Yuria couldn’t understand what was going on between the shopkeeper and Fren, and showed a confused expression.
The shopkeeper, who was smiling just a moment ago, was trembling with fear, while Fren’s mood was unusual.
“…Fren?” Yuria cautiously called for Fren.
Only Yuria.” Unlike when he threatened the shopkeeper, Fren’s voice was calm when he replied to Yuria.
There were no thorns in his words, nor was there hostility.
Still, Yuria had a slightly troubled expression on her face hearing Fren’s words.
It wasn’t that she didn’t understand his feelings.
No one else had ever tried to reach out to him so it would be uncomfortable to have his name called in a friendly manner by a stranger.
He’d always been called monster or garbage, so this was rather scary.
“…only Yuria can call me that.
Yuria made it for me.” Fren spoke firmly when Yuria stayed silent.
From his point of view, since it was her who gave him that name then it was only natural that only she could call him that name.
The name she gave him was special; there was a twinkling light within it, and he loved the warmth he felt everytime she called him by that name.
He felt like he became pretty and precious, everytime he heard that name.
The name she gave him was different from what others called him.
He couldn’t let anyone else call out that special name, if that happens, the warmth and affection he felt every time Yuria called him would disappear bit by bit.
The people who harmed him seemed to take all the warmth in the end.
It was as if he was about to lose the light he had just barely grasped.
Hearing his words Yuria quietly looked down at Fren, making eye contact with his clear, obsidian eyes.
She only meant to look, but found herself falling into their starless depths as if possessed.
Just looking at those eyes made her forget that she was alone, struggling with the pain inflicted by the past.
How can she pretend not to know the meaning behind those eyes?
Fren’s eyes were firm, clearly communicating his intentions.
However, Yuria could detect the anxiety beneath their calm.
A name exists to be called by others without a caller, a name becomes meaningless.
Until now, the fact that the child didn’t have a proper name meant there was no one properly looking after him, and calling him endearingly.
It meant that he wasn’t recognized or respected.
When she gave him that name, she hoped that Fren would be called by his name and recognized by many people.
She hoped he would grow up with affection, rather than just enduring others’ coldness, ignorance, and abuse.
But how can she force him to do something he doesn’t want to?
Names were very precious to Fren, so he wouldn’t want people who had hurt him to call his name.
Yuria had a pained expression seeing how frightened Fren was thinking that he might lose the name he just got.
He hated being called ‘Fren’ by other people, but since it was his name, he couldn’t completely ignore their voices.
Yuria knew Fren was hiding his wounds behind light words never revealing his complex emotions.
Thus Yuria was in trouble, but soon found an answer and looked down into Fren’s eyes as she asked carefully.
“Then why don’t you let other people call you Psyren? And only I will call you Fren instead?”
His nickname was only for Yuri – an original name that no one can call him except her.
As the name implies a treasure, Yuria hoped that Fren would be called Psyren by many people in the future.
She wanted Fren to know exactly how treasured he was and to see him bloom into a mature adult.
Fren looked quietly at Yuria.
Both Fren and Psyren were given to him by Yuria so it was only right that only she was allowed to call him those names, but it seemed like Yuria didn’t want to.
Why? For what reason? Wasn’t his name special to her? So why would she want other people to call him by that name?
Fren blinked his eyes anxiously and for the first time turned away from Yuria.
However, his hand still held Yuria’s dress’s hem..
“Fren.” Yuria called his attention before continuing, “To me, Fren is a very precious person, so I hope that other people will treat you with respect.
I want others to know that Fren is a noble and precious treasure.
Just like your name.”
It was simply calling someone’s name; however, it wasn’t that easy to hear another person call their name.
A name is a title that changes depending on the attitude of the caller towards the subject.
The first act of showing recognition and respect was to call someone their chosen name.
Hence Yuria hoped for Fren to be called by his name.
Fren looked at her quietly, judging Yuria’s intentions.
There was still warmth in her gaze as she looked at him.
There didn’t seem to be any lies, so Fren took a step back, thinking that whatever she wanted from him wouldn’t hurt him, and she wouldn’t do any bad things to him.
