Chapter 391 - Family Reunion
[Book 3: The South]
"Wait a moment!!" Right as Yue Zhong and the rest were about to leave the security checkpoint, a worker chased up to Yue Zhong as he called out.
Yue Zhong turned around and asked: "What's the matter?"
The young man then explained himself: "The current regulation in Guilin City is that only authorized vehicles can travel on the road! The authorization tag can be bought at 1 ton of rations! Of course you can leave the vehicles with us or choose to sell it off. If you leave it with us, the parking fee will be 1 jin of rations a day. If you want to sell it off, we can buy it at a hundred jin of rations!"
Yue Zhong pondered for awhile, before pulling out a huge bag of rice and handed it to the worker: "I'll choose to park it then!! There's a hundred jin of rice here! It should be enough for 100 days!"
Shi He, the worker, received the bag of rice, as he observed Yue Zhong's team carefully, his gaze lingering on Ning Yuxin's figure for awhile before revealing a relaxed smile: "Got it! I'm Shi He, how about becoming friends!"
Although Shi He was young, he was extremely sharp. He could tell that these people in front of him were experts for them to possess such a calm and steadfast attitude. Furthermore, to be able to travel or drift in this new world, this group of people was definitely not simple. There was no disadvantage in making friends like these.
Yue Zhong smiled mildly: "I'm Yue Zhong! If there's time, let's meet up! I have things to do, so I'll be leaving first!"
After which, Yue Zhong brought Shang Lun and the rest towards the centre of Guilin City.
"Yue Zhong eh!" Shi He watched the retreating backs of Yue Zhong and his team, and resolved to get in his good books the next time they met.
Yue Zhong and the rest walked along the roads towards the inner parts of Guilin City, and along the way, they noticed various differences from other places they have been.
In the city, while many shops had closed down due to the carnage, there were a variety of other shops that had popped up. There were those that sold homemade crossbow bolts, ropes, machetes, shields, etc. There were martial arts dojos that taught close combat, and there were even stores selling leather clothes made of Mutant Beast hides. Finally, there were small eateries everywhere, giving it a vibrant feel and a thriving vibe.
Although it could not compare to the days of before the apocalypse, this scene in Guilin City was the most orderly and thriving that Yue Zhong had seen so far. It looked bustling and was comparable to the Long Hai City that Yue Zhong had established.
The fact that Guilin City could grow to this current stage, was because of its 850,000 survivors. The army cleared up the enemies around the city, while the government officials ensured stability and peace within the city walls. Both gave rise to a peace and prosperity that Guilin City enjoyed.
Yue Zhong continued walking, and he discovered the underlying ugliness of the city as well. At certain alleyways, they would discover thin and weak survivors with tattered clothes and sunken faces.
They even saw some bodies that were obviously starved to death, or those survivors who had committed suicide. The worse thing was that, even though the living survivors saw these tragic scenes, they did not do anything for the bodies, instead choosing to keep a wide berth.
At the Salon Street of the pre-apocalypse Guilin City, there were already many women who had decided to sell their themselves. A few hundred had dolled themselves as they lounged about, as they tried to latch themselves onto any man who walked by, negotiating terms while pulling the men into the rooms to begin their "fleshy" deals.
Although there were shortcomings, Yue Zhong had to admit that, other than his own Long Hai City, Guilin City did possess the potential to be a place to grow. And the one point that Yue Zhong lost out on was the fact that Guilin City had close to 900,000 survivors whereas Long Hai had only more than 100,000.
As Yue Zhong and his team continued, they finally arrived in front of Ming Sheng Garden District 23, Unit 4, Room No. 607.
This unit was bought by Yue Zhong's parents previously in Guilin City, before they were transferred to Nanning for work and had to buy a new place. Yue Zhong guessed that if they were to be here in Guilin City, they would definitely be staying here.
Yue Zhong stood in front of that door for a long time, as he carried his hope and anxiety in his heart, before fearfully knocking the door. By this time, it had already been almost a year since the apocalypse had set in, which meant a year where plenty could happen. He was extremely worried that it would be strangers meeting him instead of his parents, who could have been killed by zombies already.
The door opened, as the slightly unfamiliar face of a middle-aged lady popped out, and upon seeing it, Yue Zhong's heart immediately sank.
The middle-aged lady looked at Yue Zhong for a while, as though she was unsure, before she suddenly broke into an excited smile: "You... you are... Yue Zhong!! You must be Yue Zhong right?! You're back!! Xiao Ning, Yue Zhong... Yue Zhong's back!!"
"What?! Yue Zhong!! Yue Zhong is it truly you?" Right at this time, another middle-aged housewife walked out from a room, and the moment she laid eyes on Yue Zhong, emotional tears welled up in her eyes, and she ran over to hug Yue Zhong as she balled loudly. "You're back!! My son's still alive!! My son's alive!! Thank God!! Thank God!! My son's still alive!!"
