Reboot Sienna Book 1 Chapter 18
Volume 1 Chapter 18 Live To Sienna Pt.18
As soon as the carriage stopped at the temple, Coco, the cat with smooth black fur, jumped off from Sienna's arms. Then, he headed for the entrance to the temple as if that was the obvious thing to do.
She couldn't leave the cat in the empty temple, so Sienna took Coco around with her every day. Fortunately, he was a gentle fellow, so there was no difficulty to it.
Sienna saw something strange in front of the temple. A little boy was trying to steal Coco's rice bowl, so Coco got in a fight with him. Coco threatened the boy by raising his back and tail when the boy snatched the cat's bowl.
"Coco! You shouldn't do that to people!"
Sienna approached the agitated Coco, chastising him. The little boy looked at her cautiously and tried to make a run for it into the alleyway next to her.
"I can't just let it you go."
Sienna grabbed him by the back when he tried to run past her. Since she was from the North, she was used to running across snowfields, so she was physically fit, but the child was so small and skinny that she could lift him up easily. It was as if she had picked up a small animal, not a human child.
The child struggled in Sienna's arms.
"Let go of me! I didn't do anything wrong!"
Sienna put the child, who had been struggling against her arms, down. Still, she kept a grip on the boy's wrist.
The child glared at her. His clothes were a mess, announcing the fact that he had been living on the streets, and he reeked. Due to his malnourished state, his lips were chapped and dark, and his skin looked rough, which made him look like he wasn't a child.
"Let go of my hand!"
"Stop struggling. I'm not going to eat you up. Just listen to my request."
Even though Sienna had said that, the child remained vigilant.
The child had grown on the streets, and he had met more bad people than good people, so he knew there were people with pleasant faces who were also cruel. Therefore, even though Sienna seemed like a nonthreatening lady trying to make a good impression, she could not easily get him to put his guard down.
"What kind favor is that?" the child asked brusquely.
"Please, eat lunch with me." The child rubbed his ear as if he had heard wrong, but Sienna shrugged and said, "I feel lonely eating alone. It's always good to have someone around when you eat. The food tastes better that way."
The child laughed at her and said, "As if! You're an a.d.u.l.t and you can't eat alone? To me, eating with someone makes me more nervous. It makes me scared that others will take my food away from me."
Sienna said, shaking her lunchbox, "I've packed plenty of food today. Even if the both of us were to eat it, there'd still be leftovers."
The little boy slowly gave in when she said she had something for him to eat. It was an irresistible temptation for someone as hungry as him.
The child pretended to act like he was thinking about it even though he had already fallen for it.
Putting the child down, Sienna said, "If a man plays hard to get for too long, he becomes uncharismatic. So, stop worrying and come in."
She opened the door and entered the temple, and he followed her hesitantly.
"There's a little kitchen over there that Priest Roy uses. Let's eat there."
When Roy's name came out of Sienna's mouth, the boy asked with a look of relief, "Do you know Father Roy?"
Waving her set of keys, Sienna said, "Well, Priest Roy gave me these."
"Where's Father Roy?"
"He's left his position empty for a while because of work. Until he returns, I guess I'm the caretaker. Well, that doesn't mean he's left me with a huge burden. He told me to greet all those who come to visit from time to time, like you."
Roy had only said that he would leave the temple to her, but Sienna was sure that he wouldn't have liked for her to chase a hungry child away. Roy had also been one born and raised on the streets. What would Roy, who worried constantly about the health of the street children and raised hemp to help them, have done to somehow fill the child's stomach?
Now that Roy was away, it was her job to act for him and do his work.
As if moved by Sienna's statement, the child's eyes filled with tears. It felt sad to see a child's face like that, so Sienna put Jane's packed lunch on the table and sat the child down in a seat.
"What's your name?"
"That's a cool name. How old are you?"
"Maybe eight years old, I think."
Because the child had been born and raised on the streets, he didn't know his exact age, but Sienna was surprised when he answered that he was eight years old because she had thought him to be six due to how small and skinny he was.
'The malnutrition is probably stunting his growth.'
Sienna put a glass of water and a fork in front of the child and opened the lid of the lunchbox that Jane had packed.
It was a very impressive lunchbox for her too. It contained a large amount of food for one person, such as cooked vegetables, potatoes, and jjamppong (a type of Korean noodle soup with red, spicy seafood- or pork-based broth flavored with gochugaru) and a dish that was sifted and thickened with a sieve. There was no black, hard bread, but rather, a fluffy peach pie.
Putting a fork and a spoon in the child's hand, Sienna said, "I guess it's because I ate late in the morning, but I still feel full. This won't do. You'll have to eat this all alone."
The child asked her again with a look of surprise, "You want me to eat this by myself?"
"Yes. So, take your time."
Eating fatty foods on an empty stomach was not good, but fortunately, Sienna did not eat red meat, so the lunchbox had been prepared with small amounts of wheat, vegetables, and fruits, so it was unlikely to burden the child's stomach.
Despite Sienna's suggestion that he eat slowly, Kevin quickly emptied her lunchbox. The pie and the fruit on one side of the box remained untouched.
"Are you done with it?"
"Yes. I'm full now. But... "
The child hesitated and looked at Sienna, who asked, "If you don't mind, do you want to take what's left? Jane will be sad if I leave anything uneaten. She might think even think I left it because I didn't think it tasted good."
"Are you sure you're OK with that way?"
"Yes, unless you don't want to eat it because it doesn't taste good."
"It's not that it doesn't taste good. I'd never tasted anything this good in my life. It's more delicious than the food I get going through the trash cans of Miguel's restaurant."
It was strange for Sienna to hear Jane's food being compared to waste, but Sienna did not laugh at Kevin. From Kevin's point of view, the food he found in the restaurant's trash cans had been the most delicious food he'd ever had.
"I'm glad it was delicious. Jane will be very happy as well. I have to return the bowl to Jane, so I'll wrap the rest in a handkerchief for you."
Sienna took out a handkerchief and wrapped the pie. The fruit had been packed whole, so she thought it would be OK to have the child put it in his pocket.
"Do you come to the temple often?"
"No. If I came often, I'd get scolded."
Knowing that Roy was not one to get angry just because a hungry child showed up at the temple, Sienna asked Kevin why he would get scolded.
"Robin told me not to because Father Roy is starving because of us."
"Yes. I used to come whenever I was hungry. Then, Father Roy cooked me some wheat porridge, but it turned out he gave me his own food."
She thought it was very much like Roy to help the children by using his own resources.
"At first, I used to come to the temple every day. Then, other people stopped coming because they said the temple smelled. They stopped donating as well. Father Roy told me not to worry about the lack of money because the people who serve the Goddess of the Earth are farmers, but the farmers who used to bring things to eat stopped coming. Now, we're the only ones who want to sleep and eat here. So, brother Robin kicked everyone out. No matter how hungry we are, we don't embarrass ourselves by begging. Actually, if he finds out I was here today, I'll get scolded."
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