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Joonbum let out a big breath as he started driving.
‘Didn’t know she was inside the perimeter… she came together with me.’
His mind was swirling with thoughts. He needed to do something about the wolf.
‘He’s not going to move anytime soon, but if someone finds him…’
Thinking of someone accidentally finding the wolf gave him chills. It would spell disaster.
‘All hell would let loose.’
First the police, then the fire department… there’s also the possibility of military intervention. All specialists will be dispatched to capture the gigantic wolf. It will end up in a cage. As big as it was, it was not much of a threat here. If it ran rampant, it would only mean a quick death for the beast.
‘That’s not the only problem. Crap!’
He opened the window so he could smoke, but the foul air made him scowl.
“Ugh, damn it. They better do something about the pollution first!”
Joonbum lost the appetite for smoking and sped up his car instead. After an hour of driving, he was at his destination. The place was a PC bang located on the second floor of a three-story building. He used to be a regular because of its latest equipment and tons of customer service.
An employee welcomed Joonbum as he entered the store.
“Hi. Is the seat available?”
“Sure, number 58 right?”
She remembered where Joonbum usually sat.
“Two orders of gimbap and a coke. I’ll pay at the end.”
‘Ah, she’s giving me that look again. I should’ve gone somewhere else.’
Joonbum took what he said from the counter and went over to his seat as the employee watched him closely as if he had done something wrong.
“Hah, this is it,” he said to himself after having a sip of the ice-cold coke. He then moved his hand over to the computer.
‘I’ll edit it a bit and upload it right away.’
Joonbum opened the footage he got from the other world and started editing.
‘Should I cut my face out or not?’
He wasn’t sure, so he gave some thought to the issue.
‘Okay, I’ve decided.’
He remembered there were a lot of online videos that had no words. It just showed what was happening and it was enough. He smiled.
“Yeah, that’ll do. I don’t have to worry about needless attention. I won’t need to edit it much either. I can just cut it in a few hours…’
Joonbum cut out the early part of the video where he spoke a lot, censored few screens where his face was shown and erased his voice. The video was cut down to twenty files, and the length of each video was two hours when it was done.
“Nothing to edit, no explanation, no background music… it’s a piece of cake! Here goes one.”
He readied the file to upload it onto the server then stopped suddenly.
“Wait, I don’t have a title yet. Exploration of fantasy world? Going to the other world? Monster hunter? Hmm…”
Many names went through his mind but he couldn’t find the right one.
As Joonbum ate and drank what he ordered, Jiyoung Kim, who was eyeing on him from the beginning, smirked.
‘That pig came again. Who drinks coke with gimbap anyway? What a pig-like way of thinking.’
To Jiyoung, Joonbum was not a regular. He was just some moron who persistently asked for a specific spot when he only came once or twice occasionally and only stayed there for less than two hours at most.
‘What a streamer you are. Tsk.’
The owner told her that he was a streamer and that led her attention to him, but he was that kind of a garage band rockstar at best.
‘At least he knows he’s not worthy of me.’
She once tried to get close to him but quickly stopped. At least Joonbum didn’t seem to mind as if he knew that he was not worthy of such a woman. But Joonbum not giving her any attention irked her even more, leading to her annoyance against him.
‘Does he think I’m a nobody because I’m a part-timer at a PC bang? Is that pig is ignoring me?’
As he started to smoke, smog rose from his spot and was absorbed by a nearby fan, which Jiyoung watched with a disgusted look on her face. Unbeknownst to the annoyed employee, Joonbum’s mind was filled with something else.
-Travels of the Other World: Chapter 1.-
“I will go with this.”
He moved his mouse to upload the named video. When the uploading was complete, he quickly logged out of the computer and got up.
“How much is it?”
“Total comes out to 7,800 won, please.”
“Hey, wait- … that bastard!”
Jiyoung’s face reddened. She wasn’t happy that Joonbum ignored her casually and left without a second thought.
“Did that guy just ignore me? How could he? I can’t believe this!”
Jiyoung ranted at the now gone Joonbum, who was occupied by his thoughts.
“I don’t have time! I need to go to Jinchul’s place first, then to the market again. I’ll call home afterwards. No, I should go to the market first. Ugh, why does it feel like my ears are burning?”
