Embers Ad Infinitum - Chapter 446

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Chapter 446: The Road to Wealth

As expected, Jiang Baimian also discovered her fake alias after she finished reading the mission description.

It was obvious that the Virtual World’s owner and some of First City’s higher-ups had already come to a realization and knew that someone had stolen Marcus’s passcode. Hence, they tried to use the Hunter’s Guild to drive a large number of Ruin Hunters to help in the investigation.

Of course, this was definitely only part of the pursuit. The powerful figures in the Hand of Order and some of the military’s elite teams were most likely involved in finding the criminals.

“You only get 10,000 Oray for capturing one.” Unlike his initial excitement over the high bounty, Shang Jianyao was a little indignant. His tone indicated that the bounty was too low.

Jiang Baimian could understand the fellow’s ‘displeasure.’ They had obtained important secrets under the nose of a Mind Corridor-level Awakened who could create the Virtual World, but they were only priced at 10,000 Oray per person.

“This is much more expensive than a ton of flour.” Jiang Baimian casually consoled him, using Qiao Chu’s bounty as an example. “Back then, it was a ton of flour as long as we gave effective clues. This requires a capture.”

Shang Jianyao naturally wasn’t that easy to fool. The difficulty of the two was simply incomparable.

For the Qiao Chu mission, the Old Task Force could even split the information into several portions and have each portion exchanged for a ton of flour.

The payment for providing clues on the outstanding matter was divided into three categories: 50 Oray, 100 Oray, and 300 Oray.

Jiang Baimian didn’t harp on the topic and read the mission description again.

The entity which issued the bounty was the Hand of Order, an official organization with sufficient credibility. They didn’t mention that the reason the three targets were wanted was that they had come into contact with a key protected target in the arena and had stolen an important secret. They only categorized Jiang Baimian, Shang Jianyao, and Long Yuehong as accomplices of the previous assassination. The bounty was put up under the grounds that they were suspected to be plotting something big against First City; thus, the large incremental increase of the bounty.

Yes, it doesn’t matter if it involves confidential information or not. The fact that they didn’t capture us on the spot means that confidential information will definitely be leaked and that it’s no longer preventable... First City isn’t trying to stop the spread of information but to figure out which faction did it. Heh heh, it can give them an excuse to take revenge... Jiang Baimian looked at the large screen and thought calmly.

The sketches of the targets provided by the Hand of Order came from a camera. It wasn’t that high in resolution, and it had undergone some corrections with the help of witnesses. Shang Jianyao and Jiang Baimian had also disguised themselves to make themselves look to be of Red River ethnicity. As long as they didn’t encounter someone familiar, they weren’t afraid of being recognized.

Although Long Yuehong had acted as an Ashlandic, he had also disguised himself. Furthermore, he didn’t even leave a fake name. In the mission description, he was known as the ‘Third Suspect.’

At this moment, he—who was waiting for the information to be printed—also discovered the mission with the sizable bounty.

Fortunately, the focus is on Team Leader and Shang Jianyao. They didn’t describe me much... As he rejoiced, he sighed with emotion at the bounty amount. “That’s really a lot...”

,000 Oray was enough to turn a wilderness nomad into a ‘respectable person’ with a house and shop in First City. As long as one maintained a stable lifestyle in the future, their life would be pretty good.

Upon hearing Long Yuehong’s sigh, Shang Jianyao turned his head and smiled. “That’s right. It’s really quite a lot!”

As he spoke, he sized up Long Yuehong as if he were counting 10,000 Oray.

If you have the guts, hand yourself over! It wasn’t that Long Yuehong didn’t dare to speak this time but that the environment suppressed his urge.

With so many Ruin Hunters nearby, who knew if anyone had good hearing!?

Shang Jianyao retracted his gaze and looked at Jiang Baimian. “Should we take it? There’s no punishment if we can’t complete it anyway.”

Jiang Baimian fell silent for a moment before smiling. “Sure. Even if we can’t capture them, we can exchange some clues for a lot of money.”

“...” Long Yuehong didn’t expect his team leader to really agree.

Jiang Baimian pretended to sigh with emotion and added, “I only hope we can find effective clues before we leave First City.”

Long Yuehong understood what she meant. His team leader was implying that they would provide the Hand of Order with a few pieces of the team’s information when they were preparing to leave First City so as to extract any remaining value.

This is simply... too nasty... Long Yuehong ruminated for a long time before finally coming up with an adjective.

When Shang Jianyao took on the mission, Long Yuehong also obtained information on Waite and the others’ family members.

...

Red Wolf Zone, in a community of greater age.

The houses here weren’t too tall and had many signs of repair. They were connected to each other, forming a relatively sealed-off area.

Unlike the habit of living in the Old World’s Red River Zone, conflicts often happened when First City was first established due to the harsh environment and chaotic situation. Therefore, the group of people was often accustomed to living as neighbors to help each other or occupying villages that could produce food.

