Chapter 16.3 – Sleeping Together and Invitation
On the living room table was a “General Military History of the Alliance”, which Lu Tinghan was reading before, bookmarked and clipped to page 147.
After the curfew sounded, Shi Yuan took the book into his room, wanting to read it before going to bed and learn why his human was smarter than him.
But before the book’s foreword was finished, Shi Yuan fell asleep in a daze.
Meanwhile, the west outpost of Gleaning City.
The cold wind howled, the sky curtain was falling, and thick clouds like splashed inks pressed against the black steel building – the outpost was brightly lit.
If the weather was clear and there were few suspended particles in the air, the outpost’s high-powered searchlights would have illuminated a range of about 5 kilometers. Now that the searchlights were running at full power, the light was dazzling, piercing through the ink clouds falling from the sky and also illuminating the pits and insect corpses all over the ground. The outpost had once again withstood the monster attack.
The characteristic of Abyss No.7 was “giant growth”, and the insects infected by it were a thousand times bigger than normal.
The centipede with fangs and claws was seven or eight meters long and stuck to the power grid. Each worker ant was adult-sized and was blown to bits by anti-infantry ground mines. The butterfly was shot in the head by a large-caliber sniper gun, its wings became sooty and gray, and its colorful scaly powder floated in the air, red, orange, yellow, and green, and if you inhale it, you will fall into an endless hallucination.
The air was very unpleasant, full of rancid, musty, and burnt smells. Soldiers walked by in formation, checking the bodies, leaving no monster alive, and gunshots rang out from time to time in the wasteland.
In the outpost, Bing Siyun unlocked the combination lock and a door immediately opened.
He said cautiously, “General, this is the queen ant.”
In front of Lu Tinghan, a mass of dark red rotten meat was placed in a container, which was two people tall.
At the top of the rotten meat was an ant.
It was the size of a small thumb and the massive mass of flesh was its tail. When the infected insects attacked the outpost, it hid not far underground, guarded by nearly 10 monsters, releasing sweet and greasy pheromones, and was finally pulled out and killed by the soldiers.
After its death, the rest of the monsters retreated. The soldiers took its body back to the outpost and put it into the purification container.
Lu Tinghan stood in front of the container and watched the queen ant with unblinking eyes.
Bing Siyun waited for his conclusion.
He knew very well that Lu Tinghan was different from other commanders: on the one hand, he had been a Watcher, and in the depths of his thinking, the abyss might have planted explosive bombs; on the other hand, the most special thing about him was that…
He seemed to know what those monsters were thinking.
Unlike wars between humans, monsters do not act logically, and there are many types of infections and rapid distortions. There is no way to play games and analyze each other’s psychology like in conventional wars.
What about other commanders? Even if the battlefield is changing rapidly, they can react quickly and find the best option. They defend from the back and choose a strategy. The difficulty is that they have to take one step at a time, and they are generally reactive.
Lu Tinghan was different.
He was the only one who can predict the monster’s actions.
Back in the military school, his ability was first revealed and shocked all the instructors. The Alliance took it very seriously, spending manpower and resources to focus on training in this area – of course, this talent is unique, they have not been able to train a second Lu Tinghan.
After becoming an Abyss Watcher, Lu Tinghan made rapid progress, as if he could guess the thoughts of monsters – if they really had any. He did not visit the battlefield in person, but he used his military terminal to participate in command, winning many battles and reputation.
This had also been attacked, with opponents arguing that it was another proof that his mind had been influenced by the abyss.
Seeing him staring intently at the queen ant, Bing Siyun remembered the many rumors about him, and felt nervous and curious.
Lu Tinghan had no expression, as if he was in a deep thought. Five minutes, or maybe seven or eight minutes later, he reached out and pressed the red button next to the container.
Bing Siyun was taken aback.
The purifying liquid in the container slowly receded, the protective cover was opened, and the mass of red meat slammed to the ground. Lu Tinghan stood beside it, took out his saber, and plunged it into the meat. There was a cutting sound that made people’s teeth sour, he cut through layers of fat and tissue. At this moment, the tentacles of the queen ant twitched abruptly.
It’s not dead!
How could it be?!
Bing Siyun reacted extremely quickly. He had already drawn his gun and aimed before his mind could even react, but he heard Lu Tinghan say, “No need.”
Bing Siyun’s fingers that were about to pull the trigger stopped, not daring to relax at all. The queen’s tentacles and feet trembled, the red flesh twitched, and a white bone pierced out from it, mixed with blood and flesh, and stabbed toward Lu Tinghan!
Lu Tinghan’s expression remained unchanged, he stepped on it with one foot, his heavy military boots fell on it with force, and stepped on the bend in the middle of the sharp bone. The bone was firmly stepped on by him, the heel of his shoe twisted and the bone cracked into pieces.
The queen danced frantically with her foot, but could no longer resist.
For the next three minutes, Bing Siyun watched Lu Tinghan step on the queen ant and then cut its red meat, severe the tendons, separate the muscles, and saw through the bones. Small streams of blood spurted out and a few drops splashed on his face, but he seemed to be completely unaware of it, he didn’t even blink. His white gloves were stained with bright red, and his movements were sharp and even a bit eerily elegant.
