Zhou Yingxue said softly, “I’ve never had to go through these steps when I came to the Zhou Consortium in the past.”
Ren Xiaosu nodded. It was probably because of Zhou Xilong’s death that the entire Zhou Consortium was put on high alert now to prevent anyone from entering their strongholds and causing trouble.
When the security checks were done, some soldiers even asked Li Ran for an autograph. Curious, Ren Xiaosu asked, “Is Li Ran very famous? Even the Zhou Consortium’s people know her?”
Zhou Yingxue nearly laughed out loud. “Master, aren’t you a little too out of touch? She’s one of the most popular female singers these days, and her cassette albums are selling to the farthest southern reaches. Although it’s her first time here, a lot of people have heard her songs. Even the music stores in the Yang Consortium’s strongholds were selling her cassettes too. A lot of young people like her. Master, aren’t you also a young person?”
“So that’s how it is.” Ren Xiaosu suddenly understood. He explained, “I’ve never paid much attention to such things in the past.”
After all, for people who needed to constantly think about their survival every day, how would they have time to pay attention to these celebrities? From what he remembered, Xiaoyu also seemed to have a female singer she liked some time after they got acquainted. That female singer’s cassette album was even at home, but Xiaoyu, at most, listened to her songs.
For people like them, it was difficult to feel any admiration for such illusory idols.
After entering the stronghold, Ren Xiaosu realized a lot of stronghold residents had assembled on the sidewalks. They were holding up custom-made signs as a show of support, and shiny little light bulbs were even flashing on them.
Ren Xiaosu sighed and said, “Why’re there so many people? Are there really this many people that like her?”
Zhou Yingxue glanced at Ren Xiaosu. She realized her master was even more annoyed with Li Ran than she was. Zhou Yingxue was very happy to see this.
Zhou Yingxue realized that while the convoy was going down the road, it was deliberately slowing down. Meanwhile, Li Ran rolled down the car window and started waving at the fans warmly. She even took some of the fans’ notebooks and autographed them.
Zhou Yingxue said through the walkie-talkie, “Please pass through quickly. There’s too many people here and danger could be lurking, so please pass through quickly.”
Fang Zhi’s voice sounded over the intercom, replying, “This is a good opportunity for Ranran to get close to her fans. It’ll be very helpful for her friendly image, so we can’t pass through too quickly. Please continue to follow the convoy at this same speed. And, Ms. Zhou, please don’t interfere too much.”
Zhou Yingxue rolled her eyes in the car. “They have no sense of safety. If someone here were hiding a knife and stabbed her suddenly, not even a god could stop it.”
Ren Xiaosu leaned back in the passenger seat and said leisurely, “Why do you care so much?”
“If something happens to her, my mission will be considered a failure,” Zhou Yingxue lamented.
Then Ren Xiaosu took a look at his cell phone and said, “I’m heading out for a while. I’ll go straight back to the hotel tonight, so I’ll leave you to handle things here.”
Zhou Yingxue looked at Ren Xiaosu in shock. “Master, you’re going off to do another solo mission? Why’re you always leaving me by myself? Can’t you please spare all those D and C-rank hitmen? I get somewhat flustered whenever I’m alone….”
Ren Xiaosu glanced at her. “You handle things here, and I’ll share 20% of the money I get from selling the cell phones.”
Zhou Yingxue immediately put on a smile. “All the best for your mission, Master.”
After that, Ren Xiaosu opened the door and jumped out of the slow-moving vehicle before blending into the crowd.
However, Li Ran noticed his action from the corners of her eyes. She turned around and frowned at Fang Zhi, saying, “Why is that kid acting on his own? Ask Zhou Yingxue what this is all about!”
Zhou Yingxue’s reply was that Ren Xiaosu had gone out to scout around to ensure that Li Ran’s safety was not compromised.
Li Ran said Ren Xiaosu would have to come back so he could guard her. However, Zhou Yingxue said she was the one who took the mission, not Ren Xiaosu.
This time, Li Ran was helpless. She realized she did not seem to have any good way of dealing with Ren Xiaosu.
But what Zhou Yingxue had on her mind was that the D and C-rank hitmen were the basis of the Anjing House’s mission-based structure, with many of the simpler missions performed by these D and C-rank hitmen.
If their tour group was going to pass through 37 strongholds, of which 90% were made up of the Zhou and Kong consortiums’ strongholds, then by the time they made their way around, wouldn’t the foundation the Anjing House had been laying over the years in the Zhou and Kong consortiums get wiped out by Ren Xiaosu?
Based on her master’s “fishing” methods, this was a very likely scenario. At that time, would she even need to think about joining the Anjing House? If the Anjing House found out about this, they would probably issue a mission to get all the A-rank hitmen to come after them instead.
After all, if someone from the Anjing House were to cross-reference the disappearances of the D and C-rank hitmen with more scrutiny, it would match up perfectly with the stops their tour group went to. It would not be too bad if it were just one or two strongholds, but if it happened across all 37 strongholds, even a fool would know that she, Zhou Yingxue, had a problem.
No, she had to tell Ren Xiaosu about this. They would need to make sure the plan was sustainable.
But this time, there wasn’t another firefight like the previous time as Ren Xiaosu took care of both the hitmen and the target silently.
When he returned to the hotel at night, Ren Xiaosu was holding onto another eight cellphones. But before he could feel happy about it, Zhou Yingxue received a text message on her cell phone again. Actually, it was three messages that came in all at once.
Ren Xiaosu had a look at the three missions. Two of them were too far away at a Kong Consortium’s stronghold, but the third one made his eyes light up. “The target in Stronghold 77 is Yang Lichen. He was a former core figure of the Yang Consortium and is currently located at 121 Zhengwu Road. The target has followers traveling with him, so it’s suggested that three people form a team to undertake the mission. Reward: 800,000 yuan.”
There was also a picture of Yang Lichen and some further information about him. The information contained some of the cruel oppression that went on while he was an overseer of a stronghold.
However, there were still some things that were not mentioned. For example, Yang Lichen had previously sent someone to present a defensive deployment map to Qing Zhen that caused the Yang Consortium’s troops at the Ziyang front line to be compromised.
In the end, he did not manage to become the head of the Yang Consortium. After all, the Yang Consortium no longer existed. He could only make use of the time when the Qing Consortium redeployed their troops to the south to deal with the Experimentals to quickly escape.
And somehow, he really managed to escape.
Ren Xiaosu said, “Reply to the Anjing House that we’re accepting this mission.”
Zhou Yingxue did as she was instructed. However, to their surprise, the Anjing House did not accept their mission application and rejected Zhou Yingxue!