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Joonbum wiped the sweat off with a dry towel and took out another cold water bottle from the cooler. The water quickly disappeared as he gulped it down. After he drank about half the contents in the bottle, he let out a big breath and lit up a cigarette.
“This is great.”
All the smoke inside his mouth increased his focus. As he inhaled more, he felt a strange sensation. The cigarette just felt more thick with a deep taste.
“Whoa, why is it so thick?”
He blinked repeatedly in disbelief and looked up into the sky. When he managed to see the sky through the small gaps between trees, he realized it was extremely blue. Even by looking through such small space, it was so blue that he was at a loss for words.
He mumbled in amazement, awe-struck by the sight.
“Folks! You have to see this! You just have to see this! Have you ever seen a sky this blue?”
Joonbum snatched the camera and started to record it. The blue sky which contrasted the white clouds was a great thing to capture.
“Even on the clearest day it is never this blue! Nothing like this!”
He kept speaking excitedly while recording. He was doing his natural, usual thing.
“Hah, this is so great, folks. I really want to share this hands-on experience with you guys, but it’s a shame. Sorry folks.”
He was slightly making fun of the future viewers while he turned the camera on himself. Vividly, he could picture the reactions.
‘This would create an uproar.’
He turned the camera again and focused on different things when he found something special.
“Hey! Do you see that? Look at those eyes! Do you see them?”
It was a bird. Just a bird with gloomy, greyish feathers. What made it special was that it had three eyes instead of the usual two.
“Whoa, a three-eyed bird! Are you watching this?”
The bird had three red eyes. When it spread its wings to fly, he realized that the bird’s wingspan was about 90 inches.
“Do you see how big that is? That’s about big as a bald eagle! Oh my god!”
Startled by all the shouting, the bird took off, quickly flying away as Joonbum continued.
“Remember folks, this is real! Do you not believe it? Do you think it’s a computer graphic? Heh.”
Joonbum smirked while recording multiple places. He managed to capture many unusual sights of the forest. After a while, he grew tired and returned to his usual pattern.
“Folks, I will now do an eating broadcast out in the wild, out in the other world. You still need to eat in the other world, you know. The very first eating broadcast on a tree a hundred feet off the ground! Please subscribe if you haven’t, and any donation is more than welcome!”
Joonbum took out a portable burner and started cooking.
The food wasn’t anything special. He took out the can of Spam he mentioned earlier and sliced it up before he put in the pan and sliced some onions to cook with it.
“This is the egg!”
When the Spam and onions were cooked, he then started frying an egg. It was the fried egg he mentioned earlier.
“Do you see this?”
He showed off the instant white rice he brought from home to the camera and smiled brightly.
‘Only if this was a live broadcast! The chat room would’ve gone crazy over this! All those donations… oh well. Can’t be too greedy.’
He did not stop after completing his preparations and started eating like usual. With tempting chewing sounds coming out from his mouth, he gobbled all the delicious food and quickly finished it. With a loud burp, he then reached out for the half-finished water and downed the rest.
“Hah, satisfying. Remember what I said? Spam, fried egg, and white rice? It’s that good.”
He gurgled water inside his mouth and poured some water on the empty dishes, rinsing it off naturally and then drinking all of it. He picked his teeth with his finger and looked around.
‘I still don’t see them yet.’
He was not waiting for just some bug or weird bird. He needed something really special for his video.
‘I need them.’
He needed the wolves. They were magnificent. There was nothing remotely similar in his world. It was something that only existed in fantasy or the prehistoric era. He was ready for it.
‘Only if I can get them on camera…’
Joonbum shook with excitement. He couldn’t imagine all the buzz the video would have.
‘It will instantly go viral!’
His fear of the monster had faded. The wolves were monstrous in size, but his world had animals that were the size a long time ago. It just was not possible to come across a walking animal of the same size in this time period where humans had gained control of the entire world, and even more so with the development of technology.
Joonbum then heard a sudden sound from a distance. Shaking trees and flying birds could only mean one thing. There was something moving on the ground level.
“Folks, something’s coming.”
Joonbum spoke quietly to the camera while looking down to the source of the sound. He silently waited for something to jump out, but to his disappointment, nothing came out. Just as he was done waiting, the trees shook again.
Joonbum moaned at what came out through bushes.
‘A club? Is it a human?’
The first thing that appeared through the bush was a large club, crudely made by chopping off different wood parts. It was about five feet long and was as thick as the thigh of a male adult. Even the handle was as thick as a human’s arm.
‘How can you even hold that…? Wait-‘
Joonbum’s eyes widened in bewilderment. It was not as huge as those wolves. In fact, it was much smaller. But just the presence of its greyish skin and clean-shaven head made him gape in awe.
Of course, he wasn’t sure if it was an orc, but it definitely looked something like the orcs that he saw in the movies. The orc looked big and tough – rough and wrinkled skin covered the hairless body.
‘Everything is big.’
When it fully revealed itself from the bushes, Joonbum carefully examined it. It looked bizarre but really strong and powerful. The first impression it gave him was that it was big. Not only was it tall, but it was just thicker and taller in size compared to a human overall.
‘It’s probably over 8 feet. Is that a tusk?’
He eyed the four teeth sticking out of its pale blue lip. Two big eyes scanned the area and a nose as big as a human’s fist was breathing heavily.
