Chapter 24.1 – Cookies and Flowers
The second day in the shelter was as dull as ever.
The iron door of the room was tightly locked, and only people who wanted to go to the public toilet or had chest tightness and shortness of breath were allowed to go out. Only one person could go out at a time. Shi Yuan also felt bored, he sat on the bed with his tail in his arms, and took care of the scales carefully.
“Hey.” Zhou Ping’an stared in a daze all morning, holding a pot of xuejian flowers, then chatted with Shi Yuan again. “What kind of creature did you get infected by? How did you become like this?”
“I don’t know,” Shi Yuan said. “Maybe it’s the devil.”
Zhou Ping’an touched his chin and looked at him: “It really looks like it, but is there really such a thing in the world?”
Shi Yuan didn’t know either.
Since people have called the abyss a demonic creation, then an abyss that has gained self-awareness, calling it a demon, seems to be okay.
And so passed a boring morning. Occasionally, tremors would come from the ground, the whole shelter was vibrating, and it was not clear whether it was a swarm of monsters marching, or a bombing, people were restless at this time, and were not in the mood to chat. The room was too narrow, there was almost no place to stand, and they could only nestle in the steel bed, in Zhou Ping’an’s words: “This bed is like a coffin, with a cover, it can send us directly to the ground.”
In the dark, someone was crying softly.
Shi Yuan could not tell who it was, it could have been the newlywed couple, it could have been the skinny old grandmother. The sound of crying soon disappeared, and everything returned to silence, except for the earth trembling.
After the evening, the tremors never appeared.
After another three hours, the mechanical female voice broadcasted: [Now starts 90 minutes of free time, residents are invited to move around the area]
The green light above the metal door lit up, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief and smiled.
“What does this mean?” Shi Yuan asked Zhou Ping’an.
“The fighting is over and the situation is stable, so the alert has been downgraded,” Zhou Ping’an explained. “It’s only temporary, we may have to come back to the room at any time.” He stood up and stretched his waist. “I’m going out for a walk, it’s suffocating me to death.”
The iron door of the room opened, and many people went out.
Shi Yuan also went to the corridor, looking around, the corridors on the upper and lower floors were full of people. No one spoke loudly, and the small and low voices of conversations were mixed together, buzzing like a swarm of bees.
After five minutes in the corridor, Shi Yuan couldn’t take it anymore.
There are too many humans here!
Whether you look up or down, there was a black mass, shoulder to shoulder, even each other’s breathing could be heard – Shi Yuan already hated riding the bus, and the shelter was like a giant bus, full of humans.
Anthropophobia can only be alleviated, not cured.
Just as Shi Yuan was about to return to his room, he heard someone calling him, “Oh! Shi Yuan!”
He turned his head, and Cheng Youwen came over with his crutches, dragging his disabled right leg, a little surprised: “Which room are you assigned to?”
“5202,” Shi Yuan replied. “What about you?”
“5204, right next to you,” Cheng Youwen said. “Xia Fang is at 5211, Wolfgang and Tracy are at 5215.”
At the time of the alarm, they were all near the theater and entered the shelter from a similar entrance, and the rooms were allocated nearby, so they lived so close together.
“Where is Qin Luoluo?” Shi Yuan asked. “Where is she?”
“I didn’t find her, she should be nearby,” Cheng Youwen said. “You see, my legs can’t move much. If you’re free, why don’t you go find her?”
Shi Yuan: “Okay.”
Cheng Youwen glanced at the tip of his curled tail, and then remembered something: “Are you nervous?”
“A little bit.”
“No, it’s okay,“ Cheng Youwen said. “You see, we can move freely so soon, which shows that the situation is good.”
He thought Shi Yuan was nervous because of the warning.
“Forget it,” Cheng Youwen said suddenly. “I’d better go to Qin Luoluo with you.”
He was a little uneasy.
Shi Yuan remembered that Tracy had mentioned that Qin Luoluo’s parents died during the Level I warning. At that time, Abyss No.1 was restless, and the monster attacked a small city, which was Qin Luoluo’s hometown.
The small city was destroyed.
Now, the nightmare repeated itself in Gleaning City.
Cheng Youwen was limping on crutches, and began to pant after a while. Shi Yuan walked slowly with him.
Cheng Youwen panted and said, “Are you worried about Lu Tinghan?”
Shi Yuan immediately sobered up: “I don’t know Lu Tinghan, I only know Lu Tingting.”
Cheng Youwen: “…”
He really didn’t expect that after so many days, Shi Yuan was still firmly upholding the lie… Did he really not realize how clumsy it was?!
