Chapter 201: “Face Paralysis”
Behind the door, Brand was rather surprised. “Helvig is dead?”
Without waiting for Han Wanghuo’s answer, he laughed and said, “Unfortunately, I’ve already become a Tenebrarum. Otherwise, I really should celebrate with a cup of First City’s finest wine.”
Helvig is so detestable? Long Yuehong was speechless.
Brand quickly stopped laughing and sighed. “I haven’t gone out since I entered this room. Harbinger Song can testify in this regard.”
Song He nodded. “Swearing to become a Tenebrarum implies that one will forever belong to the darkness; they are to be separate from the world. This is a promise made in front of the Kalendaria; violation is equivalent to blasphemy. I believe Brand won’t do that.”
He paused and said, “My room is just a little ahead. I never noticed Brand leaving.”
Song He was using his reputation as a guarantee, and he was one of the most trustworthy people in Redstone Collection.
“Then, I have no problems.” Han Wanghuo chose to believe him.
Tan Jie didn’t say a word.
Behind the door, Brand took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “There are many people who hate Helvig. It’s not too strange for an Awakened to occasionally appear among them. In addition, DiMarco from underground is also a suspect. Leave; I can’t control my emotions any longer.”
Han Wanghuo glanced at Tan Jie and saw that he didn’t object. He then said, “Let’s return to the hall first.”
Under Song He’s guidance, they walked away from the room where Brand cloistered himself.
Jiang Baimian looked back, and there was only silence behind the dark-red wooden door.
After entering the hall, Baz was the first to sigh with emotion. “I didn’t expect that Brand was the one who did those things back then. The Awakened are really terrifying.”
As Helvig’s trusted aide, he also knew a lot about Awakened. However, he had never gained such a deep understanding of them like today.
Song He looked at Baz and nodded slightly. “Continue searching for Viel.”
Baz wasn’t stupid; he understood that the Harbinger didn’t want him to hear the subsequent conversation. Therefore, he waved at Shang Jianyao and smiled. “I have to defeat Viel this time.”
With that said, he wore that iron-black mask.
“All the best!” Shang Jianyao replied sincerely. He didn’t hide his urge to participate.
After Baz left the hall, Song He switched to Ashlandic and said to Tan Jie, “You can come to seek revenge on Brand at any time. You just need to inform me in advance.”
“Alright, Harbinger,” Tan Jie replied calmly. “I need to go back and discuss it with them.”
Song He then asked, “When did you awaken?”
“More than a year ago,” Tan Jie replied frankly.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao interrupted. “Is being emotionless the price you paid?”
“How many times have I told you? You can’t ask what the price an Awakened paid is!” Jiang Baimian immediately reprimanded Shang Jianyao. “He clearly had emotions when facing Brand just now.”
Team Leader, I think you’re just putting on a show with Shang Jianyao… Long Yuehong cursed silently. He turned his head to look at Bai Chen and realized that there was a smile on his petite companion’s lips.
Tan Jie fell silent for a few seconds before saying, “My price can’t be targeted. You can discuss it as you wish. What I paid with was my ability to make expressions.”
“No wonder…” Shang Jianyao clenched his right fist and punched his left palm. He then became excited and actively gave suggestions. “You can wear a bunch of masks with different expressions. When you need to smile, wear a smiling mask. When you need to cry, wear a crying mask.”
This was the best solution he came up with after combining it with Redstone Collection’s folklore.
Jiang Baimian immediately thought of a term from the Old World: Emoji pack.
Although the definition of this term was quite different from Shang Jianyao’s description, she felt that the two were somewhat similar.
“I don’t have a mental illness.” Tan Jie tactfully rejected Shang Jianyao’s suggestion.
Shang Jianyao’s eyes lit up as he said, “You are indeed good at Provocation!”
Tan Jie’s eyes revealed a slightly strange expression as he ignored the fellow.
Jiang Baimian saw that the Ashlander was rather friendly by his propensity to answer any question and decided to remind him. “I heard that the price paid will also increase when an Awakened’s abilities become stronger. Being incapable of producing expressions doesn’t seem dangerous, but it’s hard to say when you progress further.”
“Yes.” Song He confirmed. He looked at Tan Jie—who wasn’t wearing a mask—and said, “You should’ve come to the cathedral earlier to listen to the bishop’s sermon. This can allow you to grasp more general knowledge regarding the Awakened and avoid unnecessary risks. It’s very easy for problems to arise if you trial and error by yourself.”
As if sensing Song He’s friendliness, Tan Jie fell silent for a moment before saying, “Back then, the aftermath of the previous cases hadn’t subsided. I felt that the Church was protecting the Red River people and didn’t want to expose their secrets.”
“Fortunately, you don’t have abilities in the Terror domain; otherwise, you wouldn’t have been able to explain away Helvig’s death,” Song He said with a kind sigh.
“Why?” Shang Jianyao’s curiosity was covered by the monkey mask.
Song He glanced at him, smiled, and didn’t answer.
From the looks of it, this is secret knowledge that’s passed on within the Vigilance Church… Can a person with the ability of Provocation not awaken Extreme Terror at the same time? Or is this a deduction based on the corresponding price? Jiang Baimian couldn’t be bothered to scold Shang Jianyao. Her thoughts raced as she analyzed the situation.
Song He looked at Tan Jie and calmly said, “Since you are already an Awakened, you can choose to become a clergyman of the Church or maintain your current status. This won’t prevent you from listening to the bishop’s sermon and grasping the corresponding knowledge.”
