Chapter 14

It felt similar to when one listens to music and is moved, by both body and mind. As a classical music superfan, Biyeon, who was accustomed to listening to the delicate notes of classical music, understood this process surprisingly easily.

‘Shoo- shoo-shoo- P-P- Ping-’

Her fingertips cut through the air. Her toes, knees, and waist flexibly moved at tremendous speeds, leaving traces in all directions. She continually bent her waist at various angles. Like the dazzling movements of modern dance, her body stretched and rotated continuously, harmonizing with each other to create a fantastic dance. The only difference was that each of her movements, such as leaping, were being done over double the normal distance…

“Great!” San exclaimed. To become so flexible, fast, and powerful! He didn't recognize it when he was in this state himself, but as an observer, he could tell that the power of acceleration was tremendous.

“I think we can attain this much at will. The problem is, we need to get used to these movements as if they’re natural, right?” San mentioned.

“I agree.”

Their eyes met. Biyeon nodded her head. It looked like her confidence came alive.

“Yeah. It’ll be best to get real field practice. There’s nothing like a living body, right? It’s training time! Let’s build up our bodies quickly!”

Episode 1. Book 2: Unravelling – Chapter 8

Their training was frustrating from the start. They performed several basic movements, but contrary to their expectations, nothing seemed to fit together. In the accelerated state, they found that the speed of their bodies and the speed of their minds were completely different. A flicker of their arms or knees would bring about wild, uncontrollable swings, and if they tried to run, they’d start accelerating and slow down unexpectedly, jerking like an old junk car.

“Well, it’s not as easy as I thought. It’s like learning how to drive all over again.”

San made a frustrated expression while performing some basic Taekwondo and martial art moves. He tried a few moves but had a hard time getting the timing correct. If he stretched out his hand while accelerating, he felt as though his arm would instantly extend like a rubber band that was let go. His movements were out of control.

His eyes were able to see everything in slow motion, but the problem was his mind. Since his motions always went half a beat or a beat ahead of what his mind expected, the next action didn’t take place. This prevented him from continuously operating under acceleration, and the speed advantage was lost.

“The speed of thought and the speed of body movement are so different. My mind and body seem to be playing separately. Does it make sense that the speed of thought is slower than the body?”

Biyeon was also experiencing the same difficulties. Movements that were unconsciously connected were okay, but when her consciousness intervened to try something different, her movements became awkward and twisted. She felt like she was slipping through the movements rather than effectively connecting them together.

“Normally, one thinks about their movements before moving, but it seems like we need to predict the result of the movement beforehand rather than seeing the result of the movement by thinking and executing each successive action. Our speed of thinking is the same. Ah! My mind is in a hurry, but my body doesn’t follow. Wait, is it the opposite?” San muttered weakly.

“I think I’ve gauged the problem to some extent,” droned Biyeon as if she was reciting a monologue. San stopped moving and looked towards her.

“The speed of thinking is, after all, just the expectation that experience has made. The sensations that you get used to from experience are the issue. Our previous experiences interfere with this new sensation. Resolving this is like learning how to use chopsticks. Once one trains the muscles and nerves to get used to a speed, there’s only one way to do it. The speed of thinking is just as fast as the speed of light. After a few times, I’m getting used to some movement patterns and getting quicker in executing them,” she calmly stated towards San.

“In the end, it just boils down to constant practice to get used to the new state of sensations and patterns, right?”

“That’s right,” Biyeon answered.

They trained diligently and continuously to the point of getting cramps in their hands and feet. Their serious attitude in taking the most basic of actions seemed almost reverent. In some ways, they were relearning how to move to the point where they could make specific moves subconsciously. 

It was as if they were learning to walk for the first time again, every step was taken with care and caution. Each action was done with prudent consideration and extrapolated towards connecting movements. What made this practice more difficult was the attention to their center of gravity. Can one really learn new sensations in common body movements? They observed and deconstructed every moment at an unfamiliarly slow pace and began finely controlling their consciousness and movement. They had to control this skill in order to survive. Furthermore, their desperation pushed their concentration to the limit.

Luckily, there were no visitors during this time.

***

To-to-to-to-tok-

“Are you kidding me? We need to catch all of those?”

‘They’ were falling from the sky. It was as if there was ‘something’ in the darkness squeezing out these beings. They were very, very large.

“They look like giant sea urchins with wings,” San muttered.

“They’re at least 10 meters tall and have a combined four wings. If we include its wingspan, each one is at least 30 meters wide.” She looked at the sky with a tired expression.

Some beasts were falling from the sky in groups of three. There were about thirty of these beasts being dropped by the winged creatures. However, the winged creatures stayed suspended in the air, as if observing and awaiting the impending battle below.

“Is that the Alpin?” asked San after bringing his eyes back down to ground level. 

“It seems like it.”

In front of them, unpleasant and eerie beasts, who were just dropped by the winged creatures above, slowly approached. They looked like small monkeys, about a meter tall, walking bipedally. The beasts were completely red without any hair on their whole body. Their snout protruded out, and their arms were covered with a crustacean-like hard shell. They also had sharp, saw-like attachments where their hands should be.

“Let’s see. These also feel dangerous… Woah!”

“What?”

