Chapter 39

San slowly got up. With his back now straightened, he looked at Yumia. There was a soft, comforting smile on his face.

Yumia lowered her head as she heard his quiet voice ring out within the room.

“I see… Then I’ll speak to you comfortably. Let me tell you what you need to do. First, there’s nothing that we need help with at the moment. Just wait for our call nearby. Second, we’ll be going out as soon as we’re finished organizing our stuff here. Rest comfortably until we come back. Finally, we don’t know the proper manners and etiquette of this place because we’re outsiders. We’re having dinner with the Count today, so I’d like you to teach us proper dining etiquette. You can describe this to us once we come back from our stroll outside. Is this fine?”

“Yes! We will do as esteemed guest directs. We’ll be waiting in the next room. If there’s anything uncomfortable or something that we could be of service, please do not hesitate to ring the bell.”

The expressions of Yumia and the three maids behind her quickly brightened before they stepped back. Once they left, San exhaled deeply.

“Phew… this isn’t easy. It’ll take some time to get used to… It’s never easy to order civilians around,” he mumbled. He sat back down on the floor and continued organizing his luggage.

“Also…”

Biyeon was speaking to herself when she suddenly stopped. He looked over towards her.

“Huh?”

“Nothing. It’s just unfamiliar...” 

She shook her head gently.

“C’mon, don’t act like it’s uncomfortable…” he replied while smiling.

As she unpacked, she glanced at San. As his name implied in Korean, he was as firm and dependable as a mountain. No, hes like a mountain range. 

His inner self seemed infinitely large, yet infinitely free.

He kept a lot of things in and knew how to soften any situation. Though he may seem rough and rude around the edges, he never crossed the line. He would lead conversations, allowing words to smoothly flow while keeping the spirit of the conversation alive.

Furthermore, his words transmitted a pleasant, lively feeling to others. He may lack book knowledge, but he more than made up for it with wisdom. Biyeon was not confident in that realm.

She honestly felt that she couldn’t measure up to him. Perhaps, it’s his leadership quality. He possessed the capacity as a leader. A natural leader…

A small smile hung around her mouth.

Still, he was a bungling, accident-prone person. He was innocent and curious about everything.

He was not afraid of new things, enjoyed small failures, and pulled out answers seemingly out of thin air. In other words, he was a frequent ‘accident-maker’ and ‘problem solver’.

She was swept by his initiative and suffered some trouble trying to fix the problems he created. Nevertheless…

‘What if I didn’t follow his lead and break out of my own shell? If I had kept my head down in front of a book like before, acting ‘reasonably’… I may not have ever found and expressed my hidden side.’

Surely, she herself wouldn’t have recreated all the pretenses and situations to unlock her potential. If it wasn’t for him, she would have never seen such a breathtakingly fascinating and vivid world…

***

In the afternoon of a bright, spring day.

The temperature had risen to the point that it made people feel lazy. However, Count Essen was full of vigor, constantly speaking with hunters and warriors who flocked to his estate to join the hunt.

This large-scale hunting competition, held every spring by the various provinces, was a tradition of sorts for these northern provinces.

This was because monsters crossed the Orom Mountain Range and traveled southward for the past hundred years.

Monsters and beasts attacked once in the spring and once in autumn. They rushed out of the forest in droves, as if they were chased by something.

Not only did these beasts move agilely, but they also constantly changed where they rushed out from, making it difficult for the northern provinces to mobilize their armies to counteract the seasonal intrusions.

So, the provinces gathered hunting experts and warriors, organized hunting competitions, and distributed financial benefits.

Large swamps and forests spread over the vast northern area, extending all the way up to the Arctic. It was said that an uncountable number of creatures, monsters, and beasts lived in these northern environments.

Although it was a harshly cold region, active volcanoes and hot springs were scattered everywhere, and hot geothermal heat from underground hot springs heated the huge bedrock like a hot stone, allowing colorful and strange vegetation to not only survive but also thrive.

Periodically, collapsing glaciers created new swamplands, and volcanoes that constantly emitted smoke and vapors provided snowfall and heavy rains.

So, this extremely unstable atmosphere made the area north of the Orom Mountains a place where heavy rains, fires, and thunderstorms always dominated.

The native people considered the north a sacred place that no human could go into and survive.

At the edges of these rugged natural barriers, was the Count’s estate and his people, located at the foot of a mountain. The Count’s estate had held a hunting competition every year to defend against these incoming beasts, usually at a huge personal expense.

The spoils obtained through hunting were very expensive because of the type and number of monsters that appeared. The estate that held the hunting contest had the right to buy the spoils first, so it was actually a very profitable business all around.

On the other hand, it was also a good event for the participants because the hunt’s participants could obtain greater recognition, materials, and money.

If it wasn’t for the inevitable deaths and near-death situations…

San and Biyeon slowly looked around the castle. People from all over the world were wearing eclectic clothes and styles, so the two didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

However, the two people’s attire did catch the attention of some of the people due to its simplicity and style. It was Biyeon’s work. She once dreamed of becoming a fashion designer when she was younger.

