Episode 8: Recruit Training / Chapter 137: Species Bloom and Wilt (3)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
In the central square of Naro’s spaceship was a sky.
The sky, which imitated the exact sky of the naroling’s past planet, was a light-yellow color. A fist-sized celestial body was emitting a slightly yellowish-green sunlight which gently blended into the sky, much like cream.
The light-yellow color and yellowish-green sunlight swayed on the floor of the central square, which was composed of glass plates, like an illusion.
The illusionary light rays fell on the expressionless naroling corpses below the glass and made it appear as though they were smiling somewhat.
Camilla was sitting on her knees in the middle of the central square.
Next to her was Penelope, also known as the Knight of Honor, standing with her hands clasped together.
“Are you okay, unni?”
Penelope asked carefully after discovering a teardrop running down Camilla’s cheek.
“Huh…? Ah, a teardrop…”
Camilla wiped the single teardrop on her cheek with her right hand. She raised her head and took a deep breath.
“The narolings’ planet is beautiful as well. As much as Earth.”
Her voice was thick with nostalgia.
“I went to our homeland before we came here… Since it might be the last.”
At her words, Penelope’s body flinched as though she had been hit.
“Unni… Why did you go…? It’s obvious anyways…”
“You’re right. It was obvious. The sky turned into an ash-grey. The ground was dried up and cracked. There wasn’t a trace of a river, and the cities were piles of concrete with sinkholes so deep they reached the core.”
“To be honest, I wasn’t even sure that it was our homeland.”
The sky and land the earthlings had loved were gone forever. Even from outer space, Earth was now a lump of grey rock. Most likely, it would turn into dust and disappear into outer space forever by the time this mission was over.
Camilla swept the tips of her fingers on the glass. The species that had only left behind the A.I. known as ‘Naro’ before going extinct. Only their external appearances remained here. While some could say that they could revive them with biotechnology… It was useless. This was so karmically. Their fate and history had already been smashed to pieces, and even their remaining feeble fate had already been collected by the alliance. Even if they genetically revived the narolings, they couldn’t be the narolings. They only looked similar, the paths of their fates would be completely different. The cloned narolings would not have any retribution and, accompanying this, they wouldn’t have a fate or any rights. Although they might appear the same as the narolings, they would face malicious coincidences and degrade over time. This was fate.
After spending a vast amount of time in this endless degradation, they would create a new karma suitable for them, and the newly born species would be very different from the narolings. What decided the identity of an existence was the path of retribution it had walked, not its biological composition. The basics of karma. Naro knew this as well and so did the earthlings now.
Camilla gazed at the completely extinct species as she was overwhelmed with grief.
“We are all different but the same. Existences appear and disappear like a sudden shower. Which is why they are beautiful…”
Camilla gently swept the top of the glass. Her hand couldn’t reach the naroling corpses. It was like the fates of the earthlings and narolings that would never intertwine.
Camilla stood up. Next to her was a screen displaying the Kundle Planet.
Her gaze was now fixed on the Kundle Tribe members fighting alongside the Berserkers.
Driven by the Berserkers’ madness, the Kundle Tribe members threw themselves at death.
It was all in vain. Even if they had the assistance of the Berserkers, they were only at the 0-1-star level. They were of no use against the monsters that were at least of the 2-star level and on average were at the 3-star level. They simply caught the monsters’ attention and made the Berserkers’ fight easier while they died regretfully.
The pouring rain and the mountain of corpses washed by this rain.
Camilla’s eyes regained their calm.
“They are weak… but there is no god. Even if they struggle, no one will look back at them. This is the universe. You either survive through your own strength or die. If that’s the case…”
A sword and shield appeared in the air and were grasped by Camilla’s two hands. She said,
“We will be each other’s gods. If not me… Who else?”
It sounded like flowing water. A refreshing fragrance spread out from Camilla’s body.
