However, the atmosphere in the stronghold was a little oppressive. Many of the refugees became afraid they would get imprisoned if they did anything wrong.
Regarding the entire running of Stronghold 61, the Wang Consortium’s people specially recorded and organized detailed information into a report.
The officials of the Wang Consortium were especially serious about this matter. This was because it was what their boss, Wang Shengzhi, wanted. It was said the information would be used to train and improve the artificial intelligence.
Outside the stronghold, the houses Ren Xiaosu bought at a great discount were all sold for higher prices thanks to the Wang Consortium…
Of course, they were not sold too expensively either. After all, Ren Xiaosu had to consider the purchasing power of the refugees. There were not many refugees who could save that much money.
However, the prices Ren Xiaosu bought the houses for were incredibly low.
This left Old Wang feeling a little conflicted. He felt that Ren Xiaosu always seemed to be able to make a lot of money very easily. Meanwhile, he worked really hard and traveled extensively, yet the money he earned was way less than what Ren Xiaosu had.
At this moment, the town was filled with people again. After a month, the hustle and bustle in town was even more lively than ever.
As a matter of fact, before the incident at Stronghold 61, there were only around 40,000 people living in town. But after the trouble was taken care of, over 80,000 people had gathered there.
While Ren Xiaosu was playing cards in the tavern, he looked out of the window at the passing people and said with a sigh, “The Wang Consortium’s move was really beyond everyone’s expectations, and these are only the people we see in town. I think there’s even more who got transported by military trucks to the factories. The Zhou and Kong Consortiums should have a problem on their hands right now. The fact that their factories have stopped running is the least of their worries, but if their food supply gets reduced next year, a lot of people are gonna go hungry.”
When the Zhou and Kong Consortiums first found out about the incident at Stronghold 61, they had shown some sympathy on the surface and were willing to support the reconstruction process. But behind the scenes, they were probably gloating hard at what happened.
And now, they were completely dumbfounded. After the dust settled, the Wang Consortium actually ended up turning the tables on them.
Ren Xiaosu thought even more highly of Wang Shengzhi for this.
Beside him, Wang Yuchi asked, “But, Brother Xiaosu, why would the Wang Consortium need so many refugees?”
“Only with people will there be productivity.” Wang Fugui explained from next to them, “The Wang Consortium is mainly located in the plains, and there’s still many good fields in the wilderness that haven’t been reclaimed yet. In the past, they did not have the manpower to do so, and it was difficult to break ranks and force the stronghold residents to go outside to farm. But now they suddenly have an overabundance of people to work for them.”
Qin Sheng looked at them and said, “Less talk. Hurry up and play your cards.”
“Oh yeah, a pair of fours.” Ren Xiaosu threw out two cards.
“A pair of fives.” Wang Fugui also took his turn. “By the way, Xiaosu, has that Zhou lady in your house regained consciousness yet?”
“No.” Ren Xiaosu frowned and said, “I don’t know what’s happening, but that woman has not regained consciousness even though an entire month has passed. I was thinking that since she is a floral supernatural being, she might’ve absorbed too much energy from the plant this time and ended up a vegetable….”
When he returned home at night, Ren Xiaosu looked quietly at Zhou Yingxue. The woman had been asleep for an entire month already, but there was still a healthy glow to her face even though she had not eaten or drunk anything. He muttered, “Looks like you won’t have to eat anymore in the future. That’ll be great. I could save some money on your meals that way….”
As he spoke, Ren Xiaosu kept staring at Zhou Yingxue’s fingers. It was written in the books that when a comatose person was about to wake up, they would start moving their fingers first.
But as Ren Xiaosu was staring at Zhou Yingxue’s fingers, a cold voice rang out, “Who are you?”
Ren Xiaosu jerked his head up to see that Zhou Yingxue’s eyes had opened. Her gaze was deep and cold, as though she had never met Ren Xiaosu before.
It fell silent in the room. Ren Xiaosu had gotten used to Zhou Yingxue lying here quietly in a coma. He was hoping she would wake up, but he was still shocked when she really did regain consciousness.
The candle in the room seemed unmoving, as though stilled by the heavy atmosphere in the air.
Meanwhile, Zhou Yingxue lay on the bed and looked at Ren Xiaosu coldly. Both of them were suddenly caught in a deadlock.
A second later, Ren Xiaosu muttered, “Did you really damage your brain? But I guess you did not have a brain to begin with anyway.”
Zhou Yingxue immediately got angry. “Master, is that how you see me? You’re the one who has no brain. How boring! Couldn’t you have just played along for a bit?”
“Get up already if you’re awake.” Ren Xiaosu said unhappily, “You’ve already occupied my bed for a month. Do you know how I got through this past month? I had to sleep on the ground! Is letting your master sleep on the ground what a maid should do? Is that even something a human should do?”
Zhou Yingxue looked at the mattress spread out by the window and softened. She carefully got up and asked, “Master, you’ve been guarding me for a month?”
“What do you think!” Ren Xiaosu snapped, “You slept well for the past month, but I went through hell. It’s winter now! Do you know how cold the ground is!”
Zhou Yingxue smiled apologetically and said, “Master, please sit down. I’ll massage your legs—”
“Forget about the leg massage!” Ren Xiaosu inspected Zhou Yingxue and asked, “Do you know what happened to you?”
“My memory stopped at the final moment I infused my energy into the creeper vine’s roots. Initially, I thought I could gain control of it, but my energy seemed to have only ‘cut’ a hole in its body, and its chaotic energy started flowing into me instead and then I passed out. I floated in the darkness for a long time in my subconsciousness and saw many strange bubbles glowing. In the bubbles, I could see the entire lives of some people.” Zhou Yingxue said, “I suspect they’re the memories left behind by those who died in the disaster after getting devoured by the creeper vine.”
Ren Xiaosu pondered that for a moment. “So, did you get a look at their bank accounts and passwords?”
Zhou Yingxue was taken aback before nearly bursting into tears. She cried out, “Oh no, Master! I forgot to check!”
“Is it too late to check now?” Ren Xiaosu asked.
“It’s too late.” Zhou Yingxue was filled with regret. “When I woke up, all those memories disappeared.”
Ren Xiaosu sighed and said, “You’re usually quite the money-grubber, so why did you drop the ball at such a crucial moment?”
“Hey, wait a minute, Master!” Zhou Yingxue came back to her senses. “I’ve finally regained consciousness after an entire month, so why are you paying attention to money the moment I come to? Shouldn’t you at least be a bit more concerned for me?”
“Ahem.” Ren Xiaosu changed the topic. “By the way, do you feel any changes to your superpower?”
Actually, this was what Ren Xiaosu wanted to know the most. After all, Zhou Yingxue had absorbed the energy of several hundred thousand people from the stronghold. Even though that energy was absorbed via the creeper vine, it was still a shocking amount.