Upon hearing this, Shang Jianyao raised his hand and put it down again, looking very hesitant.
Tan Jie thought for a few seconds and replied, “I’ll consider it.”
After settling Tan Jie’s matter, Song He turned to look at Han Wanghuo. “There’s movement from the merfolk and mountain monsters?”
Han Wanghuo nodded solemnly. “I’ve sent people to investigate. They show signs of an alliance. Before I came to the cathedral, I had already arranged for the town guards to set up the first and second lines of defense.”
Song He nodded and sighed. “Actually, with such a large city ruin and so many farmlands that are still open for cultivation, it won’t have much of an impact on the townsfolk’s lives if they accommodate a few Subhuman communities. Unfortunately, the hatred between the two parties has already been sown, and it has become increasingly firm after being watered with blood.”
Upon sensing Long Yuehong, Bai Chen, and the others’ gazes, Song He laughed self-deprecatingly. “In front of the Kalendaria, all living beings are equal. As Eidolon Nun’s clergy, merfolk and mountain monsters can also become qualified believers in my eyes. However, I’m a little timid. I don’t dare to enter the Subhuman settlement to preach alone.”
Han Wanghuo fell silent for a few seconds before saying, “I heard that this place was even messier when you first came to Redstone Collection. There were gunfights almost every day. You aren’t timid at all.”
Song He laughed. “Don’t mistake my youthful bravado for bravery. I had just registered my faith in Eidolon Nun then; all I wanted to do was show my piousness. But now, there’s a saying that goes: the older one is, the more timid they are.”
After ending the topic on Subhumans, Han Wanghuo and Tan Jie bade farewell and left.
As the Old Task Force followed outside, Shang Jianyao suddenly looked back. “One last question: Why is Viel still in the cathedral?”
He paid special attention to this hide-and-seek champion.
Song He knew that they were foreign Ruin Hunters and replied casually, “This is the reward for every Mass’s victor: they can stay in the cathedral for a period of time, bathe in the Goddess’s grace, and listen to the teachings.”
Jiang Baimian—who was wearing a graceful monk mask—immediately raised her eyebrows.
Shang Jianyao meant it when he said that it was the last question. He didn’t stay any longer and left the Vigilance Cathedral.
Han Wanghuo stopped in front of his derelict SUV and asked the Qian Bai Team, “I’m going to the Ashlanders. What about you?”
Tan Jie stood by the side and watched expressionlessly.
“We’ll continue investigating Helvig’s death,” Jiang Baimian replied.
Han Wanghuo nodded. “Be careful then. The merfolk and mountain monsters might attack the town at any moment.”
“Thank you,” Jiang Baimian replied politely.
After watching Han Wanghuo and Tan Jie drive away, the Old Task Force got into their jeep.
Jiang Baimian sat in the passenger seat. As she signaled for Bai Chen to start the car, she grunted. “From the looks of it, it’s unlikely that Helvig was killed by Anhebus.”
Long Yuehong didn’t ask why and tried to understand his team leader’s train of thought. “Because Anhebus wasn’t too enthusiastic about silencing Baz?”
“Yes.” Jiang Baimian expressed her affirmation. “If Anhebus really killed Helvig, he would definitely eliminate Baz and the others quickly. He wouldn’t let the secret be exposed at all. When we brought Baz to the cathedral, we didn’t encounter any obstruction. It took some time before Lopez arrived with his people.
“This means that Anhebus probably sent his subordinates to ask Baz and the others about the exact situation because Helvig had suddenly died. He had felt uneasy.”
Bai Chen—who was driving—looked ahead and said, “It’s more like what Brand said. Helvig’s enemies or DiMarco’s people did it.”
Jiang Baimian nodded and sighed. “Forget it. This isn’t the problem that needs the most attention right now. The focus now is on what to do with the batch of firearms. If Anhebus really donates them to the town guards, will it count as us completing the mission?”
Long Yuehong hesitated and said, “I don’t think so.”
“As long as Anhebus doesn’t say that it’s the batch of firearms that Helvig lost, it definitely doesn’t count,” Bai Chen replied firmly.
And Anhebus was not stupid.
Jiang Baimian gritted her teeth. “Shall we think of a way to obtain that batch of firearms and complete the mission first?”
Long Yuehong thought for a moment and deliberated. “Based on the present situation, Redstone Collection’s town guards really need this batch of firearms.”
“No problem. After we get half, we’ll donate this half and the supplies we previously saved to the town guards. We’ll also negotiate to have them give us a military exoskeleton after we resolve the problem regarding the merfolk and mountain monsters. When the time comes, the Subhumans will be severely injured. Redstone Collection will temporarily have no external enemies, and there will be plenty of time to get a new one from United Industries. This will be Anhebus’s chance to atone for his crimes.” Jiang Baimian revealed her plan. “Perfect!”
Shang Jianyao nodded heavily. “Anhebus is going to donate that batch of firearms to the town guards anyway, so between donating it to the town guards and us, it doesn’t make an actual difference to him.”
“Besides, Anhebus might not be willing to donate it to the town guards. He might have other solutions.” Jiang Baimian clapped her hands and said, “Let’s go to the lakeside villa and find an opportunity to complete the mission.”
Shang Jianyao echoed excitedly, “Let’s stir shit up! Let’s stir shit up!”