Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 148: Infected
Sometimes a sudden generosity is harder to deal with than a fist fight.
Under the vibrations of the car, Pei Ran’s hands, which were resting on Qu Yan’s shoulders, would occasionally touch his neck and create a slight ticklish feeling.
Through his touch, his palms felt distinctly warm except for his fingers which were slightly cold.
Qu Yan suddenly felt a bit sleepy.
This kind of nameless comfort and safety made him afraid and wanting to reject it.
His hands that were quietly resting on his knees suddenly pinched his skin and only let go when that sharp piercing pain faded away from his senses, leaving a crease in his school uniform pants that slowly smoothed back out.
On the way to their destination, the number of zombies was visibly increasing.
Pei Ran already regretted his decision; why did he have to come along.
It was fine if he had to kill these disgusting things, but face to face, fighting it head on, he could vomit all the food from last night out.
Dropping his chin on top of Qu Yan’s shoulder, Pei Ran remained alert as he looked out the window.
But then he felt that the shoulder he was resting on was a bit boney and hard, so he switched his position.
He whispered into Qu Yan’s ear,
“Ah, can you even fight with this body of yours?”
As he said so, he squeezed up and down Qu Yan’s arm, trying to see if he had any muscles.
Perhaps it was because Qu Yan was too skinny that, with even just the slightest of movements, the sleeve on his school uniform was pulled up halfway and revealed scattered old scars on his upper arm.
There was a moment where Pei Ran thought his eyes had gone senile.
He blinked and used his fingers to confirm before realizing that those were real scars.
He pointed at the biggest wound, one that looked to be caused by a knife, and asked Qu Yan,
“How did this happen?”
Qu Yan didn’t respond.
His blank inky eyes only stared at the redhead delinquent sitting beside Sang Yan and then retracted his gaze, silently shaking his head.
Pei Ran understood immediately.
He pulled down the sleeve and patted the other’s shoulder in a meaningful way,
“Don’t be afraid.
When others try to mess with you, you have to be even worse than them.
When I was at school, two delinquents tried to rob me, but instead, I lured them to the forest and beat them up there.
They were so scared that they even peed themselves.
If you were in the same school as me, I would have definitely been able to protect you.”
And of course, he said nothing about bringing over ten people with him.
Most teenagers were probably like this, reckless and afraid of nothing.
Qu Yan stared at Pei Ran’s raised eyebrows that projected a grandiose arrogance over his face and suddenly asked in all seriousness,
“What school were you in?”
Pei Ran paused and then blinked.
His marks weren’t that great so money was spent to enroll him into a private school.
Poking at Qu Yan’s unknown school badge on his uniform, he said,
“Well it’s just a shitty school.
My marks were terrible, not as good as yours are.”
He could still remember Qu Yan’s exam with full marks, but in this apocalyptic world, there doesn’t seem to be much of a use.
Wheels suddenly dragged on the ground, letting out a long piercing screech.
Zhou Cang Ming had quickly stepped on the brakes, almost sending everyone flying out of the car, not expecting a zombie to suddenly appear right in front of the car.
Everyone else was fine, but Pei Ran with his half sitting posture was in the worst shape.
He had been tilting his head to talk to Qu Yan and his head bumped on the window with a loud sound which anyone could tell hurt.
Pei Ran held onto his head, mind blank from the pain.
He was just about to run his mouth off when he suddenly saw a female zombie right by the window.
Its rotting flesh filled up the entire window as it tried to paw with aggressive strength and roaring screams, causing Pei Ran to seize up as if someone pinched his throat, unable to utter a single sound.
Feng Tang was the first to react, immediately grabbing his knife and quickly flinging the zombie off just as Zhou Cang Ming’s soul almost flew out of this world from fear.
He stomped on the pedal to escape, but the zombie only climbed back up from the ground and started to chase them with even faster speeds.
Without anyone noticing, the red sky above had slowly been fading away, finally revealing normal sunlight and yet what it represented was not anything good.
The zombies were about to complete their evolution…..
The car quickly sped away and finally reached the gas station.
Zhou Cang Ming anxiously said,
“Get out of the car and grab supplies quick! That zombie will soon catch up to us!”
