12. Cleansing -6
“Hey, Lieutenant Kim, wake up, yeah?”
Biyeon got up while rubbing her eyes. It looked as though she had gone to sleep late,
The bright morning sun dug its light under the tent and into the pit. There was a man in front of her who was already armed and dressed in a complete combat suit.
“Don’t be startled.. It looks like a guest has already arrived. The game has already begun.” San quietly whispered to her.
“What? “ Biyeon exclaimed while getting up.
“For now equip your gear…
Since I had blocked off the pit with a thick layer of stones and logs, it should be relatively safe here. Let’s start with a meal first. We still have what we made yesterday, so let’s eat before we go hunting…”
San began to prepare a simple meal in the pit while Biyeon rushed about grabbing her gear. According to what he thought, the battle would be very important. But more than that, their survival comes first. So he felt that arranging something so as to preserve their combat power was more important.
According to the rules of the game, the penalty for failing the hunt is to be hunted in reverse. Simply put, they will be fighting and fighting until they die.
‘If I die I’ll die, but at the very least, I suppose that I shouldn’t die because of a lack of energy…’
Biyeon swiftly grabbed her gear and made preparations to go outside. For her, the first thing she wanted to do was not to eat, but rather to satisfy her curiosity. Looking out from an opening in the pit, Biyeon’s gaze faltered for a moment. Her face was distorted with fear.
The depiction of the monster shown in the phone could not compare to the reality of the monster in front of her eyes, and she began to feel fear towards the beast. It was a horror you couldn’t experience as a spectator behind a screen…
Feeling something tapping her shoulder, Biyeon turned around.
San was standing there. His expression was composed. Maybe it was because he was intentionally trying to look like that, but there was ‘something’ about him that felt like you could lean on.
“I have never seen anxiety and fear solve a problem.
For now, just fill up your empty stomach…”
They both ate without speaking. Considering how meticulously San was yesterday while preparing the rations, the two ate the aromatic crispy rice cake(?). [TN: Author himself puts in ‘(?)’] Drinking water and eating some fruits as well, their hunger was satiated. As expected, after their stomachs filled up, their hearts calmed down a lot as well. As their absolute fears dissipated, their attitude shifted to something more along the lines of worrying about countermeasures.
“What are you planning to do, sir?”
“We have take advantage of the time while we still have energy. Is there any advantage for us if all we do is stay here?”
“By the way… How did those things get in, sir? Our surroundings should be blocked off.”
“Who knows. I gave up on common sense pretty early. I’ve decided to just deal with any situations before my eyes. It’s just that there’s been so many of those that it’s become a pain in the neck. For now, I just want to observe how ‘he’ moves naturally. Furthermore, we can survive better after judging. Regardless, if we can’t clear them away, won’t we be unable to find food or rest?”
San grabbed a gun and a knife, turned off the safety on the gun, and adjusted his belt for easy access. He snapped on some leather gloves. Lastly, he lifted the parachute helmet.
San tilted his neck. Helmets are very good for defense, but it hinders your sense when taking part in active hunting. It might feel unfortunate, but he had to choose to wear it or not.
Instead of the helmet, San put on the field cap. Instead…
“Lieutenant Kim, make sure that you absolutely wear this helmet. As I said yesterday, follow me and cover my back. This is something I must do. We have to do well… who knows where we might mess up.”
“We’ll go according to the operation we planned out yesterday. We’ll grab em one by one. ”
“I… understood sir.” Biyeon barely answered.
San suddenly turned around and looked at Biyeon. His eyes narrowed.
Although she had been following him and mustering up her courage, San had a close up view of her, and saw that her lips had turned dark and her face had turned ashen. Even her hands and feet were shaking. If it’s like this, the fight would be difficult.
Walking out of the pit, San stood up straight. Following behind him was Biyeon, who was standing with a stooped back. San’s gaze pointed forward, his left arm holding the gun, pointed forward, his right arm stretched outward. San shook his right hand and called out to Biyeon. Biyeon approached him.
