Happiness – Chapter 4
“What’s your opinion?” Dongyoung asked.
“I’m not sure yet. There are so many things I can’t tell through simple observation alone. Actually… I can’t understand this place. Their actions, rules, and ways of thinking are so different. I feel like I’m in a completely different world. Honestly, I think the data I’ve been collecting and researching recently is meaningless,” Dongha answered.
Dongha was an intelligent woman with cool, sharp eyes. She wore a sleek blue hat, a wide shawl wrapped around her shoulders, and a sky-blue chiton gown down to her ankles. The two stood on a hill with a panoramic view of the Count’s estate. Dongha gazed outward at the vast landscape below. It was like a large garden and playground.
Small wooden buildings and towers were piled up everywhere, and equipment of unknown purpose was being installed everywhere. The waterways connected to more waterways upstream and downstream. Small boats and rafts could be seen moving along the various network of waterways.
Many people were organizing and doing construction work. The construction speed was unusually fast. During their half-day of observation, three or four buildings were erected. The whole scene resembled a child assembling toys with wood. Various pieces were moving around. A house was built in no time, and a watchtower spanning ten meters was erected during their half-day of observation.
“Definitely not ordinary. If these methods were used for military use, it could be really intimidating for any enemy. What did the Han-Sung Clan and the Dark Guilds see in this area to invest so early on? There’s something more about this weird place… what the hell is going on…” Dongyoung muttered as he rolled some metal beads in his hand. The beads, which became deadly weapons during an emergency, collided with each other in his hand, making a rumbling noise.
“I think we’d have to stay for a longer period of time to find out, no? It’s not something we can figure out in just a day or two. Look over there! That construction is likely to be residential homes and workshops. The inn we’re staying at and the nearby homes also seemed to be recently built.”
“What does this large-scale construction mean?”
“It probably means that they’re preparing for a rapid increase in population…”
Dongha raised her head and looked up at the sky while frowning.
“Yeah… we’ll have to stay, but it’s going to be a headache, no? It’s not just the Dong-Myung Clan that’s interested in this area…” Dongyoung said as he scratched his head.
“Anyway, the Han-Sung Clan and Dark Guilds have already established a working relationship with the Count and with each other. That’s already something to be concerned about, right? Who would have expected that a traditional Absolute Clan, who dominates the empire’s political power, and the representative savagery of the non-traditional Dark Guilds would work together!”
“The problem is…” Dongyoung said in a low voice.
“It’s that the Dong-Myung Clan is not very friendly with the Han-Sung Clan or Dark Guilds. There seems to be something going on here, but what does it mean when one doesn’t know or understand what’s going on even when one sees what’s happening with one’s own eyes? It’s strange… They don’t seem to be hiding anything, rather, they seem like they’re showing off. What do you think this means?” Dongha said as she finished off Dongyoung’s sentence. She then sighed.
“In the end, I think it’s a situation where we have to follow elder Dongye’s advice. Still… I don’t really understand why we need to create a friendly relationship with these people,” Dongyoung said bitterly, flipping his long hair, which ran down to his shoulders, behind him.
“He told us to find those two people and try to cooperate, right?” Dongha asked.
“He also said to be polite…”
“We don’t know their social status, but we presume they’re at least high-class aristocrats, but elder Dongye said that they’re at least Awakened Warriors. A man in his 30’s and a woman in her 20’s? Awakened Warriors at that age… There’s a lot of evidence to support his claim, but… Does it make sense? Can you believe it?”
“It’s the words of elder Dongye, so I have to believe it. Still, we need to check it for ourselves. We’re not sure of their background, so there’s no reason we should approach them with our heads down from the start. We still hold the pride of the Dong-Myung Clan.”
“Alright. If it’s confirmed that they’re Awakened Warriors, it wouldn’t be too late to treat them with the appropriate level of respect then…”
The two agreed with each other in this way.
The Dong-Myung Clan was the most concerned organization regarding the sudden northern expansion conducted by the Han-Sung Clan and Dark Guilds.
