Kidnapped Dragons - Chapter 70
“That was a nice, short lecture.”
“I know right.”
Kaeul walked out through the exit with her friends and laughed.
There was a lecture on ‘Spirit Beasts and Taming’ today. Animals that harboured mana in their bodies and awakened to a blessing were called spirit beasts. Originally, it was meant to be a 2-hour lecture, but it ended when they were 30 minutes into the lecture today, so the cadets were in a good mood.
“By the way, you know how the professor was in a hurry. Did something happen?”
“From what I heard, I think there was an issue with the spirit beast breeding centre.”
One of the cadets widened their eyes with shock.
“Well, they’ll figure it out somehow right. Anyway, we have some free time; do you want to go ride a d-pang*?”
“D-pang? Let’s go.”
While the cadets were excitedly sharing a conversation, Kaeul asked.
“Me too, me too! But what’s a d-pang?”
Hearing that, the cadets became flustered.
“Nn? Why, why?”
“It’s a kind of ride, that goes up and down.”
“Hmm… but there’s one problem.”
“What is it?”
“It’s inside the entertainment district…”
Thinking to herself, ‘Ah I see’, Kaeul gave a nod.
In the past, Yu Jitae had told her to avoid coming into contact with reporters at all cost, with a rare serious expression. Thus, Kaeul could not visit the entertainment district during this time, because people unrelated to Lair were allowed into the entertainment area.
There would be reporters in that place, and although unfortunate, there was nothing she could do about it.
“I’m fine, so go and have fun.”
“Un. See you tomorrow Kaeul.”
After sending her friends on the way, Kaeul sat down alone on a bench in a nearby park. Then, she started humming a song and flapped her legs back and forth.
She could see her own breath forming a mist. The winter sky seemed very tall, and the leafless branches appeared rather empty.
That was when something moved behind the bushes.
Kaeul widened her eyes.
What was itt?
She walked up with curiosity and observed what was inside.
There she saw a bundle of yellow fur through the gaps between the leaves, which quickly ran away. “Ah, helloo” said Kaeul, but the furry creature distanced itself without a response.
That was when Yu Jitae appeared.
“Ah, yes ahjussi!”
Even while on the way back, Kaeul seemed quite disappointed, and repeatedly turned around.
The furry ball was already long gone.
The day after was a weekend.
Whenever it was mealtime, Gyeoul ran into Bom’s room with a beaming smile.
She opened her treasure box – Bom’s drawer. Inside was a pile of leaflets. Scanning through them, Gyeoul decided on the menu with a bright smile and ran towards Yu Jitae.
Gyeoul carefully handed the leaflet over to him.
Recently, she had started gaining more interest in food and was trying all sorts of new dishes. So yesterday, they had eaten flounder sashimi; salmon sashimi the day before, and had gotten yellowtail sashimi before that.
…What sashimi would it be today? Thinking that, Yu Jitae received it.
On top of the plate inside the leaflet, there were several pink fleshes of fish. Next to that was boiled pork and there were neatly arranged kimchis in the middle of the plate.
It was a Korean-style dish and its name was…
Was it okay to feed her this? Yu Jitae pondered for some time.
She was a blue dragon that usually ate fish instead of snacks, so he hadn’t stopped her from eating sashimi before, but ‘skate’ was a different story.
While wearing a smile, Gyeoul tilted her head.
“Alright. But you can leave some food today.”
Since she usually ate everything on the plate, Yu Jitae told her that.
Soon, the delivery came.
And when she smelled ‘samhab*’ for the first time in her life, confusion appeared on Gyeoul’s face, as she looked up at him.
Fermented skate contained with it the smell of ammonia, and it would be an unfamiliar smell to Gyeoul, who didn’t go to the toilet herself.
“You can’t eat it?”
Even then, Gyeoul carefully raised her spork, and with stiff movements, she picked up a piece of skate sashimi and slowly placed it into her mouth.
She chewed it once.
It was a culture shock. For some reason, the sashimi was crunchy. It was extremely salty, sour and, and…
Something was coming up…!
Gyeoul squinted her eyes and sniffed her nose. Her hand holding the spork didn’t know where to go, as a drop of tear soon appeared in her eyes.
