After Ye Qiuyu had fed Chen Jiayi and wiped her mouth, she was called over by Luo Yuan, “Doctor Ye, can you please come over?”
Ye Qiuyu did not know why but quickly trotted over, “Mayor Luo, how can I help you?”
“This is your share.” Luo Yuan picked up the remaining piece of the energy crystal and handed it to her.
Ye Qiuyu looked at the almost completely transparent piece of energy crystal and was stunned for a moment. She then breathed heavily and quickly shirked, saying, “This… This is too valuable Mayor Luo.”
“Don’t be so concerned about it. Just take it.” Luo Yuan patted her on the shoulder, “Just do your job well.”
This was the first time Luo Yuan had intimate contact with her body. The warmth of his palms went through her thin clothes and penetrated her skin. Ye Qiuyu shivered and her face turned slightly pale.
At this point, her mind was messy and she did not know what to do. She was always deep in thought and sometimes a common word would be much considered and analyzed in her mind, “Is this a hint? What should I do? Should I insist to reject or pretend not to understand the hint and just accept it for now?”
Luo Yuan looked at her pale and flushed face and thought that she was shy to accept it, so he took up her hand and placed the piece of energy crystal on her palm and said, “Take it!”
Ye Qiuyu looked at it and was stunned as if she had lost her mind. It was only after a while that she regained her consciousness and found that Luo Yuan had walked over to Chen Jiayi.
She bit her lip, retracted her hand, and looked at that piece of energy crystal. Even though it was physically light, she felt that it was heavy in value.
A shrill sounding alarm suddenly rang somewhere around midnight.
Cui Weichuan, who was still fast asleep with his eyes shut, was confused for a while when he suddenly became conscious and was completely awakened by the sound.
Today was his first day of work so he could not afford to be late. He quickly woke up and switched off the alarm.
He was originally an entry level public servant in Desert City. Unfortunately, the entire Desert City was buried underground after it was hit by a major earthquake and thus he came to Hope City as a refugee.
At that time, Hope City had accepted a large number of refugees from all the other cities which consisted of some public servants like him so it was impossible to assign jobs to everyone.
After waiting for a few days, he was assigned as a deputy minister in the logistic department of the first steel plant in Hope City.
This career was not bad as it was considered a small promotion to some extent. He had speculated that there was a certain factor that had contributed to this hiring process because he knew a great man and it was also because of this man that he was able to come to Hope City with his daughter. Perhaps this was the reason why he got the exceptional promotion.
To the great man, the period of friendship might have been insignificant and he might even just be considered as an acquaintance. However to him, it was probably a turning point in his life.
However, goods things do not last long and the brutal disaster that had happened a few months ago buried his factory deep underground in just a matter of minutes. He was fortunate to have survived as he was assigned the day shift on that day and so he was not in the factory when the incident took place.
The entire Hope City was in chaos and darkness during that period of time. There was crying throughout the night and everyone was mourning in the city. Some of the people were hopeless about the future and released their desperation everywhere. Occasionally, gunshots could be heard on the streets too.
Those were his most feared days and he and his daughter had hid in his lodge and did not dare to go out for a few days.
Fortunately, the chaos did not last for too long and everything started to improve gradually. Order was restored in the city and there was hope in Hope City even though he had completely lost his job.
Unemployment days were quite tough as he could only go to the cafeteria which belonged to the public welfare to line up every day and fill his stomach. Though he was not starved, he did not eat sufficiently too. Usually, he also had to think twice even if he wanted to purchase some small items for home.
As a new migrated refugee, he did not have much savings and had almost depleted most of it by now. He could still tolerate a poor life but he did not want to let his daughter suffer together with him. His daughter was even being discriminated by the other students at the boarding school.
He must get a job! Fortunately, studying was completely free since the apocalypse or he would not even be able to afford the school fees.
He went into the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. After he cleaned himself up, he walked to the closet and took out all his clothes and wore all of them on, layer by layer. His job required him to work in the cold so had to keep warm.
