Chapter 63: A+A (XI)
The next day, Rhine body temperature was scalding and his consciousness fuzzy. The poison from the Scarlet Bone Fishes has flared up and with his constitution, although it would not be life-threatening, it would further slow down his recovery.
Shang Ke climbed down the tree and took off his lapel, scrubbing it clean before climbing back up the tree to help wipe down Rhine’s body. Observing his current conditions, it was unlikely they could hurry back, it was best to remain at their current location and wait for support. They were situated in the anthropod’s territory past the defensive line. They were in danger of being found at all times and could presently only rely on the pine valley tree to hide them.
Shang Ke felt around his body and found a signal mirror, although it cannot directly send a signal to the base, it can absorb solar energy and reflect a red light. As long as some troops were passing by, they would be found. But shining it at night was too conspicuous, easily drawing the attention of the anthropod so Shang Ke had not used it.
Shang Ke fed Rhine half of a tube of nutrient fluid and once again used tree vines to keep him stable between the tree fork or he might fall. After that, he climbed down to check the situation around their location and maybe find some food to bring back with him.
In the anthropod’s domain, edible plant life was basically extinct and the only thing he could catch were some aquatic animals of common insects. Finding wild beasts was not something he would think about right now; he had neither the time or strength to catch one. The beasts that could survive in the anthropod’s territory were no doubt beyond violent and tough.
Shang Ke stabbed and caught two fishes in the river, dug up some scallops and after cleaning them somewhat, quickly returned to the pine valley tree.
Rhine suddenly opened his eyes, but seeing that Shang Ke was back, his gloomy face relaxed somewhat.
“I caught two fishes, we’re eating sashimi today.” Shang Ke raised the fishes and scallops that were wrapped in leaves.
Rhine silently gazed at his smiling face with gentleness and single-minded devotion.
Shang Ke sat between the tree fork, took out his dagger and sliced the meat with practiced ease on the carefully arranged leaves. Following that, he picked up the scallop, and a fishy smell hit Rhine straight in the face, causing him to wrinkle his nose and frown.
Shang Ke asked when he noticed his reaction, “Not used to this smell?”
“That’s fine, try it after it’s roasted.”
“Roast?” Rhine did not know how Shang Ke was planning to roast anything, this place was clearly unsuitable for making a fire.
“Watch me.” Shang Ke used a couple tree branches that are hard to burn and setted up a small grill between the fork. He placed the cleaned scallops on the frame and poured a couple drops of nutrient fluids on each. After that, he turned on the fire device and started to roast them.
Rhine watched, stunned. He really didn’t expect that Shang Ke could still roast food under this kind of situation where they barely have anything.
“Here, eat some sashimi to pad your stomach first.” Shang Ke moved a piece of fish with his fingers next to Rhine’s mouth.
Rhine silently ate it, his hair drooping over his forehead. The gaze he used to watch Shang Ke resembled a large dog waiting for his master to feed him.
While Shang Ke was tranquil on the surface, he was gloating in his heart: See little guy, you also have such a day! So what if you act all high and mighty and wild, so what if you abuse your authority, after you’re injured you still have to rely on this lord to take care of you. Ha, ha, ha.
After the sashimi was cleaned off, the scallops were also done. After he uncovered the leaf, a rich fragrance hit their senses. Although it did not have any seasoning, the pure and natural flavor of zero pollution was still the freshest delicacy.
Shang Ke used his knife to dig out the piping hot scallop meat and blew on it to cool it, before putting it by Rhine’s mouth again.
Rhine did not fear burning himself, so he ate it in a couple of bites. He had assumed that these few days would be hard to endure, but someone just had to have skills even under such conditions, allowing them to live a free and easy life, bringing him endless delight.
Disregarding his identity and position, relinquishing his might, he was only interacting with Shang Ke in a simple way and it brought him such joyful pleasure.
Rhine unconsciously curbed the aura around his body, so that he could be closer to the man before him.
A day later, their support still has not arrived. Shang Ke expanded his activity range and left marks at different places while also returning back to Rhine with all sorts of crazy things to eat. He also had Rhine experience just how magical his cooking abilities were to return something unappetizing into something delicious. They forcefully made their difficult refuge life into one of a landlord.
