Chapter 104: Steadily Advancing
In the almost frozen darkness, Shang Jianyao and Jiang Baimian sat opposite each other. Neither spoke.
Unknowingly, it felt like the first person to speak would lose.
Finally, Jiang Baimian broke the silence and laughed self-deprecatingly. “Why should I compete with you?”
As she spoke, she stood up, covered her mouth, and yawned. “I’ll go lie down on the sofa and sleep for a while. As for you, you can count your heartbeats and seriously feel the circulation of every part of your body. You can also mentally go through all the oral histories you’ve previously read and do a brief summary and inspection.
“Try to see if you can get some inspiration or comb through the matter regarding Wang Yafei and Shen Du from beginning to end to see if you have missed any key points. Additionally, you can also get up and walk or stroll. As long as you can see, dancing won’t be a problem.”
After giving her instructions, Jiang Baimian strode forward and nimbly circled around the different obstacles in the darkness before successfully arriving at the sofa.
Shang Jianyao regretfully said, “You actually didn’t trip.”
Jiang Baimian immediately smiled. “You sure are cooperative. You know how to bring this up.
“When I switched on the flashlight just now, I observed my surroundings and memorized most of the items’ exact locations. At the same time, I can also sense the electric signals from my motion. From there, I can adjust my direction and not deviate from the designated landing spot.
“Remember, you have to grasp the surrounding layout and terrain quickly, no matter where you are. It can save lives at critical moments.”
Jiang Baimian was clearly very pleased with herself.
After educating her team member, Jiang Baimian sat down and retracted her legs. “I’m sleeping.”
Just as she said that, she laughed again. “You can wake me up if you’re afraid, but don’t wake me up with singing!”
Shang Jianyao’s words were stuck in his throat.
Jiang Baimian deliberately pretended to fall asleep. After waiting for a while, she gradually heaved a sigh of relief when she saw that Shang Jianyao did not exhibit any signs of his previous state.
As she feigned sleep, Jiang Baimian eventually fell asleep.
Jiang Baimian was woken up by a sudden beam of light shining at her. She abruptly stood up, lifted her thick cotton coat, and looked around in confusion. “What time is it?”
“It’s 6:30.” Shang Jianyao’s voice sounded from nearby.
Jiang Baimian subconsciously looked over and realized that the fellow was actually doing a handstand with his back against the wall.
“W-what are you doing?” Although Jiang Baimian had recently been able to grasp Shang Jianyao’s responses and deter him from saying weird stuff in advance, she really couldn’t understand why he was doing a handstand.
Shang Jianyao maintained his posture and calmly replied, “A way to change the way I consider things. I’m looking at the problem from a different perspective.”
“…This angle is indeed extraordinary.” Jiang Baimian praised him against her true beliefs. “Then, did you gain anything?”
“No.” Shang Jianyao exerted strength with his waist and abdomen, and with a push off the floor with his arm, he stood up properly.
Jiang Baimian decided not to continue the topic. She took two silent breaths and asked, “How was it last night?”
“I just couldn’t use the bathroom,” Shang Jianyao replied frankly.
Jiang Baimian relaxed and smiled. “You can go. There are sensor lights in the public bathroom here at night.”
“It’s mainly because it’s easy to bump into something before leaving,” Shang Jianyao explained seriously.
Jiang Baimian was just about to reply, “What’s the big deal? It’s not like you’ll kill yourself by bumping into things.”
However, she suddenly had a thought and smiled. “Were you worried that you’ll create a commotion and wake me up?”
“That’s impolite.” Shang Jianyao did not show any signs of having his thoughts seen through.
Jiang Baimian then praised, “That’s not bad.”
She stretched her waist and limbs and smiled. “You’ve adapted well. Continue reading the oral histories this morning. You can go back and rest in the afternoon. You don’t have to participate in the training session.
“In the future, you just need to stay here when it’s your turn. Don’t be too anxious. Take things one step at a time. As long as you can take every step steadily, trust me; this fear of yours isn’t a big problem. You will definitely emerge victorious.”
At this point, Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and said, “I’ve read an Old World book, and there’s this sentence in it: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Shang Jianyao nodded solemnly, indicating that he would keep it in mind.
As Jiang Baimian walked to the door, she casually said, “I’ll go wash up. Yes… I have to rest well tonight.
“No, what if Bai Chen has a similar fear? What if Long Yuehong is more afraid of the dark than you are and is more afraid of the silent and relatively sealed darkness? Sigh, I have to watch over them for the next two nights. I mustn’t have anything go wrong…
“It’s so tiring being a team leader!”
Shang Jianyao quietly listened to Jiang Baimian’s complaints and volunteered. “I can help you watch over them.”