He could sharply sense that the female zombie was more nimble than ever.
With two bangs from the door opening and closing, he and Feng Tang had already rushed into the supermarket next to the gas station.
Sang Yan and the others quickly followed behind, leaving only the two frozen people behind.
He did not move because he was afraid.
Qu Yan did not move because Pei Ran was holding him by the waist.
As if his strength had been zapped to zero, Pei Ran couldn’t help himself and slid down from the car seat with a whoosh.
Lying on top of Qu Yan’s legs, he suggested with a pair of innocent eyes, out of the goodwill in his heart,
“Why don’t the both of us just stay here in the car?”
The natural, little animal instinct of Pei Ran made him sense an aura of danger but he couldn’t tell if it was from the zombie just now or from…… someone else’s body.
Rather than facing either potential danger, he wanted more than anything to be hiding somewhere safe.
Before Qu Yan said a word, the system rang with a ding.
[ Dear, victory is almost at your fingertips.
Supplies are just about a step away from you, so please don’t ever give up~ ]
In the apocalypse, the best way to survive was to move forward.
Avoidance would only result in elimination by these rules.
Pei Ran didn’t dare to kill zombies but hiding was a technique that he was good at,
“No! I have no elemental ability or dimensional space! You can zap me all you want but this man here ain’t going anywhere! Get out, get out, get out!”
[ Dear, you can’t try to be the system’s kept man~ There is no free lunch in this world~ ]
Pei Ran wanted to say, who gave you the face to say that I want to be your kept man, but the next second his shoulder was lightly pushed aside.
Subconsciously following the movement and lifting his head up, he saw the shadow of Qu Yan getting out of the car.
Dressed in his school uniform, it was evident that Qu Yan looked out of place in this hellish world, yet there was a weird sense of rightness to this image which seemed so contradictory.
Leaning against the car door, Qu Yan looked at Pei Ran and lightly said,
“You’re not coming with me?”
His expression was very calm, like a cloud drifting in the sky.
There was an aura of relaxation and comfort about him, as if he was not at all worried about any zombies coming for them.
Pei Ran pretended to be calm.
He rolled up the sleeves of his black collared shirt and reached out to try and drag Qu Yan back as his muscles grew tense,
“That zombie just now was very strong.
It will catch up to us soon, so don’t run out so blindly.
Let’s just sit quietly here in the car.”
Hearing this, Qu Yan looked left and right but there were only aluminum cans rolling around from the wind.
He returned his gaze to Pei Ran and said,
He bent down and grabbed Pei Ran’s hand, dragging him out.
He then patiently repeated,
“There are no zombies.”
The system also interjected: [ Go go, he’s not afraid so what are you scared of ]
That tone was as if it was a mother watching her son and a woman meeting as potential marriage partners and the man was so shy that he didn’t dare to lift his head up.
Almost making his mother want to rush in and force him to act more favorably in fear that he was missing his chance.
Pei Ran didn’t move, and Qu Yan’s light tug couldn’t drag him out.
The two of them looked at each other, frozen silently like this with only the slight breeze mixed with the scent of blood passing by their ears.
Time was ticking away and it did not look like Qu Yan intended to let go.
Pei Ran’s right hand tightened up, his forehead about to pop a vein, but in the end, he was too afraid that if they kept this up any longer, zombies would soon come.
He swore internally before getting out of the car.
He flipped his hand around to grab onto Qu Yan’s hand instead, pulling the other along and quickly running into the supermarket.
The glass door at the entrance had already been smashed apart and the shelves inside were already mostly empty.
Sang Yan and the others were stuffing any food they could find as fast as they could into their bags.
When they first came the day before, they had not thought that they would meet up with a cluster of zombies, so they could only quickly grab a few things before leaving.
Today, they planned to grab a bit more.
Pei Ran was having a moment right now, a moment where every second felt like a fight against death.
He hated that he only had two hands instead of eight, and he ignored whether it was expired or not, grabbing any food in sight and wishing to run back to the car as soon as possible.
In contrast, Qu Yan was very calm.
