Chapter 219 - Kelat Auction House (2)
“Tsk. Uncle isn’t fair. Right, Chirpy?”
Sesha held Nike in her arm with a frustrated face. Her red cheeks puffed up like balloons.
When Sesha first found out that she had an uncle, she was elated.
Her uncle was generous, like she imagined her dad would be, and he made a lot of delicious food for her. And sometimes, he secretly gave her snacks when Brahm wasn’t looking.
The thing called cotton candy that he made for her was so good that she kept on begging for it, but he was really unfair when he said he wouldn’t make more because she would get cavities.
But she was still grateful to him for responding to her and reading her bedtime stories.
But these days, it was extremely rare to meet her uncle.
He said something about being busy with things.
And seeing how Brahm was also focusing on it, it seemed like it was actually really important. Because Sesha was brighter than other kids her age, she caught on that what they were doing was for her.
So in front of Yeon-woo and Brahm, she pretended like she was fine.
But it wasn’t like all her boredom completely disappeared, either. She was still a child, not even 10 years old yet. She was just a child who wanted to play.
Of course, she wasn’t as bored as she was on the 21st floor.
Edora often came to play with her, and the One-horned tribe people adored her.
At first, they were scary because they had horns, but after realizing they were all kind people, she was able to get along with them just fine.
And she was able to make friends with people her age. There were even boys that fought over her.
More than anything, she met her best friend, Nike. He was a friend that listened to everything she said. Nike was so cute that Sesha always took him with her wherever she went.
Nike sighed at being treated like a doll, but sometimes, he felt empty when he wasn’t in Sesha’s arms.
And there were things that he had to correct sometimes too.
[I’m not Chirpy; call me Ni…..]
“No. Chirpy is Chirpy!”
Sesha pulled Nike closer to her and shook her head from side to side.
Nike shut his beak. He felt wronged. He had worked so hard to escape that name! Returning to that name made him feel miserable. Whether it was the uncle or his niece—everyone in this household was the same.
But he still understood how Sesha felt, so he stroked her head with his wing.
[Then what do you want Uncle to do for you?]
“Mm, mm, mmm…..!”
Sesha wrinkled her adorable face, deep in thought. She was just mad that her uncle didn’t play with her, and it wasn’t like she didn’t like him. Rather, she liked him too much, so she just wanted him to do more for her.
Her eyes sparkled like she thought of something.
“I want him to make cotton candy!”
“Yeah yeah! Cotton candy tastes so good! Totally!”
She was drooling, like she could already taste it.
Nike grinned, wiping her mouth.
She was adorable.
Except for the fact that she called him Chirpy.
[That’s what I heard.]
Yeon-woo smiled bitterly as he looked at Nemesis, who he hadn’t seen a while.
Nike had delivered Sesha’s complaints to Nemesis through their connection.
Yeon-woo put down his pen and turned pensive.
These days, the time he spent with his niece had definitely decreased. He had been busy, pulling all-nighters because of the last of the operation with the Philosopher’s Stone.
‘I’ve been dumb.’
Yeon-woo blamed himself.
What was the reason he made the Philosopher’s Stone? It was to make Sesha happy. He’d been busy with things and made Sesha feel lonely. He put the cart before the horse.
Thinking that he should take better care of Sesha from now on, he wondered what he should do to apologize to her.
He could make her cotton candy, but he wanted to do something fancier. And it wasn’t good for her anyway.
Just then, he felt Nemesis’s gaze on him.
“But why aren’t you next to Nike?”
[…..Ahem! That’s not important right now.]
Nemesis couldn’t bring himself to say that he felt drained after playing with Sesha.
Unlike Nike, who could just stay in Sesha’s arms because he was small, he was just a plaything to her.
He had to fly with her on his head, play hide and seek with her, or show her magic. He had to do all kinds of annoying and difficult things for her. And he felt even more drained when she called him Krrung after that.
‘The uncle and the niece both…..’
