Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 154: Zombie Horde
Two big military vans were parked right outside the mall guarded by four soldiers holding guns.
Inside the vehicles were packed full of survivors, from infants to women; all of whom poked their heads out to investigate with pointed and heavy stares as they walked out of the shopping mall.
Pei Ran was startled by this scene, a chill running down his spine; he could not possibly be able to squeeze in there.
He said to Leng Feng,
“I drove my own car, so how about I follow from behind.”
Following the trucks meant that they would be isolated.
If they so happen to bump into zombies, it would be very dangerous.
But considering how the trucks truly could not fit any more, Leng Feng could only say,
“Alright then, follow closely behind.”
Pei Ran, as someone who had nothing of importance on his mind, did not think about using the chance to get information about the surrounding cities.
He pulled Qu Yan along with him into their car and followed right behind the military trucks.
At first, Leng Feng had been afraid they would not be able to keep up, but when he looked back, he realized that Pei Ran’s car was quite an expensive one.
Who knew who was going to be unable to keep up with who at some point.
The available space in the trucks was too cramped, forcing the soldiers to hang off on the outer edges while Leng Feng and the ability holders sat in the first truck.
Because they were afraid their large group would attract zombies they quickly sped out of there.
Pei Ran followed them from behind at a very reasonable distance.
Through the half open cloth covering the back of the truck, he could faintly see all sorts of people crowded inside: some with malnourished faces and scowling vigilance, beautiful ladies, business men in full suits, and mothers with children.
Qu Yan followed his gaze to look at the crowd, his eyebrows tainted with a faint disconnect and hatred with the world.
He lowered his eyes as his fingers slid lightly across Pei Ran’s thigh.
A large T4 crystal orb laid in his palms, so bright and large that it could not be ignored.
Qu Yan said in an indecipherable tone,
“You like places crowded with people?”
Pei Ran said,
“Not really, I quite like the quiet.
But then again, humans are social animals, so you can’t possibly be alone by yourself.”
And then remembered to look at the orb Qu Yan was holding,
“Why is it so big? What level is it?”
Qu Yan wrapped around Pei Ran like a snake again.
He rested his head on Pei Ran’s shoulders, staring right at his injured lip and said in a way that seemed to be asking for praise,
“I spent so much effort to get it, how about I give it to you hmm?”
The system popped out just as Pei Ran seemed to have expected it and he swatted it away with a smack.
He then said to Qu Yan,
“Good boy, save it for yourself.”
Qu Yan lightly opened his mouth and bit down on Pei Ran’s shoulder.
Much like a poisonous snake rearing its fangs, he filed his teeth back and forth, looking like he had been quite wronged,
“Why don’t you want things from me……”
Pei Ran only thought that Qu Yan was making him feel a bit ticklish and reflexively shifted his shoulders,
“When I chase after someone, I am the one to give gifts.
Never have I been the one to receive gifts.
Use what you got to cultivate your ability.
Then become strong enough to protect me.”
The last sentence ended with a few chuckles that didn’t sound very serious.
Qu Yan corrected him,
“You’re the one protecting me.”
He seemed to be quite set on this.
Pei Ran purposefully sang the opposite tune, with his eyebrows flying up and looking quite dashing,
“Can’t you protect me?”
Qu Yan didn’t say a word, with half his face resting on Pei Ran’s shoulders.
His cheeks were squished up and his eyes were clouded with darkness.
He thought about it for a while, as if trying to stomach taking a step back,
I will protect you but you must also protect me.”
Pei Ran thought he was being a bit cute and all of a sudden forgot what he had just said when they were at the shopping mall and kissed the other on the forehead.
A sharp pain unexpectedly pierced through him, coming from his bottom lip, and he remembered.
He rubbed his lips and said,
“I said that I wouldn’t kiss you but I didn’t keep it in mind.”
Qu Yan’s eyes were a sparkling black as he nuzzled like a cat in Pei Ran’s embrace.
He said in all seriousness,
“You can kiss me.”
Pei Ran pushed him away, ignoring him,
“I’m driving, we’re gonna lose them.”
Qu Yan laid on his shoulder, unmoving.
With his head lowered, he looked a little down.
Pei Ran gave him a look and said,
“If there were still traffic police, they would immediately flag us down.”
Unfortunately this road was full of nothing but zombies.
Occasionally one or two would rush in between the row of cars, climbing on the edges and screaming before getting shot down with bullets.
Pei Ran saw a survivor on the outermost edge shrink back in fear but because the truck was filled to the brim and there was no space for him to move back, he directly pushed a soldier into a zombie climbing up the edge.
Thankfully that zombie was not a high level one or otherwise the soldier would have just lost his life for no reason.
There was still at least a half day’s journey to the south base.
When night descended, Leng Feng commanded the convoy to take a rest.
