I’d Rather Die Than Let Go
The bright camp fire warms the body, as Zhang Xiao Qiang sits by the fire casually sharpening his army knife. While Ke Er holds onto the silk blanket tightly and stares blankly at the fire, her body trembling uncontrollably and the food next to her left untouched. Probably traumatised.
Zhang Xiao Qiang looks away, not caring about her and continues to sharpen his knife with a millstone. The continuous usage from previous days has damaged and blunted the Tiger Tooth Sword; the weapon to keep him alive should of course be taken care of.
Other than the sounds from the burning firewood, only the sounds of him sharpening his sword fill the air of the night.
“Sir, do you think I will die?” Ke Er suddenly asks Zhang Xiao Qiang with a light in her eyes.
“Yes! Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next, maybe next month, maybe next year, it all depends on your luck!” Zhang Xiao Qiang says confidently, as he reminisces the first time he faced a zombie, charging it with a pan lid.
“Sir, will you protect me?” Ke Er asks with a sign of plead of desperation in her eyes as she looks at Zhang Xiao Qiang
“No! I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to live myself, maybe I’ll die right in front of you tomorrow” Zhang Xiao Qiang replies, this time with even more confidence, as he recall the time he was covered in wounds facing a mutant cat. The time pinned on top of a bus, feeling the wrath of a D2 zombie. And also the time he was hung on a safety fence, unable to move with the feeling of completely hopelessness.
The light that was in Ke Er’s eyes dimmed down, with a face of despair. “She’s already feeling hopeless” Zhang Xiao Qiang thinks to himself as he looks at her facial expressions.
She stops talking and Zhang Xiao Qiang also remains silent, as he continues to admire his army knife using the light from the fire. The longer he look, the more restless he becomes. An image of him waking up to a hopeless and despair apocalyptic reality flashes across his mind.
“Do you want to live?” Zhang Xiao Qiang asks suddenly, breaking the silence
Girl slowly looks up to him in confusion.
“Do you want to continue to live?” Zhang Xiao Qiang asks again, the light in her eyes appearing again as she nods.
“If you want to continue living in this apocalyptic world, you have to depend on yourself.” As Zhang Xiao Qiang recalls himself training at home with his gun.
“Depend on myself???” Ke Er asks with doubts
“From now on you have to forget everything from the past,” Zhang Xiao Qiang says, looking at her
“You are no longer daddy and mommy’s little girl, you are no longer the mischievous student in class, you even have to go beyond that and forget that you’re a woman,” Zhang Xiao Qiang suddenly recalls his days of living the happy otaku life.
“You have to learn to observe the zombies, face the zombies and until you become able to kill a zombie.” Zhang Xiao Qiang continues to lecture, from a perspective of a veteran.
“How am I supposed to kill?” Ke Er asks
“You’re very nimble and agile, you’ve got pretty good speed as well.” Zhang Xiao Qiang recalling the time she pulled the train to distract the zombies.
“As long as you’re not scared, the zombies won’t be able to catch you, you only have to worry about the evolved zombies……”
Zhang Xiao Qiang continues to pass on his knowledge from experience, telling her about his past encounters, as Ke Er’s confidence starts to grow.
“Thanks sir!” Ke Er says with gratitude
“Sleep early, we’ll start training tomorrow” Zhang Xiao Qiang says
“Ok,” Ke Er says as she begins lying down in her blankets, “Sir, when you looked at me showering this morning, what did you think? Did you like what you saw?” she asks, out of nowhere.
“It was my loss, no boobs, no waist, no ass; you don’t even have one out of the 3 good traits!!” Zhang Xiao Qiang sighs
“Hmm!” Ke Er turns, facing away from him and ignoring him
As the night goes on, the cold starts to creep in, Ke Er moves closer towards the fire as she falls asleep, Zhang Xiao Qiang places some firewood between her and the fire, in case she rolls into it during her sleep.
Zhang Xiao Qiang wants to sleep, but the possibility of something happening during the night haunts him. This paranoia makes restless. Not knowing when the zombies will come and go. Every time they come, it means that he’s screwed. First time he struggled until near death during heavy rain, second time he was attacked by a mutant cat, and this will be the third time.
Zhang Xiao Qiang didn’t want to wake Ke Er, he doesn’t know when danger will strike, nor does he know where it will come from. At least for now he has Ke Er in his sight so he is able to protect her.
