Gu Ning thought for a while and decided to return to the dormitory and emptied her backpack of supplies. To the puzzled looks of several of them, she could only explain that she had to go out and search for clothes for the winter, and politely refused the wish of them to go with her. She left with an empty backpack that only contain a few dozen of gold necklaces.
“I really can’t understand this Gu Ning, she’s so secretive all day long. Why does she have so many guts? She even dares to run around out there all by herself.” Jia DaoZhang sighed as he stood on the balcony watching Gu Ning’s back as she walked further away.
“She probably thinks that even if you guys followed her there, you might be holding her back.” Huang MengYao walked past and dropped this sentence before entering Father and Mother Gu’s dormitory.
Jia DaoZhang stared at Huang MengYao’s back in exasperation and asked: “Hey? This little Huang ah, her words are too harsh. How are we holding Gu Ning back? What do the two of you think, do we really drag Gu Ning back?”
Cheng Ming: “……”
Xie YuHong: “……”
When Gu Ning returned to the space, she didn’t immediately cross over to the other side of the world.
Instead, she first walked to the shores of that green ocean.
That little girl said that there was a white lake inside her body, so was this sea produced from that bead?
She knelt and removed the gauze from her hand. She had noticed this morning that the wound on her hand had completely healed, even the threads had been wrapped by the newly grown flesh and were completed invisible. She reached out and cupped a handful of water, which was unusually cool, some slipping through her fingers and some wavering in her palm. It look crystal clear like a piece of fine jade, the green seawater was slightly lighter than the green of the beads.
She stood up and glanced into the far distance in the other direction, where the verdant mountains and waterfalls were falling from the sky. Gu Ning was eager to go over and have a better look.
The moment this thought floated in her mind, the space in front of Gu Ning distorted for a moment, and the next thing she knew, she had disappeared into the thin air!
All of a sudden, Gu Ning could only hear the sound of wind gusting by her ears, and in a short moment, the wind stopped howling around her ears and the sound of water rang out. There was mist sprinkling on her face, Gu Ning stood on a wet huge rock and stared at the huge pool in front of her. A look of unbelievable wonder came to her face, and her ears were filled with the roaring sound of a waterfall falling from an extreme height and smashing into the pool.
Therefore, Gu Ning discovered the fact that she could move around in this space at will.
Gu Ning took a deep breath and raised her eyes to look at the distant mountain tops. With a thought, the space distorted once again and the roaring sound of water dispersed in her ears. Gu Ning opened her eyes once again and she was standing on the branch of the tallest tree at the top of the mountain, almost 30 to 40 meters above the ground. She had a slight fear of heights and immediately hugged the trunk of the tree next to her in a panic to stabilize her body. It took her a long time to slowly calm down, the wind brushing through the treetops and messing her short blonde hair, and the leaves rustling with the wind. Gu Ning stood on the branch 30 to 40 meters above the ground, looking out into the distance in full view. The green ocean was like a huge jade stone nestled among the verdant mountains, the waves sparkled and shine with radiant beauty.
It was the most beautiful sight Gu Ning had ever seen in her life. The wind was whispering in her ears, urging her to ride with the wind, her mood which had been in a state of extreme repression, seemed to have brightened up.
Gu Ning’s figure weaved through the mountains, her silhouette sometimes disappearing in this mountain forest, and in the next moment, reappearing in another part of the mountain forest. Gu Ning felt the wind whistling past her ears in the mountains, she had never felt so carefree and completely relaxed. It felt so good that this world only belonged to her, her own world.
However, after all the excitement, Gu Ning finally remembered that she had a very urgent task ahead of her.
Back into the other world, the time was 8:30 am, Father Gu had already gone to school to teach classes. After breakfast, Gu Ning first took out Fang Fa’s phone number and called him.
Meanwhile, in the police station, Fang Fa was tapping his desk in boredom, glancing occasionally at the phone in his hand and vaguely seem to be agitated.
Lao Li walked by with a glass of warm water, looked at him, and asked: “Who’s call are you waiting for?”
Fang Fa immediately replied: “What do you mean, who’s calling? I’m not waiting for any calls.”
Lao Li continued: “Got a girlfriend?”
Almost the moment these words came out from Fang Fa’s mouth, his mobile phone on the table buzzed and vibrated.
