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Chapter 19: Verge of Collapse

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CatatoPatch is a freelance translator,
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Mi Dashuai
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(Note: This chapter contains implied, repeated, non-consensual acts of violence, and offensive behavior. Reader discretion is advised.)

I wasn’t entirely forthright in our encounter, but then again, neither was he. We were both engaged in a delicate dance, attempting to decipher one another’s true intentions and strengths. Lin Feng found himself wondering how convincing he had come across. It was evident that man was assessing any affiliations he might have, while Lin Feng himself was equally vigilant about his motives. The subtleties of their exchange suggested future encounters might escalate in tension.

As Lin Feng fingered the foldable knife in his pocket, he steered towards the power station. Mentioning the ‘working’ fuse was a ruse, designed to dissuade immediate hostility. If he discovered the minor fuse issue could be fixed with a quick supermarket run, his safety could be compromised.

Lin Feng was no fool; the apocalypse had fully arrived, and a horde of zombies wasn’t a threat a simple security guard could handle on his own. The precise decapitations of the nearby zombies more than backed up his theory about that man’s abilities.

Logically, he shouldn’t have any reason to target me, Lin Feng thought to himself, but a little bit of caution when venturing into someone else’s territory is always a good idea. It’s a basic rule in the wild: feign vulnerability when faced with strength and show might when the enemy is weak. Hopefully, my act of seeming defenseless was persuasive.

Lin Feng’s strategy depended on the man’s decision to release him, and thankfully, he played right into his hands.

Back at the supermarket, Lin Feng’s quest for protective equipment proved futile, except for a box of talcum powder. Everything else was just trivial snacks. A part of him yearned to stay away from that unknown threat, but he had to return to Liu Mengqi.

“Who’s there?”

“It’s Lin Feng,” he responded.

“The circuit’s repaired then?” Without hesitation, the man opened the door.

“Almost there. A few more tweaks here, and we’ll be back online,” Lin Feng remarked as they made their way to the storeroom. Once inside, the man locked the door tightly behind them and illuminated the room with a flashlight.

“Well? Get fixeding,” the man said impatiently.

Lin Feng cast a wary eye at him, noting how the man’s hand had subtly slid into his pocket.

With expertise, Lin Feng swiftly replaced the fuse. Such a basic task was straightforward for anyone who had taken the time to learn it, but it appeared the man before him hadn’t.

“It’s all set, mister. You can give it a try later; the power should be restored,” Lin Feng said.

“And you’re sure it’s fixed?”

“Absolutely. I’m studying this field,” Lin Feng affirmed.

“Right. It’s just a shame that old man only turns on the power in the afternoon…” The man abruptly stopped there, letting his words trail off ominously as he cast Lin Feng an eerie smile.

“Ah, I see. Well, you can test it tomorrow then. I can come back for the medicine,” Lin Feng suggested, seeking an exit. However, the man stood in his way.


“Why the rush? Wouldn’t it be simpler to check everything now? You can keep your uncle company at the same time.” The man’s voice held a trace of menace.

“My classmate is expecting me,” Lin Feng began, but the man lunged forward, cutting him off.

Perceiving imminent danger, Lin Feng unleashed his hidden skill, using the talcum powder to conjure a fleeting smokescreen. Caught off guard, the man hastily aimed his weapon at where he presumed Lin Feng to be. Yet, Lin Feng, with deft precision, hurled a pebble from his pocket, throwing off the gun’s trajectory.

Without missing a beat, Lin Feng launched two more pebbles at the hand that held the flashlight. The man grunted, losing his grip, and the flashlight tumbled to the ground. With a swift stomp, Lin Feng crushed it, spilling the batteries and plunging the room into an ominous darkness – an arena where Lin Feng held the advantage.

In his disarray, the man shot twice, barking out a cacophony of threats and expletives. Lin Feng cunningly deployed his shoes as a distraction, further confounding his adversary.

Bang! Bang!

“You *****!”

In a frenzied state, he discharged two wild shots, barking out a cacophony of threats and curses. Deftly, Lin Feng threw his shoes as a diversion, further muddling the man’s sense of direction.

Bang! Bang!

“I swear, once I catch you, I will make you scream through the night!”

The shots rang out, targeting the source of the noise just as Lin Feng had anticipated.

Amid the dim surroundings, Lin Feng’s sharp eyes locked onto his disoriented foe. With honed precision, he swiftly subdued the man, took possession of his gun, and fastened it securely to his own waist. Reaching for a nearby shelf, he procured a robust rope and expertly tied the man’s wrists.

“All that effort for a pair of shoes?” Lin Feng chuckled, picking up his shoes riddled with bullet holes. With a sigh, he added, “They were my only pair, too.” He shot a disdainful look at the unconscious man before slipping on the damaged shoes, the tip of his big toe visible through the tear. “Now, let’s see what this man’s been hiding.”

Moving quietly up the stairs, Lin Feng paused to listen intently, discerning a soft whimper from a nearby room. As he pushed the door open, a putrid stench hit him hard. Taking a moment to adjust, his night-adapted eyes unveiled a chilling sight: a woman, brutally bound and scarred, sprawled across a pristine hospital bed.

Ugh. Lin Feng barely held back the bile in his throat.

Without delay, he flung open the windows, allowing the cool breeze to chase away some of the room’s fetor. As he gently untied the tormented woman, believed to be the new school doctor, words eluded him.

Like a wounded kitten, the woman recoiled back into a nearby corner, huddled in a futile attempt to stop the violent shivering of her body.

“Doctor, I’m–”

Suddenly, a deafening commotion sounded from outside. Glancing out, Lin Feng’s heart plummeted upon seeing a horde of zombies, probably drawn by the earlier gunshots, advancing towards their location.

“We need to get out of here, immediately!” He declared, wrapping his jacket protectively around the shaking doctor.

Emerging from her prison cell, she was immediately confronted by the sight of the man, her relentless tormentor, now bound and defenseless. Her eyes blazed with a feral rage upon recognizing him. With swift brutality, she grabbed a pair of scissors from a nearby table and, holding them with a vice-like grip, viciously drove them towards him, her gaze burning with vengeance.

Vengeance had been served, yet Lin Feng had little time to reflect on the doctor’s actions as the eerie wails of approaching zombies propelled him into action. He sprinted to the ground floor, only to discover the door secured by the man.

“Doctor! Where are the keys?” His voice echoed with desperation. But she seemed lost in her vengeful trance. Each blow she dealt left the body more disfigured, as a chilling stream of blood made its haunting descent downstairs.

By the time he rushed back to the room, Lin Feng was met with the sight of the doctor, her sanity clearly fraying.



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