“Don’t die…” Si Nan choked on the blood welling up in his throat, feeling at a loss. “Don’t die, please, don’t die…”
Yan Hao’s body bowed up, his face grimacing. The blood vessels on his exposed arms and necks bulged, as though green earthworms were writhing around him. He looked extremely horrifying, and Si Nan lifted up his body and placed him on his own thigh. Pressing the blood soaked jacket tightly to his wound, he used this elevation method and hopelessly tried to make a miracle happen.
Yan Hao spasmed for the last time, his chest heaving fiercely. In that moment, Si Nan’s hoarse cry turned sharp. “Yan Hao! Hold on! Look at me, Yan Hao!”
There were a few seconds when Si Nan felt like he had received a very hard slap. A buzz sounded in his ears, and he could not hear anything.
He could only watch as Yan Hao’s moans abruptly seized as though he was being strangled. Yan Hao’s body suddenly collapsed, his bulging veins subsided, and all his convulsions and death throes all vanished.
Silence descended upon them.
The world turned into nothingness, bringing away with it all the light and hope, drifting into the dark.
“…” Si Nan felt as though he was sinking down to an ice-cold seabed, falling backwards in despair.
The centrifuge had long been broken and damaged as they were fighting the zombie. With the weight of his body, it fell apart.
Yan Hao’s body suddenly jerked, and an earth-shaking spasm exploded from him. Cough cough cough—!!
It was as though a shot of adrenaline had been injected straight into Si Nan’s heart. He sprung up and grabbed Yan Hao’s shoulders. “Yan Hao! Yan Hao! Wake up, hold on! Hold on!!”
The jacket fell onto the ground. The gaping wound on Yan Hao’s neck rapidly coagulated, turning into a dark red scab. His chest heaved violently, and in the midst of his struggles, his eyes opened slightly. With a lot of effort, he moved his lips.
In a couple of moves Si Nan removed all possible items of clothing he could on his body, leaving him in only a thin black singlet. He threw the rest of his clothes all at once over Yan Hao to keep him warm. Pressing his fingers against Yan Hao’s faint pulse, he felt that a miracle was slowly happening. That faint pulse that had almost faded away was now thrumming vigorously again!
“…” Yan Hao made a sound.
Si Nan pressed his ear right to his lips, focusing all his attention before he heard a word. “Jie…”
Zhang Yingjie had died.
Si Nan’s heart sank. It was as though a bucket of cold water had been thrown over his churning emotions.
“… It’s fine,” Si Nan said hoarsely, averting his eyes. “You’re all fine… D-don’t worry.”
Yan Hao’s smile could barely be detected. His dried and cracked lips were unable to even quirk up, and he fainted away.
Si Nan was exhausted, but Yan Hao was still in a critical condition. He did not dare to allow himself to faint as well, and so he could only bite his tongue to keep awake.
The temperature in the underground lab was very low. During the violent struggle just now, the cold could not be felt. Now that he was sitting down, together with a large loss of blood, the chill soon crept up his limbs and travelled through his body. Si Nan rubbed at his arms, his teeth chattering non-stop. Shuddering, he surveyed his surroundings, considering possible solutions for getting out of this place. However, after looking around the entire circular space a few times, there seemed to be no answer.
Did that mean they really could only sit there and wait for their team to rescue them?
But where was Zhou Rong?
“Zhou Rong…” Si Nan tried his luck and shouted. “Zhou Rong!”
He looked up to the ceiling, his voice increasing in volume. “Zhou Rong!”
“Chuncao! Ding Shi! Guo Weixiang!”
Si Nan was both furious and hopeless. “Rong-ge!!”
Far away from the top of the pit, he could hear the sound of gunfire!
Si Nan di not expect that calling for “Rong-ge” would actually work, and he was stunned. He heard the loud rattling sounds of the machine gun, and next, a heavy object landed on the ground with a crash!
Zhou Rong yelled, “Si Nan!”
Zhou Rong sprinted over madly. From the edge of the pit, he stretched half his body out. When he saw the situation inside, he almost collapsed. Huffing for breath, he spoke, “A gorilla appeared in a corridor. We wanted to make a detour, and when you shouted we…”
“Yingjie is gone,” Si Nan said hoarsely.
Zhou Rong froze. Chuncao, Dingshi and Guo Weixiang all stuck their heads out, stunned.
Si Nan was unable to describe what he was feeling. He had still able to composedly consider an escape route just now, but upon seeing Zhou Rong’s head appear over the edge, hearing his torn and hoarse voice, he suddenly could not control his emotions, and hot tears flowed down his cheeks.
