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HFA Chapter 26.2

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Chapter 26.2 – His Gift

He returned to his room, lay on the bed, and looked at the vase at the head of the bed bored. No matter how you look at it, the flower is ordinary, unremarkable, and couldn’t compete at all.

He stared at the flowers, his head drooped for a while, he fell asleep on the pillow, and even forgot to turn off the light.

Before he could sleep for two minutes, the clock pointed to [10:15] and he was awakened by the heavy sound of the bell.

The siren of the curfew had already sounded, and Shi Yuan listened in a daze for a while before realizing that this was the death knell.

After more than half a month, the Alliance has counted the number of people killed, and the whereabouts of the missing soldiers have also been investigated one by one. Now that they have done their aftermath work, they have reached the last step of the process: ringing the death knell.

Shi Yuan stayed there for half a minute, then suddenly turned over and got out of bed, and went to find Lu Tinghan.

Broken Copper and Broken Iron guarded the entrance of the stairs as always, but they had long been useless and would not stand in the way of Shi Yuan. Shi Yuan went all the way to the balcony on the second floor. The balcony door was ajar, he saw Lu Tinghan leaning on the railing, looking at the dark city.

Whenever the death knell would ring at night, Lu Tinghan would be here.

The cold wind was bleak, Shi Yuan walked to his side.

Lu Tinghan glanced at him, didn’t speak, took off his coat, and put it on his shoulders.

The two looked at the city, the houses were dark, and the death knell echoed for a long time, like a ghost hovering over the city, unable to find their way home. Shi Yuan couldn’t count how many times it rang.

Lu Tinghan had no expression, as usual, few things could pry his facial lines. On the one hand, the sense of composure of joy and anger is a commander’s quality; on the other hand, this is also due to the character.

When the bell was over, Lu Tinghan said, “A total of 62.”

—Of course, he knew.

He went through the death list carefully.

Level I warning, three cities, a war that lasted for more than a month, the number of casualties was miraculously small, but its heaviness would not be erased by the joy of victory.

If someone laid out a sea of flowers for the heroes, then someone should also lay out flowers of mourning for the fallen, and bells to mourn the glory of the dead.

They stood in the cold wind for a long time.

Shi Yuan asked, “Are you sad?”

Lu Tinghan said, “Shi Yuan, it’s getting late, go back to sleep.”

Shi Yuan asked again: “Are you a little sad?”

Lu Tinghan turned to look at him but said nothing. His usual sturdy shell seemed to melt a little, and Shi Yuan saw his soft, obscure eyes.

So, Shi Yuan knew the answer.

Shi Yuan hesitated for a few seconds, then suddenly said, “Wait a minute, I have something for you.”

He trotted all the way back to the room, hesitated at the vase for a few seconds, took the little white flower, trotted back to the balcony, and handed it to Lu Tinghan: “…This is my gift, for you.”

Lu Tinghan looked at the xuejian flower.

It shook in the cold wind, and the leaves trembled – the beautiful snow flower bloomed in layers, like a girl’s gauze skirt, unlike it, it didn’t know how to show its charm, shy when it shouldn’t be shy, and the petals were cowering, trying to reduce their sense of existence, thin and too low layered.

How to describe it…

Lu Tinghan actually saw a bit of dull-headedness in it.

Probably followed its owner.

Shi Yuan added anxiously: “I have worked very hard to raise it, and I want to give it to you, but it is not very good-looking.”

“…” Lu Tinghan took the flower and suddenly smiled.

He said: “I like it very much.”

Shi Yuan was taken aback for a moment: “But it doesn’t look good, you have so many beautiful flowers…”

Lu Tinghan: “The other flowers are not from you, nor are they like you.”

Shi Yuan didn’t understand what he meant, and thought for a long time: “You mean, I’m not good-looking either?”

This time, Lu Tinghan laughed in a low voice, and embraced Shi Yuan with one hand. Shi Yuan leaned against his chest and heard a steady heartbeat. Lu Tinghan smiled deeply, and the gray-blue in his eyes became a gentle ocean, and said, “How could it be? If you are not good-looking, then few people are good-looking.”

Shi Yuan was even more confused: “Then why do you say it looks like me?”

Lu Tinghan replied: “Both are dull.”

Shi Yuan: ??

As soon as he was about to protest, Lu Tinghan rubbed his head fiercely. He immediately forgot everything and made a happy voice: “Purr, purr, purr.”

Lu Tinghan said, “Thank you, I like this gift very much. I really like it.”

Hearing these words, Shi Yuan was finally relieved, he was satisfied: “It’s good that you like it! I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to see it, or that you wouldn’t like it.”

“No,” Lu Tinghan said. “I brought back the bouquet of flowers yesterday, not to compare anything, but because I thought you might like it.”

