Published at 23rd of May 2023 06:48:11 AM

Chapter 696

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Chapter 696


Epilogue - Beyond Civilization


At the farthest northern tip of the continent.


Even further to the west of that remote place.


There was an unnamed snowy region that lay beyond a vast mountain range, where no one had lived even before the Gate incident occurred.


A polar region where no other season existed but winter.


"Hey...! Over here!"


At the sound of the shout somewhere in the blizzard-swept plateau, a group of people hurried towards it.


The six tall men soon discovered a fallen beast and the person guarding it in the midst of the blizzard.


"Phew, this is quite a catch. I haven't seen one this big in three years."


A massive reindeer lay collapsed, an arrow lodged precisely in its forehead.


"Let's tie it up quickly. If the snow keeps piling up, we might be stuck in the shelter for days."


Everyone began tying ropes around the dead reindeer's body. If the blizzard worsened, they might not be able to return and would have to spend days in the cabin.


"Even if we're stuck, our friend Betton here will have to go back, even if the snow is taller than him."


"Of course. I'll go back even if there's an avalanche today."


At someone's remark, the others began chuckling and laughing.


"If you don't want to see Betton frozen to death without even knowing what happened to his child, let's move quickly!"


The man called Betton smiled at the joke and began tying ropes around the reindeer's body so that everyone could pull it along.


All of them were dressed in thick clothing and each carried a bow.


The man who appeared to be the leader of the group playfully patted the back of a blonde man who was tying ropes with him.


He was the man who had discovered the reindeer and shot it with an arrow.


"Anyway, Radeus, you're a real master archer."


"Haha... You're too kind."


"It's beyond that, really. You kill the reindeer with a single arrow, and none of us could even see it because of the snow. Honestly, we thought you were just shooting randomly and talking nonsense."


No one in the group had even seen the reindeer.


However, Radeus had aimed his bow somewhere in the blizzard, shot an arrow, and then walked confidently towards his target.


At the scene, a reindeer lay collapsed.


He had an uncanny ability to find prey, and his arrows always struck vital spots.


"He's a nobleman, a real nobleman."


All the hunters nodded in agreement with the leader's words. Betton, whose wife had begun giving birth, thanked Radeus several times.


They tied up the reindeer's carcass, and everyone began leading it back.


"By the way, Radeus. Hasn't it been a long time for you as well?"


"What do you mean...?"


"I mean having a child."




"Betton is becoming a father today, but you still haven't had any luck, right?"


As one person began to tease him, others chimed in.


There was a right time for such things, and it could be getting late.


It might be fine for his wife, but wouldn't it be difficult for him as he got older?


They said it was always best to prepare for anything before one's strength began to wane.


Radeus, the young man in question, could only offer an awkward smile.


"By the way, Violet said she's going to help with the birth today, right?"


"I don't know much about it, but she said she'd help as much as she could..."




Radeus's wife had volunteered to help Betton’s wife with her childbirth that day.


However, the man seemed to be in a difficult situation upon hearing the offer.


"…Is there a problem?"


"It's not an ordinary task for delicate people like your wife…"


-Thump thump


Another man patted Radeus' shoulder.


"She must be terrified."




"Fortunately, you are a steadfast man. How could you bring such a frail wife to a place like this?"


Upon hearing that, Radeus forced an awkward smile with a mixture of irritation.


"Ahaha... I must have pushed her a bit too hard…"


Every time Radeus heard that, he felt as if a lump had lodged itself in his throat.


A place where people didn't live even during the era of a thriving civilization.


A remote area, so far removed from civilization that there were no warp gates, and even the monsters of the gates couldn't easily enter.


The fallen emperor Bertus and Saviolin Turner lived under new names, beyond the reach of civilization.


Therefore, whenever Bertus heard that Saviolin Turner, who was pretending to be his wife, was a delicate woman, he couldn't help but feel an indescribable, bizarre emotion.




The village in the snowy wasteland wasn't that small.


Considering the extreme environment it was situated in, a community of just over three hundred households was quite large.


One thousand kilometers in all directions was uninhabited land, and beyond the massive mountain range to the north lay a frozen sea that stretched as far as the eye could see.


Bertus and Turner had deliberately come to this place.


They hadn't initially intended to seek out such an environment.


It was impossible to hide in any place where civilization existed. No matter where they went, they were always pursued.


Occasionally, they were discovered by adventurers in the poorly hidden deep wilderness.


Although they had fled to survive, they didn't want to kill anyone.


So they decided to go to a place where the very foundation of civilization couldn't exist.


The deep wilderness that even monsters didn't seek.


A place where it was difficult for humans, beasts, and monsters alike to survive.


Believing that they could hide their bodies there forever.


Bertus and Turner crossed over to the far side of civilization.


And they reached a place where someone was living in an environment that no human should be able to survive.


To the strangers who appeared in an environment where no outsider could come, everyone in the village was kind and warm-hearted.


They were astonished at how Bertus and Turner had arrived, but still took care of them.


