Proofreaders: ayszhang, happyBuddha
City of Endless Rain ch 5
"You may not know this, but the situation out there is rather dangerous right now!" From the moment they stepped out of the house, Jake had been muttering constantly. "Slow down, you asshole! Why did Li Yuanyu have to leave you with me now of all times? What have I done to deserve this?"
"How is it dangerous? Is it because of those three soldiers who got lost?"
"Uh..." Jake faltered, unable to answer.
"Is it another secret?" Tang Shan rolled his eyes.
"It's not a really a secret, but, uh, I don't know if I can tell you."
"If you don't tell me, how would I know how dangerous it is out there?"
"That's true. I guess there's no harm in telling you." After deliberating on it, Jake proceeded to tell him everything. "After some research into the background of those three soldiers, we found that they'd escaped from the army. We've already informed the military and they'll send people over to deal with the situation. Now they've disappeared... You can tell how serious this is, right? Hey! Are you even listening? Hey!"
Jake cursed and shouted, creating a ruckus behind him, but Tang Shan turned a deaf ear to his actions, moving forward with large steps as he pleased.
"Oi! Don't go towards the city! Oi!!! I told you not to go there!" Jake couldn't control him at all. In the blink of an eye, Tang Shan had already entered the alleys, which were maze-like and difficult to tell apart. Jake hurriedly rushed after him, but by the time he got to the entrance of the alleyway, Tang Shan was nowhere to be seen.
"I'm finished! This is game over for me..." Jake had given up all hope. He'd actually lost Tang Shan.
Tang Shan squatted in the shadows of the alley, watching as Jake rushed past him. He didn't dare to act recklessly and waited quietly for him to move further away.
"Tang Shan! Where are you? Don't try to fool me! Come out! Tang Shan!"
Jake's voice eventually faded into the distance, and Tang Shan decided that it was the best time to leave. Just as he was about to get up, he was stopped.
From somewhere around him, he heard some rustling. Three men appeared from within the alley, dressed in the green camouflage military uniform. There were two men and a woman, and the person who had stopped him was the black woman.
"You're Tang Shan?"
Tang Shan watched them closely. Seeing that they didn't seem friendly, he did not bother replying.
"You're the manager's partner, aren't you?" the female soldier came closer to him and inquired.
"Get him," one of the men exclaimed and pushed the woman aside, stepping onto Tang Shan's shoulder and kicking at his head.
"Hey! Didn't we agree not to use violence?" The woman shoved at the man, expressing her discontent.
"Shut up, woman!" His tone was that of disdain, and he even spat at her.
Tang Shan held his shoulder, feeling a little dizzy. The man had not been holding back. Hearing them beginning to argue amongst themselves, he found that it was best if he left as quickly as possible. However, just when he'd managed to crawl a small distance using his arms, a pair of army boots appeared in front of him.
"Where do you think you're going?" The third soldier blocked his way, dissipating any hopes he had of escaping.
Jake's voice had also travelled over. It seemed like he'd heard the argument and was rushing over.
"Jake, save me! Jake! I'm here!" Tang Shan yelled as loudly as he could. He was left with no other choice and had the feeling that these three soldiers might actually kill him.
"Shut him up, you idiot!"
After some confusion, there was an acute pain from the back of his head. Things went black in front of him, and he immediately lost consciousness.
Tang Shan had disappeared!
Jake nervously brought this news to Li Yuanyu, who appeared to be calm and collected. However, the metal pointer (used to mark out things on the whiteboard) in his grip had been bent out of shape by his bare hands.
The police officers around him looked at each other, faces struck with fear as they wondered if they could leave the meeting room before he blew up.
"Do as I said just now. You're dismissed."
They quickly dispersed, relieved at having received permission to do so.
Only Jake and Li Yuanyu were left in the meeting room.
Jake stood at his spot, stricken with fear. He knew he'd committed a huge crime and had no idea how Li Yuanyu would punish him.
"Don't get so nervous. You can't be blamed for this. I know Tang Shan's character better than anyone else. It's impossible for you to control him. If he were so easy to control, I wouldn't need to get so worried about him all the time." Unexpectedly, Li Yuanyu seemed to be very understanding, though he was expressionless when he spoke.
Even though that was what he said, Jake still couldn't completely heave a sigh of relief. After all, that person had disappeared on his watch, right under his nose.
