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HFA Chapter 33.2

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Chapter 33.2 – Peak Period

When Shi Yuan came home that day, he turned on his phone to see if Lu Tinghan had replied.

There was none.

The tip of his tail drooped in disappointment.

At night, he had a strange dream.

In the dream he was standing on the stage, bright and fiery light enveloped him. He didn’t wear a costume and couldn’t see the other actors. He was alone. And the audience under the stage was covered in darkness, and at first glance, it seemed that there was no one there, but if you looked carefully—

The audience area was occupied by monsters.

Distorted vines, strange birds with many limbs, grizzly bears with human faces… There were no seats, only various monsters crowded together.

They all looked at the stage in silence.

This was a one-man show.

The audience were the monsters, and Shi Yuan was the only protagonist.

In the dream, his body was light and floating, Shi Yuan didn’t know what to do, so he stood silently.

‘What are you waiting for?’ he thought.

‘What are you looking forward to? Why are you all looking at me?’

‘I have nothing to give you.’

There was dead silence, followed by a high-frequency sound, like something vibrating at high speed, like… insect wings.

It was getting louder and louder, closer and closer.

It was almost disturbing.

The stage lights were going out, and the darkness spread up, overwhelming Shi Yuan. In the last second of memory, the eyes of the monsters still fell on him.

Shi Yuan knew that their waiting would continue.

Even if the protagonist was gone, they would stay in the eternal darkness like this, waiting for him to come back.

Forever.

“…!!”

Shi Yuan sat up abruptly from the bed.

The morning light fell into the house through the curtains, and the earliest shuttle buses had already started to operate, carrying yawning people to all parts of the city.

It’s time to go to work.

The dream just now dissolved in the light of day, without a trace.

Shi Yuan got in the car to the theater.

A whole day had passed, and Lu Tinghan had not replied to his message, he seemed to be extraordinarily busy.

There was no performance today, everyone was busy with their own work.

There would be a performance tomorrow afternoon, and 61 tickets had been sold, which was the highest sales volume in the past few days, probably because the flyers and posters worked. Shi Yuan was dragged by Qin Luoluo to put up posters again, and the two stood on the street, one with a bucket of glue and the other with posters.

“Shi Yuan,” Qin Luoluo flattened every corner of the poster with his hands, and asked suddenly, “Are you feeling unwell today? For example, uh, tinnitus and dizziness?”

“No,” Shi Yuan said. “What’s the matter with you?”

Qin Luoluo rubbed her eyebrows: “It’s strange, I’m always restless today, as if something big is about to happen.”

Shi Yuan asked, “Is it because of that bottle of foundation?”

In the morning, Cheng Youwen accidentally knocked over Qin Luoluo’s foundation, causing her to scream through the sky, and almost hammered Cheng Youwen into the ground with a punch.

“No, no, it’s not that,” Qin Luoluo said. “Although I have high blood pressure all morning, the feeling is different. You have to trust a woman’s sixth sense, something is definitely going to happen.”

“What is it?” Shi Yuan asked again, “Another bottle of foundation will also break?… Ah!”

He covered his head.

Qin Luoluo took a roll of posters and knocked him on the head: “Don’t be a crow mouth, I only have two bottles left!” She looked around, and a heavily armed patrol passed by the street corner. “Besides, don’t you think there are especially many soldiers these two days?”

Shi Yuan was at a loss.

Qin Luoluo looked at his expression: “It seems that your man didn’t tell you anything.”

“He seldom talks about work with me,” Shi Yuan said. “A lot of things have to be kept secret.”

“That’s right,” Qin Luoluo sighed. “Besides, he probably doesn’t want his family to worry, he’s a good man.”

The two returned to the theater, Xia Fang and Tracy were mopping the floor, Wolfgang was biting a nail and raising the hammer in his right hand to knock on the solid wood.

Qin Luoluo carefully put away the last two bottles of foundation.

It was business as usual, nothing happened.

Until 3 o’clock in the afternoon, a long siren sounded.

It sounded like the siren during curfew, but it was higher, resounding over the city.

This meant [gathering], everyone stopped what they were doing, walked out, and walked onto the square and the street. There were people everywhere, and Shi Yuan’s fear of people was about to surface again, so he quickly shrank in the corner.

A huge, motorboat-like aircraft floated slowly overhead and stopped over the city. The siren stopped, and it cast a huge holographic projection that could be seen by the whole city.

In the projection, the white-haired old man was sitting upright.

It was Chairman Chai Yongning.

What was he about to announce?

What was worth everyone dropping what they were doing and be so serious? The last time a crowd gathered like this, it should… have been more than twenty years ago, right?

At this moment, everyone was shocked.

