Chapter 22

The Master didn’t know what ‘that being’ had planned. The Master couldn’t go off and do something foolhardy like messing with the natural flow of order, especially since the being was such a lofty and omnipotent figure… So, what should be done? These two, San and Biyeon, were still alive… Though curious about these two, the Master decided to stay put for the time being.

The Master fell into thought. He cupped his hand underneath his chin, staring at his screens. After contemplating deeply for a while, he raised his hand and poked San’s image on the forehead and flicked Biyeon’s cheek.

“Do well. Lucky kids. It may have been a waste to give you guys nectar, but let’s see what happens. Go ahead and rest.”

After changing his system settings to the normal operation, he took a sip of his aromatic tea. He opened numerous other screens. Those screens detailed the other species and beings he had put into this experimental time-space.

The screen showed a space that was filled with the scent of blood. The scene was filled with madness, pleasure, explosive power, and elevated consciousness.

‘They’ve already reached 80% of the mutation, and there’s 10 pairs left. Good! It’s time for pleasure. Show me. Show me your evolved code…’

***

“Again?”

With his remaining functioning arm, he raised his hand to his forehead. He was grossly disfigured and plastered with blood. His non-functioning arm was hanging on his shoulder by a piece of skin. Blood was oozing out of every wound, small or large, on his body.

Next to him, Biyeon was touching her cheek. She was also in a dire physical state. A long and deep slash wound went across her chest. Blood was still dripping out. Even though she had her broken shin bones sticking out of her legs, she maintained her consciousness and dragged herself towards San.

“My forehead suddenly started to hurt. What about you?” he asked with a large smile on his face. It was an oddly bright smile for having fought for a week straight without rest.

“My cheeks are ticklish,” replied Biyeon with a smile.

Their bright expressions clashed against the dire physical situation their bodies were in. Their eyes also seemed to be in constant contact.

“Hmm, I wonder why these guys are so quiet. They should just hurry up and come. Is there any nectar left?” He took out a bottle containing a purplish liquid and called her over. Dragging one leg, she slowly made it to his side.

He lifted her leg onto his lap. With his remaining hand, he held onto her ankle. Biyeon grabbed her waist and flattened her back for stability.

“Bite down hard! One, two, three!”

At the count of three he snapped her shin bone back into place. Biyeon then sprinkled some of the nectar that San handed over to her.

As the nectar touched her broken bones. The shin bone started healing, bonding the previously separated bones together. It was like superglue. Once her bone bonded, she sprinkled some nectar on top of the wound. With bubbling noises and rising smoke, the wound quickly healed completely. Afterwards, new skin cells started to form on the surface, creating a new layer of skin that looked no different from the other parts of her body.

“Hold it in place with this.”

He handed her some string to set her leg. In about 30 minutes, she should be able to walk without any issues. After resolving her injuries, they worked on San’s arm. They moved fluidly and naturally, exemplifying that they had taken these actions many times.

“Hmm- did this mission end? Regardless, we’re still alive. We’ve been pretty lucky, yeah?”

Both of them smiled at each other.

Six months had passed. Nothing large changed in their daily lives, but change was coming.

The upcoming change would be brought on partly by those who summoned them here, but the other part would come from their own plans…

At a certain point, San and Biyeon were able to feel and understand their ‘imprisoners’. Their senses had gone beyond some imaginary threshold.

As time passed in this space, they felt an inner connection growing within themselves. As they continued battling for their lives and survived each mission, this inner connection became stronger.

Their strength and speed were also improving in leaps and bounds. With these increases in inner connectivity, they were able to convert this relatively dull life into something extraordinary.

However, they were still at the beginning stage. They were concerned that using this inner connection skill actively would negatively interact with their autonomous nervous system, so they were still allowing the feeling to grow without looking too deeply into it.

Once in a while, they could feel their imprisoners pat their head or poke them. Of course, it goes without saying that San and Biyeon never outwardly showed that they were able to feel these sensations. Their imprisoners had full control over this space, coming in and out of the space as they wished. Hence, San and Biyeon were able to read these small changes through their developed inner connectivity feeling every once in a while.

It was a relief that these imprisoners didn’t seem to peer into their pit. This also meant that these imprisoners probably considered whatever San and Biyeon did as useless, as they had total control over this place.

However, San and Biyeon were advancing their preparation in earnest. They weren’t just a couple people who had a high level of tolerance for pain and misfortune. Moreover, they were not the type of people to roll over by having their fate taken over by others.

Therefore, they were secretly and wisely advancing their preparation to one day escape from these imprisoners.

***

The Alchins were rushing towards them. Since the 50th mission, these Alchin beasts started coming out. They were on a completely different level than the Algon.

Their thick leathery skin and strong bones made it difficult to cut them with the bayonet or bone swords. They possessed long, whip-like tails and razor-sharp toenails. San and Biyeon were fighting these beasts without the help of nectar. 

