As such, they could afford to stop fleeing. They had to go and look for the Zhou Consortium’s reinforcements.
The members of the Pyro Company had already vanished. No one knew if they had died in the stronghold or if they had taken another escape route, but that was not of concern to Old Li and Qin Sheng.
Old Li did a headcount of the escapees and found there were approximately 3,000 of them.
Yet there were hundreds of thousands of people in the stronghold at the beginning. With only 3,000 managing to escape, the losses were immeasurable.
As they fled, Ren Xiaosu took charge of leading the way. Meanwhile, Old Li and Qin Sheng volunteered to look for food. The two of them were familiar with the wilderness since they often ventured out to such places in the past.
They found some wild vegetables and even managed to hunt quite a bit of prey. However, Ren Xiaosu shook his head when he saw this. For a group of 3,000, the amount of food two people could find would simply be a drop in the bucket.
And what worried Ren Xiaosu the most was not the lack of food but the fact that it could not be distributed evenly.
If they could not distribute it equally, they might as well let all of the escapees starve.
After Old Li and Qin Sheng returned with the food, they gave out the wild vegetables to the women first. Then they cut and distributed the roast meat to the children among the escapees.
Just as Ren Xiaosu had worried, someone immediately rushed out and asked, “Where’s our share?”
Old Li patiently explained, “We could only get this much with the two of us. How about this? I’ll tell you what wild vegetables are edible, and you all can go pick them by yourselves in the wilderness. Would that be better?”
When the people saw that Old Li and Qin Sheng were easy to approach, they started pushing their luck. “We don’t know anything about wild vegetables, so if we pick something poisonous, will you take responsibility for it?”
Then Old Li and Qin Sheng beat them up.
By the time they were lying on the ground and begging for mercy, Old Li dusted off his hands and said, “If you want to eat, pick food by yourselves, understand?!”
Ren Xiaosu was amused watching this from the sidelines. He was really worried Old Li and Qin Sheng would turn out to be goody two shoes. He already knew they were members of the Riders, but this still updated Ren Xiaosu’s opinion of their organization.
But something unexpected happened at the campsite that night. Ren Xiaosu was lying next to the campfire and preparing to go to sleep when Li Ran suddenly limped towards him. She leaned against his back and hugged him from behind.
Li Ran asked softly, “Can you protect me?”
When the plainclothes guards got exhausted from taking turns to carry her today, they started grumbling a little. This made Li Ran very uncomfortable. In such times of helplessness, even Fang Zhi could only remain silent at her side. As such, she thought of Ren Xiaosu.
At the most critical moment, it was Ren Xiaosu who led them out of the stronghold safely. Ren Xiaosu running in front of the group and blowing up the stronghold gate was something Li Ran would never forget in her life.
But just as Li Ran finished speaking, Zhou Yingxue, who was keeping watch beside them, lifted Li Ran up and took her away. When Li Ran was so easily lifted by Zhou Yingxue, she wore a dumbfounded look as she watched herself getting farther and farther away from Ren Xiaosu.
Zhou Yingxue placed Li Ran down next to her and said earnestly, “Ms. Li Ran, I should be the one protecting you based on the contract. My master isn’t obliged to do so. He already has someone that he likes, so please don’t behave like this anymore.”
Li Ran said dumbfoundedly, “M-Master?”
Although she knew Ren Xiaosu was definitely not Zhou Yingxue’s assistant, she did not expect such a stark contrast in his actual status.
Wasn’t Zhou Yingxue a superhuman? How could a mighty figure like a superhuman be willing to submit to someone as a maid?
Ren Xiaosu was still lying awake next to the campfire as he had something on his mind. He was so lost in thought that he did not get distracted even when Li Ran hugged him from behind. Ren Xiaosu was recalling that sight of the nuclear bomb explosion. The world was getting more and more dangerous with every passing moment. In just an instant, that god-killing weapon utterly destroyed the Experimentals.
Would more of such weapons appear in other strongholds in the future? And would his friends and family he had been separated from get dragged in by the chaos of the world?
He wondered how Old Wang, Yan Liuyuan, Xiaoyu, Wang Yuchi, Jiang Wu, and the others were doing. Without him around, could they protect themselves?
When Ren Xiaosu thought of this, he got even more anxious to find them. He would only feel at ease if he were there to protect them.
Then Ren Xiaosu saw a young man sit at the campfire with a notebook and pen in hand. He was scribbling furiously on it.
Ren Xiaosu recognized him as the reporter from Hope Media who had witnessed “Old Xu” killing the Experimentals in the stronghold. He was also the one who took the photograph of “Old Xu” that was published in the newspaper of Hope Media.
Ren Xiaosu sat up and asked, “What are you writing?”
The young reporter said, “I’m recording a draft of today’s happenings. All my colleagues died doing their duty, and I’m the only one left who’s witnessed the scenes. The rest of the world still doesn’t know what happened here, so I’ll record all of it in an article and hand it over to the chief editor when I return. This is a day of suffering for humans. The death toll of the stronghold residents exceeded 200,000 in just one day. This is a day all humans should remember.”
Nearby, Old Li and Qin Sheng listened in silence. During the escape, they became more acquainted with Ren Xiaosu after finding out he was the one who opened up a path for them to escape.
Meanwhile, Ren Xiaosu looked at the Hope Media reporter and suddenly thought of a way he could find Yan Liuyuan and the others with the help of Hope Media.
If he could find them with this method, he would not have to put in so much effort trying to make use of the Anjing House.
Outside of Stronghold 144 in the Northwest, four trucks were driving towards the stronghold gate.
When the four trucks came to a stop, a group of people jumped out of the vehicles. A young man shouted to a middle-aged man, “Uncle Fugui, are you really sure of this? Why didn’t I see any caravans passing by here?”
Wang Fugui wiped his face with a towel from the truck and said with a smile, “Don’t you believe in your Uncle Fugui’s ability? We bought these four used trucks with our savings, and they’re now carrying all the good stuff from the Central Plains that you won’t find here in the Southwest and Northwest. This place might look a little run-down, but take another look at it in half a year. Fortress 178 will be opening a trade route to the Central Plains soon, and with Stronghold 144 the closest stronghold to the Central Plains, it’ll surely flourish into the largest distribution center of goods in the entire Northwest by then!”