Chapter 66: A businessman
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
Ren Xiaosu didn’t believe in ghosts and the likes, so he analyzed the situation when he saw nothing in the hollow. Wait a minute! Ren Xiaosu realized what was going on.
He saw water droplets dripping from the hollow’s ceiling onto the ground.
It was probably wet due to the rainwater that had seeped through the hollow’s ceiling and dripped down bit by bit. The soldier who got alarmed was merely too tense and fell into a state of panic. As a result, he thought the water droplets were caused by some imaginary enemy, like a drooling monster.
But when Ren Xiaosu saw this, he found a treasure. He said to the others, “Y’all can get water straight from here. The hollow’s ceiling is a natural filter that makes the water a little cleaner than well water. Of course, if you’re still worried, you can also boil it before you drink it.”
Xu Xianchu asked seriously, “Are you sure this water is drinkable?”
“Yes.” Ren Xiaosu said, “It’s probably one of the cleanest sources of water you can find in the wilderness. Sometimes, not even spring water is safer than this.”
When Xu Xianchu heard that, he grabbed his military issue canteen to top up his water supply. Although the pine needles could replenish some water loss from the body, it was far too little.
Those could only ensure that everyone would not die of thirst.
Xu Xianchu did not horde the water source for too long. After hanging his military issue canteen over the campfire, he said to the others, “You guys should drink up too.”
The others were not like Xu Xianchu who still had his military issue canteen to hold the water and boil it with. They could only collect the water with their mouths, let alone boil it.
The crowd was pushing and shoving under the water source. It was alright for the soldiers as each of them took turns to drink from it for a while. But Liu Bu couldn’t be in a more pathetic state since no one would let him have a taste of the water.
After a while, a soldier said, fuming, “How is it enough for anyone to drink water one drop at a time? Ren Xiaosu still has two bottles of water in his pockets. He’s making us lick the rock wall and the pine needles while he drinks from the bottle himself. Who knows if there’s problems with the water?”
Several soldiers got angry. However, Ren Xiaosu and Yang Xiaojin each had a gun in their hands, so they did not dare to say anything in front of them.
When Ren Xiaosu saw this, he wondered how great it would be if he could store his items in the palace. He could secretly put the bottled water into the palace tomorrow and claim to the others that he had accidentally lost it. That way, no one would target him anymore.
Otherwise, if these people went crazy for the water, someone might even take the risk to attack him.
Currently, the two bottles of water were in each side of his jacket pockets. He put his hands into the pockets and held the water bottles as he attempted to store them in the palace again.
But the voice from the palace intoned, “Storage rights have not been obtained.”
Ren Xiaosu was upset and sullen when he heard the voice. ‘You should at least tell me how to obtain the rights, right? Why can I freely store the black medicine in the palace but not the bottled water? Why? Why can’t the bottled water be stored?!’
As Ren Xiaosu retreated to one side, Luo Xinyu looked at him. “Why aren’t you going over to drink the water?”
Ren Xiaosu saw Luo Xinyu’s skeptical look. It was obvious she did not believe he would be so generous.
Ren Xiaosu grinned. “I’m gonna drink the bottled water.”
Luo Xinyu was speechless. In this moment, Luo Xinyu realized that Ren Xiaosu was really talented at annoying people at any time.
However, she did not know that Ren Xiaosu had actually given it careful consideration before deciding to leave the water source for the others. First of all, everyone was parched, and the water source that was dripping bit by bit would definitely be insufficient. As a supernatural being, Xu Xianchu could horde the water source for as long as he wanted, and no one would dare to say a thing. But Ren Xiaosu “wasn’t” one.
Some people were already jealous of the fact that he still had two bottles of water on him. As such, he didn’t need to hoard them.
One of the principles of survival in the wilderness was to not be too greedy. Furthermore, Ren Xiaosu had to made Xu Xianchu understand that if he wanted to survive in the wilderness, the most indispensable person in the team was him, Ren Xiaosu. If Ren Xiaosu could get the support of a supernatural being like Xu Xianchu, wouldn’t that be better?
Also, the smell in the hallow was simply too pungent.
In such a tense atmosphere, Luo Xinyu was initially terrified. As such, she chatted with Ren Xiaosu so she could alleviate the fear she was feeling. After all, it was always better to have someone to talk to.
In fact, this method was extremely effective. When Ren Xiaosu spoke about “having children in old age,” Luo Xinyu didn’t feel afraid anymore. There was only a string of ellipses on her mind.
Ren Xiaosu asked, “Do you know where the cigarettes that the soldiers smoke come from? I don’t think there’s any suitable places near Stronghold 113 to grow something like that, right?”
“You don’t know?” Luo Xinyu asked, feeling puzzled. “Wang Fugui said that you had the backing of Luo Lan, so how can you possibly not know anything about it?”
“What does Luo Lan have anything to do with it?” Ren Xiaosu was stunned. Although he had received a banner from Luo Lan, he and Boss Luo did not have any other dealings.
“Boss Luo is the representative of the Qing Consortium in Stronghold 113,” Luo Xinyu explained.
“What is his job title in the stronghold?” Ren Xiaosu asked. Although he heard Wang Fugui mention Boss Luo’s name every day, Ren Xiaosu realized that he actually didn’t know much about Boss Luo.
“Boss Luo doesn’t have a job title.” Luo Xinyu looked at Ren Xiaosu in surprise. “Alright, it looks like you really don’t know anything. He only controls some factories that deal with metallurgy, water production, and chemical plants. If you have to ask what his title is… then he’s strictly considered a businessman.”
“How does a businessman get to call the shots in the stronghold?” Ren Xiaosu said after thinking for a moment. He had thought that Boss Luo was just a stronghold overseer.
“It’s unnecessary for them to hold a job title.” Luo Xinyu said helplessly, “They are like the sky above the stronghold overseers. When nothing happens, everyone lives peacefully together. But when something crops up, that businessman will definitely be the decision maker of the stronghold.”
“Does he have an army around him?” Ren Xiaosu asked after some thought.
Luo Xinyu glanced at him and said, “Yes, he has an army that is many times stronger than these private troops. The combat brigade that’s stationed in Stronghold 113 is way beyond your imagination. They’re nothing like these private troops you’re watching.”
It meant that there were two different types of troops stationed at the stronghold. Although the stronghold had nominal overseers, their authority existed in name only. If they did not resist, the consortium would allow them to enjoy a life of luxury as their puppets.
“But there’s something I still don’t understand.” Ren Xiaosu asked, “Why don’t they just take control of the stronghold and become the overseers themselves? Isn’t it unnecessary to support puppets?”
“Because the Qing Consortium is not the only organization in this world,” Luo Xinyu said.
Hearing this, Ren Xiaosu gained an understanding. The control of the hundred-odd strongholds was in the hands of just a few organizations. Although they worked together to take control of the strongholds, there was a delicate balance of power between them. By using some strange methods of cooperation, they would seize resources for themselves.
“So the Qing Consortium was the one who supplied those cigarettes to Stronghold 113?” Ren Xiaosu asked.