Embers Ad Infinitum - Chapter 567: Gaze
Chapter 567: Gaze
Upon seeing the ‘Iron Mountain City’s Second Food Company’ signboard, Shang Jianyao exclaimed.
His clothes changed as he wore a yellow monk robe and a red kasaya. His face also turned iron-black as if it were cast from metal. The red light in his eyes lit up, illuminating the area ahead as though a bloody veil had draped over it.
This was one of the Five Great Holy Lands in Buddhism, so he naturally had to treat it with respect!
After changing his ‘identity,’ Shang Jianyao placed one hand in front of his chest and spun the Six Senses Beads with the other. He sighed with emotion and said in a deep voice. “Namo Annutara-Samyak-Subhuti. Fate brought us here.”
The Six Senses Beads in his hand were only an accessory. It was useless because the actual item wasn’t with him—it was kept by a special organization under the Security Department.
After chanting the Buddhist proclamation, Shang Jianyao strode forward and walked to Iron Mountain City’s Second Food Company.
The entrance to the first floor was a revolving door, but it had long lost its ability to move and was static.
Shang Jianyao chose the small door by the side instead of forcing the use of the revolving door.
The room owner had clearly done the same back then. This resulted in the various details and abnormalities along the way being surprisingly complete.
After entering the lobby, Shang Jianyao saw transparent plastic boxes on the ground or on the table. He also saw wrappers scattered everywhere.
It wasn’t difficult for him to guess that the first floor had been turned into a retail store by the Second Food Company based on his experience with Old World entertainment. This could be seen from the relatively neat rows of counters.
He slowly walked forward, sweeping his gaze across the packaging on the ground. The corresponding names—tangerine peel candy, fruit gummy candy, Sachima, cream melon seeds, soda biscuits, sandwich biscuits, steamed cakes—were reflected in the eyes of the cyborg monk Shang Jianyao.
His face suddenly returned to normal as he subconsciously raised his left hand and wiped the corners of his mouth.
Shang Jianyao gulped. He then hurriedly retracted his gaze, turning his face iron-black again and his eyes red.
In the blink of an eye, Shang Jianyao had the bearing of an accomplished monk once again. He then muttered to himself, “The food here has either been moved away or only has packaging left. The Heartless don’t seem to dare to enter this area. So...”
This wasn’t Inference Clowning, but Shang Jianyao replied to himself: “So, this was man-made. After the Old World was destroyed, the survivors of Iron Mountain City did it.”
Clap! Clap! Clap!
Shang Jianyao applauded himself.
“Food companies are indeed very suitable as a survivor base in the apocalypse,” he emphasized.
He then retorted himself, “Not necessarily. I can only say that the survivor base will be built around it to facilitate the acquisition of food.”
“We’ll know if it’s true by looking around.” Another Shang Jianyao stopped this meaningless argument.
The cyborg monk Shang Jianyao took a few more steps forward and raised a very serious question. “As a monk, what’s my Dharma name?”
A certain Shang Jianyao immediately suggested, “Redemption, redeem all living beings.”
“Namo Annutara-Samyak-Subhuti. From today onward, I’m Zen Master Redemption.” The cyborg monk Shang Jianyao raised his palm vertically again and chanted a Buddhist proclamation.
He walked around the first floor of the Second Food Company at an adequate speed and confirmed that the lobby was a retail store. There was a warehouse behind and on both sides.
Apart from the trash on the ground, there were no creatures here. There were no insects either.
Shang Jianyao nodded slightly and said to himself, “It seems like the room owner also examined the first floor carefully.”
If not for this, there was a high chance that mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other bugs would appear in places he had yet to examine due to the extraction of details from other experiences.
The fruitless Shang Jianyao took the stairs that led to the second floor.
It was already late. A dim light shone through the cramped glass around the corner, preventing the area from being pitch-black.
But even so, Shang Jianyao had no choice but to produce a flashlight. Otherwise, he could barely see the stairs under his feet.
As he walked, he—as a cyborg monk—suddenly stopped and looked around. He kept having the feeling that someone was watching him in the darkness around him.
As the flashlight beam swept across the area, the situation around him was reflected in his eyes.
The weathered mottled walls, the rusted iron railings, and the ceiling with lamps but no power were all clear in Shang Jianyao’s mind.
Almost nobody could hide in such an environment. Therefore, the gaze either came from beneath the stairs or from the second floor.
