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Chapter 32: Internal Conflict (For Real This Time)

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CatatoPatch is a freelance translator,
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Mi Dashuai
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Hao Jian, with that crafty air of his, sure threw people off. But deep down, there was a decent guy in there. Just think about how he didn’t hesitate when treating that foot injury. He hinted at wanting some company, but he’d never been the strong-arming type. Nothing like that old man from the hospital.

Sometimes, there was this lonely glint in Hao Jian’s eyes. Made one wonder if it was time to play matchmaker. There were plenty of awesome girls in the class. But making a move and winning them over? That was a challenge best left for Hao Jian himself.

“Do we really need to continue this charade?” Hao Jian quipped, his eyes glinting with a knowing twinkle. “Your attire might be shabby, but it can’t hide your distinct charm – Hold on!”

Lin Feng, in a bid to clarify the misunderstanding, began to unfasten his shirt buttons.

“Wait, you don’t have to,” Hao Jian interjected, a hint of panic evident in his wide eyes. He reached out to try and stop him from unbuttoning further, but Lin Feng’s hands refused to budge an inch.

“I’m just setting the record straight,” Lin Feng retorted, slightly irked by Hao Jian’s incessant interruptions.

“I understand,” Hao Jian conceded, “It’s clear now. Junior brother. No need for further demonstrations.”

Rebuttoning his shirt, Lin Feng settled down. From their brief interactions, he deduced a few things about Hao Jian: he was notably lacking in hand-to-hand combat skills. However, his prowess with a bow was unparalleled. And that was the crux. Lin Feng could benefit greatly from archery training. In comparison, playing matchmaker would be a small price to pay.

Massaging his aching wrist, Hao Jian curiously inquired, “Where on earth did that force come from?”

With a sly grin, Lin Feng countered, “It’s the side effect of the mutation. Did you really think this tail and these ears were just for show?”

Caught off-guard, Hao Jian sheepishly munched on his potato. “Of course. Now, about that girl?”

At long last, progress was made. But was that truly how he normally talks to a girl? Even a kid wouldn’t fare that badly. Regardless, Lin Feng began recounting the recent events at the teaching building, leaving out his encounter in the school ward.

“So the principal was saved by you, your courage puts mine to shame…” Hao Jian sighed.

Lin Feng shrugged, “Just did what I had to, you know? Honestly, living the way you do seems pretty good. Smart choice on your end.”

With newfound determination, Hao Jian declared, “I’ll assist you in rescuing the others.”

Appreciation sparkled in Lin Feng’s eyes. “Thanks. Now, can you point me to the bathroom?”

After Lin Feng departed, Hao Jian gently held a medal, his fingers tracing its edges. With a heavy sigh, he whispered, “Dad…” His gaze followed Lin Feng’s hobbling silhouette. “This time, I stand my ground. I won’t let anyone suffer on my watch.”

An idea flashed through Hao Jian’s mind. Swiftly pocketing the medal bearing the inscription “honor”, he silently headed toward the restroom.


“Lin Feng…” Liu Mengqi’s eyes welled up, tears streaming as she stared at their photo on her phone. She never imagined she’d have to say goodbye in such a heart-wrenching way. The haunting image of his slight form possibly being ravaged by zombies was too painful to bear. She regretted not having one last chance to see him.

Yan Aoxue, dabbing her tears, inquired, “What was that noise outside?” She had only recently become close to Lin Feng, and their conversations mostly revolved around work or mere survival. She knew little of his personal life, only recently discovering his aversion to sweets. Yet, his death struck a deep chord within her.

“Didn’t Anna just walk out with that magazine? Did something happen?”

Anna remembered the magazine Lin Feng had discreetly placed in the principal’s pocket. Later discovering it on the fifth floor, she realized it was meant for a handgun. Fortuitously, Doctor Hu at the school had such a firearm. Without delay, Anna informed the others and left with the magazine to find Dr. Hu.

Brushing away her tears and tidying her hair, Yan Aoxue glanced at the distraught Liu Mengqi. “Stay here, Mengqi. I’ll investigate.” After offering Liu Mengqi a reassuring embrace, she ventured outside.

The moment Yan Aoxue burst into the exhibition hall, she cried out in alarm, “Stop! What’s going on here?”

Without hesitation, she thrust the freckled girl away from Anna. A quick glance revealed Anna’s pale face, now tarnished with clear handprints, and a growing bump on the back of her head. As the freckled girl’s weight lifted, Anna immediately curled up, letting out a sharp cry of pain.

Normally, Anna would have easily trounced them with superior combat experience, but even she had problems dealing with a surprise attack from a classmate.

The freckled girl, jolted by the sudden intervention, pointed wildly at Anna. “She’s turning! Yan Aoxue, you’re next if you stay!” Her voice trailed into a manic cackle.

Hearing Yan Jie’s frantic words, Yan Aoxue hesitated briefly, then gently unwrapped the bandage around Anna’s ankle, revealing a fresh scratch oozing with blood.

“It’s just a scratch. Yan Jie, you need to take a moment,” she said soothingly, holding Anna close. She cast a cautious look at Yan Jie, who seemed to be losing her grip. The two girls who had recently backed Yan Jie were taken aback, evidently blindsided by her violent flare-up.

“Someone explain to me exactly what is going on here!” Old Liu emerged, his face etched with concern. He had hoped for a moment’s peace after the tragic news about Lin Feng. Noting Anna’s condition, he sought an explanation.

“Sir, Yan Jie’s… she’s struggling right now. I need to get Anna to Dr. Hu,” Yan Aoxue said, urgency lacing her voice. With Anna in tow, she briskly made her way to the lounge, which now housed both medical and food supplies. What used to be the kitchen had turned into a makeshift clinic, its cabinets now brimming with medicines instead of spices.

“Doctor Hu? Doctor Hu!” Yan Aoxue called out urgently as she stepped into the lounge.

Distracted from studying a zombie finger, Dr. Hu looked up, her eyes filled with concern. “What’s wrong, Aoxue?”

“Anna’s injured. She’s got a bump on her head,” she said, settling Anna onto a nearby sofa.

Dr. Hu studied the unconscious Anna with a deepening frown. “She needs to be more careful,” she muttered. “Quickly, fetch a cold, wet towel,” she directed. In swift motion, she cut away Anna’s long golden hair to clearly see the injury. “At least the skin’s intact,” she breathed out in relief, placing the cold towel Yan Aoxue provided onto Anna’s bruise.

Yan Aoxue’s eyes lingered sorrowfully on the golden strands now strewn across the floor, silently lamenting the loss of Anna’s gorgeous tresses.

As moments passed, Anna started to stir, her eyes flickering open. She attempted to speak, her fingers twitching with urgency.


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