Jiang Baimian frowned and asked rather vigilantly, “Are you trying to scare them?”
“Since we are training our courage, how can we be missing that?” Shang Jianyao said boldly and confidently.
Jiang Baimian’s eyes slightly flickered as she smiled. “This suggestion can be considered, but it can’t be done during the first few times. What if they get spooked?”
Hehe, when the time comes, it’s still not certain who will be the one doing the scaring.
Shang Jianyao didn’t say anything else and rushed out to the public bathroom.
At 7 p.m., he went to the small canteen on the 647th floor for dinner after waking up. He then returned to the 495th floor’s Rec Center.
He found an empty corner as usual and sat there, observing everyone coming and going.
As expected, he saw Long Yuehong and his blind date.
Unlike before, Long Yuehong spent a large sum of money on buying sweets, pumpkins, and glass bottled beverages from the Supplies Allocation Market next door. After receiving the compensation and bonuses, Long Yuehong had been doing well recently.
“How extravagant…” Shang Jianyao evaluated softly.
As he looked around, he realized that Jian Xin—who had short hair that reached her ears—was watching her husband, Zhuo Zhengyuan, play cards.
After so many days, this lady—who had been worried, uneasy, and tense after Wang Yafei’s death—seemed to have returned to normal. Her face was ruddy again, and she happily chatted with the people around her.
Similarly, the grief and fear she felt because of Shen Du’s death seemed to have disappeared.
After a while, Jian Xin lowered her head and spoke to her husband, Zhuo Zhengyuan. She turned around and walked to the door.
Jian Xin looked like she was going to the public bathroom.
Shang Jianyao suddenly stood up and walked over. He ‘coincidentally’ bumped into Jian Xin near the entrance.
There was nobody here.
When Jian Xin saw that it was Shang Jianyao, her expression became a little complicated. She forced a smile and asked, “I heard that you and Long Yuehong found many good things on the surface?”
As she spoke, she couldn’t help but look at the mechanical watch on Shang Jianyao’s left wrist.
“These things are all over the ruins,” Shang Jianyao said truthfully.
Without waiting for Jian Xin to speak again, he directly inquired, “Did you see anyone you shouldn’t have seen on the 478th floor that day?”
He didn’t directly say the words ‘the day Wang Yafei died.’
Jian Xin’s face turned slightly pale as she muttered, “I’ve been thinking about this the past few days. I was busy cleaning and didn’t pay attention to my surroundings.”
She paused and spoke at an accelerated pace. “Later, Wang Yafei died. I was very uneasy and scared. It was impossible for me to be in the mood to observe him.”
As she spoke, she looked around and pursed her lips. “The only person I find strange is Xiong Ming. I bumped into him at lunch in the canteen. Normally, he should be working in the Indoor Ecosystem Zone. Maybe he took sick leave…”
Shang Jianyao’s expression did not change. He suddenly asked, “Why do you have a deep impression of him?”
Jian Xin was not that afraid to discuss this topic, so her speaking volume returned to normal. “He’s very easy to remember. You might not be aware, but there’s something wrong with his eyes. His eyeballs don’t seem to move much. He just looks at you blankly and is unable to discover anything when it comes at him from the side…”
“Is that so?” Shang Jianyao nodded and suddenly said, “This matter is in the past.”
“I hope so.” Jian Xin sighed slightly and pointed outside. “I’m going out.”
Shang Jianyao did not stop her and walked to the other side.
The two of them seemed to have bumped into each other on the way and had a little chit-chat while no one was around.
The next morning, Shang Jianyao entered Room 14 on the 647th floor ahead of time. He waited for a while before Jiang Baimian finally arrived.
“I got here first.” Shang Jianyao seemed like he had achieved a major victory.
Jiang Baimian chuckled. “I don’t even want to agitate you. I made breakfast at home.”
She would cook a meal for her parents from time to time.
Worried that this topic would make Shang Jianyao uncomfortable, Jiang Baimian sized him up and asked, “You’re early. Is there something?”
Shang Jianyao nodded. “I met Jian Xin yesterday…”
He recounted how Xiong Ming was supposed to be at work but had lunch on the floor where he lived. He didn’t forget to mention the details regarding the target’s abnormal eyes.
Jiang Baimian’s expression flickered as she nodded slightly. “This person is indeed very suspicious. There are signs of him paying a price. We next have to figure out how to seek confirmation without leaving a trace and obtain clues.”
At this point, Jiang Baimian looked at Shang Jianyao and smiled. “It’s time to test your ability to make friends! Of course, it can also be a test of your ability to acknowledge a god-relative.”
 From Nietzsche