Chapter 187: My Profession is Zombie King 19
The power of a state institution is undoubtedly greater than that of one individual like Jiang Liu. The research institute obtained the first sprouted plant, officially named “Yisheng No. 1”, as early as the eighth day of the end times. Yisheng No. 1 is very special, with extreme heat resistance. It can still survive, even in 60-degree high temperatures under direct sunlight, requiring very little water. It only needs a few drops of water daily to meet its growth needs.
The authorities see the emergence of the Yisheng species as a post-apocalyptic vitality. Except for those reborn people, perhaps this is God’s gift to humanity to continue to thrive. However, the authorities’ research on Yisheng species is not thorough enough, so they can only privately increase their efforts to find Yisheng species without announcing this news to the public. They are afraid that once the news of the Yisheng species spreads, there will be large-scale looting by different factions and the public, causing damage to the Yisheng species.
The first batch of Yisheng species has borne fruit, a crop similar to potatoes but with a shortened growth cycle several times than regular potatoes. Unfortunately, the fruit of Yisheng No. 1 is not significant. Although the growth cycle has been shortened, the same fruit has also been reduced several times in size. Initially, there should have been a fist-sized potato, but now it is only the size of a longan.
Fortunately, there is not much difference in taste and nutritional content. Currently, part of the fruit produced by Yisheng No. 1 is stored in the laboratory’s most giant safe. Another part is sliced for secondary experiments to test survival rates and other growth data.
In addition to searching for Yisheng species, the authorities are also trying to plant ordinary seeds. After all, the quantity of Yisheng species is too small, and it is impossible to popularize it on a large scale within a few years. The current food supply cannot sustain us for that long. Planting food crops is the current priority.
Underground planting is a method proposed by an old professor of agricultural science. The country has dug many underground air-raid shelters for planting experiments. However, although underground planting solves the problems of temperature and light, it cannot solve the water shortage problem. Therefore, the germination rate of the few acres of seeds used for experiments is generally low, and the seedlings look a little yellow and malnourished.
“A few plant-based ability users have good abilities, but unfortunately, the ability in their bodies is limited. Each person can only stimulate three to four acres of land daily.”
“I heard from those ability users that their ability growth was based on the crystal nucleus in zombies’ heads. But now we don’t have zombies, so where can we find crystal nuclei to enhance their ability levels? I don’t know if there are other ways to increase their abilities. The researchers in the institute are closely studying this.”
This dialogue comes from an underground research centre. This centre now has another name, the “Reborn Employment Agency.” All affairs related to the reborns are handled here. At the same time, all the files the country can find about reborns are stored here.
It has been almost two months since the arrival of the new era. The number of reborns recruited by the country has increased from the original ten to forty-six. The number of reborns exceeds the imagination of the upper class. However, they know that there must be many reborns hiding among ordinary people without exposing themselves.
“These reborns are powerful. The amount of work a soil- and metal-based ability person can do in building an underground fortress is equivalent to two squads of soldiers. You know, the soldiers in the army are not lacking in strength, and the daily workload is already terrifying.”
The person clicked his tongue. These reborns are indeed the chosen ones. Despite the inconsistency between the reborn world and the memories in their minds, the abilities in their memories have appeared.
Looking at those reborns, some were ordinary people before the apocalypse, even at the bottom of society. However, because of this opportunity, they soared directly to the top and sat on an equal footing with the bigwigs.
Even so, some people murmured and complained that the treatment given by the country was not enough. They even organized small groups and wanted to protest against the upper levels again to increase their treatment, as if they wanted to elevate the status of the reborns above ordinary people and put them on a pedestal.
But they didn’t think about the consequences of their action. Would the country allow such behaviour to exist?
Reborns have extraordinary abilities, and their contribution to the country is significant. However, the country will never tolerate individualism, especially when these individualisms want to create class differentiation and threaten national political power.
Are paranormal abilities as powerful as nuclear weapons? Are warlocks able to defeat thousands of troops on their own? After making a few disturbances, they were still suppressed and became more obedient. They didn’t dare to show their heads again.
