Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Suddenly, a sharp whistling sound was heard, followed by movements like fireworks. In the great battle just now, Chi Banxia used the least strength, so she had reserve energy to spare to be on the lookout.
“Could it be a signal from Zhang Song and the others letting us know where to rendezvous?”
Li Ying’s expression moved. “What do you think?”
As he finished his words, Chen Xun’s throat made a cracking sound, as if bones were being split apart. Liu Qingbo stood up with vigilance and pointed his sword at Chen Xun. “He was scratched by those monsters just now. Could he be infected?”
Everyone subconsciously retreated from Chen Xun, only to see his complexion paling and his eyeballs rolling upwards. His hands kept grasping the wounds on is body that were profusely bleeding, and he refused to stop.
“Don’t touch it, Chen Xun!” Gu Meiren couldn’t help but say
“Xiao Chi, see if he can still be saved!” Liu Si said anxiously.
Chi Banxia took something from her pocket and sprinkled it on Chen Xun, but the latter’s symptoms were not alleviated. The wound was growing bigger, and Chen Xun’s breathing began to shorten as he started to roll around, frightening the ordinary people who hid to the side. Dong Zhi wanted to come forward and check, but Ba Sang grabbed him tightly.
Chen Xun didn’t move for a long time, but everyone knew what would happen next. They stared at him in silence and as expected, after a while, Chen Xun slightly moved again. He slowly got up and folded his upper body desperately as he straightened his body into a weird posture that normal people could not do and slowly walked towards them.
“Chen Xun!” Liu Si yelled.
Chen Xun naturally did not respond. Everyone knew that he had become like Xiang Yongnian, who had lost his mind and attacked his companions. Sure enough, he let out a low roar and rushed towards Liu Qingbo.
Unfortunately, this was the wrong decision. Liu Qingbo waved his sword and penetrated Chen Xun’s neck. Chen Xun desperately tried to grab onto Liu Qingbo, but in the end, he lowered his hands in vain.
Dong Zhi clenched his fists. They had lost another companion.
If this was reality, then who among them could survive until the end? He couldn’t help but think of Long Shen. If it was him, he would leave behind the corpses of thousands of monsters, but such a strong man never stops for the world. It was the world that stopped for him.
Liu Qingbo continued holding his sword in place and his long-suppressed emotions finally broke out. “I don’t want to be consumed like this anymore. I want to go back to the Special Administration Bureau and look. I need to know whether it’s training or reality because I don’t believe that everyone around me has been killed!”
Li Ying frowned and said, “Calm down. I think it’s best for us to find a large army first and then move out of the city.”
Liu Qingbo: “What do you mean by a large army?”
Li Ying: “If everything is real, then the government will definitely organize a retreat. If it’s just training, it’s better to rendezvous with Zhang Song and the others first, then find a way to hold out until it’s over. It’s impossible to keep us trapped in this world.”
Liu Qingbo disagreed, “Then it’s better to go back to the Special Administration Bureau to ask clearly!”
Li Ying shook his head and said, “If this is training, do you think you can just find someone back at the Special Administration Bureau? You also saw what happened to Xiang Yongnian just now.”
Liu Qingbo tilted his chin slightly, not concealing his arrogance. “That’s because he’s too weak!”
Originally, although Liu Qingbo had a deep background, he still maintained a certain degree of politeness in front of Li Ying. After all, Li Ying’s father was a consultant to the Special Administration Bureau, and Li Ying himself was born on Mount Maoshan, so his background was no less than Liu Qingbo’s, but at this moment, Liu Qingbo had finally stopped maintaining his superficial politeness and insisted on returning to the Special Administration Bureau.
Seeing that no one wanted to go, Liu Qingbo snorted coldly, and without saying goodbye, walked out with his sword in hand. He walked quickly and, after a short time, left the mall and disappeared into the distance.
Li Ying looked at Dong Zhi and asked, “What do you think?”
Unlike Liu Qingbo, Li Ying took Dong Zhi seriously. He knows that although Dong Zhi looks harmless on the outside, his actual abilities aren’t that weak. His potential may be even greater than Ba Sang’s, who looks quite domineering in his own appearance. After hearing Boss Wu’s intention to recruit Dong Zhi into his group, Li Ying had always maintained a good relationship with him, as was in line with his usual behavior.
This time, however, Dong Zhi didn’t speak on his behalf but rather asked, “What about these ordinary people?”
Li Ying said, “The world is vast, and they are not the only ones. We can protect for a while, but not for a lifetime.”
