Chapter 31

San’s sharp gaze swept his surroundings. Monsters started regrouping behind them. There was no detour around the Centipede.

Poisonous stingers flew at them from above. A bitter, poisonous smoke wafted in the air. The acidic nature of the poison caused their lungs to burn. At the same time, the poisonous gas seemed to make their minds hazy.

San stamped on the ground and jumped upwards. His body rose five meters high. He made eye contact with the monster. The monster’s mouth slowly opened.

He smiled with his arms wide open in the air. He had already made a horizontal slash from left to right.

One of the two-meter-long front heads was cut clean off, falling against its body and landing on the ground. The other head opened its mouth and quickly attacked. Its round mouth was like a bass’, opening wide into an oval. Inside, teeth like hooks were embedded like five fingers all around the interior. The teeth seemed to move freely like joints.

The head swung down towards San.

As he landed, he shot forward, driving his sword into the beast’s stomach. His cut made the Centipede’s skin peel outward.

In the meantime, Biyeon bounced into the air and cut off the other head that was chasing San. The beheaded head fell to the ground. However, the body still swayed and moved.

The serrated stingers atop its body swayed around menacingly while its legs puttered on the ground, intimidating anyone who wanted to approach.

With his right hand, San stuck his sword deeper into the monster’s belly. He placed the butt of his rifle onto the ground to gain leverage and stability. He started running forward.

The monster’s thick skin split sideways along its stomach. Intestines and blood pour down onto San like rain.

‘Puck-’

Covered in the monster’s blood and body fluids, He burst into the tear he had made, busting through the other side. He popped out at a 45-degree angle from the other side. It was like a bullet had gone clean through a target’s body.

Once he gained a footing on the monster’s hard-shelled back, he bounded forward down its back and swung his sword to cut off the head in the back. The head quickly avoided his slash.

However, at that very moment, Biyeon slashed from right behind San, cleanly beheading the last head.

San bent down and gathered himself. He also took the time to dust off the chunks of flesh that were stuck on his hat.

Biyeon stood by his side while taking deep, rough breaths. She looked back. The other monsters and beasts were not able to attack thanks to the Centipede’s large carcass blocking the narrow passage.

“Phew- Is it time now?”

“Hoo-oo- We were lucky,” Biyeon replied while covered in blood. Sweat drenched her hair. She took another look back before running her hands through her hair, slicking it back.

San and Biyeon narrowed their eyes and explored their surroundings. The sun had already fallen. Still, in the darkness, the monsters flocked together at a frightening pace.

Despite it being the dry season, the sky was filled with dark clouds. It was as if rain would pour down at any moment.

Though their surroundings were dim due to the lack of sunlight, the space was brightly lit like the daylight due to the blazing fires around them. The flames were now consuming the tops of the forests, flames continually spread on the giant bamboo branches and dried vines.

Their various fuses on the ground were still burning, spreading the fire to all parts of this space. The main fuse seemed to be headed somewhere inside the bamboo forest.

Nil was biting her nails while staring at her screen. Her voice thinly trembled,

“I can’t believe it…”

She had an exasperated expression as if she was sick of seeing this pair. The numbers on her screen went up like crazy, seemingly endlessly.

[Combat Power]

San Kang: 35,405 (Estimated)

Biyeon Kim: 31,400 (Estimated)

“Even the fighting machine in the 2nd phase training process doesn’t have such a high combat power rating… Where the hell did such monsters come from?”

The two stared at their screens in a daze.

“What are their intentions? They know that escape from this space is impossible.”

“At this point… Only the Sages will be able to confront them now. Huh? What are they doing now?”

Nil widened her eyes. The two were running toward the simple well that they set up for cooking and bathing. They had funneled some water from a nearby river with bamboo. The water was stored in a large basin area nearby their pit.

They came out of the well soaking wet as if they had just taken a bath. San came out wearing glasses, a helmet, and a mask.

“Water? Fire?”

Nil and Null looked at each other.

They enlarged their screens for a better look. The entire ground was covered in the various monster and beast’s blood. The blood was drying and caking due to the extreme heat of the surrounding fires.

Nectar, which had a high potential energy concentration and very high reactivity, was placed in powder form on the dried leaf piles. Whenever the fire reached the piles, small explosions would occur, causing the fire to spread even more.

The flames flowed like running water. Small tributaries of fire branched out to all corners of the large inner space. The bamboo forest was almost completely swamped in the fire.

Something started bursting, ringing its loud noises across the space. Various objects shot into the air and rained down like snowflakes.

Nil focused on the things she didn’t pay much attention to in the square and around San and Biyeon’s pit.