Fortunately, there are both good and bad people in the world. Not everyone among the reborn wants to go against the country. For these people, the attitude from above is naturally mild and tolerant.
“I am thinking, when will we stop hiding the existence of these reborn?”
An elderly man with greying hair sits in his position, looking solemn.
Although many rumours have been circulating on the internet before the advent of the end times, the authorities have never officially acknowledged the existence of reborn and ability users. Therefore, in many people’s eyes, these rumours are still groundless.
Because of the lack of acknowledgement from the authorities, many reborns do not know the government’s attitude towards them and, therefore, carefully conceal their tracks which has become a significant loss for the country.
Now everyone has seen the abilities of these reborns – from their ability to manipulate the wind and rain to cultivating plants. Looking at this, no one knows if even more powerful ability users are among those who have not yet shown themselves.
And it was also unknown if there were reborns who planned to oppose the state regime and wanted to become warlords, which could lead to an unstable factor for the country.
So the authorities have been struggling with a question these days: whether or not to publicly acknowledge the existence of reborns to society and express their welcoming and accepting attitudes towards them.
However, this proposal was rejected by some people who were worried that once reborns were made public, it would create a class divide between ordinary people and reborns due to the differences in their abilities, just like what happened with the previous batch of reborns. After all, some ranges don’t disappear just because you don’t talk about them.
No one knows whether, with the evolution of the end times, only these reborns will possess special abilities or if ordinary people will gradually awaken special abilities too. No one knows if these special abilities of the reborns will be inherited by their children.
Ultimately, it is a recognized truth that the capable live better and longer. How will ordinary people feel when facing reborns who rely on their abilities to be superior? Will there be a day when the conflict between ordinary people and those reborns and ability users becomes irreconcilable?
These are not what the top government would like to see.
But if the top government does not want to say some things, the people below will not know.
“They’re going up the mountain again. I think the outer ring of the mountain has been trampled bare by them.”
Li Dong smokes his cigarette, and now he doesn’t have much left. He only smokes a few puffs when he’s annoyed, like now. He took two puffs to satisfy his cravings and then quickly put out the cigarette, keeping the remaining half for next time.
“Old man, don’t be stubborn. If it weren’t for you being an old curmudgeon at home, I would have gone up the mountain with Dashang to find wild game.”
The speaker is Li Dong’s wife. She doesn’t think there is anything wrong with her son’s behaviour. Instead, she thinks her husband is being too timid.
“Our village, Hao’an, is very remote. Who would come here on a normal day? Besides, many traps and obstacles are set up at the village entrance. What’s there to be afraid of?”
Li’s mother thinks her husband is hesitant and less decisive than before the apocalypse.
“I may lack knowledge as a woman, but I think our son shouldn’t follow you.”
Li Dong glared at his wife. He didn’t know why, but he felt particularly anxious as if something was about to happen.
“No, I have to go and guard the village entrance.”
During the day, there was nothing to worry about. Nobody would come out under the scorching sun. But at night, it was much more dangerous, especially now that the young men and women in the village were running around the mountains all day. The village was very weakly guarded.
“If you want to go, then go.”
Li’s mother waved her hand, believing no one would come to Hao’an Village.
Feeling misunderstood by his family and the villagers, Li Dong left home with a heavy heart and headed to the village entrance. However, halfway there, he sensed that something was wrong.
Nowadays, day and night have become reversed. It was quiet during the day but bustling at night. According to Li Dong’s memory, most houses near the village entrance should have been lit up by now.
Especially one household with a toddler only two and a half years old. The adults might have gone up the mountain, but the elderly had to stay home to look after the child. When Li Dong patrolled last night, he saw the family had a lit oil lamp. The older woman in the family was weaving a trap with dry grass. And what about the neighbouring households? It was unlikely that nobody was there.
Li Dong became cautious and approached the nearest house quietly with a whistle in his hand.
The door was half-opened, and as Li Dong approached, it opened by itself.
“Jiang Bin’s wife? Jiang He’s wife?”
For safety reasons, Li Dong didn’t go in but called out a few times at the door.
“Jiang Bin’s wife? Jiang He’s wife?”
