“I don’t know if it’s possible, but if we’re going to be here for a while, we should research all the materials we come across. It was natural to have the basic necessities met on Earth, but it’s uncomfortable now that I don’t have all those things I took for granted.”
“Right. We really do need to find a way to make or get some necessities.”
Their conversation briefly stopped. A year and four months had already passed since they deviated from their world.
In the meantime, they had to make many things by themselves.
Did any modern person ever imagine living without electricity and power? They could make substitutions for some necessities such as soap, toothpaste, paper, oil lighting, and natural seasonings. However, even the simple necessities such as clothes, needles, and matches were beyond their capabilities.
There was no cloth, so they could only keep wearing worn-out clothes. Rather than create new clothes, they constantly maintained their old ones, such as lining their military suits with the soft inner skin of the animal. They needed cotton or some other suitable material for undergarments. They had already gone through all of their underwear, so they were now going commando…
“We’ve persevered up to now, right? There are also many advantages to this life. There’s no need to rush. We get to decide how we want to live. There’s no senior management breathing down our throats or telling us what we can or cannot do. I do agree though that it feels a little unnatural.”
Biyeon suddenly turned her head and looked at San. Was it like that? In a way, he was right. They were finally liberated from the state, military, family, and even personal relationships that they had unknowingly woven themselves into in their previous life. Still, she tilted her head.
Nevertheless, her heart felt heavy and ached. She still longed for her previous life. She constantly felt like something was missing, like unseasoned food. Does he truly feel that way about this situation? Would he be able to live normally even without her?
Their eyes shone at the same time. A trace of something was clearly captured in their sight.
“What do you think it is?” San carefully asked.
“I’m not sure. It doesn’t look like a beast’s claw mark… It looks like axe marks?” Biyeon answered in a low, slightly trembling voice.
They were looking at the trunk of a tree that had been roughly cut off. It would have been a tree about the thickness of his thigh.
However, the markings were not of those from animals. Additionally, the tree seemed to be cut by an axe rather than a saw, alluding to the technological level of the being that cut this tree. They carefully looked around.
They could see the same traces here and there. They slowed their pace and carefully searched the ground.
“I'm certain it’s a sign of beings who use tools.”
Though faint and covered by grass, a trail that was common in the mountains caught their eyes. They also saw large branches on the side of the trail. It seemed that the beings processed the tree trunks before taking them away. They must be human.
“Finally!” San shouted while stretching and smiling.
“Do you think it’s safe?” Biyeon asked while staring at San.
“Does it really matter?”
“We might get located on their radar. Shouldn’t we cautiously move forward?”
“Perhaps. However, it’s something we need to check anyway.”
“Do you think we’re at the appropriate level to protect ourselves?” Biyeon asked while blinking her eyes.
San’s expression hardened.
“Will we ever know if we reached that level?
“Will I become a master if I spend 10 years in the mountains training? The situation may become a little better, right?” San said in a sarcastic manner.
“It’ll definitely be better. Even if it’s not that long, we need to get used to the new paths. Don’t you think it’s too early? It hasn’t been long since we escaped, so…” she said in a more determined tone. However, her gaze was pointed towards the ground.
“Do you have confidence that you can face the Sages after hiding away for so long?”
San’s voice was a little subdued.
“Yeon-” he called out quietly .
Biyeon raised her head and looked at San. This was the first time he called her in this way. She felt his stare. Suddenly, she felt his hand touch her left cheek. However, she felt a subtle sense of incongruity. It was unfamiliar, yet…
“When we first arrived in this place, when we played this fucking survival game for the first time, didn’t you tell me that we needed to live like humans, even if it only meant a day? Those words really touched my heart. Alright! That was how I felt. It was those words that motivated me to fight constantly, even in the midst of such odds. But what if…”
“What if we never found how to accelerate? What if we stayed in the same state we came in? Should we have hid in the mountains all our lives? I think your judgment that they’ll search and follow us is definitely right.”
“However, I have no idea how they’ll find us. If that’s the case, can we afford to keep hiding? Also, let’s say that we become stronger than the Sages through hard work. Is there any guarantee that no one will be stronger than the Sages? In my eyes, the situation is the same.”
