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Chapter 267: Youth

    Chapter 267: Youth

    Translator: InsigniaEditor: Svjohn

    On the big field of the Desert City Second Junior High School, the instructor was shouting as loudly as he could. Hundreds of students were waving and thrusting their bayonets, wiping off their sweat under the scorching sun. It was imposing to see all the bayonets thrusted neatly at the instructor’s command.

    Under the pressure of potentially losing their country and having their tribes wiped out, the Reconstruction Area during the apocalypse had made military training a main subject along with some essential cultural learning. Students, especially male ones, spent almost half a day on the field.

    Their curriculum included shooting, weapon maintenance, stamina training, sharp weapon practice, and long-distance, weight-bearing running every morning. It was not any easier than the Special Forces training before the apocalypse.

    By consuming high-energy food, thirteen and fourteen-year-old teenagers had already grown up and become as strong and energetic as calves. Therefore, none of them fell behind. Although the training was tough, they all gradually adapted to it.

    Zhong Chuqiang was practicing absent-mindedly. He was not interested in the bayonet drill taught by the instructor, as he found it inadequate compared to Boss Luo’s knife skills.

    He thought that Wushu was all the same though because he had not point of reference for it. Nonetheless, even though he needed to learn the newest version of a bayonet drill revised by a well-known martial art master with experience in brutal combat, he felt uncomfortable and unmotivated. He just could not make himself focus. In other words, he could only unleash less than 30 percent of his strength.

    Still, his young age made him reticent and honest, so he followed all the instructions given to him. Actually, he just wanted to tackle his instructor so he did not have to practice the bayonet drill after class anymore. He wanted to practice Luo Yuan’s knife skills even harder instead. He hoped that he could become as strong and fearless as Luo Yuan.

    Used to living in such dark times as he was, he had a deeper understanding of the brutality of the world than most of his fellow students. People would be bullied by others if they were not strong enough. That did not just apply to humans, but to mutated beasts as well.

    He wanted to get stronger so he could protect himself and the people close to him.

    Although he was not putting his heart into it, his movements were still the best. He was even better than some of his schoolmates who had been practicing for a year. His movements were actually smoother than that of the instructor.

    Suddenly, a soldier beckoned to the instructor. The instructor replied with a nod before he shouted, "Zhong Chuqiang, step out!"

    "Yes, sir!" Zhong Chuqiang quickly broke team formation in a standardized trot.

    "Lead the team for the last ten minutes, then dismiss everyone," the instructor ordered him as he checked the time.

    "Yes, sir!" Zhong Chuqiang shouted, not surprised in the least. A similar situation had occurred enough times already. Being a teacher was merely a part-time job for the instructor. Meanwhile, he was also a garrison officer. On many occasions, he had been called out during class, and another student had acted as a substitute teacher to replace him.

    Once the instructor had left, the whole team started slacking off slightly. Many of them sighed in relief. The imposing instructor might have left, but none of them had started whispering among themselves or stopped practicing completely. They had just taken a momentary rest.

    The military management of the apocalypse differed from the old formalism. Other than excellent students, there were also reserve soldiers and armed workers. The schools were implementing military law, which meant that light offenders were expelled and major offenders were punished by death penalty.

    After continuing the dull drill for a while, the school bell finally rang and Zhong Chuqiang dismissed the class.

    Everyone cheered as they walked towards the school canteen exhaustedly, yet in a disciplined, orderly manner. Everyone was very concerned about collective education after all.

    Zhong Chuqiang was chatting with several of his close friends in a low voice. "Brother Qiang, our canteen has level four meat today," a tall friend with acne on most of his face said mysteriously.

    "Level four meat? What a luxury! How do you know?" another friend interrupted in excitement.

    "My aunt works in the canteen and she told me confidentially," the tall boy said. "I heard that a catty of meat powder is sold for 30 catties of food coupons outside."

    Sounds of excitement were heard from many of them.

    Zhong Chuqiang curled his lip, but he said nothing. He had gotten tired of eating that kind of meat while he’d been in the wild. He had eaten lots of meat, not just level four, but also level five and six. If he were to calculate its value, it must have been worth over 10,000 catties of food coupons.

    "That’s expensive! But we don’t know for sure how much we’ll get. Hopefully, we’ll get a catty each!" another student said as he began to fantasize, his mouth filling with saliva.