He grabbed a plastic bag from the checkout area, blew it open without a sense of haste, and then slowly picked out food that he could eat.
His black dark eyes locked onto the redhead delinquent not too far away who was crazily sweeping up any food he found.
Qu Yan paused before his footsteps led him over.
Two hands belonging to two different people grabbed onto the same bag of instant noodles.
The redhead delinquent’s face turned an angry shade of red from having his provisions being stolen.
He angrily lifted his head, his eyes filled with uncontrollable aggression and violence.
Seeing that it was Qu Yan, long years of habit immediately made him lift up his leg and directly kick the other hard.
Qu Yan stumbled backwards, falling not left, not right, but right in front of the washroom door.
Holding onto his stomach, he wanted to stand up and still stubbornly try to grab the packet of noodles that had fallen onto the floor.
But this only served to immediately anger the redhead and the latter shot forward, grabbing onto his shirt collar,
Before he could even finish, there was a strong hit towards the back of his neck and he rolled down onto the floor hard.
Being hit so hard, the redhead became very dizzy and moaned in pain as he held onto his waist.
When he lifted his head to see who it was, he found Pei Ran.
“You want to motherfucking die don’t you!”
When Pei Ran turned to look after hearing the racket a distance away, he saw Qu Yan being held by the collar.
He already had been in a right mood from before, so upon this sight, he couldn’t help but viciously slam his leg down towards the other’s brain a few times, immediately drawing blood.
Pei Ran had an extremely angry, glowering expression on his face,
“I can’t take care of zombies, but can I not take care of such a small delinquent like you?! When your mom birthed you, did your brain get stuck by the door huh! Why didn’t she kill you for lacking any fucking intelligence!”
Qu Yan imperceptibly looked towards the washroom as he rose up from the ground, wanting to pull Pei Ran away from here.
Yet Pei Ran was in such a rage that Qu Yan couldn’t pull him away even after a few tries.
Pei Ran pushed away Qu Yan, grabbing the redhead by the shirt, and forced him to stand up.
He kicked him in the stomach but who could have known that the washroom door was not closed up tightly and he sent the redhead right through the door.
Perhaps because of the strength behind the kick, the washroom door lightly trembled from rebounding off the wall.
Pei Ran flung his stinging hands in the air, just about to say something when there was a stink filling up his nose.
When he lifted his eyes, he was met with an overly rotten face……
It was truly way past rotting – its face had no flesh or blood, leaving only a faint faint layer of skin.
Dripping down fleshy water, its pale grey eyes bursting out of its sockets and its teeth gleamed like a shark’s teeth.
Pei Ran: “……”
[ AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MAMA!!! RUNNN AHHHHHHHH ZOMBIE AHHHHHH!!! ]
No one could have expected that a zombie would be hiding in the washroom.
The high piercing screams of the system could not break Pei Ran out of his state of shock; neither could the scream of the zombie as it grabbed onto his shoulder, hiding none of its desire for human flesh.
Its sharp teeth was about to harshly puncture down onto his neck, when for whatever reason, it froze in place as if someone had put a spell on it—–
Taking this chance, Qu Yan dragged Pei Ran out and pushed him to run towards the door.
Sang Yan and the others, realizing that something was wrong, frantically ran outside as well.
Not long after, they heard a horrifying scream from that redhead, and yet no one could bring themselves to care.
Pei Ran was still blanking out, only knowing to hold onto that plastic bag full of supplies in a tight grip.
He didn’t even know how he got into the car.
His black shirt was now all dirty, covered in a fluid that could be blood or water, and there was a fleshy stink coming from him.
Zhou Cang Ming and Feng Tang had grabbed two boxes of provisions from the warehouse which they quickly stuffed into the car and then fled the gas station.
Scenery outside the car window quickly moved past as the blood red tinge in the sky was slowly fading away.
Seeing how Pei Ran’s face was so concerningly pale, Qu Yan lightly pushed him yet received no response.
His fingers came together, bravely grabbing onto the flesh at the other’s waist, and viciously twisted it 180 degrees.
Pei Ran suddenly coughed harshly, and the pocket of air stuck inside his throat was finally freed.
Holding onto the back of the front seat, he had to take a moment, unable to lift his head up.
