Episode 8: Recruit Training / Chapter 134: Kundle Tribe (5)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
The Kundle Tribe members moved.
The expressions of the Kundle Tribe members, who had laughed it off when the Berserkers made a fuss, when the mission of slaughtering each other was announced, and when earthquakes and sinkholes appeared, became serious.
The Kundle Tribe members carried other members whose flesh were sizzling under the heat. They evacuated deep underground. Thanks to the cool environment underground and their resistance to the heat that had been developed throughout their long evolution, no one had lost their life. However, they were still distressed.
The Kundle Tribe members, who had never felt any pain in their entire lives under the protection of their karma, couldn’t endure the degree of pain they felt from the burns and suffocating heat.
“Haa… Haaa… It’s hard to breathe. So hard. Aaack….”
The Kundle Tribe members felt a sense of futility as they gazed at others who were groaning, unable to endure the pain.
“Just what is going on…?”
They couldn’t understand what had happened to them.
They had never experienced the ‘pain of others’, let alone their own, in their entire lives. The word ‘pain’ had long since been forgotten from their language.
However, their hearts were thumping heavily right now.
Although their minds didn’t understand, their bodies knew.
Their bodies remembered their fear of the heat that had been ingrained at a genetic level.
Just watching others, they could vividly recall this pain that they had never experienced before.
Even those Kundle Tribe members who could maintain their karma were shocked as they felt a terrifying heat on their flesh.
The ability to sympathize with others, which had evolved since the distant past when the Kundle Tribe was powerless, activated. It wasn’t only those who were suffering that felt pain but even those who were watching.
“Just what is happening?!!”
A Kundle Tribe member shouted suddenly. Its wrinkle-free, stumpy face distorted greatly.
The feeling of sorrow. The feeling of rage. An unbearable pain.
These emotions, which had been forgotten for a long time, began to bud again.
However, they were only budding.
Like children throwing a tantrum for the first time, they didn’t know anything besides wailing and throwing their temper.
They were still a pathetic species.
“Okay, I acknowledge it,”
“Yeah, I acknowledge that you were able to drag out their true nature which I couldn’t do with the mission I created. I acknowledge that. But so what?”
Hashishi, who spoke immediately afterwards, had a somewhat thorny tone of speech.
“If it’s freedom due to karma abilities, then you just need to restrain the karma. Who wouldn’t know something so simple? We thought about that too. However, think about it logically. Just because they’ve awakened their true nature now, will it make them excellent warriors? Could we even use them as Consumables? 10 years? 100 years? No, we might not even be able to use them even after all that time. Do you know how many karma species are discovered throughout the universe every year? It’s more beneficial to simply mine those without potential and use the rest of our capacity to develop more promising species. Can’t you even do such simple calculations?”
Because Choi Hyuk didn’t answer their calls, Manta and Hashishi had come to Naro’s spaceship.
Choi Hyuk found them bothersome.
“You just focus on your job.”
Manta’s face stiffened and Hashish’s gaze sharpened at Choi Hyuk’s rebuke.
“You, just because we overindulged you… Hey, rookie. Don’t you understand the situation? Because of you, this simple job became much more complicated! Do you have to drag this mission, which could have been ended quickly by mining through our cooperation, on for years? Since you’re going to fail anyways, we’re telling you to join us now rather than come crying to us later. It’s not just you who suffers losses but us as well! You selfish bastard.”
Whether it was because Hashishi completely decided to be at odds with Choi Hyuk or because he thought Choi Hyuk had decided to be at odds with him, Hashishi didn’t hold back his words.
Manta didn’t try to hold him back either.
He stared solemnly at Choi Hyuk and said,
“If you restrained the karma of a hundred million Kunde Tribe members, you probably used up all the resources you could use in the beginning. If you can’t obtain any results from this, then you, the leader of the Berserkers, will not be acknowledged for any contributions and might end up assisting us. No, if severe, you might even receive disciplinary action.”
Yet, their warnings went in one ear and out the other.
He said while unsheathing his Sword of Vow a little.
