Chapter 554 Through thick and thin
Based on the news he had read in the papers, the Zhou Consortium had already mobilized two brigades to garrison Stronghold 74. So the number of troops here had already exceeded 10,000 in strength. However, no one knew what was really happening here and why the Zhou Consortium would make such a move.
Based on the analysis by Hope Media’s commentators, the Qing Consortium was the closest organization to Stronghold 74, with the distance, as the crow flew, between the Zhou Consortium and the Qing Consortium measuring only 500 kilometers. However, as the two organizations were separated by a mountain range, they did not have any dealings in the past.
Now that the Zhou Consortium’s troops were garrisoned here, they were likely guarding against the Qing Consortium. After all, the Qing Consortium had already unified the entire Southwest and became the most powerful organization in the entire Alliance of Strongholds.
At the very least, the Qing Consortium controlled the largest land area based on the territory it occupied.
At this moment, the atmosphere in Stronghold 74 was very tense, and the stronghold residents were extremely nervous. Ren Xiaosu even saw the patrolling soldiers conducting a search on the provisions stores one by one and requisitioning food from them.
However, the owners of the provisions stores did not protest against this. Shops like the provisions stores were all owned by the Zhou Consortium, while the shopkeepers were only employees working under them. Now that all the food was being requisitioned, they couldn’t feel happier.
While Ren Xiaosu was walking the streets, a patrol squad suddenly came across him. When they walked past Ren Xiaosu, the patrol squad stopped him. One of the soldiers wondered, “Are you of age? Lemme check your resident ID. All adult males have to join the temporary conscription to do labor.”
Ren Xiaosu was stunned on the spot. “I’m not of age. I’m still young.”
“Then show me your ID card,” the soldier said.
Ren Xiaosu had really not expected to encounter a situation like this when he sneaked into the stronghold. Nothing had happened to him before even though he infiltrated into a place with surveillance cameras like the Wang Consortium’s stronghold.
“Sir, I’m really not of age,” Ren Xiaosu said.
As he spoke, he looked around to see if there was a chance to run away.
But as soon as he finished speaking, the patrol squad was already starting to surround him. There were another seven or eight patrol squads on the entire street. If a fight broke out here, he would probably be wanted throughout the stronghold.
The patrol squad did not even want to check his ID card anymore. The squad leader sneered, “Since you’re too afraid to show your ID, you must be an adult and are trying to avoid the temporary conscription. Men, take him away to the construction site!”
With that, a group of soldiers came over and started getting rough with Ren Xiaosu. One of them even took out a pair of handcuffs.
Suddenly, a convoy of vehicles drove over from afar. It looked like they had just driven into the stronghold.
When Ren Xiaosu saw the convoy, he immediately felt uncomfortable. Weren’t these the tour group’s vehicles? Why would Stronghold 74 let them in when it was still in lockdown?
He realized this tour group must be his jinx. No matter where he went, they were always able to catch up to him.
Of course, he did not know they were only able to get in because of Mu Wan’ge’s reputation.
In the Central Plains, well-known figures like Mu Wan’ge and Li Ran had a decent reputation wherever they went. Furthermore, the concert promoter in the stronghold had also stepped in to help. If Li Ran could not get in, wouldn’t that mean the concert would have to be canceled?
After getting into the stronghold, the concert promoter even specifically instructed them to stay in the hotel and avoid going out for the next few days. He was also unsure of what had gotten into the Zhou Consortium as they busily started conscripting adult males in the stronghold. If it weren’t for the fact that the concert promoter had bought himself an official position in the stronghold, he would have had to go to work at the construction site as well.
What the concert promoter meant was that they could only hold the concert after this period had passed.
However, Ren Xiaosu could not understand why they would still think about the concert when war was descending upon Stronghold 74. Were they going to perform for the troops? As if the soldiers would pay for the tickets!
The people in the vehicles obviously saw Ren Xiaosu, but the convoy had no intention of stopping at all.
When the convoy passed by, Ren Xiaosu saw Li Ran gloating at him through the window as though she had already guessed why he was being arrested.
Li Ran was absolutely delighted to see this. Even though she was a famous celebrity, Ren Xiaosu actually knocked her unconscious when she presented herself in his room in the middle of the night one time. On yet another occasion, he simply refused to open the door for her when she went to look for him. How could she possibly tolerate those things?
As such, Li Ran felt so happy she could die when she saw that Ren Xiaosu had been temporarily conscripted to work at the construction site!
As Ren Xiaosu watched the convoy pass by, Li Ran even made a face at him from inside the car. Ren Xiaosu said to the patrol squad detaining him, “Were y’all ordered to carry out the conscription? Do y’all have to fulfill a quota set by your higher-ups?”
“Cut the shit.” The leader of the patrol squad said, “It’s useless to say anything now.”
Ren Xiaosu suddenly pointed at the convoy and shouted, “I can see many adult males in those cars through the windows.”
Fang Zhi was confused.
The patrol squad turned their heads and looked at the vehicles. Someone asked the other soldiers, “Do you guys recognize those cars? Do they belong to anyone important in the stronghold?”
“No, I know the cars of all the important figures. I can even recite their license plates by heart,” someone said.
In the end, ten minutes later, Fang Zhi and the others were escorted to the construction site alongside Ren Xiaosu.
Of those in the concert tour group, Mu Wan’ge was the only male who did not get taken away. The rest were forcefully detained by the patrol squads.
If it were any other troops in the stronghold, they probably wouldn’t have done that. However, the brigade commander in charge of the patrols in the stronghold was a family member of the Zhou Consortium, so he didn’t care if there were directors or actors in the group. Besides, it was not like the patrols had laid a finger on the director or actors. All they did was conscript a few crew members of the tour group; that was all.
Coincidentally, this Zhou Consortium’s brigade commander had previously tried to set up a dinner with an actress through Mu Wan’ge. However, Mu Wan’ge did not even bother with him at that time.
In the eyes of this commander, he considered it very polite of him to not have laid a finger on Mu Wan’ge this time. More importantly, he was worried he would end up in the headlines of the entertainment section of Hope Media’s newspaper tomorrow.
As Ren Xiaosu walked, he was thinking the Zhou Consortium must have encountered some terrifying enemies this time. Otherwise, they would not be acting like this.
He noticed that even the soldiers were acting a little nervous.
But what kinds of enemies could the Zhou Consortium be facing?
Li Ran was dumbfounded to see Fang Zhi taken away for hard labor. Zhou Yingxue was chuckling next to her. She knew full well that her master would not tolerate others laughing at him while he was down on his luck.
Fang Zhi was nearly in tears as he walked alongside Ren Xiaosu. “It was Li Ran who laughed at you just now. I didn’t even make a sound. What did I do to deserve this!”
Before leaving, Ren Xiaosu had instructed Zhou Yingxue to find the best hotel in the stronghold to stay at. This was so that he could locate the landmark easily after he escaped from the construction site. As it would probably get chaotic in Stronghold 74, it would be best for them not to get involved in the mess here. Furthermore, he wanted her to find out what exactly was going to happen in Stronghold 74.