Chapter 76: Exchange in the Illusion
After hearing Shang Jianyao’s words, Jiang Baimian grasped the crux of the matter. Yes, I also don’t find Qiao Chu’s charm that great.
Although Qiao Chu was indeed very handsome and tall, he wasn’t the sort that could make people fall head over heels for him at first glance. Furthermore, he was cold and had a terrible personality. Not only did interacting with him not make people have a good impression of him, but it also made her increasingly hate him.
All of these feelings had previously been buried in Jiang Baimian’s heart and could occasionally be discovered. Now, they were directly exposed to her mind like a receding tide of sand.
She muttered to herself, “No wonder I’ve always felt something was amiss based on my chip. I instinctively tried my best to arm myself and distance myself from Qiao Chu…”
Bai Chen also heard Shang Jianyao’s words. Her expression changed several times before she said, “The more I think about it, the stranger I find it… Why would we want to gain Qiao Chu’s favor that much? We followed him to this incomparably strange and dangerous city ruin.”
There were Superior Heartless, terrifying mutated creatures, an incomprehensible regular maintenance mechanism, an abnormally mysterious laboratory, and an unknown object that let out deafening roars. They were more terrifying than any city ruin Bai Chen had ever been in.
“That’s right, that’s right.” Long Yuehong nodded repeatedly. “I’m so straight, but I actually occasionally feel that it wouldn’t be bad if it were Qiao Chu. Eurgh…” As he spoke, he felt disgusted.
“Are you pregnant?” Shang Jianyao glanced at Long Yuehong. It was unknown if he was being serious or pretending. Without waiting for a response, Shang Jianyao continued, “Maybe this is some kind of ability?”
Jiang Baimian clicked her tongue. “Are you trying to say that Long Yuehong has the ability to get pregnant or that Qiao Chu has the ability to bewitch people?
“Bewitch. Yes, that should be the case. All abilities definitely have their limits. As long as one doesn’t become the Kalendarium—according to superstition—there is a limit to their range, target numbers, and corresponding degree.
“Ah yes, I remember that Qiao Chu adamantly refused when I wanted to go downstairs to relieve myself. He only allowed us to relieve ourselves on the other side of the same floor and block. He also just said that we shouldn’t rush to turn at the end of the corridor. Instead, we should first report to him when we reach the end of the corridor.
“This means that his ability range can’t exceed 30 meters. In terms of target numbers, it’s clearly not a single human target—no, a single creature. One will be automatically bewitched once they enter the corresponding range?”
After hearing Jiang Baimian’s analysis, Long Yuehong and Bai Chen felt increasingly horrified. They deeply understood their previous actions’ anomalies. Back then, they actually felt that it was only right and proper as if they had been possessed.
“Terrifying. Truly terrifying.” Long Yuehong had just sighed when he suddenly realized a problem. “Eh, didn’t we still feel very terrified about how we couldn’t straighten our bodies just now?”
Why are we holding a discussion now?
Shang Jianyao replied in all seriousness, “Because what we saw and felt was only an illusion. Once you take this point to heart and ignore it, you won’t be affected.”
“An illusion…” Long Yuehong recalled that Shang Jianyao had previously mentioned this. He panicked a little and quickly asked, “Shall we escape the illusion first? What if the Heartless take the opportunity to attack?”
“That’s true.” Jiang Baimian raised her flashlight-holding left hand, wanting to slap herself to wake up.
She seriously thought about it for a second and felt that it might hurt a little. She decided to fire at the pool of squirming flesh above, making it difficult for the Heartless—who was creating the illusion—to maintain the ability.
The pool of flesh—which they could see—suddenly collapsed at that moment, restoring itself to the male Heartless that was struggling to stand up.
At the same time, they heard a soft clang.
The female Heartless tried to get up and attack the Old Task Force members with a sharp dagger that she had taken out of nowhere. But before she could leave the crude ‘wooden bed,’ she fell back due to the pain in her lower body. Even her dagger fell to the ground.
Her expression became abnormally warped. She forced her upper body up and stretched her hands into the tattered cotton blanket.
She soon carried out a wet and dirty baby from between her legs.
A pale, flesh-colored umbilical cord was also attached to the baby’s navel.
“Wa!” A clear cry echoed in the room.
Jiang Baimian, Shang Jianyao, and the others—who were supposed to fire immediately—held their guns, but none of them pulled the triggers.
The female Heartless quickly snapped the umbilical cord and hugged the baby. She then half-turned her body to keep the ‘baby’ away from the intruders.
Her expression was fierce and vigilant, and her turbid eyes had unknowingly moistened with a surprising hint of emotion.
“Wa! Wa! Wa!” The baby kept crying.
The female Heartless repeatedly bowed as she constantly made whimpering sounds. It sounded as if she was begging for something.
The four Old Task Force members fell silent. They didn’t respond, but they didn’t fire either.
After a few seconds, Shang Jianyao turned his head and looked at Jiang Baimian. “Team Leader…”
Without waiting for him to finish, Jiang Baimian let out a long sigh and said to the female Heartless, “Leave.”
With a thought, Jiang Baimian then pointed at the air in front of her, ignoring whether the other party could understand her. “Can you create another illusion for us?”
