Chapter 112: Setting Off Once Again
The Old Task Force’s Room 14 returned to a frozen silence. Only the sound of Shang Jianyao’s breathing could be heard.
Shang Jianyao had already experienced such a situation last time. However, Jiang Baimian had said that she would stay next door and not leave.
In the impenetrable darkness, Shang Jianyao seemed to have adapted quite a bit. He surprisingly didn’t feel any fear.
He thought for a moment and left his seat. He circled around the corner of the table based on his memories and came to the relatively empty sofa area. He then slowly sat down, sat on the cold ground, and crossed his legs.
In the frozen darkness, Shang Jianyao maintained this posture. He raised his right hand and massaged his temples.
He quickly lowered his head and fell asleep sitting down.
Unable to maintain his balance, Shang Jianyao’s body tilted to the side bit by bit until he leaned against the sofa, his head leaning against the armrest.
In the illusory sea that shimmered with light, Shang Jianyao saw the grotesque, dark-brown island again.
As long as he couldn’t persist and awakened from his fear, his next entry definitely wouldn’t be on the island but in the Sea of Origins to the side.
Shang Jianyao was already accustomed to his current environment. He quickly lowered his head and looked at his blurry reflection in the illusory waves.
He spoke in a deep voice. “The island is very dark, as is Room 14. There’s no sound on the island other than mine, nor is there any sound in Room 14 other than mine. So?”
Shang Jianyao paused and answered his question. “Therefore, the island is Room 14.”
Just as he said that, his eyes remained dark as he grabbed the edge of the island and flipped over.
As expected, his vision became pitch-black again. He also lost the detection of any sound in his ears.
Shang Jianyao sat down without hesitation. He sat on the cold ground and crossed his legs. This was the exact same posture he had held before he fell asleep.
The darkness and silent environment around him immediately felt familiar. He seemed capable of pointing out the single-seater to his right, as well as the coffee table, the recliner, the bench, and the short stools diagonally across him.
Two doors away, Jiang Baimian was waiting for Shang Jianyao to shout for help.
Shang Jianyao’s mood instantly calmed down. Like the previous two nights, he thought about the various things he had recently encountered and guessed what kind of Holy Communion the other parishes had to offer.
This made him raise his right hand from time to time and wipe the corner of his mouth. He only shook his head in regret when he recalled that the Monks Conclave’s Holy Communion had a high chance of being engine oil and batteries.
Time passed quickly.
Several times, Shang Jianyao wanted to stand up, sing loudly, or ask if there was anyone. However, he controlled himself. After all, Jiang Baimian was just two doors away.
After he controlled himself again and again without any other accidents happening, Shang Jianyao began to think nothing of the darkness and silence. They couldn’t destroy him at all.
He even sang softly, appearing pleased and content with himself.
After an unknown period of time, Shang Jianyao genuinely felt sleepy. Therefore, he closed his eyes indifferently and conserved his energy.
He really fell asleep.
A beam of pure light suddenly shone, illuminating the area in front of Shang Jianyao a fiery red.
Shang Jianyao opened his eyes and saw the darkness around him quickly disperse. He heard the illusory sea’s soft splashing sounds.
Large patches of dark-brown soil and jagged rocks appeared on the island.
The light then stabbed into his eyes, so piercing that he subconsciously raised his right hand to block them.
After closing his eyes and opening them again, Shang Jianyao saw the dazzling sunlight and the grayish-white ceiling. He then realized that he was leaning against the armchair’s armrest and that he had been sleeping in a messy pose.
As Room 14 was illuminated and no longer met the preset conditions, his Inference Clowning failed.
Shang Jianyao then flipped his wrist and looked at his watch.
The needle hands showed that it was 6:30 a.m—this was the time when power to the street lamps was restored.
Shang Jianyao closed his eyes again. It was a mystery as to what he was trying to sense.
He then propped himself up on the armrest and turned to look at the door.
In just a few seconds, light footsteps approached. Jiang Baimian’s clothes were wrinkled when she appeared at the door. As she rubbed her eyes, she looked at Shang Jianyao on the ground and curiously asked in amusement, “What are you doing?”
“Maintaining a uniform posture both in and out.” Shang Jianyao spoke a truth that most people wouldn’t understand.
Jiang Baimian was taken aback at first before she came to a realization. “Are you trying to face the fear in the Sea of Origins again? Did you defeat it?”
Shang Jianyao thought for a moment and answered, “I guess so. Although it didn’t admit defeat, it didn’t appear again.”
Jiang Baimian immediately became excited. “Then, what changes are there to your abilities?”
With that said, she quickly added, “You don’t have to answer if it’s inconvenient.”
Shang Jianyao frankly replied, “There seems to be only a change in range this time. It’s a little better than before, but not by much. When you were 12 to 13 meters away, I could discover your existence. I also felt like I could make your hands immobile.”
“Hands Immobility… How wide was the range previously?” Jiang Baimian asked.
“Ten meters.” Shang Jianyao didn’t hide the truth.
“Then, it increased by about 30%… This is the first fear. When you defeat more fears and find your true self, your abilities might double, triple, or even quadruple in effectiveness.” Jiang Baimian smiled thoughtfully. “So your perception range is the range of your abilities.”
“It’s based on the ability with the greatest range.” Shang Jianyao pointed out the imprecision in Jiang Baimian’s words.
Jiang Baimian asked curiously, “The other abilities’ effective ranges are less than ten meters?”
“Inference Clowning was originally three meters, while Corny Person was five meters,” replied Shang Jianyao seriously.
Jiang Baimian immediately felt a little embarrassed. “Stop, stop, stop. This is your secret. You can’t tell me about them in such detail.”
Shang Jianyao glanced at her and said in a deep but not low voice, “The four of us can be considered companions who have experienced life and death together several times. In most cases, I believe we can trust each other. We can protect each other’s flanks and backs and charge together.
