Chapter 8
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"Take care of mom, Uwyn. If I could stop by the Scavenger's Haven later, I'll buy your favorite sweet candies, okay?" Maru said after Uwyn hasn't responded anymore. She was deep in thought.

"Okay, brother." Uwyn replied softly. She was still not her usual self. The topic earlier clearly bothered her.

"Don't worry, Uwyn. If we grow up and dad is still alive, I'm surely going to find him for you. And if I do, we'll see him together, okay?

After that, we would hire a painter to draw us. You, me and dad. If mom agrees to come, it will be a complete family painting.

That way, even if father leaves us again, you will remember his face forever. So cheer up now." Maru tried his best to uplift Uwyn's spirit.

He couldn't bear to see his sister sad. It broke his heart to see her this way. His irresponsible father still continued to give them pain after he was long gone. Maru hated his father.

"You promise, brother?!" Uwyn said excitedly. Her eyes sparkled as she pictured the image drawn by her brother.

"I promise, Uwyn!" Maru tried adding more volume to his voice to be as convincing as he can be. He was also hurting deep inside.

How could he lie to his sister this way? But he had to. He will bear everything for Uwyn and for his mother, Maru vowed.

"Good. Don't you dare break this promise like you did yesterday! And don't forget to buy me sweet candies! Take care, brother!" Uwyn was back to her usual lively self.

She smiled at Maru hoping for what was to come later. She loved eating those expensive sweet candies.

"I know, Uwyn. I'm going now." Maru said in goodbye to his sister and he started to walk.

They had no neighbors near them because his mother said that having people near you in these lands was more dangerous than not.

Desperation would lead even a good sane man to do unspeakable evil in these parts.

That was why their mother had chosen a location away from people. They were alone but they were together and alive.

It was all that mattered to Maru. He did not go far. He took shelter under a lone willow acacia tree after only ten minutes of walking.

They were in open land. There was a forest nearby but his mom told them not to go there. There were beasts and the occasional magical beasts that roamed the edges of the forest.

Oftentimes, Maru wondered what magic beasts are like. Were the tales true that they were fierce and would eat anything they laid their eyes on, even humans?

"Magical beasts. Why am I thinking of such things when I should find ways on getting money or food? Hopefully both if I'm lucky. Hmmm." Maru thought under the willow acacia.

"Are you there, madame?" Maru asked after he could think of no solution for his problem. He knew he could not go back to the city today.

If he got caught again, who knows how that would end for him. He almost died once already, it would be stupid to tempt fate again.

Or at least until he found out who this mysterious lady voice was. It was time to get answers, Maru decided.

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