The First Order – Chapter 543


It had already been a week since the cave-in at East Lake. Ren Xiaosu kept himself cooped up in the hotel every day as if he had nothing to do with that incident at all.However, Zhou Yingxue remained very busy. As Li Ran’s bodyguard, Zhou Yingxue had to constantly be by Li Ran’s side while she attended all sorts of events. For some reason, the media in the stronghold went crazy and started tracking Zhou Yingxue as well. They even gave her the title of the most beautiful female bodyguard, which made her feel flattered for a few days.

After several concerts, Li Ran was starting to look a little tired.

However, before setting off on the journey to Stronghold 73, Li Ran did not board her own minivan. Instead, she got into Zhou Yingxue and Ren Xiaosu’s car. This surprised Ren Xiaosu a little.

With Li Ran sitting in the same car as them, he couldn’t speak casually anymore. After all, he was supposed to be Zhou Yingxue’s assistant.

Ren Xiaosu wondered, “Isn’t it more comfortable for you to take the minivan?”

The seat in the minivan had been modified so it could be used as a bed for resting by reclining it fully. One could sleep through the entire journey and find themselves arriving at the destination when they woke up, so how much more enjoyable could it get?

However, Li Ran gave a very good excuse. “I’m worried we’ll encounter danger in the wilderness, so I wanted to take the same car as my bodyguard. That way, if we encounter any danger, you guys can protect me immediately. Besides, any potential attacker would expect me to be in that minivan. If someone really attacks the convoy, they’ll target the minivan first, and I’ll be able to escape from danger.”

Ren Xiaosu said in a speechless manner, “As if there’s that many bandits targeting convoys in the wilderness of the Central Plains.”

However, Li Ran’s reasoning was legitimate, so they couldn’t really refuse to take her in their car.

After they set off, Ren Xiaosu and Zhou Yingxue remained silent. Li Ran was reading the newspaper in the backseat of the off-road vehicle, and she kept flipping through the newspaper noisily.

Ren Xiaosu could not help but turn around and look. Li Ran immediately pretended to be reading the news seriously. However, Ren Xiaosu was surprised to find that the entire page facing him was full of news about Li Ran’s successful performances. From the looks of it, it was even featured as the headliner!

It was no wonder she was flipping the newspaper so noisily. So it turned out that she was trying to show off.

The most eye-catching picture on the front page was Li Ran’s photo. It was probably taken during one of her concerts as she was in her performance outfit that looked really dazzling.

Ren Xiaosu turned back around and resumed resting with his eyes closed. Behind him, Li Ran coughed twice and said, “This newspaper from Hope Media is very influential and can be bought in all of the Zhou, Wang, and Kong Consortiums’ strongholds. Also, I heard their newspaper is sold at all newsstands in the Pyro Company’s strongholds.”

Zhou Yingxue rolled her eyes as she drove. What this woman was obviously trying to say was that she was amazing for being able to get on the front page of such a newspaper.

Yet Ren Xiaosu’s interest was piqued by the other aspects of this discovery. “What’s up with this Hope Media? Which organization do they belong to?”

From his point of view, the various consortiums were still relatively isolated from one another. After all, if he wanted to go to the strongholds of the other consortiums, he would have to apply for a visa beforehand.

So why was this Hope Media able to cast such a wide net?

“It is a business arm under the Qinghe Group.” Li Ran smiled and said, “The last leg of our tour was set at Luoyang City because we also wanted to pay a visit to the chief editor of Hope Media.”

Ren Xiaosu was enlightened. So it was a business arm under the Qinghe Group? No wonder.

A mouthpiece like a newspaper would have to adopt a neutral stance in order to be distributed in so many strongholds.

It would be very difficult for the newspaper industry of the Wang Consortium to make any headway in the Zhou Consortium’s strongholds. After all, a public opinion mouthpiece should not be influenced by external forces.

Moreover, the Qinghe Group also owned more than half of the satellites in service to the Alliance of Strongholds. In terms of the speed of their news dissemination, they truly crushed all the other newspaper companies.

The dissemination of news had always been focused on speed and accuracy. Whoever could deliver the news faster would have the advantage.

Ren Xiaosu asked, “Can I have a look at the newspaper?”

Li Ran was delighted on the inside, but she said in a reserved tone, “Of course.”

However, Li Ran was disappointed when Ren Xiaosu flipped through all the pages except for the entertainment section and the front page! He had to be intentionally ignoring her. That must be it!

Zhou Yingxue was amused. She knew full well that her master was not interested in entertainment news at all.

After Ren Xiaosu finished reading today’s newspaper, he went to get more of the previous days’ newspapers that the entourage had stored and spent the entire day reading them.

Hope Media’s newspaper was also quite ruthless. The current affairs pages’ were filled with articles that pointed out contemporary issues, with the Wang Consortium, Zhou Consortium, and Kong Consortium all criticized. Not even the Pyro Company escaped their scathing opinion.

Ren Xiaosu was puzzled. “The chief editor of a newspaper like that hasn’t been beaten to death yet?”

“When Hope Media first started, people threatened them. However, the chief editor still continued writing this way. I heard he was kidnapped once and locked up for three days and three nights, and they broke his legs too. In the end, after he was released, the style of the newspaper’s articles remained unchanged.” Li Ran explained, “After that, for some reason, everyone stopped caring about him. It’s also because of Hope Media’s truthful reporting that they were able to expand so rapidly.”

Ren Xiaosu was stunned. They actually did not kill the chief editor? Was it because the organizations still wanted to maintain their reputations?

To be honest, he didn’t really understand this.

However, after reading so many newspapers, Ren Xiaosu became interested in Hope Media’s publications, because just a few days’ worth of newspapers had helped him learn a lot about the Central Plains.

For example, the Wang Consortium and Fortress 178 had already signed a treaty on the construction and repair of the highways and railroads. Both parties had been preparing for this for a long time, and it was said that by the middle of next year, the highways would preliminarily be opened to traffic. The full completion date, however, would have to wait another five years.

From the looks of it, the Wang Consortium had a really urgent demand for resources from the Northwest.

In Hope Media’s newspaper, there was also a report about the cave-in at East Lake. However, the reporter did not seem to know the entire story and only wrote about the reactions of the various consortiums.

In his reading, Ren Xiaosu even saw reports about Luo Lan. However, the articles regarding the guy were basically all gossip. In the newspapers, the man seemed to be characterized as a nouveau riche from the Southwest who had come to the Central Plains to enjoy life.

However, at the end of the article, it was stated that perhaps Luo Lan’s purpose in coming to the Central Plains was not that simple.

Ren Xiaosu felt that Hope Media’s newspaper was really good. He decided that from now on, he would have to pick up the day’s newspaper whenever they passed by a stronghold.

Only Li Ran was left sulking at the back of the off-road vehicle. This was because she carefully watched Ren Xiaosu flip through the newspapers during the entire journey and realized that it was not that he did not read entertainment news, but that he did not read entertainment news related to her!

Regarding this, Zhou Yingxue also got it wrong. Ren Xiaosu was actually quite concerned about entertainment news. He was really looking forward to seeing Luo Xinyu’s picture appear in the entertainment sections of the newspapers. But unfortunately, there weren’t any.



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