Honestly, that one sentence took away all of consciousness in an instant. If I didn’t have those four serves of that ear ingredient, I wouldn’t have reacted. The, “mother and daughter,” response echoed in my mind. It left my entire brain dumbfounded, so I couldn’t think of anything. Countless family dramas appeared in my mind, such as Angelina and Veirya actually being sisters, with Angelina being or younger sister or elder sister, but Veirya was too skilled, and therefore ended up burying her young sister’s talents. Then her younger sister resented her elder sister, but Veirya couldn’t explain herself, and maybe even because Veirya was too conceited, so the two of them were awkward with each other. Then I’d help them make up, and I might end up with one of them…
But never did I imagine that Angelina was actually Veirya’s mother.
The cold wind hit me in the face when I exited, shocking me. Angelina who was to my side immediately bowed and said, “Are we heading back now, Sir?”
“Our business is done, but are you not going to go and see your daughter, Angelina?”
I looked at Angelina with disbelief as I did before. Angelina didn’t have any fine lines on her face to show her age. Rather, she looked the exact same as Veirya. It feels as though I’m looking at Veirya when I look at Angelina now. Her expressionless look is completely identical to Veirya’s, except that Angelina’s gaze had more life in it compared to Veirya’s.
Angelina gently shook her head. She then looked at me, “No, Veirya doesn’t like me, so I won’t go and upset her.”
I looked at Angelina and carefully asked, “May I ask, are you really Veirya’s mother?”
Angelina looked at the man next to her. He made a small nod and then she looked back at me. This time, she looked at me with a strange smile and a teasing gaze. I thought I’d been stunned by enough things today, only to be so stunned by Angelina’s smile that I was lost for words. I’d never seen Veirya smile that way before. Veirya is very pretty, so this sudden smile made her face radiate. I couldn’t help myself from wondering how pretty Veirya would look if she could smile that way in the future as well…
Angelina suddenly giggled. She replied, “Of course, Veirya is my beloved daughter I am proud of. It’s just that my daughter doesn’t like me too much. Perhaps it was due to how I raised her. I do want to care for her, though. She’s my only daughter, after all. However, as her mother, the first thing I want to ask is that although Veirya stated you were her spoil of a war, a slave, your relationship with her doesn’t look ordinary. Veirya didn’t want for you to see me, which is a sign she cares a lot about you. Your relationship isn’t all that simple, is it?”
Excitement showed itself in Angelina’s eyes, similar to the way you look at an amusing toy you found for the first time. She grabbed my collar with a smile. That frightened me, so I quickly pulled myself back, but her eyes were focused intently on me without shifting away. Her teasing expression remained. With her mischievous smile on her face, she said, “Interesting. Interesting. I just wanted to see Veirya this time, but it looks like I’ve found out more about her. Though you’re not a good match for her, due to your background, if she likes you, I don’t mind. How about you? How about you? Do you like Veirya? Do you like Veirya? Veirya has a bad temper and speaks without any expression, but she is pretty.”
“No, no, no… umm… Miss… I mean… Auntie… I… I… do not have any ideas for Veirya… Think about it, Auntie, who would have such thoughts for her…?”
I was scared to death of this Auntie. She looks the same as Veirya, but I should address her as Auntie, given her age… Angelina giggled. She thought to herself then said, “True. She’s not likeable. She’s been like that ever since that time.”
“All right, if you plan to see her, then let’s do that.”
The man gave Angelina a pat on her shoulder. She then instantly removed her grip on my collar and immediately went back to stand next to him. Her playful smile instantly turned colder than snow in winter and she became expressionless. She looked at the man next to her and nodded, “All right, please return to the city interior then, Sir.”
“Is it safe at night?”
“I will protect you.”
I couldn’t adapt to the sudden transformation. The man turned around and grabbed my hand with a smile. I immediately got goose bumps again. He looked at me with a smile. He said, “All right now. I will send somebody to contact you about the follow up matters. I still have business inside the city tonight. I need to move some money around, because of you. Goodbye.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I just watched the two of them mount their horses and leave. Angelina grabbed my collar before and smiled playfully, but she was now silent as she left on her horse with an expressionless look.
