Chapter 174: Interrogation
On the way to the fake Father’s holding cell, Shang Jianyao spoke, calling a spade a spade. “He’s so hypocritical. He was clearly very tempted, but he still said that he wanted to consider it.”
He was referring to Weed City’s Castellan, Xu Liyan.
Jiang Baimian glanced at Shang Jianyao. “It’s very normal. He would’ve appeared unprincipled if he agreed too quickly.”
“What’s important between brothers is sincerity.” Shang Jianyao objected.
Jiang Baimian followed his logic and said, “Just because you’re brothers with him doesn’t mean that the company is brothers with him.”
Jiang Baimian originally wanted to tease him by saying, “If you have the ability to make all the board’s directors become your brother, it will be equivalent to the company and Xu Liyan becoming brothers.” However, she dismissed the idea in time when she considered how Shang Jianyao was a man of action.
As they spoke, they arrived at the holding cell and met the in-charge.
After showing Xu Liyan’s warrant, the two of them were ushered into a small room.
The room’s main body was a control console. There were many screens above the control console.
At this moment, all the screens showed one scene: a small room with only one bed and one chair.
In the small room, the sickly fake Father was sitting in a chair and looking at the wall opposite him. A large screen seemed to be there as well.
“He has powerful Hypnosis abilities; it’s best if the two of you don’t have any close contact with him. It’s safer with an electronic product between you.” The in-charge briefly explained the reason for the holding cell’s current design.
Jiang Baimian naturally couldn’t tell the person-in-charge that Shang Jianyao was also an Awakened and could make friends with the fake Father. Hence, she only nodded and said, “That’s good.”
After she and Shang Jianyao sat down, the scene on the screens connected with one another as the person-in-charge ran the terminal.
This gave people the feeling that there was only a piece of glass between them.
The door to the small room opened, and a silver-gray metal robot walked in. It then switched on the screen opposite the fake Father.
Clearly, humans couldn’t hypnotize machines.
The power of technology… Jiang Baimian sighed.
Before long, the fake Father saw the situation in the surveillance room through the screen.
“It’s you,” said the sickly man calmly as he leaned back in his chair.
Jiang Baimian immediately smiled. “You sure are calm.”
The fake Father raised his head slightly and said, “Since I have the nickname ‘Father,’ I definitely would’ve prepared to die for the cause long ago.”
His tone was calm as if Jiang Baimian and the others were locked up instead of him.
Jiang Baimian knew that such people had very strong self-logic. If one followed their pace and ended up subscribing to their logic, it would be very difficult to delve deeper and ask them for valuable details.
Of course, if it really didn’t work out, they could still get Shang Jianyao’s Brotherhood member— Oudick—to help. But this was relatively troublesome because dream guidance was clearly directional. It didn’t cover a wide range, so Oudick would have to try again and again.
Jiang Baimian then turned her head and signaled for Shang Jianyao to ask the questions.
This was her strategy; she wanted the unconventional Shang Jianyao to disrupt the fake Father’s rhythm.
Shang Jianyao didn’t hesitate to ask, “What’s your Anti-intellectualism Church’s Holy Communion?”
Shang Jianyao had a rather serious expression as if he were asking an important question.
The fake Father was stunned, having the feeling that the momentum he built up had come to an end.
This question wasn’t something worth paying attention to, so the fake Father casually replied, “Things like rice soup, lotus root starch, and stewed eggs that are easier to digest.”
“Do all of you treat yourselves as infants?” Shang Jianyao questioned suddenly.
The fake Father was stunned again. He thought for a moment before saying, “Humans are born with instincts. Our goal is to make most people only have instincts and experience.”
“It’s fine for a baby to eat such Holy Communion, but it doesn’t give adults a sense of satiety. They can only experience this occasionally.” Shang Jianyao completely ignored the fake Father’s response and spoke to himself. “Really, you should communicate more with the parishioners that believe in the Arbiter of Fate.”
The fake Father couldn’t keep up with this fellow’s train of thought at all. Thus, he chose to give up and shut his mouth.
“I think you religious organizations are too insular. If we can communicate, exchange views, and absorb each other’s strengths often, you will definitely be able to attract more believers than you do now. At the very least, I will consider it,” Shang Jianyao suggested.
The veins on the fake Father’s forehead twitched as he resisted the urge to retort.
“Speaking of which, are all the people of your religion stupid? For example, you spent so much effort but failed to do anything and even ended up being locked up here.” Shang Jianyao looked like he wanted to discuss the failure of the Anti-intellectualism Church’s education with the fake Father.
The fake Father’s breathing became slightly heavier as he replied in a deep voice. “I was just unlucky to encounter you and Oudick together.”
“Luck?” Jiang Baimian seized the opportunity and said with a smile, “When you learned that Lei Yunsong and the others were from Pangu Biology and chose to use them as scapegoats, you should’ve realized that Pangu Biology would definitely send people to investigate. Furthermore, these investigators would be more capable ones. In such a situation, shouldn’t you carry out the plan as soon as possible?