Unlike Choi Hyuk, whose flames gushed out with his karma heart as the core, her karma ran down her spine like a waterfall and spread out densely like mist. This was the result of improving the karma training method she had obtained from the alliance in her own way.
Seeing Camilla finish her preparations, Penelope opened the communication channel connected to the Valkyries.
After saying her preparatory command,
And following Camilla’s words, she commanded,
The third stage of Baek Seoin’s new Kundle Tribe training method began.
A change occurred on the battlefield where the corpses of Kundle Tribe members were plastered over the monster corpses. A milk-white, semi-transparent dome surged up along the frontlines.
At the same time, the restricted karma of the hundred million Kundle Tribe members was released. The Kundle Tribe members who dragged their heavy bodies to fight suddenly felt their bodies become lighter.
They felt as though something was changing. It was different from the change they felt when the Berserkers appeared previously. This time, the change was warmer and gave them relief.
Sovereign Jessie proposed that this would be the best time to release their restrictions. Also…
The wounds that didn’t heal because they were suppressed by the power of the monsters began to stanch like magic. This was the effect of the Valkyries, who were known as Earth’s best healing organization.
“Since their regenerative abilities are outstanding already, a buff that raises their spirit is enough!”
“Slowly send the Kundle Tribe members back as you heal them! Have them evacuate inside the dome!”
Following her orders, the Kundle Tribe members, who were fighting the monsters, were led by the Valkyries and backed away from the frontlines. The Kundle Tribe members, who had fought amongst the Berserkers without knowing whether they would die, were able to catch their breath under the Valkyries’ gentle care.
On the other hand, Camilla stood on the frontlines next to Choi Hyuk.
“The Swords of Paradise will create a defensive line around the dome! Hold down the frontlines with the Berserkers!”
Her karma, which spread densely around her, recovered the Berserkers’ exhausted bodies and heavily suppressed the monsters’ raging karma.
Her single strike didn’t possess the intensity Choi Hyuk’s did, but in front her, monsters would become unenergetic like cockroaches that had been sprayed with bug spray and die.
When the Kundle Tribe members fell back, the Berserkers would face more pressure, but with the support of Camilla and her elites, the Swords of Paradise, they were able to maintain the frontlines without many losses.
Plip, ploop, plip!
Rain continued to fall. They finished evacuating the Kundle Tribe members, who had fought like they were entranced until they died, inside the dome. The sky was dark. As the heat from the battle and the coldness of the rain, which ran down their skin, mixed together, the Kundle Tribe members shivered.
The intense battle didn’t stop once during this time.
“What the heck is going on…?”
“Haa… Haaa… Are they still alive…?”
“What are they…? Incredible…”
While soaked in rain, the Kundle Tribe members gathered together and watched the battle ongoing outside the dome as their bodies shivered.
As expected, the most eye-catching person was Choi Hyuk. Choi Hyuk, who hadn’t used flames in case the Kundle Tribe members would become chaotic, used flames without care on the battlefield now that they were gone. His flames surged upwards as they devoured the heavy rainfall. His flames even devoured the thick mist and scattered their brilliant lights. Even when his flames, which were terrifying and as red as blood, met the heavy rain, it was a beautiful sight, like an illusion.
The scary monsters couldn’t flee when facing Choi Hyuk and became ash while trembling.
“The shadow of flames…”
A Kundle Tribe member said exasperatedly. The Kundle Tribe, which disliked the suns, had a particular meaning in the word ‘shadow’. Hearing this, the other Kundle Tribe members nodded and spread the word. The shadow of flames. Shadow of flames. “Flames of protection…”
The Kundle Tribe instinctively felt fear when they saw the flames, but what they felt this time wasn’t simply fear. A mixture of fear and respect, ‘awe’. To them, Choi Hyuk was a hope and fear that descended from the sky. He was like a god.
There was also Camilla. Her karma squirmed as it mixed with the pouring rain. As if a dragon was ascending into the heavens, every place she passed, the rain would distort to create a fantastical scene. Also, the monsters fell down as though they fell asleep under the cold rain.
