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Chapter 15: Checking up on Her

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Mi Dashuai
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Beads of perspiration formed on Liu Mengqi’s forehead. Her delicate face was flushed with fever, eyebrows drawn together in a tight furrow, clearly displaying her discomfort.

Internally cursing Song Zhe for his typical insensitivity and inability to care for others, Lin Feng hastily made his way to the resting area. He soaked a towel he had picked up from a nearby supermarket, then returned to the room. Gently, he placed it on Liu Mengqi’s fevered brow and carefully tucked her outstretched arm, made restless from the heat, back beneath the bed covers.

Why had Liu Mengqi’s fever escalated to such an alarming extent? Could it possibly be tied to that dreaded infection?

With a heavy sigh, Lin Feng settled beside Liu Mengqi’s bed, his back against the folding frame. The exhaustion from a sleepless night overcame him, and he leaned over, resting his head next to Liu Mengqi’s hand, and slowly succumbed to sleep.


Zhu Hanfang momentarily lost himself while gazing at the handful of snacks in his grasp, then quickly and with a hint of unease, tucked them alongside a dagger into his pocket.

“Not bad… he’s more useful than I thought, but too bad…”


Lin Feng awoke to the bright glare of noon. The sun was striving hard to warm the icy surroundings, but its efforts seemed almost futile. Despite the sunshine, the chill was biting, and many students had gathered around fires, shivering against the cold.

Rising from where he had been resting against Liu Mengqi’s bed, Lin Feng checked on her. She was still lost in a deep slumber with no indication of waking soon. He replaced the damp towel on her forehead with a fresh one.

In the main hall, Song Zhe was sprawled near a charging port, clutching his phone with a look of forlorn resignation. Lin Feng recognized the charger as one he’d brought back from the supermarket.

“Song Zhe, what’s got you so engrossed?” Lin Feng, in a light-hearted move, snagged half of Song Zhe’s biscuit and took a bite, casting a curious glance at his friend’s phone screen.

“Check this out!” Song Zhe lifted his phone to display an anime episode in progress.

“You’ve got a signal?” Lin Feng, almost choking on his unexpected snack, hastily grabbed Song Zhe’s water bottle for a swig.

“Hey! Why’d you drink from mine?”

“Man, tone it down! I was choking,” Lin Feng shot back, feigning offense.

“Wait… are you still, um, a boy?” Song Zhe mused, eyes flitting over to Lin Feng’s slightly damp lips.

“Seriously? Do you want a full comparison?” Lin Feng teased.

“Forget that! But why’s your voice… different?”

“Who knows? Now I’m wondering if I can even find a girlfriend looking like this. I hadn’t even started dating before all this chaos.”

“Join the club,” Song Zhe responded, rubbing his substantial beard. “Hey, what happened to that razor you promised?”

A realization dawned on Lin Feng. “Will this do?” He produced a sleek folding knife from his pocket.

“You want me to shave with that? I’ll shave off more than my beard with that deadly thing!”

“It’s razor-sharp,” Lin Feng explained, admitting he’d acquired various items during their journey, the knife being one of the more impressive finds.

“Fine… I’ll give it a shot,” said Song Zhe, his gaze lingering on the blade.

“No, I’ll find a proper razor for you later. Hold onto this for self-defense.”

“Self-defense? Against zombies?”

“Not just zombies.”

Song Zhe met Lin Feng’s gaze, seeking clarity. The implication was clear, but the message was chilling, “other survivors?”

“Exactly. Song Zhe, you’re like a brother to me, and I want us to get through this together.”

Song Zhe’s eyes lingered on his friend, clouded by both worry and gratitude at the same time. “I’m heading down, coming?” Lin Feng inquired, poised at the staircase.

“I think I’ll stay put,” Song Zhe replied, stroking his beard with a contemplative smile.

“Don’t worry about it, bro. I’ll fetch a razor for you tonight.” Saying this, Lin Feng swiftly made his way to the 6th floor.

As he stepped onto the sixth floor, the warm scent of milk tea wrapped around him. Although he generally steered clear of sweets, the aroma pulled him into a reverie of his college days, laughing with friends at their favorite milk tea joint.

“Would you like a cup?” Yan Aoxue asked, noticing Lin Feng and smiling at his nostalgic expression.

“Thanks, but I’m not much for sweet things.”

“Even so, everyone’s grateful for the milk tea you returned with.”

“It was no trouble.”

“Did you find the medicine for your sister?” Yan Aoxue’s voice held a note of concern. She had learned from Song Zhe about Lin Feng’s lone quest the previous night to find medicine for Liu Mengqi.

“Not yet. The medicine ward was blockaded by a stranger, but I’m hopeful I’ll have it by tonight.”

“Lin Feng, your actions last night were reckless. Yan Aoxue was by that entrance until 2 AM, anxiously awaiting your return. Don’t ever disappear like that again without informing us,” Mr. Liu stated firmly, clutching the two bags, his eyes piercing Lin Feng with their admonishment. Still, the underlying relief was evident, though his tone brooked no argument.

“Mr. Liu…” Yan Aoxue murmured, her cheeks flushing. She turned her attention back to preparing her tea.

