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“Generally those infected would die within 24 hours, are you sure that mark wasn't left by a too-enthusiastic bed partner last night?”
Si Nan who was sitting behind the door with his arms on his knees shook his head.
Before Zhou Rong had the chance to say anymore, the doctor had put down the thermometer and said: “Your man have a fever, Captain Zhou. 37.9 degrees, one of the initial symptoms of infection, he should be isolated immediately."
The people around them paled. Soon after, someone from the back started talking and ignited a spark of fear in everyone:
“He is infected…”
“He will become a monster?”
“Go out, stay away!”
“Get him out!” Cried a man courageously, "There are many civilians here, what if he bites people?"
Following his echoed sound, Yan Hao shouted in anger: "He is not infected! Otherwise, he should have changed immediately while we were on the road! There are zombies out there, do you still want to let him go?"
Someone whispered: “Maybe when they soldiers are not looking…”
Zhou Rong squatted in front of Si Nan's body and suddenly stretched out his hand to c.o.c.k up the young man's chin forcibly.
Si Nan's skin was very different from the usual pale white color commonly found among Asian people. His lips were chapped and he looked a bit tired. He somehow gave off a delicate feeling as he hung down his head, forming a sharp contrast with Zhou Rong's powerful-looking hands curently holding onto his chin.
Zhou Rong looked at him coldly for a moment, then suddenly he got up and said, “Put him in the warehouse office and keep an eye on him.”
The doctor disapproved: “Captain Zhou…”
Zhou Rong said: “He is my people, I will take responsibility.”
The warehouse office was a small 5 square meters sized single room separated by plywood. Before the virus outbreak, it was the place used by the staffs on duty to rotate their shifts. The thin, hollow, wooden doors contained old-fashioned spring locks and iron bolts.
Si Nan leaned with his back against the wall, sitting in a corner with his hands resting upon his bent knees. After a while, Zhou Rong pushed the door and closed it behind him, blocking Yan Hao and Chun Cao from entering.
Si Nan raised his eyes, and was greeted by the sight of a loaf of bread in front of him.
“I took it from the storeroom, eat it.”
Si Nan looked at it for a few seconds before glancing away.
“Why, you have been shut here for half a day, don't you feel hungry?” Zhou Rong hummed and continued: "You know, the thing I’m worst at in my life is protecting those more delicate than me, and the thing i’m most expert in is destroying pretty things. Once, there was this beautiful woman spy who joined us in training and started seducing my members one after another. Afterwards, the team leader Yan Hao took the lead in refusing to obey my command to take care of it, and I beat him within an inch of his life three times a day as disciplinary measures. So eat this… don't think I won't be hard-handed with you. "
The two men looked at each other. After a moment, Si Nan told him the truth:
"…The supply is limited, don’t waste it."
Zhou Rong's face exposed an undisguised mockery as he casually threw the bread into Si Nan's bosom and said: “Young lady, you are so sentimental like an Omega.”
Si Nan: “…………"
Zhou Rong then patted his hands and turned away.
It was late, and soon the sound of people walking around and distributing food could be heard from outside the door.
Si Nan thought for a long time before he finally ate the bread. Eating had soothed his nerves a bit, he leaned against the corner of the wall and unknowingly fell asleep not long after. His consciousness drifted between soberness and haziness, it felt like he was pa.s.sing through thousands of miles of damp, cold wind while watching as the land below him was overturned by flames of war.
After that, he seemed to have returned to the time when he was still young. The manor's heavy door was slowly opened in front of him. The crystal chandeliers hanging above were bright, and the hand-woven carpet laying up the marble spiral staircase was thick and complex-patterned. A boy wearing a black formal attire was hugging at his arm as he leaned on the handrail of the second-to-last staircase. He looked at him for a long while before saying meanly: “You are ugly.”
He felt the boy's nails piercing deep into his skin. He wanted to move back and leave, but as it was only a dream, he could not even turn around.
The boy jumped down the stairs and took a few steps until he was right in front of his face. Then, the boy suddenly reached out and grabbed his hair, forcing their eyes to meet:
“I’ll be your brother from now on, okay?”
Si Nan's chest began to heave, it felt like acid hot air was flowing and cutting into his trachea repeatedly. He tried to punch his a.s.sailant, but he was merely a young child, he couldn't hit the boy even if he reached out. The only thing he could do was glare at that arrogant face and those full-of-derision blue eyes.
I’m going to punch you… He thought.
One day, I will crush you under my feet.
Then the scene changed, the memory pa.s.sed like a movie. The boy's hateful face gradually matured, and his expression turned into one of surprise and astonishment as he was thrown backwards with a punch.
A loud voice sounded. He picked up the man's collar, looking at the blood flowing constantly from his mouth; that pair of blue eyes which had been staring at him for so many years had now turned dark gray as stormy cloud….
"…… You’ve been trying to beat me for a long time, haven’t you?……"
But he did not answer. Instead, he replaced his hold with a right uppercut, the move heavy and neat. The pleasant sound of broken nose was something he would remember for a very, very long time.
When the night fell, Si Nan had a fever.
He thought his body must be really hot, it felt as if he was drifting in a warm and empty deep sea. The sound of footsteps came and went, along with some quarrel and clamor. A voice he couldn't figure out belonging to whom said sharply: “You must send him away, he may mutate at any time!”
“For the sake of a soldier’s life, you are willing to put us all at risk?"
“What to do, he’s infected, we’re all screwed…”
He could heard pushing and beating sound coming from somewhere, but he couldn't tell how far it was as his mind still felt hazy like he was underwater. After some time, a footstep was suddenly heard stopping at his side, and then he felt someone squatted down and put a thick clothes over his body.
