Back home Luo Xun put the leftover dumplings in the kitchen. They actually had nothing to do today, it would take a while for the paint next door to dry in order to lay the floor. Some of their vegetables still needed to time to grow in order to get seeds. The recently germinated plants had been put in the nursery this morning. There seemed to be nothing else to do at the moment.
The puppy at home jumped to bite and drag the rope that Yan Fei held with an iron grip. After putting away the dumplings, Luo Xun vaguely heard a sound.
“What’s making that noise?” Luo Xun looked around and asked doubtfully.
Yan Fei was also surprised, listened to the sound and pointed at the nursery room.
The two men walked gingerly to the nursery and gently opened the door. Then they saw the little quail egg in the incubator. They did not know when the egg had hatched, the small, wet yellow quail chick the size of a man’s thumb stared blankly.
“Hatched!” Luo Xun excitedly hugged Yan Fei’s side then turned and rushed into the nursery room.
He gently removed the little quail and put it in a prepared box while taking distilled water and baby feed. The newly hatched quail was very fragile, it required high temperature, clean water and suitable food.
Luo Xun was glad he was at home these days. If he had needed to go out for work when the quails hatched at home…*cough* a few might have starved with no food for half a day.
He carefully placed the small quail and watched it eat some of the feed. Luo Xun also checked the other quail eggs to see if there were any that were about to hatch. With a sigh of relief he grabbed Yan Fei and left.
“Very good, hatching on new year eve.” The fluffy, yellow little things in a line really moved people’s hearts.
If the recently hatched quails were not so vulnerable, Luo Xun would have brought one out as a pet.
Yan Fei smiled. “Wait a few days and more will hatch, the house will become lively.”
Chinese New Year before the apocalypse became less and less prevalent as people lived faster lives, loss of traditions and other reasons. But in the apocalypse, the survivors were very relieved to celebrate the new year, see the night stars and the rising sun.
For the people, the base atmosphere was more lively than the Gregorian new year two months ago. To live through this year was to walk a step further in the apocalypse.
The large speakers, temporarily placed around the base after the apocalypse, began to play the spring festival gala recording after eight o’clock in the evening.
Because the communication on base had not been fixed, the party was basically music, songs, comic dialogue skits and so on, music to express the art form. It seemed like they had been pushed back a few decades, but the speakers in the streets gave spiritual support to the crowds on base.
Those who did not have a radio at home took advantage of the weather not being too cold, others simply wanted to get out of the house and gathered under the large speakers to listen to the show.
People who knew and each and strangers gathered around to enjoy the rare, peaceful festival.
However, most of the speakers were built in the inner city. The outside city had only just been cleaned, so the things were not immediately installed after the wall was built. Of course, there was also another important reason, the outer city was close to the wall, if there were loud noises, would it not lead to a funeral? It was better to be in the inner city.
The two people came back early to turn on the radio. Luo Xun had calmed down from the excitement of the hatched quails and made the decision to change the quail’s nest that afternoon in the nursery room. The small quail hatchlings could follow a channel to the side of a small box in order to gather with companions and eat food.
These little birds could be compared to human babies…no actually better than the average mammal. After all, they opened their eyes and walked around to find food to eat. Although they were also fragile, compared to baby mammals whose eyes were not open at birth, who could only instinctively search for mother’s milk, even moving around was good.
Luo Xun had spent a month creating this incubator box, lest the small quails panicked and fell to the ground.
These small quails only had one or two days of time difference. Once the first one moved and hatched, the other would soon follow, so Luo Xun had to be prepared in advance.
After a busy afternoon, the two people laid on the couch. Luo Xun leaned on Yan Fei’s chest and subconsciously ignored his previous insistence on ‘topping’…of course, in some ways he was currently on top of Yan Fei.
There was a plate of leftover dumplings on the table beside the sofa, the other table had an empty plate which originally had sausage on it. These sausages had originally hung from the ceiling before Luo Xun steamed them and placed on the plate.
