Embers Ad Infinitum

Chapter 373: New ‘Work’

Chapter 373: New ‘Work’

Without waiting for Shang Jianyao’s response, Jiang Baimian added, “From the looks of it, the Anti-intellectualism Church will mainly target General Phocas, while the Church of Paragon Desire will target Superintendent Alexander. By working together, First City’s situation will irreversibly slide into the abyss as long as one side succeeds.”

Shang Jianyao nodded. “Why not the other way around?”

Unsure why this fellow was considering such a strange question, Jiang Baimian casually said, “Maybe General Phocas no longer has any worldly desires and won’t take the Church of Paragon Desire’s poison bait...”

As she spoke, she laughed as if she didn’t think it was right to badmouth General Phocas behind his back.

Besides, the Church of Paragon Desire had certain Awakened abilities that could overwhelm even a eunuch with desires. At worst, they would just have no means of venting.

After a pause, Jiang Baimian said seriously, “As one of First City’s two giants, Alexander’s security forces are definitely far superior to General Phocas’s. Only those from the Church of Paragon Desire who have joined the ranks of nobles have a chance of ‘banging up’ the target. Similarly, the Anti-intellectualism Church has clearly infiltrated General Phocas’s residence for quite some time. They don’t lack opportunity or connections.”

The ‘banging up’ she used was referring to the slang for sex.

Shang Jianyao raised his binoculars again, targeting the few public bathrooms in the area.

Jiang Baimian didn’t stop him and sighed. “Fortunately, we didn’t lose the forest for the trees by giving up on this area as soon as we discovered other clues.”

As she spoke, she kept observing the modified dark-green vehicle.

As she memorized the Senate car plate number—A125—she paid close attention to the target’s actions.

A dark-green SUV that was suspected of having another fake Father in it drove past General Phocas’s residence and turned left at the intersection ahead. It then circled around and entered the backdoor of General Phocas’s residence.

It was Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao’s blind spot.

After about ten minutes, the modified dark-green SUV appeared in their eyes again. It drove away from the Golden Apple Zone at an adequate speed.

“The real Father sent a puppet to contact the Anti-intellectualism Church’s spy in the general’s residence?” Jiang Baimian nodded thoughtfully.

Shang Jianyao sighed. “The public bathrooms in the Golden Apple area aren’t very utilized.”

It was completely incomparable to the Green Olive Zone, but the public bathrooms here had a much greater coverage than in the Green Olive Zone. One was available on almost every street.

“The real Father shouldn’t be in the area. Would he come all the way here to use the bathroom?” Jiang Baimian scoffed.

She then fell into deep thought and muttered to herself, “If you were the real Father, what would you do after you confirmed that you are participating in the assassination of General Phocas? Think about it from the real Father’s style and habits, not yours...”

Shang Jianyao immediately leaned forward slightly, covered his mouth, and forced a yawn.

“...” Jiang Baimian was almost speechless. “I’m not asking you to imitate his appearance!”

Shang Jianyao straightened his body again and assumed a contemplative posture. “The real Father is a careful and cunning person.”

“Yes. If he wants to do something this big, he will definitely want to fully grasp all aspects of the situation even if he’s only a second-in-command,” Jiang Baimian echoed. “What will I do in his shoes? Yes... Even if a puppet is in charge of communications, observation of the surroundings, and awareness of every situational aspect, I still won’t be at ease. This is because a puppet’s eyes can’t replace my eyes, and a puppet’s ears can’t replace my ears. The information they gather might very well miss out on some key details... This is an idea that an extremely conceited and careful person will definitely have.”

The trait of being extremely conceited was information that came from the fake Father—Guo Zhen—in Weed City. His memories had only been slightly modified. Once the Hypnosis effect was dispelled, he immediately knew that he was the fake Father and didn’t insist on believing that he was the real Father.

According to him, this was because the real Father didn’t allow fake Fathers to become real Fathers even in their memories.

The fake Father, Sandel, similarly had similar encounters. His tampered memories only concealed the real Father’s existence and gave him a fake scene of becoming a Father. Once Shang Jianyao nullified the Hypnosis effect, he immediately understood that he was a fake Father.

Shang Jianyao thought for a moment and said, “Such a conceited and careful person might very well do a field investigation personally.”

Jiang Baimian nodded slightly. “He should’ve made some observations to confirm all the details, but there’s a high chance that he won’t directly appear. And if he doesn’t directly appear and yet has to observe the situation personally, he can only... can only...”

At this point, Jiang Baimian’s eyebrows twitched.

Shang Jianyao laughed. “He can only do what we are doing now!”

