Chapter 188: Threat
Shang Jianyao didn’t show any embarrassment or anger at Lehman’s warning. Instead, he seriously suggested, “If you join us, there will be more than four of us.”
As Shang Jianyao spoke, he looked back at Jiang Baimian, filled with eagerness.
Jiang Baimian understood that he was asking if there was a need for him to ‘make friends.’ She thought for two seconds and shook her head.
There was no need for that for the time being.
After leaving the area where Lehman and his subordinates lived, the Old Task Force prepared to head to their next destination: Lodge District near the lake in the city ruin.
One of Helvig’s trusted aides, Baz, lived in this area. He had experienced the entire process of the firearms robbery.
Before leaving the hotel camp, they returned to Rooms 05 and 06 because Shang Jianyao wanted to use the bathroom.
Just as she opened the door, Jiang Baimian saw a piece of paper flutter to the ground. It was slightly larger than a palm and had a row of Ashlandic written on it: “Mind your own business!”
“There are no spelling errors.” Shang Jianyao picked up the paper with a look of surprise.
“Not everyone is from the Anti-intellectualism Church.” Jiang Baimian took the piece of paper and flipped through it a few times under the winter sun.
After Bai Chen and Long Yuehong relieved themselves and walked out of the room, Jiang Baimian handed the piece of paper over and asked with a smile, “Any thoughts?”
“Are they stopping us from investigating the cause of Helvig’s death, or are they stopping us from searching for the snatched batch of firearms?” Long Yuehong analyzed the situation step by step according to his team leader’s instructions.
“If it’s the latter, it means that the bandits are very likely inside Redstone Collection. Otherwise, they would’ve long retreated elsewhere and only sent one or two people over to discuss any transactions. There would be no need to threaten us. If it’s the former, wouldn’t it be too rushed? We haven’t found any clues, so it’s better to warn the Public Security Department’s Han Wanghuo than to threaten us.”
Clap! Clap! Clap!
Shang Jianyao—who had come out of the bathroom—clapped enthusiastically, expressing his admiration.
The applause made Long Yuehong a little happy but also a little uncomfortable.
“Not bad.” Jiang Baimian smiled and praised him. “You’ve finally learned how to analyze problems.”
With that said, she looked at Bai Chen. “Any thoughts?”
After washing her face, Bai Chen—who was not wearing a mask—frowned and said, “I find it a little strange. It’s too early… There’s no need for that, right?”
Bai Chen meant that there was no need to warn them.
Jiang Baimian smiled. “Indeed. There are only four of us, with only one Intermediate Hunter among us. We didn’t find any useful clues, so why are they in a rush to threaten us? Didn’t the arms dealer, Lehman, say the same? With our ‘strength,’ it’s better to give up the mission as soon as possible.”
Shang Jianyao clenched his right fist and punched his left palm. “I get it!”
“What do you get?” Jiang Baimian asked in exasperation and amusement.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao said seriously, “They must’ve seen through our disguises and know that we are the World Salvation Team sent by the final villain, Pangu Biology. They are afraid of our strength and don’t dare to fight us head-on, so they can only give us a warning.”
Jiang Baimian exhaled deeply. “You think too highly of us.” She deliberately used honorifics in her tone.
She then casually said, “Even if the Hunter’s Guild’s branches exchange data periodically, it will still take some time for our achievements in Weed City to reach here. Besides, Shang Jianyao’s Weed City Brotherhood branch should still be operating normally. No outsiders will know what we’ve done.”
As a genetically modified person who could sense electric signals, Jiang Baimian was very sure that there was no wiretapping equipment in Rooms 05, 06, or the surrounding area.
“Final villains aren’t related to saving the world either…” Long Yuehong muttered.
Without giving Shang Jianyao a chance to retort, Jiang Baimian grumbled, “Seriously, you broke my train of thought. Yes, since they warned us when there’s no need to threaten us, I can preliminarily guess that this is actually a form of protection.”
“Protection?” Long Yuehong was shocked.
Jiang Baimian smiled and explained, “In detail, it’s that they see us as being too weak and are afraid that we won’t be able to withstand the consequences of being sucked into the vortex. Therefore, they gave us a warning in advance to let us distance ourselves from trouble.
“Uh, apart from that, there are two other possibilities. The first is that the conflict has escalated to a certain extent. Any external faction joining in will cause the scales to tilt. Hence, they have to take some precautions. But from Theresa’s reaction and her choice, the possibility of this happening is very low.
“The second possibility is that someone deliberately wrote a warning letter to frame someone. If that’s the case, someone will definitely question and investigate even if we don’t disclose the fact that we were threatened. When the time comes, the clues will come knocking on our door.”
Long Yuehong was impressed and couldn’t help but sigh inwardly. Sigh, I’m only 1.75 meters tall after genetic enhancement. My brain is far inferior to Team Leader’s. Uh, she has undergone genetic modification. There’s no way to compare; there’s no need to compare…
“If it’s the first possibility, why protect us?” Long Yuehong asked.
