. I’ll give you the letter.”


In the end, Ruan Nianchu received the letter Lain had written to her. She unfolded it. The letter was short, more like a casual note written on a whim, with only a few sentences. And the Chinese characters were crooked and uneven, far from elegant, and even lacked neatness. It was obvious that it was written by a foreigner—

I’ve always liked the poem “A Night in Feilengcui” by the Chinese poet Xu Zhimo.

“When you came that day,

It was like the dawn breaking through the darkness,

You woke me up from my stupor and returned my innocence.”

I’ve fantasized countless times,

That the story would change in those years,

But nothing changed.

The beginning belongs to you and him, and so does the ending.

You two are as perfect for each other as the night and the moon.

I will always remember you, remember your story.

Goodbye, Ruan, my friend.

I’m going to find my own story.

After reading this letter, Ruan Nianchu’s mood suddenly became somewhat complicated. The story of the little Tori back then, now Rein, seemed to have always existed outside of her and Li Teng’s story, yet it depended on their story for its existence.

She felt genuinely happy for him to finally break free and see his own world.

“Goodbye, Tori. My friend.” She smiled softly at the letter, then opened her hand, letting the letter drift away with the evening breeze.

At seven o’clock in the evening, as the darkness gradually descended, lights began to illuminate every household in the neighborhood.

Ruan Nianchu opened the refrigerator. In the freezer lay a dozen dumplings, wrapped by Li Teng before. She stared at them for a moment, then took them out and threw them all into the boiling water.

A few minutes later, the water in the pot boiled again, and the dumplings floated to the surface.

Ruan Nianchu took a bowl and began to fish them out.

Just as she grabbed two dumplings, her phone suddenly rang.

She picked up the phone and saw, slightly surprised, that it was Aunt Xia calling. The surprise didn’t last long, and Ruan Nianchu slid to answer the call, “Hello, Aunt Xia.”

The phone emitted the suppressed sobbing of the old man, “Xiao Ruan… The doctor just called, your sister-in-law suddenly attempted suicide, fortunately she was discovered in time and rescued… I’m rushing to the hospital now, could you come over and help me look after Xiaoxing?”

“… ” Ruan Nianchu’s face turned pale. She took a deep breath to steady her voice, “Okay, I’ll come right away. Don’t worry, the rescue came in time. Take it easy.”

After hanging up the phone, Ruan Nianchu closed her eyes, covered her mouth with her hand, turned around, grabbed her keys and coat, and walked out the door in large strides.

For some reason, at that moment, the tears she had been holding back finally burst in the night breeze.

He Lihua’s suicide was completely unexpected for Ruan Nianchu, but also somewhat anticipated.

This afternoon, He Lihua told her that she had never blamed Xia Fei. Her demeanor and expression were so calm and peaceful, the light in her eyes even carried a hint of happiness and hope.

Suddenly, Ruan Nianchu understood the look in her eyes at that time.

If you have truly loved someone deeply, you will understand how exhausting and difficult it is to spend the rest of your life relying on memories alone.

It was also in that moment that Ruan Nianchu understood all the hesitation and struggle in Li Teng’s heart when they reunited after seven years.

“Are you afraid?” She suddenly stopped and looked at the vast night, asking that distant and unknown existence.

The neon lights were colorful, and the traffic was bustling. No one responded to her, only the wind blew quietly.

—Are you afraid?


—Afraid of what?

—Afraid that one day if I break my promise, you will have to walk through the next few decades alone.

—Then why do you still move forward without hesitation, even knowing it’s a bottomless abyss?

—Because I love you.

Ruan Nianchu looked at the night sky and smiled gently. She heard the answer brought by the wind.

Sansukini: Pardon me while I cry at the ending…

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