Pathfinder - Chapter - 36
The north of Delium is devastated. Precipitation is scarce and the ground is so cold that it barely freezes. The only crops that can be harvested are small, cold-hardy radishes, carrots, pumpkins and oats. The areas facing the sea were better off because they could eat fish, but the rest of the city had a miserable diet.
For these reasons, most of the area north of Delium was suffering from chronic famine. Even the boopang of Yatalka in the south looks like a sumptuous meal here.
Large cities such as Palemsia and Grunsel were able to maintain steady traffic with large cities like Delium and supplement the shortage of food, but the food situation in small villages was so serious that people sometimes died of starvation. However, the food situation in the small village was so severe that people sometimes died of starvation. The only thing the powerless farmers could do was to stare at the sky with a sad heart, praying for rain.
After Leaverton, superstition was generally a powerful force in the northern part of the region, but it was even more so in the area north of Delium. People stubbornly tried to believe what they could, even if it was a lie. Even if it was foolish, they had to rely on it, because life was unbearable.
For them, Lotu’s disappearance one day was a terrifyingly ominous event. Some of the small moons that had been enveloped in Lotu’s light were still visible in the sky, but they looked sadly shabby compared to the huge flower that had illuminated everything so brilliantly.
Compared to the huge flowers that lit up the whole world, they looked sadly shabby. Compared to Lotu, who was filled with joy just looking at them, few people believed that the moons were so meager. After dark, the peasants would gather in taverns away from the moonlight to share their fears.
Most of the lands that had been the principalities of Delium knew of the disappearance of Lotu for whatever reason, but there were some areas where the rumors never reached the public, no matter how noisy they were. This was the case in Hillgarden, a small village to the north of Delium.
It was closer to Delium than Paremsia to the northwest, but this small village, the only link to the outside world for the merchants who stopped by a couple of times a month, had been slower to disappear than Paremsia. So for the first time in a long time, Garam was able to spend some quiet time in a village where there was no one to recognize him.
‘The meal I ordered is served.”
Callum stared at the plate the owner had set down. Perhaps realizing the significance of his gaze, the owner quickly left the table with a slightly scornful expression. Anyone would be tempted to do the same after being served a fistful of bread and a bowl of watery soup as a meal.
Fortunately for him, Garam had no intention of asking for a refund for any of the disgusting food served. However, he was not very hungry to begin with, so he decided to wet his dry mouth with alcohol instead of food.
After taking a sip, Garam wrinkled his brow and lowered his glass. The liquor tasted blandly of water. The taste of moss and earth crept up through the thin scent of alcohol. Splitting the water didn’t seem like much of a challenge. Garam was troubled and gave up on all food. Well, I don’t care about food anyway. He hadn’t come here for the food.
Arriving in this small village late in the afternoon, Kalam was the first to visit the tavern after locating the path because it was the easiest way to get information.
Where the drunks chattered.
There’s nothing better than listening to a story that you wouldn’t normally talk about easily, but when you’re drunk, you’ll shout it like an eloquent speech. Another advantage was that people who have been drinking become more affable, so even strangers can form an intimate atmosphere.
When we actually arrived at the tavern, there were few customers, probably because of the early hour, which disappointed Garam, but it had its advantages. For example, the friendly conversation with the owner of the tavern.
Callum opened his mouth softly, and the host looked at him with an impatient scowl and made eye contact. His mouth was set in a firm resolve, ‘I will not pay you under any circumstances. It had been a long time since he had seen a stranger and he wanted to get as much money out of him as he could.
A similar small village with a similar small tavern. The level of income is obvious. Thus, it was difficult to take over the store without having to dip into the wallets of people from the outside.
If you know who the owner of the house in the center of the village is, do you know him?
The owner looked overwhelmingly relieved. He pondered for a moment with a curious look on his face, and then nodded as if he understood.
‘Rumors travel fast, don’t they? So the word has already spread to the outside world?
The temple was confused for a while. The needle was pointing to a house in the middle of town, so he just wanted to find the owner and ask for help in visiting. There was a way to go in invisible and get a pass, but he didn’t like the idea of hiding in the mud.
Of course, in the worst case, that’s the only way, but I don’t want to be trespassing in someone else’s house as a matter of course. That’s why the rumor that the owner of the bar had mentioned was new to Kyaran.
‘It’s a rumor that there’s a saint in our village who can purify libertons and bring back dead people. I think you came here because you have someone you want to keep alive.’
I’ve often heard that story somewhere.
Callum narrowed his eyes. He hadn’t heard any rumors about the saint of Riverton since there was no one to recognize him. More importantly, it was an interesting story. It was interesting to see how my introduction to myself had been transformed into that of a complete stranger.
From the looks of it, there was no mention of the details of the saint’s physiognomy or clothing, and I wondered if the author had taken advantage of this opportunity to pass himself off as a fraud.
Are you saying that the house in the center of the village belongs to the saint?
‘Yes, it does. Oh, and don’t even think about the saint leaving our village, by any chance. He has to make it rain in our village.
The master, who had been threatening with a stern expression, suddenly felt a presence and looked up with a happy expression. The sun had already set, and the farmers with drunken expressions were flooding into the tavern ahead of the others. Occupying the noisy space, each farmer leaned haphazardly on his dirt-covered farm equipment and urged his drink in a rough voice.
‘Damn it, when is Lotu coming back? I’m so scared. He told me to look at that sinister little moon. What a bad omen if it shines.
The man sitting at the table next to Callum complained in a frightened voice that made his thick arms lose face. Another farmer, who appeared to be a friend, took him at his word. Both of them were crispy, with unkempt heads and not very handsome.
‘I get goose bumps, too. Don’t those round shapes look like human eyeballs? The yellow color also looks like a witch’s eyes. What is the world going to become?’
The farmer, whining with all his might, suddenly spotted the temple and turned to look at it. Kalam was carefully cutting and eating the bread in front of him, expecting to see how bad it was. As expected, he frowned, feeling as if he were chewing dry sand, but the farmer, who had been watching him, called out to him.
‘Are you a stranger?
Callum nodded and began his rare first greeting. There was something he wanted to ask. His master seemed to be busy serving drinks to a crowd of customers, so it seemed like a good idea to talk to these two.
‘My name is Karam.
‘That sounds like a Yatalka name. Your face still looks like a Delium person though. Are you half? I’m Viran, this is Lowe.’
I followed Haspel’s appearance and it seemed to look like a Delium face. But Garam, who was not from Delium, fudged his answer. Then the two did not question him further.
‘Still, you seem to have a lot of money coming here.”
It was the man they had been introduced to as Rowe. He looked curiously at the temple with wide, meek eyes.
‘Here. Price for strangers: ……..”
Rowe couldn’t say. Rowe couldn’t say it, because the villain glared at him fiercely and pinched him mercilessly in the side under the table. Garam laughed easily, knowing full well what he was going to say just from the previous part. Surely 200,000 slings for a loaf of sandy bread, a salty broth of brackish water, and a drink that tasted of moss and stone was eye-wateringly expensive. To be frank, even a thousand slings would be a shame.
‘I can’t help it. Even though it’s expensive, this is the only place I can find that sells food.”
At Callum’s words, the two men stared at their surroundings with uncomfortable expressions. Callum didn’t dare take the book, though it was clear that he was trying to avoid their gaze. At a glance, he realized that the solution to the problem was to import most of the food from the merchants. Without them, many people would starve to death, and everyone would have to buy no matter how high the merchant called the price.
So it was understandable to a certain extent that they would take the opportunity to try and raise money, even from strangers.
‘You two are here first.
Suddenly there was a rush of air, and with a swift movement someone stepped in between the two men. It was a man with impressive thick arms that appeared outside of a body suit. He had been cut here and there, and his face and body were covered with healed wounds. He was no farm hand. Callum guessed his identity by the long bow he carried on his shoulder. ‘Looks like a hunter,’ he said.
‘Hey, Gibson. Did you catch a few today?”
At Law’s words Gibson pulled something from his waist. It was a couple of small birds, still alive and struggling. Villain clicked his tongue and Lowe congratulated him with a happy face.
‘It’s all a waste of time.
‘Still, it’s a waste of time. There’s not much to see in the way of meat, and we’ll have to take the feathers and sell them. It’s only a little. If only Lotu would show up again, we could go hunting at night. That small, round thing is hard to hunt, even if it is sinister.
The man used a vague name for it, as if it could not be called ‘moon’.
‘Yes, that’s right. That’s why we’ll come out of the field when it gets dark. I’m scared to death. I wish I knew what it was all about.
Roe chimed in on Gibson’s words. At the same time, the master appeared, out of breath, and brought down three large cups with food. The amount of food and its contents were far more plausible than what was on Callum’s table.
Gibson gulped down his drink in one gulp and let out a long, satisfied burp. Then he continued to speak through his own burp.
‘Still, I’m glad we have a saint in our village. If it weren’t for her, we wouldn’t have been able to live in anxiety.
A saint. Apparently, the villagers have great faith in this saint. Callum thought he was almost a fraud, but even so, trust could not be built without a minimum of evidence.
Callum began to be very curious as to how the saint had gained his trust. Around that time, Gibson also spotted Garam sitting at the table next to him, twisting his body around and almost resting on this table.
‘Yeah, Garam, he says. Here, don’t be so inconvenienced, sit here. There’s no one else coming, and it’s at least a seat for one more person. We’ll all be okay, right?”
The villain looked around gently as he introduced her in Callum’s stead. As Law and Gibson nodded pleasantly, Garam took a chair and joined the table in earnest, beginning to interrupt the dialogue.
‘What, the name’s Garam? You’re a Yatalka?
‘I don’t think so. Oh s**t, I didn’t get a chance to ask you where you’re from for sure.”
In answer to Gibson’s question, Ro looked suspiciously at Garam. Callum replied matter-of-factly.
‘I’m from Delium.’
