Chapter 33

Since being transported to this world, they had always been short on time.

In order to survive in their dire, new environment, the two had to save time somehow. All of their actions had to be economical and effective.

In particular, it was essential to keep all factors affecting their combat power in their most optimal states. Among these factors was the state of their feet, as they had to constantly move.

Other cooperative behaviors formed from this understanding, such as taking care of each other’s hair, shaving, or clipping nails.

They had gotten to the point where they would leave many personal care responsibilities to be fulfilled by the other person. Right now, they weren’t really short on time, but they continued this lifestyle for fun.

The fact was…

These exercises and actions were probably just as important now as ever before. These actions became their own daily rituals.

Although neither one of them mentioned it, these gestures allowed them to feel each other’s existence.

There was no radio, TV, or Internet, neither was there even a single sheet of newspaper to read. Their cooperative action was like their own little expression of play and entertainment. Or it may be said that they were having their own simple conversation, to convey emotions that couldn’t be expressed through words.

“The weather is nice. The wind is also refreshing…” Biyeon said languidly while lying down. She swept up her wet hair. Her hair had grown out quite a bit, but it was still short, barely reaching her ears.

Before they escaped, she had cut her hair very short since long hair would be too cumbersome on the battlefield.

“If you’re sleepy, sleep some more. There’s nothing urgent, right? We don’t even have a place to go… Sleep! Dear Ms. Biyeon! I’m pretty much done. I’ll fix our worn-out shoes. Since the environment here is so rocky, our shoes can’t handle the additional stress.”

San smiled, kissed Biyeon’s white toes, and stood up.

It had already been a month since they escaped. Based on their compass readings, the parachute flew in the ‘south’ direction. It seems that the upward current was quite strong, allowing them to drift at least 100 km.

Eventually, after passing some rugged mountain ranges, they safely landed in a relatively small mountainous forest.

It seemed like no human foot ever reached this area. Immediately after landing, they folded and packed their parachute. The cloth and strings of the parachute could still be useful…

They then moved down the mountain, going through all kinds of densely grown trees, bushes, and grasses.

According to Biyeon, they moved directly south. Even if south didn’t mean south in this new space, they still had a reference point to use for their next move. Did it really matter if south meant west or east? As long as the compass worked consistently, they would be able to chart their course.

The valley they were staying in was very deep and long. It had taken them a little over 100 days to get out of the mountain range. Part of the reason for their slow pace was because of the tough terrain, but another reason was because they were just not in a hurry.

There was no reason to go fast. Cautiously, they conducted forward reconnaissance and maintained their strength during this entire period.

When they arrived at the valley, they washed their bodies in the flowing water. In the small clearings, they enjoyed hunting and gathering, solving their need for exercise and food.

They enjoyed their own ‘innocent play’ in this newly given space, though it would be seen as primitive in the world they grew up in. However, for both of them, it was a privilege to enjoy. The beautiful and brilliant scenery seemed to understand their mood.

The forest provided many things. In the deep valley, there were many cows, and the waters were teeming with fish. There were fish that looked similar to those found on Earth and other strange, unknown underwater creatures.

All of this was fascinating for the two, constantly arousing their curiosity. However, they weren’t foolish enough to put their guard down against this unknown world.

Although they were enjoying their time, they stayed vigilant, constantly scouted their surroundings, and recorded information regarding the environment.

Unless they could feel absolutely convinced that they were safe, their vigilance would probably never go away.

Meals were mainly solved by hunting small animals or catching fish with harpoons. It was still early spring, so there were no fruits or plants to eat.

For seasoning, they had the salt they brought when escaping. They had a refined one and one still mixed with impurities. The refined salt was used for food while the one with impurities was to be used if they needed to connect to their enemy’s communication channels.

Actions were always carried out with close attention. They had a fire burning throughout the day, using dry wood as much as possible. When lighting a fire, measures were taken to disperse the smoke by tunneling into the side of the mountain and covering the exit vents with leaves and soil. In this way, they were able to control the amount of smoke that needed to be vented, dispersing it slowly through the leaves and soil as if filtering water.

They always stopped moving in the afternoons and made sure to dig a pit. Only after completely blocking the light outside did they start a fire or light a lantern.

The lantern was made by making a cloth wick drenched in animal oil. It was as bright as a candle.

***

Nights in the forest were very long.

On one long night, they continue to do what they normally did.

“Let’s double the time.”

“That... doesn’t seem easy?”

They sat very close to each other with their knees touching. They were close enough to touch each other’s chest and feel each other’s breath. The two closed their eyes with their palms touching at shoulder level.