In that era, apart from certain Awakened and Subhumans, most humans had to band together to survive. Otherwise, how many Heartless and mutated creatures could one deal with through the use of firearms?

Due to such ‘folk tradition,’ the older neighborhoods in First City weren’t more than five stories tall. There were only a few entrances and exits, which made them similar to a city within a city.

Once chaos broke out, such a place could last a long time as long as obstacles were set in place. Of course, the premise was that the enemy didn’t possess heavy firepower.

To this day, such communities were filled with First City citizens who could maintain a certain status and income.

“Waite’s wife and children live here?” Long Yuehong looked at the community consisting of multiple buildings in front of him in surprise. If not for the fact that he had obtained the Hunter’s Guild’s proof, he would’ve suspected that he had encountered a cheat again.

Although Waite was an Awakened, he didn’t seem to be doing well.

“Maybe he took most of his harvests home and didn’t leave much on himself.” Bai Chen had seen many cases of such Ruin Hunters.

When they adventured in the wilderness, they might indulge themselves and release their stress. However, this didn’t stop them from being good to their family, and they were even willing to be harsh to themselves.

“Let’s go in.” Jiang Baimian looked at the silent Shang Jianyao and walked to the community entrance first.

After a registration and a simple inspection, they circled around the buildings and arrived in front of a five-story building.

Waite’s house was on the first floor.

Long Yuehong stood at the door and suddenly felt a little nervous. He wondered how Waite’s wife and children would react. Would they be overwhelmed by grief?

If I die outside, will Team Leader and the others have similar worries when they inform my family? Long Yuehong slowly exhaled and pressed the doorbell.

As the chiming echoed, footsteps approached, and the door was pulled open.

In front of the Old Task Force was a 27-year-old woman of Red River ethnicity, and she wore a white hoodie. Although her clothes were old, they were washed very clean.

Sunlight shone in from the outside, making the room appear bright and clean. The two children were sitting around the sofa and looking curiously at the door.

On the coffee table in front of them were some children’s books excavated from the Old World’s city ruins.

“You are?” the woman of Red River ethnicity asked hesitantly. She was a little vigilant and solemn as if she had a bad premonition.

Upon seeing Jiang Baimian and the others remain silent, Long Yuehong opened his mouth and said, “Are you Waite’s wife?”

The color in the woman’s face suddenly drained. She quickly asked, “W-where is he?”

“He died during an expedition.” Long Yuehong didn’t say that Waite had committed suicide.

The woman’s body unconsciously staggered twice as she asked, “Where’s his corpse?”

“In the forest outside the North Shore Mountains at No. 2 Advance Base Camp. We marked it...” Long Yuehong’s words gradually turned fluent.

Energy in the mountains was precious, so it was impossible for such corpses to be cremated. It was already considered lucky that someone dug a hole for them to be buried.

After all, this was also food in certain areas.

The woman’s lips quivered before she finally said the words: “Thank you.”

She spoke very softly.

Jiang Baimian glanced at Shang Jianyao and signaled for him to confirm it.

Shang Jianyao completed this matter with Inference Clowning in an unnoticeable manner.

She was indeed Waite’s wife.

Long Yuehong took out Waite’s relics and handed them over. “These were on him.”

Waite’s wife took the bag and opened it. She couldn’t help but look surprised—this was more than what Waite had gained every time he returned home!

A few seconds later, the woman anxiously said, “H-how much should I give you? I heard from Cuorgnè that a portion has to be paid to the returner as payment for such matters. Sorry, Waite is his fake name...”

As she spoke, the woman’s eyes reddened, and her voice became choked.

Long Yuehong was just about to decline when Jiang Baimian replied, “We’ve already taken our portion.”

She didn’t make any small talk and waved her hand. “Bye.”

Waite’s wife wiped her eyes and repeated her previous words. “Thank you.”

Shang Jianyao smiled at her. “Newborns are likened unto the sun.”

These baffling words successfully stunned Waite’s wife.

As the Old Task Force left, they heard a child’s voice from behind. “Mommy, who are they?”

“They’re Daddy’s friends.”

“Where’s Daddy? Why isn’t Daddy back yet?”

“Daddy went far away...” Waite’s wife’s voice remained gentle.

...

After sending the ‘bereavement money’ to the families of Waite’s teammates, the Old Task Force arrived at another street in the Red Wolf Zone.

This was where Long Yuehong had seen Han Wanghuo’s back.

He looked around and hesitantly asked, “Team Leader, where should we start the search? Do we go around asking people one by one?”

That would be quite a massive endeavor.

Jiang Baimian’s eyes darted around as she chuckled. “This is also a question I want to ask.”

“Huh?” Long Yuehong was a little confused.

Jiang Baimian smiled and said, “It’s a temporary assessment to see if your ability to analyze problems and deal with matters has improved.”

Team Leader, how can you launch a sudden attack? Long Yuehong tried his best to think.

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