Chapter 1.2: In the Middle of a Mountain

Translator: Haruchin   Editor: JackOFallTrades

It was all a dream when I woke up ー no such thing, I was STILL in the middle of the mountains.

The fire already went out. All that remained were orange-colored charcoals from the parts of the logs and thick branches I used earlier.

I hurriedly dumped withered grass on top of the coals and blew over it, and the fire was revived with a crackling sound. What a relief. I threw small branches into the fire. Time to gather more dried trees.

I opened a PET bottle and ate my bento. Never mind water and tea, the bento would spoil even if I saved it, so I ate the rest without thinking too much. I then brought my nokogiri and some drinks today and went the opposite direction from yesterday.

I really should’ve brought that nata. I trudged on, parting the twigs and tall grasses using my hands and feet along the way. A blade that could cut anything ー what would I give to have that.
Climbing this steep slope was really difficult. Finally reached the top, and there were some boulders in the open. The view cleared. From the peak, I could see the ocean stretching on in all directions.

I could see a few islands, but there was no continuous land in sight.
Even if I somehow got my hands on a ship, escape was impossible. No, it’d be more appropriate to say I didn’t know where to go.

Time ticked on ー I was still frozen in place after reaching the summit. Tears streamed down my face; I was completely floored as to what to do. Why? Why? WHY? WHY did I have to end up here? Sis just forced me to accompany her, I didn’t even want to see the fireworks at all. Totally missed them, in the end, because I was HERE.

The wind howled around me. Nothing happened even if I cried my heart out. Nothing returned even after I screamed my lungs out.

I went down the slope after getting tired of all the hollering I did. Didn’t forget to pick these dried branches up… why did I have to pick them in the first place? Ahh, got it now, it’s so the fire won’t go out.

Thinking was too tiresome; besides, all those thoughts would just break me.

Just focus on tending the fire ー nothing else mattered.
Maybe if I cut the branches off from the trees around here, someone would notice the smoke.
Yep, let’s do that.

I was probably in for a long haul, so I decided to fix my dwelling space for the meantime by cutting the nearby trees to widen the usable space. The white smoke from the burning cedar leaves and grass should be noticeable enough, and it won’t disappear from the treetops if I used them all the time except when cooking and during nighttime. People might be able to see it from afar. Probably.

I cut several trees that were roughly the size of my arm. It’s a good thing the thicker ones were far from here, so I didn’t have to trouble myself over them. I planned to build my wall by making some pickets to drive holes into the ground. Pulled them out again to make way for the two thick trees I got that were the same size as me. Gonna use them as pillars, so I needed two more to complete the four.

The logs I stacked between those pillars had roughly the same length and thickness. I added more pillars when I was halfway through, just for extra security ー it’d be worrying if the wall collapsed.

Let’s stop here for today. Bento-time.

There’s only one bento left. What should I eat starting tomorrow? The remaining cola could give me some energy, but it would be better to prepare myself in case I wouldn’t be able to eat.
Hunting animals and cooking them was impossible for me. I might be able to catch some fish, I guess… Should I place stones in a V-formation in the shallows to draw them in? I should make a basket-like trap, huh. I would need to gather lots of vines, as well as twigs, if I’m going to make that.

I tinkered for a while by the light of the bonfire, then I slept.

Why…why did this have to happen……

I woke up at dawn to the sound of birds chirping. Had to get going now.
First, I went to the river and looked for a suitable, shallow part, then I piled it with stones.
The entrance was wide, but the entire structure was tapered like a narrow triangle. When the fish swam into it, they’d be trapped at the dead end ー all I had to do was put a basket in the narrow exit, right? Easy.

I went upstream. Water’s about to run out soon, so I should go search for the riverhead while I still have the energy to move. Although the water downstream was clean, I still felt a lot more secure with taking water from a spring. This river might be wider than a stream, but the depth and width was enough for me to cross, not counting the deeper areas.

I could see the flickering silhouette of a fish; if I caught it now then it’d be my chow.

I came out to an open area after some time had passed. There’s the rock that was at the summit I climbed yesterday, and I have a general sense of the area now..

I have a compass in my smartphone just in case, but using landmarks was faster.
While at it, I also discovered a small waterfall and a deep pool I could swim in. It was surrounded by lush greenery and was very beautiful. I didn’t dare to go in because it was cold. My thoughts drifted far away as I stared at it while resting. The sound of rushing water, the chirping of the birds, the rustling of swaying treetops, and the sounds that insects made at night ー

Beautiful, but worth nothing if there’s guarantee that I could go home.

The spring welled up and flowed from clean sand that had been thoroughly washed. I scooped some water and tried drinking it ー it was cold, free from impurities.

It was filtered so I think it’s fine, but it would be troublesome if I got an upset stomach, so I drank just a little bit to test. Maybe I should’ve boiled it first, but sad to say I didn’t have a pot.

My situation is getting better now that I have a water source and a temporary shelter.
Moreover, the island was not that big. There’s a watering hole and some places to catch fish ー everything was within reach.

I put those vines aside when I returned, then left again to gather more firewood.

The highest part of the island had more dried fallen wood, contrary to the damp ones in the lower region. Maybe that’s because the river was down there. I should explore the opposite direction from the river later.

But first, I needed to secure my base and food. My plant diet might have to consist of plantains and edible grasses like dandelions that grew in places that had plenty of sunlight while being supplemented by seaweeds on the side. With how things are as of now, fish will have to be my main source of protein.

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