The First Order – Chapter 15

Chapter 15: Promoting your own product
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge

Ren Xiaosu sulked as he left. He wanted to beat up the young doctor, but his reason was unjustified. After all, he had intended to steal the doc’s occupation.

He had to become a doctor. Ren Xiaosu completely agreed with Yan Liuyuan’s point of view. The physician profession could very easily obtain the gratitude of others.

But how was he going to become a doctor if he did not have any medical skills?

After he reached the school, he started wracking his brains. Then he remembered the scene when they stepped out of the pawnshop last night.

The woman was crying loudly at the door of the clinic while the man was bleeding nonstop. In the end, his heart stopped.

Ren Xiaosu unwittingly looked at the skin between his thumb and index finger. Eh, the infected wound had scabbed over today?

So that black ointment not only reduces inflammation, it can even quickly heal a wound?

Ren Xiaosu had been wounded before, so he knew a great deal about the healing process of the human body. For example, a wound caused by a sparrow’s peck would take at least seven days to scab over.

Wait a minute! Ren Xiaosu got an idea on how he could become a doctor. If that person at the clinic could become a doctor through deception and bragging, why couldn’t he also become a doctor? This was especially true as he had a miracle medicine on him now.

Wouldn’t it be fine if he just opened a clinic that specialized in knife wounds? He could just stitch up the patient and then apply some black ointment onto it and the job would be done!

Back when the old doctor was still alive, he mentioned that he would not do suturing because he did not have the necessary sterilization equipment. If outside bacteria stayed in the body, they could kill the patient, so it would be useless even if he did stitch them up.

The old doctor understood this.

However, it was different for Ren Xiaosu. He did not have to worry about this at all!

Thinking of this, Ren Xiaosu got an idea. He even thought of how he could make some arrangements for Xiaoyu in the future.

Xiaoyu’s plan for the future was to see if she could get some sewing or patching jobs to earn some money to make a living. But Ren Xiaosu felt that this would be very difficult for her. If she were to offer this service in the stronghold, there would probably be a lot of customers looking for her.

But as everyone in town was poor, they could do their own sewing and patching work at home. Who would want to waste their money on a service like this?

Ren Xiaosu thought that since she wasn’t going to be able to sew clothes, she could sew wounds instead. But he did not know if Xiaoyu would faint at the sight of blood.

Ren Xiaosu even specially went to inquire with the schoolteacher, Zhang Jinglin. After all, he knew more than most people.

Zhang Jinglin looked at Ren Xiaosu in surprise. “You want to open a clinic that specializes in treating knife wounds? Do you have sutures?”

Ren Xiaosu thought for a while and asked, “What’s a suture?”

Zhang Jinglin was dumbfounded. “Then do you have anesthetics?”

“What’s an anesthetic?”

Zhang Jinglin was at a loss for words.

In this moment, Zhang Jinglin realized that Ren Xiaosu was utterly unprepared.

Zhang Jinglin patiently said, “Do you know why the clinic has never thought of doing such procedures when there are so many patients with knife wounds in town? It’s not only a problem of bacterial infection. There’s also a lack of anesthetics and sutures. I heard that these supplies are desperately needed even within the stronghold.”

Zhang Jinglin continued, “There’s also a particular way to administer the anesthetic. If too little is administered, it will be painful for the patient. But if too much of it is administered, the patient will be susceptible to complications. As for the sutures, it’s even more difficult. Not only do you have to consider the tensile strength, you also have to consider if its coefficient of friction will allow it to penetrate the tissue of the human body.”

“Oh, so it’s like that.” Ren Xiaosu waved his hand around. “That’s not a problem. A dying person won’t care about the pain. I’ll just use threads for sewing clothes to stitch them up.”

“Then what about the sterilization?” Zhang Jinglin asked in a startled manner.

“I have a secret formula for that!” Ren Xiaosu said.

It was just as Ren Xiaosu had predicted. Zhang Jinglin was not omniscient. He had some specialized knowledge, but the rest of his knowledge rested at a superficial level.

As such, Zhang Jinglin suddenly realized that he did not know how to refute Ren Xiaosu. In the end, he gave a wave of his hand. “Get ready for your class. The next period will be the survival lesson.”

Because Ren Xiaosu had tasted the sweetness on the first day he taught the class, he decided to prolong the lesson again until night fell before dismissing the class.

Some of the students still did not realize the kind of life they were going to live from now on.

After school, the students started walking out of the class. When Ren Xiaosu noticed that no one thanked him today, he could not help but take the initiative to ask, “Aren’t you guys going to thank your teachers?”

The students shuddered in fear as they collectively turned around and thanked their teachers.

However, Ren Xiaosu was utterly disappointed when he took a mental look at the palace. He did not gain even a single gratitude token coin.

Zhang Jinglin had already told him that it was quite normal for the students to not understand the teacher’s perspective. Ren Xiaosu felt that he still had a long way to go.

On their way back home that night, Ren Xiaosu could see that the lights were on in their shack from a distance away. He hurriedly went over and lifted the curtain door. When he stepped inside, he was surprised to see Xiaoyu sitting in their broken chair and sewing their clothes for them. There was even corn porridge and cooked wild vegetables next to her, which she had made for them.

They usually left their clothing in the shack since no one would steal them.

Even if someone stole the clothes, the thief would have to wear them out someday. Once they did that, they would get recognized. It would be a surprise if Ren Xiaosu did not beat the thief to death.

When Xiaoyu saw them return, she smiled and said, “Sorry that I came in without your permission. I saw that your clothes were ripped, so I decided to sew them up for you. Quick, eat dinner.”

Yan Liuyuan reached his hand out, wanting to scoop out some porridge. This meal was considered a luxury in town. Normally, they would only eat black bread or potatoes for their meals. However, Ren Xiaosu slapped Yan Liuyuan’s hand. “Have you thanked Big Sister Xiaoyu yet?”

Yan Liuyuan still behaved himself in front of Ren Xiaosu. “Thank you, Big Sister Xiaoyu.”

Xiaoyu quickly said, “Stop hitting Liuyuan.”

“I can spoil him now, but no one will spoil him when he’s on his own,” Ren Xiaosu explained. Then he also said in a serious tone, “Thank you, Big Sister Xiaoyu.”

“You’re welcome.” Xiaoyu smiled and said, “What do you two usually like having for dinner?”

Yan Liuyuan said, “We don’t usually eat dinner.”

“How can that do? You’re both still growing,” Xiaoyu said.

For some reason, Ren Xiaosu suddenly felt that Xiaoyu should have been their sister all this while. No one would say such words to them in the past.

“Big Sister Xiaoyu,” Ren Xiaosu asked, “your sewing skills are great. Why don’t you come over and help us when our knife wound clinic opens for business?”

“A knife wound clinic?” Xiaoyu was stunned. “Why do you suddenly want to open a clinic that specializes in knife wounds?”

“Because I have a medicinal herb formula for treating knife wounds. It can reduce inflammation and help wounds heal quicker.” After Ren Xiaosu finished, he showed the wound on his hand to her. Xiaoyu took a look at it and noticed that Ren Xiaosu’s wound had already formed into a scab.

Xiaoyu thought for a moment and said, “But there are much fewer fights happening in town these days. In the past, more than ten people would get injured each day, but only one person gets injured every few days now.”

This was indeed true. Excluding the person killed by Ren Xiaosu and the man at the clinic entrance yesterday, it seemed that there were really no fights happening recently.

The cases of night break-ins weren’t counted because there wouldn’t be any survivors left most of the time.

Ren Xiaosu pondered it for a moment. “Why don’t I go and chop some people up?” He quickly shook his head.

