The items that the Forest Service gave out were divided and distributed to the hospitals. Two backpacks that held items for sleeping. A bag for diagnostic items, tablet PC, supporting sticks for climbing mountains and other necessary items.
The system was simple. The picture taken by the tablet PC on the fully treated tree was sent to the judge. This round was about speed. One must be able to quickly diagnose and treat the tree.
“Kwon Chae-woo, we’re going now. Get ready.” Lee-yeon put on her backpack and tapped at Kwon Chae-woo, who was busy reading the map. He didn’t even blink as he checked every little mark on the map.
A small drone was flying over their head, and the timer on the tablet PC started. Lee-yeon glanced at Me Tree Hospital and went in a different direction.
She didn’t look so joyful as she looked around the dark forest. There were so many trees that were broken. Last year, the landslide had destroyed much of the mountain terrain. The ground was full of rocks and tree barks. Their shoes turned muddy. They felt like they were walking in an abandoned place. The weather was also murky.
“I think we have lots to do today.”
Lee-yeon tilted her head a little. Kwon Chae-woo stopped talking after they walked into the forest. He looked serious and sensitive. Lee-yeon also became serious as he looked different than usual.
“What is it?”
“Do you not feel well? Does your head hurt?”
Kwon Chae-woo smiled dryly. “You have always been curious about my head.”
“At the drug farm. When I was getting hit, do you remember what you said?”
She couldn’t remember everything clearly. She was running on adrenaline then.
Kwon Chae-woo playfully nudged her forehead. “You said not to ever hit me on my head.”
He smiled. Lee-yeon looked down as she blushed.
She took a seat and started with the emergency treatment. The foremost thing Lee-yeon did was to cut ruined branches and restore the balance of the trees. She did her best connecting the broken branches and fastening them with steel. It was basically like putting a cast on the tree.
After she was done treating, she quickly moved onto other trees like a chipmunk. Kwon Chae-woo was busy giving her the tools she needed while also taking pictures.
“There are many trees that are already dead.”
Most of them were split in half or had drowned.
“A healthy tree blossoms in a short period and withers, but unhealthy trees have only few leaves. Look at this. Most trees are like that right?”
There were many curved branches on trees that still had some flowers on it. But looked sickly and were about to wither.
Kwon Chae-woo frowned as he listened to Lee-yeon.
“That’s a sad story.”
“They blossom but wither so fast.” He said morosely.
“The flower season is short,” Lee-yeon said casually, but Kwon Chae-woo was still frowning.
“Then I’ll never give you a flower.”
“It’s a sign of a very short lifespan.”
Lee-yeon felt a prick in her heart. He understood the trees, but she did want flowers from him even if it represented a short lifespan.
She just focused on connecting the yellow rubber tube. She was about to put the tube into the holes when…
His face changed again.
Lee-yeon knew that expression too well.
“What’s wrong? Another wild boar?”
Lee-yeon stopped what she was doing and lowered her voice. But Kwon Chae-woo was frowning and staring somewhere else. She was nervous.
Kwon Chae-woo looked at Lee-yeon.
“I don’t know what that is, and what that sound means.”
Lee-yeon looked nervous so Kwon Chae-woo changed the subject. “Lee-yeon, do you really want that Hwaidome project?”
“Uh…” She scratched her cheek. “Do you think others will laugh at how ridiculous it sounds?”
“No. There’s no one that likes trees as much as you,” said Kwon Chae-woo gently. She could see that he was still tense, and his fists were clenched.
He kept hearing a sound. It had started the moment they had entered the forest. The sound came from random directions. It bothered him. He was on his guard, but his face looked calm. He didn’t want to worry Lee-yeon. This project was her dream.
“Well out of everything, be it the contract or the money…”
Kwon Chae-woo raised his eyebrow at the sound again. A bird flew by.
Was it just wings flapping?
“I thought I would do well since you’re watching, Kwon Chae-woo.” Her soft voice calmed his riled up senses.
“I really had nothing to say when I couldn’t be myself in front of Hwang Jo-yoon. I thought that I shouldn’t delay it any longer as I saw you reacting to everything. So that’s why I wanted to face it like an adult. Especially with the skills I have.”
Even though Kwon Chae-woo had extraordinary hearing, in that moment the world had gone dead silent. He couldn’t hear anything. He took everything in. Her eyes, her lips, her eyebrows…
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