Chapter 123: Mass
After leaving the RV, Jiang Baimian looked back and sighed softly. “Hometown…”
Amidst the playing lyrics of ‘I’m looking,’ her mutterings were completely drowned out.
The next second, she pressed down on Shang Jianyao’s shoulder and pulled him back. She laughed loudly. “You’ve already danced!”
She then added with a grin, “I originally wanted to let off some steam and have some fun after we were done with work and had dinner. But you used up this opportunity in advance, and you didn’t cherish it. You only danced for a minute or two.”
Shang Jianyao’s expression changed, and he didn’t hide his disappointment and regret.
This elevated Jiang Baimian’s mood.
She then directed a question at Long Yuehong and Bai Chen, “Are you guys going to have some fun?”
“If I’m not interested in having sex with the person, I wouldn’t like such entertainment. It’s too noisy,” Bai Chen replied frankly.
Long Yuehong—who was a little eager to try—couldn’t help but feel a little scared when he saw that he was the only one. He could only say unhappily, “I’m a little tired today.”
Indeed, one’s mental state would be bordering on fatigue after a road trip that lasted so many days, even if they took turns driving and had sufficient rest.
“Then, let’s all go back.” Jiang Baimian didn’t persuade them. She retracted her gaze and walked out of the area first.
Shang Jianyao followed behind her and loudly asked amidst the loud music that was still blaring near them, “Team Leader, don’t you want to dance?”
“I’m such a mature person.” Jiang Baimian praised herself. “Why would I participate in such a messy activity? Besides, I have better ways to vent my energy.”
As she spoke, she looked back at her three team members and smiled maliciously. “When we reach Weed City and settle down, we have to practice combat and prime our skills to an optimal state. This way, we can deal with the dangers lurking in the subsequent investigations.”
Long Yuehong felt his entire body ache when he heard that.
As they spoke, they returned to the spot where the jeep was parked. They realized that many people in the camp had deliberately passed by and sized up their ride.
“They really love cars…” Jiang Baimian sighed with emotion.
She was in no rush to drive them away. She stopped a certain distance away and spoke as if she were considering something. “Do you think that, as the Eyes of Holiness’s deacon, Ferlin is an Awakened? If so, did he secretly use his Awakened abilities to influence us?”
Long Yuehong was shocked when he heard these two questions and quickly checked himself.
Bai Chen immediately replied, “I did a careful observation and didn’t discover anything abnormal about Ferlin.”
In other words, he might not have paid a price, so he wasn’t an Awakened.
“Maybe the price isn’t obvious.” Jiang Baimian raised a counterexample. She then half-closed her eyes, her actions a mystery.
Shang Jianyao said seriously, “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
“Me neither.” Jiang Baimian opened her eyes and gave an affirmative answer. “Then, let’s temporarily pretend that Ferlin isn’t an Awakened.”
They chatted for a while. When the crowd had mostly dispersed and the intense music in the distance subsided, Jiang Baimian said to Bai Chen and Long Yuehong, “You guys will be on duty tonight. The usual rules apply.”
“Yes, Team Leader!” Long Yuehong was already very skilled.
Shang Jianyao didn’t say a word. He got into the jeep and lay flat on the backseat. At the same time, he massaged his temples.
In the endless Sea of Origins, Shang Jianyao swam forward using a freestyle stroke, alternating his arms. He had mostly learned how to swim in this mind world during this period of time.
Pangu Biology did not have any swimming lessons because it was useless in the underground building. Shang Jianyao’s first swim was completed in the Green River on the way to Qifeng Town after leaving the city ruin where Xiaochong was. This was also part of his training.
His feelings back then were: water is cold.
At this moment, he was aimlessly swimming as if there would never be an end. This was also a form of torture to his mind and spirit.
Fortunately, whenever his ‘stamina’ ran out, he would retreat by himself and not drown to death.
The boring repetition was unbearable, but Shang Jianyao was very persistent as if he could keep swimming.
After an unknown period of time, a shadow suddenly appeared in front of him—it was a large island.
It quietly lay across the water surface. There was nothing above except rocks.
Shang Jianyao instantly became excited. He alternated the exertion of strength into his arms and quickly paddled the water with his feet.
He soon arrived at the island and climbed up without thinking.
The next second, figures appeared from the rubble crevices.
These figures were draped in white bedsheets, completely covering their bodies.
At a glance, their faces were hidden in the cloaks’ shadows. It was pitch-black, making it impossible to see them clearly.
Shang Jianyao immediately assumed a combat posture and prepared to use the Awakened ability, Hands Immobility.
But when he encountered one of the figures and touched the white blanket-like ‘cloak,’ he suddenly felt enervated.
His forehead began to heat up, and his heart raced. As he breathed, it felt like a wind box was being activated, blowing out scorching air.
All kinds of pain and discomfort instantly appeared. Shang Jianyao’s movement became extremely difficult, and he was quickly drowned by the white figures.
Shang Jianyao opened his eyes and sat up, breathing heavily.
Jiang Baimian woke up because of his actions and habitually rubbed her eyes. She thought for a moment and probed, “Discovered a second island?”
