If Ren Xiaosu went out into the town now and shouted, “The wolves are coming, the Experimentals are coming, the face bugs are coming, and maybe even that monster in the volcano is coming too!” probably half of the people in town would stare at him dumbfoundedly like they were looking at a fool, while the remaining half might be skeptical of what he had just said.
But Wang Fugui was different. He felt that if he didn’t believe someone who had personally experienced what had happened, then who else could he believe?
Ren Xiaosu looked at Wang Fugui seriously for a moment. He suddenly understood why Old Wang had managed to live safely up til now.
Wang Fugui was neither a capable person, nor was he ruthless enough. All he knew was how to act in front of those important people from the stronghold by behaving slickly, but that shouldn’t have been enough to keep him alive for so long.
In the past, some esquires enjoyed a good relationship with the important people in the stronghold too, but didn’t they also get harmed or killed all the same?
It had to be said, Wang Fugui possibly had a peculiar survival instinct that allowed him to make the most correct of choices in the face of danger.
Wang Fugui reiterated, “Perhaps no one else believes you, but I do. I’m going with you.”
To tell the truth, Ren Xiaosu was also thinking about it. Most people would be a burden to Ren Xiaosu if escaping. But Wang Fugui was different. Old Wang was still a businessman at heart, but he had shown enough goodwill to Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan.
Being the shrewd businessman he was, Wang Fugui noticed Ren Xiaosu’s hesitation. He said, “I won’t go with you and add nothing. First of all, I have money and medicine. Second, I’m better at dealing with people than y’all are, so I’m not going to be a drag.”
At this critical juncture, Wang Fugui made his value known. Only by having value would someone else want to bring you along with them. He did not pin his hopes on depending on their previous friendship to convince Ren Xiaosu because he didn’t think that friendship was worth much in times like this.
Ren Xiaosu gave it some thought before saying, “I don’t care about your money. Go and come back quickly!”
Ren Xiaosu wasn’t a devout person. If it had been someone else, he definitely wouldn’t allow that person to leave at such a time. What if that person reported his presence to the Qing Consortium?
But the goodwill Wang Fugui had shown to Ren Xiaosu made him trust Wang Fugui this one time. Moreover, the Qing Consortium was probably too busy to do anything about Ren Xiaosu. The people keeping watch outside were nowhere near enough to take him on.
Yan Liuyuan and Xiaoyu quickly packed their belongings. Yan Liuyuan handed a copper coin to Ren Xiaosu and said, “Mr. Zhang said that if we have no place left to go, we can head to the Northern Frontier to look for him. But if we still have a chance of survival somewhere else, don’t go there. He says that the Northern Frontier is a very tough place to live.”
Ren Xiaosu looked at the coin and asked, “What happened here?”
Yan Liuyuan proceeded to relate the events of that night, including Luo Lan’s attitude towards Zhang Jinglin and also some of the things Zhang Jinglin said.
He concluded, “Uncle Fugui was also the only one who stood up for us that night.”
“OK, I understand.” Ren Xiaosu asked again, “Did Mr. Zhang mention what his identity was?”
“No.” Yan Liuyuan shook his head. “I don’t know what his identity is, and he didn’t answer me either when I asked. But one thing’s for sure; he’s definitely an important person in Stronghold 178.”
“Mhm.” Ren Xiaosu said, “If we really have no place to turn to, we’ll go look for him at the Northern Frontier.”
Xiaoyu said, “Our belongings are packed. There isn’t actually a lot to bring.”
Ren Xiaosu took a look and saw that Xiaoyu and Yan Liuyuan had basically only brought along foodstuffs. Even the cabbage that was planted by Zhang Jinglin in the school’s backyard had been picked. They were quite similar to him, very practical.
“Bring the buns and cornbread.” Ren Xiaosu said, “But the cabbage is unnecessary. We can always pick wild vegetables along the way while we’re escaping. Eh, what’s in that bag?”
“Smoked meat.” Sister Xiaoyu said, “You didn’t bring any dried food with you the last time you departed, so I thought I’d make some smoked meat to store away for whenever you needed to go out again.”
“Mhm.” Ren Xiaosu stayed silent for a bit. “Thank you, Big Sister Xiaoyu. This has really come in handy.”
“Bro.” Yan Liuyuan looked up at Ren Xiaosu and asked, “Is it really dangerous this time?”
“The people in the stronghold can depend on the walls to keep them safe, but the townspeople can’t defend themselves against those creatures. There won’t even be a place for them to hide.” Ren Xiaosu said, “Actually, the best thing to do now should be to open the stronghold to everyone so they can go in. But I doubt that those who’re in the stronghold will allow that to happen.”
“Then let’s wait for Uncle Fugui to come back before we leave. We can head southwest to where Stronghold 109 is,” Yan Liuyuan said.
Ren Xiaosu sized up Yan Liuyuan and said with a laugh, “You look pretty handsome with your face cleaned up. It’s like you’re one of them in the stronghold.”
“Hehe.” Yan Liuyuan smirked.
These two brothers’ faces had always been dirty. But ever since Yan Liuyuan went down with a fever for some time, Xiaoyu helped him wipe his face clean.
Suddenly, the town broke into an uproar. But this time, it wasn’t the sound of people watching a commotion but the sound of cries for help by many.
The entire town had descended into chaos!
Ren Xiaosu strode out of the school’s entrance. The soldiers keeping watch immediately reached for their guns when they saw Ren Xiaosu. They had been distracted by the events in town, so they didn’t expect to see Ren Xiaosu walk out from the inside.
But before they could even draw their guns, Ren Xiaosu made the first move. He started shooting as he made his way outside. None of those who had been keeping watch managed to run away, and they all ended up dying to his pistol.
At this moment, Wang Fugui ran over to the school with his silly son, Wang Dalong. When he saw Ren Xiaosu finishing off around seven people without any hesitation, he felt quite shocked. Although Ren Xiaosu was known to be ruthless, he never expected he would be this ruthless. It was as if Ren Xiaosu had changed after his trip into the Jing Mountains.
When Ren Xiaosu turned around and looked at Wang Fugui, Wang Fugui nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the coldness in Ren Xiaosu’s eyes. However, Ren Xiaosu lowered his gun when he saw that it was Wang Fugui who had come. “Let’s go, we’ll head over to Stronghold 109.”
“Wait.” Wang Dalong suddenly said, “Can we bring Li Youqian along?”
Ren Xiaosu seriously pondered this question. “…Who is Li Youqian?”
“She’s Old Li’s strapping daughter,” Yan Liuyuan provided.
“I won’t bring her along with us,” Ren Xiaosu said and shook his head.
Wang Dalong got ticked off. “You’re the school’s substitute teacher. How can you abandon your students without a care? If Mr. Zhang were here, he definitely wouldn’t just leave her here.”
Ren Xiaosu looked at Wang Fugui and sighed with emotion. “Seeing how anxious your son is, it feels just like love…. Actually, they’re quite compatible.”
Wang Fugui was astonished. “Why would you say something like that at this time?!”
Then Ren Xiaosu turned to look at Wang Dalong and said, “Too bad I’m not Mr. Zhang.”
When Wang Dalong heard this, his heart broke. He didn’t expect his relationship to end just like that.