Chapter 101: Reward
Shang Jianyao fell silent for a moment before asking, “What do you know about the Evernight parish?”
Zhang Lei shook his head. “I don’t like dealing with these religions. I find them crazy and dangerous. I’ve only heard that the Evernight parish believes every night to be dangerous. Only by obtaining the Arbiter of Fate’s blessing can one live to see the dawn.
“Therefore, they like to pray when it’s just dark and gather late at night. They call their Mass a carnival…” At this point, Zhang Lei said in confusion, “I don’t know what a carnival is like, but I keep having the feeling that calling a religious Mass this is a little strange.”
“You wouldn’t think so if you’ve heard parenting lectures and mechanical explanations,” stated Shang Jianyao in a tone that suggested he was used to it.
Zhang Lei did not ask about the parenting lectures or mechanical explanations. He glanced back at Meng Xia—who was chatting with a few friends—and said to Shang Jianyao, “What else do you want to ask?”
“Apart from the Arbiter of Fate, which other Kalendarium do you know about?” Shang Jianyao put on a look as if he wanted to get to the bottom of this.
Zhang Lei recalled and said, “Not many. December’s Arbiter of Fate, January’s Subhuti, and when I was in Weed City, I heard from First City’s people that some of their nobles secretly worship September’s Mandara.”
Shang Jianyao recalled his team leader’s description and sincerely made an evaluation. “In First City, it’s possible that all the believers of the Kalendarium exist.”
“It’s not a good place”—Zhang Lei nodded—”for most people.”
He pointed at Meng Xia. “If there’s nothing else, I’ll be going over.”
Shang Jianyao suddenly asked, “Why aren’t you asking me about why I’m suddenly asking about this?”
The tanned, medium-build Zhang Lei stood up and slowly said, “The more you know, the more dangerous it will be.”
With that said, he didn’t stay any longer. He turned around and walked toward Meng Xia.
Shang Jianyao continued sitting there without doing anything as if he had been isolated from the lively atmosphere around him. He quietly watched the people coming and going without feeling uncomfortable.
The next day, Shang Jianyao once again arrived ten minutes early at the Old Task Force’s Room 14 on the 647th floor.
As expected, Jiang Baimian was already sitting in her seat.
Shang Jianyao walked over and bluntly said, “I met an outsider employee yesterday.”
“Oh?” Jiang Baimian indicated that she was waiting for him to continue.
Shang Jianyao pulled out a chair and sat down. “He has a certain level of understanding of the Kalendarium and Awakened…”
He repeated Zhang Lei’s recount.
“As expected, an Awakened’s ability that’s directly related to the heart is in the Arbiter of Fate’s domain.” Jiang Baimian sighed thoughtfully. “I wonder if it’s because they believe in a certain Kalendaria that they obtain the corresponding domain’s abilities when they awaken… Then, how are the characteristics of one’s abilities determined before their faith is confirmed?
“Yes, Du Heng said that different prices would vaguely reflect different domains. Therefore, the categorization is based on the price paid?” At this point, Jiang Baimian suddenly asked, “Then, what price did Qiao Chu pay? What price did Du Heng and Galoran pay?”
Shang Jianyao replied, “Not all prices can be easily seen. If Jingfa didn’t say anything, nobody would’ve directly thought that the price he paid was increased lust. I almost used ‘being single forever’ to exchange for my abilities back then, but it didn’t work. That price was useless.”
Jiang Baimian was immediately surprised. “Didn’t they say that one just has to pay a price? It also has to be a price that adheres to certain rules?”
“I don’t know.” Shang Jianyao was very honest.
Jiang Baimian tersely acknowledged it. “It’s difficult to tell anything from individual cases unless you’ve tried many times before finding the right price.”
“Three times. The second time, I wanted to exchange for it using ‘no friends,’ but it still didn’t work,” Shang Jianyao said truthfully.
Jiang Baimian nodded slightly and said, “We can only conclude the pattern after we get to know more Awakened and understand their failures and successes.”
“They won’t say anything,” Shang Jianyao pointed out.
Jiang Baimian smiled and said, “What if the price they paid is that they can’t lie or that they have to answer all questions?”
She then said in thought, “The more I thought about it after I returned, the more I felt that Qiao Chu’s charm didn’t seem like an ability. Instead, it was closer to a price.”
Shang Jianyao’s eyes slightly flickered as he immediately said, “Apart from him, all the Awakened I’ve met up until now can control their abilities.”
In other words, even if their abilities brought about some negative results, Awakened could choose to use them or not.
Qiao Chu had been chased by the Nightmare Horse the entire way. He might’ve even lost a car because of this. It was only when he tricked the other party into crossing the river and blew up the bridge that he truly escaped.
Normal Awakened would’ve stopped the bewitchment long ago.
Of course, Shang Jianyao couldn’t guarantee that there was no such thing as indiscriminate and passive bewitchment among the bestowed abilities.
“Yes.” Jiang Baimian agreed. “From the looks of it, there’s a high chance that Qiao Chu’s bewitchment is the price he paid.”
At this point, she suddenly laughed. “Think about the time when Qiao Chu just became an Awakened. Think about the results of passive bewitchment—which can’t be eliminated—when he was still relatively weak. Tsk…”
Shang Jianyao skipped the possible cases and came to a conclusion. “Tragic.”
He then added, “Before entering the Sea of Origins and defeating the fears in his heart one by one, Qiao Chu’s charm won’t have such a large range. The effects won’t be as strong either.”
