“This, this, and this- Pack it all up,” Cale said as he picked out the freshest produce among the goods in the shop like a pro. Even though he might look like someone who was casually pointing out whatever caught his sight, the goods he picked were actually the freshest and tenderest of them all.
“…What the, Y-Young master?!”
Hmm, wait… only buying a few of everything wouldn’t suffice. For a greedy eater like Glutton, this much wouldn’t be enough. Especially since she has been starving for ten thousand years. She would swallow this much in one mouthful and then demand for more food and if her demand isn’t fulfilled, there will be consequences.
A certain Rock-for-Brains had once said that “One should never, ever underestimate a hungry glutton. Ever.” They were wise words to live by.
“You know what,” Cale changed his mind and said, “Pack everything you have in your shop. I will buy it all.”
What he got in return was a wide eyed, stunned reply, “….everything?”
“Everything.” Cale stressed. When he saw the other person still staring at him in a daze, he frowned. “What are you staring at?” He clicked his tongue and asked. “Do you not want to earn money today?”
“Oh! Right!” His words immediately snapped the shop owner out of his trance. He immediately busied himself with the newest order, while Cale thought back over what he had already bought, and how much more he needed.
After calculating the exact amount of money needed to buy the amount of food that would satiate a Glutton that has been starving for ten thousand years, Cale felt pity for himself. He reluctantly patted the few gold coins left in his pocket, and let out a sigh. Spending money -that’s not his own- for his own amusement was one thing, but spending it to buy something for someone else was an entirely different thing. Cheapskate wasn’t a charitable person who’d spend money –whether it’s his own or not– on other people (even if they were his misfits, he would still be reluctant.) That’s why, he even second guessed himself, wondering if wasting precious money for satiating the hunger of someone like Glutton was worth it or not.
(Un)Fortunately, before he could back out of his own (self-proclaimed) vow of friendship (because of money no less) someone snapped him out of his thoughts.
“It’s done, Young Master!”
“..Ah, thanks,” Cale said. He then
mournfully handed the last of his allowance to the shop owner and reluctantly went on his way.
Oh my precious, precious money~
Cale thought sadly as he wiped away a fake tear and carried the bag to his next destination.
“Please come again sir!” The butcher beamed as he stared at Cale’s departing figure, utterly pleased with himself with today’s sales. He then mumbled under his breath in confusion.
“…..I wonder why Young master needs so much raw meat for.”
He then shrugged and thought to himself, “Eh, not my business.”
Cale walked all the way to the top of the hill and dropped the bag inside the fenced area, hidden behind some bushes so as not to bait any passing thief (Somewhere beneath the ocean, a certain top faltered in spinning as if it were face-palming). He put the bag next to four sacks of fruits and vegetables that he had bought the moment the market had opened up. He stretched his arms and let out a sigh when he heard those satisfying cracks. Scratching the back of his head, he counted the bags and did a mental calculation of how much more food he’d need to buy to satisfy the hunger of a certain foodie.
“Tsk, tsk,” He clicked his tongue in annoyance. “There’s still a long way to go.”
He walked out of the fenced area and looked around. Seeing that the kids he had met last night still weren’t here, he went back to the market without giving any second thoughts to their whereabouts, muttering under his breath.
“Maybe I should get some liquor bottles and be done with it.” He mused, “After all, I do have to keep up that trash reputation that the kid had worked so hard to maintain.”
The moment he walked into the market (again), almost all the stall owners zeroed their eyes to him. However, instead of their usual wary looks, they now stared at him with eagerness.
…Ah, seems like the word of his fickle food spend-thrifting has reached their ears.
“Y-young Master!” A woman called out to him. Seeing him turn towards her made her flinch. “U-Uh, would you like to buy some bread?” She asked as she shakily pointed to the freshly baked breads in her shop.
“Hmm, good question,” Cale muttered under his breath. “I should buy bread too-” however, his hand brushed by his pocket, reminding him that currently, he was penniless.
“-Oh wait, I used up all my allowance already.” He let out a disappointed sigh.
“Uh…”The woman awkwardly shifted back. “Y-Young master-nim, you could-”
“Young Master Cale,” a familiar stiff voice interrupted their conversation.
Cale stared in surprise at Choi Han, who had appeared out of nowhere, followed by an orange haired butler and a few knights from the mansion who were responsible for guarding the original Cale.
“Where have you been, Young master-nim?! We’ve been looking all over for you!” the young butler –was his name Henry? Hansel? Hm….He didn’t remember…– “We should return, Young Mas-”
“Ah, perfect timing, Choi Han!” Cale smiled and patted Choi Han’s shoulder, ignoring the babbling butler with the ease of a misfit who was used to a certain crazy kid’s ramblings. “Do me a favour, will you?” He asked, not noticing the frown on Choi Han’s face. “Why don’t you take a knight, go back to the mansion and ask Ron to send me my allowance?” For some reason Choi Han stiffened at his words.
“Don’t worry, no one will suspect you of lying.” Cale reassured him. “Things like this have happened before.” Well, more like the original Cale had once caused a mess after a drunken episode and had left the tab on Count Henituse’s head after drinking in the bar, leaving his elderly butler to solve the mess.
“Young master!” Hans –oh right, that was the name of the butler!– said in exasperation. “There’s no need to let Sir Choi Han go on that errand, for Ron had sent me with your allowance in advance, knowing your tendencies.”
“What tendencies?” He asked the blabbering kid with a frown on his face, making the orangette yelp in terror.
Tsk, tsk, why is everyone so afraid of this kid? Just because he threw around a few bottles of alcohol?
He held out his hand, making Hans stare at him dumbly. “Money.” He asked bluntly.
Hans flinched and placed a pouch of money in his hands. “H-Here,” He said. The moment the pouch touched his palm, Cale yanked it towards him.