Once they advanced from the first to the second stage of acceleration, they were able to go against these new beasts. However, they also made sure to fight in an organized and clever way. Everything was planned.

They created contingency plans for every scenario and decided on how much they would show during the battles. They also made sure to observe certain interactions during battle and appropriate their resources accordingly afterwards.

All of their actions were calculated and planned. Their goal was to never die. Both of them pushed themselves to the limit to discover new ways of resolving their problems and to fully understand their developing skill sets. They also shared their plans and findings between each other. There was always a list of things that they would check off during their missions.

For them, these missions were not ‘play’. The missions were an opportunity to test their bodily limits and develop.

Biyeon darted around, trying to gain the attention of the Alchin. The Hawk would also gain the Alchins’ attention from the air, reinforcing San and Biyeon’s action plan. The two successfully led the Alchins towards the traps they had set beforehand.

Below the traps were sharp wooden poles with a basin created underneath. Whenever the Alchin fell into the traps, they would be speared by the jutting wooden poles, allowing their purple blood to pool in the basin below.

On their 70th mission, a new beast showed up, an ‘Archon’. It was a tremendously strong beast that was 15 meters tall, a head as large as a grown human, leathery skin that was so hard that it couldn’t be pierced easily, dazzling speed, and cleverness in its tactics.

They had to push themselves to the limit against these suddenly upgraded beasts. They used everything that they had: long horizontal spears, traps and netting, poison, and even long-range fire arrows. They sometimes spent whole days inside the well stored pit or on the tops of the large trees.

After a week, they were finally able to kill the beasts by tricking them to fall into large traps filled with oil, setting them aflame and burning them into a crisp. 

They were able to overcome another barrier, but they had paid the price.

“That was one hell of a strong beast. I broke one leg and one arm this time around. Do we have any nectar left?”

“We’ve used up our entire supply in the last couple days. We’ll probably have to wait a couple days.”

“Well, I guess it’s obvious that we wouldn’t have any left. We did run around for an entire week. How are you? Is it bearable?”

“I’ll have to trouble you. Both my feet broke during the last maneuver. I also broke my hand and a few ribs. I’m not capable of moving around by myself,” replied Biyeon with a weak smile.

“Hey, between us, that’s nothing to concern yourself with… let’s start on the most distressing injuries first. However, I am a bit concerned about what’s ahead. If we get a hoard of those beasts, it won’t be pretty.”

“Yeah, I agree. We’ll have to hurry and find our own ‘path’ soon…”

Her face darkened. San looked forward quietly.

With as little movement as possible, San looked towards Biyeon, as she lay on top of her bed. He soaked a cloth with some alcoholic fruit beverage and started cleaning her wounds, from her feet all the way up to her stomach and chest.

There was no hesitation in his movements. He then flipped her over and proceeded to clean and disinfect her backside. Afterwards, he placed a leather blanket over her lower body and handed her the wet cloth. She flipped over and started cleaning her lower regions.

He started gathering the soiled clothes and towels underneath the bed into a jar and dragged himself outside. He was able to stabilize his leg by tying it onto a plank of wood. However, whenever he walked, he would limp, with one of his arms swinging lifelessly next to him. Biyeon stared at his retreating back.

They could see the Hawk with its delivery of nectar coming from the distance.

“We need some effective weapons,” he said while scrunching his face. In his hand was a broken bayonet blade.

The wooden spears were effective when thrown, but they were useless in close combat.

“How about we use the Archon’s bones? They seemed to be extremely sturdy.”

They approached a dead Archon and took out one of its bones. It took them a while to extract the bone, as the leathery skin was not easily cut by their blades. With the bone in her hands, Biyeon tilted her head in surprise. She had a sword in one hand and the Archon’s bone in the other.

“It’s really light.”

She tried to whittle the bone with her sword, but the sword's blade bounced off without making a scratch on the bone. She tried using a rock, but the rock just crumpled into pebbles and dust. She even tried burning the bone, but it didn’t even change color. To test out its flexibility and sturdiness, she started swinging the bone.

The bone was resilient with a good bit of elasticity. It was excellent material.

However, no matter what she tried, she couldn’t shape the bone through whittling or other processing measures.

“Dang it… what’s the use of having a good material if I can’t process it?”

The Hawk, with its hands behind its back, approached the two who were looking feebly at the bone in front of them. 

“Idiots! You need to cut an Archon’s bones with Archon bones!”

The both of them turned to the Hawk. Biyeon gave a smirk.

“How does this thing only know how to speak such sweet words?”

They decided to take up the Hawk’s advice.

The logic was similar to how diamonds are processed. They started whittling and shaping the bone on the Archon’s teeth. Luckily, this processing technique worked well.

Though it was organic bone, the hardness and strength of the material was more like modern metal. They were even able to create a sharp point that didn’t seem like it would dull or break under use.

Additionally, using this processing method, they were able to make precision carvings and shapes, allowing for more detailed handiwork.

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