Embers Ad Infinitum

Chapter 10: “Chosen One”

Chapter 10: “Chosen One”

Translator: virtual group Editor: virtual group

Long Yuehong imagined that Shang Jianyao would say a few words to comfort him, but to his surprise, he didn’t say anything. Instead, Shang Jianyao walked straight ahead as if he didn’t hear him.

Long Yuehong opened his mouth, wanting to repeat himself, but he didn’t manage to say anything in the end. Instead, he sighed silently.

After walking in silence for a while, they arrived at the fourth elevator area in a corner of Zone C.

As they waited for the elevator to arrive, Long Yuehong found time passing very slowly. Every second was torturous; it was suffocating.

Finally, the doors to the elevator on the left opened.

After entering, Shang Jianyao swiped his electronic card and pressed the ‘647’ button.

The door closed, and the elevator started to move up.

As he watched the numbers change, Shang Jianyao suddenly spoke in a deep voice. “Everyone has their own calling.”

Long Yuehong was stunned for two seconds before he smiled bitterly. “I just want to stay in the company, find a good wife, have two cute children—a boy and a girl—and strive to allow them to have meat three times a week...”

His voice gradually softened as if he had already come to the realization that such a goal could not be accomplished.

Shang Jianyao didn’t say anything else. Long Yuehong didn’t know what to say either. The two of them kept their mouths shut and stood in their spots. Time in the elevator seemed to come to a standstill.

After an unknown period of time, the elevator stopped at the 647th floor.

As Long Yuehong walked out, he lowered his head and asked, “Shang Jianyao, a penny for your thoughts? I was thinking about how good it is for me to have a younger brother and sister.”

“I was just in a daze.” Shang Jianyao stared ahead.

“...You sure have a good attitude.” Long Yuehong couldn’t help but sigh.

“After all, I applied for the position myself.” Shang Jianyao looked to the right and checked the door number.

“...” Long Yuehong was speechless and started searching for Room 14.

Unlike the 495th floor, the 647th floor was not divided into several streets. The rooms also weren’t two to three meters apart. This place was centered around the ‘training grounds.’ Several large rooms surrounded the training grounds.

Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong soon arrived outside Room 14.

There was no nameplate on the door, so the two of them had no way of guessing which Security Department team it came under.

Long Yuehong opened his mouth and took a deep breath in a bid to adjust his mindset and face his fate.

At this moment, Shang Jianyao did not hesitate at all. He bent his finger and knocked on the door.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

This sound was a little sudden, interrupting Long Yuehong’s deep breathing. He was just about to complain when a slightly hoarse female voice sounded from inside.

“Please come in.”

Shang Jianyao turned the handle and pushed open the door.

Long Yuehong immediately glanced inside, his gaze sweeping across the room.

This room was at least three times larger than his home. At the very end were a desk—painted brown and red—and two large bookshelves. On the left side of the wall were three tables. They were black in color and looked rather old.

The middle and the right section played the role of a ‘living room.’ There was a battered cloth sofa set, a coffee table, four recliners, two benches, and four low stools.

At this moment, a woman stood up from the sofa and looked towards the door.

She was in her twenties and nearly 1.8 meters tall. Her body’s ratio—head, body, and legs—were very proportionate. Her skin had a malt color, and her black hair was tied into a ponytail behind her head.

Unlike the girls commonly seen in the Residential Zone, she wore a uniform that signified her employment to the Safety Department. It was gray with a certain camouflage pattern, making her look valiant.

Her facial features were also very suitable for this kind of attire. Her eyebrows were thick, her eyes were large, and she looked very heroic.

“Are you guys the new team members?” The woman smiled brightly, but her voice sounded a little loud.

“Yes, yes.” Long Yuehong felt a little awkward when he saw the extraordinary beauty.

The woman frowned slightly and said, “Louder.”

An indescribable clarity was in her voice, and it was clear that she was not the person who had said, “Please come in.”

Long Yuehong was startled, thinking that he had somehow offended his superior.

Shang Jianyao stepped forward and shouted, “Yes!” His voice echoed in the room and reached the corridor.

The woman smiled again and pointed at her ear. “There’s no need to be so loud. I’m just hard of hearing, not deaf.”

Long Yuehong followed her finger and saw a silver metallic object in her ear.

“A cochlear implant,” the woman said frankly. She immediately wiped away her smile and spoke in a voice that was much louder than an ordinary person’s. “Let me introduce myself. I’m your team leader, Jiang Baimian. Despite calling myself a team leader, I’m not yet a D7. I’m presently only a D6.”

“Yes, Team Leader,” Long Yuehong replied loudly.

“Greetings, Team Leader!” Shang Jianyao seemed very happy.

Jiang Baimian pointed at the sofa. “She’s the other member, Bai Chen.”

Bai Chen was only about 1.6 meters tall. Although she also wore a gray camouflage uniform, she was clearly much more petite than Jiang Baimian. She had a gray, old-fashioned scarf wrapped around her neck. Her black hair went just past her ears, and her facial features were still considered exquisite. Her skin was rather rough, as though the elements had hardened her. Unlike Jiang Baimian’s dark-brown eyes, her eyes were closer to yellowish-brown.

“Hello.” Bai Chen greeted them in a slightly hoarse voice.

“Hello.” Long Yuehong was still a little reserved.

“Hello!” Shang Jianyao’s voice remained very loud.

Jiang Baimian pointed at the coffee table and loudly said, “Take a seat. Ah yes, introduce yourself first.”

