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A cigarette was quietly lit up. Joonbum’s hand started to shake as he started relaxing from his nervousness.
“Beer is best when it’s cold,” Doral said from the tree across, drinking his beer. He was calm.
‘I guess he’s used to this,’ he thought as he looked at his shaking hands. The shock he felt from hunting was now coming to him. His body grew cold.
“This was your first hunt. All Ainos people are like you on their first hunt. You don’t know when you are busy fighting, but you get tired or throw up when you’re done. You need to drink when that happens. Oh, this beer is mine though. Haha.”
Doral took out a small drinking bag filled with alcohol and handed it over to Joonbum while he took out a beer for himself.
‘He wants me to drink it.’
He opened the cork, smelled it, and gulped it down.
It was very strong, which was unexpected from its sweet fruity scent. Joonbum coughed while Doral cackled at him.
“This is strong.”
“Yes, it is. It helps you stay still until morning without any worries.”
Joonbum started drinking again at his words. He kept gulping it down. After the first gulp, the second was easier.
“This is good.”
“Yes. You will have a headache tomorrow though.”
Doral nodded. Joonbum was already dozing off as he drank it for the last time and fell asleep. Doral snatched the bag before it dropped to the ground and grinned.
“Sleep well, friend!”
“Did he fall asleep?”
Doral nodded as Howen arrived, moving through the trees. Howen watched Joonbum with a troubled look on his face for a while and spoke out.
“Is that the weapon?”
“Yes, sir. It’s called RIFLE.”
“It let out a terrible sound.”
“It’s really powerful when shot in close range. It loses power when its shot from far away. It’s hard to aim and it can’t be aimed precisely at one spot. It can be shot six times and it has to be reloaded with something called BULLETS. It takes some time to do that too. There are pros and cons compared to the bows.”
“What’s most scary about this weapon is that you don’t need much training. Only a week of training would suffice, he said.”
Doral continued after he caught his breath for a moment.
“It’s a very powerful weapon, but there’s nothing like it here. Only Joonbum has it and there’s no one who can use or make these weapons.”
Howen nodded at his words.
“Is he from the other world?”
“Yes. He comes here every two days, moving through the dimensional twist,” Doral answered as Howen watched Joonbum.
“It’s amazing that they can just move through that twist without any problems.”
Doral nodded at his words as he understood what he meant. The dimensional twist was a phenomenon that happened every ten years. There were many animals or humans that moved through the twist, but they did not stay alive for long.
This forest was a dangerous place. There were predators everywhere and it was also filled with monsters. Even the herbivores were dangerous enough to unsuspecting visitors. Most did not survive past a day as they were hunted down. Even if they survived, it was only matter of time for them to get lost in the woods and die.
But Joonbum was different. He survived and built his fortress. It seemed as if some supernatural being was helping him.
“He sure is lucky.”
Doral nodded, smiling. If the twist opened in human territory, he would surely be taken into custody by the nobles who were blind for fortune.
Everything Joonbum brought to this world had a tremendous amount of value here. From his weapons, sugars, salt, and dishes, everything he had was not possible to obtain in this world. If it was known that he possessed such items, it would have spelled disaster for Joonbum. He was very lucky that he appeared and built his fortress in the deepest part of the Khalodanian Forest, not far from the Ainos tribe’s territory.
They also remembered that he even protected their baby and pack of Guardians. They were forever in debt to him.
“We should tell him that the twist will close when winter is over.”
“Yes. I was going to tell him when we finished hunting and winter comes.”
Doral smiled and gave his reply as Howen watched Joonbum.
Doral started explaining as they stretched and prepared for breakfast.
“This is our village. This is Joonbum’s home. This is where we watch over. This is Gray and Brown’s pack’s territory. But they can’t protect here anymore. So we help. Until cubs grow old. Or monsters will increase and all animals will leave this place.”
Doral made a large drawing. One circle seemed to indicate their village, and the smaller circle seemed to depict Joonbum’s fortress. There was a large circle that covered both small circles that was divided into two with a line, showing that each part was guarded by the Ainos and Galfus.
‘So it was as I imagined.’
It was similar to his speculations. They were symbiotic in their relationship. It became a problem when all the wolves in Galfus’ pack were killed off. It was the reason why the Odringo, a weak monster, invaded the place to look for food. Galfus alone could not protect an area that was this large.
“We will be hunting the Bodua that settled down here. It’s not a monster. It’s an animal. ANIMAL.”
Doral continued to explain to him. There were drawings of a new species that differed from yesterday’s Odringo or Kerox.
He could not picture it easily with the crude drawing made on the ground. Doral repeated the name multiple times. It was easy to see that Doral was trying to explain that the picture depicted the beast called Bodua.
Doral glanced at the man who was waving at him and spoke. He got up and came back with two wooden plates filled with food. It was some kind of porridge made with grains and jerky. Joonbum’s belly rumbled at the smell.
He sat down and started eating. It was nothing special, but the slight saltiness felt good.
‘I guess it’s from the jerky.’
It was the same saltiness, but it had a heavier taste. He thought it was a bit too bland but he soon started enjoying it. They took a short break after eating before they moved the bodies of the Keroxes that they hunted on the previous day.
“Oh, it’s good this time. I think we can buy more supplies during our next trade.”
“Yes, but we can’t be too happy. All these monsters would mean that the animals are moving away.”
“Haha, you worry too much.”
Gazlow tapped on Pree-an’s shoulder while laughing out loud. Joonbum turned his head around to look at them. They were both familiar with each other. Doral called Joonbum as those two continued skinning.
“Joonbum! Skin it.”
Joonbum opened his eyes widely and pointed at himself and Kerox corpse repeatedly.
“Haha, yeah. We have to do this. This is your kill.”
The Kerox was between the size of a cow and a calf. It was very big, measuring about six feet from its head to the end of its tail. The yellow fur was covered with small black dots, like Dalmatian dogs. Its ears were erect like that of cut Doberman ears. Overall, its shape did resemble a Doberman as well.
‘It’s mostly similar on the outside because of its fur and size. I can’t believe I killed such a monster.’
He couldn’t believe it as he only remembered shooting his rifle at the glowing eyes that were floating in the darkness. Since it was so dark, he realized that might have been why he was less afraid.
But the sight of them all lying there dead made his fears disappear.
“These are only worth half the price!”
Doral pointed at the neck of a Kerox where it had been shot and ripped into pieces.
Joonbum looked at him, puzzled by the new word.
“Hold it there.”
Joonbum grabbed the front leg and pulled as Doral used a sharp dagger to slice it from the chin down. The skin split, revealing the flesh inside it. Doral then used his hand to separate the skin from the flesh. Joonbum watched, surprised.
It was amazing work. All the Ainos people were working on the job. When all the Keroxes were skinned, they piled the leather up and some of the Ainos carried them back to the village.
“They will go to the village, leave the leather there, and come back with more water at night. We are going to hunt Boduas now.”
The Ainos who had gathered started washing their hands using the dried dirt on the ground. It did its job well to wash away the blood and fat stuck on their hands. Joonbum followed suit and he felt much better after he shook all the dirt off his hand.
‘There’s still a lot of dirt left on the hand from washing, but it’s useful to do this when there’s no water. I guess if the water is too scarce…’
He remembered that this was very similar to the actions of a desert tribe he saw on TV who used sand to wash dishes. Joonbum took out the camera started filming the Ainos. There were a lot of videos that he would have to edit later.
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