It was said that some of the bases only allowed ability users to enter for free, the remainder would only be let in if they could provide a certain amount of food or supplies. Even family members of ability users would need to pay some nuclei or they would live in makeshift houses outside the base.
Living in these houses, if the base encountered a zombie siege, those people had little chance of survival. Not all bases had the large fortress and defensive power of the current southwest base.
Therefore, in order to maintain the southwest’s status as first domestic base, it was necessary to expand and grow as much as possible.
The base leaders also had a new headache – zombie fish had appeared in the moat outside the city.
In fact, it was not just the moat that had these strange things. The zombie fish also appeared in the nearby river. Even the base’s original drinking water had been contaminated by zombie fish.
Water prices started to soar as only water ability users could supply drinking water. The value of water powers increased by who knew how many times and became the number-one sought after ability.
Luo Xun and the others were getting busy, not because of base work, but because it was September, they could start harvesting crops.
Green, leafy vegetables which were harvested in all four seasons did not need to be mentioned. It was time to harvest the long-term crops. It was currently the middle of September – most of the plants still needed around a month or so. But after harvesting, they needed to prepare and dry crops for long-term storage.
These past two days, everyone ran home after work. Why should they make the two ladies and a child handle all these things. These men were the serious physical workers in the team.
It was impossible for the fruit trees to produce anything this year, Luo Xun did not expect any results in the first year anyways. So he pruned the plants, hoping for them to grow wider instead of taller – mainly because the ceiling height was limited. It would be bad if the trees pierced through the roof.
Although only a few fruits were harvested other than the watermelon, the vegetables they had planted was enough to supplement everyone’s vitamins for their health.
Today, Luo Xun, Yan Fei and the ladies began picking and drying eggplant.
The past two days they had already dried some fully grown, but not old eggplants. Although their wall had space, there was no way to dry so many things all at once. They could only harvest some, dry some and time the vegetable selling because of last month’s siege. This month they had to go out and look around, knowing house needs in advance, lest an issue appear.
Dried eggplant and other dried vegetables were good things to supplement everyone’s table with during winter and the start of spring. Unfortunately they had no meat right now, the taste of dried vegetables stewed with meat would cause saliva to gush from anyone’s mouth.
“No one came looking for trouble today?”
Autumn was the harvest season and it was a good time for idlers and thieves on base. Luo Xun and company had raised their guard the first day they started drying, lest they attract thieves.
“No, the outer blinds are more dense and it’s hard to see what’s hanging from the outside.” Song Lingling said with a smile.
Fortunately, the base only had a few rainy days. Usually the sun was very bright and did not delay the drying process.
Xu Mei laughed and exclaimed, “I went out today and heard that a thief had appeared on the first floor. The home’s window usually has something hanging. Once the glass was almost stolen and two days ago the garlic they had just received was also stolen by someone.”
These days it was increasingly difficult to get food. There had been more and more people sneaking into the base farmland in the middle of the night to steal, not to mention outside the walls?
Luo Xun lightly shook his head and sighed, “Since you two are usually at home, be careful of thieving eyes on our home.”
Another winter was fast approaching, not everyone was like their squad and preparing in advance. They had planted so many things, although they had a reputation due to catching some thieves, there would be hungry eyes that would take their chances. “The rice will be harvested next month, people will definitely be tempted to stare.”
They could only use the traditional methods of reaping, crushing rice husks and drying, lest the grains rot while in storage. This year they had planted a lot of rice, if someone one saw…there would be drama.
“Rest assured that while we are at home during the day, we will not lose even a single grain of rice!” Xu Mei solemnly guaranteed.
They knew the seriousness of these things, most of the food they ate was bought from the military. Luo Xun’s home stored some rations for everyone. This year’s batch of rice would probably be six months of rations. If there was an accident, everyone would go with hungry bellies.
Several people stood or sat at the large table. Song Lingling was responsible for cleaning for vegetables with Yu Xinran. Luo Xun cut the eggplant into large pieces. Xu Mei and Yan Fei would arrange the slices into rows.
With the weather these days, half the water content would evaporate. After the slices were well-sunned and then put into a breathable bag. Left into a cool area, did not have to worry about dirt and mold.
The storage bags were part of Luo Xun’s collection and purchased before the apocalypse. The rest were from everyone slowly swapped points for items. Like the solar panels they were hanging outside, batteries, it was all from the public fund.
Li Tie and the others came back at around 6 o’clock in the evening. They ate dinner at the dining hall before they returned.
