Chapter 186: “Final Villain”
When Long Yuehong nodded slightly in the back seat, Shang Jianyao—who was beside him—clapped. “His acting was very good.”
Shang Jianyao seemed to appreciate it.
Jiang Baimian turned her head and looked at Long Yuehong. She then asked with a cheeky grin, “Then, which part do you think is most likely a lie?”
Long Yuehong thought for a moment and said, “I remember Bishop Renato mentioning that he had made the decision to end Mass and requested Viel to come out. However, he didn’t receive a response.
“I observed the area just now; there are loudspeakers in many places. Renato’s voice should be able to reach the entire basement level, so it’s impossible for Viel not to hear him. He only came out after an entire night.”
“Very good.” Jiang Baimian praised him. “You have passable observation skills.”
She then asked, “What if Viel fell asleep back then?”
“The sleeping Viel wouldn’t have been able to hide from the bishop’s search, right… Isn’t it the case that Awakened can sense consciousness within a certain range?” Long Yuehong—who had been praised—felt much more confident. “An asleep person can’t move.”
As there was an Awakened like Shang Jianyao in the team, he didn’t lack ‘general knowledge’ in this regard.
Shang Jianyao smiled. “Can’t he be an Awakened too?”
After asking the question, his expression turned serious. “I suspect that the hide-and-seek ritual is an Awakening Ceremony.”
“Why?” Long Yuehong blurted out a question.
Shang Jianyao began to analyze the situation. “Look…”
Long Yuehong’s scalp tingled when he heard the word. “Stop! Don’t talk about looking; just say it.”
Shang Jianyao glanced at Long Yuehong and raised his finger. “First, the Vigilance Church’s hide-and-seek competition is very ritualistic. Second, there are clearly more Awakened in religions that believe in the Kalendarium. So…”
Long Yuehong clapped his hands and said very firmly, “Therefore, the hide-and-seek ritual is an Awakening Ceremony!”
Jiang Baimian—who had been watching the entire time—exhaled silently and pinched her face. “Don’t bully Little Red…”
“…” Long Yuehong’s eyes flickered as he turned to look at Shang Jianyao in confusion.
At this moment, Jiang Baimian added, “There’s no evidence that a religious organization’s Mass is equivalent to an Awakening Ceremony.”
Only then did Long Yuehong come to a realization. “Uh…”
Shang Jianyao smiled. “See, I can persuade you without using the word ‘look.’”
“How can that be considered persuasion?” Long Yuehong retorted angrily.
As Jiang Baimian stared at the road ahead, she stopped the two of them from ‘arguing.’ “Then, here’s the problem. Can Awakened maintain their disguises while sleeping and not be sensed?”
“I’ve never tried it.” Shang Jianyao had a look of regret.
Jiang Baimian continued asking, “Regardless of whether Viel is an Awakened, why didn’t he come out when the bishop decided to end Mass?”
Shang Jianyao replied without hesitation, “It’s fun!”
Jiang Baimian turned to look at Long Yuehong.
Long Yuehong answered seriously, “It depends on one’s personality. If it were someone like Shang Jianyao, they might’ve deliberately chosen not to appear for fun. If not, what good will it do him if he keeps hiding? Will it be easier for him to awaken if he doesn’t get found by the bishop?”
“You’re indeed my good friend,” Shang Jianyao praised.
Long Yuehong realized that he had unknowingly used the theory of ‘a hide-and-seek ritual might be equivalent to an Awakening Ceremony.’
He paused and said, “I-I’m making a normal inference, and there’s indeed such a possibility.”
“Yes.” Jiang Baimian nodded and asked with a smile, “Any other possibilities?”
“He didn’t hear it,” Shang Jianyao interrupted again.
Long Yuehong was just about to say that Viel wasn’t deaf or had hearing problems when he suddenly felt like he would be talking bad about his team leader. Thus, he forced himself to shut his mouth.
Bai Chen—who was driving—looked ahead and participated in the discussion. “There are only two possibilities if Viel doesn’t come out. The first is that he doesn’t want to, and the second is that he didn’t hear it.
“Whether he wants to or not is subjective. You guys have just analyzed the situation. It’s difficult to make any further guesses at the moment. With the number and layout of loudspeakers in the Mass venue, if Viel really didn’t hear anything, it can only mean that he wasn’t in the basement level back then.”
“That’s right!” Long Yuehong came to a realization. “Did Viel use the ventilation duct to enter DiMarco’s Underground Ark?”
This way, nobody outside could find him, and he wouldn’t be able to hear the bishop’s proclamation that Mass was over!
“That’s a possibility in theory, but it’s actually very unlikely,” Jiang Baimian explained. “With the DiMarco family’s style, I don’t believe that the ventilation duct they designed can be infiltrated so easily. The corresponding exits inside must be specially guarded.”
At this point, Jiang Baimian laughed. “I also suspect that the Underground Ark has ventilation ducts, not only in the cathedral but also elsewhere. Furthermore, they’re very hidden. Otherwise, the Underground Ark wouldn’t last long if enemies outside besieged this place. Think about it. Under normal circumstances, companies that can establish internal ecosystems wouldn’t dare to completely turn off air circulation with the surface.”
It was another story if they encountered a situation where the corresponding surface was seriously polluted.
“Yes, yes.” Long Yuehong agreed.
