Category Archives: Zom Fu

Zom Fu – Chapter 64

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The members of the Clan of the Mediocre Yet Effective Club Bonk struggled on the palace steps to hold back the zombie invaders. Several of them had fallen victim to the Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite.

Junjie observed the carnage, then looked to the Staff of Ages. The ruby glowed red once more.

“The Staff of Ages has been freed of Dragonhand’s influence,” the Infallible Master said. “It belongs to its true master once again. Wield it freely and it will know exactly what you wish it to do.”

Junjie closed his eyes and raised the staff high into the air. Thunder claps sounded overhead. Multiple bolts of lightning tore through the sky and zapped their way into the staff, until the ancient device began to glow bright white.

Once more, the handsome hero pointed the staff toward the sky and a colossal lighting bolt of unfathomable size lit up the night sky. It pulsated in the heavens, dancing and flickering about until it separated into hundreds of smaller lighting bolts. Each bolt found a different zombie brain to pierce. Soon, every last brain biter in the Forbidden City was destroyed, while the remaining humans survived unscathed.

The clubbers cheered. Junjie cheered. “Master, I can’t believe that….Master?”

The Infallible Master was nowhere to be found, except in Junjie’s mind. “There is no more that I can teach you now, my son. It is time for you to become the master, and time for me to wile away many a year in Diyu.”

“Diyu?” Junjie asked out loud. Those in the handsome hero’s general vicinity might have thought the young man had gone mad had they not seen so many other frightening wonders that day. “I thought you said you would never be able to pass on to the other side.”

“A Master has his ways,” came the Infallible Master inside Junjie’s brain. “The older we get, the more realize what we once thought is impossible is, in fact, quite possible.”

“There’s something you aren’t telling me,” Junjie said.

“Perhaps,” the Infallible Master said. “But the task of rebuilding the devastated kung fu clans is ahead of you now. The last thing you need to do is to worry about me.”

“Wait,” Junjie said. “Will I ever see you again?”

The master’s voice laughed. “Yes. It will seem like an eternity but remember, time is but a trick of the mind. We shall have our reunion one day, if not in the gloomy abyss of Diyu, then surely in the warm embrace of Heaven.”

“Can I talk to you?” Junjie asked.
The master’s voice laughed again. “Oh my son. I spent so much time with my master that I hear him even when he does not speak to me. You will see me and hear me in everything you do, regardless of whether or not we actually speak again.”

“That’s very cryptic,” Junjie said.

“Meh,” the Infallible Master said. “I am a kung fu master. It is what I do.”

“Goodbye, Master,” Junjie said.

“No,” the Infallible Master said. “Not goodbye. Never goodbye. I will see you later.”

A tear streamed down Junjie’s cheek. “I will see you later, Master.”

And with that, the voice inside Junjie’s head was gone.

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Zom Fu – Chapter 63

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Junjie looked to the Infallible Master. “There is no more Bohai, is there?”

“There is not,” the Infallible Master replied. “There is only Rage Dog. Do not make the same mistake I did.”

Rage Dog held up the squirmy bag. “To eat the last brain of an imperial dynasty, to obtain the knowledge that comes with countless generations of leadership…all of China will be mine.”

Junjie picked up one of the golden swords and pointed it at Bohai. “Release the Emperor, monster. Do so now and I will clap you in chains and lock you away where you can’t hurt anyone anymore. I will then spend the rest of my days searching for a cure, for some method of restoring Bohai’s soul to his former body.”

Rage Dog’s eyes traveled to his missing hand, then to the various holes and marks that permeated his body. “What makes you think Bohai would even want it now?”

“You are repeating my mistake, my son,” the Infallible Master warned. “No more negotiations. Finish him.”

Junjie studied Rage Dog’s face. “I know my brother is in there, somewhere…I just can’t…”

Thunk! The tip of General Tsang’s sword pierced its way through Rage Dog’s eyeball. The creature uttered a few last gaps then dropped the bag, only for it to be caught just in time by the general’s hand.

Rage Dog collapsed to the floor. He was no more. Once he was out of the way, the full figure of the general was revealed. The veteran warrior was soaked in the blood and brains of the many zombies he defeated out in the rain.

“You kung fu fighters are a sentimental lot, aren’t you?” General Tsang asked as he looked down at Rage Dog’s corpse. “Good think I didn’t know him that well.”

Ever so gently, the general placed the bag on the floor and opened it up. A very scared little boy popped out and attached himself to his protector like a barnacle on the hull of a ship.