At the same time, Yan Liuyuan was shocked. “Bro, aren’t you being too ruthless? What is this? Promoting your own product?”

“No, no, we can’t do such things. We mustn’t get carried away by our own interests.”

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The First Order – Chapter 13

After much thinking, Ren Xiaosu still felt that being a teacher was the easiest way to gain the gratitude of others.

However, he had neglected one problem. While he was very eager to learn and was very thirsty for knowledge, it was because he was born into abnormal times that lacked knowledge. This was what caused him to be so hungry to learn.

The more one lacked something, the more one desired it.

However, the things that he desired were not necessarily the same as what the students desired. The students who could attend school in such an era were mostly from families with a rather good background. All of them were living with the blessings of their parents.

These kids had been attending school for several years now, and the most annoying person to them would be their teacher, since he would make them recite from textbooks and give them homework. During students’ teenage years, teachers were their mortal enemy most of the time.

Even though Ren Xiaosu was teaching them their favorite survival lesson, the students were far from feeling grateful to him.

Ren Xiaosu thought that perhaps with a few more lessons, the students would finally be grateful to him for teaching them?

Usually, the school in town would let out at 4 PM. Starting from 6 AM, the stronghold’s clock would ring every two hours to signal the time. Under normal circumstances, Zhang Jinglin would never prolong his lessons.

However, today, in his attempt to gain the gratitude of the students, Ren Xiaosu was teaching them almost all of his experience in wilderness survival. Once he got started, he continued talking all the way until 5 PM.

As it was late autumn, it started getting dark at 5 PM. The students stared blankly at him and thought to themselves, ‘This son of a bitch just keeps on fucking going.’

Even Zhang Jinglin couldn’t bear it anymore. He went out to the yard to chop up a cabbage and made dinner.

A student who could not stand it any longer, said, “Son of a… Teacher, if you’re not going to end class soon, it’ll be dark out, and it won’t be safe to be in town.”

The student was still a little afraid of this person who was well-known in town for being ruthless. That was the reason he did not dare to challenge him directly.

Ren Xiaosu was taken aback. He thought, ‘Instead of showing your gratitude, you’re asking the teacher to end class?’ However, he understood that safety came first. So when Ren Xiaosu saw the sky darkening, he could only helplessly wave his hand and say, “Class dismissed.”

“Thank you, Teacher!”

“Thank you, Teacher!”

The students started swarming out of class. When two of the students thanked Ren Xiaosu for saying “class dismissed,” they were truly thankful! If class still didn’t get dismissed, it would have become unbearable for them!

Ren Xiaosu suddenly noticed two more gratitude tokens appear in the palace and was overjoyed.

Like he knew what the students were thanking him for. All he felt was that he done a great job teaching them!

Ren Xiaosu thought to himself, Looks like my loving efforts have not gone to waste. After such a long lesson, he felt that the students were still actually very grateful to him.

Yan Liuyuan said as he pulled a long face, “Can you stop making the lessons run late?”

Before Ren Xiaosu could say anything, Zhang Jinglin walked in with a bowl of rice that he was eating from. He controlled his tone and said, “Xiaosu, I know that you’re passionate about teaching, but it’s bad to make the class stay behind for such a long time. Also, what if you overextend yourself by working too hard?”

Ren Xiaosu was having none of it. Was he making the class stay behind? No, he was just ensuring that he would earn the sincere gratitude of the students, which in turn meant making money from them!

“No,” Ren Xiaosu said righteously, “I’m willing to devote my entire life to the cause of education, so it’s fine with me if I have to teach a little longer!”

Zhang Jinglin coughed, choking at Ren Xiaosu’s words. But when he saw Ren Xiaosu behaving like that, he did not bother to argue with him. “Alright then.”

The two students who thanked him did not even know that by saying “thank you, Teacher” they had brought a major disaster upon themselves.

A proverb for situations like this went: Loose lips cause trouble.

On the way back, Yan Liuyuan was sulking and ignoring Ren Xiaosu. He had originally planned to stroll around town with Ren Xiaosu after school. But in the end, it wasn’t to be.

When they passed by a pawnshop at the city gate, Yan Liuyuan tugged on Ren Xiaosu’s sleeve and pointed at it. Ren Xiaosu was surprised to see Xiaoyu in there. She seemed to be talking to the shopkeeper.

Ren Xiaosu led Yan Liuyuan a little bit closer. They could hear Xiaoyu saying to the shopkeeper, “My pair of earrings are very valuable. Can’t you give me a little more for them?”

The shopkeeper smiled flippantly at Xiaoyu. “Actually, you don’t have to pawn it. Why would you have to…”

He shut his mouth before he finished talking because he saw Ren Xiaosu walking towards the pawnshop. Word of last night’s incident had already spread all over the town, and everyone knew that Li Xiaoyu was now very close to Ren Xiaosu.

It didn’t mean that just because this was a survival of the fittest era, everyone would naturally become more ferocious. In fact, every era would always have its fair share of weaklings and ruthless people. And most of the time, those who were ruthless would survive better.

The shopkeeper was a weakling, and a weakling feared the strong and would only dare to bully the weak. The person that Ren Xiaosu had killed last night was well-known in town as a ruthless person. So Ren Xiaosu had become the most ruthless of the ruthless.

The shopkeeper’s gaze became shifty as he pretended to drink some water. He wasn’t sure if Ren Xiaosu had overheard what he had just said.

Ren Xiaosu counted 620 yuan from his pocket and stuffed it into Xiaoyu’s hand. “You don’t have to sell your belongings. This is the money for the three anti-inflammatory pills that you gave me last night.”

As Li Xiaoyu did not have a source of income now, she had no choice but to fritter away her savings. However, Ren Xiaosu could not bear to see her in such a miserable state.

Li Xiaoyu wanted to return the money to Ren Xiaosu, but he said, “I was already planning to use the money to buy some medicine anyway, so you should keep it. It’s not that I’m rejecting your kindness, but there’s no need for us to be so polite with each other in the future.”

Li Xiaoyu was stunned for a while. “What do you mean by that?”

After Ren Xiaosu luckily escaped from the wolves last year, he did not mention to anyone how he made it back alive. However, it was a fact that he only survived because of the medicine given by Li Xiaoyu. Without the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pills, he would have been dead long ago.

Therefore, what he owed to Li Xiaoyu was not just a few pills, but his life.

Ren Xiaosu said to Xiaoyu in a serious tone, “Don’t worry. From now on, as long as there’s meat for me to eat, I’ll make sure there will be soup for you to drink!”

Yan Liuyuan whispered, “Bro, you’ve said it wrong. Shouldn’t all of us be eating meat together? Why, then, has it turned into you eating meat while the rest of us only get soup to drink? Besides, we don’t even have any meat at home….”

“Oh.” Ren Xiaosu nodded and put it another way to Xiaoyu. “From now on, as long as I have soup to drink, there will be bowls for you to wash!”

Yan Liuyuan was confused

“Pfft!” The shopkeeper who was taking a sip of water did a spit-take from nearby.

However, Li Xiaoyu did not mind. “Alright, I’ll wash the bowls and do the laundry for you two.”

When she said this, she did not consider if there would be enough “water” to go around for all of them. In any case, she agreed to it.

The shopkeeper pouted as he looked at the three of them walk out. He turned around and said to his shop assistant, “Don’t ever provoke him, ya hear?”

Right when the trio stepped out of the shop, they heard someone shout, “Doctor, please save my husband! If he dies, our family won’t survive!”