As expected, it seemed to have been a fail. It was a great dish to people that enjoyed that flavour, but was a terrible one to those that didn’t.
After coming to herself, Gyeoul held the spork upside down, and started glaring at the skate sashimi. With a teary pair of eyes, she looked at Yu Jitae, then glared at the food. While biting on her lips, her eyes didn’t know where to look.
“Have the meat. I’ll eat this.”
When Yu Jitae raised a bunch of skate sashimis with his chopsticks, Gyeoul suddenly held tightly onto his sleeves.
“I can eat it.”
Shake shake shake shake.
Gyeoul frantically stopped him. Her facial expression was considerably grim and resolute, as if she was stopping him from eating poisonous food.
Even today, the Regressor had no idea what was up with the child, but what was clear was that he had to eat this later.
That was when Kaeul opened the door and walked in. She looked a bit energyless today.
“You seem to have no energy.”
“Ah, it’s nothing… ohh! What’s this. Meat and sashimi?”
He ordered a large size so there was still plenty remaining. With sparkling eyes, Kaeul sat down on her seat but her expression soon became the same as Gyeoul.
“Ahjussi. Can you give me one second.” said Bom, with a fairly serious expression.
“Your ear please…”
What was it.
Yu Jitae remained still, so Bom walked up till she was in front of one of his ears.
She opened her mouth and…
Suddenly, his ear was bitten.
Feeling perplexed in an instant, Yu Jitae pulled his head back and found Bom watching him with a slightly elated look on her face.
“…I thought you had a question.”
“When did I say that?”
As Yu Jitae shook his head in resignation, the excited Bom chuckled out loud.
“Haa… that was fun… anyway, that was a joke. I actually have something to say regarding Kaeul.”
“Yes. She looked kind of gloomy these days. I think she might need some of your help, ahjussi.”
Bom said that with a mysterious expression.
Yu Jitae remembered how Kaeul had been looking through the bushes the day before when she was alone. Maybe she was looking for something. And thinking back, she had appeared powerless ever since, and since she always had her energy overflowing out, even Yu Jitae could spot the anomaly.
There must have been something in there.
He found Kaeul, who was staring outside from the veranda.
Kaeul was startled and fluttered her arms around because he hadn’t given signs of his approach.
“What are you doing.”
“Ah, nothing. I was just looking outside.”
Her body was facing the entertainment district. Perhaps she wanted to go there and play, but there were time periods where outsiders of Lair weren’t allowed in, so that shouldn’t be the case since she could visit it then.
“Why. Is there something there?”
“So there is.”
“…Umm, t, there is nothing though!”
I see. So there was something.
“What is it.”
“Uhmm. That, uhh… actuallyy.”
Kaeul carefully opened her mouth.
“There’s a baby chicken.”
“A baby chicken?”
“Yes, a baby chicken. It comes out there a lot.”
The direction she was pointing at, was the middle area between the entertainment and the academy district, and was also where he had picked her up a few days ago.
“It’s a wild baby chicken. I see it often, but feels like it’s not opening its heart up to me.”
Seeing a wild baby chicken often?
Yu Jitae tilted his head.
It was cold, and the wintery weather even froze the puddles of water in the streets. A baby chicken wasn’t an animal that could be seen often in the city, in a weather like this.
So it probably wasn’t a normal baby chicken.
“In any case, I saw it three to four times, but it ran away every single time. I was just worried and wanted to help because of the cold weather.”
“Hmm. I see.”
“So you know. There’s this thing I really want to ask.”
“When you meet someone for the first time, how do you open their hearts up?”
He reflected on his own experiences. When meeting someone for the first time, he would often point swords and guns at them.
…This wasn’t a good choice.
Then what else would there be; when he first met Bom, he had threatened her, and in Yeorum’s case, Bom was the one that started the conversation. And when he first met Kaeul…
“Why? Do you have a good idea?”
He had lured her in with food.
“Ohh…! Ahjussi you’re a genius…!”
