Chapter 164: Jingnian
On the second floor of the Hunter’s Guild, in the president’s office guarded by four armed personnel.
After the explosion on North Street, Xu Liyan picked up the ringing black phone and listened to his subordinate report the situation based on drone surveillance.
Before he could give the order, a series of intense gunshots erupted from South Street’s city gate.
This made him instinctively frown and have a bad feeling.
Xu Liyan patiently waited for a while before a new person finally replaced the person on the other end of the line. He reported the sudden incident of the wilderness nomads creating a commotion and how they were about to storm the city.
“Is this the situation that Father wants?” As Xu Liyan muttered to himself, he hung up the phone and dialed another number before reaching the city guard’s highest-ranking officer.
He then instructed with a cold expression, “Gather the main forces immediately and push out all the wilderness nomads that have stormed in. Don’t worry about the number of casualties.”
After issuing this order, he called his trusted aide—who was in charge of the Castellan Guard. “Split the manpower into two teams. One team will bring heavy ordnance to First Hospital to help Oudick deal with Father. The other team will gather downstairs and escort me back to Castellan Manor.”
Castellan Manor had permanent fortifications and an underground bunker. It was many times safer than the Hunter’s Guild’s old building.
Furthermore, if the chaos escalated and Father escaped the encirclement—making it impossible to control the situation in a short period of time—he could still leave through the relatively safe and closer north city gate under the Castellan Guards’ protection. He could then return to his manor or seek refuge in another city.
After methodically arranging all of this, Xu Liyan stood up and walked to the door with the attendant—who was covered in a robe and hood.
The four armed personnel outside dispersed immediately and took their positions, guarding against possible attacks from different directions.
At this moment, Xu Liyan suddenly felt an itch on the back of his left hand.
He subconsciously stretched out his right palm and scratched the back of his left hand a few times.
Not only did the itch not disappear, but it became even worse.
Xu Liyan panicked and exerted more strength.
Red scratches immediately appeared on the back of his hand.
Almost at the same time, unbearable pruritus appeared on his back, chest, thighs, face, and all the areas that were covered or not covered by his clothes.
The more he scratched, the itchier he felt, and the more he wanted to scratch. In just a few seconds, he felt like 10,000 ants had crawled all over his body. He wished he could take off all his clothes and have the time of his life scratching.
He wasn’t the only one; the four armed personnel also had similar reactions. They couldn’t hold their guns any longer and only wanted to scratch their itch.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
The metal firearms fell to the ground and bounced a few times.
The only one who didn’t move was the mysterious person in the hooded robe.
“Eh…” A slightly surprised voice sounded from a room on the other end of the corridor. Then, a person walked out.
It was a woman. She had golden hair and a pair of light-blue eyes. Her skin was relatively rough, and the pores on her face were slightly large.
This woman looked very charming, and she was Christina, the vice president of the local Hunter’s Guild!
She looked at Xu Liyan’s abnormally mysterious attendant and asked curiously, “You aren’t feeling itchy?”
As she spoke, three people came down from the stairs near the president’s office.
Some of them held pistols, and some held short-neck submachine guns. Their gazes locked onto Xu Liyan—who was scratching himself crazily.
Among the three people, one was female—about 1.65 meters tall—and she had a baby face. Two were men; one was masculine and handsome, and the other was weathered.
They were the remaining three members of the Old Task Force, who had previously disappeared—Wei Yu, Lu Jiqi, and Yun He!
At this moment, the mysterious man in the hooded robe took a diagonal step forward and stood between Xu Liyan and the three assailants.
With multiple clangs, sparks flew from the mysterious person’s body due to the large number of bullets. But only his clothes were damaged, leaving not a single drop of blood.
With a whoosh, the mysterious person tore off his robe, revealing a tall body made of black metal bones and various mechanical components that looked intimidating.
He raised one hand and calmly chanted his Buddhist name. “Namo Annutara-Samyak-Subhuti. This Penniless Monk no longer has such feelings. Although I still feel the itch, I can fully tolerate it. It’s like I’m facing an illusion.”
This was the answer to Christina’s question.
He was indeed a mechanical monk—a mechanical monk who lived in the surrounding wilderness.
Christina raised her eyebrows. “What if we change it to another? I hope your desires are satisfied.”
The next second, Xu Liyan and his five bodyguards realized that the itch on their bodies was gradually weakening.
The mechanical monk’s blinking red eyes suddenly lit up, almost bloodshot.
“Surge in sexual desire? You are indeed an Awakened, an Awakened who believes in the Kalendaria, Mandara.” The mechanical monk muttered to himself before he pressed his palms together and calmly said, “Female Patron, this Penniless Monk isn’t Junior Brother Jingfa and the others. This Penniless Monk can still barely control himself.”
