Chapter 80: Blockade
Xiaochong looked down at his clothes and muttered, “I haven’t eaten tomato scrambled eggs in a long time.”
“Me too…” Shang Jianyao revealed an expression of reminiscence. He raised his right palm and wiped the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand.
Jiang Baimian’s expression gradually turned a little odd as she listened to their conversation. She then tried to join in. “I know how to cook this dish. It’s still relatively easy to find eggs in the wilderness as long as we don’t insist on having chicken eggs. However, it’s a little difficult to find tomatoes.”
Xiaochong thought for a moment and said, “I remember that there’s a cold storage warehouse in the Tianxing District. There’s quite a number of tomatoes stuffed inside, but I don’t know if they’ve been finished or if they can still be eaten.”
“We can go take a look if there’s a chance.” Jiang Baimian steered the topic back on track. “Let’s leave this place first.”
“Alright.” Xiaochong was the first to respond. He carried his red school bag and skipped to the door.
As he stared at Xiaochong’s back, Shang Jianyao took the initiative to say, “I’ll walk in front.”
“Alright.” Jiang Baimian didn’t stop him.
Thus, they changed their tactical formation—mainly because Shang Jianyao and Jiang Baimian had swapped positions.
The Old Task Force once again walked along the silent and dark corridor. Most of the light was provided by Jiang Baimian—who was at the end of the team. As the others couldn’t hold their flashlights, they could only illuminate a small area below them.
“Walk faster!” Xiaochong—who was carrying a red school bag—turned around from time to time to urge the adults, but Shang Jianyao and the others remained unmoved and maintained their pace.
“Sigh.” Xiaochong sighed after repeatedly urging the team. “When the school organized parent-child sport meets in the past, my parents were the same. They always slowly trailed behind as if they would embarrass themselves as adults if they ran.”
“What’s a parent-child sports meet?” Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong asked in unison.
“It’s… It’s…” Xiao Chong organized his words. “Forget it. You won’t understand even if I explain it to you.”
As they spoke, they safely returned to the stairwell.
This made Jiang Baimian show an expression that confirmed her guess.
On the way back to the first floor, they didn’t encounter any more attacks. They smoothly passed through the emergency access door—which had been slammed open—and saw the elevator lobby.
Jiang Baimian deliberated for a moment before speaking to Xiaochong in a gentle but slightly loud voice. “Can you wait here? We still have something to do.”
She did not forget her plan to snipe Qiao Chu here.
Before Xiaochong could answer, Shang Jianyao added, “We want to play a real shooting game. It means that we’re moving the earlier game into the real world.”
Xiaochong’s eyes lit up as he muttered, “I’m only a child; I shouldn’t be playing such a dangerous game. However, I can be an audience!”
As he spoke, he had an expectant expression. He looked as if he hoped that Shang Jianyao would give him a pistol.
Shang Jianyao ignored Xiaochong’s unspoken words. “Remember to cheer and clap!”
“Alright…” Xiaochong looked around in disappointment. “Where should I stay?”
Jiang Baimian pointed at the stairs leading to the second floor. “You can sit there. You can see the situation from there, and it’s also relatively safe.”
“Okay! Okay!” Xiaochong carried his red school bag and skipped over. He sat down without any fear of the dirt.
Jiang Baimian then said to Bai Chen, “Go to Xiaochong’s side and lie there. You will be in charge of the three elevators facing you. When the time comes, we will press the upward button and stop the elevator on this floor. When the elevator door opens, immediately snipe Qiao Chu, who will be inside.
“Yes, we have to be careful. Qiao Chu will very likely be on guard, and he will probably use an abnormal posture to avoid the attack. For example, he will lie on the ground, jump up, grab onto the top of the elevator, hang there, and shrink his body.”
Although Bai Chen had plenty of combat experience in city ruins, there were no elevators in those places. Therefore, she spent some time imagining the corresponding scene before saying, “Got it.”
She seemed to associate such a scene with a particular experience in the past. Her expression slightly changed as she raised her hand to tug at her scarf.
At this moment, Jiang Baimian had already glanced at Shang Jianyao and pointed at the three elevators that couldn’t be seen from the stairwell.
“Go to the button’s position and lean your back against the wall. You have two missions: The first is to help Bai Chen in case Qiao Chu thinks of a way to prevent her from locating him or if she fails to hit a vital spot.
“The second mission is to press the upward button after an empty elevator passes.”
Jiang Baimian then pointed at herself. “I will go to the middle of the three elevators that Bai Chen is in charge of and stand with my back against the wall. Yes, it’s best to choose a high kneel at a time like this.
“I’m in charge of sniping the three elevators on Shang Jianyao’s left and right. At the same time, I can press the upward button again if anything unexpected happens and Shang Jianyao doesn’t have time to react. I’ll also do my best to sense the changes in the electric signals and determine which elevator Qiao Chu is within in advance.”
Upon seeing his team leader stop speaking, Long Yuehong couldn’t help but ask, “What about me?”
“Not bad. You have team awareness,” Jiang Baimian praised. She pointed at the stairwell and said, “Survey the stairs that lead underground. Be prepared to fire at any moment. Qiao Chu has a high chance of giving up the elevators and choosing the stairs.”
“Yes, Team Leader!” Although Long Yuehong felt nervous and uneasy, he was still rather happy that he was contributing to the team and receiving his team leader’s praise.
In the building’s power supply room beside the underground engine room.
Qiao Chu cast his gaze at the dark room illuminated by the flashlight in surprise. He didn’t expect to find his target so smoothly.
Smoothly did not refer to the matter of ‘finding.’ After all, he had spent a lot of time doing so. Instead, he was referring to the fact that he had not encountered any attacks from his fanatical ‘admirers’ along the way. Nothing unexpected happened during the entire process.