He had to use the terrain and tools to observe and monitor from afar! This also allowed him to discover if the puppets were being tailed.

“Yes!” Jiang Baimian suddenly felt a little excited. She pointed at the floor and said, “Could the real Father be in this building?”

“Or...” She took out a hand-drawn map and pointed at the few markings on it. “Among the high-rise buildings we chose?”

Clap! Clap! Clap!

Shang Jianyao clapped.

Jiang Baimian ignored him and paced around. “We also have to include the buildings we previously eliminated. They might not be too tall, but they are closer. The real Father isn’t like us who needs to worry about being discovered by the Anti-intellectualism Church.”

Just as she said that, Long Yuehong, Genava, and Bai Chen—who were done resting—entered the rental apartment and prepared to take over their shifts.

“Team Leader, there’s progress?” Long Yuehong could clearly sense that Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao were in high spirits.

Jiang Baimian smiled and recounted her previous observations and analysis before saying, “The real Father might be much closer to us than ever before.”

Long Yuehong became excited and raised the most pertinent question. “Then, how can we determine which building the real Father is in? Search each and every building?”

“That’s one way, but there are many buildings that meet the requirements. There are also many rooms, so it will take a lot of time to search them one by one.” Jiang Baimian deliberated and said, “It’s fine if it just takes time, but it will cause quite a commotion if we search them one by one. I’m afraid it will alert the real Father.”

Bai Chen thought for a moment and said, “Wait outside every building for two days to observe people entering and exiting and seek out targets that match Father’s characteristics?”

“The target needs to buy food and items to keep him refreshed. He will definitely be out once every two to three days,” Genava agreed.

“Why not?” Shang Jianyao objected. “In any case, he has puppets. He can get them to buy the items for him and send them over via relays.”

It was just like how the fake Father—Sandel—had obtained the surveillance footage of Wolf’s Den. There were multiple relays that concealed his tracks layer by layer.

“With the real Father’s caution, there’s a high chance that he will choose not to go out after entering the observation point. Heh heh, the rooms in this apartment have bathrooms. Uh, they prefer to call them washrooms.” As she thought and analyzed the situation, Jiang Baimian gradually smiled. She looked around and said, “I know how to find the real Father!”

“How?” Long Yuehong asked cooperatively.

Jiang Baimian wiped away her smile and said seriously, “Go to the trash rooms in those buildings and rummage through the items inside. The real Father suffers from a sleep disorder, and his mind will also be in a weakened state. In such a state, his tolerance for the place he lives in will clearly decrease. This is especially so when he tries to rest. He definitely has high requirements for the room’s silence and the corresponding smells. Now that the weather is gradually heating up, there will definitely be a strange smell if the trash pile is left inside for too long. The real Father probably won’t have them in the room.

“Of course, the method he chooses might very well be to hypnotize his neighbors and get them to help him take out the trash.” After a pause, Jiang Baimian concluded, “As long as we find the Flagship cigarette butts or Ralph Candy packaging in the trash room, we can roughly determine which building the real Father is in!”

In the Golden Apple Zone’s periphery, there were definitely some people who ate Ralph candy. However, there were almost none who smoked Flagship cigarettes.

It was something exclusive to the port or laborers in the Green Olive Zone.

Rummage through trash... As Long Yuehong imagined the scene, he replied, “Yes, Team Leader!”


Wearing a tattered jacket, Bosen looked at the strangely masked couple in front of him and took a few steps back in fear.

Ever since the last bit of farmland in the suburbs was taken over, he had become a scavenger in the Golden Apple Zone.

Unlike the other zones, the residents here often had food leftover. They would throw it away as trash, allowing him to fill his stomach. At the same time, there was no lack of valuable items in the Green Olive Zone. From time to time, Bosen could exchange it for some Cass or Drace.

“Don’t be nervous. We’re here to help you,” said Shang Jianyao—who had put on a gas mask because of the smell—in all seriousness. “It’s too much of a time waste for you to rummage through all this alone.”

Bosen didn’t say anything, and he had a vigilant expression.

Shang Jianyao squatted down and took out a few crumpled pieces of paper. He casually unfolded them and read them before throwing them to Bosen. “It hasn’t been used much. You can take it back and use it to jot down stuff.”

Bosen didn’t dare to take it, but he hesitated about leaving because it was very likely that he could find food in the trash room of this building.

At this moment, the gloved Jiang Baimian turned her head to glance at Shang Jianyao. “Mind your own business.”

“It was just in passing.” Shang Jianyao emphasized that he didn’t waste any time.

Upon seeing the couple busy themselves and stop sizing him up, Bosen hesitated for a moment before mustering his courage and joining them.

This was not only work but also life.

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