In time, they felt each other’s bodies tremble. It was a phenomenon that occurred when resonating with another in an accelerated state.

The two explored each other’s bodies. Then they searched for the ‘path of the body’ and the ‘path of the senses,’ two things that they had previously found after countless trial and error.

In the beginning, they started searching for clues on the state after ‘Awakening’ out of curiosity. However, now it became an important project that needed to be carried out diligently with care.

Although it was a flimsy premonition, they felt that this work may determine their future and destiny.

Though their Awakening took place three months before their escape, they only had the mental wherewithal to progress with this work a month after escaping. However, after starting it, they knew that it was something worthwhile.

They didn’t know it yet, but this bizarre collaboration was leading them towards a different ‘Awakened’ state than the one that dominated the world they were in.

“Shall we start?”

“Whenever you’re ready!”

Biyeon issued an order. The order followed her nerves and went into San’s opened ‘path,’ causing his physical body to move. In this way, she was able to control his body with her own will. His body would recognize her order and react immediately.

This process also worked from a distance. For example, if Biyeon thought something, that thought alone would move San’s hands. In other words, they were able to gain remote control over each other’s bodies through their thoughts. This enabled amazing cooperation, since they could move the other’s body at the speed of thought.

Therefore, the process of sharing each other’s senses, which originated from curiosity, became the first example in this world where an individual’s 3rd Stage of Acceleration improved to become a group battle version.

They were fully aware of their limitations. They knew that they did not yet have the ability to contend against their pursuers.

To increase their chances of survival, even by a little, they had to use all the resources they had effectively and efficiently. The most powerful of these resources was the bodily knowledge of a fellow companion and the knowledge of Acceleration itself.

The synergistic effect the two brought together would become the most reliable weapon. They knew this better than anyone else.

[The last guys we met were called ‘Sages.’ They were terribly strong.]

[If we meet them again, we probably won’t make it out alive. We’ll probably be forcibly caught.]

[We shouldn’t put ourselves in that kind of unfortunate situation again, right?]

[There’s no other way than to train and become stronger than they are.]

[Using any means and methods. So, what can we do right now while on the move?]

[We have to get used to all the sensations in the 3rd Stage of Acceleration. I don’t think we’ll be easily caught if we can attain that level.]

[Yes, I feel the same too.]

The method they chose was to accurately understand the strange state that they named ‘3rd Stage Acceleration’. However, both instinctively felt and knew that that wasn’t enough.

Faintly, they could perceive a whole new level beyond their current state. This lingering perception was to the extent that it aroused suspicion within them if they were still truly human…

The next stage – as they perceived – was the ability to use real ‘magic.’

However, the problem that faced them now was…

They knew the existence of the ability, but they had no idea or clue on how to obtain or use it. It was like a newborn trying to lift a boulder.

This understanding of a common goal foreshadowed years of hard work. Hard work that would be more arduous than before they escaped.

San muttered, “Maybe… maybe another fucker is preparing another experiment…”

Exploration – Chapter 2

“Is your work going well?” San asked.

“It’s mountainous terrain, so I don’t think it’ll work. I think it’ll be meaningful if we go a little bit further,” Biyeon stopped and replied, drawing something.

During each break, Biyeon mapped out the terrain. She recorded how much time had passed between breaks, their speed, direction, and the terrain. Through this data collection, she was creating a map.

Whenever they stood atop a hill where they could see the entire surroundings, they took a break to record the data.

Although she used her eyes the most, she also used a compass and triangulation to calculate the distance. She was also able to make use of the relative position and orientation of the prominent terrain features as reference.

Since they didn’t possess any information about this world, they thought this work was of great significance.

“We keep moving forward, but there doesn’t seem to be an end to this place. Still, it has amazing scenery. I would believe it if someone told me it was the Garden of Eden,” muttered San.

They moved slowly. No world was friendly. However, it was difficult to hate this splendid scenery.

The desperate feeling of wanting to go back to their homeworld and the adventurer’s feeling of wanting to explore further were entangling together.

They looked at everything that unfolded before their eyes with deep interest. They were familiar with the forests, trees, and rocks, but the vegetation and animals were subtly different from place to place.

What was certain was that it was getting warmer. The forests and vegetation were changing to those that would normally grow closer to a temperate zone. This suggested that the region, like Earth, was located in the northern hemisphere.

If the geomagnetism was reversed, the south pole would be the north, and they would be moving from the southern hemisphere toward the north.

“It’s a pity that I can’t take pictures because I need to save battery power,” joked Biyeon with a smile.

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