Chapter 180: Chapter 68: Wariness Is A Hint From The Goddess
The man—who had a gun pointed at his forehead by Shang Jianyao—seemed to be of Ashlandic and Red River descent. He had black hair, brown eyes, a high nose bridge, and relatively sunken eye sockets.
He wore gray clothes that were very similar to his surroundings, making it seem as if he could blend in at any moment.
Upon hearing Shang Jianyao’s question, the man appeared a little angry and emphasized, “This world is very dangerous. Even the once-powerful human civilization couldn’t resist it, much less us now! If we weren’t constantly vigilant or didn’t know how to hide ourselves, we would’ve long been destroyed.”
Jiang Baimian had already walked over and stopped Shang Jianyao from probing further. She then asked, “Are you from Redstone Collection?”
“Yes.” The man first gave an affirmative answer before saying, “But please don’t blindly believe me and maintain sufficient vigilance.”
This was the first time Jiang Baimian had heard someone say that. She found it funny and nodded slightly. “We’ve always been very vigilant. Oh right, where’s Redstone Collection?”
“Somewhere in these ruins.” The man looked at the building’s lobby. “Since you’ve already found me, and I failed to hide from you, let me take you there.”
“Alright, how should I address you?” Jiang Baimian was someone whose skills gave her boldness.
“My name is Gaudi,” the man said casually. “This might also be a fake name; please don’t blindly believe me.”
Beside him, Shang Jianyao had an excited expression as if he had learned something new. He retracted the Ice Moss and seriously said, “Lead the way. When we reach Redstone Collection, I promise to return your freedom. This might be a lie; please don’t blindly believe it.”
Gaudi nodded in agreement and took a few steps toward the lobby. “Distance is our best friend.”
After leaving the building, Shang Jianyao got him into the jeep and made him sit in the middle of the backseat. Gaudi was in charge of giving directions.
This time, it was Bai Chen who drove.
While the car drove forward, Jiang Baimian made small talk with him. “What religion do you believe in?”
“Vigilance Church,” Gaudi replied in very fluent Ashlandic. “But you…”
“Stop! We know.” Jiang Baimian interrupted the other party’s repetition and asked with a smile, “Which Kalendaria do you believe in, and what’s the doctrine like? We’re a little interested.”
“What’s the Holy Communion?” Shang Jianyao added a question from the other side.
Gaudi’s expression became rather pious. “We believe in October’s Kalendaria, Eidolon Nun. Before the Old World was destroyed, ‘She’ was widely worshiped by people in certain places. We are called the Vigilance Church because Eidolon Nun told us that the world is dangerous.
“Wariness is the most important instinct for everyone. After the Old World’s destruction, it’s very difficult for people without vigilance to survive the various disasters until the New World comes. Wariness is a hint from the Goddess.”
At this point, Gaudi raised his hands and crossed them before his chest in a defensive posture.
“And then?” Shang Jianyao urged.
Gaudi turned to look at him. “We don’t have Holy Communion. Do you dare to drink the water and eat the food that wasn’t prepared by you? When we participate in Mass and other rituals, we bring our own boiled water and our own dishes.”
“You’re indeed vigilant,” Jiang Baimian commented and glanced at Shang Jianyao with a hint of schadenfreude.
Shang Jianyao sighed regretfully. “We aren’t fated.”
While Gaudi was confused, Jiang Baimian raised another question. “Is everyone from Redstone Collection members of the Vigilance Church?”
“More or less; only a few aren’t. Also, outsiders like you aren’t either,” Gaudi said rather proudly. “Ever since Redstone Collection was established, it has often been attacked, with many casualties each time. Back then, many religions came to proselytize. Everyone had mixed beliefs, but we gradually realized that the Vigilance Church’s teachings and beliefs are most useful.
“The Eidolon Nun is the one who pities the world’s people the most. After that, everyone spontaneously switched to the Vigilance Church. The number of attacks we suffered clearly decreased, and so did the casualties.”
It’s possible that United Industries needed a smuggling node to complete certain transactions that are inconvenient to be openly done after order in the Ashlands was restored and the situation began to stabilize… Jiang Baimian found another explanation in her mind.
But it was impossible for her to refute Gaudi considering her unfamiliarity with the area—she was not Shang Jianyao.
According to Gaudi’s ‘instructions,’ the jeep circled a seriously damaged block and entered a relatively open area with many evergreen trees.
“Is this a park from the Old World?” Jiang Baimian guessed based on the knowledge she had.
“Something like that. That’s what we think.” Gaudi wanted to repeat his catchphrase, but they had already reached the intersection ahead.
He could only ‘command,’ “Turn right, all the way to the end.”
Bai Chen soon drove the jeep to a small hill.
There was a large hole here that could accommodate four cars.
The path leading underground was well-preserved; its surface was very neat.
“Redstone Collection is underground…” Long Yuehong came to a realization. He was familiar with this.
