Episode 105: Kidnapped Dragons (5)
Gyeoul’s words were somewhat strange.
Hearing that slightly shifted the context of what Kaeul had said before her.
Kaeul said kidnapping was a crime.
It was true and he thought she was telling him not to kidnap because it was a bad thing to do, but after hearing Gyeoul’s words, he started thinking that that might not have been her intention when she said that.
He asked back.
In response, Gyeoul mumbled an explanation.
“…Can I come out… of an egg again”
He still could not understand what the child was saying.
It was naturally impossible for her to hatch again.
“That won’t be possible.
Because hatching from an egg can only happen once.”
Sorrow seeped into her eyes as Gyeoul gave a nod.
“…When you see someone… for the first time… after coming out of an egg…”
She continued mumbling as he patiently waited for her to finish.
“…They become special… just like, how it was, to me.”
With another murmur, Gyeoul anxiously said to him.
“…I can’t come out of an egg again.
“…I want me… to be the last for ahjussi as well.”
He finally understood what Gyeoul was saying, as well as the real intention behind Kaeul’s words when she was talking about how kidnapping was a crime.
They were feeling uncomfortable about him deceitfully taking in more kids and treating them nicely.
In other words,
Kaeul and Gyeoul were jealous of the ‘next kids’ that won’t even exist.
The thing called a child’s perspective was still very foreign to him so Yu Jitae returned an empty smile but the kids were serious.
“You don’t have to worry, because that will never happen.”
He eased their minds just like how he always did.
Gyeoul reached her arms forward like a habit and lowering his back, he let her sit on his arm.
Before long, the kids turned silent as if they were waiting for something and soon, Kaeul pointed somewhere in the sky as Bom nodded and whispered something into her ears.
Meanwhile, Yeorum was still smoking a cigarette with a sullen pout.
This was them – he had become so comfortable and used to them.
They however, were dragons.
They were the ones he hated and loathed.
He wasn’t confident in not bashing them up to death and that was why he had initially started deceiving even himself.
But when did it all begin There was no longer any need to deceive himself; their bonds deepened; he became fond of them and started feeling guilty.
In the end, the final farewell will also be decorated with deceit, but there was nothing else that could be done…
It wasn’t enough of a reason for him to delay the farewell, but was definitely enough of a reason to make him feel disheartened.
And there was thus a lingering attachment inside him.
“It’s here, it’s here…!”
Soon, the kids stood up and created a fuss.
Kaeul came to his side and slapped him on his arm, telling him to see something.
“That’s the thing we came here for! That thing over there! That!”
“Oh right! Cleaner ahjussi!”
The protector standing off in the distance raised the memory crystal and pointed it at Yu Jitae and the kids, before once again turning it back to the sky.
For a split second, Yu Jitae’s eyes met with Yeorum’s.
She frowned after seeing him and turned around to walk away.
He was wondering whether he should stop her when Kaeul shouted, “It’s hereee…!”
In that instant, Yu Jitae widened his eyes.
A white dot rose up on the inkstained sky.
The dot began to draw a trajectory behind it as it started to fall and its tail drew a smooth yet outstanding line.
As if that was the signal, two, three, five and ten dots began to rapidly appear after that and each drew a tail following the same direction.
The stars began to descend like raindrops.
That rather majestic scenery of stars drawing on the sky allowed him to witness beauty.
It was an emotion he couldn’t feel when looking at the meteor shower some time after Gyeoul’s birth.
He remembered assuming that it must be a beautiful sight by looking at the flashing eyes of the kids, but he could now tell by himself that that was beautiful.
He had become a human by the time he realised it.
After recalling the child who had been blankly staring at the sky in his arms, he lowered his gaze to Gyeoul and realised that she was instead looking at him the whole time.
Their eyes met as a smile appeared on her lips.
All those moments were stored in the memory crystal.
The protector showed its large thumb and Gyeoul replied with a thumbs-up herself.
Her tiny hand soon reached his face as the child looked straight at his face.
They couldn’t stare at each other for too long because she soon squinted her eyes and turned her head.
When she turned her gaze back to the sky… as the countless lines were colouring the broad sky in white.
He saw Gyeoul retaining the same smile on her face,
As tears started to fall down her cheeks again.
The two weeks at the campsite rapidly neared its end.
While eating, sleeping and watching nice things together, they shared good stories, laughed, cried and sometimes got upset.
In the 7th iteration, he had carried out several interim reviews.
It was for him to discern whether the kids were living nicely and whether there was something they needed or not.
It was time for the last review.
Early in the morning.
Gyeoul sleepily rubbed her eyes as she held his hand and walked into the mountain.
He was the one that invited her and she obediently came out with him.
Climbing the mountain hand-in-hand, she soon realised that they were going further away than usual.
“…Where, are we going”
There is a pretty beach on that side of the island.
“…A pretty beach”
She smiled despite half dozing off to sleep, because she liked everything related to water.
