Chapter 7

 

“Wah~ What kind of smell is this?”

 

A middle-aged man beside Layla muttered. Layla’s shoulder slightly twitched when she heard him, but she pretended to be fine and hurried on her feet.

 

“Someone just farted, right?”

 

At the voice of a man who raised his voice higher, Layla tugged herself back on her head. As if that was the starting point, similar voices began to come from all around her.

 

“Is it? What is this smell?”

 

“I’ve never smelled anything like this in my forty years of life.”

 

“I’ve never smelled anything like this in my fifty years of life!”

 

“Sh*t! It’ll really rot the nose!”

 

Layla pulled her hood over her head even deeper. And lowered her head even more. She just hoped that the shop that she was looking for would show up soon.

 

‘There!’

 

Layla, who found the butcher shop in one of the rows of shops that lined up next to each other, exclaimed in delight inside. There, she would buy the meat first, then the oil lamp, and her business was over. Once she’s done with her chores, Layla could then return to her cabin.

 

Into her secluded cabin where no one would swear at her for being stinky.

 

“Pork, one pound.”

 

Before she could even arrive in front of the butcher, she quickly ordered.

 

Get to her destination on foot as soon as possible, Place her order as soon as possible, and get her order as soon as possible.

 

Layla’s plan was simple.

 

“Yes~ one pound of pork. Which part would you like?”

 

“Ah, anything.”

 

“Aye~ Where is this anything? What are you making then?”

 

The butcher that gave off a good impression looked at Layla with a smile. He was a kind seller who wanted to find the perfect part for his customer.

 

“Roast? Stew? Or maybe pie? Ah! Eating pork as a steak is a trend nowadays… huh?”

 

The butcher’s expression changed in an instant while he was giving Layla recipes for pork. Layla’s expression, who was looking at him, stiffened as well.

 

Cough- cough- what is this smell?”

 

When the owner smelled Layla’s stench and was about to say something, Layla’s pupils trembled.

 

‘Should I run away?’

 

At that moment, Layla actually forced strength to her legs.

 

Should I just run away like this and run to another butcher shop or to the general market? If so, what if I order faster, buy things faster, and return faster?

 

“Do you have turkey meat?”

 

“Aigoo~ welcome, come in~”

 

Layla’s thoughts were interrupted by the appearance of another customer. The butcher, who was looking for the source of the smell, turned his gaze at them as well.

 

“Anyway, there’s a very big one that just came in today. Please wait a moment. I’ll take the order of the first customer. What cut of pork would you like for a pound of pork?”

 

“Stew, for stew.”

 

When the owner looked at Layla, she immediately said something.

 

She didn’t know how to classify meat according to its intended use anyway. Just boil or roast the ingredients that she has, and eat them with a pinch of salt. That was Layla’s style of dish.

 

“Yes. I understand, for stew!”

 

“Huh? What is this smell?”

 

This time the new customer, an old lady, started to sniff around.

 

Layla, who had been fiddling with the bag of shilling in her pockets so she could leave as soon as possible after paying for the meat the seller had cut into pieces, stiffened.

 

“I think I smell something rotten?”

 

The woman scanned the shop with suspicion in her eyes.

 

“Are you selling rotten meat here?”

 

“Aigoo! What are you saying!”

 

The owner of the butcher shop, who took out the meat and was slicing it, jumped up and exclaimed with a grave expression.

 

“I mean, there’s a really rotten smell right now. In this shop.”

 

“All our products are fresh. There’s no way there’s anything rotten.”

 

“Of course that’s what you’ll say. Whatever. I’ll buy it at another shop.”

 

The woman turned her head  and disappeared at a quick pace.

 

“No, this is unfair… welcome!”

 

The complaining seller, who was about to express the injustice he felt, immediately changed to greeting when another customer appeared.

 

“Here’s pork… huh?”

 

A new customer who was just about to buy meat began to wrinkle her nose instead of trying to place an order.

 

“W-would you like some pork?”

 

“No, no. Seafood sounds good for today.”

 

The man who was about to say something, left the shop with an awkward smile. He did not say anything like the woman who left the store a while ago, but he smelled something strange and must have doubted the freshness of the store.

 

“No, a stench is coming from somewhere all of the sudden…”

 

The butcher, who had already sent away two customers, said with a wrongfully accused expression.

 

Come to think of it, it wasn’t all of a sudden. The stench seemed to have started when the hooded customer appeared in front of his eyes.

 

At the owner’s suspicious gaze, Layla lowered her hood even further and avoided his gaze.

 

“Oy, is it you?”

 

“…”

 

It was clear who the butcher was asking, but Layla could not answer. She started sweating profusely from the hand holding the 100 shillings.

