Embers Ad Infinitum - Chapter 587: Origins

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Chapter 587: Origins

Jiang Baimian didn’t expect the other party to ask such a simple question. After some thought, she replied, “It’s two to three days away if you take the normal route. If the Lake of Wrath floods, requiring you to take a detour, it might take more than a week.”

It doesn’t sound like this group of people has ever been to Redstone Collection… Why are they going there? Purchasing various smuggled goods? Long Yuehong—who was listening—extracted the key points of the conversation.

Without waiting for the other party’s response, Jiang Baimian joked, “Didn’t you guys get a guide?”

“We had one.” The younger man’s expression changed slightly. “He’s an ass…”

The older square-faced man glanced at his companion and stopped him from continuing. Then, he chuckled and said, “We aren’t familiar with this area, and the guide we found wasn’t that reliable. He almost got us lost.”

He was honest about his team’s unfamiliarity with the area because others could easily come to the same conclusion from their inquiry about Redstone Collection.

The guide is an ass? Jiang Baimian repeated the young man’s words inwardly. This made her come up with a guess: Could the attack last night be caused by the guide? After he was hired by this team, he took advantage of them being foreigners and colluded with bandits. He left marks and planned on working with outsiders from the inside to make a windfall?

“You aren’t lost.” The honest Shang Jianyao pointed out the flaws in the other party’s words. “You are on the right path now.”

The older man glanced at Shang Jianyao and explained with a smile, “I said almost. In fact, we don’t know which direction we should go in next, so we could only come over to consult you.”

Shang Jianyao quickly pointed in the direction he had come from. “Eliminate that first.”

Any ordinary human will know without you saying that… Uh, except for people like the directionally challenged Team Leader… Long Yuehong criticized inwardly, but he didn’t dare to say it out loud.

In order not to let Shang Jianyao continue embarrassing himself, Jiang Baimian raised her right hand and planned on giving directions.

Wait! Team Leader, don’t you have any self-awareness? Long Yuehong tried to stop her, but he didn’t voice it out. How is this different from the blind leading the blind?

As Shang Jianyao’s face revealed ‘horror,’ Bai Chen spoke before Jiang Baimian could. “Keep going in that direction until you see the Lake of Wrath. Then, head south along the lake, and you’ll find a large city ruin.”

The route she provided was clear with obvious landmarks. There were no twists and turns in the middle, so it was easy to understand. It didn’t sound problematic.

The older man outlined a map in his mind and asked, “Are there no other city ruins along the way?”

Redstone Collection was difficult to find because the Lake of Wrath and its surrounding area had a large number of cities in the Old World.

“There will be a few before reaching the Lake of Wrath, but there won’t be any once you head south,” Bai Chen explained simply.

These were all confirmed by the Old Task Force.

“In other words, Redstone Collection isn’t that far away… It’s no wonder you said that we could reach it in two to three days if we’re fast.” The older man smiled in relief. “You are regular visitors to Redstone Collection?”

Otherwise, they wouldn’t be so familiar with the road.

“We’ve been there twice.” Jiang Baimian couldn’t be any more honest. Of course, she didn’t mention that the Old Task Force had caused upheavals in Redstone Collection in just two visits, causing the factional power balance to undergo a tremendous change.

The older man nodded and didn’t ask any further. “What kind of payment do we need to pay?”

Jiang Baimian saw that Shang Jianyao had fallen into deep thought and didn’t know what request he would make. She quickly smiled and said, “Just a few cans will do.”

“Alright.” The older man turned his head and said to his companion beside him, “Go get eight cans of food from the car.”

His voice was deep and authoritative.

The young man immediately turned around and walked to the dark mountain car parked ten meters away.

Taking opportunity of the brief interlude, the older man continued asking, “Is there anything we need to pay attention to in Redstone Collection?”

“Learn how to play hide and seek.” Shang Jianyao’s expression was sincere and serious.

The older man fell silent for a few seconds before thoughtfully asking, “The people there mainly believe in Eidolon Nun?”

“Yes.” Shang Jianyao raised his hands and crossed them in front of his chest before taking a step back. “Distance is our friend!”

“You are a believer in Eidolon Nun as well?” the older man asked in interest.

