Chapter 153: Triple Effect
Shang Jianyao immediately echoed and slapped his thigh. “I almost thought that we weren’t the real culprits.”
You make it sound like you only heard rumors about you attacking Eugene and turning him into a slave before bringing him back… Long Yuehong couldn’t help but lampoon.
Of course, he didn’t have the intention of arguing about such matters with a mental patient in case Shang Jianyao started repeating: “Sigh, I’m only 1.75 meters tall after genetic enhancement.”
During random chats, Long Yuehong had asked Shang Jianyao about his attack on Eugene, hoping to learn something from it.
Jiang Baimian ignored Shang Jianyao and smiled. “We’re in pretty good shape now. Basically, nobody will suspect us; I’m just afraid that things will escalate. Different factions in the city will begin to take advantage of the situation and pursue their own interests. That will very easily turn Weed City into a keg of gunpowder that might blow up at any moment.”
At this point, Jiang Baimian looked at Bai Chen like she was no outsider. “Take the 20 Oray you just received to buy food. With food in our hands, we won’t need to worry.”
“Alright.” Bai Chen—who was sitting on a stool in front of the table—nodded.
Jiang Baimian then took out the piece of paper she received from Chen Xufeng and handed it to Bai Chen. “Take a look first.”
Long Yuehong immediately stood up, picked up a stool, and moved to Bai Chen’s side to read it with her.
“Hypnosis, memories… No wonder…” Long Yuehong exclaimed in enlightenment at the end. He had also studied what it meant by ‘hypnosis.’
“From the looks of it, Lin Feifei and the others are indeed controlled by the Anti-intellectualism Church, not framed.” Unlike in the past, Bai Chen took the initiative to express her thoughts.
“It’s not completely ruled out. We can only say that the possibility is very low; it can’t be that coincidental,” Jiang Baimian agreed.
She then deliberated and said, “Considering the Anti-intellectualism Church’s way of doing things, they are more extreme and like to stir up something big. From this point, can we guess that they are gradually becoming active in Weed City? Apart from the need to preach, they are also preparing to do something important?
“This is as different as night and day when it comes to Lei Yunsong, Lin Feifei, and the others from Pangu Biology. Normally speaking, it’s impossible to have them implicated unless…”
Jiang Baimian paused, and Long Yuehong blurted out, “Unless they accidentally stumbled across the Anti-intellectualism Church’s plot?”
“It’s also possible that there’s an overlap with Weed City, causing Lei Yunsong, Lin Feifei, and the others to be implicated,” guessed Bai Chen.
Shang Jianyao was unwilling to fall behind and voiced his thoughts. “There’s another possibility: When the Anti-intellectualism Church handed out the pamphlets, Lei Yunsong and the others bumped into them, which resulted in a conflict. This angered them, so they went all out. They found experts in the church to take action and redeem their reputation.”
“How irascible is that?” Jiang Baimian tactfully rejected the theory. “Although this suits the Anti-intellectualism Church’s stupidity, we can tell that their Chosen Ones are rather smart from their teachings. They won’t complicate matters unless necessary.”
She looked around and said, “We’ll temporarily investigate according to the theory that they came across a conspiracy or some other matter that resulted in them being implicated.”
“Yes, Team Leader!” Long Yuehong raised his head and puffed out his chest in response, happy that his thoughts had been confirmed.
Jiang Baimian smiled and said, “Next, we’ll have to start dealing with this Anti-intellectualism Church. I hope we can find them as soon as possible. No one can guarantee your safety during this process. It’s best for you to be prepared so that you can prevent yourself from being hypnotized at some point in time, losing important memories, or having memories that you shouldn’t have.”
Long Yuehong quickly asked, “Team Leader, what should we do?”
Jiang Baimian smiled. “There’s no need to be too nervous. Look, hasn’t a strong person like Eugene been quickly resolved?”
“Team Leader, the moment you said ‘look,’ I suspected that I was being influenced by Inference Clowning and treated Shang Jianyao as you and you as Shang Jianyao…” Long Yuehong replied softly.
“Huh?” Jiang Baimian touched her metal cochlear implant. She then smiled. “Am I not Shang Jianyao? Alright, I’m joking.”
She restrained her expression and gave her opinion. “You can prepare some small notes and keep them close to you. You can note down a few key memories in a way that others can’t understand and can only be understood by yourself. You can also footnote them as ‘referential standards.’ After that, take a look at them at regular intervals and examine your condition.”
“Alright.” Bai Chen agreed after some thought.
Jiang Baimian looked at her and suddenly thought of something. “Oh, it was Oudick who interrogated you, right? How did he interrogate you? By relying on a dream’s influence?”
“Yes, I didn’t know when I fell asleep, nor did I know that I was dreaming. Fortunately, I found Shang Jianyao’s folded star and came to a realization,” Bai Chen described simply.
“It wasn’t easy,” Shang Jianyao commented.
It was unknown what he was referring to.
Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and added, “In all the situations that we have faced, this is considered the most complex application of Inference Clowning. It made you subconsciously believe that there was such a small, folded star on you, so it reflected in your dream. In reality, matter can’t be fabricated, and so you can’t touch it.”