Dong Zhi understood and pondered for a moment before saying, “Well, you go meet with Zhang Song and the others, and I’ll stay here to guard. I just saw a semi-closed building on the other side of the mall. We should be able to hold out there for a while. After you rendezvous with them, you can come back.”
Li Ying knew that Dong Zhi couldn’t leave these ordinary people alone. He couldn’t help feeling that Dong Zhi was too kind and soft-hearted, but he couldn’t say anything condemning. After all, there’s nothing wrong with the other party doing this. As a member of the Special Administration Bureau, he shouldn’t leave ordinary people behind at such a critical moment. Although, his reason wouldn’t be as magnanimous as Dong Zhi’s.
Having said that, a kind companion is better than a ruthless one who would stab you in the back or abandon you at a critical moment.
“Okay then,” He nodded and looked around at everyone. “Who wants to go with me?”
Chi Banxia slowly raised her hand. “Brother Li, let me join you.”
Li Ying smiled. “Okay!”
Chi Banxia’s had limited combat power, but she was closer to Li Ying and naturally would want to go with him.
Ba Sang pondered, “I am cooperating well with Dong Zhi, so I’ll stay with him.”
Gu Meiren said, “I’ll stay too.”
Li Ying knew that they had a better relationship with Dong Zhi, but he didn’t care. He nodded and looked at the remaining Liu Si. “What about you?”
Liu Si thought for a while, then said, “I’ll go with you. When we find a large army, someone needs to come back and tell them.”
Li Ying stopped dawdling, got up, and said, “Alright. Before the zombies return, let’s take this chance and move out.”
He also said to Dong Zhi, “Take care. As soon as we find a helping hand, we’ll come back to help you!”
Dong Zhi nodded. “You be careful too.”
The two groups parted ways as the ordinary people shrank to the side at a complete loss. Seeing Li Ying and the others leave, they timidly asked Dong Zhi. “Are you leaving too?”
Dong Zhi comforted them and said, “No, we’re staying.”
The attack from the three monsters just now killed, in addition to Chen Xun, two other ordinary people. One was a young girl, and the other was a middle-aged woman. Luckily, they were stopped in time by Li Ying and Ba Sang, so there were no more casualties.
While the young girl seemed to be alone, the middle-aged woman had a son who was about ten years old. He had been crying for his mother and was being comforted by a woman next to him. He regarded Dong Zhi’s group as enemies as he looked at them with hatred through his wailing.
Dong Zhi felt a headache coming on as he said, “We didn’t kill your mother. She was bitten to death by a zombie. If we didn’t deal with it, she’d soon come to turn you into one. She no longer recognizes you after she was bitten, understand?”
The child responded with a sharper cry. If it weren’t for being hugged by the woman next to him, he would have run towards Dong Zhi to hit him. His cries attracted a few zombies to enter the mall, and their numbers started increasing. Ba Sang stepped forward and kicked the leading zombie while Dong Zhi found a silk scarf somewhere on the ground and ripped it in half, stuffing one piece into the kid’s mouth while using the other half to tie up his hands.
“Mff, mff, mff!” The child stared menacingly at Dong Zhi, as if he was launching death waves at him.
Dong Zhi looked at the woman next to him and said, “Keep an eye on him. Don’t let him make a sound. Otherwise, it’ll attract more zombies. The three of us can escape, but you will all die!”
Since his face was kind and amiable, even if he pretended to be fierce, it didn’t have much lethality. However, given the situation, whether it be the zombies or their life hanging on by a brink, his tone was flat that it served as enough deterrence to make several of the women nodded profusely as they obeyed his command and took the initiative to hold the boy’s leg to prevent him from moving.
Turning around, Dong Zhi saw three zombies besieging Ba Sang, who had his vulture assisting on the peripheral. Unfortunately, he was quickly outnumbered as a swarm of zombies quickly gathered. Under Gu Meiren’s flute, the speed of the zombies was slightly slowed down, but it was only for a short time. Seeing as Ba Sang was about to be grabbed by a zombie from behind, Dong Zhi held his sword in one hand and a talisman in the other. He kept running towards the zombie until he got close enough to slash its neck.
It could be because his strength wasn’t strong as he failed to cleanly cut its head off like Li Qingbo did, but it mattered not. If one strike won’t work, just strike a few more times! Dong Zhi pulled back his sword and slashed again, using more force this time. The sword blade embedded into the gap he made just now and cleanly cut off the zombie’s spine, causing it to collapse onto the ground.
