GOR Chapter 358 Too Many People!
A group comprising of several vehicles were rapidly moving toward the east. Observing that, Chen Xiaolian frowned.
That was because he had noticed that the first vehicle among the group had a flag on it. It was the flag belonging to UN Peacekeeping.
These fellows were being absurdly foolish. All the vehicles had their lights turned on and the one in front even had a searchlight on.
These fellows were simply turning themselves into a source of light in the night.
If the rebel army had felt like giving chase, then this group would have naturally become their perfect target!
Chen Xiaolian sighed. Having said that, he did feel some joy at seeing them. He quickly rushed out and stood in the middle of the road.
A pickup truck was quick to charge over. Riding on it were a couple of mercenaries in combat uniforms.
The dazzling searchlight shone upon Chen Xiaolian’s face, causing him to feel irritated. However, he did not do anything. Rather, he raised up both hands and shouted loudly, “Hans, it’s me!”
Several of the mercenaries had raised up their guns to aim at Chen Xiaolian, issuing words of warning as they did. Soon however, Hans’ overjoyed voice came from the vehicle in the front!
“Chen?! Oh my God! It really is you? My God! This is a miracle!”
Pushing open the door, the German fellow ran out and embraced Chen Xiaolian and slapped him on his back vehemently.
Lin Leyan too, had walked over. Hans turned to look at Lin Leyan with a perplexed expression. Then, he stepped forward to embrace her. With a guilt-ridden face, he said, “I’m very sorry… we did not wait for you in the hotel… Lin, I’m sorry!”
“I understand. Under that circumstance, you can’t possibly risk everyone’s lives for mine alone,” said Lin Leyan with a sigh. “Seeing you all making it out from there alive makes me feel very happy.”
“I am very happy to see you as well. Did Chen save you? Once again?” Hans smiled.
The others from the organization had also stepped down from the vehicle.
Chen Xiaolian saw a few familiar faces.
The two women and Winston.
However, Winston appeared to be in slightly bad shape. One of the Australian youngster’s arms was resting on a sling and bloodstains could be seen upon it.
“Winston got hit by a bullet. When we were running away, some of the rebel soldiers blocked us and we had to force our way out. Winston is a brave young man. He led some of us to fight our way out but he ended up getting hit as a result.” Hans shook his head. There was a sorrowful look in his face. “Even so, we lost two good men.”
Chen Xiaolian did not say anything.
To be able to make it this far was already something to be thankful for. Nothing to nitpick about.
To Chen Xiaolian’s surprise, he also saw another fellow.
The African minister also ran out from the vehicle.
There was a look of shame in his eyes. However, when he saw Chen Xiaolian, a look of surprise overcame his face.
Chen Xiaolian felt himself respecting this fellow somewhat… it would appear that this fellow was not some simple grass-filled straw man .
Even within this group filled with unfamiliar faces, he was able to survive quite well. At the very least, for him to be able to sit in the leading vehicle, it would appear that there was a difference in treatment for him.
“My good friend! I am so happy to see you here!” The African minister sniffed and ran forward to hug Chen Xiaolian. However, Chen Xiaolian simply moved to shake his hand politely.
“It’s good to have you here,” Hans whispered to Chen Xiaolian. “We have quite the number of injured people here. Even the number of firearms is insufficient. I was worried that the rebel army might give chase… however, with you here, considering your skills, we will have a great boost in combat ability!”
After saying that, Hans tugged Chen Xiaolian and said, “Come, let me introduce a few people to you.”
This group of vehicles did not simply consist of the members of the peace organization that Hans was part of.
At present, the components of this group were more complicated.
Their group had a total of six vehicles:
Two pickup trucks, two jeeps, a van and a truck. The truck was the one that Chen Xiaolian had brought back.
There were over 60 people in the group.
Including Hans, the members of the peace organization made up one third of that number. There were only 19 of them. But now that Lin Leyan was here, there were 20 of them.
The other 34 people were the people of various classes from Kabuka City.
Among them were the guests staying in the hotel. Many of them were suspicious people. Some were involved in the arms dealing business, some in the smuggling business and some were among the rich of Kabuka City. These people had all joined up with this group to flee.