Luo Xun had barely moved any of the dried chicken, duck, bacon and sausage since the apocalypse had begun. On one hand, the frozen meat inside the refrigerator had not been used up and on the other hand, dried meat lasted longer. After all, Luo Xun was unsure how long it would take to get meat again – at least a year.
The puppy also ate dinner, ran to the bathroom then after running a few laps of the house she jumped onto the sofa and sought touch while lying on Luo Xun’s chest.
With the dog, the situation on the sofa became – Yan Fei holding Luo Xun, Luo Xun holding the puppy…such a peaceful family of three.
A variety of songs and music from the radio filled the originally quiet room and made it more lively. One’s biological clock was powerful, Luo Xun felt sleepy at 11 o’clock but insisted on waiting until after midnight and eating some lunar new year dumplings before going upstairs to sleep.
Although such a show was very rare after the end of the world, Yan Fei did not end up hearing much of it. It was because every night before going to sleep he would exhaust his power after Luo Xun fell asleep. He would go into the bathroom to wipe off the sweat, he adapted more than Luo Xun to stay up some more.
The two quietly listened as the radio host counted down. Downstairs, those around the speakers listening to the program also stayed silent.
New Year’s eve, although fireworks were not allowed for security reasons on base, the atmosphere of the spring festival suddenly rushed out.
Luo Xun smiled, rubbed his eyes and nibbled Yan Fei’s chin. “Happy New Year.”
“Happy Chinese New Year.” Yan Fei lowered his head for a kiss.
The puppy thought the two were playing and she twisted while lying on Luo Xun’s body to end up in the middle of the two faces.
Yan Fei smiled and pushed the puppy’s head. He also grabbed the plate. “Eat a dumpling and go to sleep, it’s now the new year.” The food had cooled but a bite should be enough for the occasion.
Luo Xun smiled and sat up, along with Yan Fei each ate a dumpling. The puppy also got one since she was staring curiously. She sniffed, opened her mouth, jumped off the couch and began to chew slowly.
“I thought that since the dumplings this time were mostly vegetables she would not eat them.” Luo Xun looked in surprise at the vigorously eating puppy before smiling at Yan Fei.
Yan Fei also laughed. “Is this not good? We have more vegetables than meat, it will be easier if she can eat vegetables.”
There was a faint cry in the corridor, not too far away. Luo Xun and Yan Fei were momentarily surprised but then remembered that no one had opened the door or went out to check the situation – sometimes, people needed to vent.
Two people and a puppy ate while deliberately leaving some on the plate. Luo Xun stretched as he headed towards the washroom. “Brush teeth, ready to sleep, can sleep in tomorrow!”
“Yes, let’s have a good night’s rest for tomorrow.” There was only one day left of the three day holiday. The two yesterday did renovation work, today cooked dumplings with Li Tie and his friends. They would simply relax at home tomorrow before continuing work the day after.
All of a sudden, the little puppy who was eating dumplings stood straight up, her eyes fixed in the direction of the balcony window. Her ears and hind legs straightened as she ran towards the window.
“What’s up?” Luo Xun rushed over from the washroom.
The puppy usually did not bark, the last time she did was when there had a been a gang of thieves at the door. Li Tie’s group and Luo Xun and been neighbors for a while but had not known his home had a dog, which just showed how well behaved she was.
Today, the small quails hatched out and crying in the corridor, but there were no voices. However now seeing her appearance, she had found something unusual?
Luo Xun and Yan Fei hurried to the balcony, carefully observed the area – no abnormalities in the plants, no issues with the window…
Luo Xun thought there would be a thief trying to commit a crime today, trying to descend from the roof to break open the lock, but there seemed to be nothing outside.
But the little puppy still faced a certain direction, her mouth made a threatening sound.
Luo Xun squatted down and tried calming her down with pets. Yan Fei opened the windows, both of them were cautious, they would not ignore the dog barking as a cause of mental tension.