As she spoke, she took a few steps forward and kicked the dagger away.
Shang Jianyao and the others followed her into the room, but they did not show any intention of attacking.
The female Heartless was stunned for a moment. It was unknown if she understood Jiang Baimian’s words or if she was creating better conditions for her departure, but she actually let out a deep roar again.
Green trees and abandoned cars appeared in front of Shang Jianyao and the others. It was as if they had been transported out into the streets.
Jiang Baimian felt the changes in her heart and spoke with a solemn expression. “Indeed… As soon as we return to reality, we will automatically find Qiao Chu extremely charming and want to follow him.”
“If it is automatic bewitchment, why aren’t the two Heartless affected?” Bai Chen raised her doubts. “Didn’t Qiao Chu say that even non-human creatures like the Nightmare Horse want to f*ck him?”
Shang Jianyao immediately emphasized, “I said that.”
Bai Chen realized that she had been ‘brainwashed’ by Shang Jianyao and quickly changed her words. “I mean, even a non-human creature like a Nightmare Horse was bewitched by him, much less a Heartless human?”
“Maybe all her emotions are focused on her labor process,” guessed Long Yuehong.
Jiang Baimian nodded. “From the looks of it, there’s a limit to Qiao Chu’s charm. Therefore, he didn’t dare appear too vicious or hostile along the way. He was afraid that the bewitchment would fail.”
Without waiting for the others to speak, Jiang Baimian said, “We can’t waste any more time. The main thing now is to think of a way to stay unaffected by the bewitchment after returning to reality. After all, we haven’t left the corresponding range yet.”
Shang Jianyao immediately replied, “Let me try.”
“Alright.” Jiang Baimian also hoped that, as an Awakened, Shang Jianyao would come up with something new.
Shang Jianyao then turned his head to look at Bai Chen. “Lend me your mirror.”
Although Bai Chen was puzzled, she still took out the palm-sized mirror box she carried with her and handed it to Shang Jianyao.
Shang Jianyao opened the mirror box and looked at his reflection. His eyes gradually turned dark. “You like Qiao Chu. Many people like Qiao Chu. You can’t get him. So?”
Shang Jianyao’s expression instantly warped and became extremely gloomy. Then, he quickly answered his question. “Therefore, I can only kill him. If I can’t have him, nobody else can either.”
Shang Jianyao’s words were filled with killing intent. He was also abnormally firm when he said those two sentences.
“…” Jiang Baimian opened her mouth slightly, speechless.
“You can do that?” Long Yuehong blurted out a question. He inexplicably felt a little terrified of Shang Jianyao, afraid that Shang Jianyao would one day lie to him and make him do something disgusting.
Bai Chen was also a little stunned. It was only when Shang Jianyao returned the mirror to her that she subconsciously asked, “Why didn’t you use your abilities on us?”
“I can only affect myself in an illusion,” Shang Jianyao replied with a smile. “After I escape the illusion, I will use my abilities on you in sequence to prevent you from stopping me.”
“Woah, even the perspective has changed.” Jiang Baimian didn’t say anything else, afraid that a random sentence would snap Shang Jianyao out of his trance and stop him from being affected by Inference Clowning.
She raised her right hand and fired at the wooden chair in her memories.
With a bang and the resulting changes, the four people from the Old Task Force escaped the illusion.
The male Heartless and the baby had disappeared at this moment, leaving behind only a row of bloodstains that led to the room’s other exit.
The female Heartless stood at the exit, having not gone far. Upon seeing Shang Jianyao, Jiang Baimian, and the others wake up, the turbid-eyed woman bent her back again as if she was bowing to them.
She then turned around and ran out of the room, disappearing into the corridor opposite the room.
“She has great recovery speed…” Jiang Baimian’s focus would occasionally be somewhat off, just like Shang Jianyao’s.
At this moment, Shang Jianyao walked to her side and said, “Team Leader, look: You like Qiao Chu. Many people like Qiao Chu. You can’t get him. So?”
Jiang Baimian’s expression changed a few times before she finally replied fiercely, “Therefore, I have to knock him out and drag him back!”
Shang Jianyao did not agree or object. He used the same method to make Bai Chen and Long Yuehong have the urge to attack Qiao Chu.
Of course, their desire to attack came from different sources. One wanted to f*ck him by force, and the other had a warped mentality due to his inferiority complex.
After finishing the preparations, Shang Jianyao patted the assault rifle’s side and smiled. “Our current team can be called the Out of Love Alliance.”
Jiang Baimian rolled her eyes at him and emphasized, “We can’t let Qiao Chu come too close later. He’s also an Awakened, so he definitely has other abilities. As soon as he appears at the corridor entrance, we fire. Yes, everyone will target different areas so that we can form an intersecting net.”
“Alright.” Shang Jianyao and the others didn’t respond loudly.
After another round of inspection, Jiang Baimian picked up the walkie-talkie hanging from her belt, pressed the button, and said, “We’ve already reached the end of the corridor and encountered one Superior Heartless and two ordinary Heartless.
“The Superior Heartless was giving birth, so she didn’t excessively attack us before fleeing.”
After a few seconds, Qiao Chu’s cold voice sounded from the walkie-talkie. “Wait for me to come over.”