“Who knew that you guys would drag it out for a month and a half until we arrived before officially starting? Do you have a problem with procrastination, or do you subconsciously have suicidal tendencies? If it’s none of the above, then I can only regretfully believe that your brain has been sacrificed to Last Man.”
The fake Father took a deep breath and said sullenly, “We waited for the weather to get colder so that a large number of wilderness nomads would be gathered.”
“You could’ve totally changed your plan; why were you so rigid? Your goal was to assassinate Xu Liyan, not to mess up Weed City.” Jiang Baimian was like an instructor, sharply striking at the student’s confidence.
She then changed the topic and asked with a smile, “Did someone instill in you the idea that you had to do so?”
The fake Father trembled slightly, and his eyes widened unconsciously.
Jiang Baimian didn’t give the fake Father a chance to find a reason. She laughed and pressed on. “Do you still not know that Xu Liyan was attacked when you were dealing with Oudick and that he almost died?”
“What?” The fake Father’s expression changed significantly.
Jiang Baimian smiled and recounted the attack conducted by the real Father and the goal he wanted to achieve. Finally, she asked, “If it weren’t for the coincidence, all of Weed City’s nobles would’ve been blown to smithereens with a bang. First City’s regular army would’ve then used the excuse of ‘quelling the riots’ to station themselves in Weed City.
“Isn’t this crazier, more imaginative, and closer to success than your plan?”
The fake Father lowered his head with a gloomy expression. He didn’t respond, and his thoughts were unknown.
After laying out all the facts, Jiang Baimian finally said, “Compared to him, I think you’re like a fake Father.”
The fake Father’s gaze suddenly froze as his body trembled more and more.
Jiang Baimian continued, “That person’s nickname might be Mute or something else. Do you still remember that someone once told you that you will be Father from now on? Uh, something similar.”
The fake Father’s pupils dilated as a layer of cold sweat covered his forehead. After a few seconds, he let out a beast-like roar and raised his hands to cover his face.
He then stood up and revealed a terrified expression. “Yes, yes, yes!” He repeated the word ‘yes’ three times, and his voice became louder and louder.
Phew… Jiang Baimian exhaled silently. “Do you know who you are now?”
The fake Father—whose fabricated pride had been completely shattered—could no longer muster any mental defenses. He sat down as if he had lost all his strength. “Guo Zheng, my name is Guo Zheng. I’m a believer of the Anti-intellectualism Church. I was chosen to bathe in divine grace and became an Awakened.”
Jiang Baimian immediately interrupted Guo Zheng. “Did you awaken by relying on the Kalendaria?”
This was the most important question.
Guo Zheng panted and said, “Yes, we were chosen and entered a dark cave. As instructed, we each found a place to lie down and sleep. Not long after I fell asleep, I saw Star Cluster Hall.”
Jiang Baimian asked, “How many people were chosen and how many awakened?”
“Many people were chosen; I didn’t count them in detail, but there were over 100,” said Guo Zheng as he recalled. “There were four or five who awakened in the end…”
As he spoke, he frowned as if he was enduring some kind of pain.
“What side effects did the people who hadn’t awakened have?” Jiang Baimian asked thoughtfully.
Guo Zheng thought for a moment. “Some went mad, some died on the spot, and others were fine. That’s the majority.”
Jiang Baimian turned her head to look at Shang Jianyao and asked with a smile, “How can you be sure that those who appear fine or crazy haven’t awakened?”
Guo Zheng revealed obvious fear. “Back then, a Church elder presided over the matter. He can read everyone’s memories on a large scale.”
As expected, the Anti-intellectualism Church’s specialty is in the field of memories and hypnosis… Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao looked at each other and were a little excited.
This was the excitement of slowly figuring something out.
Jiang Baimian continued asking, “Elder? How are the ranks of your religion divided?”
Guo Zheng took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “The leader of the religion is the Pope, but I’ve never seen him. It’s said that he has already gone to the New World and is serving the Lord there. He’s also in charge of guiding the Chosen Ones after him.
“Under the Pope is the Eight-Man Council. There are a total of eight Elders, who each govern different areas.
“Under the Elders are the bishops, who are in charge of various specific matters. Under the bishops are the priests, who are the executives and proselytizers.”
Jiang Baimian nodded slightly. “Which level does Father belong to?”
“I’m a bishop. He… I don’t know,” Guo Zheng recalled in pain.
Jiang Baimian took the opportunity to ask, “Do you remember who hypnotized you? Do you remember what he looked like?”
Guo Zheng frowned again. “H-he’s a man. No, he’s a woman. No, he’s very handsome. No, he shaved his head bald…”
“No, no…” Guo Zheng’s lips quivered as he shouted crazily and fearfully, “He tampered with my memories!”