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Holding his breath, Lin Feng pressed against the edge of the door frame as a zombie pushed the door open with its fractured hands.
Lin Feng inhaled deeply, exploiting the opportunity to deftly decapitate the zombie.
Perhaps the noise from shifting items earlier had drawn this zombie over, but its lethargic movements made it an easy target for Lin Feng.
With every kill, Lin Feng grew increasingly adept at slaying zombies, his pace had notably quickened to the point where he was able to efficiently secure classrooms 6-2 to 6-6 without facing any impediments, eliminating about six zombies along the path. Of particular interest was classroom 6-6, which featured a large hole approximately three meters in length and width, providing direct access to the fifth floor. This hole was clearly not the result of an explosion; Lin Feng hadn’t noticed any explosions recently. The spiders must have been responsible for it.
According to information provided by the principal, the spiders had all relocated to the swimming pool area. Lin Feng was confident that if any spiders had lingered in the academic building, his little exploration would have been significantly more challenging.
Armed with a regrettable assortment of loot, including a mishmash of disassembled wooden sticks, several packs of pristine test papers in his backpack, and a few rolls of relatively spotless curtains in his grasp, Lin Feng began his backtrack.
“Liu Tao!” Upon reaching the stairwell, Lin Feng set down the haphazard collection in his hands, beckoning for Liu Tao.
“Back so soon?”
“Yes, come down and lend a hand.”
Liu Tao descended the stairs, his expression betraying disappointment at the sight of the scattered debris in Lin Feng’s hands.
“Don’t be so disheartened. These wooden sticks can serve as weapons, the test papers as tinder, and the curtains as blankets. As the nights grow colder, we’ll require something to ward off the chill.”
Together, they lugged the assortment of items upstairs. Lin Feng delegated the girls to launder the curtains and hang them by the windows, while the boys were summoned to assist in relocating the pile of bodies downstairs.
After ensuring no one sustained any injuries, they ejected the bodies stacked at the stairwell through the window. Utilizing desks and chairs from the classrooms, they barricaded the stairs from the fifth to the sixth floor. Now was not the time to fret over possible infections from the bacteria on the corpses; they had to deal with one issue at a time. After securing the stairs, the group finally retreated to the relative expansiveness of the sixth-floor corridor.
Claiming control over one more floor brought them significant advantages. Unlike the previous floor with its cramped three rooms that barely accommodated the group of 21, the additional floor offered more than just an extra escape route.
They meticulously removed the scattered shards of glass and liberated several relatively expansive classrooms. This effort gave everyone a valuable opportunity to carry out an extensive cleanup.
“What’s our next move?” Old Liu glanced at the obstructed spiral staircase, directing his question towards Lin Feng. His admiration for Lin Feng’s discerning leadership skills had grown, so he sought his guidance in allocating tasks to the students.
“We must proceed cautiously and systematically. Initially, we need to tidy this floor. Subsequently, I’ll lead a small team downstairs to forage for food. To be frank, I’m not overly optimistic about our chances,” Lin Feng confessed, producing a breakfast sandwich he had scavenged from a zombie and passing it to Old Liu.
Regrettably, their group was in the academic building when the calamity occurred. If they had been in the cafeteria instead, immediate food concerns wouldn’t have been an issue. Should they fail to locate any sustenance soon, they might have to contemplate a collective migration towards the cafeteria.
Old Liu understood that their best hope lay in discovering a food cache of some sort, perhaps left behind by a teacher or student. But he knew that was just wishful thinking.
After a day of strenuous organizing, everyone was depleted, consuming their scant rations in silence. Despite the demanding work, complaints were few. Beside Lin Feng, no one else had physically confronted the zombies.
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“You’re going to regret this,” Zhu Hanfang confronted Lin Feng, who was resting on a chair, offered him a contemptuous look and exited without another word.
Lin Feng chose not to respond. He was aware his actions had garnered Zhu Hanfang’s ire. He realized he couldn’t save everyone, but he felt a responsibility to his classmates, with whom he had shared so many experiences. At the very least, he had to try.
“Don’t let him bother you; he’s all bark,” Yan Aoxue approached Lin Feng, offering him a packet of biscuits.
“I understand. You’re quite familiar with Zhu Hanfang, aren’t you?” Lin Feng accepted the biscuits, grimacing upon noticing they were matcha-flavored.
“Indeed, more than just familiar. His family has underworld connections, while my father is a business mogul. They occasionally assist each other, but ultimately, they’re nothing more than insignificant fools,” Yan Aoxue replied.
“Insignificant fools?” Lin Feng remarked, intrigued that this was the first time Yan Aoxue had divulged such detail about her family’s affairs.
“Absolutely. My father holds the power to obliterate them at will and establish a new gang in their stead. They serve a function, but their personal significance is negligible. Zhu’s family merely had the fortune of catching my father’s attention,” Yan Aoxue asserted, handing Lin Feng another pack of biscuits, this time strawberry-flavored.
Observing Yan Aoxue, Lin Feng was taken aback by her perception of his distaste for matcha.
“Your tail is quite cat-like,” Yan Aoxue laughed, pulling up a chair to sit beside Lin Feng while she cracked open the packet of matcha biscuits and took a bite.
