Chapter 110: The Truth Gate (Part 1/2)
The night fell with uninterrupted rain. The rain never seemed to stop and it only grew in intensity. Sticking to the edges of the roof of high rises, fine screens of rain and smoke could be seen. The rain and the smudgy city lights covered everywhere the eye could see aside from the rooftops themselves.
Three buildings acted as pillars that surrounded Frost River Reality. Although their rooftops were still wet and moist, not a drizzle of rain could be seen falling down above one's head. There was an incorporeal screen that divided the rooftops of these three buildings from the autumn rain of Xia City.
Only twenty or so minutes had passed like this before dozens of people bustled about on each of the rooftops. Some hauled equipment. Some drafted diagrams on the floor. They came and went, giving off a sense of extreme urgency.
An Weng left the people to their own devices when it came to the deployment. He just stood quietly at the edge of the building. He had a small withered body and wore the robes of an Oblatum, even though these clothes did not fit his body. The winds were strong atop this building that was nearly a kilometer in height. Any loose clothing would likely be blown away.
Despite the wind, he stood very steadily. The shadow of his hood covered his face but within his turbid pupils was pierced by a faint light. The light shined upon the interweaving spotlights of the triangular rooftop platform of Frost River Reality below. The red and blue lights of the police cars surrounding the area looked like fancy decorations. It was all quite dazzling to the eyes.
A tide of people streamed endlessly out from the emergency exits under the blotchy lighting, diffusing all around. They then acted in accordance to the stupid herd mentality and surrounded the outside in a congregated mass. They swarmed endlessly around like a mass of insects blocked off by water.
At the base of each and every one of these three high-rises were crowds of people pressing against the glass walls. They used all sorts of filming devices and turned on spectator mode. They took all the emotions of panic, fright, and excitement and magnified them. The emotions transformed into a murky cloud that was hard to see with the naked eye, merging into the autumn rain and the curtain of night.
Though An Weng's droopy eyelids seemed to cover his eyes, he gazed at the boiling miasmic smoke of opaque emotions with great interest. He gave off a subtle feeling that he could watch the scene unfold for not minutes but for the entire night and not tire. There was more though. There was something even more interesting within the murky miasmic cloud.
"...Who knows, that First Oblatum might be sizing us up right now by using him as a medium." This dialog that had occurred inside Frost River Reality was transmitted to An Weng as clear as day.
An Weng burst out with laughter. It was just as this young lady had said. Through this 'snake hive', he had used mental clairvoyance to scan every one of the faces within the room. He focused on sizing up two of them. One was the young jacket wearing lady who had pointed out the 'snake hive'. The other one was the youngster who had received the Shield of Truth blessing from Fairchild.
"They're both impressive people." His lips wriggled as he made this evaluation.
The jacket wearing young lady possessed impressive insight, knowledge, and experience. The depths of her abilities were hard to guess. He was actually unable to decode the pertaining psychic waves cast via the 'snake hive'. He just knew that she was at least a B-rank in terms of combat ability.
As for the youngster...
He had been scanning and rendering the scene using the 'snake hive' and psychic waves but before his previous thought could finish, the scene had suddenly turned blurry and distorted. Then it completely collapsed. It was clear. The 'snake hive' that he established had been destroyed.
After a moment of brief shock, An Weng's shriveled lips split apart to expose a gap that was like a black hole. It was a smile. "To be able to interfere with the Words of Krait's operation, to not even give up an inch... His soul strength is impressive, he has ample spirit, and he has power. Excellent, excellent."
The three buildings were arranged in a triangular formation. As An Weng observed and evaluated Luo Nan and Cat Eyes, a person who wore black-robes appeared on the rooftops of each of the other two buildings. They stood in the middle of their respective rooftop landing pads.
These two also wore the clothing of First Oblatums, but they did not dare to be like An Weng. They did not leave their positions to go looking around. Instead, they commanded their surrounding personnel with extreme seriousness. Whether it was the drafting or the transporting of the equipment, they checked the deployment with great care. The needed to ensure that nothing would go wrong.
As their arrangements grew all the more ready, the minds of these two First Oblatums became more and more uneasy. First Oblatums were senior members of the order. They engaged in the intense study of scholarly knowledge, and they knew about Fairchild quite well. They were naturally able to determine their odds of success in the conflict that would follow.
Separated by space, these two chatted for a bit. But in the end, they could not refrain from going to the mental plane. This plane was imperceivable by their subordinates and they used it to seek guidance from An Weng. One of them was in charge of communications. He was the First Oblatum just below An Weng, First Oblatum Zheng Xiao.
"An Weng, we have deployed our troops quite quickly. However, this plan was made quickly. It is far too rushed. It will be hard for it to be fully effective! Though we have our coordinated spell formation, according to our current estimations, the odds of killing Fairchild do not exceed thirty percent. It is far too dangerous. Why don't we plan some more..."
An Weng did not respond immediately. He extended two hands that were just muscle, bone, and liver spots. His hands were filled with a sense of age and decay. They were even trembling a bit. His thumbs, which he could not extend straight anymore, parted with his forefingers and touched to form a triangle. He tried to contain all of Frost River Reality inside.
"Why do we need to kill Fairchild?"
"Why do we need to kill Fairchild?"
An Weng asked once again, "You all actually didn't have any doubts from the beginning of the operation until now? Or do you think that Fairchild is our complete enemy just because he has ruined many of our matters over these past two years in Xia City? That any operation with him as our target is inevitable and expected?"
The two First Oblatums were a bit flabbergasted. You were the one who mentioned getting rid of Fairchild. Now you are resenting the fact that we have not held suspicions, that we have not spoken up, that we have not wondered what there is to personally gain from all this?
Luckily, Zheng Xiao had worked with An Weng for many years, so he knew An Weng's temperament. He responded in the same tone as An Weng, "An Weng, actually we are feeling apprehensive. Fairchild is quite the major character, after all. He is the backbone force of the truth side and he holds the most promise of becoming an Extraordinary. If we make a mistake, there will be no holds barred between the secular side and the truth side. This is what we are trying to avoid…"
"The scales have two ends. The two ends just keep their distance. They should not interfere with each other and should mind their own business."
An Weng made minute adjustments to the frame of the viewpoint formed from his fingers. He locked onto Fairchild's position. "Therefore, Fairchild isn't on the truth side. He is on the extreme side. He is a paranoid executioner. There has never been a place for him in the order."
Zheng Xiao felt a jolt run through his heart. "So we are going to eliminate him?"
An Weng's words implied that they were not the only ones demanding to have Fairchild dealt with. There was a more complicated and callous plot going on in the background.
"However, if things are as you say, we should wait for a better opportunity, for an easier plan…"
An Weng responded dully, "Let us talk about the odds. Fairchild is powerful. Any schemes, with someone this powerful as a target, will not have a probability of success exceeding fifty percent. We could go into deeper, more detailed planning. But most of it will be down to luck. Today our luck is good. The terrain, information, energy, and pretext are all complete. Why not try it?"
"Try it?" Zheng Xiao laughed bitterly, "If we are not successful, I fear that the consequences will be too difficult to bear."
There would be endless troubles if this tiger does not die. If they really did infuriate Fairchild and attract his mad vengeance, these First Oblatums of the secular side might have to sleep with their eyes opened from then on. One would go crazy under those circumstances.
"What sort of consequences can there be?" An Weng made two light coughs. He turned around and walked slowly towards the spell formation area. Deployment was complete. "The Gate of Truth is about to open. That paranoid madman may still be alive against Baze but can he afford to be distracted?"