Their style considered the practicality and style of modern clothes, focusing mainly on comfortability and mobility, like wearing a T-shirt and jeans.

The waist was fitted with a specially modified leather belt using the original buckle they brought from their previous world. They also wore a jacket down to their waists.        

This style of dress was different from any other style experienced by the people here.

The material used for their outfits were soft inner beast skin for durability and warmth and tough Archon tendons for hardy threading.

Their outfits also provided another level of defense, as the rough leather exterior wouldn’t allow most attacks to penetrate through. Outfits like these were precious and priceless. Unfortunately, the individuals wearing them didn’t think so…

They wandered around the castle with interest and curiosity.

To get the supplies they needed, they observed how deals were done and followed accordingly. They had received money in advance from the Count, so they had enough to make their purchases.

San and Biyeon didn’t know what this temporary job, which the Count had just given them, entailed. Perhaps it had to do with the protection of this territory.

Regardless, first off, they planned to dutifully provide the service the Count wanted. The main objective for the two was to secure a period of adaptation and to obtain the necessary information to plan for their future movement.

For the time being, they needed to stick to their assumed roles and gather information.

“Hmm-”

“The trading method is fun. Almost all the methods are mixed. There’s also quite a lot of different currencies. There’s really no difference in negotiating from our previous world. It’s just a bit tricky to check the money and slips for counterfeits. The way they pay taxes is also amazing…”

“It’ll take a while to adapt to. The existence and relationships amongst slaves, merchants, workshops, warriors, and nobles are outside of our modern common sense. By the way, did you notice that more than half the people who are wandering here are slaves…”

“I noticed, too.”

Biyeon looked around the square with a bitter face. A handful of people were dressed in splendor: nobles, hunters, and warriors.

On average, about two servant attendants were attached to the side of these splendidly dressed people. The slaves followed behind the servant attendants.

The slaves walked barefoot and wrapped their bodies in cheap cloth. They shuddered in the cold while carrying large loads of goods.

They even saw some naked slaves. It was as if some weren’t even allowed to wear clothes.

Their foreheads were stamped with their master's seal, indicating their status as slaves and who they were owned by. Their hair was cut short so as not to cover their foreheads. There was no distinction between men and women slaves. They were all treated roughly.

“It’s still very… embarrassing and inhumane,” San muttered. His mouth was tightly closed.

“It reminds me of the Greek era. A small number of citizens and a large number of slaves… If you look at the illustrations and pictures of that time, you can see that most of them were naked on the bottom. Well, having come here, I never imagined that cloth fabric would be so expensive. There’s no such thing as a clothing store, either,” Biyeon stated.

San responded with a bitter look, “The one who has cloth will make the slaves create their clothes, and those who don’t have slaves would make it themselves, so I guess there’s no need for a clothing store. A clothing business will be ruined with this type of economy. And… it’s not even limited to clothes, is it? Ah, it all feels inhumane. Just thinking of our future here…”

“The Dong-Myung Clan warriors!”

The people near one of the castle’s entrances screamed.

“Of course, the world-renowned Dong-Myung Clan. What kind of unique weapons will they showcase to the world this time?” stated a resident nearby San and Biyeon.

There was constant murmuring here and there. San’s eyes shone brightly. Biyeon was also looking at the entrance of the castle gate with her mouth firmly closed. There were people coming into the castle that interested them.

Finally, they would be able to observe one of the three absolute clans. The Dong-Myung clan supplied this world with weaponry, as the clan focused on developing weapons and advancing new technology. With strange-looking weapons on their backs, the Dong-Myung clansmen approached the main square, a large cart in tow…

Episode 2. Book 1: Exploration – Chapter 8

“What did you see?” asked San. His gaze was still on the cart.

“No matter how I look at it… they look like guns,” she replied.

“Interesting, very interesting.”

San put his hands behind his back and cracked his knuckles.

“People say that they’re called Dong-Myung… First, I think we should find out what kind of group they are.”

“An organization that deals with guns and various weaponry… By the way, that guy in the front seems pretty strong.”

“Their aura is fairly strong. Even from this distance, their aura is starting to give me goosebumps.”

There were 12 warriors from the Dong-Myung Clan. They were coming through the gates, wearing clasps with their clan crests inscribed on them. They marched uniformly, exuding dignity and energy close to an armed ceremonial march.

San and Biyeon carefully looked around. People were respectfully cheering with expressions close to awe. Even if no one said anything, one could easily tell that the aura and weight of being one of the Absolute Clans were great.

Biyeon looked behind her. The sons and daughters of the nobles were also looking at the procession with envy.

People who appeared to be ordinary hunters were trying to avoid making eye contact with the Dong-Myung warriors.

“Absolute Clans must have a great power.”

“Right. It makes me even more reluctant to make eye contact with them.”

“Let’s find out about them in detail later. Let’s go back for now.”

The two looked at the procession once more before turning away.

However, the lead Dong-Myung clansman met eyes with San. It was a distance of more than 20 meters, but San froze.

San tilted his head from side to side and then turned back with Biyeon.

The Dong-Myung warrior in the lead slowed down for a moment. His eyes stared at San’s receding back.

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