Without the slightest delay, Fang Fa grabbed the phone, not even glancing at the number, and quickly called out: “Gu Ning?”
Gu Ning heard Fang Fa called out her name before she even spoke on the other side of the phone and was faintly startled before replying: “How did you know if it was me?”
Gu Ning’s distinctive voice with a hint of coldness reached his ears through the phone, and Fang Fa stammered for a rare moment: “Uh…… because the number was unknown, so I guessed that it was you.”
“Oh.” Gu Ning paused, before asking: “Are you busy now?”
Fang Fa glanced at Lao Li, who was staring at him with a smirk on his face and coughed dryly before replying: “Ahem, it’s okay. What can I help you?”
“Yes. I got a little problem that I’d like to ask you for, and I also need to pay you back.”
Fang Fa glanced at Lao Li again, then asked: “Well…… what is the problem?”
“It’s a bit inconvenient to explain on the phone.” Gu Ning replied: “Is it fine for me to go over to the police station and look for you now?”
Fang Fa glanced at Lao Li again, then said: “It’s fine, come over then.”
“Okay, see you later then.” Gu Ning hung up the phone after saying that.
Fang Fa place down the phone and looked at Lao Li with a tsk and asked: “Lao Li, why are you being so gossipy?”
“Gu Ning, isn’t she the one whom we brought back from the street last time? What? Did you get attached yesterday when you visited her home?” Lao Li teased.
Fang Fa rebutted: “What nonsense. She is coming over to return my money.”
Gu Ning, who had hung up the phone, likewise spotted Mother Gu’s eyes that were shining brightly.
“Talking to Xiao Fang on the phone, huh?” Mother Gu asked as she came closer.
Gu Ning calmly replied: “Well, I need to find him for help.”
“By the way, I’m going to the job interview today, so I won’t be back for lunch. Don’t wait for me.”
“You’re going to wear like this?” Mother Gu remarked as she stared at Gu Ning’s black tracksuit: “Go and wear that white dress from last year.”
“No need. It’s not like we’re going out on a date.” Gu Ning replied as she went back to the bedroom, carried her large backpack, and prepared to head out.
“What are you doing with that big backpack of yours?!” Mother Gu chased her out of the house.
She could only watch Gu Ning walked down the stairs, and said with a sigh: “Why are you so unconcern about your looks now?”
It wasn’t long before Gu Ning, wearing a black tracksuit and sneaker while carrying a large backpack, appeared at the entrance of the police station.
“What are you doing? Getting ready to go for hiking?” Fang Fa expressed his surprise as he saw Gu Ning’s outfit.
Gu Ning nodded to the others in the police station before asking Fang Fa: “Can we talk outside?”。
“Okay.” Fang Fa followed Gu Ning and headed outside.
“I’ve come mainly to ask you for a favour.” Gu Ning said as she took out a black plastic bag from her backpack.
Fang Fa reached out to pick it up and instantly his hand sand down with the weight: “What is it?” He lifted the bag and opened it, then he saw dozens of gold necklaces rolled together into a gold ball-like object, and he looked at Gu Ning in dismay: “What is this?”
“Gold.” Gu Ning replied: “I don’t have any cash in my hand right now. Also, I wanted to know if you have any channels for me to sell these for cash.” Without waiting for Fang Fa to question her, Gu Ning said very calmly: “I guarantee that it was legitimately obtained, definitely not stolen or robbed by me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have asked you, a policeman, to sell the stolen goods, right?”
Gu Ning made such a valid point that Fang Fa was naturally speechless.
Gu Ning continued: “And only when these are sold, then I can return the money I’ve owe.”
No matter what, Fang Fa felt as if he was being blackmailed.
“So, I’m counting on you.” Gu Ning said sincerely.
Fang Fa asked: “So, you came all the way here to find me for this matter?”
Gu Ning thought for a moment, and replied: “Or, do you know anything about the Five Stars Brigade?”
Then the expression on Fang Fa’s face had already made the answer.
“How do you know about the Five Stars Brigade?” Fang Fa asked in surprise as he stared at Gu Ning.
“I have an, er, uncle in the army. He told me about it.” Gu Ning replied.
“…… That’s a first-class classified.”
“…… Forget that I said it.”
