Embers Ad Infinitum

Chapter 652 - Names

Chapter 652: Names

Translator: CKtalon

The Old Task Force members looked at each other and felt the other party’s solemnity. Well, apart from Shang Jianyao.

Long Yuehong even believed that he wanted to play a song and dance.

Bai Chen deliberated and said, “As the center director’s office, this is the most likely place to hide secrets.”

The secret behind its becoming a Buddhist Holy Land.

The honest Shang Jianyao never cared about the other party’s identity; he always spoke his mind. “This is only under normal circumstances, but something like a Buddhist Holy Land is abnormal to begin with. Long River City’s United Steel Plant became a Buddhist Holy Land because there’s a small jade Buddha in Room 302, Building 4 of Residential Zone 2, as well as Fan Wensi and Li Jinlong’s corpses. Iron Mountain City’s Second Food Company became a Buddhist Holy Land because of an ordinary sales manager—Liu Lu—and a former employee who might’ve become a vegetable through an accident. This has nothing to do with the steelworks factory’s factory owner or the food company’s general manager.”

Long Yuehong tried to retort, but he couldn’t organize his words. He could only say sullenly, “Times are different. Maybe the anomaly here is related to the director.”

Without giving the honest Shang Jianyao a chance to speak again, Jiang Baimian tried to smooth things over. “Regardless, this is a very important place. It can help us understand the Holm Fertility Center further.”

She then pointed at the office with her chin. “Enter in sequence.”

Long Yuehong kept to his role as the team’s vanguard. He held the Berserker assault rifle and walked into the office that belonged to the Holm Fertility Center’s director.

This place wasn’t small; it was bigger than Long Yuehong’s home. The ground was covered in a thick gray carpet.

“How extravagant!” Shang Jianyao—who had followed in—commented.

The Old Task Force’s Room 14 on the 627th floor was smaller than this.

On the left were bookshelves, exhibition cabinets, and other things. On the right was a reception area, and it consisted of a sofa, a coffee table, a few chairs, a small bar counter, and a coat rack.

In the middle, close to the floor-to-ceiling window, was a large, black desk and a leather chair. On the other side of the desk were two ergonomic chairs.

“It’s obvious that it’s very suitable for sitting,” Shang Jianyao said eagerly.

At this moment, Long Yuehong realized that there were many black marks on the office carpet, suspected to be splattered blood.

Correspondingly, the large desk’s surface in front of the floor-to-ceiling window was messy. There were documents, pens, and other things scattered around.

“There should be traces of someone continuing forward despite being shot.” Jiang Baimian looked down and examined the area. “The blood kept dripping until it reached the desk.”

She said that it was a shot instead of being chopped because she had discovered a few bullet holes in the wall near the door.

As she spoke, Jiang Baimian walked to the large desk. Shang Jianyao, Long Yuehong, and Bai Chen tacitly dispersed, each guarding a direction.

Jiang Baimian soon arrived at her destination and saw many dark spots on the leather chair. The carpet in the area was clearly dirtier than in the other areas, and there were black stains everywhere.

Jiang Baimian subconsciously looked up at the ceiling and realized that there was also a large black splatter of what was suspected to be blood. She muttered to herself, “His carotid artery was severed, and blood spewed a few meters into the air?”

This was the most reasonable explanation she could think of. Unfortunately, she couldn’t verify her judgment since there were no corpses here.

Jiang Baimian checked the traces at the scene again, turned around, and said to her team members, “When the Old World was destroyed, many people in the Holm Fertility Center became Heartless. They chased after humans and tried to kill them. One of the Heartless broke in and was shot by the center’s director, who is suspected to be called Kikhov. However, the Heartless didn’t die on the spot. Instead, he rushed in front of the other party, jumped onto the desk, and bit or tore open the director’s carotid artery. After that, the Heartless dragged the corpse away and found another place to enjoy it?”

“Why couldn’t it be them perishing together, thereby benefiting the other Heartless?” The honest Shang Jianyao had a different opinion.

Jiang Baimian gritted her teeth. “You’re right.”

Bai Chen said, “Did the Crystal Consciousness Church’s monks go up to the second floor or other floors? Did they enter these rooms? Why did they let the documents, books, and pens fall to the ground without tidying them? Could it be that they head straight to a room that truly represents the Holy Land every time?”

“I think they’ve entered before,” Long Yuehong answered Bai Chen’s question. “Otherwise, it’s impossible for us not to see a single skeleton after searching for so long.”

This didn’t conform to the rules—the habits of the Heartless.

Although it was possible for Heartless to drag the corpses to a safer place to hide and enjoy them, they rarely carried heavy items or traveled long distances. In other words, the corpses of those who had died in the Holm Fertility Center should still be in this building.

Of course, this was only a Heartless habit in the early Chaotic Era. Later, many Ruin Hunters realized that as food was reduced and competition with their own kind started, the surviving Heartless began to form small groups and split up the work. After they successfully hunted, they would get one or more members to return to their nests with the food and provide the rest with protection.

Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and said, “Perhaps to the Crystal Consciousness Church’s monks, apart from the dirty corpses that need to be cleaned, it’s best to maintain this holy land in its original state.”

She then ordered, “Search around for any clues. Finally, we’ll get Zen Master Redemption to read the scriptures and pay respects to Buddha, repeating our attempt on the first floor.”

Jiang Baimian jokingly called Shang Jianyao ‘Zen Master Redemption,’ but Shang Jianyao immediately became excited. “Namo Annutara-Samyak-Subhuti. Is this Penniless Monk the first Shang Jianyao Democratic Association member to be recognized apart from the main body?”

“…” Jiang Baimian was first taken aback before she silently felt contrite and penitent. I shouldn’t have done that.

The next second, Shang Jianyao chuckled. “Make yourself clear. Who’s the main body?”

The Shang Jianyaos argued over this question, making Long Yuehong feel like the solemn atmosphere that had been painstakingly built up had vanished quickly.

Finally, Jiang Baimian stopped the Shang Jianyaos’ friendly discussion with her authority as team leader.

According to the division of labor, Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong went to the bookshelf and exhibition cabinet. Bai Chen checked the reception area, and Jiang Baimian placed her focus on the black desk beside her.

She found a place to put down the rocket launcher and bent down to pick up the documents, books, and pens.

Jiang Baimian quickly flipped through them one by one without finding anything. With nothing left to do, she opened the desk drawers and searched for other clues.

During this process, she tried to switch on the computer here—hoping to have Shang Jianyao power it, only to realize that it was completely damaged. She planned on dismantling and retrieving the corresponding storage components later to see if Genava could recover some data.

Time quickly passed.

After a while, Shang Jianyao spoke without hiding anything. “They are all biographies of famous people, management experience, common knowledge regarding horse rearing, and wine appreciation. There are relatively few scientific books regarding genetics and reproduction.”

“That’s right,” Long Yuehong echoed. “The display cabinet has many awards obtained by the Holm Fertility Center. There are also trophies from golf competitions and medals from horse racing competitions…”

“The reception area is very clean.” Bai Chen also gave her search results.

Jiang Baimian was just about to respond when she swept her gaze around and, through the corner of her eye, saw a document in the drawer with the title: ‘Genetic Research Frontier Academic Seminar Schedule.’

She took it out and flipped through it.

The date labeled on it perked her up. The seminar was held two days after the Northern Company delegation visited the Holm Fertility Center.

Jiang Baimian immediately focused and read it carefully from beginning to end.

At this moment, the idle Shang Jianyao walked over curiously.

“First lecture, research on the possibility of genetic modification… Main speaker, Richard Halloy (Northern Company’s Senior Researcher)…” Jiang Baimian only scanned the first portion of it and felt that this document was valuable.

It meant that the Northern Company didn’t immediately leave the Fakh region and return to the city after they visited the Holm Fertility Center. Instead, they stayed for a few days and held a joint seminar.

Jiang Baimian didn’t read it quickly. Instead, she looked up and said in a deep voice, “Be vigilant.”

Bai Chen, Long Yuehong, and Shang Jianyao entered a highly vigilant state at the same time. Among them, Shang Jianyao would occasionally poke his head in Jiang Baimian’s direction, attempting to take a few glances.

Jiang Baimian finished reading all the daily arrangements and memorized some of the researchers’ names. She confirmed that the office’s owner was indeed the man named Kikhov.

At the end of the document were more than ten special guests. According to the labels beside them, they were either cross-disciplinary scientists, representatives of several companies in the genetic industry, or people with a government background.

Jiang Baimian read each name and realized that there were several Ashlandics among them. Behind their Red River language names were parentheses labeled with transcripted Ashlandic names and their corresponding identities.

“Catelyn.” Jiang Baimian habitually read out the first Ashlandic guest’s name. “Suí LIN…”

According to Ashlandic naming habits, this should be reversed. In other words, Catelyn’s real name was Lin Suí.

Shang Jianyao quickly corrected her. “Suì LIN—Lin Suì!”

Jiang Baimian was stunned for a moment before her eyes widened. “Lin Suì?”

The genius scientist who went on the cover of Renwu?

This was the name Shang Jianyao had seen in the psychological trauma corresponding to Iron Mountain City Ruin!

“It feels like it.” Shang Jianyao nodded sincerely.

Jiang Baimian quickly glanced at the suspected Lin Sui’s identity. “A young scientist from the Northern Company, a committee member of a major project.”

Jiang Baimian had previously noticed that the Northern Company’s vice-president—Oak—was also a special guest. He also had another title—co-principal investigator of a major project.

“Lin Sui is actually from the Northern Company?” Jiang Baimian muttered to herself as she quickly scanned the last few names.

Among them, the last person didn’t have a Red River name. He only had an Ashlandic transcription.

Jiang Baimian carefully pieced the words together. “Heng DU…”

At this point, her eyes suddenly widened, and her expression became abnormally serious. She then said the name, “Du Heng…”

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