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Lian Hua rented a residence for the night with the kids. It was ten level one crystals just for a night, no wonder there were so many tents outside.
Before getting into anything else, Lian Hua made a salted batch of mushroom soup. The four of them slurped it down greedily, missing the flavor of food after so long.
Burping, Zhao Xiaolong put down his bowl. “Brother, those people were so annoying. I don’t think we can stay in this base for long. You told the boss to come and find us, isn’t that a problem?”
Lian Hua nodded. “I wanted us to stay here for a while, but now it’s looking impossible. Let’s leave tomorrow.”
“I don’t like that guy today. The way he looked at me was evil, and he’s planning bad stuff.” He Yu said quietly.
“I’ll make them pay.” He Xu said, his expression sullen.
Lian Hua shuddered. Damn, if someone were targeted by these kids they would have a bad time. Thinking back to the beasts on their journey that were killed by a few grinning little kids…didn’t people say children were angels? Lian Hua must’ve bumped into a few dark-winged angels.
“Big bro, why did you want to leave us behind for you to go train?” He Yu asked.
“Uh, the place I’m going to train at is quite dangerous, so I didn’t want to get you guys into trouble. Plus, my special abilities will go away and I’m afraid I won’t be able to protect you.” The training arranged for him was going to eliminate his current special ability level. Just thinking about it made his heart bleed. He was level four, after all. How many people could reach that level after half a year in the apocalypse? Very few. But to not be left behind by Xia Zhi, he had to go through with it. It was like finally reaching financial stability only to be thrown back into the Great Depression.
“Big Bro, you’re thinking too much into it!” After changing into new pants, Zhao Xiaolong had plenty of confidence. “We don’t need you to protect us! We can protect ourselves. You’re thinking too much.”
Lian Hua: “…” Why don’t you think why I have to overthink in the first place? You’re not cute at all.
Grabbing his face, he pulled it left.
“Ow, that hurts! I’ll fight you.” About to charge into him, Zhao Xiaolong was instead suspended upside down by Lian Hua’s plant tendrils.
“Dammit, let me go! If you’re strong enough fight me one on one.” Being tied up into a pretzel, Zhao Xiaolong yelled as he twisted around, trying to free himself.
“Isn’t that exactly what I’m doing?”
“You’re playing tricks, let me go…” Zhao Xiaolong didn’t dare to absorb the vines. Last time he did that, Lian Hua put itchy powder inside and drove him crazy.
“Big bro, come on, drink another bowl of soup.”
Within a mansion in A City.
“They said I should go after them myself?” In the darkness, the middle-aged man’s face was obscured.
“Yes sir. That kid had no respect for you. He said, said you were a tortoise with your head hidden.” The big man kneeling on the ground kept his head down, cold sweat beading on his forehead nonstop.
“Hm.” The man only said this and the big man’s face suddenly went white, pitching over onto the ground with a hand over his stomach.
“I don’t like people who play smart when they aren’t. Go and take your punishment.” He waved his hand, and immediately his subordinates entered the room to drag the half-dead guy out.
“Interesting, interesting.” He chuckled. “It’s been so long since I bumped into anything interesting like this.” In his fingers there was a struggling bug. Just a pinch and the bug stopped twitching.
“Master, do you want a new pet?” His servant asked carefully.
“No need. Take the one on the bed away.” Glancing at the person in his bed, the man waved his hand with disgust.
In the bed there was a naked girl, only about fifteen or sixteen years old at the most. She was clearly breathing limply, her eyes empty and her body covered in scars.
“Yes sir.” The servant said, instructing the people behind him to wrap up the girl in the blankets and throw them outside of the base. Before long she would be swallowed up by the beasts outside, a rather clean end at least. The servant sighed as he thought about it. The most he could do was stop her from experiencing torment at the hands of his master.
Standing at the window, the man cast his gaze down upon the crowd and then at his hand. “Heh, heh. Apocalypse? What a great time, giving me such a free space to do what I want.” Like he was embracing the heavens, the man opened his arms and laughed hysterically. If Lian Hua were here to see it, he’d call him an idiot.
In the regular residence, He Xu opened his eyes. “One of my bugs died.” He said calmly.
“What did you see?” Lian Hua’s head emerged from a hammock.
“How is the big boss?” Zhao Xiaolong peeked out from his hammock of vines.
“Dammit!” He Xu was clearly filled with rage.
“Big bro.” He Yu said, concerned.
Lian Hua opened up a water mirror. With her help, he showed everything the bug saw.
When seeing that little girl, Lian Hua couldn’t help but fill up with rage. Although it was the end of the world and the dark side of humanity had been exposed fully, he still couldn’t tolerate someone treating an underage girl like that.
“Big bro, is that guy planning to do that to Yu too?” He Yu asked with tears in her eyes.
Gathering the water mirror up again, Lian Hua drew a red X across this man’s face in his mind.
“Yu, I’ll protect you.” He Xu said with determination.
“Will he come after us tomorrow?” Zhao Xiaolong asked.
“Probably. This guy is a pervert, and obviously we’ve aroused his interest.” Lian Hua said.
“I wanna torture this pervert!” Zhao Xiaolong shouted.
“Let’s talk about it tomorrow. We can go to sleep today, tomorrow we have to fight.” Lian Hua responded.
“Okay. Good night, big bro.” He Yu closed her eyes, a tear still suspended at the corner of her eye.
He Xu clenched his fists. If they didn’t have Lian Hua on their side, He Yu would become like that girl.