“Tsang!”

“Yes, your majesty,” General Tsang said as he ran his hands through the boy’s hair. “Tsang is here now.”

“Come,” the Infallible Master said to Junjie. “There is more work outside.”

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And Now Zom Fu Returns…

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Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Yeah, it’s unfortunate I ended up taking a little hiatus on Zom Fu.  Ironically, I did so right at the end.

When last we left our epic tale, Junjie had just defeated Dragonhand, the Master of the Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite.

It’s pretty much cleanup from now on, just the the final chapters where we learn what happens to our heroes after the story concludes.

Good news!  That means I should have another draft of a novel done within a month, perhaps sooner depending on how much time I can put into it.

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Zom Fu – Chapter 62

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“Aaarrrrgggh!”

Junjie screamed as he came to his senses. He looked around. He was back in the Emperor’s throne room. The ghostly apparition of the Infallible Master stood before him.

“He…he killed my parents?”

The master looked away. “Yes, my son.”

“You knew!” Junjie shouted.

“I did,” the master said.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Junjie asked.

“Because a mind locked in rage can never be truly focused on a higher purpose,” the master said. “You already despised Dragonhand for turning your beloved Mei-Ling into stone. You would have lost control had you learned that he killed your parents as well. You would have fought with fury, rather than skill…with anger, rather than cunning. You would have…”

“I would have known the truth,” Junjie said.

“You would have died,” Junjie said. “Dragonhand would have defeated you. Of that, I am certain.”

Junjie stood up.

“I intended to tell you,” the master said. “After…all of this.”

Junjie wiped a tear from his eye. He leaned in to hug the master, put his arms passed through.

“I forgot,” Junjie said.

“I know,” the master said.

“Dragonhand never realized I was the child?” Junjie asked.

“An undead man’s brain is a swirl of confusion,” the master said. “Most of the time, Dragonhand believed he was his own man, separate from Longwei. That is true, for Longwei’s soul resides in Diyu. However, Dragonhand possessed Longwei’s brain and with it, his memories. At times, the creature was perplexed and puzzled, confident that he was a champion, free from a sense of right and wrong that a soul provides and yet, burdened by all the petty jealousy and aggrieved feelings that were stored away in Longwei’s mind. He claimed he was better than Longwei and yet, a part of him longed to prove to me that he was my best student.”
“Am I your best student?” Junjie asked.

“Well,” the master said. “I’ve never had a student who defeated a foe such as Dragonhand, so I’d say yes.”

A few seconds of silence passed.

“Don’t let it go to your head,” the master said.

“I won’t,” Junjie replied.

“And now you know my great shame,” the master said. “I could have destroyed Dragonhand all those years ago, at the very instant he became one of the undead. I could have saved everyone – the kung fu clans, the masters, the soldiers, so many innocent villagers – I could have spared so many so much pain had I just brought myself to extinguish him but I could not.”

“Why couldn’t you?” Junjie asked.

“Because every member of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw is my child,” the master said. “Their pain is my pain. Their suffering is my suffering. A father doesn’t stop loving a child just because he has done wrong. I loved Longwei too much to snuff out Dragonhand, but I realize now that I selfishly put my own emotions over the lives of so many.”

“I don’t know that I can blame you,” Junjie said.

“We all make mistakes,” the master said. “For centuries, the master of our clan has been called, ‘the Infallible Master,’ but I assure you, your master is very much fallible.”

The conversation between master and student was cut short by the sounds of the Whirlwind, struggling under the strain of a massive weight. He entered the room. Niu had come to and he was in his feet, but resting most of his bulk on the Whirlwind’s shoulder.

“Hergh!” cried the Whirlwind as he eased his hefty charge down onto the steps.

Once free of Niu, the Whirlwind choked and wheezed as he caught his breath. “It’s nothing but vegetables from hereon out for you, baldy!”

The Whirlwind collapsed on the steps next to Niu. “I will hurl myself from the highest cliff in all the world before I carry your giant ass around, that I can guarantee!”

Junjie and the master rushed to Niu’s side.

“My son!’ the master said.

Niu was speechless.

“That bag of filth took his peepers,” the Whirlwind said. “But I bravely carried his carcass all the way here, putting myself…and my back…in great danger.”

No one appeared to be all that concerned with Niu’s well-being. Junjie ripped a strip off of Dragonhand’s robe and handed it Niu. The big man held it over his eyes to sop up all the blood.