Following him from behind, she found a beach that was as beautiful as he had described.
Raising her head, she could see the blue sky and clouds and could also see clouds through the sea when she lowered her gaze.
“…Uwah,” she gasped in admiration as she embedded the brilliant scenery into her eyes.
She placed her feet into the quiet sea and Yu Jitae sat next to her with his calves similarly placed inside the water.
The gentle ocean wave was scattering the morning sunlight as it brightened up the beach.
The sound of ocean waves, chirping birds, fluttering wings, quiet breaths and splashing feet… Those were the only sources of sound as the two of them stayed silent.
Gyeoul held onto his hands again.
Unlike how she usually gripped onto a single finger, this time she tried to stack her whole hand above his.
The child might have sensed already,
That the conversation henceforth might be the last one they share with just the two of them.
He couldn’t say anything because he had no idea what he was supposed to say.
Perhaps that was the same with Gyeoul as she too remained silent.
However, the temperature conveyed through her hand, and the occasional twitch of her tiny fingers were definitely saying something to him.
They were definitely trying to convey a message.
After a long silence, Gyeoul clasped his hands.
Her grip was quite strong.
“…Can we, meet again”
That was the first question she asked after 20 minutes of silence.
Even at a moment like this, his words were being censored.
He was lying till the very end.
She then continued staring at his face so this time, he threw her a question.
“You were born on Earth.”
“How was it.
Will you remember it as a decent world”
“I heard you will be alone when you go back.”
“Can you do everything well”
Gyeoul replied with a powerless smile.
It was a wise answer to a silly question.
“…Will there be, a long night”
That was when Gyeoul suddenly asked that question.
It was rather abrupt.
“… Because… I don’t think, it has come yet.”
He did not understand what the child was talking about.
However, the [Long Night] was still coming near so he decided to be honest at least for this question.
“…That’s no good.”
“…Because it will be cold,” she replied with a weak voice.
“You mean me”
Without saying anything, Gyeoul simply strengthened her grip.
Her hands were very warm.
“…I hope, you don’t speak as if… it’s a farewell.”
After a small cough to relieve the lump in her throat, Gyeoul continued.
“…I am not going to… think of this as a farewell.”
“…I will definitely come back… after becoming an adult.”
He didn’t tell her it would be too far to come back.
“When will you become an adult,” he asked instead.
“How old will you be when you come back.”
Gyeoul kicked the water a little.
“Twenty is still a kid.”
“…Why …Twenty, is an adult.”
“Does Yeorum look like an adult to you She is also twenty years old.”
“…She’s, an exception.”
“…Because, she wasn’t, born on Earth.”
Her words were like a hammer striking him on the back of his head.
She calmly added on.
“…For me, …this, is my homeland.”
“…And our house, …will be my homehome().”
“…By the way… Is homehome an actual word”
“… Anyway… you know what I mean.”
He remembered how her lips used to twitch without being able to voice out actual words and yet now, she was able to speak very coherently and logically.
When did she grow up so much… he was wondering when she added more words.
“…Here, twenty is an adult.”
“…When I turn twenty… and become an adult… I will come back …to my homeland.”
“…Ahjussi, will be waiting for me… and I… will bring more presents… from Askalifa.”
I will not exist in that timeline.
Even though he was certain of it, he could not possibly say those words.
“…When that day comes.”
Stopping her words, Gyeoul gazed up at his eyes.
Some time in the future, when we meet again…
When that day comes…
There was a word she had always kept inside her heart.
It was a word that was very obvious for her, but she had never actually called him using that word.
There was such a word buried inside Gyeoul’s heart.
What kind of person was Yu Jitae to me
He was the one she looked for every morning after opening her eyes.
He was the one who always provided her with tasty food.
The one that generously helps when she’s fatigued; the one that always wishes for her wellbeing, her happiness, her safety, who despite all that investment and help doesn’t ask for anything in return except for her health.
That was who Yu Jitae was.
How could that be expressed with any other word
“…When I come back… and meet ahjussi… T, then… when that day comes.”
The one and only person who will always be waiting for me when I one day return to the place I belong to.
‘…Can I call, …you that’ Her voice crawled near the end.
Gyeoul could not look at his eyes anymore.
Even though she told him that she wouldn’t think of this as a farewell, how could she bear not seeing him for 15 years Wasn’t it too long of a separation Tears welled up in her eyes again.
When she closed her eyes, Yu Jitae gave her a hug.
I will be waiting.”
Since this will not be an eternal farewell, Gyeoul decided to not cry anymore.
She simply locked her pinky with his.
After returning to the camp, Gyeoul gave Yu Jitae the memory crystal as a present.
The storage device had been taken off and reattached to a necklace.
Like the time she wrapped her own scales around his neck, she earnestly told him not to lose it.
Soon, when he left the house,
Left alone, she kneeled down and gathered her hands.
Gyeoul prayed in her heart that he may not feel cold in this lonely and long night.
I have done everything I could,
So please protect him.