Seeing only four people enter the door. Luo Xun casually asked after cutting the eggplants, “Zhang Yi working overtime again?”
“Don’t know. Zhang Yi texted saying something he had to do tonight, had to come back later. Wang Duo stayed behind to wait for him. We came back to help you first.”
The last of the eggplant slices had been hung. Luo Xun patted their shoulders while they went to check out the vegetables drying out.
Luo Xun pinched and nodded at the dryness. “We’ll put them inside and put these outside.”
“Brother Luo, when can we make pickles?” He Qiankun suddenly licked his lips, there were none on the base. Pickles vegetables were a good thing, especially with a lack of food. Putting more salt could consume less, not to mention salt added taste.
But the main thing was that they were delicious!
Many dishes at the canteen were now replaced with a variety of pickles. Pickled radish and cucumber counted as dishes but there was no advantage except saltiness. It did not taste bad, but the taste of the mutated vegetables…could not be swallowed.
Luo Xun laughed and turned, “We can pickle the vegetables after harvest, nothing urgent.”
Luo Xun had several pickling methods, plain salt, double pickled, sauerkraut, kimchi. The methods were simple, it was the same method that he used in his past life. The technique was not difficult.
There was one troublesome thing about pickles, there must be enough sauce to marinate. The sauce left over…was what Luo Xun had left over from before the apocalypse. There was not much of this sort of thing on base. The exchange windows only had a variety of salts available.
Li Tie hurriedly raised a hand, “Want to bring back some more salt?”
“Yes, we don’t have too much of the stuff, not a problem.” Luo Xun nodded in support.
Although the base in his last life had almost no salt. But sometimes the price would fluctuate, saving some at home could prevent accidents.
Since Li Tie and company came home, Luo Xun and the others could go eat dinner. He brought the tail wagging Puppy back to the 16th floor. The couple had dinner before returning to the 15th floor to collect the next batch of eggplant hanging from the windows.
“The cowpeas and green beans are almost grown.” Luo Xun surveyed the status of all three rooms, all planted with various crops. He pointed at a metal frame, “Put some marks to not harvest these crops, we needs them for seeds.”
Yan Fei’s hands did not move while a ‘X’ appeared on all four sides of the shelves, indicating to not touch the things inside these shelves.
The group of students stared at the soon to be harvested cowpeas, beans and other things they did not recognize. But they had eaten pickled cowpeas before!
Luo Xun also pointed at a vine of cucumbers at the edge of the room. “The peppers are about grown, let’s eat some with cucumber at home.”
“Good, brother Luo, have you eaten any of green melon on base? It was said to be a mutated cucumber, the size is large, really juicy but the taste…is like chewing sawdust…” He Qiankun’s expression twisted at the thought of bad food.
He pulled at his clothes with a sigh, “Since the start of the apocalypse, I have lost so much weight…”
People thought back to the past, He Qiankun was thinner but more plump then others. If his original waistline was equal to three and a half Luo Xuns, now it was only two and a half.
To the side, Wu Xin patted He Qiankun’s belly and touched his own waist. “You count? My waist is almost as wide as a sheet of A4 paper. No fat on my belly at all!” He sighed while touching his face, “Less oil and water, yet my face still explodes with pimples every day?”
People laughed and chatted. Xu Mei opened the door when sounds came from the corridor. Not a moment later, two men followed Xu Mei entered inside.
“Why so late? Another big surgery?” Luo Xun casually asked.
Zhang Yi handed his bag over to Wang Duo and coldly hummed. “Someone wanted to treat me to dinner.”
“Great, how much meat did you eat today?” Luo Xun glanced at him and remembered that someone had swept away all the meat from the last time.
Zhang Yi pursed his lips, “Not enough.”
Wang Duo covered up his laugh, he explained when Zhang Yi was not willing to explain, “A few people came knocking on Zhang Yi’s door and ended up fighting…we did not have enough time to visit the meal hall for dinner before coming back.”
Zhang Yi had recently become a celebrity of the hospital. Although he was already a famous person, but people were circling around the hospital, ‘admirers’ hoping to lure him away.
This group of idlers visited the hospital every day in hopes of having an ‘encounter’ with Zhang Yi. Unfortunately there were more wolves than meat, the people also sabotaged each other to miss the best times.
However, even if they did get an opportunity there would be no results. Zhang Yi was not a fool, plus his royal temperament, he would not let anyone take advantage of him.
