Chapter 159: Cooperation
Mainframe… Jiang Baimian had specially learned about this, so she knew what it meant.
The ‘mainframe’ meant the city’s brain, a brain in all senses of the word. This was an important goal for the Old World to have smart cities.
The City Intelligence Network Control Center they had previously seen in Swamp No. 1 was its embryonic form.
A complete smart city had all the networks, driverless cars, and non-private intelligent robots controlled by the ‘mainframe.’ Through complicated algorithms, the corresponding resources were allocated to calculate the best routes. All the latent problems that past cities suffered from were eliminated at the root.
At this moment, Jiang Baimian saw Shang Jianyao raise his right arm and wipe the corner of his mouth from the corner of her eye.
“…” She was momentarily speechless.
After a few seconds, she sighed with emotion. “I never expected a ‘mainframe’ to be in operation before the Old World was destroyed.”
This meant that the ‘mainframe’—which had experienced the Old World’s destruction—might very well have recorded some very critical situations.
Due to this, Jiang Baimian completely understood why the Old Task Force—Lei Yunsong, Lin Feifei, and the others—wanted to visit Weed City’s Castellan, Xu Liyan.
“That’s not important, right? The Old World has already been destroyed.” Xu Liyan couldn’t understand Jiang Baimian’s feelings.
He then said, “Back then, I told them that I didn’t know either. We solely have a cooperative relationship with Mechanical Paradise. They provide all kinds of electronic equipment and robots with different purposes, while we sell oil products, high-performance batteries, and the various resources needed for nuclear power plants.”
Weed City didn’t produce the latter items, but they were qualified middlemen.
Jiang Baimian’s professional habits flared up as she asked, “Then, did you discover any details worth paying attention to when you were dealing with people from Mechanical Paradise?”
“They are very businesslike, and they never accept bribes because the ones that come are all intelligent robots.” Xu Liyan shook his head and smiled. “If you are really interested and help me resolve this matter, I can introduce you to them when they come to Weed City to make transactions. If you want to know anything, you can look for the person in question directly.”
Jiang Baimian thought for a few seconds and asked seriously, “Castellan Xu, is someone trying to assassinate you?”
Xu Liyan furrowed his eyebrows, and he was a little surprised. “Oudick told you?”
“I never said that.” Oudick denied it.
Xu Liyan looked at Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao and asked in confusion, “Then, how did you know?”
“A guess.” Jiang Baimian laughed. “From what the Anti-intellectualism Church’s Father has done, he became wanted in First City because he assassinated an Elder in the Senate.”
Xu Liyan was stunned for a moment before he exhaled. “To be honest, I felt a little disdainful when I saw the two of you. I thought both of you were just pretty vases without any abilities. I know that such thoughts are unfounded, but I can’t help but think so. Now, I won’t underestimate you.”
After Xu Liyan finished speaking, Shang Jianyao analyzed the situation seriously. “A high-ranking person like you must be very arrogant. When you see someone surpassing you in a certain aspect, you will involuntarily belittle them. The beautiful ones are brainless, and the strong ones are barbarians. From there, you can maintain a psychological sense of superiority…”
Xu Liyan raised his hands and clasped them in front of him. “That makes sense. You’re very good at psychological analysis.”
“I often deal with psychiatrists,” Shang Jianyao replied confidently.
If being treated is considered ‘dealing with…’ Fortunately, we weren’t directly chased out… Jiang Baimian grumbled and decided to get the conversation back on track. “Castellan Xu, are you saying that I guessed right?”
“Yes.” Xu Liyan didn’t hide the truth. “About two months ago, I received news that someone wanted to assassinate me. Such things often happened during the period after my father’s death, so I was used to it. I strengthened the guards step by step and released a large number of intelligence agents. I hoped to discover the mastermind as soon as possible and strive to eliminate the latent dangers.”
At this point, he looked at Oudick. “Mr. Oudick is a helper that I specially hired through the guild. He’s very good at investigations and interrogations. He has nicknames like Tracker and Polygraph.
“Who would’ve thought that my most important intelligence agent in the city, Liu Dazhuang, would be shot to death on the streets the day after he arrived? I believe he was definitely silenced because he found an important clue.”
Jiang Baimian quietly listened and explained everything she could reveal. This included them accepting a commission to investigate Lei Yunsong and Lin Feifei’s disappearance. In the end, they discovered that they were still alive but seemed to be under control. They were suspected to be related to the Anti-intellectualism Church’s Father.
She then said, “We’ve already found a victim that has seen Father. She will be here soon to issue a mission.”
“Not bad.” Xu Liyan praised her and said to Oudick, “I hope we can track the target as soon as possible.”
Regardless of whether Father was the real mastermind, he definitely played an important role in this matter.
“I’ll get the information immediately.” Oudick stood up.
Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao stood up as well and left the president’s office.
“I’ll go see the victim first,” Oudick said. Without waiting for a response, he quickly walked to the stairwell.