“But what do you mean by suddenly asking me that question?” Fang Fa asked.
“I’m going to give it a go.” Gu Ning said calmly.
“? ? ?”
“I’ve told my parents that I was interviewing for a tutor. But I’m afraid that they’ll be worried about my safety so I’ll tell them that you’ve introduced me to this position and it’s a friend of yours. So I thought if they ever asked you about this, can you help me to round up the lies?”
“…… Wait, wait. Did you just say that you wanted to give it a go? Try what?” Fang Fa’s mind was a little baffled.
“Try to see if I can get into the Five Stars Brigade.” Gu Ning repeated, she wasn’t surprised by Fang Fa’s reaction, after all, she looked like an ordinary girl right now, and he didn’t know about all the things that had happened in the other world.
Fang Fa took a deep breath: “Are you kidding me?”
Gu Ning stopped trying to explain the Five Stars Brigade and instead she said: “We’ll know if I’m joking or not when the time comes. Anyway, I hope you can still help me with answering my parents.”
Fang Fa gave her a deep stare, then replied after being discouraged: “I don’t know why, but I kind of believe you when you say things that sounded like some crazy people……”
Gu Ning smiled, then said: “Then I’ll count on you.”
Fang Fa watched Gu Ning casually took a taxi and left.
Looking at the black plastic bag that he held in his hand, he sighed helplessly. Gu Ning and him had known each other for less than a week and had only met up for three times, yet she gave him the impression that she was very familiar with him, so familiar that she knew beyond doubt that he could not possibly refuse to help her.
Moreover, she said that she was preparing to join the Five Stars Brigade herself?!
Is she kidding him? He was even abused by the Five Stars Brigade when he was in the army. Did she have some kind of hidden special ability?
It was two hours later when she reached the address that Brother San had given her.
After paying a hefty taxi fare, Gu Ning had very little money left on her. Yet this was all an unavoidable expense.
That world was changing every day, she had to make herself stronger as soon as possible.
Regarding the money dilemma, Gu Ning believed it was all temporary, when those dozens of gold necklaces sold out, tens of thousands of dollars shouldn’t be a problem.
Thinking about this, Gu Ning slightly calmed down her feeling of heart aching for the money.
The soldiers standing guard at the entrance noticed the first moment when Gu Ning got off the taxi.
After all, this place was in the middle of nowhere and few people usually came here, not to mention a girl.
“Hello, I’m here to find the commander of the Third Company. I’ve just spoken to him on the phone and he told me to wait for him here.” Gu Ning smiled and said to the soldier who was about to speak up.
She had borrowed the driver’s phone in the car to call Brother San.
At this moment, Brother San should be on his way here.
Sure enough, it wasn’t long before Brother San, dressed in a military uniform, came rushing from the inside of the gate.
Before they interact, Brother San’s sharp gaze had already sized up Gu Ning’s entire body without moving, and he was much more energetic than Gu Ning had ever seen him in the post-apocalyptic world.
He asked with a questioning tone: “You are Gu Ning?” Apparently, Gu Ning did not match the image of what he had imagined. Gu Ning was standing there in a tracksuit while carrying a large backpack and looked like every other ordinary girl. Also at the sight of Gu Ning’s blonde hair, Brother San frowned a little unnoticeably.
Gu Ning faintly smiled: “Yes. I am Gu Ning.”
“Hold out your hand for me to see.” Brother San requested.
Gu Ning then honestly held out her hand with palm facing upwards.
Comparing Gu Ning’s tender left hand, her right hand is much rougher, the end of her fingers are thickly calloused from long hours of holding a knife. Instead, Brother San looked mainly at the first joint of her index finger near the purlicue where he didn’t see any gun callus, and he frowned and asked nonchalantly: “Are you sure you’ve touched a gun before that fired bullet and not a stabbing gun?”
Gu Ning, however, did not explain but simply said: “Since I have already arrived here, and you are already standing here, San…, Third Company Commander, why waste any more time?”
“Come with me.” Without delaying any longer with Gu Ning, Brother San greeted the soldiers at the entrance and led Gu Ning through the gate.
“Where did you hear about the Five Stars Brigade?” Brother San asked.
“Naturally, from the one who told me your information.” Gu Ning replied.