“Niu?” Junjie asked. “Can you hear me?”

Slowly, Niu nodded his head up and down. His voice was hoarse. “Yes.”

The master turned around. “Watch over my son, Whirlwind. Junjie, come, we must save the Clan of the Mediocre Yet Effective Club Bonk.”

As master and student walked towards the door, they were met by Rage Dog. His hair and clothing were sopping wet from rain. He held up a big, brown sack. Inside, a little boy wiggled around and whimpered.

Rage Dog gazed upon Dragonhand’s corpse. He thought about this development for a moment, then laughed hysterically.

“I suppose I should thank you for dispatching my master,” Rage Dog said to Junjie. “Now the Emperor’s brain will be mine!”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 61

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Crunch, crunch, crunch. Junjie’s teeth chewed through veins and gray matter, then swallowed. The taste was abhorrent, yet the anticipation of the knowledge to come took his mind off it. Something had drawn him to this brain and he had to know what.

Junjie closed his eyes. When he opened them, he felt big, bold, strong…and angry…oh, so very angry. He was in the sanctuary of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw, walking hurriedly toward the courtyard. Honghui stood up ahead, next to the Infallible Master, who was holding a baby.

“Junjie?” the master said as he looked down at the infant. “That means ‘handsome hero,’ you know. An awful lot of pressure to put on one so small.”

“Yes,” Honghui said. “But I have no doubt he will live up to the name, master. Ling felt the same way.”

“And where is Ling?” the master asked.

Honghui looked down, sullenly. “Gone.”

The master frowned. “How?”

“Longwei,” Honghui said. “When he learned that Ling and I were leaving the clan so that we could be married, he went mad. He somehow saw it as offense to him, that he was your greatest student and that we could not leave until he’d bested us in a fight.”

The master sighed. “That sounds like Longwei.”

“I declined,” Honghui said. “As did Ling. But Longwei’s words were so cruel that I lost control and called him a fool. That enraged him so much that he laid in wait and as soon as I left, he…he…”

Honghui’s eyes teared up. “…took the brain of the woman I loved.”

The master gasped. “Took her brain?”

Longwei finally reached the courtyard. “Yes! And it was delicious!”

The master pointed the Staff of Ages at Longwei. “Longwei! What has come over you?”

Longwei chuckled. “Destiny,” Longwei said. “That is what has come over me.”

“Away with you,” the master said. “You’ve gone insane.”

“No, master,” Longwei said. “I assure you, I’ve never had a better understanding of the world.”

“I will hear no more of your drivel,” the master said. “You’ve already taken one member of our clan today. You will not take another. Look at what you have become!”

“You have always resented the fact that I was better than you, old man,” Longwei said. “My feet were faster than cheetahs. My muscles were stronger than those of an ox and my hands?”

“Enough,” the master said.

“My hands are swift and dance through my opponents like a graceful dragon twirling through the air,” Longwei said.

The master pulled the baby close to his chest and held the staff high in the air. Clouds formed in the sky. “Enough.”

“You always favored Hongui and Ling over me,” Longwei said.

“A lie you told yourself over and over until you believed it to be true,” the master replied. “I love all my students equally, even you Longwei…even after the evil you have done.”

Longwei drew closer. He gazed upon the baby.

“Give me that child, so that I might snuff it out and spare it a life of knowing what a pathetic weakling its father was.”

Honghui lost control. He charged at Longwei…only to have his brain ripped out by Longwei’s tiger claw.

The master’s heart sunk, but he wasn’t just a master of kung fu. He was a master of his own emotions and buried them down, refusing to cry as Honghui’s lifeless corpse hit the ground.

Longwei bit into Honghui’s brain as if it were an apple. He swallowed, then tossed the rest over his shoulder. He returned his attention to the master.

“Give that child here.”

A lightning bolt shot out of the sky and into the staff. Thunder rolled as the staff glowed bright.

“Do not make me do this, my son,” the master said.

“No one is making you do anything, old man,” Longwei said. “You do what you wish. I know from hereon out, I will do as I wish. I will never be held back by you ever again.”

“I was never holding you back,” the master said. “I was trying to contain your boundless ego, to get it under control before you did…something like what you have just done.”

Longwei reached for the baby. “And I’m just getting started.”

Thok! The master kicked Longwei with such force that he was launched into the air. The old man then took aim with the staff and sent the lightning bolt into Longwei’s body, killing him instantly, even before he hit the ground.

