Embers Ad Infinitum

Chapter 11: Treatment

Chapter 11: Treatment

Translator: virtual group Editor: virtual group

Long Yuehong’s lips quivered as he laughed self-deprecatingly. “I don’t think I’m the chosen one, but the unlucky one.”

He spoke very softly, nor did he repeat himself. Jiang Baimian tilted her head slightly and tried to make out what he was saying, but she failed to hear him clearly. Even so, Jiang Baimian did not ask Long Yuehong to raise his voice.

She smiled and said, “We will be doing all kinds of training, including but not limited to, shooting, combat, wilderness survival, and operating exoskeleton equipment and artificial intelligence bionic armor. If anyone performs badly and fails to meet the requirements, I will kick them out of the Old Task Force and let them change jobs.”

Long Yuehong’s eyes lit up, and his frustration vanished.

“However—” Jiang Baimian deliberately did not look at him and cast her gaze at Shang Jianyao. “If anyone deliberately drags us down during training and does not do their best, I will write this matter into their file. I believe all of you should be very clear about the consequences.”

Once a company employee had a black mark in their file, it was almost certain that they wouldn’t be assigned a good job subsequently. If they accumulated three black marks, they would be exiled to the Ashlands.

Shang Jianyao did not look at the change in Long Yuehong’s expression and said seriously, “If we can’t even pass training, how can we save the world?”

Bai Chen—who was sitting on the long sofa—couldn’t help but look at this young man again, wondering if something was wrong with his brain.

Although Shang Jianyao’s looks suited her aesthetics, she still deliberated and reminded Jiang Baimian, “Team Leader, after we complete the training course, it’s best we do a thorough evaluation of everyone’s physical and mental state. In the Ashlands, it’s very easy for humans to break down for various reasons and show signs of mental abnormalities. This will bring a lot of trouble, so we have to eliminate such latent dangers in advance.”

“Good suggestion.” Jiang Baimian snapped her fingers. “The only problem is, can you speak louder? I almost didn’t hear you clearly.”

“Yes, Team Leader!” Bai Chen replied loudly in her hoarse voice.

Jiang Baimian nodded in satisfaction and continued speaking. “In short, those who can complete all the training subjects and pass my inspection will still have a high chance of survival in the subsequent missions. For those whose abilities do not meet the requirements, I will not allow them to remain in the Old Task Force and face dangers they cannot face. To the company, every bit of labor is precious enough. Thus, it will not easily abandon you until all your value is drained.”

“Uh...” Long Yuehong heaved a sigh of relief. He no longer felt as terrified and depressed. He wanted to respond, but he felt that the team leader’s last sentence was a little strange, causing him to feel a little hurt deep down.

Bai Chen frowned slightly, wondering if the team leader was like Shang Jianyao—slightly mental. How could she be so straightforward with the truth?

Clap! Clap! Clap!

Shang Jianyao clapped enthusiastically. “Well said!”

Jiang Baimian’s smile stiffened, and she said, “Shang Jianyao, I find your performance a little different from the typical person. Could you be unsuited for the Old Task Force?”

“Isn’t that great? When everyone is depressed, negative, and in despair, there’s still one person who keeps smiling. He’s full of passion and uses all kinds of actions to entertain everyone.” Shang Jianyao smiled.

Jiang Baimian was slightly surprised. “That’s a pretty normal thing to say.”

“I’ve always been normal,” Shang Jianyao replied with a straight posture.

Jiang Baimian tersely acknowledged it and suddenly smiled. “Then, in what way can you entertain everyone?”

Shang Jianyao thought for a moment and said, “Gold Coast hula dance.”

“...I’m looking forward to it,” said Jiang Baimian perfunctorily. “Oh right, where did you learn it from?”

“From the Entertainment Department’s end-of-year performance,” Shang Jianyao answered frankly.

“Ah, I didn’t see it!” Jiang Baimian clapped her hands lightly.

Bai Chen’s heart palpitated as she listened to their conversation. She began to wonder if joining this group might be a mistake. She swept her gaze over and saw that Long Yuehong’s expression was also filled with confusion and suspicion.

Other than me, the most normal person in this group is actually this stupid and timid guy? Bai Chen pulled her scarf as if she wanted to cover her entire face.

After chatting about the performances for last year’s end-of-year performance, Jiang Baimian flipped her wrist and looked at the black electronic watch around her wrist. “It’s a little late. There’s still training later. I’ll make it short.”

Upon seeing that Shang Jianyao, Long Yuehong, and Bai Chen were all looking at the watch on her wrist, Jiang Baimian waved her hand and said, “I used two soybeans and beef canned food to exchange for this from a nomad in the wilderness. He had picked it up as well, and it was already broken. Thankfully, I know a supervisor in the Factory Zone. I spent some contribution points and found an electronic engineer to help me fix it.

“Heh heh, there’s no need to be envious. You guys have a chance too. As long as you leave the company and enter the Ashlands, you’ll have a chance to scavenge and pick up trash, right, Bai Chen? I remember you were a trash hunter back then?”

