Chapter 221: Landing on the Island
“What’s this?” Beside the milky-white speedboat, Jiang Baimian saw the town guards following Han Wanghuo push four bicycles over.
Han Wanghuo looked into the distance—at the lake dyed in golden sunlight—sniffed in the cold and humid winter wind, and smiled. “There’s still quite a distance to the temple after you get ashore on the island. It’s not wise to waste time on the road. A few of our town guards came up with a plan to lend you a few bicycles for transportation.”
It was obvious that a small and simple speedboat couldn’t carry a car.
Shang Jianyao was deeply moved by his words and seemed like he would shout ‘brother’ at any moment.
Jiang Baimian pinched the mask on her face before he could and jested, “It’s rare for all of you to be so generous.”
Han Wanghuo frankly said, “We also hope to figure out the sleeping deity as soon as possible. Otherwise, we will be in trouble if a powerful Awakened like that day occasionally appears among the merfolk. When the time comes, our only hope will be Eidolon Nun’s protection of Redstone Collection and that the Vigilance Church is willing to send a Terror Bishop over.”
Jiang Baimian understood their wariness toward the latent dangers. “That’s true.”
Han Wanghuo then pointed at the four bicycles and said, “These are all new products from United Industries. They haven’t been used for a year. Look, they all have a backseat; they mimic the Old World’s early style. Heh heh, I’ve always found it strange that the Old World’s bicycles can’t carry people anymore. Isn’t it a waste? It’s not practical at all.”
Jiang Baimian had never studied this problem, so it wasn’t her place to echo his thoughts randomly. She could only deliberate for a moment before saying, “Since there’s a backseat, two will be enough. Otherwise, the speedboat will be very crowded.”
Han Wanghuo had no objections to this and casually added, “Previously, the United Industries smuggler even promoted something called an electric balance scooter to us. It’s very small and convenient to carry. However, doesn’t he know what kind of road conditions plague the ruins? One can fly out if they aren’t careful.
“The murloc captive said that the island’s roads are well-preserved. They should be suitable for electric balance scooters. Unfortunately, we didn’t buy them back then.”
Jiang Baimian smiled and suddenly said, “Captain Han, you seem to be more talkative than before?”
Han Wanghuo was stunned for a moment before he laughed self-deprecatingly. “Maybe it’s because you guys have shown your strength, and I want to curry favor with you.”
After chatting for a while, Shang Jianyao and Bai Chen each pushed a bicycle to the speedboat. Long Yuehong laboriously carried the cardboard box that contained the exoskeleton.
In order to save electricity, he didn’t wear it.
Jiang Baimian was the last to jump onto the speedboat. She waved at Han Wanghuo and the others as the engine sputtered.
Ten seconds later, the milky-white yacht drove into the endless Lake of Wrath, leaving a long trail in the golden-scaled water.
The wind on the lake was clearly colder, making Long Yuehong shrink back.
He looked around and saw that the shore was reduced to a single line. The various islands were lurking deep in the lake like monsters.
“Team Leader, why don’t we come at night? Isn’t it too eye-catching in the middle of the day? It’s very easy for the merfolk to discover us…” Long Yuehong asked whenever puzzled. In his imagination, such operations were usually carried out on dark and windy nights.
Jiang Baimian laughed and looked at Shang Jianyao—who was squatting at the edge of the speedboat and trying to fish with his outstretched hand—and said, “Explain to Little Red.”
She paused and added, “Hey.”
Shang Jianyao turned around and raised a question to Long Yuehong in his smug monkey mask. “Do you know the way?”
“What way?” Long Yuehong was stunned.
“The way to Lake Heart Island,” offered Bai Chen.
“No,” Long Yuehong subconsciously replied before coming to a realization. “We won’t be able to find that island at night?”
Jiang Baimian observed the ‘landmark’ that Han Wanghuo and the others had marked out and confirmed that there was nothing wrong with the route. She then nodded and said, “Yes. We can still use a map, the descriptions, and our surroundings to compare during the day to follow the planned route to the island. At night, even Han Wanghuo and the others won’t be able to find their way, much less us.”
The lake was where the merfolk had the absolute upper hand. Redstone Collection’s townsfolk didn’t venture too deep.
This speedboat was very simple and didn’t have any so-called smart navigation.
“Besides, if you were a murloc, when would you be most vigilant?” Jiang Baimian continued. “It must be late at night. You’d be worried that the people from Redstone Collection will sneak an attack under the night’s cover. You will instead be a little lax during the day.
“The Lake of Wrath is so large. As long as we don’t go to the main area where the merfolk are active, there shouldn’t be any danger before we approach that island.”
Long Yuehong listened carefully and concluded, “The exact situation determines the actual analysis.”
After the speedboat circled a large area to the west, it gradually ventured deep into the Lake of Wrath.
As time passed, the sunlight became less bright.
After an unknown period of time, Shang Jianyao and the others saw a large island.
