Chapter 899: Delay
Shang Jianyao didn’t seem to understand the others’ expressions and asked Jacob and Hendrick, “He seems very powerful. You guys seem to be afraid of him?”
After a few seconds, the relatively good-natured Jacob said weakly, “Truth is also in that tower, but ‘He’ comes out from time to time.”
He used the ‘He’ that represented deities in the Red River language.
“‘He”s equivalent to a Kalendaria but not a Kalendaria?” Shang Jianyao asked.
Hendrick said with an unhappy expression, “Every time ‘He’ comes out, one to two Awakened will die.”
“But we haven’t personally experienced how great ‘His’ strength is, so we can’t give you an accurate answer,” Jacob added.
Shang Jianyao tersely acknowledged it. “The Kalendarium usually don’t leave the tower?”
“They don’t need to leave the tower to extract the consciousness of every resident here or respond to different prayers.” Jacob’s face revealed reverence, and his voice lowered. “Of course, I’ve never seen or heard of Kalendarium leaving the tower.”
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“I see.” Shang Jianyao sighed. “‘They’ don’t have the common touch with the people and don’t know how to enjoy themselves together with the people.”
Hendrick narrowed his eyes at the fellow for a few seconds. “A sheep flock doesn’t want to live with lions either.”
Shang Jianyao didn’t answer as his thoughts jumped. “With our bodies in the Ashlands, will we slowly starve to death if nobody provides us with liquid food, nutrient shots, and nutrient fluids? Or can the human consciousness we extract nourish our bodies and maintain the most basic biological activity?”
This was common knowledge among New World powerhouses. Hendrick glanced at the weak Jacob and said in a deep voice, “Without any replenishment, your body will deteriorate faster. It won’t allow your mind to recover normally, and even your consciousness will weaken. In such a situation, you can only rely on absorbing the consciousness of the surrounding humans to maintain your mental stability. This will indeed give your body a certain level of nourishment, allowing it to maintain the weakest biological activity. It’s like every cell entering hibernation.”
“But what if there are no humans in the vicinity?” Shang Jianyao asked further.
“Then, you can only attempt to obtain human consciousness here,” Hendrick said coldly. “If that doesn’t work, your body will die first. It won’t be long before your consciousness comes close to dissipation.”
“Only close?” Shang Jianyao was puzzled.
Jacob sighed and smiled. “Kalendaria won’t waste such a consciousness and let it die on its own.”
“Gotcha.” Shang Jianyao clenched his right fist and punched his left palm. “It’s just like how we quickly finish food when we discover that it’s about to expire.”
Without waiting for Jacob and Hendrick’s response, he raised a counter-example. “But I have a friend. There haven’t been any humans in the surrounding area for 30 to 40 years, and he’s also a battery for someone. His body is still alive, but he’s almost a mummy.”
This friend was referring to Yama Tiger.
“Impossible.” Jacob and Hendrick denied it in unison, but one of them had a soft, weak tone while the other had a firm emphasis.
“That’s the truth.” Shang Jianyao shrugged.
Hendrick said coldly, “This can only mean that he isn’t someone’s battery. Someone is providing him with human consciousness regularly. Although the frequency might be very low and there aren’t many of them, it’s enough to maintain his basic survival.”
“Why would that person do that?” Shang Jianyao expressed his confusion.
Hendrick didn’t answer and directly said, “You need to ask him, not us.”
“Oh.” Shang Jianyao had an expression that said: “Why didn’t I think of that?”
He then asked, “Back then, I entered the place where my friend’s body was sleeping, but he didn’t eagerly absorb my consciousness immediately. He insisted on trying after 15 minutes—why? Oh, we weren’t friends back then.”
Jacob and Hendrick looked at this fellow again with strange expressions as if the person in front of them was a fool.
Finally, Jacob replied, “Because we are in the New World and are separated from the Ashlands by a barrier. Be it sensing a human consciousness approaching or searching the area to lock on for extraction, it will take some time.”
“I see.” Shang Jianyao seemed enlightened before he gave a counter-example. “But there was no delay when I entered and provided protection for my companions.”
“Provided protection…” Jacob ruminated over this phrase twice and asked in enlightenment, “Someone was extracting your companion’s consciousness back then?”
“Yes, yes, yes.” Shang Jianyao nodded repeatedly.
Jacob gave an answer to his question. “You didn’t feel the delay because someone had already established a passage.”
“Professional.” Shang Jianyao praised. He then continued asking in the spirit of getting to the bottom of the matter. “In addition, what I don’t understand is why we were locked on the moment we entered that area while having our consciousness extracted.”
Jacob—who had been standing for too long—pulled a bar stool over and sat behind the bar counter.