Behind them were the Berserkers and the Valkyries. The monsters pushed forward endlessly, but they couldn’t reach the dome. They were pounded into meat paste and washed down by the rain before they could.
When they took a step back to watch, the scene sent shivers down their spines. They couldn’t believe the fact that they fought alongside them in this great, frightening war.
‘Could I fight amongst them again?’
They didn’t dare to.
Their hands simply trembled with shock and emotions. As his body trembled, a Kundle Tribe member asked a Valkyrie who let them inside the dome,
“Who are you?”
The Valkyrie replied,
“We are the Berserkers who fight monsters. We came here to fight alongside you who have been invaded.”
At the reply, the Kundle Tribe members let out a shout.
“As expected… They came to save us.”
“They came down from the sky to save us…”
The Kundle Tribe members, who had only now awakened their forgotten emotions, were naïve like children. The recent incidents were too difficult for them, who had never encountered monsters before. The rescue that arrived when they were at their wit’s end, like welcome rain, gave them an entrancing sense of comfort that they had never experienced before. In their eyes, the Berserkers were the envoys of gods, angels.
Like newly hatched baby chicks, they imprinted the name ‘Berserkers’. This was all according to Baek Seoin’s script. The Camilla Clan and Jessie Clan involved in the plan couldn’t reveal their affiliation. In this moment, their role was to simply engrave goodwill in the hearts of the Kundle Tribe members towards the Berserkers.
The Kundle Tribe members were touched to an uncomfortable degree.
However, the Valkyries didn’t only provide the Kundle Tribe with goodwill.
“We didn’t come to save you.”
“Didn’t you hear what Leader Choi Hyuk said? We came here to ‘fight alongside’ you.”
Only then did they awaken to their reality. Their bodies unwittingly flinched. Although they fought previously because they were led into a frenzy under Choi Hyuk’s words, their instinct to survive awakened now that they had a short break. To fight again… They couldn’t.
However, the Valkyrie’s smile was full of confidence as he gazed at them.
“Don’t worry. We will fight alongside you.”
Was this a signal?
The Valkyries, who had all awakened the karma trait ‘Heal’, used their powers simultaneously. The emotion sharing device they had prepared with the investment from the Camilla Clan activated. The milk-white dome shined brightly. Bae Jinman and Naro gave a hand on top of that.
The Camilla Clan was a gathering of all the self-sacrificing people amongst the earthlings. Their noble hearts influenced the Trundle Tribe’s minds.
Something warm and gentle yet steadfast filled the hearts of the Kundle Tribe. A heart that was more broad and steadfast than anyone’s came down on the Kundle Tribe’s hearts.
Camilla’s voice faintly brushed their ears.
‘Let’s not go extinct. I will fight for you.’
This wasn’t a normal vow of protection. When Camilla said ‘I’, each Kundle Tribe member, whose hearts were being influenced, thought of ‘themselves’. An oath that, not ‘you’, but ‘I’ would ‘fight for myself’ even if ‘I’ was weak. The eyes of the Kundle Tribe members shined like stars.
This was the third stage of Baek Seoin’s plan. The script where the Kundle Tribe would awaken as warriors had passed the beginning and developmental stages and had now reached the ‘turning point’.
It was the tempering stage.
In the second stage, with the addition of the Berserkers’ madness and Jessie’s directing, they drew out the Kundle Tribe’s forgotten emotions to their extremes. Since it was to the point where the well-behaved species would throw themselves at the monsters, it was a great success. However, a passing flame would simply burn everything and only leave ashes.
Hot steel would become stronger once it was cooled then reheated. Camilla’s appearance was the cold water, which cooled the hot steel, the anvil, and the hammer.
The entire process progressed as smoothly as flowing water.
“Inside this dome, you will rest and learn fighting techniques!”