Who doesn’t know Lu Tinghan, they are not blind!
However, the other party was Shi Yuan, so he really couldn’t afford to be serious, so he said helplessly: “Okay, okay, Lu Tingting is Lu Tingting. Your Tingting is also on the battlefield, right?”
“Yes,” Shi Yuan said.
“He is a very powerful person, and he has done many things that the Alliance can’t even imagine,” Cheng Youwen said. “I have always opposed him in power, but I can’t deny his ability.” He sighed softly. “Level I warning is very dangerous. Shi Yuan, even for your sake, I would want him to be safe.”
“Thank you,” Shi Yuan said in surprise, and paused for a few seconds. “But I really know Lu Tingting.”
Cheng Youwen: “…”
Whatever makes you happy.
They walked around the corridor for a long time, but they still didn’t see Qin Luoluo.
“Strange, how could she be assigned so far away…” Cheng Youwen muttered.
He walked past  dragging his goat’s hoof, and suddenly seemed to feel something, retreated to the door of , and looked inside.
There was only one person left in the room. The long-haired woman was sitting on the edge of the bed, facing the door sideways, with the pale light falling on her shoulders.
It was Qin Luoluo.
She was different from her usual self.
Qin Luoluo was always pretty, painted with delicate makeup and smiling like a fox. She was so careful about her appearance that she had a bunch of cosmetics – the production line had long since stopped and most of them had expired – and she used them as they were.
Just like what she said to Shi Yuan, she wanted to stand on stage and wanted the attention of the world.
Now, the makeup was no longer there, and it seemed like some kind of huge, tide-like nightmare had seized her, her complexion was pale and her lips were chapped.
The haggardness and trepidation were visible to the naked eye.
Cheng Youwen’s eyes widened and he froze in the doorway, panicking for a moment until he was at a loss for words.
Shi Yuan asked, “Aren’t you going in?”
“Ah, uh, uh,” Cheng Youwen finally came to his senses. “Go, let’s go together. What’s the big deal? Why is she like this? There’s nothing to worry about in the first place. Say, she is also too—”
“I won’t go in,” Shi Yuan said.
Cheng Youwen was taken aback: “Why?”
Shi Yuan said, “I’m not good at comforting people, and besides, don’t you like her?”
Cheng Youwen froze completely.
He knew that other people in the troupe could more or less see the clues, but the secret that had never been revealed was exposed like this, and he didn’t know how to react.
Refute it? Deny it?
Shi Yuan looked at him seriously and sincerely, and he found himself unable to lie.
Cheng Youwen nodded his head, gave a very small “um”, and walked in with his crutches.
Shi Yuan returned to his room.
A few people had already returned, and the grandmother across the bed was holding Zhou Ping’an, listening to the love story between him and his girlfriend with relish.
“My grandson Shanshan—” when Zhou Ping’an’s story was finished, the grandmother trailed off and said, “If he were still alive, he would just be the same age as you. He was a brave warrior.”
She said that her Shanshan was naughty since he was a child. He jumped up and down at the age of 6 and said he wanted to be a soldier. He became a sprint champion at the age of 10. He went to the Alliance Military Academy at the age of 14. He went to the front line at the age of 18. At the age of 24, he was in the wasteland 300 meters west of the outpost. After fighting for three days and three nights, the gun in his hand ran out of bullets.
“Shanshan was rescued by his comrades,” the old woman said. “His infection was too serious and couldn’t be cured. I would have been able to see him one last time, if not for the euthanasia bill, General Lu was really too much, he was too much…”
Zhou Pingan hurriedly comforted her, and explained to her: “Grandma, General Lu signed this bill for a reason. These years are the low infection period, but the loss of war has never stopped. With the current strength and resources, if we bring every seriously ill person back to the city, the consumption is just too big. We have to look to the future, it’s a constant battle.”
“But not being able to see him is not being able to see him.” The old lady lowered her head and wiped her tears. “I didn’t even see him one last time… What a sin, ah. I don’t know what will happen in this war, and how many children will suffer.”
Zhou Ping’an was speechless, not knowing how to comfort her, and finally said: “Grandma, don’t be sad, we can win.” He pointed to Shi Yuan. “His boyfriend is on the battlefield, and he is a very powerful commander.”
So, Grandma held Shi Yuan’s hand tightly: “I hope he can be safe and lead us to victory. Good boy, you will be happy.”
Shi Yuan lowered his head and looked at the old hands, which were full of wrinkles and scars.
He didn’t say that the commander was the General Lu she hated, and whispered, “Thank you.”