So these people could only use their brains to send out the most even-tempered, slippery person to accost Zhang Yi. Using manners, meeting on the road and treating someone out to eat. Especially during the apocalypse, how could the average person eat anything good? So Zhang Yi was not polite when pushing people to mooch – you are eating and drinking so much, are you not afraid of getting drunk?
In addition, Wang Duo accompanied his Royal Highness to eat in fear of his lover getting abducted. He did not mind not getting even a bite to eat. Recently, the pair’s food was clearly the best among the rest of the squad.
Luo Xun understood Zhang Yi’s personality, otherwise he would not have been left as bait for zombies. With him around, Wang Duo had no worries. Everyone just took these things as jokes and stories to listen when bored.
Wang Duo excitedly told everyone about those people – it took a while before the fight was over and they could go eat dinner. The downed people were easily carried into the hospital.
Luo Xun listened for a while then turned to Xu Mei. “In a few days we will go out of base. In addition to harvesting the crops we need to take some time to process the mushrooms into juice.”
“Right, we are not busy in the morning so we’ll do it then.” Xu Mei promised the task would be completed.
In addition to mushroom juicing and drying crops, Luo Xun also needed to bring the produce to the barracks tomorrow morning. Regular vegetables had slightly higher prices but the military acquisition price…was only a little more than a mutant plant.
After discovering that fact, Luo Xun decided to temporarily reduce the quantity of quick growing and replace them with crops that required longer growth times. Other than what everyone needed to eat, the rest would be sold to the barracks.
In fact, if they let Xu Mei and Song Lingling sell vegetables in the market, it would net a relatively good price, but considering the two were female ability users and single women usually never went out…Luo Xun did not mind losing out on some money. Regular crops were still produced during the first year, but in a few years, it would all be replaced by faster, higher yield mutant crops. By then, their home crops would be able to be sold for a good price.
The next morning they still brought some vegetables to sell at the canteen. Captain Li brightened seeing the purple eggplant. He made a small cut and smelled, gave a sharp nod, “Good, a regular eggplant!”
“Has the abse cultivated mutated eggplant?” Luo Xun asked in confusion, he had noticed anything strange in yesterday’s food.
“A few baskets were sent over yesterday afternoon, the taste…” Captain Li sadly shook his head. “Doesn’t taste bad, bigger and has a similar growing time. The only issue – the eggplants are blue! Who would dare to eat something like that?” He smiled at the couple, “If you have any more, do send them over, a lot of the higher ups want to eat.”
Luo Xun smiled, “We only brought a few seeds to base. Only planted several plants and we need to keep some for seeds.”
Why did they insist on selling to the barracks when the prices were increasingly skewed? If the current agreement was stopped, would the military raise the prices of other goods in retaliation?
For now, they would maintain their current small but consistent deliveries, maybe they could discuss better terms.
Although Captain Li really wanted to buy some more regular vegetables but Luo Xun had said their extra harvest had already been brought out. Now the base was almost completely without these vegetables. Most of the produce were given to the leaders, cooked using the base chef’s culinary skills. It was difficult for even someone like the captain to get a taste.
After selling the vegetables for crystal nuclei, the pair went to the meeting place and waited for the car. When the team members arrived, Luo Xun started to gossip with them.
“I heard that someone was cut in half! The rest of the wounded were sent to the hospital!”
They heard this just as they arrived, asked. “What happened?”
The people chatting quickly answered seeing it was the couple, “I heard that a team came back this morning, one hundred people went out and only half came back alive! The survivors were all wounded!”
“What did they encounter? Third level zombies?”
In fact there had been level three zombies in the last battle but the scene was too chaotic. People would not have been able to notice anything different even if there were level three zombies. They did not understand how different the attacks were from lower levels.
Recently, people had heard that many military team had met with high-level zombies outside.
Another person hurriedly said, “I heard it was not zombies! They came across monsters! I don’t what sort of zombie animal, they were almost destroyed through the night!”
Luo Xun looked at Yan Fei and carefully asked, “What type of monster? Do you know where they were?”
The specific details were not clear, only knew that the monster was very big and tall. But they heard that the people met the monster to the north-east in the direction of a salt transfer center.
When everyone was in the car and headed towards the wall, Yan Fei quietly asked Luo Xun, “What do you think that thing is?”
Luo Xun’s expression was tangled, “Some high-level animal zombies will become larger. Next spring, there will be a lot of mutant animals, large and with abilities…I can’t say for sure without seeing the thing.”
Special zombies, mutant animals…