Chapter 196: Harbinger
Shang Jianyao fell silent when he heard Jiang Baimian.
After a few seconds, he suddenly smiled and said, “But ‘They’ won’t save all of humanity.”
Jiang Baimian was stunned for a moment before she heaved a sigh of relief for some reason. She then smiled and said, “Yeah, we can only rely on ourselves, just like the song you often play.”
Compared to the monster in Swamp Ruin 1’s laboratory, the gaze she felt just now was even more unimaginable. It completely exceeded her understanding, making her emotions rise and fall in a moment of panic.
After all, the knowledge she had learned and the life she had experienced made her believe in science more. She believed that everything could be analyzed, understood, hypothesized, verified, grasped, and replicated. The so-called deities and Kalendarium did not exist. Even if they did exist, they were only stronger mutated creatures.
The experience just now overturned her worldview. But after chatting with Shang Jianyao for a while, she escaped this emotional state and became excited again. Even if there really are Kalendarium and deities, we don’t see ‘Them’ saving all of humanity. Therefore, what do ‘They’ have to do with us? Besides, why can’t the Kalendarium be analyzed, understood, hypothesized, verified, grasped, and replicated?
Jiang Baimian knew that such thoughts carried the spirit of self-delusion, but in the current situation, this was the best way to help her recover as quickly as possible.
In the brief silence, they heard footsteps coming from outside.
Baz and a middle-aged man in a black robe quickly entered Bishop Renato’s room.
The cathedral guards—who had all kinds of weapons—scattered themselves in the corridor, blockading the area.
“I’m Harbinger Song He.” The middle-aged man in the black robe glanced at Bishop Renato—who was restrained by Shang Jianyao—and introduced himself.
In Redstone Collection, where masks flourished, it was a rare occasion for him not to wear any disguises. He was Ashlandic, and his eyebrows were slightly sparse. His sideburns were a little white, and there were no wrinkles on his face. It was difficult to determine his exact age.
At a glance, Jiang Baimian first remembered his square face and clean-shaven face.
“Harbinger?” she asked in confusion. This sounded like a rank within the Vigilance Church.
“A clergyman that’s directly subordinate to the bishop and is in charge of daily proselytizing and preaching,” Song He explained simply.
Jiang Baimian didn’t ask any further. “Quick, take a look and see if it’s Bishop Renato.”
Considering the existence of Baz and the others, their conversation was in the Red River language to show their sincerity.
Song He walked to Shang Jianyao’s side and squatted down. His expression became increasingly solemn as he looked at the Heartless, who was trying his best to raise his head.
After a few seconds, he sighed. “It’s the bishop. He contracted the Heartless disease.”
Song He then instructed the cathedral guards outside the door to bring in handcuffs, rope, and other items. After that, he tied Heartless Renato up tightly.
After doing this, he turned around and said to Shang Jianyao and Jiang Baimian, “Please wait a moment. I have to report the bishop’s situation immediately.”
“Alright.” Jiang Baimian expressed her understanding.
Song He immediately walked to the door and said with a serious expression, “Everyone, stay here. Nobody is to leave or tell anyone about the bishop’s illness.”
“Yes, Harbinger,” the cathedral guards replied respectfully.
After watching Song He leave, Jiang Baimian turned to look at Baz. “You seem to trust Harbinger Song?”
“Yes.” Baz nodded. “He was one of the first Harbingers that came to Redstone Collection.”
“How old is he?” Jiang Baimian immediately sensed a problem. Superficially, Song He’s age didn’t seem compatible with being the first to proselyte in Redstone Collection. How could a person—who is clearly not more than 50 years old—come to Redstone Collection to proselytize at the beginning of the New Calendar or the end of the Chaotic Era? Could it be that he was talented and could be a preacher at a young age, allowing him to take on the position of Harbinger?
“I’m not sure; he should be about the same age as my late grandfather. Even if he’s not 70, he’s very close,” replied Baz thoughtfully.
Jiang Baimian was slightly surprised. “He looks very young.”
“Yes, his age doesn’t show. He says that he has the blessing of the Kalendaria.” Baz indicated that he felt the same.
Shang Jianyao interrupted in a deep voice, “Maybe this is already the nth generation of Song He. Every time Song He ages, a new Song He will replace him.”
“…” Baz—who lacked the influence of entertainment programs—was confused. However, he felt that Shang Jianyao’s description of the situation was very terrifying.
“Don’t listen to him; he likes to tell horror stories.” Jiang Baimian reprimanded and asked, “Then, why didn’t he become the bishop?”
After being a Harbinger for so many years, it had to be worth something even if he didn’t make any significant contributions.
Could it be that the Vigilance Church stipulates that only those who have received the Kalendaria’s grace and awakened their abilities can be bishops?
“Harbinger himself rejected it. He always says that he has already gotten enough and is very satisfied. Any extravagant hopes of becoming a bishop would only make him appear greedy and no longer be favored by Eidolon Nun.” Baz repeated Song He’s words.
