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In the parallel quest, twelve years in the future, the whole of Europe was under the control of CTOS. Little Boy also taught Zhang Heng how to survive in such an environment and keep a low profile.
Little Boy had to admit that even extremely cautious individuals couldn’t escape the eye of the obscenely invasive surveillance cameras and electronic systems. As the leader of 01, Leah spent most of her time wandering around the United States, China, and Russia.
Although Edward was one of CTOS’s designers, he wasn’t part of the team responsible for developing the algorithms that collected personal data. However, his understanding of its system was better than most of his counterparts. That said, he was all alone now, and there was nobody around him he could trust. Getting discovered was only a matter of time now.
This time it took only less than four days for Black Nest to locate Edward’s new hiding spot.
The coffee man was in a Hermès suit this time. He held a cup of freshly ground coffee and slowly entered the command car, where the woman in the red dress was waiting for him. As compared to the casual-looking man, she seemed to be better equipped. Wearing a bulletproof suit, she had a 9mm submachine gun in her left hand, a dagger was placed on her arm, and her favorite mini pistol was strapped to her thigh.
The most eye-catching thing on her was the katana on her back with a blade over 80cm in length.
“Wow, it looks like you are well prepared.”
“And it looks like you are late,” the woman in red scowled icily.
“Sorry. It took me a while to grind the coffee.” The man sat down opposite the lady and yawned.
“Did you know that this time, we wll likely encounter players from an opposing faction?”
“Yes, I heard that the guy named Abu had killed a player before,” the man replied and sipped a little coffee from his cup.
“Then, you should get serious too,” the woman in red frowned.
“Relax, Scarlet, now that we have the power to command, we are not far from the end of the game,” insisted the man, shifting his bottom to a more comfortable position.
His appearance also triggered the dissatisfaction of Abu at the back of the car. “Look at how arrogant this guy is. You sure piss me off real bad. Why did you stop me from shooting him the night before?! I was confident that I could keep the whole thing low. After that, we could have just reported to headquarters that he was killed in action.”
“No. Our priority now is to kill Edward. Your other matters have to be put on hold first. That includes your personal grievances between you and your target. Settle it after everything is over,” Vincent said.
“Ah, it’s the old-fashioned saying again,” Abu stretched out his hand, touched his bruised cheek, and proclaimed in an affronted tone, “I think we can handle the task of killing Edward.”
“Really? How did we let those people escape the hardware store four days ago?”
“Well… maybe they turned into ghosts and went straight through the wall?” Abu smiled awkwardly. He felt discouraged as he approached the matter, being something that puzzled him for a very long time.
He had surrounded the people in the hardware store, leaving them nowhere to escape. However, when the second team rushed in, they found no one inside. Those people vanished into thin air right under his nose.
It wasn’t out of pure spite that they got scolded for being worse than trash. However, anybody who was beaten up or stepped on the head would surely be extremely unhappy.
“I’m sorry. Let’s watch them do what we couldn’t,” Abu sneered. Vincent’s expression was as cold as ever. “We will know soon,” he answered.
Edward’s new hiding spot was in a natatorium. After the last attack, he had become more cautious. With the help of Mr. Gilm, there was now more than one hiding spot for him. One was the hardware store, and the other one was a newly opened natatorium.
The natatorium was a very strategic hiding spot since it was one of the few places where surveillance cameras were nonexistent. He worked as a cleaner and night watchman and was permitted to stay at the natatorium all day without going out. Of course, it was all a cover, and he had to abandon all electronic devices on him. Still, despite the overthought precautions, Zero managed to find him anyway.
It was all because of the girl in charge of the cash register at the front desk. She had the habit of writing a diary on the Internet. She recorded stories about this weird new colleague, and Zero subsequently retrieved it thanks to a keyword.
Right now, Scarlet and the coffee-man were rushing to the natatorium with the 01 team.
Edward got up early to change the water for the two swimming pools. At the same time, a group of guests arrived one after another. Ignoring them, Edward had his back facing the swimming pool as he cleaned the tiles on the ground.
After a while, Edward noticed something. He raised his head and saw a sweetly smiling girl beckoning him over. The natatorium provided staff meals, but only offered lunch and dinner, and not breakfast. This wasn’t a big problem for Edward, where two meals were sufficient to keep him alive.
However, the girl in charge of the cashier noticed that he hadn’t been eating breakfast, thinking that he must be trying to save up. Feeling sorry for him, she prepared an extra set of breakfast in the morning and brought it to him.
Edward told the girl that she did not need to do this, to which she nodded, but still insisted on bringing him breakfast every morning. To avert suspicion and appear as normal as possible, Edward accepted the kind gesture.
The girl then mouthed to him, asking him to eat with her in the staff lounge. This had been going on every day for the past few days. Hence Edward did not suspect anything. He put down the mop in his hand and followed the girl to the lounge, but as soon as he opened the door, he was shocked. A stranger was sitting in the room, holding a coffee cup. “Jared, he said that he’s a friend, and he wants to surprise you, which is why I didn’t tell you in advance.”
Goosebumps sprouted all over Edward’s skin, and his heart started pounding like mad. He instantly felt threatened and wanted to flee the place as soon as he could.
What the man said next, however, stopped him from running. The stranger put down the Starbucks cup in his hand and said, “You must be quite lucky. We found you before Black Nest did.”
The cash-register girl was a little confused. “Black Nest? What kind of Black Nest?” she asked with her head cocked to one side.
“Let’s go; Black Nest will arrive in about four minutes. Anything you need to pack?” “I’m taking my backpack with me.”
It appeared that Edward had calmed down, and he did not doubt Zhang Heng’s identity. Zhang Heng then stuffed the box of homemade sandwiches on the table into Edward’s hands.
“Okay, I’ll see you in the parking lot in 60 seconds,” Zhang Heng added, “Eat it on the road. Don’t waste your friend’s heartfelt sandwich.”
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