 

She could feel the owner’s gaze scrutinizing Layla’s movement with his eyes.

 

“Uwah, how unlucky. Which store do you think a beggar-like person is walking around? Hey! You don’t have any money, right? You were thinking of taking the meat and running away, right?”

 

He probably assumed that Layla was a vagabond. A vagabond who stank because she hadn’t washed and ordered meat because she was hungry and would run away.

 

“Get out of my shop right now!”

 

She had to turn around.

 

As the owner said, she should just get out and find another butcher shop to buy meat. Because she had money.

 

Just like her original plan, place her order quickly, buy it quickly, and return quickly…

 

‘It’s a stupid plan.’

 

Layla scoffed inside, at her plan. She couldn’t buy anything faster than her own stench spreading. There was no way she could move faster than her smell.

 

“Get out of there!”

 

As Layla stood in front of his shop stiffly,  the owner who was fuming with anger even more, stroded over and strongly pushed Layla’s shoulder.

 

There was no way that Layla, who had a small, skinny stature, would be able to beat the butcher, who had been deboning and chopping all day. Layla was pushed back and fell down on her butt.

 

And her hood, which she had worn almost down to the tip of her nose, slid off Layla as her head tilted back.

 

“Since you’ll bring bad luck everywhere. Keuk- twe!”

 

(T/N: Keuk- twe: Onomatopoeia for spitting.)

 

The butcher spat at the back of Layla’s hand, who had fallen over, as if knocking the vagabond who came to his shop was not enough.

 

Sensing a thick, sticky, unpleasant lukewarm temperature, Layla looked at the back of her hand.

 

Her blue eyes gleamed even more blue, when she thought that she was treated just like that filthy spit.

 

“You.”

 

Layla’s blue eyes stared at the man. At the sound of the voice calling him, the man turned around and looked at Layla.

 

Then he flinched for a moment at the terrifying blue eyes that emerged from Layla. Just for a short moment.

 

He gave her a nasty smile as he reconfirmed that the person in front of him was a small, skinny woman.

 

“What? What could a beggar like you do by glaring at me like that?”

 

“What if I could do something?”

 

“What?”

 

Layla imitated the man’s expression earlier, and gave out a nasty smile. Her blue eyes gleamed as if they were about to pop out.

 

“Help me stand up right away!”

 

“This crazy…”

 

“Is your head not working well? Aren’t I a stinky woman. And this woman is telling you that she could do something to you.”

 

“… What?”

The man still frowned, not understanding what Layla was talking about.

 

“When you wake up tomorrow, will you oink instead of talk? Or would maggots constantly come out of your dirty hole?”

 

“What are you…!”

 

The man who was about to get angry just stiffened. Then his eyes widened, and turned to Layla again.

 

It was stiff and unkempt, but it’s certainly blonde. The eyes glaring at him were also blue. And she was a woman who smelled rotten, just like the customer said earlier.

 

“W-witch…!”

 

The man slumped down, as if his legs had lost strength.

 

“Stupid b*st*rd. Get up, what’s the use of you falling down?”

 

Layla muttered vulgar language and stood up from her seat. Her palm got scratched and stung when she fell.

 

When she glanced around, there were people watching from a distance. Whenever they meet Layla’s eyes, some would flinch and some would hide immediately.

 

No one came close.

 

No one came to help.

 

There was nothing surprising.

 

“Give it to me.”

 

Layla spoke to the butcher, who was sitting on the floor and trembling unbecomingly. 

 

“Y-yes! I’ll give you everything. If that could let me off the curse.”

 

He almost crawled into the store. Then he took a handful of money from a box and held it in front of my Layla.

 

“Stupid. Give me the pork I bought.”

 

“What? Ah, Yes!”

 

The owner was startled and began to put the meat he had cut earlier in a hurry. Not only the sliced ​​meat, but also the whole lump of meat next to it.

 

“How much is it?”

 

When the owner trembled and offered it to Layla, she snatched it up and asked for a price. The heaviness was not the pound that Layla originally ordered, but it seemed to weigh twice as much.

 

“Y-you can just take it with you.”

 

“Do you think I’m a witch or a robber?”

 

Layla called herself a witch and pulled out the 100 shillings out of her pocket.

 

“Ah, no! No! You can just take it. No, please accept my sincerity.”

 

The man hurriedly waved his hand and refused the money.

 

“Why? Because I’m a beggar and you’re giving this to me?”

 

“Aigoo! Please don’t say that! I have sinned to death!”

 

The man knelt in front of Layla. His attitude changed 180 degrees from when he pushed Layla earlier.

 

“If you’ve sinned to death,  wouldn’t it be better to just die?” 

 

The man’s face turned blue at Layla’s muttering as she talked to herself.

 

***

 

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