I think it takes place in the future. From the people's lifestyle and setting, it seems as if they are in the past. However, Equality found a few things that seem to be from the present, such as the light bulbs, mirrors, the house of glass, books, pans, etc. I think everything was destroyed in the Unmentionable Times, which would be approximately our present, and when they rebuilt everything, they made a community with qualities from the past.
What do you think is happening in the city that Equality used to live in? Are people still talking about him or did it not make a difference when he left?
I think the Scholars are trying to keep it a secret that he left, so no one else can get bad influences, but they are still discussing it amongst themselves. Nonetheless, I'm sure no one would go after Equality since everyone is so scared of the unknown and discovering new things, and he is already so far from the city. I also wondered if anyone found out about Liberty or if her absence went unnoticed.
Equality's goal was to discover the sacred, unspeakable word. How will he find it if he isn't in the city anymore?
First of all, I wonder how he would have discovered the word in the city. If people couldn't ever say it, who would tell him what it was? To answer the question, Equality mentioned having many books in the glass house, and since the books are from the Unmentionable Times, he will probably find the word there.
This is close to what I think the house that Equality and Liberty found looks like: