Chapter 8. Combat Training (2)

“There.”

Right when my legs were about to give out, we found our target monster. A giant octopus running amok near the beach. There was a black hump was on its that made it seem as though it had two heads.

“I’m ready.”

Yoo Yeonha spoke as she lowered her body in the thicket. Jin Hoseung and Hazuki took out their sword and axe, respectively.

“When we run at it, baby octopuses will pop out of its hump. When that happens, the two of you should fall back and be on standby until I kill them all. Warriors need to save their magic power as much as possible. Black hump octopuses have high regenerative power, so we need to remove its hump in a single blow…”

Yoo Yeonha’s explanation continued.
In reality, it was best to leave the baby octopuses to me. A handgun had a high base power, so it could kill any number of baby octopuses in one blow. On the other hand, it was hard to damage the main body unless a critical hit occurred.
However, Yoo Yeonha didn’t say anything to me.
So I just stood still, holding myself back from yawning.

“Then let’s start.”

The moment her words fell, Jin Hoseung and Hazuki ran up. After closing in a fair amount, Jin Hoseung straightened his throat before roaring.

“Kueeeeek!”

“Kyak!”

My ears felt burning, but it had the desired effect. The back hump octopus lowered its head after discovering us. It then pointed its cannon-shaped hump towards us.

BOOM!

A thundering sound rang out, and dozens of creatures shot out of its hump. Seemingly mushy lumps rained down on us from the sky.
As planned, Jin Hoseung and Hazuki stepped aside, while Yoo Yeonha held up her whip, clearly coursing with magic power.
But I held up my handgun before Yoo Yeonha could make her move.

“Hey, you don’t have to…”

Yoo Yeonha tried to stop me in shock, but I ignored her.
Now was the only time I could shine.
I activated Bullet Time.
Immediately, the blood in my body began to boil. My vision became clearer and the world slowed down. I could see and predict the trajectory of the raining octopuses. Their one-dimensional movement made them much easier targets than the mole crickets.
There were twenty magic bullets loaded.
It was simple. I just had to look where I was shooting and pull the trigger. The added luck was the icing on the cake.

Magic bullets silently cut through the air, leaving behind a blue trace. One bullet for one target. The clip was emptied in an instant, but unloading and reloading were also instantaneous.
I shot another twenty bullets, then another twenty.
After I shot 60 bullets nonstop, the world returned to normal.

“… Huh?”

The creatures covering the sun disappeared without leaving behind a trace. The sudden change made Yoo Yeonha and the others confused.

“C-Come on. Let’s go.”
“Ah, right.”
“Yes!”

Quickly snapping out of her daze, Yoo Yeonha rebuked Hazuki and Jin Hoseung. Only then did the two warriors begin to run at the main body. Yoo Yeonha’s long whip shot out and grabbed onto the giant octopus’s hump.

The moment her elegant whip crushed the octopus’s hump, a mole cricket shot out from the ground
Kieeek—
Crying voraciously, the mole cricket jumped on Yoo Yeonha. I fired the last bullet I had in my barrel. Hitting the mole cricket on the mark, the magic bullet detonated inside and splashed the mole cricket’s blood and mucus on Yoo Yeonha.
Before she was covered in goo, Yoo Yeonha calmly spread out her magic power. The mucus from the mole cricket fell down after hitting this barrier.

“Uk…”

But she couldn’t block everything. Yoo Yeonha gave me a deathly glare, but she knew now wasn’t the time to complain. She shot out whip towards the octopus once again.
A beast-like whip then joined the sword and axe’s dance with tentacles.

**

Case closed. Time elapsed: 9 minutes 40 seconds.
Yoo Yeonha had brilliantly cut off four of the eight tentacles. All that while standing next to me and not moving more than a foot. She had thoroughly fulfilled her two duties — supporting the warriors and protecting the sharpshooter.

“…”

Now that the battle was over, Yoo Yeonha had her eyes closed shut.
Around her ankles and snow-white collarbone were the mole cricket’s dried blood and mucus. After letting out a sigh, she took out a handkerchief from her pocket and wiped them off.
Then, she turned towards me.

“Excuse me.”

