The First Order - Chapter 100 - Image down the drain
Chapter 100: Image down the drain
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
“Liuyuan, see what I brought you.” Wang Fugui’s voice rang out from afar before he could be seen in the school.
When Yan Liuyuan opened his eyes under the blanket, he refused to get out of bed.
Xiaoyu was folding clothes and saying, “It’s time to get up, Liuyuan.”
“I don’t wanna! Let me sleep for a while more!” Yan Liuyuan murmured.
Xiaoyu laughed and said, “If you get up 15 minutes earlier each day, you’d have gained an additional 90 hours a year that you could use to do something you like doing. Think about it, what do you like doing the most?”
Yan Liuyuan pondered for a long time before saying with uncertainty, “I like sleeping the most….”
“Get up already!” Xiaoyu frowned and said, “You’re even more annoying than your brother!” Xiaoyu lifted Yan Liuyuan’s blanket. The warm air inside escaped all at once, and Yan Liuyuan unwillingly got out of bed.
It was winter now, and the winter temperatures in this era were extremely cold. In Yan Liuyuan’s memory, there would always be people freezing to death in the streets or in their shacks during winter each year.
The shacks were only built out of tree branches or metal frames, while the four walls were wrapped with broken rags and cloth. This construct was completely unable to shield anyone on the inside from the wind.
During those years, he and Ren Xiaosu were always shivering in their shacks from the cold. Ren Xiaosu even took all of their summer and winter clothing out to wrap it around Yan Liuyuan. But even so, it was still very cold.
But whenever he thought of those times, Yan Liuyuan would always feel overjoyed.
He recalled what Ren Xiaosu said to him at that time: “The happiness of humans does not stem from enjoyment but the suffering we go through. When you’re going through the worst moments of suffering and taste sweetness, you would desperately want to keep living no matter what. That sweet taste of things might not be much to other people, but it is the greatest happiness that you know at that moment.”
Sometimes, Yan Liuyuan felt that if Ren Xiaosu were born inside the stronghold, he would probably be a philosopher like Mr. Zhang had described in class before.
Wang Fugui walked in with two sweet potatoes and greeted them. “Xiaoyu, I brought one for each of you. Eat them while they’re hot.”
“Uncle Fugui,” Yan Liuyuan took the sweet potato from him and asked, “Why do you like eating sweet potatoes so much? You roast them every day.”
Wang Fugui said with a wide smile, “When I was still a child in the town outside of Stronghold 107, there was a famine, so my father and I escaped all the way here to seek help from our relatives. Back then, it still wasn’t so dangerous on the outside. Once, we dug up two sweet potatoes in the wilderness and my father roasted them for me to eat. At that time, I felt that sweet potatoes were the most delicious thing in the world.”
Ever since Wang Fugui came running over to the school wearing his jacket and trying to bribe Wang Congyang over the gun firing at midnight, the way Yan Liuyuan addressed Wang Fugui had changed.
Wang Fugui also realized this change and was secretly delighted.
He had taken a great liking to these two brothers. Compared to that silly son of his, they were so much better. Witnessing how Ren Xiaosu protected Yan Liuyuan in their struggle to stay alive over the years, he felt that the two of them really did not have it easy.
Wang Fugui watched Li Xiaoyu and Yan Liuyuan as they ate the sweet potatoes. Suddenly, he looked around the school and said with a sigh, “With Mr. Zhang gone, our town won’t have a teacher anymore.”
Yan Liuyuan said unbothered, “What’s so bad about that? When my brother gets back, he’ll take over as the teacher.”
Zhang Jinglin had already been sent away by Luo Lan for being the hot potato that he was. The day he was sent away was probably the most sensational day the town’s refugees had ever seen.
Quite a few military transport trucks and off-road vehicles stopped outside the school’s entrance and that big shot from the stronghold whose name was Luo Lan bowed politely to Zhang Jinglin.
The refugees couldn’t have expected that their town’s Mr. Zhang would be someone so important. If they had known, they wouldn’t have scrimped on tuition and also sent their children to attend classes at the school.
Who knew if they might have built some kind of connection?
Thinking of this, many of the refugees decided they would send their children to school. The logic they had was this simple: They wanted to send their children to school not for knowledge, but for building connections.
But before they could fantasize any further, Luo Lan sent Zhang Jinglin away that same day.
Yan Liuyuan and Xiaoyu, who were living at the school, were utterly ignored by everyone. Even after Zhang Jinglin left, Wang Congyang did not come to give them any further trouble.
But even so, a lot of unfamiliar refugees started appearing at the school’s entrance, peddling fruits or vegetables. Wang Fugui had seen some of them before and knew they usually worked at the factory. However, they were all pretending not to know one another here.
It was at this time that Wang Fugui realized the stronghold’s control over the town wasn’t as simple as he thought it was. Some of the refugees had been bought as eyes for those in the stronghold.
In normal times, these people were just ordinary refugees. But once some among the refugees wanted to start a rebellion or organize a strike, they would immediately inform those in the stronghold and turn over the names of those troublemakers.
It was no wonder the two previous strikes had been suppressed so quickly by the private army from the stronghold. It was because they had eyes here.
Wang Fugui remembered the faces of these people and took note not to offend them, nor ever tell them what he was really thinking.
It was not only those refugees watching at the entrance. There were also a few people who clearly looked tougher and more ruthless than the private troops of the stronghold. Wang Fugui speculated they might very well be people from the Qing Consortium.
Speaking of Ren Xiaosu, Wang Fugui frowned. “There’s someone up ahead who works in a factory near the Jing Mountains who just got back. He said that there seems to be something going on over there and that a volcano in the mountains erupted. The entire sky above the Jing Mountains is filled with dark clouds now.”
However, Yan Liuyuan said in a very relaxed tone, “My brother will be fine for sure.”
That was because the wish he made was to use his own life to ensure that Ren Xiaosu would return safely.
Since he wasn’t dead yet, it meant Ren Xiaosu was fine.
If he told Wang Fugui and Xiaoyu about this, they would probably not believe him. But neither would Yan Liuyuan spill his own secrets.
Wang Fugui thought for a moment before saying, “True, a kid like Ren Xiaosu would definitely live on to be a scourge for a millennium.”
But right at this time, Wang Fugui felt the hairs on his back of his neck stand on end. Wang Fugui calmed himself and stifled his doubts, then whispered Yan Liuyuan and Xiaoyu, “You two better be careful. If you wish to leave town, let me know. I’ll help you to think of a way. I don’t think that these people out here are here for you two. They should be targeting Ren Xiaosu instead.”
Wang Fugui was very smart. He thought about it over and over again before deducing that those people outside the school entrance were just like a net waiting for someone to get caught in it.
Zhang Jinglin had been sent away, so who else could this net be for if not Ren Xiaosu?
“They want to arrest Ren Xiaosu? Why?” Xiaoyu nearly exclaimed.
Wang Fugui considered it for a long time before saying, “Could Ren Xiaosu have caused trouble for those in the stronghold in the Jing Mountains?! That’s quite a possibility!”
However, the truth still exceeded Wang Fugui’s imagination. Not only did Ren Xiaosu cause trouble for those people in the band, he even caused trouble for the Qing Consortium.
At this moment, Qing Zhen was standing on one of the mountain slopes with a helpless expression. “Just how fucking long do we have to continue walking until we get back to Stronghold 112?!”
Xu Man sighed and said, “Boss, even you’ve started to curse and swear.”
Disconsolate, Qing Zhen said, “My image has gone down the drain!”