My Children Swarm the Cosmos – Chapter 156

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟓𝟔: 𝐍𝐨 𝐎𝐧𝐞 𝐓𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐌𝐞 𝐇𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 (2)

Anima was able to meet a group of survivors while wandering through the snow-covered ruins.

“All the buildings managed by the corporation have collapsed. There was nothing left.”

The group of survivors, including her, was eight.

“It must be alien pirates. The mercenaries are all dead or have abandoned us and fled.”

“The spaceship?”

“That was gone too.”

“Whether it’s the past or the present, it’s the same being trapped on this planet.”

Outside, a harsh blizzard was blowing, making it difficult to secure visibility.

She and the group of survivors filled their hungry stomachs by wandering through the ruins, piercing the blizzard during the day. Then, when night came, they would find an indoor place where they could rest and light a fire.

Before going to bed, they shared stories, relied on each other, and did not let go of the thread of hope. The group of survivors were all good people and did not lose their sanity even in the harsh environment.

They starved with people and overcame the cold together. Therefore, life in the ruins was not as bad as expected. At least it was better than life before it became ruins.

“How hard it must have been for the young. . . .”

Although it was scary to be with people who were not family, she was able to adapt somehow because she had a grandmother to rely on.

There were no young humans in the group who abused her for having red eyes, strange skin color, or strange hair. Everyone was of adult age or older, which was reassuring.

So they lived for two years.

No, they survived.

“The satellite was the problem!”

One day, only one of the three men who went out to patrol outside returned.

The man who returned had a severely shocked expression.

“Those bastards shot us!”

After that, they could only move outside on days when a severe blizzard was blowing. There were watchers beyond the sky, and if they carelessly went outside, they would become targets and be killed.

After that, people learned the truth.

“It was not aliens, but humans. . .! The mercenaries. . .!”

The aliens who bombed the village two years ago and have been killing the survivors of the ruins ever since were actually corporate mercenaries.

“If any of us ever return to civilization, we will expose all the atrocities here. . . . They must have hated that. So they killed everyone.”

“They’re trying to bury everything as it is. . . .”

There was no new life born in the group of survivors. There were only people who fell ill with unknown diseases or weakened and died. Also, on some days, there were those who went outside and could not return.

After that, the number of the group continued to decrease, leaving only Anima and her grandmother. By then, she was following her grandmother like a new family.

It was a day when a blizzard was blowing after a long time. Anima and her grandmother, who had been waiting for the blizzard because they were hungry, cautiously attempted to go out.

“Grandma. . . .”

“Baby. Don’t let go of your hand and follow well.”

It was a dizzyingly cold weather. But still, holding onto her grandmother’s wrinkled hand, she took one step at a time through the white storm.

“Grandma. . . . There’s a fire over there. . . .”

“You shouldn’t look at such things.”

In the distance, figures that looked like mannequins were being gathered and burned by creatures that Anima could not tell were soldiers in disguise or humanoids. Black smoke was billowing up.

She wanted to get a closer look, but Grandma told her not to, so she looked away.

“They say humans are scary.”

“Are you scary too, Grandma?”

“To some, I might be.”

“Even if you were scary, I would still like you, Grandma.”

“. . . How kind. You truly are a kind child. . . .”

“No, I’m not as kind as you think I am. . .”

“Get down. . . !”

Startled, Anima fell to the ground. Grandma had seen something through the binoculars.

“Look over there. . . ! Quickly!”

She took the binoculars and looked through them.

The cockpit, wings for atmospheric flight, a large thruster in the back, metallic material, a generally angular design.

At first glance, it looked like something made by humans, not aliens.

“It’s a corporate spaceship. . . . That’s what dropped those guys off on this planet. . . .”

“What do we do?”

“That is. . . .”

There didn’t seem to be any guards near the spaceship.

“That’s the only way out of this white hell!”

“I like it here. . . .”

“This brat!”

Grandma grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her.

“How many years have you lived like this?! Huh?!”

“For the rest of your life. . .”

“You’re going to live here for the rest of your life?! What if this is the first and last chance?”

For the first time, she became afraid of the old lady yelling.

So she asked.

“Can we really go to civilization on that thing?”

Civilization.

They said there was a city that was incomparably larger than this village, these ruins.

A world where tall buildings stood densely packed, bright as day even in the middle of the night, and where what looked like stars in the sky were all people.

They said that if we went to civilization, no one would be hungry, and no one would suffer from disease. They said that people who did bad things would all be locked up in a place called prison, that shops would be filled with things we couldn’t even imagine here, and that wheeled vehicles would travel along paved roads.

“Yes, civilization! This is an opportunity given to us by the heavens!” 

Just as Grandma was about to step forward,

“. . . ?”

Anima hugged Grandma from behind.

“My dear, why are you doing this?”

“Please don’t abandon me.”

“Abandon. . . What are you saying?”

“Even if we go to civilization. . . . Please don’t abandon me. . . .”

Her will had become dependent.

She couldn’t live without Grandma.

“Please stay with me, even after this. . . .”

“What are you talking about? Just follow this old lady, and we’ll be fine. We can stay together forever.”

And so they slowly approached the spaceship. Crouching low in the heavy snowstorm, they circled around to approach the presumed entrance of the spaceship from the side of the two soldiers standing guard.

Shivering from the extreme cold, she looked for a place to sneak in, and the thruster section at the back of the spaceship caught her eye.

Grandma instinctively entered the gap in the thruster, and Anima followed her.

It was a large enough gap for a person to fit through. That’s how they squeezed in, all the way to the deepest part of the gap.

Fssshhh. . . 

Grandma used the cutter she brought beforehand to cut the wall. She carefully pulled off the thick iron sheet and stepped into the spaceship.

