Chapter 8. I Will Take Responsibility (1)

 

 

“It’s my mother’s keepsake.”

“…keepsake?”

Astein’s right eye raised slightly. It wasn’t the answer he expected, but he seemed dissatisfied with it. No, he didn’t seem to believe her at all.

“Believe it or not, it’s up to you.”

Elusiana snatched the necklace from Astein’s fingers.

“This has been handed down from Count Tuberose for a long time. So, can you move your body away now?”

“What?”

“I don’t know what you’re going to do with me, but don’t you think your position now is too ambiguous?”

“Position…”

“You don’t plan to do anything with that skinny body, do you?”

“That, what… gasp!”

Astein, who had climbed onto her body and had his legs crossed around her waist, fell into bewilderment.  The boy, who got away at once, looked down at his hand as if he was really surprised.

“Astein?”

Astein, who flinched at her call, slowly lifted his gaze. For some reason, his cheeks seem a little red.

‘It was dark, so he couldn’t see well.’

I teased him about it, but the boy who was supposed to refute it by saying various excuses was silent.

Elusiana smiled mischievously without realizing it.

‘Is this because he’s a male?’

She didn’t know what his story was. This time, it would be good to learn more about this boy.

 

* * *

 

“Astein?”

“My name is As…”

It was the moment when Astein was about to say his real name. An old memory flashed into his mind.

 

“Master Aster. You must hide your identity until you become an adult. Forget your family name, your name, everything. When the time comes, I will…”

 

When he recalled that memory, his mouth closed automatically.

 

* * *

 

Elusiana was puzzled by Astein’s sudden silence.

“What’s wrong with your name?”

Elusiana tilted his head, staring at Astein, who suddenly closed his mouth.

“Is there any story behind your name?”

“…my name is… Astein.”

“I know. You told me in the first place.”

“…”

“That’s it? Is there anything else you want to say?”

“…”

“I don’t think that’s the case…”

Elusiana, who narrowed her eyes while slurring her words, closely observed Astein’s expression. Then she clicked her tongue and continued talking again.

“Well, all right. Anything else you’re curious about? Something about me. Or something you want to say?”

Elusiana patted her hair with her fingertips and raised her chin triumphantly. She didn’t forget to smile, which reached her eyes.

‘Look, I’m really pretty, right? Don’t be shy and tell me, okay?’

But Astein just looked at her with indifferent eyes, and remained silent. Elusiana, who was embarrassed for nothing, coughed in vain.

“Ahem. Or what about my family? If not… aren’t you curious about what’s going on out there?”

“…”

“Um, Astein?”

“…”

“Excuse me?”

She thought they were finally able to communicate. But did she ask too many questions at once? Maybe Astein’s mind was like overflowing water.

Elusiana sighed as she looked at Astein, who was sitting opposite her.

‘Still, it seems his vigilance has eased a lot compared to the first time.’

However, she couldn’t return without gaining something. Elusiana still hasn’t figured out the real reason he was refusing to eat. If he continued to starve himself, no matter how much she vowed to take responsibility for Astein, she had no choice but to let him go. But she couldn’t let him go yet, as he starved in her house.

‘First, I need to explain how the situation is.’

Only then will Astein be able to judge rationally.

Elusiana, still looking at Astein, corrected her posture and said, “Your treatment is over. You already know that, right?”

“…?”

Astein’s eyes, which had been indifferent the whole time, were slightly shaken by her words.

‘…Huh? What is it? Isn’t it good news if your treatment is over? Why does he look nervous?’

Elusiana, who tilted her head, continued as she was looking at Astein’s expression.

“Your treatment is over. It means there’s nothing more the Waieos family can do for you.”

“…does that mean you will kick me out?”

Astein’s tone subsided coldly. There was a glimmer of anger in his eyes.

‘Don’t tell me.’

Elusiana looked at his face for a moment and said as if she was trying to read his mind.

“More than that, there is no reason for the Waieos family to take responsibility for a patient who is unwilling to recover.”

“…I’m not fully healed yet.”

Astein’s earlobes turned slightly red as he reluctantly replied. When his cold expression showed emotion, he finally looked like a child  his age. Elusiana seemed to have caught a glimpse of that boy’s mind.

‘Don’t tell me he was starving himself on purpose because he was afraid he would be kicked out?’

Since his external wounds were completely healed, malnutrition seemed to be the only thing worth complaining about.

‘Even so, isn’t he too ignorant? What if he really starves to death?’

Of course, she could understand how Astein felt.

It was obvious what would happen if he left right away. Either starve to death, get caught, or it could be both. There won’t be a happy ending for this boy. That must be why he took such an extreme method to stay here.

Elusiana smiled dejectedly as she thought about it.

‘If he had such a concern, he could have said it.’

If he wanted to stay here, she would have found a way. Be it her or her father. But soon, Elusiana slowly erased the smile on her face.

‘No.’

Of course, if anyone had asked for help, she and her family would have found a way. But not long ago, she doubted the origin of this boy. She was worried that this boy would harm the Waieos family. It seemed that Astein was also aware of that.

‘Come to think of it, I haven’t told my father yet.’

Elusiana felt sorry for nothing. She couldn’t believe she had forgotten about that when she shamelessly promised to protect him. So Astein, who must have sensed the strange atmosphere, couldn’t ask for ‘help.’

Elusiana, filled with guilt, muttered, “You can stay here if you want.”

“…?”

“I’ll take responsibility for you.”

“…you will take the responsibility? For me?”

“Yes.”

“Ha!”

Astein frowned at her.

‘Yes, he must be offended. He’s going to think that I’m pretending to take care of him now.’

Elusiana quickly added her words, looking at Astein.

“If you’re worried about my father, you don’t have to worry. I will take care of that problem.”

Astein’s eyes widened slightly. He seemed a little flustered. That being said, he must have been surprised by her answer. He couldn’t believe she was going to solve everything on her own.

‘You should be grateful about it.’

Elusiana forgot her sorry feelings and let out a soft smile.

‘Ah! Come to think of it, how old is he?’

He was smaller than her, so wouldn’t he be younger than her?

“By the way, Astein. How old are you?”

 

* * *

 

“What? T-Twelve years old?!”

 

Astein twisted one corner of his mouth, thinking of the girl leaving the room with a shocked face after shouting loudly in surprise.

 

“I’ll take responsibility for you.”

 

He also remembered her voice that spoke solemnly and affectionately.

“It’s human kindness.”

He murmured slowly and stared piercingly at the door when no one was there.

“Kindness always comes at a corresponding price. What does she want from me?”

Elusiana Lotie Waieos.  

A girl who was only eight years old.

‘Is it human’s specialty to deceive someone with devilish sweet words?’

His father tricked him when he was young, and now the girl had said the same thing.

 

“You can stay here if you want.”

“Tell me anything you want, Aster. I will listen to everything.”

 

Maybe his mother, who got separated from him long ago, was also deceived and led to her death by those tempting words?

‘Aah, my poor mother.’

Astein pressed his aching heart.  

There was nothing more wicked than a human being. The desire underlying human beings destructively tarnished his purity and humiliated him. That was why Astein didn’t believe in humans. Because he knew very well that they were hiding their ugly hearts behind that gentle smile.

So- There was nothing wrong with using that lady’s heart who sympathized with the weak.

It was not wrong.

It happened out of ‘necessity.’

It was just a very common ‘play.’

“Yes, that’s all.”

But- why does it bother one side of his heart?

“Haa…”

Astein let out a long sigh while sweeping away his jet-black hair. 

Notes

N/A

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