Chapter 640: A touch of humanity amid the chaos
After chatting with Hu Shuo, Ren Xiaosu went to take a look at the kitchen. There was not much rice left in the rice bucket. Furthermore, Ren Xiaosu even purposely took a look at the garbage can in the kitchen, but he did not find any meat remains in it. This demonstrated the living conditions of these children at the orphanage were deplorable.
Hu Shuo followed behind and said, “Do you know why I can’t bear to make use of Zhang Baogen? Was it just because he revealed his kind nature? No, or rather, it wasn’t that alone.”
Ren Xiaosu turned around and quietly listened.
Hu Shuo continued, “Actually, Zhang Baogen is also still a child. He had been sent to a psychiatric hospital by the Qing Consortium before he could get to see what the world is really like. Fortunately, the Qing Consortium is considered slightly more benevolent among all the consortiums. They only observed the condition of the supernatural beings without harming them.
“When Zhang Baogen first arrived here, he was totally broke. A while ago, one of the children said he wanted to eat dumplings. When he was three years old, his parents abandoned him at the entrance of the orphanage. Now that he’s twelve, he only remembers the taste of a type of pork and celery dumpling. That was the only memory left of his original family. He doesn’t even remember what his mother looks like, but he still remembers the taste of the dumplings.
“As Zhang Baogen did not have any money, he went to the market to collect celery leaves that had been discarded by other people. He even begged the butcher to give him some fatty meat that people didn’t want. I don’t know how he did it, but they really gave him some in the end.” Hu Shuo laughed and said, “That day at the orphanage, it felt as though we were celebrating the New Year. Later, Zhang Baogen went out to work some odd jobs like clean people’s cars to earn a bit of money. Every time he gets paid, he’ll buy some meat back for the children to eat. However, he didn’t have any for himself.
“This time, if it weren’t because of the coats costing too much, and the children already suffering from frostbite, he would probably not have taken the risk to go out and kill someone. Do you know what I value most about him? After he came here, he really wanted to turn over a new leaf and start taking care of the children. He also would like to eat the meat he brought back, but he’s fine with just watching the children have it.”
Ren Xiaosu said, “Aren’t you rich? Why didn’t you buy something for the children?”
Hu Shuo looked at Ren Xiaosu and said, “Don’t bring that up with me. Shentan, that rascal, did not even give me a share of the gold after taking so much of it. He said he was keeping it all for you. When I was still an official in the Li Consortium, I was always honest and never took any bribes, so how would I have any money! At the beginning, I did have a little bit of savings. But you don’t know how much these children can eat. As the saying goes, a growing child burns a hole in the pocket. I literally went broke because of them!”
Ren Xiaosu was stunned. “Are you really that poor?”
“So what if I’m poor?” Hu Shuo’s face darkened. “Money can’t buy happiness, anyway!”
Ren Xiaosu pondered it for a moment before saying, “It’s because you have too little money that you can’t buy happiness!”
He turned around and went out. The next afternoon, he came back with half a dozen kilograms of high quality pork and dozens of kilograms of celery. Behind him, Zhou Yingxue was also carrying a large bag of flour. All of the children at the orphanage started cheering.
This time, even Hu Shuo made the dumplings together with everyone. Ren Xiaosu used his two black sabers to put on a fancy performance of chopping the dumpling filling for the children. It won their applause and made Ren Xiaosu very proud.
When it was time for the pork and celery dumplings to come out of the pot, Zhou Yingxue stood next to it. However, the children did not make a rush for the food. They all followed Zhang Baogen’s instructions and lined up in an orderly manner, with each of them carrying a small bowl. Girls in the front, boys at the back, the young ones went first while the elders waited behind them.
It wasn’t until the children started eating that Zhang Baogen came over with a bowl in embarrassment.
Zhou Yingxue smiled and filled the bowl to the brim. Zhang Baogen even thanked her for it.
After they finished eating, the children sat in their chairs with bloated bellies. They had not had meat in a long time, so they could not stop eating once they got started.
A child smiled at Zhang Baogen and said, “Uncle Baogen, please blow a bubble for us!”
Zhang Baogen thought for a moment and casually blew out a bubble in the shape of a magpie.
However, the children recoiled and said, “Uncle Baogen, why does the bubble today smell like pork and celery…”
After leaving the orphanage, Zhou Yingxue walked beside Ren Xiaosu and said, “Master, you were quite compassionate today.”
“Compassionate?” Ren Xiaosu forced a smile and said, “That was nothing more than a moment of kindness. I doubt I can protect those children like how Zhang Baogen does.”
“It’s still better than doing nothing.” Zhou Yingxue grimaced and said, “The world would be very different if there were a touch of humanity. But, Master, why didn’t you leave some money for them?”
“Even without us, they’ll live very happily.” Ren Xiaosu said, “At first, I had wanted to leave them a million yuan. But later on, I thought that Hu Shuo was probably right. Their happiness there has nothing to do with money. Besides, Qin Sheng and Zhang Qingxi will help them solve their financial problems, so we don’t need to intervene unnecessarily.”
For the first time since last night, Ren Xiaosu suddenly felt a brief moment of peace.
Since arriving at Luoyang City, he was constantly tensed up in case he had to be on guard against enemies who might attack without warning. However, this should not be how the world worked. All of a sudden, he started looking forward to world peace.
Just as another wave of chaos subsided in Luoyang City, a group of more than 20 people were rushing towards Luoyang City from afar.
The person leading the group had a red cloth covering his face. It was the Rider Wu Dingyuan.
He had been taking the students out to travel according to the plan. But midway through their journey, he was informed about the crisis going on at Luoyang City. As such, he was forced to bring the students back to the stronghold.
But when they passed through the Kong Consortium’s stronghold and rested there for a night, their vehicles were all damaged by some people with ulterior motives. In the end, they could only travel on foot.
Wu Dingyuan knew someone was deliberately delaying his return, but he did not go and argue with the Kong Consortium about this. Since what was done was done, the Riders had to assume every consortium was their enemy.
When they were still about 300 kilometers away from Luoyang City, Wu Dingyuan suddenly stopped in his tracks. He looked at Vanilla and the elderly sugar painter in front of him.
Vanilla smiled and said, “I’m Vanilla from the Anjing House.”
The old man introduced himself while stirring some sugar syrup, “I’m Tang Hualong from the Anjing House.”
Wu Dingyuan frowned. “Is the Anjing House declaring themselves an enemy of the Riders? Have you considered the consequences?”
Vanilla explained with a smile, “That’s why we’re here. We have no intention of becoming enemies of the Riders, nor do we want to kill innocent people in Luoyang City. As such, we won’t enter the stronghold. We just hope that you, Wu Dingyuan, will accompany us and have a chat here.”
“And if I say no?” Wu Dingyuan said with a grim expression, “Are you going to use these students behind me to threaten me?”
“No, no, no.” Vanilla shook his head. “I’m not a cold-blooded killer. It’s just that you won’t be able to leave with the two of us taking you on.”
Wu Dingyuan stood right where he was. He suddenly realized the people in Luoyang City might be making a move soon.