Edited by Beth
Standing on the viaduct, Zhou Rong carried Si Nan with one arm, his other hand holding onto a pair of binoculars, and the corner of his lips was twitching slightly.
In one night, the highway towards the airport was now bustling with activity. As far as the eye could see, it was all zombies. The sea of zombies spread all the way to the commercial airport in the distance, and their numbers could be counted in the tens of thousands.
Unless they grew wings, there would be no possibility for them to make their way through this terrifying zombie horde, to steal another helicopter.
“We have to head south now.” Zhou Rong caressed Si Nan’s face. Very knightly, he sought his opinion. “Does Comrade xiao-Si have any objections?”
Si Nan still remained in his semi-conscious state, groggily wrapping his arms around Zhou Rong’s neck.
Zhou Rong said in satisfaction, “Very good, our plan of action has been agreed on unanimously… Rong-ge is very democratic.”
There were even more supplies than Zhou Rong had expected in the SUV, so much so that he was a little astonished. If they were to head south at a standard speed, the supply of food in this vehicle was enough to last them all the way until Nanhai, and even the picky Comrade xiao-Si would have no objection about it.
Zhou Rong folded down the backseat, forming a nest with the woollen blankets. Carefully, he placed Si Nan on top, and then undid his shirt to look at his injuries.
Si Nan was covered in tiny wounds and injuries, so many that it was nearly countless. On his abdomen and limbs were some soft tissue injuries, and it could not be seen if they were caused by torture or fighting. His wrists and elbows were in even worse states, where one could hardly bear to look at them. Zhou Rong recognised that they were marks and injuries formed by electric shocks, and momentarily, his anger rose to its very limits.
Why did they have to torture and abuse him?
What sort of people would carry electroshock devices in an apocalyptic world such as this?
Zhou Rong poured water onto a towel, warming it up with his own body heat, before wiping Si Nan’s body bit by bit. His actions were so gentle that it seemed as though he was touching a piece of velvet. In his semi-conscious state, Si Nan was very obliging. He was too exhausted, and even as the towel went past his throat, his heart, and other vulnerable parts of the body, he only symbolically shifted away from the touch a couple of times. After being tucked into Zhou Rong’s arms, he stopped his wordless complaints.
The sky gradually darkened, and in the dim interior of the vehicle, Si Nan’s pale skin was as smooth as ivory. Due to having a lack of hydration and electrolytes over the past two days, his already thin yet sharp figure had become even skinnier. Doing a general estimation, Zhou Rong felt that right now, his arm would be able to make one full circle around Si Nan’s waist, and his body could not help but slowly heat up.
“Little Classmate Si xiao-Nan…” Zhou Rong hummed softly, switching to a clean towel. He carefully wiped Si Nan’s face and hair clean, then kissed his brows in satisfaction. “Mn. Our Si xiao-Nan is a good student who loves cleanliness, isn’t he?”
Groggily, Si Nan said, “Mn.”
Zhou Rong, after all, was a strong, virile Alpha bursting with testosterones. If this was under normal circumstances, and if he had a little less training, waking up the next morning, even when against the bed board, he would think of rutting. Although ever since the explosion of the virus, he had been kept constantly on the run, once there was time to relax, he would definitely have wet dreams at night.
To make it worse, Comrade xiao-Si was extremely clingy. Despite his semi-conscious state, he refused to let go of his grip on Zhou Rong. During the few seconds when Zhou Rong was changing the towels, Si Nan would even grumble quietly in dissatisfaction, the murmurs and moans causing heat to rush up towards Zhou Rong’s head.
“Do you miss Rong-ge?”
“Is Rong-ge handsome?”
Zhou Rong kissed the corner of his lips repeatedly, as he could not be any more satisfied. He praised Si Nan, “Good boy, our Comrade xiao-Si is very handsome too… As long as he stops disappearing, he would be even more handsome.”
In the warm interior of the SUV, the sweet and fragrant scent of an Omega’s pheromones gradually wafted through the air, so stimulating that Zhou Rong hardened periodically, and he could not help but want to ravage and conquer. Taking a deep breath, he bit forcefully at an extremely soft and tender spot on the back of Si Nan’s neck, but he did not dare to actually break the skin. Then, he yanked up the blanket and braced himself, rolling Si Nan up within it, and felt that right now, he was so noble that he could replace Liu Xiahui1 as the paragon of virtue.
However, the sleepy Si Nan was not grateful towards Zhou Xiahui at all. When he was being wrapped up, he even struggled a little. With his eyes shut, he looked a little unhappy.
Zhou Rong stretched out, rummaging through the trunk. He wanted to find something easily digestible to feed Si Nan, and suddenly saw a backpack in the corner.