As he spoke, Xu Liyan and the five bodyguards had already found places to hide. They began a gunfight with Wei Yu, Lu Jiqi, and Yun He.
The mechanical monk was located in the center of the gunfight. He was struck by stray bullets, but he remained standing as if he were only facing a storm.
Christina pressed her hip and bowed slightly. “But I can tell that you are also affected.”
A smile surfaced on her face, but it also appeared rather sacred. “Mandara is in our hearts.”
“Patron, everything in the world is illusory, and so is desire. The pleasure you gain from physical indulgence will definitely enslave you, turning you into a female beast in this mortal world.” The mechanical monk’s electronic voice sounded a little compassionate.
He pressed his palms together again and solemnly said, “Six Realms of Rebirth and Existence, Animal realm.”
Just as the mechanical monk said that, Christina saw countless beast phantoms.
There were wolves, tigers, hyenas, and boars. All of them looked at her with their bright-green eyes.
Under such gazes, Christina’s self-awareness suddenly changed.
Christina realized that she had become a wolf at some point in time. She was covered in thick, grayish-black fur, and her straw-like tail hung down.
She was a little flustered and confused. Christina wanted to say something, but she only spoke in a beast-like voice. “Howl…”
From Xu Liyan’s point of view, Christina and the other three attackers suddenly lay on the ground strangely; they had then propped themselves up on all fours and started howling.
Their eyes seemed to have lost the glow of intelligence.
“Haha…” Xu Liyan couldn’t help but laugh. He walked out of his hiding spot and said in fear and excitement, “Don’t tell me you think I only have ordinary bodyguards, Advanced Hunters that I hired from the guild? If not for Master Jingnian, how could I have known that someone wanted to assassinate me in advance?”
Xu Liyan’s five bodyguards instinctively turned their heads and looked at the mechanical monk.
Although Jingnian wasn’t wearing a monk robe or a kasaya—which revealed his metal body and heavy firepower capabilities—he still maintained the manner of an accomplished monk. He calmly said, “This Penniless Monk has reflected on himself and obtained the most important divine power: Clairvoyance.”
Just as he said that, the gunshots on South Street suddenly turned vague. The entire building shook and instantly shattered like a dream.
Xu Liyan suddenly shivered and realized that he was still in the president’s office. He had just put down the phone.
“Zen Master, just now…” Xu Liyan quickly turned his head to look at the hooded mechanical monk, Jingnian.
Without waiting for him to finish, Jingnian nodded. “This Penniless Monk was also dragged into an illusion and sparred with Patron Christina. This is very similar to an ability in the domain of Kalendaria Last Man.”
“Last Man… Isn’t this the Anti-intellectualism Church’s Kalendaria? Father? Isn’t he supposed to be at First Hospital? Are there other Awakened here?” Xu Liyan was shocked and angry. He quickly stood up. “We can’t confirm any problems with Christina at the moment. In the illusion, her performance seemed to belong to the Church of Paragon Desire. If she’s really involved, it means that someone in First City wants me dead!”
Jingnian chanted a Buddhist proclamation. “Patron Xu, it’s best to leave this place as soon as possible and return to the manor.”
The shared illusion had completely exposed his identity and revealed two of his abilities. This made him ‘foresee’ immense danger.
“Alright!” Xu Liyan drew his pistol and walked to the door.
Immediately, the five bodyguards outside surrounded him like human shields—they were prepared to use their bodies to block any bullets.
As long as the Castellan didn’t die, their families would definitely receive the most appropriate care.
“Maximum alert from now on,” instructed Xu Liyan.
“Yes, Castellan!” one of the bodyguards replied. He then added, “We were also dragged into that illusion and know what happened.”
Xu Liyan looked at the bodyguard and realized that he looked very tired. He had dark circles, but his eyes were rather deep.
“Okay.” Xu Liyan nodded. “When this matter is over, I won’t be stingy with my rewards!”
At this moment, the red glow in Jingnian’s eyes suddenly intensified. His auxiliary chip told him: Previously, there were only four bodyguards outside.
His consciousness believed: There were a total of five bodyguards, so nothing is wrong!
No good… Jingnian’s mood sank. He immediately wanted to use Animal realm—which had the greatest range.
At this moment, the five bodyguards simultaneously raised their guns and aimed at Xu Liyan.
Four of them had slightly blank and dull eyes, looking as if they weren’t facing the Castellan but a lifelong enemy.
Without any delay or hesitation, they pulled the triggers.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Sparks spewed from the five guns’ muzzles as many bullets rained down on Xu Liyan.