༺ A Road Flows Together With A Traveler – 4 ༻
The Meta Conveyor Belt was like a river of flowing land. It was the main artery of the Military State, carrying countless cargoes.
However, apart from being a highly convenient means of logistics transportation, if asked whether it was a good means of public transportation, one could not help but tilt their head in puzzlement.
The flowing land subtly split and rejoined at every bend, directly transmitting the shock to the body. Moreover, it was exposed to weather conditions like rain and wind without any protection and one could not simply get off midway but was forced to travel only along the predetermined route.
On top of that, after adding the strict inspections at major facilities, characteristic of the Military State, in reality, only newly assigned soldiers and people from cities near the Belt ended up traveling on the Meta Conveyor Belt.
As such, even when I went behind the windbreak, there were only a few people. In fact, there were actually more containers in sight than humans.
“Hello! Nice to meet you!”
When I headed behind the windbreak, I saw about five travelers huddled together. An old military engineer with wrinkles all over his face, a mother and son holding hands tightly, a newly commissioned medical officer, and….
“The number of travelers has increased! It won’t be boring now! Hey, Gand! Make some room!”
“…I am a Captain. How could you unhesitatingly behave in such an informal manner?”
One of the Military State’s Six Star Generals, General Patraxion, the Sunderspear.
And his adjutant and disciple, Colonel Gand.
These guys were crazy. Why was someone like a General here? Shouldn’t he be leading an entire corps? No, even that would be lacking for someone of his stature.
While I was reading some memories, the General gestured to the Colonel.
Colonel Gand, with his eyes opened sharply, glanced at the Captain. After sizing up the stiff Captain from head to toe, Colonel Gand whispered to General Patraxion, lowering his voice.
“Master. Weren’t we supposed to keep our identities hidden while on vacation? If you show such an attitude to someone with the rank of a Captai-”
“For fuck’s sake. Stop whispering while sticking so disgustingly close. It gives me the creeps.”
Colonel Gand, who was rebuked right in his face, frowned for a moment. Taking a few steps back, he somehow relayed a message to the General in a voice that couldn’t be heard from here.
[…Hoooo. So, that man might not know. But the Captain is clearly aware of our identity and doesn’t know what to do.]
“Tsk. Is it also a problem to be too famous? I wanted to reveal my identity later with a ‘Surprise!’.”
[You’re the most famous person among the Six Star Generals. How could she not know…. Now, please decide on our approach and concept. We can either reveal it or keep our stories consistent.]
“Lay bare? Kiss? You brat, aren’t you showing too much ulterior motive just because you’re an old bachelor? Haha!”1 The direct translation is actually “Lay bare” and “Kiss”. It’s a play on words; a double entendre. The Colonel means to say that they should either reveal their identities or keep their stories consistent. But the General jokingly interprets the words differently to make him seem horny and desperate.
[…Are you an old coot? Cut the bullshit and please just make sure the Captain doesn’t spill anything about us.]
The General grumbled to the irritated Colonel Gand.
“I can’t even joke around. Your reactions are no fun.”
[You’re the one who’s no fun… Keuk. Even if it’s from Master, a rotten joke is still a rotten joke!]
The General snapped his fingers and looked at the Captain. His lips moved ever so slightly.
At the same time, the Captain flinched hard.
The wind stopped. At the same time, General Patraxion’s voice reached the Captain directly, literally jumping over space!
Even the atmosphere and the fierce wind were under control, a magic only possible by someone who had reached the pinnacle of Heaven Qi Arts.
[Look here, Captain. Keep our identity a secret, will you? We’re actually on vacation, you see!]
It was coercion that wasn’t coercion, a command that wasn’t a command; a simple signaller like the Captain could never defy such an order.
Before the demands of a Star General, the Captain barely moved her stiff head.
“Affir…mative. I have confirmed.”
[That doesn’t mean we have the time or energy for honorifics and signs of respect to you, so just act adequately less stiff. Interact more freely with people. Don’t ruin the mood by acting condescendingly, just because you’re a Captain.]
Wow. What a miraculous technique. He’s clearly speaking, but I can’t hear his voice at all. It’s only the Captain who can hear this voice and respond.
He definitely seems to be a melee combatant. I guess when someone is at the level of the Six Generals, they can use all kinds of extraordinary techniques. Ahhhh, I’m envious. Why can’t I get some cheat-like skills?