Jiang Baimian smiled and continued, “It’s unlikely going down, but it’s not necessarily the case going up. As many people like to choose ventilation ducts when hiding, I specially observed the area before and after entering the cathedral. I realized that the Vigilance Church didn’t specially send people to guard those places.
“Yes, we can’t rule out the possibility that they are already hiding inside. But according to my perception, they aren’t completely covered.”
Long Yuehong thoughtfully added, “In other words, it’s very likely that Viel used the ventilation duct to leave the cathedral from a spot that the guards couldn’t see shortly after Mass began and hid in a nearby city ruin. He returned after he felt that it was almost time?
“His goal was to become the final winner? Is this a great honor for believers?”
Shang Jianyao immediately gave an ‘answer’ excitedly. “The hide-and-seek champion can receive divine grace and awaken their abilities?”
“Who knows?” Jiang Baimian replied. “Strictly speaking, Viel is clearly violating the rules. However, the Vigilance Church’s internal affairs have nothing to do with us. We can use this opportunity to train our thinking abilities. Alright, alright. Let’s return to Redstone Collection and see what other missions we can take on.”
Upon seeing that the city ruin was nearby, Bai Chen suddenly said, “After hearing about the DiMarco family, I feel that the investigation of the cause of the Old World’s destruction has to begin inside the company, starting with Big Boss, the board members, and the earliest files.”
How could Jiang Baimian not have considered this? However, she didn’t have the right or authority to do so at the moment.
Who would believe that the company didn’t predict or have any connection to the Old World’s destruction when it had gathered a large number of resources and used unimaginable technology to build such a grand underground building with a complete ecosystem prior to the destruction?
Even Pangu Biology’s employees wouldn’t believe it!
Long Yuehong—who was good at lying to himself—didn’t believe it either. He only often found various reasons to help the company shirk any responsibility.
Jiang Baimian could only laugh dryly at Bai Chen’s words. “Let’s wait for an opportunity. Little White, for you to say such things means that you trust us enough!”
As Jiang Baimian spoke, she beamed with pride.
Bai Chen continued looking ahead as if she was focused on driving. After a few seconds, she said, “I didn’t think so when I roamed the Ashlands. When I discovered that the company had such an underground building, I suspected that I had joined the final villain’s camp.”
“That’s a good thing,” Shang Jianyao emphasized.
Long Yuehong sighed as well. “Fortunately, the large factions on the surface don’t know where the company is or what its interior looks like. Otherwise, it would be difficult for them not to suspect that the company is related to the Old World’s destruction…”
He suddenly fell silent at this point, realizing how solid the company’s villainous image was.
Jiang Baimian smiled. “If others are unwilling to get along with our Old Task Force in the future, we will properly showcase what a final villain is like!”
“Alright!” Shang Jianyao replied abnormally enthusiastically.
After entering Redstone Collection, the four of them arrived at the Hunter’s Guild again because it was still early for lunch.
Although they were all wearing masks, it was relatively rare to see a man as tall as Shang Jianyao and a woman as tall as Jiang Baimian in Redstone Collection. They were uniquely identifiable when in a team.
“There’s a follow-up to the firearms mission,” greeted the employee in the tiger mask.
“You saw through my disguise?” Shang Jianyao was shocked.
“Breaking your legs will give you a better disguise.” Long Yuehong naturally wouldn’t let go of the rare opportunity to deride Shang Jianyao.
“I’ve been bending my knees ever since I entered Redstone Collection!” Shang Jianyao emphasized.
“I didn’t.” Jiang Baimian sighed. She then smiled and teased, “You look more like a monkey when you walk like this.”
At this moment, the employee in the tiger mask weakly interrupted. “Are you still continuing with the firearms mission?”
Bai Chen walked up and replied calmly, “Yes.”
The employee immediately said, “Helvig’s widow, Mrs. Theresa, had come. She said she wanted to continue this mission; she’s waiting for you at Gunfire.”
After understanding the situation, the Old Task Force quickly arrived at Gunfire on the third floor.
Theresa didn’t hide. She wore thick black clothes and a hat with a long, hanging black veil while she quietly sat in the chair.
Through the black veil, Jiang Baimian could vaguely tell that Theresa had Red River lineage—her eyes were green, and her nose was high. Therefore, she switched to fluent Red River language. “Good morning, Mrs. Theresa.”
“Good morning,” Theresa replied in a slightly hoarse voice. She then pointed at the chairs beside her. “Have a seat.”
She was indeed using the Red River language.
After the four people from the Old Task Force sat down, she directly said, “I hope to add one more mission: Investigate the true cause of my husband’s death.”
“Isn’t this the sheriff’s job?” Jiang Baimian asked.
Theresa’s voice became a little louder. “Han Wanghuo is an Ashlander, so he will definitely side with them!”
When she said the name ‘Han Wanghuo,’ it was purely an imitation of the pronunciation, not replacement words.
“Ashlander?” Jiang Baimian frowned slightly.
“It’s those people in the town who speak Ashlandic,” explained Theresa. “They’re jealous that we Red River people monopolize the arms trade and have always wanted to deal with us. They were the ones who seconded Han Wanghuo. Heh heh, he looks like an outsider on the surface, but isn’t he also an Ashlander? He actually said that Helvig died from shock!”