"What is it?" Shang Jianyao asked impatiently.
A smile gradually bloomed on Gitis’s face, and her eyes lit up. She then said unhurriedly, "About Ceningmis—this will count under the remaining deposit. There’s no need to pay additional fees."
Although she tried to show her generosity, Long Yuehong and Bai Chen still felt like they had suffered a ‘loss.’
They had previously known that the Old Task Force—which Shang Jianyao’s father was a part of—had indeed been to Gesterbourg, so there was a high chance that it had been to inquire about Ceningmis. Now, they had only obtained confirmation.
Of course, it was always a good thing to get confirmation.
"What aspects were involved?" Shang Jianyao asked.
Jiang Baimian couldn’t ask before he did.
Gitis picked up a piece of paper on the table and a fountain pen beside her. She then said seriously, "I asked many people, and most of them have the same knowledge about Ceningmis as me. Any local over the age of 30 on these streets can provide the same information. The Ashlandic team back then didn’t obtain much from them either. I don’t think you will be interested in this."
"No." Jiang Baimian shook her head slightly. "I still want to know what questions the Ashlandic team inquired."
This allowed them to infer certain matters.
Gitis nodded. "They mainly asked them what they knew about Ceningmis. Their focus was whether residents from there who came to Gesterbourg had mentioned anything abnormal. Clearly, the Ashlandic team didn’t receive a satisfactory answer.
"This will count under the remaining deposit. There’s no need to pay additional fees."
That’s more like it… Long Yuehong finally felt that the deposit was worth it.
Gitis smiled mysteriously again. "However, there were five people. I think they should know more about Ceningmis. All kinds of signs prove this, but they only gave me standard answers. The answers weren’t much different from the others I inquired."
"Which five?" Shang Jianyao asked again.
"This requires additional payment." Gitis maintained her expression. "Two Knight silver coins for one name, and ten coins for five."
Ten? Jiang Baimian felt a headache coming on.
The Old Task Force only had six Knight silver coins in total. They could barely afford their meals today, and their accommodation and electricity bills were paid once every few days as long as it didn’t exceed the deposit.
"We only have a mission tomorrow, one that we can receive a bounty," Shang Jianyao suggested enthusiastically. "Do you accept mortgages?"
"You need to make a mortgage for ten Knight silver coins?" It seemed like it had been a long time since Gitis met such a person. "What do you plan on mortgaging?"
In a flash, Jiang Baimian suspected that Shang Jianyao would answer ‘nuclear bomb.’ She quickly replied, "One United 202."
She then removed the United 202 from her belt.
Apart from these relatively ordinary firearms, the Old Task Force really couldn’t find an item that was suitable for mortgaging without scaring others.
If they were really pushed into a corner, they could only use Old Ge as collateral.
Gitis took the pistol and checked it. "On the black market, a good United 202 can be sold for 25 to 30 Knight silver coins. There’s no problem using it as collateral."
The White Knights had a sizable firearms shortage, and the price of weapons was higher than in places like United Industries.
When the Old Task Force walked along the streets of Gesterbourg, the most common weapons seen on ordinary people were shotguns and modified hunting rifles.
"Deal!" Shang Jianyao smiled.
Gitis wrote words on a piece of scrap paper with a fountain pen and handed it to Jiang Baimian.
Although Shang Jianyao was mainly the one negotiating the matter, the intelligence peddler seemed to acutely sense who was in charge.
Shang Jianyao moved his head close to Jiang Baimian’s shoulder and looked at the drying ink on the piece of paper.
"1. Vice-Commander of the local knight order, assistant of Grand Knight Havel, Chevalier Eman.
"2. The local Hunter’s Guild’s president, Frances.
"3. Director Aester of the local United Mining Association.
"4. The other intelligence peddler, Mor.
"5. Farstriders’ caravan leader, Smith."
As the Old Task Force examined the piece of paper, Gitis said in a tone like she was reciting from a book, "Eman’s father was the former feudal lord of Gesterbourg, a Grand Knight. He died seven years ago. It’s confirmed that the Ashlandic team had visited Eman’s father, and he was also present. As the son of Gesterbourg’s former ruler and one of Ceningmis’s trade leaders, I believe he knows a lot.
"Frances has been the president of the local Hunter’s Guild for almost 30 years. As the current Chief Hunter, he definitely knows a lot. There is reason to believe that the Ashlandic team visited him back then.