The next night, heavy rain fell. After the heavy rain, Rhine’s condition turned for the worse and he sank back into a murky state. What was even worse was that the heavy rain washed away the scent of the tree, so the two were unlucky enough to be found by a group of passing anthropod.
Shang Ke took out his dagger and rushed into the group, starting a bloody battle. The battle went on so silently that it actually did not disturb Rhine’s unconscious state.
By the time Shang Ke dealt with all the bugs, it was already an hour later. His upper body was naked with a couple strips of cloth hanging from his waist and flapping with the movement of the wind. His body was riddled with injuries and blood flowed down slowly, following the lines of his muscles. His arms hung powerlessly, shuddering without end as his back leaned against the tree and he violently gasped for breath. The view before him gradually started to become fuzzy like fog was obstructing his sight.
He looked down at the corpses of bugs littered around him and mentally knew that they could not stay here any longer, but he really didn’t have the strength to. In his current state, he can’t take Rhine far.
Weighing the pros and cons, Shang Ke chose to stay in place for the time being. He rested a bit and started to clear up the corpses.
A couple hours later, a new group of anthropod followed the remains of blood and quickly arrived at where Shang Ke and Rhine were and surrounded them.
Shang Ke stood under the tree and faced the hundreds of bugs, once more raising the dagger in his hand…
Rhine woke up to the smell of blood, and through the cracks of the tree leves, saw the countless bug corpses and the thick mottled bloodstains.
“Filmore!” Rhine abruptly got up and quickly search the area below.
Shang Ke sat by the tree, his head drooping and his back arched. One hand laid horizontally on his knee while the other held the dagger, the dagger stabbed into another bug.
The red blood and green mucus stained his body so much his original skin color could barely be seen. He sat there motionlessly like he was dead.
“Filmore!” Rhine’s heard contracted and sank, he placed both hands on the trunk in preparation to jump down, but the man below suddenly moved and made a great effort to pull out the dagger stabbed into the bug and wipe it on his trousers.
Right at this moment, another group of anthropods appeared from afar, like a black wave rolling by.
Rhine pursed his lips and spoke to Shang Ke, “Filmore, leave.”
Shang Ke stood up falteringly, his gaze turbid as he looked foward and did not reply, because blood continuously flowed from his mouth.
“Filmore, I order you, leave this place immediately!” Rhine angrily shouted.
A shallow smile made its way to Shang Ke’s lips, as he silently replied in his heart: Even if he wants to leave, he can’t. His legs have already stiffen.
Tightening his grip on the dagger, it was once again time for him to test the limits of humanity. He really wished that the cursed halo will give him another berserk state. Even if he thoroughly turns into a handicapped man, it was better than being eaten by these bugs.
Rhine looked at Shang Ke’s straight form as he stood there, his weak back looked very exceptional and firm at this moment. Spending life and death together, never leaving each other. This phrase suddenly flashed through his mind, like a contract, deeply ingraining into his soul.
“Don’t come down, so you don’t become my burden.” Shang Ke raised the dagger and pointed toward where Rhine was situated.
Being treated as a burden for the first time, Rhine’s face turned gloomy, his fingers almost digging into the tree. But he understood, that with one of his legs broken, he would not be of help down there. This kind of powerless state gave him a very embarrassed feeling, giving him feelings of sadness and anger, wishing that he could rip apart everything.
The anthropod came closer and closer, completely taking over all landscape into a black wave. The isolated and supportless Shang Ke appeared as if he would be swallowed by them in the next second.
Rhine’s eyes were opened wide and an intense pheromone bubbled forth. Such a boundless killing intent stopped the group, who then acted as if they lost sense of all direction and fell into disarray.
But this kind of chaos did not last long. Rhine felt a sudden dizzy spell and his pheromone disappeared. The view before his eyes became hazy and all he could see were the rolling waves of black and the dauntless figure charging into the group…
Rhine woke up in a brightly lit room, the injuries on his body was already dealt with. He turned his head and looked over to find a familiar figure by his bedside, smiling at him.
