Chapter 48

Taking deep breaths, the clansmen from Dong-Myung stood dumbfounded and at a loss for words in front of the support staff. However, both sides weren’t able to help each other in any way. Every one of them had horrified expressions. They were already past the stage of being able to fight back.

Grr-rr-rr-

In the forest, the monster that was chasing the Dong-Myung clansmen reared its head.

It was a crustacean-like monster with a head size of more than 2 meters and a length of almost 20 meters. The monster bobbed its head up and down. It had ten legs that seemed like they were forged blades, had thorns all over its body, and had long, countless tentacles flapping around.

“Huh- that crustacean-mantis thing is here too?” San muttered.

“This is- the level of monsters is so different from the information we’ve received. This isn’t what these hunters can hunt. That’s weird. Also, these monsters don’t travel in groups...” replied Biyeon calmly while looking at the monster.

San glanced around and slowly turned towards the support staff. His movements were relaxed. It wasn’t the normal attitude of a person who was tensely facing monsters in front of him.

From where he was standing, piles of stone, previously collected by the crew, were piled up like a tower. Next to these stone towers were several pointed tip javelins cut from wood. They were lined in a row as if part of a fence. The other end of the javelins had handles like a cane.

Biyeon kept her eyes ahead. Focusing on the monsters, she stroked her white sword…

“2nd Company Commander! Forward!” San calmly ordered Yeria.

“......?”

Hey! Are you deaf?” he shouted in annoyance while glancing at the center of the base.

“Yes… yes, sir!”

Yeria stumbled out and moved towards San. The warriors and support staff stared blankly at their captains as if suddenly awakened from their state of horror. The situation seemed surreal.

An Archon lingered around in front of them, lowering its body and tensing its muscles. As if she was trying to strike a conversation with it, Biyeon walked slowly towards the Archon. As she got closer, the Archon exploded forward.

Even in this seemingly precarious situation…

Right in front of this violent scene, San turned to the support staff members and instructed them on something seemingly trivial. The overlapping images of violence over his shoulder and his calm demeanor were surreal for the support staff members.

The support staff members were feeling an unrealistic sense of incongruity and confusion. Did their captains finally lose it?

“A lot of Dong-Myung warriors were injured. Did you see their injuries?”

“Yes…” replied Yeria weakly.

“Organize your company to treat the injured Dong-Myung warriors with the medicine we prepared earlier. Everyone knows how to administer first aid, right?”

“Yes? Oh… yes…”

“Do it now!”

“Ah… uh… but?... Yes, sir,” she responded while sweating profusely. Strangely, she felt like she had to follow her orders even in the midst of this chaotic, surreal mess. Suddenly, Yeria, who was still filled with terror, opened her eyes wide at the scene unfolding behind San.

Shh-

Ke-Ek-

Tuk-

Thud-

“Ah…”

Yeria suddenly closed her mouth with her eyes wide open.

Gulp-

The support staff and the Dong-Myung warriors all opened their mouths. They kept blinking their eyes as if trying to refresh what they were seeing. They were trying to make sense of what they just saw. In front of them, the head of a large Archon was cleanly cut, rolling past a large rock.

The 15-meter-long body of the giant monster slowly collapsed to its side.

A woman dressed in simple clothes stood tall atop the Archon’s crumbled body and waited for the next monster’s attack. With a mischievous gaze, she fixed her eyes on the next Archon while slowly rubbing the bloodied sword against the fallen Archon’s skin…

“Ah! Hey… stop that. That Archon’s skin is expensive. Why are you dirtying it like that…” San muttered, without turning his head.

“There’s too many of them, so I don’t have time to be considerate!” she yelled while taking a seat atop the fallen beast.

The Dong-Myung warriors stared at the scene, forgetting about their injuries and pain. Though they had their eyes open and observed the previous scene, they weren't able to see her movements.

Like an arrow being released from a fully pulled bow, she had jumped 10 meters into the air. With that leap forward, she was able to put her left hand on the head of the first incoming Archon.

She then bent her left arm inward and inserted her sword into the soft part of the Archon’s chin with her right hand. Like a gymnast on the uneven bars, she then swung her body towards the top of the Archon and made a full revolution with the sword.

Her movements were as graceful as a flying swallow and surprisingly elegant. Her finishing action was done simply. The Archon’s head, which was cleanly detached from her 'revolution' around its head, separated from its body and fell to the ground before rolling past a rock.

One of the most horrifying and destructive beasts known to the people of this world had collapsed without as much as a whimper.

