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It looks like Cha Ji-hye is flustered.
“Didn’t you just say something?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
With a business like tone, she cuts it off.
“… Well, alright.”
She definitely said something.
I reassume target position.
My shoulder, with the butt of the rifle pushed against it, is a little uncomfortable. It’s an unfamiliar gun and it feels awkward. I’m sure it’ll get more comfortable as I use it.
I take tentative aim from the 250-meter mark.
Sylph is sitting on my shoulder and she extends her front paw and ever so slightly adjusts the rifle.
It almost sounds like she’s telling me to shoot. Okay. I pull the trigger.
A loud and piercing gunshot! The heavy recoil hits my shoulder hard.
‘That was surprising.’
If I didn’t have the physical buffer entry level 4, my posture might have been shaken from the recoil. It’s an incredible recoil. The target is hit and faints over backwards.
“How is it?”
“I was surprised cause the recoil was harder than I thought it would be.”
“It uses a 7.62 mm bullet. It is definitely more powerful than the 5.56 mm you probably used in the army. Would you like to shoot more?”
“At 100, 150, and 250 meters, the targets will appear.”
With that, Cha Ji-hye pushes a red button on the wall.
With a weird sound, the target practice starts.
At 100 meters, a black target stands up.
Hit in the center and it falls over.
And then a target appears at 250 meters. Well, no problem.
Without effort, the target falls backwards.
I shoot all 5 bullets and Cha Ji-hye hands me another clip with 5 bullets. Like I learned earlier, I load the clip and reshoot.
Tang! Tang! Tang!
How much am I shooting.
Huh? What noise is this?
I look behind me and Cha Ji-hye is holding a smartphone.
As I look at her with a confused face, she gets slightly flustered and tells me.
“We, we don’t have any information on spirits so with this opportunity, I would like to gather some, is it okay to keep filming?”
“Yes, of course.”
From then on she openly films Sylph with her smartphone, and her facial expression is happy-go-lucky like it was when she was at the café and ordered all those sweets.
…She must like Sylph. She could’ve just said so.
I whisper to Sylph.
“Want to assume a more cute position?”
From then on, Sylph changes into a cat model.
She wraps the rifle in her tail to aim, and acts cute hanging from the rifle like a koala bear. Click, click, the camera shots become more frequent. Seeing how she likes it, it makes me happy too. No girl hates a cat, yep.
Cha Ji-hye is all excited taking pictures when all of a sudden, she asks.
“I would like to ask one thing.”
“What is it?”
“Do you have to shoot the gun?”
“It doesn’t seem like there’s a reason for you to have to hold the gun.”
I become blank.
Yeah, why do I have to shoot?
Sylph aims for me anyway. I only decide where to shoot and when to pull the trigger.
“Sylph, you want to shoot?”
Sylph nods her head and takes over the Mosin-Nagant from me.
Cha Ji-hye rushes over and gives up a 5 bullet clip. But why is she respectfully give it with both hands? Sylph uses her tail to take the clip.
With skilled movements, she puts in the clip and aims. What, what, like a veteran soldier! Veteran cat warrior?
Without even realizing her thought came out her mouth, Cha Ji-hye is frantically taking pictures.
With adorable front paws and tail, Sylph lifts the Mosin-Nagant and aims. It’s a relatively seriously expression but even that is cute. The upgrade from puss in boots!
“Now, now start.”
Cha Ji-hye pushes the red button again.
The 150-meter target gets up.
Sylph shoots without restraint.
100 meter, 250 meter, 250 meter, 150 meter. Sylph shoots them down as they get up. After shooting all 5 bullets, she swiftly changes another clip that Cha Ji-hye hands her and continues to shoot.
The 250-meter target falls onto its back. It was extremely fast. The shooting speed and reloading speed were both way faster than me.
“She’s like Simo Häyhä.”
Cha Ji-hye has an enraptured expression on her face and mumbles.
“Who is that?”
“He is a sniper from Finland that shot 100 people in 542 days. Simo Häyhä’s rifle was a Mosin-Nagant as well.”
(TN: From Wiki: Simo “Simuna” Häyhä nicknamed “White Death” by the Red Army, was a Finnish marksman. Using a Finnish M/28-30 rifle (a Finnish variant of the Mosin–Nagant rifle) in the Winter War, he is reported as having killed 505 men, the highest recorded number of confirmed sniper kills in any major war.)
“Oh, I see.”
To be reminded of a monster sniper like that at seeing cute Sylph, I wonder if this woman has normal sensibilities.
But I get it, Sylph is the best shooter.
Without even the slightest delay, she shoot-shoots the targets down, never missing once!
Sylph turns back to look at me with a cute cry. She has a face asking me if she has to continue.
Click, click, its loud. Camera sounds.
Sylph returns the gun to me and sits gently atop my shoulder. A glimpse of disappointment passes by Cha Ji-hye’s face.
She asks me, with her normal hard expression returned.
“How is the spirit summons consumed?”
“Hm, I don’t know. I’ll check.”
I call on the board and check to see how much of Sylph’s summons time is left.
“Compared to when I shoot, it uses more. It must be because she has to carry the gun and get rid of the recoil of the shot. But that being said, it isn’t a huge difference.”
“Then we don’t really need you… I mean, I think there’s no need for you to shoot.”
“Just now you were almost about to say I’m not needed, huh?”