This was completely different from what he had expected. He knew very well that there were many dangerous creatures in this building. Therefore, he changed his approach after his first failed attempt at clearing the underground floor. This time, he got the Old Task Force’s people to do so in his stead. Otherwise, according to his habits and preferences, he didn’t want to bother with anyone else. If anyone else insisted on approaching, he didn’t mind killing them.
Although Qiao Chu didn’t understand why such a development had occurred, he didn’t think too much about it since success was just around the corner. He strode into the room in front of him with his metal skeleton-covered legs.
“There’s another problem.” After Jiang Baimian finished arranging everyone’s missions, she said with a solemn expression, “Qiao Chu’s bewitching ability has a relatively large range. According to the arrangement just now, even Bai Chen—who is the furthest away—will be affected. Therefore, we have to make some preparations in advance.”
She directly looked at Shang Jianyao. “Any solutions? If you don’t have any, we’ll give up on this place and go to the top of the building. When Qiao Chu leaves, we’ll snipe from afar. Yes, when the time comes, part of the city’s lights will definitely be restored.”
Shang Jianyao smiled and replied without hesitation. “Yes!”
He then said, “However, I need everyone to come alone. Otherwise, the effects will be greatly reduced when we witness each other’s actions. It might not even be effective.”
“But you didn’t ask anyone else to leave when we were underground?” questioned Long Yuehong in confusion.
“Back then, you were under the influence of Bewitchment. You would take the initiative to ignore certain matters and emphasize other matters. Furthermore, the conditions I used were what you took for granted back then—likewise for the conclusion,” explained Shang Jianyao seriously.
Jiang Baimian expressed her understanding. “Let’s begin then. As soon as possible.”
Shang Jianyao pointed outside the elevator lobby. “Team Leader, come with me.”
“Alright.” Jiang Baimian strode forward and followed Shang Jianyao to a spot where Long Yuehong and Bai Chen couldn’t see or hear anything.
Shang Jianyao stared into Jiang Baimian’s eyes, and his eyes instantly turned deep. “Team Leader, look: 80% of us in Pangu Biology have our spouses centrally assigned. Among them, many families lead good lives. The couple gets along well and relies on each other.
Jiang Baimian was stunned for a moment before blurting out, “Love only exists when it’s a company-assigned partner. Love at first sight is definitely a farce!”
Shang Jianyao nodded and smiled. “That’s why we have to blow up a swindler’s dog head.”
“Where did you learn the term dog head from?” Jiang Baimian shot a glance at Shang Jianyao.
Within Pangu Biology, how could ordinary employees afford a dog? Even if they could, dogs were used as food.
“From the radio.” Shang Jianyao looked at Jiang Baimian suspiciously. “Haven’t you heard of that serial story?”
“No,” replied Jiang Baimian and sighed. “I feel like I might not have had a childhood.”
Shang Jianyao didn’t say anything else. He returned to the elevator lobby with his team leader and said to Long Yuehong, “Your turn.”
Long Yuehong nervously followed and whispered, “How do you plan on tricking me—no, affecting me?”
“It’s very simple,” said Shang Jianyao casually. “Look, you’ve always wanted a beautiful female spouse and have a few children so that they can eat meat three times a week. Will men do?”
Long Yuehong’s expression slightly changed as he said in a deep voice, “No way!”
He quickly distanced himself from Shang Jianyao. “You’re so disgusting. It’s so disgusting being with men!”
At this moment, they had not reached their designated spots.
Shang Jianyao smiled and patted the assault rifle’s side before turning to Bai Chen and saying, “Your turn.”
“I-I’m done?” Long Yuehong was confused.
Shang Jianyao replied very seriously, “You don’t have to. You’re fine.”
“What…” Long Yuehong walked back to his original spot in confusion.
Bai Chen—who was walking towards Shang Jianyao—glanced at him and said nothing.
Shang Jianyao led Bai Chen to the spot from before and sincerely inquired, “Can you tell me about the people or objects you value? The more I know about you, the better the final result will be. There’s no need to go into too much detail. Just give me a brief introduction.”
Bai Chen thought for a moment, tugged the scarf around her neck, and said in a slightly hoarse voice, “I once had a robot that accompanied me through the most difficult ten-plus years in my life. Later, it died to save me…”
Shang Jianyao’s eyes had turned deep at some point in time. “Look, that robot grew up with you and has always protected you. It even sacrificed itself to save you.
Bai Chen’s eyes suddenly moistened. She fell silent for a moment before saying firmly, “Only robots are true partners. Humans are not worth loving!”
Shang Jianyao clapped. “There’s no need to be so extreme. Alright, you can go back now.”
Bai Chen resisted the urge to think and went to her sniping position.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao walked to the grayish-black elevator and looked at his reflection under the flashlight’s illumination. He muttered with an abnormally serious expression, “The humans in the Ashlands are still affected by famine, pollution, disease, abnormalities, and war. They are still living with the trauma of the Heartless disease. This is something that everyone has to face. There are no exceptions.
“So…” Shang Jianyao paused and said in a deep voice, “Lovers will only affect me from saving humanity!”
He then turned around and said to Jiang Baimian, “It’s done.”
Jiang Baimian did not hear Shang Jianyao’s whisper, and she did not react. She directly said, “Take your positions!”
The Old Task Force members quickly adjusted their positions and postures, patiently awaiting any changes.
About a minute or two later, the elevator lobby suddenly lit up.
The entire hall on the first floor lit up.
Bright white light dispersed the darkness and took rule over the area.
The power supply in the building was restored.