Luo Xun handed a towel to Yan Fei, who tiredly wiped off the perspiration.
“Today’s consumption was really not small.” Luo Xun referred to the almost empty crystal nuclei bags of the other two metal users – it contained a full 70! 70 per person! But now there was little left. This amount could support two days workload in peacetime!
“Yes, I’d like to have a nap this afternoon.” Even Yan Fei needed some support. Today’s operation needed a lot of mental energy and could not relax for a long time. His brain was much more tired than usual.
“Yan Fei, I’ll let people carry these pieces onto the truck, when we go back it can go in your car.” The captain excitedly walked over while pointing at people moving iron plates, bars and other things.
“Good. Thank you captain for taking care of it.” Yan Fei nodded in thanks.
The captain smiled and patted him on the shoulder and confessed. “Today we go back a little later, wait for the second team to tell them how to build the outer wall from the inside. You can immediately get on the bus to rest.”
Although there was a certain degree of competition/comparison between the two teams, but related to the safety of ability users, this was something that needed to be told to all parties.
Yan Fei and Luo Xun were not the type of people who liked to show off and they were not soldiers so the captain let them rest in the car. The metal users from the morning shift explained the new wall building method to the afternoon team once the second team of cars arrived. Afterwards they got on the car and returned to the base barracks.
The second team of people were grateful for the concern and information, but after the three metal users experimented for about ten minutes, a problem appeared.
The three explained to the second team captain. “According to this method, it needs a larger concentration of mental strength, more than twice the usual. There are not enough crystal nuclei from before!”
The afternoon team was a little different from the morning team. The morning group originally only had two metal users, but their initial ability was higher, so the wall construction speed was faster than the afternoon group. Therefore when the superiors deployed the morning staff, the work time was shorter, but they wanted the same degree of efficiency, with not much difference.
The morning people were naturally reluctant, higher ups wanted more efficiency and speed, but they were only two people. They had less work time but needed to accomplish the same thing, how long could they go?
Fortunately, the addition of Yan Fei eased the situation.
With Yan Fei’s arrival, the afternoon team could no longer keep up. The second team captain extended work hours in order to get more results. Yan Fei had quick hands and did not get sick, the second team was vomiting blood trying to catch up.
But with this kind of ‘conduction’, which cost a great deal of mental power to build fences, the group could not hold on for long.
The second team captain had a headache and asked the three metal users. “Then what method is better for you?”
The three looked at each other, then hesitantly asked. “What about…what we received notice about before? Hang down a rope to reach it?”
They had heard the news before they came to the barracks. The base proposed that people helping repair the wall would hang from a rope. There would be more deployed staff outside and vehicles for protection. But the base did not implement the plan due to not knowing the actual safety level.
The captain glanced out the fence with some hesitation. An ability user stepped forward. “Captain, since this morning the outside fence has been cleared once. If there are not too many zombies, and those under the wall are killed by the group then there will not be too much danger if we go down.”
The second team captain thought then clenched his teeth. “Arrange a person responsible for pulling the rope! As soon as there’s danger, pull the man up. The rest of the guard will handle the metal materials from the wall!”
Now that the zombies were almost cleaned out near the gate and the rescue car had returned, hanging from the wall was not a big problem. If the situation deteriorated, they could be pulled up in time and continue after the danger had passed.
The truck stopped a short distance before the barracks, soon after a small tattered second hand can stopped behind. Several soldiers came down and moved some metal plates into the back of the van. Soon after the two people climbed back into the truck and headed back to the barracks.
After parting with the captain, Luo Xun and Yan Fei headed towards the fourth canteen, the third canteen was full so they would come back later. They had been delayed a bit on the road, so it seemed like there would no food left, hence going to the fourth canteen to see the day’s dishes.
“All set?” Luo Xun whispered to Yan Fei.
Yan Fei nodded with a wry smile. “Had to use a crystal nucleus, it seems like I’ll need to take a long nap this afternoon.” Those few metal plates were calculated for base material but the captain secretly gave it to him so he did not want to make trouble.
He moved the boards and attached the metal to the inside of the car body. No could tell, like the last time they went out to find materials, the metals were directly affixed to the car walls. To save space but also as vehicle protection measures. At a critical moment, there would also be a lot of weapons to use.
The two circled the fourth canteen and whispered to each other. “Seeing today’s dishes, there seems to less meat.”
In the barracks the main forces were all men, who liked to eat meat the most in order to replenish physical strength. So people used the skill of the chef as measure of food quality, the other was the quantity of meat in the dishes.
But after the three days of Chinese New year, it was clear that the main courses of the fourth canteen had been replaced with various types of vegetables. The situation at the fifth canteen was slowly becoming a trend.
But this was still free food, one would not refuse a free meal.
