When his last word fell, the voice suddenly went silent.
Many times, sudden silence hid something brewing under.
But Yu Feichen wasn’t afraid.
Although a vast majority of Paradise’s inhabitants were believers willing to go through flood and hellfire for the Divine Lord, there wasn’t a law that expressly forbade disrespect to the gods.
Finally, that voice rang out again, no longer as deafening as before.
“The place beyond the Gate of Eternal Night isn’t meant for a lone ranger.” The deep, sombre voice that came from all directions, said.
“You have to bring back a person who wholeheartedly follows you, one for each adventure.”
Yu Feichen said, “Must I bring back someone?”
After a brief pause, he spoke again, “What’s beyond the gate?”
But the owner of the voice didn’t answer any of his questions.
Eventually, in the dark nothingness of silence, only that apathetic voice resounded.
“May fortune be with you.”
The dark night instantaneously coagulated, deeper and denser; an invisible force firmly pushed Yu Feichen forwards, and—
It felt like leaping off a cliff, but icy darkness chased him like a shadow; rather than falling, it was more like sinking in water.
When he was finally able to take the first breath, cold, damp air filled Yu Feichen’s lungs.
He opened his eyes to find himself in a small, constantly shaking space.
There were people on all sides, and tiny sobs broke the air around him.
At this moment, he was seated on the floor against a corner.
The tin floor was covered with dark stains, and there came a clunking sound from beneath.
He quickly judged that he was in the carriage of a moving vehicle.
Yu Feichen raised his head and saw that he was completely surrounded by people sitting or lying down.
The carriage was dimly lit from only a small window on the far right.
With a hand, he brushed the black sediment on the ground.
It was a train for transporting coal, yet it transported a crammed carriage of humans.
A sob suddenly came from not far off in front of him.
A male dressed in a gentlemen’s suit was holding onto a woman wrapped in an overcoat; it was she who sobbed.
“Where are we going, precisely?” Her hand clutched her abdomen, her voice trembling.
The gentlemen, who appeared to be her husband, simply kissed her cheeks and hair over and over, reassuring her, “I’m with you, I’ll always be with you… Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, Leanna.”
“We’ve been heading north.” To his right, another young male voice rang out, “For a journey this long, we’re surely out of Korosha.”
The sobs intensified, and others started to murmur in the carriage.
“Where are we being brought to?”
“God save us.”
Yu Feichen looked to the right.
“What happened?” It was only when the words left his mouth that he realised how terribly hoarse his voice was.
In his peripheral vision, that married couple pushed over the last bit of water in a thermos flask.
It appeared that everyone had been parched for a long time.
“You’re awake,” said a teen boy next to him, “you slept for so long that we all thought you were dead.”
Yu Feichen, “Not yet.”
The mood of the people in the carriage was heavy and oppressive.
Only this boy seemed to remain sanguine, even making conversation with Yu Feichen, asking, “What’s your name?”
Yu Feichen’s fingers rubbed against the right cuff of his shirt where several raised letters were embroidered.
“James Adams,” he said.
“I’ve heard of you,” the boy said, “a lawyer.”
—so, he was a lawyer.
Yu Feichen accepted this statement.
The shirt and overcoat he wore were indeed made of expensive fabric and were well cared for.
Leaning against the wall, he stretched his limbs, his joints clicking.
This body had broad shoulders and the physique wasn’t too bad, fortunately.
“And you?” he asked.
“Bai Song,” said the boy.
“I served in the harbour for a year as a corporal.
Just before all this, I was called up to be deployed to the frontlines, but by the next day the Black Chapter Army had occupied Korosha.”
Frontlines; occupied; Black Chapter Army.
When these three phrases were strung together, Yu Feichen knew that he had unquestionably arrived in a time of war.
And during a war, the only people who were transported in coal trains were, probably, prisoners of war.
Black Chapter Army occupied a city and drove the original residents of the city onto the train to be transported elsewhere.
The clunking noise abruptly slowed down.
A harsh whistle echoed through the carriage.
The young boy named Bai Song grasped his arm all of a sudden, that hand trembling slightly.
It turned out that he was afraid as well.
An unpleasant creak grated their ears.
A miserable shaft of daylight shone in, and the hood of the carriage was opened.
“Get off! Line up!” An extremely gruff voice came from outside the car.
Three seconds later when no one got off the train, the black-uniformed soldier outside abruptly fired a shot into the sky.
