Book 5 Chapter 5.5

Book 5 Chapter 5.5 - The Light Before Dusk

Meanwhile, Li Gaolei, after handing command duties over to Li with a bitter smile, didn’t return to Steel Gate either, instead staying by Li’s side, fighting against the Alloy Brotherhood together with her. The continuous battles already increased his area control ability to the second level, which was equivalent to a sixth level ability. He could now increase the offense, defense, or speed of friendly forces within his area of control by one-third, and simultaneously hinder the actions of enemy troops. In smaller scale battlefields, this was an ability that was enough to decide the direction of the battle. 

Li Gaolei similarly didn’t care much about the glory that came with winning, but rather just didn’t want anything unexpected to happen to Li. 

What about Su? Right now, Su, who was silently watching the soldiers training below, what were his goals?

Steel Gate’s power was expanding at flying speed, the steel and energy that represented the potential for war still abundant, and the number of people available greatly exceeding everyone’s original expectations. A single recruitment post made the refugees who were hiding throughout the vast wilderness flock over, and after qualified individuals were selected, they would undergo a month of bitter training before being sent out onto the battlefield to be used as the lowest level cannon fodder. However, even so, the survival rate of cannon fodder was much higher than living as refugees in the wilderness. In addition, by joining the army, it meant that one obtained the basic ability to take care of a family. Refugees didn’t have families, but that didn’t mean they didn’t want one. 

Those that could enter the the army were few in number, but the refugees that gathered in Steel Gate didn't feel despair. With the military machinery fully starting up, the steelworks, military factories, and all types of service organizations greatly lacked manpower. Meanwhile, the places that lacked workers the most were the iron ore mines, coal mines, and other rare metal mines. Most of the excavating machinery for these mines had already stopped, shut down or were abandoned, so to a great extent, it returned to the traditional manner of manual labor. This not only signified the lowering of work efficiency, but it also meant an increase in accidents. Every few days, a mining disaster would happen to mines big or small, resulting in the deaths of several dozen people. However, if one was counting mortality rates relative to the ten thousand miners, then it wasn’t all that great. This type of mortality rate was similarly far lower than that of refugees surviving in the wilderness. 

Just like what Su learned, war was a double-edged sword. With destruction came a great need. Of course, these needs were temporary and couldn’t be duplicated, as well as imaginary in the case that the large amount of destructive power couldn’t be exchanged for land, resources, and population. 

Even though people died on the battlefield every day, Steel Gate, whose war potential was now fully started up, took in over a hundred thousand robust men, as well as providing for three times the number of elders and other family members. Along with their expansion, this number was still increasing, the upper bound of the expansion a million and two hundred thousand. This was the extent of Steel Gate’s water purifying facilities. Based on Su’s original calculations, the limit that the current water purifying facilities could provide for was eight hundred thousand, and after deducting the three cities’ population of more than two-hundred thousand, they could provide for another five hundred thousand at most, all of this under the premise that all water was allocated perfectly. However, in just a single year’s time, the refugees they recruited already underwent great changes. They became more robust, their adaptability towards their surroundings greatly strengthening, their potential to evolve simultaneously rising rapidly. Many of them could already rely on water with medium levels of radiation for survival, which meant that close to half of the wilderness’ land was already suitable for survival. 

Apart from this, the number of ability users that emerged from refugees was clearly rising. Because the numbers they were working with were just too large, almost a larger half of the robust men chosen to become soldiers already had one level of ability, a smaller half even having two levels. After conducting physical examinations, those with the potential to develop three levels of ability exceeded a hundred as well. This type of ratio for ability user emergence was already close to that of pure-blooded humans under the strict protection of Dragon City. 

Under extremely vile environments, the birth cycles of refugees were shortened once again, the average birth age for women now at an all time low of ten years, to the extent where there were those who gave birth at the age of seven. 

The emergence of powerful abilities, resistance towards vile environments, and substantially increased fertility meant that the refugees’ level of adaptation to this world full of radiation was quickly rising. If one were to use the words of the olden era, their position in this world might not necessarily be seized by the abnormal mutated organisms who were breeding like flies. On the contrary, it seemed like the pure-blooded creatures who were hidden behind layers of protection were the ones with slightly slower speeds of evolution, the number of ability users they produced starting to be caught up to by the refugees. 

However, mutation didn’t come without costs, but rather the opposite, paying an extremely heavy price. Refugees generally produced large amounts of mutated tissues, and the mutated cells were extremely similar to the olden era’s cancer cells, growing uncontrollably and irregularly. Mutated tissues, together with accelerated physiological cycles, lowered the average life expectancy of refugees to about thirty years old, assuming of course, that nothing unexpected happened. Meanwhile, along with the speed of technological and ability advancement, Dragon City’s pure-blooded humans’ average life expectancy was close to a hundred years, while ability users further exceeded this number. 

Two different environments, two different fates, two different paths from what was originally one human race. As for which was superior, this was something that would only reveal itself after several decades or centuries. In this cruel era, the process wasn’t important, results decided everything. 

It was Su who initiated this war. 

After unifying the western great lakes region, by relying on his terrifying individual strength to intimidate all powers who dared retaliate, Su immediately initiated war in the southwest direction, moreover investing all of Steel Gate’s resources into this. Now, Steel Gate’s army that was fighting on the front lines already reached three thousand, the number defending the three core cities two thousand, and there were five thousand currently being trained and prepared. After another half month at most, they would be sent out onto the battlefield as rookies. Meanwhile, the number of refugees who were on the waitlist to be recruited numbered over three hundred thousand!

The fear towards his unified army, as well as his decision to immediately initiate war, caused Su’s name to quickly spread into the surrounding regions, a name that was becoming more and more resounding. Only, in front of this name, those that feared him added a new title, calling him the Apostle of Hell. There were others that called him the Spreader of Death. 

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Finally caught up! I will work on owed chapters starting tomorrow

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