The three of them sobbed simultaneously at the word Delium. For them, Delium was the city of their dreams, the most beautiful place in the world. They were quite a bit older than the others, but they had never been to Delium before.
‘Yes, I thought so. What happened to this countryside in Delium’.
‘Oh, perhaps you’ve heard the rumors about the saints in our village?’
A proudly vain look came over Callum. As soon as Callum shook his head, the three of them showed a blatantly disappointed expression. That reaction aroused Garam’s curiosity about the saint even more.
‘What on earth does it mean to be a saint when the owner of the bar was one just now?”
Gibson chuckled at Garam’s question and wagged a finger at him.
‘You’re a slow girl, aren’t you? Haven’t you heard of the Saint of Leaverton, the one who brings dead people to life? Now that she’s here in Hill Gardens, it’s more correct to call her the Saint of Hill Gardens. She is a great miracle worker. If you meet Callum, you will naturally feel the desire to serve him in his mystery.
Any miracle in the world would be nothing more than a crude magic trick in front of her, but Garam showed no sign of it and asked again.
Miracles? Are you saying that the saint is now healing people in Hill Gardens?
‘Yes and no. But I’m sure she’ll do it soon.’
Rowe answered carefree. What on earth could have made his trust in the saint so firm? He wondered if the saint had really healed people, but that didn’t seem to be the case either. Fortunately, the saint did not refuse to be questioned about her, so Garam decided to go a little further.
How can you believe that she is a saint if she has never healed anyone?
‘It’s been raining.’
‘Yes, it did. There was no sunshine like that. We were looking at our crops drying up and dying without a care in the world, and then that one rained and saved us all. Then she introduced herself as the Saint of Riverton. ‘The merchant told me in passing that such a thing had happened in Liberton, but I really didn’t think that this very person would come to our village. How great a power is it to make it rain?”
Ro looked sincere in his praise of the saint. For some reason, he felt Haspel overlap with him and Kyan was drinking his moss food with an uncomfortable expression on his face when Villain suddenly interrupted the dialogue.
‘Still, I want you to give me that healing miracle as soon as possible. It’s so frustrating to see Alayne dry up every day.’
Garam looked suspiciously at the new name, and the villain replied with a serious nod.
‘She’s Boston’s wife. Boston is a lumberjack, but a year ago he went to cut down a tree and met a bear that hurt his back. Since then, he can’t stand or even sit up, he just lies around in bed. How anxious must Alayne be to see her like this? Her beloved husband is working today and tomorrow, and she doesn’t know when he will die. That’s why she’s the most particular about the saint’s healing in this village.”
‘The saint won’t heal me?”
‘She said she didn’t have enough sincerity. So Alleyne gave up all the goods she had in her house, and like the saint’s maidservant, she absolutely obeyed her words. She seems to think that the saint, moved by her trust, will surely heal her husband. Well, it’s not so different from what we think.
‘Do you think that’s possible?
‘Don’t you think that perhaps the saint is procrastinating because she doesn’t have the ability to heal him?’ he wanted to ask, but it was a sensitive matter, so Garam adjusted his level with difficulty. Viran merely shrugged.
‘There has to be a process to make sure he’s a good person worth treating. And isn’t it too much of an unconscionable act to hope for a miracle like that for free? As a matter of fact, all the villagers voluntarily thanked the saint for the miracle of bringing rain. I also offer my crops every day. Only then can you make it rain again the next time the sun shines.”
Callum came to the conclusion with a clean slate. The word “rain” bothered him, but he had distractedly scanned the village and found no evidence of any great magic being used, which meant that a group of swindlers had come in just in time for the rains and were roughly selling the name of the temple to the villagers and running a scam.
It’s not the first time. Kalam usually preferred to move quietly, but occasionally, when he got into trouble, he would take extraordinary actions that bordered on destruction of nature.
He would split a volcano in two to find the path inside, or lift a lake full of water into the sky. Then, when they disappeared, people would appear like bamboo sprouts after the rain, claiming to have created the magic, and clamoring for riches and positions to match.
Many of those who made such claims ended up disgusting the people around them to the extent that they were not only frauds but also falsehoods, or if they were too much, they were punished by those who governed the area, so the Kalam did not need to worry much about them. And people don’t trust anyone that easily in the first place.
However, the situation in this hill garden was a bit unique. From the looks of it, the environment was so harsh that he needed something to mentally believe in, and he had been completely fooled by the con man. On top of that, it would have been much easier for him to get away with it, since even Lortu had disappeared and was trembling with anxiety.
In any case, no matter how many crops the farmer offered, the next drought would come. And Alleyne’s husband will die without medical treatment, and the swindler will leave the village. If the damage is substantial, we can’t just let it happen. Moreover, as the fraudsters continue to sell their names, all their misdeeds will be wrapped up in Garam’s.
It’s not easy to be framed unnecessarily, and Garam has no intention of being polite if the other party is a fraudster, but he still decided to check one last time.
But he still decided to check one last time: “When and where should I go to meet this saint?
It’s not too late to commit a crime after actually seeing it with your own eyes.
The saint’s house, built in the center of the village, was too big and luxurious for the small village. It seemed to have been built recently and there was nothing old about it, but according to the villagers, they had all come together to thank the saint and build it for her. The villagers had all come together to thank the saint and build it for her.
After spending the night in the spare room of the tavern, Kalam heard the three men say that ‘all the people of the village gather at the saint’s house every morning to offer offerings’ and set out with them. He then roughly took whatever items he could from his pockets and tucked them into the offering string.
The offering Callum had prepared was stew berries, which he had purchased in large quantities and frozen. He used his magic to thaw them, but they were frozen so the cold air chilled his hands, but he was wearing leather gloves, so there was no problem.
‘That’s a great story, by the way.’
‘Isn’t it? It’s proof that the villagers love the saint this much.
Garam clicked his tongue briefly at Law’s proud answer. The man who said he was a saint or something, if his identity was discovered, he would not be able to survive. The more trustworthy he is, the more likely he is to betray us, and the more likely he is to die in anger with the entire village. It would be quite tragic, so Garam decided to prevent that from happening, and looked around at all the offerings.
Most of the offerings were edible, such as root vegetables, bird eggs, well-cared-for meat, and fish, but every once in a while he would see metal, ore, or leather, as well as fine wood and trinkets that looked quite valuable. Perhaps they brought the most precious and valuable items left in the house to offer.
‘By the way, where did you get that fruit all of a sudden? It’s so precious in this northern part of the world. Those are stew berries, aren’t they?’
The villan who had been flicking the berries around in Callum’s hand asked softly. The expression on his face was curious as to why he would put up with the cruel food in the tavern when he had such a thing. Callum scratched his cheek and put it aptly.
‘I kept it as an emergency ration.
Instead of keeping it safe, the berries were overflowing in the magical storeroom, but Garam’s lie was unconcerned. Vyran nodded his head in understanding.
‘If you have something valuable, Kalam, you should offer it to the saint first. Then maybe you’ll get lucky and be able to perform a miracle?”
Garam nodded in the middle of watching with a strange expression on his face, as if the villan deserved it. While the two were conversing in this manner, the line became shorter and shorter, and before long they were close enough to see the saint with the naked eye.
The saint was sitting on a gorgeous and messy chair that looked like it was made of gold, leather, and all sorts of precious junk, looking down with an arrogant expression. She was not a beautiful woman, although the dots around her eyes gave her a slightly seductive look.
Her hair color was generally brown with a bit of faded gray mixed in, but from a darker angle it looked similar to Garam’s hair color. Anyway, watching from the side, I could see a lot of action.
This is dedicated to the saint.
The woman with the skinny wrists put down a box of vegetables. The fake saint laughed, furrowing her brow, and the woman retreated, looking as if she didn’t know what to do. The next time a dried fish was offered, the reaction was the same. The saint shook her chin nervously at the next person, and Garam walked slowly over and set down the stew fruit.
‘I’ve never seen your face before, have you?”
The fake saint stared at the temple with an odd expression. Then she began to blatantly observe Garam from head to toe. It was a very rude gaze, but Garam left the saint’s actions alone with an indifferent expression. To be honest, considering what was about to happen, he even felt like showing sympathy to the saint.
‘What was in that satchel? Open it.’
‘I heard that you just acted like a saint, but I feel like the lower price is sticking to my mouth. The saint, who had naturally given the order, waited with an expression that suggested Callum would naturally open the bag and show her. At first glance, there was a glimpse of annoyance at Callum’s dull behavior. In addition, he put silent pressure on Garam, saying that not only the saint but all the residents of the village must obey him.
I felt like a fool, but Garam honestly opened his bag and showed it to me. He didn’t stop with the pretense, he also took out the items and laid them out. The opening of the pockets and the pockets containing the jewelry was a deliberate act. Sure enough, the saint, tricked by Callum’s provocation, opened her mouth with a greedy look.
‘Good. That’s a nice offering,’ I’ll accept it.’
He hadn’t even said he was going to offer it, but he naturally assumed that Garam would offer it himself. Callum thought about teasing her a little more, but decided it was time to deal with the false saint, as he no longer wanted to drag out the clock.
‘I have no problem with your offering, but there is something I would like to ask you in return.
Callum’s straight gaze pierced the saint. The saint, who had been jerked around for a moment by the force of Callum’s gaze, looked around at the buzzing surroundings and had no choice but to answer.
‘What is it?
‘Please heal Alayne’s husband.
The skinny woman who had offered her greens looked up in surprise. Tears welled up in her eyes, filled with surprise and joy. Callum knew without difficulty that she was Alayne.
‘No, no. That’s her problem. Do you have any other requests?
The saint’s response was cold. Garam wanted to applaud her for hiding her agitation and acting so resolutely. Although she did not show it, it was clear that she was greatly perplexed by Garam’s words, but she hid it with great skill. I see, he’s usually a fraud beyond belief.
