It was at that time that Cale realized that he did not see Raon and sighed.
“…He seems to be more serious about this than I thought.”
Cale looked at the < The First Snow is Soft! > he had finished and looked forward. On, who had brought the fairy tale to him, was looking up at him.
On avoided Cale’s gaze and slowly mumbled.
Well, she mumbled loud enough so that he could hear everything she said.
“I wish Hong would like snow, nya.”
Cale chuckled. On, in her kitten form, gently hit Cale’s calf a few times.
They heard Hong’s voice outside the room at that moment.
On looked at Cale’s face once and started heading toward the door with elegance, as if she was relieved.
“I think it would be fun, nya.”
She walked out after leaving that comment.
“…What is fun about it?”
Cale looked at the spot On had left with a baffled and irritated expression on his face but there was nobody to respond to him.
Cale leaned into the soft couch back and leisurely mumbled.
“Well, I will just think about it when it snows.”
Honestly speaking, On was having a similar thought as well.
That was why she couldn’t help but flinch after following Hong to find their youngest, Raon.
“Mary, I’m sorry.”
Raon was apologizing to Mary.
“It’s okay, Raon-nim. I can go alone.”
“I promised to go tour the forest with you today but there is something I have to do.”
“I understand, Raon-nim. But may I ask what it is you have to do?”
Mary, as well as On and Hong who were coming toward Raon, looked at him with confusion. Wasn’t it Raon’s hobby to roam through the Forest of Darkness with Mary and pick up interesting things?
It was the first time he declined his favorite past-time.
Raon let out a short laugh.
“I am great and mighty!
Raon added one more comment.
“You can look forward to it.”
He then headed toward the basement of the building alone without saying anything else to Mary, On, or Hong.
“I’m curious, nya!”
“I am curious as well.”
Hong and Mary looked at Raon’s back with curiosity but could not follow him. It seemed as if Raon didn’t want to tell them about it.
“…That’s the laboratory……”
Only On watched Raon’s fluttering wings with a mysterious gaze as Raon headed toward Rosalyn’s laboratory in the basement.
Hong, now in his human form, walked up to Mary and pulled at her sleeve.
“You can go with me, nya-”
“That sounds great.”
Mary responded without hesitation and looked at On. On shook her head to decline.
“Noona, then the two of us are going to go!”
Hong headed toward the Forest of Darkness with Mary.
On, who was left alone, debated for a moment before moving toward where she expected Ron to be.
* * *
Raon knew that he was very smart and crafty.
There was no way he wouldn’t know that.
He had almost instantly learned reading and writing when Rosalyn taught it to him and information about what magic was and what he could do came naturally to him once the mana restricting chains disappeared.
‘The snow that Raon-nim is talking about, mm, that’s a bit difficult.’
Rosalyn had smiled awkwardly when Raon explained the first snow he wanted.
“It needs to be cold but warm… It needs to disappear instantly but be soft… But it also needs to be firm.”
Raon mumbled to himself as he moved the mana around him.
‘Rosalyn, tell me even if it is difficult! I am a great and mighty Dragon! I will learn everything well and know how to do it!’
Raon then saw Rosalyn smiling the same way Choi Han and Ron sometimes smiled at him. On had smiled in a similar fashion while rubbing Raon’s smooth head.
Of course, Cale did something else instead of smiling like that.
‘You truly are a great and mighty four year old Dragon.’
Cale would comment like that with a stoic look on his face.
Raon couldn’t help but open up his shoulders proudly each time Cale did that.
“That’s right. I am a great and mighty four year old!”
Raon snickered and recalled what Rosalyn told him after contemplating for a long time.
‘Raon-nim, I think that no matter what you make, it will end up the first snow that you want.’
She then smiled brightly at him.
“As expected, the smart Rosalyn knows something.
Hehe.” Raon laughed before writing something in large letters on a parchment, sticking it in front of the laboratory door, and tightly locking it.
< The great and mighty Raon Miru is currently using the lab! >
< Don't come in! >
He then started experimenting.