As there was no response, Li Dong called out again.
The surroundings were silent, except for the sound of “gudong” as Li Dong swallowed his saliva out of fear and nervousness.
Did everyone go up the mountain? What about the children? Were they taken up the hill too? And why was the door slightly ajar?
All of this gave Li Dong an awful feeling.
He dared not go in, so he quickly ran towards the village. Although most of the people in the village went up the mountain to look for wild game, there were still a few people left in the village, such as Jiang Liu and the newly moved-in Tang family. Li Dong quickly shouted to them, and they all approached the houses near the village entrance, holding weapons.
“There’s a smell of blood.”
As someone who had experienced the apocalypse, Tang Ao couldn’t help but speak up when he approached one of the houses.
Although he had already guessed, Li Dong still couldn’t help but tremble.
Sure enough, when Jiang Liu pushed open the door, two corpses were lying in the living room, with their eyes wide open, looking despairingly towards the direction of the door.
“What’s going on? Why is everyone crowded in the threshing ground?”
As the sun was about to set, people from the mountain finally started to come down one by one.
Strangely, their family members weren’t staying at home but gathered at the threshing ground. A group of elderly people and a few women huddled together, creating a tense atmosphere.
Some men coming down from the mountain carried the wild game in their hands, while others returned empty-handed. They curiously gathered around to see what these people were looking at.
In the centre of the crowd were nine bodies. The villagers were shocked when they suddenly saw the corpses with wide-open eyes. For the families of the deceased, it was not just shocking but a bolt from the blue.
“Donggua, my Donggua, what happened to you?”
These people rushed into the crowd and fell to their knees around the corpses, crying bitterly.
“Village chief, what happened?”
How could nine people die in the village while they were only on the mountain for a short while? The group of people who had just come down from the mountain looked at the village chief with suspicion and anxiety.
“What did I tell you? Don’t just focus on picking those wild games. This is no longer a time of peace; our village is a large granary. Everyone is keeping an eye on our village. Where were the people responsible for patrolling tonight? Did they all disappear?”
Although Li Dong had thought about teaching these disobedient people a lesson, he felt uncomfortable now that the lesson had come.
Especially the youngest child among the nine deceased was only two and a half years old. Yesterday, when Li Dong passed by his house, the child called him Grandpa in a tender voice.
The child was well-behaved; even though the food wasn’t as good as before in every household, he didn’t pick and choose. He could still enjoy porridge made from cornmeal, and it tasted delicious. He never cried or made a fuss. Although thin and small because of poor nutrition, he looked adorable.
Li Dong felt a bit of a familial connection with the child. The child’s mother was his cousin’s daughter-in-law. Speaking of which, the child was also his cousin’s grandchild. When the child was born, Li Dong even gave a gift of 200 yuan.
Li Dong didn’t feel good about it. Would this tragedy have happened if he had been more firm in the beginning and hadn’t allowed those villagers to go into the mountains?
“Xu Hongjun, Ma Manchun, you were on night duty today. Where were you when my child was killed? Give me back my child’s life!”
“Wu Xieyuan, how did you patrol? I want you to pay with your life for my parents!”
The families of the deceased seemed to have found a vent for their emotions. Yes, what about those people who were responsible for patrolling at night? How did they guard the village?
Those people rushed towards the villagers on duty tonight with an aggressive attitude as if they were going to fight to the death.
“Jiang He, who do you think you are? Didn’t your brother run up the mountain the other night when it was his turn to be on duty? Besides, it wasn’t intentional. Who knew something would happen tonight?”
“That’s right. You sons who don’t care for your parents, wives, and children, why do you take it out on us?”
Some of them knew that they had neglected their duties and allowed those people to vent their anger and beat them up, while others feared being blamed for their negligence and tried to make excuses.
Little did they know that their words at this time only hurt the victims’ families even more. The already desperate people became even angrier, and the movements of their fists became even more violent and aggressive.
The onlookers quickly intervened and separated the two groups.
“What are you guys fighting for now? Isn’t it time to think about how the person died?”
