Annan followed the “teacher” out of the narrow and dim alley.
She raised her head and looked at the gray sky.
Annan noticed a gray-white barrier in the sky far away. It looked like the frost formed through the condensation of the morning dew outside the window in the middle of winter.
On the outside of the frosted shell, the whistling blizzard could be faintly seen with the naked eye.
Annan knew that this was not the cursed barrier the Old Grandmother erected. Instead, it was the heat regulatory barrier the Storm Tower’s Edict Wizards had installed.
In the center of large cities, there would be a semi-automatic device called [Large Barrier Generator].
It was a semi-automatic ritual run by the Edict Magic to refill the barrier. It prolonged its original duration from lasting only three days to an indefinite period. The barrier could be maintained when the materials were continuously replenished.
Annan heard from Father Vasily that the Austere-Winter Dukedom’s barrier was fully automatic. It involved one of the many pieces of knowledge that many ritualists did not want to publish: “Ritual doesn’t necessarily need ‘humans’ to participate” to suppress the growth of ritual automation technology.
“Ritual automation” was a considerable technology level in Austere-Winter Dukedom and the Papal Kingdom. Unfortunately, this directly put many ritualists out of work.
They could not even find other jobs.
If a ritualist lost his job, it was effectively the same as losing the “necessity of existence”. After all, every ritualist was dangerous. No one knew how much knowledge they had in their minds and whether they would execute a dangerous ritual someday or bring a severe distortion to the environment because of a failed ritual.
There were indeed some rituals that could only be performed by humans. But this was because there were special conditions that “must be performed by living beings with self-awareness” in some rituals.
But the effect of the ritual was correlated to its cost.
Considering the cost, the poor Austere-Winter Dukedom couldn’t use an overly powerful barrier to shield the entire city. Although this barrier was called the “Heat Regulatory Barrier”, its primary function was to isolate cold winds and blizzards.
The chill oozing from the ground was not dispelled. Instead, the barrier was like a giant, transparent glass cover.
Even so, these large cities had become Austerian’s last hope.
What was used to stop the curse of the Gray Mists was the frigid blizzard that could freeze even the curse.
Since the blizzard could freeze curses, it could also freeze ordinary people, beasts, and crops into death.
As a result, the subway usage rate of Austere-Winter Dukedom was dozens of times more frequent than that of other countries. In this case, it was fair to say that the subway was inclined toward civilian usage already.
The subways of other countries were utilized in the import, export, and transportation of transcenders in and out of the country. In the Noah Kingdom’s case, they had started to build an above-ground railway dedicated to the domestic transport of goods and people.
However, for Austere-Winter Dukedom, not even the transcenders could travel from one city to another alive, let alone the ordinary people.
Another weight in the circumstances [capable of freezing curse] was that the transcender would not be able to replenish their mana in the blizzard.
Even the metals would be cracked in the never-ending blizzard, not to mention that the blizzard’s temperature here was even lower than that in other countries. So it was even impossible to build an above-ground railway.
Many corpses were buried in the snow of the wild.
Most were illegal transcenders driven out of the city and left to fend for themselves. Ordinary people could be beheaded if they committed capital crimes, but not the transcenders.
If they were to die, they would cause trouble for the people in the city.
But the expulsion from Austere-Winter in the winter year was the same as sending a person out in a canoe with a day’s worth of food and water from the ship. Again, the mortality rate was evident.
Ordinary people could only take the subway.
But “Bella,” who was played by Annan currently, was different.
It was difficult for werewolves to purchase subway tickets, and Bella was a werewolf who had no money.
If Annan had guessed correctly, Bella had faced the never-ending blizzard, walking step by step in the land covered with heavy snow across dozens of miles. She must have come from one barrier to another.
Annan did not know how Bella did it.
But anyway, the “teacher” brought Annan to the subway station.
It was not the same as the subway station in Annan’s memories.
Inside the brass-colored station, there was a faint roar that sounded like an old factory. The water traces on the ground were slightly frozen. When someone walked on it, there would be a creaking sound.
The crowd gathered in the hustle and bustle, chattering among themselves. White mist rhythmically spewed out of their mouth and nose as they breathed.
Although it was a civilian subway, the people here were well-dressed.
In other words, they only came here to take the subway after they had dressed up.
Annan, dressed in shabby clothes, appeared out of place.
“Is this your first subway ride?” Looking at Annan, who was looking around, the old man glanced at Annan.
There was no emotion in those cold eyes.
Annan showed a silly smile and responded sincerely and enthusiastically, “Yes, teacher!
“This is the first time in my life that I have taken the subway!” Her loud voice caused the people around her to look over with slight disgust.
However, she did not have any special reaction to it. Instead, she did not care about the sight of passers-by.
Annan did not lie either.
This was indeed the first time Annan took the subway in this “life”.
The old man reached out his hand to grab Annan’s arm and let her lean against him, while the other hand inadvertently revealed a cold ring while silently raising his head and scanning the crowd.
When the passers-by around saw the ring, their expressions suddenly changed. They turned around immediately, pretending that they did not see anything. Even the chatters had faded for a while.
Although Annan knew it was impolite to speak at this time, Annan still asked curiously out of the need for acting, “Teacher, are they afraid of you?”
“Yes.” The old man answered straightforwardly.
There was no emotional fluctuation in his pupils.
He took Annan into the train that had just arrived and took a seat in the front seat of the first cabin. He had hidden Annan further in at the seat by the window.
After being seated, Annan continued to ask, “Why? They didn’t commit a crime.”
“Because they know they’re not perfect.” The old man replied slowly, “They all know they may commit crimes in the future. That’s why they are afraid of me.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes.” The old man replied calmly, “You have to make them fear you like this. The more afraid they are, the less they dare to commit a crime.
“You also have to keep in mind that we are not righteous but the enemy of evil.”
Annan raised her head the moment she heard this sentence.
Annan suddenly felt the world around him turning scarlet in the blink of an eye.
Intermittent shouting, roaring, and crying came from all directions as if he were plunged into the deep water of chaos.
It felt like an old TV with a poor signal.
The bustling subway station shuddered a few times. Then, the scene disappeared utterly, turning into a dim room.
The surroundings were narrow, dark, and damp. It was more like a bathroom than a ward.
His body turned into a man in his twenties. At that time, he was only wearing underwear, his hands and feet were tied back, fixed on a chair, and he was gasping for breath.
It felt like he just woke up from a nightmare.
“You’re awake?” A sullen, eunuch-like voice sounded behind Annan, “Then, let’s continue… Mr. Danton.”
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