    "Consuming too much can cause a nosebleed. I think we can only get one or two tael. I heard that high-level meat is aphrodisiac. Eating it will make you burning hot and have you thinking of women," a student wearing spectacles said softly.

    "What if you’re a woman?" This type of topic was undoubtedly a popular subject among young boys.

    "They must think of men, too!" the fellow in the spectacles said in excitement as he looked up. Then he suddenly saw someone, and said, "Oh, Brother Qiang! That beautiful mutated girl with the greenish skin is looking for you again."

    Zhong Chuqiang furrowed his brows and said, "Shut up, I’ve told you that she’s not mutated. Nevermind, you won’t understand, even if I explain."

    Young girls going through puberty change every day. After being parasitized by the parasitic moss, the process seemed to have occured even faster for Chen Jiayi. In only about a month, she had grown into a beautiful, graceful girl like a budding snow lotus. The shape of her body had also changed from a thin figure to a perfect hourglass figure.

    Her light green skin looked fine and smooth, emitting a glistening radiance that looked like jade. The parasitic moss had made her body change fast, giving her a new life, but also making her become quieter.

    The two of them walked aimlessly around the deserted field, not saying anything. Chen Jiayi had gotten used to the silence, but Zhong Chuqiang, who was attracted by her beauty, kept casting furtive glances at her.

    He had just reached puberty himself, and a companion he used to share hardships with had suddenly become very beautiful and attractive. This had made him feel strange and enormously stressed at the same time. He no longer even dared to look into her eyes.

    At last, Chen Jiayi broke the silence. She seemed to have spaced out for a while before she suddenly recovered.

    "Tomorrow is our monthly day off. Are you going back?" Chen Jiayi asked softly.

    "Back where? To Luo Yuan’s house?" Every time he met Luo Yuan, he felt nervous and just couldn’t relax. He automatically answered, "I can’t. I’ve recently started participating in reserve duty and I may be needed for volunteer work at the army camp during our day off."

    "I see. Deng Chao might go, too," Chen Jiayi said disappointedly.

    When Chen Jiayi mentioned Deng Chao, Zhong Chuqiang felt a strange, uncomfortable feeling. He said nothing, though.

    They seldom saw each other, as they had been too busy after starting school. Although they did not meet, Zhong Chuqiang still heard Deng Chao’s name around.

    It was rumored that Deng Chao had been put in confinement for a day during the first day of school, because he had fought with his instructor.

    After that incident, nobody had bullied him, and his relationship with the instructors had gotten better. He had even become good friends with them. Many army commanders wanted to meet him in person and from what people said, he had been asked to join the army. Soon after he graduated, he would be offered a position as Second Lieutenant.

    Compared to how famous Deng Chao was in school, Zhong Chuqian was a nobody. Very few people knew about his talents.

    "Has anyone bullied you recently?" Zhong Chuqian changed the topic. He did not want to talk about Deng Chao.

    "No," Chen Jiayi said sadly. Ever since she had been parasitized by the moss, her body had been enhanced tremendously. She had become even stronger than Deng Chao and Zhong Chuqiang, so nobody dared bully her.

    In fact, nobody even wanted to talk to her. They all treated her like a monster. Everyone kept a distance from her, even though they knew her. She could still vividly remember the moment the moss had parasitized her body and the panic in everyone’s eyes. Only Brother Luo had trusted her and not cared about her skin or the moss underneath it.

    Zhong Chuqiang did not know how to lighten the mood. They no longer had anything to talk about.

    "If there’s anyone bullying you, you can tell me. I’ll help you," he said clumsily after a while.

    "Okay," Chen Jiayi answered absent-mindedly. After some thought, she said, "Lately, I’ve been feeling like I can’t catch my breath."

    "Are you sick?" Zhong asked worriedly, taking a quick look at her light green skin.

    "I’m not sick, I’m just not feeling right. I thought I should let you know," Chen Jiayi said, her face turning grave as she looked at him.

R: Way of Choices(Ze Tian Ji), The cultivation of the rebirth of the city, The martial arts master, Horizon-Bright Moon-Sabre, Hidden Marriage, Romance of Three Kingdoms, I Came From The Mortal World, Absolute Choice,