“Filmore.” Surprise flitted through Rhine’s eyes as he stared at him, unable to take his eyes away as if he will never see enough of him. “This is great, you’re alright.”
“Of course I will be fine.” Shang Ke gently smiled, “The rescue team came by in time and brought us back to the capital. You just need to take your time and recover, I will wait for your recovery.”
“Hm.” Rhine tightly held his hand, his mind full of tenderness.
“Rhine, I want to say something to you. Although you are overbearing and unreasonable, and your three views have a lot of problems, but I wish to be together with you, no matter in life or death.” Shang Ke seriously asked, “Rhine, what about you? Would you change for me? Respect me, trust me, cherish me?”
“Yes, I’m willing.” Rhine had never been so certain before. This man before him was the partner he wants to be with for the rest of his life, there will never be anyone else that will fit him as well as him.
An incomparable and dazzling smile spread across Shang Ke’s face.
Rhine stared at him gently. This man’s smile was always so lively, like a morning light shining down a lake, radiant and touching, giving him endless power.
At this moment, he suddenly felt that something was wrong. Shang Ke had fought in such a bitter battle with the anthropod for so long, he should be injured all over. So why did he look completely fine right now?
Rhine’s breathing suddenly became rushed, violent pain rushed through his body and everything before his eyes became murky. By his ear, a faint clamor of men and alarm sounded.
“Hurry, the Brigadier General’s situation isn’t good, prepare for emergency treatment!”
In the ward, everything was in chaos. Rhine only had enough time to call out “FIlmore” before sinking back into the darkness.
Two months later.
“How is his situation?” Rhine stood in front of a glass window, staring at the sleeping man inside and asked quietly.
“He is still in a coma. He can wake up at any moment, but he can also worsen at any moment.” The doctor sighed, “He was injured in the first place, and the Scarlet Bone Fish’s sound wave attack caused his old injuries to recur. Following that, he had to fight continuously with the anthropod and didn’t use medicine to treat himself in time. In addition to excessive fatigue and physical overdraft, for him to survive, it is already a miracle.”
Not using medicine to treat himself in time? Rhine’s face sunk, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to use medicine, but that Filmore had used the last of his medicine on him.
“Filmore really is such a heroic and loyal soldier.” the doctor spoke again, “By the time our rescue team made it over, he had already lost consciousness but his body was still instinctually fighting. He probably knew that you were behind him; if he collapsed, you would not be able to return alive. So even in such a situation where he lost all consciousness, he still fought on. Such a strong willpower really makes one exclaim in admiration.”
Rhine clenched his fists, a silver light flashed through his eyes as a sour feeling suddenly bubbled up.
He always considered himself the protector, compelling Shang Ke to stay by his side as if it was a matter of course. But in the end, the one to be protected was him. Filmore never requested much from him, yet he silently paid so much for him.
He previous him, was really too superficial. He believed that he could use his strength to control everything of him, yet forgot that Shang Ke too, was an alpha. Brave, determined, strong and a great partner to fight by his side.
Rhine remembered how two months ago, when he was between life and death, he saw Shang Ke. What he thought was reality was just a mirage, but he later learned, that Shang Ke had returned back to awareness for a short time, and completely sunk into a coma after he confirmed that Rhine was out of danger.
This person, left his final awareness and power all to him.
He said, “I will wait for your recovery.”
He healed, but what about Filmore?
Rhine walked to Shang Ke’s bedside, gently placing the medal that represented “Senior Colonel” by his pillow. This was what he fought for Shang Ke, and what Shang Ke deserves.
“Filmore, I wish to be together with you, respect you, trust you, cherish you, no matter if in life or death.”
However, Rhine would have never expected that the glory he fought and obtained for Shang Ke to fulfill his promise to him, would become the pass for Shang Ke to officially leave this world.
The moment the medal was placed down, the instrument immediately issued an ear-piercing alarm. Every single monitor showed that something wrong was happening to Shang Ke’s body, the fatigue and injuries that he had accumulated in his years of service all erupted at this moment, thoroughly damaging his body.
When Shang Ke broke away from this world, he only heard Rhine’s tearful and heartbreaking shout for him…