Chapter 24: Chapter 24 – Louder, I Can’t Hear You
Translator: Dragon Boat Translation Editor: Dragon Boat Translation
The next morning, everyone put on the uniforms that they were given. The uniforms did not have camouflage patterns, unlike that of typical military wear. Instead, it was a set of grey-colored long pants with a grey-colored vest, which appeared to be a lower quality version of that worn by those clad in black vests. After everyone finished their meals in the canteen, they returned and gathered in the area in front of their dormitory building. They started counting off.
After all, thirty of them called out their respective numbers, Zhao Jingzhong said in a booming voice, “Why are your voices so soft? Are all of you still sleeping? Count off again!”
“I still can’t hear you! Louder!” shouted Zhao Jingzhong.
Zhao Jingzhong was finally satisfied after they counted off for the third time. He then brought them to a large field within the training camp.
There were already several other groups dispersed around the field. Some of them were groups that included civil servants, while others were just soldiers training by themselves. Ren Suo reconnoitered around the running track and figured out that it was about a kilometer long. In fact, the first item on their training regime was to do a one-kilometer run!
Ren Suo did not have any qualms about running this distance. Civil servants who have successfully entered the service had already had to undergo a physical fitness examination. Although some of them were fitter than the others, a one-kilometer run should not pose a major challenge to everyone.
However, Zhao Jingzhong then said that it was not just a typical run. Instead, they had to train while running!
“This sports ground is unlike any other sports ground. Although there is a running track, as well as a fully-equipped football field with maintained grass turfs and goalposts, and there are even people playing football on it…the truth is, this place is not so ordinary,” Zhao Jingzhong said. “This is a training area filled with an abundance of Reiki, and was chosen and deployed by a select group of professionals.”
He continued, “I cannot disclose the specific details of the technology and methods used to achieve this, but what I can say is that the amount of Reiki present in this sports ground is three times higher than that in other environments. If you perform your training here, you can accomplish more with less effort and master the skills and techniques in a shorter amount of time. There are six of such sports grounds in the entire training camp, specifically used by Practitioners to train.”
Someone asked, “Instructor, wouldn’t the Reiki escape since there are no shelters over the sports grounds?”
“It won’t escape,” Zhao Jingzhong replied instantly. It was as if he had been through professional training and knew that the students would ask such a question. He explained, “Reiki is just a term that we use when we talk about it. It is intangible and cannot be seen or touched, and neither is it a gas. Rather, Reiki is an energy that fills the entire universe, and it would not be contained nor dispersed by physical barriers or the lack of it.”
“Instructor, which place has the most Reiki?”
“Instructor, which specific area is Reiki most concentrated? Is it on the sides of the running track? Or is it 1 meter away from it? 2 meters?”
Zhao Jingzhong was annoyed by the dozens of questions asked by the group. Exasperated, he snapped, “Stop asking so many questions! I’m now going to tell you the method to practice. I won’t repeat it again even if you can’t hear! All of you—”
The group quieted down immediately. An extremely pleased Zhao Jingzhong continued, “This is the most basic method of practice. Firstly, at such a place, you…”
“Louder, I can’t hear!” interjected someone rudely.
Instantaneously, Zhao Jingzhong’s fuse blew. He hollered, “Who was that?! Come out now!”
No one said anything as Zhao Jingzhong took a quick sweeping glance at the group. He was actually astonished, for he had not seen anyone talking. Furthermore, the voice did not seem to have come from the group of students, but instead came from above them.
However, he was certain that it was one of the students who had made the remark, but he simply had not noticed who it was. That was what infuriated him the most. He had been transferred from the military to the Ministry of State Security to be part of the first batch of internally trained fighters. While he was in the military, he was a squad commander, and his military instincts naturally kicked in. He could not tolerate such deliberate disobedience and talking back to those of higher ranks.
“I repeat, come, out, now!” Zhao Jingzhong shouted again.
He waited for another three seconds but still, no one owned up. His voice turned cold as he commanded, “All of you, in a push-up position, ready!”
Everyone in the group looked at each other. Some of them complied and crouched down into position while some of them had no intention to receive the punishment. A proud and arrogant Xie Qiansi questioned, “Why should I do it?”
“Why? Because someone amongst all of you was asking for trouble, and yet he did not take the initiative to own up, so all of you will be punished together!”
“On what basis should we be punished as a whole?” probed Xie Qiansi. Unlike typical university students who trapped themselves in their own ivory tower, he was ready to go head to head against Zhao Jingzhong. After all, Xie Qiansi came from a well-off family and naturally had a vast amount of experiences. He continued, “Why are you venting your anger on all of us when it was you who did not have the ability to find out who that person was? Who do you think you are?”
“Because all of you are a group and treated as one!” Zhao Jingzhong replied as he stared coldly at Xie Qiansi.
“A group as one? Just because you were from the military doesn’t mean we would follow suit here,” Xie Qiansi retorted. “We have only just met one another yesterday. I can’t even remember all of their names or their faces at this point. Why should we be treated as a group, as one entity? Shouldn’t you be part of us then, why are you not doing it too?”