“How…”

The Awakened Warrior, Dongye, was left speechless. The Archon was a tricky monster with tough leathery skin, amazing regeneration ability, and nearly unbreakable hard bones. Perhaps, if there were two or more high-ranking warriors working together, they may be able to kill one. But to be done this neatly? Alone?

“1st Company Commander, come front and center!” San’s relaxed voice rang out.

“Yes, sir!”

Yuren shouted and jumped right out. His expression was surprisingly bright. The atmosphere within the camp changed like magic. Their instincts were more honest than their hearts. They were acting like people who had been promised hope from their despair. Their fearful trembling had not yet subsided, but they now had the wherewithal to move around as their consciousness returned. They found someone they could lean on.

San glanced at Yuren and turned his gaze to the right. There were four Algons intently watching the people inside the base and slowly making their way towards them. The smell of blood stimulated their instincts to hunt, but the presence of the Archons, monsters at the top of the food chain, had held them back. San picked up a javelin. He tapped the pointed end once on the ground and then looked at Yuren.

“Well, since the enemies have come to us, you guys will need to carry your own weight now, right?”

“Yes?”

“Look carefully…”

San held the javelin in his right hand, stretched out his left foot, leaned back, and threw the javelin towards an Algon. He targeted the forwardmost Algon.

Kwa-ang-

The javelin tore through the air with a sharp sound, as if the atmosphere was tearing. It went through the Algon’s neck before it could scream. The Algon rolled over and over on the ground.

The wooden handle on the back of the javelin was deeply embedded in its neck.

San picked up another javelin. The remaining three Algons noticed his intentions and were starting to charge. Their behavior was like those of a hyena.

They were cunning and clever. They split into different directions and approached San from varying directions. But…

Thump- 

Thud- 

Plunk-

Subtle expressions started spreading on the support staffs’ faces. All of the Algons were struggling and squirming on the ground.

They were buried into the ground with the handle-side of the javelin deeply embedded on one of their legs or other appendages. The javelins were buried so deep into the ground that they couldn’t move their limbs freely. They were also pushed into the shallow trenches from the momentum of the javelin. The trenches had been filled with various vines, which started to entangle around the flailing Algons. The Algon’s were totally restrained.

“It's the sadness of those who move on two feet. There’s nothing one can do with just one leg or arm…” San mumbled to himself. He then stared at Yuren.

“What are you doing? Are you watching a show?”

“Yes?”

“Go on and kill themTheir leather is expensive, so be careful when skinning the Algons. Also, restore the trenches to their original state… go!” 

“Yes! Yes, sir!”

Yuren ran with his sword while still in a shocked, lightheaded state. The support staff members also ran towards the trapped Algons with their weapons.

San narrowed his eyes, looked at the forest, and slowly turned his back. There didn’t seem to be any danger from behind for the time being.

In front, the second Archon was just ending its splendid, dominating presence in a 'miserable' fashion. Biyeon felt a fiery feeling on her back as if someone was glaring at her.

“Dang it… I told you to be careful with it… they’re expensive products…” San mumbled.

Episode 2. Book 1: Exploration – Chapter 15

Hoo-hook-

Biyeon took quick but deep breaths.

Her palms felt as if they were burnt. The Archons took a lot of effort to catch. 

Even in the 3rd Acceleration state, she had to squeeze out all her power to pierce their leathery skin. The quickest way to kill an Archon was to slash its relatively weaker neck and then rotate the blade around the neck, beheading the monster.

The first one was done fairly neatly. However, the second one took quite a while.

Perhaps because it saw one of its own perish, the second Archon moved around cleverly. It constantly swung its front paws, with long, sharp claws, like a sickle, not allowing Biyeon to easily approach its neck. The swinging paws were powerful enough to threaten Biyeon, so her preferred attack was hard to come by.

Thanks to this, Biyeon separated both of its forelimbs and ripped its chest vertically. She dragged all of its organs out and finally cut into its heart, ending the beast’s life.

Suddenly, San stepped forward. Biyeon immediately stepped back and withdrew. It was as if the two had made a prior plan. They had now changed positions.

“Take a break. We need to save our energy to catch that troublesome crustacean-mantis later, right?”

San walked toward the third Archon with his sword drawn. The last Archon clearly observed the first two Archons attack in vain. One was beheaded and the other disemboweled. It tilted its head and fidgeted. Its instinct was sending a constant warning to its body.

The little creature that was approaching it was a much more terrifying creature than the one before. It realized that its position was no longer one of a hunter but as hunted. Its instincts were screaming for it to run away…

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