Without hesitation, Callum drew his sword and drew his arm. The knife was so deep that his bones were exposed. A few of the more faint-hearted screamed aloud, and the saint’s eyes wavered.
‘What are you doing?
Garam replied with a long smile on his face as the saint froze cold.
‘Please heal this wound. I want to see that miracle. That is my wish.
Some of the smarter ones realized what was going on and cast half-hearted glances at the saint, while the rest had a look of reproach at the rude temple. However, no one dared to intervene between the saint and Kalam, as Kalam’s momentum was out of the ordinary. Those who pulled back their arms without hesitation were inevitably objects of disfavor.
‘You’re rude! Are you trying to test me!’
The saint tried and rushed to vent her anger. In the midst of it all, the glances that flickered around the area were sad. Callum lifted his bleeding arm and asked briefly in front of the saint.
‘You can’t do it, can you?’
The saint tried to answer something, but after her eyes met Callum’s, she realized that he already knew everything and gritted her teeth. Still, she was the saint here anyway. The villagers already believe that she is a saint. They wouldn’t let a single gentile from who knows where ruin everything.
A few shouts, and the villagers would lock her up themselves, take advantage of tonight’s darkness, and flee with all the goods they had gathered, and everything would end as planned.
The moment the saint, who had finished her calculations, was about to open her mouth to shout again, the temple interrupted a little earlier.
‘I can do it, but…’
At the same time as Garam’s words, the wounds that had been splitting and bleeding were enveloped in light and healed in the blink of an eye. The villagers’ mouths dropped open as their jaws fell open at the sight before them. The saint, or rather the impostor, looked on with the same stupid expression, and later turned pale and looked at the temple.
Come to think of it, the woman in front of him had a striking resemblance to the saint known to the world. Even if someone who knew the color of the saint’s hair showed up, she thought she could fool them because her hair color was the same, but she never expected the saint herself to show up. I can’t believe how unlucky I am. How could someone who should be in the temple of Delium be here?
‘What the h**l is this…’. ….”
Someone opened their mouth with a puzzled expression. He grabbed the shaking impostor by the collar and pulled him out of the chair. The impostor, unable to resist, fell to the ground. Garam shrugged his shoulders as he looked back at the giggling villagers.
‘The saint was a fake. It was just a coincidence that it rained.
It was a neat conclusion, but some people were not convinced. This was especially true for the farmers. They had been rejoicing in the fact that they did not have to worry about the sunshine because of the presence of the saints, and this voice came like a bolt from the blue. But before they could say anything else, the impostor, who was a saint, grabbed Garam by the pants and started pleading with him.
‘I’m sorry, sir. Please forgive me just once. Eh, I’m really sorry. I did not dare to recognize the Saint of Liberton. I deserve to die for the crime of misrepresenting that name, but please forgive me just once out of compassion. I beg you. Yes.
The swindler’s behavior changed so much that I wondered if he was the same person as the arrogant woman who sat on the high chair and paid tribute with her chin. There was nothing about his behavior that equaled a confession. Even the farmers who had tried to question Callum were silent with blank expressions, as if they were aware of the impostor’s behavior.
The person with the quickest grasp of the situation, aside from Kalam, seemed to be the conniving saint. In the blink of an eye, she had realized who Garam was, where he was going, and the mood he was going to be in, and that if she didn’t stick with him, she wouldn’t survive. I wondered if I should be impressed that he looked like he was about to become a con man.
Still, the face of the arrogant woman flashed before his eyes, so he kicked her aside and walked into the house. He didn’t have to go far, as the altar of offerings was set up in the front yard of the woman’s house.
Once inside, he was amazed at the amount of goods he had received. ‘How could you have collected so much?’ I thought as I walked around, looking around briefly, and the con man who had been chasing me hurriedly followed Kalam.
The woman only smiled awkwardly when Callum turned around, wondering what was going on. Certainly, standing among the inhabitants of the village when one’s true identity has been revealed is tantamount to shouting with every fiber of one’s being that one wants to be whipped.
Is there anything I can help you find?
The woman asked cautiously as Garam groped for the door of the room. The way she rubbed her hands together impatiently was very cunning. Callum didn’t reply, but lifted the bed lightly with one hand and picked up the pass.
The pass, lying in the dust, was a pricey 120. It was surprisingly expensive for such a mundane place. Even though there were plenty of passes to go around, it still felt good to get a lot of passes. No, it’s not the same as feeling good, it’s more like feeling satisfied to the soul.
Okay. Now that I’ve gotten so many passes, let’s do something good.
After dropping off the bed, Garam walked out of the house again. There were more people in the house than there had been when the temple had been inside. Apparently, even those who had returned home after hearing that the saint was a fake had gathered. The pickaxes, plucks, and other metal fittings in their hands glinted with vicious indignation.
Low years! The low years are frauds!
‘You bad guy! He dares to cheat.
As Callum and the swindler came into view, the villagers cursed at them. Some of them were so excited that they were pointing their fingers and lashing out at him at any moment. In between the rhetoric, Galam was in a strange mood.
The impostor was trembling beside Garam, as if he would die if he fell, and the distance between them was close to zero, so his anger at the impostor fell on Garam at the same time. At least, that’s what it looked like.
In any case, the excited villagers were ready to seize and kill any outsider, whether he was an impostor or not, unconditionally. Feeling the need to calm his excitement a little, Garam looked up at the sky for a while in distress.
There was no rain on the north side, but that didn’t mean the sun was shining. It was just a cloudy sky that looked like it was about to start raining. But the clouds don’t make it rain. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the magical power that has been dragged in for so long to seal the lot has disturbed the nature.
The disturbed nature was roughly taking root, and if left alone, the weather would continue to be cloudy, but at least it would not cause drought. He wanted to throw some cold water on the residents who were staring at him red in the face as if fire was spewing from their eyes.
There was no order, no symbolic action of any kind.
Callum thought he should call for rain, and he did.
A few drops dotted the soil, and soon it was raining heavily, like crazy. The people who had been looking up at the sky with expressions of disbelief as the drops of water fell on their foreheads, were delighted with bewildered faces as the rainfall began to get thicker. Incredibly, the anger had long since disappeared.
In the pouring rain, Callum stood in front of a dry woman who sat on the floor and forgot herself. She seemed to be in complete despair over the fact that the saint she had believed in was an impostor. Her shoulders were so weak that they seemed to be crushed by raindrops. Callum cowered in front of Alayne, who did not look up, and met her gaze.
Callum looked at her with as gentle an expression as he could muster. She seemed so shocked that she couldn’t remember the fact that Garam had pulled her arm, bled, and treated the wound. It was natural for him to be shocked as he realized that all his desperate clinging had been for nothing. However, although the saint here was an impostor, there was also someone here who was revered as a true saint. After a few moments, Alayne seemed to slowly realize this fact.
She slowly recognized who it was that was staring at her.
As soon as she realized what was in front of her, Alayne clung to Garam as if she were throwing herself down. If Garam hadn’t caught her, she would have hit her nose on the bottom of the mire. Not caring that her whole body was covered in mud, she desperately hung on to Garam and apologized.
‘Please help my husband. My poor husband! He is a kind man. He is a good man. Please help him. I’ll do anything. …….”
Hugging a confused Alene, Garam stared at the fraudster for a while. He was angry again that he had scammed such an urgent person. I’m not sure what to say. He looked like he had ten mouths to feed.
Alleyne, who had been pleading with him, jerked her head back. He looked as if he couldn’t believe Callum’s crisp words. Callum answered again, clearly.
‘Let’s go. To the cure.’
Alayne led Garam away with a puzzled look on her face, as if she couldn’t believe whether it was a dream or reality. Her house was a small log cabin on the outskirts of the village, with axes and firewood piled everywhere as if to prove that her husband was a lumberjack. There were also planes and knives, as if he also worked as a carpenter. In any case, the place looked unorganized and hectic.
I have no words to say to you, as if you were serving in a miserable place.
Alaine opened her mouth with a small, anxious look, afraid that perhaps Garam would tell her he was leaving. Garam read her mind and replied with a smirk.
‘There is no need to look so anxious. You don’t think I’m going to come all the way back here? Besides, it’s impossible for you to leave, isn’t it?”
After Garam made his intention to heal Alayne’s husband clear, all the people in the village caught up with him. As a result, they unintentionally blocked the way out of the temple. Two thoughts flashed in the eyes of the residents: the determination to keep a close eye on the impostor, and the desire to witness a miracle.
Garam shrugged as Alayne bowed deeply.
‘Sorry for what? Is it in the back?’
As he followed Alleyne into the house, he saw that there was a mess of items in the room that he hadn’t had time to organize. It looked as hectic as it did outside. Garam smiled lightly at Alaine’s hasty rearrangement of the area and walked in, smelling the scent of sick people pouring from deep within the house.
Some of the people who had crowded in behind the temple followed softly. Alleyne’s small house was quickly crowded with spectators, and the rest who could not enter waited outside the house. The rest who could not get in waited outside the house for her husband to disappear. It seemed that her husband’s personality was unusual enough that the villagers all wished for his recovery.
A small room with just the right amount of sunlight coming through the small window. A skinny man was moaning on a small bed in the only clean room in the house. I was told that he could not move at all, but he was clean-shaven and had almost no body odor. It was obvious that they had taken good care of him with all their heart. Then Alleyne, who had come running like a fly before him, knelt down and bowed.
‘Please, sir. This is the only person I have. I love him the most in the world. I will pay any price if he can survive.
He’s not a nice guy, he doesn’t have a nice face, he doesn’t have a nice body, he’s just a weak and sick man, but Alleyne’s eyes are filled with love as she looks at him. Even the wrinkles around her sorrowful eyes could not obscure the light of her affection.
Approaching the front of the bed, Garam said quietly to Alayne as she knelt down.
‘Miracles are miracles because they do not demand a price.”
