Chapter 332: Meeting in the City (Part 1/3)
The climate was very abnormal, which was reportedly due to the melting of the polar ice caps. In the month of November, the cold air currents went straight south, pushing the wet and cold ocean winds through and past the city. Xia City, or Summer City, was a coastal city, and it turned into a city whose name didn't correspond to reality. It was like it had entered winter a month ahead of time.
A layer of frost unexpectedly had formed on the outside of the windows of this morning's classroom. Luckily, this physics course was held in a large classroom. Three hundred or so people were packed inside. There wasn't any need for heating equipment. The entire classroom was rather warm.
Luo Nan sat in the row next to the windows. He was focused on listening to the lecture and taking notes. Various knowledge points and their corresponding figures and formulas presented themselves in tree-shaped branches on a standard holoscreen. They were organized by categories and were arranged clearly. The serious effort Luo Nan was putting in gave off the appearance of a budding brilliant student.
If Xue Lei hadn't been Luo Nan's classmate for the past month, Xue Lei might have been baffled by Luo Nan's current actions.
"Hey, don't you have an appointment this morning?"
"It's a meeting." Luo Nan didn't even raise his head while correcting Xue Lei.
"Are you leaving after this class? I'll go with you."
"...You want to skip the next class?"
Xue Lei was baffled. "I have to skip class if I'm going."
"Then don't go. In any case, the agreement doesn't require me to appear in person."
Luo Nan confused Xue Lei with a few sentences. Then the school bell rang, and the first class of the day ended. The lecturer motioned that it was break time, and the classroom roared with chatter. It turned clamorous in an instant.
Luo Nan continued to adjust the composition of his notes on the holoscreen. The core details within didn't come from himself. They were Worker Zhai's writings. Practically all the knowledge points of the high school stage was covered within. What Luo Nan had to do was stuff all these details into his brain, then do the corresponding training of great intensity.
Needless to say, Luo Nan felt his train of thought grow much clearer ever since he took some tutor lessons from Worker Zhai. The effects were rather instant, akin to setting up a pole and seeing its shadow.
Luo Nan was neither hurried nor slow, puzzling Xue Lei even more. Xue Lei simply gave him a push, "What in the world do you mean?"
"The meaning is to divide the mind into its own manifestation. Two minds attend to two things... like so."
Xue Lei's eyes were bulging from their sockets hearing Luo Nan. In Xue Lei's moment of daze, Luo Nan finally finished making adjustments to his notes and stretched out. A student just so happened to open a window. The frigid and wet wind came pouring in, clashing with the warm air within the room. It jolted the minds of a few drowsy students.
Luo Nan and Xue Lei both turned their heads to look out the window. Looking toward the northeast from their location, through the buildings strewn at random, provided the sight of the wetlands jungle at the ends of the gray-white clouds. The jungle had a dark hue to it as well, mixing with the color of the sky. It was hard to distinguish at first glance.
Normally, watching this view was insignificant. But after hearing of Luo Nan's plans, Xue Lei inevitably found his imagination running a bit wild. "It... is in the jungle right now?"
"Mm, acting as an overseer," Luo Nan blurted out a few words, then suddenly laughed, "It's really useful."
Xue Lei felt the oddness of the situation. He looked at Luo Nan once more and only felt that Luo Nan's smile was a bit chilly and quite awkward.
Luo Nan didn't say much else. He stood up, walked to the window, and looked toward the wetlands jungle in the distance. The skies were dark and gloomy, and glimmering reflections of light could no longer be seen from the river that wound between the trees. The river appeared like a long, gray belt. It was half-hidden and half-present, and it cut deep into the jungle. Some waterbirds flapped their wings and flew. They could be considered lively, but the scale was far different from the spectacle of a few days ago.
"It was a Mutant! A godd*mn Mutant! That fellow's destruction of this place has pushed back our work by ten years!"
A small boat was making its way down the long winding river, while the waterbirds flew toward the skies. There were four people aboard. Two young men held wooden oars. They used the most primitive of methods to power this small boat. They were so tired that their tongues wagged out of their mouths. They also had to endure the incessant jabber and mutterings of an old man. For a time, they wanted to jump in the river and drown themselves.
The old man that was giving them enormous mental pressure was named Wu Zunliang. He was an elderly man, having reached the age of ninety this year, but his mind was still hale and hearty. Even spending long periods outside the city for scientific exploration was a walk in the park for him. Sample surveys within the campus were not enough to exhaust his surplus of energy. This made his tongue engage in idle chatter all the more.
"I can hear the rumbling noise of machinery even though we're two kilometers away. This is undoubtedly pollution. The group who issued the construction permit is made up entirely of grandkids…."
The chaotic event a week ago had sent the ecosphere of the wetlands jungle into a complete sloppy mess. The sudden descent of the cold winds combined with this, making things worse in a bad situation like adding hail to snow. This made all the scholars, professors, and researchers of zoology, botany, ecology, genetics, and other fields of the school all cry to the point of being unable to shed tears.
Times like this made the certain number of people, who were engaging in construction work in the jungle despite the vile circumstances, become targets of loathing and hate. What a pity. Realistically speaking, their negative emotions were utterly useless. All sorts of documents were completed for the construction team at the north bank for Gear. They held permits from the Environmental Protection Department and the school. The construction followed the requirements very strictly. Their work was practically perfect.
Wu Zunliang prided himself on his seniority. He wanted to call the construction to a halt to avoid affecting the ecology of the wetlands and turning it into something even more disastrous than its current state, which was already on the verge of collapse. However, the results of his efforts left him very disappointed and very unhappy.
He was upset. He needed to curse out to vent his feelings. Anyway, his naggy old wife wasn't by his side. No one scolded him.
The tall and slender woman at the bow of the boat glanced back just before the two experimental working dogs of boatmen were about to go crazy. She smiled and said, "Professor, it isn't wrong for them to call you a grandpa looking at the ages. The sudden appearance of all these big nephews is giving me a slight headache."
Old Man Wu pointed at her. "You want to be an aunt at your young age? Why don't you find a boyfriend? What ever happened to the one introduced by Old Pan?"
"If you can't remember, Professor, then I can't either."
The tall woman adjusted the wide-brimmed hat on her head. Then she swept her gaze across the two bitterly pained experimental dogs. "You seniors must be tired. Let's switch?"
"No, no, no, no!" The two experimental dogs spat out their tongues as they nodded their heads and wagged their tails. They coincidentally decided to row with all their strength, to prove that they had a surplus of energy.
The woman dressed in hunting clothes didn't say much else. She continued to chat with Old Man Wu, "Professor Pan's body is in ill health recently. She's been getting insomnia quite often. Her personality makes it so that she would mentally attend to Gear at the north bank if a situation were to occur with it. It is better for the repairs of Gear to finish during these messy times to avoid further matters from popping up in the future."
Old Man Wu smacked his lips as he listened to his student speak about his wife. He didn't say any other words of blind worry over other people's business.
Wu Zunliang didn't stop for long, though. He looked at the two shores of the long river, saw the sad situation of the jungle, and couldn't help himself from cursing once more.
"Mutants are crazy things that cause utter destruction. Why the hell is Cloud City Water Village raising one? That dogsh*t ocean shop. I. Never. Should. Have. Helped. Them. In. The. First. Place!"
Old Man Wu stomped his feet with his head hanging down to his chest. He stomped once per word, and the wooden boat swayed back and forth. It could capsize at any time. The two experimental dogs' faces were devoid of all color, while the woman dressed in hunting clothes at the head of the ship pressed down her wide-brimmed hat. She smiled as she watched Old Man Wu vent.
As a veteran ecology expert, Wu Zunliang extremely loathed and detested Mutants. The devastation and the continuous variations of these monsters destroyed the ecological theories of the times before the Third War. These monsters practically destroyed the entire worth of his past fifty years of life.