He rattled on, “After five days, all of us will be dispatched to different parts of Xuan Nation to work for the people. We are all here to learn and to practice, not for you to vent your anger on when you feel humiliated! Furthermore, Xuan Nation has already been reformed into an open society since tens of years ago. Don’t bamboozle us with your feudalistic ‘One for all, all for one’ mentality from the olden times! You either be courageous enough to find out who offended you by yourself, or you carry on with the lesson normally! We are not your soldiers and we don’t need to comply with everything you say. Are you going to shoot all of us dead if a murder happened in here?”
It must have been addictive for Xie Qiansi the moment he started rambling on. Nonetheless, all
that he said was true; on what basis should everyone be punished just because the offender did not own himself up? A normal person would not be willing to take the blame for others unless it was a close friend or colleague whom one could ‘protect’ with a short explanation. There was virtually no way anyone in the group, who had been mere strangers less than 24 hours ago, would be willing to take responsibility for the offender. Furthermore, they did not even know each other’s names nor did they know who the offender was.
Xie Qiansi had not blurted his words out without thinking through it carefully. Everything that he said was straight to the point, and he had positioned himself well with the common person’s stance. Although his ‘WeChat group’ was currently ineffective, Xie Qiansi knew that these people would be able to enjoy their lives when they left the camp. It would be beneficial for him if he got into the good books of everyone and stood up for them against such unacceptable demands to forge ‘friendships’ with his comrades.
Most importantly, Xie Qiansi was sure that Zhao Jingzhong would have to impart the knowledge of how to train and practice to them either way or else it would not have done him any good to go against Zhao Jingzhong.
However, Xie Qiansi was still unable to preempt the mindset of these ex-soldiers. Zhao Jingzhong’s face turned grim as he went against Xie Qiansi physically!
“I see you’re much like that troublemaking ass!” Zhao Jingzhong retorted.
He was blazingly fast, and his hands that were made of steel were equally threatening. Given his background, Xie Qiansi had been treated well ever since he was young, and although he would have kept fit occasionally, he was not adept in fighting, and definitely not prepared to
dodge Zhao Jingzhong’s swift attack.
However, two pairs of hands promptly reached out to stop him. The pair on the left punched directly at Zhao Jingzhong’s elbows and in one swift motion locked his arms to prevent him from further attacks, while two hands on the right grabbed onto Zhao Jingzhong’s shoulders as if resting them on his shoulders.
“Instructor, I don’t think there’s a need to get physical. Is there?” Ren Suo said with a grin. “It’s just push-ups, we’ll all do it.”
“That’s right,” said Zhao Huo, who was pressing down Zhao Jingzhong’s shoulders. He smiled and said, “We will keep him in check and stop him from spouting such nonsense again.”
Zhao Jingzhong glared at them as he writhed himself free of their grip and walked back to the front with a cold snort.
Ren Suo could finally heave a sigh of relief. It was fortunate that he had equipped himself with the ‘Fighter Novice’ ability before he turned up for the interview, in case any unfortunate events occurred, and perhaps because he did not want to waste the ability. When he saw Zhao Jingzhong walk up to Xie Qiansi and about to hit him, Ren Suo took initiative to stop him.
On one hand, despite Xie Qiansi being provocative and authoritative, he knew how to keep good relationships with others—he had bought a lot of delicious food from the supermarket for his roommates to eat the previous night. On the other hand, Ren Suo wanted to test out the ‘Fighter Novice’ ability and find out how effective it was.
The result was relatively good. Although Zhao Jingzhong did not use his ‘extraordinary abilities’, he looked like an experienced soldier who was moderately good at fighting in comparison with average people. The fact that Ren Suo could subdue him rather easily meant that Ren Suo’s fighting ability was at least that of an experienced soldier.
In addition, Ren Suo would have earned himself some fame. Zhao Jingzhong was not just an ordinary person, but an Extraordinaire in charge of training them. For Ren Suo to have been able to stop him in one swift movement was sufficient for others to look up to him.
Zhao Huo did not seem weak either and could possibly be another determined warrior who stayed up for two nights to complete the game [A Warrior Ascends 10,000 Meters]. Ren Suo was also not sure who was the more skillful one between him and Zhao Huo, but those who had been selected for the training camp must have been of a certain proficiency.
Qiao Muyi and Li Qingxuan were looking in Ren Suo’s direction, and he turned around and smiled at them. Did I gain a +1 good impression point?
“You guys have a point,” said Zhao Jingzhong. He appeared to have put what had just happened aside quickly and said, “We should start our actual practice now.”
“Listen carefully. This method only works if you follow the breathing sequence while you are running, so you must follow the breathing sequence strictly. You must complete 64 cycles of the sequence before you can stop, and if you mess up any part of the sequence, your prior efforts would all be wasted.”
“One breath is one inhalation and one exhalation. A long breath would be a very slow inhalation and exhalation, while a short breath is an inhalation and an exhalation within one second. The entire sequence goes: three long, one short, two long, three short…”
“If your breathing rhythm is correct and effective, the Reiki in the air will be inhaled into your body. Each complete cycle is considered one round of practice. After ten rounds of practice, you will be able to form your own ‘air currents’.”
Zhao Jingzhong repeated the breathing rhythm sequence thrice. He then pointed at the running track and said, “All right, all of you will now start your practice.”
“Take note,” Zhao Jingzhong said as if he suddenly remembered something. He continued, “All of you are considered to possess special abilities based on your physical conditions; however… if you are still unable to generate your own breathing currents after these five days, it means that your abilities are barely usable…”