Chapter 132: Meeting an Old Friend in a Foreign Place
Only when Jiang Baimian and the others completely left her line of sight did Bai Chen put away the Orange rifle and leave the edge of the rooftop.
The next second, she and Long Yuehong turned their heads at the same time and looked at the South Street Slave Market on the other side.
Amidst the commotion coming from the west, Bai Chen retracted her gaze and said to Long Yuehong, “Let’s go.”
Long Yuehong nodded solemnly and followed Bai Chen, tracing their steps back to the street.
Just as they were about to leave the area with the broken street lamps, they suddenly saw a figure bending down in front of a shop along the dark street. The figure was acting suspiciously, doing something unknown.
The person seemed to have sensed Bai Chen and Long Yuehong’s arrival and quickly turned around to look over. The next second, ‘he’ ran away and speedily turned into an alley beside them.
“A thief?” Long Yuehong guessed in confusion.
Bai Chen didn’t answer him. She walked to the spot where the figure was standing and bent down to pick up a stack of paper.
In a warehouse on East Street, the light from the outside shone through the glass windows, barely revealing silhouette portions of the objects inside.
“How should I address you?” Shang Jianyao smiled and asked the intelligence agent standing at the intersection of light and darkness.
“Chen Xufeng,” the intelligence agent replied frankly. In any case, he did not give his alias in Weed City, so he did not have to worry about being exposed.
“Jiang Baimian, Shang Jianyao.” Jiang Baimian also briefly introduced themselves.
Shang Jianyao frowned slightly. “This name sounds a little familiar.”
Without waiting for Chen Xufeng’s response, he took the initiative to ask, “Do you know Chen Xianyu?”
“Huh? My dad!” Chen Xufeng was stunned.
They really ended up encountering an acquaintance!
Shang Jianyao smiled. “495th floor?”
“Yes, yes, yes. I’m the youngest in the Chen family.” Chen Xufeng laughed and asked, “You live on the 495th floor too?”
Shang Jianyao nodded heavily. “I guess I might have pinched your daughter’s face.”
“What?” Chen Xufeng was a little confused.
“She’s chubby.” Shang Jianyao expressed his feelings. “Almost two years ago, Grandpa Chen often took her to the Rec Center to play. We barely met after she went to primary school.”
“Two years ago? Ah, I was just assigned here back then. My wife has to work most of the time. I guess only the older generation can take turns taking care of her. As you know, the company’s kindergarten releases the kids too early!” Chen Xufeng roughly understood the situation.
He then ‘hatefully’ said, “How could you pinch her face? She was already five years old back then.”
“Grandpa Chen also has times when he’s busy. If we were around, we would play games with her. Whoever loses will be pinched in the face or slapped on the palm,” Shang Jianyao explained seriously.
“Is that so…” Chen Xufeng smiled and said, “We have a ten-year age gap, right? Maybe I’ve also bullied you when we were young. Count it as revenge.”
The two of them chatted happily, increasingly finding each other trustworthy.
Although Jiang Baimian could understand that Chen Xufeng had been away from home for two years and couldn’t wait to learn about his parents’ health, his wife’s condition, and his daughter’s growth, she knew that it was imperative to talk business. Therefore, she interrupted this ‘friend’ from her hometown.
“Brother Chen, have you figured out the reason for the team’s disappearance?”
“Hey, how can you call me brother? You’re already a team leader, so you should be a D6, right? I’m still far from that.” Chen Xufeng was a little flattered.
Jiang Baimian didn’t retort and asked very supportively, “What rank are you now?”
“D5. I’m in charge of the intelligence network here. Heh heh, there aren’t many people.” Chen Xufeng smiled and sighed. “When I finish my time here and transfer back, I should be promoted.”
Pangu Biology was rather generous to personnel they deployed outside.
“That’s not much different from D6,” said Jiang Baimian with a smile. “Let’s talk business first.”
“Yes.” Chen Xufeng took out a stack of documents and said in a tone of reminiscence, “Before the company informed me, I didn’t know that such a team had come to Weed City. You should also know that we work in parallel. None of us are under the other.”
“That’s right. If we didn’t come with a mission, we would’ve had to send a telegram to the company to get the higher-ups to issue an order if we wanted to get your help.” Jiang Baimian nodded in agreement. “I remember that the last telegram the team sent to the company said that they had already arrived in Weed City and hoped to find some elders who had experienced the Old World’s destruction.”
She suspected that the Old Task Force had an accident after coming into contact with a particular elder.
Chen Xufeng nodded slightly. “When I received the company’s telegram, they had been missing for more than two weeks. Many of the clues stopped in their tracks, making it impossible to investigate.
“However, I still obtained something.” He changed the topic and said, “They were a five-person team, consisting of three men and two women. With the intention of trying, I got someone to ask about the various hotels and motels in the city to see if there were any similar groups checking in during that period of time. In the end, I really found something!”
“Can’t Ruin Hunters have three men and two women a team?” Shang Jianyao asked in response.
Chen Xufeng laughed. “There must be similar teams. The feedback we obtained included more than one. But after careful comparison and exclusion, I’m certain that the team lived in the Meri Hotel, a relatively good one in Weed City. The time they checked in is identical to the time when the company received their last telegram.”
At this point, Chen Xufeng added, “The reason the Meri Hotel’s people had a deep impression of them is that the women in the team are beautiful, and the men are handsome. They are different from most Ruin Hunters. After genetic enhancement became widespread, our company’s young adults are a beautiful sight to behold!”