Joonbum rubbed his ear while he drove off.
He was busy. He bought more supplies from the market, then the gunshop, and he returned to the campsite at twilight. The wolf growled at the truck and Joonbum who just got off of it. He did not pay attention to it and instead prepared water bottle connected to the water hose that he used earlier in the morning. When the basin was full of water, wolf eyed Joonbum for a bit and started to drink.
“Boy, he drinks a lot! I would’ve run out if I didn’t get more.”
A box that held three big water bottles was gone in a second.
“Hey, this is duck and chicken meat!”
Joonbum then threw the duck and chicken meat he bought from the market in front of the wolf. It showed its teeth at Joonbum, surprised by the thrown objects, but it soon showed interest as it sniffed them. It soon started eating.
“Is it good?” he asked. The wolf didn’t respond but kept on eating to the bones. As the wolf went on about its dinner, Joonbum took out a portable gas stove and started cooking for himself. He prepared a pot filled with water and added some fish powder to start a broth. When it started to boil, he added kimchi, pork meat, a pepper, and some onions. Topped with some black pepper, the kimchi stew was almost ready.
“What a smell.”
He took out an instant white rice packet and started eating. He also opened a bottle of soju and poured it into the glass.
“Yes, this is it!”
Kimchi stew with soju was his favorite. The bitter taste of soju mixed well with the kimchi stew’s spiciness. Even the pork meat inside the stew was delicious. It added an inexplicable aftertaste that just belonged. His body started to warm up as he kept drinking soju.
“What? You want some too?” shouted Joonbum, shaking the glass at the wolf. It was quietly watching Joonbum, but her eyes seemed to glisten at his action. It was obvious that the wolf was interested.
“Hah, you are lucky. You really are, you know that?”
Joonbum mumbled at the wolf and finished his last glass. After putting a piece of meat into his mouth, his stood up.
-What? You have your hunting rifle. Why this?-
-I need to use it when hunting. Some of the viewers mentioned that it’s too cruel to kill an animal with a rifle. Also, there are too many wild dogs on the mountain and I should shoot them with a tranquilizer and hand them over to the shelter.-
-Is that so?-
-Yeah, I was promised a donation if I did that. So what can I say?-
-Oh, so it’s like a mission then.-
-Yeah. How strong is this stuff anyway?-
-This? It should make a big dog sleep for ten minutes or so. Don’t shoot more than three. It might kill the animal.-
Jinchul gave his explanation as he pulled the trigger to reveal a needle-like bullet.
Joonbum finished preparing and let out a sigh.
‘If it works, it works. If It doesn’t, too bad.’
Joonbum then aimed the tranquilizer at the wolf and with a big inhale, took a shot. A bullet with a red feather fired across, landing at the wolf’s buttock. The wolf raised its head, startled. It watched Joonbum for a second but laid back down on the ground.
“Hey! What are you doing?”
Joonbum was surprised at the unexpected reaction. He then took two more shots at the wolf. It flinched each time but did not respond. It did not even raise its head.
‘Have you given up your life?’
A thought suddenly rose inside him. He became bitter. When he first saw those wolves, all he felt was the fear and terror that gripped him. But as the wounded wolf was abandoned and attacked by some fox creatures, he became sympathetic toward it. He was especially angry towards the creatures who attacked it in its weakened, helpless state. It was then that he decided to save its life.
“Consider yourself lucky. If it was some other guy, you would’ve been cooked already, you know that? Koreans are known to eat anything!”
Joonbum took a few more shots at it while mumbling at the wolf. Just as it seemed like it was useless, the wolf started reacting to the tranquilizer when it took the eighth shot. It started to lose control of its head, just like a relaxed dog dozing off.
Joonbum let out a laugh while cleaning up the tranquilizer and lighting up a cigarette. As he smoked a cigarette, the wolf finally gave in and fell asleep.
‘Time to move.’
Joonbum carefully examined the wolf from a distance and slowly walked toward it with iron chains and a padlock. It made him grow tense. It was not just a wolf. It was a beast that was not from this world.
He felt the beast’s warm breath as he closed in. His body shivered with nervousness and excitement.
‘I should chain its muzzle and feet first.’
As he started to wrap the chain around its muzzle, a bad breath stuck his nose.
“Aww… so stinky!”
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