“Yes, you did.”
“… Fine, let’s say you didn’t. But if Sylph holds the gun, when we fight, what will I do?”
At my question, Cha Ji-hye doesn’t know what to say.
“Why aren’t you saying anything?”
“Hm, couldn’t you stand next to her and hold the bullets and take the role of handing her the bullets?”
“What is that!”
I say in my temper.
“Is there a problem?”
“Am I Sylph’s assistant?”
“You are the one that summons Sylph, so of course not.”
“It’s so, so pathetic!”
Sylph’s the marksmen and I’m the help? The role of holding bullets next to her while Sylph shoots the gun! My dead-shooter confidence collapses in a rush.
“What does it matter if you look a little insignificant?”
“So you acknowledge that it would look insignificant?”
Cha Ji-hye has some thick skin.
“The fact that in a fight you are free is a big advantage.”
“While Simo, I mean Sylph, shoots, you can fight the approaching enemy with your comrades. Remember, you did get the physical strength buff entry level 4.”
This woman, was she just about to call Sylph by Simo Häyhä?
“Besides the Mosin-Nagant I have the magic rifle, can I not use that?”
“I have something to say on that matter but first, won’t you come to the briefing with the other members?”
Now that I think of it, Kang Chun-seong, Joon-ho, and Hye-su, are all here.
I go inside the meeting room and Hye-su and Joon-ho welcome me.
“How have you been? The training isn’t too bad?”
“Ah, it’s really hard.”
“Really? And you Hye-su? Hey? Hye-su?”
Hye-su’s expression was greatly shadowed.
“Are you okay?”
“Huh? What about your body?”
“We are getting such high level training to the point of overtaxing our bodies. Since we can go through the exam door with a hurt body…”
It’s a good thought.
Once you pass through the exam door, your body becomes totally rejuvenated.
Because of it, they can train you extremely hard without worrying. For skill-less Hye-su to become useful in a short time, there’s no other choice.
“It must be hard. But if you are to survive, there’s no choice.”
“I know. I’m going to get through it.”
Hye-su looks at me and beams a smile.
“I can’t get protected forever. I want to be a help to you too, Hyun-ho oppa.”
At that moment I almost embrace Hye-su. I barely stop myself!
Then the meeting door opens and Cha Ji-hye walks in.
“I am sorry I am late.”
Cha Ji-hye’s ambivalent expression is, oddly today, very flushed.
The reason is simple.
Sylph is sitting on top of her head.
She seemed to really like Sylph so I told Sylph to stay with her. As expected, she is completely excited because of Sylph.
“You’re a bit late?”
“I had a lot of things to gather.”
“Were you playing with Sylph?”
She slightly glares at me.
“No-no, of course not.”
Cha Ji-hye is totally surprised and mumbles.
‘They were playing.’
She probably excitedly took a bunch of selfies with Sylph.
“Uh-hm, anyway, from now on we are going to be doing a very important briefing so please pay attention.”
She turns on the notebook she brought and opens up the screen on the connected projector.
A large map appears on the screen.
It looks like an old-school map that was cumulatively drawn by hand, with odd proportions.
“This is Arena.”
We are so surprised we stare at the map like a laser. Then again, there’s no satellites in Arena so the map must be crude. It must be a map made on the basis of examinees.
“Do you see the forest at the southwest corner of the map?”
The large land mass shows a forest at its southwestern edge.
“That forest is the location for where you will all be.”
“How can you know that?”
“Up to what has been revealed, there are two red ape habitats. Of the two, the large forest you all have mentioned is most likely that location.”
“Let’s say that we we did our 1st and 2nd turns there, will we have the 3rd one in that forest?”
It’s Joon-ho’s question.
Cha Ji-hye nods her head.
“An exam’s start location is always the end location of the previous exam.”
“Then we will continue to do our exams in that forest then?”
At Joon-ho’s question, this time, Cha Ji-hye shakes her head.
“Look at this.”
The screen changes.
[Previous world examinees’ cumulative trends
1st turn: examinees talent/qualification test. Often starts in the wilderness, no humans.
2nd turn: a teamwork test with comrades.
3rd, 4th turn: move away from the wilderness, enter Arena’s locals’ society.]
“These are calculated trends based on shared logged data about this world. Looking at this, your 3rd turn exam moving away from the forest is a very high possibility.”
They can make an educated guess in advance about the 3rd exam. It’s like an aptitude test. This is the benefit of receiving aid from a state institution.
“If you look at the next page you can see more definitive data.”
As the screen changes, the entirety of the Arena map zooms into the southwestern forest.
The forest is marked into districts.
[Arena SW forest area
Forest center: red ape habitat
Forest east: lycanthrope-infested area
Forest west: unidentified
Forest south: unidentified
Forest north: troll-infested area]
“You are all in the forest center and to get out of the forest, you will have to decide on either the east or north directions.”
“So we have to decide between lycanthropes or trolls.”
“Indeed. And we suggest going through the eastern lycanthrope-infested area.”
“Mr. Kim Hyun-ho, you use guns well, but as much of a big advantage guns can be, their limits are just as clear. From now on, you will meet enemies you cannot combat with guns, and amongst them, are trolls.”
“… I guess the lycanthropes will be better.”
If the gun doesn’t work, none of our teams’ attacks will work. For now, our teams strongest attack method is the gun.
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