The next morning, he and the girl moved before the dawn broke. With bad visibility, they were walking away from the direction of the building in the dark mountain.
By the time the sun rose, they had already crossed over the peak of a mountain, and there’s now a steep descent ahead of them.
While sensing the presences of pursuers, they descended the mountain slowly by hanging onto tree branches.
Eventually, when the sun was about to hide behind the horizon again, the downward slope became gentler, and the dense trees cleared up slightly.
Then, the scene he saw next was enough for him to frown.
「This is again……」
Ahead of them spread out vast unobstructed earth. However, it’s not in a condition to be called lush. As far as he can see, it’s a wasteland covered in only sand and boulders.
It was as if another world completely void of life unlike where they were.
「Is it better to turn back……?」
He muttered reflexively, but he already knew that wasn’t a choice considering the enemies are behind them.
Even in the dimming mountain, they could see the presence of their pursuers. Of course, it’s not like they could see them clearly, but they are descending the mountain too with a torch in hand.
It’s very likely that they will be caught if they turned around now. Their location wasn’t known yet by the pursuers.
Luckily, the sun is almost set. Although there’re no trees to hide in the wasteland, with the darkness on their side, they could probably avoid getting seen.
Hopefully, the pursuers will think that he and the girl is still hiding in the mountain. He glanced at the girl once, and then at the wasteland, and lastly behind them, and then faced the girl again.
「Let’s go. 」
Only saying those words, the girl nodded before they started walking towards the wasteland.
It’s been the third day since he and the girl escaped from the facility, and two days had passed since they started walking on the wasteland.
There’s no longer any presence of pursuers. However, even if there were, they are not in a situation to be worrying about that.
Occasionally taking a rest at boulders that would shield them from the sun, the two continued in the direction that took them further from the mountain.
He muttered looking at the sky. The sun reached the peak, and burned the wasteland.
「Let’s take a rest. 」
The words they exchange are short. The girl who seemed too exhausted to reply followed behind him despite stumbling and swaying.
Going towards a boulder that needed at least ten people to make a perimeter around it, they immediately collapsed on the obvious black spot in the wasteland.
The sensation of the colder sand was comfortable. Taking off the coat, he exposed himself to the lukewarm wind.
Although it’s not at all a desirable situation, it was many times greater than getting directly toasted by the cruel sun.
The morning is still fine. It will take some time before the heat in the earth dissipates even after the sun sets.
However, the problem is when the sun reaches its peak. The next morning after they entered the wasteland, the overly hot weather forced them to give up moving in the afternoon.
In the end, they would use the hottest period of time to rest behind a boulder, and early in the morning or in the night they would move again.
Naturally, they could not take a comfortable rest, and the fatigue over many days piled up. And the most problematic of all is with food and water.
Unlike the mountain that was rich in plants, they are in a brownish wasteland that unfolds everywhere. Naturally, there’s no spring water nor any river, there is not a single place in sight blessed by greenery.
Although there’re some short grasses growing here and there, it’s also very few in quantity just with a glance.
He used his hands as a makeshift container, and created water within. The girl with ragged breath then neared it and gulped it down quickly with her dried and cracked lips.
Although the girl was surprised at first at such a sight, it is now commonplace. Rather, she didn’t even have the energy to be surprised.
He didn’t know how he did it either. However, on the second day they entered the wasteland, he could not bear the dryness and so wished intently for 『Water』, it was at that time, transparent liquid appeared from the air where there was nothing.
It was only a moment that he was confused. Not having the room to be surprised by the strange phenomenon, he could understand it was indeed water after consuming it.
And just like that, without knowing how he did it, he managed to procure water, and with the nuts and tree sprouts they gathered while in the mountain, they were surviving in the wasteland with barely any grass.
It’s not like he can create water indefinitely as well. The most he can do in succession is only about ten handfuls.
He tried to make more but it wouldn’t appear. Although he can make more some time later, he still didn’t know what limitation is it.
And so, the water he created was shared by himself and the girl. Their dehydrated body complained.
Although their instincts understood it’s not enough, it couldn’t be helped, that’s the most he can create after all.
Whenever they stopped for water, he would take out nuts from his pocket and offer to the girl who would thank him.
