Embers Ad Infinitum Chapter 361– Reenactment

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Chapter 361: Reenactment

The woods in the suburbs had interlocking branches and leaves. Sunlight could only filter through the gaps, making the place appear dim and quiet.

Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao were in no rush to go deeper. They came to the spot where Bai Chen and Long Yuehong had parked their cars in hiding. With this as the center, they searched their surroundings bit by bit.

During this process, they took out flashlights, snapped tree branches, and pushed aside the gra.s.s to search for traces.

Jiang Baimian was still relatively relaxed. As she searched seriously, she laughed. “Those who often hunt in the woods will use a thin wooden stick or branch to hit the bushes and shrubs in front of them. Just like what we are doing now, their goal is to scare away the poisonous snakes and insects that might be lurking so as to prevent themselves from accidentally stepping on them and getting bitten.”

“Why scare them away? They can be used as food after scaring and capturing them.” Shang Jianyao—who was monitoring the surroundings—expressed how wasteful it was.

Jiang Baimian nodded slightly. “Starving humans can do anything, and they have ideas and tools. I've always said so. Apart from a few species that have mutated into monsters, the most dangerous creatures in the Ashlands are humans. Uh, Superior Heartless are also considered humans.”

As she spoke, she suddenly squatted down and shone the flashlight beam at the ground ahead.

“There are indeed footprints,” Jiang Baimian said calmly. She then reminded Shang Jianyao, “Be careful when you come over. Don't destroy any other traces. Also, don't relax your observation of the surroundings.”

Shang Jianyao immediately lightened his footsteps and slowly approached Jiang Baimian.

Jiang Baimian looked back and estimated. “It's about five meters away from Little White and the others. Little White's related memories have indeed been tampered with or blurred. From the looks of it, Father's abilities haven't improved that much compared to when we were in Weed City. He probably hasn't had a qualitative breakthrough and hasn't entered the Mind Corridor.

“Sigh, I didn't warn Little White and Little Red previously. I should've gotten them to draw their guns and aim the moment they find someone entering a ten-meter radius, warning the other party not to approach. I also didn't expect the real Father to target us like this. There's no need for him to personally dig a trap for the capture operation.”

Shang Jianyao came to Jiang Baimian's side, squatted down, and smiled. “I think you look down on Little White too much.”

Jiang Baimian turned her head and glanced at him. “You mean that Little White—who knows that the real Father needs to close the distance to 'hypnotize' or 'tamper with memories'—won't let others enter within ten meters of her? She didn't draw her gun to warn him because she was affected by some other influence?”

At this point, Jiang Baimian came to a realization. “The real Father chasing the rabbit they saw was actually an illusion, just like what we encountered previously. The real Father took this opportunity to sneak to their side. Once the illusion ended, he hypnotized them. Yes, this was how Xu Liyan was hypnotized back then. Yes, since the illusion and reality happened in succession, and Little White and Little Red were affected, some memories became blurry. Therefore, he mixed the hunter and Hypnosis together and established a causal relations.h.i.+p.

“It's no wonder Little White said that the hunter was about ten meters away from them or even further. She was likely prepared to draw her gun and warn the hunter if they dared to approach any closer. Therefore, her impression of this wasn't that vague.”

Jiang Baimian suddenly gritted her teeth. “The real Father is indeed cunning. I hope he uses this against me now!”

In such an illusion, the real Father seemed to be able to hide his human consciousness or use other means to hide from the Awakened present. Zen Master Jingnian didn't discover it back then, but Jiang Baimian believed that the real Father—who definitely didn't study science or pursue cutting-edge technology—was unlikely to hide his bioelectric signals.

When the time came, Jiang Baimian would give him a surprise and let him know what a blind snipe was.

Shang Jianyao didn't respond to Jiang Baimian and suddenly sighed. “I really want to see Father catch rabbits...”

Jiang Baimian imagined the scene and found it rather strange. An infamous villain—who was known for his cunningness and good planning—painstakingly catching rabbits in the forest.

It was funny.

“Search for traces!” Jiang Baimian stopped her train of thought. She then aimed the flashlight at the footprints and did a simple measurement.

Finally, she made a vague estimate. “The traces are relatively fresh... He's between 1.75 to 1.80 meters tall... Male... He's relatively light and should be lighter than me. The specifics have to be calculated based on the soil situation. I'll get Old Ge to come later and extract the micro-clues, take photos, and store a copy... The front foot is heavy, and the back foot is light. His gait tends to lean forward... I can't confirm that the patterns on the soles are commonly seen in First City. The wear is relatively serious...”

Jiang Baimian then shone the flashlight's beam not far away and searched for the second footprint.

Due to the heavy spring rain, the soil in the forest was relatively soft. She and Shang Jianyao quickly found a series of footprints—the footprints that approached Bai Chen and Long Yuehong.

After Jiang Baimian stored the trajectory into her auxiliary chip, she frowned slightly. “The real Father's gait is a little weird, but it doesn't look like drunken footsteps.”

