Embers Ad Infinitum

Chapter 653 - One Level After Another

Chapter 653: One Level After Another

“Du Heng…”

The name Jiang Baimian said seemed to carry magic, depriving the Old Task Force members in the room of their ability to speak.

Before this, they never imagined that they would see Du Heng’s name in a city ruin’s Buddhist Holy Land.

There shouldn’t have been any connection between the two.

After more than ten seconds, Shang Jianyao sighed with emotion. “Teacher Du Heng is indeed a person who has lived from the Old World to this day!”

He had a proud expression. Those who didn’t know better would think that the former was really his teacher.

“His physical appearance doesn’t show at all…” Long Yuehong muttered.

Du Heng looked to be in his forties, and the Old World had been destroyed for nearly 70 years. Even though he was a child prodigy when he participated in the genetic research seminar held by the Holm Fertility Center and the Northern Company as a special guest, he was definitely more than 80 years old now.

Bai Chen organized her words and said, “Could it be that they share the same name or have the same pronunciation but a different character?”

“With Teacher Du Heng’s strength and uniqueness, it’s completely acceptable for him to have eternal youth.” Jiang Baimian deliberated and said, “A figure like him being famous in the Old World suits my imagination.”

This was a mysterious existence that was chasing after the suspected King of the Heartless, Xiaochong. It was a most logical guess that he had experienced the Old World’s destruction. Furthermore, he had many old friends, such as the Crystal Consciousness Church’s Buddha’s Nirmanakaya.

“If it were really Teacher Du Heng, we should’ve asked him about the reason for the Old World’s destruction and the Heartless disease’s origins.” Long Yuehong sighed regretfully.

The honest Shang Jianyao scoffed. “Have you forgotten? Teacher Du Heng said that he lost many of his memories.”

“It’s not like he didn’t have the intention of using the opportunity to retrieve his memories when he chose to be an antiquarian.” Jiang Baimian agreed with Shang Jianyao and felt that this formed a logical chain with Du Heng’s claim.

At this moment, Bai Chen recalled something. As she guarded against any possible accidents, she asked, “What capacity did Teacher Du Heng come in to participate in that academic seminar?”

Jiang Baimian slowly shook her head. “I don’t know. He’s the only special guest without a Red River name, identity, or position.”

Even those with a government background had very proper titles listed.

“How mysterious!” Shang Jianyao actually showed obvious envy.

“Is there anything else after that?” Long Yuehong wondered if they should discuss Du Heng’s origins or why he was participating in such an academic seminar that involved cutting-edge genetic research.

On the one hand, they lacked effective clues. On the other hand, the Old Task Force was in Wasteland Ruin 13. Time was equivalent to life, so they couldn’t waste it.

Jiang Baimian flipped to the last page of the document. “After the list of special guests is the academic seminar location. It’s on the fourth floor of this building, Conference Room 3. There’s nothing else.”

Without waiting for her team members to respond, Jiang Baimian sighed. “It seems like it’s necessary to conduct a search there.”

Although under normal circumstances, the relevant conference rooms would definitely be cleaned up after the seminars and there would be other arrangements for the rooms, it was only a few days before the Old World was destroyed. Jiang Baimian hoped that the Holm Fertility Center’s employees hadn’t cleaned up thoroughly enough, leaving behind some clues or traces.

With that said, she pointed at the desk drawer and said, “Come over and help flip through the remaining documents. Let’s try to finish this quickly.”

Since Shang Jianyao, Bai Chen, and Long Yuehong had already completed their missions, they naturally had to divide up the labor efficiently to save precious time.

After more than ten minutes of searching and flipping through the documents, the Old Task Force finally confirmed that there was no other valuable information in the director’s office.

“To be able to see Lin Sui and Teacher Du Heng’s names on such a document makes our trip worth it.” Jiang Baimian wasn’t disappointed at all.

Compared to the teams that had spent years exploring city ruins without finding any effective clues, the Old Task Force could be considered lucky.

As Jiang Baimian stuffed the document into her tactical backpack and picked up the rocket launcher on the ground, Long Yuehong flipped out the window and assumed a posture of spying inside.

Zen Master Redemption Shang Jianyao calmly sat down cross-legged, spun the Six Senses Beads, and recited the contents of the medical record in the steelworks factory ruins.

After completing this ‘ritual,’ he took out the small jade Buddha.

Nothing happened.

“We aren’t fated…” Shang Jianyao’s words were always baffling.

After sighing, he put away the small jade Buddha and the original medical record. The Old Task Force then slowly evacuated the room and searched elsewhere on the same floor.