A light erupted, so intense that I thought I would be blinded. He closed his eyes and hid his face with his hands at the sudden light, but mostly he struggled to open his eyes, frowning so that he wouldn’t miss the sight he couldn’t manage to review before him.
Garam gave him a strength that seemed a bit too much than usual. Mostly because Alayne’s skinny wrists grabbed his collar, inspiring sympathy. Garam had not only healed her husband’s body, but had also restored his emaciated body to a strong and perfect state.
When they all woke up after the blast of light, Alayne and her husband, who was now as healthy as he had ever been, had stopped as if they were frozen in an embrace. If it hadn’t been for the hot tears pouring from their eyes, I might have suspected that they had been turned into statues.
They cried. For a while.
No one complained about that fact. No one applauded or enthused over the miracle that Garam had shown. All that happened was a few people sobbing and wiping their teary eyes in the solemn atmosphere.
What was interesting was that even the impostor pretending to be a saint shed tears. Alleyne, who had roughly wiped away her tears, bowed deeply to Garam, who flashed them in a slightly amused mood. Her husband did the same. They rolled out of bed and bowed to Callum, and as if caught up in the moment, the others bowed respectfully.
Callum, whose nose was itching for some reason, scratched his cheek awkwardly and said in a deliberately light voice.
‘You’ll catch a cold if you stay this long with a wet body. Let’s all wash up and change into dry clothes. We’ll stop the rain, so everyone should go home.
Just as he had said, the people who had marched in the heavy rain were soaked to the bone. But in spite of Garam’s words, the people seemed unwilling to leave their seats. In the end, with a helpless look on his face, Garam had no choice but to use his magic to dry and wash the people’s clothes.
Everyone sniffed and sniffed at my body, wondering at how quickly it had become smooth. Not one, not two, but twenty people were doing this at the same time, which was quite funny. Callum went out into the garden, washed and dried all the others, and then opened his mouth to say he was ready to go.
Well, I’ll be going now.
Now that I’ve found my pass and grabbed the crook, there’s no reason to stay any longer. As we said our casual goodbyes, someone came whispering through the villagers touching our dry bodies and clothes. It was an old man who looked like he was about to collapse.
‘Please wait a moment.
The old man’s teeth had completely fallen out of his mouth, so his words were quite unpronounceable. He looked like he was struggling to breathe, but to his surprise, he introduced himself.
‘My name is Yolton, and I am the mayor of Hill Garden. I’d be ashamed to accept a favor and send you on your way, so please allow me to treat you.
Compared to his trembling voice, the content was quite plausible. It was Garam’s heart’s desire to make a quick exit when the inhabitants of the village lost their souls, but there was something he needed to talk about. After pondering for a while, Garam accepted the offer.
As soon as Kalam’s reply fell, the residents began to feast without missing a beat with their buoyant expressions. Kalam, who had expected to be treated to a simple meal, began to regret his honest acceptance of the proposal a little as a large bonfire was set up in the center of the village and the scale began to grow unmanageable.
The impostor had disappeared for some time and was nowhere to be seen, but it seemed that he had sneaked away while the villagers were absorbed in the miracle and busily preparing the feast. It was an admirable and natural escape. It was true that holding on to Callum was actually unlikely, and it would be difficult to see him in a good light if he stayed.
While they were preparing for the feast, Garam sat in a corner of the village and told the gathered people and the village chief about the reason for Lotu’s disappearance and what was about to happen.
It wasn’t an exaggerated prophecy, but rather that the magic that had been used to seal the world had returned and that there would be people who could use it, and that since nature had returned to its normal course, there would not be as much sunshine as before.
Nothing seemed to please them more than to hear that there was no sunshine. The peasants went wild with joy, and even though there was not enough food to go around, the atmosphere was already joyful. Then someone started playing an instrument and the festival began in earnest.
‘I’ve brought you some food.
It was her familiar face who suddenly spoke to Karam. He was the owner of the tavern that had sold Garam the bad food for twenty slings. He stood there with a very apologetic look on his face, holding a silver plate full of alcohol and meat.
‘No, no. Yesterday was really me ……..”
Callum chuckled and waved his hand, nonchalantly grabbing a plate of food. It was a whole roasted bird, one of the few pieces of meat that had been returned to his share.
He took out all the food he could find, but the fact that there wasn’t much to eat even then, given the poor food situation, was sad. This was the best they could do when it came to hospitality. Garam pondered for a moment, then pulled out his backpack and pulled out some stew berries.
Although they were berries, the stew berries tasted quite good and were enough to occupy a seat at the dinner table. At least it was much better than the little birds that Callum could swallow in one go. Since he wasn’t going to eat the berries alone, Garam took more berries out of his bag and started piling them on the side.
‘You don’t have to dare do this…’. ….”
The tavern owner and the village chief, realizing what she was doing late, tried to stop her, but she kept her mouth shut. But they kept their mouths shut, for Callum, who had smirked at them, turned his backpack upside down and spilled endless amounts of stew berries. It wasn’t just ten or twenty. It was more like ten or twenty. It was so much that he wondered where the little bag had been.
‘No way. ……’
The owner of the tavern lamented with a stunned look on his face.
One rucksack of stew fruit could feed an entire village and still be recorded as surplus.
Callum gave a small smile in his mind and slung his backpack back on again. In front of him was a small garden of stew berries. They were all frozen, but that didn’t matter since they were plants that would be boiled and eaten anyway.
“What are you doing? Don’t start the party.”
Callum pretended not to know, and to his surprise, the frozen people cheered in unison. He had intended to keep his wits about him after that, even as he entertained the temple, but now there was no need. Garam’s face was filled with joy, and he even took out some food and wine from the beginning. Needless to say, this made the feast even more sumptuous.
‘I’ve never had such a blessed banquet in my life.
What was the name again? Struggling to remember the name of the man who appeared to be bowing to him with a bright red face, Garam soon realized that he didn’t need to. It was not necessary, for the drunken man had walked away with wavering steps. He blended in with the crowd that had gathered under the huge bonfire.
The party was in full swing. The people were dancing and the food was fine. The people, full of laughter and happiness, showered Kalam with congratulations. The more the people got drunk, the more the mood of the party increased. But why couldn’t they get into the mood?
Callum emptied his cup in a somber mood. It was hard to get drunk, even though he wasn’t doing it on purpose. The party was in full swing and many people were drunk, so no one noticed the commotion of him shouting and emptying his cup alone. Perhaps because of this, there were few people who were willing to talk to me. Perhaps that’s why few people were willing to talk to me.
As he spent his time drinking and occasionally dealing with the drunkards, Garam spotted allergies and husbands among the people dancing by the bonfire. They were filled with happiness that seemed to be spreading to those around them. As they gazed at each other wistfully, Callum was suddenly reminded of lunch.
He had felt so good after finding so many passes that he had treated him. Honestly, it was an impulsive act. I never would have done it before. I would never have done it before, not being so hesitant to treat the father of my child in a cockfighting ring. In the end, I did it, but to be honest, since then I’ve been reminding myself if I really did it right. It was all too easy for me to do.
‘Have I gone crazy, or changed, or changed a lot?
Laughing self-mockingly, Garam drank again. ‘Indeed, it’s a new thought, since you’re already called a goddess. ‘Frankly, I didn’t feel so bad. I don’t even feel like regretting it. Well, it’s good to live like this, isn’t it?
When I see those poor people, I really want to help them. It was also hard to hate people who called me a goddess and wanted to help me. If this was such a stupid thing to do, maybe it wasn’t so bad to just be stupid.
Kyan looked up at the sky. The stars were a little farther away, and the world seemed a little wider. Enjoying the feeling to the fullest, she left her seat in the middle of watching the people dancing by the bonfire. There was no one to catch her if she left. And she didn’t hesitate, because she somehow knew why she didn’t get drunk.
I wonder if Haspel is asleep.
The moment he remembered this, the scene in front of him distorted. It had crossed the space so naturally that Callum himself hadn’t even noticed. After standing blankly for a moment, Callum spotted a familiar back and approached it. He assumed he was not drunk, but then again, so did the drunks.
Startled by the sudden presence, Haspel drew his sword and opened his eyes wide. The person swaying in the dim light was the one he had been waiting for so long that he had even dreamed about it. However, he felt a strange sense of unease. Haspel, who had been approaching him with some concern, twitched.
“Are you drunk, sir?” Are you drunk?”
There was a distance of four paces between Garam and Haspel. Nonetheless, Garam could smell the alcohol. No wonder. Because there were almost three liters of alcohol that Garam had chugged alone.
‘That’s how I feel.
Garam, who had honestly admitted his condition, suddenly stared at Haspel. He seemed to have lost a lot of weight in the time he hadn’t seen him. His jaw had sharpened a bit and his eyes were deeper. Is that why he stays up so late, writing the Bible? Looking at the paper and pen behind him, it seemed likely.
Garam frowned as he spat the words out of his mouth. He hadn’t meant to say something like this.
‘I see. I’m not sure I understand. Did you solve your problem well?
‘Yes, it was good.’
Haspel handed Callum his rucksack and took his jacket from him. The whole city seemed to be soaked.
‘How is Yatalka? Did you have any problems after I left?”
Haspel, who had been looking at Kalam strangely for a while, nodded.
‘There were none, sir. Fortunately, Yatalka has been friendly. Most of the articles have been sorted out, and the system creation is largely finished.’
‘That’s good. But aren’t you working too hard?’ You didn’t sleep at all, even though it was so late.’
He looked at Callum again with a subtle expression. As his gaze lengthened, Callum asked with a suspicious look.
‘What’s the matter?’
‘I think not.’
Haspel stared at Garam for a moment. Then, with a decent amount of eye contact, he said seriously.
‘I’m really glad you’re back. I’ve been waiting for you for a long time. I was so worried that you wouldn’t come back that I couldn’t sleep.