They saw a middle-aged woman kneeling and kowtowing to the town’s only doctor in front of the clinic. However, the doctor sneered. “If you don’t have any money, what makes you think you can see the doctor?”

“If you save him, our whole family will thank you for your great kindness.” The woman sobbed, “The old doctor was such a benevolent man when he was still around. As his son, you must also be very benevolent.”

“My father’s benevolence was his business!”

Then the doctor turned around and slammed the clinic’s door shut. A man was lying beside the woman, his stomach bleeding nonstop.

Ren Xiaosu did not approach them nor be the Good Samaritan this time around. In fact, he could tell that the man had already died.

He calmly said as he looked on, “Liuyuan, remember everything that you’ve just witnessed. This is reality.”

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The First Order – Chapter 11

Getting two Basic Skill Duplication Scrolls was extremely useful to Ren Xiaosu. He had always thirsted for knowledge. With just one of these scrolls, he could now readily learn an existing skill from someone. As such, Ren Xiaosu regarded them as treasures.

Although it was used to learn a random skill, and he might end up learning something useless, the Advanced Firearms Proficiency he learned had already given him a sweet taste of things to come.

However, what attracted Ren Xiaosu to come to explore the palace was not these two Skill Duplication Scrolls, but what the palace had mentioned at the end…a side quest!

Since it was only a side quest, then it should not be something too important or was something that took a brief amount of time to complete.

However, Ren Xiaosu clearly heard what the voice from the palace had said at that time: “Due to the loss of your weapon, a special…”

So this quest had something to do with a weapon, right?

In the long time that Ren Xiaosu had been going out into the wilderness, he understood well the importance of having a good weapon. Old Wang once bought a steel knife and wanted to resell it to Ren Xiaosu, but Ren Xiaosu couldn’t afford it even after trying to earn and save money for half a year.

In the end, Old Wang sold that knife to a manager at the chemical plant. A factory manager was usually selected by the stronghold from among the refugees to take a leadership role. In a way, they could be considered people who enjoyed the benefits as followers of those in power within the stronghold.

At that time, Ren Xiaosu thought how great it would be if he could get his hands on a good weapon soon. Then he would not have to lie in the wilderness every day to wait to catch sparrows. It was getting much harder to wait for the birds. It was tormenting him.

If he got his hands on a knife, he could totally go out and hunt for some other wild animals such as rabbits, field mice, bamboo rats, etc.

Yes, even rabbits were considered wild animals 1 now.

Rabbits in the wilderness would not attack humans, but they were very strong and could reach the height of an adult’s shins. Ren Xiaosu once dug a trap that was about two meters deep and a rabbit fell into it. However, when Ren Xiaosu approached it, the rabbit hopped straight out of the pit and even kicked him in the head while in midair. Ren Xiaosu nearly suffered a brain hemorrhage as a result.

Ren Xiaosu looked at the leather parchment in the typewriter: “Due to the loss of your weapon, a special side quest has been activated: Collect 100 sincere gratitudes to unlock a new weapon. In addition, you can use the gratitudes gained in exchange for items.”

Ren Xiaosu looked bewildered. Why does this side quest feel so weird?

Collect gratitudes? And they had to be sincere too?

It should be easy for him to collect thanks, but this was made difficult by the fact that they needed to be sincere.

Besides, thanks could even be used as currency? More importantly, what kinds of items could it purchase?

He continued reading the leather parchment and was astonished to see new words appearing on it from time to time.

“Gratitude received from Li Xiaoyu, +1.”

Ren Xiaosu was pleased to know that he had not saved an ingrate. There shouldn’t be any mistakes with the palace’s judgment.

At this moment, he noticed another line of words in fine print on the leather parchment—Weapon Unlock: 1/100.

Ren Xiaosu felt unfortunate. If only he were required to collect negative emotions instead, that would have been great. He knew that he could easily cause the entire townspeople to max out on their negativity for him with no effort at all!

But he would have to make do with what the palace needed him to do. Now, Ren Xiaosu was looking forward to getting his hands on his future weapon.

An item given by the mysterious palace would definitely not be inferior.

Ren Xiaosu suddenly opened his eyes and looked at Yan Liuyuan. “Liuyuan, say thank you to me.”

Yan Liuyuan was stunned. “Bro, don’t be like this. You’re making me a little scared.”

“What are you scared of?” Ren Xiaosu snapped. “Hurry up and say it.”

Yan Liuyuan thought for a while and said, “Thank you for taking care of me all this while.”

“Gratitude received from Yan Liuyuan, +1.”

Ren Xiaosu was overjoyed. Is it this simple?

“C’mon, thank me a few more times,” Ren Xiaosu said.

Yan Liuyuan suddenly felt at a loss for words. “Er… thank you….”

Ren Xiaosu was disappointed this time. It looked like he could not keep getting thanked repeatedly. The main focus was still on the gratitude needing to be sincere. He raised his head in dissatisfaction and looked at Yan Liuyuan. “You’re not being sincere!

“No, that’s not right. Your emotions are not correct, say it again.

“It’s still not right. You have to let your emotions build up. Come, come… yes, yes, yes, this is the expression.

“Try it again, sincerity can work wonders….

“Try again, put more emotion into the way you say it….”

Yan Liuyuan nearly collapsed. He said with a dry mouth, “Bro, this is your skill? It feels like your skill really takes a toll on the voice.”

On this very night, Ren Xiaosu insisted on testing the gratitude system with Yan Liuyuan throughout the night. In the end, he still only received one sincere gratitude from him.

But with this gratitude, he now had two token coins in total. The token had a heart engraved on it with line of words on the reverse side: “A grateful heart, thankful to you for accompanying me in life and giving me the courage to be myself. A grateful heart, thankful for fate. As flowers bloom and wither, I remain appreciative.”

Ren Xiaosu smacked his lips, thinking that it flowed well.

At this moment, the showroom cabinets in the palace that were originally shrouded in a black mist saw some changes. On the left side of the typewriter, the black mist finally dissipated from one of the cabinets and revealed something within. A vending machine.

Ren Xiaosu was stunned for quite a while. He wondered what its function was since this was the first time he saw it. He hadn’t come across something like it before in the outside world as no such thing existed in the current day.

However, he knew what the words on the vending machine said: coin slot.

There were no other options on it. Since there was only a coin slot available, he did not need to think further and just inserted a token into it.

Clink. The token with a heart engraving was slotted into the machine. Then it started to activate with a rumble. After that, a small bottle about the size of a palm rolled out.

Ren Xiaosu took it out and had a look. The vial was only labeled with the word “drug.”

“Come on, you should at least tell me what illness this is for, right?” Ren Xiaosu hesitated for a moment. When he thought about it and opened his eyes, he was holding the vial of medicine in his hand. But when that thought vanished, the vial of medicine disappeared as well.

Yan Liuyuan was stunned at the sight. “Bro, are you performing magic?”

Ren Xiaosu ignored him. He decisively pulled off the cloth bandaging the wound on his hand to reveal an already infected wound.

Extravasated blood had surrounded the wound for quite a while now, and interstitial fluid was continuously flowing out. Ren Xiaosu knew that if he did not apply medicine to it in time, the wound would fester, and he would go down with a fever soon after.

When Yan Liuyuan saw this, he immediately stood up and walked out. Ren Xiaosu pulled him back. “What are you doing?”

“I’ll go and buy medicine for you,” Yan Liuyuan stubbornly said.

“No need for that.” Ren Xiaosu picked up the vial and swabbed a little bit of the ointment in it with his index finger before applying it carefully onto his wound. This vial of ointment was not large and was even very shallow. It looked like it was probably just enough for three dosages.