“Shang Jianyao!” Jiang Baimian had just finished speaking when Shang Jianyao shouted out his name. Then, he casually closed the door before walking over to sit on a chair with his lunchbox in hand.

“I’m Long Yuehong. My father’s surname is Long, and my mother’s name has the word ‘Hong’ in it.” Long Yuehong subconsciously explained the origin of his name. He then sat on the chair next to Shang Jianyao.

Jiang Baimian sat down and looked around before saying with a smile, “Since everyone is here, let me briefly explain our team’s situation.”

“Everyone is here?” Long Yuehong blurted out. There are only four of us? A Security Department team should have at least 20 people, right?

Jiang Baimian was stunned. “What did you say?”

“He said there are too few people!” Shang Jianyao helped translate.

Jiang Baimian’s brows relaxed as she smiled. “We’re not a combat unit.”

Not a combat unit? Long Yuehong was delighted.

Jiang Baimian glanced at Shang Jianyao and said, “Our team’s full name is the Investigation Unit for the Cause of the Old World’s Destruction. It’s also known as the Old Task Force. However, we aren’t the only Old Task Force. Be it the Security Department or the Board, there are other Old Task Forces. They just aren’t aware of each other’s exact situation.

“Remember! This is key. It’s a confidential matter! Uh, there’s no need to worry about having investigations repeated. Although we don’t know what other Old Task Forces there are and their progress, the higher-ups will share the latest and most valuable clues with us.”

At this point, Jiang Baimian paused, and her expression turned serious. “Compared to an ordinary combat unit, the Investigation Unit for the Cause of the Old World’s Destruction might face greater danger. Why are there so many small teams that take on the same mission? It’s because there was only one Old Task Force in the past with many members. Then, during an investigation, they disappeared completely. No one returned. The losses were tragic and difficult to make up for.”

Long Yuehong’s face turned pale. “I-It’s so dangerous...”

“What did you say?” Jiang Baimian only saw Long Yuehong’s mouth moving and barely heard anything.

Long Yuehong subconsciously looked at Shang Jianyao and saw that his expression was serious. Shang Jianyao remained silent and had no intention of translating for him.

Long Yuehong took a deep breath and shouted, “It’s so dangerous?” After yelling like that, he realized that his emotions had actually eased a lot.

Jiang Baimian nodded. “An Old Task Force might venture deep into the wilderness to investigate some city ruins, or they might head to other factions’ territories to search for clues. We might face all kinds of situations and encounter all kinds of enemies. You could say that even senior employees in the Security Department aren’t too willing to join the Old Task Force.”

Long Yuehong’s face turned even paler.”Why are we so unlucky?”

After muttering to himself, he roared, “Why are we so unlucky?”

Jiang Baimian looked around in confusion. “I’m not unlucky... I wasn’t assigned here. Our Old Task Force was actually formed because of my application.” She smiled and added, “I’ve always believed we need to figure out the cause of the Old World’s destruction. It’s the only way we can avoid making the same mistake. It’s the only way we can find the root cause of the Heartless disease and shake off this fear for all humans.

“And you’ve all heard the rumors that the gateway to the New World lies in the depths of a city ruins, somewhere above the Ashlands. If we never explore it, we’ll never be able to enter the New World. We’ll always be accompanied by famine, infection, mutation, and monsters.

“This is my dream, so I took the initiative to apply to the Security Department’s higher-ups, hoping to establish a new Old Task Force. Heh heh, I also like to dig up history from city ruins. I like to observe other factions’ social situation and interact with people and things in different states.”

Bai Chen—who was quietly sitting on the sofa—suddenly said, “I’ve heard someone mention you. He says you’re a sociologist and his goddess.”

Jiang Baimian chuckled. “Ah, what did you say? I didn’t hear the last thing you said. Forget it, forget it. Tell me about yourself.”

Bai Chen looked at Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong and said with a slightly hoarse voice, “I volunteered. You may be able to tell that I’m not a member of the company. I was once a nomad in the wilderness and was later recruited by the company.

“At present, I don’t have the qualifications to be an official employee. The Old Task Force can help me achieve this goal as soon as possible and raise my employee level quickly. When the time comes, I will be qualified to apply for genetic modification.”

Jiang Baimian tilted her head as if she did not hear Bai Chen’s words clearly. She smiled and asked, “Is she badmouthing me behind my back? Heh heh, we will definitely have plenty of action in the wilderness. We need a guide who is familiar with the wilderness and has interacted with many factions and settlements. Don’t be fooled by her young age. She has a lot of experience.”

After saying that, Jiang Baimian looked at Shang Jianyao. “I’ve read your file. I can probably guess why you applied to join the Old Task Force. Other than that, is there any other reason?”

“To save all of humanity!” Shang Jianyao shouted.

Jiang Baimian was stunned for a moment before she touched her ear. “Ah, what did you say? Heh heh, there’s no need to repeat yourself. Long Yuehong, why did you join us?”

“I was assigned here... I just graduated this year, and I’m not married yet...” Long Yuehong said as he sobbed. With that, he reacted and repeated it loudly.

Jiang Baimian blinked. “Out of so many people, you are the only one who didn’t get assigned a spouse? Of all the graduates, you’re probably the only one assigned to the Security Department, and to the Old Task Force at that?”

Long Yuehong nodded solemnly.

Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and smiled gently. “People like you are generally what we call the chosen one.”

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