Chapter 153: Military Squad
The shopping mall had six levels, each containing sections for clothes, beauty, and even a movie theatre; it was not hard to see how extravagant it was before the apocalypse.
But now it was all empty, dead silent, without a single living thing in sight.
Only dark trails of blood on white tiles were left, leading off to be swallowed up by the darkness.
Pei Ran searched through every floor and indeed found that there were no high level zombies; only ten or so T1s which weren’t hard to deal with.
He dragged Qu Yan along with him to the fourth floor which was filled with clothing stores.
With the unexpected free time and no worries, he browsed slowly before changing his dirty clothes out for a new set.
Compared to Pei Ran’s high standards, Qu Yan was much more casual, only changing into a dark fuzzy sweater.
Perhaps, it was because those with special abilities had a special body composition, but with just the past few days of rest, the scab on his face had already healed, leaving only a faint scar.
At a glance, he did look quite like a young but depressed beauty.
“Puh, how old are you to be dressing in such dark colors.”
Wearing a casual black tee and leaning with his back against the counter, Pei Ran was radiating a mature aura and was evidently way better at working with this color than Qu Yan.
Qu Yan walked over to Pei Ran and wrapped his arms around his neck, standing up on his tiptoes.
He laughed in a suggestive way and said in a low voice,
“I’m already twenty years old.”
As someone who had started school two years later than when people normally did.
Pei Ran’s focus was not on him, instead he reached out to pick up a black hoodie with some english letters on the front.
Measuring it up against Qu Yan’s body, he then signalled for Qu Yan to change into it,
“Really couldn’t have ever guessed it.
You’re so skinny that I would have thought you’d be seventeen or eighteen.”
Qu Yan pulled up his fuzzy sweater, revealing a pale white waist.
He took it off and exchanged it for that hoodie, the scars on his body flashing in the open for a split second before it was once again hidden under his clothes.
Pei Ran paused and then smiled, nodding his head,
“Looks quite good.”
He looked at Qu Yan before reaching out to touch the side of his face with fingers that felt warm and dry.
Quietly complimenting the other, he said,
“Grew up to be quite good looking as well.”
Qu Yan was evidently quite delighted.
The beauty mark by his eye suddenly added a layer of seductiveness as his expressions changed.
He held onto the hand on his face, lowered his eyes, and lightly nuzzled at it.
Then he lifted his head and asked,
“Is this what you like?”
“Of course this is what I like.”
Pei Ran moved to let the other lean against the counter and then set his hands on either side of the other’s body.
He said in a semi-truthful manner,
“If this was before the apocalypse, I would have thrown all my money at you.
Given you cars, houses, flowers until I won your hand.”
Qu Yan was intrigued enough to ask,
“What then? After you’ve won my hand.”
“You’ll be my lover of course.
We could attend the same school, but your grades must be exceptionally good and mine would be exceptionally bad.
And perhaps at that time I would find you everyday to copy your homework and even ask you for answers when it comes to exams.
“And then when it’s the evening self study period, I would make you skip it with me, go on a ride in my sports car, play games at a game centre, drink beer and eat skewers at the night market; whatever is exciting we’ll go play.”
His eyebrows were doing a suggestive dance, as if what he just said was really what would have happened.
Whatever Qu Yan was thinking about then, no one would know.
But Qu Yan slowly pulled the other’s neck closer and his tongue lightly licked the other’s lips, so gentle and careful.
Yet in the next moment the expression on his face suddenly darkened and he viciously bit down, using all of his strength, as if this would finally be able to express the emotions that were so hard to say.
The scent of blood slowly permeated the air as Pei Ran’s eyes widened.
He reflexively pushed Qu Yan away, in so much pain that he was jumping on the spot, like a cat with bristled fur.
He cried out in disbelief,
“What did you bite me for!”
Pushed aside, Qu Yan’s waist hit the edge of the counter hard.
He lowered his head and laughed, his pale white fingers lightly brushing his lips and wiping away the slivers of blood,
If he’s happy, he’ll bite you? Then if he’s unhappy, wouldn’t he have to kill me?
Pei Ran pulled a bottle of water out of his dimensional space and knelt on the ground to wash his mouth.
He was in so much pain he didn’t want to speak, and when Qu Yan wanted to come closer to take a look at his wound, he was even pushed away.
It was rare for Qu Yan to not have any dark thoughts and he tilted his head to look at Pei Ran, his eyes dark and a little wet, obediently acknowledging the error of his ways,
“I was wrong.”
Having no heart had its advantages as nothing was ever taken to heart.
Pei Ran rinsed his mouth twice before shoving his face towards Qu Yan.
He pointed at the wound on his bottom lip and said,
“Didn’t I tell you last time not to bite others anymore? And yet here you are.
Look, I’m bleeding…….
are you a dog?”
Qu Yan: “No, I’m the year of the snake.”
“No wonder why you are so clingy.”
Pei Ran rose up from the ground and pulled Qu Yan up with him,
“Before my wound heals, I won’t kiss you and don’t you kiss me.”
Qu Yan looked at him, his ink black bangs covering his eyes, and didn’t say a word.
Pei Ran: “Did you hear me?”
Qu Yan: “Uh huh.”
Since Pei Ran was not in a rush, he slowly browsed through the stores.
When there was something he needed, he’d add it to his dimensional space: toiletries, books, and anything else that he could get.
Qu Yan even saw him grabbing a set of college examination questions.
Qu Yan’s fingers began to draw circles on Pei Ran’s back.
He had the heart to try and regain his favor,
“If you can’t, I can teach you.”
“No need,” Pei Ran said, “this is for you.”
After all, they have a long journey ahead of them, and they’ll need to do something to pass the time.
No matter how hard they’ll have it, they can’t pass the burden onto children; no matter how poor they could be, they can’t take away education.1 What if the apocalypse ends, perhaps then they might even revive the national college entrance examinations.2
Qu Yan: “……”
Sitting on a desk, he looked at Pei Ran contemplatively and wanted to tell him, true studious and smart students would never be afraid of studying.
The door to the library was wide open when a sudden cloud of darkness blew by, gathering all the papers scattered on the ground to spin into a spiral.
Qu Yan seemed to sense something and imperceptibly looked outside before suddenly jumping down from the desk.
Pei Ran was still picking out books when Qu Yan said to his back,
“I’m going to head out for a bit.
Yell for me if there’s anything and don’t head upstairs.”
Pei Ran took a look at him and then nodded his head,
“Come back soon.”
Who knew what level Qu Yan’s psychic ability was.
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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