They went up floor by floor and finally arrived at the top floor—the fourth floor. They didn’t find anything along the way. Of course, this was mainly because nothing really caught their eye. If an ordinary Ruin Hunter team entered, they would find everything valuable and have the eagerness to move everything away.

After a brief inspection, Bai Chen pointed diagonally ahead and said, “That’s Conference Room 3.”

Just as she said that, Shang Jianyao took out a piece of paper and unfolded it. On it were nine pictures that corresponded to different Kalendarium—Blessings from all Kalendarium.

Shang Jianyao pushed the map out and raised it. He lowered his head and fell silent.

After a few seconds, he finally said, “May all Kalendarium bless us.”

It’s best not to wear the Six Senses Beads when praying, or else only September’s Kalendaria, Mandara, will appreciate you. However, you didn’t draw the symbol that represents ‘Her’… Jiang Baimian couldn’t help but criticize inwardly.

After Shang Jianyao put away the Blessings from all Kalendarium, Long Yuehong curiously asked, “Why don’t you use the prayers corresponding to every Kalendaria—things like ‘everything is but a dream; why so serious,’ ‘always be vigilant,’ or ‘newborns are likened unto the sun; life is what’s most important?’”

Shang Jianyao sighed and said awkwardly, “Who should go first and who should go last? This is a very serious problem. I’m afraid that ‘They’ will fight because of this.”

“Can’t you just do it by month?” Bai Chen suggested.

Shang Jianyao’s eyes lit up. “That’s right! Why didn’t I think of that? Then, I’ll start over!”

He wanted to take out the Blessings from all Kalendarium again.

“Stop, stop, stop!” Jiang Baimian stopped him from wasting time. She then stepped past Bai Chen and Long Yuehong and walked to Conference Room 3 first.

Shang Jianyao craned his neck, feeling rather disappointed when she didn’t walk to the wrong door.

Conference Room 3 was relatively large, and it was still set up as if it were holding an academic seminar. In front of it was a large projector screen and a podium to the side. Below it were rows of seats and projectors.

Unfortunately, there was no paper here. There wasn’t even black blood. It was as if the Heartless had never been here after the Old World was destroyed.

Jiang Baimian secretly exhaled, but she still followed procedure by giving orders. “Search an area each.”

Shang Jianyao walked to the front of the meeting room, lightly patted the projector screen, and gently asked, “It’s been hard on you all these years. What happened back then? Did that academic seminar invite some impressive figures?”

He seemed to be asking an old friend.

The projector screen didn’t answer him, unsurprisingly.

If the projector could speak, the first sentence would definitely be ‘you’re nuts!’

Jiang Baimian wanted to facepalm, but she couldn’t do so thanks to the single-man combat rocket launcher in her left hand while her right arm was paralyzed. She could only pretend that nothing had happened.

Using the afternoon sun shining in from the window, she checked the corners, behind the door, and some rows of seats.

But without a doubt, the Old Task Force failed to find anything.

They then searched the other rooms on the same floor but also failed to find any valuable clues.

Jiang Baimian didn’t forget to get Shang Jianyao to recite the medical record and showcase the jade Buddha, but this Buddhist Holy Land really seemed different from the previous two.

At the stairwell on the fourth floor, Long Yuehong expressed his opinion. “It feels too—too normal and ordinary.”

As a Buddhist Holy Land, being too normal was the greatest abnormality.

There were more or less ‘abnormalities’ lurking in Long River City’s United Steel Plant and Iron Mountain City’s Second Food Company!

Bai Chen pursed her lips and said, “But we’ve already searched and tried everything we could.”

“No.” Shang Jianyao stroked his chin and asked with a smile, “Don’t you think there’s something missing here?”

Bai Chen’s expression was slightly blank. She thought for a few seconds but didn’t have an answer.

Jiang Baimian coughed and said, “We didn’t see any storage for cryogenic materials along the way. This is necessary for a fertility center that can treat infertility.”

As employees of Pangu Biology, they were always sufficiently sensitive to such matters.

Long Yuehong came to a realization. “It’s… It’s underground? We haven’t gone to basement one!”

“Yes.” Jiang Baimian nodded. “Let’s go now.”

Just as she said that, she suddenly turned around and looked at the floor-to-ceiling window opposite her. “There’s a relatively strong bioelectric signal!”

It didn’t belong to a human.

Long Yuehong was alarmed before he felt intense fear. This fear seemed to turn corporeal and gripped his heart tightly.

He then saw a large black figure slap the floor-to-ceiling window.

It was a python as thick as a water barrel. Its eyes were cold, round, and large as if they were filled with blood.

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