That night, Yu Jitae threw three eggs into a pot of boiling water. After boiling for around 10 minutes,
He took the hard-boiled eggs out and separated the egg yolks. When he looked it up, it seemed that yolks were used to feed baby chickens. For a split second, he thought it was rather ironic to feed eggs to baby chickens, but they apparently liked it.
Then, he headed to the academy district with Kaeul and Gyeoul.
According to Kaeul, the baby chicken appeared in the bushes in front of the school building everyday for the past few days, during this period of time.
Kaeul hid herself behind the bushes, but her gold-coloured hair was very eye-catching so she was still easy to find. Yu Jitae also killed his presence and crouched down next to her, as Gyeoul also wore a rather serious expression.
After they waited like that for some time.
Something appeared from the other side.
A bright yellowish fur, an ivory beak and a black pair of eyes; as well as its size that was slightly bigger than a fist.
Its furry body was smeared all around with dust, and appeared extremely dirty.
It was a fairly large baby chicken, and Yu Jitae saw through it with a glance.
That was a spirit beast. However, it wasn’t from Earth, and it must have been taken from the dungeons or something while it was still inside an egg.
After chirping a few times, the baby chicken brought its beak down to the ground. There was food waste in the nearby areas, and it seemed to be eating those leftovers.
Gyeoul pulled on Yu Jitae’s sleeves.
Right. It really came.
Then, Gyeoul held onto Kaeul’s skirt, as Kaeul whispered with her body frozen stiff.
‘Y, you’re very flustered, Gyeoul…! C, calm down. Gyeoul. Calm…!’
She was several times more flustered herself.
Huu, haa, huu, haa.
After breathing in and out, she carefully took out a bowl from her pocket, and approached the baby chicken.
The baby chicken urgently raised its head up, and became stiff. Due to coming into contact several times with the baby chicken, Kaeul knew how quickly it escaped. Thus, she pushed the bowl forward instead of speaking for a long time.
“E, eat this… It’s food. Food.”
Since she had been rejected several times during the past few days, Kaeul was considerably careful with her movements.
“You’re hungry right…? This, is delicious…”
When Kaeul carefully took a step closer towards it, the baby chicken kept a fixed distance apart from her, and took a step back. Nervously, Gyeoul held tightly onto Yu Jitae’s sleeves, while Kaeul placed the bowl down before pulling herself back again.
“T, there you go.”
Only when Kaeul disappeared from its sight did the baby chicken sneak up and point its beak at the food.
Watching on from the other side of the bush, Kaeul gripped her hand into a tight fist.
After emptying the bowl, the baby chicken waddled with a swaying butt and disappeared into the distance.
Kaeul prepared its food once a day ever since that happened. Although the baby chicken was still cautious of Kaeul, it didn’t stay vigilant against the food, and diligently consumed the feed with a dirty beak.
And once it finished the food, it would chirp once before walking away.
“Uwahh…! It emptied the food today as well!”
Kaeul appeared very proud.
“Uuhh, but I still feel it’s a shame.”
“I want to touch it. So furry and… it’s dirty as well. I want to wipe it with a wet tissue or something.”
Yu Jitae thought to himself, whether it would be dangerous or not.
The baby chicken was a spirit beast, not a monster, and such bird-type spirit beasts were generally mild. After becoming adults, bird spirit beasts also formed a society similar to humans, alongside the bird-people.
So it should be fine, and he decided to be less concerned about it.
That day, the baby chicken emptied the bowl again, before chirping as if to say thanks. On the way back, Kaeul opened her mouth with a smile.
“I think it’s fine now. I should be fine by myself!”
But the next day.
The baby chicken didn’t show up.
Kaeul, who had come alone with the bowl, waited for a long time. Since she had seen it everyday for almost a week, the fact that it suddenly stopped coming made her feel worried.
However, the baby chicken did not show up till the end.
Carefully, Kaeul walked to the place where the baby chicken always stood and brought her nose next to it.
Taking in the smell of the spirit beast, she concentrated and found a direction to walk in while reflecting on the smell. After walking for a long time, Kaeul’s feet came to a stop.
The smell of the baby chicken was coming from somewhere inside the ‘entertainment district’.
There was also the smell of other spirit beasts mixed with it.