An extremely gentle breeze filled with mana started to roam around Raon because he knew he shouldn’t destroy Rosalyn’s study location.
Raon closed his eyes.
It was dark but not dark at all.
It was like the stars he saw once he came out of the cave.
Snow sparkling like the stars was coming down in the darkness Raon was imagining.
Small white pebbles slowly started appearing from within the mana breeze and swirled.
Raon opened his eyes. His dark blue eyes were sparkling with anticipation.
Raon had an identical smile to Cale’s as he delicately and elaborately controlled his mana.
Drops of sweat started to fill Raon’s forehead.
“…Soft things are harder!”
Unlike large hail, swirling snow storms or whirlwinds… These extremely small pebbles, the gently falling snow, and the wind that isn’t cold… It was harder to make things weak.
“But it is easy!”
It was a lot of work but not enough to call it difficult.
Raon thought about the size of the first snow that he wanted. Snow that falls over the Forest of Darkness, Harris Village, and the Henituse territory.
Gently controlling mana in such a vast range was an issue that, even as a Dragon, the four year old Raon had to consider a lot of things.
It was even more complicated because he was not trying to destroy his enemies or an island.
He also wanted to do it perfectly.
He wanted it exactly as he had seen in the fairy tale. He wanted to perfectly recreate it.
Raon continued to chuckle but he did not realize it.
The black Dragon was enjoying this moment.
‘This is nothing!’
The time he spent imprisoned in the cave… He had been unable to do anything himself during that terrible time that he didn’t even want to remember.
There were barely any chances to learn, feel, or even think.
He had many opportunities to think about how to escape from these people who imprisoned him or how to defeat these terrible bastards, but… He didn’t know what joy or happiness was to think about that.
However, the problem now was that there were too many things for him to think about and look forward to doing.
Raon, who had been practicing his delicate control of mana in a large area, opened his eyes wide. Raon pulled back his mana and placed both of his front paws on his chubby belly.
“Even my tummy is great and mighty! It is extremely accurate!”
Raon looked at the clock.
It was snack time.
“The human said that you must always remember to eat!”
Raon checked to make sure nothing in Rosalyn’s lab was scattered or messy and quickly headed toward the kitchen.
He then tilted his head in confusion.
“Delicious food making Beacrox, where is everybody?”
Beacrox didn’t say anything and simply placed a basket full of cookies on the table in front of Raon.
Beacrox did give them desserts during snack time despite talking about maintaining a healthy diet, but he had never given so many to Raon at once.
Raon found this to be odd but quickly hugged the basket with his two short front paws and tilted his head in confusion.
“This is weird!”
On and Hong were not here.
A large basket of cookies for On and Hong was placed on the table.
Beacrox sighed and gave a short response as if he was talking to himself.
“Hong with Mary. On with my father.”
A thunder-like noise flowed out of Raon’s stomach again and Beacrox placed a cup of warm sweet honey tea next to Raon’s basket with a cold look on his face.
“Do you know what the human is doing right now?”
“I don’t know.”
“Alright! I’ll stop making you talk! Go cook!”
Raon debated whether to go eat with Cale since On and Hong were with Ron and Mary, but shook his head and started to eat the cookies and drink the tea alone.
‘I’ll eat quickly and go to the basement!’
Raon’s wings subconsciously fluttered.
Beacrox was staring at him but Raon did not notice.
While that was going on, Hong was looking at the sky that was slowly getting cloudier and opened his mouth.
“I want to know if Mary noona has ever seen snow, nya!”
The tone of his voice was high but the kitten-form Hong’s ears were slouching down. His eyes were doing the same.
Mary looked at Hong and calmly responded.
“I have never seen snow.”
Mary did not have the memories of her childhood and the Underground City beneath the desert where she lived had rain caused by Elementals but not snow. It was because there was a lot of farming down there.
“However, I have seen it in books.”
She had read many books about the outside world in addition to necromancer-related texts after becoming a necromancer.
Of course, she had read the fairy tale, < The First Snow is Soft! > that Raon showed her as well.
Hong let out a deep sigh.
