The First Order – Chapter 217


Chapter 217 Reunited with Liuyuan

At this moment, Hu Shuo felt a little wistful. There was an old saying that went, “hoist with one’s own petard,” and Ren Xiaosu turned out to be an especially heavy petard. 1

Hu Shuo couldn’t help but ask, “You were able to lead quite a comfortable life even with your limited knowledge, so why do you still hunger for more knowledge? Are you aiming to qualify for the university in the stronghold?”

Ren Xiaosu thought for a moment before answering, “I’m not planning to get into the university. I just want to understand the truth of the world.”

Hu Shuo was stunned by this answer. He went deep into thought before saying with a sigh, “You can still come and ask me anytime in the future if there’s something you don’t understand.”

Hu Shuo’s previous daily routine was to wake up at 6 AM to practice tai chi until 7 AM before eating breakfast. Then he would bask in the sun, chat, eat lunch, eat dinner, and finally go to bed at night.

Now, he would still wake up at 6 AM to practice tai chi until 7 AM before eating breakfast. But then he would start class, eat lunch, resume teaching again, and get so annoyed with Ren Xiaosu that it made him lose his appetite for dinner and be unable to fall asleep at night.

Throughout this, Ren Xiaosu kept wondering why on earth this old man came to their outpost.

During this period, a group of combat troops from the consortium came to the outpost to investigate the wolf attack on the other outpost. They wanted to ask if any suspicious activities were seen around the vicinity but were sent away the moment they stepped into the outpost.

It seemed like the officers all knew who Hu Shuo was, so they just left the place without further questioning. It didn’t look like they found it strange that he was living here.

This surprised Ren Xiaosu a little. Who on earth was this old man?!

However, he made a trip to the mountains that very night to inform the Wolf King that the wolf pack would need to go even deeper into the hinterlands of the mountain to settle down. That was because the Li Consortium would probably send troops to eliminate them.

During his stay, Ren Xiaosu thought of asking Hu Shuo where Stronghold 88 was located since he felt Hu Shuo would definitely know. However, he was worried that if he asked Hu Shuo, Hu Shuo would think he was colluding with the enemy based on the current relationship between the Li Consortium and the Yang Consortium.

Although they had been getting along rather well, Ren Xiaosu felt his relationship with Hu Shuo had still not reached the stage where they could trust each other.

Seeing that the Lunar New Year was approaching, Li Qingzheng pulled Ren Xiaosu aside and whispered, “We’ve run out of salt, so we have to make a trip to town. We’ll also need to purchase some New Year supplies as well.”

People at the other outposts were so poor they did not have enough to eat, and the supplies delivered to them were starting to lessen as well. Meanwhile, Ren Xiaosu and the others at this outpost were all looking energetic and in high spirits. They had even gotten sick of having meat every day and wanted to get some vegetables in their diet for a change.

There was a small plot of land behind the outpost where they could grow vegetables. But if they wanted to grow vegetables in this weather, they would have to build a canvas shed to house the vegetables. However, they did not have any canvas to build the shed with.

So Li Qingzheng had a discussion with Ren Xiaosu about making a trip to town.

This was what Ren Xiaosu thought as well. He had been waiting for this day for a long time.

Before leaving, Ren Xiaosu ordered Chen Wudi to not let Hu Shuo leave the outpost. If he left the outpost, Chen Wudi would have to follow him and find out what he was up to.

When Hu Shuo heard Ren Xiaosu and Li Qingzheng were going back to town today and might have to stay there for a night, he was nearly moved to tears.

Honestly speaking, it was not easy for Hu Shuo to be moved at his age. After all, he had been through so much in life, so what kinds of situations had he not seen before?

But today, he really felt a lingering sense of emotion. Hu Shuo said to Ren Xiaosu, “Purchase a lot of New Year supplies. There’s no rush to come back too soon.”

Suddenly, Ren Xiaosu found it a little surprising that everyone had gotten used to having this strange old man living at the outpost, and even Hu Shuo himself seemed like he had gotten used to it too.

How did all of these changes happen…

It would take more than three hours to drive from the outpost to town. The distance was neither near nor far. The factory nearby was still operating late into the night as the vast and sophisticated war machine that was the Li Consortium ran at full gear, though no one knew where its chariots of war were headed.

Throughout the journey, Ren Xiaosu and Li Qingzheng saw supply trucks frequently driving between the stronghold and the factories, all bustling with activity.

Although the vehicle broke down once during the journey, Li Qingzheng was really good at fixing vehicles. He simply lifted the hood and tinkered around for a while before the run-down military transport truck was running smoothly again.

Ren Xiaosu had been separated from Yan Liuyuan and the others for more than a fortnight. Right now, he just wanted to quickly find Yan Liuyuan, Wang Fugui, and the others in town and get an update on their recent situation to see if they had encountered any difficulties.

Li Qingzheng was even more excited. It was as though he was an exiled prisoner who was finally returning to a prosperous city. He kept mumbling during the journey, saying he would definitely look for his old flame for a rendezvous in town tonight after they sold off the meat.

When they arrived in town, Ren Xiaosu saw some refugees heading home after buying some pork rind and fatty meat from a butcher’s shop. When he saw some children receiving some cheap sweets from the adults, he could feel the air of festivity approaching.

Even the people who could barely survive by working hard every day in these wastelands would still try their best to get some new clothes, buy a handful of sweets, and make some delicious dumplings for their children during the holiday.

Although the world had been destroyed before, it did not mean that people in the wastelands did not have a right to be happy.

Humans were always the best at finding joy amid hardship among all living things as they were a tough and tenacious species.

The people who had predicted that humans would descend into a completely cold and cruel world after the apocalypse did not actually understand humanity at all.

Of course, it was still unsafe in town at night. There would always be people who wanted to get something without putting in the effort for it, but this was not something that was contradictory to happiness.

When they arrived at the entrance of the town, Ren Xiaosu saw Yan Liuyuan crouching there with a blank stare. He quickly leaned out of the window and called out to him, “Liuyuan! Why are you crouching there?!”

When Yan Liuyuan saw Ren Xiaosu, his eyes lit up. “Bro, you’re finally back. Haha, when a magpie flew into the yard this morning, I had a feeling[1] that you would definitely come back to town. That’s why I was waiting for you here.”

However, Ren Xiaosu felt that probably wasn’t the truth. To hell with the magpie—as if there were really such coincidences in the world like that!

Yan Liuyuan must have been waiting here every day since he left for the outpost, so that was probably why there was such a “coincidence” today.

Ren Xiaosu opened the door and pulled Yan Liuyuan up into the passenger seat. As the passenger seat in the truck was very wide, it wouldn’t be an issue for three people to fit in it.

Ren Xiaosu asked, “Where are y’all living now?”

Yan Liuyuan beamed and said, “We bought two brick townhouses near the gate of the stronghold, so we’re currently living there. Uncle Fugui also reopened his grocery store. He said that he’s already found some business contacts in the stronghold and has also struck up a good relationship with the town’s administrators.”

“Old Wang is so talented.” Ren Xiaosu was really glad to hear that and his praise was sincere. No matter where Wang Fugui went, he could always strike up good interpersonal relationships and bring great convenience to their lives.

[1] A Chinese saying goes: When the magpie arrives, good fortune will follow. It is regarded as a happy messenger.

 

 



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