Snowy days in the north are dark and gloomy. There were no lights on the streets, so their two horses soon vanished. The two of them vanished in the snow, but the wound my heart suffered isn’t a trail left behind by horse hooves in the snow. I was surprised Veirya had a mother, yet she said she wanted a family. I couldn’t believe I met her mother today.
‘What’s this considered…? Veirya never mentioned her mother to me, either… What exactly happened between them? There could be lots of reasons for why sisters are quarrelling with each other, but… But, what problems could a mother and daughter have…?’
Looking at it from Angelina’s perspective, she misses her daughter, but it seems she’s expressionless and impartial when it comes to work. That said, Veirya has that look all the time…
I continued pondering their issue with each other until I looked up to discover that I had reached the entrance. When I pushed the door open and entered, I saw Leah standing there in the corridor with eyes filled with anticipation. She leapt at me and hugged my thigh as soon as I entered. She shouted, “Papa, I’m hungry! Why are you back so late?! Why are you back so late?!! I thought you wouldn’t come back!”
“Leah, Papa had to go and discuss some business.”
I stroked Leah’s head with a smile. Lots of ridiculous things happened today, but Leah was cute as always. Looking at Leah now really relieves me. Nevertheless, I still want to see Veirya. I want to ask her about Angelina.
Veirya walked up to the end of the corridor. I looked up at Veirya. She looked at me with an expressionless look as usual, so I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. Before I could speak, she suddenly, coldly said, “Traitor.”
Veirya turned around, went up to the table and sat down. She didn’t say anything afterwards. Leah looked over to me and grabbed my hand. She softly said, “That woman has been sitting like that all day today… That woman has been in a very foul mood ever since you left to speak with that man until now, especially because you didn’t come back to make lunch, either when she was hungry… Of course, I’m in a very bad mood, too! I’m very hungry, too!!”
Indeed, we didn’t head straight to the hotel; instead, we went around in the town for a bit, spoke about the food for a bit and I told him about what I did before we headed to the hotel. Currently, it should be a bit after four in the afternoon. Nightfall comes particularly early in the north due to the cold weather.
I pinched the bag in my hand. Inside were a few small dishes of the ear dish. I smiled and massaged Leah’s head. I then said, “Sorry, Leah, but I didn’t forget about you. I brought back something very delicious for you. Wait for a bit. Papa will go and heat it up now. You go and sit at the table first.”
Leah leaned in toward the paper bag and sniffed it. In a very excited tone, she asked, “Papa, what is this? It smells so nice.”
I smiled and replied, “You’ll know soon. This is an ear dish. It tastes very good.”
“Leah wants to eat it then!”
“Sure. Just go to the table and wait for Papa to go reheat it.”
Leah cheerfully ran to the table and sat down. I went to the kitchen to reheat the dishes, divided up the serves and then brought them over to the two.
Leah cheerfully picked up her spoon, while Veirya aggressively pushed it. She then looked at me and exclaimed, “Traitor!”
“What, why? What exactly did I do wrong…?”
I smile helplessly as I shook my head. I then asked, “Veirya, are you talking about Angelina?”
Veirya didn’t answer me. Instead, she continued to coldly look at me. I, however, noticed the steam caused her hand to shake gently.
Leah stopped paying any heed to us long before. She ditched her spoon and picked up the bowl to gulp it down.
I looked at Veirya and lingered for a moment before saying, “Sorry, Veirya, I didn’t know about Angelina at the start. Nothing happened between us, though. I just had a talk with the man, so that we could improve the financial situation of this town. We had something really nice to eat, as well, so I brought back some for you.”
I pointed at the ear dish in front and with a smile, said, “It’s really delicious.”
Veirya looked at me, and coldly asked, “What about Angelina?”
I immediately understood what she was thinking, “Oh, she didn’t get to eat any.”
Veirya looked at me again then picked up her spoon and had a taste test. She then placed her spoon down and dawdled for a moment. While still wearing a cold expression, she then picked up her bowl and gulped mouthfuls of it.
‘I think I ordered too little.’
Four serves was nowhere near enough for the two of them. Afterwards, Leah clung to my thigh and pestered me for more. Veirya didn’t do that, but I knew what she was after, when she was trying to scoop out every last bit from the pot…
And so one man had to make another trip in the heavy snowfall…