He found that climbing more than 30 floors up and down from the rooftop daily wasn’t a complete waste of time. At least he was able to practice his kung fu tona in the process and, at the same time, work on his physical strength. It wasn’t visible at that time, but during such a critical moment like this, it had revealed itself. Although his reflexes weren’t as light as a swallow, compared to a month ago, it was a world of a difference. His speed of running and his reactions were much more explosive than before.
He pasted the talisman on the head of the zombie, and it ignited, turning into a raging fire that covered its entire head. The zombie roared, falling over and bumping into other zombies, giving time for Ba Sang to breath.
While Ba Sang focused on strength, Dong Zhi focused on skills. Their cooperation had developed from unfamiliar to tacit understanding, and their efficiency in fighting zombies had significantly improved. With a snap, the last zombie fell as its neck was twisted by Ba Sang.
Seeing that there weren’t any new zombies coming in, the three of them wiped off the sweat on their foreheads and rested. Gu Meiren turned her head and saw the child was still struggling desperately while staring at them intently. She put the flute to her mouth and played a minor melody that made the child’s eyes heavy, and he quickly tilted to the side afterward.
Ba Sang gave her a thumbs up. Upon seeing this, Dong Zhi breathed a sigh of relief. People’s lives are the cheapest in troubled times. Seeing the corpses of the zombies, they had gradually started to realize this. Some of their identities can be easily distinguished by the clothes on their bodies.
There were white-collar workers in suits, students in their school uniforms, old men and women, and even children. They had walked on different paths in their lives, but now they all had the same fate in the end.
Dong Zhi sighed softly, looked around at the survivors behind him and said to Ba Sang and Gu Meiren. “This place is located in the middle of a shopping mall, so it’s too dangerous. If there are too many zombies, it’ll be easy to get overwhelmed. Let’s move to a corner over there first.”
Ba Sang and Gu Meiren had no opinion. They moved to the southwest corner of the mall together. There was a separate area here where they could see the movement from outside, and with two walls as a natural barricade, it wasn’t easy for them to be attacked on all sides.
They hadn’t eaten for a while, and after so many encounters, everyone was starving. Ba Sang’s and Dong Zhi’s stomachs grumbled while Gu Meiren covered hers, trying to hold back the sound.
“How are you, beauty?”
Gu Meiren said softly, “I’m okay. Just need to take a break.”
Dong Zhi said, “Maybe you are too hungry. Did you bring any food with you?”
Everyone shook their heads. They were originally going to go to a restaurant nearby, but who would have expected a crisis like this to suddenly happen.
A woman took out half a bottle of water. “I still have some water here. Would you like to drink some?”
Dong Zhi thanked her and took the water and handed it to Gu Meiren.
“It’s not good to go on like this. Everyone needs to eat something. I remember there should be a supermarket on the ground floor here.”
Ba Sang said, “I’ll go. You stay and rest!”
Dong Zhi grabbed him and said, “I’ll go. You still have a lot of strength left. There are old and weak women and children here. If something happens, you can still hold them off for a while. It’s more convenient for me to act alone. I’ll come back soon after I find food.”
Seeing the worried eyes of Ba Sang and Gu Meiren, Dong Zhi smiled and said, “Don’t worry. I’m well equipped!”
He put his backpack on the ground and checked its contents. His wallet is useless for the time being, but since it was light, he’ll take it with him. After all, it did contain important documents. He had developed a habit of carrying talisman papers and cinnabar with him since the incident at Tianyuan Building in Yangcheng. He would usually paint a few talismans when he had nothing to do and had accumulated around 50 talismans so far. 30 sheets had been used and there were about 20 remaining, which is a bit small for his supply but should be enough just for a trip to the supermarket. He could always paint more when he returns.
He took out the talismans and put them in a stack in one pocket and left his backpack at the base. He mounted the Qingzhu Sword on his back and set off. He could feel the burning gaze of everyone from behind him without needing to look back, as they were looking at him for the very last time. He couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry and couldn’t help but ask, “Can you stop staring at me like this? It makes me feel as if I’m never coming back!”
“Be careful and come back safely!” Gu Meiren said.
Dong Zhi made an OK gesture to her, turned around, and walked towards the escalator entrance. The path was calm, and there were no zombies on this floor. Not long after the crisis occurred, the escalator was still running. Dong Zhi didn’t rush down but stood by its entrance as he turned on his phone, clicked on a song, and pressed play.
His phone didn’t have signal since the crisis broke out, but he could still play songs that were originally downloaded on his phone. The sound was loud and clear on the phone’s speaker and soon attracted the attention of the zombies. They gathered around the escalator, following the breath of the living as they staggered towards Dong Zhi.