Bai Chen was a little confused. “What puzzles me is: Shouldn’t the effects of Inference Clowning be removed after I couldn’t touch the folded star in reality?”
Shang Jianyao laughed. “It’s very simple; I stacked three effects, not two. Do you remember what I said after you deduced that there was a folded star in your pocket? It was also an inference.”
Bai Chen recalled and said, “You mean ‘it’s very mysterious and involves supernatural powers; it’s an important prop that I can’t attempt to touch now, nor can I touch it?’”
Clap! Clap! Clap!
Shang Jianyao suddenly applauded. He then excitedly explained, “The first effect is to make you think that Team Leader and I are strangers and ignore the relevant memories.
“The second effect is that you are influenced by a stranger like me and believe that there is a folded star in your pocket.
“The third effect is to allow you to reach the conclusion that you can’t touch that star now. This way, you will still believe that it will appear in your dream when you fail to find it in reality.”
“If I didn’t encounter Oudick, would this effect have never been removed?” Bai Chen asked.
Shang Jianyao shook his head. “After you sleep, if you don’t dream of anything or dream of anything else, it will naturally be removed.”
Upon seeing that Bai Chen was relieved, Jiang Baimian began to summarize the matter. “From the looks of it, Oudick’s Awakened abilities can force one to sleep and interfere with dreams. Uh, how did you feel in the dream?”
“Before I took out the folded star, I felt a little groggy. It was almost like a normal dream; I knew who I was, but I didn’t find anything abnormal about my surroundings,” Bai Chen said truthfully.
Jiang Baimian muttered to herself thoughtfully, “This is quite different from Nightmare Horse’s real dream.”
“Back then, I was very clear-headed in the dream and felt like I was in reality,” Shang Jianyao added enthusiastically.
Jiang Baimian nodded slightly. “As it’s realistic enough, the damage one suffers in a dream will reflect in reality. Yes, Oudick’s ability to influence dreams shouldn’t be the same as the Nightmare Horse’s. One can be called Real Dreamscape, and the other can only be called Dreamscape Manipulation.
“Indeed. Oudick’s dream abilities are weaker than the Nightmare Horse’s, but he still has the ability to force a person to sleep. We definitely can’t underestimate him.”
As long as he was within the corresponding range, the ability was virtually like a bug in computer games when he was equipped with firearms.
After they were done discussing this matter, Jiang Baimian returned to the topic at hand. “The most important question now is: How should we find the Anti-intellectualism Church next?”
“Wait for the people who hand out the pamphlets after lights-out? Uh, with Weed City’s current situation, there should be quite a number of patrols at night. They probably won’t dare to come out…” Long Yuehong first voiced his opinion before dismissing it. “Search around the library? They might even take advantage of the chaos to burn the library again.”
“After the library was burned, it was already guarded by armed city guards.” Jiang Baimian had entered and exited the library several times, so she knew a little about such matters.
Shang Jianyao revealed a troubled expression. “The information isn’t detailed enough. If we can figure out what the Anti-intellectualism Church’s Holy Communion is, we can investigate the corresponding shops and markets.”
“…That’s an idea.” Jiang Baimian had to admit that a mental patient could always find a direction that normal people couldn’t think of. “We either have to ask Oudick or send a telegram to the company. Yes, we have to get ourselves a radio transceiver; we can’t always rely on Chen Xufeng. On the one hand, it’s easy to expose him. On the other hand, there are too many intermediary elements. It’s not timely enough, and it might delay us at critical moments.”
She looked around and continued, “Apart from this, there’s another direction; think about it. In order to destroy knowledge, apart from one of the carriers of knowledge—books—which other groups will the Anti-intellectualism Church target?”
“Teachers!” Long Yuehong—who had received formal education since he was young—reacted.
Jiang Baimian nodded in satisfaction. “Although the teachers of formal schools live at Weed City’s North Street and are relatively safe, we can’t forget other people. In some wilderness nomad settlements, there are no public schools like Moat Town. However, a portion of people hope that their children can read at the very least.
“Therefore, when they have spare energy, more than ten families will team up and contribute. They will hire one to two part-time teachers to teach for a few months. After that, it will depend on the actual situation.
“As you can see, the citizens of Weed City lead better lives than most nomad settlements in the wilderness. Their population is also not small. Could it be that there are families where some children can’t study at North Street, and their elders don’t have the time or the ability to teach them? Could they join forces to hire a few teachers for short-term education? Could there be people who specialize in making a living with this as a trade?”
Bai Chen immediately said, “Yes. Many Ruin Hunters are illiterate themselves, so it’s not that convenient to take on missions in the Hunter’s Guild. It’s also very wasteful to just listen and ask. If such people have spare cash and have a certain amount of free time, they will often gather in groups of up to 20 and hire a teacher to teach them common words.
“In Weed City, such people are called temporary teachers.”
Jiang Baimian tersely acknowledged it. “Then, let’s split up and visit these ‘temporary teachers’ to see if they have received any threats recently and where they came from.”