Chapter 345 Is it cozy in the tent?
Ren Xiaosu stood still and watched as the bandits approached. The leader of the group was Zhang Yiheng, the same person he had let go earlier today.
Zhang Yiheng shouted from afar, “Boss, don’t shoot. It’s me!”
Yang Xiaojin lay prone on a mound and scrutinized the subtle movements of these people using her scope to prevent anyone from sneaking an attack on Ren Xiaosu.
However, she realized these people were not at all aggressive. Their guns were slung across their chests and the safeties weren’t even off.
Furthermore, these people were really here to join them. They not only brought along all of their firearms and ammunition from their mountain hideout, but were carrying their own ragged bedrolls along as well.
The bandits looked rather fierce as they rode on their muscular motorcycles. And they had their tattered blankets wrapped around their backs…
The sight really could not get any stranger than this…
It looked like they really planned to live here for an extended period. Yang Xiaojin sighed when she thought about how she and Ren Xiaosu had initially come to exterminate the bandits. So how did Ren Xiaosu suddenly end up becoming the leader of the bandits?
Even Yang Xiaojin, who had witnessed the entire development for herself, was left a little confused at the unexpected turn of events.
When Zhang Yiheng came up to Ren Xiaosu, he immediately jumped off his motorcycle and said respectfully, “Boss, I’ve brought all my brothers here. We’ll all listen to your orders from now on.”
Zhang Yiheng’s brothers behind him quietly sized up Ren Xiaosu. So this was the specialist from Stronghold 178 their boss had mentioned? He looked really young!
Wait a minute, wasn’t there supposed to be a sniper around?
At this moment, everyone realized they might already be in the sniper’s sights. When they thought of this, they shuddered in fear at the possibility that the sniper might accidentally shoot them if they made any sudden movements.
Ren Xiaosu found it a little awkward hearing a man in his thirties addressing him as boss. But now was not the time to contemplate that. “Jin Lan, find a place for all these brothers. We’ll have a meeting tomorrow.”
The refugees living here from the beginning grinned when they saw this sight. The children were playing around their parents in a relaxed mood. At the beginning, the refugees were quite afraid of the bandits. But after thinking about it, didn’t the bandits also dig irrigation ditches with them? They did not even dare to slack off one bit either! When they thought of this, the refugees gradually accepted the reality of their situation.
Furthermore, Ren Xiaosu told them earlier in the evening that since they had already solved the issue of having enough people to defend the settlement, those who wanted to farm would not have to bear arms and fight anymore. That responsibility would naturally fall to the bandits.
When it was time to sleep at night, Ren Xiaosu lay down outside the tent with his arms acting as a pillow for his head. He said to Yang Xiaojin, who was in the tent, “For some reason, I still feel that something’s missing. Although we can fool them into staying put with our identities, they’re barely capable of fighting.”
Inside the tent, Yang Xiaojin was still awake. Before Ren Xiaosu set off, Xiaoyu had prepared the tent for him. At the beginning, they did not use it because they were pretending to be refugees. But it was unnecessary to do so anymore after they had deliberately “exposed” themselves. They decided to stop pretending and laid all their cards on the table.
Based on Xiaoyu’s intentions, this was definitely the kind of opportunity she had identified for Ren Xiaosu. But when the moment came, Ren Xiaosu got timid and ended up volunteering to sleep outside the tent. He even built a campfire out here!
Yang Xiaojin said, “You want them to be combat-ready?”
“Yes.” Ren Xiaosu said, “You’ve seen the standard of those bandits for yourself. If they really end up fighting others, I doubt they’ll even know how to use the guns. And they’ll probably run away covering their heads if some of them get killed or injured. How are soldiers usually trained in the military?”
“Under normal circumstances, if the weaker units lose 20% to 40% of their numbers, their entire unit is as good as gone. Only the soldiers with conviction persevere.” Yang Xiaojin said, “The training a soldier goes through in the military is based on two aspects. First, it trains their military skills, and second, it enables them to become fearless through ideology. Neither of these two aspects are something that can be achieved overnight.”
“I have to give it a try no matter what.” Ren Xiaosu chuckled.
“Alright then, I’ll teach them how to use the guns,” Yang Xiaojin said.
“As for the ideology, we should unite them first.” Ren Xiaosu asked, “Do you have any ideas?”
“They have to suffer together until they can find joy amid hardship,” Yang Xiaojin said.
Ren Xiaosu understood what Yang Xiaojin meant. It would be easy to see who their real friends were after they got put through adversity. But if they were allowed to get rich, they would become greedy instead.
“Er… is it cozy in the tent?” Ren Xiaosu suddenly asked.
Yang Xiaojin calmly replied, “Why don’t you come in and see if it’s cozy?”
“Hahaha.” Ren Xiaosu laughed in embarrassment and said, “I was just asking.”
Ren Xiaosu was the first to back down.
The next morning, Ren Xiaosu woke everyone up from their slumber.
Those bandits who were sleeping soundly were suddenly awoken. Just as they were about to lose their temper, they calmed down when they saw it was Ren Xiaosu.
Ren Xiaosu gathered everyone and said, “Have any of you used a brick kiln before?”
The bandits looked at each other. Why was this boss so different from the bosses at the other mountain hideouts?
The bosses in the other mountain hideouts would at least say some decent words when recruiting new brothers, things like “stick with me and we’ll have good food and good wine” or “I’ll lead everyone to something greater.”
But over at Ren Xiaosu’s place, they were first asked to dig ditches and were then made to build brick kilns?
Someone raised his hand and said softly, “I worked at the Zong Consortium’s brick factory.”
“Do you know how to build a brick kiln?” Ren Xiaosu asked.
“Although the conditions here suck, we can still build a simple one with less bricks.” That bandit said, “But we don’t have enough firewood here, and it won’t be enough to just use the shrubs in the area.”
Yang Xiaojin chimed in, “The spring floods will come soon. The melting of the upstream glaciers will trigger a flood. When the time comes, there’ll be a lot of wood drifting downstream, and we’ll definitely get enough firewood to use.”
“Alright.” Ren Xiaosu said to Jin Lan, “Bring the weapons over.”
Last night, Ren Xiaosu had ordered Jin Lan to seize everyone’s weapons. Ren Xiaosu said, “I know what y’all are thinking, but it won’t be easy to gain my approval.”
Everyone looked at each other. These words were clear as day. It seemed like it would not be that easy to become a part of Stronghold 178.
If Ren Xiaosu had said it was incredibly easy to join Stronghold 178, they would not have believed it. After all, this was Stronghold 178 they were talking about! So the more difficult their tests, the more realistic the trial would feel.
Zhang Yiheng said, “Just name the place. We’ll attack wherever you want us to.”
Ren Xiaosu smiled and said, “I don’t want bandits who only know how to clamor for war. With your combat strength, you’re still not worth my attention.”
The bandits started murmuring among themselves again. “The people from Stronghold 178 are so capable. They don’t even have eyes for people like us…”
Jin Lan said resolutely, “Just tell us what to do!”
“We’ll start making bricks today. Since we’re still digging ditches, I want all of you to get into the river and dig up the silt to make into clay bricks. Every ten bricks made earns you one bullet. Once you amass a 100 bullets, I’ll return your guns to you. When that happens, you’ll have the chance to prove yourselves to us. Instructor Yang here will teach y’all how to properly use a gun.”
The bandits bit their tongues nervously. Even qualifying for the test was going to be this difficult? This was definitely not a trick!