“I hope you won’t waste my time.” Brother San’s current attitude was like the first time when Gu Ning met him in that small courtyard, and if she was meeting him for the first time, she would most likely be slightly apprehensive. However, she knew in her heart that after she had demonstrated her strength, Brother San would be more “friendly” to her.
“I hope so.” Gu Ning replied modestly. After all, some part of her confidence mainly came from Brother San.
Gu Ning followed behind Brother San and walked for about ten minutes before they reached the large drilling ground, where many soldiers who were practicing couldn’t help but cast curious glances over.
Brother San waved at the squad leader: “Zhao Shuo! Come here!”
The squad leader jogged over and saluted to Brother San before glancing at Gu Ning and asked: “Company Commander, what is it?”
Brother San replied: “Get Zhang XiaoBai, Zhao Jie, Zhong Xu, Zou Ming to come over to me.”
The squad leader was slightly stunned but still saluted and answered: “Yes Sir!”
Then he trotted over to the group and shouted: “Zhang XiaoBai! Zhao Jie! Zhong Xu! Zou Ming! Come forward!”
Then he came running back with those four soldiers.
Zhang XiaoBai, Gu Ning had met him before but the current Zhang XiaoBai was obviously even fairer than he had been in the post-apocalypse. Along with baby fat and bright eyes, he didn’t look like a soldier but more like a school student.
The name Zhao Jie also rang a bell for Gu Ning, the man who had died on that military truck.
Zhong Xu and Zou Ming, on the other hand, were names she hadn’t heard of and wondered if they were among the twenty or so survivors.
A large portion of those soldiers who were curiously glancing over, half of them had died during the apocalypse.
Gu Ning collected her mind and waved away the feeling of sadness that had inexplicably risen in her heart.
These four people all began to size up Gu Ning.
Zhang XiaoBai was very blatant, his bright eyes curiously stared and sizing up Gu Ning.
“These are a few of the best marksmen in our Third Company. If you can shoot better than them, then only will you be qualified to enter the Five Stars Brigade.” Brother San stated.
The four soldiers opposite of them, were all stunned. What did that mean? This girl was here to kick the bucket?
“Let’s go. To the firing range.”
On the way, the other three people had no intention of talking to Gu Ning except Zhang XiaoBai who wanted to chat with her, but Gu Ning’s expressionless face was so rejecting that he didn’t dare to go forward and talk with her.
Brother San was fast on his feet, but Gu Ning seemed to be at ease and was actually on the pace with them.
In a far distance away, she heard the sound of gunshots ringing out one after another.
Zhang XiaoBai walked up and said: “Third Commander, it seems that the men from the Second Company are practicing their shooting.”
Brother San sneered, then replied: “Just in time. They’ve got a new recruit this year who is incredibly talented. It’s a good time for us to have a sparring session.”
Zhang XiaoBai and the three of them looked at each other, all feeling the pressure on them.
Gu Ning, however, knew nothing about the situation and could only follow Brother San to the front.
The firing range was in an open field and the sound of gunfire rang out from time to time. When they have gotten closer, the firing was over and the soldier in charge of counting the targets jogged over and reported excitedly to another soldier with the sleeves all rolled up: “Report, Company Commander! Ten rounds on target, ten rings for all ten rounds, a total of one hundred rings!”
The commander of the Second Company turned his stony face to a smiley one as he patted the soldier who stood up with his gun in his arms: “Good, not bad! Zhai Jun, you’re getting more and more stable now, keep this up for a few more days. When the Five Stars Brigade comes, you’ll definitely have a much higher chance than the group from Third Company!”
“Company Commander, the Third Company is standing there.” A soldier warned in a whisper.
It was only then the Second Company Commander noticed that Brother San was standing there with the four soldiers under him who had the best marksmanship. In the middle, stood a girl with blonde hair. With a smile on his face, he didn’t feel embarrassed at all for talking about others behind their backs, and greeted Brother San: “Lao Xie! What are you standing over there for? Come over here!”
There were dozens of people from the Second Company, all of them were curiously looking at Gu Ning, speculating in their minds about her identity.
Gu Ning turned a blind eye to it and followed Brother San up to the front.
Brother San pulled Gu Ning to the front and said to the commander of the Second Company: “Come, Lao Zhang, I’d like to introduce you to my niece.” Turning to Gu Ning again and spoke: “Gu Ning, say hello to the Second Company.”
