Pei Ran only knew that Qu Yan would get up every night during this time, when he was deep asleep, to go on a large-scale zombie killing spree and only come back in the morning.
Although he would clean himself off quite well, that strong musk of blood could not be hidden.
In a lawless world, martial arts were the special techniques chosen and used to kill, and perhaps it was only through nonstop battles and fights to the death that you would be able to get used to this world faster.
Pei Ran was not worried that something would happen to Qu Yan.
When he finished picking out the books he wanted, he listened to Qu Yan and walked down the stairs.
But when he reached the second floor, there were footsteps that sounded like they came from the outside, a sound that was all too obvious and clear in this silent mall.
Pei Ran paused and crouched down.
He used the escalator handrail to hide himself, enough to block others from seeing him but not enough to block his line of sight.
He could see the doors to the mall suddenly open and in came a large group of people.
Ten of them were wearing military gear with guns in their hands while the others were wearing quite normal clothes, but Pei Ran could faintly feel that they were possibly ability holders.
The leader of the group, a military man, was quite cautious and carefully examined their surroundings.
His eyesight was as sharp as an eagle’s, and Pei Ran had only went to tug at his shoelaces when he suddenly heard a large shout by his ear,
“Who’s there! Come out!”
A gun was pointed right at the exposed half of his head.
Pei Ran paused, knowing that he had been discovered.
He slowly raised his hands up and stood up from the escalator,
“Don’t shoot, I’m human.”
He looked too clean and his handsome looks loosened a bit of the tension in the group.
A long haired woman in the group said,
“You are a survivor huh, we thought it would be a zombie.”
The military man put his gun down, his eyesight not as lazer pointed as before, but he was still quite suspicious.
He sharply asked,
Holding onto the escalator, Pei Ran pointed casually upstairs,
“Ah, no, my friend’s here as well.
He’s quite proficient at fighting and we had just escaped from X City.
We entered the mall not long ago and once we found that there were no zombies here, we changed our clothes and ate some stuff.”
It would count as an explanation for why he was so clean.
The military man signalled in the air for his men and the other ability holders to search upstairs.
Then he gave a greeting bow to Pei Ran and said,
“Hello fellow compatriot, my name is Leng Feng.
The south has already created a survivor base and we have been directed to search for survivors.
You can come with us when we leave.”
Pei Ran had not been sure where the base was, only knowing to keep heading south.
To be able to meet up with a military squad and go with them, it was quite lucky.
“Then that would be great.
We did not know which way to head, so we will be in your hands.”
Hearing this, Leng Feng seemed to have thought of something and asked,
“Where’s your friend?”
Pei Ran was just going to say upstairs when the scent of blood suddenly wafted out from behind him.
Right after, his right hand was held tightly by a familiar strength, and a low, hoarse voice with a smile rang by his ear,
“Ah, there were still people around in here.”
Pei Ran turned his head back, and spotting a not too visible blood stain on Qu Yan’s collar, he imperceptibly wiped it off for him.
Then he pointedly said,
“We are quite lucky, meeting up with a search and rescue squad.
In a bit, we can leave with them.”
Leng Feng’s gaze scanned over their connected hands, feeling somehow these two were a bit strange but he couldn’t say how or where.
Seeing how Qu Yan looked a bit young and too skinny, he couldn’t help but ask,
“You both don’t have any wounds caused by zombies on you, do you? Before you enter the base, you will have to go through a body examination.”
Qu Yan shook his head, signalling for no.
Pei Ran also said no.
Leng Feng stared at the obvious wound on his lips and didn’t say anything.
Pei Ran helplessly laughed,
“Even if a zombie was to bite me, it wouldn’t possibly bite me there.”
That is true.
“Apologies, you will have to wait here for a bit.”
Leng Feng retracted his gaze a bit awkwardly and then followed his group upstairs to search for supplies.
Pei Ran was quite grateful that he didn’t take all the supplies or otherwise he would have drawn suspicion.
Qu Yan suddenly leaned over to his ear and quietly said,
“There are six ability holders upstairs.”
This number was a bit scary, as after all the apocalypse had only just begun.
But then again, the military would have people with stronger bodies, so maybe their rate of awakening ability holders was higher than the average population.
Qu Yan closed his eyes and scanned the area,
“One with a water ability, three with dimensional spaces, one fire and one ice.”
Qu Yan’s psychic ability could detect the wavelengths of ability holders when they used their ability.
Perhaps the top floor of the mall had some hidden zombies as one of them used their ability and the resultant brain activity was immediately transmitted to Qu Yan without fail.
And so Pei Ran stared wide eyed as Qu Yan used his psychic ability to copy the water and fire abilities, creating a tiny ball of water and igniting a faint blue wisp of fire.
They didn’t look very strong which seemed to make Qu Yan a bit unhappy.
He closed his palms and then said,
“Not much of an attack.”
And then even flattered Pei Ran a bit by saying,
“Your electric ability is the strongest.”
Pei Ran became delighted,
“It’s just ok.
With water, you could wash your face or take a shower without wasting drinkable water.”
They were still conversing when Leng Feng led his gaggle of people down with all the provisions they collected.
Qu Yan suitably shut up and lowered his head, looking quite taciturn and a bit scared of strangers as he hid behind Pei Ran.
Leng Feng’s eyebrows furrowed, his expression a bit strange.
He looked at Pei Ran in a slightly strange and contemplative manner,
“When you both came in, you didn’t find any strong zombies?”
Pei Ran said,
“We just went up three floors, haven’t gone anywhere else.
Leng Feng looked at them and contemplatively shook his head,
What he hadn’t said was that there was a zombie on the sixth floor, one that was roughly estimated to be a rare high level T4.
What was more shocking was that the orb in its brain had already been cleanly dug out.
*1 This is a contemporary phrase that has been passed around, I think quite politically with a lot of opinions and debates on education issues, but as it states, it’s of or something like the mindset that education is so important that it shouldn’t be taken away even if there are financial issues, that children shouldn’t have to suffer (missing out/fall back on the starting line/not have something because of poverty/because they are children born into lives that they didn’t choose) no matter how hard it gets.
*2 I think the national college entrance examinations are more, I think, well known as “gaokao” where every student must take this and pass to be accepted into college/uni.
Most countries have their own version (of course, with many variations and degrees/weights of what those examinations mean or what they test on) such as what is listed here on wikipedia, but if you want to read up more on this specific examination, here’s a very brief article and their list of 30 example questions.
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