Chapter 58

After a moment of silence, the three discussed other matters for a while.

Meanwhile, Dongye was locked in deep thought, not daring to intervene in the conversation. Although he listened silently, it was difficult for him to grasp their conversation’s meanings. Moreover, it was difficult for him to understand this unrealistic situation where humans were communicating with a god on equal footing. However, Dongye understood that the situation that was unfolding in the north would become a serious issue in the near future. The most urgent task for him was to go back to his clan, analyze the complex situation that was about to unfold, make preparations, and establish a relationship with these two Awakeners.

San tilted his head and drank the last few drops of his drink. He then asked, “Since you’re a god, let me ask you one more question. Can we go back to the world we came from?”

“I do not know. If one could bring you here, that one could send you back again, right?” Dite briefly replied.

“Who do you think brought us here?” Biyeon asked.

“I'm not sure, but I’m guessing that ‘Original Beings’ have such powers.”

“Original Beings? Who are they?” asked San.

“It is said that they were the Creator’s vessels, entities that carried out his will and commands.”

“Does that ‘Creator’ mean the creator of this universe?”

“That’s right. We call that being ‘Creator’ or ‘Original One’.”

Biyeon stared at the small bonfire burning in the middle of the table. Firewood burst and sparks splattered here and there. Behind the shaking light caused by the bonfire, she could see a barrier that was set far away. The grid pattern of the fence entered her eyes. She felt a strange similarity between that pattern and her thoughts…it was difficult to express in words. There was some connection there… Biyeon felt stuffy.

“They’re probably really strong, right?” muttered San. 

“Probably…”

A fleeting expression of fear briefly passed Dite’s face, but San’s face was calm. He drank another glass of the strong liquor and got up from his seat.

Biyeon also got up without changing her expression and turned around after saying farewell. As she was turning around, she asked Dite, “By the way, how many Original Beings are there? And what do the gods call them?”

“They are hidden. There are four known existences that we’ve heard or seen of so far. They are said to call themselves Pasoon, Set, Loki, and Satan. They're also referred to as the 'Fallen'.”

Biyeon’s forward motion suddenly stopped.

‘Satan…?’

Episode 2. Book 2: Planning – Chapter 4

The hunt was winding down after four days.

It was originally a 10-day schedule, but the hunters concluded that they could no longer hunt.

The reasons were twofold. One, they caught too much prey on the first night. The number of beasts caught on the first day was more than five times that of all the beasts caught by all hunters in last year’s hunt. If the dead beasts were not processed quickly, decay and loss of value would occur. Another reason was that the number of beasts in the area had dried up.

The hunters who left to hunt in the morning gathered back at the square in the evening. Most came back empty-handed, and some probably stayed somewhere safe in the woods to pass time. Still, the expressions of the returning hunters were bright. They were generally happy because this year’s harvest was so great, and all of them had participated in the first night’s battle, so their share of the spoils would also be large.

Once the last of the sorting was done tomorrow, everyone planned to withdraw. Each person’s share would be determined by status and class… or that’s what everyone thought…

Amidst this general malaise, the specially commissioned support staff were busy at work. On one hand, they sorted the beasts and dismantled them into parts. Another group was working on the troublesome task of measuring, counting, and distributing the spoils.

Some of the staff left for the estate first. This was in order to request assistance for the transportation of a huge amount of spoils. In case of danger, a few Dong-Myung warriors accompanied the traveling support staff.

San and Biyeon, true to themselves, went around and did the necessary ‘administration of the hunt. Thanks to their constant questions, the support staff’s lips were protruding outward. However, this didn’t stop San and Biyeon from asking their questions.

“Why was this classified like this?”

“This part of the beast is scarce and precious, so it’s given to the nobleman.”

“Why are the skins and bones of this Archon separate in this way?”

“Because the Jane Clan’s officer, Narim, asked me to take dismantle one like this…”

“What are those separate scraps? Will you throw it away?”

“It’s for the hunters who aren’t affiliated with a group.”

“Who decided the proportion and method of dividing this way?”

“It’s the way we’ve been doing it for many years.”

“What’s this?”

“It’s the portion to be taken to the shrine and dedicated to the god.”

“Why so much?”

“If we divide it to be sent to the four temples, this is actually a small amount.”

“How does this hunt help the people of Count Essen’s territory?”

“As foreigners come to exchange things or spend money, it helps merchants. The warriors of the estate can get paid as well.”

“How much does Count Essen take?”

“10% of the total intake.”

“How much do other estates usually take when they conduct their hunt?”

“It depends on the status and power of the estate or territory. It’s said that the Grand Dukes or Dukes usually takes about 30%, and the Marquis takes about 20%. Our Count is still pioneering and developing his territory…”

San laughed bleakly at the answers before turning his head toward Biyeon.

His expression was complicated.