The biggest problem that Hans faced was that the group did not only comprise of young people. There were four old people and eight children. They were all members of the wealthy that had managed to escape from the city.
To Chen Xiaolian’s surprise, he actually saw another familiar face inside the group.
The Caucasian woman that he had brought back into his room that night?
Chen Xiaolian silently regarded Hans.
This fellow was a real saint. To think that he would accept so many people who would prove to be a hindrance with him as he escaped. And yet, they had still managed to escape from Kabuka.
This level of luck was nothing to scoff at!
However, Chen Xiaolian was surprised to find that the one with the highest authority in their peace organization group was not Hans.
The one with the highest authority was an American known as Schneider. He was a tall and thin fellow.
When Hans introduced them, Schneider had looked at Chen Xiaolian with an indifferent expression, neither hostile nor passionate, a very perfunctory look.
Chen Xiaolian himself had no intentions of showing any warm gestures in face of such an indifferent treatment. Since the other side was treating him in such a manner, he too greeted in an indifferent manner.
Hans sighed. After leading Chen Xiaolian away, he whispered to him, “Don’t mind him. He is a bureaucrat sent by UN Peacekeeping as a special member. That is why we have to listen to him. However, he does not exactly care about what goes on. That is why everyone would just listen to me.”
Chen Xiaolian nodded his head.
However, compared to Schneider’s attitude, someone else’s attitude made Chen Xiaolian felt irritable.
It was a mercenary leader known as Randall.
The six mercenaries were hired by the peace organization to ensure the security of their members within Kombia.
This Randall, a man who was around 40 years old was the leader of the mercenaries.
The first time Chen Xiaolian laid his eyes on Randall, he was able to sense a certain hostility within Randall’s eyes.
“You are that Oriental fellow who saved Hans’ group?” Randall managed to squeeze out a cold smile and extended a hand to shake Chen Xiaolian’s hand.
His palms were very rough.
“I hear that you are very powerful. Back when you saved Hans’ group, you personally killed off a team of rebel soldiers?” There was a clear look of ridicule and provocation in Randall’s face and he said, “I’ve never heard of such a powerful character. Not even in Blackwater.”
Chen Xiaolian waggled his eyebrows and said, “That was only because I had ambushed them. Besides, those fellows weren’t exactly what you’d call members of the regular army. Those rebel army consists of a motley bunch. Anyone with a uniform would probably be qualified to join them.”
“That’s quite true. How could those panicked civilians understand the difference between a professional soldier and an anarchist? Hans’ group probably mistook a bunch of anarchists with guns as the rebel soldiers,” said Randall bluntly.
Chen Xiaolian was in no mood to entertain Randall’s nonsensical blabber and he simply shut his mouth.
Randall regarded Chen Xiaolian from head to toe and asked, “How old are you?”
“That has nothing to do with you,” Chen Xiaolian replied with a faint smile.
Randall’s face became somewhat ugly to behold. However, he quickly turned his attention to someone else.
He saw Lin Leyan.
“Hey! You there, Ms Lin!” Randall strode over and stared at Lin Leyan. “You got out? Very good! I want to ask you something… where is the one responsible for protecting you? Where is James?”
Lin Leyan was surprised. Then, she looked at Randall with a saddened expression. “Very… I’m very sorry… James, he’s dead. A group of bandits surrounded us and trapped us inside a shop. James was killed by them…”
“Dead?!” Although Randall’s eyes had widened at the news, there wasn’t exactly what one would call sadness on his face. Rather, it was more toward dissatisfaction and annoyance. “He’s dead? Killed by bandits? Then how did you get out?”
Lin Leyan turned her gaze toward Chen Xiaolian and said, “He saved me.”
“You again?” Randall narrowed his eyes and stared at Chen Xiaolian. “My bro is a veteran soldier who had undergone professional training. He ended up dying to those bandits, but you managed to save her from them? This story… I don’t buy it.”
Chen Xiaolian felt somewhat unsatisfied as well and he pulled Lin Leyan to his side. Next, he spread both his hands and cast a gaze at Randall before saying coldly, “Then what do you want?”
“It’s simple, I need an explanation! One of my men was sent out to accompany and protect this woman. However, in the end this weak woman returned while my man who had survived through hundreds of battles died. This kind of story is absurd even by Hollywood standards!”
