Chapter 183: Contractor
Jiang Baimian seemed to have expected the hotel owner’s retort. She said with a smile, “I thought that it would be easy to obtain cheap robots, military exoskeleton devices, and smart armor in Redstone Collection considering how it’s a smuggling center.”
Through the loudspeaker on the ceiling, the owner of the hotel said, “These aren’t cheap goods, and they are in high demand. To me, this is very good. There’s no need to waste large amounts of resources and rare connections for an improvement.”
“I see…” Jiang Baimian nodded in satisfaction. Through this conversation, she confirmed two things: Firstly, it was indeed possible to obtain a military exoskeleton device in Redstone Collection.
Secondly, it was in high demand. Without a corresponding network and sufficient resources, it was impossible to obtain one.
Jiang Baimian had deliberately ‘raised her voice’ with her comment just to get the information out of the hotel owner. She wasn’t as foul-mouthed as Shang Jianyao, who couldn’t control himself.
The hotel owner was rather wary and didn’t say anything else. She simply repeated her previous question. “How many rooms do you want? How many nights are you staying?”
“Two, double beds with a bathroom. Let’s do it for a week.” Jiang Baimian had already considered this problem.
The hotel owner answered through the loudspeaker, “What resources can you pay with?”
“Military canned food.” Shang Jianyao answered without any hesitation.
During this period of time in the South, the Old Task Force had gotten sick of eating canned food.
“It has to be unopened.” The hotel owner emphasized this to prevent others from successfully poisoning her. She continued, “One can per night for each room, totaling 14 cans. Open the metal door on the wall, place the cans in, and close the door.”
Jiang Baimian gestured for Shang Jianyao to open the window-like metal door on the wall.
Inside was an empty platform with a similar metal door on the other side.
Shang Jianyao wasn’t in a rush to retreat. He took the initiative to say, “We still want masks.”
“The four masks are complementary,” the hotel owner answered.
Shang Jianyao was delighted and asked curiously, “If I didn’t ask, would you take the initiative to give them to me?”
“No.” The hotel owner was very calm.
Just as Shang Jianyao was about to say something, Long Yuehong—who had received Jiang Baimian’s signal—took a few steps forward with a cardboard box. He counted 14 cans and placed them on a tray on the platform.
Following that, he closed the outward-facing metal door.
With a click, the metal door seemed to be locked.
Shang Jianyao immediately heard a grinding sound coming from inside, so he asked seriously, “What if she takes the cans and runs?”
Jiang Baimian cackled like a villain. “Then, take our rocket launchers out and blast open the walls!”
After another few seconds, the loudspeaker in the room crackled. “You can open the door and take out the electronic cards and masks.”
Shang Jianyao—who had been standing guard by the wall—excitedly opened the metal door.
The cans on the tray were gone. In their place were two electronic cards—which were inside white plastic covers—and randomly stacked cloth masks.
Shang Jianyao didn’t even look at the two electronic cards. He directly shook open the cloth masks and began choosing seriously.
The four masks were: a graceful monk, a monkey with a pointy mouth, a fat pig with nostrils so big that they could fit garlic cloves, and a ferocious man with a full beard.
“Boring, boring…” Shang Jianyao first excluded the monk and the man. He clearly felt that they were too ordinary.
After some comparison, he chose the proud monkey and wore the mask.
Jiang Baimian shook her head helplessly. “You’ve never seen a real monkey; you can’t emulate its essence.”
“That’s right.” Shang Jianyao was very regretful.
Jiang Baimian approached and immediately eliminated the pig mask. Finally, she chose the elegant monk mask.
Long Yuehong held back his anxiety and said to Bai Chen humbly, “You first.”
Bai Chen didn’t stand on ceremony and took away the fierce-looking man mask.
Long Yuehong sighed silently and could only accept the outcome.
“These masks remind me of some Old World story.” Jiang Baimian reached out to grab the electronic cards and casually said, “I’ll tell you the story when I’m free.”
The two electronic cards were labeled. One was 05, and the other was 06.
Following the hotel’s owner’s instructions, the Old Task Force quartet drove away from the underground Redstone Collection and circled to the other side of the hill.
This was a flat area surrounded by trees, and there were many simple houses with blue and white walls.
At this moment, the sky had already darkened. The surrounding area appeared quiet and cold as if no one existed. However, be it Jiang Baimian or Bai Chen, they could sense that people were hiding nearby and monitoring them.
Rooms 05 and 06 were close to the hill, and they were relatively spacious. Apart from two single beds, tables, chairs, and sofas, there was also a bathroom that could be used for showering.
“Let’s rest and recuperate. We’ll make do with our meals later.” Jiang Baimian was relatively satisfied with the simple hotel’s environment. She didn’t want to enter Redstone Collection to search for a hiding restaurant boss.
“Yes, Team Leader!” Long Yuehong and Bai Chen replied in unison.
Shang Jianyao felt rather regretful.
After the sky turned completely dark, cold, humid air seeped into the room, making Long Yuehong—who was listening to his team leader’s narration of an Old World story—feel cold. He felt a little regretful that he didn’t come over with an additional set of clothes.
