Episode 8: Recruit Training / Chapter 131: Kundle Tribe (2)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
It was the alliance’s custom to have three troops cooperate in training recruits.
This was because there was no one right way to train. What might be the best learning experience for one might end up being useless to another. It depended on the student. When it was like this amongst earthlings, how much more would it vary between species?
As the alliance didn’t know the personality of the newly discovered species, the alliance gave the duty of training them to three separate troops to diversify the teaching methods. In the beginning, these troops would compete against each by using their own methods, but in the end, things were set up so that the other troops would have to follow the one with the best results.
The alliance accurately calculated each troop’s performance at each stage, and the troops with the best results received the right to use the most resources. Also, the alliance made it disadvantageous for those who were excessively competitive, negatively affecting the results by reducing their rewards or, if severe, taking disciplinary action against them.
Because of this, in the beginning of the training, they competed to take leadership, but around halfway through, it became more structured, with one as the leader and the other two as assistants.
It was cold in outer space.
At the 5-star level, the empty space around him should have felt as comfortable as his living room, but strangely, Baek Seoin’s body kept trembling.
He could see the three suns and the single, large planet in outer space.
He suddenly recalled his past. Looking up at the vast sky, in a small room, he and his friends would discuss if they thought there were aliens ‘over there’. The Fermi paradox and the SETI project… They would bring up things they had heard about and talk for a while before always ending with, ‘Ah, if there are aliens, I want to see them while I’m alive!’
How reckless those words were… Baek Seoin shook his head.
“Baek hyung, what are you thinking about?”
Baek Seoin was vacantly looking out into space when Choi Hyuk tapped his shoulder.
Baek Seoin didn’t show much of a reaction and simply said,
“Just… As a lowly human from the Pale Blue Dot, I can’t believe the circumstances we’ve experienced.”
“What are you saying? Anyways, pay attention. Aren’t you the one who said we needed to focus on this matter?”
At his urging, Baek Seoin dragged his sights, which had been looking far off into the distance, to the front and began to focus.
As expected, it was an unreal sight.
Within the expansive, lonely universe, there was an untimely banquet.
Three space vessels were anchored in a triangular formation, and in the middle of this formation, all sorts of rare foods were floating in mid-air. Aliens and Berserkers mingled with each other as they ate and drank their fill.
To Baek Seoin, this scene felt awkward. Although he had gone to Dark City and Virgo, this place, similar to how Dragonic used to feel, felt like a completely different world. However, although this place felt unfamiliar due to its three suns and planet, it also felt somewhat familiar as well. This was why he was more bewildered. In the middle of outer space, which he had only seen in movies, there was a party? On top of that, one of the three anchored space vessels was the Berserkers’ – Naro’s spaceship.
‘We’ve reached a level where we can party here.’
Change would sometimes suddenly surprise people.
“Now, now, what are you doing by not eating? It seems you are still inexperienced, but there aren’t many days when the alliance allows us to hold a get-together. There are tons of food that you won’t be able to eat if you don’t now. Hurry up and eat. Hey! Artificial intelligence over there! Sing something to heat up the mood! Let’s see what kind of music earthlings listen to!”
The one who was shouting loudly was the leader of the Jangkok Troops, Hashishi. He only reached one’s waist and had fur covering his entire body, giving him the impression of a cute fox. However, his voice was husky and his nails were as long as blades, giving him a dangerous look. With his long nails, he stabbed the pieces of unfamiliar meats floating in the air and shoved them into his mouth. He could open his mouth so astoundingly wide that Baek Seoin thought he could swallow him whole.
“Can’t you hear me? Artificial Intelligence! I told you to sing!”
Hashishi urged Naro again. His attitude was undoubtedly that of a superior ordering his subordinate.
Naro’s face bulged to twice its size as it glared at Hashishi. Looking at it, Hashishi’s expression became strange.
“What? Are you mad right now? Kelungkeleung!”
“How cute! What emotions does a simple artificial intelligence, who isn’t an Armored Soul Tribe member, have for it to act angry? Ah, Leader Choi Hyuk’s hobbies are quite unique. To express emotions… The settings for the artificial intelligence on your spaceship is fun. Keleung! Keleung! Now, really.”
Hashishi ridiculed Naro while covertly rubbing Choi Hyuk the wrong way.
“Naro is my comrade.”