Brokenly, he told that what had happened. Trying his best to summarise it concisely, he still choked several times during the short narration. Zhou Rong’s gaze fell onto Zhang Yingjie’s body not too far away. He closed his eyes, and spoke in a low voice after some time. “We’ve downloaded all the information related to the virus. The red fluid you discovered should be the antibodies. They’re unstable, and their effects vary from person to person…”
“Now, Si Nan,” Zhou Rong opened his eyes, giving him directions clearly. “Search for any remaining antibodies, bundle them onto Yan Hao’s body, and try your best to carefully pass it up.”
Si Nan was already completely worn out. He had to try a few times before he managed to stand up.
The chiller section on the equipment table meant to store the antibodies had already been smashed by him. Out of the four tubes left, he had already used two. Fortunately, the two remaining metal tubes still felt cold to the touch, and the tubes seemed like they were designed to keep cold.
Si Nan used his blood soaked shirt and wrapped the two extremely priceless tubes up in it. Thinking about it, he changed to using Zhang Yingjie’s jacket, then attached the bundle firmly onto Yan Hao’s body. He tried his best to lift Yan Hao up and placed him on the makeshift stretcher that Zhou Rong and the rest had used clothes to make.
“We need to quickly leave this place. Yan Hao’s team had managed to get an armoured vehicle from the armoury. It’s now parked at the north exit all the way above…”
Ding Shi and Guo Weixiang worked together to pull the stretcher up. Zhou Rong detected Yan Hao’s undeniable Alpha pheromones from his blood, and his words came to a halt.
— But his expression still remained very calm.
Zhou Rong retrieved a stimulant shot meant for military use from his bag and jabbed it into Yan Hao. Turning back to the pit, he called out to Si Nan. “We’ll need about two hours to reach the top. Everyone is nearly at the brink of collapse, and we need to move fast.”
Zhou Rong personally took the rope, tossing one end down the pit. He gestured at Si Nan to come up.
However, Si Nan’s hands remained on his knees. He did not speak for a long time, and suddenly headed towards another direction.
— He wanted to bring Zhang Yingjie’s body with him.
Zhou Rong wanted to say something, but swallowed it back.
No one in the team spoke. The silence thickened, turning the atmosphere acrid, blocking everyone’s throats.
Si Nan’s footsteps suddenly stopped. In the shadows in front, Zhang Yingjie seemed to have moved.
For an instant, Si Nan even thought that there were problems with his vision, and he had seen wrongly. However, a grating sound could then be heard, and Zhang Yingjie leapt backwards in a very strange position.
It was that zombie!
It still had yet to fully die, and wanted to drag Zhang Yingjie’s corpse away!
Zhou Rong, “Don’t follow!”
Si Nan, “Stop!!”
Zhou Rong was stunned by Si Nan’s wild roar. He then saw Si Nan fly into a rage, shooting straight at the zombie!
This zombie even knew to avoid people. Dragging Zhang Yingjie along, it started running. Despite being unarmed, Si Nan chased after it. He really had no disregard for his life, and flew across the toppled instruments and shattered glass with no hesitation. A large equipment blocked his way, and gritting his teeth, Si Nan slammed into it, knocking it over and creating an extremely loud noise.
“Give me the gun!” Zhou Rong snatched the Type-89 gun from Guo Weixiang’s arms, aiming aiming at the target.
However, under the dim lighting, as well as the zombie’s speed, Zhou Rong was unable to lock on to the target. As he was feeling anxious, he saw the zombie escape into a corner of the testing site. Somehow, the zombie suddenly hunched over and vanished with Zhang Yingjie’s body.
Si Nan ran over to take a look. The zombie had entered a waterway!
Chewing could be heard coming from below. Blood lust took over Si Nan. “I’ll die here with you today!!” Then, he leapt down!
Zhou Rong swore loudly, throwing the Type-89 gun back at Guo Weixiang. “Don’t follow us!”
Zhou Rong grabbed his knife, holding it in a backhand grip. From his thigh holster, he pulled the Type-64 gun out, jumping into the pit like a bird of prey!
Probably due to the amount of drainage required, the drains below the testing ground led in every direction. Si Nan landed in the knee-high waters, staggering. Not too far from him, he saw a shadow flash past and immediately stumbled after it.
His speed could not be considered to be slow, and in his rage, he was even quite agile. However, the drain was very dark. Every turn led to four or five different passages, and after a while, he could no longer see where the zombie was.
Si Nan surveyed his surroundings. He heard a splash behind him. Turning around, a figure could be seen, it was Zhou Rong!
Zhou Rong called out, “Don’t come over, be careful!”
Before the echoes even faded away, the groans of the zombie could be heard right in front of him!
