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“You-you think I can get some more?”
Joonbum’s voice shook as he asked Doral. He nodded.
“Of course. That’s why we hunted the Zyelok. When winter starts, we’ll be hunting the Gartz, or the ruler of this mountain. You need their white blood for the healing potion.”
Doral nodded and scribbled something down on paper with the automatic pencil Joonbum gave him. The picture was simple and easy to understand. Galfus was at the bottom, and the Zyelok was right next to her. On top was the Kawiqunin and some more monsters in various shapes. At the top of the drawing was a human-shaped monster that was bigger than the Kawiqunin.
“This is Gartz. It’s about two times bigger than the Kawiqunin. The smaller ones are about ten feet and the bigger ones go over fifteen feet. They live in the west. We hunt them when winter begins by using the Zyelok’s venom.”
‘Even the small one is taller than a two-story building?’
It was too big. But everything here was big anyway. The surprising thing was that the Ainos even hunted that.
“Is it possible? Isn’t it dangerous?”
“Of course it’s dangerous. That’s why we have the venom. It’s a must-have if you want to hunt them. They regenerate too fast to fight without it. The venom is to slow down its regeneration and then we put an end to it.”
He remembered the other reason for hunting the Zyeloks. Doral watched Joonbum as he fell silent at the thought and then grinned.
“Joonbum, the potion can only last about a year even if it’s sealed tight.”
“Huh? Yeah. Wait, only a year? No way!” Joonbum shouted. The potion was almost too good to be true, but it was a shame that it only lasted for a year. Doral grinned again as Joonbum seemed to be shocked.
“Its effect drops down a level per year. The lowest grade can be used for simple wounds, but even that fades away if it’s not used within a year.”
Joonbum nodded as Doral drank the beer.
“All of us use the highest grade potions. This is a dangerous place, so it’s a must. The existence of that potion is another reason for our survival here in the forest.”
The high-grade healing potion was a necessity to the Ainos.
“That’s why we always go out to hunt to make new potions and sell the old potions to the humans so that we can buy more supplies. The reason why we don’t sell the highest grade ones is because they’re too greedy. They stop at nothing if they choose to do so. Unlike you.”
Doral was bitter at the thought. Joonbum felt that Doral had a hint of distrust when he spoke of them.
“So the one I have will-?”
“Dwindle in its effect, yes.”
“That’s a shame.”
Doral grinned at Joonbum.
“Not really. It’s better if you never have to use such a potion. Don’t you think so?”
“Right, that’s true.”
It was as Doral said. Joonbum drank his beer and calmed down.
‘It really is better if I don’t have to use it.’
They watched the forest from above for a while, drinking.
‘But it’s still a shame. It could be a big help to someone in need.’
Joonbum felt different now. He wasn’t thinking about the profit he might be able to earn from it. As Doral said, it would cause lots of problems if Joonbum brought it back to Earth to sell it since Joonbum also knew how greedy people could be.
“Joonbum, you’ll have to decide soon.”
Joonbum shook his thoughts away as Doral informed him in low voice.
“Yes. The dimensional twist will not last for long. You realized that too, right?”
Joonbum nodded at Doral. It was one of his main concerns about this place. Doral opened up another can as he saw Joonbum nod.
“When the winter comes, the twist will close.”
Joonbum’s eyes opened in shock.
“Close? When winter comes?”
Doral nodded, “Yes. It will close during the coldest time of the year. Probably around February to March.”
It was shocking news.
- The rain started thickening as it covered the entire city as Joonbum watched the rain through the window. It was the start of the rainy season and there were flash flood warnings everywhere. Unlike the past, however, there were no more severe flood disasters due to the many systems that were in place.
Hot, humid air rushed into the café each time the door swung open. The air, mixed with the smell of water, tickled his nose. He let out a big breath. The perception of all his senses increased as he grew healthier.
It had only been six months since his first visit, but he looked very different and so did his mother. Joonbum did not hesitate after he heard what was going to happen in a few months. Even his mother agreed to stay at once when he went to her to discuss it. It was also good to know that the ‘Gate’ would open in another ten years and that it would stay open for a year. There was no second option.
He started shopping for more supplies as he prepared for his permanent settlement in the other world. His list included a variety of first aid kits, medicines, health supplements, winter clothes, beddings, and so forth. His mother searched for crops to grow. She also researched for methods to create soap or shampoo and then started gathering anything she might be able to craft herself.
Joonbum was surprised at his own mother. She was never this energetic as she was always timid. She learned to use a computer and the Internet in just three days. She even left a comment on one of Joonbum’s videos as a form of support, but she was hit with harsh insults that shocked her.
Joonbum laughed at the thought of his mother in shock. He opened the laptop to find more responses on the video. The hunting scenes were an instant hit.
[CRUEL! Stop killing those monsters.]
[That’s called life.]
[You need to co-exist. Why kill them?]
[Stop hunting animals!]
[That’s not an animal. That’s a monster.]
[Ha, the animal rights people have come.]
[You cannot say anything about animal rights when you are munching on fried chicken.]
[Are those foreigners part of the regular cast now?]
[Joonbum’s spending big now! He sure got some money.]
[I like those old women. They’re beautiful.]
The views increased rapidly. There were a lot of talks going on about the Ainos.
“Mr. Joonbum Jang?”
Sungjoong Kim from Boorim Agricultural Equipment greeted him. His face burst into a bright smile.
“Haha, the advertisement was a success.”
“Yes! The scene where your mother was using our equipment was popular. That’s why I called.”
“Oh, my mother?”
“Yes. We were surprised that she used our equipment with ease.”
“Oh, right. She was raised in the countryside so she knows her way around farm tools.”
“I see. So our proposal is that we want to use video clips of her using our equipment and use it as our commercial. We want to show to the consumers that our equipment can be easily used by women and that farming is not only a man’s job anymore. We will offer two hundred million won for the authority to use that video for one year. What do you think?”
‘Wow. That’s a lot.’
Joonbum did expect some form of proposal, but the amount was much more than expected.
“The contract is about the same as before. We can deposit it right away when signed and executed.”
Sungjoong pulled out a packet of documents from the envelope.
“I’ll check and sign it.”
Joonbum scanned through the papers and signed the two copies of the contract.
“Hello? This is Sungjoong Kim. Can you deposit the contract fee into Mr. Jang’s bank account now?”
Joonbum felt his phone buzz to notify him about the deposit that was made just now.
“Thank you for the business.”
Sungjoong left the café with the signed contract.
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