After applying it, Ren Xiaosu felt a little regretful. The vial was only labeled with the word “drug,” but what if it turned out to be poisonous?

However, his worries did not come to pass. After applying the ointment onto the wound, Ren Xiaosu immediately felt the initial burning sensation in the wound disappear.

The anti-inflammatory medicine given by Xiaoyu had been saved since he no longer needed it. Anti-inflammatory medicine must be taken for three days straights, while this ointment immediately worked wonders. An anti-inflammatory pill was worth 200 yuan each, and Ren Xiaosu roughly estimated that if he were to use this vial of ointment in place of the anti-inflammatory medicine, its value would be…easily worth millions!

Then Ren Xiaosu spun around and looked at Yan Liuyuan. He firmly demanded, “Help me think! What can I do to quickly gain other people’s gratitude?”

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The First Order – Chapter 9

Ren Xiaosu stood at the entrance of his shack as he watched the band leave. Old Wang was still at their side apologizing to them, “Although there’s something wrong with Ren Xiaosu’s head, this is not what it’s like. Please let me explain…”

The band member did not bother listening to his explanation. “Wang Fugui, I’m giving you six hours to get me a suitable candidate. Even if there’s nothing wrong with this kid, we won’t be using him. We’ll be setting off at dawn, so don’t screw up our plans!”

Ren Xiaosu stood happily at the shack’s entrance and watched the commotion as though he had nothing to do with it. But unexpectedly, the girl wearing the cap turned around and looked at him. Ren Xiaosu suddenly had a feeling that he had been figured out.

He could not even see the expression of the girl under her cap, yet he felt his heart throb for some reason.

Ren Xiaosu subconsciously activated and used his Skill Duplication Scroll. A voice intoned from the palace, “One of the target’s skills will be randomly copied.”

“Randomly copied?”

“Randomly copied target’s firearms skill. Do you want to learn it?”

“Yes!” Seeing the Skill Duplication Scroll disappear, Ren Xiaosu thought that if he did not learn it, it would have gone to waste.

“Learning successful. You’ve mastered the Advanced Firearms Proficiency.”

“Wait a minute, didn’t I get a basic scroll? How did I master Advanced Firearms Proficiency? Shouldn’t I learn a skill at the basic level at most?” Ren Xiaosu wondered in his mind.

“There are only two types of Skill Duplication Scrolls. The first type is the Basic Skill Duplication Scroll, which you can use to learn any skill advanced and lower. The second type of scroll is the Master Skill Duplication Scroll, which you can use to learn a master-level skill, provided you’ve also attained the advanced level of the skill. There is also the chance of copying a target’s superpowers,” answered the voice from the palace.

Ren Xiaosu was stunned to learn that he could also duplicate another’s superpowers! He then remembered the girl and asked, “Can you tell me the level of that girl’s firearms skill?”

“Yes, this information can be revealed if it’s a target you’ve learned from.”

“What is the level of her firearms skill proficiency? Master?”


The Basic Skill Duplication Scroll allowed the user to learn a random basic or advanced skill of the target. Meanwhile, the Master Skill Duplication Scroll allowed for a master-level skill to be learned, provided that particular skill was in the advanced level. There was even a chance of learning the other party’s superpower.

These levels were entirely judged by the palace itself. Although the palace mentioned something about a success chance, Ren Xiaosu got a little excited at the possibility of learning other people’s superpowers.

Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan had once discussed whether some superpowers were superior to others. Some people were born fighters while others were born a little weaker.

A person like Ren Xiaosu, who needed to survive in the wilderness, would feel that an offensive superpower was more powerful. However, Yan Liuyuan’s skill depended on the element of luck, so he couldn’t partake in battles. Therefore, Ren Xiaosu was insistent in his belief that there were only different types of superpowers; none was superior to another.

But now, a skill that could copy someone else’s skills? Just how superior was that!

However, Ren Xiaosu was puzzled about that girl wearing a cap.

When Ren Xiaosu received the Advanced Firearms Proficiency, a large amount of firearms knowledge was channeled into his mind. It was as though the knowledge had been integrated into him. He gained an instinctive feel for the subject.

What he possessed was not only the knowledge of all the different types and models of firearms, their disassembly, maintenance, and usage, but also a near instinctive feel for aiming them.

Ren Xiaosu even knew how much recoil each type of gun had. If he was handed a gun right now, as long as it was covered by the advanced firearms knowledge that he had gained, he would be no different from a professional who had trained for years.

Regarding accuracy, getting a score of 9.5 and above at a range of 100 meters seemed to be the standard for the Advanced Firearms Proficiency.

This surprised Ren Xiaosu a little, but not to the extent of being ecstatic yet. After all, he did not have a gun in his hand. What shocked him even more was that his mind palace had evaluated the girl’s firearms skill as perfect.

Ren Xiaosu couldn’t imagine how amazing the master-level skill was, much less think about what he could do if he perfected the skill.

Someone like her was in a band?

It seemed that those soldiers of the private army and band members were not aware that such a terror existed in their group. Ren Xiaosu realized earlier that everyone treated her as a normal member of the group.

The girl had probably not expected that Ren Xiaosu would use such a mysterious method to gain access to her secret.

He made a wise decision to get out of joining this group for their mission. At the same time, Ren Xiaosu derived great pleasure from finding out about someone else’s secret.

“Bro, why do you keep staring at her back? Yan Liuyuan asked as he stuck his head out of the shack.

Ren Xiaosu grinned from ear to ear. He turned around and looked at Yan Liuyuan. Just when he was about to behave like an elder brother with authority, the curtain door from next door was lifted. A woman asked, “Whose back? Where?”

Yan Liuyuan and Ren Xiaosu were stunned. The person who came out from the shack next door turned out to be Xiaoyu!

Yan Liuyuan wondered, “Big Sister Xiaoyu, why are you in the shack next door?”

Xiaoyu combed her hair and said with a smile, “I moved here and will be your neighbor from now on.”

“Where’s the family of three who were living here?” Yan Liuyuan asked, “Where’ve they gone?”

“I switched houses with them,” Xiaoyu explained.

Yan Liuyuan pulled Ren Xiaosu aside and whispered, “Bro, Big Sister Xiaoyu has made a big investment this time. She used to live in a brick house!”

Ren Xiaosu did not say anything as he lowered his head and went straight back into the shack. Yan Liuyuan smiled at Xiaoyu before withdrawing his head back into the shack as well.

“Bro, you’re still a virgin, right?” Yan Liuyuan asked.

Ren Xiaosu stared at Yan Liuyuan and said, “Liuyuan, since you’re not young anymore, I wish to educate you about this.”

Yan Liuyuan sat bolt upright and turned serious. “Alright, Bro, ask me if there’s anything you don’t understand—”

Before Yan Liuyuan could finish, he was kicked to the ground by Ren Xiaosu. But Yan Liuyuan did not get angry. He just kept laughing.

“You’ve really grown bolder, huh?” Ren Xiaosu laid the bed and said, “Do your best to not provoke Big Sister Xiaoyu, and don’t try to matchmake us. We can’t even handle ourselves, so where will we get the time to worry about others?”

“OK,” Yan Liuyuan replied obediently. “But she gave us some potatoes and medicine, and she’s also very concerned about you. Are you really going to ignore her?”

Ren Xiaosu thought for a while before saying, “The most important things about being human are to be honest and have a clear conscience. But if we ever feel a pang in our conscience, we must convince ourselves that it isn’t so.”

Yan Liuyuan was confused.

When Ren Xiaosu started speaking, Yan Liuyuan got ready to get lectured by him. But by the time Ren Xiaosu finished, Yan Liuyuan couldn’t be more dumbfounded.