Survivors couldn’t stop themselves from heading out of the trucks for a breath of fresh air.
As they did so, they gathered around the trucks and began to converse quietly.
Pei Ran did not plan to get out of the car.
Lowering his window halfway to let in some fresh air, he lit up a cigarette, blowing out rings of smoke inside the car.
But then he discovered that Qu Yan was not looking good; he had shrunk into a ball and his whole body was covered in a cold sweat.
Pei Ran automatically reached out to test the temperature on his forehead.
He forced the other to face him,
“What is up with you? Do you have a fever? Do you need medicine?”
Qu Yan opened his eyes, vision returning to him only after a moment.
His pupils had suddenly turned a light deep blue.
He tightly grasped onto Pei Ran’s wrist, as if afraid he was going to run.
Letting out a breath, he shook his head and said with a raspy voice,
Pei Ran thought, perhaps Qu Yan’s current condition was due to the fact that he had just absorbed that T4 orb and his ability was levelling up.
Seeing Qu Yan in a state of confusion and befuddlement, Pei Ran opened the car door and went around to pick Qu Yan up and sit with him in the back.
The silent young man in his embrace had his eyes closed the entire time, looking as if he wasn’t breathing, as if he was a corpse.
Pei Ran had never been in such a situation before and he felt very uneasy.
He couldn’t even continue smoking and the embers dropped on his hand, burning him and giving him a big blister.
He furrowed his eyebrows in pain and wanted to open the window to throw his cigarette butt out.
But just then, Qu Yan suddenly opened his eyes, his expression dark, and held onto Pei Ran almost with enough strength to crush bone.
He darkly said,
“What are you doing? Trying to leave?”
Pei Ran paused and then threw away his cigarette butt.
He very patiently and gently said,
“I won’t leave, get well soon.”
Qu Yan stared at him, half in disbelief.
He narrowed his eyes slightly, looking a little demented.
Although he didn’t say a word, the hand that was tightly grabbing onto Pei Ran’s hand had loosened up slightly.
Qu Yan warned him,
“Don’t even think of going anywhere else.”
Pei Ran scooted closer to Qu Yan and hugged him tight,
“Alright, I won’t go anywhere.”
Qu Yan eyed him once more before shutting his eyes.
He started to curl up into a position to protect himself, only occupying a very tiny space.
His psychic ability was causing havoc on his mind, scrambling his thoughts and even scrambling his memory.
Perhaps, he thought, he had gone back to his childhood, curled up in the tiny corner and full of wounds.
With his back tight against the wall, even if it was super cold, there was a sense of safety, of security.
Qu Yan was quite skinny and weak, shrunk up into a little tiny ball and looking quite like the youth that he was.
Pei Ran stared at him and then slid down the seats, sitting on the floor.
He bumped his forehead against the other, the boiling temperature passing directly to him.
“You are the main character……” Pei Ran said in his heart, “the main character won’t die.”
But what kind of main character is he? The protagonist from a comedy or one from a tragedy?
Pei Ran got bored so he pulled Qu Yan’s hand over, examining all the scars in great detail.
He thought that it must have been quite painful as he himself had been burned by a cigarette before.
He thought that it was a little more serious than the time he got stabbed, when he had cried and screamed for his mom and dad as they went to find a doctor.
Twenty six wounds were on Qu Yan’s left arm.
Seven on his right arm.
And then the back.
Pei Ran flipped Qu Yan’s shirt up and as a way to tackle his boredom, he counted from the bottom up.
When his count had just about reached thirty, there was a sudden knock on the window.
He looked over and a soldier greeted him.
“Hello dear compatriot.
This is water and food for you both.”
The soldier probably thought that Pei Ran was a bit weird and the look in his eyes was also a little weird.
He passed over a bottle of water and a bag of hardtack biscuits.
Scanning over Qu Yan who didn’t look so good, he hesitatingly asked,
“Do you need anything?”
Qu Yan’s eyes were closed, cold sweat wetting his hair.
His pale white hand was powerlessly slumped on the ground and paired with his overly skinny chin and neck, it was not hard for people to go wild with their imagination.
Pei Ran silently pulled Qu Yan’s shirt down and then said as he received the items,
My friend had gotten caught out in the cold last night.
He has a bit of a fever, but he should be good by tomorrow.”
The soldier nodded his head and left.
Pei Ran had no appetite, unable to stomach anything so he put those biscuits aside and held Qu Yan in his embrace.
This time, he sat there quietly without doing anything weird.
However something was happening outside, loud sounds of yelling and fighting drifting in.
“Why do you give us so little, how could it be enough to fill our bellies! There was an entire shopping mall of food.
You soldiers took everything good for yourselves huh, giving us all this shit to play us all for fools!”
