Chapter 82: Eager to Assume the Role of Teacher
Upon seeing Jiang Baimian and the others look over, Du Heng pointed at the tree shadows in front of him and said gently, “Don’t move yet. Wait for this anomaly to pass.”
Roars undulated through the city ruin at this moment, with no signs of subsiding.
Jiang Baimian stared at Du Heng for a few seconds before nodding at Long Yuehong and the others.
Before she could move over, Shang Jianyao had already jumped to Du Heng’s side and squatted down very naturally.
This scene was inexplicably familiar to Long Yuehong. He felt as if he had returned to Pangu Biology. During dinnertime, people would often squat and chat at the Rec Center’s entrance.
Jiang Baimian was originally a little hesitant, but she didn’t mind. She squatted at the side and looked around before sincerely saying, “Thank you for saving us just now.”
Du Heng chuckled and replied, “It can’t be considered saving you. I just restored you to normal in advance. As long as you aren’t attacked before the anomaly subsides, you will recover sooner or later.”
“This definitely counts as saving us.” Jiang Baimian pretended to sigh casually. “You’re actually completely unaffected by that fear.”
At this moment, Bai Chen and Long Yuehong squatted in the shadows. They held their weapons, vigilant of the different directions.
Upon hearing Jiang Baimian sigh, Du Heng laughed. “I’m an antiquarian and historian who spends most of my time alone. How can I survive until now without something to rely on?”
Just as he said that, Shang Jianyao suddenly asked, “Are you actually an Awakened?”
Du Heng glanced at him and smiled casually. “Strictly speaking, yes.”
“Then, what should we do after entering the Sea of Origins?” Shang Jianyao was very direct, having no qualms about the situation.
Du Heng smiled. “Under normal circumstances, no Awakened will share such knowledge with others unless they have a relatively good relationship. Isn’t this training an opponent for themselves and their friends? However, heh heh, I’ve always had a bad habit: The trouble with people is that they are too eager to assume the role of teacher.
“Alright, I’ll give a simple explanation. Upon entering the Sea of Origins, you will encounter all kinds of ‘islands. Each island will provide you with rest. On these ‘islands,’ you will have to face and overcome different monsters and different adverse situations. They often correspond to the fear lurking in your heart or a certain memory from the past.”
At this point, Du Heng explained from the beginning. “According to my personal experience and guesses—it’s a personal guess, so it doesn’t mean it’s right—an Awakened’s strength comes from their mind and consciousness. The so-called Star Cluster Hall and Sea of Origins are only a manifestation of one’s subconscious.
“As we advance, we are essentially excavating our inner strength. This requires us to overcome the various traumas in our hearts.”
Shang Jianyao politely waited for Du Heng to finish explaining before asking, “Why does every Awakened see the same Star Cluster Hall?”
Du Heng’s face seemed to frown as he smiled bitterly. “That’s gonna stump me. I really can’t explain it. However, I’ve heard some theories. The first theory is that a similar scene is hidden in our subconscious. It’s a collective memory of humans—the experiences of their shared ancestors from an era older than the Old World.
“The second possibility is that the Awakened are the deities’ apostles or people who have received the gods’ favor. The 13 Kalendarium jointly created places like the Star Cluster Hall to help their Blessed grow until they can enter the New World. On this point, an Awakened’s abilities can be roughly divided into 13 categories, corresponding to the different Kalendarium’s domains. This produces certain associations.
“Therefore, the proportion of Awakened that believe in the Kalendarium in those religions is higher than that of other groups. Of course, it won’t be too high either. The number of Awakened remains limited.”
Jiang Baimian listened very seriously and nodded slightly. “Maybe it’s because many Awakened believe their abilities are bestowed by the gods and have taken the initiative to join the different religions that the corresponding proportion is higher.”
It wasn’t that the Kalendarium favored their believers that resulted in an increased chance of their powers awakening.
“Without any investigations or experiments, I can’t give you a definite answer.” Du Heng sighed and said, “Unfortunately, the Old World has been destroyed for nearly 70 years, and a large-scale war had lasted for nearly 20 to 30 years sometime after that.
“This has resulted in many things becoming impossible to investigate. Otherwise, we could’ve taken our time to search for the origins of Kalendarium faith. We could have looked at their domains and authorities and see if certain Awakened deliberately added the corresponding content during the proselytization process, allowing them to evolve into what they are now. Or maybe these things have never changed in the beginning. Maybe it can even be traced back to before the Old World was destroyed. This is our responsibility as historians.”
Jiang Baimian deeply shared the same feelings. “Yes, this is also the source of motivation that drives me forward.”
Du Heng didn’t say anything else and continued speaking about the topic. “From Star Cluster Hall to the Sea of Origins, one needs to dig deeper and grasp their abilities.”
He paused and glanced at Shang Jianyao before smiling. “You are almost done with that step. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have asked the question. When you enter the Sea of Origins and overcome all the traumas in your heart, you will have a chance to find, accept, and accommodate yourself. This will allow you to complete your mind.