Gu Ning couldn’t help but recalled the situation where Brother San had introduced herself to Wang JiZhong, and had a few moments of amusement in her heart, but her face remain solemn and greeted the Second Company Commander: “Nice to meet you, Second Company Commander.”
Zhang YueGuo said: “Lao Xie, have you forgotten the discipline of our troops. How can you just bring someone in and is a girl? If the higher-ups find out about this, you will be punished.”
Brother San replied: “I can’t help it after being pestered by her, no choice since I have such a niece. It’s just as well that I have nothing to do, so I brought her along for target practice.”
Zhang YueGuo glanced at Gu Ning a few times and said: “That’s not bad. A young girl who can shoot? Have you ever touched a gun before?”
Gu Ning glanced at Brother San, then replied with a smile: “I have touched it before but I just don’t know if I can shoot accurately.”
Zhang YueGuo said: “Then since you’re Lao Xie’s niece, so your marksmanship must not be too bad. Zhai Jun, give your gun to this little girl and let her try it out.”
“Yes!” Zhai Jun handed the gun in his hand to Gu Ning.
Zhang YueGuo suddenly said again: “Hey! You should have unlocked the safety for someone before passing it to them!”
The soldiers of the Second Company burst into laughter.
Gu Ning took the gun and skilfully opened the safety, then smiled faintly at Zhai Jun and replied: “There’s no need. Thanks.”
Then she walked over to the shooting position and plopped down in the same position as those soldiers did previously.
Zhang YueGuo looked at Gu Ning’s posture on the ground and couldn’t help but grin: “Hey? Lao Xie, at least you could teach your niece the shooting position.”
Gu Ning had no time to be distracted.
She concentrated on aiming at the target at 100 meters distance away.
As far as one’s eyesight goes, a target that was 100 meters away was slightly blurry. However, in Gu Ning’s eyes, she could see every line of the circle on the target incomparably clear.
Amidst the din of the Second Company watching and jeering, there were a few moments of breathlessness from the Third Company.
Gu Ning stared at the very centre of the target a hundred meters away as if she saw the head of the zombie, and then she pulled the trigger.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! ——
Shot after shot exploded in the open air.
Ten shots in a row.
Less than a second apart.
As the gun went off, those soldiers from the second company stopped talking.
“I’ll go and see, I’ll go and see!” Zhang XiaoBai shouted as he ran towards the target. After tilting his head and taking a few serious looks, he didn’t dare to believe his eyes.
Then he came running back.
He had a few odd expressions on his face as he ran over and looked at Gu Ning for a few moments before shouting out to report.
The soldiers of the Second Company all gathered around, with relaxed expressions on their faces, and some even looks amused. There were even some soldiers that jeered: “Little girl, it’s normal to have an empty target! Don’t cry, we’re all old men, there won’t be anyone to pass you a tissue!”
This malicious remark prompted a burst of laughter from the Second Company.
Apparently, such jeering is very common here.
Those few men from Third Company just looked intently at Zhang XiaoBai waiting for him to announce the result.
With the strange and incomparable expression on Zhang XiaoBai’s face, it’s difficult to judge whether if it was caused by excitement or too much disappointment.
However, from the viewpoint of the Second Company, it was rightfully the latter.
Gu Ning stood up from the ground, handed the gun back to Zhai Jun, politely thanked him, and then gave a nod to Brother San. Brother San’s tensed face relaxed slightly.
“Report to the two company commanders!” Zhang XiaoBai’s face couldn’t hide his excitement: “Ten rounds on the target! Ten rounds, ten rings!”
The soldiers of the Second Company, who were getting ready for more taunting, froze, as did Zhang YueGuo, the commander of the Second Company, as well as the three soldiers from the Third Company.
A silence fell over the empty firing range.
Then, out of nowhere, a wild burst of laughter erupted!
Gu Ning, who was standing beside Brother San, was also startled.
Brother San vigorously patted Zhang YueGuo’s shoulder and said with a big smile: “Aiya! Lao Zhang ah, I forgot to tell you, Gu Ning is not only my niece but also the person whom I’m going to recommend to the Five Stars Brigade this time! Haha!”