He then started counting the coins in the bag. “Now that your job is done here, you can go back now.” He waved a hand in a dismissive way, and then pulled it back to eagerly continue counting the money in his hands.
“B-But we were asked to bring you back safe and sound!” Hans argued back. The Count is very worried, Young master-nim, and Ron especially asked us to look for you.”
“I still have something to do. I’ll be back later.” He was too engrossed in money counting that he gave them a half-hearted reply. “You all can return, I’ll be fine on my own.”
Hans shook his head. “We cannot do that, Young Master Cale. The Countess has ordered us to escort you back safely.”
Cale nodded in satisfaction after counting money and put the pouch of gold coins in his pocket. He then turned to Hans and replied, “In that case, leave Choi Han behind to escort me, while everyone else can head back to the mansion and inform them of my safety.”
“I do not want you guys around,” Cale smiled, though it didn’t reach his eyes. “Is that clear?”
For some reason, Hans broke out into cold sweat when he saw that sharp smile on Cale’s face. Somehow, the young master looked more intimidating right now than any of the times he had been violent while drinking.
“…..Yes, Young master-nim.” Hans bowed to him and backed off. The orangette then went away along with the guards without even daring to look back into his eyes.
Cale watched them until they were out of his sight, and only then did he move his eyes away from them. He then turned back towards the baker who he had been talking to before he had been interrupted by the others.
He smiled reassuringly at the woman who had been silently watching the whole situation unfold.
“Now then,” he asked pleasantly, “I believe we were in the middle of a deal?”
“Y-Yes?” the baker asked.
He pulled out a gold coin and placed it on the counter of her shop. “Would this much be enough for all the bread and baked goods in your shop?”
“Yes, of course.” Seeing the money, her demeanor relaxed slightly.
“Then pack it all up.”
As she packed, Cale wandered around the nearby stalls and bought three more bags of fruits and vegetables, two more bags of bread, another bag full of meat, a big barrel of milk and lastly, a few bottles of alcohol just for the heck of it.
Only after everything was packed and ready to be transported did Cale finally feel like passing the bare minimum requirements to satiate the hunger of someone like Glutton.
“Alright, you’re up next, Choi Han.” Cale patted his back and gestured to the stack of food packed before them in the middle of the bustling marketplace that fine late morning.
Choi Han wordlessly picked up the bags one by one, and effortlessly carried them without breaking a sweat. Once again, Cale cursed his glass plate that made him unable to carry even one bag of groceries. Earlier this morning, his limbs had ached by the time he had managed to collect the four sacks as he carried them one at a time. Just looking at Choi Han nonchalantly carrying the stuff that could easily break his bones made him envious.
(“Not all men are born equal.” Thief had once said morosely when she had drunk quite a bit. Back then, he hadn’t thought much of it, but now, for some reason, her words were resonating deep within him.)
Shaking his head to get rid of such thoughts, he gestured to Choi Han to follow him.
“Come on, porter,” He said jokingly. “Our destination awaits us.”
Choi Han wordlessly followed him, his dark eyes never straying from Cale’s back.
“Stop,” Cale stopped Choi Han at the foot of the hill. “You can put them here. I will take them from here on,” Cale said.
Choi Han stared at his thin arms dubiously and asked, “Are you sure?”
Cale glared at him, offended by the fact that this brat dared to look down on the great and mighty cheapskate. “Oi.”
Choi Han put down the bags he was carrying and then held up his empty hands placatingly. “I did not mean that in a demeaning way, Cale-nim.”
“I know.” That’s the only reason you’re alive, you brat. Well, other than the fact that you resemble that swindler, that is. If not for those reasons, he’d have long since burned him to a crisp for his offense.
Seeing that Choi Han was still looking at him skeptically, he gritted his teeth and grabbed a sack to show his strength. Unfortunately, he had picked up the bag full of vegetables, the weight of which strained the muscles of his shoulders. However, he didn’t let the exertion show on his face and said coolly-
“See? I can handle them myself.”
“….If you say so.” Choi Han still didn’t look convinced, but he didn’t push it further. “I take it, I don’t have to follow you from here on?” Choi Han asked.
“No,” Cale replied. “Instead, I want you to stand here and guard. Don’t let anyone else approach until I’m done with my business. Stay here until I’m back.”
Cale paused for a moment. “And don’t you dare follow me. If you do, I’d know.”
Choi Han stared at him, dubious, not actually believing his words.
Cale shrugged. “Think whatever you want. My only advice for you is to not take my warning lightly.”
Cale tapped his foot and put forth his condition, “If you sincerely help me with this, I’ll help you in return with whatever you need -as long as it does not clash with my morals.”
“You’d help me? Really?” Choi Han asked warily. “In return for not poking my nose into your business and keeping guard against intruders? With no strings attached?”
“With no strings attached.” Cale agreed. “So, deal?”
“Alright.” Choi Han nodded. He then pointed his chin towards the top of the hill and asked, “What about the kids?”
Kids? What kids-
….What a terrifying guy. He could sense the kids’ weak presence even with this distance?
“Don’t worry about them.” Cale said to him. “They won’t bother you.”
Choi Han pressed his lips into a thin line before just giving a nod in agreement. A moment of silence passed as he eyed all the bags of food curiously.
At first, he had thought that this young master was going to distribute the food to the people of the slums. However, they had walked past the slum area and walked to this remote hill. How strange.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what are you going to do with all this food?”
Cale chuckled and heaved up the sack over his shoulder. He then answered in an annoying tone-
“It’s a se-c-ret~”
Cheapskate’s mental theatre-
Choi Han: Cale-nim, I don’t think you’d be able to carry such heavy bags on your own. Let me-
Cheapskate!Cale: Who the heck are you calling weak?! (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