Volume 1 – Between Daybreak and Evernight, Chapter 5: Evernight and Daybreak
At that moment, Qianye was immensely exhausted in both body and mind, and in the blink of an eye he fell into a deep slumber.
But after only three hours, Qianye was awoken by the piercing sound of the alarm. He instantly remembered Long Hai’s orders. He immediately scrambled out of his bed, leaped over to grab his clothes and put them on as fast as he possibly could. Naturally, it was unavoidable that the whip wound on his back would be touched, causing him to inhale sharply through his teeth, steeling himself against the pain.
The children had to wake up and assemble in less than five minutes. The last three to arrive would receive three extra lashes.
Numbly, Qianye stood in the ranks, and began running along the mountain trail, numbly following orders. After he finished running for five kilometers and finally returned to the start, he really became numb.
Thanks to his day-to-day struggle in the junkyard, Qianye performed exceptionally well in this running drill. He was the tenth to make it back.
Next was an hour of strength training. Anyone who was unable to complete the training would be lashed. Unfortunately, the petite and thin Qianye took a lashing.
This was only the beginning. Of all the upcoming training, the leather whip would leave the deepest impression in the children’s minds.
After the strength training did breakfast time finally arrive.
Breakfast was the best feature of the entire training camp. Not only did it have a great variety of food, the amount was also unlimited. It was all you could eat without any restrictions, except for time. Breakfast was thirty minutes. It was almost extravagantly long, so no one ever exceeded the time limit.
The experiences of the past day had already taught these children that exceeding the set time limit would be turned into lashes.
The Yellow Springs Training Camp hosted a number of children from esteemed and powerful families, but the majority were commoner children selected from various regions. There were also a few who were orphans with similar experiences as Qianye. Seeing such a palatial first meal, most of those who were used to year-long struggles lost control and ate as though their life was on the line, fearing that there wouldn’t be another chance.
However, Qianye ate cautiously to the point of being slightly more full than usual and stopped there. In the junkyard, he had watched on many occasions as someone found a large bag of food, and then died from eating too much.
Breakfast time was over. When the bell rang, the children rushed toward the gate like the tide. At this moment, an accident occurred. A little girl suddenly fell to the ground, then rolled and rumbled in pain, screaming and shrieking endlessly. A short while later, she stopped moving.
She had overeaten, to the point of losing her life.
This breakfast, and this little girl, taught moderation to the children who survived.
After breakfast was training again. The entire day was various kinds of training, and all of them were related to strength and endurance.
Every single time he reached the halfway point for a training drill, Qianye would feel that he could not continue on. However, the stubborness and willpower he had since childhood supported him, forcing his tiny body to follow the motions one by one in an unfeeling state, completing the training task. His days in the junkyard had taught him that even in times of utmost despair, as long as he forged on with tightly clenched teeth, tomorrow would always come.
When he finally laid back down onto his bed, Qianye didn’t even know how he had survived the whole day. This time he didn’t hurt himself and slept on his stomach, while his tender back showed traces of the three lashes he received.
Qianye immediately passed out nearly at the moment he got onto his bed. He dreamt that night; his dreams were filled with the whistle of the whip lashing through the air.
At six in the morning, the shrieking alarm woke Qianye from his dreams. He leaped down from the bed with a single movement, then dressed himself entirely by instinct and dashed out of the barracks. Throughout the entire course of events, his eyes had never even fully opened.
Exiting the barracks, the bright sunshine stung Qianye’s eyes and caused him to squint. He suddenly recalled that right now ought to be the dark season. Why would there be sunlight at six in the morning?
Only in the next moment did Qianye realize that he was already no longer in the junkyard, and had come to the middle layer continent where the Empire stood—Qin. The sunlight here was rarely blocked by the other upper continents, so naturally there would be sunlight at six o’clock.
Qianye was dumbstruck, but hesitated for less than the blink of an eye before rushing to his position and standing straight as a spear.
Once again, a new day had begun.
The leather whip in the instructor’s hands remained Qianye’s most profound memory of that day. Again, he was lashed once for failing to complete the required number of drills in the specified time.
The experiences of the other children differed little from Qianye’s. Only the strongest few did not get punished, while the weakest suffered five lashes and fell to the ground in the end, unable to get up with his own strength. He was dragged out of the training grounds right away. Qianye never saw that child ever again.
During the night of the third day, the instructors brought a huge barrel of a black colored balm-like substance and forced the children to smear it on their lash wounds. The balm was even more painful than the lashes themselves upon application. However, after half a night of unbearable pain, the lash wounds on Qianye’s body were almost completely healed.
Just like this, days flew by. Every single night Qianye would dream, and all of the dreams would be related to being thrashed by the whip.
Only a month later, did Qianye finally see the first day without whipping. And during that night, Qianye suddenly counted the companions who begun training in the same term as him. He realized with shock that there were only around sixty or seventy people left around him. Of the originally over a hundred children, thirty had already disappeared within a month.
What was next was still endless strength and endurance training, as well as unceasing thrashing of the whip.
After the first bloody day, Long Hai no longer immediately executed any children for infinitesimal matters. Only actions that directly violated prohibitions would be met with execution. But even so, after an entire three months since Qianye entered the training camp, only sixty were left of his companions; nearly half were gone. The vanished children were mostly eliminated by the cruel training.