San put his right hand on her right shoulder and pulled her towards him. Biyeon exclaimed when San suddenly pulled her into a hug. She could feel San’s rough breath. His breath stopped right in front of her lips.
She felt the heavy noise from his body ringing in her ears. At the same time, she snapped back to attention.
“Calm down. Just calm down. There’s no need to shake…
According to you it’s just a game right? In that case, we can’t die!”
Biyeon raised her eyes and look at San right in the eye. They were incomparably calm. Her trembling body calmed down like magic. San stared into her eyes for a long while, still holding tightly onto her. Until Biyeon awkwardly tilted her neck down…
“Have you come to your sense yet? We are soldiers. Forget about everything but the battle. Just focus solely on your mission! Alright… From now on, let’s go play!
Ssyang! Does a man die twice…”
* * *
San jumped out from the pit. Biyeon followed behind him. Their first target was within their site. It was about 70 meters ahead.
At the same time San and Biyeon jumped out from the pit, a sharp whistle like sound rang out.
It swiftly raised its head. Looking around here and there, he found the targets coming towards him. As one began to move, four more appeared out of nowhere.
“This, what a bother! It’s not two of them! “
San dropped down and lay prone on the floor.
Task force sharpshooter Kang San’s K1 Rifle spat fire. These were the first gunshots in this world. The target? The reptile known as an Argon. One of the beasts in the front had the side of its head blown off. The one who that had its brain blown staggered before falling over. Now there are three.
“Phew… the bullet penetrates through… that’s good news for now. Huu- these beasts… how terrifyingly fast….”
Confirming the location of the humans, the argon herd leapt and exploded in speed, rapidly approaching the humans.
San calmly took aim once again, and shot another volley towards the group of argons. This time, another argon in the front of the group of three was shot in the body. Not only were the beasts moving targets, but they were also rapidly approaching, and hence they were not easy targets. Unlike the argon that got shot in the head, the one that got shot in the torso began speeding up.
“This- even though it was shot in the body it didn’t do much…”
Even while they’re approaching it looks like they know the rules of the hunt. One is approaching from the middle, while the other two are fanning out and flanking from the sides. There’s about twenty meters between San and the one all the way in the front now.
This time, a bloody flower blossomed on the argon’s right leg. It stumbled and lost its balance. Its speed was slowly decreasing. The leg had its own effect on the body. Now, the first one to arrive kicked off the floor. It was now nearly 10 meters away. One big jump would be enough to cover the gap.
‘Damn it – I need to conserve bullets… but, you are the last one.‘
San raised his body, switched the rifle to automatic fire, brought the gun to his waist, and pulled the trigger. The argon, whose forelimbs had already been raised in a threateningly matter, brought them down on San in a rapid attack.
Because the distance between San and the argon was short, all of the bullets had hit, but the momentum carried its body forward onto San. While shooting, San turned his body and tried to dodge off to the right With both arms outstretched and butt facing the sky, San twisted his body and launched himself diagonally towards his right.
Another argon came in from the left towards the direction San had dodged, attacking with its long forelimbs. Its claws swept past San’s shoulder. In a flash, San’s uniform was torn, and hanging from the argon’s claws was flesh. Red blood splattered across the air.
Two gunshots. They came from Biyeon’s direction. As expected, what a great teammate. [TN: Ok, so the author uses the term 역시, which is a common expression that implies something along the lines of “Of course”, “As expected”, “Without a doubt”, or something along those lines. Generally a positive connotation.] The argon that was trying to attack once more was shot with a gun, and its body stopped for a moment. In the meantime, San rolled off to the side, gritting his teeth. ‘It’s much faster than I thought.’
San quickly launched off the ground and got up, tightly gripping onto his gun, readying his legs, and observing the argon’s next movements. San tightly gripped his knife, his arm raised and one foot forward, taking a basic stance for close quarters combat. Tightening his stride, pushing his torso forward and putting his weight behind his knife.
Something flowed down from his shoulder. San’s eyes sank deeply.
He finally saw his own blood. Everything was shifting. He took on a battle stance. Realizing the deadly situation before him, all of his combat sense heightened. His hair stood up on end. His eyes were bloodshot. His instincts swiftly woke him up. A toxic aura that belongs to those who risk their lives started to come off of him.