The two of them each got a steamed bun and two vegetable dishes. Four different dishes to mix and match while eating.
Luo Xun whispered while putting the lunch box in his backpack. “Could it be the army has less meat?”
Yan Fei raised an eyebrow. “Possible” He looked at Luo Xun. “Do you think the base has pig, cattle or sheep?”
Luo Xun froze and wrinkled his brows. “…Not easy to tell, after all those animals could also become zombies…”
The two had seen mutant zombie dogs outside the base, they were more ferocious than ordinary zombies. Even if there were some domestic poultry on base, but one was afraid that…
“I remember that the beef stew we got from the third canteen almost always tasted the same…” Yan Fei took the backpack and slung it over his shoulder. “It should have been something the military had before the apocalypse started.” Which would explain why the taste was the same every time.
Luo Xun clapped his head and wryly smiled at Yan Fei. “I think the base will soon run out of meat, if even the third canteen is like this. The stuff that was eaten before was likely about to expire.”
So long as there was no weird smell, the shelf life of this type of meat was around three years or so. But even if it would last for two to three years, Luo Xun did not why the base was being so generous, there might not be enough meat for the military.
The corners of Yan Fei’s mouth curled. “You don’t remember? A lot of big shots have arrived this past year.” The addition of new people would certainly bring new needs. They would definitely have some say in the actions and practices of the military forces. “We’ll need to observe the canteen situation for a few days before guessing the future.”
Luo Xun and Yan Fei’s worries gradually became a reality. The fourth and fifth canteens decreased the amount of meat to barely a trickle and before long, the third canteen food has also declined significantly.
What was more regretful to the couple was the third canteen originally had some variety of dishes such as dumplings, wonton and noodles which began to gradually fade from the crowd. The amount of white rice was gradually decreasing as well, a little later, one could only buy the big base steamed bread to eat!
At this time, instead of those foods with no flavors, people’s only choice was to exchange points for instant noodles with different seasoning packets instead.
Back home they spoke with Li Tie and the others. They also complained about this matter, even Zhang Yi who could eat in the second canteen nodded after hearing the others. “Second canteen is the same, several more elaborate dishes have been cancelled, the amount of meat, oil and water has decreased, but few people with an opinion.”
“Why?” The people who could eat in the second canteen were prioritized by the army, were their qualities so high to overlook bodily functions?
Zhang Yi smirked. “Those who go to the second canteen are mostly technical personnel, for example doctors like me, scientists in laboratories, experts and scholars. Most of these people are not relying on physical strength. With the apocalypse, they don’t pay attention to what they eat or drink. Often so busy that thoughts of eating are the first to go. I heard a few male nurses complaining in the hospital and the surgeon I work with told me he had no idea what he had eaten for lunch.”
The crowd was silent…what was this world? Were there so many mentally tough workers?
“Plus…” Zhang Yi smiled, Wang Duo who was sitting next to him and focused on drinking tea suddenly startled and his face flushed. He stared straight at Zhang Yi with drool coming from the side of his mouth. “We still have a lot of female nurses. These women usually cannot even eat half a mouthful of meat, ate a vegetarian diet early on. Who would ask where the meat went?”
Luo Xun and the others had not spoken when Wang Duo nodded as if a switch had been flipped. “Right! Those women are so annoying, they don’t do anything but chatter and gossip. *Cough* Zhang Yi, you worked hard today? Want me to rub your shoulders?”
Luo Xun turned to the side and rolled his eyes, they guy’s moral integrity had become a negative, even more than the puppy at home!
These past few days Zhang Yi only had to raise a hand for Wang Duo to know what he wanted like hot or cold water. Sigh, he flew over to Zhang Yi in order to rub his shoulders.
Yan Fei did not look at the pair of dog and queen, only whispered a question. “Eyes tired?”
Luo Xun shook his head, his mouth twitched in complaint. “Why can’t our little puppy act like that?”
Yan Fei glanced at the two and understood his meaning. “Should we feel sorry for them?”
Li Tie and company also thought if not toothache then an eyesore. They wanted to kick the pair out as hate bubbled up – they were talking about serious matters all right?!
“I heard the base is ready to start farming.” Han Li hurriedly changed the topic so that his gold dog eyes were not blinded.
“Yes, we listened to the leaders in the canteen.” he Qiankun quickly raised his hand.
“What kind of land in the base?” Luo Xun asked.
Li Tie responded. “We are not clear, only heard a bit.”
Luo Xun pondered. “We have been working outside the fence and saw a lot of recent survivors arriving. If the base only has their initial supplies…not enough to eat.”
“What can we do? We can’t go out there anyway. Even if we could plant something, what if a zombie sloshed around and contaminated the food and field?” Wu Xin shivered and looked at Li Tie. “We should be ready to farm at home? The weather seems to have warmed up a lot recently!”
