Kasser has found Eugene sitting at the dressing table when he entered through the door to their bedchamber. Looking deeply lost in her thoughts, she didn’t move a muscle while keeping her eyes fixed on the floor. In fact, she didn’t even seem to have noticed his entrance even after he had slammed the door behind him with a purposeful bang.
For a moment, he just stood and stared at Eugene, who looked all quiet and despondent, before he went up to her side. Only when he had drawn near to her by an arm’s length did she turned around to see him.
“Are you still thinking about what happened earlier?” Kasser asked, gently stroking her shoulders.
Eugene, however, only smiled faintly in answer.
“Nothing bad happened to them. They are both just fine. I can feel it.”
During dinnertime, Eugene explained to Kasser about what happened when she tried to introduce Kid to Abu earlier. She also apologized for not consulting him about it beforehand.
Contrary to her expectation, Kasser simply listened to her with a look of total nonchalance. In fact, he seemed to be more interested in the flow of energy which Eugene had felt earlier, than what happened to his Hwansus.
His indifferent response has somehow, ironically lessened Eugene’s concerns. However, what happened earlier was still bothering her. Her heart ached when she recalled the wary look on Abu and Kid’s faces
“They might be thinking that I’ve tried to hurt them. I wonder if I should have sorted out misunderstandings before just leaving them.”
“I think you’re overthinking.” With that said, Kasser took her by her shoulders and raised her up from the seat. He held her hand and took her to the sofa.
As he sat her down, he went through his thoughts in his mind. It occurred to him that he had been turning a blind eye to a glaring problem, as he used to think it was trivial for him to make an issue of. But now that they were on the subject, he thought it would be better to make it clear to her once and for all.
“Eugene. You should know that Hwansu is nothing more than a lark. In other words, they aren’t animals that could be domesticated. And they are very much different from wild beasts either.”
“Yes. I’m well aware of that,” said Eugene, looking incredulous. “I do adore Abu and Kid but I’ve never regarded them as pets. Are you perhaps thinking I should keep my distance from them?”
All of a sudden, one old concern of hers seemed to have come back to her mind. She wondered if her bonding with Abu and Kid had somehow offended him involuntarily since he was their master after all.
“I’m not questioning the way you treat them. But sometimes, it seems to me that you may have forgotten about something very important. What do you think is the difference between a lark and a wild beast?”
“I don’t think there’s any similarity between them.”
“In terms of the way they treat humans.”
Eugene, who pondered over his words with knitted brows, muttered out a faint exclamation of realization, ‘Ah.., before she answered his question. “Larks are aggressive towards humans.”
“That’s right. While wild beasts rarely make the first strike unless provoked, the larks, however, will not hesitate to attack humans in their sight. So it’s deemed impossible for larks and humans to coexist with one another. And needless to say, Hwansu is a lark as well.”
Eugene nodded falteringly when the fact she thought she had known all along, felt like a foreign concept to her all of sudden.
“Most of the casualty incidents that occur during the dry season are caused by Hwansu. Although they are mostly known to attack the humans who intrude in their territory, those with extreme hostility to humans will even attack beyond their territory.”
In spite of Kasser’s explanation, Abu and Kid were all that came to her mind when she thought of the word ‘Hwansu’. So, in their defense, she wanted to make a retort to his harsh appraisal.
“But… Abu and Kid are subordinate to you.”
“They could be subordinated, but never domesticated. In other words, they will obey their master’s words, but fundamentally, they are indifferent to other humans. On occasions, they might adopt a very aggressive attitude towards humans as well.”
Eugene, who had become much accustomed to Abu and Kid being obedient to her, came to the realization that what had been obvious to her was actually a very unusual phenomenon after all.
In fact, she remembered being told that Abu did not show any interest to her imposter in the past. And now that she thinks of it, she couldn’t quite recall Abu being meekly obedient to Kasser, despite him being his master.
“I think you may have grown too fond of them. And as you know, they are not as meek as you think they are. Really, they are just larks which will act only on their basic instincts. To them, the rule is simple. Strong rules over the weak.”
“So, Abu and Kid have meekly obeyed my words simply because I’m stronger than them?”
“Until now, there wasn’t a clear explanation as to why they obeyed you. But now that you have mentioned the power which could possibly lead the larks to death, I can finally understand why. I bet they have already vaguely sensed the power around you. But it was only from the early incident that they have deeply realized that you are strong enough to actually put their lives to an end. So Eugene, what I’m trying to say is that they have absolutely no idea of what actually happened earlier. In fact, I think they are just simply frightened at the moment.”
Eugene stared at him wordlessly, looking shocked and crestfallen. In the meanwhile, she almost felt like something once soft being crumbled to pieces inside her.
“I can assure you that by tomorrow, or perhaps it’ll take more days for them to fully calm down…..Nevertheless, I’m most certain that they will throw themselves flat before you from now on. And I bet they will be in obedience to your words like a bunch of army recruits under strict discipline.”
Eugene shot Kasser a disapproving look, as he seemed to think that she would be pleased to hear that she had gained ascendancy over Abu and Kid.
“Did I say something wrong?” Kasser asked, flustered by Eugene’s lukewarm response.