Chapter 330 Exterminating the bandits
According to Yang Xiaojin, they would set off from Stronghold 88, then pass through Stronghold 97 and Stronghold 99, before arriving at the valley in the north.
The banditry originated over there. At the beginning, the Zong Consortium made use of these activities to plunder the traveling merchants and seize precious resources left behind in the valley by the Pre-Cataclysm civilization.
The entire valley’s surface and underground had a large number of urban structures that remained from before The Cataclysm. Most of the things left behind were useless, but if anyone found something useful there, it would be priceless.
There was a group of merchants who pretended to pass through the area and claimed they were on a business trip, when in fact, they stayed around to excavate any useful resources and technologies from the valley.
Some people used to try to excavate the technologies and secrets within the valley with the aid of electronic devices, but in reality, the massive nuclear haze and radioactive clouds from the fallout would destroy any kind of electronics on the ground.
The things they found were either already rusted or could not be used even if they were relatively well-preserved.
At first, the Zong Consortium did not interfere with those merchant groups and allowed them to excavate as they wished. But after the excavation, bandits would arrive as expected and plunder all of their valuable possessions.
As a result, some of the bandit gangs grew bigger and stronger because of the plundering. Meanwhile, the Zong Consortium also rose and became a force to be reckoned with in the Northern Wastes.
However, the proper organizations generally despised the Zong Consortium as they always felt the Zong Consortium did not have much depth in the way they did things.
In order to exonerate themselves, the Zong Consortium started breaking off their relations with the bandits in recent years. But when they attempted to kill the bandits, they realized the bandits had become familiar with all the terrain in the valley and were scattered in every corner of the place. The Zong Consortium had quite a problem on their hands.
All the bandits in the valley had become irritated with the Zong Consortium now. Although they used to pay tribute to the corporation annually, the Zong Consortium was suddenly trying to kick them to the curb after they had outlived their usefulness. They were too merciless!
And now, the Zong Consortium had suddenly joined forces with the Yang Consortium and Stronghold 178 with the intention of leveraging both their strengths, all in order to make a clean break with their evil past. As long as they exterminated all the bandits, everyone would naturally forget how they started out in hundred years or so.
In the house, Xiaoyu said, “I made some snacks for you. This one is apparently a very famous mung bean cake here in the stronghold. Take it with you and…”
Ren Xiaosu listened to Xiaoyu’s chatter. Xiaoyu would always help ready his belongings whenever he went on long trips now, so he did not have to pack on his own anymore.
Luo Lan leaned over the wall and watched. He interrupted, “You’re bringing so much food with you, eh? Why don’t you bring me along as well? I’m quite the fighter.”
Ren Xiaosu was speechless as he stared at Luo Lan. “Do you know why quiet people seem smarter than talkative ones?”
Luo Lan was surprised. “Why?”
“Because they hide all their stupid thoughts on the inside.”
Luo Lan was speechless.
Ren Xiaosu suddenly asked, “Have you heard of a person named Zong Cheng?”
“Zong Cheng?” Luo Lan tried to remember. “I’ve never heard of him before. But I suppose he’s a family member of the Zong Consortium? We aren’t really familiar with them.”
“Doesn’t your Qing Consortium share a border with the Zong Consortium’s territory in the north? Ren Xiaosu asked.
“The Zong Consortium is a cackle of hyenas. None of the proper organizations are willing to deal with them. Tigers will never make friends with hyenas.” Luo Lan said, “In any case, you should be pretty careful of him.”
Ren Xiaosu knew it was time to leave when he heard the sound of a vehicle coming to a stop outside. Wang Fugui, Yan Liuyuan, and the others sent him off together and reminded him to be careful.
Ren Xiaosu opened the door and came out onto the street. He saw Yang Xiaojin driving an off-road vehicle, and no one else was in it besides her. There were also two military transport trucks following, and they looked like they were transporting quite a few soldiers and supplies.
