Chapter 15.2 – Nightmare
They went home, turned on the lights, and filled the house with brightness. Shi Yuan hung up his coat, Broken Copper had come over with two cups of warm water and placed them on the table, then returned to the stairway silently.
Lu Tinghan picked up the water cup and stood at the table, his cuffs rolled up, revealing the tight and smooth lines of his arms. He leaned against the table lazily, and only then did he ask, “Why are you in that place?”
“I was waiting for you,” Shi Yuan replied.
Lu Tinghan was silent for two seconds: “Do you know that the whole city is on alert?”
“I know,” Shi Yuan said. “But I didn’t want to go to the shelter.”
“Because I wanted to wait for you.”
Lu Tinghan: “……” He said, “Shi Yuan, come here.”
Shi Yuan was alert for a moment: “What are you going to do?”
Lu Tinghan said: “Touch your head.”
Shi Yuan cheerfully went over. Lu Tinghan flicked his forehead with a “snap”.
Shi Yuan covered his forehead in shock: “Ah, you lied to me! Why are you flicking me again?”
Lu Tinghan said: “Have you read the City Code?”
That thing was sent to Shi Yuan’s mobile phone on the first day he entered the city. It contained nearly a hundred pages, detailing the rules and regulations. Shi Yuan was busy studying the script, and he took the time to read two pages and fell asleep-not long ago, he couldn’t even recognize the “mobile phone”, and those rules and regulations were too abstract for him.
Shi Yuan said with a guilty conscience: “I’ve read a little.”
“City Code Article 1.33: ‘When a warning of Level III and above is received, residents shall obey the arrangement and return to their homes or go to a place of refuge until the warning is over’. Article 2.01: ‘During the curfew period, all residents are not allowed to go out unless necessary’,” Lu Tinghan said. “You have violated two rules. If the situation is serious, you may be detained.”
Shi Yuan asked, “Is my situation serious?”
Actually, Shi Yuan’s behavior was far from being “serious”. Even if he was caught by the patrol team, he would be reprimanded and fined at most. But Lu Tinghan felt the need to emphasize the importance of abiding by the law, and replied, “It’s a little serious.”
“Oh.” Shi Yuan thought for a while and decided to bribe the general. “I’ll let you touch my tail, don’t detain me.”
Lu Tinghan: “Don’t fool around, this is a very dangerous thing. Promise me that you will go where you should go next time. This is for your own good.”
“Okay,” Shi Yuan said. “I’ll remember.”
“Where will you go next time you hear the alarm?”
Lu Tinghan nodded, turned around and went upstairs, took two steps and turned back, and said, “Don’t keep waiting for me foolishly.”
“But you will always find me.” Shi Yuan was still very happy. “You are so amazing.”
Lu Tinghan raised his eyebrows.
Shi Yuan asked again: “Will you have nightmares tonight?”
Lu Tinghan: “No.”
“Well, then I wish you a good dream.”
Lu Tinghan said, “You too.” He went up the steps, the lights were not lit on the second floor, and his figure was hidden in the dim darkness.
The next day was still a morning when Shi Yuan couldn’t see Lu Tinghan.
On Sunday, he didn’t have to go to the theater to work, so Shi Yuan ate bread and fried eggs and started learning to use his phone again – as someone who started from scratch, his progress was so rapid that he can now play simple mini-games.
At noon, Broken Copper started cooking. Meat was very rare, but the general’s family won’t worry about it. Broken Copper sliced the pork into strips, cooked a pot of lean meat porridge with ginger and mushrooms, and brought it to the table.
“Thank you,” Shi Yuan said. “Do you want to eat?”
Broken Copper turned around silently and returned to Broken Iron’s side.
That pot of porridge was steaming, not thick or thin, and every grain of rice was soaked in the smell of meat. Shi Yuan turned on the mobile phone radio while eating, and chose a station casually.
A sweet female voice came out: […Many citizens are worried, is the peak of the infection period coming soon? How is the situation of the army? For this reason, all kinds of opinions have come out, Mr. Feng, what do you think?]
