Chapter 49

Biyeon stood tall at the location where San stood previously, staring at the giant crustacean-mantis monster while catching her breath.

That monster was a bit difficult to handle. Fortunately, it didn’t make a move yet.

The crustacean-mantis was hesitating. Through its eyes, it could see the insignificant beings lingering in the large clearing, but it sensed a familiar aura and scent that ‘severely’ stimulated its nerves and fear.

It could smell something similar to those ‘presences’ that had hunted the monsters for the past two months, making them flee southward without rest. The aura and smell of the ‘predators’ made the monster hesitate.

The predators were... very scary.

Biyeon turned to look at her clothes. She narrowed her eyes and frowned. It had been drenched in Archon blood and peppered with bits and pieces of Archon flesh. The smell of blood was spreading throughout the area.

Blood was constantly dripping from her wet clothes. Biyeon raised her hand and wiped the sweat from her forehead.

Tuk-

She then took off her linen-material top and threw it to the side.

Though the sleeved top that the aristocratic women wore while hunting looked pretty, it wasn’t suitable for intense combat use.

Hoot-

Heup-

The support staff that glanced at their captain every so often while doing their work collectively took in a sharp breath. The Dong-Myung clan warriors who were receiving treatment opened their eyes wide.

The reason was as diverse as the number of human heads, but everyone’s eyes stayed affixed on Biyeon’s back. She had thrown off her top clothes and exposed her nearly bare upper body.

The support staff felt fear after looking at her appearance. The Dong-Myung warriors felt goosebumps form all over their bodies. For Dongye, a feeling of true respect burst out from the bottom of his heart. Yeria felt like she saw the deepest depths of sadness.

Nevertheless...

What everyone felt in common was the aesthetic ‘beauty’ of the human body which had gone through and overcome the extremes of the physical world. It seemed like the beauty that only those who had overcome all the pain and sorrow in this world could bring forth…

Biyeon's semi-naked upper body was shining red in the evening sunlight as it entered the twilight hour in the forest.

Her chest was slightly exposed. Solid leather lines crisscrossed on her back and held a piece of leather firmly across the front of her chest. Her exposed skin was covered in lines as if they were miniature ridges and sunken crevices.

The records of her battles were wrapped around all those lines. Lines that were thick and thin, long and short, deep and light… It was as if several layers of gold leaf were melted and glued together.

‘My god!’

Not a single breath could be heard in the base. The lines and traces all over her exposed skin illustrated the many battles she had fought and how fierce her struggle for life had been.

Her back was strong and magnificent, simplistic yet majestic, ferocious yet sad enough to bring tears to one’s eyes. Their contradictory feelings seemed to meld together without any difficulty.

No one dared to chide her for taking off her clothes in front of men. As a warrior, Biyeon was more embarrassed that she had to dress up like an aristocratic doll than to have her top off.

Biyeon tightened the belt over her waist while showing off her belly button in an easy-going look.

She then brought up the hems of her loose leather pants and tied them with denim-like material.

Finally, she tightened the laces of her ankle-reaching shoes.

She slowly stretched her back and picked up her sword. She stood tall in the light of the setting sun with a bloody sword in hand…

‘If there was a goddess of war, she would surely look like that…’ Yeria thought while looking at her captain with reverent eyes.

San stood tall and looked up at the 15-meter tall Archon.

Grr-rr-rr-

Its yellow eyes were looking down at San.

Even though this tiny human creature had entered its attack range, the Archon was only roaring and drooling, refraining from any movement. Its instinct was screaming that it should not move first. There would only be one shot, one opportunity. At that one moment, life and death would be determined.

‘At least this one…’

San made eye contact with the Archon and heightened his senses. The two were staring at each other as if in a snowball fight with snowballs in hand. Before long, San shifted his sword to his left hand.

At that moment, 

Sseh-ehk-

Tung-

San bounced to his right, and almost at the same time, the Archon’s blade-like claws broke through the air at a tremendous speed to where San was previously. It tilted its head.

‘?’

The Archon that cut the air in vain went after the man’s movement trajectory, but the opponent turned on a right angle in the air without any foothold and rushed towards its head.

From its side, it caught a glimpse of the man’s extended left hand. That was the last scene the monster saw in its 120 years of life.

San’s sword gently pierced the monster’s right eye, cut through the cerebrum, and came back out through the left eye.

He climbed atop its head and sat down with the handle of the sword used as support.

“Kya-Ak-”

The Archon screamed in incredible pain and shook its head violently.

San raised his right-hand fist high into the air, holding the handle of the knife tightly with his left hand for balance.

“I’m a bit sorry to do this to you, but…” muttered San into the Archon’s ears.

Whack-

His fist squarely struck the Archon’s head. When he struck its head with his fists, a blinding light burst out for the Archon. The sound that came out from the impact was like concrete being struck with a metal hammer.

