Chapter 79: Friends
Upon hearing the boy’s answer, Shang Jianyao suddenly turned his head and looked at him.
After silently staring at Xiaochong for two to three seconds, Shang Jianyao suddenly laughed and cast his gaze at the LCD screen in front of him.
“So you’re Xiaochong.” He asked excitedly, “Then, do you know an old lady in a dark beanie? An old lady with a face full of wrinkles and a black cashmere dress.”
Xiaochong seriously operated the controller and played the game as he casually replied, “Yes. She’s a nice person. When she was still alive, she would always help guard my door and not let anyone disturb me. Hehe, I told her that I like to play games in peace and read all kinds of books. I didn’t want others to disturb me, so she really did as I said.”
Shang Jianyao looked at the game screen in confusion. “She can understand you?”
“Can’t you understand her too?” Xiao Chong found the other party’s question strange.
“That’s true.” Shang Jianyao nodded and agreed with the boy. “Has no one been guarding the door for you since she died?”
“There is…” Xiao Chong shut his mouth as soon as he replied. His attention was focused on the game in front of him.
Shang Jianyao saw the scene seemingly become a little more intense.
After the sudden ‘battle’ ended, Xiaochong continued, “There are also a few uncles, aunties, brothers, and sisters guarding the door for me. They also periodically clean and maintain the area. They will take me out on horseback so that I can breathe some fresh air. Ah, did you see my cat? I picked up a stray cat and even raised a pool of fish for it. Impressive, right?”
“That’s your cat?” Shang Jianyao slapped his thigh. “The one without fur?”
“Yes, yes, yes. That’s a special breed. You can’t discriminate against it.” Xiaochong nodded repeatedly.
“But it keeps making me sleep,” Shang Jianyao grumbled.
“It likes to play pranks.” A clear smile appeared on Xiaochong’s chubby face. “I’ll tell it not to put you to sleep when it returns.”
“You know how to speak cat?” Shang Jianyao was very curious.
Xiaochong replied, “No, but it’s very smart and can understand human language.”
Shang Jianyao immediately adjusted his sitting posture to make himself more comfortable. He then asked, “What do you usually eat then?”
Xiaochong suddenly fell silent and turned to look at him. His chubby face was cast in moving shadows under the LCD screen’s flickering light.
Shang Jianyao looked at Xiaochong in the eye, unconvinced. He was very calm.
Xiao Chong quickly focused his attention back on the game. “I eat very little. Sometimes it’s canned food, sometimes it’s the birds, rats, and insects they catch, and sometimes it’s frozen meat and wild vegetables they find. Sometimes it’s the fish I raise myself.”
“You’re so young. It’s not good for your stomach to eat it raw, right?” Shang Jianyao seriously discussed this academic question.
Xiaochong chuckled and said, “I taught them how to roast and cook. Impressive, right?”
“Impressive!” Shang Jianyao clapped.
With him clapping, Xiaochong felt embarrassed. “They actually knew how to use a lighter. I only told them that they could use fire to roast and cook things. Do you want some?”
Shang Jianyao didn’t mind at all. “What is there?”
“I don’t know. Let’s see what they bring back. I’m not picky with food—really!” Xiaochong emphasized.
Shang Jianyao thought for a moment, raised his hand, wiped the corners of his mouth, and forcefully changed the topic. “How long have you been here?”
“I don’t know.” Xiaochong thought for a moment. “I don’t have a calendar. In any case, it’s been a long, long time. The old lady from before has gone from being an auntie to an old granny.”
“Does staying here affect your growth?” Shang Jianyao asked in concern.
Xiaochong frowned. “You’re so annoying. Don’t ask such a question.”
Without waiting for Shang Jianyao’s response, he said happily, “Actually, isn’t it good to be a child all the time? You don’t have to consider many things or have any worries. You only need to play games and read books. Besides, there are no parents to stop me or control my playtime.”
Shang Jianyao fell silent for a moment before saying, “Don’t you miss them?”
Xiaochong pursed his lips for a few seconds. “I do. But what’s the point? They died long ago.”
Shang Jianyao fell silent for a long time.
Xiaochong played the game seriously, ignoring Shang Jianyao’s abnormal behavior.
After an unknown period of time, Shang Jianyao looked at the LCD screen in front of him and questioned, “Why is there electricity here?”
“They specially pulled a wire from the underground engine room. Hehe, I supervised them!” Xiaochong was very pleased with himself.
Shang Jianyao thought for a moment, looked at the flashing game screen, and picked up a controller beside the black machine. “How is this played?”
Xiaochong’s eyes lit up. “Come, let me teach you. This key is jump, this key is roll, and this key is block. After blocking, you can counterattack…”
In the corridor.
After waiting for a long time and not finding any signs of a second wave of attacks, Jiang Baimian returned to her original spot. She carefully sensed the electric signals and said loudly, “Come out. The assailant has already left.”
Bai Chen and Long Yuehong left their original hiding spots and carefully walked to Jiang Baimian’s side.
“This place is very strange. We have to leave as soon as possible.” Bai Chen didn’t hide her thoughts.