Sesha was a good and kindhearted child, but taking care of children was still tiring.
Yeon-woo grinned looking at Nemesis.
He felt like he understood why Nemesis was being like that.
Brahm closed the book he was reading and contemplated. It was a book that he borrowed from the Head Elder, who had become one of his closest friends.
Lending books was allowed, so long as they weren’t Mugong scrolls. The book that he was reading was about the Tower’s history and politics.
He enjoyed reading books in his free time since he was a scholar, but Sesha was more important to him than knowledge.
Brahm shortly sighed after hearing that Sesha seemed to be lonely these days.
Yeon-woo was trying to find a solution to the problem, but actually, Brahm was more clueless about these kinds of things than Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo sighed. What should they do? It would’ve been easier if Sesha was a boy instead. He could just think of what he himself liked to do when he was younger. Back in those days, he and his brother enjoyed playing with robots their father brought them.
But since it was a little girl they were talking about, he didn’t have any idea what he should do.
Soon, he would be even busier dealing with things about the Walpurgisnacht. He wanted to play with Sesha until then.
He thought it would be easy if he thought about his ex-girlfriend’s daughter that he played with, but since Sesha was actually related to him, he wanted to do more for her.
What should he do?
He decided that he needed to find another person to get advice from.
“…..How about telling her that I don’t know how to do these kinds of things?”
Yeon-woo felt uncomfortable for the first time seeing Edora brightly smiling at him.
He had asked because as a girl, she might know more. But instead of answering, Edora just continued to laugh.
“I guess there are some things you struggle with. It’s funny.”
“…..I’m also human.”
Edora just soundlessly laughed again. She could feel Yeon-woo’s flusteredness too. He acted like a cold doll all the time, but it seemed like he wasn’t like that towards his only relative.
And at the same time, she was glad to see this human side of Yeon-woo. She felt like the distance between them that had closed after she saw his bare face had just closed even more.
‘Should I thank Sesha for this?’
Edora remembered how Sesha had asked her so confidently, and she unwittingly grinned.
Her mind had only been on how Yanu’s killer still wasn’t caught even after the Martial King stepped up, and she felt like her head was cleared, thanks to Yeon-woo and Sesha.
“If you don’t have anything to suggest, I’ll just leave.”
Edora realized that she had taken the teasing too far, and she reached out to grab Yeon-woo’s arm.
“I think that you shouldn’t overthink it.”
Yeon-woo paused while getting up.
“Being genuine is more important.”
“Yes. So don’t feel overburdened. It’ll just make it harder.”
But ‘genuineness’ was hard for Yeon-woo.
Edora shook her head seeing Yeon-woo not being able to answer her. It was obvious. The person in front of her eyes was a fool for his niece.
“Then how about this?”
Yeon-woo’s voice was delivered over the connection.
Nike shot his head up. Life swirled in his bored eyes. He didn’t have to be a doll anymore!
[Sesha. Master says to come because he has something yummy to give you. Do you wanna go?]
“Uncle did? Yeah! I wanna go!”
In case she changed her mind, Nike quickly grabbed her shoulders with his claws and began to fly in the air.
“Ahahaha! I’m flying! Zoommmm!”
Flying in the sky was one of the activities that Sesha enjoyed most these days. It was more fun flying on Nemesis because it felt like riding an amusement park ride, but it was also fun flying with Nike.
Like Sesha said, they ‘zoomed’ and arrived where Yeon-woo told them to.
It was a garden that the two frequently walked together. Next to Yeon-woo, there was a table.
Sesha ran and jumped into Yeon-woo’s arms.
Jumping into her uncle’s arms was the most fun thing to do, second only to flying in the sky. It was so nice because it was sturdy and warm.
“Did you have fun?”
Yeon-woo always spoke coldly, but to his niece, at least, he was different. He spoke warmly and softly.
“Yeah yeah! Chirpy played with me!”
Yeon-woo stroked her head. Sesha was adorable, like a puppy, grinning with her head lifted.