“In the end, it’s a story of having nothing left after being ripped off by everyone else. In this world, bad guys such as gangsters, scammers, and so on seem to operate in the same way. This is a rotten situation.”

“It’s unfair. After roughly calculating this and that, the Count will just barely meet his costs. He’d be fortunate if there’s no deficit. In the end, this hunt is an event where strong people around the world legally extort the hunting resources of the weak territories under the guise of protecting the territory from monsters. It’s also a structure wherein junior warriors and young people must bear the brunt of the responsibilities and risk. In short, the expenditure for the safety of the estate is too high,” Biyeon said coldly.

“What was the Count’s request? How far can we use our authority?” asked San.

“He asked us to be ‘fair’,” Biyeon replied.

“What do you think his intention was?”

“Hmm… exactly as you think right now,” Biyeon stated in a slightly uncomfortable voice. She seemed to be squeezing out her words, little by little. She was surprised by her own unconfident voice.

Even for her, she thought the way she spoke was incredibly awkward. She forgot to use honorifics when speaking to San. San tilted his head.

“You? Not going to use honorifics anymore, huh? You’ve certainly grown up, haven’t you?”

“Huh?”

San playfully patted Biyeon’s back, causing her to flinch, and then walked forward.

“It has a good ring to it, ‘you’.”

He walked forward cheerfully and hummed a tune.

“Hmm… not bad at all. It was okay, actually. That’s good. That’s good. Ms. Biyeon… our ‘Miss Biyeon’ has grown up.

She quickly followed behind him, wiping off the sweat coming down from her forehead with a handkerchief. She felt that the cool spring weather was passing by too quickly.

***

“Are you roughly done?” asked Biyeon. Her voice was full of irritation.

“I’m still far from done. This task isn’t easy. It requires concentration and takes time. It’s very different from physical labor,” Yeria responded bluntly without raising her head. Her hand kept moving a small stick, while the other hand was writing something down.

She was in the process of dividing and distributing the spoils, classifying them according to a set standard. It took a lot of calculation to add the various lots and to properly apply the distribution ratios. All of the groups participating in the hunt were keen about their share of spoils, so it was necessary to verify the accuracy of the calculations over and over.

The main problem at hand was the fact that among the many people in the support staff, Yeria was the only one with computational skills. It was also one of the reasons the Count sent his second daughter with the support staff. She was an essential person in this organization. In fact, it was rare for even large cities to have a talented woman with her level of skills and beauty.

Yeria was a high-quality financial resource who learned wealth management and necessary calculation skills in a university-level clan. Warriors generally have poor computational skills. Officer-designated warriors may be strong in discourse and logic, but they hated dealing with numbers. Working with numbers in this age, without calculators, meant very cumbersome calculations and simple iterations. The nobles hated this kind of ‘head’ usage, which consumed time and energy. Counting, above all, was avoided whenever possible. So, these numbers and calculations were usually performed by hiring commoners from the upper class.

At this moment, Yeria was the main person responsible for this thankless job. She was also growing very angry. She was clearly frustrated in being assigned this mundane and tedious job, especially considering her status as the Count’s daughter.

Yeria had worked with her hair wrapped up for half the day, barely sorting out and calculating half the lots. However, her supervisor instructed her to set a new standard and recalculate the lots and distribution amounts. Biyeon seemed to treat the calculations as a joke to get done quickly.

“What’s so complex? Why is it taking you so much time?” Biyeon said as she glanced over the worksheet.

In her opinion, no matter how she looked at it, Yeria’s words and actions were close to intentional sabotage and insubordination. In addition, a subtle sense of competitiveness started to rear in her head. Are you rebelling, Yeria? Really?

“If it’s that easy, Ms. Captain should go ahead and try it herself!” Yeria screamed impatiently. She, too, was a high-ranking noble who couldn’t be ignored or pushed around in society. Though she didn’t want to disobey her father, the Count, she really couldn’t stand this person who seemed to have an illogical sense of reasoning. Although charming and mysterious, Captain Biyeon waasking for too much…

“Give me the writing tool. And bring a blank piece of paper,” Biyeon said, finally deciding to do the work herself.

Yeria handed over the materials and stared at Biyeon with cold eyes.

As time passed, her facial expression gradually changed.

Her expression was at first filled with ridicule, then curiosity, then surprise, then finally suspicion…

Biyeon reviewed Yeria’s written work and then tilted her head from side to side. She frowned at the almost illegible, childish approach Yeria took in writing and calculating.

At that point in time, Yeria was still smugly smiling. Before long though, Biyeon brought another blank piece of paper and started drawing a spreadsheet table. The shape of the table was a bizarre shape that Yeria had never seen before. Horizontal and vertical lines crisscrossed with subdivided item names on the horizontal cells and participant names on the vertical lines.

After making her spreadsheet, Biyeon started filling in the empty cells with the basic info Yeria had handed over.

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