“Now then! Come on! Get over here! We’re going to be traveling together for a long while, so we might as well sit comfortably!”
The person in question was one of the Six Star Generals of the Military State. Though he was a bit whimsical, it would be very troublesome if he discovered that I came from the Abyss. Not only was it a given that I would be interrogated, but there was also a chance of immediate execution.
He was hiding his identity right now, but when thinking about the reason he applied for ‘vacation’ at this time… He must be highly interested in the information about the Abyss.
I had to somehow divert this dumb Captain’s attention away from me. I grabbed the Captain’s hand; a shiver of hesitation ran through her entire body.
“Bbey! Why are you standing there in a daze? We’re going to be together with these people for a few days. You should greet them!”
I approached while firmly holding the Captain’s hand.
The military engineer and the medical officer stood up and briefly saluted upon seeing the Captain’s uniform. Meanwhile, the civilian-looking mother, holding her son, crouched down as if scared. I smiled warmly at these individuals.
“Hey, don’t be so nervous! Our Bbey might wear a fancy ensign, but she’s a nice kid who couldn’t even kill a chirping chick! She’s just a bit stiff is all! Isn’t that right, Bbey?”
At my bright smile, the Captain couldn’t possibly deny it and awkwardly wore a smile of her own.
“A….Affirm…ative. That is…right.”
“Aw, look how nervous you are! It’s okay! You should talk and mingle with people in times like these!”
“…Please don’t…mind me.”
｢General Patraxion is here. It’s better to remain quiet…but, I can’t inform him about this!｣
Nah, we can’t remain silent. Whether we like it or not, we have to spend at least a day together you know? It’s better to be noisy to divert their attention.
Secrets were supposed to be buried in noise, not silence. Showing a flustered attitude right now would seem more suspicious.
Okay, since it’s come to this…
“Bbey. You’ve become too rigid after you’ve been commissioned. Before, you used to always waddle around and chase after me, saying ‘Oppa, Oppa’….”
As I spoke with teary eyes, the Captain stiffly turned her head like a golem.
｢This damned person just had to make such jokes even in this predicament…! Are you incapable of being satisfied in any situation unless you make a shitty joke?!｣
“Well, I guess since you’ve become more successful than your Oppa, you don’t want to acknowledge an embarrassing brother like me anymore…. Sob, sob.”
｢For a lifetime! I don’t want to acknowledge you for a lifetime! If I could, I would want to forget everything I have ever known about you! Everything!｣
“It’s okay, everyone. She’s just been struggling under my incompetence since we were young. She’s stiff because she’s nervous, so please treat her gently. She really is a kind-hearted kid.”
｢Don’t make me laugh! How long do you think I’ll be swayed by your jokes?!｣
What do you mean how long? Wouldn’t it be until we part ways? There’s no reason not to use a fake identity, you know?
“Hey! That’s not right! Even if he is a shitty brother, that’s no way to behave! I guess we just have to do this! Let’s take this opportunity to reconcile! Try calling him ‘Oppa’!”
The meddlesome General rejoiced and played along. Though his adjutant sighed and grasped his forehead, it didn’t seem like he would step in for the Captain.
“…! I…didn’t hear properly?”
“I said why don’t you just take this opportunity to reconcile with your brother! Earlier, you two seemed so close!”
Her trembling lips looked pitiful. But she couldn’t refuse the request of a Star General. After shutting her lips tightly, the Captain clenched her trembling hands and spoke.
“WOAH! To think I would hear ‘Oppa’ again in my lifetime!”
As I began clapping with teary eyes, applause broke out. Even the adjutant, who was acting all cool, eventually smiled warmly.
The General pounded my shoulder and cheered enthusiastically.
“You should also become a brother that your younger sister can be proud of! That is your duty and that is what family is supposed to be!”
“Thank you, Hyung-nim. It’s all thanks to you!”
The General didn’t seem displeased by the overly familiar title.
“Hyung-nim? Hahaha! Look at this guy! He’s so smooth with it! Sit here! Having someone as sociable as Little Brother around will make this journey far from boring!”
“It’s an honor!”
I waddled behind the General, following him. The Captain, who was watching my withdrawing back, continued to think even while wearing a look of disbelief.
