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Shock painted Zhu Hanfang’s face as he stared at the bleeding wound.
“Who’s got the guts, who?!” With a mix of pain and defiance, he quickly covered his wound, retreating to the shadows by the shattered window, eyes scanning for any further threats.
Having grown up as the heir to the underworld, Zhu knew the drill: in the face of danger, it’s survival first. All the pain, ethics, and bravado? Pushed aside when death’s knocking.
“Boss Zhu?” A bald student dashed over, quickly wrapping a scavenged bandage around Zhu’s arm, his actions urgent but practiced.
The other guys took the hint, pressing themselves against the wall, alert and on edge. Meanwhile, the girls, faces filled with a mix of shock and intrigue, tried to discern the identity of their mystery defender in the inky darkness. Whispers of hope threaded through their words, “Wassn’t there some ace archer in the senior year? Could it be him?”
Yan Aoxue’s eyes narrowed in thought, the chatter of the girls buzzing around her. She recalled a certain Hao Jian, the rumored head of the archery club—a guy with a bit of a hero streak.
Lin Feng, from his hidden spot, sized up the situation. Relief at his intervention was tinged with frustration—his vantage point only gave him a limited view. If the guys shifted even slightly, he’d lose sight.
Engaging directly as an archer? Not ideal. Staying hidden? Equally problematic.
Decision made, Lin Feng moved stealthily toward the top, bow secured on his back. This wasn’t the place for a waiting game, especially with his view so restricted.
A few tense moments passed before a voice cautiously broke the silence, “Looks clear now, Boss Zhu?”
The atmosphere was charged with tension. Zhu’s plan had seemed flawless, but life had thrown him some curveballs. The principal’s sudden appearance, nearly turning some of his minions to the other side, even a gun from the school doctor—thankfully, not ready to fire—and now an unseen archer?
“Who’s the nut case?” Zhu mumbled to himself, his voice edged with frustration. Didn’t these do-gooders know that meddling could get them killed? Were there still white knights in these twisted times?
With a mix of irritation and desperation, Zhu barked, “Hey, four-eyes! Get a look outside.”
Used to being bossed around, the bespectacled student hesitated briefly before inching up, peering out with caution.
“Brother Zhu, the coast seems clear,” the bespectacled man observed after cautiously advancing a few steps. He looked toward Zhu Hanfang, who still hugged the wall, his expression unreadable.
“What maniac did that?” One of the men muttered as he rose. Not missing a beat, Zhu Hanfang strategically slid deeper into the room, ensuring his henchmen blocked the window’s view.
His eyes darted to Dr. Hu, the school doctor, struggling with a gun whose safety was still engaged. Zhu Hanfang smirked.
“Boys, make it quick. The girls? They’re yours, but save Yan Aoxue for me.” At his signal, his men lunged forward. In mere moments, Liu Tao and Song Zhe were overpowered, their bodies already showing signs of a brutal beating.
In her desperation, Dr. Hu tried the trigger. The gun remained unresponsive.
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“Damn it, why won’t it shoot?”
Grinning, Zhu Hanfang sauntered closer. “Idiot girl, let me help you with that,” he sneered, reaching for the weapon. But Dr. Hu held on, her grip fierce and determined.
“You’re a disgrace, Zhu Hanfang!”
“Lin Feng?!” Recognition flashed in Zhu’s eyes. He had believed Lin Feng to be dead.
But before he could react, an arrow zipped past him, narrowly missing his temple, leaving a scarlet trace. Dr. Hu seized this moment of distraction to retrieve her gun and stepped back, eyes wide with fear and resolve.
Zhu Hanfang, suppressing his shock, touched the thin, bleeding cut. The room grew tense as his men instinctively rallied, weapons drawn, eyes locked on Lin Feng.
Stepping forward confidently, Lin Feng swapped his bow for the doctor’s gun, releasing the safety with practiced ease. Pointing it at Zhu Hanfang, he pronounced, “Your move is over, Zhu.”
Zhu Hanfang shot Lin Feng a seething look, his breath ragged. “You’ve got guts, Lin Feng,” he grunted, gripping his bleeding arm. He edged towards the staircase, aware that pushing Lin Feng now could be his undoing. Even the most subdued can snap when pressed, much like his fallen brother.
“Lin Feng, you’ve made your point. We’re leaving,” he grumbled to his men, trailing blood, yet seemingly unfazed by his injury.
Zhu Hanfang quickly recognized the imbalance of power. Relying on these half-hearted students wouldn’t be enough to counter Lin Feng. Their sheer numbers should’ve diminished the threat of one handgun, but these trash had questionable loyalty at best and the bravery of a mouse. Relying on them was even more dangerous.
The notion of dying by human hands, especially so soon in this unraveled world, didn’t sit well with Zhu. But he had patience on his side. His father’s extensive armory, brimming with machine guns and rifles, would level the playing field in the near future. Lin Feng, along with that meddler Yan Aoxue, would eventually meet their match.
But as Zhu prepared to depart, Lin Feng’s voice pierced the tense air. “Wait.”
Zhu paused, his face shadowed with irritation. He spun around, challenge in his eyes. “What now, Lin Feng? You’ve got your win today. But let’s not get too cocky.” His hands tightened around his baseball bat, his eyes darted to the male student next to him. Perhaps with a sufficient distraction, he could get rid of that handgun?
Lin Feng subtly gestured toward two distraught girls, their vacant eyes telling tales of trauma. “You have a debt to settle,” he reminded.
Zhu met Lin Feng’s piercing gaze, sensing the silent threat. Noticing the gun’s barrel inching upwards, Zhu said with a touch of annoyance, “My apologies to the ladies.”
“Sounds hollow,” Lin Feng remarked coldly.
“Fine. If that’s how you want it…”
With a heavy exhale, Zhu made a dramatic gesture. Approaching a nearby student, he seized a cleaver. Swiftly and resolutely, he laid his hand on a table and severed his own pinky, drawing gasps from the onlookers.
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Without showing any signs of distress, he barked, “Let’s go!” and led his entourage to the staircase.