Perhaps this was just how Ren Xiaosu was.

In an era like this, a person like Ren Xiaosu would probably survive better than most people. However, Yan Liuyuan did not mind at all the kind of person Ren Xiaosu was. Ren Xiaosu’s constant fussing and cautiousness was all due to the lessons and experience he gained through the many scars that he received in the past.

However, Yan Liuyuan knew that Ren Xiaosu still kept some of the things he wanted to say filed away.

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The First Order – Chapter 7

Zhang Jinglin was left speechless by Ren Xiaosu’s answer. However, he wasn’t aware that Ren Xiaosu was also wondering about this right now. Didn’t he teach everyone what he knew? Why was the quest still not complete?

Could there be something wrong with the knowledge that he imparted?

“Teacher.” Ren Xiaosu said in a serious tone, “You probably haven’t seen how huge the wolves in the wild are. Most of the people in town haven’t even seen or dealt with them before, but I did. Don’t mention a pack of wolves. Even if I were just encountering a lone wolf, the outcome would still be the same. Choose wherever you want to be buried.”

Initially, Ren Xiaosu thought that Zhang Jinglin would refute him. After all, the way he answered the question would affect the teacher’s authority and dignity.

However, Zhang Jinglin thought for a long time before saying, “You can sit in the classroom for future lessons. You will also be teaching the survival lessons from now on.”

For the first time ever, the school in the town outside Stronghold 113 gained a substitute teacher.

However, Ren Xiaosu did not give any explanation in class about how he survived despite encountering a lone wolf or wolf pack in the wild.

“Quest complete. Awarded 1.0 Strength.”

By the end of the day, Ren Xiaosu still could not find an opportunity to use the Basic Skill Duplication Scroll he had. He went to school because he liked to gain more knowledge, but the knowledge Zhang Jinglin had would not be very useful for his survival for the time being.

The first priority Ren Xiaosu had to consider was still survival.

Therefore, if he could not use the skill scroll, it would be impossible for him to prove whether everything in his mind was purely made up by his own imagination.

However, Ren Xiaosu kept waiting because he felt that there would still be another quest given.

Now he had completed yet another quest, and he was rewarded with a 1.0 Strength increase. This was a very straightforward figure, and Ren Xiaosu could feel it in his body. He could feel his muscles bulking up slightly underneath his clothes. This was a real supernatural phenomenon as no one could suddenly gain additional muscle strength in a mere tenth of a second.

With this, Ren Xiaosu was quite sure that his mind palace was indeed a unique type of skill.

This made Ren Xiaosu ecstatic. In fact, he should have been overjoyed about it long ago, but he was afraid that none of it would turn out to be real.

A frequent hunter must be highly familiar with their body. They had to know how much they could lift and how fast and hard they could punch or stab with a knife.

So Ren Xiaosu immediately evaluated his newfound strength. If the average male adult had a strength rating of 3.0, then Ren Xiaosu used to have a strength rating of 2.5.

As he was only 17 years old, it was quite normal for him to be weaker than an adult. He could survive in this town all these years not because of his strength, but because he was ruthless, alert, and calm enough.

As his strength surpassed that of the average male adult’s, this meant that his chance of survival in this wasteland increased by a large amount.

After school, Yan Liuyuan excitedly said, “Bro, now that you’ve become the substitute teacher, maybe you’ll replace Mr. Zhang as our town’s teacher in the future?”

Ren Xiaosu paused. “Indeed, that seems likely. Mr. Zhang also started off as a substitute teacher. It was only after the old teacher passed away that he took over teaching at school.”

“Yeah, everyone in town knows that whoever becomes the substitute teacher will likely take over at the school someday. Think about it. Mr. Zhang allowed you into the classroom to attend the lessons and even made you the substitute teacher. He’s definitely thinking of letting you replace him in the future.” Yan Liuyuan smiled and said, “If the people in town learn about it, they will have to treat us with more respect next time.”

“That might not be the case.” Ren Xiaosu thought and said, “I’m guessing it’s only because he hopes to get more cigarettes to smoke.”

Yan Liuyuan stared at Ren Xiaosu. “Bro, are you being serious?”

“Actually, it’s not a bad idea if I really do become the schoolteacher.” Ren Xiaosu said, “When I get the position, I’ll give it up to you. In that way, you’ll end up becoming the schoolteacher instead, right?”

Ren Xiaosu had really never thought about becoming a schoolteacher, but it was not because he despised the profession. If he had despised it, he wouldn’t think of handing the position to Yan Liuyuan.

Instead, he felt that he was not suitable for this profession at all. If he really had no chance to enter the stronghold at some point in the future, then the wilderness would be the only place left where he could truly belong.

Ren Xiaosu was imagining a future where he handed the schoolteacher position to Yan Liuyuan as they walked, but he did not notice Yan Liuyuan slowing down. Looking at Ren Xiaosu’s back, Yan Liuyuan experienced an indescribable feeling.

This young man’s hand was still wrapped in bandages, and even though he had a sharp tongue, he would always leave the best for him.

When Ren Xiaosu turned around and realized that Yan Liuyuan had fallen quite far behind, he barked, “What are you doing? Hurry up!”


Outside the stronghold, a continuous trail of white smoke was billowing out of the factory chimneys into the sky. As the setting sun shone down onto their backs, it was as though they had nothing in life to worry about.

On their way back home, Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan suddenly saw a group of people come out of the stronghold. There were around 14 of them in the group, and half of them were wearing fanciful clothes of all colors, while the other half was made up of people who donned the combat uniform of the private army employed by the overseers of Stronghold 113. It looked like their trip would be accompanied by soldiers, so it was no wonder they dared to head out into a place like the Jing Mountains.

These people actually didn’t require guides with combat value. They only needed someone who knew the way.

However, Ren Xiaosu did not assume the private troops were strong just because they were employed by the overseers of Stronghold 113. In fact, he rarely saw these private troops leaving the stronghold, so it could still lead to serious issues as they might not even have any actual combat experience or seen blood before.

Ren Xiaosu saw some of the private troops smoking filtered cigarettes, which were rarely seen in town.

A light whiff of cigarette smoke drifted over. Ren Xiaosu could distinctly smell a weird odor. He remembered Old Wang mentioning that many of the cigarettes given out by the factories had addictive substances added into them to give people a high.

Ren Xiaosu was puzzled why the private troops would smoke something like that when their profession required them to keep a clear mind.

He had witnessed people go crazy from smoking these cigarettes, and the private troops only seemed to be smoking the better quality ones.

Slowly, a crowd in town gathered. This was because these people had such clean faces that it sharply contrasted the faces of those in town.

“Bro, is water so abundant in the stronghold that they can wash their faces every day?” Yan Liuyuan blinked with a shimmer in his eyes.

“There’s no need to envy them. The grease on our faces acts as a protective layer for our skin,” Ren Xiaosu consoled without actually trying.

But then he noticed a unique presence among that group of people. There was a girl wearing a cap so low he could not tell how old she was. She was dressed in relatively normal clothes that looked loose but fitting.

Ren Xiaosu focused on her because it felt like an encounter with a beast in the wild the moment he saw her.

Something was fishy about these people, and Ren Xiaosu trusted his intuition.

Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan stopped in their tracks, watching from afar. They vaguely knew that this group of people was making inquiries about something with Old Wang from the grocery store.

They could hear Old Wang saying loudly, “If y’all are going to the Jing Mountains, you must look for Ren Xiaosu. Without him, you definitely can’t pass through. Besides, there are also wolves out there in the wilderness. Might I suggest that you don’t take that route?”