San spun around, grabbed Biyeon’s collar, and rolled around the ground while wrapping her in a hug. Lying on the ground in his arms, Biyeon looked at San with blinking eyes and a confused expression. 

However, he wasn’t looking at her. His gaze was fixed toward the front. With one arm dragging Biyeon and the other arm supporting himself while lying low to the ground. His eyes glimmered coldly. Before long, he turned toward Biyeon and smiled. They were so close that their noses almost touched. She could feel the warmth of his breath

“There are a lot of them, and we’re just two. In addition, they seem to use remote weapons. What terrain is good for our battle?”

“Huh? Yes?”

“You’re an intelligence officer, right? So you also deal with planning, no?”

“… A narrow terrain where you can see your opponent while making it difficult for many to attack at the same time.”

“So, that would be our pit, right?” 

“That’s right.”

“Then run first!” San shouted while releasing his arms and immediately taking a shooting position. Biyeon ran towards the pit.

Tang-Tang-Tang-Tang-

He took a few steps back while laying down covering fire for Biyeon.

The pit was in a relatively advantageous high position against the land-based Alpins. In addition, the only entrance to the pit was through the complex labyrinth and trench system that was built out of rocks. Advantageous battles were possible if they were able to fight within the confines of the pit entrance.

Biyeon sprinted across fifty meters of rough terrain. She took a moment to catch her breath and prepare for the battle ahead.

First off, she needed to help her colleague retreat. He had taken a shooting position towards the front and was now rushing into the pit. The moment he came into the pit, she felt a strange sense of relief and security.

Biyeon laid down on her stomach in a shooting position and turned her gaze to the side. She noticed a fishy smell. Suddenly, San took a shooting position next to her. She glanced at his back.

“Blood?”

“I got hit a few times. But… the world seems to be spinning. Was there poison in their saliva?”

“Then, does that mean you’re poisoned?”

“Hey… do you have time to think of other things? Let’s get ready for battle!”

San turned his head left and right to quickly scan the battlefield. Before long, he started shooting at the targets on the horizon. Biyeon fell silent while maintaining her shooting posture. However, she couldn’t help but glance at San’s back. Three sticks were embedded in his back. He probably got struck when he suddenly pulled her in and rolled on the ground outside.

Tang- 

San’s muzzle spewed fire. One Alpin’s head burst. Tang-Tang-Tang-Tang-

They were also very smart. They realized the situation and approached the pit prone to the ground in a low crawl. However, they stood little chance against the sharpshooting San. 

‘This is good’, San thought. 

They didn’t have to kill every single one. They just had to whittle away at the enemy, limiting the numbers as they advanced, and go for critical shots later on. He shouldn’t have any trouble handling these targets. The problem was that his world was spinning like crazy.

“Um-hhhh-”

Though he was going in and out of consciousness, he forced himself to hold on, forcing down the groans that wanted to escape from his throat. He never looked back. He clenched his jaw and shot firmly without shaking. He knew that he had a competent fellow manning his back. He believed in her. He could count on her to act appropriately.

Biyeon was drastically pulling out the big needles stuck on his back. The needles were serrated, having saw-like blades down their side. Each time one was pulled out, a handful of flesh came out with it. She frowned at the development. It would be terribly painful for him. Nevertheless, he continually shot without hesitation or shaking.

He didn’t even make a single groan.

Biyeon took out her bayonet knife. She tore the clothes off his back and examined the damage. The color of the blood was different. The area where she extracted the needles was beyond dark red in color, giving off a green hue. Venom flowed out from the wound along with his blood. The poisonous venom also dripped from the pulled needles and dropped onto the floor.

San’s posture was firm as he continued shooting. The world in front of him was bending back and forth. His vision was just a large, moving blur. However, the terrible pain in his back awakened him. He saw the enemy. Pull the trigger. One of them burst from a distorted space. He smiled. But… he wanted to sleep. Just like this…

He suddenly opened his closing eyes and felt more alert. A feeling of warmth came from his back. It was a very strange feeling… but it felt good. He suddenly remembered his wife. He could faintly make out an image of his daughter. Whenever he gained consciousness, he would pull the trigger again. One Alpin disintegrated in front of him. However, there was no joy. There were too many of them. They were almost at the entrance now. About ten Alpins were approaching.

They seemed to be laughing. Their sharply developed upper lip spit poison needles, the sharp teeth below would probably bite and tear its prey, and the serrated knife-like arms would chop and cut. He thought it wouldn’t be too bad to get it over with. That would be nice too. If only he could sleep…

Biyeon was sucking poison from San’s back with her mouth. The smell of bloody and sour poison made her mouth numb. Her eyes were filled with bitter tears. She felt a sense of helplessness against the seemingly insurmountable attack. Soon, she would have to replace him in attacking the incoming enemies, but if she let the poison soak in, this man would not be able to function and would be left to die.

‘You said we wouldn’t die!’

She felt more scared than having to face death herself. What did it mean to be left alone in this world…?

As soon as she felt his shooting slow down, she knew she had to step in. She picked up her rifle and went beside him. He had his eyes closed already, she grabbed his fallen head and tilted it upward.

She then screamed into his ear. A crying voice. It could probably be described more like a scream. She judged that her last hope fell on conveying this message,

“Accelerate! Please accelerate! Advance your acceleration to the next level!”

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