“What are you thinking about?” Jiang Baimian smiled mischievously. “I originally wanted to say that Qiao Chu is definitely very popular with things like mosquitoes. There’s no fear of being bitten if you stay with him. Tsk, has the boundaries of physiology education expanded in your cohort?”
Without giving Shang Jianyao a chance to answer curiously, she said, “Normally speaking, no one will use ‘increased charm’ as the price. This is not a price in general opinion. Therefore, Qiao Chu should’ve used ‘charm’ to exchange for his abilities back then…
“In the end, he didn’t expect to be loved by all. He’s the kind that humans and dogs want to have sex with. Yes… According to my experience, my urge to force myself on him gradually became stronger over time. I can foresee that we would’ve taken the initiative to rape him if we stayed close to him for another day or even a few more hours.
“This is indeed a price. Tragic…”
“Your cohort’s physiology education wasn’t bad either,” Shang Jianyao evaluated seriously.
“Ah? What did you say?” Jiang Baimian touched her ear and said seriously, “Besides, we’ve previously discussed this. Given the situation back then, if Qiao Chu showed hostility and acted viciously, the corresponding target’s bewitchment could be removed. His companions would also be agitated and escape the influence to a certain extent. Well, apart from animals and Heartless… It seems like there are still many restrictions.”
Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and said, “If that’s the case, Qiao Chu has yet to showcase his third Awakened ability. It’s good that we were careful back then.”
They currently knew two of Qiao Chu’s Awakened abilities. One was to make people depressed, and the other could make people focus on something. The former was an area-of-effect ability, while the latter seemed to be a single-target ability.
As the two of them discussed, Long Yuehong and Bai Chen walked in one after another.
Upon seeing this, Jiang Baimian stood up, clapped her hands, and said with a smile, “The higher-ups have replied!”
Be it Long Yuehong, Bai Chen, or Shang Jianyao, their eyes lit up upon hearing that the rewards were issued.
“Stop. You’re not allowed to sing or dance!” Jiang Baimian stopped Shang Jianyao in advance, preventing him from doing anything.
Shang Jianyao immediately revealed a regretful expression.
Jiang Baimian cleared her throat and smiled. “The rewards and compensation are in two parts. The first part is that everyone’s employee rank will be increased by one level. In other words, I’m now a D7—a real team leader. Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong were originally going to be promoted to D2, but they directly advanced to D3. Bai Chen was originally going to be a D1 official employee, so she’s now a D2.”
“D3?” Long Yuehong exclaimed in surprise. “Doesn’t that mean we can get 1,000 extra contribution points every month?”
This meant that his monthly salary would be 2,800 contribution points.
Furthermore, when he got married next year and was assigned a room, higher-ranking employees could get a better room.
“What rank do I have to be before I can apply for genetic modification? What if I pay using my contribution points?” Bai Chen’s happiness flashed on her face before quickly disappearing.
Jiang Baimian smiled and answered, “I’ve helped you ask. In your situation, you just need to be a D4. If you are willing to participate in a very dangerous project, you can do it now. However, I don’t suggest you do so. You need to be alive to do it.”
Bai Chen nodded slightly, indicating that she wouldn’t be so rash.
Jiang Baimian then looked at Shang Jianyao. “Are you unhappy?”
“I’m happy.” Shang Jianyao had a serious expression.
“Forget it. I shouldn’t have asked you.” Jiang Baimian continued, “The second part of the reward is that everyone gets 100,000 contribution points as compensation.”
“100,000?” Long Yuehong had never seen so many contribution points in his life.
Jiang Baimian chuckled. “It’s not much. We stole it. No, we brought back an armored car, a heavy machine gun, a Blackmarsh Iron Snake’s hide, and two cars of supplies. If we sold these things in a place like Weed City, their value would definitely exceed 400,000 contribution points several-fold.
“However, you have to think about it. Our weapons are provided by the company, our jeep is given by the company, and we are raised by the company. It’s very reasonable for the company to take a huge cut. Besides, isn’t there compensation through employee rank promotion? This is more difficult than simply getting contribution points.”
“That’s quite a lot already.” Long Yuehong expressed that he had no complaints at all. He wanted to help his parents, brother, and sister change to a bigger room, but he only needed about 30,000 points.
To Bai Chen, it was an irrefutable truth that the strongest party took the most war spoils. Therefore, she didn’t find any problems with it.
Shang Jianyao wanted to say something, but no one wanted to hear it.
Jiang Baimian then opened the desk drawer and took out three dockets. “They have your names labeled. These are the things you can receive after the review.
“Heh heh, the company has returned all our watches to us. These are all mechanical watches. They are much more valuable than electronic watches and are worth at least 50,000 to 60,000 contribution points. Yes, the company has repaired all the damaged parts for us too.
“Oh right, remember to update your electronic card later. If the contribution points aren’t right, remember to tell me. Ah, the 900 points of field allowance will also be directly distributed.”
As Jiang Baimian spoke, Shang Jianyao took the docket with his name and poured out the items inside.
There were a pair of black sunglasses, a dark mechanical watch, a transparent glass ball with a yellow petal, the recording pen from Blackrat Town, and a palm-sized, black speaker with a blue bottom.
Bai Chen didn’t bother looking at her docket. She stared at Jiang Baimian and asked in concern, “Team Leader, what’s the result of Moat Town?”