The escalators have two directions, one going up and one going down. Since the zombies weren’t intelligent, many of them piled on the escalator going down and weren’t able to move up. As more zombies gathered, the area got crowded as they all started piling on top of each other to board the down escalator. Dong Zhi thought it was quite funny to see the scene of a bunch of zombies trying to go up but struggling.
The zombies who came from the other side slowly came up the escalator. As one was about to reach the top, Dong Zhi kicked it with one foot, causing it to fall, and like dominos, all the zombies behind it fell with it. Taking his chance, he got out his sword and stepped onto the escalator and pierced the zombies’ necks before they had the chance to get back up.
The Qingzhu sword was extremely sharp. As long as proper strength was used, it could cleanly cut off the heads of zombies. With the increased usage, his proficiency with the sword had also increased. Before, it took him up to three attempts before he could kill the zombies, but now he only needed a single cut to slice them cleanly in half.
After solving the problem around the escalator, he guessed that all the zombies around the first floor should basically be solved. He turned off the song and continued to walk towards the supermarket with his sword in hand.
The supermarket was a mess, with items scattered everywhere, most likely due to everyone leaving in a panic after the chaos erupted. There weren’t any signs that the supermarket had been ransacked as there were still many things left on the shelves. He found a shopping cart and started putting food and water into it.
His goal was clear. He selected foods that were easy to carry, mainly things like bags of instant noodles, various cookies, and candy like chocolates. The higher the calorie, the more energy it can provide. He mainly only took pure water and functional drinks, like those loaded with vitamins. The shopping car was quickly filled with things that it became difficult to push. He had to selectively discard some drinks that were too heavy and refocused on efficiency on the lowest number of trips he’d need to make.
Dong Zhi suddenly turned around! The sound came from behind him, several aisles away. He didn’t plan to check out the noise as he stood there waiting for a while. When he didn’t hear the sound anymore, he hurriedly pushed the cart out.
Beep, beep, beep.
The sound was eerie as it echoed in the empty store, especially when he knew that there couldn’t possibly be living people around. Dong Zhi accelerated his steps as he held the cart with one hand and his sword with the other. He vigilantly surveyed his surroundings as he continued moving forward.
The wheels on the shopping cart made such loud noises as it rolled on the ground that he was afraid he’d miss the eerie sound that was coming from behind him, so he slowed down his pace and started to push it slowly.
Beep, beep, beep.
The haunting noise was getting closer. Dong Zhi suddenly stopped and swung the sword behind him. A black shadow flashed past within his sight, so fast that he didn’t have time to see his opponent clearly, but Dong Zhi knew that it was one of the monsters that had attacked them earlier.
They were also in the supermarkets! With a crash, the monster jumped between the rows of shelves in the aisle and disappeared in an instant, leaving behind a smashed alarm clock.
…It was an alarm clock held by the monster. Was the monster using it as bait? Truly, they were much smarter than average zombies. This thought made him shiver with fright as all his hair stood up!
No matter how fierce a zombie is, at least they weren’t fast, and they could be defeated using conventional human wisdom. These monsters, however, could set up “traps” and “decoys” to lure humans in. When combined with their strength and speed…
He didn’t dare to think about it anymore. This monster must still be hidden somewhere in the supermarket, secretly looking for an opportunity to attack. Dong Zhi quietly took out a talisman from his pocket.
Could he attract Heavenly Thunder in an underground place like this? If he couldn’t, he would be paying the price with his life. He didn’t dare bet on it, so he held a Sunlight Talisman in his hand just in case. This talisman was a basic talisman that was taught to those who had just gotten started in the Hezao Sect, but Master Fang had told him that no matter how basic things were, they could play a huge role. The most important thing was to familiarize himself and be able to use them freely.
His heartbeat was getting faster, and the palms of his hands were already covered in sweat. Dong Zhi gritted his teeth and pushed the shopping cart forward. It made a loud clanging noise as it rolled by itself past a few aisles before gradually slowing down. At this moment, a dark shadow suddenly appeared on the shelf in front of Dong Zhi. His opponent hadn’t fallen for his trick but went straight for him! His trap was seen through by the monster!
Dong Zhi reacted too late. When he threw the talisman in his hand at the monster, it ignited in mid-air as it swept towards the monster’s face. The monster dodged and avoided it as it clawed towards Dong Zhi’s head. He stepped back quickly and swung his sword out just in time to slash at the monster’s arm!