Chen Xiaolian narrowed his eyes and forced himself to endure. Then, he slowly said, “I’m very sorry that you lost a subordinate. However, reality remains. There is no such thing as buying it or not. You can either accept it or not, but that is the fact.”
Randall raised his eyebrows.
Two mercenaries with cold expressions on their faces walked up from behind him.
“Hey, what are you people doing!”
Hans rushed over and placed himself between Chen Xiaolian and Randall. There was a furious look on the German fellow’s face and he looked at Randall. “Mr Randall! May I ask what are you doing? We hired you to protect our members! Not to question them!”
“I’ve lost a subordinate, I need an explanation! A suitable explanation!” Randall had placed a heavy emphasis on the word ‘suitable’.
Lin Leyan extricated herself from Chen Xiaolian and walked out. She said, “Mr Randall, James died protecting me. I’m very, very sorry!”
“If he died, how could you not have died?!” Randall’s face suddenly turned red.
“Watch your words!” Hans shouted angrily and abruptly gave Randall a push. “Randall! Is this your professionalism?”
Randall stared intently at Hans while the two mercenaries beside him tugged him back.
Randall suddenly took a deep breath. Then, he made a gesture for both Chen Xiaolian and Lin Leyan.
His two fingers were pointed toward his eyes before pointing toward Chen Xiaolian and Lin Leyan.
His gesture meant: You better be careful! I will be watching you!
After that, Randall was pulled away.
Hans looked the unyielding mercenary’s back and frowned. Then, he whispered to Chen Xiaolian, “Sorry… I believe he did not mean anything bad. It’s just… the fellow who died, James is his brother.”
Chen Xiaolian was rather shocked and he turned to look at Hans.
“That’s simply how it is. Maybe the sadness became too much for him so he chose to direct his rage at you two. Wait a while until he calms down and everything will be all right.”
Chen Xiaolian nodded his head. Although he wasn’t exactly a helpful fellow, he was not one to go argue with someone who had just lost a loved one. However, seeing how that fellow’s emotions were a complete mess, Chen Xiaolian had no interest in going forward to chat with him.
Considering Chen Xiaolian’s temper, he would have just left. With his abilities, could the rebel army’s encirclement hold him back?
However, he then turned to look at Lin Leyan who had remained silent. He sighed.
Whatever, just escort the monk to the west. I’ll escort this woman to the border. After all, we’ve become friends. I can’t just leave a friend who is in danger. In Chen Xiaolian’s opinion, that was not how a person should behave.
In Hans’ opinion, Chen Xiaolian possessed outstanding battle strength. After joining them, if he were to join up together with the mercenaries, the security of their group will become that much higher. However, after seeing that discord between Chen Xiaolian and Randall, Hans decided against forwarding that suggestion.
After that, Hans arranged for Chen Xiaolian to join their group and had him sit in the van.
Their group were organized as such. The members of the peace organization would be seated in either the pickup trucks or jeeps. The other refugees would then sit in the van or the truck’s freight.
Lin Leyan refused Hans invitation to let her sit in the jeep. Instead, she had followed Chen Xiaolian and entered the old van.
Chen Xiaolian watched Lin Leyan as she got up the van. Without saying anything, she moved to his side and sat down beside him. He sighed and said in Chinese, “You don’t have to do this.”
Lin Leyan shook her head and said with a serious expression, “I just want to follow you.”
Chen Xiaolian raised an eyebrow but elected not to say anything.
Their group rested for a moment before continuing onward. This time, they were surrounded by people and Lin Leyan appeared more relaxed.
This was probably a common human nature. Being surrounded by their own would naturally bring about a sense of security.
Chen Xiaolian on the other hand did not lower his guard. He silently looked out the window and calculated their movement speed.
Coincidentally, the Caucasian woman was also within the medium-sized van. She cast an odd look at Chen Xiaolian and Lin Leyan.
The Caucasian woman was wearing a red dress. However, the dress had become ragged in many places and it was also stained with mud. She stayed very close to a fat, middle-aged African fellow. This fellow was likely one of the wealthy within Kabuka City and there were thick gold rings and bracelets on his hands. However, there was a gloomy expression on his face.