Faith and Belief Haspel’s eyes were filled with, perhaps, unusual emotion. The unexpected look on his face made Garam look as if he had been taken by surprise. Was his thinness due to the hardships he had endured? As Garam looked at him with somewhat mixed feelings, he realized the source of his recent relaxation.
Garam couldn’t believe it was him. Partly because of the mistakes he had made in the past, and partly because he had never been a very firm believer in himself. That’s why he was always wandering around with no time to spare, and was always troubled.
Now, however, there was someone who believed in him. Callum himself couldn’t believe in himself either, but when someone believed in him, even if it was a stranger, he felt as if he could have faith in himself as well.
It’s an interesting story, but having someone believe in you is more useful than believing in yourself. Just knowing that you have a place to come back to, that there is someone who believes in you, that there is someone waiting for you, makes all the difference.
For the first time, Kya decided to admit it. Haspel wasn’t the only one who had been saved by him. She had been saved by him without even knowing it. To the point of enduring to the point of untold divine power.
‘Don’t worry. I’ll be back for a long time to come.’
Haspel asked hastily at the meaningful words. He looked like he wanted to get a definitive answer. Callum shook his head bitterly. Eternity was too heavy a word for Garam.
As long as there is someone waiting for me.
Haspel gave him a satisfied look. With that answer, Garam guessed that it would be until the end of Haspel’s life. Gradually, as he refined his magic and learning, superstitions like faith would disappear. It was a sad thought, but also one that could not be helped.
However, the story of the good god who unwillingly helped others while making his way around the path continued for a long time. So long that it far exceeded Kyara’s expectations.
The God of Eternal Life and the Holy Knight who waited for her from generation to generation became the most important tradition of the Kalam cult, and remained long after she had left that dimension, transformed and transformed.
The Pathfinder is complete.
Gaiden. The story of a traveler.
As the core of the sunset grows shorter, it is not so unusual for travelers to come under the old roof to avoid the dew. When the small inns in the village could not accommodate all the travelers, travelers would come to the houses and hope to stay overnight.
But that was all a long time ago. It was a time when there were no territories to turn against Belok, who had lost his neutral ground when the Field of Beasts burned.
The beast was gone from the field of the beast, reduced to ashes, and all that was left was a field without a master. Geopolitically, it should naturally have belonged to Belok, but Berhardt put forward the ball that had driven the Beast out of the field and claimed his share of it. Perhaps if that had been the end of the line, with Berhardt and Belloc sharing the land, there would have been no need for the next 30 years of war.
But the Field of Beasts was too fertile and huge a land to share. The financially strapped Barral Line slobbered, and Gerharon, Faltam, and Aharun joined in late. It didn’t take long for the balance to be upset. The Baral Line sent a military force, and when it fell behind, the other territories rushed to join in, and the fertile land quickly turned into a battlefield.
Thirty years have passed since then.
There was a period of truce, but the war never ended. However, in spite of such a long war, none of the permanent residents emerged victorious. The last victory belonged to the Kupetaine women who swallowed the weakened ‘Barral Line’ and moved southward while watching the situation. She had feigned indifference to the war in the south, hiding in the snow storms and secretly sharpening her claws.
The tediously long war ended with Belloc’s subjugation to the Coupétaine after absorbing the Field of Beasts. The fall was so swift that it seemed to have collapsed on itself. The lords, weary from the long war, had already reached the age of death, and some of them were already dead. In spite of the many deaths, the war subsided with satisfaction.
All wars seem to be over, but there are still vivid traces of war along the way. Wasted children cry their cheeks out, and villagers and travelers stare at each other in alarm. The humanity of the people who serve hot food to the weary travelers is a beautiful story of legend.
Because of this situation, there were almost no travelers who traveled alone in this era. Traveling alone on a road swarming with bandits consisting of deserters and refugees was nothing short of suicidal.
No, leaving home itself was very dangerous.
For this reason, people did not want to stop nesting, and if they had to leave, they would move between the large upper bunk. If they had to leave, they would move between the large upper tiers, wandering around until they found a suitable place to settle.
Naturally, it was more like vagrancy than travel. Most of them were dirty, smelly, and poor authors, but they mainly wandered around near villages and were chased by security forces. It is not necessary to swear that humanity was thin-skinned, for most of them were merely vagabonds who doubled as bandits under the guise of travelers. The story of the disappearance of a chicken and a sack of bread in a village they had stopped in was so commonplace that it was not talked about.
At a time when people were reluctant to be on the lookout for travelers and inquire about the safety of their neighbors, old Muller was living the rest of his life in a small village that was just barely maintaining peace.
Old age means the privilege of being able to challenge the young and exaggerate one’s own youthful days, but Muller is not very fond of exercising this privilege.
Instead, he preferred to rock back and forth in his favorite old rocking chair, occasionally tending to the crops or giving food to starving children.
Because of this, Muller was quite a popular old man in the village. Of course, the respect he received for the ‘magic of water’, which prevented the sun from shining on his vegetable garden, though it was weaker than before, also contributed to his popularity.
Thanks to the owner’s ability to produce a single water source every day, his vegetable garden never withered and always produced fresh crops. Occasionally, there would be a group of “Fugan-do” who would come to the garden to take a look at it, but as soon as they would get a big drop of water on their face, they would run away crying.
It was for this reason that Muller was not so unfamiliar with the shadows that roamed his little hedge. It was just that the bad guys, who were after the potatoes, which were getting fuller by the day, had visited yesterday, had a bad time, and had run away.
Muller, who had been having a good time trying to figure out how to deal with the suspicious people who had been hanging around near the house, was surprised to find that the infidels had a longer patience than he had expected. The signs he had caught a little after noon lasted until the sunset darkened and cooled to a blue.
”Are you trying to sneak in at night?”
If he was that careful, the crops in the field didn’t look like something he would normally want. Perhaps he hadn’t eaten anything in a long time. If it was due to hunger, it would be better to show mercy. What good is being stingy when you don’t have much time left?
I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that. As he approached the fence, the suspicious man stood out and began to confuse him. His face was obscured by the robe he wore, but the movement he had been making stopped as he stared at himself. It was as if it was coming closer, so Muller was happy to let it go.
As he approached, Muller had a feeling that the suspicious person might not be the thief. He was wearing a robe from head to toe, so he could not see the details of his appearance, but the fabric of the robe was very luxurious. It was thick, soft, and beautiful. Few travelers or bandits wear such things these days.
‘You’ve been peeking into my house for a while now, what’s your purpose?’
Müller asked directly, but the person in front of him did not answer. It wasn’t as if he was ignoring him. Muller got the impression that he was very nervous. After standing silently for a while, the figure slowly pulled down his hood as if he had finally made up his mind. The small white hand holding the cloth was trembling finely. The face that finally appeared was stained with anticipation and fear, and looked at him with a half-hearted expression. Muller had to let out a sigh.
‘Oh, you’re welcome.
A face he could never forget, the most peculiar of all the people Muller had met in his life. The face he had thought he would never see again came to visit him, looking exactly the same as the one in his memory.
‘My goodness. Are you sure it’s Callum?
Muller’s voice quivered with wonder.
‘You’ve become an old man, haven’t you?’
Kalan, whose face had not aged at all, smiled and replied.
‘What on earth do you mean?’
It was the first question posed by Muller, who had let me sit in a chair and hold a teacup after he had hurriedly let Kyan into the house to avoid the thickening darkness as the time between evening and night suddenly dipped. Despite the wrinkles on his face, Muller’s eyes were bright with excitement.
Yes, you use honorifics with me.
Looking around Muller’s neat and tidy home, Garam took a sip of his tea and calmly replied, “Yes, I do. It was not the answer Muller wanted. He chose to answer seriously instead of disappointed.
‘I’ve been thinking about it, but if Garam were really Garam, there wouldn’t be much of a difference in age between me and him. No, maybe more than me. Wait a minute. Don’t tell me you’re older than me even then?
Muller’s eyes widened as he consciously used the language he used when he was younger. For all intents and purposes, the young-looking Kyan looked almost exactly the same as he did in those days. It was a less than pleasant situation to be an old man alone in front of him.
‘That’s not true.’
Kyan gave a thin smile.
‘Are you sure?
‘I don’t know now, but at least I was younger than Muller at the time. From what I remember.’
Muller felt that Garam’s last words had a strange ring to them. However, he couldn’t give a specific reason to question him about it, so he decided to let it pass. What had just happened was too amazing to concentrate on such a trivial matter. Seeing the unchanged temple, he felt as if he were back in the days when he was thirty.
There were so many questions that Muller could not speak for a while. His lips repeated only the first word of the question, as he rambled on, trying to get it out of his mouth. In the end, it was Callum who said it first.
‘How have you been?”
The most obvious question that someone who hadn’t seen each other in a while would have to share. Muller was so flustered that he couldn’t even think of this simple question. He concluded that it would be better to answer Garam’s words and return the question than to ask it.
‘…… I lived an ordinary life. Although the very war is happening, I’m minding my own business, I can’t get married, and I’m getting so old.”
‘Is that so? And Wake?
Muller’s face became somber. He spat the words out on his tongue, as if not even wanting to trace the memory.
‘He tried to protect his sister and her family during the war, but he was killed in action. I was taking care of his nephew and sent him elsewhere the other day’.
Instead of making a foolish move to ask why Muller was taking care of Wake’s nephew, Garam kept a short silence to help him calm his emotions. Despite Wake’s efforts, his sister’s family died, and Muller must have been the one to house his sister’s only surviving child.
‘It still seems like that day was yesterday, doesn’t it? A dirty little man came frantically crying to me, and said a few words in a scrawled handwriting that showed how hastily he had written the tattered letter. I beg you. I didn’t say a word, and I barely knew the rest of the facts when Robin told me.
Muller’s emotions were not easily quelled. Eventually, his eyes reddened, and he stroked his wrinkled eyes with a wrinkled hand.