Feeling a blush creeping up, Lin Feng swiftly coiled his tail around his waist. He understood he needed to exercise more discretion; otherwise, his thoughts could easily become an open book.
“Speaking of which, where’s Liu Mengqi?” Lin Feng had only glimpsed Liu Mengqi briefly at lunch.
As Lin Feng sampled the strawberry-flavored biscuit, his brows furrowed. He had an aversion to overly sweet flavors, with matcha leading the list and strawberry now coming in a close second.
“Concerned about your darling, are we? She seemed particularly exhausted today. She’s been asleep since noon and hasn’t stirred since. For safety’s sake, we’ve quarantined her in the warehouse, on your bed, no less. Given the current era of unpredictable transformations, we can’t be too cautious about potential sudden changes. Temporary isolation is the safest approach.”
While Lin Feng had been out exploring, Yan Aoxue had been occupied with gathering information on everyone. She had identified two individuals exhibiting slight abnormalities and had them isolated in the warehouse. This decision was made collectively after a group vote, and it was agreed that anyone behaving unusually would be sequestered until they could be confirmed as unthreatening.
At present, they inhabited the 6th floor, with males and females occupying separate classrooms. The 7th floor was designated for the isolation of any abnormal individuals, considering the larger, more comfortable space available downstairs for general living.
“We’re not involved in that way,” Lin Feng retorted to Yan Aoxue, closing his eyes. He swallowed the remaining strawberry-flavored biscuit and took a sip of water. As his ears twitched, he managed to swallow the rest of his mouthful.
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With that, Lin Feng rose and made his way to the 7th floor. He launched himself up the damaged stairs, quite pleased with his leaping prowess, then grabbed a pack of biscuits from the lounge en route to the warehouse.
Knocking on the door, he was met with silence, so he gently nudged the door open.
“Mengqi, I brought biscuits,” Lin Feng called out, stepping inside.
“Huh?” Liu Mengqi, caught mid-conversation with Zhang Yicheng and an unfamiliar bearded man, gawked in surprise.
“Who are you?” Lin Feng inquired, eyeing the bearded stranger.
“It’s me, Lin Feng, it’s Song Zhe.”
“What on earth! Song, you’ve undergone a total makeover?” Lin Feng’s jaw unhinged in surprise at the sight of the long-haired and bearded Song Zhe.
“I’m as perplexed as you are. It appears I’ve mutated, too. But apart from my hair and beard growing incredibly long, I don’t sense anything different,” Song Zhe admitted, stroking his long, silky beard as he sat cross-legged on the floor.
Brushing past Song Zhe’s revelation, Lin Feng made a beeline for Liu Mengqi, who lay on his bed.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“If my assumptions hold, she’s running a fever,” Song Zhe intoned, casting Lin Feng an anxious look as he took in Liu Mengqi’s pallid complexion.
“Damn it, falling ill during the apocalypse is dangerous. It’s akin to waltzing into the jaws of death,” Lin Feng grumbled.
“She needs antipyretics,” Lin Feng asserted, his fingertips skimming Liu Mengqi’s fevered brow. Her current condition filled him with trepidation. If her fever didn’t abate soon, she might not survive the night. The immediate task was procuring medicine.
“Lin Feng, it’s already dark out. The journey can wait until morning,” Song Zhe implored, gesturing towards the dimming sky.
“I need to make the trip under the cloak of night. Song Zhe, I’m entrusting Mengqi to your care. Tonight, I’ll venture to the infirmary and find some medicine.”
“But that’s reckless! The night is teeming with monsters, arachnids, and zombies. The dangers are unfathomable. It’s best to wait until daybreak.”
“I’ve got it covered.”
Lin Feng reassured him with a pat on the shoulder.
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“I sure hope so, I don’t want to lose a good friend to some zombies. The infirmary isn’t far, but those zombies are still out and about.”
“Well if luck is on my side, I might just find a razor for you.” He threw a lopsided smile, glancing at the unconscious Liu Mengqi. He had made a promise to his mother to protect her, but merely two days in, her health had plummeted. The news would enrage his mother.
Gently caressing her flushed cheeks with his hand, mirroring Liu Mengqi’s fair complexion, he vowed, “I won’t let any harm come to you.”
As darkness swallowed the evening sky, Lin Feng armed himself with a prepared spear and a dagger on loan from Zhu Hanfang, promising to find him snacks in return. He intended to stop by the supermarket near the infirmary, though its safety was uncertain.
He navigated his descent from the sixth-floor hole to the level below, diligently scanning his surroundings. With no signs of anomalies, he pressed onward towards the stairs.
“Where are the zombies?” He reached the fourth floor unscathed and unimpeded. Scratching his ear in contemplation, Lin Feng remained alert. As predicted, he spotted a handful of zombies loitering aimlessly in distant corners of the hallway.
Sidestepping the undead, Lin Feng resumed his trek towards the staircase.
“Help, hel…” A feeble plea echoed intermittently from the second-floor restroom. The weak voice belonged to a girl, her strength evidently waning.
“Is this place haunted?” Lin Feng shuddered. Amid the aliens, infections, and mutations, he couldn’t help but liken the eerie moaning to a ghost haunting. He had always been partial to gory, violent flicks, not spectral tales of this sort.