Embers Ad Infinitum

Chapter 279: Celebrities
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Chapter 279: Celebrities

Jiang Baimian looked at Zhou Yue’s smiling face and fell silent for a while. Underneath the light bulb’s yellowish light, she gave up on any additional thoughts and muttered to herself, “I’ve read a lot in the past. They come from wilderness nomad settlements, private diaries, production records, and allocation lists.

“Through them, I felt like I saw groups of humans struggling to survive in that era of chaos and harsh environments, relying on relatively unclean water sources, low-production farms, and abandoned towns and villages.

“I could sense the sincere joy they felt when they finally found a clean water source or a water cleansing chip. I could sense the pride they felt when they painstakingly cleared the trenches and laid the foundation for the next year’s planting. I could sense their happiness when they obtained a harvest or hunted enough beasts. I could sense their appreciation for every sacrifice and their relief at successfully protecting their settlements.

“Looking at this information makes me feel like I’ve joined them and experienced a sense of satisfaction from nothing.”

Zhou Yue was a little entranced. “What happened next?”

Jiang Baimian looked down at the corpse and smiled. “Later, a Heartless outbreak erupted. Many people lost their minds overnight and became beasts. They attacked their former companions who had fought alongside them. The settlement that many people built bit by bit was destroyed in the blink of an eye. Only some information remained as a testament to their hard work and struggles.

“If we had discovered it a little later, the information might’ve scattered in the wind. Yes, there were also plagues, weather changes, and famine. Some were invaded by bandits and large factions after they resisted with all their might. However, these had better outcomes than the sudden Heartless outbreaks or insurmountable circumstances.”

Zhou Yue opened her mouth, but it was unknown if she wanted to sigh or say, “Everything is but a dream; why so serious?”

At this moment, she heard Jiang Baimian’s tone drift a little.

“Therefore, I’ve always wanted to figure out the theory behind the Heartless disease’s outbreak and the transmission mechanism and figure out the reason for the Old World’s destruction. Otherwise, all efforts would ultimately be for naught. Even if this is just a dream, I have to work hard to change it before I wake up.”

At this point, Jiang Baimian laughed self-deprecatingly. “Rebuilding order, restoring production, and changing the environment are also important components to saving the world. However, those large factions will do it; it’s not our place to worry. We can only set ourselves a goal that sounds unrealistic.”

At this moment, Shang Jianyao looked up at Zhou Yue and asked with a smile, “So, are you going to save all of humanity with us?”

If it were anyone else, they would definitely scoff inwardly at this moment. However, Zhou Yue adhered to the philosophy of ‘everything is but a dream; why so serious’ and replied with a smile, “We are also saving all of humanity. Our goal is to make everyone believe in Shattered Mirror and serve and please ‘Her.’ Finally, with ‘Her’ help, we will escape from the dream and enter the New World without the Heartless disease, war, plague, or famine.”

Since Zhou Yue didn’t mock her ideals, Jiang Baimian didn’t say things like ‘self-reliance’ or ‘don’t place your hopes on the elusive Kalendarium.’ She smiled and said, “Then, let’s see which side will succeed earlier.”

“Want to compete?” Shang Jianyao asked.

Zhou Yue shook her head and smiled. “Regardless of which side succeeds, it’s a good thing. There’s no need for a competition.”

As she spoke, she sighed with emotion. “With the strength your team has shown, you definitely won’t have to worry about food sources in the Ashlands. You can find a large faction to settle down in and lead a better and more stable life. For example, Tarnan.”

“But perhaps they will contract the Heartless disease one day.” Jiang Baimian glanced at Shang Jianyao. “And I don’t know if it will be my turn next. There’s no way to prevent or treat it, much less figure out who will ‘hit the jackpot.'”

Perhaps it was because of this unknown fear that the people who had first resolved their hunger in the various large factions would also be developed into believers by the various public or secret religions.

In the Ashlands, almost no group had a sense of security.

If one really had to name one, Pangu Biology’s employees could barely be counted.

Zhou Yue was momentarily speechless. After a while, she said, “I just want to express my admiration for your strength.”

“You can tell?” Shang Jianyao was ‘surprised.’

Jiang Baimian smiled and added, “I don’t think we did anything?”

Apart from knocking out a bunch of people at Wild Pigeon Bar and preventing them from being affected by illusions to the point of killing each other and guarding their own defense area for one day and one night without letting the Superior Heartless break through, the Old Task Force had never showcased their strength.

Zhou Yue casually replied, “The fact that you were able to survive his repeated illusions, make him take the initiative to create an illusion that originated from Jiang Xiaoyue’s mind world, infer the hidden information behind this, and choose to stay behind without fear of danger means that you have brains and are very confident in your strength.”

She was referring to the Superior Heartless on the ground.

“It might also be a wild guess. People are also rash.” Shang Jianyao gave another possibility.