Darkness. Longwei saw nothing but darkness. Seconds later, he opened his eyes. He looked up at the master, who was standing over him, still holding the baby.

“Longwei?” the master asked.

Longwei looked into the master’s eyes, and caught the reflection of his face in them. In that reflection, Longwei was able to see that his own eyes had gone blank – pure white, devoid of anything else.

“There…there is no Longwei….there is only…Dragonhand.”

The master pointed the staff at Dragonhand’s face. “Leave here at once, creature. Do not darken this sanctuary’s doorstep again, or that will be the end of you.”

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Zom Fu is in the Home Stretch

Hey 3.5 readers.

Dragonhand is dead!  Again!  Huzzah!

So now its just a matter of wrapping it all up.  That will still take awhile, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.  I may be on my way to finishing another novel draft.

Thank you to the 3.5 of you who have been reading.

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Zom Fu – Chapter 60

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Two jagged, golden swords adorned the walls of the Emperor’s throne room.  Dragonhand and Junjie had each managed to get there hands on one and sparks were flying as metal clanged on metal.

“Why does the name ‘Longwei’ offend you so?” the Infallible Master asked.

Dragonhand swiped his sword just over Junjie’s head.  “There is no Longwei!  There is only Dragonhand!”

“I see,” the master said.  “And it agonizes you to be called Longwei?”

Dragonhand stepped back, barely missing a strike from Junjie.  “How many times must I tell you, you dense, obtuse old idiot?  There is no Longwei!  There is only Dragonhand!”

Clang, clang, clang!  The swordplay continued.

“Then why is it that it offends you when I tell you that you were not my best student?”  the master asked.

Junjie sailed through the air at his opponent, his foot straight out in a kick position.  Dragonhand caught his adversary’s foot, twisted it, then flipped him to the ground.  Junjie stood right up, sword at the ready.

“Because I was your best student!”  Dragonhand shouted.  “I was the pride of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw!  I fought harder and better than everyone combined and yet you held me back at every turn.”

The master chuckled.  “You mean I held Longwei back at every turn.”

Dragonhand turned his attention to the master.  It was a fool movie, as Junjie was able to land an uppercut against the zombified warrior’s jaw.  Dragonhand retaliated with a brutal kick that knocked Junjie into a nearby wall.

“What?”  Dragonhand asked.

“I never trained a creature named Dragonhand,” the master said.  “I trained a young man named Longwei.  He was bright and bold.  Skilled and knowledgeable to be certain, but more concerned with glory and applause than working with his clan as one part of a larger whole.”

Dragonhand appeared confused.  He pointed at the master.  “Enough of your tricks!”

Junjie pulled himself out of the rut his body had formed when he slammed into the wall. He ran at Dragonhand and the swords connected again.

“You are wrong that there is no Longwei,” the master said.  “Longwei’s soul suffers torment in Diyu, the same torment we all will be forced to suffer when our time comes and we cross over.  One day, sooner or later, the Yama Kings will judge that Longwei’s sins have been sufficiently punished and atoned for, and he will be free to live in Heaven for eternity.”

Clang, clang, clang!  Junjie and Dragonhand locked eyes and stared at one another as they pressed hard against one another’s swords.  They hoped in vain to budge the other, but neither fighter would be moved.

“Silence!” Dragonhand cried.

“You, on the other hand, are merely a creature of flesh and bone,” the master said.  “There is no soul in you.  There is nothing of import in you.   Your mind operates based on a brain that doesn’t belong to you.  You share Longwei’s thoughts.  Clearly, you sometimes get confused and think you are him, but you aren’t.  You are just a pile of sentient meat and when you are gone, there will be nothing left of you.”

Dragonhand dropped his sword.  Junjie assumed this was the perfect moment to attack.  He raised his blade and was about to bring it down on his opponent’s head when Dragonhand bashed his skull into Junjie’s, dropping the hero with a vicious head butt.

“I don’t recall that move ever being recorded in the annals of kung fu,” the master said.

“I do what it takes to win,” Dragonhand said.

“A trait you share with the former inhabitant of that body I’m afraid,” the master said.  “But no, no.  No need to remind me.  You’re not Longwei.  You are the mighty Dragonhand.”

Dragonhand’s face was bloody.  His nose was broken.  He picked up his sword and ran towards the old man.  He rammed his sword into the apparition, slicing and dicing through the ghost but it was no use.  He was, in essence, chopping up thin air.

“Does this make you feel better?” the master asked.

Dragonhand was enraged.  “Raaaaaarrrgh!”

