Chapter 111: Preparation
“One to four months…” Long Yuehong repeated the numbers in a daze.
Jiang Baimian sized him up a few times. “You don’t look scared? Is there anything troubling you? Let’s discuss it. Maybe there’s a solution?”
Before Long Yuehong could speak, Shang Jianyao answered for him. “He has recently been living a good life thanks to his mechanical watches, candy desserts, and bottled beverages. He walks with a bounce even in his steps. How can he bear to leave the company?”
“No I don’t?” Long Yuehong subconsciously retorted.
Shang Jianyao immediately asked, “Then, how much of the compensation do you have left, ignoring the contribution points you used to change your parents’ room?”
This question hit the nail on the head. Long Yuehong stammered and didn’t dare answer.
After receiving the compensation, he indeed led a carefree life. He often ate ordinary desserts worth 60 contribution points per pound. Occasionally, he would exchange for high-end goods worth 720 contribution points per pound.
As for sweets, pumpkins, and bottled beverages, they were par for the course.
This made Long Yuehong a hero in his siblings’ hearts and an object of envy for his friends. It also seemed much easier to get along with his female target.
Long Yuehong—who was too embarrassed to reveal his balance—could only take the initiative to say, “My mother introduced me to a girl recently. We met a few times, and we have fond feelings for each other. If our trip is going to take a month or two, I think it will be over between us.”
Jiang Baimian nodded in agreement. “That’s true. You and that girl are, at best, considered acquaintances right now. You can barely be considered friends. It’s impossible for her to wait for you after not hearing from you for two to three months.”
“Team Leader, is there a way to resolve this?” Long Yuehong asked eagerly, holding onto his last strand of hope. He knew that he couldn’t refuse the missions assigned by the brass. He only hoped that his team leader could teach him some practical skills so that he could confirm their relationship as soon as possible.
In any case, his team leader was a young woman. She should be able to grasp the mindsets of her own kind very well. Furthermore, she was smart.
Jiang Baimian thought about it seriously. “No. Even if I find a way to match the two of you together now, I’m afraid you will be more hurt when you return two to three months later when there’s no solid emotional foundation between the two of you.”
“Sigh…” Long Yuehong sighed.
Upon seeing this, Jiang Baimian casually consoled him. “This might not be a bad thing.”
“Huh?” Long Yuehong suddenly felt a little expectant, unsure what his team leader would say.
Upon seeing how serious Long Yuehong was, Jiang Baimian could only laugh dryly. “The next one might be better.”
At this moment, Bai Chen didn’t give Long Yuehong a chance to be sad and asked, “Team Leader, why are we going to Weed City?”
“To visit the Monks Conclave’s Glazed Pure Lands,” Shang Jianyao replied quickly.
The color in Long Yuehong’s face drained.
“What are you talking about?” Jiang Baimian explained angrily, “So this is the situation…”
She recounted the disappearance of an Old Task Force in Weed City and explained their mission.
“Isn’t this very dangerous?” Long Yuehong blurted out a question. “We have to pass by the Monk Wastelands, and we are dealing with an incident that caused an entire Old Task Force to disappear…”
He had deep reservations about the mechanical monk, Zen Master Jingfa. Long Yuehong was worried that he would become the fated one the next time he encountered Jingfa.
Furthermore, every mechanical monk had their own quirks and craziness. What if he encountered one that killed their target once they heard a sucky name?
The Monk Wastelands was rumored to be the place where the Monks Conclave’s Glazed Pure Lands was hidden. It gained its name because mechanical monks often roamed that area.
Upon hearing the Monk Wastelands being mentioned, Shang Jianyao’s thoughts jumped. “I wonder if Zen Master Jingfa has explained the Buddhist Dharma to Qiao Chu…”
Jiang Baimian was amused. “Such a sinful man should be made a mechanical monk. Think about it. An eagle, a pack of hyenas, and a bunch of beasts surround a metal robot and try their best to get close and hump it. However, the robot doesn’t mind at all. It sits on a rock and seriously chants the sutras in an electronic voice, preaching the Buddhist Dharma. Tsk, tsk…”
After fantasizing about it, Jiang Baimian retracted her thoughts in time and consoled Long Yuehong. “There’s no need to worry. We will plan a route to bypass the Monk Wastelands and enter Weed City from another side. Although it will be a much longer journey, it’s safer.
“When we reach Weed City, we will have the company’s intelligence personnel working with us and a certain amount of resources to mobilize. It won’t actually be that dangerous. Besides…”
Upon saying the word ‘besides,’ Jiang Baimian smiled. “This is an occasion that best suits Shang Jianyao’s performance. His abilities are limited in a gunfight. In a relatively peaceful environment where people often interact with each other, he is almost invincible.”
With that said, Jiang Baimian patted Shang Jianyao’s shoulder. “Make plenty of friends when the time comes!”
Bai Chen listened attentively and subconsciously thought of the scene of Shang Jianyao crazily ‘making friends’ after entering Weed City.
This made her shiver for some reason.
Bai Chen was very worried about the appearance of an organization named Shang Jianyao Brotherhood in Weed City.
