Selina was impressed at the food that had quite a convincing appearance.
“You really managed to make it look so similar?”
It seemed like it took quite some time.
Even though she had expected Kalcion to make an effort after receiving the request, she didn’t have high expectations for the items he would bring.
It was impressive that he was able to create something so convincing based solely on her description of an unfamiliar dish from a distant land that she had never even heard of. The fact that he was able to convey her explanations and the cook who produced this result were both remarkable.
“Would you like to try it?”
Kalcion cautiously pushed a bowl of food that looked like ‘kimchi stew’ and ‘white rice’ onto the table in front of her. Even though she felt like her head and stomach were still being tossed among the waves, seeing this dish from her hometown after such a long time made her crave it.
Selina gathered her courage and approached the food.
The spicy smell of the hot kimchi stew was quite convincing. It didn’t smell disgusting like the other dishes. The rice was well-cooked and had a perfect sheen, it was a really good rice.
Maybe she could eat this.
Hope swelled in her chest. As she mustered her courage and brought the rice bowl closer…
The savory aroma that wafted from the beautifully cooked rice was disgusting.
As Kalcion quickly gestured to the attendants, the waiting attendants hurriedly removed the food. Despite their efforts to open the windows and eliminate the smell, Selina’s nausea persisted.
“What is this?!”
She was frustrated from not being able to taste her hometown that she had longed for. The smell was really good… it was excellent.
She had even started to believe that she could eat it.
“It seemed that today wasn’t the day for that.”
Kalcion calmly comforted Selina, who was trembling with anger, patting her back gently. He and the head chef must have gone through a lot of trouble preparing this.
Selina’s emotions intensified as she felt even more sorry for making Kalcion’s efforts in vain.
She buried her face in Kalcion’s chest for a moment to calm down.
Kalcion patted her back with a calming touch. Thanks to his gesture, her tumultuous stomach began to settle.
“Can you have some water?”
‘Water, water is disgusting. Something slightly sweeter and more refreshing than water…’
The thought suddenly crossed her mind.
It would be just right to drink at a time like this. Sweet and refreshing, with a hint of cinnamon to soothe the churning stomach. However, if she mentioned it now, he would probably spend another month researching it.
Kalcion didn’t miss a beat and asked back.
Selina didn’t feel like explaining again. She gave a faint smile and shook her head.
“I heard you mention it just now. ‘Ginger cinnamon,’ right?”
“… That’s right.”
After confirming with Selina, Kalcion gestured to the waiting attendants.
He seemed to know about the ginger cinnamon drink, sujeongggwa… Could it be that, by some chance, there was a food with the same name ‘sujeonggwa’ in this world? It was an absurd thought, but suddenly, her expectations grew from Kalcion’s attitude.
Selina looked back and forth between Kalcion and the attendants with a pounding heart.
“I’m not entirely sure, but just wait a moment.”
Kalcion’s voice was filled with excitement as if waiting for lottery results. A moment later, the servant returned with a bottle and a cup in hand.
“We were fortunate to have some in stock.”
While Selina looked at Kalcion in disbelief, instead of replying, he gestured eagerly to the servant to pour the drink from the bottle into the cup.
She followed his gaze to the servant, and her eyes widened. From the murky liquid the servant carried, a familiar cinnamon scent wafted distinctly. With precise movements, the servant floated three pine nuts on top.
“This is the ginger cinnamon you mentioned.”
Now, her eyes widened even more.
“How did this happen?”
“First, try if it suits your taste.”
Kalcion was eager to put something in her hungry mouth.
Selina also trembled with anticipation, wondering if this would upset her stomach, as she raised the cup. The pleasantly warm yet refreshing aroma didn’t seem overwhelming. She cautiously let the liquid touch the tip of her tongue. The fragrant sweetness spread, and she even pressed the cup for more.
She swallowed it!
It was the first time… food that her throat welcomed something so eagerly.
Overjoyed, Selina eagerly gulped down the sujeonggwa. It not only looked like but also tasted exactly like sujeonggwa.
As she finished one cup, Kalcion, who had been watching proudly, refilled her cup with his own hands. Selina didn’t hesitate to accept it, gulping the cup once again. Not having to vomit after so long made her feel rejuvenated.
Kalcion was determined not to let her cup run empty. He refilled it each time Selina finished before she finally reached the blissful moment of feeling ‘full.’
As her stomach filled, she finally had the luxury of thinking.
“I never mentioned sujeonggwa before.”
It wasn’t something she usually enjoyed eating, nor had it come to mind. So, she hadn’t talked to Kalcion about it. Still, how did he know what it was as soon as Selina spoke about it? Moreover, even the servant understood and immediately complied.
Kalcion smiled slightly and reached out to Selina.
Like a young boy hiding a gift behind his back.
“To explain that, we need to go somewhere together right now. Is that okay?”
She was calmed down with the ginger cinnamon drink. First of all, Selina was curious about what had happened.
* * *
Kalcion’s destination was outside the castle walls, toward the Beast Mountains.
Surprisingly, there was a path from the castle walls to the inside of the Beasts Mountains that carriages could traverse. Coincidentally, people carrying torches and a carriage were coming from that direction.
