Sleeping Beast - Chapter 4.2
Rafi had turned 24 years old that year. Although he had lived alone with the witch in the forest tower, he was not ignorant or naïve. He read quite a few books and regularly delivered mushroom pie to the inns in nearby villages, and had constant exchanges with other people.
There had always been incidents at village inns where other people came and went. Rafi’s heart often hurt after witnessing the worst parts of human nature over his shoulder.
Even after he came of age, he did not waver in his decision to stay with the witch who bought him for a few creeping bellflowers.
The forest that he had lived in for his whole life was more comfortable than the noisy human village. The fickle witch and the grumpy fairy were more open-minded than any human.
“You’re still eating, so I’ll make it in a little bit.”
The answer was a beat too slow because he was already slurping up the soup with a spoon.
It’s kind of cute.
Rafi smiled softly and stroked the boy’s silver hair. The hair made a pleasant sound as it ruffled under his palm.
“You eat well. It’s nice.”
The boy drinking the soup stared at the smiling Rafi. When Rafi smiled, he quickly swallowed what he was holding in his mouth and turned his lips up in response.
His smiling face was prettier.
* * *
“I told you not to do this!”
Sadly, the delightful feeling did not last long. Rafi, who was pouring the pancake batter into a frying pan, was losing patience.
For some reason, the large child standing behind his back kept trying to put his hands on the hot and undercooked batter.
“You’re going to burn your hand! Do you want to get hurt again?”
“Then stop. Wait.”
The child pulled a handful of Rafi’s hair with a sullen expression. It hadn’t been much time since Rafi gave him a warning, but the man had already forgotten and held it up to his mouth as if he was going to eat his long hair.
“Don’t do that!”
Rafi was annoyed and pulled back his long hair.
He was like a five-year-old kid rubbing his lower lip.
To touch someone’s hair and act so annoying… It was a big deal, really.
“It’s pretty. I hate it.”
“What do you hate? Are you saying that you don’t want to eat pancakes?”
* * *
“You don’t like me?” Rafi repeated, dumbfounded.
The child moved his head up and down very seriously.
“I hate it when you tell me not to do things.”
Wow… Look at the sudden improvement in sentence skills.
The child seemed to have grown to about seven years old. Even so, he was still a child.
“I don’t like you pulling my hair.”
When Rafi spoke, his words short like a knife, the child’s expression became serious.
He’s getting older. A seven-year-old.
Oh, come to think of it, the witch once said that seven years old was originally that age. It was the time when she thought every day about whether or not to abandon Rafi, who couldn’t even be a witch anyway.
“Because it hurts.”
”Is it okay if it does not hurt?”
The child pulled his hair again, more gently than before.
“No, it’s annoying.”
While slapping away the child’s hand, he heard a sound from the pancake batter.
“Oh, it’s going to burn.”
Rafi hurriedly turned the pancake over. It wasn’t burnt, but the color came out a little darker.
…I should eat this.
Rafi took a new plate out of the cupboard.
Ever since the child had woken up, Rafi felt like he was stuck in the kitchen. He made soup twice, washed the dishes, took a break, and now he had to make pancakes.
It’s not normal to take care of a child.
He felt the witch’s hardships again. This child was only young mentally, but that didn’t make things any easier.
While turning to take out the plate, the child refused to tire and grabbed his hair again.
Rafi snatched the child’s forearm. His arms, which were long and sculpted, look slim from afar, but in reality they were so thick that they could not be held with only one of Rafi’s hands.
The prominent physique difference was confusing. The child suddenly felt like a grown-up, threatening adult.
Rafi tried not to forget that his opponent was a child. Even if he was big, he didn’t know how to use all his strength.
When Rafi frowned and gave him a fierce stare, the child let go of his hair even though he was pouting furiously.
“If you do it one more time, I’ll punish you. Go and sit still.”
“I don’t like it because it’s pretty.”
It was a rebellion at the age of seven.
…It was a rebellion, but it was a little strange. How could he not like him because he was pretty? What the hell was he talking about?
“I said no. Do you want to starve?”
His blue eyes widened as he shook his head roughly from side to side.
“Go and sit.”
The child returned to the table and sat down. Until a few days ago, that was the seat where the witch sat.
“I hate it,” the child mumbled as he kept fidgeting, looking at Rafi to see if he could understand his words.
“But you’re pretty.”