These two Dong-Myung clansmen were ‘selected’ as the Dong-Myung Clan representatives to discover what was going on in this area and to create a relationship with the Count. They had risen to Dark Warriors and were on the fast track to becoming Awakened Warriors. Also, they were the fastest and most intelligent agents in the Dong-Myung Clan’s information gathering division.
However, what they didn’t know was that they were about to face a fate they would never have expected…… an unforgettable experience.
“Explain what you saw,” Gibin asked, picking his ear.
He looked off into the distance with a frustrated expression on his face.
“It’s amazing,” Giyoung replied carefully while gulping.
Gibin was usually a carefree and kind person who liked to play and joke around, but one had to be careful when he exhibited this kind of tense atmosphere. Countless egos lurked in his mind during these times. No one knew which ‘Gibin’ would pop out whenever he acted this way. Some of his crazier outbursts during these times brought great damage and destruction.
The various egos and characters within Gibin made him a genius. Like the Han-Sung Clan’s martial genius, Hanjung, Gibin had also become an Awakened Warrior by the age of twenty-nine.
His name was still relatively unknown to the wider world……
“What did you see that made you think it was amazing?”
Gibin looked at Giyoung with an interested expression. Although their mothers were different, she was the most reliable and smartest person among his clan siblings. Giyoung turned twenty-four this year, six years younger than himself, but he could talk with her comfortably. At the least, she understood his questions and personality. So, he brought her along on this assignment.
“Everyone is literate. Every person can read and write.”
“Ho… good observation. What else?”
“Their system of weights and measures are unified. In addition, the application of their system is very strict. Measurement methods and tools are also thoroughly unified.”
“The children are being educated.”
“I like it more and more. Go on.”
“They’ve laid down roads all the way to the outskirts of their territories. The width was over three steps. And… all the kids are wearing shoes.”
“All of the children are wearing nametags as well.”
“Only the children?”
“Adults also wear nametags, but not with their names on them.”
“Do outsiders also wear these tags?”
“This is sounding scarier and scarier, no?”
“Decisively… what? I’m looking forward to your conclusions.”
Gibin’s gaze was fixed on Giyoung. He had a light smile on his lips.
“There are stores that they sell clothes.”
The smile disappeared from Gibin’s mouth.
“Eh? For adults?”
“Both adults and children.”
“This… I’m starting to shake all over.”
“Yes… I’m also scared.”
“So… what does this mean, all put together?” Gibin asked as he got up and brushed his behind.
“The possibility of a military and economic powerhouse appearing in the north within three years is more than 30%.”
“Is that all?”
Gibin’s seemingly indifferent gaze was peering into Giyoung’s eyes. Giyoung got goosebumps from his gaze.
Gibin laughed. He came close to her in an instant and whispered into her ears. Giyoung fluttered at the sudden itchy sensation of his breath landing on her ear.
“You’ll probably have to study another ten more years, our ‘Guiding Star of the Battlefield’, Miss Giyoung.”
Gibin stretched out a finger and pushed Giyoung’s forehead.
“It’s a good place to fish…”
Gibin quickly walked away.
“Where are you going?” Giyoung asked while gathering her stuff and quickly trying to follow behind him.
“To see a fisherman…”
The two wandered down the hill while the spring sunset cast its last rays of sunlight.
“It’s time for them to start biting…”
San was yawning while staring at the casted fishing line. A red sunset was majestically setting in front of him as he stared with a lazy gaze into the water.
On the shores of the lake, dyed red with the evening sunset, gentle reddish waves slowly rippled towards the shore. Fresh blue buds had started blooming at the water’s edge, but overall, the vast cover of yellow reeds swayed without knowing whether it was spring or autumn. On the left and right mountain ridges, radiant pink flowers were in full bloom, claiming that it was not autumn but a bright spring afternoon.
“Children are getting smarter these days, so it won’t be easy to talk with them. Would you like another drink?”
A clear but slightly drowsy voice came from behind him. Biyeon, dressed in simple clothes, was writing something while leaning against his back. Her shoulders were comfortably supported by his back, her right foot stretched naturally in front of her, and her left knee was raised to comfortably support her notebook. Her toes were exposed. They were exceptionally white between the leather straps of her sandals.