Chapter 233: Reception Room
As the scene fell silent, Shang Jianyao suddenly said in ‘horror,’ “Are you trying to silence us?”
Ulrich was stunned for a few seconds before responding. “Mr. DiMarco allows you to bring weapons, but you can’t wear the military exoskeleton.”
Very confident… Jiang Baimian snapped to her senses and decided to agree after some thought. “Alright.”
No matter why DiMarco suddenly wanted to meet them, this was a rare opportunity. Furthermore, they could inform the Vigilance Cathedral before entering the Underground Ark to ensure their safety.
As she walked to her jeep, Jiang Baimian didn’t hide her puzzlement and directly asked Ulrich, “Why did Mr. DiMarco suddenly change his mind? He just rejected our meeting request yesterday.”
Ulrich slowly shook his head. “I’m not too sure either. I’m just following Master’s instructions.”
Jiang Baimian was just about to ask if anything abnormal had happened in the Underground Ark since last night or if DiMarco learned something new when Shang Jianyao curiously asked, “Are you sure that’s still Mr. DiMarco? He has recently been wearing a mask every day.”
Good question… Jiang Baimian shut her mouth and waited for Ulrich to respond.
Ulrich turned his head and glanced at the four Old Task Force members. “If any of you were to be replaced, would you not be able to recognize the person in disguise—even if their hair color, height, and figure are very close to the original person, and they are always wearing masks?
“If it’s just a short interaction in an emergency, there might indeed be a mix-up. But with us living together every day, one can’t hide one’s habits, mannerisms, hobbies, bearing, and accent unless one has observed them for many years in advance. This is very unlikely in the Underground Ark. People know who’s dead and who’s alive.”
“Indeed.” Jiang Baimian agreed with Ulrich.
After they got into their respective cars, they headed to the Vigilance Cathedral north of the city ruin.
After exchanging a few words with Harbinger Song He, the Old Task Force quartet followed Ulrich to the underground floor and entered one of the elevator lobbies.
There were three armored, grayish-black elevators here, and two small LCD screens were embedded in the space between them.
After Ulrich communicated via video with the Underground Ark, one of the elevators opened its doors.
The interior was well maintained. The floor was paved with wood, and the metal walls around it were reflective.
“The special reception room is on the second floor underground. This will make it relatively easy for you to escape the Ark,” Ulrich introduced.
“Thank you.” Jiang Baimian didn’t know how to respond and simply mimicked Shang Jianyao.
As they spoke, the elevator door closed in front of them, and the lift slowly sank.
The elevator soon stopped. The Old Task Force quartet saw a long beige carpet outside.
They walked along the thick carpet and a corridor lit with wall lamps before arriving at a room. There were a total of eight people guarding the room.
Two of them were also wearing grayish-black military exoskeleton equipment. It was obvious that they were relatively new models.
No wonder they allowed us to carry weapons… Long Yuehong came to a realization.
The Underground Ark had an absolute advantage in firepower!
Ulrich knocked on the door and waited for two seconds before saying, “Master, the guests are here.”
“Let them in.” A slightly charismatic voice sounded from the room.
After pushing open the carved red wooden door, Jiang Baimian habitually looked around and took in the situation inside.
This seemed to be a very normal reception room. There was a coffee table, a sofa, a carpet, a wooden cabinet, chairs, and a crystal chandelier. Apart from being relatively luxurious, there was nothing special.
At this moment, DiMarco was alone in the room. His sideburns were flaxen, and he wore a black priest robe that had the Old World style. He wore an old-fashioned bonnet of the same color and a black mask with white patterns. As he was seated, it was difficult to tell his height.
With a sweep of his light-blue eyes, DiMarco pointed at the sofa opposite the coffee table. “Have a seat.”
After Jiang Baimian, Shang Jianyao, and the others sat down, Ulrich left the room and closed the heavy wooden door.
DiMarco was just about to speak when Shang Jianyao suddenly smiled. “You aren’t a qualified Vigilance Church believer.”
DiMarco crossed his right leg over his left and asked without anger, “Why do you say so?” His voice was a standard male voice with a charismatic hint. He used the Old World’s Lake of Wrath Red River language.
“Your guards are all outside. If we launch an attack without warning, we can subdue you before the two military exoskeleton devices arrive and take you hostage.” Jiang Baimian explained on Shang Jianyao’s behalf. “This is indeed not vigilant enough.”
DiMarco leaned back slightly and laughed. “Maybe it’s because I’m confident?”
Just as he said that, Shang Jianyao curiously and excitedly asked, “Are you stronger than that murloc Oracle?”
DiMarco was momentarily speechless. After a few seconds, he said, “Maybe there are other contraptions in the room.”
He didn’t continue the topic. He raised his hand to touch his black mask with white stripes and exhaled. “I called you here to chat about Lake Heart Island and Yama Tiger.”