At this moment, Bing Siyun felt that those who suspected that Lu Tinghan was influenced by the abyss were simply talking bullshit.
No one had killed more monsters than him, not in the past, and not in the future.
The last knife fell, the queen did not move, and then Lu Tinghan cut out a beating heart.
The heart was only as big as a thumb and was connected to numerous blood vessels. Lu Tinghan didn’t pierce it, and said: “It has more than one vital point and it may have to be destroyed at the same time to kill it. Call Mr. Tang and ask him to memorize the new infection characteristics of Abyss No.7.”
Bing Siyun saluted, “Yes.”
Before leaving, he couldn’t hold back his curiosity, “You… how did you see that it was faking its death?”
The queen ant just now had no signs of life at all. He inevitably remembered Lu Tinghan’s talent, could it be that he could really know what the monster was thinking?
Lu Tinghan glanced at him: “It’s not that I can see it, it’s that I ‘know’.”
Bing Siyun: “Does it, does it really have a mind? What is it thinking?”
After asking, he realized that this was not an attitude he should have towards a general.
Lu Tinghan took off his gloves and threw them into the pollution trash can.
He was still expressionless and replied: “It’s homesick.”
Bing Siyun: “…huh?”
This was an answer he had never thought of, because it was so incredible, he even thought Lu Tinghan was joking.
Lu Tinghan lowered his eyes and didn’t mean to explain much: “Lieutenant Bing, go find Mr. Tang.”
The next day, Shi Yuan went to work in the theater as usual.
In the morning, he rehearsed with the troupe, and after speaking his lines, he lay on the ground and played dead.
He sent a message to Lu Tinghan during the intermission.
Lu Tinghan still did not reply.
In the afternoon he and Tracy were sent to collect taxes for the performance hall.
The entire theater was owned by Wolfgang, and the Wild Rose only used one or two halls, while others were rented out to fill the precarious financial deficit.
Tracy shook her cat ears and handed Shi Yuan the gloves and long clips: “Here, take them.” Her lips were bloodless, the same kind of sickly weakness as Cheng Youwen’s.
The sequelae of infection were a long torture.
Shi Yuan said, “I heard Miss Qin say that you went to the hospital yesterday?”
“Yes, Wolfgang took me there,” Tracy said. “I’m not in good health and I have to have regular check-ups.”
Shi Yuan said, “Do you need to rest? Let me help you clean up.”
“No,” Tracy laughed briskly. “I’m not that sick. Besides, all this is for Lady Isabella.”
Cheng Youwen also mentioned “Isabella”.
Shi Yuan asked, “Who is she?”
Tracy didn’t answer, and blinked mysteriously, as sly as a cat.
Shi Yuan took a long clip with gloves and went to Performance Hall No.3.
Performance Hall No.3 was rented to a small band. They were still performing the previous afternoon. After the alarm sounded, they ran around and left all the instruments. Now that the musical instruments had been taken away, the audience area was still in chaos, Shi Yuan collected the items left by the audience.
Handbag, small card holder, wallet, mobile phone, key ring, a high-heeled shoe…
There was everything, they fled in a panic.
Shi Yuan picked up a sack of items and put it back backstage, waiting for people to claim it, and kept it until the evening. Few of the audience came back to claim it.
There was also a violin and a set of drums in the backstage. It was very old and he didn’t know who it belonged to.
Shi Yuan had never seen a musical instrument, only listened to music, he was curious but did not dare to move. Finally, when it was time to get off work, there was no one in the backstage, so he carefully picked up the drum stick and hit the drum head—
The sound was much louder than he thought, and he was so scared that his tail scales exploded, he put down his drum stick and ran away.
When he got back in the car, the tail scales calmed down.
Lu Tinghan was still not at home. Shi Yuan read “General Military History of the Alliance” bored, and then observed Broken Iron in the kitchen, trying to learn to cook.
Lu Tinghan didn’t come back tonight either.
Shi Yuan missed him very much, he hadn’t been touched for two days.
He went to bed early in the morning, and when he woke up, it was midnight, there was no moon and no stars, the streets were empty, and Gleaning City was as quiet as a ghost town. He yawned, picked up the phone to check the time, and found two unread text messages from three hours ago.
Lu Tinghan: [I’ll be back tomorrow.]
Lu Tinghan: [Good night.]
Shi Yuan immediately smiled and replied to the text message, but his mobile phone was given by Wang Yu for him to use temporarily, it was old and difficult to use, not to mention the screen that was easy to blur, and the keyboard was often stuck, especially today.
Shi Yuan: [Good nnnnnnnnnnn?!]
Shi Yuan found that something was wrong, and quickly sent it again: [#night]
Anyway, the meaning was expressed.
After that, Shi Yuan fell asleep peacefully. In the distant outpost, a tactical meeting had just ended. Bing Siyun was following General Lu who was walking like flying, and suddenly saw him slow down, look down at his phone, and then smile.
It was the first time in the past two days that Bing Siyun saw Lu Tinghan smile, and he couldn’t believe his eyes. Lu Tinghan quickly suppressed his smile and walked outside the outpost, in his military uniform, towards the surging, lead-gray sky.