At this moment, someone knocked on Room 05’s door.
Shang Jianyao—who had sensed something—had already put on the monkey mask. He came to the door and asked, “Ook! Ook! Ook!?”
“…” The person outside was clearly stunned.
“Speak human.” Jiang Baimian sighed helplessly. Don’t imitate a monkey!
Shang Jianyao returned to normal. “Who is it?”
“Is Qian Bai here?” Outside was a man who spoke Ashlandic.
Qian Bai was Bai Chen’s registered name as a Hunter.
“What’s the matter?” Bai Chen stood up and put on her mask.
The man outside the door lowered his voice. “I have a mission for you.”
“Why?” Bai Chen subconsciously asked.
“Because you’re an Intermediate Hunter, and you’re about to become a Senior Hunter,” explained the man outside.
Bai Chen looked at Jiang Baimian and saw her nod slightly. She then said to Shang Jianyao, “Open the door.”
Shang Jianyao immediately opened the door and stretched his monkey-masked face forward a little.
The man outside the door was about 1.7 meters tall. He wore a black cloak and a white mask with black patterns. He wasn’t surprised to see a terrifying ‘monkey.’
In Redstone Collection, this was basic ‘etiquette.’ What kind of mask had he not seen before?
After entering, the man crossed his arms in front of himself and took a step back. “Always be vigilant.”
“Are you from the Vigilance Church?” Bai Chen led the conversation, and Jiang Baimian chose to listen in with interest.
The man in the cloak and mask nodded. “I’m Renato, the bishop of the Vigilance Church in Redstone Collection.”
“Have a seat.” Bai Chen pointed at the empty seat on the sofa.
Shang Jianyao continued guarding the door. He crossed his arms and acted like he was a bouncer.
After Renato sat down, Bai Chen asked, “As a mainstream religion of Redstone Collection, you should have considerable strength. Why are you commissioning my team and me?”
Renato fell silent for a moment before saying, “Some things are inconvenient for the believers to know, so I didn’t do it through the Hunter’s Guild.”
“If it’s too difficult, there’s no need to say anything.” Bai Chen chose to communicate in her own style.
Renato said rather honestly, “I don’t know if it’s difficult or how dangerous it is.”
“Then, brief me a little.” Bai Chen nodded.
Renato looked at the others in the room. “You should’ve heard Gaudi mention our Church. We held a Mass a few days ago. The theme was still ‘hiding,’ and this was to please the deity—who is also the Kalendaria of our faith—Eidolon Nun. In this hiding competition, there’s still one person we haven’t found yet.”
Upon hearing this, Shang Jianyao quickly replied, “Viel!”
“Yes,” Renato affirmed. “Because he has been hiding for almost three days while the others have also been found, I decided to end Mass and make him come out from hiding. However…”
At this point, Renato’s tone changed a little. As for his expression, it couldn’t be seen because he was wearing a mask. “In the end, I didn’t find him either. He also didn’t take the initiative to come out.”
What do you mean by ‘I didn’t find him either?’ You make it sound like you’re better at finding people than the other believers? Is it because you’re an Awakened who can sense the existence of consciousness? Is Viel already dead, or has he awakened on his own and can hide his consciousness? Jiang Baimian grasped Renato’s words and analyzed them inwardly.
Bai Chen nodded slightly. “You want us to help you find Viel?”
“Yes.” Renato sighed. “If anything happens at Mass, the believers will question my piousness and think that I have disgraced the goddess.”
Bai Chen pretended like she needed to discuss it with her team members. She first glanced at Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong before looking at Jiang Baimian.
Jiang Baimian nodded slightly.
Bai Chen then replied to Renato, “We can take on this mission, and we believe you are trustworthy. However, I can’t guarantee that we can complete it without knowing the details.”
“I understand.” Renato expressed his understanding. “What kind of payment do you want?”
“Introduce me to an arms dealer who can sell heavy weapons and advanced military equipment,” Bai Chen said calmly. “This is part of the deal. We’ll discuss the rest after we survey the scene. Payment can be made after we find Viel.”
A simple introduction didn’t burden Renato at all. He replied without hesitation, “No problem. When do you guys plan on visiting the scene in question?”
“It’s already dark. Let’s do it tomorrow morning.” Bai Chen was in no rush.
“Not bad; very vigilant,” Renato praised. He stood up and said, “Drive along the road outside the park to the lake tomorrow morning. There will be people waiting there.”
“Alright.” Bai Chen stood up as well. “Happy cooperation.”
Renato crossed his arms again, placed them on his chest, and took a step back. “Wariness is a hint from the Goddess.”
After watching him leave, Shang Jianyao closed the door and announced with bright eyes, “The final battle has begun.”
Jiang Baimian took off her mask and chuckled. “If you dare hide to the point of me being able to find you, I’ll leave you in Redstone Collection!”
“I’m a spear.” Shang Jianyao emphasized that he didn’t want to hide but to break the other party’s ‘shield.’