‘He looks like he has an upset stomach.’
Since Gilbert had offered it out of goodwill, Snow couldn’t just refuse and he looked like he was pushing himself.
I gave Snow a glance then I spoke.
“I guess you ate before coming so you must be full. You can have it to-go, would you like me to do that?”
“No, it’s fin…”
And at that moment, when Snow began to speak and looked at me.
Snow suddenly sucked in a breath and jumped out of his seat like someone struck by lightning. The chair he was sitting on fell back with a loud noise.
Although his eyes were covered by his hair, I could feel Snow’s widened eyes staring at me. His reaction was akin to someone who just saw a ghost.
A small, trembling voice spilled from Snow’s slightly parted lips.
‘‘Why?’. I should be the one asking that.’
I didn’t know why but I could tell he was extremely surprised and shocked by something just now. It was similar to the reaction Damon Salvatore had when he first came to the coffeehouse. However, the shock I was sensing from Snow was much more intense.
“What’s wrong, Mr. Snow?”
For now, I asked since I couldn’t understand his reaction.
“What happened? Gasp, Mr. Snow, are you okay? You look pale!”
Hearing the noise, Gilbert hurried out of the kitchen and came up to where Snow and I was. Still, Snow managed his emotions faster than I expected and recovered his composure.
“No…it’s nothing. Sorry to surprise you. I’ve been working a lot lately so I’m a little tired and I guess I mistook something.”
Snow rubbed his face like he was cleaning it then he picked up the chair that fell behind him.
“I’m sorry but can I have the pie wrapped up like you said?”
“Yes, I’ll get to it.”
Mr. Gilbert anxiously told him to stop by the clinic in front if he felt ill. Snow smiled and replied that he was okay. Then he sat back on the chair and rapped his fingers on the table in a somewhat subtle act of nervousness.
Gilbert was still worried about Snow and hovered around, but he had to go when another customer came in. As I took the meat pie back to the kitchen, I glanced at Snow suspiciously.
Snow was gulping down the lemonade on the table like his insides were on fire.
‘Why’s he like that? It gives me a bad feeling.’
I knew Snow was Genos Sheldon and I also knew that Genos Sheldon had the power of foresight. So the reaction he gave when he looked at my face just now gave me a slightly bad feeling.
‘Did he see something this time like the last time he warned me to be careful of birds?’
But this was such a severe reaction.
If he did see the future then that meant he must have seen something pretty bad. Of course, it could simply be as Snow said; that he was temporarily confused because he was doing work that he wasn’t used to and he was tired, both mentally and physically.
But…he said his work these days was basically helping out his friend.
Maybe he was put on the task force for the missing persons case that Kalian Crawford was in charge of.
While all sorts of thoughts coursed through my mind, I packed up the pie. And a while later, Snow said a brief goodbye and left the coffeehouse as soon as I brought the pie.
Seeing that, my suspicion couldn’t help but deepen.
* * *
“Clean that side more.”
“Wait! There’s dust under there. Are your eyes too small that you can’t see it? Do I have to widen them before you do it properly?”
“N-No! I can see the dust very well!”
Lakis was lying on the sofa and was having an idle time. Then his eyes flashed sharply and the person cleaning in front of him became more diligent.
The person dripping with sweat and cleaning the house under Lakis’ orders was none other than Odin. The other crows were also helping Odin by flapping their wings to brush the dust from the shelves and using a towel on their feet to mop diligently.
Meanwhile, Lakis was looking at something while drinking the coffee Odin prepared some minutes ago. What he held in his hand was an almost burnt paper.
It was the very same paper Yuri had roughly tossed into her cloak after sneaking into the illegal auction house last night. Of course, this didn’t mean Lakis deliberately searched Yuri’s clothes.
He only picked up the paper that accidentally dropped on the floor when Yuri was taking off her cloak yesterday.
The paper has turned into black ashes here and there so just like Yuri, it was difficult for Lakis to discern anything apart from a few words.
But since Lakis had gone after the people at the auction house in the past and learnt a few things, he had a vague understanding of what this note meant.
‘Like I thought, that ruin’s fragment from the auction house, it wasn’t a coincidence for it to appear in the forest.’
Lakis’ eyes narrowed.
As he was lost in thought, his hand hung to the side of the sofa and the paper in his hand rustled softly as it touched the floor.
He had found traces of experimentation in the east not long ago and since the fake bastard in Carnot was focused on making mutants, it was obvious that guy was involved in this.
‘But why the East of all places. On top of that, the East’s alchemy is also suspicious.’
While he thought of all sorts of things, Lakis’ sharp gaze was needlessly focused on Odin’s back as Odin moved around in front of him.
Even without that, Odin, who was receiving moral education after stealing Yuri’s ruin’s fragment and getting caught by Lakis, could feel the increasingly cold gaze on his spine.
“I, I’m seriously working hard! I didn’t know cleaning could be so rewarding and fun! Oh, there’s dust here too!”
He was so nervous that he truly devoted his heart and soul towards cleaning.
“I have something for you to do. Stop flapping around and run over.”
Lakis couldn’t bear the distraction in front of him anymore so his face crumpled, and he called Odin over.
Odin flew over at once and Lakis began to lay down his instructions.
* * *
Gilbert seemed to be more concerned about the welfare of his only employee, Yuri. For now, he reduced Yuri’s working hours. So from today onwards, she got off work earlier. He also said that she could come to work later than before.
Yuri said it was fine but Gilbert was persistent. It felt like he was trying to make things comfortable for her before she changed her mind and quit the coffeehouse. Yuri figured this might make Gilbert feel more at ease so for now, she just accepted it.
So today, she was leaving the coffeehouse about an hour earlier than usual.
As summer approached, the sun stayed longer in the sky so even though it was evening, it was still bright outside like it was afternoon.
‘I didn’t think much of it at first, but it is nice to have more free time.’
Yuri decided to go to the shopping mall in the next neighborhood since she had an unplanned free time on her hands. The shopping mall she used to go to was yet to be tidied up after the explosion so it was practically closed.
So if she needed something from a big shopping mall, she had to go the second largest shopping mall in the next neighborhood.
And there, Yuri met someone unexpected.
“I didn’t expect to see a familiar face here.”
An appearance similar to Kalian. But unlike Kalian, the man’s voice and gaze gave off a chilly feeling.
It was the person she met just last week in the greenhouse when she went to talk with Bastian Crawford. It was Kalian’s father and head of the Crawford family, Dominic.
* * *
“Here, eat this.”
“What is this?”
Kalian slightly raised a brow when he saw the box that Genos handed to him as soon as he entered the room.
Not caring if Kalian took it or not, Genos headed straight for the sofa and sank into it. Genos’ face was somewhat white.
Kalian felt suspicious then he opened the paper bag and immediately understood why Genos was like that. The thing in the box was a meat pie sprinkled with appetizing red sauce.
After seeing the scene of the incident a while ago, Genos grew squeamish and he hadn’t been able to eat things like meat.
“You really like to drag things out. I don’t think you were this bad before.”
Kalian clicked his tongue softly then he closed the lid of the box. Then he realized the smell might have spread when he opened the box so he went ahead and opened the window at the back while he was at it.
Judging from the store name on the box, Genos must have gone to the coffeehouse where Yuri worked.
“By the way, did something happen?”
From the corner of his eyes, Kalian saw that Genos’ complexion was worse than he thought and felt suspicious again. From Genos’ condition, he could tell there was something more to this. It didn’t seem like Genos was in this state simply because the meat pie made him queasy.
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