Chapter 566 Wartime chaos
When Ren Xiaosu saw that some of the stronghold residents were starting to make trouble, he immediately closed off the hotel’s main entrance. There were already a lot of things going on in the stronghold, so he was thinking of going back to his room to ponder how to deal with the situation. But with the ruckus now, he had lost the mood to think about what to do next.
After this group of people barged into the grocery store, they realized all the food in it had already been emptied out by the Zhou Consortium troops. Some of them even tried to charge into the store’s warehouse, but when they saw the Zhou Consortium soldiers guarding it, they did not dare to go over and cause trouble.
Following that, these people started targeting the restaurants in the stronghold. As restaurants usually prepared a lot of food, there would definitely be rice, noodles, spices, and cooking oil stored there.
Some of the restaurants had already been locked up. When the owners who were hiding inside were just rejoicing that they still had some food left, the restaurants had their doors smashed open by the looters, and everything inside the restaurant was taken away.
The Zhou Consortium’s emergency response force started to intervene and took control of the situation. After capturing a group of looters, the chaos only stopped for a brief while before getting more chaotic again.
They discovered the Zhou Consortium did not send out as many emergency response troops as they had thought. Moreover, rumors were saying that getting put away in prison would not really affect anything in the future. After the war, whoever got caught would simply be released. Besides, they would have food to eat while they were in prison too.
And so, Stronghold 74 became even more chaotic.
Stronghold 74 had never encountered such a situation before. As such, the public’s opinion was not handled in a timely enough manner, and that allowed the rumors to spread like wildfire across the entire stronghold. That was why the Zhou Consortium had to come forward to refute the rumors. They also said the Zhou Consortium did not have much rations and that they had to prioritize the supply to the Zhou Consortium’s troops. After all, the soldiers had to defend the city and could not be starved.
But the rioters would not accept the explanation at this point in time. They even argued why the army should be prioritized when everyone was human, and that all of them should enjoy the same rights!
Among these rioters, most of them were just going with the flow. However, there were a few who were enjoying this disturbance and had been leading others to create more trouble with them.
If this were during the battle, these people would definitely not dare to cause such a disturbance. But didn’t the newspaper say the Experimentals had been repelled after three attack attempts on the stronghold? To the rioters, the Experimentals could definitely not get in.
Gradually, they were no longer satisfied with just filling their stomachs. The next morning, incidents of gold shops getting broken into started occurring. When some people got a taste of what they could do, they even tried to break into the banks. However, there were troops stationed at the banks, and the rioters were immediately fired upon with warning shots. This finally scared all the rioters away.
Later, a group of women came out onto the streets to make another scene. They were requesting that the army allow the men of their families to go home to them. For this cause, they even rolled out a banner to make their demands known.
There was a valid reason for these women to be making a scene here. Their heads of the family had all been forced to join the army, but some men who escaped conscription started harassing them every now and then. They were fighting to have their men come back home so they would be protected.
Zhou Xingwen, the commander of the Zhou Consortium troops, had been frowning for the past two days. He still needed to think about how to deal with the Experimentals’ next attack on the stronghold, yet he was getting disturbed by these troublesome events taking place in the stronghold.
A staff officer next to him said, “Why don’t we send the conscripted men back home first?”
“We can’t let them leave.” Zhou Xingwen frowned. “If those people are allowed to go back, it’ll only get more chaotic in the stronghold! Lock them up at the construction site and release them after we’re done fighting the Experimentals! We’ll leave it to the emergency response force to suppress the public disorder!”
“But there’s still a lot of reporters in the stronghold. If they—”
“Then chase them away!”
Less than two days later, the chaos in the Zhou Consortium’s stronghold finally calmed down a little. However, that was only on the surface. Secretly, there were still rioters ganging up and committing robberies in the night.
They had already finished raiding the restaurants for food, so these people were now starting to think about stealing from the hotels.
Li Ran and the others were in the hotel lobby discussing their countermeasures when a group of people smashed open the hotel’s entrance.
After these rioters rushed into the lobby, they were stunned because they recognized Li Ran!
To be honest, the rioters did not expect to meet a big star like Li Ran here. Everyone immediately restrained themselves and some even approached her for an autograph.
Li Ran glanced at Zhou Yingxue smugly. However, when she was signing autographs for the rioters, a middle-aged man reached out and tried to hug her. Li Ran pushed him away angrily. “What are you doing!?”
That rioter said, “I super like listening to your songs. I just want a hug, that’s all.”
As he said that, the middle-aged man took the opportunity to hug her again. However, Li Ran slapped his face.
Someone in the crowd suddenly shouted, “What’s the big deal about a celebrity? Can a celebrity condescendingly slap anyone they like? We’re gonna get a hug today no matter what. Let’s see who can stop us!”
Li Ran was stunned. Everything was fine just a moment ago like it was a fan meeting. But in the blink of an eye, the situation turned chaotic.
Seeing the group of people swarming towards Li Ran, Zhou Yingxue looked at Ren Xiaosu. However, she only saw him looking up at the ceiling like it was none of his business.
The plainclothes guards who were responsible for protecting Li Ran rushed out at once. They landed some hits on the rioters standing at the front of the group with the metal rods in their hands.
These rioters were the type to bully the weak and fear the strong. Seeing that the plainclothes guards were really fierce, they immediately cowered with their heads in their hands and stepped back.
Ren Xiaosu watched from the side. He thought this group of plainclothes guards were still quite useful in such a situation. The ten of them worked very well together, with some of them blocking the front while others stayed on the sides to cover the rest.
After all, they had undergone proper military training before, so it wasn’t like they couldn’t deal with just a few rioters.
But amid the scuffle, the sound of a gunshot left everyone stunned. The plainclothes guards who were chasing away the rioters with the metal rods were also stunned on the spot. As they were soldiers, they were even more aware of the might of firearms. If they were to get shot at such a time, they might not survive.
One of the rioters with a bruised face was holding a pistol. He said, “Let’s see who dares to touch me!”
It was completely silent in the hotel lobby. Even his fellow rioters were shocked. That rioter roared, “That female celebrity, get over here. I want you to follow me. I’ll let you come back here when I feel like it—”
Midway through his sentence, a figure suddenly dashed past, and the pistol in the rioter’s hand disappeared.
Ren Xiaosu tossed the pistol to a plainclothes guard. “Carry on and take over from here.” With that, Ren Xiaosu headed upstairs to do some reading. He acted like he had just done something trivial.
When the rioters saw the plainclothes guard pointing the black barrel at them, they immediately dispersed.
However, something even more surprising happened. After the rioters left, a lot of women started arriving when they heard rumors there was food in the hotel Li Ran was staying at. Furthermore, this was where women were protected.
So a lot of women came running to Li Ran to seek protection.
Li Ran did not make the decision on her own. She purposely went to Ren Xiaosu’s room to ask if she could take in these women. Ren Xiaosu only gave her a look and told her to make the decision herself.
If she wanted to protect them, she would have to protect them herself. Ren Xiaosu and Zhou Yingxue were only responsible for her safety.