Chapter 56: Exchange
The café was very messy. All the food was definitely gone, but nobody took the equipment inside. Bai Yi very quickly used the equipment in the café to brew a cup of coffee for everyone. By now, the rest of them had already tidied up the café. It was definitely pleasurable to be able to drink a cup of rich and warm coffee in this cold weather.
“What is this taste, it’s so weird!” Martin took a sip and creased his eyebrows.
“Civet coffee, it’s the treasure of the original owner Yoshimoto; I’ve never tried it before either.” Bai Yi said.
“What treasure, it’s not even as good as the coffee I normally drink.” Martin shook his head.
“Civet coffee, produced in India. Coffee beans are one of the things on a civet’s diet, but the coffee beans cannot be digested by the digestive system. The coffee beans then ferment inside the intestines of the civet and are excreted out later. The locals then collect the coffee beans from its excrement and process it further, producing this ‘cat poop’ coffee. The taste is very unique, and I heard that the production volume is also very small…” Hong Qi Hua wanted to carry on speaking but Martin and Sara immediately spat out the coffee.
Cat... Cat poop coffee?
“Your interests are really too special.” Martin apparently couldn’t carry on drinking.
“People always liked to keep rare things as their treasures to display their own unique taste and status, even if these things aren’t actually that valuable. Actually, I don’t really like this taste either.” Bai Yi creased his eyebrows, but he still finished his cup of coffee. Not wasting food was one of the basic qualities of a chef.
“It’s just like that thing that I saw it on television awhile back, that Paris Fashion Show. The so-called ‘fashionable’ clothes that the models were wearing just looked like a few rags wrapped together, but they still treated it as the ‘fashion trend’. It’s not even as nice as the clothes that I’m wearing now!”
Everyone looked at Woolf dumbly.
“What’s wrong, why are all of you looking at me?”
“No, nothing. I just didn’t expect that you would be able to occasionally see the truth.” Bai Yi said, and he himself couldn’t help but to burst out laughing. The others weren’t too different and they all started laughing. Actually, there were a lot of things that everybody knew, just that they didn’t bother saying it out loud.
“Warm up. While the sky isn’t dark yet, let’s try to see if there’s any gas.” Bai Yi said to the rest.
After finishing the coffee, Bai Yi split the group into 3 teams. Bai Yi and Martin were team one, while Woolf and Heloise were team two. The two teams would split up to look for gas in the city, and the rest of them would stay back to guard the place. There wasn’t enough gas left. If they couldn’t find some, then they would have to walk to Tongariro National Park.
The city was still very quiet. After all, this wasn’t like the zombie outbreaks in the movies. The two kinds of viruses were different. Binge eating and starvation caused those who still retained their rationality to leave the city that didn’t have any food left in it.
After more than two hours, Bai Yi and Martin didn’t manage to find anything, and upon seeing that the sky was getting dark, they returned to the main group. Everyone was waiting for Woolf and Heloise, but after a long period of time they stared in the direction that Woolf and Heloise went off in and creased their eyebrows.
Still not back!
“Drive the car into the forest and hide it well, then we’ll all go and search for Woolf and Heloise…” Just when Bai Yi thought that something had happened to the two of them, Sharpei suddenly started barking loudly. They then saw Woolf and Heloise running towards them with another two people beside them.
“Bai Yi, we found gas, but the other side wants something in exchange.” Heloise went towards Bai Yi and said softly.
“You are the leader of this team?” One of the newcomers observed Bai Yi’s group and said to Bai Yi.
“Yes, I am the leader.” Bai Yi nodded and at the same time observed the two newcomers silently.
“We are the only ones that have gas. You will probably have a very hard time finding more in the city. If you want some, then bring out something in exchange for it.”
“What do you want?”
“Food, this is a must. Other things like weapons are fine too.”
“How do you want to exchange this?”
“There’s no fixed way to exchange. After all, things are different from before. As long as we both feel that the terms are ok then we can do the exchange. Hurry up and decide. If you feel that it’s ok then follow us.” This guy looked rather skinny, as if he hadn’t eaten for days, but his mind was still rather clear.
“Where are we going for the exchange?”
“Of course it’s to our place, who would bring gas around everywhere?”
“Ok then, lead the way.” Bai Yi nodded. At least from what he could observe, the other side was still quite normal. However, when Bai Yi turned around he still nodded to Hong Qi Hua almost imperceptibly. Bai Yi negotiated with the two of them as the leader, while Hong Qi Hua went to warn the others to be careful after seeing Bai Yi’s gesture.
“They don’t seem to be bad people.” Martin said.
