CHAPTER 4: BEEHIVE NESTING SITE
With a loud noise, the train stopped at a new makeshift station.
The Gaia Express was a train operated for tourists’ and Roamers’ harvesting activities, so the time spent at each station varied.
Sometimes the train stayed at a station for as little as half a day, and at other times, it stayed for a full day.
And since the time that Roamers spent in the fields varied, it was essential to confirm whether they would re-board the train when they got off.
“We’re getting off.”
“Will you be re-boarding?”
“Please board by 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time.”
After a brief conversation with the crew, Cliff led the group off the train.
Among them, Lee Jin-woo, who had a sling bag he received from the information desk, was also there with them.
He tied his long hair roughly so that it wouldn’t bother him and asked in a passing tone.
“Can we really leave that person alone?”
“Are you worried about someone you don’t even know? It’s too risky to take someone whose mind is still wavering.
The train’s crew members will handle it if something happens, so it’s okay.”
What he was worried about was the luggage they left behind on the train rather than that senior, but Lee Jin-woo nodded instead of adding unnecessary words.
Cliff smiled at Lee Jin-woo’s strange expression and lightly tapped him on the shoulder before walking ahead.
Because of their brisk departure from the makeshift station, they once again entered the dense forest.
Sticky ground and damp air.
“Looks like it rained a lot last night.”
The group had already begun to sweat as they made their way through a rough, uneven path among dense bushes during a midsummer day.
“Wow, you handle that sword better than I thought.
It would be awkward for a beginner, but you seem to do well,” Cliff exclaimed as he watched Jin-woo skilfully cut through the path with the borrowed sword.
Jin-woo was about to answer that it was natural for someone who had completed his military service, but he shrugged his shoulders at Cliff’s amazed reaction.
“It’s comfortable to use.
Where do you get these things?”
“You can buy them at a weapon store in town.
It varies from city to city, but most have the equipment needed for novice roamers.”
“I guess you need a lot of gear to be a roamer.”
“It depends on what you’re mainly collecting.
But it’s best to have a basic jack-knife.”
Cliff had a large jungle machete in his hand.
“Do they not sell them at the nearby station we just passed?”
“Shops in this area are perfect for getting ripped off.
I wouldn’t recommend buying anything unless you’re in a real hurry.”
Jin-woo touched the handle of the sword and looked around.
As they moved deeper into the forest, the large trees provided ample shade and made it much easier on the eyes.
I didn’t realize it was this bright out here since it was so dark yesterday.
Jin-woo was reminiscing about the forest scenery in the rain from the day before, but his recollection was interrupted when he suddenly remembered being pursued by a big spider.
However, he wasn’t too worried about encountering it again.
This time, things would be different.
Jin-woo nodded slightly as he examined the electricity flowing over his blade in secret.
Although his focus had been drained more than when he had attempted it in the rain the day before, he could control the electricity according to his will more easily.
It was a power that still had much to be tested, but it was a very reassuring means of protecting himself in this strange world.
Of course, he wanted to keep this newly gained ability a secret as much as possible.
But if a situation arose where a giant monster like yesterday came charging at him, he was ready to use his strength without hesitation.
“Come to think of it, are all the animals and other living beings here several times larger than those on Earth?”
“Hmm? Ah, that’s right.
Since you just arrived here, you’re not accustomed to it yet.
We’re used to it, so we don’t even think about it.”
“Then, was that spider from yesterday, really…?”
“It doesn’t belong to any extraordinary species in the field.
Just to give you a heads up, the bees that are flying around now are only the size of a palm.”
“If you get stung by a bee that big, wouldn’t you die?”
“Of course, if you get stung badly, you’ll die.
That’s why you have to use your head.”
Cliff, who tapped his head with his finger, continued his explanation.
“According to the theory, the life forms on Gaia have adapted to their environment by growing larger and becoming more intelligent than their counterparts on Earth.
The main reason for this evolution is believed to be the energy stones.