The tip of Shi Yuan’s tail swayed happily: “It’s really great, I can’t afford anything more expensive.”

“How much did it cost?” Lu Tinghan’s expression was soft.

“120 yuan.”

Lu Tinghan fell silent suddenly.

The next day, Shi Yuan went home and saw a “Anti-fraud Guide” on the living room table.

“Read it well,” General Lu instructed.

—There were flowers in the vase at the head of the bed in his room.

There was only one xuejian flower, dull-headed, special enough, and…expensive enough. This was also the only flower that entered his bedroom.

As a result, Shi Yuan was dizzy and groggy from reading, and went to bed very early.

Probably because he listened to the radio before going to bed, he had a strange dream.

The broadcast mentioned the special infected creature “Horn”, which is an infection of Abyss No.2.

The infection characteristic of Abyss No.2 is “swarm thinking”. The creatures infected by it act collectively, have an extremely unified way of fighting, and have a common goal, just like a group of united worker bees. The “horn” exerts this characteristic, emitting high-frequency sounds that cannot be heard by the human ear, allowing different infected creatures to gather together and attack humans.

“Horn” was eventually killed by anti-aircraft weapons and the Alliance air force.

Its corpse lay across the wasteland, and countless researchers were taking samples and bringing them back to the laboratory for research.

In his dream, Shi Yuan came to that wasteland.

The colors of the sky were a mixture of pink, purple, and blue, the wind was whistling in his ears, and when he looked around, there was no life on the wasteland.

There were no soldiers, no researchers, only Shi Yuan and the “Horn” lying quietly in the mud and dust.

The pure white feathers were covered with ashes, the wings were lowered, countless pairs of eyes were closed, and one-third of the body had been blown up, revealing distorted bones and organs. Its blood was golden yellow, flowing to the ground, with a faint light.

Only when you look at it up close can you realize how big it is. Just a single feather is taller than Shi Yuan, like a fallen beast in mythology.

Shi Yuan walked up to it and stretched out his hand to touch its feathers.

Unexpectedly soft,  like the chest of the most harmless bird in spring.

“Hello,” Shi Yuan said. “Are you waiting for me?”

The wings trembled slightly—

The countless eyes slowly opened, turned, and looked at Shi Yuan, the pupils were golden orange.

Then its eyes turned frantically, making a weird rustling sound. The voices blended together, as if countless people were whispering, Shi Yuan understood its words.

It said: [Give us strength, only you can let them see the deepest fear]

It said: [We will fight for you until the end of the world and until the stars are destroyed]

It said: [Until we…]

Shi Yuan in the dream did not answer it.

When he looked up again, those eyes closed again, as if they had never been opened. So, he leaned on the wings of the “horn”, as if he had sunk into the softest bed, and fell into a deep sleep.

The wind of the wasteland was still blowing, whimpering, the huge and bizarre monster corpse and the demon-like young man leaning on it. Time was still here, this situation and this scene were like from ancient times, like a scene from a long time ago.

For countless times, he fell into a long sleep with the monster.

When he woke up the next day, Shi Yuan was in a daze.

There was a new message on his phone.

Zhou Pingan sent him a message asking him if he had time the day after tomorrow, a few people he met at the refuge wanted to get together, and the young couple would also come.

[Maybe it’s just a meal, a chat, and a game of cards] Zhou Ping ‘an said in the message, [Are you free?]

Shi Yuan looked at the work schedule and replied: [Free]

Zhou Ping’an: [That’s good, see you soon!]

Shi Yuan took his slippers and went to the living room. Lu Tinghan had already woken up and was sitting on the sofa reading a book.

Shi Yuan asked for a touch, and then told Lu Tinghan: “I want to meet my friends the day after tomorrow.”

“Is it a friend you met in the shelter?” Lu Tinghan asked.

“Yes,” Shi Yuan replied. “Purr, purr, purr.”

Lu Tinghan asked again: “Are they the ones you haven’t won at cards?”

Shi Yuan: “Yes, they may still want to fight this time. They said that they were too scared to fight last time and it was not fun enough. This time, they will fight for 300 rounds.”

Lu Tinghan’s hand stopped moving.

Shi Yuan: ?

Shi Yuan said, “I still want you to touch my head.”

Lu Tinghan looked at Shi Yuan.

—If Su Enqi was here, he would find that Lu Tinghan’s eyes were filled with the familiar desire to win. Every time Lu Tinghan was giving commands, there was always this fire burning in his eyes, firm and hot, never extinguished.

He was born for war.

On this night, however, this fire suddenly burned into Shi Yuan.

“Let’s not touch it,” Lu Tinghan said slowly, “Shi Yuan, it’s my time now.”

Shi Yuan: ???

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