Was there any child in the world that was as cute as her? There definitely wasn’t. She was his niece, but she was just too adorable.
He was already worried about what to do if she brought home a boy.
No, no. These days, children are fast. It suddenly occurred to him that he needed to take care of the boys in the One-horned tribe first.
“Uncle, I’m hungry!”
Looking at her eyes that urged him to give her a snack, Yeon-woo grinned.
“Today, I made something else.”
“Something else? What what?”
“Do you remember the ice cream you ate last time?”
“Yeah! That was soooooo gooooood!”
Sesha shouted with her arms spread out. It was cold, but so sweet and tasty that she remembered her eyes getting bigger at the time.
And there was more than one flavor too. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, among others. Thanks to that, she had eaten that for 2 weeks straight as a snack.
“It’s a cake that I made with that.”
“C, Cake? W, With ice cream?”
Sesha widened her eyes like she discovered a rare holy artifact. There was something like that in this world? The formula ‘ice cream + cake = something very very delicious!’ filled her head. Her tail wagged happily.
Yeon-woo couldn’t stop smiling because Sesha was so cute.
As he quietly set her down, he opened Intrenian to pull out a fork and a plate with ice cream cake on it.
Sesha rushed to sit on the chair and lifted the fork. As she learned from Brahm, she said ‘thank you for the snack!’ and quickly stabbed the fork into the cake. Ice cream melted quickly, so she had to eat it fast.
Her cheeks were filled like a hamster’s. She slightly shivered, as if she had swallowed too much. Her scales stood up, but as her eyes shined, she lifted the fork again.
Next to her, Yeon-woo wiped the traces of ice cream on her mouth.
The scent of flowers was carried by a soft breeze.
Even after he ran around busily, his heart warmed wherever he saw Sesha.
Just then, Nike climbed on top of Yeon-woo’s right shoulder and pressed Yeon-woo’s head with his sharp beak.
[Can I have some of that too?]
Nike was drooling. He was only a one-year-old kid.
Yeon-woo pushed another ice cream cake in front of him.
Edora’s advice was simple.
To leave a day out of his schedule for Sesha.
She said that was enough.
Yeon-woo thought that wouldn’t be enough, but he quickly realized that Edora was right.
Sesha didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day. It was the smile that he wanted to see.
And like Edora said, what Sesha needed was attention.
After the sun had set, Yeon-woo was telling Sesha a story on her bed, remembering what his mother had told him back when he was younger. The story was ‘The Sun and the Moon.’ [TN: Here’s a link to the story for those of you who are interested: http://asianfolktales.unescoapceiu.org/folktales/read/korea_2.htm]
“Hahaha! That’s ridiculous! The tiger is so stupid! Of course he’ll slide down if he rubs oil on the tree. Stupid!”
Sesha burst out laughing at the brother’s plan and the failing tiger. Then, her eyes sparkled when she heard that the siblings became the sun and the moon after taking the rope into the sky.
Suddenly, Sesha asked Yeon-woo a question.
“Is Dad also a star like the sun and the moon?”
For a moment, Yeon-woo couldn’t speak. His eyes widened.
Sesha faintly smiled.
“Mom said so. Dad became a star and is watching over Sesha all the time. So I shouldn’t do anything bad, and if I wish on the star, my wish will be delivered to Dad too!”
In the story, the younger sister became the sun, and the older brother became the moon.
Yeon-woo thought the story might be theirs. His brightly shining younger brother, the sun, and himself, who quietly followed behind him like the moon.
The sun shone its rays too much and became a star. The moon that was quietly following after the sun was becoming a half moon from a crescent moon. And some time after, it would become a full moon.
“Of course. Dad’s always looking out for you.”
Yeon-woo smiled faintly and stroked Sesha until she fell asleep.
He got out the pocket watch from his pocket and rubbed it. He could feel its rough edges on his hand.
It was a silent and cozy night.