Chapter 81: Wisdom of ordinary people
Translator: Letty Editor: DarkGem
“I see,” Chang replied, showing his understanding. “I’ll be heading out then. It’s better to do it sooner rather than later.”
Qing Shui sent them away with a wave of his hand, and Chang left his office with Jing.
In the suite, Chang rinsed his crossbow with water to ensure the trigger mechanism could eject the bolts smoothly without having dry blood hindering it. Once cleaned, he checked the crossbow again and unfolded a piece of cloth. Two daggers were wrapped within it. He’d asked asked them from the military.
Before leaving, Chang tenderly explained the situation to Jing, “So… Jing, you don’t need to go out with me this time. I’ll just wander around the city and get back before sunset. No… it is not because I don’t want to take you with me. Instead, taking you with me could raise eyebrows as you always stay with me. People like Zhuo are extremely sensitive and suspicious about anything unusual, and I don’t want them to know about your ability.”
“But it is still quite dangerous even if we are in the city now. Your safety is not guaranteed,” Jing said, deeply concerned.
“Don’t be worried, I promise that I will be back before sunset, allright?” Chang’s palm gently stroked her soft hair. “If they ever find out that you are an EM, it’ll become dangerous to continue staying in the inst.i.tute. That’s why I said you should remain here while I am out. Hopefully this way they won’t suspect you.”
Jing spoke nothing, although her mouth opened. In the end, she only nodded with lingering unwillingness; her eyes clearly betrayed her inward unease. “You promise to come back before sunset, right?”
“Pinky promise?” Chang put out his little finger.
“It’s a promise!” she declared. Her slim pinky finger tightly knotted with Chang’s and relief lightened her features.
Chang patted her back before parting. He stood up with the crossbow strapped to his back, and both daggers secured in sheaths on his waist. He left the inst.i.tute quietly, without catching too much attention.
The outside was still bathed in the red fog. It was the first time in a while for Chang to leave the inst.i.tute where the red fog was extracted through the ventilation system.
The guards at the gate didn’t block him from going out as they were familiar with his face.
He returned to the world where ordinary people lived.
Everything he had used in the recent days belonged to the new upper cla.s.s of the society, the researchers and ranked military officers. But in the city, there was nothing; this was a normal place where ordinary people struggled to survive.
The taste of the air was also familiar to Chang.
To be honest, although he was fortunate enough to live in the inst.i.tute where safety and food were guaranteed, he didn’t feel like he fit in that well. He neither understood politics nor was he knowledgeable enough to be a researcher. And without those two skills, he was no different from an ordinary person. So even though the world out here was more intimidating and threatening, he felt more comfortable walking on the broken pathway than through the inst.i.tute’s corridors.
Humans were born as social animals, and this instinct was never dropped regardless of the circ.u.mstances. Although the red fog made conflicts more frequent, the majority of ordinary humans chose to band into small groups to elevate their chances of survival.
These small groups aimlessly wandered through the streets, searching for something edible. Just as Chang was doing.
He had made a solemn vow to Qing Shui that he would return with a reproducible plant, but in fact, he had no idea where to find it. Chang was merely a high school student. Even if he were to utilize everything he knew about plants, he doubted if he could ever tell if a plant was edible or not.
Therefore, he did nothing in the morning but ambled around. He witnessed the chaos among the vulnerable crowds, and this was the only thing he learned about the outside world.
Until he noticed a man – a man who carried a wired cage with him.
This man looked like to be in his mid 50s, and was closely followed by his wife and two kids. The family roamed around the streets with iron bars and kitchen knives in hands. They were no different from the others who spent day and night to searching for food.
Chang had noticed them from far away quite a while ago, but he didn’t pay attention to them as they were just as ordinary as the other small groups in Zhengzhou. However, the man’s actions intrigued Chang. He was feeding the bug in the cage intermittently. The cage was held in his right hand, while he used the left to collect small pieces of plants that he saw and give them to the little bug inside the cage. The man seemed in rapt attention, none of his family members saying anything against it.
Chang tailed them for almost a kilometer as he dwelled on how he should approach them. He eliminated a few possibilities and then threw all his considerations away. Giving up on it, he simply went up to them instead.
Slowly he made himself appear in their vision. The family became extremely alarmed as they saw him.
*** You are reading on https://webnovelonline.com ***
“Who are you?” the man asked, raising his weapon at the same time as his children. It frightened them even more that his face was an unfamiliar one. The man shouted out loud, “I don’t care who you are but I would not recommend you to come forward. You know the rules, no one should enter another’s three meter zone. And if you’re thinking of robbing us for food, just forget it. We don’t have any, either.”
“When I found out this unique characteristic of the bug, I thought it’d be helpful to us in this world. After all, the plants are all evolved and mutated, the edible ones might have become inedible, while the inedible might have turned edible. I think there is generally a sufficient amount of food in this world, it’s just that most of the humans don’t have the guts to test them out.”
As the man explained, the small cage was rolled to Chang. It sent up small cloud of dust as it came toward him.
“There you go. We have a lot of these bugs living in the water pipe, so we’ll just catch another one.”
“Thank you!” Chang expressed his grat.i.tude, and picked up the cage, scanning the bug.
It was an ordinary looking bug as the man had said, its appearance similar to a longhorn beetle. Everything seemed normal except for those extra-long antennae which implied its extraordinary sense of smell.
Both parties in this trade were happy about what they got, but they never put full trust in the other at the same time.
A troop of soldiers patrolled past them. They were all well-armed, and the soldier at the very front made repeated announcement through a megaphone, “Attention, attention please! We are here to inform you that a new crop has been developed in the inst.i.tute. We will start distributing its seeds to the general public in three days! This crop can solve the food crisis completely and we are kindly asking you to endure the remaining three days patiently.”
Sheets of flyers were handed out by the leading soldier. He made sure that he didn’t miss out anyone he saw.
The family and Chang received two pieces of coa.r.s.e paper.
Chang quickly glanced through the flyer and learned its content - it was promoting the Crystal Pea and praising its creator. The flyers obviously exaggerated the benefits of the Crystal Pea. It was even amplifying its effects, making the information seem more convincing and tempting to the hungry.
“We can cultivate this crop? This is so exciting! We won’t be starving anymore,” the wife exclaimed with her face painted with ecstasy.
“Oh, come on. Do you really believe that? It’s transgene! I won’t eat it, you won’t eat it, and our kids won’t eat it either. Who knows what this pea can do to us?” The man tore the paper immediately since Zhuo’s smile on the flyer seemed suspicious to him.
“What are you talking about? It says edible and nutrient-rich!” The wife was clearly upset.
“I won’t risk our kids’ lives to test out this pea! Perhaps the inst.i.tute is treating us as lab rats!” the man shouted back.
*** You are reading on https://webnovelonline.com ***