Chapter 230: Search
Upon hearing Lehman’s words, the masked Jiang Baimian laughed. “What a coincidence.”
After a pause, she added, “I previously thought that your commission was related to United Industries and that we needed to go elsewhere.”
Upon seeing the mysterious Ruin Hunter team show their kindness, Lehman smiled and said, “If you are willing, I also have many requests related to United Industries.”
Shang Jianyao asked excitedly, “What’s there?”
I was just being polite… Lehman was momentarily speechless. Regarding United Industries, he had always believed that having good skills was inferior to having good relationships.
Jiang Baimian chuckled to herself. As she instructed Long Yuehong to continue cooking with Bai Chen, she said to Lehman, “Tell us about your commission, but we might not accept it.”
Phew… Lehman heaved a sigh of relief. “Here’s the thing: I was saved by a Ruin Hunter when I was still an employee of a military enterprise in United Industries. His name is Lars. He’s a little younger than me, and he has good marksmanship and outstanding combat skills. He’s a Senior Hunter. Later, we often met. He helped me a lot, and I also commissioned him with many missions, allowing him to lead a pretty good life…”
After briefly recounting the past, Lehman finally said, “In short, he’s my best friend.”
“What happened to him?” Jiang Baimian asked.
Long Yuehong—who was helping Bai Chen cook—pricked up his ears.
This story sounded interesting.
Lehman’s expression slowly turned solemn. “He went missing. About a year ago, he disappeared in Redstone Collection.”
“Did he say anything to you before he disappeared?” The person who asked this question was not Jiang Baimian, but Shang Jianyao—who had one hand crossed over his chest and the other rubbing his chin.
He was just short of a pipe to mimic a famous detective from a radio show.
Lehman slowly exhaled and said, “The gathering point he was born in was previously attacked. His only surviving sister was abducted and enslaved. He had been searching for his sister’s whereabouts constantly. One day, he happily told me that he had found clues and confirmed that his sister had been sold to Redstone Collection. Furthermore, she might very well have already become an Underground Ark servant.
“With the opinion that it wouldn’t be too difficult to redeem a person from the Underground Ark, I told him that as long as he could confirm that his sister was here, I could sponsor him with a sum of supplies so that he could complete the transaction. He soon set off for Redstone Collection. A friend of mine told me that he did come, but he stopped appearing after a few days.
“He disappeared just like that.” Lehman’s tone was very gloomy toward the end.
“You suspect that his disappearance is related to the Underground Ark?” Jiang Baimian asked.
“Maybe he had a conflict with someone from Redstone Collection and was secretly killed. He was tied to a rock and thrown to the bottom of the lake.” Shang Jianyao provided another possibility.
In the Ashlands, apart from the few large factions, order and chaos coexisted everywhere. Plundering and murder often happened.
Lehman shook his head. “This might happen in other settlements, but as you know, all the Redstone Collection townsfolk like to hide. Without any business conflicts, it’s very difficult for outsiders to have any conflict with them. Uh, I also had Lars carry my letter with him to my friends to request their care.”
“For example, Helvig?” Jiang Baimian asked with a smile.
“Yes.” Lehman didn’t deny it.
Before Helvig died, he was Lehman’s main business partner in Redstone Collection. It wasn’t too much to call him a friend.
Shang Jianyao was immediately excited. “Could Helvig have done it? Helvig’s wife doesn’t have a good relationship with him. Lars lived in their house and is a very capable hunter. Could the two of them quickly develop a relationship that Helvig discovered and accidentally killed in his anger?”
What the hell are the company’s radio dramas and radio stories usually broadcasting… Uh, why does this story sound so familiar? He cooked up this tale using the fact that Weiler had an affair with his superior’s wife and was exposed on the spot—as well as the fact that Bishop Renato contracted the Heartless disease and how Helvig was scared to death in the ventilation duct? Jiang Baimian gradually understood the source of Shang Jianyao’s inspiration.
Lehman shook his head without hesitation. “Impossible.”
“What evidence do you have?” Shang Jianyao expressed his disbelief.
Lehman hesitated and clasped his hands. “It’s impossible for him to have an affair with Theresa because he likes men.”
This… Jiang Baimian looked at the arms dealer in front of her and gave Shang Jianyao a look, telling him not to continue his ‘inference’ and saying something like, ‘I understand. It was Lars and Helvig who had an affair. They were discovered by Theresa, who flew into a rage. She then got her adulterer, Bishop Renato, to help kill the male third party.’
Ignoring the chaotic and complicated nature of the story, these words would definitely hurt Lehman emotionally.
Shang Jianyao returned a regretful gaze and shut his mouth.
Jiang Baimian then inquired, “Did you discover any clues later?”