Shang Jianyao thought for a moment and said, “It depends.”

With your piousness, the Kalendarium definitely haven’t smote you with a bolt of lightning because they haven’t discussed who will do the honors… Jiang Baimian muttered silently. She then reminded the other party, “When you reach Redstone Collection, you need to find a townsfolk in the city ruins and get them to lead the way to your destination. This is their folklore. Those who have been there can’t tell others the exact location of Redstone Collection.”

The older man didn’t show a troubled expression and only nodded. “Thank you.”

At this moment, his companion walked back with eight cans.

Canned sardines, braised pork hock… Long Yuehong looked over and realized that the flavors were a little different from what he often ate.

The older man bade farewell after Jiang Baimian took the canned food. He returned to the car with his companions and drove toward the main bulk of the party.

They showed the basic precautions during the entire process, but they weren’t especially vigilant.

After watching the dark mountain car drive away, Jiang Baimian sighed with emotion. “They have a certain level of confidence in their strength…”

She looked down at the cans in her hands and suddenly smiled. “Make a guess as to where these people came from?”

Bai Chen recalled their conversation and unhurriedly said, “Although they were trying their best to control their accents, they still revealed some flaws. They likely come from the Ashlands’ northeastern area or often interact with the people there.”

Upon hearing that they came from the northeast and that the team was Ashlandic, Long Yuehong had a guess. “Salvation Army?”

East of First City and the White Knights belonged to the Salvation Army.

Jiang Baimian chuckled. “In any case, the canned food seems to come from there. Besides, they are clean and tidy. They are orderly like soldiers, not bandits or hunters.”

The canned food in Jiang Baimian’s hands didn’t have any printing that revealed the production factory, perhaps for smuggling purposes.

Shang Jianyao instantly grew excited. He stretched out his right hand and pressed it to his left chest. Then, he straightened his body and bowed at the other team members. “For all of humanity!”

He looked like he wanted to head over to those people and ‘catch up!’

Jiang Baimian stopped him. “Let’s talk about it when we reach Redstone Collection. I wonder why they came to the Lake of Wrath…”

The Salvation Army was separated from the Lake of Wrath by First City. It made it impossible for their influence to penetrate this far, and they rarely had their people active here.

“To expand their smuggling channels?” Bai Chen guessed.

Jiang Baimian nodded and deliberated before saying, “After First City’s uprising, there was a tendency to divert the internal conflict outward, and the Salvation Army was the first to bear the brunt. It’s normal for them to come up with more plans and save up resources in that case.”

After returning to the dark mountain car, the young man in the driver’s seat looked at his older companion beside him and said respectfully, “Commissioner Xu, the most active man in that team should be an Awakened, but we can’t be sure if he’s at the Mind Corridor level. There might be other Awakened among them.”

The older man named Commissioner Xu nodded and said, “The price he paid seems to be a lack of self-control—that’s the Last Man domain. However, there are still many prices that can produce such a performance. I can’t be sure for the time being.”

After the team suspected to be from the Salvation Army left the river and headed in the direction Bai Chen pointed out, the Old Task Force members calmly finished their lunch and got into the jeep.

Jiang Baimian glanced at Shang Jianyao in the backseat. “You can take a nap and enter that psychological trauma again to see if there’s anything abnormal.”

Shang Jianyao was already eager to give it a try.

Mind Corridor, Room 912.

After Shang Jianyao entered, he imagined that he would appear at the dock—the starting point of this psychological trauma. However, he realized that he had arrived inside the cruise ship’s cabin.

“Saving is supported in here?” Shang Jianyao had a look of surprise.

This way, he wouldn’t have to return to the starting point every time and start all over again!

He looked around and stroked his chin. “This is another anomaly. It wasn’t completely dark when we boarded the cruise ship, but the moon is high in the sky now.”

A swath of dark clouds drifted over, blocking out the moon.

With the help of the wall lamps, Shang Jianyao pushed open a door to the side.

This was the room he had entered last time. He wanted to see how the people inside were doing.

The very next second, Shang Jianyao saw the couple that was tussling previously.

Now, one of them was standing by the bed, constantly propping his back up and striking the air. The other was hugging her chest and constantly circling around the door as if she had lost her way in such a cramped space.

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