“What!? Mayor Luo is here?” Cui Weichuan repeated in shock.
“That’s right! Can’t your hear the crowds cheering for him!” his assistant said.
The leader ran over with a speaker and said,”Ladies and gentlemen! Comrades, Mayor Luo will be here for an inspection soon! Don’t stop working and don’t chat with each other. Show Mayor Luo how serious we at Team 15 are about our jobs.”
The leader of the team Cui Weichuan was in was a strong, tough guy, but he shivered at the thought of Luo Yuan’s arrival. His face flushed when he talked and he was overwhelmed by excitement.
“Yes sir!” the staff members shouted in unison.
Everybody responded positively. They were all pumped up and sang their work song at the top of their lungs. They were so fired up that the cold did not bother them at all.
After such declarations and announcements of Mayor Luo Yuan’s arrival over every form of media, an ordinary person would seem like a legend in the eyes of the public. Moreover, Luo Yuan was the man who rescued mankind from annihilation! All across every class of society, his legend resonated with the people as a symbol of hope. Some people even worshipped him. In such an environment, no matter how intelligent a person was, anyone could be influenced by their admiration for another.
Furthermore, it was not only among ordinary civilians, the adoration of his person happened at every corner of Hope City.
By now, even if Luo Yuan lost all his strength, his power would not be shaken. No rebel could do him any harm.
“At the moment, our stock of thermal clothing is quite limited, sir. We have a total of 32,000 people working with us!” Tian Jinping, who was responsible for the project, reported to Luo Yuan. Luo Yuan considered the numbers and nodded in approval of his progress.
As compared to Luo Yuan who was not affected by the cold at all, Tian Jinping was dressed in layers of clothes which made his small body swell up.
“Have the factories responsible for thermal-related gear started work?” Luo Yuan asked.
“As of last night before 7 p.m., all the workers have been briefed and production has begun!” Tian Jinping said carefully.
“That’s great!” Luo Yuan said with a satisfied gleam in his eyes.
Tian Jinping was relieved. He was not promiscuous, not greedy and not a man who enjoyed life as it was. He was cautious when he worked and did everything with a meticulous mind for details. But, he was a man who loved authority. He did not have any interest in material things. What he enjoyed was the ability to use his authority however he could.
As Luo Yuan mattered so much to him, obtaining his approval made all his hard work worth it.
“Mayor, I read about the production status of leather clothing last night and realized that we have produced more than 100,000 of them. Now that most of the people own thermal clothing and can go about their full-time job, they won’t be joining the production teams. I suggest that we take a portion of funds from the Finance Department and repurchase the thermal clothing from the civilians so we won’t have a problem with a shortage of workers,” Tian Jinping said, confident with his hypothesis.
Luo Yuan stopped walking and thought for a moment. He found the idea to be sensible and agreed with him. “That’s a great suggestion. Let’s purchase them at the original price and allow the workers to utilize the thermal clothing for free. Draft a proposal for my approval as soon as you can,” he said.
As the objective of keeping the citizens of Hope City warm and safe was completed, the thermal clothing that was in demand was now redundant. If the government was to hoard stock of thermal clothing from the people, there might be an uproar. If not for Tian Jinping’s reminder, Luo Yuan would have overlooked the issue.
As for the financial situation of the government, it was not a worry anymore. No matter if it was Hope City or the old reconstruction area, the circulation of products available on the market were pathetically low. The use of currency in the form of food vouchers were restricted. Some of the necessities on demand were not for sale even with monetary transactions. Besides an upgrade of food varieties, there was nowhere to spend any currency.
It was a failure in the financial system that only happened during the time of war in the apocalypse. As soon as peace was regained and stressful times relieved, the exploitation of privilege and acceleration of corruption would then begin.
Therefore, the restoration of a normal market circulation was one of the most important steps in his plan. But it was not the time for it yet. It had to wait until mankind migrated onto the spacecraft.
Looking at the enthusiasm and the admiration in the eyes of the people that gazed at him, Luo Yuan paid little attention to it as he had already gotten used to the attention.
The temperature was -70-degree celsius. Living conditions were unbearable. For the older generation of people, no matter how much they wore, they would be dead in half a day under such harsh environments.
Now that mankind’s physique was three times stronger than before, their bodies could better withstand the cold. However, it was only just slightly better as they were still human. There were many who had lost fingers and toes to the frostbite. Luo Yuan noticed that most of their noses were numb and some did not even notice there were icicles hanging off their chins.
“What time do they start work?” Luo Yuan asked as he noticed it was already 10:30 p.m.
“6:30 a.m., sir!” Tian Jinping replied.
“That’s too long. With the environment being this bad, we can’t use the usual measure of work hours for the employees. I suggest they get half an hour breaks every two hours they work. Also, there will be cooked vegetables and hot soup available 24-hours a day, every day at the canteen for them to keep warm and replenish their strength,” Luo Yuan said.
It was not considered a suggestion for Tian Jinping as he took his job and Luo Yuan’s instructions very seriously.
He said in embarrassment,” Mayor, I apologize. It’s my fault that I overlooked this. Thank you for your observation. Let me re-arrange the work schedule later when I get back to my office.”
Looking at him with a frown, Luo Yuan was actually speechless. Although it had been a long time since he had become the mayor, the occasional ass-kissing now and again was still too much for him.
If not for his capabilities and cautiousness, Luo Yuan would have doubted the means of his rise to becoming the vice-mayor. Perhaps even the good ones had their flaws.