“Stop, you broken record!” Jiang Baimian couldn’t help but scold him jokingly.
These were the words she used to resolve Shang Jianyao’s fear last night.
Without giving him a chance to think, Jiang Baimian quickly asked, “Since you’ve already defeated your fears, why aren’t you getting up? Is it comfortable sitting cross-legged on the ground?”
Shang Jianyao sincerely replied, “Because my legs are numb.”
“…” Jiang Baimian laughed. “Do you need my help?”
“No,” Shang Jianyao replied casually.
Jiang Baimian was just about to say that he shouldn’t put on a brave front when she saw Shang Jianyao exert strength with his hands, flip his body, and do a handstand.
He stood upside down…
Shang Jianyao then walked to the door with his hands as his feet.
“…” Jiang Baimian was speechless.
Another day passed.
Pangu Biology’s parking lot on the surface, 9 a.m.
“Still the same old partner.” Jiang Baimian pointed at the grayish-green jeep that had plenty of space. “It’s already been repaired.”
She swept her gaze across the excited Shang Jianyao, the quiet Bai Chen, and the depressed Long Yuehong and asked, “Have you read the mission plan? Any other questions about our route?”
“No!” Shang Jianyao and Bai Chen replied loudly. The latter was much less reserved than when she first joined the Old Task Force.
“No.” Today, Long Yuehong lacked the usual gusto he usually had.
Jiang Baimian ignored him. She opened the trunk and pointed at the items inside. “We still have the same weapons as before. Ice Moss, United 202, Orange rifle, Berserker assault rifle, and Tyrant grenade launcher. Yes, in order to make up for the lack of heavy firepower, I applied for a shoulder-bearing rocket launcher that’s anti-armor. Its nickname is ‘Death.’
“There’s plenty of corresponding ammunition. In addition, there are also some commonly seen bullets.
“There’s more food than we previously prepared. After we go to Moat Town, we have to rush to Weed City as soon as possible. It’s best not to waste any time on the way. Although intelligence agents are constantly investigating the area, and it won’t be a problem for them even without us, we still have to do our best. The urgency needed to save others is akin to the urgency needed to fight fire.
“Besides, it’s almost winter. It’s very difficult to find sufficient food in the wilderness…”
After briefing them about all kinds of matters, Jiang Baimian asked, “Any further questions?”
As Bai Chen and Long Yuehong shook their heads, Shang Jianyao took a step forward and asked, “When are we setting off?”
“…Now.” Jiang Baimian gritted her teeth.
Just like before, they entered the jeep from their respective doors, and Jiang Baimian did the driving. After layers of inspection, they exited the heavy metal door and entered the Ashlands.
Unlike before, they had put on their sunglasses in advance, preventing them from being stung by the morning sunlight.
As her team members admired the surrounding scenery, Jiang Baimian quietly drove.
After leaving the company’s territory, she suddenly turned the steering wheel and changed her route.
“Team Leader, are you going the wrong way?” Long Yuehong looked at the sun and confirmed the direction.
“No,” Jiang Baimian replied with a smile.
Long Yuehong curiously stated, “But this is different from the mission plan.”
Jiang Baimian smiled smugly. “That was to deceive the deputy minister and the others.”
“Why?” Long Yuehong was becoming increasingly confused.
Jiang Baimian looked at Shang Jianyao through the rearview mirror. “The Life Ritual parish definitely has other members in the Ashlands. After all, they infiltrated the company. I’m worried that the believers lurking in the company will secretly obtain our mission plan and think of a way to inform their companions on the surface to set up an ambush and attack us.
“Therefore, I never planned on taking the route stated in the mission plan. Heh heh, my inquiries were to make it appear more realistic.”
In the passenger seat, Bai Chen fell into thought. “Team Leader, you’re actually still worried that the Life Ritual parish has members in the brass and that this mission is a trap?”
Jiang Baimian smiled. “There’s no harm in being prepared. It’s better to be prepared than not.”
Long Yuehong unconsciously looked at his team leader’s back in admiration. Shang Jianyao hummed a song as if he didn’t mind at all.
Under the bright sunlight, the jeep took another bend and continued driving through the wilderness.
Pangu Biology, in an empty room.
Wearing a cap, Yue Qifan—who had the Memory Snippet Erasure ability—quietly opened the door and entered.
There were no lights here, but it was not dark. This was because there were small LCD screens on the surrounding walls. They were connected and displayed the situation on different floors and areas.
As the colors changed, Yue Qifan looked down at the machine that occupied at least one-third of the space, bowed his head, and shouted, “Sir.”
An emotionless electronic voice sounded through the loudspeaker. “Tell the unexposed members not to do anything for the next three months.”
“Yes, Sir,” Yue Qifan replied without hesitation.
He then looked up. He suddenly saw the countless LCD screens on the surrounding walls jump, revealing his figure.
This included him in a cap; him making contact with Xiong Ming; him taking the elevator to the 495th floor; him facing Shang Jianyao; him humming a song and pretending to be normal; him fleeing in a hurry; him sneaking somewhere and making a call…
Yue Qifan’s pupils suddenly dilated, and he tensed up as if he was about to explode. He actually forgot to retort.
A few seconds later, many images of Shang Jianyao appeared on the LCD screens.
The images included Shang Jianyao experimenting with his abilities, him making faces at the camera, him using a flashlight to illuminate the area above, him chatting with Xiong Ming in a corner, him making indecent gestures, and him walking in the corridor upside down…
“Sir…” Yue Qifan’s scalp tingled as he shouted for the Doctor of the Church.
The emotionless, cold voice sounded again and echoed in the room. “I told you; I’ve always been watching you.”
(End of Volume—Unfinished)