The child made a dissatisfied face and nodded reluctantly, which was quite cute. The spoon scooped up the warm medicine, and I gently blew on it before touching it to the child’s lips. After hesitating for a while, the child finally opened his mouth and started swallowing the medicine.
“How is it? Not too bad, right?”
“It doesn’t taste bad because you gave it to me, Louisa.”
It seems like the child’s quite skilled at socializing. As the child’s cheeks turned red again from the fever, I placed the back of my cold hand against him and used my other hand to wipe away the sweat from his forehead.
“…But it keeps getting worse as I keep taking it.”
However, no one can stop a child’s whims. When there was just one spoonful left, the child turned his head slightly and suddenly refused to take the medicine.
“You have to finish it all.”
“But I don’t want to…”
Hesitant and unsure, the child seemed to have something else in mind as he glanced at me.
It was obvious in his eyes, so I chuckled at his transparent intentions.
“I’ll give you candy. So eat it.”
I brought the candy jar from the table and firmly placed it in the child’s hand. It meant that he could take out and eat as much as he wanted, but the child’s reaction was unexpectedly lukewarm.
“Do you want me to give you something else?”
“Well, it’s not that… Oh! Louisa, I can’t hold the candy.”
He was still holding it, wasn’t he? As I alternated between looking at the child’s eyes and the candy jar, the child suddenly dropped the jar onto the bed. Somehow, the child looked at me with sparkling eyes.
“I want to eat it, but I can’t hold it. What should I do?”
“…Should I also feed you this?”
“If you’re okay with it, Louisa!”
As if it would be bothersome. I nodded my head in agreement, implying that I would do it, and he casually drank the remaining medicine.
Children seem to really love candy.
Afterward, he opened his mouth and waited for the candy, acting as if it were a reward. I peeled off the candy wrapper and put it directly into the child’s mouth, which eagerly awaited it. Perhaps due to the heat from my hands, the candy melted and became sticky, sticking to my hands.
It was troublesome to go and wash them, so I simply licked the candy residue off my hands. While doing so, I suddenly felt a gaze and raised my head.
“What’s wrong? Why did your fever rise again?”
“What? No, it didn’t…! I didn’t do anything…!”
The child, who had been glancing at me with a puzzled face, suddenly raised both hands in surprise.
What was this child overreacting about?
I reached out towards the child, who had turned red even to his neck. Even though he had taken the medicine, why did the fever rise again? Was that doctor a quack?
I thought that I should show that doctor what I’m capable of when I go to the underground city. With that thought, I laid the child, whose temperature seemed to have risen even more, back in bed and covered him.
Could it be that the fever rises every time my hand touches him? But that must be my imagination, right?
* * *
It took another week until the child fully recovered. I looked at the child who fell asleep after drinking the last dose of medicine.
I had spent more time with the child than I had intended. With my constant absence from home due to constantly running around the battlefield, I couldn’t possibly raise a child.
‘I won’t raise a child.’
I had spent too much time with the child, which made me think more strongly about entrusting him to someone else.
‘Is it such a big deal that one child came into my life?’
It seemed like the first life I had saved in this world, or perhaps it was simply the child’s excitement. Either way, these were unnecessary thoughts.
I brushed away those thoughts and quietly left the room.
Leaving the child alone in the house for a short while did bother me, but it should be fine. Despite its dilapidated appearance, the house boasted security that could make even the royal palace jealous.
‘It’s been a while, so it feels a bit unfamiliar.’
As if taking a leisurely stroll, I walked along the ruins that had turned into a desolate street. The darkness was thick, and occasionally, people who couldn’t recognize me properly would approach and attempt to rob me.
“Ah, a witch! I’m sorry!”
When I smiled brightly at them from up close, they all ran away.
After repeating such actions several times, I was able to reach the once beautiful but now covered in an unknown liquid fountain.
‘Was it this way?’
I entered an alleyway, moving in the 2 o’clock direction from where I was previously standing. On the tightly packed wall stood a random door. As I reached for the doorknob to open it, sparks erupted from the point of contact.
It had the power to instantly kill an ordinary human. I was fine, but the sparks instantly set fire to the mice that were scurrying nearby.
‘…I guess it was a good decision not to bring the kid with me.’
I was nearly a decision away from killing him. I expelled the horrifying imagination that was forming in my mind and lightly turned the doorknob. As the door opened, magic flowed more powerfully and entered my body.
But, how should I put it? It didn’t hurt; it felt more like receiving physical therapy after a long time. Worth indulging in, isn’t it?
“Old man, it seems like your magic has weakened. You should think about your body!”
I lightly expelled the current flowing through my hand and stepped inside. An enormous space greeted me. A huge hall that couldn’t be captured by both eyes.
The stairs on either side formed a circle and endlessly ascended upward. Where on earth was the ceiling? The end was not visible. The interior had become even more magnificent and splendid than before, and I once again called his name.
“Hart! Old man!” My voice echoed through the space, creating an echo.
Then, someone suddenly popped out of a wall made of books. An old man wearing pajamas and a hat suitable for a fairy tale mage glared at me.
“What nonsense are you doing, coming here in the middle of the night, you rascal!” Read ahead here.