The Caucasian woman leaned as close to him as possible, doing everything she can to display a very submissive attitude.
The speed of their travel was very slow as the terrain was very bumpy. As they moved farther, they would even encounter fallen trees obstructing their way. In order to move forward, they would need people to get down to move the obstacles away.
Observing such an incident occur twice in a row, Chen Xiaolian’s mind gradually grew uneasy.
Something was not right about this!
For it to happen once could be attributed to coincidence. However, when they encountered this for the third time, he knew this was not a coincidence.
The fallen tree displayed clear traces of being cut off. If this was the act of those in the logging business, why would they cut down the tree and leave it in the middle of the road without taking it with them?
Hans’ face grew increasingly uglier as well.
In the end, after one hour had passed, their vehicles arrived at a big river. This time, their group came to a halt and everyone was left dumbfounded!
The river was around tens of meters wide and the waters flowed rapidly. Even though it was night, they were still able to clearly see the surging waves.
That however, was not the main issue. The main issue was…
There should have been a bridge leading across the river. At that moment however, that bridge had fallen!
Or rather, its middle part had been blown up!
Only the two piers on either side of the bridge remained. They stood there within the river despite the raging waves!
This was clearly done by human hands. Seeing that caused Hans’ hopes to fall apart!
Their group stopped beneath the section of the bridge and everyone got off the vehicles to look at the scene before them. Quite a few of them broke down in tears due to despair while some mentally collapsed and screamed out.
Chen Xiaolian frowned and walked until he was beside Hans. He asked, “Can you see anything?’
Hans bit his teeth and shook his head. “I can’t see anything. However, it must have been blown up.”
Chen Xiaolian sighed.
Clearly, this was not something that Zayad’s National Army did. It must have been done by the rebel army.
It would appear that there were some very able tacticians among the rebel commanders.
Circling around to attack the east side of Kabuka City, at the same time sending some men to blow up the bridge to the east of Kabuka… the road and transport situation in Kombia was very bad and this bridge was the only transportation hub in the east of Kabuka. Once the bridge had been blown up, the road heading east would become a dead end!
It did not matter if the ones escaping Kabuka City were soldiers or civilians. They would all be forced to a halt here and find it near impossible to escape.
It may be possible for some to swim over. However, the equipment and items that they brought along would have to be discarded!
Assuming that the soldiers from the National Kombian Army had made it here after escaping from Kabuka City, then would have to abandon their vehicles and a major part of their equipment here… thus, even if they were able to cross the river, the loss of that many supplies and military equipment meant that they would never again pose any threat to the rebel army.
This strategy was a very detailed one!
“They plan to do a clean sweep of everything eh,” said Chen Xiaolian with a wry smile.
He patted Hans’ shoulder and asked, “Is there any way out?”
Han’s face was ugly to behold as he stared at the river. He then whispered, “Very difficult… we’re in the rainy season right now and the water level of the river is very high. If we are in another season, then our jeeps might be able to make it across. But now… the water level is too deep and our vehicles would not be able to make it across… if we are to try to swim across… with so many elderly and young with us, I fear that would not be feasible. Even if we do make it across, we won’t be able to get far!”
Hans lowered his voice and said, “Without the vehicles, even if we do make it across the river, we’ll need to walk to the border. Walking to the border will take us at least four to five days! And that is only under the most ideal circumstance! Our group have too many children, weak and elderly!”
Chen Xiaolian nodded his head and replied, “Once the rebel army give chase and reaches this spot, they simply need a team of engineers to build a floating bridge here. After crossing that bridge, they will be able to continue giving chase.”
“Yes. This situation is too dangerous.” Hans shook his head. “Perhaps… we can leave a team behind to obstruct the rebel…”
As he said that, he glanced at Chen Xiaolian.
Chen Xiaolian coolly said, “Let’s not even go to whether I am willing to do that for you. Even if I am willing, this idea is a bad idea in itself. Obstruct? Obstruct for how long? How do I build a position? How do we even know if the rebel army would attack this spot and not make a detour? Additionally, there is one other simple fact. If a team is needed to leave behind and block the rebel army, who would stay behind? And who should go? Staying behind is the equivalent of committing suicide. In your opinion, who should stay behind while maintaining fairness?”
