Embers Ad Infinitum

Chapter 642 - Laying a Small Trap

Chapter 642: Laying a Small Trap

Most of the Shang Jianyaos were very proactive; they were men of action. He quickly took out the Blessings from all Kalendarium and added a statue with a mirror as its face beside the other eight symbols.

Jiang Baimian watched helplessly and only advised, “There are only three hours for rest. Don’t delay Little Red from recovering his energy.”

Shang Jianyao didn’t even look up. As he held the pen in his right hand and drew, he raised his left palm and made an ‘okay’ gesture.

Without the requirements of accuracy or how close it was to the original, he completed his magnum opus in less than 20 seconds.

After Jiang Baimian stole a glance, she secretly prayed that February’s Kalendaria, Dawn, wouldn’t smite them with divine punishment because of this.

In the subsequent period, they followed a team combination of one Awakened and one genetically-modified person. The four Old Task Force members used the sofa in the living room to take turns resting.

Only Genava remained guarding the entire time. Of course, he would also take the time to swap high-performance batteries and put the half-depleted battery into the charger.

In such a situation, he hoped that every high-performance battery in him could maintain at least 50% of its power to prevent any subsequent accidents. When the time came, he could ensure that he had sufficient energy even if he needed to fire lasers continuously.

The quiet night slowly approached dawn amidst the indescribable suffering. To Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao—Awakened—they weren’t worried that they wouldn’t be able to sleep in such an environment. However, Bai Chen and Long Yuehong found it difficult to relax despite all their tossing and turning.

Between them, Bai Chen was in a better position. Thanks to being sufficiently experienced, it didn’t take long for her to condition herself and fall asleep. Long Yuehong, on the other hand, exasperated Shang Jianyao so much that he suggested: “Why don’t I knock you out?”

Finally, he was temporarily implanted with the idea to remain staid even if the sky collapsed, allowing him to fall asleep successfully.

After a few rounds, the seemingly frozen night was finally pierced by the distant light bit by bit.

Jiang Baimian stared out the window and muttered to herself, “It’s dawn…”

Long Yuehong—who had woken up from his sleep—frowned indiscernibly. “The assassin actually didn’t come. Our memories haven’t been modified either.”

He had just flipped through his key recorded memories and didn’t discover anything abnormal.

“Nobody sleepwalked either. Nobody fell into the Real Dreamscape,” added Bai Chen.

This meant that the Old Task Force didn’t suffer any subsequent attacks.

Shang Jianyao listened seriously and clenched his right fist to punch his left palm. “I get it!”

“What do you get now?” Jiang Baimian asked weakly and with strange anticipation.

Shang Jianyao replied proudly, “They were scared away by us!”

Jiang Baimian shook her head. “Doesn’t seem like it. Maybe the assassin has already come, but he chose to retreat quietly when he saw that we were highly vigilant and that nobody showed any signs of fatigue.”

“He actually didn’t attack the most asymmetrical Little Red.” Shang Jianyao clicked his tongue in wonder as if the enemy’s symmetry OCD wasn’t up to standard.

Long Yuehong had a mechanical arm on one side and a human body part on the other. His appearance was the most asymmetrical among everyone present.

The most symmetrical one was the smart bot, Genava. Of course, he wasn’t completely symmetrical. The weapon module attached to his arms was different to a certain extent. Even without using it, the two sides looked almost identical, and there was a huge difference in weight.

Long Yuehong—who remained staid even if the sky fell—wasn’t shocked. He calmly muttered to himself, “The enemy is still waiting for a better opportunity?”

This couldn’t continue.

Just as Long Yuehong said that, Jiang Baimian nodded with a solemn expression. “Letting this continue isn’t a solution. The saying goes that it takes a thousand days to be a thief, not defend against a thief for a thousand days.”

In the beginning, the Old Task Force hoped to find and lock onto the enemy by following the clues. They wanted to be hidden while letting the other party be out in the open. However, things had turned upside down yesterday.

During the journey to the True Self Church’s stronghold, Jiang Baimian had designed a plan to ensnare the enemy. However, their opponent was too careful and used the nightmare’s power from the beginning.

Not only did this almost wipe out everyone in the Old Task Force except Genava, but it also prevented them from locking onto their target and stopped them from taking any subsequent actions. They ended up in a rather disadvantaged situation.

“That’s right.” Long Yuehong agreed with his team leader.

Shang Jianyao sized him up in surprise. “This doesn’t seem like you.”

“How so?” Long Yuehong instinctively asked.

Shang Jianyao laughed. “You’re always worried, afraid of danger, and fond of stability.”

Long Yuehong was stunned for a moment as he recalled the past. Then, he suddenly trembled and hissed. “What should we do now? Stay here and drag it on with them? There will always be times when we aren’t focused enough. We are ultimately… Uh, carbon-based humans, not smart bots.”

“Think of a way to escape the enemy?” Bai Chen suggested.

