Chapter 208: Asphyxiation
Jiang Baimian quietly listened and sincerely suggested, “You should mark out your experts and form a team to scout the area.”
She didn’t volunteer because this wasn’t within the Old Task Force’s scope of work. It was already a little risky for them to take the initiative to be ‘hired’ and deliver the supplies over. However, she could at least exchange for a military exoskeleton and train the team. Furthermore, the danger level was acceptable.
As for forming a reconnaissance team and heading to a clearly strange place while risking their lives for a settlement that had just arrived, it was clearly not something the Old Task Force should do.
A mercenary had to have a mercenary’s ‘professional ethics.’
If Jiang Baimian were alone, she might’ve taken on the reconnaissance mission out of interest. However, she was now a team leader. Any order from her would affect the team members’ personal safety.
She couldn’t be willful.
When she gave the suggestion, Jiang Baimian quietly turned her head and glared at Shang Jianyao, preventing him from volunteering.
Even though Shang Jianyao was wearing a mask, she could sense his eagerness.
After hearing Jiang Baimian’s words, Han Wanghuo sighed helplessly. “I’ve long raised this matter, but they were too vigilant and couldn’t make up their minds. They kept arguing over whether to send a reconnaissance team or not and who to send.”
It’s really difficult to reach a consensus when there’s a lack of trust between parties. Without a figure with authority, it might drag on until danger slaps them in the face… Jiang Baimian replied inwardly but didn’t say anything.
She knew that Han Wanghuo knew this.
As expected, Han Wanghuo asked them to hide the jeep and the all-terrain vehicle before saying worriedly, “When we previously encountered such a situation, it was always Bishop Renato who made the decisions. Both parties still listened to him, but he had to be summoned back to headquarters of all times. Nobody else—no matter which Harbinger it is—can replace him. The weight of his words is just different!”
Upon mentioning this, Han Wanghuo was clearly not satisfied with the Vigilance Church.
Uh, is this how the Vigilance Church is temporarily explaining Bishop Renato’s Heartless disease? Jiang Baimian revealed a thoughtful expression, but it was obvious that Han Wanghuo couldn’t sense her reaction because she was wearing a mask.
They had spent the afternoon and night watching the lakeside villa. They didn’t come into contact with any Redstone Collection townsfolk and didn’t know the corresponding situation well.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao interrupted. “Harbinger Song is almost here.”
When they set off from the Vigilance Church, Song He was already organizing the Church’s armed forces and preparing to rush over.
Han Wanghuo nodded. “I hope they won’t go head-to-head against Harbinger Song.”
‘They’ referred to the Red River people.
“You can also gather them. I’ll persuade them.” Shang Jianyao gave another solution.
Han Wanghuo glanced at the fellow suspiciously, not finding his eloquence outstanding at all. Of course, he didn’t say it directly. Instead, he smiled bitterly. “With their vigilance, no one can gather them for such matters.”
“Then, where are they hiding? I’ll visit them one by one.” Shang Jianyao wasn’t afraid of suffering any hardships.
Han Wanghuo immediately became vigilant and smiled patronizingly. “Let’s see if Harbinger Song can persuade them first.”
As he spoke, Han Wanghuo had already led the four members of the Qian Bai Team to the defense zone he was in charge of.
This was a relatively intact building, but the building in front of it had completely collapsed. It blocked the few floors below it, forming a natural fortification—a fortification made of concrete.
Standing on the sixth floor of this building, one could see the southeast corner of the city ruin from the window. Once the other party counterattacked, they could crouch down and be virtually impossible to hit.
“You guys are in charge of the left.” Han Wanghuo reassigned the positions and gave Jiang Baimian and the others orders, treating them all as equals.
He and his subordinates quickly moved to the right window and set up two machine guns.
Shang Jianyao put on the night-vision goggles and squatted down excitedly. He switched the Berserker assault rifle to an Orange rifle. He mimicked Bai Chen and assumed the posture of a senior sniper.
Long Yuehong glanced at him and squatted on his left. He was assigned the Tyrant grenade launcher.
On Shang Jianyao’s right were Jiang Baimian and Bai Chen. One was holding a Death rocket launcher, and the other was using the Orange rifle she was most familiar with.
It was late at night. The moonlight flickered, making the entire city ruin seem like it had sunk into an abyss.
As time passed, Han Wanghuo frequently picked up the walkie-talkie and communicated with the town guards in charge of different defense zones. This included a temporary meeting that Harbinger Song He presided over.
Finally, the Redstone townsfolk came to a consensus: They would send out a five-person team composed of Tan Jie, Hamil, and other experts to investigate the situation in the southeast corner of the city ruin.
At this moment, Bai Chen—who had been monitoring the area ahead—saw a blurry figure quietly approaching through the night-vision goggles.
His grayish-black scales flickered in the moonlight.
A murloc… Bai Chen adjusted the muzzle’s position and was about to pull the trigger with her finger.
The murloc’s head exploded, and he fell face up.
Bai Chen turned her head in surprise and looked at Han Wanghuo—who wasn’t far away.
She didn’t fire that shot just now.
Sheriff Han Wanghuo had reacted faster than her. Furthermore, he accurately hit the murloc’s head from that distance.
Han Wanghuo sensed Bai Chen’s gaze, glanced at her, and nodded slightly.