Male voice: [This peak period of infection is subject to the data. Before the officials make a decision, don’t worry too much. Just five years ago, there was also a big movement of birds in the summer. They migrated on a large scale, and nothing happened in the end.]
Shi Yuan picked up the bowl and took a big sip of porridge, his whole body was full of warm.
Female voice: [There is another question that everyone is very concerned about, that is, how is the current situation? How is our line of defense?]
The male voice was not in a hurry: [This is still subject to military notification. I still have the same opinion, there is no need to be nervous. As we all know, there are three outposts outside the city, the city is heavily guarded and the defense is as solid as gold. As they say, mosquitoes flying over can be shot off for you. As long as the outposts are still there, the city is safe.]
[And our early warning system, as I believe everyone knows, was founded by Professor Yu Qingmei. The Abyss Watchers use it to monitor the changes in the abyss and give timely warnings – just like the previous earthquake warning, even if it’s only 30 seconds ahead, the situation is very different. Not to mention that the abyss warning is not what it used to be, basically, it can be more than two minutes ahead of time.]
He laughed: [Besides, General Lu Tinghan came to the front of Gleaning City, defending against ordinary attacks by infected creatures is not a problem.]
The female voice became a little softer: [I have to mention here that the mother of General Lu is Professor Yu. As the so-called famous family, the family has a lot of great achievements, but it’s just a pity…]
They went on to discuss how the windows should be reinforced and what precautions to take when guarding against flocks of birds.
Shi Yuan felt bored, he switched to other radio stations. There were very few channels to listen to, only five or six. In the end, he just listened to the music – this sonata is a pre-apocalyptic work, performed by the “piano prodigy” and the “violin queen” on the same stage. Now, the two musicians have already returned to dust. Shi Yuan slept soundly in their magnificent music.
Today, Lu Tinghan went home before the curfew.
He went to the balcony on the second floor and stood against the railing, as if waiting for something.
Shi Yuan also followed and stayed by his side. The temperature difference between day and night here was big. Every morning, the sun would always shine brightly, and every night, the wind would always come blowing, as if to blow the cold into the bones.
Shi Yuan asked, “What are you doing?”
“Waiting for the bell,” Lu Tinghan said. He glanced at Shi Yuan’s thin home clothes, took off his coat, and put it on Shi Yuan’s shoulders.
The size of his clothes was not suitable for Shi Yuan, and this thick long windbreaker was even more so, which severely drowned Shi Yuan into a ball. Lu Tinghan’s expression remained unchanged, he stretched out his hand again, pulled up the hood of his windbreaker, and covered Shi Yuan’s head – half of Shi Yuan’s face was directly covered and he couldn’t see anything.
Shi Yuan: “Ah.”
He pulled at it for a while before successfully putting the hood away. “I never wear a hood.”
“Why?” Lu Tinghan asked.
“Look,” Shi Yuan said. “I made two holes in your hood.”
Lu Tinghan took a closer look, and sure enough, there were two more holes in his hood, which were pierced by Shi Yuan’s devil horns.
Lu Tinghan: “……”
Shi Yuan asked, “How much is this jacket, ah? How much should I pay you?”
Lu Tinghan put the hood back on him again: “It’s very expensive, you can’t afford it even if I sell it to you.”
It took Shi Yuan a while to put away the hood that was hooked with the devil’s horn. This time, he finally realized that Lu Tinghan had done it on purpose. Before Lu Tinghan could do it again, he turned his head and hugged him tightly, and buried himself in his arms.
Lu Tinghan couldn’t put on his hood now.
He let Shi Yuan hug him, the two of them were so close that even the cold wind couldn’t get in between them. Soon, the time for curfew arrived, and unlike usual, in addition to the sound of the siren, loud bells sounded in the distance.
It rang three times in total, echoing above the city, and it didn’t dissipate for a long time.
Shi Yuan turned his head in Lu Tinghan’s arms and looked at the city: “Why do they ring the bell?”