The fiend spotted Junjie.  The hero was kneeling on the floor, with his face down, blood trickling out of it.  Dragonhand went to the Dragon Throne and picked up the Staff of Ages.

“It’s time to finish this.”

Dragonhand walked toward Junjie.  He raised the staff over his head.  Lighting cracked through the ceiling and into the staff.  Thunder clapped.

“You will watch your student die now, old man!”

“It will be a pity to lose my best student,” the master said nonchalantly.

Another bolt of lightning struck the staff.  More thunder.

“I was your best student,” Dragonhand said.

“Again,” the master said.  “Longwei was my student.  I don’t know you, strange creature.”

Dragonhand pointed the staff at the ghost.  The ruby glowed bright purple.  “Not another word.”

The master nodded.  “As you wish, stranger.”

But the master wasn’t done talking.  As far as Dragonhand knew, the old man was silent.  However, his words flowed through Junjie’s mind.  “I doubt your parents spent long in Diyu.  They are in Heaven now, looking down upon you.  Will you make them proud?”

Junjie’s head remained down.  In the turmoil, he’d dropped his sword.  It rested on the ground, several feet away.  His right hand trembled.

A third bolt of lightning hit the staff.  Thunder clapped again.  Dragonhand turned the staff at Junjie.  With all his might, Junjie struggled to turn his right hand into a tiger claw.

“Now you will know the power of zom fu!”  Dragonhand shouted.  “Now all of China will cower before…”

Before Dragonhand could say his own name, Junjie crammed his tiger claw into the creature’s skull and pulled out a goopy, gloppy, still-pulsating brain.

Like a chicken with its head cut off, Dragonhand’s body stumbled.  His feet took him a few steps forward, then a few steps backward.  The entire top half of his head was gone.  Only the part from his mouth on down remained.

“All,” Dragonhand said with a strained voice.  “All of China will…will…they will all cower before…”

The fiend’s body hit the floor.  His mouth had one last word to say.  “…Dragonhand.”

Junjie looked at the brain in his hand.  It glistened and glowed in the moonlight that poured in through the thunderbolt made holes in the ceiling.

The Infallible Master stepped over to his protege.  “I never doubted you.”

“You didn’t?”  Junjie asked.

The master shook his head.  “Perhaps there was a modicum of doubt.  A slight, insignificant amount of doubt.  Overall, I was fairly certain that this ordeal would end with Dragonhand’s carcass on the floor and his brain in your hand.”

“You were only fairly certain?”  Junjie asked.

“Let’s not ruin the moment, my son,” the master replied.

Junjie stared at the gray matter in his hand.  “Every brain I have ever seen has repulsed me.  They normally make me sick to my stomach but this one…this one…”

“Intrigues you?”  the master asked.

“Yes,”  Junjie said.  “I crave it.  I’m hungry for it.  It’s all I can do to keep myself from biting it.”

The master nodded.  “Perhaps it different from other brains.”

“How so?”  Junjie asked.

“Perhaps it contains knowledge that you have yearned for your entire life,” the master said.

Junjie licked his lips, then looked away from the brain.  “No.  I could never.  I don’t want to end up like him.”

“You will never end up like Dragonhand,”  the master said.  “You are too pure of heart to become a brain addict.  Of that, I am certain.”

“You keep saying that brain eating will never turn me into one of the undead,” Junjie said.  “But honestly, how certain of that are you really?”

The master shook his head.  “Fairly certain.”

Junjie rolled his eyes.

“I’ve been alive for a thousand years, my son,” the master said.  “Trust me.  ‘Fairly certain’ is the best anyone ever gets.”

Junjie continued to stare at the brain.

“Make a choice,” the master said.  “Bite it or destroy it, but either way, let’s get on with it.”

“Well,” Junjie said as he brought the brain up to his lips.  “Here goes nothing.”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 59

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Bonk! Bonk! Bonk!

Multiple skulls cracked under the weight of the Whirlwind’s club, but the creatures kept coming.

“Baldy!” the Whirlwind shouted. “Anytime you want to get off your fat ass and help me murder some of these brain biting bastards, let me know.”

Niu remained silent and motionless. His breathing was shallow. His chest moved slowly up and down.

“Fine,” the Whirlwind said as he conked a zombie upside the head, dropping it to the ground. “Let me do all the work.”

“Blargh!” a zombie cried as it chomped its teeth in the Whirlwind’s direction. The Whirlwind knocked them out in one fell swoop.

