13. Cleansing -7
“Have you calmed down a bit?” San asked.
Biyeon replied. With the amount she had thrown up, her voice was shaky and hoarse.
“Come on, get up. We haven’t completed all the missions that we were given. We should take care of it now while we have time. Now we have to take care of the creature called an ‘arpin’ and capture the creature called a ‘hawk’… and then we can take a break. ”
San said while patting himself and standing up.
Biyeon lifted her body up.
“We should probably wash up first. Can you stand guard?”
“Yes sir. Understood.”
While staying on guard, San and Biyeon went towards the water. San washed his eyes in the flowing water. He washed off the dry blood on his body, and also washed the wound on his shoulder. Although the wound wasn’t very deep, it was imperative that San wash it out so as to avoid infection. He wiped down the blood covered blade, and rinsed off his bloody gloves.
Biyeon also washed herself off, first cleaning up the vomit on her, and then washing her hands.
Once they were washed off, they decided to return to the pit, which they had decided would be the safest place.
San hit Biyeon’s shoulder. Biyeon turned around. She saw San handing her some sort of starch. It was a military ration that was high in protein and high in calories that you ate by mixing with milk. Although the portions looked small, it was actually an incredibly robust meal.
“Thank you sir.”
Biyeon grabbed it and started eating right away.
A hint of a smile was on San’s face.
Biyeon turned out really well. At least she knew where her priorities lay. Even if you had no battle experience, once plopped down on a battlefield, you would still have a rudimentary grasp of what to do. In addition, she never talked in a roundabout way and was very clearly articulated her thoughts so as to not let the other party get dizzy by her words. Above all she didn’t make any needless fuss over cleanliness. These characteristics made for some of the best teammates.
“Make sure to chew thoroughly before ingesting.
You’re on an empty stomach right now, if you fight later and throw up, it’ll be a pain in the ass.”
* * *
San was squatting down on the floor and rubbing an ointment good for wounds on his shoulder, and then wrapping a bandage around it. For wounds like this, time is of the essence. There’s a certain window of time that one should take advantage of when disinfecting a wound, otherwise bacteria and other contaminants would have travelled too far into the wound. Especially since San doesn’t even know what kind of germs exist in this new world.
Additionally, San inspected his weapons. Checking the magazine, San determined that he had half of his bullets left. There were still four more magazine left, so even if he used up this remaining clip, he would still have 120 bullets left. The pistol still had ten magazines left, but he decided that it would be better to use that later.
Raising the blade of the knife to his head, San tilted his neck as though puzzled.
“This- how strange… could the blade really get damaged to this extent after getting knocked flying once? It’s almost like it’s a saw now…“
“Perhaps… it’s because of your strength, captain.”
Biyeon chipped from the side while do some maintenance on her own equipment.
“From what I saw earlier, you were really fast. You also had really high jumps.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes sir. It looked as though the argon was standing still and only captain was moving. I’m sure that your body entered some sort of state where you accelerated very rapidly. It was very much like a comic book character whose body received some sort of power-up.”
“Acceleration… now that I think about it, it did feel an awful lot like that. After getting struck on the shoulder, my mental state entered a sort of euphoria. I haven’t felt this kind of thrill since the time when I fought against a gangster with a knife many years ago. When I faced off against the argon, it seemed as though the world slowed down. I thought that it was just the heat of the moment, but it was real…?”
“From what you’ve told me, it seems like it wasn’t just your strength that improved, but your speed as well, sir.”
Biyeon told San, a twinkle in her eyes.
“I guess your acceleration will increase as you get more used to the power… as long as you can endure the pain that accompanies the power, your chance of survival will increase tremendously… even if we don’t know what we’ll face next, we should stand a good chance…”
“It must be that we must get used to it first, sir.”
“Yeah… anyhow, once we run out of ammo, we’ll start having to deal with things with our bodies. So the problem is that this is a game where we need to quickly get used to our new strength and new speed… this… looks like this’ll be fun.”
“Are you going to try and speed up again, sir?” Biyeon quietly asked.
San lifted his neck.
“Yeah but… I don’t know how… I don’t know how to do it”
San awkwardly made eye contact with Biyeon. Biyeon understood something from his eyes. Biyeon nodded. The two of them were thinking of the same thing. They needed to come up with a way to test their bodies and put themselves under duress so as to capture the essence of the ‘accelerated’ state.
Sitting in the pit, San was doing everything he could think of in order to put his body in that state again. Biyeon sat there looking at San’s red face as he tried to exert strength. While San made various attempts, Biyeon recorded down what he did.
Biyeon also tried out different ways to experiment. She tried to concentrate her mind to an extreme state, grip her fist and draw out power, and control her breathing, during which she closely observed the changes in her body.
“I’m starting to understand it a bit…” San mumbled.
“Are you sure, sir? I still haven’t…”
“Hold up, let’s go outside.”
With that, the two of them stood outside in a vacant area near the pit. Observing, no clear changes were yet visible. The unpleasant sight of broken argon corpses came into view.
“It seems like our freefall from the plane helped wake up something in our bodies. Focus your mind to an extreme length while simultaneously focusing your strength, and then immediately let it all out at the same time. You won’t get it the first time, but if you try it several times, you’ll start feeling a strange sensation. In such a state, although my body starts to feel a strange jittery sensation, it does feel as though gears have bit into each other. It feels right. Do you want to see it?”
Taking a martial artist’s horse stance, San held in his breath and clenched his hands. He quickly lifted his hands to his head. He then slowly brought them back down. After going through it, he still couldn’t feel any change. San waited for a moment. He repeated the movements another time. Suddenly there was a change on his third attempt. Once his arms came down mid-way, he stopped. Surely one could see the look on his face that showed the changes going on in his body.
Shi-ik- se-ek- peng-peng
San left, his feet leading him. His speed was incredibly fast. The compressed air behind him made an explosive noise. San took a deep breath. He felt as though something had been loosened.
“It’s a bit clumsy, but I’ve seen the path now. Lieutenant Kim, you try as well!”
Biyeon also prepared to venture out. As San demonstrated, Biyeon began to rapidly compress her strength and focus her mind. From an extremely tense state, Biyeon began to slowly relax her body. During the process, she examined her body closely. She quickly figured out the key. There was some sort of resonance that she had to reach during that process. As she repeated through breathing cycles, at the moment of relaxation, she felt a picture perfect sensation, she felt the resonance. She felt as though she was listening to music so good that she couldn’t help but feel incredibly moved. Surprisingly, the process was not very difficult, and she started to feel like a music enthusiast who had grown accustomed to such a moving experience.
Biyeon’s fingertips tingled. Her toes, knees, and waist bent flexibly, and then suddenly left only traces of themselves behind. Her waist curved at an unbelievable angle. It was like watching a brilliant dancer, her movements– the stretching and rotations– all combined to to give off an illusion of some incredible martial arts. When she took one step, it was the same as taking a long leap almost twice as far as an ordinary leap…
San was truly impressed. So flexible, so swift, so powerful! Soon, without even realizing, San also began to practice utilizing his upgraded speed.
“If it’s to this extent, we can do so much more. The problem is… I suppose we’ll get used to it…”
Biyeon made eye contact with San. Biyeon nodded her head.
“Yes… practical application is the best way to learn. I suppose it’s worth trying out?
Come at me! It’s a spar now. We have to quickly adjust our bodies!”