“Death knell,” Lu Tinghan replied. “Three soldiers died yesterday.”
“So that’s it,” Shi Yuan said.
The wind continued to howl, while they stood silently for a while. Lu Tinghan rubbed Shi Yuan’s head: “Go to sleep.”
Shi Yuan asked again: “Will you have nightmares today?”
Lu Tinghan said, “Why do you always think about this question?”
Shi Yuan had to ask this question every night.
Shi Yuan: “Because nightmares are really scary and I really want to sleep with you, it’s so cold tonight, it’s much warmer to sleep close together.”
“You know I won’t agree,” Lu Tinghan said.
Shi Yuan’s eyes widened: “Is it really impossible?”
Lu Tinghan replied: “Yes. Shi Yuan, this is the social distance that should be maintained, ordinary people generally do not sleep together.”
Shi Yuan really wanted to say, it’s okay, because you are not ordinary, and I am not a human being. Both of us are not like “ordinary people”. But he didn’t dare to say anything, so he could only reluctantly leave Lu Tinghan and go back to his room by himself.
Lu Tinghan stayed in the balcony for a long time.
At curfew, electricity and hot water would be cut off. Only the emergency lights on the streets and the searchlights on the city walls would be left in the entire city, and the doors and windows would be locked tightly, resembling a silent man.
A private message popped up on the phone.
Mr. Su: [Can we talk later?]
Lu Tinghan replied: [Yes.]
He turned around and went back inside.
Only a corridor light on the second floor of the house was on – it was not bright either, the surroundings were hazy and dim, and the bedroom at the end of the corridor was even darker. It was like walking step by step into the infinite darkness every time he walked here.
But what was different this time was that the darkness had an end.…
And it was a knotted tail.
Since Lu Tinghan met Shi Yuan, the number of doubts had exceeded the sum of the past.
He slowed his pace: “Shi Yuan? Why haven’t you slept yet?”
The knotted tail swayed slightly, Shi Yuan turned his head when he heard the sound in the dark, took two steps forward, and stood in the light. His black hair was a little messy and he was barefoot, as if he had just gotten out of bed.
Lu Tinghan said, “How can you tie your tail into a knot when you sleep? Come here, I’ll help you untie it.”
Shi Yuan didn’t say a word.
Lu Tinghan asked, “What’s the matter?”
Shi Yuan said, “I did a bad thing. I just returned to the room without turning on the light and tripped over the hanger.”
“What’s bad with that? It’s good that you didn’t get hurt,” Lu Tinghan said.
“I fell forward,” Shi Yuan explained. “All the clothes you hung up were scratched by my horns.” He emphasized. “It’s all broken.”
Lu Tinghan: “……”
He looked downstairs and vaguely saw bits of cotton wool and rags on the floor, inexplicably having the illusion that the house had been demolished by his pets.
Shi Yuan said: “I originally wanted to find you, but I thought you were asleep, so I went to bed. Then I had a nightmare, dreaming that you sold me for 300 Alliance coins.”
“How is that possible?” Lu Tinghan asked. “Why only 300? My eloquence is not that bad.”
Shi Yuan’s eyes widened: “Why do you only care about this?”
Lu Tinghan immediately changed the subject: “And then?”
Shi Yuan’s attention was really drawn away, and then said: “Then I dreamed that many people, a sea of people, were looking at me. I woke up in fright and then my tail was tied in a knot.”
“I’ll help you,” Lu Tinghan said.
Shi Yuan didn’t answer, he raised his head to look at him, his eyes were extremely black.
Most of the time, his eyes were jet black and bright, his eyes were like paint, lustrous, beautiful, and pleasing, just like Shi Yuan himself. But when Lu Tinghan saw it for the first time, he remembered the abyss. Everything would eventually sink into it, annihilate, disappear, and turn into nothingness, it should not reflect anyone’s figure.
At first glance, Shi Yuan’s eyes were full of him. They knew each other from many years before.
Shi Yuan whispered: “The nightmare is really scary. Lu Tinghan, can I sleep with you tonight?”