“Hmm,” the Whirlwind said as he looked at the blood on his club. “Effective.”

The thief looked around. Over a dozen zombies were standing around him in a circle, kept at bay only by the Whirlwind’s fancy club work. However, he knew he wouldn’t be able to fend off the monsters on his own forever.

“Well,” the Whirlwind said as he closed his eyes. “Here goes nothing.”

Like a cyclone, or rather, like his namesake, the Whirlwind spun around and around and around, bonking one zombie skull after another with his club. Bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk…the zombies’ skulls grew weaker and weaker until…kaboom! All twelve undead heads exploded, showering the thief with a hefty rain of blood, guts, and brain pieces.

The Whirlwind looked around in sheer amazement. “Very effective.”

The thief flicked a piece of brain off of his robe. “Oh right,” he said as he pulled a chrysanthemum out of his pocket and devoured it. “Better take my medicine before I end up like one of these pricks.”

The Whirlwind holstered his club, then picked up Niu’s hands. The giant’s arms were as heavy as tree trunks.

“Would you believe it, baldy?” the Whirlwind asked as he strained to pull his fallen comrade. “Club fu is real!”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 58

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General Tsang’s knees were old and weak. The pain was getting to him as he ran through the streets of the Forbidden City, slip sliding through rain soaked cobble stone paths.

“We’ll reach the escape passage soon, Your Majesty,” the general said to his wee charge. The Emperor’s little arms were wrapped so tightly around the general’s neck that the old man struggled for air.

The general came to a crossroads. None of the options looked promising. Zombified warriors approached from the side streets to the left and the right, as well as from the road straight ahead.

“We’ll have to double back,” the general said as he turned around only to find Rage Dog standing in front of him, his hair slick and wet. A flash of lightning illuminated the night sky. A thunderclap followed.

“Come back for more, have you?” General Tsang asked.

Rage Dog laughed. He drew closer, as did the zombified warriors. Evil closed in from all sides as the general produced his dagger.

“Don’t worry,” General Tsang said. “You’ll get it.”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 57

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Dragonhand wasted no time. He delivered ten slaps to Junjie’s stomach and another nine slaps to Junjie’s chest. Junjie grabbed Dragonhand’s hand before the tenth slap was landed, saving himself from explosion via the mystifying monkey slap.

“Knowledge is power,” Dragonhand said as he seized Junjie and flipped him into the air. “But experience is essential. So many have died due to the knowledge I have stolen from the brains of China’s greatest kung fu masters. How many have died at your hand?”

Junjie launched himself into the air and brought his arm down in a furious fox paw arc. The fiend stepped out of the way, leaving Junjie to crack marble floor with his fist.

The Infallible Master watched from a vantage point next to the Dragon Throne. “You were always so boastful, Longwei.”

Dragonhand ignored the old man and charged at Junjie. Junjie attempted to jump over Dragonhand, but his foot was caught by his adversary. He was flung ten feet across the throne room, but managed to right himself and land on his feet.

“Impressive,” Dragonhand said as he looked into Junjie’s eyes. “I see such hatred in your eyes.”

“Pay him no mind, disciple,” the master said.

“Why do you despise me so?” Dragonhand asked as he pointed at the ghost. “Because I killed that doddering old fool?”

Punch and deflect. Punch and deflect. The opponents became locked in a frustrating struggle, catching one another’s fists over and over. Dragonhand swept his foot underneath Junjie’s leg, knocking the young man on his back. Junjie sprang to his feet instantly.

“Gratitude is in order,” Dragonhand said. “He would have eventually found a way to hold you back, just as he did me.”

“I never held you back, Longwei,” the master said.

Dragonhand looked at the ghost. “Shut up.”

“The truth disturbs you, Longwei?” the master asked.

Taking advance of a distracted foe, Junjie bicycle kicked his way across the room, connecting his feet to Dragonhand’s face seven times. Once he regained his footing, Dragonhand hurled himself at the hero and brought both hands down against the side’s of Junjie’s throat.

The Devastating Crane Smash. Junjie felt its effects instantly. He fell to the ground. His face turned blue as he gasped for air. Dragonhand smiled as he walked in a circle around his opponent.
“And now you’ll know who your best student was, old man,” Dragonhand said as he raised his fist up high, preparing to bring it down on Junjie’s head.

“His name is Junjie, Longwei,” the master said.

Dragonhand turned to the master again. “Never say that name to me again!”

“What name?” the master asked. “Longwei?”

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