"The patrol team is going to conduct a blanket search. Right now, what we need the most are helpers, so you should join them. Leave me alone for a while." Li Yuanyu waved Jake away.
Jake glanced at Li Yuanyu once more before he left the room, taking in the signs of fatigue on him. He knew what Li Yuanyu was feeling. With such a problematic and immature lover, it was obvious that it would be troubling.
If Li Yuanyu wasn't so fixated on Tang Shan, his life would be a lot better.
Or really, everyone's lives would be a lot better.
Tang Shan was beaten awake and he forced his eyelids open. The person who was hitting him was the female soldier, the only mediator in the group of three.
"Hurry up, we need to be on our way." The woman slapped him again and he felt his face swelling up.
Tang Shan tried to move but realised his hands had been tied behind his back. His mouth was stuffed with a piece of cloth, and was also tied up with rope. The cloth in his mouth had an awful smell, and he suspected the gag was one of the soldier's socks.
"Get up!" the woman pushed him unreservedly.
His legs seemed to be numb and he couldn't gather any strength in them. Tang Shan stood up with some difficulty, and with a moan of pain, took a step, wobbled, and almost fell backwards. Someone caught hold of him.
"Stop wasting your time talking! Hurry up or they're going to catch up to us!" One of the soldiers grabbed Tang Shan and left hurriedly. The direction they took was rather strange, from one alleyway to another.
Tang Shan was unfamiliar with the pathways in the city and had absolutely no sense of direction. All he knew was that his legs were so numb that he couldn't walk, and he was almost being dragged along. The putrid smell was overwhelming him, but he couldn't vomit even if he tried. It was extremely uncomfortable.
While they were moving, he would often hear voices that seemed to be searching for them. From the volume, there were definitely more than one or two people. This caused the soldiers to be extremely anxious, and they hastened the pace.
Tang Shan had been dragged along the whole time and felt like his wrist was going to be broken. Cold sweat kept dripping down his back.
They finally made it to the tunnel that was pitch black inside.
"We should be able to escape from this town if we take the tunnel. This is the only way out of the city." The female soldier continued on, "We couldn't tell where the tunnel lead to from the roof of a building, but this is the only way out."
"It doesn't matter. There's only one way to find out!"
It wasn't as if they had any other option to fall back on.
They walked along the walls of the tunnel, afraid a car would appear. Luckily, there were no rails on the ground, which meant that trains didn't pass through here.
The further they walked in the dark tunnel, the more afraid they became.
"Why haven't we reached the end of the tunnel yet? There's not even a hint of light!"
"Hey! Don't stop! Keep walking!"
The four of them bumped into one another, and Tang Shan, who had not been steady on his feet, fell to the ground. He was pulled up again.
"What's with you? Don't you even know how to stand properly?"
In the midst of the scolding, someone else shoved him.
"Hey, that's enough. Stop arguing and save your strength! We still don't know how much longer we have to walk till we can get out!" Apparently, the person holding onto him was now the woman. No wonder the strength of the hold on him had lessened quite a bit.
"Who the hell suggested we walk into this stupid tunnel!"
"This is the only way out!"
"It better be!"
"Shut up, both of you!" the female soldier yelled. Her voice echoed back, causing everyone to quiet down.
In her emotional state, she grabbed onto Tang Shan tighter, her fingernails digging deeper into his flesh. Tang Shan groaned in pain but could not make any sound.
"The reason why we haven't seen the end despite walking for such a long time is probably because this tunnel isn't going straight. There may be a curve somewhere. Let's keep walking. We'll definitely see the end. It's not the time for internal strife right now."
The three of them calmed down and set off again. Afraid that they'd lose their sense of direction after being in the dark for an extended period of time, they decided that for every few meters they walked, they would bend a glow stick to illuminate the area.
They had a total of nine glow sticks, with three on each person. When the third glow stick's light faded away, they still hadn't gotten to the curve, and much less the end. The enraged soldier threw the glow stick forward with a fair bit of strength, and the faint green glow stick flew quite a distance before it fell. It rolled forward for a bit of time before stopping, but there didn't seem to be any signs of it reaching the end, as usual.
"What's the furthest you can throw a hand grenade?" One of them asked their partner.
"My record's forty metres."
