Embers Ad Infinitum - Chapter 744
Although he had seen bombardment scenes from the Old World’s entertainment, Long Yuehong still felt puny and insignificant when he really encountered one.
The technological creation that seemed comparable to the mighty force of the world burgeoned in different parts of the city, making the area seem like it was welcoming the end of the world. Even a steel will and mechanical arm would be blown to pieces.
The thick smoke and dust that rose up illuminated the blazing flames. The constantly trembling ground and the deafening booms made Long Yuehong and the others—who were hiding behind cover—truly understand what a large-scale, intense war was.
This was more spectacular than the salvo Jiang Baimian had previously seen, and it shook one to the soul at a deeper level.
After an unknown period of time, the missile strikes finally stopped. All that was left was the surging storm and the imminent downpour.
Raindrops the size of beans fell, stained with countless dust.
Long Yuehong wiped his face and sighed with emotion. “Fortunately, we aren’t the target.”
Fortunately, the Old Task Force had evacuated Tai City in advance for R&R.
Recalling his team leader’s decision back then, Long Yuehong only wanted to hug Little White tightly and shout, “Banzai!”
Jiang Baimian revealed a rare confused expression and allowed the rain to hit her face.
“Why is there a sudden missile attack?” she asked in confusion.
Furthermore, it was a carpet bombing that targeted a city ruin regardless of the cost or the consequences!
It had to be known that apart from large-scale wars between top factions like First City, it had been countless years since a missile strike on a target had been launched in the Ashlands.
This was comparable to the Old Task Force encountering the loss of a nuclear warhead. Furthermore, it was even more sudden and without warning. It was even more incomprehensible.
Even with Jiang Baimian’s intelligence, she felt the subtle absurdity of encountering a mechanical deity’s descent at that very moment.
“Do you even know how to write a script!?” Shang Jianyao threw a rock he was holding to the ground. While he was temporarily taking cover, he started playing a game of throwing and catching rocks since he had nothing to do.
Jiang Baimian realized that she easily understood what Shang Jianyao wanted to say: Destiny’s ‘screenwriter’ felt that they had goofed up on Tai City and couldn’t resolve it. Therefore, they used missiles to wrap things up!
Genava had already calculated the trajectory he had observed and pointed northwest. “It was fired from there. The exact coordinates require further data gathering.”
Bai Chen rubbed her short hair that was drenched by the rain and guessed, “A change in Tai City triggered a preset missile strike?”
Even though she had been a wilderness nomad for many years and had seen all kinds of things that exceeded her understanding and common sense with the Old Task Force, her heart still palpitated from the missile strike. She couldn’t control herself as if she had returned to her weakest and most helpless period.
“That’s possible,” Jiang Baimian replied.
Long Yuehong stopped the subsequent conversation and glanced at Bai Chen in concern. “Why are we discussing it in the rain? Let’s return to the car first or put on our raincoats.”
Although the Old Task Force had outstanding physiques and weren’t even normal humans, there was no need for them to be drenched in the rain.
Genava tried to soothe Long Yuehong. “I’ve already tested it. The explosion just now didn’t contain any radiation or chemical pollution.”
“Fortunately, thankfully.” Long Yuehong heaved a sigh of relief.
Jiang Baimian got her team members to pack up the items that had been scattered outside and returned to the car.
The rain caused by the missile strikes lasted for a while before slowly stopping. Although the sky was still gloomy, it wasn’t enough to stop the Old Task Force from looking at the distant Tai City.
Many of the buildings there had already collapsed, with only a portion barely standing. It looked more apocalyptic than before.
Jiang Baimian—who was leaning against the window in the backseat—stared at it for a while. “Let’s retreat a little further to prevent any subsequent attacks from implicating us.”
“That’s right, that’s right!” In the passenger seat, Long Yuehong was just short of raising his hands and feet in agreement.
For some reason, he was a little grateful for the missile’s bombardment. This forced the team’s subsequent explorations to be terminated early.
I might be able to return to the company soon, and with Little White, register our… Long Yuehong’s thoughts wandered.
The Old Task Force retreated more than ten kilometers in the direction they came from until they reached the broken highway.
They didn’t set up camp again. They sat in the jeep and waited for the company to reply.
About an hour later, Pangu Biology finally gave the latest instructions: “Be careful of the New World node when exploring Renhui Hospital.”
Jiang Baimian gave a simple evaluation. “It seems like the company also suspects that there’s a New World node in Renhui Hospital’s Vegetative Rehabilitation Center.”
Shang Jianyao sighed. “It’s too late. The company doesn’t know that Tai City has been blown up.”
With that said, he suddenly became excited. “I’ve never explored cities bombarded by missiles—the kind that just got blown up.”
“Let’s wait a little longer. Who knows if there will be a next round of attacks?” Jiang Baimian calmly stopped Shang Jianyao.
