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Sukhyun was puzzled as he did not expect such a response.
“B-but this is probably the most you can get anywhere…”
“No. Remember I need money for my investment?”
“I should bring some more.”
Sunsook smiled as Sukhyun seemed to be more confused.
“I should sell one or two more so I can have some extra after the investment. They were collecting dust in my wardrobe for a long time since I inherited them… but I should just put them into an investment.”
“Uh, y-yes. Of course. We’ll make sure to match it with a better price the next time you visit us. Younghee, bring a drink here!”
Everything moved smoothly afterward. The deal was over when a hefty sum was deposited into Sunsook’s bank account.
“Thank you. I’ll come again next time.”
“Thank you for the business!”
Sunsook smiled as she left the store.
‘It’s good to be treated with such respect! Thank you, Joonbum!’
She was happy. It was only one day of luxury, but it was enough for her.
‘I have to meet up with friends, eat a nice dinner, and put down an order…’
Sunsook appeared to not be bothered by her busy schedule. She felt her phone vibrating as she was organizing her thoughts.
“Hello? Mihee? Yeah, I’ll be there soon. Twenty minutes or so. I’ll meet you there.”
Sunsook hailed a taxi as she finished her call. She was excited to meet her friends that she couldn’t meet for about ten years. She avoided meeting them as she was embarrassed of herself for being a scrawny restaurant worker.
‘But I can be confident now thanks to my son.’
“Where are we going?”
Sunsook pulled out a hand mirror. There was no longer a woman in her mid-forties. There was a beautiful woman in her thirties, showing her nobility with all the ornaments and beautiful traditional clothes. She began tearing up as she thought of the change.
‘I guess I am lucky to have such a son.’
- A fire was started on the furnace made up of dirt and rocks. A big, three-foot-long iron basin was placed on top, filled with spring water. Joonbum and the others also filled the water into their plastic water bottles.
“This plastic bottle is so easy to use!”
“I know. Never thought such a thing would exist.”
“It’s easy to clean and it doesn’t smell either.”
“That wooden bottle smells every time. Joonbum, this thing is so easy to take care of!”
“Yes! It’s amazing!”
“The lighter is amazing too! It just fires it up with a click!”
“Right, right. It’s much better than the fire-starter stone.”
“I tried it once. Heh.”
“Did you really?”
The kids looked at the kid who seemed to be proud of his achievement. He pointed to his butt.
“Yeah, but the water inside was gone the next day so I was beaten to death.”
“The basin is amazing too. It doesn’t smell after having water in it for even a few days.”
“My mom seems to like those teacups. She wouldn’t even let me touch them.”
“I like those porcelain dishes.”
The kids were excited about the stuff they had never seen before in their lives. Joonbum grinned while watching them. The lighter they were talking about was a cheap lighter he purchased in bulk for sixty won per piece. He ordered a million of them, so the manufacturer was running 24/7 to meet the orders. Joonbum sent 3,000 as gifts to each of the villages, explaining how to use and take care of them. There were some defects as they were cheap, so Joonbum also taught them how to keep using them with their fire starters.
The reason for purchasing that much was simple. He was planning to sell it in the other world. It was too good of a product to sell it cheap here.
‘I’ll still have my Zippo lighter with me though.’
The kids started walking fast as they drew closer to the camp.
The Ainos brought their kids for the fall hunt. The older ones who were about twelve, helped bring firewood or fill water when needed. Guarding the natural spring close to the lake was another job of theirs. The spring naturally attracted a lot of animals, and since the animals could defile the water, it had to be protected. The lake was vast, but thousands of birds littered it with their feces, so it was nowhere close to a drinkable state. Therefore, they had to protect the spring.
“Come visit us later!”
“Yeah, see ya.”
The kids dispersed into their own tents as they arrived at the camp. Joonbum waved at them as they ran to their tents.
The birds were already naked from their feathers. Some men were dipping them in boiling water to remove all the leftover feathers.
“Hey, good job.”
“It was nothing.”
Others were working to remove the intestines and they sprayed it with salt to start smoking them. Some also worked to organize the feathers by size and some picked out edible intestine segments, cleaning them while some of them prepared the body meat with spices. Joonbum joined them.
- A horde of birds was caught again.
“Haha! That’s incredible!”
Bartras, one of the men he first met among the Ainos, let out a loud laugh. He was a big warrior who liked to cook. He was closer to Sunsook than Joonbum because of his hobby. Joonbum smiled. People now knew what to do and used the net to catch loads of birds each time.
“That sure works.”
“Yes. We’ll be having a meeting because of that actually.”
“We don’t have to waste our arrows if we can keep capturing them alive like that. It’s expensive to make all those arrows, and it’s also great if we can keep them alive throughout the winter. We can save salt too. I heard you can get more of that? That’s why we’ll be having a meeting between all the villages.”
It seemed like people had been talking a lot. Bartras handed over the cleaned bird to him. Joonbum received it and started slicing it into thirty pieces. He then checked on the boiling basin which had been prepared for the food.
“The broth seems to be ready.”
The broth, which contained pepper, garlic, onions, radishes, mushrooms, and a spice, seemed to be ready as it turned into an opaque white color.
“We can put it in.”
“Yeah? Is the broth ready?”
“Yeah. It smells good too.”
He then poured all the meat into the basin. The intestines that were prepared were thrown in also. Joonbum then dumped chestnuts, ginseng, and jujubes into the boiling broth in addition to the other native foods. One of them was a thick mushroom called dig that was considered best when boiled.
The lid was closed and Joonbum made the fire stronger. He then helped the others as it needed more time, and time also quickly passed. The area began to fill with the aroma and some began cooking the bird by the fire also. It was tempting. The sight of the bird being grilled by the fire reminded him of Beijing duck.
‘I should get some of that.’
His mouth was with saliva. He was always hungry lately.
‘I eat too much.’
“Joonbum, it’s ready!”
Joonbum approached as Bartras shouted at him after he checked under the lid. Joonbum then poured the rice into it and closed the lid. More time passed by.
“It’s time to eat!”
Kids and others alike gathered to eat dinner. They waited in line with their bowls to get their servings as Bartras used a big dipper to give everyone a bowl full of bird meat porridge.
Joonbum also began helping with the dipper. It did not take long to serve everyone. People prepared and served in an orderly manner and Joonbum was soon able to dive into his food.
“This is tougher than I thought.”
The meat was tougher than expected, but it was far from being like rubber. Slow chewing brought out its taste, and it had a smell that faintly resembled lamb meat. But it was good food. All the vegetables inside also provided him with different tastes, making it very delicious.
The most enjoyable part was the dinner atmosphere. The sight of kids running for more with full bellies was even more amusing.
“Let’s go to other places!”
A kid named Derone pulled Joonbum by his hands. Joonbum and the other kids started visiting the other village’s camps to feast on the different types of foods.
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