Jessie’s troops, the ‘Extremers’, who could be considered the greatest in developing and supplying refined fighting techniques, appeared and taught the Kundle Tribe.
“Those who have recovered while training will be sent to battle in teams!”
With Naro’s transcendental intelligence, they were instantly divided into teams. A healer from the Valkyries was assigned to each team to reduce the death rate of the Kundle Tribe.
It was now the real fight.
“Block them! That’s right! Block and hit! What are you doing?! Hit them! You fool!”
It was a real fight without even the slightest mercy. The Berserkers, who didn’t know how to act, stubbornly pushed the Kundle Tribe members.
“No matter how strong the monsters are and no matter how weak you are, block and attack when you need to!”
They were Berserkers straight and through. They didn’t hesitate to kick indecisive Kundle Tribe members in front of the monsters. If the Valkyries’ healers weren’t present, then countless Kundle Tribe members would have died. After experiencing the hellish real battle, they would take a break in the cozy dome and receive training.
Following the system that was created while they were dazed, the Kundle Tribe was thrown into battle and then allowed to take a break while learning and polishing up their fighting techniques before being thrown into battle again.
The monsters were as strong and numerous as the time Dragonic struggled under the tidal wave of monsters. It wasn’t a war that would end overnight.
Even the Berserkers, whose karma were exhausted from fighting, moved into the dome at the back. However, they didn’t simply rest there either. Like workaholics, they didn’t take a rest as they taught the Kundle Tribe.
Unlike the considerate and refined training style of the Extremers, theirs was rough and explanations were nonexistent.
A Kundle Tribe member was cut in half by a Berserker’s strike. A healer from the Valkyries quickly came over, put both halves of his body together and healed him. The body of the Kundle Tribe member, who almost died, trembled.
However, the Berserker gave him a pathetic look and mocked,
“How can someone who can’t even block this attack block monsters?”
This was the Berserkers’ training style. Pushing them to overcome their obstacles. Their attitude was, ‘if they could overcome it on their own, they could become Berserkers, if not, they should apply to a different troop’.
Of course, many Kundle Tribe members couldn’t overcome the obstacles. However, there were people hired for situations like this. The Extremers guided the Kundle Tribe members, who were dispirited because of the Berserkers, courteously once again.
“When you think you see a flash, move your feet this way and bring your karma from the left to the right…”
Like this, the Kundle Tribe members, who learned these techniques, repeatedly challenged the Berserkers again and again, before they were rolling on the ground screaming. They repeatedly went from hot to cold, and their emotions kept going back and forth between being calm and desperate, gradually tempering them. The steel-like will provided by Camilla’s troops kept the weak-willed Kundle Tribe members together.
This period, which felt like an eternity, passed day after day, and the Kundle Tribe members slowly became stronger.
Everything was proceeding as planned. However, this wasn’t a leisurely situation.
The training the Kundle Tribe members were undergoing was incomparably systematic and safer than the training the earthlings had undergone… But their progress was slower than the earthlings.
It wasn’t the Kundle Tribe’s fault. It was because they couldn’t use the ‘warrior training system’ where they received a portion of the karma mined from the planet. Since the Berserkers chose a completely different path from the Sur and the Jangkok Troops, the mined karma was in the complete possession of the alliance and the two troops. While the Kundle Tribe diligently killed monsters, since they couldn’t receive extra karma from the planet, their progress couldn’t help but be slow.
There were 40 days until the first contributions evaluation.
They had to obtain results within this time. If they didn’t, they would be in a situation where they couldn’t avoid disciplinary action from the alliance and would suffer losses.
Since Lee Jinhee rounded up enough monsters to suit Choi Hyuk’s preferences, if the Kundle Tribe, who numbered more than the monsters, didn’t pull their weight, it was an intense war where the Berserkers, Extremers, and Valkyries would not be able to avoid taking huge losses.
It wasn’t only the Kundle Tribe that was desperate.
Within this war where blood didn’t even have a chance to dry, time kept flowing.