Chapter 173 Market Disequilibrium
Seven to eight burly men had surrounded Zhou Qingfeng and Butcher. Apparently, they thought that Zhou Qingfeng and Butcher were not only weak; they also thought that the pair were fully equipped and possessed some extra resources. So, they wanted to take advantage of Zhou Qingfeng and Butcher. The bald leader blocked Zhou Qingfeng’s path and pushed him to the ground, trying to show his power.
However, Zhou Qingfeng swiftly pulled out a Colt revolver from his left thigh and pressed it firmly against the bald man’s throat. He then sneered, “Do you really think that you can take advantage of me simply because you have more men?”
The bald leader did not expect Zhou Qingfeng’s speed and bravery, but most importantly, he underestimated his strength. He felt suffocated after Zhou Qingfeng’s revolver dug into his neck. However, he rebuked, “B*stard, shoot me then if you’re not afraid of death!”
The bald man’s subordinates pulled out their guns one after another as they pointed their muzzles at Zhou Qingfeng. They cursed angrily, demanding that he put his gun down immediately and compensate them.
Butcher stood behind Zhou Qingfeng, squinting. Although there was no word nor movement from him, he was already ready for action. He said calmly, “Victor, I really don’t like the feeling of being treated like a monkey by others. I’ll take action soon if you’re not going to do anything at all.”
Many conflicts arose during the cataclysm, and deaths occurred in the black market every single day. Therefore, the passersby around them were not surprised at the scene, and all they did was stay away from them. Everyone felt that Zhou Qingfeng and Butcher were unfortunate, as they had to face seven men at once.
Due to having the numerical superiority, the bald leader did not feel fear, even though a gun was pressed against his throat. Instead, he continued threatening Zhou Qingfeng, “B*stard, you better put your gun down now, or else you’ll regret doing it. I swear you’ll regret it.”
“Oh… well, all right then.” Zhou Qingfeng seemed to obey his opponent’s suggestion, as he unexpectedly put his revolver back inside his holster. However, he then swiftly dashed toward the back of the bald man. By doing that, he successfully evaded being the target of all the muzzles.
The bald man felt pain in his throat after the removal of the barrel of the Colt. He rubbed his neck and turned his head around, before cursing, “Do you think I’ll let you go? I’ve said that you’ll regret this, and I’ll let you regret now!”
Everyone turned their attention to Zhou Qingfeng, but Butcher was the one who acted instead. The bear-like man quickly pulled out his gun and began shooting at a very fast pace.
Bang bang bang! After several consecutive shots, the seven men who originally surrounded Zhou Qingfeng were shot. The bald leader was still turning his head around as he tried to retaliate. However, once the shots were fired, he lowered his head just to find out blood gradually spreading across his chest.
Butcher quickly reloaded his gun before putting it back into his holster. He took two steps forward and pushed the shot bald man to the ground, mumbling, “I’ll only say it once: I really don’t like the feeling of being treated like a monkey by others.”
Everyone around was all in a state of shock. After the matter was settled, Zhou Qingfeng decided to free the kid, who previously wanted to steal from him. The kid looked at the backs of Zhou Qingfeng and Butcher, before immediately searching through the corpses. Fortunately, he was not that greedy either, as he quickly ran away after getting himself two guns and several magazines.
On the other hand, Zhou Qingfeng did not even respond to Butcher’s gunfire. Instead, he continued walking forward, and soon entered a store nearby.
The owner of the tent store was a tall, thin white man, and he seemed to have witnessed the whole battle that occurred outside his store. After Zhou Qingfeng entered his store, he greeted him warmly, “Sir, how can I help you? We’ll be able to meet your every single need.”
The light inside the tent was dim, but a tactical assault vehicle equipped with an M2HB heavy machine gun was placed at the center of the tent. Zhou Qingfeng walked to the side of the assault vehicle, looking very interested in it. He asked, “How much is this?”
“It’ll cost five hundred thousand Bottlecaps.”
“They’re a virtual currency for our black market and are widely used after the cataclysm. At the same time, we can barter too. We sell firearms over here, and we buy medicine, food, and other household items at high prices.”
“Can’t we just use gold to pay you?” Zhou Qingfeng still has several tons of gold with him.
However, the store owner laughed, “Sorry, but gold isn’t particularly needed right now. Maybe we’ll need some gold when we’re about to establish our currency system in the future. But for now, we need more physical goods. In fact, if you need gold, I can give you a special offer."
