Chapter 179: “Compass”
An endless lake to the left of the car rippled with the wind. Beside it stood buildings from the Old World.
Some of them had already collapsed, some were abnormally dilapidated, and some had withered plants covering their surfaces. From time to time, some of them would flutter down.
“This is Redstone Collection?” Long Yuehong asked in surprise.
It had been some time since they left from the south of Weed City. According to the rough locations provided by Uncle Sun Fei and the Rootless caravan’s leader, Ferlin, and the route pointed out by the few teams of Ruin Hunters on the way, they had barely found the Lake of Wrath and locked onto a relatively large area.
Then, following the traces left behind by human activity, they found the ruins of the city by the lake.
Without any satellites to provide them positioning information and without a guide, they could only rely on such clumsy methods. After all, Bai Chen only knew and understood the details regarding Redstone Collection and had never actually been there. Her former area of activity was limited to Pangu Biology, First City, and White Knights.
This was also the norm for most Ruin Hunters and wilderness nomads. Although they might not have a fixed residence and sought out ruins for survival, their intelligence, resources, connections, guts, and experience were limited to particular regions.
In the passenger’s seat, Bai Chen was also puzzled. “This place seems to have been abandoned for a long time.”
“The feces is still fresh, which means that there’s plenty of human activity around here. Even if they aren’t from Redstone Collection, they should know where Redstone Collection is.” Shang Jianyao—who was seated in the back row—spoke with certainty. He was very confident about the traces he discovered.
When they set off from Weed City, Jiang Baimian suggested selling the extra car to the Rootless caravan in exchange for the materials needed to purchase the military exoskeleton equipment.
Shang Jianyao refused to let go of the jeep, claiming that they were already comrades and that they weren’t to abandon it or give it up. Therefore, the Old Task Force could only sell the bulletproof SUV that Xu Liyan had given them.
Jiang Baimian exchanged almost half of the received supplies to improve the jeep’s survivability and enhance everyone’s safety. She had asked Ferlin and the others to add bulletproof glass and thick armor to the jeep and modify the electric engine.
Of course, they didn’t need to prepare food and ammunition needed for the journey themselves. They directly informed the company and obtained a large batch of supplies through Chen Xufeng.
Official business needed to adhere to official principles!
Upon hearing Shang Jianyao’s words, Jiang Baimian raised her hand to her nose. “Let’s enter the ruins and take a spin to see what we can find.”
With that said, she glanced at the book in Shang Jianyao’s hand. “How’s the reading?”
Before setting off, she used Shang Jianyao’s ‘privilege’ to borrow a batch of relatively unpopular books related to diseases from Weed City’s public library.
“I gained a lot.” Shang Jianyao watched Long Yuehong drive the car toward the city ruin.
“Oh?” Jiang Baimian expressed her curiosity with her tone.
Shang Jianyao replied seriously, “Medicine can’t save all of humanity.”
Jiang Baimian was a little confused. “What do you mean?”
“An effective organization, the spirit of exploration, the courage to experiment, the scientific method, and the inheritance of knowledge are what’s most important. Medicine is only one aspect,” answered Shang Jianyao confidently.
“Have you found a new way to deal with the Island of Diseases then?” Jiang Baimian went straight to the point.
During this period of time, Shang Jianyao had been openly discussing the Island of Diseases with her. Therefore, she didn’t help him keep it a secret from Bai Chen and Long Yuehong.
Shang Jianyao replied seriously, “No, I can only work harder according to the present idea.”
“Not bad; keep up the spirit of fighting despite repeated failures,” Jiang Baimian encouraged.
Bai Chen looked at the building ruins with cracked cement and steel columns. She hesitated for a moment before giving her suggestion. “Actually, you can try suffering from a minor illness to experience a disease’s true appearance.”
“I’ve also considered this plan.” Although she had previously rejected a similar idea from Shang Jianyao, Jiang Baimian didn’t completely give up on this direction. “The main reason for rejecting is that this fellow is as strong as an ox. He won’t succumb to any minor ailments. If we deliberately infect him, it’ll be very difficult to control the severity. Sigh, if it really doesn’t work out, we’ll talk about it when we return to the company.”
Long Yuehong opened his mouth and wanted to say something, but he rationally shut his mouth.
The next second, Shang Jianyao said, “We can make Long Yuehong catch a cold first before he infects me.”
“What’s the difference?” Jiang Baimian reprimanded. “Alright, observe the surroundings.”
At this moment, the slightly old and worn-out military-green jeep drove into the city ruin that stretched far out from the lake.
The Old World’s ruins were always endless in sight, huge beyond imagination.
This place was very similar to the ruin beside the Rootless camp. A large number of buildings had collapsed, and the roads had sunken. Nothing of value remained; it was desolate and abnormally quiet.
“What a lively place it would’ve been in the Old World…” Long Yuehong recalled the scene after Swamp Ruin No. 1 lit up.
That wasn’t even one-tenth of replicating the Old World’s city skyline.