The late night wind blows, as the fire dances beautifully like fairies, completely mesmerising. Zhang Xiao Qiang can no longer feel the warmth from the fire, as the feeling of uneasiness creeps into his bones.
Zhang Xiao Qiang picks up his sniping cross bow and nocks an arrow, which is a luxury to use. He checks the knife on his belt, spear in his hand. Still feeling unprepared, he picks up a hammer and puts it into his belt.
Zhang Xiao Qiang sits by the fire, awaiting the unknown that is to come, as time passes, he becomes more and more nervous. Zhang Xiao Qiang hates this feeling, the feeling of not being in control. Instead you can only be a little chest piece which can be trampled on anytime. He’d rather face a D2 zombie than to have to have to wait for this unseen danger.
Time passes on for who knows how long, a giant ancient beast like figure appears in the distant light Zhang Xiao Qiang observes it carefully
A big head with two strong horns appears, almost as if they are sharp enough to pierce the night. The spiral and sharp horn shimmers in the fire light, almost like metal.
Two large hooves allows it to stand strongly, the rest of the body is unseen due to the body, “What kind of monster is this?”
Zhang Xiao Qiang does not know how this mutant monster came to be like this, but those big sharp horns and strong hooves are definitely powerful.
Zhang Xiao Qiang is frozen in fear, fear that the beast may mistake him as a threat. After his experience with the big dogs, he knows that not all mutant animals are a threat to humans. His breathing slows down, completely still. Praying that the monster will leave by itself.
The beast walks towards the fire, curious yet slightly scared, very careful. It completely ignores Zhang Xiao Qiang who is by the fire
Zhang Xiao Qiang also careful observes the beast, standing in at about 160cm, with a slightly yellow coating, body as thick and strong as a wall. When carefully observed, it slightly resembles a mountain goat. The goats that he have seen has short and thick horns, bending slightly backwards. This monster however, has the horn of an African gazelle, long and straight.
As time slowly passes, the monster continues to move closer, Zhang Xiao Qiang prepares himself and becomes very alert. He aims between the eyes of the beast with his crossbow. The atmosphere becomes eerie; the monster takes his interest in the fire as Zhang Xiao Qiang aims at the beast, Ke Er sleeping by the fire, completely oblivious of the situation.
The beast seems to lose its interest in the fire and begins to take a step back to leave.
“Pa”, an ember bursts out from the burning firewood, startling the beast as it charges towards the fire, horns pointing in an attack position. Not knowing the beast is targeting the fire, he fires the crossbow, straight onto the forehead of the beast, the crown of the arrow shaking ever so lightly.
The monster stops in his tracks, with the arrow still on his forehead, charges at Zhang Xiao Qiang. Zhang Xiao Qiang feels bitter in his mouth, how can you kill something that can’t be killed by a crossbow?
Zhang Xiao Qiang throws away the crossbow and holds onto his metal spear. “I’ll give it my all!”. There’s nowhere to run, escaping into the darkness is an even quicker death.
The beast seems to be in extreme pain, as he tries to take out the arrow. Failing to do so, he redirects his anger towards Zhang Xiao Qiang.
It tramples the ground a couple times and charges at Zhang Xiao Qiang with its two big horns directly pointing towards Zhang Xiao Qiang.
He places the end of the spear on the grow for support and readies his stance to face the beast, the spear pointing towards the beast’s forehead, as he waits for it to charge into it.
The beast charges, speed not up to par with the mutant cats but its power is on the same level with the D2 zombies. Zhang Xiao Qiang rolls towards the side the moment contact is made.
“Pong, Pa”. The first sound is the crash and the second sound is the spear breaking into two pieces. As Zhang Xiao Qiang hears the cracking of the spear on the ground, his heart becomes cold.
The huge colliding power also damaged the beast, he stumbles. He shook his head trying to clear the grogginess. A chance he won’t get again, he charges forwards and catapults himself onto the beast. Left hand holding onto its mane, right hand thrusts the army knife towards his neck.
“Dong!” the sound of the knife piercing through his leather like skin, and yanks the blade out. The monster, enraged, begin to flail about.
Zhang Xiao Qiang throws down his knife and puts the monster into a headlock. He only has one thought in his mind, “I’d rather die than to let go”.
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