Although there is no conclusive evidence to support this hypothesis, it is considered the most logical explanation.”
Have you seen the ore attached to the surface of the train? That’s an energy stone.
It’s also attached to your card.”
Jin-woo immediately took out his point card and scrutinized the opaque stone with a shimmering iridescent light.
“If you see a stone with that kind of color, pick it up no matter what.
It’s all money.”
“Is that so?”
“This resource is like a natural battery, capable of storing a significant amount of energy.
It is a valuable source of energy that is traded at a premium price.
While most of the excavation sites are presently under the control of the government or prominent corporations in various nations, they are occasionally found in locations such as this unexpectedly.”
Listening to Cliff’s words, Jin-woo tried to remember the unique energy he felt from the energy stone.
…It connected like this again.
After realizing his ability under the lightning-streaked sky, Jin-woo’s ability to detect an electric current had expanded.
With his eyes closed, he could detect energy from not only lights and machines but also people.
It still felt somewhat vague, but he hoped to sharpen his senses through practice.
“Anyway, the main difference between Earth and Gaia is roughly that.”
“What do you mean?”
It was a sudden change of topic, but Cliff calmly continued speaking.
“Right now, everything in this world may feel strange and unfamiliar, but if you live long enough, everything eventually becomes the same thing.”
“…Is that so?”
“Well, there’s more if you go deeper, but…
for people who live day by day, making a living, it’s all the same, isn’t it? So…
The faster you adapt, the better.
And when you’re confused, moving your body is the best.
That’s when you feel the sense of reality.”
Cliff’s words about quickly getting used to even the nonsensical situation of reincarnation or rebirth must have come from his own experience.
Jin-woo looked back on his life on Earth subconsciously.
The biggest worry for modern people living in capitalist societies was always about making a living.
This world was not much different.
It’s just that the risk of being killed by giant insects or something like that had been added.
since I’ve been reborn, I shouldn’t stumble and turn this life into something similar to that of my previous one.
For now, finding a way to quickly adapt and live in this world was a priority.
Just then, a fast and powerful energy was detected nearby.
And a few seconds later…
“…it’s over there!”
A swarm of bees flying around a beautiful tree with only one beehive came into view.
The bees were huge.
Even at a considerable distance, their faces and sharp stingers were clearly visible.
Their speed was also incredibly fast, to the extent that when being pursued by a swarm of bees, one might find it more tolerable to surrender to the situation and abandon hope for survival.
While Jin-woo was momentarily stunned by the sight he saw for the first time, the Roamers started preparing to raid the beehive, as if it were nothing new.
“I guess we’ll have to burn a lot of herbs for this?”
“Be generous with the amount of the herbs.”
Under Cliff’s direction, the Roamers filled a steel cylinder with a pungent-smelling herb and set it on fire before closing the lid.
“Is that a smoking machine?”
“Yes, we need to lure the bees out first.
Once they inhale the smoke, they’ll be too intoxicated to crawl out.”
The Roamers used long poles to attach a smoking device to it.
Once the smoke had risen enough, they cautiously approached the beehive and strategically placed the smoking machines around it before withdrawing.
The smoke gradually became denser and soon enveloped the entire beehive.
“We have to wait for the smoke to work.”
“Is it safe to do so?”
“For now, yes.
But we’ll have to eliminate any scout bees or guard bees that return.”
“That’s why everyone has their weapons out.”
“We can’t let our guard down.
But once we expose them to the smoke, their movements will slow down, making it easier for us to handle them.”
As Cliff spoke, he handed a “weapon” to Lee Jin-woo.
It was an excellent electric fly swatter.
“Don’t touch it lightly or take it as a joke.
The output is like an electric shocker.”
Lee Jin-woo nodded his head and then watched the large beehive enveloped in smoke.
The bees inside appeared to be disoriented and moved around clumsily, as though they were drugged, and gradually emerged one by one.