“…Listen, is there a sound outside?” Standing in the window, Yan Fei noticed the problem first. Luo Xun hurried over to the window and pricked his ears to listen carefully to the outside sounds.
The loudspeakers had stopped and there were faint voices downstairs such as laughter and cries from yearning for family and fear of the apocalypse – the crowd who had heard the show were coming home. In a more distant direction, something faint…
“Firecrackers!” Someone had set of firecrackers! Luo Xun spun to face Yan Fei as he realized the source of the sounds.
Yan Fei frowned into the distance. “That direction…seems to a be far away…”
“…It couldn’t be at the perimeter wall could it?!”
A few military jeeps drove towards the outer wall and heard the faint sounds of firecrackers. The vehicles had turned the corner to see crowd joking around not far from a piece of rubble.
“Put it out now! Arrest them all!”
“Het, hey! What’s with the arresting!”
“Let go of me!”
Men and women cried in protest and the sound of firecrackers ended in interuption.
People in several places outside the base were forcibly arrested for setting off firecrackers.
“Why can’t we do it? Is Chinese New Year not the passage of a new year? What’s the problem?”
“Right, those zombies have been outside for so long. Would the firecrackers not ward off bad luck, scare the ghosts? New Years was originally for frightening monsters!”
The protests were so loud that the soldier’s expressions became really ugly.
The base walls had just been built, so the area had become a lot safer. But the location they set off the firecrackers was too close to the fence, were they seeking misfortune?
Their thoughts were not incomprehensible but…
“Leader! I suggest sending these people out to guard the walls! Zombies are sensitive to sound and will be attracted to the sound of these fools. I think it was intentional!” The soldier’s eyes were red with anger as he spoke to the leader responsible for the car.
“Yes Chief! Our soldiers will be on outside watch, but just because of some firecrackers, how many zombies will show up?!”
The person in charge calmly took a deep breath before glaring at the few angry soldiers. “If they were added it would lead to chaos! If you recruited all those who dared set off firecrackers that attracted zombies, they would destroy the defense and offense!
“But…” It would end like this? There were a lot of zombies around the base because the scent of humans was strong, more and more these days. But tonight, people on base suddenly set of firecrackers and caused the zombies to become even more frenzied!
The sound also attracted more distant zombies towards the defensive positions! They had already received the distress signal, but their duty was to maintain the safety of the base. Otherwise they would have long gone to support the positions!
The person in charge took a deep breath with a heavy heart and shook his head. “We must obey our superior’s arrangements for those arrested.” He did not want to, from his point of view – these people who were messing around on base, should be thrown outside the fence!
The people hearing the conversation caught the shift in expression shrunk inwards and dared not speak loudly, in fear that these soldiers would really push them from base. They came to the base in order have a relatively peaceful life, who would be willing to leave?
“Mister, I really did not have a firecracker. I just heard the sound and came to watch…”
“Yes, mister, I did not set of a firecracker!”
Hearing a few clever people’s words, the rest quickly reacted to show their innocent. The original quiet became loud and disorderly.
“Shut up! No more nonsense or you’ll get thrown out!” A soldier fired two gunshots and the area became quiet again.
Someone in the base was shooting, although he was not sure if the position was far or near the perimeter wall? But the now first-level zombies could hear better than the original zombies. Luo Xun was very sure that if it was a street outside the base, even if there were cars, the zombies would hear and give chase, not to mention the loud shooting sound?
“Alas, it will be lively outside the walls tonight.” Luo Xun whispered with emotion.
Yan Fei nodded but had a comforting smile. “Rest assured that with the wall, nothing bad will happen.
Luo Xun understood that the first-level zombies could not jump the three meter high wall. But the soldiers guarding the fence perimeter, trenches, spines and few passes would be in trouble. The soldier’s original role was to help the survivors whether by guarding or killing the undead that came with them. At such times, they may be in danger.
“Come on, let’s go to bed.” Yan Fei shut the windows, they did not want to or could help with the situation outside.
