Chapter 103: Special Training
A few days later, when the Old Task Force’s afternoon training session was about to begin.
Jiang Baimian walked back to her room with a slightly complicated expression. She came in front of Long Yuehong and fell silent for a moment. “Your transfer application has been rejected.”
Long Yuehong’s body swayed slightly, and he couldn’t conceal the disappointment on his face.
Jiang Baimian sighed softly. “It says that we shouldn’t abandon or give up on lagging members. We can’t directly sentence them to death just because they show psychological discomfort during a single training session.
“Besides, nobody has applied to join the Old Task Force at the moment. There’s a lack of manpower everywhere. To get a replacement, we can only wait for the next assignment.”
Long Yuehong lowered his head and muttered to himself, “…I understand, I understand.”
Jiang Baimian tersely acknowledged his words and consoled him with a smile. “I won’t ask you to say it louder this time.”
Long Yuehong fell silent for a moment before saying, “I’m actually not that disappointed, and I’m not in pain. At least I find the Old Task Force’s job meaningful now.”
Jiang Baimian smiled. “If it wasn’t meaningful, I wouldn’t have established the Old Task Force either.”
With that said, she patted Long Yuehong on the shoulder. “Train well, improve yourself, and strive to live until July next year. When the time comes, I can apply for a new member and replace you.”
Long Yuehong smiled in a way that looked more like a grimace. “Team Leader, your words are inauspicious.”
At this moment, Shang Jianyao came over and smiled. “Team Leader, you should say: I’ll beat you up later and improve your survivability!”
Long Yuehong’s face turned pale. He inexplicably felt that this was more terrifying than going out into the field for investigations. After all, there were still a few months before the next mission’s official start, where he would face all kinds of dangers. There were only about ten minutes before their afternoon training session started.
Jiang Baimian repeated Shang Jianyao’s words, but she wasn’t staring at Long Yuehong. Instead, she was looking at Shang Jianyao. “I’ll beat you up later and improve your survivability!”
She put on a look that made her seem eager to get her hands dirty. She then thoughtfully said to Long Yuehong, “If there’s a chance, we’ll get you another military exoskeleton. This can effectively enhance your strength.”
“Sure, sure.” Long Yuehong’s eyes lit up.
Jiang Baimian thought for a moment and said, “Actually, you can also consider a biomechanical limb transplant. It’s much safer than genetic modification. If you have a man’s romance and like machines, you can try replacing certain parts of your body with machines. Some large factions are very good at this. I remember there’s a mechanical arm model that has many functions. It’s quite desirable.”
“…There’s no need for that for the time being.” Long Yuehong still preferred his original body.
“Sigh, I’m only 1.75 meters tall after genetic enhancement. I might as well replace it.” Shang Jianyao ‘helped’ do a voice-over.
Long Yuehong’s facial muscles twitched as he blurted out, “Why aren’t you doing the replacement?”
“I haven’t gotten a chance yet,” Shang Jianyao replied seriously.
Long Yuehong was speechless.
Upon seeing the atmosphere turn for the better, Jiang Baimian turned her head to Bai Chen, who was watching quietly. “That suggestion was also for you. Biological prosthetic limb transplant and mechanical modification technology are relatively mature, so they aren’t that dangerous.
“Do you want to pair up with me and be Lightning Sisters?”
Just as she said that, Shang Jianyao made a comment before Bai Chen could speak. “Team Leader, your sense of naming sucks. You must have skipped on listening to the radio!”
“… I think you have skipped on getting electrocuted.” Jiang Baimian gritted her teeth.
Bai Chen slowly exhaled and nodded. “I’ll consider it.”
“The only question is: who’s the older sister and who’s the younger sister?” Shang Jianyao ‘helped’ Bai Chen with a voice-over again.
Jiang Baimian was momentarily at a loss for words. This was because Bai Chen was indeed older than her. Furthermore, she was very mature in terms of mental age. But as team leader, Jiang Baimian could not bring herself to call herself the younger sister.
She had always designated herself as the team’s protector and guardian.
Jiang Baimian quickly came to a realization and glared at Shang Jianyao. During this process, she laughed and changed the topic. “After today’s training, there’s still a special training session. This is to train your courage.”
“How?” Long Yuehong was a little afraid.
Jiang Baimian raised her chin and smiled. “Stay here alone tonight. You can’t bring a flashlight or any illumination tools.”
“That sounds a little terrifying…” Long Yuehong sighed sincerely.
Jiang Baimian nodded. “Only one person for each round of training. Otherwise, it will be useless. Shang Jianyao, it’s you tonight. Bai Chen, it’s you tomorrow night. Long Yuehong, the night after tomorrow.”
Long Yuehong heaved a sigh of relief when he heard that he was not the first. “Yes, Team Leader!”
Shang Jianyao solemnly said, “Yes, Team Leader!”
After Bai Chen replied, Shang Jianyao raised his hand and asked, “Can I sleep while staying here? Can I turn on the speaker to listen to music?”
“None of that!” Jiang Baimian replied firmly.
