Chapter 23

The two made weapons based on their needs and wants. They made a few short swords and four long swords, a small and large saw, and long spearheads the size of their forearms.

In this way, they were able to secure some special weaponry. Also, with this newfound material, they were able to make some tools that they couldn’t before.

The Hawk was grunting in the corner, fixing its scattered feathers atop its head.

San and Biyeon started shuttling the Archon’s leathery hide and tendons into the pit. With the Archon’s hide, Biyeon made a bag, shoes, and other products.

San splashed the purplish nectar on thin strips of tendon and set it on fire. In this way, they were able to secure a few items and materials. Some of the tendons burned for a long time without disconnecting. Additionally, when some of the tendon powder was set aflame, it didn’t go out easily, even when water was poured onto it.

The both of them also collected the blood from their victims. However, they never drank it. They dutifully stored the blood in jars or bamboo containers. Half of the containers, with cloth material affixed atop, were placed in the sun outside the pit. The other containers were placed inside the pit.

Inside the pit was a wall made with leather. Behind that wall was their large, secretive space. On one side was a storage area with all of the materials collected from their victims, ranging from bodily fluids to the beast’s hides and other bodily materials.

Each beast’s bodily fluid was marked and tagged. 

A little further inside the space were their workstations. There was also a long ventilation, exhaust pipe that took out the smoke.

Various tools made of bone, leather, soil, and stone were neatly stored on a wall.

The workplace environment and atmosphere were relatively pleasant. They didn’t question or blame the other person's intentions. They respected each other’s ideas and immediately put those ideas into action. They also extracted poison, mixed the precious nectar with various powder, and burned it. They did all sorts of other research.

Sometimes, something exploded, leaving them both singed black. Whatever the results, the experiments were recorded.

San stopped what he was doing and looked over at Biyeon. She was stitching their clothes with the needle she made from the Archon’s bones. Their clothes were always in tatters.

Also, if clothes were designed properly, it could increase the chances of saving one’s life in the middle of a battle. Biyeon, who enjoyed fashion and design, was working on their clothing. He closed his eyes after staring at her work.

A woman sewing under an oil lantern...

This image made it more difficult for him to bear.

Episode 1. Book 3: Escape – Chapter 5

The missions became increasingly vicious and difficult.

There was no difference whether it was day or night. The level of the beasts was at a completely different level. The presence of Alchin and Archons were now commonplace.

A three-headed ‘Hydra’ came out along with  a land-based crab-like organism called a ‘Crabter’ with its hard, outer shell. Large centipede-like organisms with reinforced metal plates also appeared among the plethora of new beasts. The top groups, such as Suki and Beckham’s, were fighting against these beasts, extending their combat power lead versus the other pairings. The Suki and Beckham pairing had already surpassed 200 missions.

[Individual Combat Power]

Suki: 4,850Beckham: 3,160

Yamato: 4,100Nami: 3,740

San Kang: 1,650Biyeon Kim: 1,370

Nill was looking at Suki’s body. She had just been fighting with a Hydra before she died.

There were various instruments and gauges connected to Suki’s body. Nil compared Suki’s previous statistics with the new data that was coming out now. Different types of codes and numbers were streaming through the screen while, on another screen, a 3-dimensional graph gave out visual readings of the data.

[Mind & Body Synchronization Levels]

Overall: 54%Remote Control: 78%

Control Distance: 5 km…

[Analysis of Mental Faculty]

Variability: 75%Mental Capacity: 230% Increase

Self-Consciousness: 34% Remaining

[Analysis of Physical Ability]

(Based on an average Human as 100%)

Muscle Strength: 2,380% Increase

Instantaneous Power: 4,845% Increase

Instantaneous Acceleration: 3,745% Increase

[Prescription]

95% Nectar Density

30% Adjustment in Salt Formula

[Expected Synchronization Level]

60%

Suki’s body was being created with the newly prescribed formula and parameters.

***

San & Biyeon were on their 75th mission. The two of them now drank nectar before their battle. They were no longer able to complete their missions without drinking the nectar.

Their eyes also began to change. However, it was slightly different from the other pairings. Rather than overflowing with madness, their eyes were extremely calm, cold, and calculative.

The two faced each other’ with their palms touching each other’s. They then used their fingers to poke the other’s body. These series of movements looked like their own way of fighting within their consciousness.

While the other teams repeated death and rebirth, happily defeating even more powerful beasts and rapidly increasing their mental and physical abilities according to the desired program, San and Biyeon chose to walk down a very narrow path.

They filtered out the nectar’s madness, awakening and training their bodies with its effects. Furthermore, by using the regenerative power of the drug, they explored the hidden capabilities within their bodies.

Even if they were to die, they decided to pursue all other courses of action. This was how they traversed a path like no other pairing before them.

“How about catching it like this (bringing her hand up to her head)?”

