Striving for Science Chapters List

Chapter 12: A Letter from Dad

The sky, which had been bright and sunny just a moment ago, suddenly turned overcast.

Setting aside his phone, he opened his computer to process some internal materials. Around noon, rain began to fall, tapping on the leaves and creating a pitter-patter sound.

Ding Yang was ushering everyone into the car. The worn-out department vehicle seemed particularly useful in this weather; at least it could shield them from the wind and rain.

"Are there still people coming here for tourism in this weather?" Through the car window, Chen Panpan spotted a sightseeing bus passing by. "In the afternoon, we should send a message to the travel agency, asking them to avoid entering the mountains as much as possible."

Wuming City was full of mountains and rivers. In the past, when transportation was underdeveloped, the people living in the mountainous areas had a very difficult life. Some of them had never seen the outside world from birth to death. In recent years, their living standards had improved, and they started developing tourism like other places. Unfortunately, due to insufficient promotion and the only unique feature being the local characteristic houses, the number of tourists they could attract was quite limited.

Shen Changan glanced at the sightseeing bus Chen Panpan mentioned. Inside the tour bus, a few people were sitting scatteredly, and the number wasn't large. Looking at Chen Panpan's attitude towards tourism, he didn't need to ask to know that Wuming City's tourism industry wasn't doing very well.

When the car arrived outside the community, Shen Changan borrowed an umbrella from the property and quickly descended to the hallway on the ground floor. The corridor was slightly wet, probably due to other residents carelessly going upstairs.

He folded the umbrella and climbed a few steps, spotting a young woman hastily running down. She hadn't even had time to comb her hair. Shen Changan stepped aside, turning to see the young woman dash into the rain.

Passing the fourth floor, Shen Changan found Grandpa Zhang's door tightly shut; he probably hadn't returned yet. Shen Changan went upstairs, steamed rice, stir-fried some vegetables, and some meat.

The worst part of living alone is that it is hard to finish two dishes, but cooking just one seems too monotonous.

After eating and tidying up the kitchen, with the rain still pouring outside, Shen Changan returned to his room to prepare for a nap. As he was getting ready, he found a leaf under the bed.

Bending down to pick up the emerald-green leaf, he looked at the trees outside. Feeling lonely, he took out his phone, opened the contact list, but was unsure of whom he should contact.

Years ago, concerned that criminals might retaliate against him, the relevant authorities not only changed his name but also altered his household registration. A few months ago, news broke that the son of a criminal who was shot by his father had joined an international criminal organization. To ensure his safety, the authorities arranged for him to be placed in Wuming City, asking him to avoid contacting his former classmates and friends.

Swiping through the contact list, Shen Changan opened his chat with Dao Nian.

Changan: Mr. Dao Nian, do you believe in ghosts and monsters?

He thought he'd have to wait a long time for a reply, but unexpectedly, within half a minute, he received a message from him.

Dao Nian: Of course not. Why would you think that way?

Seeing this response, he couldn't help but chuckle.

Changan: Lately, I've been having some really strange dreams, and they feel so real.

Dao Nian: Thoughts during the day turns into dreams during the night. Don't worry, there are no gods or demons in this world.

Changan: Then…what about ghosts?

Dao Nian: When a person dies, it's like a candle being extinguished. After the flame goes out, is there still warmth?

Changan: Mr. Dao Nian, are you in a good mood today?

Dao Nian: Why do you ask that?

Changan: Because you've been chatting with me a lot today.

Once that message was sent, there was suddenly no more response from the other side. Shen Changan felt a bit regretful. Rarely did the other person seem willing to chat a bit more with him, so why did he have to be so mean?

After a few minutes, his phone rang again.

Dao Nian: Yes.

Dao Nian: You must remember, there are no gods or ghosts in the world.

Shen Changan stared at his phone in a daze for a long time, then silently laughed away.

Changan: I understand, thank you, Mr. Dao Nian.

There was no further reply. In the evening, when Shen Changan returned from the office, took a shower, and was about to go to bed, he suddenly received a message from Dao Nian.

Dao Nian: Goodnight.

Changan: Sweet dreams.

Closing the chat box, Shen Changan received a call from Director Du, asking him to take a day off tomorrow to rest at home. He didn't refuse. After hanging up the phone, he lay in bed, feeling like a spread pie.

He thought he would have trouble falling asleep, but listening to the rain outside, he slept very soundly that night, not waking up until after nine the next morning.

After getting up and taking a shower, Shen Changan put on a black shirt. He pushed open the door to the side room, where some of his parents' belongings were placed, and their photos hung on the wall.

"Dad, the letter you wrote to me and Mom, Mom won't be able to read it anymore." Shen Changan sat in a chair and smiled softly, "If there's an afterlife and there are spirits after death, then you read the contents of the letter to Mom, so she won't keep saying you don't understand romance."

He chuckled self-deprecatingly, picked up a towel to wipe the dust off the photos. "That's enough, you guys can't hear me if I say more anyway."

There was a knock on the door. Shen Changan put down the towel, opened the living room door, and saw four men standing outside. The man at the front was holding a wooden box, even though it was raining outside, the wooden box didn't get a drop of water on it .