Team Leader, please don’t use such unpleasant-sounding words... Bai Chen opened her mouth, only to let out a gentle sigh. “Ruin Hunter. Actually, I’m not really a Ruin Hunter. I rarely go deep into the city ruins in the wilderness. Those places are too dangerous. In the wilderness, I mostly pick up the scattered pieces of...”

Upon saying that, the petite lady paused for two seconds as though she was searching for a suitable term. However, she eventually gritted her teeth and said, “Trash! I also head to the city ruins that mostly have their dangers eliminated and are relatively close by. I look for things that the hunters don’t fancy or didn’t discover. Then, I’ll drive to various settlements in the wilderness and exchange resources with them.”

Shang Jianyao and Long Yuehong nodded, expressing their comprehension of her description. In the basic textbooks they used, there was a focus on the Ashlands’ general situation. One of them specifically introduced the Ruin Hunter occupation.

This was a vocation that gradually became popular after the Old World was destroyed. It was a vocation that sought the Old World’s ruins to obtain items, books, technical information, corresponding documents, and various resources to survive.

The composition of Ruin Hunters was very complicated. There were antiquarians, historians, scientific researchers, and large-faction investigators. However, most of them made a living by searching for and selling relics. A large portion of them were ‘part-time’ wilderness bandits.

After years of chaos, in order to exchange information and supplies and prove each other’s credibility, the Ruin Hunters established a loose organization called the Hunter’s Guild.

Jiang Baimian praised her. “You were loud enough this time.” She then smiled and said, “Actually, there are new electronic watches produced now, but they are in limited production. They can only be seen in the First City. Ah, I wonder when I’ll have the chance to visit First City.”

First City was both the name of a city and the name of a large faction. The former was said to be the first city built on a particular city ruin by humans after the Old World was destroyed. It was the latter’s capital, and the latter was currently the most populous and influential force in the Ashlands.

When she heard the name ‘First City,’ Bai Chen’s expression instantly became gloomy as if she recalled some unbearable past. She didn’t interrupt Jiang Baimian and only shrunk her body towards the sofa’s armrest.


Jiang Baimian slapped her forehead. “Look at me, I was supposed to make it short, but I ended up spouting all this nonsense. Next is the main point. Compensation! Shang Jianyao, Long Yuehong, you will be assigned D1 ranks. Just like the other jobs, you will receive 1,800 points every month. However, you will receive an additional meal allowance.

“The meal allowance is as such: you have four days off every month. The rest are training days. On training days, you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the small canteen beside us. There will be two special servings of meat dishes every day, a total of half a pound. Each serving will only cost one contribution point. You can choose to finish it in one meal or split it into two meals.

“On your rest days, you will receive 25 contribution points every day, which is equivalent to half a pound of raw pork. You will receive a total of 100 contribution points. In other words, during the training phase, uh—when it doesn’t include field training, you will receive 1,900 points a month.

“When you leave the company to train in the Ashlands, not only will your daily necessities be free, but you will also receive a fieldwork subsidy—an additional 30 points. If you are injured, all the treatment fees can be reimbursed. If you are disabled because of this, the company will provide you with free biomechanical limb transplant surgery.”

Jiang Baimian glanced at Long Yuehong when she said that. “In the event of death, you will definitely receive a bereavement pension of 80 points a month. In short, under D7, our team is treated better than any other person of the same rank. When you complete all your training and pass the assessment, you can immediately rise to D2. The other positions might take a year or two, perhaps even longer.”

Long Yuehong’s heart sank at first, but he soon felt a little happy. After all, his job sounded promising. If he could survive the first few Old Task Force operations, he might be able to reach D6. Then, he could then request to leave this position.

When that happened, he would most likely be the highest-ranking personnel among his peers with the highest income. As long as he did not live where the managers lived, he would be able to hold his head high, no matter where he went.

“As for you.” Jiang Baimian looked at Bai Chen. “As you are not an official employee yet, you will still receive the same treatment as before. However, you will also receive food and field allowances. When the training ends and you pass the assessment, you will become an official employee.”

Bai Chen’s expression had already eased up, and she nodded gently to indicate that she understood.

Jiang Baimian flexed the five fingers on her left hand. “This morning’s training is to identify firearms, dismantle, and load them.”

“Didn’t we learn this before?” Long Yuehong blurted out.

This was part of basic education. In university, there were also compulsory courses such as combat and shooting.

Jiang Baimian smiled and said, “You’ve only learned the company’s standard weapons. Next, I will, no—Bai Chen will introduce you to the various weapons produced by the different factions and those from different wildernesses and ruins.

“You must understand that it is very easy for us to lose our weapons or be unable to gather any effective supplies when we are out on missions. When the time comes, we will need to repair whatever firearms we pick up. We will also need to use the weapon corresponding to the bullet caliber1 we pick up. Every additional bit of information we grasp raises our chances of survival.

“Alright.” She clapped her hands. “Let’s go to the changing room in the small bathhouse next door and change into our uniforms. We’ll then go to Room 15.”

She then pointed at the clothes on the coffee table.

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