Etranger Ch 8

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8. Cleansing – 2

“How desolate…”

Biyeon took out and held a notebook in her hands and let out a sigh. The vague hypothesis that she had come up with actually turned out to be true. To be honest, it seems so obvious now. But regardless, since it is a new world, the road ahead will be deadly.

“I guess I’ll first have to solve the problem of food and eating…”

Seeing what she needed written down on paper, she let out a sigh. She felt as though in the meantime, she had enjoyed the benefits of civilization. Those benefits had always been around her, she had definitely used them, and was so accustomed to the air that she did not appreciate it.

“I don’t know if this world has human civilization, but in the worst case, you should be prepared to live as a primitive man. And now, even if you ask for food and food fell, there is no salt, sugar, or any other spices, plus there is no toilet paper… Ugh!”

At that time, San was climbing up a large and tall tree. To drill a way outside, he had to observe from top to bottom in order to open up the most viable path.

The tree sure was big. It’s too big. It was a huge tree with a girth of about 30 meters. San planned to climb to the peak of the tree and take a look. Despite how tall it was, there were no branches to latch onto for nearly 20 meters. Even if there were things to grab onto, they wouldn’t be a size you could grab with your hands. Utilizing two bayonets, San stabbed one into the tree, while he created a spiral staircase with the other.

“Thankfully going up isn’t very difficult… is it because my strength has grown?”

However, by the time he had made it to the peak of the 200 meter tree, four hours had already passed. Fortunately, the trunk was thick, and had a conical and straight shape like an awl, so the leaves did not obscure his vision so he could see very well.

“Hu- This is very awesome”

San exclaimed while perched up on a thick branch. Luckily, the weather was clear, and he could see a long distance away. The surrounding terrain wasn’t stuffy and clogged with trees and forest. It’s far away, but there were areas with trees, grass, and waterfalls. There’s a steep ridge that leads to the left and right along side the cliff that leads to a lower forest, and beyond the farthest reaches there seems like a plain zone.

It seems like the goal would be to go to that plains area. To guess a somewhat accurate distance, he would have to  climb up some more trees and try to triangulate, but the sensible distance he would guess, from experience, would be well over 300 kilometers. It is about the same distance where from twenty thousand feet up in the air above Seoul he could see a distance up to Pyongyang.

San took out a compass and held it in his hand. Fortunately, it would seem like magnetic poles also existed in this world. The needle spun a few times before stopping at one spot.  

“Let’s see… I don’t see any sort of artifacts anywhere… In the north, where the ice caps are, it looks like there would be a difficult mountain pass. If we go there, it goes up a bit in the northeastern direction,  then to the east of that, the area gets caught between a cliff side and comes back around. I hope that we can exploit the valley like place on the left and climb down that way.  Eventually, if we pass that bamboo forest, we’ll be able to make a path to a certain extent… but a place to rest in the middle…”

San took out a notebook and began meticulously writing things down. He recorded down sketches of the observed terrain, any special points of interest, potential escape paths, risk factors, and various other things along with his opinions and judgment.

*     *    *

Behind the spot where he climbed down the tree, San immediately found Biyeon.

Seeing Biyeon, his eyes wrinkled into a frown and gave off a savage light. A shout escaped his lips.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“This is… this seems to be something that I have to do.” Biyeon listlessly replied.

“…”

San stared at Biyeon with his mouth shut closed.

The woman in front of his eyes was lying down on the floor, looking up at him with a pale white face, sweeping her sweaty hair up with only a bra and her training pants on.

Next to her was a collection of various kinds of fruits, roots, and grains. She seemed to have been cutting open each one and observing its condition and taste. Next to her was a canteen full of water and with the canteen cap loosened off to the side… and next to her was a pit that she had thrown up into already multiple times.

“Well… “

Fists tightly clenched, San’s hands were trembling. San felt that his eyes were slightly sour. [TN: Pretty sure it’s an idiom, not sure what it means. Maybe he felt moved to tears?][EN: He was annoyed. like eyesore. So basically he is looking at her with slight irritation; is he a little…thirsty lol.] Even if he was just going to curse he wanted to say something, but as though his throat was dry, he could not say anything appropriate for the situation.

“Are you ok?”

“There were three that were alright… it seems like the last root I ate had some toxins in it. Although I had puked it out immediately, I can’t seem to maintain my state of mind sir… hehe…” Biyeon laughed uneasily. [TN: Writer pens “비연이 헤실헤실 웃는다” Which means “Biyeon laughed in a hesilhesil manner” but I don’t know what hesilhesil means. I can only assume that it’s referring to her essentially being high.]   