At that moment, a sense of warmth she had never felt before engulfed her whole body.

“Isn’t the air warm?”

“Yes. Hehe. . .”

“They say it’s even warmer in civilization.”

It was probably a very cramped engine room. In fact, it was a cramped space where complicated machinery which she didn’t know was an engine room or not was intertwined.

Even in such a space, the fact that no cold wind was coming in was strange. She had lived her whole life shivering in the cold, but a space where the cold didn’t come in from any direction was surprisingly warm.

She reattached the iron sheet she had removed with rubber.

She hoped the spaceship would arrive at civilization if it stayed as it was. However, Grandma whispered.

“If we stay here, it’ll be dangerous when the spaceship takes off. . .”

“What happens when it takes off. . .?”

“Heat and radiation will engulf us. . . We have to get away from the engine at least.”

So she bypassed the complicated wires and machines and went deeper. But it was only about ten steps.

There was a small door.

“What is it. . .”

“Shh.”

Grandma put her ear to the door.

Anima also put her ear to the door.

She heard someone walking. On the other side of the door.

There was a passage on the other side of this door where people could walk.

When the sound of footsteps faded and could no longer be heard, Grandma inserted the cutter into the crack of the door and moved it around.

Creak. . .

A gap opened, and Grandma put her hand in the gap and pushed it to the side. Then the door opened slightly to the side.

“Child. You can’t make a sound from now on, okay?”

“I’ll be quiet.”

“Let’s go. . .”

When she bent her body sideways and went through the crack of the door, it was a very ordinary passage. It was not a spaceship with that much cargo, only the engine was large.

Anywhere was fine. She just had to get away from the engine and into any space, as long as she wasn’t caught until the spaceship arrived at civilization. And when she arrived at civilization, she would jump out of the spaceship and shout for help.

She concentrated all her nerves on her ears and was nervous every time she took a step. She followed Grandma and sneaked through the passage of the spaceship.

It was then.

“It’s a planet with really great reserves. We’ve been mining for nearly 20 years and we still haven’t seen the bottom.”

“How much has our CEO’s son made from this?”

“He must have gathered enough to terraform a small satellite. About 20 billion Cret?”

“A new civilization will be created on a new planet with dirty money.”

It was a conversation between two people.

Grandma and Anima hurried their steps as if they were being chased by their voices.

“I heard that the CEO’s son made 50 billion Cret.”

“If you don’t count things like net income, it’s probably around that much. Rather than that, are you going to the shareholders’ meeting this time?”

“I can’t go even if I want to.”

Then they came to a dead end.

The voices were getting closer and closer from behind.

“Why? What’s going on?”

“The mines in this area have low purity, so they have to be scrapped.”

“Oh dear. . . What about the ruins?”

“Nuclear bombs are expensive, so they have to be crushed one by one with pulverizing vehicles. They’re all old models, so people have to manage them.”

“When you’re done with your work, sell them all and come over. If you hold on to this for too long, your tail will only get longer.”

With nowhere to run, she looked around.

On one wall of the dead end, there were about ten cabinets for storing personal firearms in a row.

Anima moved instinctively with Grandma.

The only place they could hide right now was the cabinet, so she tried to open the cabinet one by one, but it was locked.

She was scared.

If she used the cutter, it would make a noise. Moreover, she didn’t even have time to force open the cabinet with the cutter. The two people approaching while talking would arrive here after passing just one corner.

‘8 seconds. . .!’

Anima, who had been counting the time she had been walking, roughly calculated that she and Grandma had 8 seconds left.

There were three cabinets left untouched.

If the three cabinets didn’t open, she would die here.

She was so scared.

‘6 seconds. . .!’

Grandma touched the two cabinets, and Anima touched the last cabinet.

‘4 seconds. . .!’

Creak.

The last cabinet opened as if responding to her desperation. It was an empty cabinet with no personal firearms inside.

There was no time left. Anima immediately turned her head to call Grandma first.

Bam. . .!

However, something hit the back of her neck just before she turned her head.

She lost sensation below the back of her neck, and a sharp pain came as if the blood vessels in her whole body were twisted strangely. But she couldn’t groan or scream. Her whole body just lost its balance and she fell to the cold floor.

She moved only her trembling eyeballs to look for Grandma,

Grandma was already inside the cabinet.

“A. . . Are you here. . .?”

She was hiding inside the cabinet that Anima had just opened.

So the cabinet looked full. It looked so full that the door could barely be closed.

In the first place, it was too narrow a space for two people to enter.

Creak.

Grandma reached out and slammed the cabinet shut.

“Aaaah. . . . . . . . .”

In that still situation, Anima despaired.

Because she made eye contact with Grandma through the small gap in the cabinet.

At that time, Grandma’s eyes were shedding tears, but for some reason, she was smiling in a crescent shape.

Then the two people arrived and exchanged a few words.

Then she was abandoned in the snowy field outside the spaceship.

Anima, who was left alone, couldn’t move her body. She faced the sky and was hit by the snowstorm.

She saw the spaceship leaving in the snowstorm.

Her fingers and toes ached as if they were going to break, but then they didn’t ache anymore. Her limbs ached as if they were going to fall off, but after a while, nothing hurt anymore.

As her senses disappeared, the pain also disappeared, so she felt a little better. Gradually, she couldn’t think of anything and drowsiness came over her. So she closed her eyes.

It was a cozy rest.

And when she opened her eyes again, she was in an artificial human pod.

🔷🔷🔷

“Now you can be happy.”

As soon as Kreion said that, Anima buried herself in his arms.

She wanted to hear his heartbeat and confirm that he was in the same space at this moment.

“. . .”

Kreion held her tightly, her face buried in his chest.

And he felt something wet his chest.

It seemed to seep into his chest like melting snow.

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