“Ah, the vibrancy of youth,” Mr. Liu remarked with a light-hearted laugh, taking in the sight of Yan Aoxue’s blushing countenance.

Hah. Who would’ve thought? Maybe this whole infection situation has its perks after all!~ ,Lin Feng thought to himself as he gazed at Yan Aoxue’s fading silhouette.

A little thrill fluttered in his chest at the mere thought of this blossoming possibility. In just a few days, things he used to only dare to dream about seem to be nearing reality. Even though the real world had changed its face, there were still hints of joy to be found if one looked hard enough.

“Mr. Liu,” Lin Feng began, extending a backpack towards him, “These are for you.”

“And what might these be?”

“Weapons. Distribute them with care. I suggest they be affixed to mop handles, forming makeshift spears. Yesterday’s experience taught me that direct combat can be perilous.” Having passed the backpack filled with blades to Mr. Liu, Lin Feng shared a fleeting look with Yan Aoxue before heading upstairs.

Once by Liu Mengqi’s bedside, he replaced the damp towel on her fevered brow. With precision, he pared half an apple using a sanitized knife, then methodically cracked some nuts, setting them in a bowl.

“Lin… Feng,” a feeble voice whispered.

Turning, Lin Feng met Liu Mengqi’s half-lidded gaze. “You’re up.” Knowing her high temperature, he had expected her awakening. A normal fever probably would’ve subsided within a day, but he knew hers was intense just by the heat radiating off her.

“Lin Feng… Monster! Behind you!” Despite her weakened state, Liu Mengqi mustered the strength to shield Lin Feng, her gaze locked onto a figure looming behind him.

A touch confused, Lin Feng gently shifted her to see a bemused Song Zhe, prompting a laugh from Lin Feng.

“It’s just Song Zhe. Try to relax,” he said, helping Liu Mengqi settle down and picking up the fallen towel.

Liu Mengqi, are you serious? I might have a slightly fast metabolism and a recent spurt of testosterone, but ‘monster’? You wound me, your ‘beloved’ Lin Feng is the unusual one here,” Song Zhe quipped, rolling his eyes — a gesture concealed by his flowing hair and missed by both.

“Wait… Did you seriously use that knife to shave?” Lin Feng finally realized what had been causing this niggling discrepancy he felt since he saw Song Zhe. It was his awkwardly trimmed, but somehow still immaculately straight beard, that looked more like a guillotine had severed its bushy length in half.

“You know, I didn’t sterilize that knife. Make sure to heat it up later. And if you start looking like Zhang Yicheng, don’t count on me to look after you.”

Song Zhe ran a hand over his chopped beard. “Lucky I’m handy with a blade,” he remarked, before quickly departing to sterilize it.

Slicing an apple, Lin Feng offered the pieces to Liu Mengqi. “Think you can manage some?” Her response was a tired shake of the head, her eyelids heavy.

“You should eat a bit. It’ll help. I’ll get fever medicine tonight. Hang in there. Maybe you’d prefer something else?” As Lin Feng prepared to fetch a different snack, a frail hand caught his.

“Don’t… go.”

Lin Feng clasped the pale, delicate hand reassuringly. “I won’t be long. Just finding something gentle for your stomach. Stay here.”

He noticed Liu Mengqi’s sweat-laden arms only after he released her grip. The fever was making her sweat profusely. Fetching a basin of warm water, he contemplated her care.

This floor had emptied out, with only a couple of stomach-sick students left, comforting one another. Song Zhe and Zhang Yicheng had both relocated to the 6th floor — one to attend to the knife and the other trailing Tan Xin endlessly.

After ensuring the room’s security, Lin Feng’s gaze rested on the slumbering Liu Mengqi. Her fitful sleep, contrasted against her usual vivacity, made her appear serene. He hesitated, wondering where to begin cleaning her up.

He started with her feet, drawing back the curtains to let in some light. Lifting her legs, swathed in pristine white stockings, he removed her canvas shoes, placing them beside the bed.

Though their childhood was filled with shared baths and innocent play, adulthood had instilled boundaries. Their closeness remained, punctuated by Liu Mengqi’s casual visits to his room.

Taking a steadying breath, Lin Feng descended the stairs.

“Ruo Lian?” he called softly. He’d noticed a rift between Yan Aoxue and Liu Mengqi, so he’d bypassed the former.

Ruo Lian was attentively caring for Chen De, who had recently come to after an injury to his hand. When Lin Feng’s voice echoed, she lifted her gaze.

“Mengqi, I’m so relieved you’re awake,” Ruo Lian murmured, mistaking Lin Feng for Liu Mengqi. As she neared, she tenderly grasped his hand.

Sporting a duckbill cap and his tail discreetly hidden in his trousers, Lin Feng found himself mistaken for Liu Mengqi once again.

He gently freed his hand from Ruo Lian’s grasp, gave a sheepish scratch to his head, and revealed his tail.

“Oops, my apologies, it’s Lin Feng. The two of you have such a striking resemblance…”

Ruo Lian, not missing a beat, responded, “No worries. Speaking of which, could you assist me with a bath?”

“Wait… what?!”


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