｢This isn’t the time for this. Even though he is on vacation, General Patraxion is the First Star of this nation. A self-made man who single-handedly brought down a kingdom.｣
Though her worries seemed like an overreaction, considering the identity of the General before me, even this felt insufficient. The Six Star Generals of the Military State were those at an unfathomably high position even among the General Officers, who were called monsters. They weren’t just war machines, but walking embodiments of war itself.
They were world-renowned powerhouses; just heading towards the border was enough to make neighboring countries go on high alert.
｢Perhaps it’s even possible for our identities to be guessed just through casual conversation…! If that happens, I will not be able to protect you!｣
However, that worry proved to be unfounded.
“I’ll ask you seriously, Little Brother. Answer truthfully. Depending on this…we might become ‘enemies’.”
The General, with his hands clasped under his chin, glanced at me with eyes that bore all the sorrows of the world; those eyes could not be more heavily weighed down.
The first topic brought up by General Patraxion after seating me was…
“Which is a better weapon, a gun or a spear?”
A discussion about weapons.
Upon his words, everyone around put their hands to their face and began to ponder deeply. The General, who had raised the topic, spoke first.
“I’ll state my position first. I am in favor of spears. Of course, I’m not trying to coerce anyone, so feel free to express your own opinions.”
As if we could. Since everyone remained silent, the General scratched his head before calling out to the biggest pushover here – his own subordinate.
“Yo! Gand! What do you think?”
“…I am currently cleaning my spear.”
“That’s why I’m asking! How is the spear? Do you think it’s better than a gun?”
Gand, glancing at the General, indifferently replied while tending to his spear.
“I can’t possibly spit on my own face and insult myself. I will choose the spear as well.”
When he said as such, the General clicked his tongue, grumbling in annoyance.
“Chet. What a boring guy.”
Crack. His hand gripping the spear shaft tightened. Colonel Gand gritted his teeth and responded.
“…I take it back. I don’t know about anything else, but one thing I’m sure of is that every single person who uses a spear has a rotten character.”
“Doesn’t that include you?”
“If I am able to spit in the face of Master, I will gladly drench my own face as well.”
After Colonel Gand’s statement, no one dared to speak rashly. Right as everyone was just looking around, trying to read the room, the child in his mother’s arms raised his hand and shouted.
“I choose the gun!”
As was the case with mothers of bold children, she hurriedly tried to cover her child’s mouth, utterly flustered. However, the General was quicker and asked while waving his hands.
“Little guy! Why do you think so?”
“Because it’s cool! Like how it goes Bang! and then Flick!”
“That’s right! Indeed, in terms of threatening or deterring the enemy, a gun is a good weapon!”
The General heartily laughed, seemingly pleased with the spirited answer. The pure opinion of the child reopened the conversation. The old military engineer raised his hand to voice his opinion.
“I shall vote for the gun. A kingdom, which was the country of spear wielders, was destroyed at the hands of gunmen. That means the gun is better doesn’t it?”
The medical officer, who had been sitting quietly all this time, also chimed in.
“I think the spear is better.”
“Oh? Why is that?”
“Because a spear wound is much more brutal and harder to treat than a gunshot wound. Unlike a bullet that rips through flesh, gets stuck in muscle, or lodges in bones, a spear crushes flesh and muscle and even breaks bones.”
The medical officer fiddled with the first aid kid by his side. Only someone who had seen such horrific injuries could offer such a weighted opinion.
“Hm. The medical officer’s opinion has a sense of reality! Now, what about you, Little Bro?”
Was it finally my turn? While I cleared my throat and prepared a long-winded speech, the Captain looked at me with an expectant gaze.
｢General Patraxion is a master of the spear, known by the moniker ‘Sunderspear’. It would be better to speak in favor of the spear in front of him…. You might not know this fact, but still, you’re not completely oblivious. I’m sure you were able to read the room. You’ll agree with the General’s opinion. I believe in you.｣
Okay. I heard you loud and clear. I confidently stated with shining eyes.
“Without a doubt, it’s the gun.”
｢How…so! How do you always choose the most terrible options?!｣
I really liked how the Captain was looking at me. Simultaneously, the General’s eyes also shone challengingly, eager to hear my opinion.
“Ho? Why is that?”
He was known as the Sunderspear, a moniker given for reaching the pinnacle of that realm. And in front of that man, a legendary spearman who had severed the fate of a kingdom, I proudly insisted and argued about my perspective on weaponry.