He did not turn the interior lights on, afraid that the light would attract zombies towards them. Holding the torch with his teeth, he opened the backpack, only to see two guns that had been disassembled, bullets, daggers, batteries, gloves and other items. There were also some identification documents, and there was no need to mention that the name and birthday on it were false.
Zhou Rong glanced at the caucasian face on the documents, and the vague sense of familiarity became more evident. With the torch, he carefully studied the photo.
He came to a sudden realisation, recognising where the sense of familiarity came from — he did see an extremely similar face in the past before.
The ex vice president of Country A!
Before he had been dispatched to 118, this person had once come on a diplomatic visit!
There were too many people on earth who looked alike. Together with the fading of memories over the years, Zhou Rong did not dare to decisively confirm his own judgement. However, in the light cast by the torch, he started recalling even more things, like that secret missive from Country A in the communications office of B Military Zone, how the person signing it had the same last name as the ex vice president of Country A.
Searching for a missing wanted man by the military, an Omega of mixed blood, to strictly avoid using any provoking methods to bring him back to his senses, so as to prevent causing unnecessary deaths…
In horror, Zhou Rong looked at Si Nan. The latter was currently curled up within his blankets. He seemed a little fretful in his sleep, his brows slightly furrowed.
Could there be something so coincidental in the world?
But if they were searching for Si Nan…
Over the oceans and thousands of miles, and dangers lurked everywhere in this apocalyptic world. What did Si Nan have that they would chase after despite having to risk their lives?
Zhou Rong found a few bags of high protein chocolate powder. It was a high-calorie food substitute used by the military in field missions. Mixing it with water into a gruel, he placed Si Nan’s head on his thigh, and carefully fed it to him spoonful by spoonful.
Si Nan was very resistant towards such paste-like food, and he had a hard time feeding it to him. Almost every mouthful had to be accompanied by all sorts of coaxing and lying before he would swallow it, and after a few spoons, Si Nan refused to eat anymore. With no other choice, Zhou Rong could only lift him up. Smacking his buttocks as a form of punishment, he then finished that sweet, chocolatey gruel himself.
There were various types of ship biscuits in the trunk as well. With the torch between his teeth, Zhou Rong rummaged through the supplies for a while, feeling deeply dissatisfied with how uncreative Country A’s military was with their food. Finally, he managed to dig out half a box of biscuits with dried meat floss, and it was as though he had found treasure.
“Very good, Comrade xiao-Si. In the future, this will be your personal snack box,” Zhou Rong murmured. He threw the jar of maple syrup, chocolates, milk powder and other similar items into the biscuit box, then took out a marker and scrawled, “Personal Property of Si Nan”, on the cardboard box.
Fortunately, Si Nan seemed much more accepting of the sticky, pasty texture of the maple syrup, and intermittently, he managed to finish half a bowl. From the individual rations, Zhou Rong took out the dehydrated cake. It was about the size of a dried beancurd, and he fed it all to Si Nan. Seeing how Si Nan’s lips had turned slightly red from eating, Zhou Rong was very satisfied.
“Do you like it?” Through the blankets, he held the roll of Si Nan in his arms, asking softly.
Si Nan seemed to have regained a shred of consciousness. He nodded almost imperceptibly, “Mn.”
“Are you from Country A?”
Zhou Rong thought about it. Weighing it over, he asked, “They… Those three people, why did they capture you?”
Si Nan’s brows creased. His subconscious seemed to be experiencing some form of painful memory, and he struggled a little.
“Why did they capture you? Did you bring something with you?”
Si Nan turned his head away aggressively, his struggling and twisting about becoming more evident. Zhou Rong could no longer hold him with just one arm, and he trapped him firmly with both hands on his own thigh. However, he saw how Si Nan became more and more anxious, how his chest started heaving quicker, and next, a weak but sharp exhalation could be heard. He was wheezing!
“It’s fine, it’s fine…” Seeing that Si Nan’s condition was not right, Zhou Rong immediately pulled him into his arms, patting his hair and back energetically. He repeated continuously, “Don’t be afraid, it’s Rong-ge’s fault. I won’t ask anymore… It’s fine, don’t be afraid…”
After some time, Si Nan’s struggles gradually ceased. Lying limply in the crook of Zhou Rong’s arms, he was still frowning deeply.
“Rong-ge is wrong, I won’t ask anymore, alright?”
Zhou Rong brushed his stubble across Si Nan’s icy face, to the point where Si Nan shifted away unhappily.
Exhaling, Zhou Rong dared not ask anymore questions related to this matter.