At this, people then started getting off one by one.
A scream pierced the cold wind; a woman who had been slow to get off was given a violent kick.
People gradually trickled out of almost ten or so neighbouring carriages, from a rough glance, it totalled at least six hundred people.
Two armed soldiers stood in front of each carriage, and when most people had come down, the soldiers began to move forward, forcing the prisoners to follow behind them in a long line.
The married couple was in front of Yu Feichen in the line.
The wife continued to press her right hand to her abdomen, and Bai Song was behind him.
Ahead of them was a grey building surrounded by an electric fence.
The entrance to the building was a black iron gate, also with a guard on duty by the side.
To the right of the gate, a tattered sign that read, ‘Oak Valley Chemical Plant’.
Above this sign was a newly erected iron signboard, also with some text written on it.
—‘Oak Valley Detention Centre’
Yu Feichen surveyed the area around him.
The building was situated on a plain encircled by a mountain range on three sides.
The sky was a dreary grey; it was in the winter.
The soldiers escorting and guarding them were all heavily armed, so it was evident that this detention centre wasn’t any sort of safe place.
After being pushed through the Gate of Eternal Night, the power from Paradise relinquished its hold on him.
It was as if he had grown up in this place as an ordinary man.
It had been a long time since he had felt so completely free.
Another noticeable difference was that all previous worlds had a clear mission objective and they were immediately recalled when the mission was completed.
Whereas this time, the thing from the Gate of Eternal Night had never said anything about the mission objective before sending him here.
However, given that he was here now, the affair that he needed to complete must have something to do with this detention centre.
Past the gate, a long, newly built wall cut off their vision and no one could get a full view of the detention centre.
Dark-coloured tables were set up at the bottom of the walls, behind which sat a few officers and two doctors in white coats.
Cold wind howled.
The prisoners in the line shrunk their necks inwards as they walked forwards.
There were civilians in line, as well as well-dressed gentlemen and their wives.
However, upon walking up to the table, they were only given one command.
At the head of the line was an elderly man in round-framed glasses, dressed in a khaki suit, his hair snow-white and immaculately groomed.
He looked straight at the officer without moving.
The officer’s eyes bulged slightly, his lips were tightly pursed, and his expression was unreadable.
He repeated, “Strip.”
“You have no right to ask me to do so,” said the old man.
The officer raised his hand.
The crowd screamed.
—followed by the dull sound of a body falling to the ground, the blood splattering far away.
Shivering, the second man unbuttoned his shirt and under the watchful eyes of the officer, continued to undress down to his underpants.
His clothes were taken over by a guard.
The notes and watch in his coat pocket were pulled out and put into a tin box, and the clothes were dropped into a larger cardboard box.
Then, they issued him a grey long-sleeved overalls.
“I didn’t see any supplies at all the whole train ride.” Not far from Yu Feichen, a black-uniformed guard who was keeping watch over them spoke.
His companion said, “They just keep sending trash here by the truckload.”
“Luckily for us, gold can be dredged out from the trash.”
The shoulders of the wife in front of him shuddered and she leaned closer to her husband.
Her hand never left her abdomen for a moment.
The cold wind clawed at her clothes, making the outline of her figure more prominent—her waist and belly puffed out slightly.
She was pregnant.
The line moved forwards slowly.
Healthy and young men along with a few strong women were put into one group.
Elderly, children, and other women were split into another group.
Aside from there, there was also a lame person and an albino man grouped together.
Soon after, another pregnant woman joined their group.
The rest of the area was an open space wherein everything could be taken in at a glance.
The only thing of note was that a black military vehicle was parked to the side of the line.
At first, Yu Feichen thought that it was a group of soldiers with live ammunition inside.
However, as the line slowly moved forwards, he looked from the rear and found that this wasn’t the case.
Through the window, the vehicle was empty, and only a silhouette was seated at the front passenger seat with his head slightly lowered.
It was hard to see what he was doing.
Perhaps he wasn’t doing anything at all.
The man was wearing a black military uniform, and white was faintly visible under the short-brimmed hat.
When he looked again, long platinum blonde hair fell loose.
“Where did that little bitch in the van come from? She ain’t around yesterday,” said the guard.
“That’s no girl.
He had just graduated from Tin Cloud Military Academy this month and became a captain straight out.
I don’t know who sent him.” The tone of the other officer was mocking as he said, “Sen.
Colonel intends to give him hell and hang him out to dry.”
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