“Yes, in a few days, the house will be completely dry.” Li Tie looked at the pair with shining eyes. “We have saved up a lot of points and recently the person in charge told us we could get some metal!”
Yan Fei nodded with a smile. “Okay, just bring back the materials into the room and I can spread it on the floor.”
“And us two!” Wang Duo who was circling around Zhang Yi like a dog raised his hands and shouted.
“Okay, but you have to think about what’s on the floor, after all, we don’t have enough flooring for three houses.” Yan Fei hinted at the two.
When the group had gone out, although they had brought wood flooring back, it was not enough to cover apartments. Only covering Zhang Yi’s bedroom was not a problem, but the other rooms…definitely not enough.
Wang Duo’s expression scrunched up as he thought of ideas when Zhang Yi suddenly asked. “Metal materials can be put in the floor?”
Luo Xun froze and looked at Yan Fei before speaking. “It’s not a no, but we worry that sound passes easier through metal? Of course, if there’s nothing else we can make due with metal flooring.”
Yan Fei held his chin in thought. “There should be no problem using metal flooring, but if you want better sound insulation its best to get something thicker. In addition, I need to see if the room walls would need steel reinforcement in case they cannot support the weight.”
In addition to the last time they brought back metal materials, the couple sometimes went outside on free afternoons to check street stalls in their car. Conveniently collected large quantities of unprocessed metal materials.
Now that they had reinforced the walls around their home, if they got more metal, they could potentially consolidate the entire building – they could not just strengthen their own home after all. If the building fell one day, would the secret of their apartment be kept secret?
Unfortunately Yan Fei could not tell anyone about that, also could not encourage the neighbors to donate – he did not want to provoke any trouble. So he quietly strengthened the wall when he could.
Wang Duo thumped his chest in reassurance while Zhang Yi asked. “Where did you get so much metal?”
Wang Duo immediately paused and turned to his former classmates and roommates.
Three of the four people instantly turned their heads, the remaining He Qiankun said with an expression of authentic regret. “That…you remember what leader said about looking for boards? Should be enough for the floor, but any more…it’s hard for people to bring out…” Plus that was the stuff they had spent a lot of time exchanging for.
Wang Duo also remembered the matter but…should he spend his points on finding a supplier? After thinking a bit he decided to go back and check how many points he had saved. Only after factoring in Zhang Yi’s meal could he save any remaining points, otherwise he would be raised by his boyfriend? Ah, being the man of the family is hard work…
The quality of food was getting worse over time, however some were fortunate – people in the barracks would still eat some form of meat. The third canteen had a meal with meat everyday, although there was less meat, each person’s portion was relatively small. But it was better than the fourth and fifth canteens.
Luo Xun and Yan Fei saw the so called ‘broth’ stewed dishes of the fourth canteen. Luo Xun guessed that the broth used was the soup from the third canteen meat dish.
Compared to the army, even if ordinary survivors had points on hand, at the base exchange window they could only buy steamed bun and all kinds of pickled and canned good, could not buy any fresh vegetables.
However in recent days, the base had begun plowing farmland to grow the first crop of the year. A large part of the base farmland was originally a flower field. Now those flowers and grass had been uprooted and turned into crops – there is little food, who would have the inclination to grow flowers?
In private, there were also a lot of people buying and selling various crop seeds – a lot of people had picked up plant seeds from farmers markets and supermarkets. Although the amount was very small, they were the sprouts of small tomatoes, cucumbers and other crops. Now these things were what many people were seeking.
When Li Tie and the others went shopping they also bought a pack of cucumber seeds, ready to try and grow the plants.
“Li Tie said the materials will be in place today, are you going to help them tonight or tomorrow afternoon?” Luo Xun quietly asked Yan Fei as he rested.
The metal ability users had been working hard these days to build the metal wall as quickly as possible. Luo Xun’s team was doing their part so efficiency went up. The speed of building fences was faster than before.
“Tonight if they can get it.” Yan Fei had adapted to the current way of building walls. It used up a lot of mental strength, he had become accustomed to the feeling of exhaustion.
He held several nuclei in his palm to absorb.
The thumping and pounding of gunfire came from the surveillance guardhouse outside the wall. The zombies that came together these days was never ending. Although the army had stepped up its defensive and counter attack efforts after the new year, the outer wall was not too wide. They could only prioritize defending the gate perimeter as well as wall security.
Luo Xun looked in the direction of the gunfire, but was blocked by the tall walls. But he knew that there were several vehicles parked just outside the newly built walls. There were a lot of soldiers in charge of protecting everyone’s safety. The base was also afraid that a zombie would damage the walls, if a zombie managed to bypass the wall, it would definitely bring great danger to the base.