The Collapsing Social Order
“It seems that somebody’s here. I’ll go get the door!” Luo Yuan said. He stood up, pulled up his pants quickly and walked out of the bedroom while Huang Jiahui stared in confusion at him.
Luo Yuan opened the door and was shocked: “You are…Huang Wei?”
No one can blame Luo Yuan for second-guessing because Huang Wei’s appearance had changed so drastically. A week ago, he was a fat guy but now he had the body of a model, the only exception being his pale face that made him look very weak.
Huang Wei did not think that Luo Yuan would just open the door for him without checking first. He had been begging all the other neighbors and it was his first time enduring such a shameful situation. Though he did not see any mutated mosquitoes at the corridor, he still went into the living room quickly to avoid causing any trouble to Luo Yuan. He took off his helmet and tried to offer a smile, “Yes, yes! We had our hair cut together. I’m surprised that your memory is so good!”
“What do you need?” Luo Yuan closed the door and asked directly although he had already guessed what he wanted.
Huang Jiahui came out from the bedroom and her face was still blushing slightly. She took a look at Huang Wei and asked Luo Yuan, “Your friend?”
“I met him a few days ago. This is Huang Wei, our neighbor who’s staying upstairs!” Luo Yuan then pointed at Huang Jiahui and introduced her, “This is my girlfriend, Huang Jiahui!”
It was the first-time Luo Yuan introduced her as his girlfriend. Huang Jiahui was so excited that she grinned, “Since you’re Luo Yuan’s friend, just make yourself at home. Have you eaten? Would you like to have a meal with us? I’m sorry that we don’t have much to offer, we just have some porridge.”
“No, it’s okay. Thank you very much!” Huang Wei was overwhelmed by the unexpected politeness. His eyebrows were now relaxed but as he heard that they were also eating porridge, he was slightly disheartened.
Apparently, they did not have much food too. He was hesitant but as he thought of his starving wife and son awaiting his return with rice, he sighed deeply and said with guilt, “I…sigh… I came here today wanting to buy some rice from you as our rice is finishing soon. Money is not a problem. Five to ten times more expensive than normal is alright with me. If you’re not satisfied, I can pay more too!”
“Don’t mention it!” Huang Jiahui smiled while replying politely.
Luo Yuan was afraid that Huang Jianhui would overpromise out of courtesy so he interrupted her and asked, “How much do you want?”
Huang Wei was shocked and relieved. His lips were trembling slightly and when he recovered, he uttered: “I don’t want too much. I am only looking to buy about 10 to 20 catties.”
“It’ll be very inconvenient for us if I sell you 20 catties.” Luo Yuan replied even though he found it difficult to say. Then, he nodded and said, “Make it 15 catties then. I’m not a person who takes advantage of others as everyone has their own times of trouble too. Regarding the price, just pay me according to the original price. Jiahui, please go to the storeroom and take out 15 catties of rice!”
Huang Wei briefly reflected on the situation at hand right now. A person who he just met once seemed to be better than a neighbor who he had known for years. Unsurprisingly, he was very grateful and touched.
Huang Jiahui was in a state of shock. She took a few steps and asked curiously, “15 catties?”
Huang Jiahui thought she might have heard it wrongly. Were they not friends? Besides the fact that he was still asking for compensation, the amount of rice he offered made him look stingy. Though she was not certain, there was at least 700 catties of rice grains in the storeroom. She herself would have been reluctant to give 100 catties but she did not mind giving about 50 catties to Huang Wei.
“What are you doing!?” Luo Yuan reacted in frustration and said, “go and take it quickly!”
As Huang Wei did not know the inside story, he felt touched and guilty because he was troubling his neighbors to buy rice. Therefore, he uttered, “It’s alright. As you aren’t having a lot of food as well, you may just give me 10 catties.”
“How many days can you survive with only 10 catties of rice? Don’t worry, we have enough food!” Luo Yuan waved his hands and then winked at Huang Jiahui privately.
Huang Wei felt Luo Yuan was very generous and he was so ecstatic that he was lost for words.
The main difference between a young lady and a mature woman is that a mature woman is good at reading faces. Though she could be dissatisfied or doubtful at the time, she will definitely honor the man in front of others. Huang Jiahui hesitated and walked into the storeroom. After a minute, she carried a bag of rice and came over.
The bag of rice was apparently not 15 catties but actually about 19 catties. Luo Yuan knew it as soon as he got hold of it but he did not mind and passed it directly to Huang Wei. He then explained, “These are all new grains. Forget about the small change, just give me 20 catties worth of food coupons will do.”
As Huang Wei received it, he felt that the bag was very heavy. His eyes became red and he thanked Luo Yuan sincerely. He gave 50 catties worth of food coupons and did not even wait for the change and left abruptly.
Luo Yuan did not offer to give him more food not because he was stingy but if he helped too much, it might backfire. After all, human beings are always complicated.
In fact, if you take out some rice to help people a little, they would not think that you are stingy but instead consider you generous. They will appreciate your help. However, if you give more than expected, their thoughts would change and they will feel that it is natural to receive your help. Then, if you stopped helping later, they would feel angry instead.
Being too generous can bring problems as well. Perhaps not directly from Huang Wei but others who got to know that he had so much food. They might be suspicious and have some bad intentions.
Of course, Luo Yuan was not really concerned about the life of others but he was afraid of what would happen if he rejected Huang Wei. Even if Luo Yuan did not care, he had to go out almost every night to train and both Huang Jiahui and Wang Shishi would be in danger if someone invaded their house at that time.
Although Wang Shishi was also an evolved person and nobody would be able to go near them if she used her abilities along with simple weapons such as kitchen knife, it was not about her strength but also her ability to focus as focus is important in battle. According to Wang Shishi’s current mental age and strength, she might not able to fully unleash her energy if she were in danger.
The current stabilization was because of the extended effect of the social order. This was the main reason why most people in the building were still staying calm. However, if such situations persisted, the effect would be gradually diluted. If more and more people continued to suffer from starvation and fear, Luo Yuan could not even begin to imagine what would happen at that time.
Unfortunately, Luo Yuan’s suspicions were proven right!
During the fourth noon, when Luo Yuan was having his lunch, he heard somebody cry for help upstairs which was followed with a mix of screams and shouts. The back-and-forth screaming continued on-and-off for about a minute before it eventually stopped.
That situation seemed to have ignited something because riots started happening in the building.
The brief smell of dead corpses and blood was filling the air. Luo Yuan could smell it even from his home. So far, nobody came to their unit yet but it would happen sooner or later.
Luo Yuan still went out every night to practice his knife skills. It seemed as if he did not have the slightest concern about the crisis at all.
During the day, he also started to train Wang Shishi on utilizing her powers.
He got a wrench from the storeroom, sliced off the two ends with his Zhanmadao and left it with only the handle. Then, he sharpened the tips to convert it into a weapon of about 20cm long similar to a flying shuttle.
He intended to train Wang Shishi to be stronger because softhearted people can barely survive during crises like these. She is like a wolf who has never seen blood. Such wolves can never survive to be an adult.
When she knew that brother Luo wanted her to protect sister Huang at night, she was very excited and agreed instantly. She also moved into Luo Yuan’s bedroom that particular night. That gave Luo Yuan some relief in his heart because he would no longer have to look at Huang Jiahui with remorse for not protecting her.