After a quick wash, each prisoner was given breakfast.
It was a cup of greyish-white paste, like flour that had been cooked in hot water.

No one touched the food at first.
Their heads were all bowed in prayer.
The contents of their prayer were of a rich variety, but as Yu Feichen carefully listened to them, the majority were to ‘Yuryllia’.

The gist of it went like this: in the stormy past, ice had frozen over the earth.
The ancestors of Yuryllia cut through thorns as unyielding as steel, climbed past rocks as jagged as knives, trudged across rivers of ice and gushing tide, finally arriving at the sacred land of Korosha, where Spring blossomed.
A land overflowing with bread, milk, and fresh flowers; where people lived happily ever after.

Suddenly, the sound of a whip broke the air.

An anguished cry resounded through the barracks, and all prayers came to an abrupt halt.
Everyone looked over to see a man, whipped to the ground with a leather whip by the chief warden who had gone and returned.
The whip was lined by countless iron barbs, scraping the man’s clothes and splitting open his spine.
He clutched his head in pain as he rolled on the ground, crimson blood staining the ground.

“Pah!” The chief warden brought down another whip, shouting from the middle of the barracks.
“I don’t want to hear any prayers.
This is pig food given to traitors by the faithful devotees of the God of Truth, food for the undeserving Koroshan mongrels.
Now, each and every one of you had better give me your labour to atone for your sins to the God of Truth.”

Combining what was said on both sides, Yu Feichen believed that he had roughly pieced together the background of these two nations.

A group of people had left their bitterly cold land of origin and came to Korosha, flourishing in this land.
Whereas the others had stayed behind, continuing to believe in the God of Truth, also continuing with their lives—all the while watching the people of Korosha grow rich and privileged, even seizing control of the scarce resources of coal mines, leaving them in the dust.

As for whether or not the ‘God of Truth’ and ‘Yuryllia’ existed, and whether or not the story was true, was probably irrelevant.
In reality, coal mines alone were reason enough to spark war between countless nations.

Bai Song gazed into the cup for a moment, pinching his nose and gulping it down.

“Tastes like swill,” he said.

This time, Yu Feichen didn’t refuse to eat.
Slop was better than coal cinders after all, and he had to ensure a certain threshold of physical strength.

After breakfast, they boarded the trucks according to the four teams they had been divided into.
All the buildings in this compound were partitioned by tall walls.
It was impossible to look into the distance, and once the truck door closed, it was even more impossible to ascertain the route.

All their movements were strictly regulated.
They were like blind men touching an elephant, unable to see the full picture.

Keeping close to the wall of the truck, Yu Feichen got a rough sense of the direction.
The truck should have stopped at the northeastern side of the concentration camp.

The brick kiln wasn’t large, but it was very busy.

Of seven of them from the cell, the chemistry teacher, the friar, and the short-statured man were assigned to cut and arrange blocks of clay to form the unbaked bricks, thus separating from them.
The big-nosed man was assigned to burn charcoal, and was also taken off.
Yu Feichen, Bai Song, and the brawny blonde man worked by the fire.

Alongside twenty sturdy male adults, they were responsible for moving the bricks that had been fired out of the kilns and load them in the truck.
The truck would then transport the bricks to places where there was a need for them.

In order to save time and fill the truck with bricks in the fastest possible time, once the kiln door opened, the prisoners had to run in.
They had to endure the burning hot air and the reddish smog, take the scalding bricks, and pile them on an iron-sheeted pushcart.

At first, many people hesitated upon seeing the bricks that emanated seething hot air.
But the leather-thonged whip unfailingly sliced through the air.
Just slack off a little, and the barbs would deeply bite into skin, carving out a long wound that tore into skin and muscle.

After half a day of this, everyone’s palms were covered with blood-filled blisters.

Yu Feichen was in slightly better condition.
He was faster than anyone else, and the bricks stayed in his hand for a shorter length of time.
A young foreman carrying a whip walked past him, scorn brimming in his scrutiny.
He looked like he had come to pick fault, but finding none, could only slap the whip against the earth by his feet.

Perhaps due to the lack of manpower, these foremen were not well-trained soldiers, but several locals dressed in poorly fitting uniforms.
In the early morning, these young men wielding whips still looked fresh with inexperience; but by noon, their eyes had already turned fiendishly fierce, eyes scouring all around them for the barest opportunity to lay their whip.