They provided them with a place to sleep, clothes to wear, and food to eat.


No one asked them why they had come.


To these people, the world was nothing but a snow-covered wasteland.


There were no countries, history, or nations.


They only knew that strangely-shaped beasts had begun to appear at some point.


The small but resilient civilization of the snowfield was solid even in the face of the occasional monsters.


To them, monsters were treated as "inedible things" or "things that looked like they would cause trouble if eaten."


Thus, Turner and Bertus encountered a very small community that shouldn't have existed in a place devoid of civilization, and they settled down there haphazardly.


A harsh but endearing place, cold but not lonely.


A place so far removed from the world that nobody knew about it.


Bertus learned a lot.


How to live and survive in the snowfield.


When isolated in the snow, one had to know what to do.


How to find the beasts that managed to survive even in this harsh environment.


The locations of temporary shacks hidden for the hunters.


He had transformed hunting, which had once been a mere hobby, into a genuine skill for making a living.


"Phew... it was worth moving quickly. We've already arrived."


The group, led by a reindeer hunted by Bertus, arrived at the village on the snowy plateau.


Of course, one didn't go hunting on a snowy day.


The village hunters went out because of the insistent requests that Betton, whose wife was about to give birth, should throw a feast.




As soon as he returned, Betton rushed home, screaming his wife's name.


Leaving his wife in labor to go hunting, his worry must have been immense.


"Radeus, will you try this time?"


Bertus knew what the leader of the hunters meant.




It was something Bertus still couldn't get used to, so the leader tried to make him do it whenever the opportunity arose.


At some point, the leader's ultimate goal became turning the outsider Bertus into a perfect tundra man.


"Ah, no, I'll leave it to those who've been doing it."


"Tsk. You're good at everything else, but you just can't seem to get the hang of this."


"I'm... sorry."


He had good manual skills, a keen eye, and quick actions.


He was almost perfect, but he just couldn't do tasks like butchering or skinning.


A man who was almost perfect but always lacking in something crucial.


To the tundra men, Radeus was an unbelievably talented man, but always lacking in strange ways.


"Haha, I thought we'd see Radeus turn pale today, but it's a shame."


One of the men holding the rope behind the leader chuckled.






In truth, he didn't avoid it because he didn't want to do it, but because he tried several times and couldn't.


The first time the leader entrusted him with butchering, Bertus, who didn't know any better, grabbed the knife and rushed in, only to see a gruesome sight.


Upon seeing the blood spilling out with the innards, Bertus ran out of the butchering area and vomited.


He could handle seeing disgusting things, but something so filthy was unbearable for Bertus.


Rather, the villagers looked at Bertus and laughed, thinking what a strange man he was.


After vomiting, the rumor spread throughout the village.


The newcomer had a peculiar constitution that made him vomit at the sight of blood.


Of course, that misunderstanding was now gone, but there were still some things Bertus couldn't do.


Bertus now knew.


In this kind of life, there was no need for one specific overwhelming strength.


It wasn't enough to be good at hunting or tracking.


One had to be capable of everything.


From hunting to butchering, cooking, starting fires, and even gathering firewood in this extreme environment, there was no end to what one had to learn.


That's why, initially, he was treated like someone who didn't know anything.


Now, Bertus realized he had much to learn from everyone in the village, including men, women, and especially the elderly.


Somehow, by capitalizing on his strengths and having others resolve his weaknesses, he was able to accomplish the tasks at hand.


"Anyway, Betton has gone ahead, but you should hurry as well."




Bertus also headed in the direction of Betton's house, where Betton had rushed off.




Then, the door to Betton's house opened, and someone came out.


It was Saviolin Turner.


In this place, she was known by the name Violet, and she staggered out of the house.


Her short hair, which had always been just long enough to reach her neck, had grown past her waist and had to be tied with a hairband.


As people said,


She now looked just like a frail woman at first glance.






And then, Bertus saw Saviolin Turner, whose face had turned pale as if her soul had been drained, stagger and collapse onto the snowy ground.


It was a delicate and fragile appearance that didn't suit the well-known Saviolin Turner at all.






Had something terrible happened?


"Vi- Violet...?"


Bertus hastily approached the collapsed Turner.


Turner looked up at Bertus blankly.


Her face was pale beyond white, turning a shade of blue.


"Ah, ah... ah..."


"Wh- What happened?"


"Ah, ah... no."


-Eugh-ugh-eugh! Ugh!


Behind the trembling Turner, the groans of a woman in the throes of childbirth could be heard from Betton's house.




The door to Betton's house opened cautiously, and the midwife poked her head out.


"It's nothing serious. She's just in shock. Take her home, give her some warm water to drink, and lay her down."




The old woman closed the door after leaving those words.


Only then did Bertus notice Saviolin Turner's pupils shaking violently.


What had she seen?


"Th- That... Vi- Violet... the baby... th- that... ha, ha-ha... ha-ha... ho- how... how... how? Huh? Huh?"


