Zhong Yan felt a raging pain in his chest, but he could not open his eyes. A darkness was pressing heavily down on him. At this moment, someone peeled his mouth open, squeezed his nose, and a warm pair of soft buds were printed onto his cool lips. Following that, breaths of life were passed continuously into him. (note)
“Cough… cough cough…” Zhong Yan started to cough, and his sunken chest had once again started to heave up and down violently. Adrian breathed a sigh of relief and supported him up a little to help him cough out the water he swallowed.
When his consciousness fully returned to his body, the intense cold finally registered. Before Zhong Yan could even think about what he was doing, he had subconsciously leaned towards the warmth at his side. When Adrian saw him curling up entirely into his embrace, he lifted him up in his arms and headed towards the house in large strides.
“So…Sorry.” Zhong Yan trembled in his arms. With his teeth chattering, the words that came from his mouth were choppy. “I d-didn’t want t-to trouble y-you. I thought y-you…w-weren’t coming h-home t-today…”
“So you jumped into a pond in the middle of winter just because I’m not coming back?!” Adrian thought of himself as someone with great self-control, but he was never able to suppress the fire anytime he was met with anything relating to Zhong Yan. “You jumped into the water this time, but what am I going to expect the next time I come home? Are you going to jump off the building? Then you better not live upstairs, the bedroom on the first floor will be yours from now on.”
There was only a single bedroom on the first floor. Most of the functional areas of the house, such as the kitchen and whatnot were on the first floor. Occasionally, when Adrian did not feel like getting himself up and down the stairs when he came home, he would just sleep in that room to save trouble. Before he told Zhong Yan this, that room could barely be described as his bedroom.
Zhong Yan’s black hair was soaked. Feebly, his dripping head was resting against Adrian’s similarly wet chest, and he said his compliance in a quiet voice, “Alright…I’m sorry.”
When Zhong Yan and Adrian butted heads in their vocal arguments, Adrian would always spit out the most vicious words he could think of to attack him; but now, when he saw how obedient he was, Adrian swallowed down those words, and was left unable to say a single thing.
Even if he really wanted to pursue the matter, he couldn’t because he knew that it was his fault Zhong Yan fell in.
Looking back now, why would Zhong Yan go to that pond when he was not at home…?
Adrian carried him into the bathroom with a dark expression on his face. He quickly activated some settings on the terminal at the door, and the bathtub Zhong Yan was sitting in quickly filled with warm water at a suitably comfortable temperature. Steam started to gather from the water, and gradually soothed his trembling.
Seeing that he had recovered, Adrian left him to take a bath by himself before heading into the upstairs bathroom for a brisk shower. Then, he began looking for emergency kits around the house.
He knew the state of Zhong Yan’s terrible physical condition too well. He would definitely catch a fever in a while. Even though the Supreme Institution, located on the Institution Star, was said to have a simulated autonomous weather system, they had still chosen to stimulate the friendliest and most gentle climates. Even so, Adrian had still ordered a copy of the weather forecast produced by the School of Sciences. As long as the wind was breezy enough that day to shake a blade of grass, he would have to pile Zhong Yan up with clothes and made him take supplements as if he were preparing for a dangerous battle. For those three years, no matter how he tried to shield him against nature, Zhong Yan would still frequently catch a fever. Adrian would always lament, what kind of growth process did a person have to go through to have such a weak immune system?
But now he at least managed to get a peep at the tip of the iceberg. Since he was small, he would only consume a large amount of carbohydrates. It was almost pitiful the amount of protein and vitamins he lacked. When he grew up, he finally had the chance to enjoy high-quality food and improve his diet, but he just had to be limited by the eating habits he had developed since he was young. He had a small appetite, so he could only eat half the amount his peers could. It would be strange if he could get stronger in such a way.
Adrian managed to find an emergency kit in the study. Fortunately, he had just changed out the medicines in the box just a few months ago during the annual house inspection, so they were still good.
When Zhong Yan walked into the first-floor bedroom with a clean bathrobe wrapped around himself, he could see that Adrian was already seated inside. There was a pile of pills and disposable injections laid out on the table in front of him.
“Get under the blanket.” Adrian gave him a concise order.
As soon as he said that, he heard the doubtful voice of a man from the loudspeaker of his terminal. “…What?”
“Not you. Is there anything else I can use? I just saw a box for similar symptoms…”
“The ones I mentioned earlier are already at a large enough dose, Commander.”
Zhong Yan crawled into the blankets and finally realized who the familiar voice of the man belonged to—It was the Chief Medical Officer of the Navi Military Command, Wei Lan.
It was currently dawn, so he must have been woken up from his sleep by Adrian’s call, but his voice sounded as clear and calm as ever. “Please do not increase the dosage, too much of it can easily cause strong side effects. Also, please do not try to administer similar drugs on your own. Some of them will conflict with each other and affect the efficacy.”
“Alright.” Adrian put down the box of pills in his hands with reluctance. “I’ll call you if there’s anything else.”
When Zhong Yan saw him hang up, he asked slowly, “Are you giving me preventive medicine?”
“What else?” responded Adrian in a grunt. He went over to pull up Zhong Yan’s blanket before tucking in the corners, making sure he was completely wrapped up, leaving only the upper half of his head exposed. “Wait here, and don’t move. I’m going to get you water for the medicine.”