Shang Jianyao didn’t cower in fear. He swung the flashlight and walked up to the second floor of the building step by step.
There was a dark corridor and rooms here—it seemed to be the Second Food Company’s office.
Shang Jianyao slowed down a little as he swept the flashlight across the door number of the room beside him. “203”
Above the 203 door number was a label with the words: “Sales Department.”
Shang Jianyao was just about to continue forward when he suddenly turned around and aimed the flashlight at Room 203.
He felt that gaze again—a silent gaze that was hidden in the darkness!
The yellowish beam of light illuminated many messy tables and the chairs on the ground. It also illuminated the dust-covered desk computers and the corresponding LCD screens, but it didn’t illuminate any humans or other creatures.
“Was this how the room owner felt back then?” Shang Jianyao stroked his steel chin.
The red light in his eyes flickered violently a few times. “That’s not right...”
“Namo Annutara-Samyak-Subhuti, what’s wrong?” asked Zen Master Redemption.
As Shang Jianyao felt the different texture of the steel chin, he smiled and said, “There are no human corpses or large amounts of feces here. It doesn’t look like people have gathered here en masse.”
Shang Jianyao immediately retorted, “Didn’t we already come up with an explanation? The survivors’ base is nearby, not here. They will only do regular supply runs to replenish their food supplies. Besides, even if this really is a survivor base, they can bury their companions’ corpses elsewhere and head far away to relieve themselves in groups.”
Shang Jianyao stroked his steel chin. “That’s not the point. The point is that there are no traces of humans living here.”
“Therefore, it’s the first explanation.” The honest Shang Jianyao shrugged.
Just as he said that, he suddenly felt something and shone the flashlight at the end of the corridor.
Amidst the beam of light that didn’t diffuse, a figure appeared in the darkness.
She was a woman in a white shirt with a blue suit jacket. She looked like an Old World employee elite.
She was about 20 years old and had short black hair that reached her ears. She also had delicate facial features, a straight nose, and lips that were neither thick nor thin.
She looked pretty good.
After this first impression, Shang Jianyao quickly discovered more details. This lady’s shirt and suit had many stains—it was unknown how long it had been since they were cleaned. Her wrinkles, facial muscles, the corners of her eyes, and her neck didn’t match a woman in her twenties. She looked at least in her late thirties.
In addition, her eyes were bloodshot, but they didn’t appear turbid.
Upon seeing Shang Jianyao, fear appeared in the woman’s eyes, and her expression was rather vivid.
She ran and rolled, disappearing at the end of the corridor.
“There’s someone...” Shang Jianyao sighed with emotion. He then turned around and walked back to the stairwell.
At this point, he had already exhausted most of his mental energy. He had to leave some energy for his return journey.
As for the strange woman who appeared in one of the Crystal Consciousness Church’s Five Great Holy Lands, it wouldn’t be excessive to treat the matter with caution.
Shang Jianyao planned on continuing his exploration in a better mental state in the future.
Nothing unexpected happened on the way back.
The next morning, Room 14 on the 647th floor.
Shang Jianyao was just about to tell Jiang Baimian about last night’s experience when the phone in the office rang.
Jiang Baimian picked it up and shouted with a smile, “Little White, the higher-ups want you to go to Room 9 on the 648th floor to choose a biological prosthetic limb and the genetic modification you want to do.”
Only after the selection could they schedule a specific time.
Bai Chen pursed her lips, stood up, and said, “Alright.”
Upon seeing this, Jiang Baimian smiled and asked, “Do you want me to follow and help provide you advice?”
Bai Chen fell silent for a moment before saying, “Alright.”
“I’ll go too!” Shang Jianyao said eagerly.
Long Yuehong secretly exhaled. “Then, I’ll go too.”
Jiang Baimian was peeved and amused. “Seriously, do you think Little White is a child? Why does she need so many people to send her there?”
Although she said that, she didn’t stop Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong from following.
When they arrived at Room 9 on the 648th floor, the four of them saw a middle-aged lady inside—who also saw them.
“Why did so many people come?” The lady was very surprised. “I remember that only one person is to choose.”
“Can’t we have a visiting team?” Shang Jianyao said confidently.
“That’s right, that’s right!” Long Yuehong quickly echoed.
Jiang Baimian smiled and helped explain, “Two heads are better than one.”
The lady in charge curled her lips. “Even if you want to provide advice, there’s no need for there to be so many people.”
Bai Chen couldn’t help but lower her head and look at her toes when she heard this.
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