However, Qianye’s body had strengthened a great deal after three months. Compared to when he first entered, he was an entirely different person.
The first day after three months, Qianye and his companions were brought to a multistory building, and were given a special class.
The one who taught the class was a tall and beautiful woman, approximately twenty seven or twenty eight years old. The uniform struggled to contain her plump bosom.
Striding briskly onto the podium, she wrote the large words “Essence of the World” on the blackboard. Reading it out loud first, she then said, “I know that most of you here don’t recognize these words, but that’s okay. You have a month of time to study; I will issue teaching materials to you in a moment, and properly teach you how to read in excess of your training. Examination will take place in one month. Now, let me tell you about the essence of the world we live in.”
The essence of the world was origin power.
According to the beautiful teacher, Zhang Jing, the root and source that supported the entire world was precisely origin power.
Origin power was not uniform. It was divided into two different characteristics; origin power that inclined toward the light was referred to as Daybreak origin power, while the dark-leaning was Darkness origin power.
All living things adhered to a side of origin energy to survive, and thereby were naturally categorized into the two factions of Daybreak and Evernight. Even different races of the same faction would differ in their degree of inclination toward either side of Daybreak and Evernight.
Humans were situated at the side of Daybreak, while the various dark races that enslaved the humans belonged to the side of Evernight. Their power, and even their lives all existed by adhering to Darkness origin power. The dark races used to be incomparably powerful and were composed of many branches. Among them, vampires, werewolves, demonkin and arachne were all mighty races whose names spread far and wide.
But humans were a strange race. Even though the vast majority were inclined toward the side of Daybreak, there were also many who affiliated with Evernight, so much so that there were those who devoted their entire lives for Evernight even after awakening Daybreak origin power. This was unimaginable to the dark races who could only be considered adult after passing through the baptism of Darkness origin power, but it was not a rare occurrence for humans.
It was said that between Evernight and Daybreak, there still existed origin power in its most pure and unadulterated form. However, rarely could anyone sense the origin power of the root, let alone cultivate it. In this world, there weren’t any races corresponding to the root origin power either.
Origin power and cultivation…
Listening to here, Qianye couldn’t help but clench his right hand into a fist, as though wanting to catch the last remaining hint of warmth. In that restless night of the Crimson Moon, that large and powerful hand was like a faint wisp of light within in the darkness.
Zhang Jing slapped the podium desk, and the smooth metal surface split apart from the middle. Amidst the faint sound of machinery turning, an odd object made of countless metal wires, rods and cogs of various shapes and sizes rose up, and unfolded one by one in suspension. This 3D model was the world map.
The entire world was dynamic. Cogs turning, metal wires pulling, the components representing continent and celestial bodies were slowly moving along their orbits.
Strange and unfamiliar terms popped out one after another from Zhang Jing’s mouth. There were a total of twenty-seven continents that humans had already explored in this world. They were not unmoving in the void; instead, they slowly moved without any pause according to a profound track. Above these continents, there existed two suns, while several enormous celestial bodies were around them. It was said that these celestial bodies were the moons that could be seen at nighttime. According to the difference in orbits, the moon that one saw every night might not always be the same.
Including Qianye, most of the children were unable to make heads or tails out of what they heard, and could only try to learn them the dumb way, memorizing every word she spoke. At the same time, they stared fixedly at that model with its many wires, the model so complex that they became dizzy just from looking at it, hoping that they could memorize enough of it in the shortest amount of time possible.
Only the few children who had come from great and powerful families seemed to have been aware of this knowledge already, and thus appeared unperturbed amidst the turmoil.
“The sun’s rays will be blocked by the upper continents, so the lower down the continents, the less sunlight they receive. Yet again, every single continent’s origin power’s attribute is different; some are of the Daybreak side, while some are of the Evernight side. Continents with a clearly defined origin power attribute are the natural habitats of the various races. There are also some continents with indistinct attributes of origin power, and these continents are the focal points of conflict between the two factions.” Zhang Jing’s voice was very pleasant to the ears, and her explanation was also simple and easy to understand. If not for that, most children wouldn’t have understood anything at all.
She pointed at the group of continents at the lowest of layers, “Such as this one, which has the longest night time of all continents. Although there are also four distinct seasons on this continent, most simply divide the year according to the interval during which it receives direct sunlight, resulting in the light season and dark season. In a year, three months are the light season, and the rest are the dark season. Thus, the battle for survival on this continent is exceptionally nasty. However, it is the land from which all of humanity originated. The Empire also rose from there, even though it is not important at all to the current Empire’s domain. This continent, we call it the Evernight Continent, or as an alias, the abandoned land.”
Qianye’s entire body suddenly shook. There seemed to be some tepid thing that wanted to flow from his eyes. This Evernight Continent was the place he had lived in for as long as he could remember. Actually, there seemed to be someone who had lived together with him, but he had already forgotten when that person had left and never appeared ever again.
Unwittingly, class had already reached its end.
Zhang Jing retracted the model back into the podium, and then spoke, “We will meet one month later. The topic of the next lesson is the War of Daybreak. This is the war during which mankind truly made their stand. It was a war of destiny, and also the war that founded the Empire.”