Still, that warm body was still clinging tightly to him. In the serene environment of the vehicle, even their heartbeats could be heard clearly. After a moment, a desire again scratched at Zhou Rong’s heart, and he could not help but cough. “Si xiao-Nan?”
Si Nan was still dozing away.
“Do you like Rong-ge?”
Before Zhou Rong’s heart could even start pounding violently, he was stunned by this clear, crisp, and unhesitant response. He sucked in a breath in delight, then with no good intentions, he asked, “Do you like Yan Hao?”
This was too much, he was taking advantage of others’ misfortunes. If Yan Hao was here, he would most likely rush over and beat him up.
This time, Si Nan hesitated for a few seconds. “… Mn.”
Zhou Rong, “?!”
“…” Thoughts churning in Zhou Rong’s head, he asked, “Do you like Chuncao?”
“… What about Guo Weixiang?”
“Then Ding Shi?!”
Zhou Rong wailed indignantly, “Stop giving so many ‘mns’! You have to be more specific!”
Si Nan made a few sounds of protest. It probably meant that he did not want to be specific.
Like a wolf that had its food snatched away from it while still eating, Zhou Rong sat there, scratching his ear. Abruptly, his forehead wrinkled, and an idea came upon him, and he changed his way of questioning. “Then, among all of us, is Rong-ge the one you like the most?”
Si Nan shifted about, even looking a little shy. Quietly, he said, “Mn.”
Flowers bloomed, and firecrackers burst.
Extremely satisfied, Zhou Rong felt that a golden path had appeared in front of him. He was about to reach the peak of holding a wedding, receiving the wedding gifts, exchanging wine with his partner, and entering the bridal chamber.
Tilting his head back, he chuckled out loud and pinched Si Nan’s thin face. “Very good, Rong-ge likes you too. Rong-ge likes you the most.”
He then pressed a kiss on the corner of Si Nan’s forehead. Stepping on the accelerator, he started driving, and in the darkness of the night, he headed towards the next town.
At the end of the twelfth lunar month, the weather was chilly, and the sources of water had frozen over.
Zhou Rong drove through the night, only daring to rest a little during the day. He carefully identified the traces of the zombie horde, trying his best to choose roads that were empty with steep terrains. Slowly and safely, they made their way to the south.
All the towns and villages along the way had transformed into ruins in the spanse of a night.
Far away from everything, the northern wind whistled through the air. From where they stood, the village in the distance was silent and empty, and the wild grass in the fields were all blown in one direction. Indistinctly, figures the size of ants could be seen slowly moving through the fields.
They were zombies.
One gloomy noon, Zhou Rong parked the SUV halfway up the mountain. After forming a barricade both in front and behind the vehicle, he locked its doors. Tucking the unconscious Si Nan comfortably on his thigh, he leant against the steering wheel, taking a nap.
Not too long later, he was alarmed into waking up by some tiny movements. Opening his eyes, he saw that Si Nan had actually woken up. He was still curled up in his lap, but was struggling non-stop, and he seemed very uncomfortable.
These days, Zhou Rong had become very used to kissing, hugging and nuzzling him. Casually, he pressed kisses to his eyelids. “What’s wrong?”
Si Nan immediately looked up at him, his eyelashes drawing a clear arc in the air. It could be seen clearly from his eyes how troubled he was, as though he was asking Zhou Rong why he was randomly kissing him.
“!!” Zhou Rong immediately came to a realisation, telling himself silently that this was no good.
However, he did not reveal the slightest bit of guilt, but frankly met Si Nan’s eyes. With the warmth and love of spring in his expression, he asked, “You’re awake? Do you feel any discomfort anywhere?”
“…” Si Nan was still very groggy. He shut his eyes, before opening them again the next moment. With an exhausted and hoarse voice, he said, “… It’s warm…”
Zhou Rong touched his palm, confirming that he was very warm, and thus pulled the blanket open a little. “What about now?”
Si Nan shifted up a little, resting his neck even more comfortably on Zhou Rong’s firm and muscular thigh. This time, he said, “Water.”
Zhou Rong, “…”
Captain Zhou was suffering greatly. Due to the slight change in their positions, right now, Si Nan’s face was almost right against his crotch, and the Alpha’s heated desire once again seethed and rushed up to his head.
“Comrade xiao-Si.” Zhou Rong fed him two mouthfuls of water. When he saw Si Nan turn his head away, refusing more, he then bent his head down, asking sincerely, “Can we have a solemn and serious talk about our current positions?”
Si Nan shut his eyes, his breaths soft but steady.
Comrade xiao-Si clearly did not wish to speak.