He put on all the clothes on his body and suddenly started to sweat. He wanted to take off a few pieces but decided against it after he had given it some thought. It was just a few steps to the first level which was only one layer away from the outside world. The temperature would have dropped a lot over there.
Finally, he pulled out a fur coat, leather gloves, and boots, and held them in his hands before he closed the wardrobe.
This three-piece suit was quite heavy, especially the fur coat that was about 20 pounds or more in weight. The outside layer was a mutated creature’s skin that was only 3.5 millimeters thick while the inner liner was generally soft red fur. The suit served like a heater after he wore it on his body regardless of how cold it was outside.
Last time when Cui Weichuan wanted to buy the cold clothing during a limited sale, he had to queue up for an entire day under the temperature of -30 degrees Celsius before he managed to buy the clothes for him and his daughter. Furthermore, the clothes had taken up most of his savings.
However, he started to regret after they had only wore it for a few days as heating lamps were installed all over Hope City, which caused the temperature to get warmer as if it was spring. The expensive cold clothings then became luxurious accessories lying inside his wardrobe and every time when he saw them his heart pained.
Nonetheless, everything happened for a reason and this time the job requirement clearly stated that the workers had to bring their own leather jacket. When he thought of it, he felt that it was kind of prescient to know that he would have needed it someday in the future.
The pay of this work was very high – almost three times more than normal. Besides, he was hired as a team lead to manage more than 100 people as he had experience in management. His salary was two times more than a normal worker’s so his life would be better off after this.
He closed the door and walked out of the house and soon came to the first level of the underground area.
This level had collapsed during the disaster but it had been repaired after that so he could see the different layers of cement that had been used.
He found that he was not the earliest but rather there were hundreds of people earlier than him. Now, most of the space had been transformed into a large open-air food hall and people were eating breakfast during this time.
When Cui Weichuan smelled the tasty food, his stomach kept rumbling so he immediately went to the counter and ordered a breakfast set too.
When he chatted with the chef, he received good news that the food here was not limited. These days Cui Weichuan had not been eating sufficiently and it was pretty suffering. He could finally eat as much as he needed now.
The crowd started to pick up as breakfast time got closer. The cafeteria that was silent at first was slowly getting crowded and his dining table was also gradually filled up with people.
“Hey, Chief Cui!”
“Hey brother, you are here too!” Cui Weichuan said quickly as looked up and found his previous department colleagues.
“What can I do if I don’t come here? This is the only place that provides sufficient food to eat.” Lao Hu said with a wry smile. Apparently, he had suffered during this period too.
“Everyone is the same. This is my first time eating sufficiently too.” Cui Weichuan also said with empathy.
“How many people do you think are here today?” Lao Hu was wondering looking at the crowd in the cafeteria.
“10,000 to 20,000!”
“I think there are more than that, at least 30,000 or more. Have you heard that the underground water source is starting to deplete? That’s why we are here to do deep mining into the ice.” Lao Hu suddenly secretively said.
“This is not something you should simply say!” Cui Weichuan quickly said before continuing, “Be careful not to be heard.”
“Don’t worry, we have Mayor Luo here. If he can resolve the alien issue, what is a water depletion issue to him?” Lao Hu replied.
Currently, Hope City was still under martial law and there was no freedom of speech. Once he was suspected to incite public disorder or spread rumors, he might get punished. “Good that you reminded me. Let us continue eating then.”
“Your daughter is in freshman year, right?” Lao Hu tried to change the topic after some time.
“Yes, she comes back home once a week and she is getting chubbier every time.” When he talked about his daughter, Cui Weichuan’s face showed happiness and joy.
“Of course. The meal supplied in the school is not comparable to our public welfare cafeteria. There is an unlimited supply over there.” Lao Hu said in envy.
The number of people still continued to increase over time.
When it was six o’clock in the morning, a team of heavily armed police and public officials came into the first level.
