Chapter 39: Waving Goodbye
After Jiang Baimian inserted her left index finger into the hole in Jingfa’s neck, the mechanical monk’s metal body froze in the passenger seat as if he had lost his energy source.
At the same time, Bai Chen released her right foot from the accelerator and fell to the side, attempting to pick up the grenade launcher on Jiang Baimian’s lap.
Upon seeing this, Long Yuehong and Shang Jianyao reacted almost simultaneously.
Long Yuehong quickly raised the Berserker assault rifle he carried and aimed it at the back of Jingfa’s head.
Shang Jianyao leaned forward slightly, and his eyes suddenly turned dark. “Zen Master, look…”
Just as he said those words, he saw Jiang Baimian’s body suddenly collapse into the passenger seat.
Her left hand hung from Jingfa’s neck limply. Her eyes were filled with confusion as she muttered strange words. “Who am I… What am I doing here…?”
Jingfa’s body returned to normal. He pressed down, stretched his left hand forward, and gripped Bai Chen’s neck tightly, preventing her from picking up the grenade launcher.
Long Yuehong’s bullets accurately hit the back of Jingfa’s head, but it only produced sparks and two small depressions. Not only that, but the ricocheting bullets almost hit Long Yuehong’s face. They scraped the jeep’s quarter glass and flew out the window.
Shang Jianyao’s pupils dilated when he saw this, but he still quickly said the words he had prepared. “You have human consciousness, and so do I.”
Jingfa placed one knee on the armrest compartment and clasped Bai Chen’s neck as he turned his head to look at Shang Jianyao. Perhaps it was because Shang Jianyao had been asking questions and conversing with him in a friendly manner, or perhaps it was because Shang Jianyao was not a woman, but the mechanical monk did not stop him immediately and only stared at Shang Jianyao with his bright red eyes.
Shang Jianyao quickly said, “You are an Awakened, and so am I. So…”
Long Yuehong turned his head in surprise, and the confusion in Jiang Baimian’s eyes vanished a little.
The red glow in Jingfa’s eyes rapidly flickered for a while before quickly returning to normal. His cold, emotionless voice hesitantly sounded. “So, we should get along?”
“Yes!” Shang Jianyao nodded heavily.
Jingfa hesitated for two seconds before he finally let go of Bai Chen’s neck.
At this moment, Jiang Baimian seemed to have escaped her strange state from before. She then sized Shang Jianyao and Jingfa up in surprise and confusion. Just as she was about to pick up the grenade launcher quietly—ignoring whether the explosion would affect them—she saw Shang Jianyao shake his head twice.
Jiang Baimian seemed to have understood something and released her grip on the grenade launcher. At the same time, she tightly shut her mouth and didn’t make a sound so as not to divert Jingfa’s attention.
During this process, she placed her right index finger vertically by her mouth, indicating for Bai Chen not to do anything.
Shang Jianyao kept looking at Jingfa as he sincerely said, “Zen Master, we appreciate your kindness. Farewells are inevitable. Why don’t we part here?”
Jingfa thought for a moment and shook his head up and down. “Alright.”
Shang Jianyao immediately turned his body to the side and opened the car door. He then walked down and made way.
Jingfa didn’t stay any longer and quickly exited the jeep.
Long Yuehong’s mouth remained agape the entire time as if he were dreaming. This is too strange and absurd!
Jingfa—who had alighted from the car—was just about to press his palms together when Shang Jianyao stretched out his right hand first.
Jingfa hesitated for a second before extending his right palm.
A flesh-colored human palm and a gigantic palm formed from a black metal skeleton held each other.
Shang Jianyao gently rocked his palm twice and retracted it. He then sat back in the jeep’s backseat and closed the door.
When Shang Jianyao saw that the mechanical monk, Jingfa, remained standing there without moving, he raised his right hand and waved it from side to side through the open window. “Goodbye!” he shouted sincerely.
Jingfa—who was wearing a monk robe and a kasaya—quickly replied and waved his hand. “Goodbye.”
Without Shang Jianyao’s reminder, Bai Chen—who had already returned to the driver’s seat—stepped on the accelerator and let the jeep speed up.
Jiang Baimian didn’t say a word, nor did she allow Bai Chen to make a sound. She only watched the mechanical monk in the rearview mirror—who was wearing a yellow monk robe and a red kasaya—grow smaller as they traveled further away.
After she could no longer see this abnormally terrifying member of the Monk Conclave, Jiang Baimian did the math to calculate the distance and asked with a suppressed voice, “How long can this effect last?”
Shang Jianyao didn’t hold back anything and frankly replied, “If the people, matters, and environment around him constantly instill the same answer in him, he will never be able to sense it until he discovers the opposite argument or result.
“However, there’s nobody or anything around him who can tell him that we’re friendly. Therefore, there’s no way to maintain the loop of corroboration. He should be able to sense something amiss in five minutes or less. After all, he must remember that there are two women in our team. He also knows very well how he treats women.”