“Yes.” The puppy turned around, she had long stopped barking. Wriggling her tail she went back to her kennel in the living room to lay down and prepare to sleep.
Holiday days were always short and extravagant. Luo Xun had hatched the first generation of poultry on new year’s eve. Early the next day, they found two small, hatched quails in the incubator box.
The three quails gathered together and uttered faint cries, the listener’s bones became soft.
“Wait around a week and we can put them together with the adult quails!” Luo Xun excitedly pointed at the three plush things in the box. Their hatching rate was not bad, the first three eggs unexpectedly all hatched, not one was wasted!
Yan Fei manipulated metal to form a ring on the baby quail’s claw engraved with a ‘2.x’ (x was also a number, representing the first few integers) to mark the second batch of hatched baby quails. “Were not going to give them a few?”
“When these little things grow up, their home is still too cold so they can’t keep them now.” Luo Xun gently grabbed the recently hatched chicks in order to distinguish between male and female.
“What are you looking at?” Yan Fei came over after finishing with the rings.
“I’m seeing if I can differentiate male from female. No, we have to wait for them to grow up.” Luo Xun put down the little thing with regret. He determined that the three quails were relatively healthy, temporarily did not have to worry about them. He pulled Yan Fei to work on other things.
Early morning, Yan Fei and Luo Xun got dressed and ready to go out.
The two entered the corridor and saw that Li Tie and friend’s door was also open. Han Li and Li Tie waved while they knocked on the door of 1602.
“Isn’t Zhang Yi not going to work today? I remembered he would get three days?” Luo Xun asked doubtfully while shouldering a backpack.
“Yes for Zhang Yi, but we are calling Wang Duo.” Li Tie yawned and spoke vaguely.
“Wang Duo? He did not go back last night?” Yan Fei raised a brow, his face filled with schadenfreude.
Li Tie, Wu Xin and Han Li the three immediately made a “you understand” expression. “Wang Duo not only did not come back last night, the day before he also did not come! He moved his stuff over yesterday!”
Luo Xun also waited at the door of 1602 with a funny face. The door opened, Wang Duo’s expression was slightly tired, but the spirit was extremely excited. “Going to work? I’m packed!”
The crowd in unison looked at his slightly pale complexion then at his legs.
Wang Duo felt chills from all the eyes and backed up a step. “You, what are you looking at?”
“Seeing if you can walk.”
Wang Duo’s face was red then he straightened out his chest with a proud expression. “Yeah right, who am I?” He was clearly the top!
Suddenly, the person fell forward, revealing Zhang Yi’s impatient face. “Why are you blocking the way?”
Compared to Wang Duo’s slightly pale face, Zhang Yi had a rosy complexion, his face was radiant, his whole body exuded a lazy feeling, plus the a pair of misty peach blossom eyes…*cough* people with admiration climbed up from the ground.
The smiling, pleased face of Wang Duo with such a bewitching man…they were not afraid of him being pressure, they were afraid of his kidney deficiency…
Wang Duo was like a laughing dog at Zhang Yi’s side, his body exuded a feeling of “If one kick was not enough, then have another! I’ll never hide!” that kind of thought process, could not be looked straight at. Zhang Yi had come out half dressed.
“Are you going out?” Luo Xun and company were surprised, Lieutenant Ding had come over but said Zhang Yi could comfortably rest at home for three days. But he’s going out today? Was there a slip of the bed that night?
Zhang Yi waved his hands. “With you all gone, what do I do at home?” Although the students have given him shelves and things to grow vegetables at home, first, he did not know how to do these things, second, the climate was not warm and his insulation could not compare to Li Tie’s home. Third, he did not want to be alone at home, he would rather run to the hospital and abuse unruly patients, such as giving them more stitches or less anesthetic~
Such a good employee who would selflessly work overtime? All the people silently looked at each other, there was nothing to say. Yan Fei had long opened the door and was waiting at the entrance.