Retracting her gaze from his slightly yellowish-white eyes, Bai Chen confirmed something—Han Wanghuo’s shot was definitely not a result of luck.
Han Wanghuo was a true sniper. Be it his observation skills or shooting skills, he wasn’t inferior to her. In fact, he might even be slightly better.
It’s no wonder he became a Senior Hunter and was chosen by Redstone Collection to be a sheriff… Bai Chen came to a realization and stopped being distracted.
At this moment, Han Wanghuo picked up the walkie-talkie and reminded the town guards elsewhere. “The merfolk are here. There’s no need to send out the reconnaissance team.”
Is it that simple? This thought suddenly flashed across Jiang Baimian’s mind.
Long Yuehong’s body tensed up slightly. He held the grenade launcher and focused on the road ahead.
Gradually, he felt suffocated. This was something that usually happened when he was especially nervous.
But I’m not that nervous. Why… Long Yuehong was a little confused. After his experience in Weed City, he didn’t think the current situation could make him so nervous. Most importantly, his heartbeat didn’t accelerate much.
He examined his condition in confusion and realized that breathing had truly become a little difficult. He slowly felt like he was holding his breath.
“Something’s not right!”
“Are we competing in lung capacity?”
Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao’s voices sounded at the same time. They also realized that there was a problem with their respiratory system.
The air they were inhaling was decreasing!
Upon hearing the reminder, Han Wanghuo and the others realized that something was amiss. They had previously thought that a war was imminent and subconsciously held their breaths.
Huff, huff… They opened their mouths and panted heavily. But no matter what they tried, the feeling of impeded breathing couldn’t be relieved. It was even clearly getting worse.
This was like sinking into water. As long as one couldn’t float and didn’t carry an oxygen tank, it was impossible to obtain fresh air. The more one struggled and the more they tried to breathe, the worse the situation became.
“It should be an Awakened,” Jiang Baimian said again. She had a strong ability to hold her breath, and she was the one suffering the least impact.
As she spoke, she looked at Shang Jianyao. The two of them shook their heads at the same time.
They sensed that there was no life in the southeast direction up to a certain range.
Even if an Awakened could hide their consciousness and hide from their own kind, the corresponding electric signals couldn’t be removed as long as they still had a body unless they completely hid themselves in the metal cage.
But without knowing Jiang Baimian’s genetic modification abilities, nobody would make such a cumbersome and useless preparation.
After eliminating all the possibilities, there were only two answers: The first was that the person who caused the asphyxiation was a traitor and was somewhere in the current defense line.
Second, the other party was already close to the Mind Corridor at the Awakened level. He had even entered it, and the range of his abilities had undergone a qualitative change.
In a relatively empty area, Jiang Baimian’s range for sensing electric signals wasn’t small. Dealing with the mechanical monk, Jingfa, back then was clear evidence of her capabilities. But now, she was affected by the other party’s abilities without discovering their existence!
Han Wanghuo knew how powerful Awakened were and had his fair share of encounters, but he had never imagined that they would be this powerful.
He made a prompt decision and ordered, “Retreat! Engage in guerrilla warfare.”
They were going to split up and rely on their familiarity with the terrain and hiding abilities to engage in guerrilla warfare with the merfolk and mountain monsters.
If they gathered together, everyone might suffocate to death at the same time. No one would be spared.
“That will just lead to a slow death.”
“He’s better at finding people than you are.”
Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao warned him in unison. Their words were different, but the meaning was the same.
An Awakened with such a large ability range wouldn’t have a small detection range. He could completely lead a team to find the hiding ‘rats’ one by one or directly suffocate them to death in their hiding spots without having to do so.
At this moment, someone shouted through the loudspeaker, “Useless cowards only dare to hide in the distance and secretly harm others! Come over if you dare!”
This was spoken in the merfolk dialect.
Although it was a Subhuman dialect, it had evolved from the Red River language. Jiang Baimian couldn’t speak it, but she could barely understand the general meaning.
“Phew, Tan Jie…” Han Wanghuo said a name with some difficulty.
Tan Jie? His Provocation ability’s range can be enhanced with a loudspeaker? Jiang Baimian immediately had a guess.
As the loudspeaker wasn’t aimed in their direction, she didn’t feel any anger, nor could she verify this guess.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao sighed heavily and said, “It’s really useful to grasp an additional foreign language.”
Otherwise, the merfolk and mountain monsters wouldn’t understand, even in the face of a provocation.
Tan Jie switched to ‘mountain monster language’ and cursed again. Everyone’s suffocation didn’t ease at all and became worse.
Tan Jie didn’t stop. He took turns cursing in the merfolk and mountain monster language. During this process, he constantly changed directions and changed the areas he could influence.
When he shouted for the sixth time, everyone suddenly felt like they had crawled out of the water.
The air was so fresh, and the world was so beautiful.
“In the parking lot behind the technology building!” Tan Jie’s voice sounded again.
With the help of the feedback, he roughly determined the terrifying Awakened’s location.
The map Jiang Baimian obtained from Harbinger Song He surfaced in her mind. The map quickly enlarged, revealing the layout of the area.
The parking lot behind the technology building was almost 100 meters away from her.
Jiang Baimian quickly adjusted the rocket launcher in front of her and fired at the spot Tan Jie had described.
Shang Jianyao hunched his body and stood up.