No one in the car cared about him as they were all thinking about how grateful they were to have just escaped from death.
Only Qu Yan put his hand against Pei Ran’s back, slowly and lightly patting him.
Sang Yan was also in a state of shock himself as he had passed by the washroom numerous times, passing by the arms of death multiple times,
“That zombie, how long has it been in there, that we didn’t find out.”
Holding onto the blade in his hands, Feng Tang lifted his eyes to take a look at the sky outside.
His furrowed eyebrows subconsciously loosened up a bit and he said casually,
“Perhaps it ran in last night.”
They had lost a person yesterday and now another one today.
Fear uncontrollably blossomed in everyone’s hearts and no one spoke a single word on the way back.
Pei Ran, after he finally calmed down, lifted his head, his handsome face still very pale, and turned to face Qu Yan’s dark eyes.
Silently looking at him for a while, he then quietly said,
“Just now, thank you.”
As always, following the main character would save your life.
If it was not for how dirty he was, Pei Ran even wanted to give him a hug.
The group returned to the underground storage warehouse.
Seeing that there was one less person returning again, Zhi Zhi did not cry, but the sadness on her face could not be hidden.
Sang Yan quietly comforted her.
When he looked up, he saw the older woman eating from a bag of cookies and he couldn’t help but furrow his eyebrows.
He warned Zhi Zhi,
“Don’t just casually give food out to other people next time.”
Hearing this, Zhi Zhi paused momentarily before silently nodding her head.
At the same time, a teardrop fell onto the back of her hand.
She leaned into Sang Yan’s embrace and after a long time, she asked with tears in her voice,
“When will these days pass……when humans aren’t even humans……”
Feng Tang was sitting on the floor, his eyes staring outside the vent window.
After confirming that the sky was really recovering its normal colors bit by bit, he checked over his provisions and weapons, making sure it was all in his sack, and looked as if he was planning to leave at any moment.
Pei Ran was a bit of a neat freak, unable to stand even a bit of uncleanliness.
He grabbed clothing from his backpack, planning to head into the washroom to take a shower and change his clothes.
Although it was only cold water, anything was better than nothing right now.
He washed the blood on his hands, yet when his fingers passed over his shoulder, he suddenly felt a fiery, stinging pain and he stopped his movements with furrowed eyebrows.
Scanning every inch of the image in the mirror, he finally found two or three small scratches on his shoulder.
It was beginning to darken and with the cold, cold water washing it away, it was becoming paler with the lack of blood.
Scratched by the zombie today……
With that realization, Pei Ran’s face immediately turned terrible, spiraling downward very quickly.
He had been scared out of his mind in the car today, his mind gone blank, so he did not find out about the injury on his shoulder.
He’s going to die.
These four words were the only thing on Pei Ran’s mind.
Being wounded by a zombie meant he would be turning into a zombie as well.
Only an extremely small percentage of people with strong enough bodies could turn that infection into an elemental ability, but evidently, with his shoulder unable to move or lift itself, he didn’t belong to the latter category.
What to do? Is he going to die like this?
If this was a tv drama, he probably hasn’t even lived past three episodes……
His thoughts were in a tangled mess, intertwining into a deadlock; no matter hard he tried, he couldn’t untangle it.
Cold water splashed down onto his head, his skin tightening from the sting.
Pei Ran wanted to cry but he couldn’t; wanted to laugh but he also couldn’t.
After the initial brief state of turmoil, his brain strangely calmed back down.
Pei Ran thought that he indeed had no such blessed life; he was destined to be a nameless character, a cannon fodder for life.
Being infected was not bad, as it at least eased away the worries of when he would be eaten one day.
He fiddled around for a long while before changing into clean clothes and heading back out.
With the dichotomy of his new black and white shirt, his hair still dripping with water, he no longer had that rundown look on him, turning back into the image of a clean and wealthy young man.
The zombie virus would take effect in a couple of hours, and even though Pei Ran did not like Zhou Cang Ming and the others, he didn’t want to purposefully stay behind and cause harm.
He tore open a bag of cookies and ate them in a blanked out state, looking as if he was eating wax instead.
