The First Order Book 2 Chapter 186
Volume 2 Chapter 186 An Unfinished Quest
"Lu Yuan is also a member of the Saboteurs, right? So you already knew that I would be going to that school, yet you pretended not to know anything about it?" Ren Xiaosu questioned.
"Ren Xiaosu, you should know when to stop"
Ren Xiaosu kept laughing for a long time. It made Yang Xiaojin start laughing as well. It was infectious.
Inside the dark sewers, the only light source was the faint candlelight where Ren Xiaosu was. Even though the ground above them was likely very dangerous and teeming with Experimentals, both of them still found some joy to cherish in this difficult moment.
Yang Xiaojin started coughing as she laughed. When she finally got her breathing under control again, she suddenly asked, "Why did you come back to save me?"
"I forgot my wallet," Ren Xiaosu answered matter-of-factly.
"Mhm," Yang Xiaojin acknowledged.
They both knew this reason was lame beyond belief, but neither said anything about it.
Yang Xiaojin said, "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone about your secret. You probably haven't realized this yet, but you're already considered very strong even among supernatural beings."
Yang Xiaojin recalled the the battle.
In fact, she wasn't sure at the time if Ren Xiaosu could take on six Experimentals and beat them. This was because based on what she knew, there were not many supernatural beings who could take on six Experimentals at once.
In the current era, supernatural beings had started sprouting up like bamboo shoots after a spring rain. However, their powers were not strong enough to break past a certain threshold yet. The Saboteurs defined this threshold as: Is the supernatural being capable of ignoring the power of the masses?
In layman's terms, it just meant whether a supernatural being was capable of destroying an organization's fighting forces alone.
Li Shentan could be considered halfway there because his power depended on hypnotizing his targets, so he would be considered as using the masses against the masses. As for his own strength, it might not be that great.
But there would surely be a day when a truly strong individual emerged from the world of the supernatural beings.
The Saboteurs termed this the "Dawn of Gods."
Back on the roof, Yang Xiaojin had witnessed the power of Ren Xiaosu's shadow clone. It had a strength and speed that crushed the existence of the Experimentals. Moreover, even when a hoard of Experimentals attacked it at once, they still couldn't bring it down completely.
But what surprised Yang Xiaojin most of all was that both Ren Xiaosu and the shadow clone were able to wield their own sabers.
Honestly, Yang Xiaojin had never seen a weapon that was capable of slicing through the Experimentals like that. It didn't even feel like it was something that modern civilization was capable of producing. As such, it could only be attributed as a kind of power.
At that time on the roof, Ren Xiaosu displayed strong combat awareness. This "combat awareness" did not refer to technique but an instinct.
Instinct was not something that could be trained.
Training could allow a person to increase their reaction speed, gain greater strength, become faster, and even learn cleverer ways of generating power, but none of that could replace instinct.
Some people said that hard work could make up for it, but only a true elite would understand that hard work could never replace talent.
And Ren Xiaosu had this talent for combat.
If it weren't for the last Experimental that had crawled up and sneak attacked, Ren Xiaosu would not even have gotten injured.
At this time, Ren Xiaosu took out two pieces of hardtack and handed one to Yang Xiaojin, leaving one for himself in his other hand.
Yang Xiaojin did not stand on ceremony and simply took it from him. They were both injured and had lost a lot of blood, so they needed to replenish whatever necessary energy they could get.
She looked at the candle on the ground next to them and suddenly realized that this might be the first candlelit dinner she had eaten in her life. "Does this count as a candlelit dinner?"
Ren Xiaosu gave it some thought and asked, "What's a candlelit dinner?"
Yang Xiaojin laughed. "Never mind."
Ren Xiaosu suddenly asked, "I heard you mention Zhang Jinglin earlier? Just what kind of a person is Mr. Zhang?"
This question seemed to have stumped Yang Xiaojin a little. She even had to carefully search for the right word in her mind but was unable to think of something that accurately described Zhang Jinglin. "You can say he's the most 'enlightened' person in our current times."
This answer truly stunned Ren Xiaosu. "What kind of an appraisal is that? What is his identity in Stronghold 178, really? And what exactly is Stronghold 178 protecting?"
"Whether it be the strongholds or the towns, the organizations will try to tell you that there are extremely powerful beasts and terrifying creatures, as well as scary insect swarms beyond the outermost perimeter of the strongholds," Yang Xiaojin said.
"Isn't that true?" Ren Xiaosu was slightly taken aback.
"It's not." Yang Xiaojin said, "Stronghold 178 in the northwest and Stronghold 169 in the northern plains are not really there to stop the wild beasts from coming in, but humans. The humans who try to invade into the interior every now and then."
"Like the Experimentals?" Ren Xiaosu wondered.
"No, they're people just like you and me." Yang Xiaojin said softly, "Even after the disaster, wars between humans have not stopped at all. That's probably about the most ironic thing that has happened."
This was a secret Ren Xiaosu had never known about. So there were still humans who lived beyond the outermost perimeter of the ring of strongholds!
Yang Xiaojin said, "Zhang Jinglin was the original commander of the fighting force at Stronghold 178, the true controller of that place. He suddenly disappeared more than a decade ago, leading to many people saying he had grown tired of war. But no one knew the real reason behind his disappearance. However, everyone at Stronghold 178 is waiting for him to return. That place is an independent force by itself that falls outside the control of the Alliance of Strongholds. In recent years, the Zong Consortium, which is active at the frontier, has been trying to gain control of Stronghold 178, but now that Zhang Jinglin is going back, the Zong Consortium's plans have all come to nothing. Those bastards only recognize Zhang Jinglin. Not even money moves them!"
Ren Xiaosu was doubtful of this. Zhang Jinglin did not even look like a soldier as he was so weak. How could someone like that have such a powerful background?
But this also reassured Ren Xiaosu. Xu Xianchu would definitely get special treatment by bringing that recommendation letter there, so he didn't feel as bad anymore.
Wait! Ren Xiaosu suddenly thought of a problem. Why wasn't his quest that required him to save a stronghold resident complete yet? Didn't he already save Yang Xiaojin?
Could it be that he needed to get her out of the stronghold before the quest requirements were met? That couldn't be! Ren Xiaosu kept thinking that something must be wrong somewhere. He looked at Yang Xiaojin and asked, "Do you hold a Stronghold 109 ID card?"
Yang Xiaojin was taken aback, as though she couldn't wrap her head around why Ren Xiaosu was asking this question. "No, why would I need one? If anything crops up, I can just look for Uncle Lu to settle it. We don't need any ID cards here."
Ren Xiaosu was speechless. Oh, so Yang Xiaojin wasn't really a resident of this stronghold?!
It was no wonder the palace had specifically stressed Ren Xiaosu to save the stronghold's residents. So it seemed like the palace was also afraid that Ren Xiaosu would only attempt to save Yang Xiaojin and not the others. However, Ren Xiaosu did not realize the intention of the quest at that time!
Yang Xiaojin wondered aloud, "I found it weird at the time. There were clearly so many people who were still running for their lives on the streets, so why did so many of the Experimentals split up from the rest and come to attack me instead?"
Ren Xiaosu thought for a moment before answering, "Probably because you're not a resident of the stronghold."
Yang Xiaojin was confused.
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