A mountain stood in the middle of the island like a boundary stone.
“We’re almost there.” Jiang Baimian compared Lake Heart Island’s characteristic descriptions given by Redstone Collection and confirmed that their destination was right in front of her.
Bai Chen slightly adjusted the speedboat’s direction to ensure that it didn’t deviate at all.
The wind from the lake came blowing, messing up their hair and clothes.
Finally, they approached the island and discovered a slightly dilapidated dock. Not far from the dock, a small river gurgled.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao stood up, bent his back, and looked at the water on the left excitedly. He then said, “Human consciousness, three.”
“It looks like merfolk.” Jiang Baimian had long discovered it, but she couldn’t determine if they were large fish.
“What should we do?” Long Yuehong’s heart tightened before he suggested, “Make the best use of our time to dock?”
As long as they didn’t clash with the merfolk over water, he had nothing to fear.
“They’re coming over very quickly,” Jiang Baimian said calmly. “It seems like the merfolk haven’t completely given up on this island. They will send people over from time to time to check on the situation.”
At this moment, Shang Jianyao assumed the posture of jumping into the water.
As Bai Chen controlled the speedboat, she drew a United 202 and tried to shoot into the water. However, she couldn’t find the merfolk under the rippling lake surface.
Long Yuehong was the same; he even had a strange thought: I wonder how waterproof the exoskeleton is…
Jiang Baimian broadcasted the merfolk’s actions. “They dove a little deep. It looks like they want to cause damage to our boat’s bottom.”
She stepped on the wooden deck and said to Shang Jianyao, Long Yuehong, and Bai Chen, “Stay away from the sides of the boat. Don’t touch anything except the wooden planks. There’s no need to fight the merfolk in the water; it’s not worth it.”
Shang Jianyao sighed and moved away.
After the Old Task Force members stepped on the wooden planks, Jiang Baimian squatted down and pressed her left hand to the lake.
The next second, the side of the ship suddenly lit up as if it were noon when the sun was its brightest.
Countless silver-white electric arcs erupted and darted down the lake.
This lasted for more than ten seconds before several fish flipped over and floated up.
Further away, the three merfolk approached the water surface and crazily swam into the distance.
Their bodies twitched uncontrollably, and their eyes were abnormally blank. It was unknown what had happened.
Jiang Baimian knew when to stop and stopped releasing high-voltage electric currents. She still had to leave a portion of her power to explore the temple.
While the merfolk were away, Bai Chen drove the speedboat to the dock and tied it to a pole.
Jiang Baimian jumped off the speedboat and looked around. Just as she was about to speak, she saw Shang Jianyao jump out, rush to the nearby river, and help up a rusted metal board.
On this board were words written in Ashlandic: “Electrocuting fish is prohibited here!”
Jiang Baimian was instantly stunned.
From the corner of her eye, she saw Long Yuehong and Bai Chen—who had taken off their masks—purse their lips tightly. Their bodies trembled slightly as if it were very difficult for them to hold in their laughter. As for Shang Jianyao, he wore a mask, so it was impossible to tell if he was smiling or not.
“Merfolk aren’t fish!” Jiang Baimian defended herself.
As soon as she finished speaking, she laughed as well. The dock was filled with liveliness.
This was a strange coincidence.
After Bai Chen moved the two bicycles to the dock, Long Yuehong put on the exoskeleton with Shang Jianyao’s help.
Jiang Baimian stopped smiling and instructed seriously, “Little White, Little Red, stay here. First, prevent the merfolk from coming again and destroying the speedboat. Second, be a backup team. I don’t know what will happen in the temple. What if we go in together and get wiped out? Stay here; if something really happens, we can still look forward to your rescue and support. Yes, pay attention to my signal flare. In addition, come for us immediately if we exceed the time limit.
“If you ultimately discover that something is amiss, go back and inform the company.”
This was a normal division of labor for a team. Leaving behind manpower was also one of the effective measures in an exploration. Bai Chen had no objections.
Long Yuehong naturally didn’t object.
Jiang Baimian then slung the Tyrant grenade launcher and the Berserker assault rifle over her shoulder. She led the bicycle over and sat on it.
She then subconsciously turned her head to look at Shang Jianyao and realized that he was already prepared.
The only problem was that Shang Jianyao—who was wearing gray camouflage and black leather boots, with an assault rifle slung across him, and an Ice Moss and United 202 at his waist—didn’t match the actions of ‘riding a bicycle.’ He looked inexplicably comical.
Upon realizing that she was the same, Jiang Baimian found it funny and couldn’t help but say, “We—who are armed to the teeth and prepared to explore the unknown—actually advance on bicycles… This feels strange.”
Shang Jianyao thought for a moment and replied, “At least it’s not a tractor.”
“…That’s true.” Jiang Baimian imagined the scene and decided to accept the current conditions.
The two of them then huffed and puffed as they pedaled, fully armed as they rode their bicycles in the direction of the temple.