Before long, he started to dimly feel a jittery feeling coming from his body. His mind started to become calm. It felt like a car going up a gear.
He could see the argon’s head slowly turn towards his direction. His gaze met with the cracked yellow eyes of the argon. It sharp teeth were exposed, and its muscles were rapidly contracting. San hit the ground and rushed towards the argon. The distance between the two had not yet been secured. He spun the rifle so that the butt of the gun pointed towards the argon’s chest.
He smashed the butt of the gun against the argon’s nose, and like a rubber ball, it bounced off. Its skin rippled, and with a jerk, its head spun backwards. Its legs began to wobble and stagger around.
San who had backed off by the force of the blow, hit off the ground again. Even though he has a short jump height, with a sudden surge of force, he jumped the height of a human. Before it could regain its center of gravity, San slashed diagonally down against the argon’s neck with the bayonet mounted on his rifle.
His body was still jittery. His movements were surprisingly sharp. Although he felt as though his reactions were slow, he knew that the argon was even slower.
Surprisingly, the short blade easily penetrated the argon’s neck. The blade deeply penetrated the argon’s neck, severing an artery. Following a straight path, the knife burst out through the other side of the neck, followed by a geyser of blood.
Then San stepped on top of the argon’s torso, and wielding the bayonet, swept it across the other side of the neck. The argon still weakly moved a bit, but its neck slowly began to fall off the body. It instinctively tried to wield its forelimbs, but it had already lost its quarry.
Its neck separated from the rest of its body, its red blood plumed into the air. San quickly tried to dodge it, but it splattered all over San’s face and clothes. As though it were an unholy concoction of various appalling ingredients, the odor from the blood was enough to cause nausea.
“Keu-ee- it smells fishy… fuck, my eyes… “
Something splashed into San’s eye, and as he crouched, Biyeon swiftly rushed over. There was a rag in her hand.
“Quickly….” San shouted.
Biyeon pulled out a canteen, wet the rag, and began to wipe away around San’s eyes.
“Are you okay?” Biyeon asked anxiously. Her hands were shaking again.
As San’s blood covered eyes got cleaner, he looked at Biyeon.
“Yeah– that really sucked… thanks to you I’m better. My left eye is still blurry… my head is a bit dizzy… I think there’s some sort of toxin in the blood… But there should be one more, right?”
“It’s over in that direction. Having been shot in the leg, it’s not going anywhere sir.”
“Can you use a gun?”
San asked while wiping his tired eyes.
“Then you should get him! Are you just going to leave it there?”
Biyeon looked at San’s face. His face covered in blood, she could see his firm expression. Biyeon nodded her head. Regardless, it’s something they would have to get around to anyways. Biyeon grit her teeth and lifted the gun.
The stench of blood was in the air, the argon’s neck still spewing out blood, and San’s face still covered in some blood, and flesh from his shoulder chunked away. It was an unreal sight.
She had a weak sense of doubt, as though she was not ready to recognize all this as reality. She felt sick, the scene before her causing her to become nauseous, but she knew that she had to endure. It was something her life depended on, and something she owed San.
Although Biyeon was tightly clenching her teeth, it wasn’t enough to hold back her tears. Meanwhile, Biyeon crouched down in a stable shooting posture. She lifted the K1 rifle and raised the muzzle towards the agon’s head.
Through her tears she could see the blurry silhouette of a head. Now all she had to do was pull the trigger. The creature looked towards her. She put strength into her finger.
The image of the argon’s head exploding was clearly visible even from 50 meters away. And with that, one person’s mission was completed.
Everything she had eaten for breakfast was constantly rising as though there were no ceiling. Biyeon just turned around and laid down on her back. While wiping the vomit from her lips, Biyeon raised her trembling hands to her teary eyes. The deep blue sky, like that of jasper, filtered through the cracks between her fingers.
“Good work… you did really well…“
San, who was sitting by Biyeon, muttered.
A cloud of cigarette smoke scattering in the wind.