A poorly printed purchase order was handed to Zhou Qingfeng. He glanced at it and found out that the prices of food and medicine were extremely high. For instance, the price of canned meat actually required five bottlecaps, which means that they would need ten thousand cans of preserved meat to buy the tactical assault vehicle.
The item prices were extremely expensive, especially considering the fact that they were in Wasteland. This was mainly because a tactical assault vehicle would not be able to fill up the stomachs of starving people, while canned meat would allow them to live another day. However, it was a completely different case for Zhou Qingfeng.
Zhou Qingfeng asked, “Where did your weapon come from?”
“We, the Skull and Bones, set up this store ourselves, and we got our supplies from several large U.S. Army arsenals. Sir, no matter how much firearms you need, we’ll be able to satisfy you.”
“Do you guys have FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile?”
“How about tanks?”
“We’re sorry, but those heavy weapons are not for sale.”
“Do you guys have any fuel for sale then?”
“Once again, we apologize. As the fuel consumption is now much higher than the food consumption, we, the Skull and Bones, prohibit any outflow of the fuels.”
“I’m looking for some large-caliber sniper rifle as well….”
“Yes, we do have all kinds of models and ammunition for the sniper rifles, and most importantly, they’re dirt cheap.”
“Anti-infantry mines? Rocket launchers?"
“Yes, yes, we have all of them.”
“What about slaves? I need some slaves who possess special skills.”
“We have literally countless of slaves in supply. Nowadays, everyone is starving. In order to keep themselves alive, they’re now selling themselves. Just tell us which kind of slave you are looking for, and we’ll get it for you.”
After the inquiry, Zhou Qingfeng walked out of the tent alongside Butcher as they entered several shops to continue shopping. They soon discovered that Skull and Bones was actually selling a large number of weapons used by the infantries. They also had no shortage of professional slaves. They offered everything except fuel, food, and medicine.
As a matter of fact, everyone in Wasteland now lacked fuel, food, and medicine. Although Skull and Bones had controlled the New York’s land passage to the north, it was still too difficult for them to support millions of people within their control.
However, Zhou Qingfeng and Butcher were excited at the market disequilibrium. The former lowered his voice and said, “We might be able to use this opportunity and make some profits out of it! At the very least, we’ll be able to upgrade our weapons.”
“There are mountains of canned food kept inside the air-raid shelter of NYPD Headquarters.”
"There are also a large number of military blankets, simple yet practical medical devices, as well as several old-fashion generators and pumps.”
"All of these can be used to exchange for our scarce supplies."
“We can also ask for help from David Lawrence. After all, he’s now a junior assault unit leader of the Brotherhood of Steel, and he currently has over a hundred of men under him.”
Zhou Qingfeng’s plan seemed to be so flawless to an extent where one could hardly believe it. After he told Lena Fox his plan, Miss Fox immediately ordered some men to collect the information about the prices of Brotherhood of Steel. The result: Except for heavy weaponry and fuel, which were heavily regulated, other materials could be exchanged for food.
Zhou Qingfeng was able to contact David Lawrence with ease as well. The newly promoted junior assault unit leader was leading a one-hundred-man team. However, the supplies which he received from the Brotherhood of Steel were not sufficient at all. Therefore, he too was eager to earn some money.
Lena Fox found a tugboat and hired hundreds of people as hard laborers. She ordered the hard laborers to head toward Manhattan, and with the help from David Lawrence’s men, they were able to move tens of millions of canned meat as well as other supplies out of the air raid shelter within half a month’s time.
Zhou Qingfeng initially thought that the secrets of the air raid shelter would be discovered once they left the NYPD Headquarters. However, although the NYPD Headquarters had indeed been ransacked several times, the air raid shelter in the underground parking lot remained hidden.
After two days of hard work, Zhou Qingfeng returned to Kennedy Airport’s black market with twenty thousand cans of food.
“Are you sure that there's still someone else out there who’s willing to eat this sh*t?” Butcher stood on the bow of the small tugboat and vomited. He felt disgusted after opening a can of Spam—which was old enough to be his granddad—and tasted the black pepper-flavored pink meat.
After careful identification, they discovered that most of the canned foods were actually leftovers from World War II. These canned Spam were treated as one of the two major enemies of the U.S. military, with gonorrhea being the other one.
“Someone will eat it as long as it can fill up his stomach. No one will care whether it tastes good or bad anymore in this era.” Zhou Qingfeng then ate some Hershey’s chocolate, which was also from the World War II era, and found that the chocolate too tasted like wax. "I believe that there will always be people who will need them.”