Chapter 202 – Merchant and bet
We decided to go where the miko is, but all we do is keep moving forward.
Two more people died.
I had hopes that we would all reach the miko safely, but reality really is not that kind.
One was a merchant who followed me here.
He was young and full of hopes and dreams about the future.
The other casualty was a beast person.
We have been talking a lot less than when we first set off.
It can’t be helped.
We entered this dangerous forest in search of the miko, and now all that keeps us going is the faint hope that we will find her the next day.
But in reality, we haven’t found a single clue about her whereabouts.
…Can we really reach her Did we really make the right choice Are we all going to end up dying hoping we find her
From an objective point of view, the fact that only three people died so far is not so bad.
We could have very well all died on the way here.
If we look at it from this perspective, our situation is not so bad.
I tell this to everyone else as well.
But if this keeps going for much longer, this group may very well collapse from the inside.
I can feel my heart slipping in a bad direction too.
I keep thinking that we might all die here.
Maybe we will keep wandering around.
Maybe we came all the way here for nothing.
Maybe we should turn back.
When I let my guard down, my heart is filled with these kinds of thoughts.
I want to see Lan.
That was all I was thinking when I came to this place, but maybe I won’t get to see her.
No, I will.
I will see her again no matter what.
I keep this thought close to my heart as I keep advancing.
All to see Lan, and so the beast people can meet the miko.
I keep moving forward without looking back, and eventually, I find something strange.
It’s half transparent and I can’t see its shape very well, and apparently I’m the only one who sees it.
At first I think it’s just a mirage brought about by exhaustion.
I even start to despair, thinking I’ve been pushed to my limit so much I’m now seeing things.
But the more I advance, the clearer this ‘mirage’ becomes.
Is this a mirage It’s strange that others can’t see it.
Am I really so exhausted Part of me feels that is true, but this thing that keeps changing a little feels real.
Is this strange sight a sign that we are close to the miko I have no idea why I’m the only one who can see it, but if this really isn’t just a mirage… If this strange half transparent thing is real, who could create such a thing The miko.
Even if it’s not the miko, it could be something or someone who might save us from this desperate situation.
At least that is what I hope.
But if it really is a mirage, my hope will have been just a misunderstanding.
Still, having hope is most certainly better than being hopeless.
With this thought in mind, I move forward.
I know people around me are concerned.
I know they think I’m going crazy because I see something they don’t.
I’m not crazy, and I can prove it if we reach the miko.
I simply continue walking forward.
More of these strange things appear.
We head in their direction with myself in front.
I’m hoping they are leading us towards the miko, but my bet could be wrong, and something like a monster’s nest could be waiting for us.
…If only despair awaits us there, I need to make sure the people following me survive, even if I don’t.
As I think this and continue walking, I hear what I hoped to hear for so long.
“Sadda! Why are you here!”
It’s Lan’s voice.
I look in the direction of this voice, and see the person I was looking for, Landouno Stoffer.
There are cat beast people with her.
They run towards the beast people who are with me, and they all hug each other.
I see my bet was right.
Following that half transparent thing was the right thing to do.
I’m sure we’ll find the miko if we go with Lan.
This realization makes me relax, and before I know it, I lose consciousness.
—Merchant and bet
(The merchant chases after something he could only see, and his bet turns out to be correct.)