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The screen changes again.
- Wolf human.
- Acts as a group.
- Has intelligence equal to humans.
- Can change into a human, during its change, has command of human language.]
Another group behavior monster.
In an unfamiliar forest. We definitely experienced how hard it is being chased by a group that is familiar within that forest.
“Lycanthropes are much stronger than red apes and possess the olfactory and auditory capabilities equal to a wolf, the next turn will be much harder than the 2nd turn.”
Smell and hearing like a wolf. It means it will move to pursue a lot quicker than the red apes.
“Of course, you have all become a lot stronger and there is a chance of winning, but there is one disadvantage.”
“You mean Hye-su?”
I say it.
Hye-su is pricked and depresses her head. I tap Hye-su on the shoulder. I didn’t point it out to criticize her, I’m being realistic to find our weakness and a security plan for it.
“Lee Hye-su, with her 150 karma, used 100 to get the physical strength buff entry level 1 to reinforce her most problematic issue, physical inadequacy, and is taking a crash course training on sword wielding.”
Cha Ji-hye’s words continue.
“But still, it is true that she is still weaker than the rest of the team, and if one doesn’t contribute to the exam, the amount of karma that is earned dwindles that much more and it will become a vicious circle of the gap in skills getting bigger.”
“I’m thinking there’s no way around it, but is there any kind of security measure?”
Cha Ji-hye nods her head.
“Kim Hyun-ho, would you transfer your magic gun to Lee Hye-su?”
“The magic gun to Hye-su? You want to have her fight with the gun?”
“No. It is to get a karma refund on the magic gun.”
“Is that possible?”
“It’s impossible with skills, but you can get a half refund for items. Since the magic gun is worth 100 karma, if you refund, you can get 50 karma back.”
Cha Ji-hye’s explanation followed.
“Currently, Hye-su has 50 karma.
And after receiving my magic gun, that’s a 50 karma refund.
With those 100 karma, the strategy is to gain an item that is necessary for the team, and increasing her contribution.”
“An item we definitely need?”
“It’s called an item bag.”
Cha Ji-hye handles the remote. On the projector, the screen changes.
[Item bag (small).
Material: magic treated leather
Function: store non-itemized items and pass the exam door.
Price: 100 karma]
“Here, store medicine and medical supplies and the bullets you, Kim Hyun-ho, will use, and take it to Arena. If Ms. Lee Hye-su can act as the medic, that will be plenty contribution to the team.”
This is it!
Preparations for the 3rd turn exam progressed smoothly.
Kang Chun-seong received a new identity but continued to reside at the research center and do self-regulated training.
Joon-ho received training on how to use a shield and spear from a spear instructor.
The one doing the most difficult training was Hye-su. It’s because she has to fence and do emergency care at the same time.
In terms of the fencing, in order to be able to use it in short notice, vertical cut, horizontal cut, stab, she did these three moves over and over like her life depended on it, so as to make her body remember them.
On the other hand, she was sweating bullets trying to learn medicinal uses and emergency medical care.
“At this rate, she may faint before the day of the exam. Shouldn’t the training intensity be lowered a bit for her condition?”
“That is not necessary.”
Cha Ji-hye was so firm to the point that I almost get embarrassed.
“Condition adjustment is not necessary. An intensity just at the level to harm the body is good. Anyway, when the body passes through the exam door, it goes to its prime condition.”
They set up the training keeping that in mind. They aren’t a state institution for nothing.
“But what will I do?”
She suddenly doesn’t have anything to say.
“Should I practice handing bullets off to Sylph?”
“Oh, when Sylph uses the gun, I can count the bullets, or I could practice picking up pellets?”
“Okay, fine. Would you like to learn mixed martial arts?”
“Mixed martial arts?”
“Because we don’t have many rest days left, I’m not sure learning will increase your skill, but in the least, sparring and becoming familiar with fighting will be a help when fighting lycanthropes.”
“That sounds good.”
Cha Ji-hye takes me to the 4th floor basement training center of the research facility.
It is as expansive as the 5th floor shooting range and in it, a vast assortment of exercise equipment. In the middle are a couple fight rings.
“This is an incredible setup.”
“It is for the training of examinees who are in general in very good shape, so the setup is good.”
“But no one is here.”
“I really wanted to ask but how many contracted examinees are with the Korean Arena Research Center?”
“Including your team, 67.”
I’m surprised, it’s more than I thought.
“It is on the smaller side but we are within the 50 world rankers.”
“World ranker? What is that?”
I’m confused. A world ranker? Perhaps, maybe, are there exams with examinees against each other? No way.
“It is ranked based on the total karma earned from the exams. There is no examinee that wishes to divulge what weapon or what skill they have, but simply converting total karma doesn’t matter.”
“Is verifying that possible?”
“Verifying is impossible. The contracted institution would never reveal any detailed examinee information.”
“Then one could lie to increase the ranking.”
“That is true, but there are not many instances of that. The applicable examinees sum karma is revealed by their contracted institution, but if they increase an examinees ranking higher than it is, it would only increase the worth and cost of that examinee to them.”
