Chapter 367 Towards the wilderness of hope
Ren Xiaosu was unaware of what was going on at the southern front line. He only knew this stronghold was finished when he saw the fiery flames in Stronghold 88.
Currently, the permanent garrison troops of Stronghold 88 were only left with the military strength of an independent infantry regiment. If this were a normal defense, even an infantry brigade would not be able to defeat it, unless it was an armored brigade or rocket troops.
But the whereabouts of all the Qing Consortium’s fighting forces were known to the Yang Consortium’s intelligence agency. It was impossible that they could have allowed the Qing Consortium’s heavy firepower troops to get so close to Stronghold 88.
But ever since these nanosoldiers started moving north, they had relied on their high mobility to travel through the wilderness and never once showed themselves on the main roads. Although normal troops could not travel through such difficult terrain, it proved to be just walking on flat ground for these nanosoldiers.
This was also the reason why Qing Zhen chose to have these nanosoldiers infiltrate the Yang Consortium’s stronghold. Even Qing Zhen’s elite troops couldn’t break through the Yang Consortium’s defensive line without raising a ruckus.
But nanosoldiers could.
At this moment, the flames were spreading towards the north. Ren Xiaosu realized it was moving in a straight line like a precise scalpel cutting into the Yang Consortium’s vital points.
After destroying the gate and breaking into the stronghold, these nanosoldiers did not fight the garrison troops. Instead, they continued heading north as they sought to destroy the Yang Consortium’s manor and kill all of the Yang Consortium’s higher-ups located there.
Although the Yang Consortium’s higher-ups were distributed across more than a dozen strongholds, 60% of them were located here in the Yang Consortium’s manor at Stronghold 88. If this place were destroyed, the Yang Consortium would immediately fall into a state of disarray.
Once the front line collapsed and the rear was without a leader, the Qing Consortium would probably push forward unopposed and devour the already defeated Yang Consortium bit by bit.
When Ren Xiaosu heard that sound, he turned around and saw Zhou Yingxue slowly regaining consciousness. Zhou Yingxue was staring blankly at the flames. She could also hear the thunder of firearms and explosives. Suddenly, she said in panic, “Let me go! My mother’s still at home!”
Ren Xiaosu was stunned. He hesitated for a second before walking over to Zhou Yingxue and said, “I have nothing against you. I won’t blame you for spying on me since you and I are looking at the matter from a different standpoint. But if I let you go here, don’t cause any trouble for me, got it?”
Zhou Yingxue looked calmly at Ren Xiaosu. “OK!”
Ren Xiaosu cut the hemp rope tied around Zhou Yingxue. She jumped over the wall without hesitation and disappeared.
Ren Xiaosu was no longer afraid the Yang Consortium would come and stop them. After all, they could hardly even look after themselves.
Suddenly, tires screeched against ground in front of their door. Luo Lan roared, “Ren Xiaosu, hurry up and come with me. We have to leave this troublesome place. Those Li Consortium’s nanosoldiers won’t care if we’re from the Yang Consortium or not once they start their killing spree.”
When Ren Xiaosu pushed open the front yard’s door, he saw a lot of the stronghold’s residents coming out onto the streets and watching the flames around them. Some people were hiding in the buildings, thinking it would be safer at home.
Two transport trucks were parked at the door and were surrounded by the Qing Consortium’s soldiers, who were standing guard. These soldiers had infiltrated Stronghold 88 earlier, but Luo Lan knew very well that they could not rescue him from here and were only responsible for aiding him.
Ren Xiaosu helped Wang Fugui, Xiaoyu, and the others into the vehicles. Within two minutes, everyone was seated in the back of the truck in an orderly manner.
Luo Lan roared, “Start driving! Go, go, go! I don’t want to be buried along with Stronghold 88!”
Ren Xiaosu looked back at the blazing flames where the 1,500 nanosoldiers were. If he could just get his hands on some of the nanomachines, it would be enough for everyone here to get stronger. But he could not take the risk because he knew his priorities.
If they turned around now, all of them could end up dying here instead. Ren Xiaosu would rather not get those nanomachines.
The two trucks sped along the streets towards the east gate. When the stronghold residents saw the way those two trucks took flight, everyone started panicking as well and began fleeing in the same direction as the trucks.
“Ren Xiaosu,” Luo Lan called out in the back of the truck during the bumpy ride, “come with me to the Qing Consortium!”
Ren Xiaosu glanced at Yan Liuyuan, then shook his head. “No.”
Puzzled, Luo Lan asked, “If you follow me to the Qing Consortium, you’ll have meat to eat and wine to drink. There’ll be plenty of money to spend, and you can get chauffeured around in luxury cars. Wouldn’t it be such bliss to drive luxury cars and take beautiful women out for a spin?”
Ren Xiaosu smiled. “I’ve thought about living in the stronghold before, but I have a better option now. I still feel that the wilderness is more suitable for me.”
Yan Liuyuan’s eyes lit up. “Bro, where we going?”
“Our new home.” Ren Xiaosu smiled and said, “A place where there’s hope.”
Yan Liuyuan was taken aback. He replied, “Bro, thank you.”
“What are you thanking me for?” Ren Xiaosu said, “I really think that it’s a good place.”
Luo Lan lamented, “Xu Man already told me about this. I can only wish you all the best then. In the future, you can visit our Qing Consortium. Just mention my name wherever you go.”
“OK.” Ren Xiaosu nodded and said, “I will.”
Although they did not want to settle down in the Qing Consortium’s territory, they could still visit. But that would definitely be a long time from now. The current Qing Consortium would probably be involved in the war for a long time to come. At this moment, the Qing Consortium was no longer a consortium but a war machine.
“But the bridges in the north have probably been destroyed by now, so how are you guys going to head north?” Luo Lan asked. “Now there’s a large river separating the north and the south, so you can’t pass through that
“Don’t worry, I have a plan,” Ren Xiaosu replied calmly.
The bandit gangs controlled by the Qing Consortium in the north had come down to the south. They had destroyed not only the bridges but also all of the Yang Consortium’s factories in the wilderness.
If it were the past, he definitely couldn’t have crossed the large river. But now he could. He really had Wang Congyang to thank for presenting him with the steam locomotive.
Ren Xiaosu had already tested it earlier. The steam locomotive could travel on any terrain like it was moving on flat ground. The tracks that materialized out of thin air allowed it to cross any rivers.
When the two trucks arrived at the east gate, there were only a few garrison troops remaining. When the soldiers were about to inspect the vehicles, the Qing Consortium’s soldiers got out and killed them in an orderly fashion. How could these private troops guarding the gate be a match for the Qing Consortium’s regular troops?
After the Qing Consortium’s soldiers blew up the gate, the trucks burst through the enveloping smoke and drove out into the wilderness.
This escape from a stronghold was much easier than all of their previous experiences. Ren Xiaosu turned cheerful the moment he finally managed to get Yan Liuyuan and the others out of the stronghold.
Everything was developing positively, and Ren Xiaosu started looking forward to their future in the wilderness.
But when he looked back at the sky filled with smoke at Stronghold 88, Ren Xiaosu suddenly felt this was probably not something he should be happy over.
This era was starting to collapse.
Could they really carve out a future of their own in the wilderness?