Just as he said that, gun barrels drilled out of the holes in the cliffs on both sides of the cave entrance. There also seemed to be cannons deep inside the cave that were aiming outward.
“I’ll go down and greet them,” said Gaudi.
Jiang Baimian instructed Bai Chen to reverse the jeep a distance away from the cannons’ possible firing trajectory before opening the door to let Gaudi get off.
“Not bad. Very vigilant,” Gaudi praised.
He took a few steps forward and waved his hand. The extended gun barrels and the cannons that had swiveled over retracted.
Only then did Bai Chen drive the jeep and pick him up. They went deeper into the cave and circled down a wet path.
Before long, they saw the parking lot.
Jiang Baimian looked around and memorized the terrain. “Find the spot closest to Redstone Collection.”
“Everyone parks there.” Gaudi indicated that the Vigilance Church shared the same thoughts.
They were all prepared to rush out of Redstone Collection and drive away at any moment.
“Great minds think alike,” Jiang Baimian replied with a smile. “Then, find an empty spot nearby.”
After some searching, they parked the car and passed through two wooden doors in a row before seeing Redstone Collection.
This place seemed to be a replica of some buildings outside, but they had been moved underground.
At the bottom was a square that could be seen from the top floor, where the Old Task Force was. Surrounding the square were floors that went up in circles. The areas visible to the naked eye were connected by escalators.
These floors were brightly lit, and stores neighbored each other. One had the sign ‘Firearms Trading’ on it, and another had the words ‘Maritime Oil Company’s Redstone Collection Office.’
At a glance, Long Yuehong realized that almost everything was sold here. Furthermore, it was more blatant than Weed City’s underground market.
The only problem was that there were no samples placed in these shops. There were only tables, chairs, and cabinets. Furthermore, there was nobody inside the shops!
“If you want to transact in Redstone Collection, you have to find the hiding boss first.” As Gaudi briefed them, he took out a cloth mask from his pocket, unfolded it, and wore it. This made him look rather ‘fierce and forbidding.’
“Interesting.” Shang Jianyao’s eyes were abnormally bright.
He rushed to the nearest shop—Golden River Tea Leaves—before Jiang Baimian could stop him. He then knocked on the wooden cabinet by the door a few times.
“You lost!” With that said, Shang Jianyao ran back to Jiang Baimian’s side.
The wooden cabinet’s door slowly opened after a few seconds, and a middle-aged man—standing at 1.6 meters tall at most—walked out.
The middle-aged man stroked his black beard and looked around the shop in confusion. However, he didn’t discover the person who had found him.
“Is this a tradition of Redstone Collection?” Jiang Baimian smiled and retracted her gaze. She said to Gaudi, “Take us to the Hunter’s Guild here first.”
“It’s at the bottom.” Gaudi led the way to the escalator beside him.
As the escalator slowly descended, Jiang Baimian thoughtfully asked, “How do you generate electricity here?”
“Diesel generators, solar boards, and hydropower units. These are all in operation,” Gaudi replied casually.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao interrupted and asked, “What’s your Mass like? Is it about who’s better at hiding?”
Shang Jianyao looked excited.
Gaudi nodded. “It’s one of the formats. In the previous Mass, I was the tenth from the last to be found.”
It’s really a Hide and Seek Church… Jiang Baimian criticized inwardly.
Shang Jianyao asked, “Then, who was first place?”
“Viel,” Gaudi said in admiration. “He hasn’t been found to this day.”
“…When was your Mass held?” Jiang Baimian was stunned.
Gaudi replied in confusion, “Three days ago.”
“That’s good…” Jiang Baimian heaved a sigh of relief. Otherwise, she would’ve thought that Viel was gone.
As a researcher that was well-read in the Old World’s books, Jiang Baimian couldn’t help but associate it with some relatively evil rituals. A ritual like ‘everyone has to work hard to not be found.’ Those who could last until the end would receive the Kalendaria’s blessings and directly enter the New World.
This was equivalent to a disguised form of human sacrifice.
In the empty underground building, where almost no one came and went, their group seemed to be the only living creatures. But when they came to the lowest floor and saw the Hunter’s Guild’s signboard, they still spotted people.
This Hunter’s Guild wasn’t large—it wasn’t even one-tenth as large as its peer in Weed City. It also didn’t have many technological products. It only had a large screen and a row of service windows.
The employees at each kiosk wore different masks. Some were rabbits, some were clowns, some were tigers, and some were paper bags with holes.
“It’s inevitable. The Hunter’s Guild doesn’t allow employees to hide, so everyone can only wear masks and hide their true appearances,” introduced Gaudi.
Jiang Baimian sincerely praised, “Pretty good.”
Although it was relatively easy for her and Shang Jianyao to find people, who would be willing to trouble themselves?
Unless they had fun doing so.
They quickly entered the Hunter’s Guild and came to one of the kiosks.
The employee in the tiger mask immediately said, “The missions are all displayed on the screen. The records on the table are also very complete. If you can’t read, you can find the Guides; they are hiding somewhere nearby.”