‘It’s nothing like those short orcs from the movies.’
Surely, it was different from any orc character he was used to. He wasn’t even certain if it really was called an orc, but he just decided to call it that for sake of naming it.
The orc also had fitting arms and legs for its size. They were thick.
When it shook its club, two more came out from the bushes. Not letting down its guard, Joonbum felt unknown pressure from its presence.
‘It’s horrifying. Are they… smelling?’
Still defensive, the orcs started looking around while trying to sniff out something. Joonbum glanced at the bottom of the tree and found out what it was looking for. It was the truck that was filled with various smells that did not originate from this forest.
‘Smell of oil and equipment…’
Some of the smell might even aggravate it because it would smell weird.
‘I did some cover-ups but…’
When he was done pulling everything up, he brought tree parts over and covered the truck. He finished it with the barbed wire he also bought from old man Kim. But it wasn’t enough.
‘It won’t last against them.’
The orcs did not have any clothes or armor, but they had weapons. That signified at least a little bit of intelligence.
‘Did it notice it?’
Joonbum carefully watched with his forehead all wrinkled up – a habit if his whenever he faced trouble. The grey orc let out a snort and took large steps toward the truck’s cover. Then the traps were triggered.
The orc screamed, startled by traps. The two behind it quickly followed at the disturbance, causing more traps to go off.
‘It… did not work at all.’
It did cause some disturbance, but that was about it. It had no effect whatsoever on those orcs. It didn’t even leave a single scratch to their ankles. The traps angered the orc – it forcefully opened the trap hanging on its foot and pulled it out of the ground like it was nothing. The stake Joonbum hammered was easily taken out.
‘It’s a toy.’
It was like a toy against it. Even if it was designed to catch a thousand pound wild boar, it was nothing to these orcs. But it did draw its attention away from the truck.
The orcs let out angry shouts and then started to fish out every trap in the ground by smell.
The word automatically came to Joonbum’s mind. Just a snatch, a bunch of traps, and iron stakes were pulled from the ground.
‘They don’t seem to be talking?’
As he watched, he grew curious. Orcs in the movies knew how to talk. As his curiosity grew, he became so focused that he did not expect what came next.
He was startled by the sudden roar of beasts jumping out from the shadows of the trees, ambushing orcs. One orc was taken down to the ground by a wolf while another orc smashed its club at another wolf. However, the wolves outnumbered them.
A total of four wolves closed in on the orcs. The grey orc was heavily bleeding from its arm and leg, and the one that was ambushed first was giving out its last breath as it was being choked by a wolf. Pretty soon, it gave in – there was the terrible sound of its neck breaking and blood splashed out from the open wound. Its arm that had been holding on to the wolf fell to the ground.
Joonbum’s eyes flashed.
A wolf lunged at the grey orc thrown to the ground, howling in pain. It was trying to stand up again but one of its hind legs was helplessly dangling, broken. It cried in pain.
But one less wolf did not mean much to the orcs. It was still outnumbered and the two that were still alive were covered with wounds. Surely, in a short battle, the orcs were defeated.
Joonbum watched the whole process carefully. Wolves gathered around the wounded wolf for a while, but they soon picked up the orc corpses and walked off into the forest.
Joonbum let out a sigh. He realized he was tense, drenched with sweat, and his hands were shaking. He thought he had overcome his fear, but facing the true wild made him realize what he feared was only a small fraction of the bigger picture.
He looked down and saw a wounded wolf laying down under a tree. It was abandoned by its pack because it was wounded and dying. A wild animal that cannot hunt was hopeless.
He felt bitter at that truth.
With a sigh, he laid down facing the sky and started to relax. His heart that kept pounding while ago had now slowed down. The forest had also found its usual livelihood. As the sweat dried off, Joonbum felt tired and fell asleep.
He suddenly woke up to the sound of a growling animal.
‘Was I sleeping?’
It was starting to grow dark. He looked at the sky and found the sun hiding behind a mountain very far away. The forest was soon filled with complete darkness and Joonbum took some time to adjust to the dark to see.
‘Hm. I was just… camera! Ah, darn it, it’s out.’
He checked the camera which had turned itself off.
‘Night sure comes early in the forest.’
He thought about that widely known fact and started to move again. He pulled out his night vision goggles and put them on. With the sound of it powering up, it showed him the world in green. He was now able to look at all parts of the world around him that were shrouded by the darkness.
‘He moved a little… but I guess that’s it,’ Joonbum thought as he eyed the wolf. It settled into its place at the deep trench made between the bottom of the large tree trunks.
It just came to his mind as he watched the wolf in silence. Then suddenly wolf growled, this time as a sign of warning and aggression. With the growl, the wolf glared at Joonbum as if it knew that he existed from the beginning.
‘That’s so terrifying.’
It really was terrifying, but not like before. He knew it was ironic to feel this way, but he felt sympathetic.
“Folks, I’m being sympathetic, not-”
He stopped in the middle of talking, realizing that the camera had turned off. He shook his head and looked around him with his night vision goggles.
Soon, he was able to hear a new sound from the forest around him.
Words just came to his mind. Humans slept at night, but it was time to wake up for the beings of the forest. The forest became busy with all the faint moans and cries signaling life and death. A night in the forest was not calm or serene. It was a brutal dog-eat-dog world. All these sounds pierced Joonbum’s ears as the night began.
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