Yama Tiger… The sleeping deity? Jiang Baimian asked in surprise, “You know Yama Tiger—no, your ancestor knows Yama Tiger?”
She didn’t expect to receive DiMarco’s invitation because of their exploration of the temple.
DiMarco leaned back in the armchair and smiled. “Years ago, when my great-grandfather and grandfather were still alive, I heard about Lake Heart Island and Yama Tiger. It was during the end of the Chaotic Era; the Ark began to connect to the outside world and exchange supplies. My grandfather sent intelligence agents and Ruin Hunters from the surrounding area. Heh, I shouldn’t call them that as there was no Hunter’s Guild back then. In short, they all noticed the situation on Lake Heart Island and learned of Yama Tiger’s existence.
“Yama Tiger displayed abnormally magical and great strength and was treated like a deity. After we accepted the Vigilance Church and believed in Eidolon Nun, we realized that he might be a very powerful Awakened. In the beginning, we had too many things to do. We never had the chance to establish contact with Lake Heart Island. Later, they suddenly sealed off the island, and nobody came out.
“Gradually, my grandfather and father forgot about this matter. After all, the changes in Lake Heart Island didn’t affect the Ark. I heard that you guys went to Lake Heart Island last night and explored Yama Tiger’s temple. I was suddenly a little curious, so I invited you over for a chat.”
I doubt it’s just a little curiosity… This matter can actually make you break the Underground Ark’s rules that have been in place for many years and invite outsiders in… You guys definitely have a certain connection with Yama Tiger… At this moment, several thoughts flashed through Jiang Baimian’s mind.
“I see.” She put on a posture that said she understood everything and roughly explained her and Shang Jianyao’s exploration. The only thing she didn’t mention was how Shang Jianyao saw someone crawling in the darkness, asking for help, when he used his Awakened abilities to influence the sleeping Yama Tiger.
DiMarco tapped the sofa’s armrest with his right index finger and thoughtfully repeated a short sentence. “A brand new world…”
He seemed to be very concerned about this.
A few seconds later, DiMarco looked around and smiled. “Thank you for sharing. Don’t you want to know about the Old World? You can ask your questions now.”
He didn’t dig any deeper, giving off the feeling that he didn’t care if the Qian Bai Team hid any of their discoveries.
This was very contradictory to the concern he had previously shown.
Jiang Baimian restrained her doubts and asked, “Mr. DiMarco, did your ancestors know in advance that the Old World would be destroyed?”
DiMarco shook his head. “He was only a fanatical apocalyptic enthusiast, and he happened to be relatively rich and influential.”
“Then, were there any signs before the Old World was destroyed? Did you encounter anything before you hid in the Underground Ark?” Jiang Baimian asked.
DiMarco said in a tone of reminiscence, “I heard my grandfather mention that they first decided to hide in the Underground Ark to avoid the sudden war. However, it didn’t take long for the Heartless disease outbreak to erupt outside.
“We weren’t spared either. Many servants became Heartless without any warning, bringing about a bloody mess. My great-grandfather then led my grandfather and other family members into further quarantine. Fortunately, the Heartless disease doesn’t seem contagious.”
As expected, the Lawless War and the Heartless disease were the superficial reasons for the Old World’s destruction… Even people who hid underground in advance contracted the Heartless disease? The company only organized survivors to enter the underground building after the Heartless disease outbreak… Jiang Baimian remembered a few key points and asked about other matters.
After some communication, they gained a certain understanding of Redstone Collection’s city ruin in the Old World.
West and north of the Lake of Wrath belonged to the Ashlandics. East and south of the Lake of Wrath was the Red River zone. The Lake of Wrath was the border between a country that spoke Ashlandic and a country that spoke the Red River language.
Therefore, some of the islands in the lake were inhabited by Ashlandic, and some were inhabited by Red River people.
Redstone Collection was located in the southeast corner of Lake of Wrath. It used to belong to the Red River country, but because it was a border city, many Ashlandics had migrated and settled down. The population ratio exceeded 30%.
DiMarco’s ancestor was the city’s largest architect and maintained a good relationship with many local councilors.
“Thank you for your answers.” After confirming that she couldn’t extract any more information regarding the Old World’s destruction from DiMarco, Jiang Baimian sincerely thanked him and added, “We still have two simple questions.”
Without giving DiMarco a chance to refuse, she directly asked, “Have you seen a Ruin Hunter named Lars?”
As she spoke, she took out the photo Lehman had given her.
“Lars?” DiMarco suddenly laughed. “You can go back and tell Lehman that Lars found his true love in the Ark. If he doesn’t believe me, he can come to the Vigilance Cathedral. I’ll get Lars to have a video chat with him.”
“Huh?” Jiang Baimian and the others didn’t expect such an answer.