The child didn’t respond to Yuria’s words, but she didn’t rush him to answer.
She couldn’t bear to leave the child alone, so she brought it up.
However, you can’t just hold someone’s hand whom you barely know and met for the first time.
It will eventually be the child’s burden in the end.
He also needs some time to think and be certain of his decision.
Yuria was willing to wait.
When she asked the child to go with her, her question contained compassion until she made that decision, but there’s also something deep inside her.
A life that didn’t feel the true meaning of living.
She had lived so weakly like a swaying reed in the midst of extreme loneliness and deprivation.
It was Yuria who was already used to living her life for others rather than loving herself.
Then she met a child that seemed to need her help.
She hoped that she could find the meaning of life with that child.
If she was with this child, it might be possible for her to escape this extreme loneliness and emptiness.
If she was with this child, a child living his life like hers, it might be possible for her to escape the trauma of her childhood, giving a different life to the child.
For Yuria who needed someone to hold out their hands, for Yuria who eventually didn’t get the help she wanted and grew up incomplete, it might be possible for her to have hope to see a child who received hope and living a better life.
Her actions and choices were with those expectations and thoughts.
Living in this world was particularly difficult.
She suddenly woke up here after living 20 years of her life in Korea, and even though half a year already passed, it wasn’t enough to be fully adjusted to this world and get along well with people living here.
Here, Yuria always felt alienated and treated like she was a different person.
Even with the acquainted villagers, they only ever exchanged light greetings, but they were strangers regardless.
For her, if she settled here with the child, then perhaps she would feel attached to this place.
A long time had already passed, but the child didn’t answer and stayed still.
Yuria trembled in the biting cold as time passed.
The cold here was incomparable to the winter season in Korea.
Although she lived here for already past half a year, she thought that she was already used to the cold, but it was still too much and too hard for her to handle.
Her face, hands, and feet turned frozen blue before she knew it.
The child looked at her quietly.
An emotion flashed in his eyes in a brief moment in his expressionless face.
He had a face asking why she was with him even though she shivered in cold, and his expectations seemed to rise that she might differ from the other people, but it also disappeared in an instant.
For a child who was deeply wounded, it was still difficult to accept the unfamiliar emotions inside him.
Yuria looked at him when he turned away his head.
In a relatively tight bundle, the child still seemed cold.
He would get sick at that rate.
He looked better than her for some reason, but was still in a critical condition as if he would collapse at any moment.
So she was even more worried.
She couldn’t let him stay here, but the child looks like he didn’t want to go.
In response, Yuria stayed with the child in the cold.
The day set, and a new day had dawned.
Yuria has a resolute expression on her face that she couldn’t do it anymore (because of the cold) and soon after, she got up.
Then pretending he wasn’t a little kid, the child quietly looked at Yuria.
In his eyes were complex emotions that were hard to describe; even the child had no idea and couldn’t understand his own feelings at all.
At first, it was just the thought that ‘finally she’s leaving’, but when he realized that, his chest felt cold rather than his whole body.
Yuria, who got up, looked at the child, “Wait here for a minute, I’ll be back.”
He didn’t know if he should believe what she just said.
He thought that maybe she was also like those people who eventually left his side.
Unlike his small stature, his wound was deeper and bigger.
But for Yuria, she didn’t want to just leave the child without a word – for a child who held expectations that got hurt.
When Yuria disappeared, the child raised his blank face again.
His fingers twitched, as if he wanted to hold her, but couldn’t as if he’s at loss with his uncertainties.
Anxious and desperate, the child shook his head.
Nothing was surprising – it was natural for him to be alone.
He had to be alone.
He never held anything in his hand the moment he was born.
He had nothing.
He never lost anything.
He didn’t know the feeling of losing something.
Yuria returned after a while holding a basket in her hand with food in it to share with the child.
There was a thick blanket inside.
She wanted to bring the child to her house but she couldn’t do it unless the child gave her permission to do so.
The blanket she brought with her wouldn’t completely dispel the cold in the child’s body, but it would be better than only having a thin coat over him.
She also didn’t know how long the child had been starved, so she brought food because she was worried the child might be starving.
She was hungry all day today after only having breakfast the day before as an adult, so how much more painful was it for the child?
The cold wind made the freshly-made food cold and lukewarm, but it would be better than starving.
Yuria naturally covered the child’s body with the blanket she had brought.
The blanket was tied like a cloak, shielding the child from the shivering cold.
It must’ve been nice and warm to have a blanket with several layers.
With this, she hoped to convey the warmth she couldn’t personally deliver.