A soldier in the private army sneered, “Those wolves will be scared off when they hear our gunshots. Why would we need to worry about them?”

Ren Xiaosu was taken aback. So the wolves were actually afraid of gunshots? This was probably due to the natural instincts of such wild animals. As he had never seen a firearm before, he wasn’t sure if the other party was telling the truth. However, some doubts still remained.

Another member of the private army asked, “Who is Ren Xiaosu? We don’t care how skillful he is at combat as long as he knows the way.”

“Oh, Ren Xiaosu is well-known for being the best hunter in town. He knows most of the routes, so it’ll be perfectly fine if you get him to lead the way.” Old Wang smiled and said, “Take my word for it, he’s definitely the right choice. But there’s something wrong with that kid’s head….”

Having heard all this, Ren Xiaosu turned around and led Yan Liuyuan away. “Is Old Wang’s son in your class too? That fat kid?”

Yan Liuyuan gasped at him. “Bro, you shouldn’t involve his family members….”

Ren Xiaosu frowned as he had wanted to steer clear of this issue. However, he never expected that Old Wang would deliberately recommend himself to this mysterious band.

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The First Order – Chapter 3

Ren Xiaosu had already fallen asleep. After waiting out in the wilderness for such a long time, all he managed to catch was one sparrow. Although he spent a majority of the time lying on the ground and keeping still, anyone with experience would know that staying alert in such a position was actually very tiring.

Before sleeping, he instructed Yan Liuyuan again, “Stay away from those people if you see them. It can’t be that they don’t know how dangerous the Jing Mountains are. Most people would choose to avoid passing through there, yet they insist on taking that route. My instincts tell me that this isn’t a simple matter.”

“OK.” Yan Liuyuan nodded obediently. “Got it.”

As a matter of fact, Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan were quite the odd team. A few years ago, they did not know each other at all. Later on, Ren Xiaosu decided to protect the young Yan Liuyuan as he unintentionally discovered Yan Liuyuan’s secret. On top of that, his headache had been troubling him for a very long time, so he needed someone to keep watch for him at night.

Back then, Ren Xiaosu told Yan Liuyuan in no uncertain terms that they were only a team because of mutual benefit. But over the years, it soon became unclear whether their partnership had any feelings involved or if it was still for mutual benefit.

Yan Liuyuan had always been a very clever person when outside. He only behaved like an obedient lamb in front of Ren Xiaosu.

Sometimes, Yan Liuyuan would say that he was only alive because Ren Xiaosu had risked his own life to save him. However, Ren Xiaosu had never acknowledged it.

At present, Ren Xiaosu only wanted to find out what kinds of changes his mind had gone through. He waited a very long time tonight as he wanted to see if this “sickness” that had been troubling him would recur. In the end, that chaotic “confusion” did not set in.

It seemed like the palace had always stayed hidden when he was in a confused state. But now, that black mist of confusion finally dispersed.

Ren Xiaosu wanted to see exactly what was inside the palace.

When Yan Liuyuan saw Ren Xiaosu lie down next to him, he silently picked up the bone knife and sat at the entrance of the shack where the curtain door was. As it was almost fall, it felt a little cold.

At this moment, the rain stopped.

Footsteps came from outside the shack’s curtain door. The shoes that were stepping on the muddy road after the rain made a unique slippery sound.

Someone lifted a corner of the curtain door. However, before the visitor could lift the curtain door aside, Yan Liuyuan’s bone knife was pressed against the person’s neck.

It was a pretty face; a beautiful woman stood outside.

Yan Liuyuan frowned when he saw the woman. It was not a stranger. She lived nearby.

The woman smiled. “Liuyuan, you’re still awake? Where is Xiaosu? I heard that he got back.”

“He’s already asleep, Big Sister Xiaoyu.” Yan Liuyuan smiled. “If you have anything to say, just tell me.”

Xiaoyu’s face looked a little unnatural. “Did he get hurt when he went out this time?”

“His hand was nipped by a sparrow. But Big Sister Xiaoyu, you don’t have to be so concerned about my brother, do you? After all, you’re eight years older than him.” After Ren Xiaosu had fallen asleep, Yan Liuyuan adopted a maturity beyond his years when dealing with outsiders. No matter whether he knew the person or whatever they might say, he didn’t move the bone knife away from her neck.

Xiaoyu took out a cigarette and lighter from her bag that she carried around. It was a rolled cigarette that was only distributed at the coal mines, power plants, and other properties under the control of the stronghold.

A lot of the able-bodied laborers went there to work not only for the money and food, but also for the cigarettes. They would receive a cigarette for each day of work they put in.

As such, at night after work, a large group of people could be regularly seen gathering together and smoking. Ren Xiaosu once explained to Yan Liuyuan that the cigarettes were likely mixed with something highly addictive.

However, it was obvious that Xiaoyu did not get her cigarette from working at those places.

Xiaoyu lit the cigarette and took two puffs from it. She seemed to be thinking of something. “You cheeky imp, I consider you two my little brothers.”

“Oh.” Yan Liuyuan suddenly asked, “Did you catch a cold?”

Xiaoyu was stunned. “Yes, does my voice sound a little hoarse?”

“No.” Yan Liuyuan shook his head and laughed. “I saw that the smoke was not coming out from one of your nostrils after you took a puff.”

Xiaoyu was speechless.

For some reason, Xiaoyu felt that Yan Liuyuan did not like her very much.

“Then I’ll head back first.” Xiaoyu said, “When your brother wakes up, tell him that I came over.”

“OK.” Yan Liuyuan smiled. “I’ll pass the message along.”

After Xiaoyu left, Ren Xiaosu suddenly spoke from behind Yan Liuyuan. “Don’t bully Big Sister Xiaoyu in the future. It’s not easy for her either.”

“Bro, she’s not decent.” Yan Liuyuan said, “Besides, she’s only sticking close to you because she knows you always succeed when hunting.”

“Who’s decent around here? Ren Xiaosu said calmly, “No decent person can survive in this world. Everyone’s hand is forced by their living conditions. We can only distance ourselves from her. Don’t make fun of her.”

A chaste woman who was too decent would not be able to survive in this town.

Ren Xiaosu thought for a while and said, “She didn’t even mention that she likes me. Besides, are you sure that she’s only getting close to me because I’m successful at hunting? And not because I’m handsome?”

“Bro, everyone has not washed their faces for months. Everyone here looks basically the same.” Yan Liuyuan was speechless as he looked at Ren Xiaosu. “Bro, didn’t you fall asleep? Why are you still awake?”

“I was just thinking,” Ren Xiaosu said as a brief explanation.

Ren Xiaosu was not asleep because he had been exploring the secrets of the palace in his mind.

In the circular palace, the walls were lined with old wooden cabinets, making it look like a huge showroom of sorts. However, he could not see what was on the display cabinets in the showroom as they were covered in black mist.

In the middle of the room, there was only one table with a brass typewriter on top of it. It was an obsolete typewriter that would make loud clacking sounds when typed on and hadn’t existed for a very long time since The Cataclysm.

There were only 24 brass keys on this typewriter. Each of them was engraved with a character: fair, positive, honest, real, friendly, kind, rich, strong, etc.

It was full of positive energy, in a manner of speaking.

But it seemed that the typewriter was supplied with an unlimited amount of leather parchment and would move by itself without anyone typing on the brass keys. Currently on it were two small lines of words that had appeared during the afternoon: “Quest: Gift your catch to someone else. Quest complete. Awarded Basic Skill Duplication Scroll. You may use it to learn another person’s skills.”

