The First Order Book 2 Chapter 192
Volume 2 Chapter 192 I'm Giving You An Out
News of Stronghold 109 getting destroyed and taken over by the Experimentals had quickly spread to the rest of human civilization under the Alliance of Strongholds.
If Stronghold 112 and 113 were destroyed by acts of nature, there was nothing that humans could do about it. But for Stronghold 109's destruction, the shadow of a nonhuman species challenging the survival of mankind hung over the incident.
That was because Stronghold 109 was not destroyed by an act of nature. This threat came from a new species that also happened to be extremely aggressive.
The strongholds had been standing in this world for hundreds of years now, while some of the most powerful empires in the history of human civilization only lasted 200 years at most. Therefore, humans had almost become accustomed to the safe lives they knew in the strongholds.
But now, the appearance of the Experimentals was telling humanity they had to reexamine this world.
The road from Stronghold 109 to Stronghold 111 was mainly flat. The armored vehicles had already left, leaving only two off-road vehicles speeding their way through the vast wilderness. Behind the off-road vehicles, a large cloud of dust was left in their wake. This was a grand sight to behold from afar.
Qing Zhen sat in the back of the vehicle with his eyes closed and seemed to be thinking of something. Next to him, Luo Lan kept eating. Every now and then, he would say a few words to Qing Zhen.
"Are we really just going back to Stronghold 111 without putting up a fight?" Luo Lan said indignantly. "Does the Board really intend to kill the donkey the moment it leaves the millstone? We have done so much for the Qing Consortium, yet they're placing us under house arrest just like that?"
Qing Zhen opened his eyes and looked at Luo Lan. "You can call yourself a donkey if you want, but don't drag me in."
"Oh, oh, I used the wrong idiom," Luo Lan corrected himself. "But you get what I mean anyway."
"The Qing Consortium is our home. If we don't go back there, where do we go?" Qing Zhen said, sounding bored, "Since you're going back with me this time, it's going to be safer for you. By placing you in someone else's stronghold, who knows what kind of trouble you'll cause again."
"I didn't cause trouble for nothing though." Luo Lan was unhappy. "Didn't I successfully get my hands on the Li Consortium's research results? But who knew you'd go and give it away just like that? Speaking of which, why'd you give it to that little girl from the Yang Consortium? Even if our nanorobotics tech hasn't had any breakthroughs yet, what if we do get a breakthrough later on? Just think, we're both normal humans, but we can become superhuman with this nanorobotics tech!"
Qing Zhen didn't care to explain. "I don't like all that fighting and killing."
"But all you've been doing is fighting and killing." Luo Lan said, "Isn't that what everyone thinks you're best at?"
"I'm best at growing flowers." Qing Zhen said in seriousness, "I'm warning you. Don't you dare touch the flowers I grew when we get back."
"Sure." Luo Lan curled his lips. "Why would I touch your flowers when I can touch women instead? But anyway, I still find it such a waste that we gave that hard drive away to the Yang Consortium."
Qing Zhen laughed and said, "It's not a waste. One of the Li Consortium's strongholds has been destroyed and their research results were even stolen. To resolve their internal conflicts, they'll be sure to pin the blame on an external party. The Yang Consortium will be that target. With our two neighbors fighting, we can rest easy."
"As if they would start fighting so easily. There hasn't been a real war in such a long time," Luo Lan said.
Qing Zhen looked out of the window and said calmly, "That's where the problem is. There hasn't been a war in such a long time among mankind. If we human beings don't start a war, can we still be called greedy humans?"
"Look at you, putting down humanity like that. Well, I dislike wars, but that's just how life works." Luo Lan said, "But now that the Saboteurs have discovered your secret base, you should increase the defenses around it."
Qing Zhen said calmly, "They haven't found where it is yet. They're only guessing it exists."
"How do you know that?" Luo Lan was taken aback.
"Based on how the Saboteurs operate," Qing Zhen chuckled and went on, "they would have already blown up the place if they discovered our nuclear test site."
All of a sudden, Luo Lan shouted, "Eh, look up front."
On the road ahead, a convoy of heavily armed vehicles were blocking their only path to Stronghold 111. There was the logo of the ginkgo leaf on the vehicles. Luo Lan was amused. "The Board seems to think rather highly of you."
Qing Zhen waited for their own vehicles to come to a complete stop before getting out. A man dressed in a suit and wearing sunglasses approached them from the vehicle convoy opposite. "Qing Zhen, do you know you're still under house arrest?"
Qing Zhen sincerely stated, "Secretary Zhou, please let me explain. Weren't you all thinking of capturing that fatty, Luo Lan, to place him under house arrest? I've done that for you!"
Luo Lan echoed from the side, "That's right. He captured me after such great efforts since I was really resistant to the idea of coming back."
Secretary Zhou, who was clad in a suit, was taken aback. He had thought there would be a clash between him and the two brothers, so much so that he even brought troops over for this confrontation. But who knew that Qing Zhen would come up with that reason? He was a bit confused.
Secretary Zhou sneered, "Don't think I don't know why you went to Stronghold 109. Where are those troops of yours? Qing Zhen, as a member of the consortium, how dare you raise personal troops!"
Qing Zhen said sadly, "The troops were all killed during the capture of Luo Lan!"
Luo Lan hooted, "That's right, do you think it's so easy to capture me?"
Secretary Zhou was so angry he laughed. "What are you two putting on a crosstalk in front of me for?!"
Calm spread on Qing Zhen's face. "I'm giving you an out here, so just take it."
In that instant, Secretary Zhou felt the hair on the back of his neck stand. It was as though the party in front of him was a tiger. Even though he was only standing quietly, he was like a ferocious beast that would make anyone tremble with fear.
Qing Zhen walked over and took off Secretary Zhou's sunglasses to put them on himself. "The sun's really harsh, and I just so happen to lack a pair of sunglasses. Secretary Zhou, I'm afraid you're still not qualified to ask me about those troops. The Board will have to personally question me."
Secretary Zhou turned around and went back to his vehicle. "Let's see if you can still keep up the bl.u.s.ter after we get back to the stronghold!"
Then the convoy of vehicles started moving towards Stronghold 111. Secretary Zhou, who was in his car, could feel his hands trembling.
Meanwhile, Ren Xiaosu's and Yang Xiaojin's injuries had gotten much better. They kept heading north, albeit not at a fast pace.
Yang Xiaojin raised her head and glanced at the scorching sun in the sky. She asked, "We aren't going in the wrong direction, are we? Why can't we see Liuyuan and the others yet?"
"No," Ren Xiaosu said, "identifying directions is a basic skill in wilderness survival. However, I can't say if Yan Liuyuan and the others might have gone the wrong way."
"That can't be. We saw so many campfires still around yesterday. It looked like there were quite a few people who managed to escape out of Stronghold 109, so they should be together with the rest of the escapees," Yang Xiaojin said.
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