Chai Yongning clasped his hands on the table with a heavy expression, behind him was the Alliance’s snow flower flag.

He said: “Hello everyone, I am Chai Yongning, the chairman of the Alliance.”

The crowd was silent.

Chai Yongning: “According to the observation data of the Alliance Academy of Sciences and the Observation Center since February 1st, combined with the abyss pollution index for the past three years, and comparing the data of previous years horizontally, today, I announce with a heavy heart—”

He looked solemn, and his pale gaze seemed like steel.

“We have sufficient evidence to believe that the peak of infection has arrived.”

With just a few words, the whole city was in an uproar!

The sharp sword finally fell, and it was indescribable how chaotic it was. The crowd exploded, screaming, shouting, and sobbing mixed together. Amidst the noise, Chai Yongning’s voice came: “From today, the Alliance will focus on three themes and enter a state of full combat readiness. First, we must adhere to the principle of life first, and the Alliance army will do everything possible to ensure the safety of the people’s lives, and will not give up any individuals, not leaving out any…”

A woman was crying and broke out into a shrill wail. The soldiers standing guard on the street corner began to move to calm the crowd.

“Second, the army must be thorough and meticulous, and the masses must obey the command without panic. It is a time of crisis, and any mistake will cause immeasurable consequences. We must start from the details and coordinate all forces…”

There was chaos, and Shi Yuan was dizzy from the noise.

He quietly pressed against the wall and squeezed through the crowd to prepare to leave, during which he was also stepped on by numerous people.

“Third, we must persist in helping each other in the same boat and always have confidence. In the past 71 years, we have fought with the infected creatures and the abyss with great courage. We have both won and lost. We have paid a lot of price, but we have come to this day. We are survivors, and we will always be a community of destiny, sharing honor and disgrace. Only unity can form the strongest barrier, and only cooperation can form the vastest harbor…”

Shi Yuan returned to the theater, opened the door, and the stage and auditorium were empty.

There was a small wooden stool beside the stage. He sat down and turned on his phone.

After a day, Lu Tinghan finally replied to him: [Shi Yuan, don’t be afraid]

Shi Yuan: [I won’t be afraid, come back soon]

He waited for a while, the phone screen was about to go off, and then it lit up again.

Lu Tinghan: [Okay, I will]

Shi Yuan put away the phone.

Even from here, he could hear the boiling sound of people and Chai Yongning’s words, blurred and unreal, as if separated by a layer of mist.

He just sat there, looking at the huge, empty performance hall.

He didn’t realize it at first, until he saw posters scattered on the steps.

Those were the posters he and Qin Luoluo went to put up today. There were still a few left, Qin Luoluo brought them back, and put them in the front row of auditorium, thinking about tidying them up before leaving work.

Then the siren sounded, and she hurried out, perhaps accidentally bumping into it, the poster slipped from the seat and scattered all over the floor, and there were a few more black shoe prints, which happened to be printed on the words “Wild Rose Troupe”, making it look ugly and hideous.

The poster was good-looking, and there was nothing wrong with the poster. It embodied the painstaking efforts of the troupe, and it held an unrealistic, cross-age dream.

But it didn’t work, it just didn’t work.

Shi Yuan stared at the poster for a few seconds, and belatedly realized:

After that, there may never be a stage play again.

They just played a play yesterday afternoon.

The weather was neither good nor bad, the sun covered its face with a layer of clouds, the audience was not too many, and the applause of 39 people was not too enthusiastic.

—At that time, they just thought it was normal.

The rest of the troupe came back one after another and sat together with gloomy faces.

Qin Luoluo forced a smile: “Ah, this day still came.”

Cheng Youwen’s face was extremely pale. Tracy stopped talking after seeing the atmosphere and looked at everyone with wide eyes. They all knew that the troupe’s activities would be suspended.

As for the until when? Can they get together again?

No one knows.

Xia Fang cursed: “I should have left a long time ago! I, I should have gone to Fengyang a long time ago, my parents are there! Now it’s too late, I can’t leave at all!”

Now the traffic between the cities was stopped, and no one could leave the city. Xia Fang’s very sick mother was still in Fengyang City.

Qin Luoluo comforted him, saying that he could apply for an emergency, and maybe it would be approved.

Xia Fang didn’t answer and grabbed his hair like a chicken coop.

Qin Luoluo said softly again: “…Originally, there was another performance tomorrow, and we sold 61 tickets.”

Cheng Youwen’s face was heavy, and he said, “Let’s continue.”

“What?” Qin Luoluo looked at him.

“Let’s continue the performance.” Cheng Youwen held his crutches, with a few thin drops of sweat on his pale forehead, but his tone was firm, “Whether there are audiences or not, let’s perform one last time.

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