"What? So even if we walk another forty metres, we still won't reach the end? Damn it, we've spent forever in this tunnel and we still don't know how long it'll take for us to get out!"
Right after was another round of cursing that was too fast for Tang Shan to follow.
"Save your strength," the female soldier sounded tired.
Tang Shan found it incredibly strange. This tunnel was so long to the point that it was disconcerting. It was so dark around them, but there wasn't a single light. In addition, they'd been here for such a long period of time, yet not even a car passed through. They hadn't seen anything alive either, not even a bat or something like that.
He remembered coming here with Jake after waking with no memory. He had a feeling that no cars could come through, and that they should enter it.
Thinking through every detail, he began to feel frightened.
Why did he feel that he had to walk towards a dark tunnel that he could not see the end of? Tang Shan was absorbed in the labyrinth of thoughts in his mind, letting the female soldier push him along.
"That's it! I'm done! I can't go on anymore! This makes no sense!"
Finally, somebody gave up. Tang Shan heard the sound of something metallic and a rock smashing against each other, and that person seemed to have sat where he was standing.
"Stop joking around! We usually have to march for a lot longer than this!"
"This is even scarier than marching. You don't know your destination and you're just wandering around aimlessly. I can't take it anymore! Go on if you want! I'm turning back!"
"You're impossible! Back in the army, you couldn't endure anything remotely difficult as well. What kind of soldier are you? If you thought you could keep living your spoilt city life in the army, think again!" another man scolded.
"Who are you to scold me? Your abilities are way below mine. I'm more suited to be a soldier!"
"What the army needs is obedient soldiers, not supermen! You don't even have any team spirit at all, and you still think you're suited to be a soldier?! I must have done something terrible in my previous life to have been assigned to the same squad as you!"
"Enough. Stop arguing!" the female soldier stopped them again.
However, nobody listened to her this time. The argument continued. In the darkness where nobody could see anybody else, they could only rely on the dim lighting from the glow sticks.
The situation was getting more dramatic. One had pounced on another and began assaulting him, and Tang Shan could hear the sound of flesh hitting against each other. The glow stick had fallen onto the floor.
"Stop it, stop it! You two- just stop it!" the female soldier lost her cool and started yelling, but to no avail.
The person who had the advantage got tired and finally stopped. He didn't care whether his opponent was dead or alive and wrung his hands, before walking over to get his glow stick.
In the faint light, Tang Shan could see blood on the man's hands. He walked to Tang Shan and the female soldier, expression cold. "Don't bother with him. Let's go."
Tang Shan believed he might have killed the man.
"If you don't want to be the next one, then move," she warned, her tone a lot icier than before.
Tang Shan could only follow her directions. Even though his hand seemed to be getting increasingly numb, he could still bear it. He couldn't even yell out in pain even if he tried anyway.
When the fifth glow stick got dimmer, they halted their footsteps once again.
"Hey! Wait! I think I bumped into something!"
The female soldier stopped and looked back towards her companion, but it was just pitch black behind her.
"I think I stepped on a person." the man spoke, and then bent another glow stick, red light illuminating the area. He moved it towards his foot and suddenly yelped in surprise, moving backwards. However, he stumbled over a rock behind him and fell, the glow stick flying a distance away.
The man was only two steps away from them, but it was too dark for them to know what he'd seen.
"Hey! Don't throw your glow sticks around! What's wrong with you?" the female soldier picked up the glow stick that he'd thrown.
"He- he- he's back..." his voice trembled as he stuttered, thoroughly shocked.
"Who? What are you talking about?" The female soldier was completely confused and waved her glow stick around, finally allowing her to see her companion who had fallen.
"There! Right there! See for yourself!" He pointed in a direction.
She pulled Tang Shan along in that direction he'd pointed and confirmed there was someone on the floor. She squatted and moved the glow stick towards the person's face, wanting to see his features.
It was the man who had fallen in the fight just now. Tang Shan couldn't help but shiver in fear, and he also heard the woman gasp.
That person had really been killed.
"There's something wrong with this place! We've walked for such a long time, but why are we back to the same place?!" The man scratched his head in his frustration. His head was flat and he didn't really have much hair to pull, so all that was heard was a faint rustling.
"Are we actually moving forward? Or are we walking in circles?"
After the question was asked, the both of them became silent.