She didn’t forget to report the latest situation to the company.
Pangu Biology’s attitude toward this was: “Observe for a few days and confirm if the target location has been destroyed.”
Upon seeing the words ‘confirm if the target location has been destroyed,’ Jiang Baimian thoughtfully said, “Could the goal of this missile strike be to blow up Renhui Hospital and Tai City’s No. 1 Senior High School?”
“This sounds like what the Eighth Research Institute wants to do.” Shang Jianyao slapped his thigh.
One of the Eighth Research Institute’s missions was to stop humans from investigating the reason for the Old World’s destruction and the Heartless disease’s origins. For this reason, they often destroyed the various buildings with hidden clues. For example, the secret laboratory in Swamp Ruin 1.
Jiang Baimian nodded in agreement with Shang Jianyao. “From the information we’ve gathered so far, there might indeed be valuable clues hidden in Renhui Hospital’s Vegetative Rehabilitation Center.”
Long Yuehong asked in confusion, “Then, why didn’t the Eighth Research Institute destroy it earlier or later but chose to fire the missiles at this moment?”
Bai Chen recalled what they as a team had encountered when they first came to Tai City and gave her guess. “Previously, they could only find the fake Tai City. They probably thought that the target location had long been destroyed.”
Jiang Baimian nodded slightly and said, “We woke up Master Zhuang, causing the dreamscape in Tai City’s No. 1 Senior High School to shatter. The fake Tai City that protected the real Tai City vanished. Therefore, the Eighth Research Institute realized that the place they wanted to destroy the most was still standing in the Ashlands.”
“But how did they discover it so quickly?” Long Yuehong asked in confusion.
The Eighth Research Institute didn’t station anyone in this area.
Genava moved his metal neck and pointed at the sky. “They might have ‘eyes’ in the sky.”
Satellites? The Eighth Research Institute has satellites that can still be used? Long Yuehong quickly understood what Old Ge meant.
Jiang Baimian made a terse grunt. “Therefore, we’ll wait a few more days. We’ll confirm if the target location has been blown up when nothing happens.”
They waited for two days, but the Old Task Force didn’t encounter any follow-up missile strikes. Therefore, they drove the jeep, took a detour, and entered Tai City from another spot.
The further they went in the direction of Renhui Hospital and First High School, the worse the roads’ damage became. The buildings on both sides of the road were in utter ruins.
Toward the end, it was already difficult for cars to drive. Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao could only push open the door and go down. They changed into their military exoskeletons and crossed the layers of obstacles to head to Renhui Hospital.
Long Yuehong, Bai Chen, and Genava stayed behind and waited to provide support.
Before long, Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao arrived at the street where Renhui Hospital was. They looked over and realized that it had almost been leveled.
This was clearly the main target of the missile strikes.
“The clues are gone…” Shang Jianyao said in disappointment.
Jiang Baimian also felt a sense of loss and experienced the taste of failure. She composed herself and said to Shang Jianyao, “Let’s go to Tai City’s First High School next.”
The two places weren’t too far apart. Otherwise, the scientific team member wouldn’t have entered by mistake in his panic.
The outcome was self-evident—Tai City’s No. 1 Senior High School had also been leveled.
“Aren’t they afraid of infuriating Master Zhuang?” The rash Shang Jianyao was amazed by the Eighth Research Institute’s courage.
Jiang Baimian exhaled and said, “It likely involves a New World dispute.”
She waved her skeletal metal palm and sighed. “Let’s go; we’re heading back.”
Jiang Baimian fell silent after getting into the jeep. Although Long Yuehong was secretly happy, he didn’t dare to say anything at this moment.
As the jeep drove back, Jiang Baimian suddenly looked up and thoughtfully said, “I’m thinking that it’s impossible for Ding Ling’s husband’s scientific team to all die at Renhui Hospital, right? Since someone could escape and accidentally enter Tai City’s No. 1 Senior High School, there should be other survivors. Yes, there’s a chance.”
“That’s right.” Long Yuehong didn’t understand why his team leader was suddenly discussing this topic, but he felt that there was nothing wrong with this inference.
Jiang Baimian looked out the windshield and said, “Where will the survivors go after they escape Renhui Hospital and get over their panic?”
Bai Chen—who was driving—and Genava in the backseat said at the same time, “Return the way they came. Leave Tai City and seek help.”
Jiang Baimian nodded. “But they clearly couldn’t leave Tai City.”
At this moment, Shang Jianyao laughed. “Maybe they lost their Buddhist ‘keepsake’ at Renhui Hospital and realized that they couldn’t find a way out. Therefore, they loitered at the edge of the city and searched for an exit as they gathered food.”
This… Long Yuehong suddenly realized that this was really an investigation direction.