Something seemed to be frustrating him as he pushed down on the ground with his small paws. Mary stopped walking and crouched down next to Hong.
Hong peeked at Mary. Hong saw Mary as someone who was easier to be around than the other adults. She was definitely older than him but there were times when she oddly felt like a friend.
She was the friend who didn’t speak much but carefully listened to what he had to say.
Hong mumbled in a quiet voice that was hard to understand.
“…I don’t really like snow, nya.”
“Why do you feel that way?”
“…I just do.”
“Could you tell me more?”
Hong moved over to Mary and leaned his body against the crouched Mary.
“We struggled so much during winter when I was on the run with my noona, nya. It was much harder whenever it snowed. It was hard to find food and it was so cold when we would go to bed, nya.”
The thing that was the most difficult…
Hong closed his eyes.
He recalled how they could not stay in any spot for a long time and had to keep moving while hiding away to not get caught even during raging snowstorms.
At that time…
At that moment…
In that world…
“…It was just noona and me.”
On and Hong. Only the two of them existed.
Of course, there were a lot of people and animals.
However, it was hard to see anything through the snow storm and his sister On was the only one by Hong’s side.
“I don’t like snow, nya.”
Hong finally shared his honest feelings.
Hong did not like snow very much. If asked whether he liked or hated it, he hated it.
However, he found it hard to say that to other people, especially Raon and his sister On.
“It’s fine to hate it.”
Hong raised his head.
He could see a face with black lines all around it underneath the low hide smiling at him.
“There are many things I hate as well. To be honest with you, I don’t like the night. Actually, I used to hate the night.”
Hong’s eyes opened wide.
“T, that’s not true, nya! Something is weird, nya!”
Mary went to enjoy the night time view of the Forest of Darkness with On, Hong, and Raon whenever she had time. Beacrox even stared at them some nights because the four of them spent so much time outside looking up at the night sky on nights where the stars shone so brightly that it felt as if they would fall down.
Mary reached her hand out and petted Hong’s head.
“I used to hate night time in the past.”
Mary did not know that she hated night time at the time. In fact, she only learned that she had hated something once she started to like the night.
“However, I like it quite a lot now.”
Mary petted the soft red fur as she continued speaking.
“That was why I thought long and hard about why that was the case.”
Hong urged Mary to continue as if he was curious. Mary quietly chuckled before speaking in a stiff but warm voice.
“Then I learned that the problem was not the night itself.”
Hong tilted his head from side to side as if that was hard to understand.
“The snow might not be the issue for you either, Hong.”
‘The snow might not be the issue?’
Hong rubbed against Mary as if he found it even more difficult to understand.
“And you may continue to hate snow.”
However, he stopped rubbing against Mary after hearing her voice again and looked up at her.
“And that is okay.”
“…Is it really?”
“What do you think that the young master-nim would say if you said that you don’t like snow, Hong?”
Hong blinked a few times as he thought about it.
It was obvious what Cale would say so Hong knew what to say.
“Really? Okay then.”
Hong felt some strength in his shoulders after saying what he thought Cale would say.
Mary stopped petting Hong and responded.
She shared her thoughts to Hong, who was like a younger brother or a nephew to her.
“However, if there is one thing I personally slightly wish for from you would be for you to keep your head awake and keep an open mind even if you like or hate something.”
“Keep my head awake and keep an open mind?”
Hong looked up at Mary with teary eyes as if those words were difficult to understand before nodding his head after seeing Mary’s warm smile. He then shouted energetically.
“I don’t know what that means but I will at least remember it, nya!”
“That is enough. There is no need to feel tied down by my words.”
“Mm, but I want to remember it, nya!”
Hong responded energetically and raised both paws while looking at Mary. Mary opened up her arms and picked Hong up. She then stood up.
Hong looked up at the sky. The sky was slowly turning into ash-like color starting from the north. He slightly frowned while looking at the sky but his heart was not anxious.
Instead, he wondered what his sister and Raon were doing right now.
In another part of the area, Ron was wiping the blade of a dagger the length of his finger as he opened his mouth to speak.
“It looks like you have something to say. Are you just going to keep drinking your tea?”