Her eyes were smiling, but it didn’t seem so friendly. I met her eyes without being able to answer. The anger hidden in her eyes were like blades. Yoo Yeonha was a fearsome woman. More so than anything else, she hated her body and clothes getting dirty.

“You didn’t need to bother. I can take care of a mole cricket just fine. Much cleanly.”

“…”

“Because of you, my clothes ended up getting dirty.”

At that moment, two insensitive warriors approached me.

“Whew, that was swift thanks to you. I saw it. You killed the baby octopuses, right? Guns have their advantage, huh.”

“That was amazing!”

It was Jin Hoseung and Hazuki, who were covered in blood and ink.
Seemingly afraid to get her clothes dirty, Yoo Yeonha slowly stepped away.

**


[Team 5 — Total time: 58 minutes 58 seconds. 16/100]

16th out of 100 teams.
Though she finished in the upper half of the teams, Yoo Yeonha’s expression couldn’t be said to be good.
But since grades were based on individual performance filmed through drones, she didn’t mind too much. Understandably, Kim Suho and Shin Jonghak’s teams took first and second place respectively. But she was bitter that Chae Nayun’s team came in higher.

“Drones filmed everything. They’ll be sent to your smartwatches, so why you were quick or slow to hunt your monster, your team’s compatibility with the monster, and how you could improve for next time. It’ll be part of your grades.”

Kim Soohyuk gave a long-winded statement. Yoo Yeonha slightly turned her head and looked behind her. A dull looking man was yawning in a daze.
It was entirely his fault that her team came in late. Because he lacked stamina, they couldn’t reach the monster quickly. What should have taken just 10 minutes ended up taking 50 minutes.

But it was also thanks to him that they managed to end up 16th. His quick bullet serenade eliminated all the baby octopuses in 3 seconds. Since Yoo Yeonha was prepared to scuffle with them for 15 minutes, it could be said that he played a big role.
But of course, she still played the biggest role as she was the one who crushed the main body’s hump.

“…”

Yoo Yeonha held back her impulse to blame someone. But that only increased the unreasonable sense of jealousy and envy she felt towards Chae Nayun. She faced forward and glared at Chae Nayun’s head. If she wouldn’t be found out, she wanted to smack the back of her head.
Yoo Yeonha’s hands trembled, reaching towards Chae Nayun’s head.
But instead of taking such extreme action, she lightly touched Chae Nayun’s shoulder.

“Nayun, how was it?”

“Hm? Ah, it’s as you see. 4th place. What a shame. I wanted to beat Shin Jonghak and Rachel. What about you?”

“I'm… 16th.”

“Oh? Wow, you got 16th with that gun using sharpshooter?”

“We got the black hump octopus. We just had to remove the hump.”

“And that’s what you did, right?”

Yoo Yeonha nodded with a bright smile.

“Yep.”

**


Late at night, after the end of regular classes, I was working out in the training room.
Because I just came back from running, I felt like I was dying. But it was something I needed to do, I focused on working out for 3 hours. Thankfully, the training equipment wasn’t too different from Earth’s. It was only that the weights were heavier. For example, the leg extension machine went from 15 kg to 500 kg.

“Ugh.”

After completing my workout, I fumbled back to the dressing room like a zombie and collapsed on the seat. After collecting my breath for five minutes, I took out my laptop and a fatigue recovery drink from my bag.
First, I checked today’s results with the laptop.

[Luck applies! As the enemy is only a low-rank monster, your accuracy increases greatly!]
[All attacks hit their mark! Your Gift’s proficiency increases by 20%!]
[Perception increases by 0.03.]
[Luck applies! Your eyes and ears seem to work better!]
[You gain 27 SP.]

As expected, I seemed to have gotten lucky with the accuracy I showed during today’s combat training. And thanks to standing out to Yoo Yeonha, I gained some SP too.

[Through working out, your strength increases by 0.02.]
[Through working out, your stamina increases by 0.02.]
[Through working out, your vitality increases by 0.02.]
[Mana mysteriously melts into your torn muscle fibers! Your strength, stamina, and vitality increase by 0.03!]