“Or be chased out on the grounds that you are interfering with my work.”
He smiled like a child as if he thought this method was good too now that he thought about it.
“Leaving an arm and a leg each.”
It was a clear provocation.
“What?! You bastard, a new high-ranked warrior relying on your weapon!”
Hashishi was about to throw a fit when Manta held him back.
“How foolish, overseer of Earth. There were a lot of talks about earthlings… yet you are a species of unmatched foolishness.”
Manta shook his head and left with Hashishi.
Only Baek Seoin was a nervous wreck.
“Guardian, please take care of me.”
Returning to the planet’s surface, Baek Seoin said this once more. He couldn’t remember how many times he had said it.
If the Berserkers couldn’t obtain any results here, they would inevitably be reprimanded by the alliance. However, there were unfortunately too many leaps of logic in Baek Seoin’s plan. A plan that didn’t rely strictly on evidence but was rather one ‘that might work’. Since Choi Hyuk observed this with an attitude that read, ‘I’ll leave it all to you, Baek hyung,’ Baek Seoin couldn’t help but suffer from stress.
Fortunately, Bae Jinman was highly motivated.
“Although we’ll only know once we try it… I am quite confident. We experienced the method of influencing one’s emotions and nature during the eyeless observers incident as well as the monster of the night and doppelganger incident. There was also a lot of data from the alliance as well. Also…”
Guardian Bae Jinman watched the Kundle Tribe members who walked the streets with depressed expressions.
“Isn’t this the only method for these lifeforms to survive in this universe? I researched a lot. I’ll definitely succeed.”
As he said this, he thought of Choi Hyuk.
Earthlings picked Choi Hyuk and Bae Jinman as the oddest combination. Bae Jinman, who devoted himself to all lifeforms, didn’t seem suited for Choi Hyuk, who thought of lives like insects.
Yet, in this cruel universe, Choi Hyuk’s method unexpectedly overlapped with Bae Jinman’s goal and path.
The essence of life was, perhaps, the struggle against death.
Life that could only be protected through an endless struggle.
Although Choi Hyuk was cruel, as someone who loved fighting, his method paradoxically made life ‘life’. The struggle of life, where one didn’t endure a beating, but, was instead, hitting back. Choi Hyuk constantly demanded this.
Manta and Hashishi’s method, which didn’t consider life as life and decided to ‘mine’ them, could, in fact, be considered the most ‘anti-life’ method.
“I will make them fight.”
Hiding his appearance, Bae Jinman went down underground and observed the Kundle Tribe members, who were lying down, groaning, and the members who were looking at them with worried expressions.
“Against this damn universe, I mean.”
Bae Jinman closed his eyes.
“For the guide to life to reside in them…”
Bae Jinman’s chant continued like a prayer.
Change began within the hearts of the Kundle Tribe members.
The Kundle Tribe members who didn’t know what to do against this pain they were experiencing for the first time in their lives, and the Kundle Tribe members who didn’t know what to do as they watched those in pain… they gradually began to become aware of this change.
A line was being drawn in their hearts.
A sharp blade was being raised.
At the same time, this was also a ray of light within the darkness.
Bae Jinman’s karma permeated their hearts and led their pain, which had nowhere to go, towards a single goal. He made them resolute and gave them courage. He gave them a ‘motive’. It was a great buff but also a powerful mind control.
The pain which suddenly began one day.
The fear of the sun, which they couldn’t avoid as long as they were living on this planet. Aversion to heat. They, who didn’t know what to do against this ancient hateful past that had come upon them like a calamity, began to grind their teeth.
Yes, like the time they first awakened karma a long, long time ago.
A Kundle Tribe member, who had been flailing on the floor, slammed his head against the ground. He made wrinkles throughout his body and shouted. It wasn’t the appearance of a Kundle Tribe member, who had always smiled friendlily.
“Do you think we’ll lose?!”
It wasn’t only him. Other patients acted the same. While slamming their bodies against the ground, they then kneeled and stretched their arms out before getting up.