“Fellow citizen, the provisions from the shopping mall must be passed to the base, we have no power……”
“Don’t tell me it’s for the base or whatnot.
We are dying from starvation here and you as soldiers for the country don’t even care.
What, you think you are so great for having guns huh! Then shoot me if you can! Shoot me dead!”
Pei Ran rolled down the window to take a look and found an overly plump middle aged man who looked like a giant mountain, throwing a bag of hardtack biscuits hard onto the floor in anger.
He stomped on them harshly until they were reduced to crumbs.
A few soldiers standing by were all trying to curb their burning anger by gritting their teeth tightly.
Pei Ran felt that he looked a bit familiar before recognizing that this was the survivor who almost pushed a soldier into a pile of zombies when they were under attack earlier.
The middle aged man did not stop yelling and one of the soldiers couldn’t stand it anymore.
His face was flushed red and he wanted to teach the guy a lesson.
But he was pulled back by his fellow soldiers with a tight grip and so he could only point at the other man’s nose and say in frustration,
“These hardtack biscuits are what we eat too! Whoever keeps the good stuff for themselves is a bastard! The provisions are to be checked over and counted by the base so we have no power to split up the supplies.
To save you, two of my fellow comrades died within the pile of zombies! How can you say these things without going against your conscience?!”
He was probably unable to hold back his emotions when he talked about his fallen comrades as his eyes had reddened.
The soldiers nearby all fell silent, standing tall and not saying a word.
Leng Feng had been on guard by the trucks, and seeing this play out, he jumped down and said with a heavy tone,
“All soldiers on guard, stand your positions with your weapons! Whoever keeps making a scene, I will shoot them dead!”
When he said these words, he kept staring right at the middle aged man.
His eyes were as sharp as a knife and so intimidating the man wasn’t able to say a single word.
A young woman wearing a t-shirt and jeans was just leaning against the roadside railings and applying lip stain with a small handheld mirror.
She looked a little overly delicate compared to the rest, a very big contrast to the rest of the group of ashy, dirt covered faces.
She did look a bit familiar, like an internet influencer from some internet streaming platform before the apocalypse.
She was fixing her long, waist length curly hair when she saw that middle aged man stubbornly and matter-of-factly say to the group of soldiers,
“Where are the biscuits.
Give me another bag.”
The woman laughed, closing her handheld mirror with a snap.
She smiled fakely and said,
“Old man, go eat shit.
What fucking biscuits.”
These words came so suddenly and were so out of the blue that the man froze in shock before realizing that they were directed at him.
He immediately erupted in anger, stomping madly, and shot forward to yell at her.
“You bitch, what did you say huh?! Dare to say it again in front of me?!”
“I said, people like you are only fit to eat shit.
Even becoming a zombie would only be raising your status.”
The woman looked quite delicate and weak so no one would have expected that she would have the upper hand in the fight.
Her three inch high heels kicked the middle aged man’s chest, sending him far away.
The man collapsed onto the floor with a loud thud, creating a thick cloud of dust while all the onlookers jumped in shock.
This could not be considered the end.
The woman click-clacked with her high heels and dragged the other up by the collar and gave him two loud and bright slaps,
“I’ve had enough from you.
Being annoyed with this, being mad about that.
Your mouth is so tiny but smacks nonstop, why don’t you go holler with the zombies huh! The soldiers were standing on guard by the trucks all fine and dandy but then they were pushed off by you to become a meat shield.
If I had a gun, the first one I’d shoot would be you!”
And then ruthlessly kicked him,
“SB! Shithead! Wait until you starve to death!”
The middle aged man was being smacked around until his head had swelled up like a pig’s.
Slumped on the ground, he couldn’t even climb back up.
The few soldiers standing guard couldn’t help but turn their heads back, thinking inwardly, holy shit, that lady looked so delicate and weak but she can be more vicious than any of them when it comes to a fight.
At the same time, they thought, how fucking stress relieving!
Pei Ran couldn’t help but laugh.
But then when he glanced down at Qu Yan, he couldn’t help but sigh.
He scanned over him and then quietly reached out to pull at Qu Yan’s cheeks.
He played with them, rubbing and squishing them.
After that exciting “scene”, everyone quieted down.
A wave of drowsiness suddenly fell over Pei Ran and he leaned against the seat to take a nap.
But just as he was falling into a deep slumber, he suddenly felt an ice cold touch at the back of his head, causing him to shiver all over.
He automatically looked over at Qu Yan who still had not woken up.
Pei Ran settled Qu Yan into a good resting position and then got out of the car.
But unexpectedly, a night breeze blew back, bringing with it a faint kind of disgusting stench, one that seemed to be getting heavier and heavier which caused his expression to slightly change.
A soldier on guard saw him stand there without moving and gave a salute before asking,
“Comrade, is there anything I can help you with?”