He planned to wait until he was full before quietly taking his leave.
Qu Yan had been staring at him the entire time and, feeling that gaze coming from beside him, Pei Ran swallowed down the bit of cookie in his throat, thinking to himself how could he be such an unlucky bastard, getting infected even with the main character protecting him.
He leaned over and hugged Qu Yan.
Perhaps it was because he changed his outfit, his body still held that familiar cologne, the scent of yerba mate, a scent that was like drizzling sprinkles of rain, clean and wet.
Even with death, there should be a procedure, a ceremony of sorts.
Pei Ran began his farewells,
“Brother in arms, thank you for saving me.”
And then grabbed his luggage, setting it beside Qu Yan and stuffing every provision he had, even the ones from today, into it.
He casually said beside Qu Yan’s ear,
“These are all for you.”
So generous it was strange.
Qu Yan seemed to have finally noticed that something was not quite right.
His gaze scanned over every inch of Pei Ran’s face before settling onto his shoulder —–
Faint trails of blood were seeping out.
As if to confirm something, Qu Yan reached out and lightly pressed on the area.
Pei Ran’s face immediately paled drastically, suddenly drenched in so much pain he almost called out daddy.
He stumbled backwards and shied away from the touch.
Qu Yan retracted his hands back, rubbed at the blood stains on his fingers and then slightly raised up his eyebrows.
He was just about to say something when Pei Ran covered his mouth.
Pei Ran toned down his voice, purposefully trying to scare him,
“Dummy, don’t make a sound.
I’ll leave after a while.
I won’t bring you guys down.”
What if he was found out by Feng Tang – without even needing to wait to turn into a zombie, he’ll get a knife to the brain.
How pitiful would he be then.
Although, even if he walked out himself, he would still be waiting for death.
Qu Yan grabbed onto his wrist, lightly tugging it.
His gaze swept over the area before silently moving his lips,
“Don’t need to leave.”
Don’t need to leave?
Hearing this, Pei Ran slightly squinted his eyes.
He was just going to say something, but there was a sudden strong hit to the back of his head and then following that there was a pair of dry lips on him.
He lifted his eyes, facing up to Qu Yan’s calm eyes with dilated pupils.
Their kiss was very short because the next second, Pei Ran was pushed aside by Qu Yan, falling onto the floor with a big bang and causing everyone to look over.
Qu Yan, with the back of his hand covering his lips and the other grasping onto his shirt, had a stance that looked as if he had just been molested.
After a moment, he stood up from the ground, speaking with a hoarse voice,
And then quickly pulled Pei Ran into the room beside them, locking the door.
Zhou Cang Ming coldly laughed,
Sang Yan gave one look before retracting his gaze in disgust,
“Whorish pair of dogs.”
The other room was covered in a thick layer of dust.
The moment they entered, it made Pei Ran’s throat seize up with coughs until his face was entirely pale.
Pei Ran stomped down on the urge to cough, using the dim lighting to lock his gaze onto Qu Yan,
“Do you know what you are doing right now……”
He went forward, wanting to open the door, but Qu Yan was faster and blocked him.
He did not look like that silent scared kid anymore, and his eyes hid a faint laugh.
Pei Ran’s heart suddenly stopped for a moment.
He slowly reached his hand out to grab onto Qu Yan’s way too skinny shoulder,
“After a few more hours, I will become a zombie.
I will eat you.”
Qu Yan tilted his head to look up at him, and after a while, he lazily responded with a hoarse voice,
As if… turning into a zombie was not any big deal.
“At that time, I’ll feel you human meat, and you can still live.”
These words, the more you think about it, the more frightening they were.
Pei Ran didn’t have the time to understand the words when a sudden pain coming from his injury overtook him.
It was quickly spreading all over his entire body, making even the simple act of breathing hard.
He half knelt on the ground, tightly grabbing onto his own throat, and said through the pain,
The veins on his neck looked like they were going to burst and his eyes were turning red, a frightening sight to behold.
He quietly said,
Qu Yan looked at him, thinking for a bit before lightly shaking his head,
“That can’t be though.
Leaving you here by yourself is too weird.”
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