Their bodies were stained with burns. Unperturbed by these sore, acute wounds, they stood up while slamming their heads against the ground and walls.
Although they didn’t know the origin of this pain, they couldn’t keep crying like children.
Even if they were to cry, they decided to cry while standing up.
With their eyes, blurry from the pain, wide open, they gazed at the other Kundle Tribe members around them.
“It’s like a part of my body has disappeared. Something inside me suddenly disappeared. We have to find what has disappeared.”
They were referring to the karma they had instinctively awakened. They, who didn’t know what to do and had simply been groaning, began analyzing their symptoms and looking for a solution.
“Yeah, let’s look into it.”
The Kundle Tribe members who had been watching this agreed.
One of them opened his body and took out a blood vessel that had been flowing deep within him.
He cut the vessel, drawing blood. When the wound closed, he cut it again.
Refreshing blood, which acted as a coolant within his body, gushed out. His blood soaked the patients exhausted from the heat.
“Since we’re going to find a method even if it means destroying the suns… Bear with it.”
“No, like how blood flows within our bodies, let’s first make something flow down here. Let’s try to make this place cooler.”
The Kundle Tribe members, who liked to create new toys, began to utilize their talents in a practical manner.
This time, it wasn’t for fun. Their eyes were brimming with desperation.
“Wow… This is beyond our expectations.”
Baek Seoin admired as he saw this scene. He rubbed the goosebumps that ran down his arms. He hadn’t expected to see such seriousness from the friendly Kundle Tribe members.
Looking exhausted, Bae Jinman smiled faintly as he shook his head.
“But it’s only temporary. Using their pain as a catalyst to come up with a single goal… It wasn’t from their own strength but required my intervention. When my karma scatters over time, they will become muddled once more. Even though I only used my power on the small group gathered there, I am quite exhausted. I don’t know what we should do to cover this entire planet.”
Bae Jinman did his best for the Kundle Tribe, but his expression wasn’t bright when thinking about facing the bleak task which lay ahead.
However, Baek Seoin’s expression was bright. The anxiety he had just now was gone without a trace.
“No. This is enough. We’ve resolved the most uncertain part. With this result, we should be able to persuade the alliance.”
Baek Seoin held Bae Jinman’s hand.
“Now it’s my turn to work. You worked hard.”
Baek Seoin observed the Kundle Tribe members who were brimming with determination. The picture in his mind became even more detailed.
He mumbled to himself,
“Now we just need to keep this good mood going. If it’s Camilla, who has a strong sense of purpose, and Jessie, who had an outstanding talent for directing… We’ll definitely be able to continue with this momentum. Let’s do it. Let’s try. Our situation became much better!”
Baek Seoin said as he stretched his arms happily.
“The leader will get the approval of the alliance. We earthlings will reveal our identities and become their mentors. Earthlings, who confidently became members of the alliance after being Consumables, and the Kundle Tribe, who are suddenly faced with the fear of extinction. Also, an outpour of monsters! Can’t you picture it? A hardship overcome by the seniors and their juniors! Let’s film a drama, guardian!”
“Huhuhu, I have high hopes.”
At Baek Seoin’s energetic vigor, Bae Jinman became slightly relieved as he laughed.
However, his heart wasn’t completely at ease.
While he felt hopeful, he couldn’t help but feel guilty.
Even if everything proceeded as planned, many Kundle Tribe members would die.
Also, this whole plan was also deceiving the Kundle Tribe as well.
‘Still, it’s better to punch and kick out rather than just suffering.’
Thinking this way, Bae Jinman was able to lessen his sense of guilt.
Bae Jinman’s conscience couldn’t easily be relieved.
His resentment towards the alliance and the universe, which only functioned if people deceived and killed each other, became deeper.
His rage towards the world and himself.
His rage that even burned himself.
He lived his life, not for wealth and fame, but to someday end everything, for the end.
Since the day he lost all the patients he had been caring for, this became his life.
In this respect, Bae Jinman was an outstanding Berserker.