‘I can’t believe that was your first and last letter. He’s such a helpless b*****d.”
A silence followed. Callum sipped the tea he had made until the old man’s tears of frustration stopped. It was only when the hot tea had become lukewarm that they began to talk again.
‘It’s hard to control your emotions as you get older, you cry so much when it’s not a big deal. And when even Garam is so far in front of me, I remember when I was really young and …… crying again. …… How did Callum spend his time?
Instead of answering, Callum swallowed his tea.
It was not difficult to recall the time after he had moved across the dimension to the world he remembered, though it was already a long time ago. But it wasn’t pleasant, either.
Adaptation had not been difficult. Despite the traces of Mordred, Kyan took his place naturally, like dough poured into a mold. He had never been an outrageous character, nor had he experienced any mental aberrations, although he was a bit pale, so his days continued to be ordinary as if nothing had happened. For about a number of years
‘Muller’s words were right.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Do you remember what you said to me after we went to the underground labyrinth? You said that if you were surrounded by another environment, you would naturally change.
‘Did I say that? As I get older, my memory gets fuzzy. …….”
I did. And it was true. When I got home, I was able to live as if nothing had happened. Even if it was only for the first time. That’s not to say that what happened in the labyrinth changed me. It was what happened after I got home that was the problem.”
Callum realized after a while that he would never be able to live as he had before. Most of the hard things he had done for his life prior to becoming a Pathfinder no longer required such effort, and the biggest change was that Callum began to think of them as trivial.
No matter how hard he tried to fit into society’s confines, he couldn’t make himself as good as the superpower he’d gained from the hundred passes he’d found over the past two months. The path began to suck into Garam’s life like a drug. At the same time, Garam began to obsess compulsively over mediocrity.
He ate with his parents, sometimes fought with them on purpose, had a normal job, and really tried to be content with that. But the more he tried, the more confused he became. The more he tried, the more confused he became, and the less he knew what he was doing.
‘False effort, false goals, false happiness, false empathy, false life…’
After living his life ignoring the whispers of his heart and acting out his own idea of mediocrity as much as possible, one day Garam reached his limit. Things happen in life that make you angry, little by little. Kalam knew that there was no need to be angry about such things and dealt with them in a supernatural way himself, but sometimes that was not possible.
All anger has its ingredients in seriousness. If there was nothing mundane about his life for Garam, he would not have been angry. But Garam took his mediocrity seriously.
It only took a moment for his suppressed anger to explode. Callum impulsively threw the pettifogging drunk into the desert. He even threw a thief who had secretly opened the door and entered into the middle of the ocean. He removed one or two unhallowed parties that threatened his ordinary life.
Still, things had been fine until that moment. He was also fine when Kalam made sure that his family’s lifespan would last well past one hundred years. But it was not okay when he finally reached the end of his family’s life span and sent them off. It really wasn’t okay.
The family had left, but Garam could not. She had all the time in the world left after that. Garam finally realized it. ‘…… I lived happily ever after.’ There was that back part again. It was the back part that would stay with Callum forever.
Young-won. It was far worse than he had vaguely thought.
At that point, all that remained were the Pathfinder, the random passes he had purchased to maintain his mundane life, and his empty purpose. Purpose and desire have long since disappeared. For there is nothing easier than getting what you want. The path is the loss of desire from the column.
How boring it would be to live a life without any desire. And if it were infinite, the rhetoric of horror would not be worth it. It was only then that Garam realized how rash he had been in purchasing his abilities through convenience, and he regretted it.
‘I was lonely.”
While acting out his mundane life, Kalam was lonely. He couldn’t talk about his real life with anyone, couldn’t gain sympathy, couldn’t relate to their boring topics. Garam spent a painful time in a floating feeling as if he were floating in the sky.
Even though he was back home?
‘Yes. Even though I went home.’
He couldn’t tell his family about the Pathfinder. He couldn’t tell his family about the Pathfinder, because the moment he did, the mundane life that Kalam had so elaborately maintained would be destroyed.
‘So I repeated that life until I was no longer alone. Dozens of times. It could be an obsession. No, it’s an obsession. Maybe.’
Seeking a dimension again, seeing my family, living a mediocre life, failing….
And again, seeking dimension, meeting family, striving, but not satisfied. All of my lives ended in much the same way. And at the end of his repetitive life, Garam had a suspicion that he was crazy. No matter how many times he repeated himself, the feeling of loneliness never went away. Finally, Garam came to a conclusion.
The reason why the emptiness never leaves you like a spinning wheel, no matter how hard you try, is because it’s not your seat.
He should have stopped when he had lived a mediocre life in the first place. Garam’s life as a non-Pathfinder should have ended the way it ended in the first place. When it began to repeat itself, it could already be said to be broken. As such, Garam shed his long obsession and faced himself as a Pathfinder.
It was the first time.
‘And after a long time, I realized who I was. You can laugh at me for being stupid. It’s true.
Garam said self-mockingly, swallowing his cold tea in one gulp. Muller did not laugh. Garam, who had been spewing out laughter all by himself, stopped laughing a little uncomfortably. Then he noticed that Muller’s cup had been empty for quite some time.
‘Oh, I’ll treat you to a cup of tea this time. I’m sure you’ll like it.
As Callum finished, a fancy teapot appeared out of thin air and tipped itself up to fill the glass. The tea was hot with steam rising from it. Muller tasted it carefully and wrapped the teacup carefully in his hands, as it had the most amazing aroma he had ever tasted.
‘It’s very nice.
I’m glad you like it.
‘I’ve never had such a nice car before. So what happened to you after enlightenment?
Garam, who had been smiling as he watched Muller savor his tea with childlike delight, replied lightly.
‘Oh. The first thing that came to my mind was that it was a good thing I had a compass in my left hand. It was because at least I wouldn’t be confused about where to go’ I didn’t know where to be, but I was going to be really confused if I didn’t know where to go.”
‘I’m sure it wasn’t that you didn’t have a place to be.’
‘The body can be left alone anywhere. But…’
Callum, who had been out of words for a while, tapped my head lightly with his finger and narrowed his eyes.
‘There’s nowhere for this to be, you know.
‘I wandered for a long time. But then one day, I suddenly remembered Muller. ‘If you have nowhere else to go, come.’ Come to think of it, Muller was the only person who had ever said that to me. That’s a long time. Not even my family did.
The family would naturally have thought that Callum would come back to them.
Callum swallowed his tea instead of replying. Callum was silent for a moment, then opened his mouth in a slightly nervous tone.
‘So, those words about coming if you have nowhere else to go. Is it still in effect? ”
Muller looked at Garam with a dumbfounded expression. He was trying hard not to show it, but Garam looked nervous. He gripped his teacup, his fumbling fingers and slanting gaze trembling slightly.
‘Why do you say that? It’s obvious. Robin just left and there are vacancies, so there’s plenty to go around.”
Garam’s face relaxed even more at Muller’s words. He smiled for the first time since he had met him.
Oh, the rent is paid in advance.
Garam, who had been puzzled for a while by Muller’s open hand, stuck his hand in the air to look for something, and Muller burst out laughing.
I was joking. ‘Oh my God, you were really going to give me money?
‘Not money…’. ….”
He took out a blue gemstone the size of a grown man’s fist, slurring his words. Muller was silent for a moment, his mouth wide open.
‘It seems you have many words to ask. Did you vandalize the Imperial Palace to get through?”
‘No, I didn’t, I received a large amount of jewels in return for letting the dragon live.”
The unimaginable answer made Muller talk less again. It seemed that there were probably a great many stories to tell between Garam and himself. He didn’t worry about whether he would be able to listen to all that. He was an old man with nothing to do. I have time left until I die.
But there were more important things to do than listen to Garam’s travel stories. Swallowing the last of his tea in one gulp, Muller asked in a whisper.
So, have you eaten?
Have you gotten up yet?
At dawn, when Kyaran entered the house after going around the backyard, Muller, who was in the middle of preparing for the morning, turned around with a surprised look on his face. From the way he was rubbing the dough, it appeared that he had just baked a new loaf of bread.
‘Yes, is there anything I can help you with?”
‘No, I’m almost done. I just need to bake. By the way, what’s that in your hand?’
At Muller’s point, Garam opened his palm and looked down at the object he had forgotten about. It was a black mass, united in a black mass, but Garam didn’t know exactly what it was. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t know what it is.
I don’t know what it is either, but it was given to me by a bulldog I met in the backyard.
Muller pointed to his forehead with a look that said he had an idea.
‘Is it a lizard you know?”
‘How can you not know? ‘ ‘It’s the lizard that every morning, while pretending to be as mysterious as he can in the backyard, he calls the congratulations and lets them hold his s**t.”
Before the reluctant Muller could finish, Garam reflexively threw the object in his hand to the floor. Muller, on his way to gaze at the complex with a pitying face, uttered once and for all, “Go wash your hands.
Go wash your hands.
Following his words, he went to the well in the backyard to wash his hands and before he knew it, the morning preparations were finished. A large whole bird had been roasted and placed in the center, and various foods were placed around it. I guessed that they had taken out everything they could.
Wow, this is totally different from last night’s dinner.
Garam marveled as he sat down in the chair Muller had suggested. Compared to yesterday’s dinner of baked potatoes with cheese, this is a real treat. Not disliking the admiration, Muller shrugged his shoulders and tore off a bird’s foot.
‘Now that you have a guest, you’ve shown your skills. Now, take this. We were discussing yesterday and it got late. It’s not good to eat so much at such a late hour.
Muller also spoke like a real old man.
‘He is an old man. Callum is also an old lady when you get right down to it.”
“Have you seen an old lady with such a baby face?”
Garam finally erupted. It had been a really long time since they had had this conversation. Muller, who was smiling happily at the sight of her, began to take the bird’s body and place it on Garam’s plate. He looked as if he was looking after his granddaughter, and Kyara puzzledly suggested.
