(Lirean Province- Capitol City)
(Northern District- St. Radan's Road)
"Watch out!" Qin Lan shouted as she grabbed her brother and shoved him to the side.
A gruesome zombie with thick black claws swiped where Qin Wei's head had been just seconds ago.
Qin Lan lifted up her foot and kicked the zombie in the stomach with enough force that the creature's ribs cracked.
She stabbed her knife forward and twisted the blade in the monster's neck. Black blood splattered on her clothes, but Qin Lan was unfazed.
The cold merciless glint in her eyes sent a shiver of fear down Qin Wei's back as he saw his sister kill the humanoid monster without remorse or hesitation.
How was she so comfortable with killing?
"Are you alright?" Qin Lan asked softly as she stretched out her hand to lift up her brother who was laying down awkwardly on the ground.
"Yeah… yeah…" Qin Wei stammered as he hesitantly grabbed his sister's hand.
"Stay close to me… it's dangerous to run around…" Qin Lan explained as she took out a handkerchief from her pocket.
She began to wipe the black blood off her weapon with familiar motions as if this was something that she had done hundreds of times before.
Eve was guarding the outer perimeter of the group and would occasionally glance at Qin Wei with a warning look.
"How much further do we have to walk?" Gong Li asked nervously as she leaned a bit closer to Liu Yifei.
The city was barely recognisable.
Dozens of cars were scattered across the road, and some were on fire. Screams and cries for help echoed through the city as thousands of zombies roamed from place to place.
Survivors could be seen in the distance desperately trying their best to outrun the horde of monsters that never seemed to tire.
"The van is parked about two blocks away… don't worry… we will reach there safely," Qin Lan tried her best to reassure the frightened girl.
Chen Xiao the class monitor was holding a metallic bat that he had picked up from the supermarket and was warily looking around.
Qin Lan did briefly consider handing out firearms to the teenagers but without proper training the weapons could pose a greater danger to themselves than the zombies.
Arghhhhh! Arghhhhh! Arghhhhh!
A group of zombies jumped out from inside a hidden alleyway and rushed towards the teenagers with their mouths open.
"Move back!" Qin Lan yelled loudly as she felt the warm fuzzy feeling in her chest gradually get hotter and hotter.
The five students followed her commands but if one looked closely, they would see that their pupils were now dilated.
Qin Lan pulled out her other knife from the sheath attached to her hip and joined forces with Eve who had already rushed to her position.
Eve hoarsely growled and for a brief moment the zombie that was targeting Qin Lan stumbled as if it had tripped on something.
The zombie empress did not give the monster any time to recover, and she used her palm to instantly crush its neck into a blood pulp.
Qin Lan was not as strong as Eve, but her body and natural physique had significantly improved since reaching level two.
She ducked and weaved her way out of the reach of the zombies' claws and counterattacked by targeting their limbs.
Zombies in the early stages of the apocalypse were quite easy to handle so the fight only took around three minutes to end.
Qin Lan wiped the sweat off her brow and let out a heavy sigh.
She placed a hand on her chest and discovered that her heart was beating frantically.
She may outwardly seem to be unaffected by the violence, but one mistake could lead to her death.
There were no second chances.
"Is everyone okay? We might have to move a little bit faster since I'm sure that there will be more zombies coming our way," Qin Lan spoke gently.
"But first let me show you something important…"
The young teenagers blinked several times as their eyes returned to normal.
Only Liu Yifei frowned slightly as she felt as though something was wrong but just could not put her finger on why she felt that way.
This was a rare moment of calm so Qin Lan decided to share some information with the teenagers before they moved forward.
Qin Lan nodded at Eve who knelt down and began to rummage through the crushed zombies' skulls.
"What? What are you doing?" Liu Tao asked as she felt the urge to throw up.
"Keep moving and I'll explain on the way," Qin Lan spoke firmly once Eve finished collecting six purplish-black crystals.
Liu Tao swayed unsteadily as she crouched down and tried to stop herself from vomiting. The unpleasant scent of the zombies' remains were now on Eve's fingers.
Qin Lan noticed her discomfort, but she did not stop Eve from showing off the bloody crystals.
In the apocalypse strength meant everything.
"Do you see these crystals?" Qin Lan explained as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a few that were relatively clean.
"These can be found inside the heads of the zombies… I discovered it by accident when I woke up in a police station…"
"Ingesting these crystals can improve the strength of your gift… I didn't know that until Eve showed me…"
Eve nodded in support and did not expose Qin Lan's small lie.
Thoughtful expressions flashed across the faces of the students as they took a closer look at the crystals.
"What about if you don't have a gift? Do the crystals do anything?" Qin Wei hurriedly asked as a flash of greed surfaced in his eyes.
"I… I don't know…" Qin Lan truthfully admitted as she searched her memories only to find that the information was locked behind a fuzzy white wall.
"Just to be safe… I wouldn't recommend swallowing one until we can test out its effects on non-gifted people."
Qin Wei frowned as he heard what he could only describe as a flimsy excuse not to give him a few of the crystals.
No… Why would she be so reluctant to give him a taste of the crystals?
She was always like this!
Qin Lan was always the perfect daughter in the eyes of their mom and dad when they were alive, but he knew the truth…
She was nothing more than a nosy goody two shoes who enjoyed lecturing him!
Life was unfair!
He had to spend his entire childhood under the shadow of his so- called 'brilliant' sister and now she gets to have an ability?
No… it wasn't right!
He deserved strength! He should have been the one to protect Liu Yifei!
Qin Lan didn't notice her brother's sour mood and just thought that he was thinking about the current situation.
Eve gently rested her head on Qin Lan's shoulders and secretly played with the jacket around her upper body.
The journey to the van was relatively uneventful save for the occasional zombie that wandered over to the group.
Eve was able to deal with those small fries quite easily and her strength made some hidden thoughts in Qin Wei's heart instantly disappear.
Qin Lan saw the van in the distance and broke out in a run as she saw a humanoid figure attempt to break inside.
He was greasy middle-aged man who wore a tattered white shirt and a pair of flip flops that were slightly frayed.
He was holding a heavy metal crowbar and kept hitting the middle of the glass with the pointed end.
"Stop! That's our van!" Qin Lan cupped her fingers around her mouth and yelled but the man only kept increasing his efforts.
"No! This is mine! I was here first!" the man hoarsely replied as he redoubled his efforts.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
"What the fuck are you doing?" Qin Lan furiously yelled as she punched forward and slammed her fist into the man's stomach.
The man was sent flying several feet where he slammed against a nearby tree and slid to the ground unceremoniously.
Qin Lan inspected the window and saw that two large cracks were beginning to spread from where the man attacked the glass.
For a brief moment Qin Lan was tempted to take out her gun and shoot him but she quickly controlled the murderous urge rising in her chest.
She took in a few deep breaths and gently exhaled in order to steady her nerves.
All that tension from walking through the city for hours was clearly beginning to affect her.