Unlike the oak mountains to the south, the northern mountains only had a sparse few oak trees, while the remaining were birch and beech trees, and dense shrubbery.
According to those assigned to the expansion of the concentration camp, there was now a high demand for wood sleepers to lay railway tracks.
In the depths of winter, cold winds howled.
Only a few foremen came down the trucks to keep an eye on them, while the soldiers stayed in the driving compartments.
When the inspectors came down from the fourth truck, a soldier stuck a megaphone out of the window and gave them a stern talking to.
After that, even the foremen hid out in the trucks.
In order not to be punished by the soldiers, the inspectors needed to monitor the other Koroshans at all times.
On the other hand, in order to prevent themselves from being punished, at the same time working hard to avoid their fellow Koroshan inspectors from being punished, the rest needed to work hard.
A new order had been born.
Those carrying whips didn’t need to do labour, whereas the others had to work their lives off without pause.
Yu Feichen’s group was assigned to chopping birch wood—what was also going to be firewood for Captain Anfield.
An axe was distributed to every person.
The big-nosed man was responsible for supervising them.
However, it appeared that he hadn’t yet adapted to the role of an inspector; his expression was still recoiling with fear.
Yu Feichen didn’t put his mind into chopping the wood.
This place wasn’t far from the concentration camp.
The northern gate of the camp was nearby, and the Black Badge Army had erected a tall wooden watch platform, which he had taken note of last night.
The sentries could easily see them chopping wood at the northern mountains from the watch platform, though their view shouldn’t be too sharp.
So, everything they did had to be kept under the sentries’ notice.
Time was another important factor.
If they chose to flee en masse in the morning, this would be discovered when someone came to deliver lunch at noon.
The concentration camp would then launch the chase during the day.
Due to the Koroshans’ lack of training, it would be easy for them to be caught.
Only under the darkness of the night would their chances of successful escape be greatly increased.
As he thought this, someone came to the work on the tree next to him.
It was one of the people he had requested aid from.
“The situation’s changed, what should we do?” that person asked him in a low voice.
“Same as before,” Yu Feichen said.
“We’ll move in the afternoon, you’ll be dealing with no.
As they didn’t know the names of those soldiers and foremen, they could only use numbers as a substitute.
A while later, someone came over.
According to the plan, the one he was supposed to be responsible for, no.
4, wasn’t present.
Yu Feichen glanced towards the soldiers in the driving compartment.
Then, he turned his gaze towards the concentration camp in the distance.
The soldiers watching them did decrease.
Each truck used to have two armed guards, but now there was only one stationed in each.
The chief warden also mentioned in the morning that ‘several glorious soldiers had been transferred to advance the sacred cause.’
While the number of soldiers watching over them wouldn’t significantly affect the difficulty of escape, this statement gave Yu Feichen an important piece of information.
With the Black Badge Army, the ‘sacred cause’ could only be invading other nations.
And now, this alleged sacred cause was unlikely to be progressing smoothly—otherwise, the soldiers originally assigned to the concentration camp wouldn’t be pulled out again, neither would the concentration camp be in such urgent need for a more effective management system.
Either Korosha had started a counter-offensive, or another country had joined the fray.
—In any case, the battle at the frontlines was intense.
“Deal with that new foremen,” he said.
After that, he studied the man’s build.
“Do you know how to drive a truck?”
“How did you know?”
Professional truck drivers would have subtle differences to normal people in the posture that they walked, sat, and laid down.
In actuality, every profession would leave its marks on the individual’s body.
—Now, they had their second driver.
Intermittently, several people would seem to inadvertently wander over to this side, and among them was an inspector.
The fifth person was an unfamiliar face.
His countenance was gaunt.
One side of his spectacles had broken and his clothes were stained with grime.
Nevertheless, he still looked refined in manner; he should be a learned man.
“I heard that you guys are leaving.” His words were terse.
“I know this area.
My company used to have a supply line to Oak Valley Chemical Plant.”
Yu Feichen looked at him.
“This is Schiller, the Black Badge Army has occupied this area for over three months now, commandeering the train station and the port for their use.” He said, “If we can get out of here, don’t go near the city, head westwards.
Korosha is in the west.”
This gentleman was speaking the truth.
Yu Feichen had studied the map in the military base of the concentration camp.
However, heading westwards wasn’t in his plan.
He had never thought of bringing everyone back to Korosha.
Korosha wasn’t a state with strong military power.
Due to its excessive dependence on trade and commerce, the nation had become lax.
Yu Feichen didn’t believe that the other cities of Korosha would be spared the blitzkrieg of the Black Badge Army.
There was a higher probability that, upon going through the pains to flee back to their Koroshan territory, they would find that it was now occupied by the Black Badge Army.
At present, the only advantage they had was that essentially a third of Koroshans were out of the country.
“We’re headed the south,” he said in a low voice, “to Sasha.”
That gentleman’s eyes widened.
This was the only choice that Yu Feichen could think of to guarantee the highest survival rate.
Based on the understanding he gained over these few days, Sasha was a small, neutral country.
In the past, it didn’t possess any vital resources and its geographical location wasn’t ideal.
The Black Badge Army had gradually occupied the several few nations surrounding it then pointed its spear towards Korosha, never taking it within their consideration.
Further, the battle at the frontline now could go either way, it was even less likely that they would waste troops at a place like that.
As Sasha was neutral and with commercial ties to Korosha, it was only logical that there also would be Koroshans that had gathered there.
“We’re not going to Korosha?” The gentleman shook his head at first before realisation seemed to dawn on him.
“May Yuryllia protect us,” he finally said.
A tense and strange atmosphere of secrecy crept amidst the Koroshan prisoners.
A portion of them was already in the know, whereas a portion of them was oblivious to it all, there were inspectors pretending not to know anything, and some weren’t.
For example, the big-nosed man.
He spent the entire morning preoccupied, the corners of his eyes occasionally twitching in his nervousness.
Perhaps his thoughts kept gravitating around the scene from last night of everyone’s deaths.
It was nearing noon by the time he finally asked what was on his mind.
“Is it really going to work?” he said.
“They have guns.”
Bai Song and the brawny blonde had both asked similar questions, but Yu Feichen didn’t bother with them.
He didn’t like such meaningless questions.
But at this time, gazing at the big-nosed man, he spoke.
“They have no intention of letting a single Koroshan live to see the end of the war, no matter what he did,” said he.
“I think you know this too.”
After the big-nosed man left with his brows tightly furrowed, Bai Song looked at Yu Feichen.
“It’s weird,” he said, “you seem to be hinting at something.”
Following the strange humour and meaningless questions, Bai Song finally said something of value.
Yu Feichen was astonished by the dramatic improvement.
This caused Yu Feichen’s mood to turn a little better, and the expression on his face that sparked Bai Song’s curiosity also became much more agreeable.
He decided to draw upon the service attitude that he used for ‘coaching’ back in the day.
“Last night, Anfield moved the corpses blocking the gate.” In a calm and inflectionless voice, he said, “How many did you hear him move?”
Bai Song, “…Ah?”
Yu Feichen didn’t elaborate.
He concentrated on chopping the wood.
Last night, Anfield said that they were all dead.
However, anyone with ears could tell that there were only two corpses.
—it was merely that no one noticed.
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