Chapter 63: Test
The brother was named Li Ming, while the sister was named Li Hui.
They had felt that staying in the city would become increasingly dangerous, so they took the risk and arrived at a more remote location.
They had hoped that being in a more secluded area would be better, perhaps even finding a rescue base.
However, they were disappointed to find that there were indeed fewer zombies than in the city, but all the supplies, just like those in the supermarkets, were completely depleted.
When they arrived at Chen Luo’s place and saw the supermarket within the villa area, they initially felt relieved.
However, their hopes were shattered when they entered and found nothing. They searched through two villas but couldn’t find any water. They didn’t dare to drink tap water.
They had a small amount of food, so they weren’t hungry.
However, it had been almost a day since the last time they had water, they were desperate to find some.
Their lips were already chapped due to dehydration.
Li Hui, the younger sister, heard some noise coming from Chen Luo’s place and decided to come and take a look.
As they approached, even though they weren’t hungry, they couldn’t help but salivate at the sight of the braised pork on the table. The aroma of the dish was simply irresistible.
Li Ming struggled to avert his gaze from the braised pork and the chilled cola on the table.
The cola had been chilled by an ice manipulator with ice-based abilities. After all, cola had to be enjoyed chilled to have a soul.
As the others looked at Li Ming, who had suddenly appeared, he managed to force a smile and said, “Sorry for the intrusion. Do you have clean water? I can trade it for food.”
If you want something, you can’t expect to get it for nothing.
Chen Luo nodded and said, “Shu Yun, bring two bottles of mineral water.”
Upon hearing that there was water available and Chen Luo agreeing to the trade, Li Ming’s face relaxed, and he smiled with relief.
He went back to the car and brought two packets of instant noodles. After hesitating for a moment, he also grabbed two ham sausages.
When Shu Yun looked at him, as if considering whether to make the exchange, Chen Luo shook his head and said, “Shu Yun, next time you can make such decisions on your own.”
She was a sensible girl, but perhaps a bit too cautious.
Shu Yun nodded and agreed to the trade.
Li Ming quickly took the water, opened one bottle, and handed it to his sister before opening one for himself. He couldn’t help but take a sip.
Chen Luo observed this and silently nodded, finding their character to be decent so far.
But what does it matter if they have good character? Why should I care about them?
This is just a transaction.
Chen Luo called out, “Everyone, continue eating. Don’t let the food get cold.”
After drinking the water, Li Hui eagerly looked at the braised pork, her eyes almost unable to move away.
Li Ming noticed this and really wanted to trade some of their food with Chen Luo for a bit of the braised pork to satisfy his sister.
However, they didn’t have much food left. If they satisfied their temporary cravings, what would they eat for the next meal?
Letting out a sigh, Li Ming moved the car a bit farther away from the door to not spoil others’ appetite.
Li Ming and his sister were munching on instant noodles in the car.
Li Hui suddenly said, “Brother, there’s a group of sisters over there. They don’t seem like bad people. Why don’t we join them?”
Li Ming was taken aback but instantly felt tempted.
If it were a group of men, he would never consider joining. He was a man himself and knew that once a man’s desires were aroused, he could do anything. Especially in times of order collapse.
Moreover, his sister was quite attractive.
But with a group of women, it was indeed different.
Li Ming nodded and said, “You stay in the car, I’ll go down and ask.”
Li Ming could tell that Chen Luo was the one in charge.
He found Chen Luo through the fence and approached him with a conciliatory smile. “Big brother, my sister and I are truly unsafe on our own. Can we seek your protection? Of course, if there’s anything you need, just say the word.”
Chen Luo had already anticipated this and was not surprised. He responded directly, “Well, you’ll have to prove yourself first.
Right now, you and your sister need to go out and hunt down ten zombies. Bring back the crystals from their heads as proof.”
“You can use weapons, but not rely on external forces like vehicles,” echoed in Li Ming’s mind as if it were an NPC’s voice. A task had been assigned by NPC Chen Luo.
Li Ming didn’t refuse, but he had to kill zombies first? He realized that this was a test to see if they were capable or just worthless.
Strangely, it made him feel more relieved. If they were simply allowed to join without any conditions, he would have worried about entering a shady place where he and his sister could be taken advantage of.
Li Ming nodded and said, “Let’s go then.” He returned to the car and informed Li Hui.
He took out a blood-stained fire axe from the car and headed towards the outskirts of the community.
Afraid that Chen Luo would think he intended to use a vehicle, Li Ming didn’t drive. Chen Luo watched their figures and they didn’t seem worthless.
People like Li Ming, who had family members to take care of, were more trustworthy compared to those who were alone.
They had attachments, thus betrayals had to be carefully weighed.
Chen Luo didn’t give Li Ming and his sister a chance just because he was in a good mood.
It was necessary to recruit people, an essential task.
If he encountered capable individuals, why not accept them?
Currently, Chen Luo had thirty people with him. Was that a lot? Not at all.
It was too few. In the apocalypse, people died, and the mortality rate was high. Three months later, Chen Luo had no idea how many of the people around him would still be alive.
Chen Luo wouldn’t support anyone for nothing. Once the zombies evolved to Level 1, they were required to go out and kill zombies to obtain crystals.
If they didn’t recruit people, how could they handle encountering teams of hundreds or even thousands of people in the future?
Previously, recruiting was inconvenient, the main reason was that survivors hadn’t experienced the harsh realities of the apocalypse yet.
Take Shu Yun’s group, for example. If they had been recruited right at the beginning of the apocalypse, do you think they would have cooperated obediently?
Could they be relied upon to work and carry things yesterday? Forget about it.
Are they as cooperative now because of strong command?
Yes, that could work, but it would create a barrier and some resentment.
If the survivors could be trained by the apocalypse, why should Chen Luo do everything himself?
Is it not good for me to be the good person while letting this world be filled with bad people?
Now, it’s finally time to reluctantly accept new members.
However, it doesn’t mean that just anyone will do.
Firstly, they must be willing to follow orders, and secondly, they need the courage and strength to kill zombies.
Once they pass both criteria, I’ll have Rice sense their intentions to ensure more certainty. If Li Ming and Li Hui were to die at the hands of zombies without completing the mission or demonstrating their abilities, Chen Luo wouldn’t feel any regret.
I’m not asking them to face ten zombies at once. It’s already quite simple, something anyone with hands can handle.
PS: Originally, I was planning to introduce Mi Ling first, but upon reflection, it’s not the right time for that natural progression. Besides, pushing Mi Ling to the forefront would evoke overwhelming sadness and tears, given her character.
Then the protagonist would provide comfort, and the sister would console her. Just thinking about writing such a plot gives me a headache; it’s quite cliché. I can imagine that you would also criticize such a storyline, so I decided to change the order.
Introducing Mi Ling later makes a difference. The sister is mature and emotionally resilient.
In addition, I have planned out the epilogue of this book, and I know how to write the whole book. Many plot points are already in my mind, but connecting them smoothly without seeming forced is a bit chaotic.