Looking away from the girl that started biting on them, he found some grass growing in the shade and ate it after simply dicing it.
They were tasteless weeds that only reeked of greenery but, it’s still better than eating nothing. While frowning at the sandy texture, he continued to chew it until it finally disappeared from his mouth.
「The nuts……, not eating? Yesterday too, you didn’t eat any ……」
He stood up and answered without hiding anything towards the girl who was looking at him strange.
「It’s the last piece of food from the mountain. After this, we can only eat random things on the road. 」
In the first place, they didn’t have a bag to carry. Because it might be a hindrance to their actions, he only put enough food from the mountain to fill the pocket on his coat.
Even if they conserved, there’s not enough for two humans to eat for few days. Only if he had gathered more, he thought, but it’s too late now.
It was unexpected that the direction they headed in was totally stranded and had no water or food anywhere, but even if he did know about it, getting pursued wouldn’t get him enough time to prepare either.
「Don’t worry about me and eat. 」
He said so without looking back. A few breaths later. It wasn’t a long period of silence.
As if wanting to say something, her gaze alternated between him and at her hands meaninglessly. He saw the girl’s conflict there.
She was probably feeling guilty for eating the only decent food they had, and also making him having to endure the starvation.
However, the words of offering to share the remaining did not come out. Rather, it felt like she was on the verge of saying it many times, and every time her expression would look like she was suffering.
Could it be that she was raised in a good environment, he can see her ethics and morals are conflicting with her instincts to survive.
Eventually, the girl looked down, and resumed biting on the nuts she had in her hands. There was a soft voice between her actions.
While eating, the girl was crying. However, there were no tears. Her body is no longer hydrated enough to even produce tears.
Their hunger have long passed the limit. After leaving that building, the food they could obtain is only a little.
It was a situation where their instincts to survive as a creature is overpowering reasoning. There’s no way she could go against her own instincts.
That’s why, he could accept the girl’s actions of prioritizing her own survival. Rather, it was surprising for him to see her hesitate and conflicted.
Even while she repeated sorry to him, she never gave up to survive, that’s also because she’s a person. And that is great, he thought.
He had neither memories of his family nor a place to return. He only escaped because he didn’t want to stay at that place.
After starting to think that he’s not a person but something else, rather than himself who has no one that would grief even if he died, he thought that the survival of the girl is more valuable.
Pulling along the girl that is fatigued, he gave away what little remain of their food to the girl. Completely going against what he said at first, he’s now acting like a guardian angel for the girl.
He will bring the girl to at least a safe place. It is sole reason motivating him currently. If he doesn’t think about unnecessary things, he wouldn’t have to suffer conflicting over his reason of existing.
Was it evading from reality, or was he being desperate. That was something that even himself didn’t know.
As the sun fell, after the temperature dropped, the two started walking again. Enveloped by the night, only relying on the dim light of the night sky, the two continued.
Luckily, they haven’t encountered any aggressive beasts. That’s why even though it’s in the night, they can proceed safely.
On the other hand, it meant there’s nothing to hunt as food. Under the prolonged silence, only two footsteps continued.
Suddenly, one of them stopped, and then a loud thud. Turning around, he saw the girl collapsed on the ground.
「Oi, what’s the matter? 」
He panickily picked the girl back up, and noticed her expression was abnormal.
「Are you fine? Oi! 」
The girl’s consciousness already seemed vague, as only a weak sigh can be heard from her quivering lips.
He looked around while cursing. Finding a boulder that seemed able to shield them from the winds, he carried the girl there.
After laying her down, he tapped her cheek and called.
「Oi, stay strong! 」
However, there was no response. The girl that seemed to have passed out could only be seen shivering as her teeth grinded together.
「Is it cold……? 」
Seeing her like that, he immediately took action. Taking off his own coat, he covered the girl with it. Then, he leaned on the rock, and then rested the girl on his lap before hugging her.
In a wasteland that has no trees or grass, the temperature at night drops to the point that the heat in the day is like a lie.
Leaving aside healthy people, it’s a terrible environment for the girl that is now shivering from cold.
He covered the girl with an extra coat of his own, and then added on his own body warmth. All he could do is that much.
While feeling the coldness from the earth and the trembling from within his arm, he fell asleep while hugging the girl.