In this post-apocalyptic world, countless families have been broken up and collapsed due to deaths and the cruelty of human nature. Yue Zhong's mother Ning Li had followed her husband Yue Ming in escaping to Guilin City, but both had long given up hope of seeing their son ever again. Now, as she finally saw her son, she could not help her emotions from bursting out.
"Mum, I'm home!!" As Yue Zhong returned the embrace to his sobbing mother, even his hardened heart softened and impassive eyes reddened, as tears flowed freely.
Since the apocalypse, Yue Zhong had been in Hunan, but there was never a moment where he did not think about his family. However, the roads were perilous and the hordes of zombies prevented the possibility of making his way. He could only suppress his anxiety, and took things one step at a time. He hadn't really thought that it would be impossible to meet his parents ever again, but here he was, finally seeing his mother, and his heart was filled with myriad complex emotions.
"Where's Dad?" Yue Zhong regained his calm, as he looked towards the room expectantly, asking his mother Ning Li.
"He went to work! He hasn't knocked off yet!! Come Yue Zhong, I'll introduce you, this is Sun Jie. You remember, your Auntie Sun! When you were young, she carried you before!" Ning Li had cried for a while as well, and by now, after calming down, she pulled Yue Zhong to introduce the unfamiliar middle-aged woman.
Yue Zhong greeted Sun Jie with manners: "Auntie Sun, how do you do!"
Yue Zhong had heard of Sun Jie's name before, and knew she and Ning Li were playmates when young. Even when Yue Zhong's family moved to Nanning, Ning Li had not broken contact with Sun Jie.
Sun Jie beamed as she looked at Yue Zhong: "Good! Good! Yue Zhong, you have grown so well, such a dashing young man!"
Sun Jie continued smiling as she asked Ning Li: "Since he's back! Why not let Xiao Yun and the rest take a look at him?"
Ning Li responded heartily: "Yes!"
Sun Jie smiled, before looking warily at Ning Yuxin outside the door, and then left: "I'll head back first!"
Ning Li then noticed Ning Yuxin and the rest before asking Yue Zhong: "Yue Zhong! Are these your friends?"
Yue Zhong lied: "This Ning Yuxin is my university schoolmate. These 3 are Bai Xiaosheng, Shang Lun and Ying Kaishan. They are friends I made on my journey back. Thanks to them, I could reach here safely."
Yue Zhong could not just tell the truth to his mother: 'Your son Yue Zhong has already become a mighty general who is a bona-fide killing machine. He is the leader of over 200,000 survivors, and this group consists of a maidservant who was the spoils of war, while the other 3 are just a few of your son's subordinates.'
Ning Li looked at them with gratitude: "Thank you so much! I'm so thankful that you guys have looked after my son. Since you guys have just arrived here, you must be lacking a place to settle down. If you guys don't mind the small space, why don't you live here?"
In Ning Li's heart, there was nothing more important than her son. Since Bai Xiaosheng and the rest had protected Yue Zhong, they were her benefactors. Although having to sustain 4 more additional people in this new world order would be tougher, she was willing to bite the bullet.
Ning Yuxin responded extremely politely: "Thank you Auntie!!"
Bai Xiaosheng took a glance at the room and replied proudly: "Yue Zhong!! You don't have to worry about the 3 of us!! We will look for somewhere nearby! You just spend time with your family!"
Ning Li's residence was truly on the dilapidated side, and was obviously poor. On one hand, Bai Xiaosheng wasn't willing to stay here, on the other, he could not bear to be indebted to Yue Zhong's family.
Bai Xiaosheng turned and walked out: "Let's go! Old Ying! Old Shang!!"
The corner of their mouths turned up in a smile, and seeing that Yue Zhong did not say anything, they left quickly. They had already agreed beforehand on a signal, if Yue Zhong were to use it, they would all converge here at the first notice.
Ning Yuxin hesitated a while before leaving as well. She was not willing to come in between the family reunion.
After Ning Yuxin left, Yue Zhong then started asking about the happenings from Ning Li.
Before the apocalypse, Yue Zhong's father Yue Ming had been an ordinary civil servant, while his mother was a staff member of an institution. While the family wasn't poor, they were not rich as well. After the apocalypse, the 2 of them had escaped to Guiling City, and Yue Ming had stayed with the government as a clerk, while Ning Li had remained unemployed, staying at home.
The treatment of civil servants weren't too bad, as Yue Zhong's father could earn 40 jin worth of food, 1 jin of fuel, and 1 jin of meat every month in trade-in tickets and the family survived on this!
Since there were so many mouths to feed in Guilin City, the atmosphere was slightly tense. The total amount to feed close to 900,000 mouths numbered extremely high every day. The current monetary approach was to use tickets to exchange for items.*1
Ulamog: do you like My boredom bar? xD
*1 187 chuckee cheese tickets! What can I buy with that? I want an armored Dongfeng Truck ....