“There’s so much food here.
Do you want to eat with me?” Yuria said carefully as she took out food from the basket.
The child looked at Yuria blankly, as if he had heard something unexpected, a questionable expression rising on his face.
He didn’t know why she said that.
However, the child’s hands trembled when he saw the food on the basket.
Just because he refused to eat didn’t mean he wasn’t hungry.
He hasn’t eaten for a long time.
He was used to being hungry, but that wasn’t enough for him to turn a blind eye to the food in front of him.
In the end, the starved child was in big trouble.
I want to eat, but can I eat it? Me? Someone like me? That kind of… human food?
Noticing the child’s behavior, Yuria muttered to herself, “I may have to throw it away if there are leftovers…”
Not easily reaching out to the food, the child was clearly agitated.
Yuria wasn’t in a hurry, because the mere fact that she saw the child responding gave her a little hope.
Meanwhile, the child’s hands continued to tremble, repeatedly opening and closing.
With a painful expression, Yuria looked at the child’s hand, red from the cold.
The child’s hand looked as small and fragile as that of a toddler.
With small expectations, Yuria grabbed a piece of food and offered it to the child.
The child’s eyes turned to Yuria, asking, Can I really eat this myself?
“Baby, I prepared this for you.”
Yuria looked to the child with a friendly expression and spoke in a gentle voice to reassure him.
The child carefully took the food from Yuria’s hands after a while and hurriedly put it in his mouth.
Have I eaten for a long time?
It was the first time he hesitated.
Once the child put the food in his mouth, he finished all the food in the basket without leaving any for Yuria’s share.
Realizing it too late, the child looked at Yuria with wide eyes, staring right into her.
“I’m okay.” Yuria said in a friendly voice.
Carefully examining her eyes, the eyes looking at Yuria were both lovely and painful as if she had caught him eating all the food and scolded him.
He was like a puppy afraid of being abandoned by the warmth of its owner.
His shoulders collapsed with both of his hands clasped together.
He seemed to be blaming himself.
His expression didn’t ease even with Yuria’s words.
“Oh, I’m full.”
Seeing the child’s eyes filled with worry and anxiety, Yuria muttered lightly as if she was talking to herself.
Although she only ate breakfast yesterday and she was very hungry right now, she couldn’t show it to the child.
She was confident in her health, confident that she won’t collapse even if she starved for one more day.
Her first priority was to fill the empty child’s stomach than hers, an adult.
The child still looked at Yuria even after those words.
His hearing was exceptionally better several times than an ever-age person, and he could hear the light rumbling of Yuria’s stomach.
He became frightened.
What if she beats him up because he had been rude to other people?
He was confident of being hit and enduring the pain with it, but he still hated it.
Then another anxiety comes to him.
What if Yuria abandoned him?
He didn’t even know why he thought that way when it was natural for him to be left behind.
But the person in question didn’t want to leave him.
Maybe he instinctively thought that Yuria was different from the others, adding the great kindness in her actions.
Yuria realized that her words could not calm the child’s anxiety.
Since it had only been a day since she met the child, it would be impossible for her to win the child’s trust.
Yuria just kept quiet and stayed by the child’s side, hoping that the child won’t stare at her anymore.
Yuria’s actions worked.
When Yuria showed no action, the child was relieved.
He felt a mysterious spark as Yuria stayed with him.
The sun set again and shined again.
It was the second day since she had faced the bitter cold.
The cold that penetrated in the meantime got more brutal, but Yuria wasn’t too worried because she was used to the cold.
Especially when it came to health and strength, she’s confident that she won’t be sick.
I won’t collapse.
Yuria’s body was incredibly strong, which may be the aftermath of coming to this world.
She didn’t even catch a cold even after she wandered the cold mountains for half a day in the middle of the winter.
Being accustomed to saying that she will come back to the child, Yuria came back to her home to fill her stomach.
Before she knew it, five days had already passed.
Yuria didn’t force anything on the child, and she didn’t want anything.
They just ate food together and stayed with each other.
Yuria got up and habitually said to the child that she will be back.
It was then, “……Me too.”
It was a very quiet voice, but Yuria was focusing on the child, so she heard it clearly.
Only two words came out of the child’s mouth, but Yuria could understand what he said right away.
She quietly held her hand out, and the child, who had been hesitating for a while, grabbed her hand.
The child’s hands were colder than the wind.
Even Yuria, whose hands were already frozen in the cold, was startled by his hands.
Yuria didn’t shake off his hand and instead, they walked for a long time deep into the forest – heading home.
And that’s how Yuria and the child started living together.
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