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Chapter 38: Chen Ranran

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Mi Dashuai
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The principal began with a heavy sigh, “The situation is dire.” He paused, letting the weight of his words settle. “Two students have suffered not only physically but emotionally. Physical wounds may heal in time, but emotional scars… they could last a lifetime.” Gathering himself, he turned his gaze to Old Liu.

Old Liu met his look with sorrowful eyes, “I’m deeply remorseful, my dear friend. It’s clear my teaching methods fell short. Maybe I’m not the mentor I believed myself to be.”

The principal, in a comforting tone, replied, “You mustn’t blame yourself so, Old Liu. This post-apocalyptic world has thrown challenges at us none could have prepared for. And, from what I’ve heard about Zhu’s family circumstances, this is not solely on you.”

Switching gears, the principal’s gaze sharpened. “Lin Feng, you hinted at leaving earlier?” Adjusting his Zhongshan suit, he settled beside Old Liu, turning his attention to the younger man.

(TL: Imagine Mao Zedong in his Chinese suit. That’s a Zhongshan suit.)

Lin Feng began, his voice firm, “Principal, our pressing concern is our food supply. While we have provisions for now, they won’t last forever. I believe Zhu Hanfang’s group has nearly depleted the teaching building’s reserves. We must act quickly and plan our next steps for our continued survival.”

The principal raised an eyebrow, “And you’re suggesting…?”

With a somber nod, Lin Feng replied, “I’ve located a potential safe haven. However, the challenge lies in reaching it.” As emphasis, he lightly caressed his sleek, deep-blue modern bow, using his tail to expertly lift an arrow.

“Ah, you mean the archery hall?” The principal’s eyes lit up with realization. He had always championed the hall and had a good rapport with its operator, Hao Jian. He saw undeniable value in learning traditional skills for personal growth. If only that incident with that girl hadn’t happened… She held that very same blue bow with a cat motif…

Lin Feng nodded, “That’s the one. I recently crossed paths with a senior student there. Not only does the hall have a decent food reserve, but the number of zombies is also surprisingly low. Plus, it’s much nearer to the cafeteria than where we are now.”

The principal paused, deep in thought, before turning to his colleague, “Old Liu, what’s your take on this?”

Old Liu paused thoughtfully before replying, “I have every confidence in Lin Feng’s judgment. But I believe we should also seek the wider group’s insights.”

The principal raised an eyebrow, a hint of amusement in his tone. “You think highly of Lin Feng, don’t you?”

Without hesitation, Old Liu affirmed, “Absolutely. Time and again, Lin Feng has demonstrated his leadership, ensuring everyone’s safety. Old Sen, what about you?”

“I’m in agreement,” Old Sen chimed in. “Let’s hear from the students.”

Flattered by Old Liu’s unexpected praise, Lin Feng’s cheeks flushed. He offered a sheepish smile, absentmindedly tugging at his ear, and followed the principal to address the gathering.

With authority, the principal gathered the students and presented Lin Feng’s plan.

“I’m in.”

“Me too.”

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“We trust you, Lin Feng.”

The consensus was clear: their next move was to the archery hall.

Embarking on their mission was not as straightforward as mere decision-making. While Lin Feng possessed the ability to protect a handful, he understood the importance of a robust team. So, he handpicked a squad, primarily male students, supplemented by a few resilient females.

The Mutants: Song Zhe and Lin Feng.

Non-mutated Combatants: Liu Tao, Chen De, Anna, and Chen Ranran.

Lin Feng appraised his chosen members. Song Zhe, having once saved Lin Feng in a dicey situation, had since shed much of his timidity. Liu Tao exuded the essence of a fighter. Chen De, even with an amputated arm, showcased impressive physical prowess.

Anna’s fiery temperament matched her ferocity in combat, a trait highlighted during the mission to rescue the principal.

Chen Ranran was an enigma to Lin Feng. Her understated style, characterized by short hair and plain denim, juxtaposed her dream of becoming a police officer. While her fitness was evident, her prowess against zombies remained to be seen.

“Tomorrow night, we embark on intensive training. Make sure to get some rest,” Lin Feng instructed the team before heading back to his own little corner in the warehous, wondering about its state during his time away.

The strategy was to shift their base under the cover of night. While darkness compromised visibility, the superior night vision of Lin Feng and Song Zhe gave them an edge over the ever-present zombies.

By day, endless waves of zombies seemed to mock Lin Feng’s previous day’s efforts. Areas he had painstakingly cleared were swarming with the undead by the next dawn. He considered regrouping at the archery hall as a stepping stone before deciding on their next move out of the school. The school’s overwhelming zombie density not only heightened the risk but also made maneuvering through them a challenge.

These zombies had a proclivity for grouping together. Those found alone were usually distracted by a nearby meal or trapped. Intriguingly, many took refuge under the shade of trees during the sun’s peak.

Lin Feng had charted out the next day’s plan: to lead his team through the ground floor of the main teaching building. They hoped to identify any zombies that Zhu Han’s team may have overlooked. While a majority of his crew had some combat experience with zombies, Lin Feng’s primary focus was on sharpening the skills of Chen Ranran and Chen De, transforming them into lethal adversaries.

“Lin Feng.”

While contemplating his plans, reclined on his foldable bed, the soft squeak of the opening door pulled him back to the present. Seeing the hesitant figure of Chen De, Lin Feng sat up promptly, his gaze sharp and attentive.

“Chen De?”

Chen De, his voice steady but laden with gratitude, stated, “Lin Feng, I really can’t thank you enough for all the times you’ve had our backs.”

Lin Feng, exuding an air of calm, responded with a casual shrug, his tail subtly shifting behind him. “We look out for each other. That’s how it should be,” he remarked, motioning for Chen De to sit.

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Chen Ranran, stepping forward with a sincere look, added, “Honestly, Lin Feng, if it wasn’t for you, I don’t know where I’d be right now.” It was clear that the two had come together to express their shared gratitude.

Lin Feng, with a slight smile, replied, “If our roles were reversed, I’m sure you’d have done the same.”

Chen Ranran’s brows furrowed as she mentioned, “Zhu Han’s group, though… their actions are beyond reprehensible.” Her gaze darkened, recalling the traumatic experience of the two female students.

Lin Feng sighed, “Every crisis has its opportunists. The world’s gone sideways, and Zhu Han’s just leveraging the situation to influence those male students. At least he’s stopped short of outright killing.”

Chen Ranran, her tone firm, countered, “Regardless of the world’s state, what they’re doing isn’t right. If things were normal, they’d be facing legal consequences. Wrong is wrong, no matter the scenario.”

Lin Feng nodded, impressed by Chen Ranran’s unwavering sense of justice. After a moment of reflection, he resumed his search for his trusty backpack, which he suspected housed his dried fish stash.


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