Chapter 185: The Essence of Hiding
Viel? Jiang Baimian looked at Bai Chen and the others in surprise. The mission is over just as soon as it began?
Shang Jianyao clenched his right fist and struck it against his left palm with a regretful expression.
Before he could show his skills, the target had already run out!
All of them had learned the Red River language. Even Bai Chen knew a little due to the overarching environment. Although their standards were different, there was no problem with basic literacy.
At this moment, Viel answered Renato’s question with a smile. “I’ve been in the ventilation duct the entire time. None of you know the essence of hiding—choose a place and stay still. I change locations depending on the situation. When you come over, I’ll go elsewhere. When you leave, I’ll return. The only problem is that one has to learn to go in circles. I can’t let you hear me while I’m crawling about.”
The masked Renato fell silent for a few seconds before saying, “You don’t look like you’ve been starving for three days.”
“I prepared food in advance.” Viel smiled smugly. “After circling to the furthest spot from you, I can still crawl to the bathroom, drink some tap water, and use the bathroom.”
Viel waved his arm and said, “This is real hiding. We clearly live in the same place, but we seem to be in two different worlds.”
“You didn’t wear a mask,” Shang Jianyao suddenly pointed out; he spoke in the Red River language.
The short Viel glanced at the tall ‘monkey.’ “I’ve mastered a complete set of disguise techniques. You wouldn’t recognize me if you encountered me in the future.”
“Your characteristics are too obvious,” Shang Jianyao reminded sincerely.
The smile on Viel’s face vanished.
In just a second or two, he returned to his previous expression. “There’s nothing that can’t be made up for.”
“Yes, there is.” Shang Jianyao pointed at himself. “I can’t pretend to be short.”
Viel narrowed his eyes and suggested with a smile, “You can break your legs.”
The corners of Long Yuehong’s mouth twitched as if he were watching two children quarrel.
Jiang Baimian was unwilling to let the two continue bickering. She coughed twice and signaled for Bai Chen to interrupt.
Bai Chen understood her thoughts. She took two steps forward and asked Renato of the Vigilance Church, “We’ve already found Viel. Is our mission over?”
She didn’t use the phrase ‘Viel has already come out.’ Instead, she emphasized that Viel had ‘been found.’
In any case, this had happened after they took on the mission. Even though they didn’t contribute much, they had done something. Furthermore, Renato might even commission them to investigate Viel’s true hiding situation in the past few days.
Renato touched the mask on his face. “Yes, the mission is complete. But in such a situation, the payment won’t be much.”
“It doesn’t matter; just fulfilling the previous promise is sufficient. We’ll consider the DiMarco family’s story as the final payment.” Jiang Baimian interrupted in a tone that suggested she enjoyed hearing stories.
Being able to establish a relationship with the Vigilance Church definitely helped the Old Task Force’s journey in Redstone Collection.
Bai Chen then tersely acknowledged it, indicating that she shared the same thoughts as her teammate.
“You guys are honest, just, and humble. You make me feel like I’m looking at a second Captain Han.” Renato gave a high evaluation of the Old Task Force’s act of not forcing a payment.
“Captain Han? The one from the Public Security Department?” Jiang Baimian was rather curious about the latter half of the sentence.
Renato nodded. “Yes, he has most of the Old World’s virtues of a knight. If it weren’t for that, the townsfolk wouldn’t have unanimously agreed to invite him to be sheriff just because he’s a Senior Hunter and doesn’t always hide because he doesn’t believe in our Lady.”
“Unbelievable!” Shang Jianyao always spoke his mind.
Long Yuehong could completely guess what Shang Jianyao was commenting on because he had similar thoughts.
A senior Ruin Hunter—who started off as a wilderness nomad—actually had most of the Old World’s virtues as a knight—humility, compassion, just, honesty, and heroism…
This was like saying that mechanical monks were passionate and infatuated. They didn’t let their teachings down.
Even Bai Chen—who was also a wilderness nomad—found it ridiculous and funny. She was already considered a person with a relatively high moral bottom line in this group, but she was still very far from those virtues.
Bai Chen knew that her sense of compassion was reserved only to specific targets. Her ‘heroism’ was barely passable.
“There are always exceptions in this world.” Renato didn’t harp on the topic. “Even if Han Wanghuo’s performance is a disguise, he will still be a true knight as long as he can continue the farce.”
“Yes.” Jiang Baimian agreed.
She was more interested in something else. Although many people here spoke Ashlandic, they seemed to be more influenced by Red River culture.
Of course, after the Old World’s destruction and the migration of a large number of people, the two cultures were reduced to little of what’s left in many places before blending together.
Renato looked at Viel—who was much shorter than him. “Go to the Lady’s altar and pray before completing this Mass.”
