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“Joonbum, this is amazing!”
“Huh? Oh, no. It’s nothing. Haha.”
Joonbum shook his head as Gazlow looked at him, astonished. Gazlow continued as Joonbum laughed it off.
“No way. You had this much of a belly and fat under your chin. You even walked like this!”
Joonbum acted as if he was hurt as Gazlow imitated Joonbum’s old walk. He laughed loudly.
“Don’t mind your past because you look great now. I thought it might take longer, but look at what you have become in such a short period of time!”
‘Hmm. I did control my diet too,’ Joonbum thought as he answered. Then, Gazlow changed subjects.
“Anyway, are you going to cut down more trees?”
“Oh, yes if there’s no problems. My mother wants it too.”
“Yeah, I suppose so. But won’t it take a long time? We can’t help much because we have to prepare for winter when summer is over,” Gazlow answered. He seemed to be concerned about the coming winter.
“Oh, that’s no problem. I have more equipment that I got from sponsors…”
“Yeah, I will bring more stuff here.”
A shout calling them for breakfast interrupted their talk. Everyone gathered at the table and started eating as Galfus and the four cubs walked outside the fortress. They had now started to hunt for themselves rather than eat what was given. The cubs were growing quickly and Joonbum felt sudden loneliness, as well as pride, filling up his heart. He watched them moving toward the forest and walked to the stables.
The horse neighed as he walked in.
“Nite, are you hungry too?”
The horse’s head moved up and down as if it understood what Joonbum said. Its name, Nite, was an abbreviation of the word nightmare. He thought that its dark blue color and fearsome look suited the name perfectly.
“Here, here, go ahead.”
He poured fresh grass mixed with carrots and apples and Nite started munching on them as if it had been waiting. Joonbum also filled the bowl with fresh water.
“Joonbum, come and eat!”
“Coming!” Joonbum answered when he heard his mother shouting.
“Isn’t this a bit much?”
Joonbum frowned at the sight of a big bowl that held three chickens inside. There seemed to be more than thirty garlic and chestnuts, and the jujubes were aplenty. He glanced at Doral, who had two chickens and Gazlow, who had only one. All of the women had at least one chicken and the kids had half.
“Not at all.”
His mother pointed at the cameras all around them.
‘She’s more of a BJ than I am now.’
“You should eat that much with all the exercise you’re doing. Take some rest in between if you can’t eat it all at once. You can always come back and say that you’re hungry.”
Doral nodded as Sunsook spoke.
“Right! Mother is right. I’m pretty sure he will come crying for more food, saying that he’s hungry. Oh, and this food is delicious. It makes my belly warm. Feels like, refreshing almost?”
“Yes, it does feel very good inside.”
Doral and Gazlow commented.
“Yes, this is so good.”
“I never felt this warm before.”
The women who thought it was too much before were now going through their food quickly. The kids enjoyed it too.
“This meat is good!”
“It’s chicken! Look at this head! Squishy.”
“It’s the neck! I have it!”
“Wings! Wings! I like wings.”
They were enjoying the food by using their two hands. What was interesting was that the Ainos never intervened with the kids eating. It was the older kids’ job to disciple and take care of them. However, it did not cause any problems. The adults barely glanced at them to check if anything was wrong.
Eating time was enjoyable. Their usual eating time took more than an hour as no one hurried while eating.
‘It took less than thirty minutes when I was on Earth.’
With all the restaurants serving food within five to ten minutes, most people finished their food within fifteen to twenty-five minutes. After a cup of instant coffee and a cigarette as dessert, the meal was over. That was how most people lived. No one wanted to waste time on eating.
‘This is so laid back.’
He never rested as he continued to work and exercise, but everything was very laid back.
“Thank you for the food!”
The kids started cleaning up the table as the older kids supervised them.
“Oh no, Elic! Did you get hurt? It’s okay, bring it back again.”
An older kid called Jo-an talked to a crying boy who dropped his plate and taught him to try again. Elic wiped his tears and picked up the plate.