“The first team of workers, please gather over here!”
“The second team of workers, please gather over here!”
“The third team…”
“The 32nd team…”
“I have to go now.” When Cui Weichuan heard the calling of his team. He quickly stood up and rushed towards the gathering point.
“All the team leaders, please stand out! Sort out your team and start to do the counting.”
The workers in reconstruction areas were not only workers but also reservists and almost everyone had carried out military training. In just a few minutes, the crowded mess of workers had lined up orderly into a few squares.
When the steel door at the exit opened, all of the workers marched out neatly.
“Hiss… so cold!” The air that was breathed out from his mouth immediately turned into fine pieces of ice under the cold weather. Cui Weichuan tightened his clothes yet his body started trembling.
The sky was dark outside as if filled with blank ink. This was the first time he had walked into the outside world since the disaster. Before this, he had expected that the weather would be cold but he never knew that it was going to be to this extent.
Even though he was wearing a thick fur coat, he could still feel the chills.
He touched the hard liquor inside his coat which was distributed to all workers before they departed to keep them warm. At first, he thought that he would not have needed to use it but now he kept thinking about drinking it. In the end, he decided not to do so as there was still a long way to go and the amount of liquor given was not enough to last the whole day.
When the 15th team arrived at the assigned area, they stopped.
“I know that every one of you is cold so I will keep it short!” The captain took out the horn and shouted, “The working conditions will be quite difficult and many of you may already be regretting. I know a lot of people have heard the rumors and unfortunately, the situation is as true as what the rumors had said. Hope City’s water supply will soon be depleted.
I think every one of you is aware of the consequences if there is no water supply in Hope City. So, this is not simply just a job but it is also for you and the entire Hope City. It is not possible for you all to quit the job!
Now, please start the ice mining process. Team leads, please bring your team members to come over and take the tools from here.”
When the captain was talking, two trucks had stopped nearby and the workers on the truck kept throwing the tools down to the ground.
Cui Weichuan had not expected that the guess made by Lao Hu was actually correct. His heart was heavy as he greeted his team members before he went over to receive the tools. The tools for ice mining were quite simple. Each team received three ropes that were tied to a thick metal stake to break the layer of ice. Besides that, they also received a lot of soldering iron and five simple wooden sleds. However, there was no excavator or any other construction machinery at all.
Even the trucks had quickly driven off after they had finished throwing the tools. There were only two trucks assigned to a team so every truck was very valuable. They could not stand staying for so long under such a cold temperature. The ice would be transported to the underground first level using ice sleds before they are loaded on the trucks and delivered to the factory.
The mining work soon began.
After Cui Weichuan assigned the work, he took the lead and began to hit the ice with a metal stake.
The metal stake was about 30 cm thick and 800 kg in weight. With five of them, it required at least 160kg of strength from each of them if they lifted it up using the rope. It was impossible for them to lift the metal stake without a support strength.
Fortunately, during the time when he had followed Luo Yuan to Hope City, he had eaten a lot of high level food and so he had gained a significant amount of strength. Nonetheless, no matter how strong he was, he was still an ordinary human. The ice mining job was very tiring as it also required continuous shouting from the commander.
It often required more than a dozen hits just to slightly crack the surface and over another hundred hits before it could be broken. After that, they would switch to another place to continue breaking the ice layers. Only when the ice sled was fully filled, would it be sent to the underground for further processing..
However, there was an advantage whereby he did not feel cold anymore as his body was covered with sweat that kept him warm. Even though it was already noon, he had not taken a sip of the hard liquor inside his coat.
Suddenly, there was a commotion somewhere far away and one of the workers suddenly stopped.
“Why did you stop?” Cui Weichuan almost broke his waist and asked unpleasantly. It was such a heavy metal stake and hastily stopping could cause a serious injury to other team members.
The worker answered in a fervent tone, his face flushed and was full of excitement, “Mayor Luo! Mayor Luo has come to visit us!”