Lehman paused for a few seconds before saying, “I found out that he visited the Visa Trading Company and met one of DiMarco’s butlers. The butler’s name is Ulrich. Apart from this, there are no other clues. I mobilized my men and got many people from Redstone Collection to help me investigate the Underground Ark, but it was to no avail.
“I even personally looked for Ulrich, but he said that Lars disappeared when he learned that his sister had unfortunately died of an illness. Yes, Lars’s sister did enter the Underground Ark and became a servant inside. However, she died from an infection a few months later.”
Died from an infection? Jiang Baimian suddenly recalled Viel’s words.
DiMarco was very brutal and liked to vent his anger on servants; he thought nothing of human lives.
Lehman looked at the woman in the elegant monk mask and deliberated before saying, “Recently, I learned something through Helvig. The Underground Ark has an exit somewhere in Iron Mountain. People often come and go through that exit.”
Iron Mountain was north of the city ruin, where mountain monsters lived. On the other side of the Iron Mountain range was a relatively famous ruin from the Chaotic Era—Iron Mountain City.
This matches the information Viel provided… Jiang Baimian thoughtfully asked, “How did Helvig know?”
Lehman had no intention of hiding the truth for the deceased. “He learned it from Anhebus, and Anhebus heard it from the mountain monsters.”
That’s right. Anhebus and the mountain monsters have been secretly trading… Wait a minute; the Underground Ark has an exit somewhere in Iron Mountain… That place is definitely not far from where the mountain monsters reside. If DiMarco wants to sell information on Redstone Collection, he can do it without anyone knowing… Jiang Baimian quickly connected the dots.
“Where exactly is it?” she asked.
Lehman took out a hand-drawn map and pointed at a red circle. “Here.”
He then described the symbols on the map so that the Qian Bai Team could accurately find their destination. After saying that, Lehman took out another photo. “This was taken shortly before Lars disappeared.”
Jiang Baimian took the photo and glanced at it. She realized that Lars was a very masculine man.
Lars had short, flaxen hair, a high nose bridge, light-blue eyes, and a short beard around his mouth. His most prominent characteristic was a small cyan birthmark on his forehead. As for his height, it was not obvious from the photo.
After Jiang Baimian finished looking at the photo, Lehman deliberated for a moment and said, “I don’t expect you to agree to it right now. I only hope that you can help me keep an eye out while investigating the Underground Ark. If you can discover his whereabouts in passing or any related clues, you can come to me at any time to ask for payment.”
He sure knows how to conduct himself… Yes, otherwise, he wouldn’t have become a rich arms dealer… The only problem is that he only weighs the situation and lowers himself toward those stronger than him… Jiang Baimian nodded slightly. “We’ll help you keep a lookout.”
“What payment can you give?” Shang Jianyao interrupted and asked.
This time, Jiang Baimian didn’t glare at him because this was also what she wanted to ask.
Lehman smiled and said, “For example, a relatively new exoskeleton model, but this might take about a year to obtain. Similarly, there’s also the T1 type multifunctional mechanical arm. You have to give me more than half a year. Uh, I’m not in charge of transplantation. In addition to these, there are armored vehicles, tanks, and many types of cannons…”
Jiang Baimian quietly listened and said, “You shouldn’t have high hopes either.”
After sending Lehman off and having lunch, the Old Task Force drove the jeep north—toward Iron Mountain.
On the way, Long Yuehong asked warily, “Could this be a trap?”
Jiang Baimian smiled. “Ignoring the fact that there’s no reason to deal with us, even if there is, our team’s strength has increased. We are now a team that can truly destroy a nomad settlement.”
Long Yuehong suddenly felt a little happy, knowing that his team leader was talking about the military exoskeleton.
As they spoke, they used nearly two hours according to the map’s instructions before they finally arrived at Iron Mountain and found the Underground Ark exit hidden at the foot of the mountain.
This was a valley, and a small path led to a cave. The Underground Ark entrance was deep in the cave.
Jiang Baimian didn’t get Shang Jianyao and the others to approach immediately. Instead, she found a convenient vantage point to monitor the area and hid themselves, watching the cave entrance closely.
Time passed minute by minute, and the sky gradually turned dark. Long Yuehong was a little impatient from waiting.
He turned his head, looked at Shang Jianyao—who was hiding behind a few trees—and asked casually, “Don’t you find it boring?”
Shang Jianyao looked straight ahead and said, “I’m a rock now. Rocks don’t have feelings like boredom.”
“…” Long Yuehong couldn’t help but reply, “Rocks can’t speak either.”
“I’m acting the role of a talking rock,” Shang Jianyao explained calmly.
I’m really stupid, seriously… Long Yuehong cursed himself inwardly. He felt that it was more interesting to wait.
At this moment, two people came out of the cave; they were carrying a heavy sack.