Etranger Chapter 4.1

I was on the fence about whether or not I should split chapter 4 into two parts. It was right on the cusp of being long enough where I should, but I didn’t want to because the flow of the chapter really benefited from just reading it as one continuous peace. However, my computer breaking down and me going into midterms pushed me to split it into two parts. I haven’t had much opportunity to work on chapter 5, and since my translation speed is so slow, I didn’t want to have a gap week in between releases.

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4(1). Derailment -4

 

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing right now?”

San quietly whispered. He kept rubbing his eyes.

 

“I believe I do, sir.”

Biyeon nodded, her eyes wide open.

 

“You said you’re an intelligence officer, correct? Try explaining this. If not, somehow try to convince me.”

“Please! Could you quiet down and leave me alone for a moment? Captain-nim!”

Biyeon shouted loudly. Although she was being rude to a superior, her confusion had reached a peak. However, San completely understood how she was feeling. Anyone with the ability to look at the scene in front of them and remain unperturbed is definitely… a psychopath

 

Before them were trees. In front of them was the dawn sky and a thick, white cloud. Like an illusion wrapping around the sun, they saw fresh mist rising up here and there.

 

Up until now everything was ok. If he obstinately tried to understand, there wouldn’t be anything left that he couldn’t understand.

 

However…

Before them on both sides, if they were told that they were surrounded by small mountains, they would have believed it, because there were incredibly tall trees rising into the sky as though they were stabbing the heavens With just a cursory glance, a layman would estimate that the trees easily reached at least 100 meters. Here the tree trunks have a relative thickness as drum barrel, and around the trees were a cousin species to bamboo that were growing all around the trunk, and densely scattered about in a large abundance were mushrooms that easily dwarfed humans, cycads, and other plants similar to ferns.

 

Looking up at the sky, the only things within someone’s line of sight would be tree branches stretching across the backdrop of the sky, a dim light poking through the thick foliage shrouding the sky as though one were looking up from inside a well.

 

At least… to their knowledge, there is no land or vegetation like this in Korea Therefore this is not Korea.

“This place… this can’t be where Mr. Gulliver traveled to, can it?”

 

San promptly stood up while muttering to himself. With slightly trembling hands, he rammed a magazine into his K1 rifle, and after slinging it over his shoulder, San stuck his knife sheath in the left side of his belt where he could easily wield it. Grabbing the makeshift spear he had carved out the previous night, San walked towards the spot where he expected a cliff to be.

 

Biyeon also stood up with him. Because she was alone, she started feel anxious. Furthermore, she felt like she would go crazy if she couldn’t go see the phenomenon with her own eyes. She picked up her rifle and followed behind San. Although she didn’t have ammunition…

They advanced very slowly. Since they were not skilled in what they were doing, naturally they scanned the area in front of them very carefully. His mind was telling him that his exploration last night was very brave. But to be frank, his heart was telling him that what he did was an incredibly foolish thing.

 

Whether it be night or morning, he felt that an uncomfortable and stuffy air was wafting upwards from the ground. It was a geothermal heat where one could see that it was a volcanic region. Biyeon felt uncomfortably stuffy all the way to her bones. She could only endure so much, and beads of sweat quickly began to form on her head.

 

‘Volcano?…’

‘To be able to feel the geothermal heat to such an extent, it must be an active volcano similar to the US’s Yellowstone National Park. Is there a volcano like this in Korea? I am confused. Seriously, where is this place? What is going on here?’

“Am I dreaming or is this reality…”

 

San, who was walking before Biyeon, was standing on the edge of a cliff while muttering. From behind him, Biyeon looked over his shoulder with an indistinct expression.

 

It’s actually a cliff. You can’t see the bottom. It’d be good to put down a bet on the cliff being at least 500 meters in height. At the bottom of the cliff was a sea… no, rather there were forests and lakes without end spread out across the land. Whatever place one’s gaze rested on only returned the same familiar scene. An icebound land could be seen more than five thousand meters in the distance, and there was smoke rising up from the land here and there… it seemed like there were many volcanoes.

San squatted down on top of a boulder. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it after sticking it in his mouth. His hand was slightly shaking. He took one long drag of the cigarette before slowly exhaling. Even now smoking tastes great. While savoring the sensation of smoke leaving his mouth, San once again stared at the scenery before him, thoroughly sweeping his gaze across the landscape. Everything was entirely wrong, but the current reality seemed to be correct.

 

“As much as the scenery looks like a nice barbershop level painting… where in the fucking world are we? This place is definitely not Korea, so where are we? Yeah… did we really end up in the magical land of Oz? Is that what it is? “

 

But after finishing off his cigarette, much of his tension slowly dispersed. San’s gaze turned towards the vacant Biyeon who was standing next to him. He spoke up with a despondent expression on his face.

“Lieutenant Kim… I’m… not crazy, right? Even still, I sincerely feel like I’m crazy. Right now my poor head just can’t understand the current situation. There doesn’t happen to be a story that goes like this, is there? “

“I too believe I am going crazy as well, sir. For the life of me I cannot figure out why we are in this situation, this place, going forward I can’t even guess what will happen.”

Biyeon replied with a cautious face. Her voice was trembling. Although there was no way to apply common sense to their current situation, the two of them could not deny the reality before them. Nevertheless they instinctually couldn’t help but worry about what would come next.

“Forward… yes I suppose we must think of what to do going forward.”

San put out his cigarette. He is a soldier. Although he doesn’t know what damn encounters he’ll have to face, regardless he’ll be able to surmount them. Suddenly he remembered the silly motivational words during enlistment.

‘The soldier’s spirit? That’s what they say when I’m not sound of mind. Hey punk!  ‘

It’s a pretty well-known saying. That’s right, I spoke some true words.

“Let’s firmly set-up a forward operating base before looking for an escape path.”

 

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