However, since it appeared to be a slow process, he decided to find a comfortable spot to wait.
Then, a familiar energy that he had not felt until just now pricked at his senses.
In any case, everyone’s attention was fixed on the beehive.
Jin-woo relied on his senses and cautiously searched through the bushes until he finally found what he was looking for.
I found it.
Feeling a thrilling sense of achievement, he picked up a randomly placed ore from the ground.
It had a translucent appearance with a faintly shining iridescence.
It wasn’t as powerful as the ones equipped on the Gaia Express, but he felt a strange sensation in his hand as he obtained the beautiful stone that was almost as long as a finger.
If he picked up a diamond on the street, would it feel like this?
After confirming the unique energy of the energy stone, Jin-woo quietly cheered himself on and put it in his pocket.
“Let’s get started!”
Now, watching the bee swarm was the first order of business.
It’s simpler than I thought.”
Jin-woo muttered to himself while observing the Roamer tearing apart the empty beehive.
“Are you disappointed because it’s too easy?”
“In fact, what’s important is what we’re going to do starting from now.
We have to finish the work before the smoke effect wears off.”
As he said, Cliff was calmly explaining with his mouth, but his hands were moving quickly as he worked.
Jin-woo, who was watching him cut the small pieces of honeycomb in half and pour honey into an empty bottle, soon realized that something was strange.
In a small bottle that could hold 100ml at most, there was a transparent honey that was colorless instead of golden.
If it was just a normal honeycomb, shouldn’t there be enough to fill at least a drum?
Cliff noticed Jin-woo’s suspicion and showed him the bottle when it was filled.
“This is Honeysuckle honey.
It has an amazing taste and aroma, and its medicinal effects are good, too.
We can sell this small bottle for about 1,200 Brings.”
Jin-woo couldn’t tell whether he should be surprised that such a small bottle was worth that much or that there were buyers who could afford it.
“Moreover, fortunately or unfortunately, these bees are sensitive to the environment and have dirty temperaments, so beekeeping is difficult.
Thanks to us roamers, it could be sold to the market and, in turn, we could eat and live.”
“How many bottles can you get from a honeycomb this size?”
“Haha, you’re interested, too? Well, it varies depending on the season…
Usually, we have to retreat within 20 minutes of working, so we can’t get a lot.
About one to three bottles?”
“It’s a short and quick job.”
“No matter how greedy you are, staying longer is dangerous.
The bees also come to their senses, and we’re not completely immune to smoke.
And above all…
if you’re unlucky, dangerous guys may smell the smoke and appear.”
At that moment, a breeze blew around them.
Jin-woo felt relieved because the weather was hot, but the expressions of Cliff and the roamers quickly turned dark.
“If the wind picks up, it’s a big problem.
Let’s hurry and finish!”
As Jin-woo watched the roamers rush, he spun his head at a chilling sensation.
Numerous bees emerged from various directions, producing a distinctly different buzz than when only one or two were in flight.
The people rushed towards the location of the smoke emitted by the smoke bomb; however, the situation worsened as the wind intensified and scattered the smoke.
“Damn it! Everyone, grab your weapons!”
At the desperate shout, the swarm of bees arrived.
The bees, who were angry about their homes being invaded by the robbers, charged at the humans.
Although some bees flew directly into the smoke, they subsequently needed time to return to their regular state, resulting in their flying with great intensity.
The sounds of bees being hit with electric flyswatters and the smell of burning meat spread frantically.
Although he was somewhat prepared for the battle, Lee Jin-woo didn’t expect to find himself amid this chaotic battlefield, inhaling smoke and swinging a flyswatter.
Gilbert suddenly screamed and collapsed to his knees, clutching his bleeding arm where he had been stung by a bee.
As Lee Jin-woo witnessed Gilbert getting stung, a shiver went down his back, and he regained his composure.
He realized that he could be in the same situation.
Desperate to end the battle as quickly as possible, he quickly called upon his abilities.
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