It wasn't often that Shang was able to go out on missions with John. A shortage of experienced leaders meant they were often off with their own separate teams. It was a precarious business, this balancing act of utilizing what little resources they had, grouping together the most able-bodied of the unexperienced recruits, training them, and peppering just enough strong, skilled warriors to keep as many as they could alive. Every day, he was forced to remind himself that he was no longer among the Imperial army. Not that it was difficult to forget, truthfully, the myriad collection of ages, genders, and even species among the resistance made that next to impossible. Sometimes, however, his frustration with their limitations bled through even his fast logic. They had not the weapons or supplies or even the manpower of an empire like China. While conscription had it's flaws, their fighters' willingness didn't make it any easier to march them into danger.
Shang knew his friend felt similarly; it was an entirely different kind of war they fought, but it was a war nonetheless and the toll it took had brought more than one warrior to their knees. His mind couldn't help but conjure up their faces, their expressions as their will to continue the fight fleeted, reflecting the price of fighting when they were not likely to ever gain any ground. He could not blame them for leaving, for choosing the life the real world offered to them, but their loss was felt all the same. As callous as it sounded, he would trade ten of the still-green recruits for someone like Hercules. He'd only heard rumors and stories of days past, the hero a ghost long before Shang had ever met the resistance, but he didn't discount the value of remembering him. It was a reminder of what the fight could do, what it would do to him, if he lost his focus.
Exactly why he continued to fight were not things he could easily put into words. Even inside his own head, the motivation was more of a compulsion driving him than anything tangible and easy to explain. At the moment, however, it was his will to live that kept him going. The mission had begun as a particularly dangerous mission though there was always a chance of it. It was a testament to the rapidly changing conditions of the animated world. More specifically, the darkness. It could touch, permeate, and alter anything it touched at any time. For some reason, John seemed to be a magnet for that sort of trouble. As evidenced by the things currently chasing the pair of the them.
Legs pumping underneath him, Shang kept an arm poised in front of him to push aside any brush or tree limbs that end up in his path without slowing down. His muscles burned with a familiar fire and one that only served to push him further, used to the exertion. It was the tightness in his lungs that indicated that it had, indeed, been a long time since he had run quite this far without stopping. A short note of relief trickled through him as he skidded to a stop behind John. Careful to use to the moment to regulate his breathing, he cut a glare at his friend. "When you die, I am going to use that line at your funeral," Shang let out a long breath as he retorted, raising an eyebrow. "'Here lies John...it could've gone better.'"
When they took off again, Shang didn't immediately worry over their direction. He had assumed they would veer off and run the line, hugging the cliff line while they tried to lose their pursuers. The seconds slowed down as he halted beside John once again, watching the wheel's turn in the other man's head as he looked over the cliff and made a decision. Shang came to the same decision at nearly the same time, despite the dread the dropped in his stomach like a stone as John disappeared over the side. Well, if he was going to die today, at least it wouldn't be ripped apart by one of the darkness's monsters. Taking a few steps back like a catapult being coiled, he took off just as their pursuers burst through the trees, leaping over the edge before they could reach him. The thought running through his mind as he plummeted was, regardless of whether either of them survived the fall, he was likely going to murder John.