In the past half a month, Shang Jianyao had never encountered such a situation.
“Yes.” Shang Jianyao didn’t hide it and even took the initiative to describe his encounter.
Jiang Baimian thoughtfully asked, “What do you think happened to you back then?”
“I was seriously ill,” Shang Jianyao replied firmly.
Jiang Baimian tersely acknowledged his words and seriously said, “Could it be that you often went to the hospital when your mother was sick? You were young, so you were afraid of diseases and that left behind a trauma?”
She deliberately didn’t mention that Shang Jianyao’s mother had died from an illness to avoid agitating him.
Shang Jianyao fell silent for a few seconds before saying, “I watched her being pushed into the emergency room. I sat outside and waited for a long time.”
Jiang Baimian sighed silently and asked, “Have you been sick since then? Any relatively serious illnesses?”
“No.” Shang Jianyao shook his head.
“I can tell that you’re as strong as an ox.” Jiang Baimian was someone who had truly seen an ox.
Shang Jianyao didn’t ask what a muscular ox looked like. He thought before saying, “You mean I should get inflicted with a serious illness and defeat it in reality?”
“I didn’t mean that!” Jiang Baimian denied in exasperation and amusement. “There’s no way to control such matters. It might be possible that you end up not defeating it and have it defeat you.”
She stopped Shang Jianyao from raising any more strange ideas and said seriously, “Let me consider it for a few days. You should think about it too and don’t try anything rash.”
She was afraid that Shang Jianyao—who had a mental patient’s unique persistence—wouldn’t simply listen to her suggestion, so she emphasized the need for responsibility. “We’re almost at Weed City. We can’t lose our strength!”
“Okay.” Shang Jianyao nodded in agreement.
Jiang Baimian then softened her voice. “Sleep a little longer. Go to sleep this time and replenish your energy.”
At noon the next day, they arrived at the RV of Hometown caravan’s Caravan Leader, Ferlin, as agreed.
At this moment, the chairs and stools outside were neatly arranged in rows.
Ferlin—who had a white beard around his mouth—had already donned an orange robe, and his expression was a little more serious.
“You guys are here?” Seeing his sworn brother and his team come over, Ferlin smiled and greeted them.
After exchanging pleasantries, Jiang Baimian curiously asked, “Why is your Mass in the middle of the day? Is it because the Kalendaria’s name is Double Sun?”
“Yes.” Ferlin nodded. “The Double Sun doesn’t only control the hottest July, but it also controls noon.”
“Is that so…” Jiang Baimian was abnormally satisfied with the answer.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao suddenly asked, “Are there Awakened in your church?”
Ferlin couldn’t help but cough. “Shall we discuss this in private?”
Shang Jianyao looked around and said, “Look, there’s no one around.”
Ferlin was convinced. “Yes, I’ve seen three or four.”
“Are you one?” Shang Jianyao was very direct.
Ferlin quickly shook his head. “Of course not. I don’t dare to pay the price.”
At this point, he clicked his tongue. “Our church has an Awakened. The price was severe hair loss. Heh heh, at our age, every strand of hair is abnormally precious. How can we bear to part with it?”
As he spoke, Ferlin stroked his short silver hair with a proud expression.
Jiang Baimian laughed. “Actually, this price is pretty good. You can’t be targeted.”
“That’s right. That’s why I’m telling you. Otherwise, it’ll need to be kept a secret.” Ferlin agreed sincerely. “There’s also an Awakened from our caravan. He has already passed away. The price he paid was a problem with his sexual proclivities. As you know, everyone in our caravan likes cars, but we mostly treat them as precious items and family members. We often make jokes about that. As for him… During that period of time, every family had to protect their cars’ exhaust pipes…”
This shocked everyone in the Old Task Force.
Without waiting for their comments, Ferlin looked up at the sun and smiled. “Mass is about to begin. Talk to you later.”
He then stretched out two fingers and pressed them against his eye sockets. “May your eyes be bright.”
At this moment, the chairs in front of the RV were already filled with people.
Ferlin quickly boarded the RV, stood at the door, and pointed at the window beside him. “First step, salute.”
It was only then that Long Yuehong realized that there were two golden suns stuck to the RV window.
They were like a pair of shining eyes.
The believers present stood up at the same time, pressed their fingers to their eye sockets, and solemnly praised, “God is the Sun and Moon!”
After completing the first step, Ferlin signaled for everyone to sit down. As there were guests watching, he added, “The Kalendaria represents the sun and the moon, as well as holy eyes.
“‘He’ told us that only those with sufficiently sharp eyes and strong bodies could find and enter the New World in the Ashlands.
“Step two, formal ritual. This was a ritual from before the Old World was destroyed. It was proof that people revered the Kalendaria in the distant era. It was passed down despite the calamity.
“Everyone, be prepared. Close your eyes! Play the hymns!”
Music sounded, and a woman’s voice echoed. “Session 1, knead your eyebrows”
 Chinese eye exercises have been implemented in China as an intervention for controlling children’s myopia for over 50 years. This ‘hymn’ is likely the broadcast that students listen to in school.