Chapter 15

Episode 1. Book 2: Unravelling - Chapter 9

‘Tang-tang-tang-’

Biyeon held back tears while firing her rifle. Her target was less than 5 meters away. The two Alpins who were hit by her shots crumbled down.

Roughly 10 Alpins were slowly crawling on the floor on their way to the front of the pit.

She put her head down quickly. In order to increase their vision and create multiple lines of defense, they had dug a square trench around the inner pit. However, the poisonous needles were thin enough to make it through the slight opening of the trench.

A few poisonous needles bounced off the top of her helmet. She could also hear a few needles whistling past her.

She glanced briefly to the side. She could see a kneeling San sitting helplessly on the ground.

He was barely standing upright by sticking his bayonet into the ground and holding onto the butt of his rifle.

His head drooped down below his shoulders. He was constantly murmuring nonsense while sweat and saliva dripped down from his mouth. He was fighting his own unconsciousness, teetering on the cusp of life and death.

‘Accelerate…’

Though he was going in and out of consciousness, he could hear Biyeon’s last message reverberating in his mind. Her last message became a mantra that kept him from giving up and slipping into the other side.

However, the poison that was flowing through his body took over his nervous system and controlled his motor abilities, pushing him towards the end of his life.

“Eu-eu-kik-”

Gritting his teeth to overcome the pain, San tried to envision and bring forth the 2nd stage of Acceleration. However, he couldn’t overcome the paralysis that had taken over his body. He had already reached the limit of his mental struggle.

“Keuk—”

A sudden shot of pain made his eyes go completely white. His unfocused eyes slowly drifted towards the place where his sudden pain started. He could see Biyeon’s bayonet pierce deeply into his left thigh. He also felt the excruciating pain of the bayonet blade twisting inside his thigh, scraping his femur bone.

The extent of his pain caused even the hardy San to let out a groan.

“Heu-euk!”

“Hurry!”

Even through the throbbing pain, he heard a woman’s urgent call for help echo in his mind.

“Good… very good. I like it…”

He wiped the drool from his mouth and nodded his head.

A moment of clarity allowed him to awaken his body. It was like he was trapped in a deep, dark abyss with a ray of hope flickering in the distance. He could feel a warmth emanating and flowing from his spine to the rest of his body.

As if he pulled a trigger, a rush of intense heat started flowing to each corner of his body. 

Like a furnace that’s just been ignited, the heat rushed to his head and cleared away the remnants that caused his unconsciousness. The feeling of boiling water rushed through and wrapped his entire body, as if it was enraged and wanted to purge everything.

“He-he-he-”

San laughed. His body was burning. His throat was burning. His brain was burning.

‘I’m burning from the inside out.’ 

From his fingertips to the tips of his toes, from his throat to the end of his spine, a sea of pain rushed into all parts of his body. He felt as if his individual cells were ripping apart and being incinerated.

Kak—

While Biyeon momentarily stopped to focus her attention on her next target, an Alpin jumped right in front of her.

Without any hesitation, she swung her bayonet in a semicircle and beheaded the Alpin. The separated Alpin spewed out purple blood while falling to the side.

Another Alpin, right behind the beheaded one, took advantage of this window to rush towards her. It raised its over 1 meter long serrated hand blade upwards, preparing to slash diagonally onto Biyeon. Its arm quickly slashed down. The wind that formed from raising its arms sharply passed by her nose, causing some pain. It moved quicker than she expected. She ducked and pushed her arms forward.

Toong- the Alpin was pushed off. She was able to barely escape from the attack by blocking it with the barrel of her rifle. She quickly swung the rifle to create a gap. She rushed forward into that gap and slammed the butt of her rifle into the Alpin’s face.

The butt of the rifle crushed and cracked a few of the Alpin’s teeth and got stuck in its jaws. The Alpin pulled its neck back to release itself from the rifle and retreated backwards.

She was able to pull off a risky move, but the aftereffects of her actions caused her to lose her balance. As she was trying to regain her balance, two Alpins rushed in from her front and left side.

She quickly pulled back her right leg and fell down to her knees, allowing her to slightly move towards her right. She lifted her bayonet and lunged at the chest of the frontmost Alpin.

The bayonet pierced the Alpin’s chest and went clear through.

“Ah—damn it!”

Biyeon couldn’t help but curse. She was able to pierce and immobilize the Alpin, but the bayonet, which ran right through the Alpin’s torso, didn’t allow her to swing freely against the remaining enemies.

The leftmost Alpin dashed towards her. Biyeon threw her rifle, with the skewered Alpin still stuck onto it, at the advancing Alpin. 

The Alpins tangled together and fell to the ground. At that moment, another two Alpins reared their heads inside the pit.