“Get in,” Yang Xiaojin said.
Ren Xiaosu turned around to Yan Liuyuan and instructed, “While I’m not around, you must watch over our family.”
“Mhm.” Yan Liuyuan nodded vigorously.
Then Ren Xiaosu opened the vehicle’s door and left. Along the way, Ren Xiaosu nonchalantly asked, “How many soldiers are in the trucks behind us?”
Yang Xiaojin glanced at him. “30 nanosoldiers. They’re here to help with the extermination of the bandits.”
“Nanosoldiers?” Ren Xiaosu’s eyes lit up, but he immediately dismissed the idea of harming these nanosoldiers. After all, they were here to protect Yang Xiaojin, so he should not be attacking any of them. When he thought of this, Ren Xiaosu felt quite at odds. Although he and Yan Liuyuan did not lack nanomachines, Wang Yuchi and the others still did not have enough.
Yang Xiaojin looked at Ren Xiaosu and said, “What did you say to my third uncle? Why did he suddenly change his attitude? He actually asked me to get along with you.”
“I didn’t really say much.” Ren Xiaosu chuckled. “I only said that I was Zhang Jinglin’s student. There’s nothing wrong with saying that, right?”
Yang Xiaojin gave him a look. “My third uncle only cares about his interests, so don’t be fooled by his appearance. If he finds out you were lying to him, he’ll probably change his attitude immediately.”
If Yang Yu’an found out Ren Xiaosu was only talking about taking over as the schoolteacher when he said Zhang Jinglin had asked him to “take over his job,” his attitude would definitely be very different. He wouldn’t immediately abandon Ren Xiaosu as a choice, but Zong Cheng would appear to be much more important than Ren Xiaosu.
Ren Xiaosu suddenly asked, “Then what about you?”
Yang Xiaojin smirked. “Guess.”
She stepped on the gas, and the off-road vehicle sped towards the northern gate of Stronghold 88. They were going there to meet up with the others from the Zong Consortium.
When Ren Xiaosu and the convoy left, Yan Liuyuan stood at the door and looked in the direction of the departed off-road vehicle for some time. Xiaoyu came up to him. “Don’t worry, your brother’s injuries have already gotten much better. He’ll be fine.”
“Mhm.” Yan Liuyuan said, “I wasn’t worried about that.”
“What are you thinking about then?” Xiaoyu asked with a smile.
Yan Liuyuan looked at Xiaoyu. “Big Sis, they’re holding a parent-teacher conference at school tomorrow. Can you go on my brother’s behalf?”
Xiaoyu felt a little awkward. “Me? Am I allowed to?”
“You’re my big sister. Of course you can,” Yan Liuyuan replied with a smile.
Although Xiaoyu had been with them for a long time, and Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan had also accepted her wholeheartedly, she sometimes still worried about it in the middle of the night. She was unsure if she had really integrated into their family.
They had to be a real family for her to be asked to attend the parent-teacher conference, right? Moreover, Yan Liuyuan had addressed her as “Big Sis” instead of “Big Sister Xiaoyu.” It somehow felt like the relationship between them had gotten much closer at this moment.
Xiaoyu asked curiously, “Then should I dress up a little?”
When Xiaoyu was living back in the town of Stronghold 113, she would always wear makeup. But ever since she followed Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan, she no longer wore makeup most days because she had to do housework. She would present herself with her natural appearance almost every day.
Now that she was going to attend a parent-teacher conference with Yan Liuyuan, she could not possibly disgrace Yan Liuyuan and let his classmates think that his big sister was an unrefined woman. She had to give herself a makeover!
Yan Liuyuan looked at Xiaoyu and said with a smile, “Big Sis, you’re pretty even without any makeup. It’s true.”
Xiaoyu rolled her eyes at him. “You’re such a sweet talker!”
 Mung bean cake (lüdougao) is a traditional and popular Chinese dessert in summer. | https://www.chinasichuanfood.com/mung -bean-cake)