She seemed to be trying to explain something but was just trembling, unable to articulate it.


Nothing was wrong.


But it was clear she had seen something incredibly shocking.


Only then did Bertus understand why the other hunters had been more concerned about Violet than Betton's wife, who was giving birth.


It was because they knew that witnessing the process of childbirth would leave her in a daze.


Just as Bertus had no resistance to blood, Turner had no resistance to certain things.


In this place, the hunters were convinced that Violet, who had a somewhat naive image, would surely be like that.


"I am... useless again..."


In the end, looking at Turner with her head hung low, shivering, Bertus gave a bitter smile.


"Let's go home first."




Supporting the trembling Saviolin Turner, Bertus headed for their home.




Bertus sat Turner down on the bed and handed her a cup of warm water.


He smiled as he watched her sipping the water that wasn't too hot.


Not long after Turner and Bertus arrived, the villagers built a house on their own.


Despite the scarcity of resources, the people worked diligently to gather materials and quickly constructed a house.


Then, they pushed the couple inside, telling them to live there.


They had never said that they would settle down or even explained why they had come here.


Yet, as if everyone already knew without being told, they built a house for them without asking any questions.


So, Turner and Bertus had no choice but to awkwardly settle down.


After that, Bertus tried to help out with various things in the village, only to realize how much he lacked. And what he didn't know, he learned.


But in Turner's case, it was worse.


She didn't know how to cook, let alone how to handle meat.


She couldn't sew or work with leather.


She didn't even know how to start a fire.


Of course, she had absolutely no idea how to make preserved food, which was most important in such an environment.


She couldn't even play with the children.


With a troubled smile, she didn't know what to do in front of the children.


Even when given menial tasks around the village, she would look tearful, not knowing what to do or how to do it.


A beautiful woman with a gentle disposition and demure manners, but utterly useless.


Still, people found her adorable and felt a strange sense of satisfaction watching her perplexed expressions. She was an amusing woman to observe.


The village women secretly envied her hands, which were excessively fair, clean, and soft, as if she had never experienced hardship.


She was confident in her ability to do physical labor, but everyone, young and old, discouraged Turner from trying.


Because it was clear that someone so delicate would certainly get hurt if they tried to do strenuous work.


So, even when she wanted to do what she was good at, they never gave her the opportunity.


Due to the accumulated perception, when she said she wanted to be a hunter, people laughed.


Everyone waved their hands, telling her not to joke around.


In truth, it was only natural.


She had spent her entire life holding a sword.


Her daily life and everything else had been provided by the imperial court.


Everything other than the sword had been taken care of, and it had never been her concern.


That's why Turner didn't know anything outside of the sword and had no practical skills.


She had spent her life doing only what she was good at and had become a person completed by that.


It was fortunate that she didn't cry out in confusion when suddenly asked to do work in an unrelated field.


Even when shown a task, she still asked, "What is this?"


The same was true even for tasks she had been taught once.


Despite being taught, she just couldn't do them well.


Turner was much more incompetent than Bertus, who had been the emperor.


That was the reality for Saviolin Turner, who had once been the empire's strongest knight and the continent's greatest swordsman.


"Have you calmed down a bit?"




This time, facing the major event of childbirth in the village, she had tried to run errands, but after being told to go back and rest by the midwife, she had come outside and sat down hesitantly.


She had seen countless deaths and killings and had witnessed innumerable gruesome scenes.


But there was no way she could have ever experienced the spectacle of a new life being born and the shock it brought.




How could it be like this?


It was a relief that she didn't faint with her head full of question marks and exclamation points.


Bertus didn't say anything as he watched Turner, who was trying to catch her breath, fiddling with a cup of water.


Bertus knew better than anyone how much she agonized, realizing how incompetent she was.


Bertus smiled faintly as he looked at Turner.


"It's not easy."


"…Yes, it isn't."


The villagers always laughed, finding the couple adorable as they addressed each other with respect, even though they were married.


No one asked why they were so formal with each other.


No one questioned if they were a real couple.


At least Bertus was doing his part now, and his hunting skills greatly benefited the village.


However, Saviolin Turner still didn't know how to do anything, and to people, she was just a fragile and naive woman.


Yet, no one excessively criticized Turner's incompetence.


Although some teased her playfully, no villager seriously scolded her.


That was because everyone had seen them on the day they arrived in the village.


Piercing through the harsh snowstorm, barely distinguishable as human or snow, they were on the verge of collapsing.


Everyone remembered Saviolin Turner's determined expression as she gritted her teeth, eyes wide open, carrying the unconscious Bertus when they arrived.


When asked how they had come this far, Turner had said that she had thought there was a village here.


She had heard the sounds of people living.


However, she had walked for more than ten days after hearing those sounds.


She had heard the inaudible sounds and found her way through the snowstorm to this village.


That's why everyone said it.


She was naive.


She didn't know how to do anything.


She caused accidents no matter what she did.


But she was a great person.


That's why no one could ignore Saviolin Turner.




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