At night, Leah returned to the bedroom first. Nights were long and freezing in the North. While it may be very warm in the room, the boring night always made one feel hopeless and lonely.
Veirya and I sat at opposite ends of the table facing each other, but she didn’t say a word. Instead, she stared blankly at me. Though she was expressionless, I could sense that she had something she wanted to say to me. However, Veirya, who was never a good communicator, didn’t know how to start. That said, I did indeed have something I wanted to ask her.
I looked at Veirya and tested the waters, “Umm, Veirya, I wanted to ask about Angelina…”
I then said, “I heard that Angelina … is your mother?”
Veirya isn’t the type who gets worked up because their dark past was revealed. As a matter of fact, she didn’t even give a reaction. It was as though the dark history was merely a family introduction. She made a small nod before replying, “Yes, but I don’t like her. I don’t want you to interact with her. Henceforth, I forbid you from interacting with anybody in private if I am absent. If I say you can’t see them, then you can’t see them; else, I’ll kill you, you traitor.”
“Why am I a traitor for going to see your mom…?”
“Because she’s a traitor.”
Veirya’s answer was very simple. She then stood up and seriously added, “My mother is a very outstanding warrior and a very brave soldier. I respect and greatly admire her, but I also hate her. Don’t praise her in my presence, but you are not to slander her either. Don’t let me see her and you are not to meet her in private either. That’s it.”
‘That’s a pretty tall order, don’t you think? No slandering, no praising, no meeting her in private and no letting her see Angelina. By the sounds of that, I only have one choice, and that is to not see Angelina and treat her as if she doesn’t exist. I guess that’s it…’
Somebody then knocked on the door. I was slightly bewildered as to who would be here to look for me at this hour. The people of this place don’t run around at night. Perhaps the roads are particularly cold at night because demons once attacked this place. For someone to knock at this hour, I’m assuming they aren’t a local.
Veirya swiftly drew her blade and coldly stared at the entrance. She walked up to my side and then pushed me behind her before pulling the door open.
Frankly, I knew who was outside the instant Veirya drew her sword. As soon as the door opened, silver hair that was captivating even on a night without the moonlight, gently swayed in the wind and a pair of blue eyes hidden in the snow came into sight. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that those eyes were colder than the snow. Usually, there’s just Veirya, herself, but there were now two pairs of eyes like that.
Angelina looked at Veirya from the entrance. Veirya swiftly aimed her sword at her and coldly said, “No visitors are accepted at night. Please return if you have no business.”
“Not here to pay a visit.”
Angelina didn’t draw her sword. I noticed that she didn’t even have her sword at her waist. She looked at Veirya and extended her right hand out. In her hand was a paper bag I was more familiar with than anyone else. The paper bag came from the hotel. I was certain that the ear dish was inside and I’m sure there were two serves.
Angelina placed it in front of Veirya. She wasn’t afraid in the slightest, despite having a sword at her neck. In fact, she didn’t even budge. She looked at Verrya expressionlessly and said, “This, for you. Said to be tasty. You two. One each.”
Veirya looked at the paper bag before her coldly. She grabbed the bag with her left hand then pulled her sword back and “bang!” the door shut. She took the bag to the table and opened it. The familiar smell of the ear dish burst into the air. It was piping hot, so it must’ve just come out of the pot not too long ago. Angelina definitely rushed here in the night. It appears that Angelina didn’t return straight to the city, instead, coming back and buying this for her daughter, not to mention, she delivered it immediately. As a matter of fact, she carried it here in her arms.
Veirya grabbed a spoon. I was a little hungry now, too, so I sat down at the table and grabbed a spoon, intending to have a share, only for Veirya to stand up and make a grinding sound that numbed my ears when I went to take a scoop. A cold bit of metal was on my neck before I could react. Veirya’s gaze was particularly violent. It was the first time she revealed such a violent gaze, which was completely different the first time. The first time, she wore an expressionless look and business-only attitude. This time, however, she genuinely wanted to kill. Fortunately, my spoon hadn’t touched it yet, because if it did, my head would probably be removed from my shoulders.
‘Unlike the first time, I was genuinely afraid this time.’
“Mine. No touching.”
Veirya took in a deep breath, seemingly to calm herself down. I immediately tossed my spoon away. My brain that was quivering with fear now realised what I should do. Veirya wanted for me not to touch this. Veirya sheathed her sword. She picked up the bowl and vigilantly sat to one side, refusing to let me touch it. That was the first time I’d seen her so stubborn. Veirya was a glutton before, as well; but, she didn’t show such a violent gaze when she fought over food with Leah. She wasn’t angry this time because she was hungry, but just because she didn’t wanted to give the food to anybody else. It’s not that Veirya is unwilling to share with others, but it was this in particular, that she refused to share. It wasn’t because it’s tasty, but solely because it was brought over by Angelina.
Thus, Veirya didn’t want anybody to touch it.
Veirya gulped big mouthfuls of the last serve, but she sat at the table and used the small spoon for eating soup to carefully put this serve in her mouth.
I don’t know if my eyes were dysfunctional due to the fright just before or what – maybe even my brain there – but I felt that Veirya’s gaze was incomparably tender right now.
However, upon closer inspection, her gaze was ice cold as usual.
Veirya earnestly ate the food bit by bit. She then stood up and walked to the kitchen to wash the dishes. After she finished washing them, she placed them on the table and said, “Return it tomorrow.”
“If you like Angelina, just say you like her; there’s no need to hide it. You’re mother and daughter, after all. You should’ve just let her in before.”
Veirya turned her head around to look at me and coldly said, “No speaking on her behalf.”
I nodded hopelessly.
‘Honestly speaking, I really don’t understand what their deal is. Angelina acts indifferent to her daughter on one hand, but then she delivers food late at night. She didn’t even have any for herself. I surmise she wanted to get it for her daughter since daytime.’
‘Veirya looks cold on the surface, but then she refuses to let anybody touch the food her mom delivered to her.’
‘What’s their deal? Something major must’ve happened. If possible, I really want to investigate it. It’s just that my relationship with Veirya still isn’t considered good. Rashly sticking my nose into their family business isn’t good. ‘
‘Let’s put Angelina aside for now. What I need to worry about now is the newly appointed military chief. If he looks into this batch of food, I need come up with a way to do away with it before he finds out.’
*Vierya and Angelina speak to each other in such a fragmented manner; it’s not my inability to compose a complete sentence.