“On top of that, if your ranking is high, all the more, other institutions will grow jealous and take examinees by offering higher salaries.”
“So an examinee could lie to his or her institution to raise his or her price then?”
“Tricking is nearly impossible. Through observation it is possible to see about what skill level and what item and examinee has.”
It means even if you blow smoke, the researchers meticulously observe and analyze and the estimate comes out.
Suddenly, I’m really curious.
What about the opposite?
‘Can’t you hide your skills?’
For example, I earned 900 karma from the exam, but I could lie and say it was 700, and use the 200 elsewhere. Like this, I can secretly grow my strength.
Just in case, hiding the real strength.
… Have I read too many martial arts novels?
It’s a childish notion, but the more I think on it, it’s not that bad an idea.
Even if the Korean Arena Research Center is a state institution, I cannot trust it 100%. I don’t know how the situation may change if the power or responsible entity changes.
I cannot trust completely so it might be dangerous to reveal my everything.
‘I should think on this more.’
“Okay, come on up.”
Only then do I awaken from thinking and look at Cha Ji-hye, and she is in the ring. She has UFC open finger gloves on both hands.
“Put on gloves and come up.”
“What are you doing right now?”
“No, where’s the instructor?”
The silence flows for a while.
“Uh, will you be okay?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m a man and I got stronger with the physical strength buff so for weight and strength…”
“Oh, that is what you meant?”
She nods her head as if she just understood and Cha Ji-hye speaks.
“Where were you in the army?”
“…3rd ammunitions depot.”
“That is rear quartermaster corps. I was in the navy special forces for 7 years, and practice muay thai from a young age.”
I’m sorry I overlooked you.
I put on open finger gloves and enter the ring.
“Then let’s begin.”
“No, wait, like this, abruptly? Teach me a little something…”
“Raise your guard.”
Oh, thanks for teaching me something good. With that, even a beginner can box real well.
I look at Cha Ji-hye approaching me using her footwork and raise my guard.
Ah, right, there’s kicks. I was thinking boxing.
How shall I say, it’s like being pushed and pulled.
I’m surprised that it doesn’t hurt as much as I thought it would when a low kick strikes my legs. When I easily avoid a flying left jab, I realize my opponent is a woman. A woman who, without choice, is slower and weaker than a man.
‘What, this isn’t so bad.’
With my mind at ease, when the left jab slowly flies at me again, I easily avoid it and I counterattack with a punch.
… As I do so, this woman, as if she was waiting for it, speedily counters with a right hook. As I stumble she throws a left, right, high kick combo!
After viciously getting beat, I realize Cha Ji-hye is very strong.
She pretended to be weak and made me careless and then relentlessly beat me!
“The lycanthropes will be twice as fast as me.”
I grab my chin and get up.
“I only got hit once, why does it hurt so bad?”
“If you get hit by a counter like that, no matter how strong, you’ll fall down.”
“Knowing that, you mercilessly beat me. Thank you.”
“We shall continue.”
She continued, moving with footwork left and right, attacking me.
It must be the power of the physical strength buff. Her being a woman, my strength and agility are above her. I avoided or blocked the average attack with reflexes.
But then, from a sudden flurry of combinations, I cannot get my head straight. She blinds my gaze with a jab and then flies over a low kick, pretends to punch with a feint, and then high kicks.
“If you are getting acclimated now, I will include elbows.”
I’m dying from pain right now, and you want elbows?
Cha Ji-hye sends over a left jab. I think she’ll follow with an elbow so I raise my guard with both arms.
But then she suddenly grabs my neck with both hands and jumps up high.
From my mouth a sound, far from dignified, shoots out. Anyone who suffers a direct hit to the solar plexus will make this sound.
“El-elbows, you said…”
“You are denser than I thought. Like someone who’s never exercised or played sports before.”
“Any exercise I’ve ever done is just some hiking.”
“Do you not possess 1st degree in Taekwondo.”
“I just went through the motions for about a week in the army and they just gave it to me. They tossed those degrees around like coupons.”
She takes off her gloves.
“This won’t do. It will be better for you to make a wooden spear like you did in the second exam. Do not, under any circumstance, face against a lycanthrope. Hold it off with the wooden spear and in urgent need, use the spirit.”
At best, I got the entry level 4 physical strength buff but it’s like pearls around a pig’s neck. The role most befitting me right now is obediently holding bullets next to the gun shooting Sylph.
I return home and no one’s home. I use Sylph to clean the house and afterwards, out of boredom, I summon my new weapon.
As I say so, in my right hand is the hefty rifle, Mosin-Nagant. It shows signs of being old, but I sense its vintage charm.
I gave Hye-su my magic gun and along with it the bullets and belt, and from now on, this is my weapon.
Max range is a staggering 548 meters.
It’s an antique, old enough it was used in Czarist Russia, and it makes me a little nervous, but I did confirm its performance at the shooting range earlier today. Well, Sylph did.
They say snipers of the world wars used this so I guess I’ll believe in it.
‘Do me well.’
I pet the Mosin-Nagant and whisper in my heart.
Time left until the next exam, 11 days.
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