The female soldier suddenly let Tang Shan's hands go, untied the rope around his mouth and pulled out the sock from his mouth.
"You're from here. Tell me what we need to do to leave," she asked, inwardly thinking that she should have done this long ago. There was a living map right next to her, but she hadn't even considered that.
Tang Shan coughed a few times, and before he could even gather his breath, someone started shaking his body, forcing him to answer. "I don't know."
"Stop pretending! Do you really want us to beat you up?" she threatened and pushed him to the ground. She hooked the rope from just now over his ankle.
Tang Shan could tell the situation wasn't good. He really didn't know how to leave this place, but these two people wouldn't possibly believe him.
The female soldier mercilessly tightened the rope on his ankle and kept increasing the pressure on it.
"Ahhhhh!" Tang Shan cried out pitifully.
They were going to cripple him!
Tang Shan knew he couldn't take it for much longer and he had to think up a plan to somehow fool them. The best method was to pretend he knew the way to leave.
"This tunnel is a dead end. You can't get out. You have to go back and find other exits!" The gears in Tang Shan's mind quickly turned, and he came up with a random explanation.
"There's no other way out!" the man exclaimed in agitation.
"Wait, don't you find this strange? We've been in this tunnel for quite some time, right? Why hasn't anyone come in to search for us?" She calmed down and also realised something strange about their situation.
They'd been assuming there were troops searching for them, yet there hadn't been any people or sounds to indicate as such.
If they turned back, they might not be discovered, but there was also the possibility that those troops were aware that this tunnel was a dead end and were waiting for them at the entrance.
She raised this question, and the other soldier quickly answered, "What's there to be afraid of? We have a hostage here."
What they came up with in the end was that they should walk in the other direction and leave the tunnel. As they were afraid Tang Shan would scream for help, they stuffed the sock into his mouth again to ensure he wouldn't do so.
Heading back was another problem since they were only left with four glow sticks. They'd walked too far and couldn't see the light from the entrance. They were completely surrounded by darkness.
Tang Shan wasn't like the soldiers and had had no former physical training. Aside from that, he also had injuries that caused him pain all over his body, and he felt that he couldn't take it for much longer. His consciousness was already beginning to fade.
In the dark tunnel, there was no sense of time. After walking for a long period of time, Tang Shan couldn't withstand the fatigue in his body and fainted. Even then, he seemed to hear the female soldier scolding him, but he didn't have the time to bother with that as he fell.
He didn't know how long he'd been unconscious for, but it seemed to be just the blink of an eye for him. When he opened his eyes, the scenery around him had completely changed.
A yellow glow stick was right in front of his eyes while he lay on the ground. The female soldier's face was about ten centimetres in front of him, and between them was the yellow glow stick. The female soldier stared at him expressionlessly.
Tang Shan wanted to yell, but his mouth was still stuffed. He inhaled sharply and tried to move his body, but he couldn't move. His body was so exhausted that he couldn't gather any strength at all, and he could only lay face to face with the dead woman.
It was dark and moist in the tunnel, and there was the smell of blood in the air. The stone floor was cold, and the yellow glow stick was gradually losing its light. All that was left was Tang Shan gradually becoming blanketed by the darkness.
It was so quiet around him that there was not even the sound of wind. All he could hear was his own breathing.
It was indescribably frightening.
In these circumstances, he thought of Li Yuanyu and how he might come to save him. That was his last hope.
His consciousness began to fade, and he slowly closed his eyes.
Someone suddenly yelled, but his hearing began to muddle. He felt the restrictions on his body release, and then felt someone carry him. Even though he couldn't see anything, he could still recognise the familiar smell that allowed him to lower his guard and fall asleep.
It felt like he had had a good, dreamless sleep.
"Hm, his injuries seem pretty much recovered by now. When do you think he'll wake up?"
It seemed to be Jake's voice.
There wasn't an answer, but there was some water being fed into his mouth. Tang Shan couldn't resist it, but the second time he was fed more water, he slowly began to awaken.
The person in front of him was Li Yuanyu.
Li Yuanyu's lips had been moistened by the water and they glistened, giving him the urge to bite it.
Tang Shan blinked, his reactions still a little slow. Wordlessly, he stared at Li Yuanyu's lips.
"Do you want more?" Li Yuanyu lifted the cup and shook it while he asked.