Jiang Baimian nodded and glanced at Shang Jianyao. “This operation will probably end here. We have to shake off the nightmare’s goons as soon as possible and head to Wasteland Ruin 13.”

In order to persuade Shang Jianyao, she added, “Since we discovered anomalies in the previous two Buddhist Holy Lands and obtained something, there’s a high chance that we won’t return empty-handed at the Holm Fertility Center. When the time comes, our strength will definitely increase if our harvests aren’t small. For example, the Six Senses Beads’ Clairvoyance will clearly improve. We can then counterattack and deal with the nightmare and its goons.”

Shang Jianyao fell silent for a moment before saying, “Without this opportunity, it will be very difficult to find the nightmare and its accomplices again.”

Jiang Baimian had a plan in mind and calmly said, “We are investigating the reason for the Old World’s destruction and the Heartless disease’s origins. The nightmare might very well be related to these two matters. As long as we continue like this, we will encounter them again sooner or later.”

Shang Jianyao fell silent again. After a minute or two, he looked at the ground and sighed. “What a shame for Oudick…”

Jiang Baimian understood his meaning: if they could join forces with the True Self Church as soon as possible and defeat the nightmare, they might have a chance of snatching back Oudick’s consciousness. If they missed this opportunity, it would be too late in the future.

After coming up with all kinds of reasons in her mind, Jiang Baimian only replied with one sentence: “This is the Ashlands.”

“This f*cked up world!” Shang Jianyao cursed as Long Yuehong muttered inwardly the same line.

Genava was more concerned about another question. “How can we escape the hidden enemy? Should we use ourselves as bait and lay a trap?”

Jiang Baimian shook her head. “The enemy is too careful. I’m afraid they will wait until we reach our limits before taking action. When the time comes, any countermeasures will be useless.”

She pointed at the floor. “Get the True Self Church’s help. They will still help with this.”

Jiang Baimian led the Old Task Force members with different expressions all the way to the bottom. She didn’t walk too quickly and successfully arrived at her destination to meet the Dreambreaker, Cliff.

Jiang Baimian simply recounted the Old Task Force’s predicament and said, “Please help hide our tracks.”

Cliff nodded. “The spirit of your investigation of the nightmare is identical to our tradition of resisting nightmares. We won’t be stingy with our help on such a trivial matter.”

He instructed the True Self Church believer beside him, “Get 20 people over.”

As they waited, Cliff explained to Jiang Baimian and the others, “I’ll get them to form teams of four and head to different places. This way, distant Awakened who can sense human consciousnesses won’t be able to tell which group is yours.”

Good idea… Long Yuehong praised sincerely.

He had heard Shang Jianyao mention that Awakened couldn’t distinguish which consciousness corresponded to a human without being able to see them unless they had special characteristics. For example, a person’s consciousness on the brink of death was very weak.

After praising it, Long Yuehong hesitantly said, “What if that assassin is hiding nearby and following us?”

“Impossible. His symmetry OCD can’t be suppressed for so long,” Jiang Baimian said confidently.

The True Self Church’s Cliff was a little surprised when he heard about symmetry OCD.

The next second, Bai Chen raised another flaw. “Someone on their side can read memories and confirm our identities through that.”

Jiang Baimian chuckled. “I have an ace up my sleeve. I guarantee that he can ‘come’ without returning.”

Another empty fort strategy? Long Yuehong reflexively thought.

At this moment, Dreambreaker Cliff couldn’t help but sigh with emotion. “You actually found so much information in such a short period of time. Your abilities are really admirable.”

“You flatter us.” Shang Jianyao became modest.

Before the True Self Church’s 20 people arrived, Jiang Baimian pulled the team members to the side and revealed her solution to resist having their memories flipped. She then suppressed her voice and said, “Beginning from this moment, keep recalling the scene and feeling of being watched by Eidolon Nun in the Vigilance Cathedral. To put it simply, it’s to keep such memories in the most active and accessible state during the flipping process. When the time comes, that person can also experience it.”

At this point, Jiang Baimian smiled warmly. “Eidolon Nun controls fear, and that person is a timid and weak person. The combination of the two might bring us a pleasant surprise.”

Her inspiration came from Shang Jianyao using his memories regarding Xiaochong’s aura (that rift) to scare the Mind Corridor-level Awakened in the Last Man domain into revealing traces.

Although the Old Task Force members only had memories of the scene which didn’t involve Eidolon Nun’s aura, ‘She’ was a real Kalendaria—one that restrained the other party. The effects wouldn’t be much worse.

After hearing his team leader’s words and seeing her smile, a thought surfaced in Long Yuehong’s mind: How ruthless…

In a small truck to the side of the block.

Welf opened his half-closed eyes and looked at Xu Lan beside him. “They found a bunch of doubles, and I don’t dare to rashly search their memories again. Are we letting them escape just like that?”

Xu Lan—who was blind—nodded and smiled casually. “It’s fine. Let them be.”

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