The First Order Book 2 Chapter 113
Volume 2 Chapter 113 A Balanced State Of Mind
As the several thousand-strong group made their way forward, most of them did so in extreme hunger. Especially since it was the beginning of winter, those who didn't eat were extremely cold.
At this time of year, the wild vegetables were beginning to shrivel up. Even a plant as tough as the shepard's purse had started withering.
The escaping masses scoured the roadside as they advanced, looking for anything from plants, to tree bark, and tree roots to eat.
At the beginning, the people from the stronghold still held on to their dignity. But now that they were this hungry, they dropped whatever they had left.
Instead, it was Ren Xiaosu and company who did not feel any stress. They had been eating such things all along.
When wild vegetables were eaten raw, they tasted bitter. They would leave an astringent aftertaste. Some people vomited after eating them as their bodies couldn't handle such foods.
However, some people were even more unfortunate. They ended up dropping to the ground and started foaming at their mouths after eating some unknown food they found.
No one cared about these people who had fallen to the ground. Everyone walked by them indifferently and continued advancing, as though they were a group of soulless bodies.
Only Ren Xiaosu stopped in his tracks. He looked at someone who had fallen and said to Yan Liuyuan, "These are the symptoms of eating pulsatilla root 1 , which I usually call wild celery or poison ginseng. The leaves of this plant look exactly like that of celery's. If it mistakenly gets eaten, the person will show signs of nausea, vomiting, cold hands and feet, and paralysis of the limbs. In serious cases, it can even cause death."
Jiang Wu, who was following quietly, took note of what he said. Afterwards, she warned her students not to pick any plants with leaves that looked like celery's. The students said in bewilderment, "But what do celery leaves look like?"
These students used to live in the stronghold, so it was only natural that their parents took care of all their basic needs. So who could have possibly learned what celery leaves looked like?
After the several thousand escapees passed by, the path they took looked as though it had been swarmed by locusts. All of a sudden, Ren Xiaosu saw an off-road vehicle ahead of them. Wasn't that Luo Lan's vehicle? Why was it left there all by itself?
Everyone went over to have a look and was astonished to see that the vehicle frame was broken beyond repair.
The dirt road in this wilderness was extremely bumpy, so even if an off-road vehicle was well-suited for such conditions, it still couldn't hold up to the abuse.
Perhaps not even Luo Lan could have expected that he would get into an accident. As a result, they had to abandon the vehicle.
A crowd of escapees were frantically opening the vehicle doors to search for anything inside that could be eaten, but they were all disappointed as the inside of the vehicle was cleaned out. Even the seats' leather had been stripped off.
Not only that, some of the easier to carry parts were stripped off as well. Ren Xiaosu concluded that those parts must have been taken away to use as spares in case the other vehicles malfunctioned. As for this vehicle, it was totaled.
Ren Xiaosu wondered if Luo Lan was trying his hardest to hurry to Stronghold 109. Logically, Luo Lan might even have arrived at Stronghold 109 by now.
Today, many of the escapees were discussing whether they would be allowed into the stronghold when they got there. On what basis could Stronghold 109 reject them from entering? They were, after all, legal residents of a stronghold.
Although there was a big division between the various strongholds, with the organizations the true controllers of each stronghold, they were all supposed to be on the same battlefront.
Some of these people were also saying they would probably not be allowed in. They were from Stronghold 113, controlled by the Qing Consortium. But Stronghold 109, which they were heading to, was controlled by the Li Consortium. If they refused to let them in, there was really nothing they could complain about.
Ren Xiaosu thought important people from the consortiums such as Luo Lan would probably not have to think about whether they would be allowed into the stronghold. After all, the Li Consortium would still have to give some face to the Qing Consortium.
But for everyone else, it would be difficult to say where they would end up.
They kept moving. But not long after, Ren Xiaosu saw yet another military transport truck parked alone on the road.
Yet another vehicle had broken down? Everyone walked closer and realized it had a flat tire.
"Did they not have any spare tires?" Ren Xiaosu wondered.
When the military transport truck passed Ren Xiaosu, he saw that it was full of soldiers. Clearly, they had overloaded the truck with too many people.
If any more of their vehicles broke down, Ren Xiaosu thought it would probably be incredibly difficult for Luo Lan to get to Stronghold 109.
But everyone was overjoyed at the sight of these impaired vehicles. When Luo Lan and his people drove by like the wind, the escapees were all thinking about what gave them the right to travel in vehicles while everyone else had to walk.
But it was all good now. Their state of mind had been brought back into balance.
On this night, everyone settled down next to the abandoned military transport truck to get some rest. It couldn't even be called a "campsite," as it was purely a mass of people huddling together on the ground in the wilderness to sleep.
The ground was freezing, and lying down on it would cause the cold temperature of the ground to seep into their bodies.
A lot of these people wanted to start a campfire, but the problem was they had nothing to start a fire with!
After Ren Xiaosu found a place for Yan Liuyuan and the others, he went to pick some firewood. The accursed weather was getting colder, so the firewood would have to last through the night. Otherwise, everyone could easily catch a cold when they woke up the next morning.
Even though Wang Fugui was carrying medicinal supplies, who in the right mind would choose to get sick for no good reason?
At this time of year, it was pretty easy to find firewood. When Ren Xiaosu came back carrying a large pile, he spotted Jiang Wu crouching on the ground as she attempted to start a campfire. This female teacher had organized her students and got them to gather back a lot of firewood. Then she tried her hardest to drill wood to start a fire.
Ren Xiaosu silently shook his head, thinking that this delicate female teacher had probably never done such tough work before. Normal people who wanted to start a fire this way might not even be able to start one after blistering their hands from drilling the wood.
Jiang Wu thought she might as well stubbornly hand drill to start a fire.
A male student said, "Teacher, why don't you let me do it instead?"
Jiang Wu shook her head. "You're students. There's no need to do such menial and hard work. Go and get some rest."
She glanced to Ren Xiaosu's side, hoping to learn from watching how he drilled the wood to make a fire. In the end, she saw Ren Xiaosu taking out a box of matches.
Why was this person always so prepared? Jiang Wu covered her mouth in astonishment. All of them were clearly fellow escapees, but why did she feel that Ren Xiaosu's group had it so much easier than the others?
When Ren Xiaosu got the fire started, it added a warm color to the darkness of the campsite. The previously cold moonlight was also given a touch of warmth.
Of course, it wasn't only Ren Xiaosu who had managed to start a fire in the campsite. Some smokers had also brought along matches. But when a few women went over to them to ask to borrow their fire, presumptuous requests were made of them. How long had it been since they'd escaped from the disaster? So who would possibly give themselves up just to start a campfire?
Jiang Wu hesitated for a long while before walking over to Ren Xiaosu's area. Xiaoyu and the others were chatting when she saw Jiang Wu stop to look at her.
"Can I" Jiang Wu asked discreetly, "Can I borrow your fire? I can offer you firewood in exchange."
"Sure," Xiaoyu said with a smile. "There's no need to give us any firewood. We have enough."
"Thank you." Jiang Wu said rather excitedly, "Thank you so much!"
She ran back to her area and carried some firewood over. Then she used Ren Xiaosu's campfire to light it. The students were all watching like an eager flock of fledglings waiting to be fed. Anemone chinensis is a basionym of the currently known Pulsatilla chinensis and is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsatilla_chinensis
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