The amount of stats I got from working out was more than I expected. Something like this would have been impossible on Earth. Enlightenment and luck must have played a part.

But with the sharp pain all over my body, I wasn’t sure I could even get up tomorrow.
Of course, I already had a solution in mind.

===
[Fatigue Recovery Drink]
—Restores the body from fatigue. Contains a tiny amount of temperate mana.

*Current SP: 36
===

This was a fatigue recovery drink provided by Cube.
I planned on modifying its effect.
Of course, something like ‘completely restores the body from fatigue’ was unlikely to work. Even if it did, it would be a waste to use up all my SP. But with the right amount of restrictions, I could come up with a decent product.
I added one line to the fatigue recovery drink’s description.

—If ‘Kim Hajin’ goes to sleep within 2 hours of use, he will slowly recover from physical fatigue over the course of 8 hours.

I put in four restrictions.
Only Kim Hajin.
Sleeping within 2 hours of use.
Physical fatigue only.
Non-instantaneous recovery, but slowly over the course of 8 hours.

[You can save the modified setting using 0.5 SP.]

Because the drink already had a similar effect, the amount of SP required was exactly the amount I gained from working out. After saving the modified effect, I gulped down the drink.

“Bulp.”

Now, I had to go back and sleep.
Otherwise, the drink would have been a waste.

“Agh, my joints.”

I staggered forward like a zombie.


**

At the same hour, Yoo Yeonha was analyzing the video from the day’s combat training. With several drones filming each team, she could see the battle from multiple angles.

“… At least he’s quick.”

The more she saw it, the more curious she got.
The black hump octopus fired a total of 59 babies. But before they could even touch the ground, they were eliminated by the sharpshooter’s bullets. Black hump octopuses usually reabsorbed the babies they shot out to recover their energy. Then, they’d shoot more out from their hump. Because of this annoying trait, Yoo Yeonha was ready for a drawn-out battle, but the actual fight had ended in just 10 minutes.

“I don’t remember seeing him in Agent Military Academy.”

The more she thought about it, the stranger this sharpshooter seemed. His stamina was abnormally lower than other cadets, and he had also suddenly changed his weapon…
That was as far as Yoo Yeonha got on her notes about Kim Hajin.
She received a sudden message.

[What’s up?]

It was Shin Jonghak. With a grin, Yoo Yeonha tapped on the hologram keyboard.

[Analyzing the video from today~]

[Why are you doing that now?]

[I’m going to inherit a guild in the future, so I have to look for promising talents.]

[There are none in your team. They’re all trash.]

Yoo Yeonha snickered. He was right, but also arrogant. If it was anyone other than Shin Jonghak, she would’ve found such behavior detestable. But just the fact that he was 'Shin Jonghak' turned his arrogance and impertinence into chicness. It wasn’t a logical explanation, but the reason Yoo Yeonha liked Shin Jonghak was far from logical in the first place.

[How’s that gun shooting guy?]

“Haha.”

So he was curious after all.
He had a pretty cute side to him as well.

[He’s okay. He did a man’s worth of work. Exactly what you’d expect from rank 934.]

2.78 seconds. In that short amount of time, that man had shot 60 bullets and hit 59. Yoo Yeonha made a pulling motion with her index finger. Was it possible to pull the trigger 20 times in a second? Or did that handgun have an automatic firing button?

Ding dong—

In the middle of her thinking, the bell rang.

[Ah, my room service is here.]

Yoo Yeonha hopped towards the door.
Opening the door, she saw her neatly dressed butler waiting in front. She was happy to see the butler her father picked out for her.

“Thank you, Sechan-ssi.”

The butler bowed respectfully.
Yoo Yeonha took her food and came back to her seat.

[I’m back. Were you waiting?]

Yoo Yeonha opened the dome-shaped lid on her elegant silver platter.

[No.]

In it were plain food. A patty between two buns, the iconic symbol of commoners. On the side were french fries and a bottle of coke.
It was a hamburger set.

First, she munched on a fry.

[What did you order?]

Shin Jonghak asked just at the right time.
Yoo Yeonha replied casually.

[Just the usual. A little bit of foie gras entier.]

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