Chapter 189: Slacker
Long Yuehong’s mouth slightly opened when he heard Jiang Baimian’s words, unable to hide his shock. There’s actually such an angle… Isn’t this too sinister? But it’s indeed possible!
After a while, Long Yuehong asked another question. “The essence is internal strife?”
Shang Jianyao expressed a different opinion. “Maybe it’s just another form of hide and seek.”
Hiding the firearms for everyone to find.
“How is that possible?” Long Yuehong blurted out before he was suddenly stunned. He thought for a few seconds and said in disbelief, “Could it be that the batch of firearms wasn’t robbed at all but hidden by Helvig and the others, and their goal was to frame Redstone Collection’s Ashlanders?”
“We can’t rule out that possibility.” Jiang Baimian looked at the ruins that quickly flashed past in the rearview mirror and replied with a smile. “Look, uh—think about it. Helvig has many subordinates. Just based on the number of trusted aides that Theresa told us, he has four to five. Furthermore, they are only considered the team’s core members.
“Therefore, why did he choose to issue a mission at the guild when he was alive? Wouldn’t it be more convenient and more efficient for him to organize people to find the firearms than to commission Ruin Hunters?”
Bai Chen—who was driving—added, “Normally speaking, merchants who are arms dealers aren’t weak. They can at least match four or five ordinary Ruin Hunter teams.”
This was based on their numbers and available firepower.
Although the Old Task Force was definitely not included in the ranks of ordinary Ruin Hunter teams, others didn’t know that. On the surface, they were only an Intermediate Hunter and three most common Official Hunters. There wasn’t even a Senior Hunter, much less an Advanced Hunter.
The only achievement to their name was the successful investigation of Liu Dazhuang’s murder in their badges.
“That’s right. Why?” Long Yuehong also realized that things weren’t logical after Jiang Baimian said that.
Jiang Baimian had just smiled and didn’t have the chance to speak when Shang Jianyao interrupted her. “Because we represent justice!”
Jiang Baimian gritted her teeth. “This mission is definitely not specially prepared for us, nor is it provided to the Ruin Hunters that belong to Redstone Collection. To the Vigilance Church’s believers, forming a relatively large team of Ruin Hunters is a very dangerous matter. It might be harder to guard against companions than against enemies. Without a large team, the townsfolk who know Helvig’s strength probably won’t take on this mission.
“In other words, this is a mission that is open to outsiders without any special restrictions. Then, what advantage do outsiders have over the locals?”
Long Yuehong deliberated before answering, “They are relatively objective and have no prejudice. The investigation results are trustworthy, and they are easier to control…”
He vaguely grasped something in the latter half of his sentence.
Jiang Baimian smiled and continued, “Actually, the situation is rather clear. Whether the bandits are Ashlanders or of Red River heritage, this matter only worsens Redstone Collection’s internal conflict. If our investigation results point to the Ashlanders, the Red River people will have an excuse to attack.”
Long Yuehong came to a realization. “Is that so… Then, what should we do? It’s definitely very dangerous to be involved in such matters…”
Although he felt that each Old Task Force member could, on average, deal with three or four bandits, allowing them to deal with a bandit team that numbered more than ten, the storm very likely implicated hundreds of armed personnel. Four people—who weren’t made of steel—couldn’t do much.
Due to their faith in the Vigilance Church, the residents of Redstone Collection had hidden themselves, preventing Long Yuehong from determining their exact numbers. But considering the town’s size, he believed that there were definitely 200 to 300 adults.
Jiang Baimian smiled. “Of course, we have to find an ally first.”
“An ally?” Long Yuehong was confused.
“Think about it. Which faction would you hate most if Redstone Collection were to fall into chaos, leaving only the Red River people or the Ashlanders?” Jiang Baimian guided him patiently.
Long Yuehong thought for a moment and eliminated the possibilities one by one. “The Vigilance Church?”
“Yes.” Jiang Baimian nodded in satisfaction. “As far as the Vigilance Church is concerned, it’s the best situation if there’s constantly small unrest but never big ones—everyone is vigilant and wary of each other. It’s the best way to allow their teachings to be reflected and adhered to. Once Redstone Collection only has a single faction, the ‘need’ to hide will be of much lower importance.
“Otherwise, why do you think Helvig found outsiders for the investigation? Who was he trying to persuade? Without a valid reason for war, they won’t be able to break through the Vigilance Church’s restraints.”
With this connection, Long Yuehong no longer had any doubts. He looked back at Lodge District and asked, “Shall we return to the cathedral now?”
He inexplicably felt that it was very likely that Bishop Renato had been given an opportunity by commissioning them to search for Viel. Not only would it resolve his problems, but he would also establish a connection with the personnel in charge of the firearms investigation to accentuate the Vigilance Church’s existence.
“There’s no rush. This is only an analysis, not a fact.” Jiang Baimian smiled and said, “Let’s just do a patronizing job for the next two days. Let’s see who jumps out from failing to hold it in.”
As she spoke, she raised her hands and stretched.
Long Yuehong was speechless.