On the other side of the table at the seat facing Ron… On, who was seated on the couch was blowing at her tea to cool it as she drank it.
It was honey lemon tea that Ron had boiled for her. On had been asking for lemonade and honey lemon tea since some point in the past. Of course, Ron had a pretty good idea as to why she started doing that.
“I came to see you because I just wanted some tea.”
On calmly responded and blew at her tea again before taking another sip.
She seemed so focused that drinking tea seemed to be the most important thing right now, but…
Ron quietly clicked his tongue and reached toward the small table next to his chair.
Clunk. A drawer opened and Ron pulled a small box out of there. He then placed it on top of the table.
On opened the box without saying anything.
There were some dry fruits in there. The small red fruit had a nice shine to it despite being dried.
It was On’s favorite fruit.
This fruit was everywhere in this house, fresh when it was in season and either dried, jammed, or pressed as a drink during other times.
On ate the fruit while nonchalantly saying something.
“Getting hopes up too much is concerning and hating something too much is also concerning, nya.”
“A little kid like you worrying too much is also not good.”
On heard Ron respond immediately without any hesitation.
On flinched and looked at Ron. Ron didn’t even look at On as he wiped a fifth dagger so much that it glowed.
On looked at him and opened and closed her mouth without saying anything. She did that for a while before finally ending her hesitation to ask a question.
“…Do I seem not childish enough?”
Ron finally looked away from the dagger and looked at On.
On was similar to the childhood of someone else Ron knew.
Cale was like this after his mother passed away, before he became trash. Of course, this grey Cat punk in front of him was more mature and knew more about the ways of the world.
Ron looked back at his dagger.
On picked up another fruit after seeing his reaction.
She then heard Ron’s nonchalant voice.
“You’re better than the trash.”
On knew the person Ron was calling trash.
She was certain that he was talking about Cale.
Cale was someone Ron cherished as much as Beacrox. Ron saw Cale as his own child. Of course, Ron would never admit to that, but On was sharp enough to know that. How could she not know?
And Ron was saying that On was better than Cale.
“But I didn’t think the trash was bad either.”
Ron then quickly added that he didn’t think that the trash was bad either.
On quickly closed her mouth to stop her subconscious laughter. Ron’s hand stopped wiping the dagger for a moment before it resumed.
Ron did not look at On at all. However, On knew that Ron was like this because he was embarrassed.
The grandpa in front of her always got so shy whenever he told the truth. Of course, he was never like this in front of Cale.
Ron looked up at On.
‘Not like a child?’
On was drinking her honey tea and eating dry fruits again. She probably doesn’t notice it, but her legs were moving front and back unlike when she was sitting there earlier.
‘Anybody would think she’s a child so to say that she is not…’
“Pffft.” Ron laughed extremely quietly so that On would not hear and focused on his dagger.
The people at this house knew.
They knew that On was a child as well.
They knew that she came to look for them whenever she had a concern, felt lonely, or needed someone to lean on.
That was the reason that everybody in this house had one or two of the food On liked in their rooms at all times.
‘May I take this too? I don’t have anything to give On if she comes.’
Even Lock, who was now a teenager, had a box of these dried fruits in his room. Lock had come a few days ago and hesitantly asked Ron for a box of this dried fruit.
That timid kid seemed to find Ron difficult to talk to but came to look for Ron because it was related to On. Lock became quite brave when it was something related to the Wolf children, On, Hong, or Raon. Of course, Lock himself did not seem to recognize that.
“What is it?”
Ron bluntly commented to On, who was staring at him.
“The tea and the fruit are delicious.”
He slowly looked away after hearing that.
‘Looks like I need to get some more.’
Ron looked inside the now half empty box and added dried fruit to the list of things he was going to request Deputy Butler Hans to procure.
He watched On looking relaxed as she was humming while eating fruit and looked back at his dagger.
He did not notice.
He did not notice that his movements seemed quite cheerful as he wiped the dagger.
Reminder, only 1 chapter of TCF a week for June.
Everybody taking care of little On, sooooob
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