Jiang Baimian knew that she had nothing to do with the subsequent tracking. Thus, she slowly walked behind him and waited for a large number of Ruin Hunters to take the initiative to ‘serve.’
When they were far away from the president’s office and about to reach the stairwell, Jiang Baimian suppressed her voice slightly and asked, “Did you understand my question when we just came up?”
She was referring to the question that she had subconsciously asked with her eyes and performance.
Back then, Shang Jianyao nodded as an affirmation.
Thinking back on it, Jiang Baimian wondered if this fellow understood her.
Frankly speaking, if it were her, she wouldn’t have been able to decipher the exact meaning from such a simple look.
Shang Jianyao replied without hesitation. “I understood. When we were walking, we didn’t bump into anyone. The reason you suddenly looked at me must have something to do with what you sensed.
“The room Xu Liyan was in had a large number of people. This reminds me of the last time when we were sitting below and how many people passed by above us. One of them had a human consciousness and a robot’s electric signal.
“If you had sensed human electric signals from all of them, you definitely wouldn’t have looked at me for confirmation. Therefore, the answer is very simple—you’re asking if they all had a human consciousness.”
Jiang Baimian was stunned for a few seconds before opening her mouth. “A complicated train of thought, but you are right…”
She had to admit that Shang Jianyao was not stupid in certain aspects. He could even be said to be very smart. However, he always made things very simple or complicated.
After entering the stairwell, Jiang Baimian looked down and whispered, “The person in the robe beside Xu Liyan should be an Eternal.”
Whether this person was a mechanical monk or not remained to be determined.
“I wonder if he knows Zen Master Jingfa,” Shang Jianyao suddenly said.
“You really can’t forget Zen Master Jingfa,” Jiang Baimian teased him in amusement.
Shang Jianyao replied seriously, “Zen Master Jingfa was chasing after Qiao Chu. Qiao Chu took away our exoskeleton and ate lots of our canned food, compressed biscuits, and energy bars…”
“I understand.” Jiang Baimian nodded heavily.
As they spoke, they walked down the stairs and returned to the lobby.
At this moment, the blond-haired, blue-eyed Vice President Christina happened to enter from the side door with four bodyguards in black.
Her eyes lit up when she saw Shang Jianyao; she quickly took a few steps forward and smiled. “Today, I’m in Room 308 on the third floor. You can come and find me at any time.”
With that said, she looked at Jiang Baimian and slowly swept her gaze across Jiang Baimian’s face.
Christina’s smile became increasingly obvious as she asked Shang Jianyao, “Is this your companion?”
Without waiting for Shang Jianyao’s response, she turned to Jiang Baimian. “You can come and find me with him.”
Jiang Baimian brushed Christina off by tersely acknowledging her words.
When the two parties brushed past each other, Jiang Baimian took a step to the side, prepared, and avoided Christina’s hand—which was secretly reaching for her ass.
After watching the vice president and her bodyguards enter the stairwell, Jiang Baimian clicked her tongue. “She sure has a wide range of preferences.”
“Maybe she just wants enough people to play cards with,” Shang Jianyao said thoughtfully.
“Are you forgetting the bodyguards around her?” Jiang Baimian scolded jokingly.
Shang Jianyao replied seriously, “Bodyguards have to do their jobs.”
They chatted as they walked to the edge of the lobby. They found a chair and sat down, waiting for new clues to appear.
Before long, the mission was updated. They began searching for the sick man in the trench coat.
The sketch was lifelike, not much worse than the photo.
Shang Jianyao and Jiang Baimian didn’t move because a large number of Ruin Hunters would do it in their place.
At 10 a.m., new information appeared.
Someone had seen the sick man in a trench coat near East Street’s Warehouse 1 to 3 several times.
Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao immediately stood up, accepted the mission, and walked to the door.
When they were about to reach the street, Shang Jianyao suddenly stopped and shouted at a passerby. “Wait!”
The passerby stopped and looked over in confusion. This person was a man in his late twenties. He was Ashlandic and was about the same height as Jiang Baimian. He wore a black shirt and pants, and he had short hair that was commonly seen. His looks weren’t bad, but the dark circles around his eyes were severe—he looked very tired.
Under Jiang Baimian’s slightly surprised gaze, Shang Jianyao came in front of the person and asked, “Did you not sleep well last night?”
The person raised his eyebrows. “My sleep quality hasn’t been good recently, but what has this got to do with you?”
Shang Jianyao sincerely said, “You won’t be in good shape if you can’t sleep well. It’s very easy for accidents to happen when completing missions. You better rest more.”
With that said, Shang Jianyao turned around and walked back to Jiang Baimian’s side, leaving the person stunned in his spot.
Jiang Baimian raised her right hand and pointed at her head, using her actions to ask if his brain had spasmed again.
Shang Jianyao nodded slightly, indicating that it was indeed so.