Biyeon felt a burning sensation in her thighs. An Alpin, with its saw-like arm blades, had swiped her below the waist, which just caught her thighs. She didn’t even have a weapon at this point. 

The three Alpins, one that was pushed to the ground  and the two who just came in, gathered together and rushed Biyeon. She wanted to cry. 

The Alpins movements seemed slow during the first stage of acceleration but dealing with three at the same time was overwhelming even with her enhanced ability.

Their fluid mobility combined with a constant flow of poison needles made it impossible for her to escape harm. 

On top of that, the pit was narrow, and her invaluable, confident comrade was slowly dying. She couldn’t think of a way out of this situation.

With her acceleration-enhanced eyes, she saw one of the Alpins pucker its upper lip. A poison needle was about to shoot out.

Biyeon twisted her body and stuck to one side of the pit wall. The needle flew through her hair and stuck onto the wall behind her.

At the same time, another Alpin swung its arms behind itself, preparing to swing at the unguarded area between her shoulder and neck. Biyeon raised her left hand and grabbed onto the Alpin’s swinging arms. She felt the grooves of the serrated blade dig into her palm. The flesh on her palm split wide open, causing blood to splatter everywhere.

She could feel the pain from the tear in her skin shoot straight into her head. However, she didn’t release her grip. She put more strength into her left hand and swung the Alpin’s arm downwards. She then lifted her leg and kicked the Alpin backwards.

Kek-

The Alpin lay down on the ground with its arm and part of its shoulder ripped off from the sudden blunt force. Biyeon transferred the Alpin’s sheared blade arm to her right hand. She held onto the arm’s bone, which still had pieces of flesh attached, and held it in front of her.

She felt disgusted by the warmth oozing from the torn flesh. The recently torn flesh constantly dripped blood, seeping through the crevices between her fingers and onto the ground. A pounding sense of pain ebbed and flowed from her left hand.

Heuk-heuk-

With heavy breaths, Biyeon leaned on the pit wall and stared at the remaining Alpins. There were still three left. They kept rushing into the pit wave after wave. 

Truthfully, she wanted to just close her eyes. The smell of fishy blood, the venomous sting of the poison, the disgusting air breathed out by the Alpins, and the constant howls they made caused her vision to shake and blur. She felt as though she was constantly screaming inside her head.

Shwee-eek-

Two Alpins flanked her sides and attacked together. It was as if they were toying with her. Biyeon lowered herself closer to the ground and rolled to her right. She swung the arm blade with her rolling momentum and struck the rightmost attacking Alpin at the legs, causing it to lose its balance. However, the Alpin’s momentum allowed it to fall towards Biyeon and strike her wrist. She felt that there was no reason to avoid the attack, as she was more concerned with the rushing wind from the approaching leftmost Alpin. Her throat felt scratchy and parched.

She closed her eyes.

‘This is the end…’

Kek-kak-kak-

While Biyeon was fighting for her life, San was in an internal struggle against the poison in his body. The pain that came with the 2nd stage of acceleration also caused him to become more enraged.

His eyes glowed red from being bloodshot and fresh blood dripped down from his clenched jaw. He felt his body roasting from the inside, a sense of pent up speed overflowing from his body. A destructive power was circulating quickly from his toes to his fingers. He was able to endure the flood of pain and anguish because of a deep sense of anger.

The deep hatred towards the being that put him in this god-forsaken land... Anger from the knowledge that he was just a pawn in this being’s game…

Keu-heuk-

Tears started flowing from the edges of his eyes. His willpower slowly pushed against the boiling pain that had taken over his body. It was burning. The poison was burning off.

Even the cells that had given into the poison started burning off. The intense heat had stoked his hatred and his hatred further fueled the heat to burn everything from within. He was going to purge his body of anything and everything foreign.

This in itself was a complete war. Only by conducting this war would he be able to feel and dominate his pain.

His brain could no longer register any pain, as it had passed the threshold long ago. It was as if his body was suddenly injected with anesthesia. His brain seemed to have recognized his pain and released some form of sedative hormone throughout his body.

The blurriness in his vision from the constant pain was lifted and the outside world came into focus. Another sense of haziness and calm could be seen in San’s eyes. As his eyes came into focus, a new world opened up for him.

He saw her. He saw them. All of them were frozen in time. Actually, they were moving ever so slowly, as if they were trapped in a viscous, liquid space. 

One of the Alpins had its arm completely cocked backwards, unwinding slowly towards Biyeon’s white neck. 

He shifted his eyes. The other Alpin was seemingly slamming its arm blade against her raised right-hand wrist.

He looked right in front. The third Alpin was mid-air, preparing itself to strike Biyeon head-on. However, San saw the Alpin paused mid-air, as if he had pressed pause on a DVD player.

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