Yuria thanked Fren, noticing his downcast mood, “Thank you, Fren,” and gently stroked his hair.
Looking at their interaction, the shopkeeper had a tired expression.
After feeling the fear and terror caused by Fren’s bloody and threatening energy, she no longer saw a child but a terrifying monster.
Yuria’s behavior to such a child was shocking.
What do you know about that horrible, scary child, and how do you deal with it?
The store owner turned away from Fren, she didn’t even want to look at him.
After a while, Yuria felt the shopkeeper’s attitude change, but Yuria pretended not to know while picking out Friend’s clothes.
The shopkeeper said Fren was a pretty child and was being friendly with him, but she suddenly became wary of him.
Yuria didn’t know the reason behind it, and didn’t want to know.
However, there were few shops in the small town, and this was the only shop selling children’s clothes.
In the meantime, Fren buried his face in Yuria’s arms, uninterested in choosing clothes at all, and quietly closed his eyes.
Yuria quickly picked out his clothes, while counting his clothes the shopkeeper stared at the child, seeming to want to say something.
“That, young lady……” When Yuria finished paying the bill and tried to quickly leave the store, the store owner cautiously called her.
“Do you have anything to say to me?” There was a hard tone in her soft voice.
“I think it would be best not to hang out with that child.” Be careful of the child in your arms, he might wake up making a bloody expression, is what the shopkeeper meant.
It’d been half a year since Yuria had been living in this village.
She got acquainted with some of the villagers, but they didn’t know much about her.
However, there were facts that they discovered through observation – that she was unmarried and without any family.
Thus that child in her arms wasn’t hers, so they couldn’t turn a blind eye.
The child wasn’t even her own so it wasn’t good for her to live with a monster.
They would have not bothered if he was her real child, but he wasn’t.
Yuria’s expression hardened at the shopkeeper’s words.
The shopkeeper’s voice was so small and quiet that others couldn’t hear it, but her intentions were obvious.
She was wary and afraid of Fren, as if she would have a bad day if he touched Fren.
“I don’t know what you want to say.” Suddenly, Yuria’s voice became cold, the change went unnoticed by the shopkeeper who was only concerned about Fren.
“That kid is a monster, so before you encounter danger because of that child-”
“Please don’t be rude.” Before the store owner could even finish speaking, Yuria firmly interrupted her in a cold voice.
“Young lady……?” The shopkeeper was puzzled at Yuria’s attitude.
“This child isn’t a monster but my precious child.
So please don’t talk like that.”
“It was for your own sake, young lady.
Do you know how he looked earlier? So-”
“I don’t want to hear any more.” Yuria coldly cut off the shopkeeper.
Then, worried Fren might’ve heard she carefully covered his ears.
Please, I didn’t want Fren to listen to this.
“He is the most lovable and pitiful child to me.
Even if I give everything I have, it wouldn’t be enough for this child.”
I don’t want to hear any bad things about Fren, especially if I am with him.
Yuria immediately strode out of the shop.
It didn’t matter what the shopkeeper really meant.
The only thing that mattered to Yuria was Fren.
If someone made Fren feel bad, they were a bad person, not worthwhile talking to.
Did he hear it?
Yuria stopped walking for a moment and looked at Fren in her arms, Fren awoke and gazed up at her.
“Monster, that’s right.” Fren said so in a low voice.
Yuria was puzzled when she heard those words.
She had been praying he didn’t hear anything.
In the end, he heard it.
How much does it hurt? How much pain does he now bear? How many more wounds must this small boy have to bear before he becomes so numb he doesn’t get hurt anymore?
Yuria hugged Fren tighter with sadness.
“Fren is not a monster.
You are my precious treasure.”
Fren looked at Yuria quietly.
She wasn’t crying but it looked like she was.
It was strange, he was the one who heard those painful words, but why was it her who seemed to be crying? It was something he’d always heard so it didn’t hurt anymore.
In fact, from Fren’s perspective the shopkeeper’s words weren’t really that bad, but why was she sad to the point of crying over a wound that didn’t even inflict her?
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