Long Yuehong’s mouth was still agape. Listening to Shang Jianyao’s explanation was like listening to a radio host tell a story.
Jiang Baimian didn’t waste her breath and immediately turned her head. “Bai Chen, stop the car. We’ll change seats.”
“Team Leader, I’m more familiar with the Blackmarsh Wilderness.” Bai Chen tried to reason with Jiang Baimian as she gently stepped on the brakes without any resistance.
Jiang Baimian was in no rush to explain. She opened the door first, went to the driver’s seat, and swapped seats with Bai Chen.
After the jeep started moving again, she looked ahead and said, “I’ve undergone genetic modification and obtained some unique abilities.”
Bai Chen, Long Yuehong, and Shang Jianyao were all stunned when they heard this. Even within Pangu Biology, genetic modification technology was far from mature. The failure rate was rather high, so nobody was willing to try it unless they really had no choice.
“The genetic modification was conducted to save my life back then. It was done together with the biological limb transplant.” Jiang Baimian quickly explained everything. “I have a special cell in my body that can sense electric field signals within a certain range. When humans and beasts move, their muscle contractions and certain reactions will produce weak electric signals. Therefore, I can easily discover the enemy’s location and condition as long as they are within a certain range, regardless of whether they are hiding or not.”
“No wonder you sensed the Ruin Hunter in an exoskeleton device coming over earlier than me…” Bai Chen came to a realization.
Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong immediately had one of their earlier questions answered.
During their first night out, Shang Jianyao had clearly discovered traces of humans. However, Jiang Baimian was not curious at all, nor did she order them to search the surroundings. She should have long grasped the human’s characteristics and condition and made a judgment back then.
While driving, Jiang Baimian quickly continued, “The Blackmarsh Iron Snake was in a hibernation-like state back then. The electric signal it produced was very weak, so I thought it was just an ordinary animal. This was why I didn’t discover it in advance.
“However, Jingfa is a mechanical monk. A mechanical monk’s physical activity relies on very strong electric signals. Hence, I could sense him from a further distance and determine what he was up to. I was actually prepared for this attack. I deliberately made Bai Chen slow down to incite him into attacking, hoping to take the opportunity to destroy him or seriously injure him.
“Previously, I didn’t tell you that Jingfa has always been a persistent mechanical monk. If you are targeted by him, he will definitely chase you all the way. However, this would’ve been too dangerous. The best way is to hurt him and make him lose the ability to chase after us for a short period of time. Unfortunately, I never imagined that he would be an Awakened. A mechanical monk—who is also an Awakened at the same time—might have killed us all.
“I need to apologize for that. Jingfa will definitely attempt to launch a long-range attack when he chases after us. I’m the only one here who can sense it in advance and get the vehicle to make evasive maneuvers in time. Yes, it will definitely be too late if I provide verbal guidance.”
Bai Chen nodded in understanding. “I’ll pay attention to the road ahead and our surroundings. I’ll tell you which direction you can’t go in advance. How about using clock positions as a substitute?”
There were five bloody finger marks on the back of Bai Chen’s neck. It was quite harrowing.
“Alright.” Jiang Baimian slowed down and let the jeep smoothly bypass an obstacle. At the same time, she looked in the rearview mirror and said, “Shang Jianyao, Long Yuehong, quickly decide on who will wear the exoskeleton. The person wearing the exoskeleton will be the main force in resisting Jingfa.”
Before Long Yuehong could speak, Shang Jianyao firmly said, “Let me do it.” He looked at Long Yuehong—who was about to argue—and simply explained his reasons. “Jingfa is also an Awakened. You can’t be on par with him in this regard. I need the exoskeleton to help me narrow the distance.”
“…Alright.” Long Yuehong stood up and bent down. Together with Shang Jianyao, they dragged the exoskeleton from the trunk to their seat.
He then helped Shang Jianyao wear it.
“Remember to change it to the high-performance battery in the trunk,” Jiang Baimian reminded them.
Very few large factions could produce real high-performance batteries; currently, only the Orange Company and the Future Intelligence Company could produce them. The other factions could, at most, produce some inferior imitations—which were only suitable for civilian use that did not venture beyond the faction’s sphere of influence.
Therefore, the high-performance batteries for many different types of military equipment were compatible—with a 50% chance of success. The Old Task Force was rather lucky this time. The high-performance batteries needed for the jeep and the high-performance batteries for the military exoskeleton were standard items produced by the Future Intelligence Company.
“Okay.” Shang Jianyao didn’t dare be careless in this regard.
After changing the batteries, Shang Jianyao wore the powerpack and metal exoskeleton. Then, as he bent down to button the auxiliary joint clasps, he asked, “Team Leader, why did you suddenly fail when you hacked into Jingfa’s internal system?” Shang Jianyao suspected that it was one of Jingfa’s abilities as an Awakened. He currently knew about two of Jingfa’s abilities—Hungry Ghost Realm and mind-reading.