“A rash and brainless team won’t live to see this day.” Zhou Yue smiled and glanced at the fellow. As Nanke Convent’s abbess and a Dreamland Priestess of the Clam Dragon Church, she still had this bit of insight, other than not being capable of remembering faces.

“That’s because our names are good.” Shang Jianyao had a logical and self-consistent theory.

Jiang Baimian held in her laughter and prepared to see how Zhou Yue would answer.

The corners of Zhou Yue’s mouth twitched. After some thought, she decided not to continue arguing with him.

There was no need to be so serious.

The three of them alternated between staying silent and chatting. They guarded the Superior Heartless corpse until the sky lit up.

As the silhouette of the convent’s impluvium gradually appeared, Jiang Baimian took out her phone and dialed a number.

“Hello?” Genava’s slightly synthetic male voice sounded from the other end.

“Officer Genava, the problem has been resolved. You can send someone over to deal with the aftermath.” After Jiang Baimian said that, she added, “Yes, it’s also possible that what we experienced was only an illusion. Be careful on the way; don’t give up on using mirrors for protection.”

Genava fell silent for two seconds before saying, “Alright.”

...

At 9 a.m., after confirming that the Superior Heartless was truly dead and that Tarnan was no longer affected by an illusion, the local residents, foreign hunters, and caravan members—who had previously retreated to River West—returned to River East one after another with the corresponding supplies.

Upon seeing Shang Jianyao and Jiang Baimian—who had come out of Nanke Convent—they nodded in greeting to express their respect.

They had all heard that the two Ruin Hunters and Abbess Zhou Yue had stayed behind last night to resolve the Superior Heartless threat. Earlier, they had also saved a bar full of people.

Jiang Baimian and Shang Jianyao had just pulled open the jeep door and sat in the backseat when Long Yuehong turned his head and smiled. “You guys are now celebrities in Tarnan.”

He sat in the passenger seat.

Shang Jianyao emphasized, “All of us.”

“That’s right. Our Qian Bai team has become famous in Tarnan.” Jiang Baimian understood what Shang Jianyao was getting at.

Bai Chen—who was driving—couldn’t help but whisper, “Why is it still the Qian Bai Team?” She had always been the most low-key member of the team.

“Because you’re the only Intermediate Hunter,” Jiang Baimian replied with a smile. She then recounted the previous night’s experience with Shang Jianyao.

She focused on the three matters—consciousness infection, 503, and the Superior Heartless’s suicide by jumping off a building.

Toward the end, Jiang Baimian couldn’t help but sigh. “Even I feel like joining a religion and giving their Mass a try to see if I can awaken. The secret hidden in Room 503 of the Mind Corridor is definitely not something to overlook...”

Now, it seemed like only Shang Jianyao could explore that place in the future.

Upon hearing this, Shang Jianyao seriously suggested, “Shall our team collectively join the Furnace Church and be baptized?”

A sauna should be quite enjoyable... Jiang Baimian was a little tempted.

In any case, she wasn’t truly pious. It was also mainly for the sake of an Awakening; she had no devotion to the Door of Scorching.

“It’s an idea...” Bai Chen muttered as she drove.

Long Yuehong—who was in the passenger seat—was a little scared when he heard that. He weakly asked, “Should we report to the company first?”

“Ha, just joking, just joking.” Jiang Baimian laughed dryly.

Bai Chen then asked, “Have you told Genava all the details?”

“No.” Jiang Baimian shook her head. “We discussed it with Abbess Zhou and only mentioned the general development. We didn’t specify what the consciousness infection brought about by Jiang Xiaoyue’s mind world and the information that the Superior Heartless desperately tried to transmit.”

“I see.” Long Yuehong had expected this. After all, this was also considered a secret of the Clam Dragon Church.

At this moment, he heard Shang Jianyao lower his voice. “Will we be silenced?”

Long Yuehong was shocked and felt that it wasn’t impossible.

“If it were any other religion, I don’t think we can be careless,” Jiang Baimian said with a smile. “But the Clam Dragon Church... Uh, everything is but a dream; why so serious?”

“That’s true.” Long Yuehong thought of Abbess Zhou’s appearance and performance and felt that she couldn’t or wouldn’t do deeds like silencing them.

As he spoke, the jeep drove back to Serene Dream Hotel.

As soon as the four of them entered the lobby, Aynor—who was huddled at the front desk—stood up and asked curiously, “Did you finish off the Superior Heartless yesterday? He’s so strong...”

Before the lady boss could finish speaking, Shang Jianyao asked in confusion, “How do you know he’s very strong?”

“I-I heard about it! Everyone is saying that this Superior Heartless is very strong and different from the previous ones.” Aynor stammered and organized her words.

Why are you stuttering... Jiang Baimian’s thoughts raced as she smiled and replied, “It can’t be considered resolved by us. This matter has a deep relationship with the Clam Dragon Church. Oh right, did you encounter other Superior Heartless in the past?”

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