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Impossible! Lin Feng’s heart pounded as he vaulted onto the building’s eaves. He’d seen Hao Jian’s insane archery skills before—the guy could take down a hundred zombies with a single arrow.
“Could it be even worse than the rumors?” Lin Feng wondered, scanning the scattered zombies below. They were there, but not swarming like they usually did in the stories.
Looking closer, he noticed a single room with a candle flickering on a higher floor, out of reach of the wandering zombies.
“Man, Hao Jian, you better be alright,” Lin Feng muttered. He and Hao Jian were more like acquaintances than buddies, but Lin Feng found him okay—a little flirty, sure, but not a total creep. The guy even invited him for a meal once. Most crucially, Hao Jian was an archer of incredible skill, yet he wore his talent with a surprising humility, as if he was still a kind senior in the university.
Spear in hand, Lin Feng took out the zombies blocking his way to the elevated room and leapt in.
What he saw was gut-wrenching: Hao Jian against the wall, flickering candlelight casting shadows over his face. He was holding a woman with an arrow sticking out of her head.
“Hao Jian!” Lin Feng jolted him awake.
“Wan Yun, you’re back. Hang on, I’ll whip up some of those stewed potatoes you like,” Hao Jian slurred, reaching to touch Lin Feng’s face.
“Hao Jian, it’s me, Lin Feng,” he said, pulling away. At least Hao Jian wasn’t zombified or dead.
“Oh, right. About Wan Yun… she’s…” Hao Jian choked up, clutching the lifeless body even tighter.
Only then did Lin Feng realize the woman was the mysterious feline girl he fought that day—Wan Yun, according to Hao Jian. And the owner of that bow.
Instinctively, he tightened his grip on his spear, ready to activate his time-slowing ability if Hao Jian flipped out like the principal.
“I’ve made a fool of myself,” Hao Jian sighed, gently putting down Wan Yun and covering her with his archery jacket.
“Hah, there’s no need to be so tense, I’ve spent the last three days crying my eyes out and—”
Hao Jian’s words cut off as he started to collapse. Lin Feng dropped his spear and caught him just in time.
“I’ve been so lonely, waiting for you guys. I thought you had come back that day, but…” Hao Jian’s grip tightened around Lin Feng as he passed out.
Carefully laying Hao Jian down, Lin Feng felt a wash of guilt. He’d been stuck in the medical building and hadn’t realized how hard the last few weeks had hit Hao Jian.
The guy was obviously starving, his body a frail shadow. What had he meant to Wan Yun? Surely more than just colleagues. The pain on his face said it all. Were they a couple?
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Shaking off the questions, Lin Feng carried Hao Jian to the main hall, securing the area before opening the door.
“Come on in, but watch your step. There are a couple of zombies still hanging around. Let the vanguard handle them,” he said, letting a group of girls inside. He took one last look around and closed the door, relieved there were no more hidden threats.
(end of Chapter 52)
“Certainly a good decision not to dismantle this place, Sen,” Mr. Liu said, lightly patting the principal on the back.
“I agree, Liu. Archery was a shared passion for both of us in our youth. How could I eliminate such precious memories? I had initially planned to convert this spot into a swimming pool after retiring the archery club—somewhere for us to relax in our later years. But things have changed,” the principal said, his expression becoming a touch melancholic, as if contemplating personal burdens.
“Don’t worry, old friend. I’m still here with you,” Mr. Liu reassured. They smiled and walked together into the courtyard.
“Lin Feng! Where are you, Lin Feng?”
A loud voice resounded from Hao Jian’s room. The door burst open, revealing Hao Jian in a disheveled state, shirtless, dragging his pants along.
Rubbing his forehead, Lin Feng sighed. “I’m right here,” he replied, walking over to Hao Jian.
“Oh, thank goodness. This isn’t a dream,” Hao Jian murmured before fainting once more.
“Unbelievable,” Lin Feng muttered, gazing at the unconscious Hao Jian. Despite his condition, Hao Jian had still managed to seek him out.
Feeling both resigned and concerned, Lin Feng hoisted Hao Jian back into his room. He caught Song Zhe’s attention and quickly laid out the tasks: clear away any remaining zombies and fetch a towel and warm water from the kitchen. Memories of Hao Jian’s potato stew came to mind, guiding Lin Feng to point Song Zhe to the exact room where they’d once shared that simple but meaningful meal.
As he looked at Hao Jian’s pained expression, a swirl of emotions overtook Lin Feng. Clearly, Hao Jian had a tangled past with a woman named Wan Yun, and whatever their story was, it had now taken a tragic turn. It was a somber tale in a world that had become a stage for countless such tragedies.
“Lin Feng, here’s the water,” Song Zhe announced, bringing over a basin of warm water and sitting beside Hao Jian.
“Is this the Hao Jian you’ve mentioned?” Song Zhe asked casually.
“Yes, he saved me from a zombie attack a few days ago,” Lin Feng confirmed, wetting a towel to clean the blood off Hao Jian.
“Wait, what are you doing?” Song Zhe interrupted.
“Cleaning him up. I’m concerned the zombie blood might cause an infection,” Lin Feng responded, surprised at the interruption.
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“I’ll do it. It’s… not appropriate for you,” Song Zhe insisted.
“Screw you! Are you calling me a woman?”
“No, absolutely not,” Song Zhe clarified, snatching the towel to clean Hao Jian himself.
“What I’m saying, Lin Feng, is that as the de facto leader, you should focus on larger issues. Let me handle the details.”
“Alright, let’s switch gears for a moment. What’s going on between you and the school doctor?” Lin Feng cut to the chase.
Song Zhe looked away, going silent. Lin Feng let out a sigh. “You do realize there’s a pretty significant age gap, right?”
“You’re the one who brought her here in the first place,” Song Zhe countered, a touch of defensiveness in his voice.
“Since when does that make it my fault? Look, Song Zhe—”
“Did I hear someone mention me?” The voice of the school doctor filtered into the room as the door swung open.
“No, not at all,” they both chimed in, dismissing the question in unison. While the harsh realities of their environment had mostly muzzled idle gossip, Song Zhe was obviously keen to keep his emotions under wraps, age gap and all.
Lin Feng found himself inwardly sighing. Considering all the young women in their community, why was Song Zhe so intrigued by someone significantly older? Did he have a penchant for maturity?
(end of chapter 53)