“You’ve also undergone genetic enhancement, right?” asked Shang Jianyao suddenly.
Chen Xufeng was stunned for a moment before he let out a long sigh. “Sigh, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because my parents were relatively old back then, or maybe it’s because of my physique. The effects of my genetic enhancement weren’t too good.
“The only advantage I have is that I’m very ordinary. It’s not easy for others to remember my face when they see me. Oh, and I have some talent in disguising and tracking.”
“You are at least taller than 1.75 meters,” Shang Jianyao consoled sincerely.
Chen Xufeng was about the same height as Jiang Baimian.
What a good friend of Long Yuehong… Jiang Baimian secretly rolled her eyes when she saw that no one was paying attention to her.
She interrupted Shang Jianyao and Chen Xufeng’s conversation again and took the initiative to say, “The fact that the team chose to stay in a place like the Meri Hotel means that they didn’t think there would be any danger when they entered Weed City, nor did they think there were any hidden enemies.”
They were at extreme ease and did things very openly.
“I think so too.” Chen Xufeng returned to the topic at hand. “Based on this, their subsequent actions in Weed City should be relatively public. There’s a chance of tracking them down.”
He held the stack of information and continued, “I got a Hunter’s Guild internal member to check if there were any similar five-person teams that took on missions during that period of time. The answer was no.”
Since the missing Old Task Force team didn’t hide their tracks, they definitely wouldn’t deliberately split into two or three teams when accepting missions from the Hunter’s Guild.
Without waiting for Jiang Baimian to ask, Chen Xufeng took the initiative to say, “However, we’ve discovered their registered Hunter identities. All of them are already Official Hunters. Heh heh, guess how I found out?”
“They used their real names,” Shang Jianyao replied without hesitation.
“…” Chen Xufeng was stunned for a moment. “Yes! They sure followed the rules.”
Jiang Baimian gave her opinion. “This means that their actions hadn’t incurred any danger all this while. Or perhaps, they had already eliminated all the dangers. Hence, they felt very safe.”
This significantly increased the possibility of an accident happening to the team in Weed City.
Chen Xufeng didn’t comment and said, “I spent some money and obtained the photos when they registered as hunters and all the missions they completed. You can have a good look when you return.”
As he spoke, he handed the stack of information to Jiang Baimian.
“Alright.” Jiang Baimian reached out to take it.
Chen Xufeng thought for a moment and said, “I have some clues from my investigations. First, they went to Flying Bird Bar and had a conflict with a few customers inside, but it didn’t escalate. This happened on the second night after they arrived in Weed City.
“Second, they visited a certain high-ranking member of the local Hunter’s Guild. I only found out yesterday, but figuring out who it is requires further investigation.
“Third, they seem to have entered North Street. A servant from Castellan Manor, who often comes out to shop, has seen such a combination.
“Fourth…” At the mention of ‘fourth,’ Chen Xufeng’s expression became rather solemn. “According to Meri Hotel’s waiter, they checked out by themselves. It happened two days before the company got me to investigate.”
Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and asked, “In other words, they were active in Weed City for nearly two weeks, but they didn’t send a telegram back to the company? The real disappearance didn’t last as long as we imagined?”
The missing Old Task Force was different from them. They came equipped with a radio. According to the rules, they had to contact the company almost once a week. Furthermore, in the last few days of the second week, the company took the initiative to send a telegram to inquire about the situation.
“That’s why it’s strange,” Chen Xufeng replied firmly. He then frowned. “Recently, someone told me that they’d seen people suspected to be Lei Yunsong and Lin Feifei in the city. Oh, they are the two photos at the top.”
Under the current illumination conditions, Jiang Baimian couldn’t see the photos at all. Therefore, she didn’t look at them and thoughtfully muttered to herself, “I wonder if they are strangers who look alike, or if someone is pretending to be them. Or maybe they can still move freely?”
“We can’t be sure.” Chen Xufeng didn’t make a blind judgment.
Jiang Baimian slowly exhaled. “Any other clues?”
“Not for now.” Chen Xufeng shook his head.
Jiang Baimian tersely acknowledged his words and asked, “What’s with the library fire at noon?”
Chen Xufeng mocked, “In the past two months, there have been more brainless guys running around the city. Lunatics who proclaim that the Old World was destroyed because it pursued knowledge and violated certain taboos. They want to force everyone to stop reading the books left behind by the Old World.”
After they finished talking about their main work and agreed on a way to communicate later, Shang Jianyao told Chen Xufeng about the Chen family’s current situation. The two of them then waved goodbye reluctantly.
Jiang Baimian led Shang Jianyao around one-quarter of Weed City before finally turning back into the alley where Ah Fu’s Gun Shop was.
After returning to their rented room, they found Bai Chen and Long Yuehong looking at a stack of paper.
“What’s this?” Jiang Baimian asked curiously.
“Pamphlets.” Bai Chen handed a piece of paper to her team leader.
Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao looked at the paper at the same time and read the contents.
“Thinking is a trap, and knowledge is poison…
“Don’t touch any more books…
“We can’t repeal the Old World’s mistakes…”
There was also a circle drawn around the term ‘repeal,’ with a line drawn out to indicate the need for revision.
The revised word was: ‘repea.’
“…” Jiang Baimian laughed involuntarily. “They really live up to their ideals perfectly.”