The trenches dug to defend the pit, fences set up for defense, and the bamboo sticks erected here and there… they were all catching fire.

“Fire, nectar powder, sugar powder? Bamboo? Shit!”

Nil and Null look at each other with their mouths wide open. For the first time, they showed fear in their expressions.

Bam-

The first huge explosion sounded from the bamboo forest. An enormous flame and explosion that couldn’t be compared to the previous one’s spreads throughout the forest.

Giant bamboo firecrackers started exploding in almost every place.

Bamboo projectiles launched in all directions like rockets. Even the far-off parts of this space were set aflame. Nothing was safe from the burning inferno.

A deliberate path through the huge bamboo forest lay between the pit and lake.

“It’s now,” she shouted.

“Let’s go!” he energetically replied.

“Crazy!!! Such recklessness! They’re going to burn and kill everything!” screamed Nil.

The flames were blazing from the tops of the forest. It was as if the space had been carpet-bombed. The entire square and vast forests beside it had already turned into a sea of flame.

Nil and Null felt their control room shake. Soon, the spatial distortion barrier that the Master created to protect this control center would break.

Bamboo firecrackers, flying like crazy in all directions, started hitting their control center.

“Adjust the climate conditions! When is the rain coming? Damn it!”

“It’s almost here. It wasn’t easy to make the proper cloud formations and create the proper conditions because it’s the dry season!”

“What the hell… where the hell did those explosives come from? Didn’t they use everything they initially brought?”

“You fuckin idiots…”

San’s low voice echoed in Nil and Null’s control space. Nil and Null snapped their necks upright and looked towards each other in surprise.

“Giving us such responsive drugs and material. I knew you guys were dumb from the start.”

“…”

“You guys gave us combustible sugar right before the last mission. Did you guys not read up on our origins and specialties before bringing us here? Supplying firearms and explosive material to military special forces like us… Did you guys believe you were gods after acting like one for so long? Ha! Idiots!”

“This…” groaned Nil.

“So… stop bringing poor people into your vulgar experiments. We’re all going to die today, fuckers!”

“What are you going to do? Are you on a suicide mission?” screamed Null.

“It’s useless. I cut off communications. We have to catch them quickly. They may be the most important sample we’ve ever had in our experiment’s history. Huh? Are those Sages?” shouted Nil at her screen.

On the screen, a sharp-looking man and woman quickly made their way to San and Biyeon. They were passing through the flames in a straight line.

“Good. They made a good decision. As you said, they’re the most important sample. Get your asses off your seats and go out there, too! Damn it… This place is destroyed. We won’t be able to use this space for a while.”

Nil and Null turned their heads at the words coming from behind them. Behind them was the Master’s messenger.

Episode 1. Book 3: Escape – Chapter 11

The rain poured down from the dark night sky. However, it was already too late to put out the fire in the square and forest. The amount of rain was too small and too late.

Like Molotov cocktails being thrown all over, blood, nectar, and sugar burned fiercely and exploded here and there. The unquenchable flames were consuming every piece of meat and grass, turning everything into dust. The ash was kicked into the air from the pouring rain, causing the entire scene to look grey.

The forest inferno, the sound of explosions erupting from the bamboo forest, bitter smoke, and the smell of burning meat and protein make the entire place seem like Hell.

Hundreds of monsters and beasts were grilled alive.

The fire had now spread to the last place in this space, the forest lining the lake. On the shoreline, bamboo shoots tilted at an angle could be seen. The size of each bamboo shoot was about 0.5 to 1 meter in circumference and about 2 meters long.

If one looked closely, one could see that the bamboo shoots were deliberately cut and mounted on a base. It looked natural. Hundreds of them were clearly pointing in one direction.

Behind the base of the bamboo shoots, a string that looked like a fuse ran into the forest.

Eventually, the bamboo shoots shot off one by one. They launched like rocket missiles with a small explosion. However, the trajectory of the bamboo shoots varied.

Drawing parabolas in the air like mortar shells, each one seemed to fall on a different target. Based on their trajectory, the bamboo shoots were targeting a large area filled with lava.

Hundreds of bamboo shoots fell upside down into the lava field and dug into the soft surface. Weak explosions soon followed on the surface.

However, only the surface showed signs of change. There was no larger reaction. It seemed as though an important attempt had failed.

The two quickly broke out from the flames and ran along their pre-planned path. They rushed past the bamboo forest, jumped across some reefs, making their way over to the lake and onto the pillar with its spiraling chain-linked ladder and spiraling tunnel.

They followed along the pillar’s double helix chain-linked ladder. San glanced below while catching his breath. Anxiety clearly showed on his face.

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