It was nothing special, but Joonbum could see how the Ainos grew up.
‘It’s good to not see those overprotective soccer moms here.’
He remembered all the chaos they brought wherever they went. What was funny was that they were more angry at other kids and parents who did the same.
“Are you done?”
“Oh, yes. Thank you.”
Jo-an approached him to take away his empty plate. Joonbum watched the kids for a while and stood up to move to the stables. Nite had already finished eating.
“Okay, let’s move slowly.”
He opened and let Nite out from the stable and started guiding her out to the fortress. Joonbum let Nite graze around freely as he enjoyed the morning.
- He started chopping down trees after taking a break as his chainsaw roared loudly. He no longer had a fear of working outside the fortress, thanks to Galfus and the four cubs who had grown big. Baekgu, Heukgu, Gumdong, and Urlook roamed the forest while Galfus did not move around much. He sawed off part of the bottom of the tree and started chopping it down on the other side.
He shouted as the huge tree started falling down, making a loud thundering noise that echoed through the forest. A big tree that blocked the sight went down.
As Joonbum chopped down trees, all kinds of bugs and animals ran away. Soon, they even ran away at just the roar of the chainsaw.
“Wow! This is amazing!” Doral shouted even as he frowned at the loud noise of the chainsaw.
“Ha! Never imagined it was this easy to chop down a tree this big! I can’t believe it even when I’m doing it!”
There were only three men working but they sped through it, chopping down the tree quickly as if they were competing with each other.
‘Huh? It’s me who can’t believe it.’
Joonbum frowned at Doral and Gazlow, thinking to himself. It had only been an hour. Just an hour ago, Doral and Gazlow were in awe of him using the chainsaw.
“Joonbum, can we give it a try?”
“Right, I think us three can make quick work of them.”
“Huh? You want to try this?”
Joonbum didn’t expect that they would be able to use the machine, but he still brought it out for them to use. He taught them how to use it and demonstrated on a branch. He also showed how to cut down a large tree and handed over the equipment when he was done explaining. The two started chopping down the branches of a fallen tree right after they were handed over the equipment.
Pretty soon, they started chopping down trees and the forest outside the outer wall was becoming increasingly empty. The kids who watched the trees rapidly falling down opened their eyes wide in amazement.
“It’s going down!”
“It’s Uncle Gazlow this time!”
“Oh, it’s Joonbum!”
“Doral did it!”
They shouted each time a tree was felled.
The people inside the fortress also kept busy as the three kept on chopping down trees. The loud engine noise of a bulldozer roared inside the fortress. Everyone’s attention gathered.
“What is that?!”
The kids looked shocked at the sight of Sunsook, wearing a safety helmet, skillfully riding the machine.
“This is how you turn it on. And you move it around with this. Back and forth, and you use this to turn the direction.”
“Wow, th-this is amazing. How is this thing moving?”
“Big iron thing is moving by itself!”
“And from here, you use this…”
The bulldozer started leveling the ground. People shouted in astonishment at the sight of it quickly leveling the rough ground. All of the women watched in amazement as Sunsook drove the bulldozer out of the fortress and connected a fallen tree to the bulldozer with a rope.
As she drove back in, the fallen tree that was free of branches was dragged in by the bulldozer.
“By the gods!”
“It moved such a big tree!”
The women and kids stood with mouths agape. The way they thought of the bulldozer changed to something more divine at this sight. It was much stronger than a monster. None of the living beings they knew of were as strong.
The only downside was that it released a disgusting black smog.
“Ca-can I try?”
“Me too. What do I need to do?”
“I want to learn too!”
The women shouted eagerly at Sunsook as she got off the bulldozer.
“We want to ride it!”
“Me! Let me!”
Even the kids hung onto Sunsook as she smiled. She started teaching the Ainos women how to use various machines as Joonbum continued chopping down trees.
‘Hail, my mother.’
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