The next morning, a lot of people were feeling weak all over, and their bodies were aching as they got up from the ground. It was just as Ren Xiaosu had predicted.
The effects of being on a long and arduous journey and being affected by the cold weather had emerged. The healthier and stronger people could endure it, but a minority could not stand up to it at all.
Ren Xiaosu realized the stronghold’s residents did not have developed muscles. At least, they were not like the refugees in town where even a woman like Xiaoyu was slightly stronger than them.
At this moment, the difference in the circumstances of those who had a campfire to warm themselves last night and those who didn’t could clearly be seen. Even the students led by Jiang Wu appeared to be doing fine.
“Let’s hurry up and leave.” Ren Xiaosu got up and looked at the people around them. “This area has become ground zero for an epidemic. If we don’t leave quickly, we might get infected as well.”
No one could save those people anymore.
“Master, there’s greater merit in saving a life than building a seven-story pagoda!” Chen Wudi said, “We can’t just leave these people behind!”
“The Western Paradise is just up ahead.” Ren Xiaosu said as he walked, “I’m going there to obtain the scriptures. You can stay behind if you wish.”
Chen Wudi was stunned. After considering it for a long while, he finally caught up. It seemed that escorting his master to the Western Paradise to obtain the Buddhist scriptures was top priority for him.
Seeing Chen Wudi catch up, Ren Xiaosu heaved a sigh of relief. He was worried Chen Wudi would foolishly try to save those several hundred people who had fallen sick.
How could they save them?
Wang Fugui still had some antibiotics on him, but how much could the medicine that one person carried do in this situation? Besides, that was all of Wang Fugui’s life savings, so why would he selflessly give it up to those people?
When they were about to leave the place, Jiang Wu gathered her students to follow close behind. In any case, Jiang Wu would have her students do whatever Ren Xiaosu was doing.
As everyone looked at the sick people around them, it was inevitable they would feel a little gloomy. But what could they do?
Some of the kinder students said to Jiang Wu, “Teacher, why don’t we stay behind and help them?”
Jiang Wu clenched her teeth in a dilemma. She decided, “No, we need to learn to save ourselves first. Perhaps I’m teaching you the wrong things right now, but you guys must leave with me straight away.”
This world had forced such a gentle and kind teacher into a corner, but she did not regret it.
“Stay close and don’t fall behind, everyone. Do you still remember the wild vegetables we ate yesterday? Pick them if you spot any by the road,” Jiang Wu said.
“But those wild vegetables taste horrible,” a student muttered with his head lowered.
“Even if it tastes horrible, you still have to eat it,” Jiang Wu said firmly.
With Ren Xiaosu getting up to leave, the escapees who could still move tagged along. They felt aimless and only knew how to follow whoever took the lead.
In the end, only the sick people were left lying on the ground.
Ren Xiaosu was puzzled. He knew the wolves had been following them all this while, but they had not come out to attack the group. Why was that? It was clear these people were no threat to them, so could it be the wolves were deterred by the number of people in the group?
What about the Experimentals? Ren Xiaosu was hoping that they had gone northwards from the Jing Mountains with the Qing Consortium’s people. That way, he would not have to worry too much about their threat.
Of course, if the Experimentals perished in that volcanic eruption, it would even be better….
Ren Xiaosu still couldn’t determine how many Experimentals there were or who had created them. He only understood that this world was not as simple as he had thought it was.
At this moment, the escapees were mostly avoiding Ren Xiaosu and company as they made their way along.
Ren Xiaosu had deliberately refrained from showing his superpower to the escapees because they still had to go to Stronghold 109. Who knew what they did to supernatural beings over there? What if they started arresting such people when they saw them just like what had happened in Stronghold 113?
As Chen Wudi had already exposed himself as a supernatural being, this could end up becoming troublesome for them. Ren Xiaosu felt a bit uncertain, but they could only take it one step at a time.
Ren Xiaosu found it quite funny when he saw another stationary off-road vehicle up ahead. He remembered there were three off-road vehicles and two military transport trucks when the Qing Consortium drove past them. But now, more than half of them had broken down.
While making their escape yesterday, they had seen an off-road vehicle and a military transport truck parked on the side of the road. And now, yet another vehicle was dumped midway. Ren Xiaosu thought that if they hurried up, they might just catch up to the Qing Consortium’s people.
After all, they couldn’t fit so many people into the remaining vehicles after three had broken down. Therefore, some of them must be traveling on foot.
Luo Lan would probably have his soldiers walk slowly to their destination while he went on ahead to Stronghold 109 in one of the remaining off-road vehicles or military transport trucks.
As the evening sun shone down on them, the escapees furthest up front raised a ruckus. Someone shouted, “Everyone, look!”
“It’s the people from the Qing Consortium!” Someone shouted, “Let’s get help from them!”
“We’ve finally met up with the troops!”
They did not even consider whether the combat brigade was willing to let them join their group and madly dashed up to the front. It was as though they were trying to grab onto a lifeline.
Ren Xiaosu looked up when he heard the commotion. He was surprised to see Luo Lan sitting in the scarlet sunset with several hundred of the Qing Consortium’s combat troops. Why had this fatty only walked until here? Furthermore, Ren Xiaosu felt that Luo Lan’s pants looked a little funny. Upon closer inspection, why did his pants seem like they were made from two leather seat covers stitched together?!
At this moment, Luo Lan was ordering the soldiers to set up their tents. But when he turned around, he nearly jumped out of his skin. There was a large, dense crowd of people closing on them!
He quickly said to the troops, “Quick, those carrying firearms, take them out and prevent the escapees from invading our campsite!”
As the Qing Consortium’s troops were combat oriented, the sounds of weapons being cocked reverberated right after Luo Lan finished speaking.
When the escapees saw the guns pointing in their direction, everyone stopped in their tracks. They were at a loss.
A middle-aged man shouted from a distance, “Boss Luo, I’m Little Zhang from the Planning Division! You’ve met me before!”
Luo Lan hocked a loogie and shouted, “Aren’t you embarrassed to be called Little Zhang at your age? All of you, move back. We’ll open fire if you take another step forward!”
None of the escapees dared to move. The Qing Consortium did not care about who they were. As long as it were not one of their own, they would treat everyone as their enemies.
Ren Xiaosu was observing this scene while hiding behind the crowd. He had hoped the Qing Consortium would not interact with the escapees. After all, it was quite possible he was wanted by them. Of course, Ren Xiaosu felt that these people did not have the excess energy and time for that.
Seeing so many of the Qing Consortium’s troops wrapped up in bandages, it looked like they had been injured while escaping from the stronghold.
But Ren Xiaosu was a little curious. Luo Lan had not abandoned the soldiers and run off by himself. This surprised him a great deal.