The Archon was shaking its head in pain. Its body was convulsing and going into a state of shock.

San held the handle of the sword even harder and raised his fist again. 

“You’re very valuable and expensive.”

Whack-

Another burst of light was followed by a second roar. This time, the smell of something burning was followed by white smoke flowing out from the Archon’s nose and ears.

The Archon’s motions were noticeably duller. Perhaps half of its cerebrum was already pulverized. Its internal nerves were burnt black from the terrifying electric shockwaves that accompanied San's fist strikes.

“And finally... I’ll let you in on a secret...”

Whack-

The monster’s huge body collapsed forward. Removing his sword from the fallen monster’s head and wiping its blood on its skin, San mumbled, “It’s going to take a lot of money for us to conduct our operation, so I’ll thank you in advance for your contribution.”

After executing the Archon, San’s gaze turned to where the last giant crustacean-mantis monster was. But…

“Huh? Where is that guy going?”

The crustacean-mantis monster was already far away. It was running away at a terrifying speed. Perhaps this experience would be permanently imprinted onto its body and instincts so that it never comes near these kinds of creatures again.

Shit. He looked pretty expensive too… Damn…”

San looked at the retreating monster and smacked his lips.

***

“It’s cold. Put something on.”

San glanced at Biyeon for a moment and then tapped her shoulder.

“Yeah…” Biyeon replied with a tinge of embarrassment.

“Good job… you looked very pretty…”

She heard his quiet voice as he passed by.

Suddenly, a female support staff member was waiting next to Biyeon with a fresh set of clothes. Her eyes looked up at Biyeon with endless respect, reverence, and gratitude. The monster attacks seemed over for the time being. As long as the smell of Archon’s blood remained, neither the Algons nor Alpins would come to this area. San called Yeria.

“Is the treatment of the injured going well?”

“Yes! The efficacy of the medicine you gave is so excellent that minor wounds are already healing.” Yeria reported vigorously. Possibly because she ran in a hurry, her face was scarlet red…

“Good. How many were injured?”

“There are nine. There was twelve total in the group, but three were said to have died in battle.”

“What about the critically injured?”

“There are four. All of them have broken bones, are bleeding severely, and have internal bleeding as well. They’re all in a critical state.”

“Hmm. Critical state, huh?”

San nodded. By his side, Biyeon was already fully dressed.

“Should we use some here?” he said as he looked at Biyeon. His gaze pointed towards a seriously injured fellow. Biyeon nodded and pulled out a small bottle from her leather bag.

“You’ve been critically injured,” Biyeon spoke first.

“I’m embarrassed to say. We owe our lives to you both. I have to thank you two…” Dongye smiled weakly and expressed his gratitude to Biyeon.

“These are very bizarre monsters. In the beginning, we too had put our lives on the line many times. Don’t be too heartbroken. Let’s heal your wounds first.”

“It’s comforting to hear that.”

Dongye laughed emptily. Although he didn’t expect to get better from his current condition, he was grateful for her kind words and thoughts.

She looked at his wounds. His flesh was sharply torn off from his shoulders to the middle section of his back along his armpits. His shoulder blades were also shattered. Also, some of his ribs were broken and stabbing into his lungs.

Previously, the support staff members applied a 5% diluted nectar medication and temporarily stopped the bleeding, but the loss of blood was already severe, making his face pale. He was holding on to his life purely with his mental powers.

Dongye had many questions, but his will to ask anything gradually disappeared after giving thanks to Biyeon.

“First, drink this and accelerate to the 2nd Stage.”

“Accelerate?”

“Hmm. In your society’s terms, I believe it’s the same as the ‘Dark Warrior’ state.”

Dongye nodded. He knew that if he left his body in its current condition, he would inevitably die. There was no alternative anyway. He decided to put his faith in her hands.

Dongye slowly drank the drink he was handed. He opened his eyes wide. It tasted a bit bland, but this was definitely…

“Life water?”

“Have you started accelerating? There’s no time.”

Dongye raised the energy in his body to the Dark Warrior level. The nectar that entered his body spread at a crazy speed. He opened his eyes wide again. Biyeon’s voice sounded far away. Strangely, his heart became warm.

“It will hurt a little.”

Before even hearing Dongye’s answer, Biyeon laid him down on the ground. Then, she took out an Archon bone knife and made a long incision from the side of his waist to his chest.

Soon afterward, she pulled on the broken bones with a skillful hand, put them together, and attached them one by one while sprinkling nectar on top of them.

Finally, the incision was delicately sutured and sprinkled with nectar. She dusted off her hands and got up.

Dongye opened his closed eyes. The image of a woman with the sunset’s rays upon her back came into his eyes.

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