Choi Hyuk said this as he stared at Hashishi. It was a warning to not be excessive. However, Hashishi’s attitude didn’t change. Instead, as if he took offense from Choi Hyuk’s informal speech, he immediately responded informally,
“What? Then are you saying you didn’t program its emotional settings? Then that’s really its emotions? Wahahah! The hell… Then what? Why don’t you just say it awakened as an Armored Soul Tribe member like the Steel Battleship? But considering that, isn’t your spaceship too shabby? Haaa… It looks like a relic from ancient times.”
Hashishi fouled Choi Hyuk’s mood more straightforwardly this time. Since Naro’s spaceship was the last inheritance of the narolings who went extinct a long time ago, it wasn’t exactly wrong to say it was a relic from ancient times, however, that didn’t change the fact that his attitude was incredibly disrespectful.
Naro, who heard Hashishi’s mockery, quickly extinguished its large head. Like a still drawing, Naro really did look angry as it glared at Hashishi.
Looking at this, Choi Hyuk fiddled with his Sword of Vow.
‘Should I pick a fight? Will he take the bait when I provoke him?’
If Hashishi was his superior, it might have been different, but Choi Hyuk and Hashishi were meeting in this place as equals. When he was acting like that, there was no reason for Choi Hyuk to simply take it.
Just then, as if he noticed Choi Hyuk’s change in mood, Manta, the leader of the Sur, joined in. He stuck his large hand in between Choi Hyuk and Hashishi. His hand was so large that the small Hashishi was completely covered by his hand.
“This is an important mission. They set this event up so that we can get acquainted. If we cause a commotion, what will they think of us?”
He was right. Choi Hyuk took his hand off his sword for now, but he didn’t take his eyes off Hashishi, who was covered by Manta’s hand. He couldn’t hide from Choi Hyuk’s senses just because he was covered by a hand.
“Ah, ah, okay. Okay. Was I rude again? I always get confused since this is normal on my planet. I’ll apologize. Leader Choi Hyuk, I didn’t have any other meaning, it’s just a difference in cultures. Earthlings are more sensitive than I thought! Keleung! Keleung!”
Hashishi apologized with his mouth, but the tone of his voice was still one of arrogance.
“Is that so? Now, what a trashy species.”
Baek Seoin, who was behind Choi Hyuk, said in an irritated voice as he joined in on the conversation.
Hashishi’s nails, which had been extended out, retracted before extending out again with a swoosh.
Choi Hyuk smiled. It was just then that he saw Hashishi’s eyes emitting a faint red light (killing intent).
However, Hashishi casually laughed,
“Keleung! Keleung! What a funny guy! Leader Choi Hyuk! It seems that the earthlings’ humor does match ours!”
As if he was simply playing with his fingers, he kept extending and retracting his nails as he laughed. It was as though Baek Seoin’s words hadn’t put him in a bad mood.
Bowing slightly, Baek Seoin greeted them before stealthily glancing at Choi Hyuk. Choi Hyuk nodded his head subtly. He was indicating that Hashishi’s attitude was simply a disguise.
Seeing this, Baek Seoin also acted friendly as well. While smiling brightly, he replied to Hashishi,
“It’s great that you looked on me favorably. Thank you. Hahaha.”
Just as the Jangkok and the Berserkers had finished testing each other, the enormous Manta changed the topic. He was as big as three earthlings. His hands and shoulders were especially large, emitting a large pressure even when simply seated. He had angular goggles on his eyes, and he gave the impression of a public official.
“Anyways, let’s continue what we were discussing before. We have to ‘commence’ soon so let’s discuss our methods since we’re all here.”
Baek Seoin rolled this word in his mouth. The reason why he was unreasonably emotional before was precisely because of this word. ‘Commence’ literally meant ‘the start of training’. The early process which let them know everything would change from now on.
The ‘commencement’ the earthlings experienced was different for each individual. In Baek Seoin’s case, it started with him witnessing the Wyvern of Destruction, and in Choi Hyuk’s case, it began with the ‘Ring of Rebirth’.
Although they were only aware of it now, the reason why the methods were different was because there were multiple troops with control of the training. Like now.
“Ah, commencing by having them kill each other is the best! Glancing through the data, it seems like they are a species that have experienced very few wars. If you want to jolt them back to their senses after having lost their determination, you can’t use monsters. There’s nothing better than having them kill each other to jolt them back to their senses. Isn’t that right?”
While saying this, Hashishi threw a piece of meat at Choi Hyuk. Choi Hyuk hit it away with his hand as he said,
“That depends on what kind of species they are. Aren’t we lacking in information?”
Unlike Manta and Hashishi, who had experienced training recruits multiple times, Choi Hyuk, who had no experience, expressed caution.