Pei Ran looked far into the distance but it was still pitch black and nothing could be seen.
Yet the unease in him was growing stronger and stronger.
He couldn’t help but say,
“There may be a zombie horde heading our way.”
The soldier thought he was kidding,
Pei Ran couldn’t be sure whether it was true or not either as Qu Yan had been the one who checked for zombies before.
After all, besides using the psychic ability, no one could be sure.
But there was an unsettling feeling in him and he walked back and forth.
He was just about to say something when he suddenly saw the soldier’s face change.
The other man put his ear on the ground and then stood up in a rush, frantically yelling,
“Not good captain! A wave of zombies is about to attack us!”
This immediately sent everyone awake into a panic, but the majority was still deep asleep.
Leng Feng quickly and nimbly climbed up on the truck and took a look with a pair of binoculars.
Shivers immediately ran down his spine as not far from the road, a huge wave of zombies, roughly estimated to be at least three hundred zombies, was quickly covering ground, heading towards them.
“Everyone get ready in your defensive positions! A large wave of zombies is heading over here! Get ready to leave now!”
Leng Feng then jumped down the truck and woke up all the sleeping ability holders.
“Get in the trucks now! Zombies are coming!”
Everyone woke up in a panic, frantically saying in their fear,
“What? Zombies are coming?”
“Where? I don’t see a single thing, this must be a lie!”
“Holy fucking shit! Right behind us! I can even hear their screams, go hide in the trucks now!”
Borrowing the light from the moon, the faces of those zombies were slowly being revealed to them, screaming as their unimaginably stinky saliva poured out of their mouths.
When they discovered living humans, they lurched faster and faster.
The trucks had not driven far away before they were under attack by a few high level zombies and all of a sudden, only crying and sharp piercing screams could be heard.
Pei Ran had never seen such a thing and shivers ran down his spine.
He was preparing to speed out of here when six zombies suddenly climbed onto his car.
One of them was even a T3.
Leng Feng’s situation wasn’t any better either.
The trucks were blocked off and quite a few survivors had been pulled out.
He could only command the soldiers to hop off the trucks and protect them.
All of a sudden, gunshots rang out nonstop.
The ability holders in the first military truck were also helping out but there were just too many zombies; their abilities wouldn’t last much longer.
The leader of this group, a long haired woman, yelled out,
“Captain Leng, stay behind to help, but we must leave now! We cannot lose any of the dimensional space holders!”
Leng Feng’s bullets were almost used up.
His eyes were burning red as he yelled at the woman,
“What is your motherfucking problem! Are you letting these people die! You are all ability holders! Are you shittier than this non-ability holder right here?!”
This was a special situation, and if they lost the support of the ability holders, death would be their only option.
“No! Don’t leave! Save me! I don’t want to die!”
“Please I beg of you guys, don’t leave! Don’t leave us behind!”
Cries of sorrow and desperation came in waves but the first military truck did not stop at all.
It sped up to crash into the zombies, opening up a road and speeding away into the dark of the night.
“Fucking grandmothers and shit, those fucking bastards!”
The soldiers were having a very difficult time defending against the attacking zombies and they yelled out in vain,
“Captain! There are not enough bullets! What should we do!”
Leng Feng was shaking in anger and he yelled back,
“Use your knives if you don’t have bullets! Everyone get off the fucking truck, drivers take the survivors and escape! It’s life or death now, and if this is it, then this is it!”
This was the apocalypse.
Everyone wanted to live, but they could not escape death.
Veins were popping on the driver’s head and his eyes became red,
“Captain! I am going to stay with you all!”
Leng Feng had already used up his bullets and just used his knife to begin chopping at the zombies.
“Don’t motherfucking say useless shit, leave now!”
Their bullets were dwindling to nothing, to the point where no more gunshots could be heard.
The twenty or so soldiers formed a weak meat shield, trying to block the tsunami of zombies.
Yet it was all in vain.
The truck only moved a couple of meters before being blocked by another group of zombies.
Pei Ran did not dare to open the window.
There was very limited space in the car for evasion and the result of being scratched could not be dampened in severity.
Seeing that the others outside could really not defend anymore, he grit his teeth and slammed the door open, kicking into the foray.
Humans have limited stamina but zombies did not know what it meant to be tired.
The few remaining soldiers were already unable to keep up, their movements slowing down.
It’s been said that the best resting place for a soldier was on the battlefield, but if there was a possibility, they probably wished that they would never have such a chance in this world.
War did not belong in this world, and it should not appear either.
As another wave of zombies stormed towards them, they held their blades tight, preparing to fight to their death.
But just then, a purple net of electricity suddenly blocked the zombies in front of them and following the loud sound of zapping, the zombies that had just been so aggressive were suddenly fried into ash.
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