Predatory Marriage — Chapter 304. Isha (4)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Kurkans who descended from feline lineage were often small in stature. Mel complained about his hereditary disadvantages for some time.
“I wonder if Haban will be all right,” he added in a lower voice. “He might be taller than me now…”
For a moment, a rare melancholy filled his eyes, but he still spoke cheerfully.
“He’s a boy who lived next door to me,” he explained to Isha. “He wasn’t just very kind, he was very strong, too. When we go back home, I’ll introduce him to you.”
There was a lingering sadness in his eyes, but Mel knew there was no point in wallowing in it. No matter what the situation, he always tried to be happy. Isha had many occasions to laugh because of Mel, and the other Kurkans gravitated toward him like sunshine. Mel looked after all of them like an older brother.
“You have to keep your temper,” Mel scolded Isha one day, after one of the tamers had given him a particularly severe beating. This was funny because Isha always kept his mouth shut, no matter what the tamers did to him. “So typical.”
Mel had made bandages by tearing up old clothes, and tied them tightly over Isha’s wounds.
“It hurts,” Isha complained, his face twisting.
“I thought he’d taken your tongue, too, but listen to you now.”
“I learned everything, I just don’t want to listen to that bastard.”
Though Isha had quickly learned the etiquette required by the tamers, he always received severe beatings for disobedience. Mel shook his head and changed the subject.
“I wish I could see the sun,” he said. “I’ve been stuck in this basement so long.”
When they lived in the desert, it seemed every day they might be roasted by the sun, but in this place there was only the dim glow of the torches. Mel missed the scorching sunlight.
“When we go back home, we’ll stay outside all day,” he said as he finished Isha’s bandages.
“You won’t last ten minutes before you run to the shade,” Isha laughed, thinking of those heated sands. The memories of their homeland had faded in his own memory, as if tarnished.
It had been months since he had come to this place. Now the only thing that felt real was this dreary dark, and walking on that sun-warmed, golden sand and drinking cool water at the oasis seemed like dreams. One word came to him, the thing he remembered most clearly. – Posted only on NovelUtopia
“…dates,” he murmured, remembering their taste. “I want to eat dates.”
It had been so long since he had had anything sweet. Mel brightened at once.
“Dates!” He exclaimed. “I could eat a tree full of them.”
The other children gathered around excitedly.
“I want to eat dates, too!”
“They’re so delicious…”
“When we go back home, we’ll eat them til our stomachs burst,” he reassured them.
There was silence. Then…
“Will we really be able to go back?” someone asked, despondent.
“Of course,” Mel said instantly. He met their eyes as all of them stared at him. “We are Kurkan. Never forget that. They do not own our spirits.”
Isha couldn’t understand why he did this. How could he give so much of himself to others? It must be exhausting. Once the two boys were alone again, he had to ask.
“Why don’t you ever give up?” He asked, low.
“Because I’m a Kurkan,” Mel replied, as if it were obvious. Isha stared at him, and Mel rumpled up his hair, embarrassed. “All right, I’ll answer seriously. In a way…I’m acting like a leader.”
He said it with a shy voice and an awkward smile.
“So, I can’t show weakness.”
But unlike his voice, there was determination in his eyes. And it did seem like nothing could break him. Maybe he was that rare flower that bloomed in hell.
But no matter how beautiful the bloom, hell would still be hell.