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"Before Ceningmis was destroyed by the disaster, it had rather close trading ties with Gesterbourg. Aester even established a branch company over there and spent half a year there every year. Fortunately, the disaster happened during the other half of the time.
"Mor is my competitor; he’s already old and barely earns some pension with his original connections. But 12 years ago, he was still an energetic middle-aged man who knew many things he shouldn’t have known.
"Smith is the leader of the Rootless team you know. His caravan is called Farstriders, and he’s the main broker in all our transactions with Ceningmis. He has been to Ceningmis more often than anyone in the area."
"We actually didn’t ask Smith about this back then!" Shang Jianyao sighed with regret.
That was his brother. Whether that relationship was maintained or not depended on the situation.
The reason the Old Task Force didn’t ask back then was that they had yet to associate Shang Jianyao’s father’s Old Task Force with Gesterbourg.
Gitis fell into a daze for a few seconds before saying, "You can visit these five people and ask them about the corresponding matters or get my help. However, I have to find sufficient chips to pry open their mouths. Therefore, the price won’t be low. Each person will cost one Grand Knight gold coin."
Just one Grand Knight gold coin? Jiang Baimian felt that Gitis’s price was surprisingly low.
It wasn’t that Grand Knight gold coins were worthless—just the bounty of 50 Grand Knight gold coins for the Subhuti figurine mission had attracted a large number of Ruin Hunters. Many people even felt that they wouldn’t have to worry too much about the rest of their lives if they could obtain the full bounty.
This was because money could produce more money. Sometimes it was faster than a gun, and sometimes it was slower than a gun.
Of course, it sometimes ran to other people’s homes.
Jiang Baimian found it cheap because it felt impossible to pry open the mouths of people at Eman and Aster’s level with a Grand Knight gold coin.
Would they be short of one Grand Knight gold coin? Just some spare change of theirs was more than that!
Gitis has unconventional solutions? As Jiang Baimian thought, she smiled at Gitis. "We’ll give it a go first. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll look for you."
"Alright." Gitis wasn’t surprised by this answer. Normal people would mostly make such a choice.
"What about the other two matters?" Jiang Baimian asked.
Gitis thought for a moment and said, "There’s no extra news regarding the Subhuti figurine that the Hunter’s Guild isn’t aware of.
"Some of the goods that Smith’s caravan previously transported came from Aester. I’m not sure what it is, but this information is worth ten Knight silver coins. I’ll count it as part of the collateral."
Aester… Jiang Baimian and the others silently repeated the name.
"Is there anything else?" Gitis asked.
After receiving a negative answer, she fell into her usual daze.
Shang Jianyao left the hotel and suggested anxiously, "Let’s find Smith first. It’s easiest to negotiate with him."
Jiang Baimian smiled reassuringly. "There’s no rush; we haven’t had breakfast. Yes, nothing will happen to Smith. We can ask him later. We can consider the other four after we complete the mission tomorrow."
"Alright." Shang Jianyao had no objections.
However, an unexpected development still happened after they had a quick meal and began searching for the Farstriders caravan.
Smith had led his Rootless team to transport a batch of goods to a settlement in the southeast. They had already set off for several days, and it would take about five days for them to return.
Shang Jianyao was very disappointed about this. He could only return to the hotel and wait patiently.
Another day passed. The Old Task Force—which had charged high-performance batteries—was filled with confidence.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
In the morning, Spant knocked on their door.
"Shall we set off now?" He looked at the tall, muscular, and metallic Genava and felt that the mission would be very simple.
Any possible enemy wouldn’t ignore the existence of such a dangerous item if they had eyes! In comparison, the four humans were only a bonus.
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They sure are lucky. When can I have a smart bot of my own… In that case, I can save up another sum of money and buy the latest serum with the best effects. The range of choices will also be greater… Spant’s gaze swept across Jiang Baimian and the others as he felt a little jealous and envious.
Shang Jianyao rubbed his stomach and asked in all seriousness, "Is breakfast provided?"
Spant wasn’t surprised by this question at all. He laughed and said, "Yes! I haven’t had breakfast either."
As Ruin Hunters, they were accustomed to freeloading whenever possible.
Shang Jianyao nodded in satisfaction and called out to Jiang Baimian and the others. "Let’s go!"