“Yes, Your Grace.” Viel skipped toward the exit. As he passed by Shang Jianyao, he suddenly turned his head and made a face.
After watching the manchild leave, Shang Jianyao clenched his right fist and punched his left palm. “What a pity…”
Jiang Baimian secretly rolled her eyes. She knew that Shang Jianyao found it a pity that he couldn’t make a face back at Viel because he was wearing a mask.
Renato didn’t ask what Shang Jianyao found a pity. He pointed ahead and spoke in Ashlandic. “The largest arms dealer in Redstone Collection is here.”
“Mr. DiMarco?” Jiang Baimian was a little excited. Does this mean that we can see the honorary mayor, who has never left his underground shelter? It is good even if we meet through electronic products. As long as we can communicate, we can ask the DiMarco family about the Old World’s destruction!
“Yes, strictly speaking, it’s Mr. DiMarco. However, the actual person in charge of one of his three stewards, Mr. Carl,” explained Renato in a black cloak. “I’ll introduce you to him later.”
“Sure, sure!” Jiang Baimian mimicked Long Yuehong’s catchphrase.
“She’s so excited,” Shang Jianyao whispered to Long Yuehong.
“Remove ‘so’ and change it to ‘a little,’” Jiang Baimian replied.
Upon hearing their conversation, Renato turned his head to look at Bai Chen as if he were saying, ‘how tiring it must be to have such immature and unreliable teammates.’
Bai Chen was too embarrassed to tell him that the team leader was the one who had started the whole thing.
When they couldn’t change Shang Jianyao, they could only join him.
Also, mental illnesses had always been chronic.
After leaving this corridor and circling around for a few minutes, Shang Jianyao and the others saw another elevator lobby.
There were three thick, grayish-black elevators here, and two small LCD screens were embedded in the space between them.
Renato took a few steps forward, pressed a button, and patiently waited.
After a while, the LCD screen to the left flickered and revealed a middle-aged man.
The middle-aged man wore an Old World black suit and a meticulous bow tie. His black hair was a little gray, but it was neatly combed back. His facial features were typical of Red River people. His eyes were light blue, and although his looks were average, he had an indescribable bearing.
He definitely couldn’t be considered noble or elegant. However, his existence made the Underground Ark’s owner, DiMarco, gain such attributes.
“Ah, what a coincidence. Mr. Carl, I have a few friends who wish to meet you and discuss business.” Renato wanted to get the person opposite the screen to relay the message, but he realized that it was the steward, Carl, who was on duty today.
This time, Renato spoke in the Red River language again.
Through the camera, Carl glanced at the four masked people behind Renato. “Please get them to meet me in my office between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. tomorrow. I still have to busy myself with the tasks assigned by Sir today.”
Bai Chen glanced at Jiang Baimian and nodded at Renato.
“Alright,” Renato agreed.
Carl then asked, “Has Mass ended?”
“It’s over.” Renato’s tone was relaxed.
“Always be vigilant.” Carl crossed his arms, placed them on his chest, and took a step back. He then politely added, “See you tomorrow.”
After the scene on the LCD screen disappeared, Renato turned to Bai Chen and said, “Mr. Carl’s office is on the fifth floor of Redstone Collection. It has a signboard—Visa Trading Company—hanging from it.”
“Visa? Why is it called that?” Jiang Baimian always looked like a curious baby when she found herself somewhere new.
“This is Mr. DiMarco’s grandfather’s name,” Renato explained.
Jiang Baimian then looked at the elevator and the LCD screen. “Are these all items left behind by the Old World?”
“Yes for the framework. It was later modified by Mechanical Paradise to replace some of the old and damaged items.” Renato knew a lot about this. After all, his presence was needed before people could go underground.
Jiang Baimian wasn’t surprised that the DiMarco family had a partnership with Mechanical Paradise. This was because this place was an important smuggling node, and there were many resources that Mechanical Paradise needed. Furthermore, it was closer to the southern coastal area than Weed City, which was also where Mechanical Paradise was located.
She curiously asked, “Humans can’t enter the Underground Ark, but robots can?”
“Yes, but it has to be robots without artificial intelligence,” Renato answered casually. “Back then, Mechanical Paradise specially established a small, non-intelligent engineering team. Yes… Mr. DiMarco also should’ve nurtured talents in this regard. With the two combined, it didn’t take long for them to complete the renovation and modification of the Underground Ark. When the engineering team left, the corresponding data and information were destroyed.”
As they spoke, they returned to the fortress-like cathedral on the ground.
After bidding Renato farewell, Jiang Baimian—who was in the passenger seat—suddenly smiled. “Do you think Viel was telling the truth?”
Bai Chen—who was driving—calmly replied, “At least some of it was a lie.”