He could not tell if he was imagining this or if there was some other explanation for it. According to legend, some people could create a memory palace and build a fantasy world based on the level of their spiritual will.

But Ren Xiaosu felt that his palace… looked a little different from the description of a memory palace.

Why would it get him to gift his catch to someone else? Did this typewriter want him to be a good person?

To be a good person in a world where ethics came at a premium?

No way in hell!

At this moment, his consciousness was standing in the center of the vast palace as he looked at the “display cabinets” around him. It looked like items were floating within the display cabinets, but they were hidden by the darkness. That black mist didn’t allow Ren Xiaosu to see what was floating inside.

These display cabinets were connected to the dome of the palace, making it look like a huge museum. Ren Xiaosu walked up to one of the cabinets and tried touching the item floating in the black mist. But no matter how hard he tried, he could not penetrate the resistance of the black mist.

It was a power that he could not pry into right now.

If Ren Xiaosu wanted to know whether the palace was real, he would have to use actions to prove its existence.

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The First Order – Chapter 16

In the dead of the night, Ren Xiaosu checked his harvest thus far. Two days ago, Xiaoyu, Yan Liuyuan, and the two students had each earned him a gratitude token. All in all, he had collected four gratitude token coins.

However, as he used up one of them, he only had three gratitude tokens left and a small bottle of ointment with two dosages remaining. Ren Xiaosu decided to name this ointment the “black medicine” as it was simple and easy to remember.

In Ren Xiaosu’s opinion, he could use one gratitude token in exchange for one bottle of black medicine, and each bottle of black medicine could be used to treat three people. In the long run, having one bottle that could get three gratitudes in exchange would surely guarantee him a profit.

By exchanging the gratitude tokens for the black medicine and selling them, it seemed that it would slow down his progress of unlocking the weapon. But the more black medicine he exchanged with his gratitude tokens, the more gratitude tokens he would get in return, right? This was an exponential growth, and it might even help to unlock the weapon faster!

Moreover, he could still make do with Yan Liuyuan’s bone knife. In the short term, he would not need to go out to hunt. Thus, bringing home the bacon became his utmost priority. He had to earn some money first!

Last night, Ren Xiaosu had a dream. He dreamed that he was standing in the wilderness with a black knife in his hands, the knife as dense and mysterious as the night.

Ren Xiaosu went out early the next morning. He did not carry his cauldron today, taking only Yan Liuyuan’s bone knife with him.

Now that Xiaoyu was staying home to look after the two shacks, it became very unlikely that they would lose their belongings during the daytime. And frankly, the people in town who harbored evil thoughts would only dare to bully the weak. Why would they resort to stealing from the ruthless Ren Xiaosu?

Not needing to carry the cauldron out with him felt amazing.

As a promising young man, Ren Xiaosu wouldn’t look good if he had to carry the cauldron out every day wherever he went.

Today, he went out to the wilderness not because he needed to hunt, but to pretend that he was gathering medicinal herbs.

Ren Xiaosu was a very cautious person. Since he claimed that he had a herb formula, he would have to gather the herbs. Only then would he not be suspected by others.

Although Ren Xiaosu did not hear about anyone being against “supernatural beings,” Ren Xiaosu understood the principle. If you wanted to ensure your survival among a group of chaotic people, you would have to blend in with them.

Tall poppies get cut short, the tallest tress get blown over first, don’t flaunt your wealth—these ancient sayings were warnings to everyone to not posture.

When he came back to town, it was still noon. When Ren Xiaosu carried a large bunch of medicinal herbs back, someone he knew asked, “Ren Xiaosu, why are you carrying all these weeds around?”

“Are these weeds?” Ren Xiaosu stared at him and said, “These are medicinal herbs!”

Medicinal herbs? The person asking was dumbfounded. As someone born and raised right here in town, wouldn’t he know what those plants were? No one had ever thought of them as medicinal herbs before.

Ren Xiaosu said conspiratorially, “As long as you add in different fractions, you can concoct a medicine that can be used to treat wounds. How do you think I recovered from my past injuries?”

The questioner thought for a long time. “Didn’t you pull through due to sheer willpower?”

“Get lost.” Ren Xiaosu did not stop in his tracks and headed straight back to his shack.

Xiaoyu was currently sewing Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan’s clothes. When she looked up and saw Ren Xiaosu walking in with a large bunch of medicinal herbs, she put the patchwork in her hands down. “What are all these?”

“These are the medicinal herbs used to concoct the secret formula,” Ren Xiaosu explained.

Ren Xiaosu set up the cauldron and started a fire. He added some water in and pretended to concoct the medicinal herb formula. In the process of concocting this formula, the costliest part was actually the water. Water was a much more valuable resource than the firewood used or the weeds that were put in.

He even purposely lifted the shack’s curtain door to let the people in town see what he was doing.

A lot of people saw Ren Xiaosu brewing a herb concoction but no one dared to approach him to ask what it was.

Ren Xiaosu was starting to feel unhappy about this. The reason he lifted the curtain door was so that people would come over to ask him what he was doing. When that happened, he would be able to promote his medicinal concoction.

After waiting for a long time, no one approached him to ask about it. Ren Xiaosu pulled a long face as he looked at a skinny man who was surreptitiously lurking outside the entrance. “You!”

The skinny man pointed at himself. “Me?”

“Yes, come over here.” Ren Xiaosu waited until the skinny man warily came closer. Then he said, “Ask me what I am doing already!”

The skinny man was speechless.

So was Xiaoyu.

“Go on, ask,” Ren Xiaosu urged him.

“Wh-What are you doing?” the skinny man asked.

With his motive achieved, Ren Xiaosu broke into a smile. He said with a kind look, “I’m brewing a herbal concoction.I usually brew this type of medicinal herb concoction when I get injured. It not only reduces inflammation and stops pain, it can also make the wound heal faster! In the past, I kept this medicine hidden from everyone. But now I’ve realized my mistake. So I’ve decided that I want to make the concoction and share it with everyone! From today onwards, I’ll open a clinic that specializes in treating wounds. Is anyone injured and in need of treatment?”

The people standing outside were stunned by the speech that Ren Xiaosu had just given. However, everyone just looked at one another before dispersing. No one believed him.

What a joke! Ren Xiaosu, you might be impressive, but to suddenly claim that you can treat people’s wounds is bullshit. Everyone in the entire neighborhood knows that you pulled through by enduring your injuries in the past.

But now you’re suddenly telling us that you have a medicinal herb concoction? Like we’d believe you!

Ren Xiaosu wasn’t very happy about this. He had to make everyone learn of the medicine’s effectiveness. It was very simple because he had personally tried it before. The moment he applied the medicine on the wound, the pain and burning sensation vanished and then scabbing formed the next day!

If only he could make everyone learn of its effectiveness. Business would boom, right?

Ren Xiaosu brought the small vial of ointment with him and went around town looking for patients. Which place had the most patients? The clinic, of course!

When Ren Xiaosu reached the clinic, he realized there was not a single patient there. In fact, the fees for the doctor’s consultation were so expensive that nobody could afford to come here!

Ren Xiaosu glared daggers at the young doctor before turning around and walking away. The young doctor who was leisurely sipping tea suddenly became a little nervous due to Ren Xiaosu’s intense glaring.

Left with no other choice, Ren Xiaosu went to find other opportunities in town. It wasn’t until every factory had ended work in the afternoon that Ren Xiaosu finally spotted a skinny man with a cut on his hand!

Ren Xiaosu was overjoyed. “Brother, did you injure your hand during work? I have a wonder drug here. Do you want to try some?”