“Wouldn’t it (stretching out his left leg) avoid it like this?”

“It probably can. (rubbing her left eye) Then we should…”

They were constantly discussing and talking. It had already been seven months in this god-forsaken place. Their conversations were no longer limited to words.

They bumped into each other, played games, and laughed. It seemed like they spent an excessive amount of time talking non-verbally.

San laughed out loud.

Biyeon also laughed. However, a completely different feeling flowed inside their expressions. It was a sense of incongruity that one would never notice unless one looked closely.

All means of expression, including numbers, symbols, movements, sequences, and combinations, were used in their conversation.

They conveyed their will, speed, and even temperature through non-verbal expressions and symbols. It was to the point that they could understand and communicate with each other based on bodily touch.

This method was developed by Biyeon. In any scenario, the intention of the other party must be understood and communicated accurately.

They must escape all the eavesdropping and observation from the enemy, so one must disassemble or completely distort communicative language to deceive others on one’s intentions.

They knew they were being observed. So, all their plans and actions must be done in front of the other person in a carefully planned state.

For example, if San demanded a ‘sharp color’, Biyeon would find a complementary color. If she called for a ‘yellow taste’, he understood that she was looking for a stimulating ingredient.

They also combined numbers. A combination of two numbers referred to the coordinates on a two-dimensional plane, and three, four, or five numbers added additional information about depth, intensity, or time. They decided that these pieces of information didn’t have to be conveyed through speech.

Therefore......

They were able to act naturally while carrying two or more conversations through non-verbal actions or codified messages. This approach was the process of discovering extreme synesthesia.

These forms of communication were developed from a desperate need, but it was not yet known what fate the expansion of these senses would lead to.

As a result of their newfound synesthesia, their operation was gradually becoming complete. Finally, they’d be able to enjoy this game actively, though, it might be a nightmare for their enemies…

***

It was a moonless night. The two were climbing the western cliff. It was a relatively gentle slope.

They dressed in thick clothes, packed their own rock-climbing equipment, and brought their leather ropes.

However, halfway through, they couldn’t advance any further. The rock wall was coated with a fragile layer of thin ice. Additionally, a strong wind blew along the inwardly-concave wall.

The wind never stopped blowing. Even worse were the pieces of ice carried by the wind that easily tore their clothes and snapped their rope.

Biyeon fell. With the Hawk’s help, she managed to escape a fatal injury. San shook his head. Any and all attempts to overcome this cliff wall ended in failure.

On the way back, the Hawk shook its head and spoke under its breath, “Pig…”

Biyeon gave the Hawk a disapproving stare.

***

It was an evening when there was no mission. The two were making their way through the bamboo forest path. The bamboo forest was a natural barrier that surrounded the vast central lake. They invested a long time to create a path through the bamboo forests. They could see the lake after passing the over 200-meter-tall bamboo tree forest. It was a place they couldn’t see from their pit.

The lake was wide and big. Even when viewed with the naked eye, it was at least 2 km in diameter. The lake was surrounded by bamboo forests, cliffs, swamps, hot geysers, and lava fields. In the middle of the lake, there was a huge pillar standing tall, as if it was shooting up to pierce the sky.

It had been a while since they last came here, but they still couldn't figure out the pillar. They couldn’t tell if it was an artificial or natural product.

The lower part of the pillar was covered with steam and fog, so the view was always hazy, and the upper part was always covered by storm clouds that crackled with thunder and lightning.

In the middle, some of the clouds were washed away by the strong winds, uncovering strange rocks and twisting lines, but they couldn't figure out what they were.

The two were standing on a rocky hill next to the lake. The Hawk, who always followed them, was searching for something down the hill.

“It’s like…” groaned Biyeon.

“It’s terrible.”

They looked at the things scattering the lake’s shore. Pieces of bamboo were scattered and floating near the shore. There was also a small hill of large animal bones on the lake side. 

What surprised them even more was the scene in which several beasts, including Archons, were being melted alive in the lake. They sizzled while slowly melting.

“It’s like a lake digesting a monster.”

“If what we’re seeing is reality, that would be gastric juice, not water. Hydrochloric acid?”

“I don’t know. If it is hydrochloric acid, it must be concentrated and strong enough to melt flesh. Anything that touches the lake will melt.”

“Then, perhaps this whole place is a living creature?”

Instead of answering, Biyeon stared at the huge pillar in the middle of the lake. The lower clouds were constantly in motion, completely clogging and vaguely clearing what was beyond.

The two sat for a while. Fortunately, the weather was clear, so they could observe everything in detail.

“What can you see?”

“Ladders, stairs... and a double helix...”

“I saw a few other structures. The shape is interesting.”

“It seems intentional, like a man-made object, but what does it mean...?”

“If it’s a double helix of that type and size, the first thing that comes to mind is DNA... Then, it’s a symbol of genetics and mutations, right? What else could it be?”

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