Hendrick helped make a guess. “There’s no delay either because the process of sensing human consciousness, searching, and positioning was completed before, or the Awakened in that area had happened to return to the Ashlands from the New World.”
Shang Jianyao had a lot of discussion experience in the team, so he immediately shook his head. “I don’t think it can be so coincidental with the first suggestion. We had just pushed open the door back then. Why was the lock onto our consciousness and extraction done only when we completed that action?
“The second possibility is also too much of a coincidence. I think that regardless of the time, we would’ve become Heartless as long as we entered that area. Yes, we can still confirm this later.”
Upon seeing that he was very opinionated, Jacob didn’t persuade him and joked, “There’s another situation that doesn’t need any delay—it was a Kalendaria that extracted your consciousness back then.”
“That’s not right either.” Shang Jianyao denied it again. “If it’s really a Kalendaria, the protection I provide should be easily penetrated. It won’t be effective.”
Jacob didn’t answer him and changed the topic. He asked curiously, “Did you long discover the door to the New World and only push it open when you encountered danger?”
“Yes.” Shang Jianyao didn’t deny it.
“How patient.” Jacob sighed. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
After chatting for a while, Hendrick—who looked very energetic after drinking the lemon margarita—walked to the sofa, took out a saxophone from the corner, and played it by himself.
A soothing piece of music that was deep and calm with a hint of melancholy slowly echoed in the small bar.
Shang Jianyao listened quietly for a while as if he were immersed in such an atmosphere. At the very least, he didn’t suggest that Hendrick play the erhu because of his squinting.
After some time, Shang Jianyao stood up, waved Jacob goodbye, and walked out.
The street lamp by the street lit up again as he went out.
“So it takes some time to lock onto someone and carry out the extraction… It’s no wonder you could push open the New World’s door in time, and I could last until you provided protection.” In the evening, Jiang Baimian—who had finished listening to Shang Jianyao’s feedback in the jeep outside the Eighth Research Institute—came to a realization.
For certain sensitive words, Shang Jianyao replaced them with secret codes that had been agreed on in advance.
Shang Jianyao echoed as well, “That’s right, that’s right.”
“From the looks of it, it wasn’t a Kalendaria back then.” Jiang Baimian nodded thoughtfully.
There would be no delay for the Kalendarium.
Jiang Baimian still had something to do that night. She didn’t want to expend too much energy now, so she simply conversed with Shang Jianyao and said, “I’ll inject you with a nutrient shot later. Don’t be in a rush to go to the tower or deal with Vice President and the others. Make contact with friendly people like Jacob and Flora more often, grasp more information, and seek more help. Yes, don’t force yourself when you encounter unfriendly people. Avoid them if you can.”
“I understand. We have to gather a portion of people worth gathering and gain a collective strength.” Shang Jianyao had always used the Salvation Army as a benchmark for his behavior.
Jiang Baimian ended the topic and concluded, “We will have a fixed exchange every morning, noon, and night. We will be brief every time. Oh, if there’s an emergency, I’ll immediately contact your consciousness with my mind.”
“What if there’s an emergency on my side?”
Jiang Baimian smiled. “Although you can’t control your body to do anything, you seem to be able to maintain a certain level of instinct—at least you haven’t suffered from incontinence so far. If there’s an emergency in the future, make yourself pee your pants. I’ll understand what’s going on at a glance.
“If you happen to have no urine, then you can only try to jolt me by locking onto my consciousness and trying to extract it. However, there will be a considerable delay.”
“No problem.” Shang Jianyao agreed without hesitation. He then smiled and said, “I want to go to the bathroom now—both number one and number two.”
The smile on Jiang Baimian’s face froze for a second. “Wait a minute. I’ll move you outside, get you into position, and take off your pants.”
After she was done with this matter, Jiang Baimian wasn’t in a rush to explore the real New World at night. She planned on waiting a few more hours until it was a little darker.
Pangu Biology, underground building.
Long Yuehong and Bai Chen—who had chatted with their parents for a while—returned home.
Just as they sat down and before they could speak, a slightly childish and familiar voice sounded from the radio outside. “Good evening, everyone. I’m Newspoint broadcaster, Hou Yi. It’s 8 p.m. now…
“This morning, the board of directors reviewed the last quarter’s work report and praised the steady growth in births and the increasing diversity of material production…
“The results of the new year’s marriage assignments are about to be announced…”
“A new round of border conflicts broke out between First City and the Salvation Army…
“The Order Supervisory Department announced that no malignant incidents happened last month…
“The Entertainment Department is preparing to hold a table tennis competition at the Rec Center on all floors…”