The skinny man looked at him warily as he felt that Ren Xiaosu’s tone did not sound reputable. “No need.”

“Come, try it.” Ren Xiaosu went forward and held the skinny man down. To promote his black medicine, Ren Xiaosu even bent his most important principle. “I’ll make it cheaper for you!”

But the man was still unwilling. After all, the black stuff on Ren Xiaosu’s hand looked a little dubious.

Ren Xiaosu clenched his teeth and said, “For the sake of publicity, I’ll treat your wound for free this time!”

“Alright, alright, put away your knife first.”

When Ren Xiaosu came out looking for patients to treat, he had brought a bone knife with him.

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The First Order – Chapter 65

The two soldiers who had not returned yet had only dared to venture out when they saw nothing had happened to Yang Xiaojin and Luo Xinyu. By going outside together, they took the necessary precautions.

But now that almost ten minutes had passed, the two of them were still not back.

Xu Xianchu stood at the edge of the hollow and peered out into the forest. Although it was only evening, the sky had already turned black due to the rain.

“Could something have happened to them?” someone asked.

“But there wasn’t any noise,” someone said, curled up in the corner of the hollow. “Surely they couldn’t have been attacked at the same time and made no sound, right?”

Logically speaking, that should have been the case. But wasn’t this exactly what made it even more frightening? Xu Xianchu had instructed everyone to go out in groups, but even so, something still happened.

Xu Xianchu said, “Don’t think too hard. They might’ve been delayed just a little. It’s only been ten minutes, after all.”

Everyone in the hollow became quiet. Although Xu Xianchu comforted everyone by saying that, those two soldiers didn’t reappear as time slowly ticked by.

Xu Xianchu said, “Who’s willing to go and look for them with me?”

Ren Xiaosu was taken aback. Xu Xianchu was even willing to risk the unknown danger and acid rain to go into the forest and search for his subordinates.

But no one in the hollow volunteered. Who would be willing to go out and seek death at a time like this? Some of the soldiers even urinated at the innermost part of the hollow and filled the entire hollow with the smell of urine. As a result, Ren Xiaosu and the others were forced to sit near the outer part of the hollow where there was ventilation. Although it was a little cold there, at least they didn’t have to smell it.

Xu Xianchu sighed and said, “If you all don’t help the others, don’t blame others for not helping when the same happens to you.”

Ren Xiaosu was not worried about that since he did not expect anyone to save him. Even Yang Xiaojin, who was his ally, would probably abandon everyone in the event of any danger.

As they were not related to one another, it was already great that they did not sabotage each other.

The sound of rain pouring over the forest came from outside. Ren Xiaosu said to Yang Xiaojin, “I’ll keep watch for the first half of the night. You go and get some rest. The forest ground will become very difficult to walk through after the rain. It’ll use up a lot of your stamina. Be careful of those soldiers too. They’re up to no good.”

Ren Xiaosu had known ever since the two of them seized the gun that the soldiers would cluster together from time to time. This spelled potential trouble for them, but Ren Xiaosu had not figured out how to handle it yet.

“Mhm.” Yang Xiaojin nodded. Then she closed her eyes and leaned against the wall to get some rest. But even so, Yang Xiaojin’s gun was still pointing at everyone, including Ren Xiaosu.

Ren Xiaosu smiled and did not mind it. If it were him, he would have done the same.

A team of 11 people had inexplicably turned into nine. Ren Xiaosu looked at the remaining soldiers in the hollow and saw some of them sitting and smoking. The cigarette smoke was still laced with a smell that nauseated Ren Xiaosu.

He found it hard to imagine just how vulnerable the defenses of the stronghold was when even the soldiers of the stronghold were using such psychoactive drugs to stimulate themselves.

Was this only happening in Stronghold 113 or were most of the soldiers from the other strongholds also the same?

These soldiers had brought quite a lot of cigarettes along, and Liu Bu had also prepared ten packs for them. However, they lost most of them while they were making their escape. Right now, they only had around half a pack or a full pack left on each of them, while some of them did not even have any left at all.

The group of people sitting there were smoking together, filling the entire hollow with smoke. Fortunately, Ren Xiaosu, Yang Xiaojin, and Luo Xinyu were all sitting at the outer edge of the hollow, so they were not that greatly affected.

They heard one soldier saying to the others, “Lend me a cig. I’ve run out.”

“I’ve run out too. This is the last cig I have.” The soldier beside him moved a little to the other side. Actually, he still had more than half a pack left in his pocket, but the days ahead of them were still so long. Who the hell knew how long it’d be before they could finally get out of this place? He did not even have enough to spare for himself.

The soldier who wanted to bum a cigarette looked to the others and said, “Lend me a cig. I’ll return a pack to you when we get back to the stronghold.”

By this time, his “withdrawals” had kicked in. He didn’t hesitate making a promise like that just so he could smoke a cigarette. And cigarettes were not cheap in the stronghold.

“Who knows if we can even get back to the stronghold alive?” someone scoffed. “What are you going to pay with at that time, your life?”

Ren Xiaosu sighed. These soldiers were really like a disorderly mob. While two of their comrades’ lives were still at stake, they fell into infighting over some cigarettes.

The soldier whose withdrawal symptoms were starting to kick in could only sit inside the hollow when he failed to get any cigarettes. Ren Xiaosu observed him as he started shivering while beads of sweat began forming on his forehead.

Although these soldiers smoked a better quality of cigarettes than the town’s workers, their withdrawal symptoms were more intense.

If they encountered danger at this moment, this addict would probably not even able to stand up, let alone resist.

Ren Xiaosu looked at Luo Xinyu, who was still awake, and said, “What on earth is it like… inside the stronghold you’re from?”

This was actually one question that Ren Xiaosu was most curious about as he had always yearned to live in the stronghold, because all of the best quality daily necessities produced in town would get selected and transported into the stronghold. The people inside did not have to eat cornbread, could wash their faces every day, and it was said they had electricity as well.

Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan used to think that the place was heaven, but now it seemed that it was not as beautiful as they had imagined.

Luo Xinyu was delighted when Ren Xiaosu took the initiative to talk to her. She still needed to rely on him plenty during the journey. She explained in a whisper, “Actually, there’s people who made them like this on purpose. A mutiny by the private army in one of the strongholds happened, and the overseers of the other strongholds slowly began bearing ill will for the soldiers. While the big shots hoped that there would be people to protect them, they wanted their soldiers to stay loyal and have no ambition. So these cigarettes are the best tool to make them lose their ambition.”

Ren Xiaosu asked, “Is smoking too much of this stuff OK?”

“Of course not.” Luo Xinyu said, “Some veterans in the stronghold behave like zombies…. And some of their wives even ran off with others as a result.”

“It’s such a mess in the stronghold.” Ren Xiaosu sighed.

“That’s nothing.” Luo Xinyu said, “I’ve seen a 60-year-old woman with a dozen gigolos she’s paying to support. You could say she’s robbing the cradle!”

Ren Xiaosu was stunned. “A 60 year old? I don’t think robbing the cradle properly describes that.”

Luo Xinyu was startled. “Then what would?”

Ren Xiaosu thought for a moment before saying, “Having children in old age!”

Luo Xinyu was speechless. Luo Xinyu realized that Ren Xiaosu’s brain was truly wired a little differently from others. It was no wonder the townspeople all said he was sick in the head! He was clearly a normal person, yet he exhibited signs of mental illness. Just how did his mind work?!

At this moment, someone in the cave exclaimed, “What is this?! It’s so wet!”

After he said that, the group ran out of the cave as though they received a great shock. Ren Xiaosu looked into the hollow but was puzzled. There was nothing inside.

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