“First, the range. You can crawl and jump around all you want, but in the end, a spear’s range is only as long as the spear itself. On the other hand, a gun’s range is tens, even hundreds of times longer. That alone makes a significant, overwhelming difference. The only advantage of a spear, its range, becomes completely insignificant in front of a gun.”
The Sunderspear, faced with direct denial of the spear, mumbled slightly in dissatisfaction.
“But aren’t guns also ineffective at long ranges? If it’s just a bit more distant, they can’t pierce even a slightly trained person’s muscles, and if they have Qi Deflection, even a bullet shot point-blank can be bounced off.”
“You can’t tackle this topic based on people who use Qi Arts. If so, a spear can even be caught barehanded by a Qi Practitioner.”
“But unlike bullets, a spear can be infused with Qi. It can tear through the bare hands trying to catch it and pierce the body.”
This too was a statement from someone with actual experience.
General Patraxion, known as the Sunderspear, led his troops and personally turned enemies into skewered meat. Countless had tried to block, deflect, or catch his spear, but none could boast of such an achievement.
After all, even those who tried to just show a pretense of catching his spear were nothing more than prospective corpses that received the spear with their bodies.
But, you see, about that… I innocently retorted, tilting my head.
“But isn’t that just because Qi Arts is strong, not because the spear is?”
The General turned his head with a fearsome expression. The Sunderspear’s adjutant and fellow spear wielder, Colonel Gand, brushed his mouth with his hand, maintaining a poker face.
“That traitorous fucker…. I might just have to excommunicate him….”
To ease the General’s displeasure, I lightly listed some disadvantages of guns.
“Well, I admit it’s not omnipotent or all-powerful. A gun isn’t very effective against armored people. Using high-level alchemic steel for disposable bullets doesn’t make sense, but they still wrap themselves in shiny high-quality armor anyway. It’s true there’s a severe difference.”
“But even considering all that, you still think guns are better?”
“Of course. The range is everything in a weapon. Even if a thousand warriors charge, only eight can fight at once, but if there are a thousand archers, one would have to block a thousand arrows, right? Numerical superiority directly translates into combat power!”
“Look at this guy. He sounds like some great war analyst. Anyone would think you’ve experienced war firsthand.”
General Patraxion grumbled with a grumpy face. I scratched my head and smiled vaguely.
“Hahaha. I just like to imagine such things. Thinking about giving orders as a General makes my heart race with excitement.”
“Hmph. You wouldn’t think that if you actually did it.”
“I’m actually curious whether I’d feel that way, so I want to try it myself. In reality, I would probably be nothing more than a clumsy, incompetent soldier from the rank and file, though. But even considering that, I prefer guns. Can’t it be used even when the enemy is far away?”
It wasn’t a lie. After all, to make a convincing story, you needed to mix in some truth to make it seem more real.
I truly did think guns were good weapons.
Because I was more afraid of guns than spears.
As a Mind Reader, it was rare for me to get completely blindsided and hit by a spear, but the chance of getting hit by an unseen bullet was always present. When I saw someone shoot without even knowing where their bullet was heading, it really made me dislike being a Mind Reader.
To think that I wouldn’t be able to dodge it even though I read their thoughts. Didn’t it seem somewhat unfair? I had once twisted my body to the right, reading their intention to aim for my heart, which was on the left. However, despite such knowledge, a bullet still grazed my right ear. Was that even a fight? Was it truly a fight to have my life threatened by a fool who didn’t even know where their bullet was aimed?
“Very good. I have listened well to your opinion on weaponry, Little Brother.”
Unable to remain broad-minded, the General glared at me with determination. Meanwhile, I just shrugged my shoulders and shifted the blame.
“It’s not entirely my opinion. Most of the detailed content was things I heard from my younger sister, after all.”
“Ho? Both of you siblings, like peas in a pod, said such things, huh….”
｢?! Negative! NegATIVE! NEGATIVE!｣
The Captain, who was suddenly singled out, could only sound alarm bells in her mind.
You can rate this series here.
Advаnceԁ chаpterѕ аvailable on gеnеsistlѕ.соm
Illustrations on our discоrd – discоrd.gg/gеnеsistls
- 1The direct translation is actually “Lay bare” and “Kiss”. It’s a play on words; a double entendre. The Colonel means to say that they should either reveal their identities or keep their stories consistent. But the General jokingly interprets the words differently to make him seem horny and desperate.