“We have a saying in China – You must always have the heart to guard against others!” Hong Qi Hua said. In reality, Hong Qi Hua had some things that she didn’t say. The two of them were too skinny, just like skinny dogs. They also retained more than 90% of their human appearance, but rather than saying they did not fuse with any genes, it was more accurate to say that they did not have enough nutrition to provide their activated cells with. To put it simply, they were malnourished.
Although Martin and the rest did not understand the saying too well, they still followed Hong Qi Hua’s words and held their weapons properly, secretly being on guard for anything.
Bai Yi gave the two of them a packet of dried meat, and tried to butter up to them deliberately. The two of them very quickly revealed quite a bit of information. They were apparently starving very badly, after receiving the dried meat, they didn’t stand on courtesy and started devouring it in the car while telling Bai Yi some things.
They belonged to the same team and were just struggling at death’s door in the city. At the start everyone wanted to go outside to look for food, but a large portion of them never came back after leaving. The wilderness became incomparably dangerous. Although there wasn’t much food left in the city, it was still the territory of humans. These people struggled to survive in the city and though the food was gone, they collected quite a bit of other resources.
“We’re here!” One of them said.
Bai Yi stopped the car and looked at the so-called gathering point. This place wasn’t remote, and it was right beside Whanganui River and a mini hydroelectric plant. The gathering point was initially a supermarket, and beside it was a flower shop. At this time, a group of people walked out from the supermarket and the majority of them looked extremely skinny. Their expressions were also incomparably gloomy and in despair.
The two groups observed each other and had their own thoughts silently.
“Welcome, welcome. What’s your name?” The leader still looked quite ‘normal’, he was about 2.5 meters tall with bulging muscles over his body. A boar’s tusks grew from his neck and his canine teeth stretched more than 10 centimeters outside of his mouth. A praying mantis-like sickle grew out from his right arm, while his left arm was in a huge bundle hidden inside his clothes and wasn’t visible.
“Mr Bai Yi then, I am Jodi.” This Jodi was very warm and drew closer familiarly. While introducing himself, he similarly looked over Bai Yi’s group. Wow, what a huge dog, that is a complete monster…
The other group was extremely terrified when they saw Sharpei and some of them even immediately raised their guns.
“Stop!” Jodi immediately stopped everyone.
“I’m sorry, your dog is too frightening, and they were also too agitated. I heard that you wanted some gas?” Jodi apologised on the surface, but he too looked cautiously at Sharpei. Seeing that Sharpei had no other movements, he finally relaxed a little.
“That’s right, we need some gas.” Bai Yi nodded.
“Please enter, we have gas here. We collected some while searching for food…” Jodi walked at the front and Bai Yi followed behind, the two groups of people still observing each other. There were quite a few people on the other side, more than 20 of them, but more than half were relatively skinny. It seemed that they didn’t have enough to eat for a long time. The other portion seemed to be healthier, but their expressions also seemed to be more ruthless.
Someone very quickly wanted to check their heavy truck, but Hong Qi Hua suddenly appeared beside the guy and grabbed onto the hand that was about to open the car door.
“What are you thinking of doing?” Hong Qi Hua asked calmly.
“Scram you little whore, can’t I take a look?!” This guy was even taller than Woolf, a full 3 meters tall. He looked just like an elephant and waved his hand at Hong Qi Hua. The guy waved his hand and Hong Qi Hua also exerted her strength at the same time. Their hands clashed together but the guy who was even bigger than Woolf was the one sent flying away. He flew about 4-5 meters and landed heavily on the floor.
A loud ‘boom!’ sounded as if a mini earthquake happened.
This immediately drew everyone’s attention and they all looked over, while Bai Yi stared at Jodi.
“Sorry, sorry, Maurice is a bit too impetuous. He just wanted to see what you guys have to eat, there were no evil intentions. But I didn’t expect that this little Miss would have such great strength.” Jodi laughed loudly and explained.
“Oh really, of course you guys can look. Just bring the gas to exchange; it’s that simple.” Bai Yi said.
“Sure, Mallory, bring out the gas.” Jodi nodded.
Bai Yi nodded to Hong Qi Hua and she brought the prepared Tentacle Slug and Giant Crab Alligator meat over. Tentacle Slug meat wasn’t too tasty, but it was good for staving off hunger. The Giant Crab Alligator’s meat tasted better, but the nutritional value was very average, probably around the same as how beef would be like to a normal human before. Anyway, it was all meat from evolved lifeforms, so it had much higher nutritional value than normal food.
Very quickly, Jodi brought the gas out, not only was there gasoline but various other types of gas. After that, Bai Yi and Jodi started to negotiate and barter over the terms of trade.
Seemingly… this Jodi wasn’t being too difficult. Although the meat he wanted was quite a bit, it was still within the acceptable range for Bai Yi. In the end, the two of them finally reached an agreement, and it was considered a happy business completed……?