After the sun came up, Lian Hua collected his vines and cooked up a delicious breakfast to feed the kids. They packaged everything they bought from yesterday before everyone shouldered a hefty bag and headed outside of the base.
“Lian, do you think that person will come for us outside of the base?” Zhao Xiaolong asked casually, all while glancing around.
“Outside of the base I think even that man would have trouble harnessing his power, or else he wouldn’t have to be so sneaky with buying and selling stuff. The base is small but their rules are strict.” Lian Hua said. Hopefully the true owner of the base could develop this place properly.
“All right.” Zhao Xiaolong went quiet.
The few of them lined up quietly to leave the base.
A few minutes later it was their turn. They displayed their level one citizenship papers there, and the employees politely let them leave.
The moment they left the base Lian Hua had the kids throw the paperwork away. He doubted they would come back in the future, as he’d prepared to bring the kids on his cultivation journey with him.
“Let’s go find little Yu Yu and the cage, as well as the little sparrow,” He Yu piped up.
“Yep!” Because the sparrow was about to level up, they left the cage and Lian Yu both outside of the base.
They walked about a li east outside of the base and found the mark they left beforehand.
“Master, you’re here!” Lian Yu leapt onto Lian Hua’s shoulder, rubbing against him.
He grabbed him in his hand. “Is the sparrow’s leveling up completed?”
“Still in the cage.” Escaping his grasp, Lian Yu jumped into He Yu’s arms. She caught him with a giggle.
Lian Hua looked at the cage, which had roots in the ground. Small holes scattered across the floor, filled with mutant bugs that weren’t completely digested yet. The corners of his mouth twitched. Normally he kept the cage with Lian Yu, to the point where he wasn’t used to the way it hunted.
“Where is the sparrow?” Lian Hua knocked on the cage. The branches moved and a pail was passed over. Flipping it open and looking inside, Lian Hua found that the sparrow was sleeping inside.
“Big bro, are we going to wait here for the perverted guy?” He Yu asked.
He nodded. “Let’s rest here. He should arrive. Maybe he’s even observing the surroundings.”
Weaving four grass stools, Lian Hua used vines to put together a big table where the four started to play poker. The poker cards were carved out of thin wooden slices when he was bored. To get his water blade to a sharper point of refinement he carved out many cards that way. Later on he taught the kids to play cards, so they’d play together when they were bored. Originally he wanted to carve mah jiang too, but thinking about how much space the tablets would take up convinced him not to.
“Two As. Big bro you lost again.” Throwing the cards in her hand on the table, He Yu shouted in excitement.
“Yes, yes, I lost again.” Lian Hua produced three strawberries, one for each of them.
“Strawberries again? I wanna eat apples.” Zhao Xiaolong said, dissatisfied.
“All right.” Lian Hua planted an apple tree as tall as a person next to them, with exactly three apples.
“Dammit, you’re so stingy,” Zhao Xiaolong pouted, picking one of the apples and taking a big bite.
So when the man finally traced their location according to the reports of his subordinates, he encountered them playing cards, eating apples, and having a grand time.
“Yo, you’re here. Let us finish this round of cards first.” Lian Hua said, clearly impatient.
The man: “…” I’m here looking for trouble, not to watch you play cards.
“No problem, please continue.” The man smiled, looking well-intentioned.
“Don’t smile, you look gross. I’m getting goosebumps.” Zhao Xiaolong rubbed his arms, showing how much he was cringing.
The man: “…” I’m really here for trouble.
“Zhao Xiaolong, stop rubbing. If it’s something gross just don’t look at it.” He Xu said calmly.
The man: “…” I’m right here.
“All right, big bro, I’m finished with my cards. You’re right. I didn’t look at all.” He Yu lowered her head to keep chomping on her apple after she finished playing her hand.
The man: “…” I’m really about to get mad now.
Although he maintained his composure, he was exploding on the inside. Nobody dared treat him like this, not before the apocalypse and especially not afterwards.
“All right, all right, we’re done here.” Lian Hua threw his cards down, looking toward the man. “Do you have something to do here?”
“I’ll introduce myself. I’m the second in order of the Huayang Base, Wang Tao.” The man squeezed these words from the corner of his teeth.
“Oh, your last name is Wang. So what’s up? Why are you here?” Lian Hua asked, kicking his leg up slowly.
“I want to invite you to be my guest.” Wang Tao still maintained his prideful attitude, as if it were their honor to meet him. Lian Hua really hated this type of person, who insisted on playing it snobby.
“Oh, at the base? Not interested. We just left.” Lian Yu shook a hand.
“Is that so.” Wang Tao’s expression became cold. “You intend to drink the bitter wine, not the sweet wine here.”
“Kids can’t drink wine.” He Yu said.
“If that’s the case…” Wang Tao’s face turned dark.
“Splat” With a tweeting cry, something fell from the sky and landed on his head. He only had time to be surprised at not being able to dodge when his body was immobilized. Feeling above his head, it was warm. Bringing a hand in front of his face, he saw that it was dark and stinky. His face was dark like it had been smeared with soot.
“Haha, good job to our sparrow!” He Yu clapped her hands. The sparrow flew around Wang Tao before stopping on Lian Hua’s shoulder, singing proudly.
Stroking its new feathers, Lian Hua looked at Wang Tao. “So what?”
“You’re looking to die!” Wang Tao shouted, a storm whipping up around him.
A level three wind special ability user? Lian Hua didn’t budge. This battlefield belonged to the kids.