Gu Yu was mildly surprised, for the man was none other than that young priest of Lower Mao Mountain, Li Suchun himself.
It had been half a year since he and Xiaozhai dumped the zombie into the lake and walked away, leaving Li Suchun and Wang Ruoxu behind. Now that they met again, Li Suchun seemed maturer to Gu Yu. Gloomy he might be as before, but overall, Li Suchun appeared much more level-headed now.
It did not require a genius to figure out that Li and Wang must have been incorporated and carefully trained by the government after that incident. From the look of it, Li Suchun was now a member of BIMAUP's Operation Department.
"Just about time. We could really use an extra hand with the defense work right now. We've already set up living quarters for you guys."
"Yes, we will do as instructed!"
The leader of the Operation Department team met briefly with the captain of the guards, then beckoned the young priest over and introduced him, "This is Li Suchun. He has just joined us."
"Oh! Hello, nice to meet you!"
The captain had obviously heard about the young priest before. He welcomed the latter with enthusiasm and curiosity as he offered his hand and grinned. "Glad to have you here. We're depending on you to keep everyone safe around here."
Li Suchun replied the greeting awkwardly, squeezing out the single syllable from between his teeth. It sounded so cold and frigid that one would not be surprised if the word would drop to the ground with a clatter.
'Wow! Is that hand even human?'
Shaking Li Suchun's hand, the captain felt a chill boring through his skin and flesh, seeping all the way into his bones. He almost shuddered at the sensation. Of course, he managed to fight it back and kept his good manner.
To be honest, they all had mixed feelings towards these colleagues (more like goons) recruited "out of leniency". As much as they had to depend on these people, they were also taking precautions around them. They envied their abilities, but would also sneer at those in secret.
Especially with people like Li Suchun, who just had to pick—of all things—a zombie to play with! Eew! Gross!
After exchanging some pleasantries, the newcomers went away to settle themselves in while stoves were switched on in the kitchen for some extra dishes. There was going to be a simple reception in honor of the new crew.
Gu Yu tagged along as a bystander the entire time, steering clear of the business. He found it somewhat strange, though, for when the team left, Li Suchun fixed his gaze upon him for quite a while. There was something weird about that look.
'Come on, it's not like we're BFFs!'
He soon forgot about it and returned to his room promptly after dinner, ready to talk to Xiaozhai.
There was no signal this deep in the mountains and it was too late to set up a switch tower now. Instead, the team had come up with various gadgets, which just managed to enable phone calls and an internet connection, although the reception was by no means stable.
Many encounters in this world felt predestined.
It was like a white-skirt girl falling into the arms of a white-shirt boy 1 , raw salmon being served together with wasabi, and the cave hunter that ran into the perfect starfish. Let's just say, certain rendezvous was sure to proceed into the passionate exchange of body fluids.
This pair, nevertheless, was of a rare species. After that night when they finally "tied the knot", everything had been going on as before. They were not moving into the same bed, nor was there a second "intimate encounter". There wasn't even any additional physical contact on a daily basis. They had been acting so normal that Long Qiu was completely unaware of the change in their relationship.
With the temperament of these two people, they couldn't act cloying even if they tried.
Of course, they did care about each other and had agreed on the frequency they should get in touch and report the recent development on either side—that was the only way, for Xiaozhai had no reception on her side either.
With all the "thisshig" and "rrrerrk" coming out of the earpiece, it sounded like a circus on the other end of the line. It took a while for the voice to become discernible.
"Hey, what are you doing there?" he asked.
"What about Xiao Qiu?"
"She's enjoying her skewers."
"Ugh, are you in Bai Town?" He blinked.
"Nope, we're in Five Dragons Ridge. We're going to the hot springs later. I booked us a spa hotel here."
Drinking, eating skewers, and a spa hotel...
Gu Yu looked around his shabby room, feeling a familiar headache returning. "Pardon me for asking, Sis, but have I mistaken the meaning of 'opening hearts to each other'?"
"Nope, you are right on the spot. It's just I've taken advantage of the 'opening heart' occasion and planned to have some fun."
'I knew it!'
He had regretted asking already. She was still able to finesse him into speechlessness with minimal effort.
Gu Yu's brain was spinning as he tried to come up with a retort. At that moment, there was a sudden knock on the door.
"Someone's here. That's all, then. I'm all fine over here!"
He hung up in a hurry and went to answer it. It was Li Suchun. He was clad in black, which wrapped tightly around him, accentuating his lean figure.
"Can I help you?" Gu Yu was surprised to find him outside.
The young priest pursed his lips and remained silent. Gu Yu could not tell if he was unwilling or unable to answer that question. There was an odd look on his face as well. Gu Yu could tell that behind that fair countenance were ambivalence, bemusement, and expectation that Li Suchun was trying his best to conceal.
"Haha, why don't you come in?"
Gu Yu smiled and let him enter. He then asked, as if in passing, "You knew it was me?"
"I've seen your photos."
Li Suchun answered as he entered the room, his voice low, hoarse, and cold.
"Oh, no wonder."
Gu Yu was wearing a mask back when they met in Iron Mountain and Li Suchun did not get to look at his face there, hence that question. They both sat down and Gu Yu offered him a glass of water, then asked, "Where's your zombie?"
"In the woods. I don't want it to scare people."
"Is it the same one or have you got a new one?"
Gu Yu was suddenly interested. He had no idea how the Corpse-refining Technique worked, but he knew well enough that making zombies were not child's play.
In order to refine a corpse, one had to find a person with a birth chart of Yin quality, who had also died on a Yin hour. Only after the corpse was able to stay undecomposed after several days would it meet the requirements.
It was sheer luck that Li Suchun ran into Grandma Ge, for it was almost statistically impossible to find such corpse. The authorities had invested heavily to train him.
Gu Yu only knew Li Suchun as a young man who had been forsaken by the world and was now offered amnesty by the government. That was it. As for whether he liked the young priest or not, if the latter had left him any good impression, or any other such petty discretions, well, they were non-existent.
The reason was the same as before: he barely knew the kid!
That was not how Li Suchun felt. Despite having only met Gu Yu once, that unexpected glimpse had left him astounded. To Li Suchun, the man simply flicked his sleeves and left as soon as he finished his business; no one would ever be able to stop him.
Later, when he was in BIMAUP, he heard further news about the man, especially on the negotiations: this man had grabbed a mountain away from the state!
He was becoming an admirer.
However, with his temperament being changed drastically and the fact that he used to wear a gloomy and cold face after dealing with zombies all this time, he would never let that emotion show.
The conversation went on awkwardly. Gu Yu's attention was never on Li Suchun himself and he ended up blurting out, "If it is all right with you, can I have a look at the zombie?"
Li Suchun's eyes flickered; there was something inexplicable in them.
They left the lodging right away. Walking past rows of makeshift houses, they headed towards the woods in the distance.
Trees and weeds on both banks had long been cleaned out. As the station expanded, the facilities were also improved and perfected. By now, they were going to start setting up a public bathhouse.
The woods were beyond the perimeter of the camp and quite a long walk away. With Li Suchun leading the way, Gu Yu sauntered after him. The feeling of something being off grew stronger as he walked further out.
Being the on the periphery of the camp, this area should be patrolled and posted with sentries around the clock. However, not a single soul was around tonight.
It was as if they had left the ground vacant on purpose.
Turning the idea in his head, Gu Yu realized what was going on immediately. When he looked at the back of the thin figure in front of him again, he suddenly felt uneasy.TL/N: the epitome of young love, if you like