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Lin Feng set his phone down with deliberate care on the table, instantly gathering a cluster of inquisitive eyes around it.
“Focus on E City’s location here,” he guided, motioning to the image sharply defined on the screen.
“Huh, resembles a chicken leg,” Song Zhe casually observed, his fingers absently stroking his meticulously groomed beard.
A girl, glaring at Song Zhe with a tinge of annoyance, chided, “Is there ever a moment you choose to be serious?”
Lin Feng, maintaining his composure, simply nodded, “Exactly, a chicken leg!”
He pointed towards the ‘bone’ section of the whimsically described leg, eliciting a collective murmur of confusion from the assembled group.
“Alright, so E City’s only got two exit points, both jammed up in this ‘bone’ section here,” Lin Feng began, keeping his finger pointed firmly at the tail end of E City’s layout on the map.
“And now, with one taken out, we’re down to just one way out. The rest of our surrounding area? Mountains and water, essentially putting us in a big ol’ trap. That TV bit hinted that the government’s keeping stuff from us. But why?”
Lin Feng’s eyes remained affixed to the map, his mind brewing with emerging theories. Was the government intentionally walling off this area? That motive didn’t quite click.
The snippets of news cached on his phone told an initial story of outbreak reports that quickly got muffled by unseen forces. From there, it appeared that the strategy pivoted sharply to rigid containment, likely culminating in the demolition of the bridge. Yet, considering the exact outbreak spot on the map, its location seemed too conveniently placed.
It almost felt as though the virus hadn’t simply erupted spontaneously in E City, but had been deliberately unleashed. No other city boasted a topography as conducive to containing an outbreak as E City did.
Behind the scenes, there was an invisible hand masterfully maneuvering the unfolding events.
“Lin Feng, you onto something?” Liu Mengqi peered curiously at Lin Feng’s notebook, scanning the jumble of frenzied scribbles.
“Not really, nothing solid at least. Just need to stay tuned to the news,” Lin Feng’s voice subtly wavered with an undercurrent of anxiety.
Releasing a sigh, Lin Feng felt the weight of reluctance towards scheming and strategy-building, yet the stark brutality of reality kept him perpetually entwined in a web of tactical thinking. Every decision now bore the heavy consequence of life or death, demanding perpetual vigilance and calculation.
“Anyway, I’m done eating.”
Satisfied, Lin Feng pocketed his found notebook, resolving to take a mental break. Amidst spiders, soldiers, and endless crises, he pondered, what more could unfold?
Seeking respite on the rooftop, he yawned, surrendering to the gentle sunlight and slipping into a peaceful doze.
1 Hour Later
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Lin Feng’s eyes widened in amazement, inspecting the miraculously healed chest before him. A jubilant leap of joy was barely restrained; his nasty wound had somehow patched itself up during a sunny rooftop nap. A cautious touch revealed no lingering pain.
The signature sounds of an arrow in flight and its impact snapped Lin Feng back to the moment. As he buttoned up his hospital gown, his eyes drifted down to Song Zhe below, deeply inhaling amidst his daily archery practice.
Lin Feng effortlessly hopped across, landing on the adjacent rooftop.
“Seen any spider movement, Song?” he tossed the question casually.
“Wait, Lin Feng, weren’t you supposed to be resting?” Song Zhe’s eyebrows arched in surprise.
“Healed up. We’ll talk about it later. What’s happening over there?” Snatching the binoculars from Song Zhe, Lin Feng’s gaze darted toward the girls’ dormitory –nothing. Maybe the supposed Spider Queen below ground had a TV to keep her informed? As if, haha.
“Song, what’s up?” Lin Feng, feeling a soft touch on his chest, pulled the binoculars away and watched as Song Zhe drew back his hand.
“Whoa…Lin Feng, your wound just…healed up like that?” Song Zhe’s eyes toggled between amazement and skepticism, the earlier battered state of Lin Feng’s torso still fresh in his memory.
“Yep. You’ve been leveling up your skills; I can’t get left in the dust, can I? Especially with all the fighting we’ve done,” Lin Feng replied, patting his healed chest with a grin before handing the binoculars back to Song Zhe.
“See ya, Song. Keep at it, haha!”
With a lighthearted smirk, Lin Feng watched Song Zhe swipe sweat from his forehead, then spiritedly bounded off the rooftop.