Zhou Rong squinted in the dark, his eyes sharp and cold. The many shots and explosions had caused the zombie’s face to be completely destroyed, and its brain had even been blasted away. However, for some reason, it could still move. Seeing Zhou Rong, it tossed Zhang Yingjie away. With a strange sounding roar, it moved towards him!
Leaping up, Zhou Rong grabbed hold of a beam on top of the drain. A beautifully executed pull-up, and the zombie ran past below him.
Water splashed about. Zhou Rong let go, landing back on the ground. A knife in his hand, his calculations were perfect, and he accurately stabbed the zombie who had turned back to try taking a bite out of him!
The zombie screamed and reeled back before lunging forward again. The narrow, constrained space was filled with sprays of water and the zombie’s sharp claws. In such harsh visual conditions, Zhou Rong’s night vision goggles were no longer effective. However, he was able to press on and retreat as needed, handling the situation skilfully. Just by listening, he could judge the location of the zombie. Suddenly, using his left foot as a pivot point, he spun. His back was plastered to the zombie’s chest, and he threw his elbow heavily into its stomach!
His speed was even faster than lightning. The zombie was thrown back, and crashed into the water.
Zhou Rong moved so quickly it seemed as though he disappeared and reappeared instantly right in front of the zombie. The zombie stretched its neck out to bite him. Expressionless, Zhou Rong deftly slammed his knife between the sharp teeth of the monster.
A corner of the military-issued tungsten steel knife broke off, and the blade was stuck right into the zombie’s mouth!
Zhou Rong planted a foot onto the zombie’s chest. The mud and blood stained military boot felt as though it weighed a thousand pounds, shoving the zombie back into the water. Next, he raised his gun. Aiming at its throat, he pressed the trigger.
Every bullet hit at the exact same spot. Six shots went through, the zombie’s neck severed, and its head was smashed a few metres away.
Zhou Rong tossed the empty gun away. Violently, he tore away the stainless pipe from above his head, and hurled it fiercely down to the ground!
The pipe pierced through the zombie’s chest, and was pinned right to the floor!
The ground trembled non-stop, and the ripples dispersed out. The muffled thunderous noise lingered.
Zhou Rong exhaled a long breath. He stepped back, no longer looking at the zombie, and turned away, walking towards the main waterway.
Right at this moment, he saw someone flash past, stumbling as they ran into the distance. From behind, Zhou Rong shouted, “Si Nan!”
Zhou Rong sprinted after him, but who would have guessed that Si Nan would turn a deaf ear to him. Turning around a corner, he disappeared. The rapid chase through the drains did not last very long, and Zhou Rong soon discovered the weary figure just ten metres away. “Si Nan! Wait!”
The clanging of metal could be heard. Si Nan ran past a metal door.
Zhou Rong immediately stopped. “Don’t close the door, I won’t go over!”
Holding the door, Si Nan seemed to be hesitating a little.
From his posture, it was very evident that he had gone through some form of training before. Even in such a wretched situation, his back was still firmly upright. From his raised chin to his long and slender neck, his defined collarbones, his tense shoulders, the exposed parts of his skin glowed slightly in the dark.
Zhou Rong stared at him closely.
Observing him carefully, the muscles of Zhou Rong’s back and legs were contracted tightly. He seemed like a cheetah ready to pounce on its prey at any moment.
However, when he opened his mouth, his voice was strangely gentle, and even a little placating. “Don’t be afraid. I won’t harm you, nor will I touch you.”
Zhou Rong raised his hands up, his palms facing outwards, exposing his blood-stained body — his Alpha pheromones aggressively filled the area, and his masculine scent was overbearing. If a comparison had to be made, Yan Hao’s pheromones could be described as being gentle.
“The base is about to be blasted with a nuclear bomb,” Zhou Rong spoke slowly. “You have to withdraw with us.”
Si Nan still remained motionless, as though he did not hear anything. Zhou Rong could not see his expression clearly.
Actually, Zhou Rong could guess what he was thinking.
In this world with the current disparity in the ratio of Alphas and Omegas, for people who looked like Si Nan, even though they were Betas, they would have definitely experienced various sorts unhappy pasts with regards to these pheromones. After the apocalypse, humanity now followed the law of the jungle. All rules and regulations had been eroded. For Si Nan, being surrounded by a group of dominant, masculine Alphas, he might feel that it was even more dangerous than being surrounded by zombies.
But Zhou Rong did not give up.
“Come here.” His eyes were fixed on Si Nan. Using a comforting, gentle, yet commanding tone, he emphasised every word. “We’re withdrawing, come with me.”