After dinner, Jiang Baimian, Long Yuehong, and Bai Chen left Room 14 one after another and returned to their respective floors.
At the same time, Jiang Baimian took away all the flashlights and batteries.
Shang Jianyao read the thick oral histories under the light in the room. From time to time, he could hear the radio announcing the time.
At 9 p.m., all the lights on the entire floor went out at the same time, and the area in front of Shang Jianyao turned pitch-black.
There was no natural light source here at all. There were tables, chairs, and walls all around. Shang Jianyao couldn’t even see his finger, much less the outline of various objects.
He subconsciously wanted to turn on the table lamp, but he realized that it was useless.
The 647th floor was not like the Residential Zone. After the street lamps were switched off, one could use their own energy allocation to give light to their home. But here, all rooms would have their power cut at the stipulated time unless the corresponding person-in-charge submitted a request to work late or work all night.
Shang Jianyao retracted his hand and sized up his surroundings again. All he saw was rich darkness.
In this darkness, he didn’t know where the boundaries were, nor did he know if anything else was hiding around him apart from the familiar objects.
Furthermore, the 647th floor was different from the Residential Zones. The rooms in the Residential Zones were densely packed, and the soundproofing was average. Every night when it was quiet, Shang Jianyao could always hear some private conversations and grunting sounds.
Sometimes, children would cry, adults would quarrel, and someone would snore. Before Shang Jianyao fell asleep, the night was often not absolutely quiet.
In such a workplace, it was relatively lively during the day. After 7 p.m., there might not be more than ten living people on the entire floor. When the lights were switched off, there were almost no humans.
Therefore, Shang Jianyao felt that this place was abnormally quiet at this moment, so quiet that it seemed to have frozen.
A creaking sound suddenly sounded. Shang Jianyao took the initiative to shift the stool, breaking the terrifying stillness.
But moving around wasn’t something he could keep doing. The sound quickly subsided as if it was swallowed by the thick darkness around him.
Shang Jianyao sat there with his eyes wide open and stared into the darkness’ depths, wanting to see what was happening.
This darkness and silence made him unable to determine his own existence. He felt like he would be swallowed by the darkness at any moment.
After an unknown period of time, Shang Jianyao suddenly starting singing. “Reminiscing the past, a painful yearning that I can’t forget…”
As he sang, he switched to a more intense genre. “Arise, ye prisoners of starvation… Arise, ye wretched of the earth…”
He roared as if he wanted to break the extreme darkness and silence.
After he roared, Shang Jianyao stopped and panted slightly.
The entire floor became quiet again, and the darkness never changed.
Shang Jianyao calmed down for a while before singing again.
He sang and stopped, but he couldn’t get a response. He couldn’t break through the darkness.
After a long while, Shang Jianyao suddenly spoke and shouted, “Is there anyone? Is there anyone there!?”
He only received his own echo.
Unknowingly, Shang Jianyao’s breathing became heavier as if he was using this method to prove that he still existed.
At this moment, he suddenly turned his head and looked at the door.
Light footsteps came from the side and quickly approached. A yellow beam of light shone into the room.
The beam of light then rose, illuminating a bright, white face.
“Am I terrifying?” A faint female voice echoed in the room.
Shang Jianyao glanced at Jiang Baimian—who was using the flashlight to illuminate her face. “You’re so childish.”
“…” Jiang Baimian replied in exasperation and amusement, “I’m just concerned about you and trying to lighten the mood!”
Without waiting for Shang Jianyao to speak, she curled her lips. “You really can’t sing well.”
“Have you been hiding next door?” Shang Jianyao asked directly.
Jiang Baimian smiled and explained, “Two rooms away. Otherwise, you, an Awakened, would’ve discovered me.” She walked to Shang Jianyao’s side, pulled out a chair, and sat down.
She shook the flashlight and watched the light dance wildly.
After a few seconds, she casually said, “This special training was mainly designed for you. Your fear of being sealed in darkness and extreme silence should’ve been generated when your mother was hospitalized for a long time after your father disappeared, right?
“At that time, you were only 13 or 14 years old. When you woke up in the middle of the night, there was no one at home, and there was no sound around you… Thus, you emboldened yourself by singing?”
Shang Jianyao remained silent and didn’t answer.
Jiang Baimian laughed and continued, “You have to deal with this problem step by step and adapt to it step by step. You can’t be too agitated in the beginning, or it will only worsen your fear. Therefore, I’ll accompany you for the first few times. I might have a few words with you, but I won’t turn on the flashlight.
“When you get used to this situation, I won’t speak, and I’ll also sit further away.
“After this phase ends and if you don’t encounter any negative problems, I’ll go two rooms away and stay there so that you won’t see or hear me but know that someone is nearby. When the time comes, I might quietly return home, but I won’t tell you.”
Shang Jianyao quietly listened and nodded as the flashlight beam shone at him. “Alright.”
Jiang Baimian smiled and switched off the flashlight.
The entire room became abnormally dark again, but compared to before, there was an additional sound of breathing.