Glint of the flame and steaming heat.
Blood-curdling shrieks, blisters, and blood.

The sweat on the bodies of the prisoners congealed with the reddish dust from the bricks, and the brick dust permeated into the blisters on their hands, bringing with it unbearable pain.

Most of those the foremen had hit were, until yesterday, living in normalcy without having to worry about food or clothing.
Yet, now, they were suffering the lowest humiliation of being downgraded from human beings to slaves without a shred of dignity.

At noon, as the prisoners gathered to gnaw on bread, Yu Feichen walked outside.
The eating area and the latrine behind the brick kiln were both guarded.
But there was no one in the long, narrow aisle connecting between them.

After assessing the height of the kiln wall, Yu Feichen straightened up and took a few running steps.
His steps sprung against the outer wall, leaping on top of it.
The rough surface of the kiln wall made it easy for him to use his strength, and he reached the top of the kiln in a few swift motions, using the chimney to shield his form.

The brick kiln was already situated on high terrain.
Once climbing above, he could finally get a clear view of the entire concentration camp.

The concentration camp was large, with tall walls that separated it into five areas.
The brick kiln he was at was in the northeastern corner.
Next to it, there was a mess hall, kennels, and some plots for growing vegetables.
The soldier’s barracks were at the northwestern end.
Several concrete buildings were in the central area, presumably, the prisoner’s quarters.
The southwestern area was under construction.
The southeast spanned the largest area, comprising of many short grey buildings and a huge cylindrical grey tower.
Pipes could be dimly seen criss-crossing the ground, like those installed in a chemical plant.

Just then, he saw thick white smoke billowing out of the top of the cylindrical grey tower like a foggy cloud.
A snow-white plume appeared in the greyish-white sky, swiftly dispersed by the wind.

Memorising the entire layout of the concentration camp, he jumped back down the way he came, and returned to the crowd.

All of them were also looking towards the white smoke in the southeastern side.

“What’s that?” Someone asked.

No one answered him.
There were some who stared in confusion, and others who showed no reaction.
There were also a few others who gazed at the fleeting white smoke with deep sadness etched on their faces.

A full three minutes passed before one of the foremen raised an eyebrow.
He sneered and said, “The furnace.”

Yu Feichen lowered his gaze.

It was impossible that this concentration camp would treat the prisoners well.
He knew that he had to hurry.

Work in the brick kiln finally ceased when dusk approached.
By then, the prisoners were already covered in brick dust and were therefore given the opportunity to shower.
To Yu Feichen, this made the day somewhat more bearable.

He brought back two iron barbs that had fallen off a leather whip from the kiln.
On the other hand, Bai Song knocked the ball right out of the park—he had actually brought a brick back.

“I can’t sleep, sir.” He said to the foreman, “I need a pillow, even if it’s as hard as this.”

The foreman looked at his blistered hands, then gave a nasally grunt, saying, “Fine.
That’ll be your reward for a full day of atonement.”

As dust had entered their lungs, everyone in the cell kept coughing that night.

“This is like hell.” The friar shuddered.
With a nervous tremor in his voice, he said, “What exactly have we done wrong?”

“The motherland will save us,” Bai Song said to the friar as he pillowed his head, turning over.

The friar’s lips quivered.
“But do they know where we are?”

One hand supported against the wall, Bai Song got up.
He was about to pat the friar’s shoulder when he suddenly froze.

A shudder ran through his entire body.
He looked at the foot of the wall in horror—

When he got up, the blisters formed on three of his fingers had streaked three fresh bloodstains across the wall—

In the exact image of the three bizarre marks that had appeared last night.

How could this be? Just how could this be?

Yu Feichen put his right hand on his shoulder.

Bai Song breathed in deeply and seemed to calm down slightly.

“You can rest for a while first,” Yu Feichen told them.
“I’ll wake all of you up before twelve.”

“What do you mean?” The brawny blonde asked him.

“After midnight,” Yu Feichen weighed his words.
“Something… strange might happen.
You’ll find out when the time comes.”

After a brief pause, he said, “Or, it could be our escape ticket.”

With this, ignoring their questions, he shut his eyes.

The previous night, two men had gone missing from this cell.
Last night, a strange turn appeared in the cell.
Most certainly, this night would be no exception.

At midnight, the bell tolled.

Yu Feichen opened his eyes.