“I couldn’t find it,” said Zhong Yan without any context.
His voice was caught in the blanket and came out muffled. Adrian asked subconsciously, “What?”
“The ring…I couldn’t find it,” said Zhong Yan with disappointment. “When did you throw it? I thought…the water wasn’t changed for simulated ponds like that. I searched every corner but it wasn’t there. Was the water changed because of a failed quality check…”
His voice gradually turned softer, perhaps due to the fact that he saw the look of displeasure on Adrian’s face. So, he said, “I wasn’t trying to steal your ring, I just wanted to take a look, just to see what it looked like…I’m sorry, please don’t be angry…”
When they reunited at their school half a month ago, Zhong Yao had no intentions at all to apologize, but he said many apologies today. However, Adrian still did not achieve any sense of victory.
Telling him he threw the ring in the pond was only a casual remark, he never thought that Zhong Yan would actually believe him. He forgot the window could also lead to the backyard, and most importantly, he really underestimated…how important the matter was in Zhong Yan’s heart. Zhong Yan had never once stopped to wonder whether the words he left before rushing to work were actually true or false, but even if it had the slightest bit of a possibility, he would still throw everything away and put his mind to finding it.
An uncontrollable sense of pain washed over Adrian’s heart. It did not sting too much, but it was painful enough that it was hard to ignore.
“I’m not angry.” Adrian tried his best to remain calm. “Stop thinking nonsense, I’ll go get water.”
After watching Zhong Yan swallow down all the medicines without a single word, Adrian pulled the chair from the table and sat beside the bed. Zhong Yan looked at him in confusion.
Quite uneasily, Adrian tried to speak. “I’ll watch you tonight. Sleep.”
Many years ago, whenever Zhong Yan was badly ill, it was always Adrian who watched over him through the night.
“I’ll be fine.” The powerful sedative ingredients quickly started to take effect. Zhong Yan’s eyes were half-lidded, and he was almost about to sink into dreamland as he muttered, “I’ll be fine…You still…have class tomorrow…”
Even after being administered such a large amount of preventive medicine, Zhong Yan still woke up with a high fever the next morning.
The blanket had already been spread out from his tossing around last night. Adrian kept putting his limbs back into the blanket, but Zhong Yan’s body temperature was too high, and would always try to tear the blanket away in discomfort while he was still sleeping. In the end, Adrian could only choose to roll him up in the blanket. He sat down on the bed and together with the blanket, he carried him over and held him in his arms. Only then did he free one of his hands to operate his terminal.
Zhong Yan wiggled uncomfortably in his arms and muttered, “My…My…”
“What?” Adrian asked, worried that he was getting thirsty. He pulled him closer and put his ear to his lips, but all he could hear was Zhong Yan muttering incoherently, “…I had…my Ocean…can’t find it..it’s gone…”
What ocean? Adrian was puzzled but marked it off as just sleep talk. Once again, he dialed Wei Lan’s twenty-four-hour work line.
“Commander, what’s wrong?” Wei Lan picked up and asked before Adrian could even speak. “Didn’t work?”
“I knew conventional drugs wouldn’t work.” Adrian said, “Should I wake him up now for the second dosage of medicine?”
“How could it not work? That shouldn’t be. It’s very normal to catch a cold from falling into water, there’s no need for any special medicine.” Wei Lan had been in the military for many years, and pulled countless lives in battle back from the hands of death; to think he would make a mistake for a tiny cold surprised him. “How bad is it?”
“His fever is close to forty degrees, and he is still unconscious. Based on my experience, if he isn’t quickly administered with medicine that’s efficable enough, it will soon deteriorate into severe viral influenza, as well as a variety of other complications,” said Adrian, speaking helplessly as if he had turned into a doctor from the many years of dealing with his illnesses. Then, he heard a mutter from the one in his arms, and he added. “Oh right, he’s also speaking nonsense in his dreams, and I’ve never seen this in the past. Is it serious?”
Wei Lan said, “I have no surgeries today, I’ll come over during the day. You can’t solve the problem just by using medicine alone.”
“Alright, I’ll have to trouble you then,” said Adrian. After a quick pause, he stopped Wei Lan from hanging up, “Wait, are you coming over from headquarters?”
“Yes. I have to go to the medical office in the morning first.”
“You…” Adrian took a look at the person in his arms; Zhong Yan was frowning lightly and was expressing a very uneasy look from his dreams. He rested his head on Adrian’s chest, and his soft black hair was now messy from his sweat.
If anyone had to be blamed for the matter, it would be him. Adrian closed his eyes, and told him, “When you come, bring a cake with you from the headquarters’ dining hall. Pick a smaller one, it’s for one person, don’t get a big one.”
Even Wei Lan, whose expression would not change even if Mt. Everest crumbled in front of him was stunned because of this irrelevant request; but he’s the Chief Medical Officer after all, so he calmly accepted the order and even asked, “Are there any specific requirements on the type?”
Adrian conveyed to him his many years of experience in buying cakes for Zhong Yan. “Any type is fine, just tell the waiter to recommend you something super sweet, the sweeter the better.”
Note: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be performed alternately with chest compressions and artificial respiration, do not proceed blindly with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, it is required here for the plot, please do not imitate.