Si Nan struggled in discomfort, but the man wrapped him tightly to his neck.
“It's normal to get sick. He is tired, that's humane. A beta's physique is not that fit, I'm afraid his temperature will not go down so easily. He should be supported constantly."
The man stood up and whispered: “Give me the car keys. "
When he woke up, Si Nan felt someone stuffed something into his mouth. He opened his eyes a little, but it was dark around him. A few seconds later, he barely noticed the slightest light coming from the door.
“Drink some water,” Zhou Rong said, bringing the military kettle and helping him to take a sip.
Si Nan swallowed the water, feeling a mouthful of bitterness. Apparently the thing that was stuffed into his mouth before was a pill: “…You… “
“Fever medicine. "
……Which fever medicine?
Zhou Rong took off his coat and flung it casually to the ground. Then he sat down in the same corner as him without hesitation, and whispered in reprimand: “I don't know whether you are stupid or stupid, you went to the pharmacy to find food, but why didn't you take some medicine as well? I have to drive back and forth for about 20 kilometers to get fever medicine, and almost become a night snack for those zombies outside. If it wasn't for the sake of your well being…"
Si Nan m.u.f.fled his mouth and coughed, then said hoa.r.s.ely: “I also saved you that day, so no thanks.”
Zhou Rong did not say anything.
Having regained some spirit, Si Nan was about to talk more when he suddenly smelled a strong b.l.o.o.d.y smell from their feet's direction—It came from the jacket Zhou Rong had thrown just now.
He stretched out his hand to touch it; the cloth was sticky and damp.
In the darkness where they could even hear the sound of each other's breathing, Si Nan suddenly whispered: “…thank you. "
Zhou Rong said: “No thanks.”
Zhou Rong took out his lighter and lit a cigarette, smoking while leaning against the wall. Among the relaxed and comfortable white mist, he smiled and asked: “Did you have a dream? I heard you whispering, it sounds like you were cursing. "
“Homesick?” Zhou Rong casually asked.
Si Nan shook his head.
“What did you work as before, a personal bodyguard? Or a policeman?”
Si Nan shook his head again, but did not reply.
“Don’t be so nervous, just relax and chat. If what you have is not a fever but a real infection, you will die later, gege is the last person you can entrust with your will." Zhou Rong squeezed his shoulder and asked teasingly: “Married? Any spouse?"
“Very good, Gege also haven't, the whole team members are bachelor.”
Si Nan glanced at him, in his heart he thought silently, that is because they are following your lead.
Zhou Rong suddenly released a long sigh and said in voice full of longing: “B Military District's refuge can accommodate tens of thousands of people, and their water and food supply are also self-sufficient, completely isolated from the outside world. After the virus outbreak has pa.s.sed, the country will certainly arrange for you to settle down in B city, get you a blind date, and push you to marry. Then they will try to encourage childbirth as a way to replenish the population loss during the disaster."
“And the majority of those rescued by B Military are omegas, most of them in the fertile period, who were sent to the army to protect.” Zhou Rong subconsciously licked his lips and smiled: “Tut, seriously, who came up with this policy, their brain is really smart.”
Si Nan's voice was a little tense as he asked: “Why?” "
“Each time disaster strikes, Alphas are the main force in the disaster relief. Every large refuge places will have a number of alphas, and there will always be more compet.i.tion for resources, weapons, and territory happening there. However, Alphas will certainly take initiative to gather those resources for Omegas, so the upper level can use omegas as strategic for resources allocation. Don’t you understand this simple truth?"
Zhou Rong took a deep breath of smoke, the red fiery stick held between his index and middle fingers. Si Nan stayed silent for a long while until he was suddenly poked under the waist by the other man: “What are you thinking about so seriously?”
Si Nan asked casually: “Do you also want to go to B District to lead those strategic resources home?”
Zhou Rong immediately rebuffed him: “No!”
Si Nan thought he would say “because I have Yan Hao", but before he could inquire about the love between these two betas, he heard Zhou Rong continued loudly: “I hate omegas!"
Si Nan asked: "Why, Rong Ge?"
Zhou Rong turned and changed his posture, his eyes staring at Si Nan as he said earnestly: “Gege will give you a life advice, first: If you want to look for a significant other in the future, don’t find an Omega.”
“Try to find a beta.”
The two of them looked at each other for a long time until the corner of Si Nan's mouth started twitching slightly. He said: “I intended to do so.”
Zhou Rong patted him on the shoulder.
Si Nan then asked: “But … Why? "
He thought Zhou Rong would use Yan Hao as an example of what dating a beta could bring in life, but Zhou Rong once again shattered his unrealistic fantasies about human nature. Zhou Rong seriously answered: “Because Omegas have moral problems in their character.”
In the dark, the two men stared at each other. Zhou Rong kept one of his hands on Si Nan's shoulder, their noses were only about ten centimeters apart.
After a while, Si Nan finally carefully squeezed himself more into the corner, then asked cautiously and politely: “Rong Ge, have your feelings been hurt before?”
'Hurt feelings', these two words were obviously very fresh for Zhou Rong. He thoughtfully rubbed his chin and pondered about it, before finally shaking his head a moment later: “To some extent, it is true that my feelings were deceived, but it can't be it- that actually happened many years ago. Have you ever heard of the international Special Forces Jungle Race? "
Si Nan shook his head.
Zhou Rong said: “When I was 18 years old I partic.i.p.ated in it to represent the country. I was originally leading in points, until the hostages' rescue mission. I met a hostage who claimed to be Chinese… he was a 15 years old Omega child."
Still unedited, I’ll replace this with the edited version once my newly-found editor is done with it.
There will be daily updates for Undead until weekend to make up for last week’s quota. Yay! 0/
And, before I forget, meet Si Nan!!