Normally speaking, as long as one's eyes weren't blindfolded, they would generally maintain a certain level of speed when advancing alone. They would only adjust their direction when they needed to make a turn.

However, the footprints on the ground sometimes veered left, sometimes right, sometimes deep, and sometimes shallow. It gave off the feeling that the target was staggering slightly.

If these changes were relatively disparate, it could also be explained as the real Father avoiding Bai Chen and Long Yuehong's attention or that he was drunk. However, the deviation in all the footprints was relatively small.

Shang Jianyao nodded seriously. “It seems like he's also a dance enthusiast or likes to jump around.”

A scene immediately flashed across Jiang Baimian's mind, and she almost couldn't shake it off. It was the scene of the real Father and Shang Jianyao dancing Little Apple together.

At this moment, Shang Jianyao added, “Or his body is weak.”

Jiang Baimian's eyes lit up. “Coupled with the fact that he's relatively light, I suspect that the real Father's health isn't too good. His three abilities are Hypnosis, Memory Tampering, and the one related to hallucinations; they don't involve his physical health. Therefore, it's either the price he paid is related to this, or he's relatively weak to begin with.

“Yes... I remember that one of the prices paid in the Last Man domain is a sleep disorder... Could the real Father's price be this? Don't you think these footprints are left behind by a walking person who isn't sober?”

Clap! Clap! Clap!

Shang Jianyao clapped.

“What characteristics will someone with a long-term sleep disorder have? Dark eye circles, a rather exhausted state, and a slightly haggard complexion. Also, their reliance on items that can stimulate the mind...” Jiang Baimian became more and more excited as she spoke.

Shang Jianyao was also excited. “I have an image in my mind.”

Jiang Baimian fixed these footprints and led Shang Jianyao into the forest.

On the way, there were cases of footprints being destroyed or not left behind. But after widening the search range, the two of them still found new traces and tracked them down.

Quite some time later, Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao pa.s.sed through the forest and came out the other side.

This was also a paved road. Cars came and went from time to time.

The two of them searched around for a while, but they couldn't find where the footprints disappeared due to the serious damage.

However, Shang Jianyao still picked up something—a muddy cigarette b.u.t.t.

Jiang Baimian put on her gloves and placed the cigarette into a small bag that was originally filled with medicine. “Coupled with the fact that cigarettes can keep one awake, the real Father seems to have sleep disorders. This might very well be left behind by him. I'll get someone to a.n.a.lyze it later.”

They found wheel tracks where the cigarette b.u.t.t was found.

“It looks like a modified off-road vehicle. It's heavier than normal,” Jiang Baimian said as she estimated.

The two of them searched for a long time, but they didn't find anything else. Therefore, they returned to the jeep and the gray SUV and got Genava to do the extraction of clues and take photos of the scene.

After finis.h.i.+ng all of this, the Old Task Force members drove back to First City. To be safe, they didn't return to the rented apartment on Green Olive Zone's Iron Medallion Street and lived in the Red Wolf Zone safe house.

“Phew, contact Zhao Zhengqi tomorrow morning and see what payment we can get.” Jiang Baimian threw herself into the reclining chair.

Long Yuehong hesitantly said, “Will he not give us as much as we want? After all, we didn't do anything after that. The thing about the manor might not be considered a promise. Besides, he has also established a connection with General Phocas.”

“Then, we can arm ourselves and request payment,” Shang Jianyao said eagerly.

Jiang Baimian smiled. “But the risk we took wasn't small either. We almost died at the hands of the real Father. I think he can understand our hard work and at least give us a manor. Yes, I'll also hint to him that we will continue investigating this matter until we resolve the matter with the real Father. Heh heh, he definitely doesn't want this person to be alive. Although the Zhao family will feel the pinch of losing a manor, it won't be to the extent of hurting them.”

Long Yuehong blurted out in surprise, “We still have to investigate the Anti-intellectualism Church and finish off the real Father?”

Jiang Baimian sat up straight. “This isn't about whether we should resolve the problem of the real Father but whether he will continue taking revenge on us. With such a time bomb hiding around, we won't be at ease no matter what we do. Even if he doesn't appear personally, he can suddenly shout when we find an opportunity to approach our two targets and doom us all.”

At this point, Jiang Baimian smiled warmly. “Besides, I've always said that I'm petty!”

Clap! Clap! Clap!

Shang Jianyao's applause was never absent.

Jiang Baimian then looked at Bai Chen and Genava. “But we have to maintain some distance from General Phocas as much as possible. At most, we can get partial results of the interrogation through Zhao Zhengqi or Xu Liyan. We don't have the ability to partic.i.p.ate in First City's power struggle unless the company involves itself.”

With that said, she clapped her hands and smiled. “Little Red and Little White, quickly rest up and let your emotions recover. The three of us will research the clues we obtained and produce some introductory Ashlandic textbooks.”

Before Long Yuehong and Bai Chen could respond, Shang Jianyao 'hesitated' and asked, “Are we still partic.i.p.ating in the celebratory feast then?”

Embers Ad Infinitum Chapter 361– Reenactment

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Embers Ad Infinitum Chapter 361– Reenactment summary

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