LE V1 (Main) C2-1
Chapter 2 – First meeting – Part 1
“Where is this?”
After driving some way out of the forest I saw a castle-like structure. As for why it was “castle-like” was because there are no castle walls that look like they were from medieval times in our country. To be accurate, there were none left.
Wondering if it was some tourist attraction that I didn’t know of, I approached a bit closer but it was even more a train wreck.
People with horns, people with wings, people with animal ears and tails etc, there were a lot of diverse people, and their clothes were not casual wear either but traditional wear that wouldn’t look out of place a few hundred years ago.
There was way too diverse an age group for this to be a cosplay convention. Even though it’s not only a culture for the young… But still. Don’t you feel like a hundred years-old looking grandpa with cat ears looks totally out of place?
As well, guarding the gates to the castle were humans wearing half plate armour performing searches, if this isn’t a mass real-life D&D game this can’t be real.
As I got closer, as if there was some problem the people around me seemed to abandon thoughts of entering the castle and surrounded me, and muttering something to each other after looking at me, or more accurately my car.
Am I surprising? I’m surprised by you as well.
“This can’t actually be dimensional travel?”
I stopped the car. I didn’t turn off the engine, but since I didn’t know when I’d have to run away, even if I kept it idle I needed this much for safety.
“Weapons… Do I not have any?”
Just how many people on earth would store weapons in their cars. If I had a thing for sports then maybe I’d have a baseball bat or golf club, but unfortunately I don’t have much of a fate with sports.
All I have is my smartphone and wallet, some cigarettes and my lighter. No matter how much I searched my car all I could find were other lighters long thought lost.
Am I thinking this over too much?
The people here might not be hostile. Maybe I don’t need to be guarded against them after all. Having convinced myself, I carefully went outside.
As I walked, as if Moses’ miracle occurred again the crowd parted all the way to the castle entrance, and what I saw was a child on the ground. I couldn’t tell whether it was a boy or a girl. It seemed like a girl, but its face was too swollen and bloody for me to tell.
Why was everyone looking at that child? Everyone was only spectating, seemingly without any thought of intervening so I thought that child needed to be taken to hospital, but from somewhere I heard an extremely disrespectful voice.
“What are you?”
A boy who looked around 160(1) in height. His hair was blond and he sprouted two translucent green wings from his back. On the side, it was certain that he’d learned manners off the internet.(2) Normally I’d have smacked his face in and been on my way but I wasn’t able to do that, because he had two guards like the gate watchmen standing behind him.
Seeing as I have no information about the opposition I need to be peaceful for the time being. In murim(3) they say you need to beware of women, children and the elderly. And if you take those out then all you’re left with is adult men so there’s no one you can’t be careful around. Because that kid could be a prince.
Thankfully I am a person that can endure seeing injustice. I can just say something vaguely and be on my way. As for directions, I can just ask someone else. Yep.
I’d half steeled myself in my mind to not get involved, but my eyes met the child’s on the ground. Her eyes held only despair with not a shred of hope.
Without any words or gazes for help it simply stared at me for a bit before turning its eyes away again. How is it there are so many people here and no one is willing to help her.
Is it because it’s a class-based society? Then its parents? An orphan?
“You don’t seem to be an angel, demon or demihuman so be on your way.”
From a while ago his words were pointlessly archaic and rude as hell. He seems familiar with authority, but having glanced at my car he thought I was some unknown person and tried to place distance between us.
This kid. He knows to be weak in front of strong people like me!
But I’m different from you. Because I’m weak in front of the strong but kind with fellow weaklings. I’m different from a kid who thinks he’s reflected only by his school results and knows manners only as words.
To be honest I want to reply ‘Oh is that so? Then I’ll be on my way’ and get the hell out of here.
But can I really do that?
All my values so far were cultivated for the sake of academic results, but even so can a person really do that? Of course in this place seemingly without any sense of human rights I’m scared to go up against authority. But despite that, isn’t that something I shouldn’t be doing?
The Korea I lived in was one where you became an outcast when you spoke of justice and you became an idiot if you spoke your true feelings. How rotten was it that it was a country where corruption was both looked down on and envied. It is a country full of weaklings that strived to push down other weaklings no matter what.
But despite that I love the country called Korea. I admire the emotions of the National Debt Repayment Movement,(4) and think proudly of the Miracle on the Han River.(5)
So I give Korea plenty of shit, but I hold enough affection and interest in our country that I might pick a fight when foreigners make fun of it. When I travel in foreign nations, I study that country’s customs and culture so that Korea is not done an injustice.
“That girl is an Aless. As a noble of the unsetting sun Baegya I can’t leave that alone? Kekeke.”
That little shit dares to cut off an adult.
And what the hell is an Alice. I don’t think he’s referring to the girl who went to a land without hopes and dreams to dope up an army to start a coup d’etat?(7)
I glanced at the child.
If I do nothing here and go on my way she’s almost certainly going to die.
Can I do that?
They say countless refugees of Africa and the Middle East die daily due to malnutrition and disease. I felt pity for them and donate 30000 won(8) monthly but that’s all. I don’t specifically feel any responsibility.
But it feels different when it’s right in front of me.
(1) Actual units not stated, but Koreans use centimetres for height by default.
(2) Obviously no internet in this world, but if you’ve spent any length of time on pretty much any internet chat/4chan/any forum ever then you’d get what the author meant.
(3) Approx. Korean equivalent of wuxia
(4) Movement by the people of the Korean Empire (back in 1907) to repay their country’s national debt (mostly held by the Japanese empire) through collecting individual donations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Debt_Repayment_Movement
(5) Referring to the rapid growth of the South Korean economy following the Korean War and the transition to a developed nation. Named after the Miracle on the Rhine for the West German economic revitalisation after World War 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_on_the_Han_River
(7) Apparently, an Alice in Wonderland reference. -Note courtesy of Windsong
(8) Approx. $26 USD as of 9/7/16