The next forty years had him obtain accomplishments as before. His publications increased his status. The people of the world were in awe of his change in area of research before old age, of his magnificent feat of a second climb to the peak. Little did others know, Wu Zunliang's love for this field of knowledge was nearly exhausted by how ugly and diverse the genetics of the Mutants were.
Over the course of several dozen years, practically all influence from Mutants were isolated from the wetlands jungle of Acumen College. There were extremely few places like this one that could evoke his ideals from the beginnings of his life. But today, even this place was defiled. Old Man Wu truly did feel that life wasn't worth living.
"I'm going to write a letter to the school. No, the city government! The group of grandkids of Cloud City Water Village, I will see that they will be penalized with their family fortune!"
"If you want to write, then write," the woman dressed in hunting clothes easily agreed. At the same time, she swept her gaze across the river shore and chuckled, "I'm quite interested in that rook. This sort of body type already far exceeds that of a common raven, don't you think? I believe that the appearance of one this large hasn't been seen before."
"Which one?" Old Man Wu turned around to look, and a large bird with black wings flew into the depths of the jungle without practically a trace. The river just so happened to bend right that moment. The trees in front were sparse, and a lake opened up before them. They could faintly see Gear of the north bank towering above the lake. It was spattered with rust.
When truly seeing the building, Old Man Wu, who had been cursing and grumbling all this time, was speechless. He looked at the building for a long while, before turning and asking about the crow, "Did you get a picture?"
"I already sent it to your email…. Professor, I have an appointment. I'll need to leave early today."
"Oh, yeah. You mentioned this yesterday. You can go. There's nothing going on now anyway. Oh, there's water all around us. Let the little deers row a bit longer."
The two experimental dogs had hearts filled with tears, but they had to agree with the professor.
"Yeah, let us keep rowing for a bit."
"Just reach the shore. Students of mine can't possibly get lost in the jungle."
Old Man Wu bellowed with laughter.
The wooden boat approached the shore in a short while, and the woman dressed in hunting clothes nimbly jumped onto the shore. The small boat pulled some distance from the woman's force at the bow.
Old Man Wu shouted, "Come back home for dinner!"
"No need. There's someone taking care of food for me." The woman dressed in hunting clothes waved her hand. She turned around and entered the forest. In the blink of an eye, not a trace of her could be seen.
Old Man Wu sat back down at the stern of the boat. He turned to look at Gear facing the shore. He sighed as he patted the ridge of the boat, "Control the speed. Don't forget to take some samples."
The Gear at the north bank had much of its surface area on fire. Over the course of a few days, the exterior of Gear looked to have been restored to its original appearance. It always emanated a feeling of great change to it, of the scouring of time, and this made the aesthetic needs of its external form not too high.
The current work progress mainly had to do with the installation and remodeling of the internal equipment and facilities. The destruction caused by the departed Tank during the day of Headquarters' operation included the central control room. The central control room was nearly razed to the ground. The water cannons let out by the fire fighting devil ray had also caused great electrical damage. All sorts of cables needed to be buried and reinstalled.
The construction workers and technicians were carrying equipment in and out. It was a work scene that was buzzing with activity.
The rook flapped its wings as it sharply halted its falling descent to the ground. It stopped steadily atop the railing of an observation deck at the roof of the building. This position allowed it to see the figures of people entering and exiting. Even a little of the interior of the building could be seen through the glass windows.
There was a construction worker inside one of the rooms. He pushed a high precision imaging equipment. He moved openly through the various floors of the building. People would come over to him from time to time, and he would enter data obtained from other locations. He continued to revise the parameters, establishing a database that was likely even more meticulous than the original design drawing.
The scope of work and intensity of the construction worker, when converted to value, already far exceeded the payment offered by the school.
The crow stared coldly at everything. It flapped it wings several seconds later, flying across the wetlands jungle, which was still in a sorry state. It made its way out of the school, and it entered the large activity area.