At this moment, Bishop Renato—who was inflicted with the Heartless disease—had his mouth stuffed. He couldn’t let out any beast-like cries and could only twist and turn in an attempt to break free.
Before long, the black-robed Song He returned to the room and said to Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao, “The Terror Episcopal will soon send a new bishop over and deal with Renato’s matter. I’ll be in charge of the Church’s matters in Redstone Collection during this period of time.”
With that said, he crossed his arms, placed them on his chest, and took a step back. “Wariness is a hint from the Goddess.”
After bowing, Song He looked at Jiang Baimian and the others and sincerely said, “I have a request.”
Upon seeing his humble posture, Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao looked at each other and said, “Please speak.”
“Please don’t spread the news that Bishop Renato contracted the Heartless disease. Before figuring out why his illness acted up, the corresponding rumors will damage the Church’s reputation.” Song He didn’t hide anything and frankly voiced his concerns.
“Understandable.” Jiang Baimian felt that Song He was very friendly. She tersely acknowledged his words and said, “We will keep this a secret.”
A bishop favored by a deity had actually contracted the Heartless disease. This was a major blow to the Kalendaria’s image and the Church’s prestige. It would make believers wonder if the Kalendaria could protect them.
Towards the end of the investigation, Renato might very well be labeled as having committed sacrilege… Jiang Baimian didn’t have ill intentions toward the Vigilance Church, but such handling methods were too common.
Shang Jianyao nodded and said, “With our friendship, there’s no problem.”
When did you make friends? Was it self-declared? Jiang Baimian found it funny.
Song He didn’t retort Shang Jianyao’s words and warned Baz as well. He then ordered the cathedral guards in a stern manner.
He had a trustworthy bearing.
As she watched Song He methodically arrange various matters, Jiang Baimian suppressed her voice and praised, “I think he’s more like a bishop than Renato and more suitable for this position.”
“Unfortunately, he’s unwilling to take on the role. Otherwise, Redstone Collection wouldn’t be as divided as it is now,” echoed Baz.
At this moment, Song He got Baz to go over and brief him on something.
Jiang Baimian stayed in the room and calmly watched them in the corridor. After 20 to 30 seconds, she suddenly frowned.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” she said loudly.
Song He pointed to his right and said, “It’s all the way to the end.” He didn’t stop her, appearing very confident and at ease.
“Me too.” Shang Jianyao followed behind Jiang Baimian.
Upon arriving at the bathroom, Jiang Baimian pulled him into a stall in the women’s bathroom and asked seriously, “Did you sense it?”
Shang Jianyao tersely acknowledged it. “Song He is very good at making friends.”
Jiang Baimian nodded slightly. “I just examined my change in mood and attitude and realized that the transition from being vigilant and wary to being friendly and trusting was too fast. Although I would have agreed to keep the secret, I definitely wouldn’t have agreed simply because Song He is friendly and trustworthy. The only reason for making a decision might be my style and personal creed.”
“It might also be a result of the situation,” Shang Jianyao added.
Jiang Baimian glanced at him. “What do you have in mind?”
“He’s an Awakened,” Shang Jianyao replied.
Jiang Baimian exhaled and said, “One of his abilities should be to make people find him friendly, trustworthy, and willing to obey him. Yes, he didn’t use his abilities before and didn’t activate them until he had a request for us… It seems like he doesn’t need words to induce such behavior… This is really an ability suitable for proselytizing.”
She wasn’t angry at Song He for using his friendly abilities. Compared to ‘convincing’ her by having dozens of guns aimed at her, a similar ‘request’ was completely acceptable. It was even closer to an insurance policy.
She could understand Song He’s desire to keep the matter a secret. Furthermore, she hadn’t been forced to change her mind, so she naturally didn’t feel angry.
“What was the price he paid?” Shang Jianyao was rather curious.
Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and said, “Could it have something to do with his unwillingness to be a bishop?”
“I think it has something to do with how young he looks.” Shang Jianyao voiced his opinion.
“How can that be a price? Who wouldn’t want such a price? This might be one of his abilities…” Jiang Baimian scolded jokingly before sighing with emotion. “The Vigilance Church is really filled with the capable. They deployed two entire Awakened to Redstone Collection, and there’s probably more than that.”
From Song He’s words, there should be several Harbingers under a bishop.
“Maybe they saved on costs by having no Holy Communion.” Shang Jianyao sighed from his perspective.
After discussing this matter, they went to the bathroom since they were already there before returning to Bishop Renato’s room.
Upon seeing them, Song He nodded slightly. “I’ve already learned about Baz’s matter. I’m prepared to send a cathedral guard to get Anhebus over. Everyone will have a face-to-face chat. It’s best if we can resolve this peacefully. Do the two of you want to watch and bear witness, or do you want to leave now?”
Before Baz could request Qian Bai’s team to stay and provide the necessary protection, Jiang Baimian laughed. “Of course, we will be observers. This has something to do with the mission we took on.”