With a howl, the monster’s elbow was cleanly cut off. It roared fiercely before jumping to the ceiling and disappearing. Dong Zhi didn’t think that such an injury was enough for the monster to lose its combat effectiveness. Since it had brains, it most likely would hold a grudge against him.
He got to the shopping cart, quickly arrived at the elevator, and pressed the up button all in one breath. When the elevator door opened, he pushed the shopping cart in first. Suddenly, he felt a light breeze hit him from behind. Dong Zhi was alert the whole time. Not bothering to turn his head, he stabbed his sword directly behind him.
Miss! The monster let out a low growl and opened its mouth, hitting his face with its foul breath. In the next second, a Sunlight Talisman was attached to its forehead.
“The Ancestors of the Sanqing who sit above the throne. The mighty Heavenly King of Swords turns talisman into fire. Royal edict!”
With a boom, the monster’s head burst into flames as Dong Zhi quickly retreated into the elevator. The elevator door slowly closed as the monster rushed towards him! Its upper body had entered the elevator, jamming the door.
“Roar!” It bared its yellow fangs that were dripping with saliva as its claw stretched towards Dong Zhi, just inches away from his forehead.
The distance between him and the claws was barely half a meter long! The prey was right in front of it. Seeing its opportunity was about to be lost, it rushed towards the elevator to jam the door from closing with its body.
Suddenly, a sword was pulled out and inserted into its throat. Dong Zhi had his back against the elevator wall as he gripped the hilt of the sword tightly before thrusting it forward vigorously. The blade penetrated the monster’s head, piercing out from the other end.
The monster fell to the ground, causing the elevator to shake uncontrollably due to the sudden weight. Dong Zhi took a deep breath, then raised his sword to cut off the monster’s head before kicking its heavy body out of the elevator. He squatted down and examined the monster’s head.
He could still see vague facial features on it. It seems to have mutated from a human, but it really looks similar to the Licker in those American movies. The difference was that this monster was completely dark all over and the flesh of its head was stretched open by the bones below. The original eyes were missing, replaced by two black ones, and its nose was high and bulging. This most likely was because after its visual degeneration, its sense of smell replaced its need for vision, which is why it could accurately find him every time.
After leaving the elevator, Dong Zhi picked up a coat on the ground and wiped his Qingzhu Sword to clean it. He then pushed the cart and walked towards where Ba Sang and the others were. In the past, when he first got the Qingzhu Sword, he would clean it every day after practicing and would sometimes take it out to polish it so he could admire it from time to time. Now that he had started using it as a real weapon, he felt even more gratitude towards its original owner.
If it weren’t for Long Shen giving him this sword, it would be unknown whether he could have survived for this long.
Ba Sang and the others had been waiting anxiously for him and got angry when he hadn’t returned for a long time. If it weren’t for the old and weak, plus the women and children, he would’ve gone down to find Dong Zhi. Everyone was happy to see him return safely with the food. Ba Sang hurriedly ran towards him and helped him push the shopping cart.
“Thank you for your hard work!” He patted Dong Zhi on the shoulder.
Dong Zhi shook his head and took the mineral water handed to him by Gu Meiren. He drank most of it in one gulp and only then felt he had relieved some of his dehydration.
“Just now, when I was down there, I ran into another monster.”
Ba Sang’s and Gu Meiren’s expressions changed drastically.
“But you’re okay?!” Gu Meiren scanned his body up and down.
Dong Zhi nodded his head. “How is it here? Is there any news from Li Ying?”
Gu Meiren sighed. “No.”
Dong Zhi said, “This building is dangerous. I suspect that there are still many monsters lurking in the dark. The electricity in the mall may not last much longer. Haven’t you noticed? The air conditioning is no longer as good as when we first came in…”
Before he could finish his sentence, the lights above his head suddenly went out and the entire mall fell into darkness, causing the group of ordinary people to scream.
Dong Zhi: …
Gu Meiren, Ba Sang: …
Gu Meiren cried, “Stop jinxing us!”
Dong Zhi covered his mouth. “I’m shutting up now!”
Ba Sang was worried. “Is there no emergency light in the mall?”
“There is!” The teller said. “There’s a unified emergency power supply on this floor in the electric room. I know where it is!”
In this kind of weather, coupled with the current mood, it was inconceivable what a muggy and sweltering night it would be to spend inside the mall. More importantly, there were monsters hidden in the dark, which became more lethal with no light to protect them.
Hm, is this reality or a test? Even I can’t tell.