“Let’s take a look over there!” Luo Yuan said to change the subject.
“Mayor Luo is looking in our direction!” Cui Weichuan who had been watching Luo Yuan’s movement exclaimed excitedly. When he saw Luo Yuan was walking towards his direction.
“Is he really coming?” The worker who was facing the opposite direction asked nervously, his palm sweating under the pressure.
“Yes, he’s just a few hundred meters away. Let’s give everything we have and chant our song. Hi-ho! Hi-ho!” Cui Weichuan shouted as they broke into song.
The chants got even louder as the rhythm got faster. With Cui Weichuan leading the chants, he was worried about what Luo Yuan’s would say when they meet each other. A greeting or hand-shaking, what would his own response be, he thought.
But, in truth, Cui Weichuan wondered if he might have forgotten about him. After all, he was a nobody. It was a long time ago, how would Luo Yuan remember him!
While he stood over thinking the possible scene to come, Luo Yuan was fast approaching. His heart raced in his chest. He made eye contact with Luo Yuan, and was surprised when he nodded in response. A gush of excitement overwhelmed him.
He did not expect Mayor Luo to remember him, and now he even nodded to him.
Although Luo Yuan was just passing by and walked on away from him, he could not hide his excitement.
“Did you guys see that?” Cui Weichuan said softly. “Mayor Luo nodded at me,” he pride in his eyes.
“I saw that. But I think Mayor Luo was nodding to all of us. You can’t take that away from everybody,” said a worker who stood next to him. Everyone had gotten excited too and now some of them were resentful of what Cui Weichuan had said. The nod was sufficient for all them to boast for a lifetime.
“That’s right, sir. That was an honor for the whole group. It belongs to the team. Why would Mayor Luo nodded to you alone?” he continued. The people around him murmured in agreement.
Cui Weichuan was stunned, “But Mayor Luo and…”
Just as he attempted to explain himself, the leader of the operation’s voice burst out through the speakers,”I believe that all of them saw Mayor Luo’s attitude towards us. He was satisfied with our work. It’s an honor for our team. Keep the hard work going…”
Cui Weichuan’s jaw dropped. He felt his brief moment of pride slip away as his heart sank in his chest.
Luo Yuan thought to himself as he walked on. He did not expect to see someone that he knew. His stunning memory allowed him to remember Cui Weichuan who he knew from before. For the old Luo Yuan, he would definitely have stopped to chat with him but now, he represented more than just himself. Each move he made was watched by many so he had to be very careful. The same phenomena did not apply to hum before and he felt rather awkward about it.
Although nobody could restrict Luo Yuan, he did not show any favor to the people he knew from his past as there would most definitely be people looking and over-analyzing the situation. Luo Yuan tried his best to avoid that.
Soon he left after his inspection of the ice mining site. He then arrived at the genetic lab in Hope City as he heard earlier that day that the plant cloning facilities were ready for production.
Ever since most of the researchers had migrated onto the spacecraft, the research activities in Hope City had basically stopped. The lab that was responsible for cloning became infested with rodents.
“Let me see the results,” Luo Yuan asked.
“Yes, Mayor!” the institute’s director said immediately. He was ready for the mayor’s inspection. Soon they arrived at the embryo storage incubation pods.
The plant embryos were placed in petri dishes as it was just the preliminary stage of mitosis, where the embryos were still insignificant. Luo Yuan picked up one of them and looked closely while the director explained.
“That is one of the 50 types of plants that we handpicked for cloning. A part of them are the plants that we consume while the rest are the samples that we collected before the disaster occurred. Most of them are approximately a millimeter in length. We estimate in two to three days, buddings would take place and for the vegetables, they would be fully grown in six to 10 days,” he said, a monotonous tone to his speech.
“Isn’t that faster than the growth of vegetables in the agricultural area?” Luo Yuan asked curiously, as he was not too familiar with plant cloning.
“That is correct, the plant cloning has the characteristic of that particular growth cycle, but with a faster rate of reproduction,” he said.
It seemed like the director wanted to make up for the bad impression he had left earlier. He made sure he was fully prepared for any questions asked during the inspection.
He proceeded to say,”To make them grow even faster, we have conducted research on a nutrient for the plants to accelerate their growth. We have already gotten the base figured out. If everything goes as planned, the speed of growth would be 50% faster.”
“Well done!” Luo Yuan nodded in satisfaction.
The institute’s director was over the moon with Luo Yuan’s compliment,”We will put all efforts we have into that research…”
Luo Yuan stopped him right there,”I don’t want empty promises! I want to see results. As long as you keep up the good work, I will definitely acknowledge your progress,” he said.
“Yes, Mayor!” the director quipped, taken aback by his response.
Luo Yuan took out the sample of the Wisdom Heart that he brought from his bedroom this morning and said, “Since the plant cloning is almost done, we can carry on with this research project. This is a unique plant. It could possibly change the fate of mankind. Please clone it, do your research of it and report back to me. Your research lab isn’t the first lab to do research on it. There are many more out there with more advanced equipment that are conducting their own tests. I hope we can be at the forefront of them all.”
The director was stunned. The immense pressure aside, he was very curious. He was an outstanding researcher, but also a very humble person. He still had the urge to know everything in the world and never took things lightly.
Now that the mayor said this plant could change the fate of mankind, his instinct for curiosity was killing him.
“May… Mayor, what is this plant exactly?” he stuttered once he had mustered to courage speak.
With a thoughtful expression on his face, Luo Yuan replied, “It is a sapling of the Wisdom Tree!”