Han Xiao was strapped to a metal seat with his eyes forcefully pried open by extensions. Before him was a black screen with speakers on either side.
He was unable to move at all.
"How long is the procedure?"
"Keep watch here," ordered Hila before she left with some grunts.
Lin Wei Xian activated the procedure, and the screen lit up. It began to display all kinds of geometric shapes and patterns that morphed continuously. The vivid, rapidly changing colors and harshly alternating music caused Han Xiao much discomfort. While he wanted to close his eyes badly, he was unable to, and soon, his eyeballs turned bloodshot and swollen.
Ah! This is so uncomfortable!
It was a primitive method of brainwashing. The theory behind it was to overwhelm and distort the subject's thoughts to make it easier to feed messages into their mind.
It did, however, have the advantage of not causing permanent damage to the brain, which both Han Xiao and Lin Wei Xian could appreciate.
The depraved expression on Lin Wei Xian's face enraged Han Xiao. He felt like he was a pig at the slaughterhouse.
Han Xiao added two of his four unassigned points into Intelligence.
You are being Brainwashed (Low Level)
Your INT: 7
Your Resistance: 3
Han Xiao's discomfort immediately eased.
At the end of the twelve hours, Han Xiao's entire body was aching, and his eyes were completely dried out.
Hila returned on schedule. The boss had assigned her the task of brainwashing Han Xiao, so she had to ensure that everything went smoothly.
She undid Han Xiao's shackles, revealing bruises on his limbs. Although Han Xiao was still hurting, he continued to look at the screen blankly in order to act the part.
Hila suddenly bent forward, and her face came to within two inches of his. Her moist breath fell upon his lips, but Han Xiao was far too concerned with his predicament to be distracted.
Perfume filled up his nostrils, tickling him, and it took great effort on his part to resist the urge to sneeze.
"Who are you?" asked Hila in a soft, hypnotic voice.
Han Xiao decided to twitch his face instead of replying.
Although Han Xiao had never been a good actor, it wasn't too hard to act like an idiot.
Suddenly, Hila began to whisper into his ear. As her hair tickled Han Xiao's throat, two snowy mountains came into his view through the window of her collar. He steeled his heart with a prayer.
Between the mountains is a valley, empty like the void.
Atop the seas stands an island, straight as a tree.
I, who have seen over a hundred gourds, will not fall for your bait!
"From today onward, your name is Zero. The Germinal Organization is your home, your country, and your everything. You will forever be loyal to the organization and will forever strive to help the organization achieve its goals. You will neither hide anything from nor betray the organization. You will carry out your orders faithfully, and you will sacrifice yourself for the greater good when the time comes!"
Lin Wei Xian broke out in manic laughter.
"Your life belongs to the organization. You will do whatever you are ordered to do," he added.
"Who are you?" re-questioned Hila.
This time, Han Xiao knew that he had to reply. However, he did not reply immediately.
Hila shot a frown towards Lin Wei Xian.
"I followed the procedure! It's not my fault"
Suddenly, Han Xiao began to speak.
"I... am... Zero..."
Lin Wei Xian's eyes lit up.
"Valkyrie strengthened Zero's learning ability. However, as a side effect, it impaired his speech."
Hila thought back to Zero's earlier behavior. He had indeed responded slowly to his surroundings.
"Seems like the experiment was not perfect after all."
"You're wrong. This is perfection! He does not need emotions."
"...Take him to recover, I will report to the boss."
I'm safe now!
Han Xiao could finally relax. He had come up with the idea of acting slow to lower their guard during the procedure.
Although I didn't transmigrate to an ideal location, at least it's not so bad time-wise.
The Valkyrie experiment was the prototype of a later supersoldier project that implemented microchips into test subjects in order to ensure loyalty.
Transmigrating to then would have been way worse. They would have been able to blow him up anytime.
At least Lady Luck is smiling upon me in one regard!
Hila made a call through an encrypted line.
"Boss, the situation has stabilized."