San silently walked up to Biyeon and squatted by her side. He took out a hand towel from his pocket and began to wipe off the vomit from Biyeon’s cheeks. Then he put his hand on her forehead to measure her temperature. As ardent gazes crossed each other, various thoughts were exchanged. [TN: Oooh]

“This punk is so ignorant… although in front of this young’un I hadn’t thoughtlessly shown her a dangerous thing… I really… it was my bad. My fault…”

“…”

While grumbling to himself, a variety of emotions surfaced on San’s face. Gratitude towards a colleague, gentleness, honesty, consideration… and… other things that he did not know yet…

*    *    *

For now, San carried Biyeon and laid her down in the recently dug pit. For the sake of nutrition, he fed some finely cut pieces of the fruit that he had tried yesterday, the one which he had decided to name ‘musk’, to Biyeon. She had stopped puking, and if her digestion is working, then that would be the best.   Thankfully, Biyeon’s condition was rapidly improving. Because she had ingested the root wisely by chewing slowly in small quantities, the impact of the poison could be mitigated.

“Doesn’t it seem like it’s alright now, sir?”

“Just lay down for a bit longer… don’t mess around…”

Biyeon smiled at San’s blunt tone of voice.

Recovering her composure, Biyeon’s gaze swept around the recently dug pit.

‘It’s built well..’

The recently dug pit was designed to be a nice and safe place. Before they embark, they must first cover some reconnaissance before they can be fully and firmly prepared to leave. San thought that it would be necessary to scout for at least a week, but preferably more than ten days. They needed to gather up food, transport, safety, and information. Without those, they should not think of moving about carelessly.

The north was a little worrying, but after looking, it was eye opening. [TN: I’m so sorry, I butchered the hell out of this sentence. I’m not sure what it’s getting at.][EN:I think he was referencing the look out on top of the tree and I edit it according to that] In that regard, this area was blessed  with barriers that had already been formed. For the time being, this place will serve as a base while they go out and scout while carrying only the lighter weapons.

During this period, for the sake of various preparations, they must bear with this pit that was built in consideration of their convenience and their health. For now, he seized an area about 5 meters wide, and made various thing like lighting, a boundary, and other amenities. Considering how there was a male and a female, he set up a border in the middle and took care to install separate toilets.

Large rocks were arranged around it so as to make it easily defendable against beasts or humanoid enemies, the roof was made of logs that were tightly woven together like a raft, and the whole thing was waterproofed by having a poncho spread on top of it, then the poncho being covered in a layer of soil and leaves.

“We have discovered about five things that are safe to eat, so for now, no human experiments. “

San said as he got up.

“Yes, sir.”

Biyeon answered while slowly sitting down after having gotten up. Her gaze followed San’s back as he left the pit. Then she sighed lightly.

‘Now cooking is a problem… there’s no salt….

Ah! I really don’t like flat meals… jjeub…’ [TN: Think of it something like ‘tsk’]

*    *    *

San was overlooking a large forest of bamboo trees. The results of his recon earlier showed that if they didn’t make a path through here, then it would be really difficult. All they would have to do is just make a path through these large trees, but the path is packed with thorny vines, boulders, and cycads three times the height of humans without end. They probably wouldn’t be able to cover even ten meters in ten days.

“For now we should start with the little things…”

San stood in front of a bamboo tree about the size of a oil drum and struck a thick part with his blade.

‘Ddak-‘

“It’s unexpectedly solid… then a little bit more strength…”

San put more strength into the blade and twisted it in. Strangely enough, since he came here, if he gave his back some more strength, his arm would jitter and be able to display a much stronger strength. But the problem is that this guy doesn’t even nod at his strength.

“A little bit more- “

To the point his face turned red, San swung his blade in a vertical slash and lodged his blade into the tree.

“Uh-uhk!”

San suddenly let go of his blade and fell down to his knees. He was in excruciating pain, as though he was submerged in boiling hot water. His body trembling, he tried to dampen the pain and rolled around on the floor, but he couldn’t even scream because of the excruciating pain that felt like his body was on fire.

The pain slowly subsided. Cold sweat was rolling down San’s body, his labored breathing escaping his lips.

“This… what the fuck were these symptoms?… Did I perhaps contract some sort of big disease here? What a terrible pain… I do not want to go through it again… huh?”

Looking for the blade he had let go, San’s eyes dazzled as his gaze landed on the bamboo tree.

The knife was deeply embedded into the solid bamboo. The knife had divided the tree downwards, leaving a path like corrugated paper…

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