Chapter 234 Each other’s secret
The outpost that Ren Xiaosu was at was somewhat cut off from outside news. Even if Yan Liuyuan had been constantly going around to gather information, the news he could find out was still only the tip of the iceberg. So they had no idea that war was on the verge of breaking out between the Li Consortium, the Qing Consortium, and the Yang Consortium.
There hadn’t been a war for a long time in these wastelands. Humanity had been struggling along in an increasingly difficult world and finally got a chance to recover a little, but war was descending upon them again.
Sometimes, Ren Xiaosu would wonder why everyone kept trying to kill one another even though they had clearly survived against the odds during the Post-Cataclysm.
Based on Hu Shuo’s explanation, the Li Consortium intended to clear the Experimentals from Stronghold 109 before they began the war. They had even sent a combat brigade over to carry out that mission. However, time would not wait for the Li Consortium, and neither would the Yang Consortium and the Qing Consortium wait for them.
Not only were the Experimentals at Stronghold 109 a threat to the Li Consortium, but they were similarly close to the Qing Consortium’s Stronghold 111. Therefore, since war was about to break out, the two consortiums might as well make a bet on which way the Experimentals might go.
And now, the most dangerous thing that could happen was that Ren Xiaosu and company might also get sent to the battlefield. As they had too many things that hadn’t been taken care of yet, they couldn’t just drop everything and leave for good.
Even if they hid deep in the mountains, it would be equally dangerous, because the forested hills were a path the Experimentals would definitely take if they were coming here. Why else would the Li Consortium waste all that manpower by sending troops to these outposts?
“What if the Experimentals come and attack the Li Consortium’s stronghold?” Ren Xiaosu asked.
Hu Shuo looked at Ren Xiaosu and said, “Actually, there isn’t much danger around Stronghold 108. You can even consider sending your family into Stronghold 108 first. If there are defenses in place, the Experimentals won’t be able to force their way into the stronghold. What happened at Stronghold 109 was due to a lapse in its defense.”
Although Stronghold 109 was destroyed, the Experimentals would still find it hard to get close to Stronghold 108 if the Li Consortium installed heavy weapons atop the stronghold walls.
After all, the Experimentals were still flesh and blood. Their muscles might be able to block normal bullets, but they wouldn’t stand up to artillery fire. Even the metal storm “Mountain Obliterator” that Qing Zhen brought was enough to make them retreat.
It was just as Qing Zhen had said. Only a child would be afraid of these Experimentals. Qing Zhen understood full well how terrifying humanity’s firearms and explosives were.
So the only worry everyone had was if the Experimentals ambushed them in these wastelands during a battle. But there wasn’t much to worry about if it were just a stronghold defense.
Ren Xiaosu asked Hu Shuo, “Can you help me send them into the stronghold? I’d like for them to live there temporarily.”
Hu Shuo laughed. “That’s something you can also do now. A captain of the Office of Special Investigations has… great authority…” All of a sudden, Hu Shuo added, “Make sure you don’t abuse your authority, though….”
“Uh-huh, don’t worry. I won’t be investigating smuggling anymore.” Ren Xiaosu was surprised to find out that the Office of Special Investigations could actually send people into the stronghold. That really was a lot of authority.
However, it seemed like this old man was not on the Li Consortium’s side on this matter. He wondered how the higher-ups of the Li Consortium would feel if they knew the truth.
Curious, Ren Xiaosu asked, “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll snitch?”
Hu Shuo gave a half-smile and said, “Aren’t you afraid I’ll tell the Li Consortium that you’re hunting down their nanosoldiers?”
The two of them fell silent. Ren Xiaosu knew Hu Shuo was a sly old fox and that his odd behavior must have been noticed by him. However, he had not expected Hu Shuo to lay it all bare so abruptly.
But since they both knew each other’s secret, no one could snitch on the other.
In Ren Xiaosu’s opinion, Hu Shuo was more trying to establish a friendship or alliance with him. The foundation of this trust would be based upon their knowledge of each other’s secret, as well as the fact that the other party’s grandson was… Li Shentan.
Hu Shuo had always been a high-ranking officer in the Office of Special Investigations all these years. In order not to implicate his family back then, he had kept the fact that he had a daughter a secret. Furthermore, he did not even concern himself with her. However, the Li Consortium forced his daughter to her death many years later.
The Li Consortium was too powerful. It was so powerful he could do nothing about it even though he was a supernatural being, as well as a high-ranking officer within the Office of Special Investigations. After all, his subordinates were all loyal to the Li Consortium, not him. But this situation completely reversed after Li Shentan became a Demon Whisperer. The young man who had escaped from the psychiatric hospital had an incredibly destructive power.
The female students started singing by the campfire while the group of roughnecks did not even dare to make a sound as if afraid of ending the girls’ dulcet singing.
Xiaoyu was wearing an apron and stir-frying some vegetables in the kitchen. When they made the trip here, they had brought along quite a bit of supplies for the New Year. Old Wang had even managed to get ahold of a box of fish and shrimp from someone in the stronghold.
Suddenly, Li Qingzheng emotionally said, “This is probably the most proper Lunar New Year I’ve celebrated in the 29 years of my life.”
Ren Xiaosu gave him a look and laughed. “To be honest, we also spent our Lunar New Years very miserably in the past.”
“That’s not true.” Yan Liuyuan giggled and said, “We were clearly very happy. We used to run off to a hill somewhere far away where we would view the fireworks set off from the stronghold. The fireworks were beautiful to watch.”
But at this moment, an off-road vehicle drove up to the outpost. An officer came over to Hu Shuo and whispered something to him for a while. Hu Shuo’s expression grew even more solemn than before.
Ren Xiaosu looked at Hu Shuo and asked, “What is it?”
Hu Shuo looked at Ren Xiaosu and replied, “Get ready to send your family back to the stronghold after the New Year has passed. War has broken out.”
Ren Xiaosu was surprised to hear that. It was just another hour until the Lunar New Year. Who would have thought a war would erupt on New Year’s Eve?
Hu Shuo said, “The Li Consortium’s commander has already given the order to start the assault. The frontline troops have already started advancing towards the area controlled by the Yang Consortium. In another few hours, it will be blanketed by the flames of
“Aren’t you going to eat before you leave?” Ren Xiaosu asked calmly.
Hu Shuo laughed. “I’d thought we could celebrate the New Year, but we didn’t even get to eat the reunion dinner. What a pity, the thing I was most afraid of still arrived.”
In this world, things never turned out the way people wanted them to.
At this moment, Xiaoyu came out of the kitchen with several boxed meals in her hands. “Uncle Hu Shuo, I’ve filled these up with dinner. Eat them while y’all are on the road.
Hu Shuo was taken aback. He broke out into a smile and said, “Thank you.”
Suddenly, Hu Shuo looked at Ren Xiaosu and asked, “Ren Xiaosu, have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? Anything that can go wrong, no matter how unlikely, will go wrong. To put it simply, that just means that whatever we’re afraid of will somehow happen.”
Ren Xiaosu froze for a moment. “Why are you talking about this?”
“Do you think we’re in a dream right now or living in reality?” Hu Shuo laughed and said.
“We’re definitely in reality. If you don’t believe me, I can pinch you,” Ren Xiaosu said.
“But isn’t reality based on probability? It’s only in dreams that things you’re most afraid of will somehow come true, isn’t that so?” After that, Hu Shuo laughed and turned around to leave. “I’d rather this be a dream.”
Ren Xiaosu could sense a hint of sorrow within this old man.