Again, Zhou Rong descended into a cycle he had been continuously experiencing over the past few days, the cycle of hardening — softening — hardening again — softening — hardening again. He sprawled back into his driver’s seat, feeling that the sensitivity of that area had increased by a few hundred times. Through his thick uniform pants, he could still feel the warm breaths of the Omega right against his organ.
Let me do this crime, he thought in despair.
Comrade xiao-Si likes me very much. Perhaps, after doing this crime, he might like me even more?
After the unexpected, short moment of awakening that afternoon, Si Nan’s occurrences of waking up gradually increased. The next day, when Zhou Rong fed him some dehydrated vegetables mixed with luncheon meat, he even hazily called out “Rong-ge”. On the third morning, as he was leaning against Zhou Rong’s shoulder, sleeping, he woke up suddenly as the vehicle jolted. Softly, like a newborn kitten, he asked, “… Where are we going?”
With a cigarette between his lips, Zhou Rong said mournfully, “We’re getting a room.”
With how profound Chinese was, Si Nan’s level of understanding clearly had yet to reach that level, and so he gave a puzzled “oh”.
Zhou Rong was actually telling the truth, that they were going to get a room. Before the night fell, he found a two-storey concrete house belonging to a team of forest rangers. The amenities were all available, but it had been a long time since anyone lived there. The corners were all filled with dust, and in the kitchen was half a tank of gas and some pots and pans.
Skilfully, he parked the SUV such that it blocked the entrance to others, becoming a firm and solid barricade. The car door was faced right towards the exit of the house, such that they could immediately flee if there were any surprises. Then, after spending half a day cleaning up, tidying the bed, and heating up some water, there was a pot of delicious smelling vegetable and meat porridge simmering on the stove.
“Si xiao-Nan?” Crouching by the bed, Zhou Rong pinched Si Nan’s cheeks that were flushed from sleeping. Gently, yet sternly, he lectured him, “Tonight, we’re ushering out the old and welcoming in the new. Be good, we both have to shower, or we can’t get rid of any bad luck.”
Si Nan’s steady and regulated breathing filled the air.
“If you still don’t wake up, Rong-ge will wash you instead.”
Zhou Rong waited for a moment, then mumbled to himself, “It seems like you really want Rong-ge to wash you… Alright then.”
He carefully peeled the blanket back, removing Si Nan’s jacket and shirt, before taking off his shoes. Then, preparing himself mentally, he repeatedly meditated on the Eight Virtues and Shames as well as the Twenty-Four Character Strategy of the republic. Only then did he remove Si Nan’s pants. Trying his best not to look at the naked body in his arms, he carried Si Nan into the bathroom, placing him in the bathtub filled with warm water.
Their journey had been full of hardships. To be able to have a warm bath right now, it was something that was so luxurious.
Just as Si Nan lay in the bathtub, he groaned in pleasure. In his semi-conscious state, he hugged Zhou Rong’s arm.
“Don’t move around like this, the water is spilling out…”
Sitting by the bathtub, Zhou Rong picked up the bar of soap, rubbing it disorderly against Si Nan’s body that was gleaming with water. To him, this was a very difficult task, not because of the values and virtues of the republic, but because Si Nan himself was very uncooperative. Half asleep, he seemed to have extreme interest in Zhou Rong’s hand, always struggling to hug it, and he ended up splashing water everywhere.
Zhou Rong’s upper half was drenched in water. It was very uncomfortable for his shirt to be plastered to his body like this, and he was somewhat frustrated.
“Comrade xiao-Si, please cooperate a little.” Zhou Rong tapped on the tip of his nose, speaking solemnly, “If you continue like this, I’m going to beat your backside.”
A vague snorting sound could be heard from Comrade xiao-Si, and his damp hair clung onto his long and slender neck.
Zhou Rong dared not look too closely, hurriedly turning his head away and muttering, “I’ll beat you later. Once you’ve put on some clothes, I’ll beat your backside.”
The Omega’s pheromones melded into the warm, humid air, causing Zhou Rong’s heart to beat very quickly for no reason. He held his breath, leaving the bathroom and gulped down some ice water. His blood, running heated through his body, finally calmed down a little.
He had to quickly finish this bath in one shot. Once he got through it, things would be fine.
Zhou Rong made his decision. He removed his soaking wet shirt, his upper body now bare and he was only left in a pair of trousers. Opening the door, he entered the bathroom, and froze immediately.
—During the few minutes that he stepped outside, Si Nan had woken up.
Sitting in the warm water, Si Nan was a little muddle-headed from having just woken up. He looked down at himself, then lifted his head and looked at Zhou Rong, who had his powerful and sinuous muscles exposed. Stunned, he was lost in his thoughts.