"Excuse me, are you Comrade Shen Changan?" The man holding the box in both hands looked at Shen Changan with a cautious expression.

"That's me. Please come in." Shen Changan invited the four inside. After closing the door, the man handed the box to Shen Changan with both hands.



Watching the four perform the salute in unison, Shen Changan was startled. He held the box in his arms tightly, then bowed to them to return their salute. The box in his arms wasn't heavy, but he felt that it weighed more than a thousand catties.

Placing the box on the table, Shen Changan went to the kitchen to pour water for them. The four men sat on the sofa with their backs straight, as if they were in a state of constant vigilance, being alert at all times.

He didn't ask about their identities, and they didn't seem to be good at talking either. Concern and worry were evident on their dark faces.

Opening the wooden box, he found a yellowed diary inside, a few ordinary pens, a watch, medals, and... a photo of his father.

In the photo, his father stood in the yellow sand, grinning showing his white teeth, so full of vitality, so young. Staring at the photo for a long time, Shen Changan carefully placed it back in the box.

The box also contained awards, medals, and letters of commendation, but these weren't what Shen Changan was most concerned about. His trembling hands picked up the yellowed letter, and carefully opened the envelope bit by bit with a letter opener.

The moment he opened the envelope, he hastily took out the letter paper, but the moment he was about to unfold it, he slowed down again.

Shen Changan had no idea what was written inside the letter. His mind was in turmoil. Sometimes he thought about how wonderful it would be if his father could come back alive after writing this letter, or if his mother could read this letter before she passed away.

Taking a deep breath, Shen Changan finally opened the letter.

Dear Lanlan and Xiaoyou,

I hope this letter finds you well!

Tomorrow, I'm going on a top-secret mission. Before leaving, I can't communicate with family members, let alone meet you. The nights here are stifling and hot, and I'm having trouble sleeping.

On the day of departure, you were still coughing. Remember to take your medicine on time. Don't just focus on taking care of patients and neglect your own health.


Xiaoyou, last time you told me you wanted to buy a military cap. Unfortunately, I had to leave in a hurry and didn't have time to get it for you. When I return, I promise to buy it for you. Not only will I get you a military cap, but also a toy car. So, don't say your dad is stingy.

When Dad is not at home, you're the only man in the house. Remember to take good care of Mom. When you grow up, learn to cook well. A man who can't cook won't be able to find a good wife.


Lanlan, there are still two hours until dawn. I have a lot to say to you in my heart, but I know you understand me.

Xiaoyou, my child, the little man of our family. Tonight, I suddenly regret not giving you a proper hug before I left, nor saying "I love you" in person. Dad used to always feel that the elders should keep their feelings in their hearts, not express them openly. But tonight, at this moment, I realize my previous thinking was wrong.

When you like someone, care about someone, you should say it out loud; don't be stingy with your words and praise. That's also love.

Actually, what I want to say is – Lanlan, Xiaoyou, I love you.

When I come back, we'll take a family portrait.

Every year, as Xiaoyou grows older, we'll take a photo. When you have a wife, your mom and I will show her the family photos, so she knows what you looked like when you were young.

Lanlan, do you think this is a good idea?

I'm not good with words, and my writing isn't great either. This letter is all over the place. Outside, there's the call of an eagle. I think it's almost dawn.

And when the day breaks, it will be a new day.

With love for you both,

Da Cheng

Morning of June 18, 2001.

It took Shen Changan nearly twenty minutes to read the letter. He couldn't bear to miss a single word, or even a punctuation mark.

"This...” the man who had just held the wooden box carefully pulled out a bag from his pocket, "On that day, my leader went on a mission with Captain Shen. Leader told me that before they left, Captain Shen had said to him that he must buy a military cap for you when he gets back. Otherwise, you – his son, would surely be angry with him."

“Captain Shen... after… Captain Shen left, our seriously injured leader spent nearly a year in the hospital, and he bought this cap after he was just discharged. However, due to work, he couldn't come and see you.” The man's eyes were teary as he handed the children's military cap to Shen Changan, "Our leader said Captain Shen didn't break his promise. He always remembered the commitment he made to you."

"I know." Shen Changan clutched the child's military cap tightly, "My dad was an indomitable and upright man. I've never blamed him, and my mom... neither did my mom."

Even though when he was young, locked in the cold room by his grandmother, he cried to his father's photo asking why he didn't come back, he never blamed him.

"Thank you." Shen Changan used his phone to take a picture of the contents of the letter and the envelope. He neatly folded the letter and handed it back to the man, "Please keep it safe."

"Of course." The man received the letter with both hands, stood up, and saluted Shen Changan. Then he handed a business card to him, "If you encounter any problems in the future, please contact the person on the card."

With a teary smile, Shen Changan replied, "Thank you."

After seeing off these four dusty men, he locked the box in the closet and sat blankly beside it. His phone rang, and surprisingly, it was Dao Nian.

Seeing off these four dusty men, he carefully locked the box into the closet and sat dazedly leaning against the closet. His phone rang, and surprisingly, the caller turned out to be Dao Nian.

On the call, Dao Nian asked him, "Do you... want to eat hotpot?"


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