Jiang Baimian looked out the window, stared at the city that had died countless years ago, and sighed with emotion. “Human civilization sometimes fades away faster and more completely than we can imagine. Yet, it’s sometimes more tenacious and stubborn than anyone thinks it is.”
Bai Chen observed the city ruin carefully. “The collapses and destruction were from a few years ago. It didn’t happen recently.”
She wasn’t a professional, so she couldn’t determine how many years it had been.
“At least it eliminates the possibility that Redstone Collection was recently destroyed. Yes, the premise is that this is Redstone Collection.” Jiang Baimian looked at the lifeless grayish-white concrete, the messy steel columns, the glass shards exposed in the weeds, and the rusted empty window frames.
They circled the city ruins for more than 20 minutes, but they ultimately failed to find any traces of a human settlement.
“It seems like we made a mistake. Redstone Collection is somewhere else nearby.” Long Yuehong—who was driving—voiced his judgment. “Such a large city ruin doesn’t look like a town. They probably come here often to search for valuable items; that’s why they left behind those traces.”
Upon hearing this, Shang Jianyao immediately became spirited as if he had already confirmed that this was Redstone Collection.
Long Yuehong was fully aware of the train of thought this fellow was capable of and couldn’t help but grumble. “Hey!”
Similarly, Jiang Baimian also grasped Shang Jianyao’s ‘inference.’
Long Yuehong was ill-fated and unlucky. Therefore, the route he chose and the answers he gave often deviated from the correct path.
In that case, when he said that this place didn’t look like Redstone Collection, it was very likely that this was Redstone Collection!
Before Jiang Baimian could reprimand Shang Jianyao and protect Long Yuehong’s pride, her expression suddenly changed slightly; she was caught between laughter and tears.
Jiang Baimian then coughed and pointed at a high-rise building by the side of the road that hadn’t completely collapsed but looked abnormally dilapidated. It had clearly been bombarded. “There’s someone inside.”
“Yes!” Shang Jianyao echoed with certainty.
They simultaneously sensed human electric signals and consciousness inside the building. Furthermore, the straight-line distance was less than 15 meters.
Long Yuehong’s expression immediately became a little mixed.
“Coincidence. A coincidence.” Jiang Baimian laughed dryly and consoled him. “Stop the car. Shang Jianyao and I will go in and ask the person for directions.”
Shang Jianyao also consoled Long Yuehong. “I’m now more certain of your importance to our team. You are our south-pointing compass!”
What south-pointing compass? Don’t compasses point north? The question subconsciously surfaced in Long Yuehong’s mind.
In an instant, as Shang Jianyao’s good friend, Long Yuehong understood what he meant—a normal compass was used to point in the right direction, and a south-pointing compass was used to eliminate the wrong route!
At that moment, Long Yuehong felt his teeth itch.
Jiang Baimian pushed open the door and got out of the car as she said to Shang Jianyao, “You have to be careful that Little Red will one day shoot you in the back.”
Shang Jianyao thought for a moment, walked to the driver’s seat window, and sincerely said, “You can directly tell me that you don’t like me using this as a topic for jokes.”
With that said, he smiled and said, “But the premise of me accepting that is for you to defeat me once during combat training.”
Jiang Baimian walked past and commented, “A primary school student’s level of goading.”
Long Yuehong fell silent for a few seconds before looking at Shang Jianyao. “I’ll work hard.”
Although he had been working hard to improve himself during combat training, his long-term self-awareness had made him accept his ‘mediocrity.’ He didn’t have the desire to win.
After watching Shang Jianyao and Jiang Baimian enter the building by the side of the road, Bai Chen and Long Yuehong each held their weapons, alighted from the car, and monitored the surroundings—including the rooftops where snipers might be.
After a while, Bai Chen suddenly whispered when the two of them exchanged positions. “Everyone has times when their luck sucks.”
Long Yuehong was stunned for a moment before smiling. “Thank you.”
In the building, Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao quickly locked onto a room at the edge of the lobby.
They then lightened their footsteps and crossed the area covered in grayish-white rocks and glass shards before arriving by the door.
After exchanging looks, Shang Jianyao tacitly circled around and guarded the room’s other exit.
After he was in position, Jiang Baimian shouted from an area where the people inside couldn’t shoot. “Come out. We’ve found you.”
The door with the tightly shut wooden door was silent as if nothing existed.
After more than ten seconds, the side door in front of Shang Jianyao silently opened.
An unstylish man in his twenties bent down and crawled out. He suddenly stopped and looked up to see a sunny smile.
“Found you!” The Ice Moss in Shang Jianyao’s hand was already pressed against the man’s forehead.
The man immediately raised his hands and acted very submissive. “I lost.”
Shang Jianyao felt a little surprised when he heard this. “Why did you say that you lost? We’re not competing.”
The man—who had a gun pointed at his forehead—frankly replied, “This is the rule of our Redstone Collection and our religion.”
“Religion?” Shang Jianyao’s eyes suddenly lit up. “Does your religion preach the playing of hide and seek?”
The man was stunned for a few seconds before answering, “No, it’s to be always vigilant and in hiding.”
Shang Jianyao thought for a moment and asked, “How is that different from what I said?”