At this point, Bai Chen instinctively turned her head to look at Shang Jianyao and noticed that the fellow’s eyes were bright and filled with spirit. Shang Jianyao also seemed eager to give it a try.
“Team Leader, let’s set off today,” Shang Jianyao suggested.
Jiang Baimian glanced at him. “Don’t think about it. You still have to cooperate with the investigations for the next three days.”
“Investigations?” Long Yuehong was a little confused.
Jiang Baimian then mentioned the Life Ritual parish and emphasized Shang Jianyao’s contribution.
“Uncle Shen’s Heartless disease was actually a result of this…” Long Yuehong finally realized that undercurrents were surging under the seemingly calm water surface during this period of time.
As he muttered to himself, he suddenly looked at Shang Jianyao. “When did you join a cult?”
“July,” Shang Jianyao replied frankly.
“Why did you join them?” Long Yuehong asked in confusion.
Shang Jianyao raised his eyebrows. “It’s fun. At the same time, I can leave clues for a future report.”
“Then, why did you participate so many times? Wouldn’t it have been fine if you reported it earlier?” Long Yuehong felt that something was amiss.
Shang Jianyao’s expression turned solemn. “Because the food was delicious. Holy Communion was especially delicious.”
There probably wouldn’t be any free Holy Communion in the future.
“…” Long Yuehong’s only reaction to this answer was a blank expression.
Jiang Baimian ‘comforted’ Shang Jianyao. “There must be many parishes in Weed City—some public and some secret. When the time comes, you can join as many as you want. You can freeload on as many Holy Communion instances as you want. I believe this won’t be too difficult for you, right?”
“Team Leader, let’s set off today,” Shang Jianyao suggested again with abnormal sincerity.
Jiang Baimian couldn’t be bothered to answer him. She turned her head and said to Bai Chen, “After reading the information, help me plan a few routes to Weed City.”
She then said to Long Yuehong, “In the next few days, apart from enjoying yourself as much as possible and spending more time with your family, you have to be mentally and physically prepared.”
“Yes, Team Leader!” Long Yuehong and Bai Chen loudly replied at the same time.
“Not bad; very spirited.” Jiang Baimian nodded in satisfaction and said, “The special training will continue as usual. When we leave the company, the environment won’t be as nice as before. Oh, the order will also be changed. Those who perform well don’t need to participate. For example, Bai Chen.”
As she spoke, she looked at Shang Jianyao.
Shang Jianyao nodded solemnly.
Jiang Baimian’s eyes darted around as if she were considering something. “I have to make more preparations for myself…”
Without giving Long Yuehong a chance to ask, she clapped her hands and said, “Alright, start reading the information.”
At 9 p.m. the next day, in the dark Old Task Force room.
Jiang Baimian looked at Shang Jianyao—whose silhouette she couldn’t even distinguish—and asked in concern, “How was it? Did anything go wrong with the investigation’s questioning?”
“No.” Shang Jianyao was very confident.
Jiang Baimian asked worriedly, “What did they say?”
“They said I was pleasant with my words,” Shang Jianyao relayed.
“What else?” Jiang Baimian frowned slightly.
Shang Jianyao replied without stuttering, “They praised me for being spirited.”
“T-this doesn’t sound like anything good…” Jiang Baimian said doubtfully.
Shang Jianyao recalled and said, “At their request, I showed them my doctor’s certificate. After that, they said that there’s no problem. They also said that they would talk to me again if there’s anything they need to know more about.”
Jiang Baimian imagined the scene back then. “I’m glad that there’s no problem.” She exhaled helplessly.
She then stood up and said to Shang Jianyao, “I’m going next door.”
She smiled and added, “This time, I might leave quietly, or I might not.”
“Alright.” Shang Jianyao didn’t stop her.
In the darkness, Jiang Baimian easily walked to the door. She then turned around and deliberated over her words. “I wanted to say that people can ultimately only rely on themselves, but to say such words at a time like this… Heh heh, talk is cheap.”
She fell silent for a moment. In an environment where she couldn’t see her fingers or the other party, she gently and slowly said, “Actually, no one can survive on their own. When we were young, we mostly relied on our parents. When we grow up, we might rely on our relatives, spouses, friends, and children.
“The four of us can be considered companions who have experienced life and death together several times. In most cases, I believe we can be trusted. We can protect each other’s sides and backs and charge forward together.
“It’s not shameful to rely on others. You are also letting others rely on you. You are also protecting your companions. A fledgling bird will eventually leave its parents and soar into the blue sky with its companions.”
Shang Jianyao couldn’t see Jiang Baimian, but he could hear her words. He fell silent as his thoughts raced.
At this moment, Jiang Baimian laughed self-deprecatingly. “Haha, I accidentally ended up being too artistic with my words. In short, I just wanted to tell you: You have companions. Under no circumstances will you proceed alone.”
The darkness became silent again, but Jiang Baimian quickly broke the silence. “Stop, don’t speak. I’m afraid you’ll spoil the mood.”
She then smiled and said, “If you’re scared, remember to shout for me. However, I might not be around.”
Her voice trailed off, and she disappeared down the corridor.