Shang Jianyao sighed. “Seriously, they don’t know that harmony is the most precious thing. If I were a bishop, I would add the ritual of finding friends to play hide and seek at every Mass. Searching, finding, finding friends…”
As Shang Jianyao spoke, he started singing.
That Shang Jianyao Brotherhood’s Redstone Collection branch is on the cusp of establishment… Long Yuehong criticized inwardly and interrupted, “Then, why did Helvig die? They hid the firearms and framed the Ashlanders. In the end, one of their accomplices became greedy and found an opportunity to kill Helvig?”
Clap! Clap! Clap!
Shang Jianyao suddenly applauded. “You finally have the qualifications to be a radio or drama scriptwriter.”
Jiang Baimian’s eyes darted over. “The premise is that very few people know about the hiding of firearms. Otherwise, there’s no way to commit the murder. Let’s see who will die next.”
At this point, she turned to look at Bai Chen and asked with a smile, “If they distribute all the firearms, with each person having a few weapons, we won’t be able to determine if they are our target goods. It’s not like there are any markings. How did you deal with it in the past?”
A piece of paper had appeared in her hand at some point in time. It was a list of firearms provided by the Hunter’s Guild. “200 United 202s, 200 Tronge assault rifles…”
Bai Chen immediately replied, “What the client cares about is whether they retrieve enough of the goods, not where the goods came from or how they came to.”
Jiang Baimian laughed. “Then, it might be faster for us to snatch it directly. Since it’s a snatch fest, why should I return them to the client?”
Shang Jianyao immediately suggested excitedly, “We can drag the goods to our client and get him to shout out the items. Those that respond will belong to him.”
Jiang Baimian shook her head with a tsk. “You’ve never seen smart machines. Not only will they respond to you, but they will also quarrel with you.”
It was almost noon when the Old Task Force—which had visited Helvig’s trusted aides—returned to Redstone Collection.
They were in no rush to go to the Public Security Department to consult about Helvig’s death. Instead, they found a shop named ‘Poisonless Restaurant’ according to the markers on each floor.
There were six to seven tables in the shop. Some were large, and some were small. Each had a few chairs and stools.
As expected, there was nobody inside. Not to mention the chef, even the boss couldn’t be seen.
“Sigh…” She sighed in amusement.
At the same time, Shang Jianyao strode into the kitchen and squatted in front of the stove.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
He knocked on the cabinet under the stove.
The cabinet door soon opened, and a slightly chubby man crawled out. He wore a rather fluffy cotton coat and a white apron. He wore a mask from an Old World play that had thick, white eyebrows.
As the man came out, he muttered in Ashlandic, “The food is in the freezer. You can cook them yourself or let me cook.”
Some of his black hair was standing up as if it was caused by him sleeping without drying his hair after showering.
“What do you need in exchange?” Jiang Baimian interrupted Shang Jianyao’s possible fantasy. She switched to Ashlandic.
The cook heaved a sigh of relief and thought for a moment. “I don’t lack food. Let’s exchange for First City’s gold and silver coins or weapons.”
“Weapons.” Among the supplies that Jiang Baimian exchanged using the bulletproof SUV was a batch of firearms that were easier to carry.
“You guys decide what to cook first.” The cook walked to the large freezer and lifted the lid. There were many ingredients inside, but the variety was not plentiful. The meat consisted of pork, beef, lamb, chicken, duck, and fish. The vegetables were cabbage and radishes.
“There’s quite a number,” Jiang Baimian praised sincerely.
In the Ashlands, this was one of the signs of being well-to-do. Of course, restaurants definitely had to prepare ingredients, but the amount of food they prepared reflected their ‘strength.’
The cook smiled and said, “Our restaurant mainly does food transactions. The restaurant is just a side business.”
Great, he’s also a smuggler in food and meat… As expected of Redstone Collection… Jiang Baimian muttered to herself as she began choosing. “One serving of pork ribs, braised. One chicken, something similar to potato roasted chicken. I’ll leave it to you to decide on the condiments…”
As she ordered, she saw Shang Jianyao rub his stomach as if the names of the dishes alone made him drool.
After she was done ordering, Jiang Baimian asked the cook, “What specialty dishes does your Redstone Collection have? Oh right, how should I address you?”
“Just call me Old Chen.” The cook paused for a moment before saying, “Our specialty is the mixing in of Red River cooking styles. For example, steak. It just takes too much time for us to stew it. Also, there’s more gravy for our modified pea stewed mutton. It’s suitable for a situation with plenty of rice…”
“Then, give me one serving,” Jiang Baimian said generously. “How much is that in total?”
Old Chen thought for a moment and said, “One United 202. Other pistols will do too, as well as 30 corresponding rounds.”
“Alright.” Jiang Baimian agreed and got Bai Chen and Long Yuehong to return to the jeep to retrieve the gun and ammunition.
As she watched Old Chen busy himself, she casually asked, “Have you heard about what happened to Helvig?”
Old Chen paused. “I heard. Heh, what’s that saying? He who is unjust is doomed to destruction!”