“Every day is precious to me now. Every day of my future is also precious. I don’t want to spend today in vain for the prospect of having a perfect life in a year, century, or millennia from now. If I’m with you…”
He paused for a moment. His gaze paused on her face before he looked up at the sky.
White clouds slowly passed in the clear sky. She saw his Adam’s apple moved up and down.
“Anyway, these are my thoughts. I believe we actively need to clash with ‘life’, not just comfortably observe. Does it become clearer if you add one more thing to what you don’t know? It doesn’t matter if it’s a game, life, or whatever you want to call it. In the end, doesn’t living mean constantly moving, clashing into others, and facing challenges over and over again?”
“Well… If you don’t agree, I guess there’s nothing we can do about it… I don’t want to move alone anyway, so…”
San scratched his head and walked a few steps ahead before sitting down. He took out some dried leaves from his bosom, lit it, and touched the base of a tree with his feet.
A moment of silence passed. Biyeon was shocked. She seems to have seen a very small gap in his thoughts, which were always stalwartly solid and stubbornly blocked.
She didn’t know that she was smirking. The way he stroked her cheek felt incongruous because the touch seemed like it came from a ‘man’ rather than a ‘boss’.
However, what about his last appearance?
Her gaze was fixed on the ground. Is there room for more thought? He wanted to enter civilization, and as long as she did too, they would be able to live and be together. Even if it meant more painful trials and tribulations than those in the past year, didn’t they already know deep down that this new life would be filled with danger, risk, and adventure?
Should she avoid it? No?
‘Then… he’s right,’ she thought. ‘His way is right.’
Biyeon crouched beside San. She leaned her head on his shoulder and looked ahead.
“Let’s go together.”
Episode 2. Book 1: Exploration – Chapter 3
They walked along the beaten path. Soon, the forest opened up into a clearing. It was a large-scale logging farm area. Beautiful trees were cut down everywhere, and short stumps could be seen on the vast hills. Below, a fairly deep ford flowed along the gently sloping terrain. The water wound around a cliff at the foot of the mountain on the left.
On the right, a magnificent field was covered in dense reeds and wild grass. Wetlands were formed all over the place, and deep blue water was flowing slowly through them. A swamp was formed where the water was trapped, and a small path passed through it.
“Maybe they’re felling trees and transporting them on this waterway?”
“Probably. I can’t imagine them carrying it by wagon or cart.”
“Doesn’t this mean that large-scale manpower is being mobilized to systematically cut trees?”
“There’s a high probability that it’s one of the noble’s estates that the Hawk talked about. Regardless, let’s go.”
San walked ahead first with light steps while Biyeon followed closely behind. Their feet pattering on the softened ground sounded cheerful. The two broke into a cheerful run, not befitting their heavy outfit. They seemed to have popped out of nowhere.
Each light leap saw them jumping up three meters high. With each leap, they stretched over 5~6 meters. They bounded forward in excitement.
Stepping over a large rock, jumping over grass that exceeded the height of their jumps, stepping and bouncing off of thick branches, they moved forward without any hesitation. They ran excitedly toward the ford and valley.
At one point, they stopped running and caught their breath while San looked at his watch. They had been running for about 20 minutes.
“I can see the house…”
“It’s pretty large for a house.”
In the distance was a large estate surrounded by tall forests. The main building was built in the style of a European castle. Water flowed down the mountain and hugged the castle walls like a moat. Some tributaries of water entered the castle, probably as a source of drinking water.
“It’s like a magnificent fortress… it seems to have been built in the Romanesque or Medieval style. The walls are made of stone, and the windows are designed to be small and narrow, so it feels very defensive and combative. That’s not very comforting.”
“First, let’s seek high ground. We’ll have to do some reconnaissance.”
San and Biyeon moved to the highest spot in the surrounding terrain.
They stood atop a rocky cliff that faced the castle. They could now see the inside of the castle, examining the condition of the castle and the city located inside. Their location was at least 3 km away, so normal humans wouldn’t be able to see them. They also expanded their senses so that they could see, in detail, the shape of the small city inside and beyond the castle.
“The castle is made up of an inner and outer area. The innermost area is probably where the nobles stay…”
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