Tang Shan wanted to reach out for it, but he suddenly realised there was a horrible scar on his wrist. Thinking back to all he had experienced, he dropped his hand.
The female soldier had died, and the sight of her staring at him seemed to be carved into his mind. The moment he remembered it, his skin began to crawl and he began to tremble in fear, whimpering slightly.
It was terrifying! It felt like she was still staring at him.
"Oi, Li Yuanyu, is he really alright? From what I see, there's something wrong..." Jake began to worry upon seeing that.
Li Yuanyu didn't bother replying and gathered Tang Shan, who had curled into a ball, into his arms. "It's okay. You're safe now."
"Li Yuanyu, Li Yuanyu, Li Yuanyu..." Tang Shan held him like a drowning person who had found a piece of driftwood.
"I'm here. You're fine. You're safe. I'll protect you." Li Yuanyu continuously provided him with words of comfort.
Seeing them, Jake read the atmosphere and left quietly.
Tang Shan eventually calmed down and rested his head against Li Yuanyu's shoulder, looking dazed. He didn't even bother with the inappropriateness of their position, and along with the security he felt with the hug, the terror in his heart gradually subsided.
"Are you hungry? Should I make you something?" Li Yuanyu asked.
His voice was very gentle, just as it had always been, but Tang Shan didn't want to leave his embrace, nor did he want him to leave. He held onto Li Yuanyu tightly, shaking his head to indicate he couldn't stomach the food.
"You should get something in your stomach. You've slept for quite a few days and it's not good for your body to go without food for so long." Li Yuanyu tried to push him away.
However, Tang Shan still held onto him, unwilling to let him go. He lowered his head and buried it in Li Yuanyu's neck, silently protesting.
"Or should I get Jake to bring some food up?"
Tang Shan stayed silent, unmoving.
He's only obedient and cute at times like this, Li Yuanyu thought to himself.
He sighed soundlessly, and Tang Shan, who was pressed tightly against him, felt the fluctuation in his breathing. Thinking that he was bothering Li Yuanyu, he hesitated but managed to suppress the longing in his heart and eventually let go, backing out of Li Yuanyu's embrace.
Tang Shan spoke with some difficulty, "I'm sorry."
He moved to the head of the bed, creating distance between them, and curled up like a kitten that had been scared stiff.
Li Yuanyu knew Tang Shan had mistaken the reason he'd sighed, and in his helplessness, felt even more protective of him.
"That's not it," Li Yuanyu got closer to him and gently stroked his hair that was sticking out in all directions, and then touched his face. He wanted to explain, but had no idea how to do so.
After a long moment of silence, Tang Shan looked up and watched Li Yuanyu, wondering what he was going to say.
"I love you. I love you more than anyone else in the world." Li Yuanyu suddenly confessed.
Tang Shan lowered his head again. Li Yuanyu came closer and embraced him once more.
"Tang Shan, you're in my arms now." He sighed happily again.
Tang Shan finally understood.
"Tang Shan, I won't say that I'm doing all these without expecting you to reciprocate. I can wait till you get used to this, but please don't say you'll leave me again," Li Yuanyu hugged Tang Shan tightly, as if he wanted to become one with him.
Tang Shan faltered. The rational and irrational parts of him were dueling against each other, causing him to feel conflicted.
He wasn't homosexual, nor did he wish to become homosexual. He was a completely normal man...
But Li Yuanyu was special!
When Jake finished his third cup of fruit tea, the two owners of the house reappeared, and were unexpectedly holding hands.
Li Yuanyu brought Tang Shan to the side of the dining table and pulled the chair out for his lover, letting him sit. He wanted to get some food from the counter, but Tang Shan didn't seem to have any intentions of letting go.
"Jake, could you get the sandwiches from the fridge for me, please?" Li Yuanyu asked Jake.
It must be the end of the world! Jake couldn't accept the sudden change in attitude Li Yuanyu was taking with him and stood there, stunned. He stared at their intimate position as they stayed glued to each other.
Fine, he might have been exaggerating. They were just holding hands while Tang Shan was seated, and his gaze wasn't even on Li Yuanyu. However, Li Yuanyu was watching Tang Shan with eyes of love and devotion.
It was so sweet it was disgusting!
ayszhang says: Apologies for the slightly late post. Both Ying and I were caught up in some things. Not a good day for me in general :(