He used his lighter to illuminate the foot of the wall—the three bloodstains from not long ago had changed from fresh red to faded marks.
Bai Song looked nervous and fraught.

He wasn’t good at comforting people, so he simply picked up the brick that Bai Song had brought back.

After the senior officer had effortlessly picked the iron lock with a piece of wire, the chief warden changed the lock on the door to a new brass lock that looked much sturdier.

Yu Feichen slammed the brick against the lock.
The clay in the land here was sticky; the burnt bricks were hard as stone.
After slamming it a few times, he heard the lock core loosen.

“What are you doing?” The friar screamed.
“They’ll hear you.”

Yu Feichen stopped moving.
He let the dead silence around them answer the friar.

Putting down the brick, he twisted the two iron barbs together, sticking them into the lock hole.

After a few attempts, the brass lock popped open with a click.

And with a creaking noise, Yu Feichen pulled the iron-barred door open and stepped out.

The corridor was deathly silent.

So were the other cells.

He walked to the lavatory and used the lighter to heat up the tin soap box next to the sink.
In it, the inferior quality butter soap bar for communal use quickly melted into a translucent pool of grease.
He then ripped a thin strip of cloth from his shirt and dipped it in the grease, leaving only a short end exposed.
The linen was flammable and could be used as a barely passable wick.

Using the lighter to ignite the cloth, the soap box was turned into a rudimentary oil lamp.

Dim light shone upon the empty corridor.

He checked the cell next door first.
It was empty.
The other cells, as well.

Bai Song caught up to him.

“Those marks—” Bai Song said, “I am probably the one who made them.
But they appeared even though I hadn’t done that last night.”

He looked around them.
“So, this… Now… Is this now the here in the future?”

His wording was confusing.
But Yu Feichen understood what he meant.

Last night, three faded bloodstains appeared on the wall after midnight.

On this night, Bai Song left three marks on the wall because of the bleeding blisters on his fingers.

Which also meant to say, the barracks after midnight, had possibly transformed into the barracks from a certain point in the future.
Whereas they were still the same as before.

He answered Bai Song, “I believe so.”

“Then James, what should we do?”

The name James still hadn’t quite stuck with Yu Feichen.
His memory of names was as poor as his memory of faces.
Surprisingly, Yu Feichen was the one name that he could clearly remember from the many names that he had been given in the various worlds—so from then on, he just kept using it.

He said, “You can call me by another name.”

He had bought the translation sphere in Paradise.
No matter which world he was in, he wouldn’t encounter any language barrier.
After a brief moment of thought, he said a syllable to Bai Song that was more easily pronounced by the people in this world: “Yu.”

“Yu,” repeated Bai Song.
Then he said, “What are you going to do?”

“There’s no one here now,” Yu Feichen said.
“There might not be anyone outside either.
We can get out of here.”


“We’ll scout out the route first.” Yu Feichen said, “Once we have it down, we can take our time to find an opportunity.
I’ll get all of you out of here.”

At night, time in this barracks seemed to have mysteriously warped.
There was no telling what would happen if they escaped in the night.

—And this was precisely what Yu Feichen found strange.
He had done missions in many types of worlds before, and those worlds were always consistent.
If it was normal, it would always be normal; if there were the supernatural, there would always be the supernatural; if time could be changed, then the principle of the change would be well documented like a nursery rhyme in a textbook.

Instead, there was a sudden shift in the timeline in a world that had only developed to the stage of thermal weapons.
It was similar to a lace bow that appeared on the chest of a military uniform; it wouldn’t match, nor would it look aesthetically pleasing.

If there was such a twisted land beyond the Gate of Eternal Night, with even him having to surmise the mission objective himself—then, perhaps his choice to stay away from the Divine Lord was a mistake.

“Get us out of here?” Bai Song said, “There are seven of us.
It’d be hard to escape, no?”

“Not seven,” Yu Feichen said.
“What I mean is, everyone.”

Bai Song’s brain jammed.

Yu Feichen looked towards their cell and the remaining five men in it.
“Are you coming with me?”

The brawny blonde hesitated, but was the first to go over to him.
He was followed by the big-nosed man, and the chemistry teacher.

With only two men left in the cell, the empty barracks felt much more foreboding.

“I want to get out, I want to get out.” The friar muttered, “God be with us.”

And he, too, came along.

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