Chapter 128 – Isn’t He Cute? (1)
Grabbing the feline by the nape, Kasser lifted it up to his eye level. Legs dangling in the air, eyes pitiful, he looked up and down the animal in amazement. The beast he was used to was nowhere in sight.
The king narrowed his eyes and said, “Abu.”
He called out its name as a confirmation rather than a query. No matter what he transformed into, the master could always recognize him. As much as he wanted to deny it, he had to admit that the beast in his hand, with a frame as small as a street cat, was the very Abu who evoked fear wherever he went.
Nevertheless, he was confused. After all, it was his first time seeing Abu this small.
Abu had been with him for some time now. Daunting, willful, and unbridled were the words that best suited this beast. In a way, he was the reflection of none other but his master. That said, even in his growing years, Abu was as huge as he was intimidating. Perhaps size played a major role in inflicting fear, however, he had always been way above the average size.
Still, Kasser had never compelled Abu to shed his size. It was here that the depth of the master-beast relationship could be understood best. Although the king had laid many ground rules, he was considerate towards Abu, who was obsessed with his size.
But now, seeing him in this state… running and flapping instead of snarling and growling, he was flabbergasted.
This Lark of the Desert King was as famous as his master. He was stronger and bigger than the Lark of King Seon, Kasser’s father. Some said he was the strongest Lark the kingdom had ever had.
Kasser had never evinced, but he was satisfied with his great and strong hwansu. Abu had special value to him.
At an early age, when he constantly asked questions about the significance of his existence, he had searched for ways to prove himself. Just in time, the success of his hunt boosted his self-esteem.
Thinking back, the queries in his mind had been laid to rest from the time he took in Abu. Even so, no matter how special Abu was, he did not equate himself with the Lark.
However, the Abu before him now was too much to stomach. He looked nothing like his usual self, strong and fierce. It would be an embarrassment to acknowledge him as the mighty hwansu of the mighty Desert King.
The eyes of the pathetic owner met the red eyes of the beast.
From the day Abu became smaller, Eugene pretended to go on a walk every day for about an hour or two just to meet Abu in the afternoon and play with him. The king’s Lark was not something to be recklessly carried around, so she’d promised to meet him at a designated time and place.
Eugene treated Abu as if he were a pet cat. She would hold him in her arms, stroke or pull his tail or ear… rub him under the chin. There was no fear or inhibition, they looked like they had been doing this for ages now.
On his part, Abu had always thought that humans, with the exception of his master, were terribly weak and insignificant. When they were afraid of him, he was proud rather than sad. But for the first time, he was embarrassed for it was the first time he was being treated like a toy by a human woman!
The quiet voice of a woman who kept talking to herself was also unfamiliar. Kasser was originally far from affectionate. The only time his master called his name was when he gave orders or scolded him. On the contrary, this woman would speak to him gently and lovingly even.
It was awkward, but Abu held it in. The human woman’s softness and affection felt so good that the discomfort was tolerable.
As he held back, Abu got used to it. Now he even cried at Eugene’s feet and shamelessly begged for a hug.
In a brief moment, Abu shot a rebellious look at his master. He struggled with his short foreleg and protested. Kasser simply quirked a lip to subdue his arrogance. There was a bluish glow in his blue eyes.
Unable to decide whether to laugh or cry, Eugene’s gaze alternated between the human and the beast. And why not? Such a scene was never to be had after all- the small, black leopard, caught betwixt its master’s fingers, swaying in the air, was actually a huge Lark. That man who looked like an animal abuser was its master and the King of Hashi.
“Your Majesty.” She carefully called out.
The man and the beast fixed their gazes on Eugene at the same time.
“Abu… isn’t he cute?”
Eugene intently studied the man, trying to discern his thoughts. This gruesome reunion was unexpected and embarrassing. She was worried that she might have made a big mistake.
“There are many advantages to having Abu reduce in size. The maids will be much less afraid.” Eugene’s voice grew smaller and smaller as she spoke.
Kasser’s stiff eyebrows loosened at the sight of her withering smile.
“I’m not mad at you. This guy looks….” He checked himself right when he was going to say ‘foolish’. “I… well, he just feels a little unfamiliar. Was this the ‘place’ you mentioned earlier?”
“Yes. We’re supposed to meet in the afternoon.”
“You meet this guy every day?” Kasser asked in surprise.
“Since when?” Like Abu’s transformation wasn’t shocking enough, now there was this even!
“It’s been a few days.”
Instantaneously, Kasser was offended by the mere sight of Abu. When he thought that the animal had dug into the gap in the days when he was not around, he was furious.
“Why are you here?”
“To see Abu…” She replied honestly.
“You were supposed to go out with me.” Kasser was filled with disappointment in his heart, yet his face betrayed nothing.