Hashishi laughed and Manta slowly shook his head.
“It’s not too late to observe what kind of species they are after we commence. They will show their true nature in extreme situations.”
As his words weren’t wrong, Choi Hyuk stayed silent.
When he did, Manta spoke to Hashishi. It seemed his method of commencing was different from Hashishi’s.
“I said it before, but having them kill each other wastes too many resources. When dealing with such a weak species, it’s better to start with mining. Then, by looking at their reactions, we can just use them as resources if they aren’t worth using as soldiers. There will be no waste then.”
The mining Manta was referring to was the process of forcefully extracting the planet’s karma. It was the same method Earth suffered under. Earth became a barren planet that could no longer support any life after having all its karma extracted and losing its fate thanks to the alliance. There wasn’t much time left before it too would cease to exist. Also, the earthlings who died during the advancement evaluation, they too also underwent a type of mining process.
When looking at Manta and Hashishi discussing nonchalantly, Baek Seoin felt shivers run down his spine as he thought, ‘So this was how Earth suffered…’
“Ah, Manta. What are you saying? You’re saying this when the successful case of a species killing each other is right in front of you?”
At Hashishi’s words, Choi Hyuk’s eyelashes flickered.
Choi Hyuk’s voice was grim. However, Hashishi continued as though he didn’t notice it,
“Yeah. Success! The legendary case of someone becoming a high-ranked warrior within 5 years after the training is right in front of you. Kyah, although I don’t know who was in charge of the training then, they are probably earning a ton of royalties? Right?”
Yeah, there was even something called royalties.
If the trainees showed outstanding results, those in charge of their training received a portion of their merits. Although it was a frustrating situation in Choi Hyuk’s position, Hashishi continued to casually rub Choi Hyuk the wrong way.
“The majority of rewards are paid out once they become alliance members… But since a high-ranked warrior appeared, those in charge of the training must have received a hefty reward.”
If there was one thing Choi Hyuk regretted, it was that who trained who was kept strictly secret so no one could know who it was. As this was a law created by the Exalted Wings using the ‘Net of Fate’, it was a type of secret that couldn’t be divulged no matter how much they wanted to.
“Probably. However, if we risk everything on such a rare case, we’ll lose it all. It’s best to be safe. I honestly think that mining the species living on this planet is the safest way to earn benefits.”
Manta, who seemed rational, wasn’t much different. To them, the karma species living on this planet were nothing more than ‘resources’. This was how they treated non-alliance members.
Choi Hyuk couldn’t hide his disgust. At this moment, he hated those in front of him more than the Exalted Wings.
Which was why he said emotional words that he wouldn’t say normally.
“Aren’t they people who might become alliance members like us? You’re being too harsh.”
“Alliance members like us? How romantic. While doing this, I’ve never seen that happen before. The majority are useless species.”
Manta coldly drew a line when he heard Choi Hyuk’s words.
“Yeah! So let’s go with them killing each other. Leader Choi Hyuk should know since you’ve experienced it, right? How great of a method it is.”
‘I’ll do it if it’s effective.’ Choi Hyuk certainly was of this mindset, but when looking at the guy acting up in front of him, he didn’t want to admit it.
In the end, Manta made a conclusion.
“Then it’s set. Since we can’t come to an agreement, we’ll all each choose our own method. Which one is the most effective will be judged by the alliance.”
“That’s good for us. First place in contributions will be us, the Jangkok Troops. Kek! Kek!”
After ending the discussion, they resumed eating.
Pieces of strange meat floated in the air.
When looked into, it was discovered that the meat was from other karma species.
Whether it was the meat of the dragon hunters, who had gradually ventured deeper into the deep seas throughout their lives like seekers of truth, or the meat of a species that weren’t suited to be warriors but had accumulated karma by enduring endless hardships, eating these meats would not only better one’s flow of karma but, if lucky, could even develop their karma, which was why the alliance deemed these meats to be valuable.
This was another side of the alliance, which said they pursued the prosperity and survival of all karma species.
Facing this cruel truth, Choi Hyuk regained a bit of his senses.
Once he did, he laughed.
‘Keuk, keuk. Whether they are the alliance, earthlings, or monsters, they are all the same. All monsters. They are all dying to devour each other.’
You would be eaten if you were weak.
This was law, wherever you were.
If this was law, then Choi Hyuk was ready to eat anything in his path.
Choi Hyuk observed Manta and Hashishi with his Eyes of the Judge.