‘Don’t just give it to me, Muller, eat it too.
‘It’s hard to eat meat like this when you’re old. I’ve prepared it for you, Kalam, so enjoy it to the fullest.
Muller, who had expertly coated the poultry and piled it in front of Garam, immediately began to scoop up the potato soup. It was the softest food on the table. Garam stared at Muller as he did so.
His face, touched by the years, was wrinkled with deep wrinkles, but even so, it was not hard to find traces of the past. His bent and rusty fingers were as gaunt as a dead branch. His physique, hidden beneath his clothes, was as diminutive as if the wind had died down.
Muller, who had later noticed Garam’s gaze, looked up. He gazed into Garam’s downcast eyes, his eyebrows twitching with annoyance.
‘Don’t you want to go back to your younger days again?”
Callum opened his mouth modestly in a serious tone. Muller slowly fumbled with the mashed potato soup in his mouth, not taking his eyes off Garam. Finally, after swallowing, he answered without hesitation.
‘Not at all.
‘Why not? Don’t you miss being young? Don’t you want to travel like you did when you were young? Wouldn’t it be better to be young than to be old like this?
Muller scratched the back of his head unnaturally with a slightly puzzled look on his face as Garam inquired insistently, a little rudely. Then he looked directly into Callum’s eyes. For he knew what Callum’s question was directed at.
Callum pursed his lips. At the look on his face, Muller apologized again.
‘I’m sorry. I can’t go.
An awkward silence descended. Callum, who had been pursing his lips, asked again, impatiently.
‘Why not? Oh, the trip was very difficult? ‘Yes, it was. It was at that time. But it won’t be like that anymore. I promise. It will be interesting.”
Muller bowed his head without reply.
‘That’s fine. You don’t have to leave. Don’t you want a young body? It will help you avoid death.’
Muller opened his mouth, uncomfortable with Callum’s repeated suggestions. For a while, Muller seemed older. Bitterness danced like a shadow on his dark, wrinkled face.
‘Callum, I don’t want to avoid death. I’m tired. Not my body, but here.’
Muller said softly, his hand on his chest, and Garam’s tightly knit lips quivered thinly. I’m not sure what to say, but I’m sure you’ll understand.
I don’t want to live my life twice.
‘It’s not that I want to live twice. I just want to be young and…’….”
‘I understand. But it is enough that I have already lived. I like to listen more than to make up stories. I don’t have any grandchildren to tell me old stories anymore. And I am not like Callum. Callum can go anywhere he wants, but I have to stay here whether I like it or not. I don’t want to live longer than this and see more people I know die. I’ve seen enough of that. So I’m really sorry to Garam. For saying no, for saying this.’
‘I don’t want to see Muller die either. Just, just tell me that you will for once. I was lost for a really long time. I thought it would be a prize to give to me, just once. …….”
What do you mean you’re lost?
Garam suddenly shut his mouth. He turned his gaze to the food on the table. The food had been lukewarm and cold while they had been discussing it. Raising his hand to warm them hot, Garam sighed.
‘I may not be the Garam that Amamullah knew.’
‘This place could probably be a lot different than the place I knew too.
What do you mean by that?
Callum sighed again.
‘After sending the two of you off like that, I moved to the dimension most similar to my own home. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but the Pathfinder is a path, and besides the ability to grant wishes, it also has the ability to travel to any dimension it sees fit.
‘I think I heard about the wish-granting thing when we talked all night before we broke up, but the other stuff is new to me.
‘I think that’s probably true. Because that’s what I came to know after I broke up with them too. And a dimension that has moved in that way may be different from the previous one, only in elements other than what the Pathfinder recalled when opening the dimensional door. All the facts I knew may be the same, but conversely, what I did not know can be different from that dimension. That’s what I’m talking about when I say that this place could be quite different from where I knew it to be.
For example, there may or may not be ants in my yard that Garam didn’t know about?
‘That’s an interesting story.
Muller stroked his chin. Even though he was getting older, his unique scholarly vibe hadn’t gone anywhere, so the action suited him quite well.
‘Actually, it doesn’t matter that much. It’s something I didn’t know about anyway, so it doesn’t matter what happens. What really matters is this. It means that the Pathfinder can only go to one dimension at a time.’
‘One at a time? That seems like a natural thing to say. It’s not supposed to be able to go to two dimensions at the same time.”
‘Oh, I think I explained it a bit wrong. That’s why we can only have one connection to the other level, excluding the base camp. After we split up, I lost my connection to the dimension that Muller and Wake were in before that because I moved to a similar dimension to the one I lived in. I was never able to return there again.”
That’s true. But Garam can travel to the dimension he remembers, can’t he? I don’t see any reason to be confused’.
‘There is one more thing. ‘The Pathfinder has a condition that wishes about the Pathfinder will not be granted. You can’t pray for any other Pathfinder-related wishes, and you can’t pray for wishes for yourself if they deal with your mind. You can pray for your body and abilities, as they are like tools, but you can’t do anything about the Pathfinder’s mind and spirit with the Path.”
‘That also applies to moving through dimensions, doesn’t it? So, ‘knowing the Pathfinder named Garam,’ a dimension with Muller and Wake is impossible. A dimension with Muller and Wake is possible, though. So I’ve traveled through more dimensions than I can count to make sure you know me in person.
Although he was speaking plainly, Garam’s eyes were drenched in pain as he recalled the memory. Muller clucked his tongue with small, droopy eyes.
Oh dear. So you didn’t say hello to me first or anything, and then you just wandered out the door and spied on me?”
‘…… That’s about right.’
Muller didn’t ask, ‘Why didn’t you say hello or call out to me first? The experience of someone you know well looking at you as if you were a stranger is not a very pleasant one. Whether it is due to forgetfulness or otherwise, even if one does not really know.
Muller had some friends like that. Old friends that time has robbed of their intelligence and turned them into morons. It’s really sad. Muller could see the many wounds Garam had suffered while wandering.
‘So, I ask you again. I was lost for a really long time. So please go with me this time.
After a short interval, Garam asked again. Muller could not easily refuse. But he could not accept it either. When he accepted, he had the feeling that the end would not be good. The wisdom and experience Muller had gained in life whispered to him.
When Muller said no again, Garam was silent for a long time. When he finally opened his mouth again, his voice was rusty and faint.
It’s the same answer every time, isn’t it?
Muller realized that this was not the first time that Garam had asked him such a question. And he was stunned. How many dimensions had he passed through, how many wounds had he suffered, how many rejections had he suffered?
Callum’s eyes were soaked in pain. Muller opened his mouth to say pityingly.
“Why didn’t you visit me when I was young?” ‘If you had come to visit me when I was young, I would have gone with you,’ I told him.
What came back to me was a resentful look. Muller was stunned, not understanding the meaning of the look.
‘I’ve already gone.
Did I refuse?
‘ Muller questioned, swallowing his spit. Callum slumped with a sad look on his face .
‘Actually, I couldn’t even start the conversation. The young Muller was so full of his own plans for his life that there was no room for a gentile like me to interrupt.”
He didn’t want to remember the awkward atmosphere, as if he had been a subtle, uninvited guest. Garam closed his eyes and let the memory dissipate.
‘It was neither the young nor the old that I looked around for.
‘Then what did you search for?”
Callum couldn’t answer for a moment. After some hesitation, he muttered in an unsure tone.
‘I searched for the lonely Muller and Wake.
When they were both alive at the same time, they were not lonely, relying on each other, and in many dimensions, in many cases, Wake had died before Muller, so Garam had ended up meeting the old Muller more often than not. If he visited Muller when he was lonely and untroubled, he could receive a relatively warm reception.
‘But this time, too, it was in vain.”
With those last words, Garam vanished. There was no trace of him, as if he had dissolved into thin air. Muller pulled up a chair and rose from his seat, but he was already late.
Muller sat down again and patted down the wrinkles with a rough palm. No matter how long he waited, Callum did not come again, and Muller stood up sadly and began to clean up the food he had prepared.
A few days later, the sky, which had been cloudy since morning, eventually began to rain heavily. Worried about the laundry he had hung out to dry in the morning, Muller rushed out and stopped. He stopped because he spotted a figure standing in the middle of the unpredictable rain.
The person standing there in the pouring rain, soaking wet, was indeed Kyan. He couldn’t see the face, but he was sure of it. Without hesitation, he grabbed her hand and pulled. His hand, cold and chilled in the rain, hesitated for a moment, but he pretended not to be won over by the immediate tug.
Muller, who had pushed Garam in before the sun hit him, brought a dry cloth and hurriedly wiped Garam down. In fact, he didn’t need to, he could have gone white in a heartbeat with a little magic, but Garam deliberately left him where he was.
Oh my God, why in the world are you acting so pitiful? A man of your age.
In the event that you’ve got a little bit of water to wipe off, at least you’re not a wet rat, and you’re sitting in front of the fireplace, Muller is going to give you a polite talking-to. I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that I’m not the only one who has a problem with this,” said Callum, waving his hand to summon the wet laundry from the garden and transform it into a fluffy mess.
And what do you want me to do if I sulk so suddenly and alone? Really, anyway, thank you for the laundry. Thanks to you, I didn’t have to go walking.”
Muller thanked him for the laundry, and Callum bowed his head.
Muller sighed heavily at Garam’s apple. Despite saying this bitterly, he hadn’t been in the mood for a few days. Besides, it wasn’t as if he felt sorry for the rain-soaked figure, and he swallowed hard at the petulance that was building up.
‘Why are you pretending to be so pitiful if you have nothing to be sorry for and nothing in this world to be sorry for? Were you like that in front of other people?
‘No, I do not.’
The moment Callum said that, her clothes dried silky. She looked as clean as if she had been wet at any time. It was a spell that Muller had been able to do in his day, but he still couldn’t have done it that well. Admiringly, Muller adjusted his voice. Then he held Kyan in his thin arms and patted her lightly on the back.