It was a member of the guard. At this time of the night, they were pulling a cart from the Beast Mountains.
What could have happened in the Beast Mountains?
As Selina approached the side of the cart, she could see that inside the cart were piles of all sorts of snacks that looked like they had raided a convenience store. The colorful packaging caught her eye.
‘Oh my God…’
She recognized it at a glance and was astonished.
“What happened here?”
Kalcion smiled and sent the guard down.
“It’s best to see for yourself. The path gets steep from here.”
He then picked up Selina and ascended the mountain at the same pace as when he walked alone.
After a while, the path became familiar. It was the same path that she had descended with him when she arrived in this world.
Selina’s shoulders and fingertips tingled.
The place they arrived at was vaguely as she had expected, the same place where she had been attacked by the beast as soon as she fell into this world. Unlike the time when there were only trees and fallen leaves, the surroundings were neatly organized.
Her heart thumped loudly.
“You sent someone to the other world?”
“And you went too?”
“I did. That’s how all this started.”
She had actually gone on the path but had turned back just before crossing. He said he had walked the path she thought they could die on.
“Though why didn’t you tell me about it?”
“I thought telling you in advance would just make the waiting longer.”
He couldn’t burden Selina with worries when she was already struggling.
Kalcion confirmed the passage with the advance and attempted to move forward after their return. He spent most of the time with her, but there were times when he had to leave for several days due to work.
That was how they managed to proceed without her knowledge.
He had never intended to cross over himself from the beginning. The original plan was for the advance team to gather the items from the information from Selina and bring back the food. However, the other world was much larger and more complex than they had expected.
The advance team ultimately failed and returned.
Nonetheless, they couldn’t give up. Kalcion personally led the guard to cross over.
At first, he was bewildered by the unfamiliar and complex landscape of that world, but eventually, driven by the determination not to let Selina starve to death, he achieved the goal he had set out for.
“However, come to think of it, sending people to fetch what you wanted every time you remembered something would take too long.”
Just turning her head, her barely resurfacing appetite would diminish, so it wouldn’t be possible to ask her to wait for the time it took to cross the mountains each time. If the desired food changed, all the effort would be in vain. It was not feasible to repeat such a waste of manpower.
So, he had a change of heart.
“So I told them to bring everything.”
“Yeah, I ordered them to bring all kinds of food from your world. Even ingredients that can’t be found here.”
These days, she had been confined to her room all this time due to her current physical condition, so she had overlooked Kalcion’s scale of spending money. He was the kind of man who would prepare ten sets of dresses, each in different colors. The same would apply to food.
“That’s why I had the chefs study and reproduce all kinds of dishes so that they could offer you whatever you want at any time.”
She wondered if there was still anything left to be surprised about Kalcion’s scale, but she was surprised once again.
“Once a day, during this time, the agents over there send the goods, and we receive them here like this.”
In the center of the empty lot was a slide that led to the empty air. Selina stared at the end of the slide for a while.
It was from there that she came to this world.
…Not far beyond, there was her original world.
Her heart fluttered.
The forgotten smell seemed to waft in the air.
“When you become capable of crossing the Beast Mountains, let’s go together.”
Kalcion, who sensed Selina’s thoughts, comforted her.
Before she knew it, her cheeks were wet.
Approaching quietly from behind, he embraced her as she wiped her tears with her palm and cleared her throat.
“Still, how do they get the items from there, and how did they know I wanted the ginger cinnamon drink?”
After venting her heavy sentimentality, practical curiosity raised its head. Moreover, they looked like foreigners straight out of a fantasy movie, and their appearance would stand out. They had no money and couldn’t speak the language, so how did they manage?
“You taught the writing.”
“What good is that if they don’t understand the language?”
“Purchases are made with money, not with words.”
Kalcion must have found a way to convert the gold and silver treasures gems he possessed into cash. The amount of money he raised must have been substantial.
“And when you go into a shop, you just have to say, ‘Everything from here to here.’”
He drew a diagonal line in the air with his finger very easily.
Selina sighed. There was such a shopping method in the world. Everything from here to here.
“Most foods have names, so it wasn’t a big problem to connect what you said.”
“Do you read all the characters?”
There had been a time when Kalcion, in anticipation of the possibility of someday crossing over to the other world together, had learned the characters.
It wasn’t an elaborate teaching. She had simply shown him the combination of characters and how to read them. The words kept getting translated, so she just ended up lightly teaching the pronunciation of the letters.
“Of course. I might also need to prepare in my own way if I were to go to the other world with you. Thanks to that, I managed to put it to good use.”
Selina blinked and turned to look at him.
Kalcion loosened the arm he was holding around her and created space for her to turn around comfortably. The world he had created was warm and cozy.
Instead of pulling away, she pulled his waist toward her and nestled into his embrace.
“When the day comes for me to go to the other world, you’ll definitely come with me.”
She accepted the promise to cross dimensions as if it wasn’t anything special.
Selina smiled and nestled her face into Kalcion’s chest. Even if a situation arose where she had to completely live in the other world, she promised herself once again that she would take care of Kalcion no matter what.