Long Yuehong looked around and said, “Where’s Shang Jianyao?”
Jiang Baimian was also confused. “There’s clearly an electric signal here… No, two nearly-overlapping electric signals. Shang Jianyao was forced to sleep?”
This was the most reasonable explanation she could come up with based on the environmental factors and her previous encounters. Other than being controlled, Shang Jianyao—who was still alive—shouldn’t have zero response.
Long Yuehong understood Shang Jianyao better and nervously said, “It’s also possible that he encountered ‘danger’ and is currently staring at ‘danger’ in the face. Whoever blinks and speaks first loses.”
“I believe Shang Jianyao would do this, but why should ‘danger’ entertain him?” said Jiang Baimian as she walked toward the wooden door with the human-shaped hole.
After approaching, she saw a blinking light inside.
Bai Chen suppressed her voice and said, “Maybe it’s the Inference Clowning ability…”
Jiang Baimian tersely acknowledged it. “No matter what the situation is, save him first.”
The one who needed to be shaken awake had to be woken up, and the ‘no blinking competition’ that needed to be interrupted had to be interrupted.
Bai Chen and Long Yuehong immediately provided cover for their team leader according to their training.
Jiang Baimian raised her hand first and fired a shot at the ground through the hole in the door.
Amidst the reverberating bang, she slammed into the door lock and leaped back when she heard a click. She leaned against the wall to avoid any attacks.
Long Yuehong and Bai Chen were diagonally across her, aiming inside. They would immediately fire if there was any commotion inside.
However, there were no responding gunshots in the room, nor was there any indication of Shang Jianyao’s figure. There was only a faint, strange sound of boxing strikes.
As they watched the constantly blinking light leak out of the room, Jiang Baimian, Long Yuehong, and Bai Chen became increasingly confused about Shang Jianyao’s current situation.
Without any delay, Jiang Baimian rolled into the room under her two team members’ cover. She then jumped behind a table and sized up the situation far away from the door through the gap.
The first thing she saw was the focused Shang Jianyao and a seven-year-old boy. She then saw two controllers, a black machine, and a lit LCD screen. Finally, there was a strange scene that occasionally changed on the screen.
Jiang Baimian’s gaze instantly froze. She had already imagined many ridiculous scenes, but the scene in front of her still exceeded her expectations.
Jiang Baimian didn’t show her head and asked loudly, “What are you guys doing?”
“Playing a game,” replied Shang Jianyao without turning his head.
The corners of Jiang Baimian’s mouth slightly twitched as she stood up with abnormal vigilance. However, nothing happened in the room.
Long Yuehong and Bai Chen slowly came over when they saw this. They were then shocked speechless by the scene in front of them.
“… Is it fun?” Jiang Baimian deliberately chose a less sensitive question.
“It’s fun!” replied Shang Jianyao without hesitation.
Jiang Baimian’s expression froze for a moment before it bloomed into a smile. “Who’s this beside you?”
“Him?” Shang Jianyao stared at the character in the game with shimmering eyes. “My new friend.”
Jiang Baimian, Long Yuehong, and Bai Chen did not let down their guard because of this. They still maintained a posture that allowed them to dodge and attack at any moment.
What a joke. In such a city ruin and such a building’s underground area, even an adult man—who claimed to be a Ruin Hunter—should be suspected and guarded against, much less a seven-year-old boy.
How did he survive?
At this moment, Shang Jianyao continued his introduction. “His name is Xiaochong.”
Xiaochong… Long Yuehong was first stunned before he felt a chill run up his spine, right to his head. His hair stood on end as the old woman’s whisper echoed in his ears. “You guys… disturbed… Xiaochong…”
At that moment, Long Yuehong almost pulled the trigger.
Fortunately, Shang Jianyao indignantly spoke the next second. “Sigh, I died again. Xiaochong, I’m leaving. Let’s meet again if there’s a chance.”
Xiaochong turned his head, his face filled with disappointment. “Stay a little longer? It’s been a long time since someone played games with me. They can’t learn it, no matter what.”
Jiang Baimian was wondering if this was a shared dream or illusion when she suddenly sensed several electric signals approaching.
“Be careful!” She quickly gave a warning and raised the grenade launcher with one hand.
While Long Yuehong and Bai Chen were on guard, Shang Jianyao looked at Xiaochong and thoughtfully said, “Why don’t you follow us out and play games together with me over at my place? You can also have some fresh air.”
Xiaochong thought for a few seconds before smiling. “Alright!”
Just as he said that, Jiang Baimian realized that the electric signals approaching her had stopped moving forward before moving further away.
This… Jiang Baimian carefully shut her mouth and didn’t say anything else.
Xiaochong took out a red school bag from somewhere and put the black machine, game controllers, and other items inside it.
Dressed in yellow clothes, Xiaochong quickly carried his school bag and looked up at Shang Jianyao—who had already stood up. “Let’s go.”
Shang Jianyao looked at him and suddenly smiled. “You look like tomato scrambled eggs.”
“…” Jiang Baimian, Long Yuehong, and Bai Chen were speechless. They did not expect Shang Jianyao to say such a thing to such a strange little boy in such a situation.