Li Dong had a headache. These useless cowards were good at fighting with their people, but now they knew how to use their fists. Where were they at the beginning?
“That’s right, Village chief. Who killed my child? I want that person to pay with their life.”
“Who is so heartless? My child was only two and a half years old and had just learned to walk.”
A burly man squatted, holding his head and howling, “I even said I would pick mountain chickens and make chicken soup for my child. What mountain chickens am I picking now?”
He beat and kicked the mountain chickens he had picked from the mountain as if he had gone crazy.
He would instead the whole family eat less and tighten their belts than have his wife and child gone and become a lonely person.
After all, they were all people from the same village. Seeing his appearance, everyone felt uneasy, including those patrol members who had been arguing earlier. They all lowered their heads and looked ashamed; no one had anything to say in defence.
“Jiang Liu, Tang Ao, how did your inspection go?”
The atmosphere was once depressed and oppressive, but luckily Jiang Liu and Tang Ao arrived at the village entrance just in time, and Li Dong immediately walked over to them.
He had already called the police just now, but because it was a half-hour drive back and forth between the village and the county town, and the sun would come out in one or two hours, the police had to wait until the sun went down the next day to come. So they could only search for clues themselves.
Li Dong and several villagers left behind lifted the body to the threshing ground, while Jiang Liu and Tang Ao, the two strong labourers, stayed at the village entrance to check for any missed clues.
“No one has touched those traps at the village entrance, but the ground’s dry leaves have been crushed. Someone must have stepped on them.”
Jiang Liu scrutinized it, and this was very strange. Although the moon was brighter than before, the night was still night, and the traps they designed at the village entrance were ingenious. It wasn’t easy to detect them with the naked eye. But those broken leaves’ traces avoided all those traps as if they knew they existed.
However, Jiang Liu couldn’t guarantee that there were a few with sharp ears and eyes among those people, so he didn’t say this doubt out loud.
“I also found a lot of dog hair in Uncle Jiang Bin’s house.”
“Did those animals kill my child?”
The man crying with his head in his hands suddenly stood up.
Jiang Liu shook his head and said, “Those dog hairs were stained with blood and some dog flesh. Someone must have come into the village then and was discovered by the village’s stray dogs. They must have fallen off during the struggle.”
“Don’t you guys realize that all the stray dogs in the village have disappeared? You know, many people outside eat dog meat.”
The end of the world began less than two months ago. Those people may not be crazy enough to eat human flesh, but dog meat is different. If the bad guys come and kill those stray dogs, they will likely bring their bodies back to their skin and eat them.
The tall and robust man opened his mouth but couldn’t say anything. His throat was dry and itchy because he was one of the people who had recently fed those stray dogs chicken brains to test for poison. Because of this, those wild dogs were very close to him.
It is very likely that when the bad guys entered the village, the wild dogs were killed to protect the elderly and children in those households, so the skins and organs were left behind.
“The grain of three households at the village entrance has been taken away. The number of people on the other side must not be small, so they can quickly take away so much grain. But I can’t figure out why the wild dogs didn’t bark when they encountered strangers?”
This is the most puzzling place for Jiang Liu.
“Yes, the dog will bark if it is hurt. Lichun’s wife, did you hear any movement?”
The one named by Li Dong was a young wife who lived next to those households. She did not go up the mountain today but stayed home. Perhaps it was luck. The bad guys stopped after robbing the grain of three families, and she luckily saved her life.
“No, really not.”
Lichun’s wife is still scared, and when she sees the men from those three households staring at her, she becomes even more afraid.
“How is it possible that you didn’t hear any movement? Are you in cahoots with those people?”
The victims’ families did not believe the young wife’s words and thought she might have heard something but did not dare to call for help because she was scared.
“I didn’t hear anything. If I had heard it but lied, may I be struck by lightning from heaven!”
The young wife was feeling wronged. She was mending clothes for her husband at home, and she only heard the noise after the village head, and others came over. Now she is also puzzled why she didn’t hear any movement at that time.
The young wife’s expression didn’t look fake; now, everyone was puzzled. Could there be a master who can kill several dogs at the same time?
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