‘Anyway, you’ve come a long way.’
Garam, who was hugged a little awkwardly, looked at Muller with an odd expression.
‘Muller is truly a wonder. How can you accept him so easily?
‘Because when you’re my age, no matter how strange and evil a person is, you’re always happy just to know that someone you know is still alive. The rest is a minor issue.
Shrugging his shoulders, Muller gave a curt look and began to hang the wet cloth in front of the fireplace. He then poured two cups of tea from the hot kettle on the fireplace, placed it in Callum’s hand, and sat down next to him.
‘Anyway, I was really surprised when you suddenly disappeared. Please don’t do that next time. Even if you do go, go a little plainly. There’s even a door…. I felt sick wondering what had happened.”
‘Well, for that matter, I came out earlier to casually take in the laundry.’
‘Because I have to get dressed.’
Callum’s lips quirked up and Muller smiled. As the atmosphere relaxed further, he began to assume his posture in earnest. There was much he wanted to know.
‘By the way, Garam said you met a lot of me. What do you think? Were they the same as me? Did you get married? I’m a widower until this age.
Well, strangely enough, none of them are married.
Muller clicked his tongue, and Garam gave a small laugh.
‘I heard Wake couldn’t get married either.
‘Oh, I thought he did. With such a frustrating personality, what kind of woman would have taken him? Of course, I couldn’t do the wakes here either. I didn’t do it because I hated myself.
Garam awkwardly affirmed Muller, who was trying his best to be pretentious.
‘Yes, yes. Let’s do that. Oh, in one dimension, they even lived together. Wake’s sister asked me to come to Muller’s house to live with her because she’d kicked him out. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to know who I was. Still, they were good people’.
‘Hmm, yes, they were.”
‘And the Muller I saw just before me consistently looked at me like I was a child the whole time. Plus, he even made me hold a treat in my hand’.
‘So it’s a wonder I use respect,’ you said.”
‘Yes, they seem to be the same, but their personalities are slightly different. Perhaps it’s a difference in how you spent your time afterwards.’
Around that time they drank their tea, which had cooled down nicely. Muller thought about the time Garam had spent with him. Then, after a bit of pondering, he asked the question in a calm voice.
‘Do you want to die?”
Garam rolled his eyes at the sudden words. The pure statement, without any intention of threat or intimidation, was very odd. After thinking about it for a while, Garam replied with a forceful laugh.
‘It would be a lie if there were no such thing. Because there is no such thing as absolute repose. Sometimes even fun and happiness can make a person tired, you know. It’s mental fatigue, not physical. Sometimes, when I didn’t want to do anything, I didn’t do anything. But I got tired after that too. I was tired of breathing, looking at something, and listening to it.
Muller has lived for 70 years now. He was still very sad and very happy. Sometimes he felt that his life was too long. Nevertheless, the time he has left is exceptional, because one day death will come. But in Kalam, there was no death coming to visit him.
‘So much for dark stories. I’ve turned down this Muller, so let’s find another Muller and have some fun.’
Garam said suddenly in a strong tone, and Muller laughed and agreed. He could see that she had taken him into consideration.
‘Yes, can you tell this old man something interesting?
‘Well, I don’t have anything interesting to say. I used to look around for Muller, and when I got too bored with that, I would impulsively go to any dimension to look for a pass. Find a path, move on. Find it again, move on.
“Tell me about the jewel that is said to have saved the life of that dragon. Does that town also carry the dragon’s jewel?
‘Oh, yes, they do. The language, the words, the magic were amazing and the size was incomparable to the dragons here. Come to think of it, I had trespassed into the suspect’s house and was looking around for a pass, and when I heard that there was a lowly child lurking about, he suddenly got angry and beat me up. Afterwards, he said he would pay his respects to me and let me out of my treasury.”
‘Garam is really outrageous too.
‘There would have been no separate gangster in that alleged position.”
‘Did you get that?
‘Of course I did.’
Callum casually reciprocated and began pulling this and that food out of the air. Muller happily savored the soft cakes and all the food floating in the air.
Now, tell me your next story.
Muller urged happily. Callum nodded, smiling, and pondered for a moment.
‘What else could it have been? ‘Oh, there was one religion that worshipped me as a god on some level.
Muller’s eyes narrowed at these words. In his younger days, Muller had often made that kind of expression at the sound of Garam’s bullshit. He took out a precious object that had grown old over the years and indulged in nostalgic sentimentality as he patted it.
‘Yeah, no way. You must be joking. No, no. Are you sure?
Garam shrugged his shoulders at the questioning look.
‘No, why not? What do you think? Tell me more.
With a curious look on his face, Garam told him about all the strange things he had seen in the world. Some of these were serious and some were outrageous, but the important thing was that Garam never suggested Muller travel there again.
During Callum’s stay at Muller’s house, the seasons had somehow changed. The rains, thunderstorms, and hot summer were gone and the leaves were falling.
During his stay at Muller’s house, Garam took care of his own chores. Sometimes he used magic, but most of the time he preferred to work directly with his body. If Muller asked him about it, he would just say something understandable like ‘don’t get too comfortable’.
The days passed simply and peacefully.
Callum would sit in front of the fireplace and Joe would tell Muller the story of how he had defeated the King’s search for the Eternal Chalice, how he had calmed the storm and saved the city, and how the King had tempted the princes to come forward to keep him.
Then one morning, when the wind was cool and the sun was bright, Kyaran prepared himself for the fate that was soon to come. It would be two of them who greeted the dawn, but it would be one who slept.
Muller, kneeling with his chest in his arms, called out painfully to Garam. He had just torn off a piece of dry bread and was dipping it into the soup. Muller tried to put it in his mouth, but it was lying haphazardly on the floor, a mess. Instead of picking it up, Garam walked up to Muller.
Instead of picking it up, he walked up to Muller, who was whispering without the strength to speak, so he put his ear to Muller’s ear and held his skinny body to his chest, which immediately made him break out in a cough. Muller’s eyes were gradually losing their power. He seemed to be trying desperately to focus, but his body was losing its vitality like a piece of wood. His body had used all the time it was allowed. Callum patted his body gently.
Do you want to live?”
Garam asked in a whisper, even though he could have predicted the answer he would get. No matter how firm his decision was, standing in front of death actually made him crave life more than usual. Muller’s hide grew thinner and rougher. Callum didn’t wait for a reply, but raised a glowing blue hand to approach him, and Muller shook his drooping head.
‘Don’t do this, don’t do this.
Callum withdrew his hand. Then he looked down at Muller’s quiet, breathless face. His eyes, sunken like a lake in the night with no sorrow or despair, looked terribly cold and dry. If anyone had witnessed this scene, they would have inexplicably designated Garam as Muller’s killer.
‘I have something to say, Callum, but I’m not sure if my time will allow it.
‘I can increase it if you wish.
‘No, don’t. Just leave me alone. Don’t do anything. The Column needs it.”
Muller smiled faintly as the temple stopped.
‘When was the last time you were restrained from wanting something? You said you didn’t feel like you wanted anything anymore. I wish I could have given that feeling to Garam.”
“I did. I’ve been giving it to him since the moment we met. Muller always presents it to me. Maybe that’s why I can’t stop coming here’.
After a few moments of silence, Muller let out a much weaker, but restful breath and said softly.
‘I’m glad to hear that. But there was one thing this old man could give me…’ ….”
A moment later, Muller’s breath, which had been wavering, stopped. Callum watched him with a quiet face, as if waiting for something. His experience with so many deaths let him know that the life before him was still here.
It had been a very long time in his body, but in reality it had only been a few seconds before he hadn’t blinked, hadn’t breathed, and suddenly he was taking long breaths as if he had caught a wind.
‘You don’t cry, do you? How many times did you see me die before I stopped crying so much?”
Without the need for any instruction from Muller, Garam helped him with the chores as if she were someone who had lived in the house from the beginning. Of all the food and tea she tasted, not one was unpalatable. The stories she told him were all very interesting. She must have visited the others many times to get used to their tastes and repeated the same stories.
Callum did not answer. Muller did not seem to be expecting an answer, and began to speak again. He felt he could understand why he had come to visit him with such meaningless repetition.
‘It’s probably not me that Callum misses. I think he knows that, but it is probably him that Garam will miss. The temple complex of that time when he was traveling with me’.
The sound of Muller’s breath gasping in the silence echoed like a background. Muller’s throat made an iron sound, like the wind passing over a sharp precipice. In his increasingly distant physical sensations, he wondered if Garam had already left him by his side. I’m sure he’s saying it, but maybe he’s already dead. But he had said it. He should have said it. Even if Callum was already gone, it was the last thing he could do as he was about to die.
‘We all remember the past fondly. The past is bound to be beautified. That’s why we make so much noise about the yesteryear when we drink. It’s not just Karam, either. However, it is a shameful thing to remain stuck in the past just because you miss it. So, stop being pathetic and come and ask me. Give this old man the gift of a quiet old age.
Muller smiled as he said the last words in a joking manner. A pain came over me as if my whole body would break. At the same time, a surge of joy and happiness washed over me. Muller savored the sweet release as he knew intuitively that he was heading for repose.
‘I can’t make that promise,’ he said. ‘I’ve never been able to keep one properly before. So I’m sending you a promise for the price of not being able to keep it. I will allow you to abandon me and leave me where I can never go. I can let you live as long as you want, but I won’t. But I won’t, because Muller has a very happy face now.
Before Garam could finish, Muller took his last breath. Callum held him for a moment. He held him until the warmth faded from his body and he slowly hardened into a heavy, cold mass of flesh.
Then, at dusk, a small grave was made in Muller’s little house. After quite a long time, Robin, who had been away from home, came back and looked for the person who had made Muller’s grave, but it had been empty for so long that there was nothing he could find in that house full of cobwebs.
Gaiden’s Tale of the Traveler