"Is the brainwashing complete?"
The man's voice was hoarse.
"I oversaw the procedure. There was no issue. What arrangements do you have for Zero?"
"The Valkyrie experiment's aim is to train soldiers, so train him."
"How is my sister doing?"
"Don't forget the deal," the man warned. "I gave you permission to visit her once every two months. Don't cross the line."
Hila clenched her fists.
The interior of the underground Valkyrie lab was almost entirely white. Guards constantly patrolled the grounds.
After a night's rest, Han Xiao was brought to an isolated training field where Hila awaited.
While he was not too sure of what arrangements the organization had for him, he was certain that they would value his 'learning ability', meaning he would definitely get the chance to level up his Mechanic abilities.
It was virtually impossible to escape from such a tightly guarded fortress, so Han Xiao had steeled himself for the long haul.
"Zero, you will undergo daily combat and shooting practice from today onward."
Hila tossed a suit to him.
"Put it on."
Han Xiao quickly wore it.
As soon as he put the suit on, Hila attacked, launching a vicious kick at chest level.
Han Xiao was unable to react, and the kick cracked his ribs through armour. He staggered back over a dozen paces and clutched onto his chest, coughing.
As expected of a superhuman.
Although she was obviously not going all out, she was still several times faster than an ordinary person.
"30 seconds of rest," she stated blandly.
Combat training was tough, but straightforward. No words were exchanged between the pair.
They continued like this for two hours, by the end of which Han Xiao was completely exhausted and covered in bruises. He also now suspected that Hila had masochistic tendencies.
'Are all ice queen types like this?' he wondered.
Hila (Lv. 30) has taught you [Basic Combat]
Progress Rate: 5%
Hila left wordlessly.
A stout, burly man arrived to yank Han Xiao to the target practice field.
"I am your shooting trainer, and one of the vice-managers of this base, Baltar," introduced the scary looking man with a hideous knife scar across his forehead.
He pushed a 73-WASP into Han Xiao's hands and said, "There's ten bullets, hit the bullseye with all of them."
Han Xiao frowned. How could a beginner who had never touched a gun in real life before hit the bullseye Moreover, the target was a moving dummy 30 metres away.
"I'm no Olympic champion!"
Han Xiao shrugged his shoulders and raised the gun with his aching arms.
Bang, bang, bang...!
After ten shots, Han Xiao took a look at the scoreboard. As expected, he had failed.
Suddenly, he felt a searing pain in his back. It was only with great restraint that he did not scream out.
He turned around, only to see a frenzied Baltar licking blood off a black tactical knife.
"Continue. One miss, one cut. Let's see how much blood you will lose today."
Han Xiao moved a hand across his back, and it returned bloody.
"Bastard!" he cursed inwardly.
One of the glass panels in the room was a one-way mirror. Hila and Lin Wei Xian were observing from the other side.
"Baltar is being too careless with my precious test subject! Might as well let me dissect him now," bemoaned Lin Wei Xian.
Hila cast a plain look at Lin Wei Xian and replied, "The organization will not approve of your request."
Lin Wei Xian laughed coldly in response.
"I will have my way sooner or later. I created him! He is mine!"
Hila remained silent.
Baltar (Lv 15) has taught you [Basic Shooting]
Progress Rate: 5%
[Agent] Profession Unlock Rate: 1%
Han Xiao was cut again and again. The cuts themselves might not have been deep, but there were so many of them that his clothes were completely drenched in blood.
Baltar watch the weakened Han Xiao with a grin. He reveled in the smell of fresh blood.
"Why are you not screaming?" he asked. "A good toy screams."
Han Xiao took a deep breath to compose himself. While he really felt like punching Baltar, he knew that he could not afford to act recklessly. It was similar in some sense to LoL - when you trash talk despite losing, you are only setting yourself up for a more spectacular fall.
For now, all he could do was suck it up.
'Laugh while you can...' Han Xiao gritted his teeth.