Hans sighed. “My idea is wrong.”
It was at that moment that someone walked toward them from behind. That person shouted loudly, “Hey! My friend, I have something to talk to you about! It’s important!”
Chen Xiaolian turned his head and saw the African minister standing not far away from the river side.
Chen Xiaolian gave Hans a glance. Hans simply waved his hand and the two peace organization members who were stopping the African minister allowed him through.
The African minister stepped forward and glanced at Chen Xiaolian before looking at Hans. He swallowed and said, “Without the bridge, we won’t be able to head east, am I right?”
“What are you trying to say?” Hans frowned.
“What I want to say is, maybe, I have a way,” the African minister said after hesitating for a bit.
Hans turned to look at Chen Xiaolian who shrugged and said, “Don’t look at me, I’m not that close to him.”
“Well then, what is your way?” Hans asked in a very hushed tone.
The African minister responded, “I know that you people are planning to reach the border in the east. Then, cross the border to enter Cameroon, right? I wanted to say, this is not a smart move.”
“Do you have a better idea?” Hans looked at the African minister.
“Of course! Of course!” The African minister quickly said, “I know this place nearby, a military pier… it’s a military one! Since the place is a secret place, the rebel army must surely not know about it. Forget the rebel army, only a small number of people in the Kombian government would know about it. That pier is… a place that President Zayad normally uses to transport smuggled goods.”
Hans’ eyes lit up.
Chen Xiaolian on the other hand was very calm. The African minister did mention this to him before, so he was not too surprised.
“That’s right, smuggled goods! Even the President needs to earn some money. Those smuggled goods were all transported off through boats using this pier. The river flows south to Congo.”
“Wait, you say there’s boats? To Congo?” Hans was immediately overjoyed. He swiftly pulled out a map from his chest and unfolded it. Then, he shone his flashlight upon it and inspected it for a moment.
A look of surprise and elation appeared on Hans face and he said, “It’s true! The river flows south to Congo! If we have boats, then… using the boats, we might be able to make it to Congo in only two days.”
The German fellow raised his head and looked at the African minister. He asked, “Is your information accurate?”
“Yes, it’s accurate.” The African minister hesitated for a moment before adding, “I’m the Deputy Minister of Transportation. I am the one who have to manage many of these matters. Besides… I am now part of your group. Would I take my own life and gamble with it?”
“Good!” Hans nodded his head.
He then called loudly for Randall and the other mercenaries. Then, he summarized the information given to him by the African minister and relayed it to them.
Randall listened to it until the end. However, he knitted his eyebrows and expressed his disagreement with the proposal.
“This information is not accurate,” Randall coldly said. “Even if what he said is true, who could guarantee that the pier would still have the boats at this moment? What if we arrive there to find that the boats had been taken away, or perhaps destroyed… when that happens, what do we do? Going toward the pier means going the opposite direction!”
Pausing, Randall quickly added, “My opinion is for us to move north, along the river upstream. We’ll find a suitable spot and think of a way to cross the river! If we’re lucky, we can find a spot where the waters are shallow. If so, our jeeps would be able to cross the river.”
Chen Xiaolian who was standing beside frowned. He was unable to stop himself from interjecting, “But we are now in the rainy season. The water level of the river is very deep and it would be very difficult to find a spot where the water level is shallow.”
“Then we’ll swim,” the mercenary coldly answered.
“What should the children and elderly do then?” Chen Xiaolian frowned. “Not everyone can swim across a river. Besides, after crossing this river, how far would they be able to cover by virtue of their physical strength alone?”
There was an indifferent look on Randall’s face who turned to look at Hans. Randall suddenly took a few steps forward and said frostily, “Mr Hans, we now face another issue, a very critical issue.”
Hans frowned and asked, “What is it?”
“You brought too many people with you!”
1 Grass-filled straw man. Someone who appears powerful but is in fact, not.↩
[TL: Even though Kombia is a fictional place, to those of you who got curious to where Kombia’s rough location is on the map and went to Google Maps like I did and went “Wait a minute!”. Umm… just consider GOR’s world to be a parallel world with a ‘minor’ difference. You know, like Earth 2? Eheheh.]