The house Tan and Azief had broken into was only one story and didn't have the luxury of a high class defense system like in Tan's home.
Azief didn't have a good vantage point anymore and the house itself didn't have the high stone walls.
Thus, they had to resort to taking turns guarding it. It was now Tan's turn.
Tan looked outside, sighing in relief.
He'd survived another day in this new world and reached quite a high level while he was at it.
Even though he was ageing, with his subsequent level ups, he felt himself getting healthier.
From what Azief told him, with just a bit more EXP, he could choose a class.
Quite frankly, he had to thank Azief. If not for him, Tan would have most likely already died.
Tan got his wallet from his storage ring and opened it revealing a picture of a woman wearing a cheongsam.
Seeing it, he smiled bitterly.
It was a picture of the love of his life. Unfortunately, though he truly loved her, he wasn't able to marry her because of the fact that both of their families objected.
Afterwards, he was put in an arranged marriage with his ex-wife and suffered nearly every day.
Now that the world had turned into a hellscape, Tan's only wish was to see her once again.
"Right now you must be as old as me," He reminisced.
His head was filled with memories of their childhood, playing around the Pahang River.
He still remembered riding a boat to go to the city.
He still remembered the mango tree where they engraved their names. He still remembered their mischievous adventures. He remembered it all and each memory haunted him.
People always said that to live a fulfilled life is to live with no regrets.
But he had one too many.
And the greatest of all was when he left her at the wish of his father. Since then, he never truly felt happiness. There was always something missing.
Closing his wallet and storing it away in his pocket, Tan made a vow to himself. If he survived this wretched world, he wouldn't spare any efforts looking for her.
Looking outside once again, it was quiet and dark. A sinister and oppressive air filled the night.
As if foreshadowing something, the dark clouds blotted the moonlight and the wind carried with it the sounds of groaning zombies.
The stench of death was pervasive.
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, Tan spotted something… something moving. Focusing on the movement, all he could see was a blur as his heart rate skyrocketed.
He was about to wake his partner up, when Azief appeared beside him with his weapon primed and ready. His perception sensed something.
"Something there?" Azief whispered, causing Tan to nod.
"What is it?" he asked after Tan's confirmation.
"I couldn't see it. It's too dark and my eyesight is bad," Tan responded.
Azief nodded and looked outside. There shouldn't be any zombies near them, and even if there were, they shouldn't be fast enough to escape Tan's vision.
A noise rang out above the two as something landed on the roof. At this point, they had both pushed their senses to the limit as adrenaline coursed through their veins.
"Prepare to fight," Azief warned as he gripped his blade tighter.
Suddenly, the roof gave out and with a booming sound a beast landed on the floor cracking the concrete beneath its feet. And as the dust was settling, a pair of giant, piercing, feline eyes gazed at the two. In front of them was a giant cat with fangs that resembled a saber-tooth tiger. It had sharp, barbed claws and a bulge on its forehead. It silently eyed the duo akin to a predator eyeing its prey.
"Get behind me!" Azief urgently commanded Tan.
At the same time, the beast leapt through the air and tried to maul Tan. He only survived because Azief rushed forward and met the beast's claws with his blade. A clashing sound rang out and sparks flew.
The beast's strength was overbearing, and as it pressured its opponent the ground underneath them cracked.
Azief spat out blood and used his full strength to push the beast away.
"Heal me!" Azief shouted to his partner.
The beast, who had previously targeted Tan, turned its gaze towards Azief and roared, shaking the whole house.
'Should I run? No… Can I even run? Considering I couldn't even track its movement, running would only make me easier prey,' Azief calculated.
He had to go on the offense.
This time, Azief took the initiative.
Dashing forward, he appeared inside the beast's range, but thanks to his agility he managed to unscathed against the barrage of attacks by the beast.
As its claws nearly decapitated Azief, he was only more determined to kill it.
Each exchange further collapses the walls around them as claw and blade marks fill the surroundings.
With all of the area damage the fight had caused, it was a marvel that the house itself was still standing.
Suddenly, by a stroke of bad luck, as Azief was dodging a swipe, he stepped on a pebble which interrupted his dodge and resulted in the beast grazing one of his arms.
"AAAAHHHH!" Azief screamed in agony as his blood seeped out and dyed his dark clothing in a deep red.
The pain was indescribable. A whole chunk of flesh was cut off. Such a pain was unimaginable.
Tan, shocked at the blood, dropped to his knees, dazed.
"SNAP OUT OF IT! HEAL ME!" Azief yelled.
Tan, brought back to reality by the shout, quickly got up and casted Heal. The missing chunk of flesh was magically mending itself.
Although he could cast Heal himself, most of Azief's SP was locked in taming the badger. Furthermore, he couldn't afford any distractions as the beast was still pressing on with its attacks.
Thankfully, by this time, Azief had already grasped the beast's attack patterns. The beast relied on its instincts and was limited in its moveset.
This limitation caused the beast's attacks to be rather predictable. It always swiped right, then left.
And even with the meager amounts of variation its brain could come up with, Azief was always one step ahead.
The counterattack would begin.
Azief started distancing himself from the beast and feigning weakness. And when it moved forward to attack, he used his hidden blade to stab it near its hind legs.
Taking the opportunity to distance himself further from the beast, Azief was now outside.
The beast was injured. He needed to take advantage of that.
His heart was pounding as he pushed his concentration to its limits. As if some type of mental barrier broke, a rush of cool energy filled his head as he found himself in a state of hyper focus.
This was a life and death battle. One mistake and he was done. This wasn't even remotely comparable to when he fought the zombies. The zombies were practically wet towels under his blade, but the same attacks would be hard pressed to damage the beast in front of him.
He looked at the beast, analyzing its strengths and its weaknesses. He was analyzing everything imaginable. Blood was flowing from one of the beasts crippled legs. Its strongest tool was its legs. If he could cripple them all, the beast would be nothing.
The fight raged with Azief desperately dodging everything. Tan was in the backlines providing his support. Every single time Azief was injured, Tan casted Heal.
This was another of Azief's advantages. He had support while the beast was alone.
On the other hand, the beast was only growing more and more bloodthirsty due to the onslaught. Lunging forward ferociously, it roared with a volume capable of deafening everything within 3 kilometers.
Hearing this disturbance, the horde of zombies near the mall started traveling to its origins.
Inside the mall, a woman with a bow peered outside from a boarded up window and looked in confusion as the zombies left the area.
'What happened?' she mused to herself as she thought of several survival plans. 'I have to gamble,' she decided while waiting for the remnants of the horde to leave.
As soon as most of them had left, she left her hiding spot and moved outside.
The clanking of an opening steel security shutter attracted whatever zombies had remained and they shambled towards the sound. Unluckily for them, the woman was prepared.
She held the bow like a professional athlete and fired at one of the zombies with a sniper's accuracy.
Thud. A sinking noise sounded out as the arrow lodged itself dead center in the zombie's forehead.
As she continued her offense, she would occasionally hear more roars. Each roar filled her heart with dread.
But she had to focus on the task at hand, and after killing a few more zombies, she closed the security shutters and again waited for an opportunity.