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Chapter 33: Arrows

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Mi Dashuai
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“The bullets!” Dr. Hu’s eyes widened in recognition, immediately focusing on the magazine Anna held. As she quickly claimed it, her gaze shot to the doorway, measuring their circumstances. Without another word, Anna’s strength seemed to wane, her body sagging.

When they first returned to the base, Dr. Hu and Lin Feng brought back a handgun. Yet, the circumstances being what they were, its ammunition were expanded before Lin Feng managed to liberate the gun from that man. It could still scare off any potential enemies, basically Zhu Hanfang, at this point, but it would only work once. That was until Anna came back with magazine in hand.

“Dr. Hu,” Yan Aoxue chimed in, reading the doctor’s surprise as confusion, “Anna mentioned that Lin Feng discovered this magazine in the infirmary.”

With a nod, Dr. Hu responded, “Who else is privy to this?”

“Just Mengqi, Anna, and myself.”

“Then we keep it that way,” Dr. Hu began, eyes scanning the room. “At least Anna’s injuries seem minor, treat them immediately. Use a cold compress.” Handing Yan Aoxue a towel, her gaze momentarily became distant, perhaps pondering the implications of the magazine. “After I’ve rested, I’ll examine her further. And remind her to keep herself out of danger — she’s grown-up enough to stay out of trouble.”

“Dr. Hu,” Yan Aoxue interjected, “Anna wasn’t just hurt. She was assaulted.”

The doctor’s eyes sharpened, concern evident. “By whom? The students seemed docile when I last saw them, how did an assault happen?”

As Dr. Hu’s gaze landed on Anna’s foot injury, she approached for a closer look. “This too?” Upon a cursory inspection, she found the wound well-taken care of under the bandages, clearly a sign of it being disinfected.

Yan Aoxue hesitated before replying, “That one’s from the outside.”

“Hm, right. For now, move her to the storage room,” Dr. Hu instructed. “Given our unpredictable environment, it’s wise to act with caution. Ordinarily, we have a grace period before an injured person might turn, but these aren’t ordinary times. Ensure she’s monitored. We’ll redress the wound later. Who was it that attacked Anna?”

“Yan Jie. She misinterpreted Anna’s wound as a zombie bite and reacted violently.”

“I’ll deal with Yan Jie later. First and foremost, Anna’s health is our priority.”

As Yan Aoxue walked down the corridor with Anna cradled in her arms, she observed Old Man Liu chastising Yan Jie. Yan Jie’s bowed head betrayed nothing of her feelings — whether it was remorse or resentment, her emotions felt palpable.

Suddenly, Yan Jie’s gaze lifted, briefly settling on Anna’s pale face. A fleeting smirk, cold and unsettling, formed on her lips. Disturbed by the sinister look in Yan Jie’s eyes, Yan Aoxue hastened her steps, eager to find safety in the storage room.

Upon entering, Liu Mengqi, sensing the urgency, quickly set up a foldable bed. “What happened?” she asked, eyebrows knitted in concern as her eyes moved from Anna to Yan Aoxue.

Gently setting Anna down, Yan Aoxue met Liu Mengqi’s gaze with a serious intensity. “Mengqi, I understand your grief, I’m struggling to come to terms with his death as well. But right now, I’m more worried about Yan Jie. She didn’t just lash out at Anna over a minor wound; something’s seriously off with her.”

Liu Mengqi, her voice filled with a mix of confusion and weariness, replied, “Yes… everything’s so chaotic now. Every moment feels like borrowed time. I’m still trying to understand it all. But Yan Jie? Why are you bringing her up now?”

Choosing her words carefully, Yan Aoxue murmured, “I’m just… trying to keep us safe. I’ve got this feeling, and I can’t shake it. I don’t want anything to happen to you or anyone else.” Her eyes filled with genuine concern, Yan Aoxue reached out, giving Liu Mengqi a reassuring squeeze on the arm.

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—Change of Scene—

“Hey, Senior! Are you scoping out the other side?” Lin Feng called playfully from his prime spot on the restroom roof, giving Hao Jian, lurking near the door, a teasing smirk.

“Sis– I mean, Lin Feng? How the heck did you get up there?” Hao Jian blurted out, clearly not expecting to see him in such a perch.

“Using a question to dodge mine, Senior? Not your usual style,” Lin Feng retorted with a growing grin.

Hao Jian coughed awkwardly. “Look, you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. I’m just waiting for my turn here. You know, guys can just shoot one off in front of each other without any hidden meaning, right?”

With a chuckle, Lin Feng swung his legs over the edge and hopped off the roof. As he descended, Hao Jian lunged forward in a surprised attempt to catch him, but Lin Feng nimbly sidestepped the gesture, landing with surprising ease. “Heh, well, enough horsing around for now. I’m sure you’ve confirmed we’re both guys by now, right Senior? And if you’re waiting for the restroom, we can just head in together — no fuss, no drama.” Not waiting for a response, he continued on, hobbling his way into the toilet.

Caught off-guard by his antics, Hao Jian genuinely hesitated, a look of indecision crossing his features, before ultimately choosing not to follow.

Twisting his white cat ears, Lin Feng mused silently, picking up on the sound of distant footsteps. “He hangs around but won’t step inside? His potato dish is really something, and that archery prowess? Impressive. If only he was a bit less out of the ordinary, he might have a girl by his side already.”

When Lin Feng returned, he found Hao Jian lounging at a table. “Hey, how about fetching me a bow and arrow?”

Hao Jian perked up, “Oh? So you’re keen on archery too?”

With a playful roll of his eyes, Lin Feng responded, “Absolutely. And can you tone down the formality? Sometimes, you sound like you’ve been plucked from a history book.”
(TL: I’m not sure I see that in him, especially in this chapter’s raws…)

Hao Jian started, “I merely…”

“Enough with the drama,” Lin Feng cut in with a smirk. “Just point me to the bows, alright?”

Lin Feng had witnessed Hao Jian’s exceptional skill with the bow during their skirmishes with the undead. In their post-apocalyptic world, the bow’s silent efficacy was invaluable. Yet even with Hao Jian’s relentless volleys, the zombies seemed magnetically drawn to Lin Feng.

In contrast, firearms were a double-edged sword. A single gunshot had once summoned a horde of zombies, underscoring the peril of loud weaponry in their current situation.

He had handed his ammunition over to Anna, fervently hoping she’d never have to fire a shot. The bullets served more as deterrence against Zhu Hanfang. Given Zhu’s notorious ruthlessness, Lin Feng believed such measures were essential to safeguard his loved ones.

But to pull the trigger, to extinguish a life — could it alter the very soul of the shooter? Might it instill a sense of invincibility?

Sometimes, the core of a person shifts in that brief interval between intent and deed.

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Seeing Hao Jian approaching with that all-too-familiar sly smirk, Lin Feng inhaled deeply, mentally preparing himself.


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