Shang Jianyao seriously replied before Jiang Baimian could. “Because I’m 1.85 meters tall and good-looking…”
“Stop!” Jiang Baimian stopped the reverse recital. She smiled and said, “Maybe it’s because we didn’t disguise ourselves when we first entered Redstone Collection. It’s obvious that we’re Ashlandic—no, Ashlanders.”
Long Yuehong looked at the warning letter in his hand in surprise and realized that it only had Ashlandic and no Red River language.
He nodded thoughtfully. “I see…”
The Lodge District in the city ruin where Redstone Collection was located was made up of three to four-story buildings with courtyards and walls. It had another name before the Old World was destroyed. However, it had long been forgotten, and no one mentioned it again.
In the entire Redstone Collection, probably only DiMarco or the information passed down in his family—which was stored in the Underground Ark—still remembered.
According to Theresa’s description, the Old Task Force found the ancient tree that had hundreds of years of history and had been struck by lightning at least twice.
Behind the ancient tree was a three to four-story building with a courtyard and perimeter wall.
Jiang Baimian alighted from the car, walked to the door, and pressed the doorbell.
After nearly a minute, a male voice sounded from the ancient tree’s seemingly dead trunk. “Who are you looking for?”
Before this, Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao had already cast their gazes over.
“We are Ruin Hunters who have taken over the mission regarding the firearms robbery.” Bai Chen—who was sitting in the driver’s seat and facing the ancient tree—replied loudly, “Mrs. Theresa told us to come over.”
“Wait a moment.” The male voice in the tree trunk fell silent for a moment.
After waiting for two to three minutes, Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao looked at another building with a courtyard and perimeter wall.
The wall there suddenly raised a wooden plank, revealing a large hole. Behind the large hole was not a garden but a deep passage.
The next second, a man crawled out of the large hole. He wore an iron-black mask that shimmered with a metallic luster. His flaxen hair was messy as if he hadn’t combed it in a long time.
Just as he stood firmly, he saw a monkey mask baring its teeth—Shang Jianyao had rushed over with a whoosh.
“Stop! Distance is our friend!” The man in the iron mask jumped in fright and quickly took a few steps to the side.
“Is your mask bulletproof?” Shang Jianyao asked curiously.
“No,” the man in the iron mask answered in confusion.
“Alright.” Shang Jianyao was a little disappointed.
At this moment, Jiang Baimian had already approached the iron-masked man. “You’re Baz.”
“Yes.” Baz nodded.
“Were you the one who spoke just now?” Jiang Baimian asked.
“That’s right.” Baz wondered if there was something wrong with the other party’s ears.
Jiang Baimian immediately became intrigued. “You dug many tunnels and connected many nearby places?”
“I learned this from the Ashlanders.” Baz was rather proud. “There are tunnels and exits everywhere, so nobody can corner me! I can even circle behind the enemy and fire at them from places they can’t imagine.”
“Good idea.” Jiang Baimian praised him. “With the terrain and soil here, it should be relatively difficult to dig a tunnel.”
“We have machines obtained from United Industries.” Baz took the opportunity to ask, “Do you want them? We can exchange them for many things if we go to a war zone that requires dug tunnels.”
“First, we have to wait until we retrieve the batch of firearms and receive the corresponding payment,” Jiang Baimian replied with a smile. “Besides, we might encounter bunker buster and thermobaric rounds at any moment in a real war zone. It might not be a good thing to hide in underground fortifications.”
She didn’t continue chatting and seriously asked, “Did you see what those bandits looked like? Do you know their origins?”
Baz shook his head. “They were all wearing masks, hoods, and sunglasses.”
At this point, he suddenly sneered. “This actually raises some questions. If they were foreign bandits, why would they need to disguise themselves so well? They probably didn’t want others to see their hair color, so they wore hoods…”
At this moment, Shang Jianyao interrupted. “This can also be achieved by dyeing their hair. I can introduce you to a professional team, but it’s a little far…”
Jiang Baimian cut Shang Jianyao off. “It seems like you have a suspect.”
“It must be those Ashlanders!” Baz said angrily. “After that, a few people and I chased after the tire tracks the entire way and realized that they had gone south. After leaving the city ruin, they circled to the east!”
With that said, he roughly explained what east meant.
The DiMarco family’s Underground Ark and the Vigilance Church’s cathedral were north of the city ruin. Most of the Red River people were in the lake area to the west. The Ashlanders mainly hid in the buildings east of the city ruin. The area to the south was where the mixed-race people lived.
The park corresponding to Redstone Collection was slightly center-west.
“Is that so…” Jiang Baimian didn’t comment. “Apart from that, what else did you discover?”
“Nothing.” Baz shook his head again. “Uh… There were nine people involved in the robbery. Their height was nothing special, and there were seven to eight people lying in ambush around us…”
After asking for further details, Jiang Baimian simply replied, “We’ll go to the Ashlanders to investigate.”
After bidding Baz farewell and getting into the jeep, Long Yuehong sighed. “From the looks of it, that batch of firearms really might’ve been stolen by the Ashlanders…”
Jiang Baimian looked ahead and chuckled. “A strict disguise might not necessarily hide an Ashlander’s characteristics. It might also be the hair and eye colors of someone from the Red River race.”