“This will cause your ability to undergo a qualitative change. Be it the limit of its effects or the range of its effects, they will increase. But the price you have to pay will increase bit by bit during this process, making your problem worse. As the saying goes, there’s no free lunch.”
At this point, Du Heng kindly reminded Shang Jianyao, “For every Awakened, the price they pay needs to be kept confidential. On the one hand, the price itself is a weakness that can easily be used and targeted. On the other hand, different prices will vaguely reflect the different domains. This will allow those familiar with you to have a preliminary guess regarding your abilities. In a battle between Awakened, it is very dangerous for someone to know your abilities in advance.”
Shang Jianyao quietly listened and nodded seriously. “Thank you.”
Jiang Baimian glanced at Shang Jianyao and smiled. “I thought you would clap.”
At this moment, their surroundings were very quiet. It seemed like it was really as Du Heng had said. As long as they didn’t move or stand in an eye-catching spot, they wouldn’t be targeted by the ‘anomaly.’
“Thank you is an improved version of clapping,” Shang Jianyao explained sincerely.
Du Heng laughed silently. “After finding yourself, you’ll be able to cross the Sea of Origins. When the time comes, you’ll enter the Mind Corridor. Alright, I’ve already said so much. Shouldn’t you reciprocate by giving me some information?”
Shang Jianyao didn’t answer directly and turned to look at Jiang Baimian.
“What do you want to know?” Jiang Baimian asked.
Du Heng looked around and took out a yellow photo. “Have you seen this child? His name is Xiaochong.”
The boy in the photo had a chubby face, and he was wearing a monster costume. He looked very cute. He was none other than Xiaochong, whom Shang Jianyao and the others had just encountered!
Xiaochong… Long Yuehong felt his scalp tingle when he heard that name. He didn’t expect Du Heng to enter the city ruin to find someone. Furthermore, he was looking for the abnormally strange boy, Xiaochong!
Jiang Baimian couldn’t help but purse her lips. She turned her head and pointed at the spot from before. “We encountered him near the underground engine room. He came out with us and said that he was looking for someone to play games with him. But after we came out, he used the excuse of urinating and disappeared.”
Du Heng slightly nodded with a solemn expression. “Is that so…”
“Why are you looking for Xiaochong?” Shang Jianyao retracted his gaze from the previous spot.
Du Heng chuckled. “This involves a lot of important information. You definitely won’t be able to pay me with the equivalent right now. We’ll transact when we have the chance to meet again in the future and when you guys have other key information or clues.”
Upon seeing that Du Heng was clearly unwilling to say anything else, Jiang Baimian said to Shang Jianyao, “What else do you want to ask?”
Du Heng interrupted Shang Jianyao and said, “About the Mind Corridor, let’s talk about it after you actually enter it. You won’t understand it even if I explain it to you now.”
Shang Jianyao thought for a moment and asked, “Have you heard of the Eighth Research Institute?”
Du Heng was a little surprised. “Did you guys encounter its commissioner?”
Upon seeing Jiang Baimian and the others nod, he thoughtfully said, “The Eighth Research Institute is a very mysterious organization. They basically don’t have any contact with other factions and seem to be self-sufficient. They only occasionally use smugglers to obtain special items. However, their commissioners often appear in the Ashlands. It’s unknown what missions they are executing.”
At this point, Du Heng paused. “Everyone believes that this organization is a remnant of the Old World. Some people feel that they are gathering all kinds of information to establish a new world. Others suspect that they are destroying clues and burying the real reason for the Old World’s destruction.
“That’s all I know.”
After Shang Jianyao heard that, he suddenly asked, “Which Kalendaria has the Bewitchment ability in ‘Their’ domain?”
“Your train of thought is very jumpy,” Du Heng joked and replied thoughtfully, “It should be Monitor, who’s in charge of May.”
Without waiting for Shang Jianyao and the others to speak, Du Heng spoke first. “It’s my turn to ask, right?”
Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao nodded ‘obediently.’
“Which large faction are you from?” Du Heng asked confidently.
Jiang Baimian frankly replied, “Pangu Biology.”
“Pangu Biology… I encountered your project team in the icy plain, where they were recruiting a team of volunteers. They were doing experiments on human bodies and minds in a cold environment. The way those people were frozen. Tsk, tsk. That was a little tragic.”
Jiang Baimian blushed with shame. “At least they had enough to eat.”
“That’s true.” Du Heng nodded.
He was just about to continue asking questions when he suddenly saw the buildings around him light up ring after ring.
At least half of the city ruin’s buildings simultaneously emitted light to various levels, lighting up one window after another.
The darkness and silence that enveloped the area quickly subsided to the city ruin’s edges.
All the electricity in the city was restored.
This was the first time Shang Jianyao, Long Yuehong, and the others had seen such a scene. It was as if they had witnessed the galaxy mentioned in their textbooks being moved to the surface.
To Jiang Baimian, the scene in front of her shocked her the same way as when she first saw the real starry sky, the real blue sky, and the real sun.
Du Heng admired the scene for two seconds before standing up and saying to Shang Jianyao and the others, “The anomaly has subsided. You can climb over the wall and leave from here.”