City of Witches Chapter 153

Cohabitation (1)

༺ Cohabitation (1) ༻

1.

 

  For Siwoo, returning to the modern world was a pleasant experience. But, that feeling didn’t last long.

 

  Humans were adaptable creatures. He experienced this first hand after realizing how quickly he got bored over his unchanging routine.

 

  His life became monotonous and uninteresting, with the only variation being his meals’ menu.

 

  However, meeting Sharon brought him a newfound sense of happiness.

 

  It had only been a few days since then, but it felt as if he had found a new purpose in his monotonous life.

 

  He no longer had to endure the loneliness of having no one to confide in.

 

  “Should I leave early?”

 

  Time passed swiftly as he idly read through the book in his hand. At that moment, he realized that it was already time for Sharon to finish her shift,

 

  A whole week had passed since their last encounter with the three Homunculi. Since then, they had been distributing flyers while searching for more Homunculi in town.

 

  “Haven’t seen a single one since then, though.”

 

  That wasn’t exactly a surprising outcome. If Homunculi were abundant in number, Sharon would have already paid off more of her debt just by hunting them.

 

  It was great that no more innocent people were being harmed, but he couldn’t help but feel a sense of emptiness after spending a week without anything happening. Especially when he had steeled his resolve to protect those defenseless civilians.

 

  Siwoo grabbed his coat and stepped outside.

 

  “Someone as kind-hearted as her deserves more happiness.”

 

  Even though he had a strong desire to help her, he decided to find a middle ground so that his help didn’t come off as excessive. And that middle ground was to go around to good restaurants together.

 

  Since he also enjoyed indulging in good food himself, the arrangement was pretty much perfect.

 

  Every midnight, after Sharon finished her shift, they’d always meet up in front of the building where Siwoo’s room was located.

 

  Tonight, the air felt strangely humid as a light drizzle began to fall.

 

  “What are you doing here?”

 

  But the air wasn’t the only strange thing.

 

  When he stepped out of the elevator, he found Sharon hunching over at the bottom.

 

  “Heya, I’ve been waiting for you.”

 

  Her complexion was a little pale, seemingly tired. She was resting her chin between her knees, but when she heard Siwoo’s voice, she immediately stood up while patting her butt.

 

  Witches’ spiritual bodies were way more resilient compared to normal humans, so they rarely got tired.

 

  But, that didn’t apply to Sharon as she always appeared to be tired.

 

  Tonight, in particular, she looked even more worn out than usual.

 

  “It’s raining. Guess we can’t put up any flyers tonight?”

 

  “Yeah… Phew…”

 

  One didn’t need to be a genius to figure out that it was impossible to put up flyers under such a weather.

 

  Sharon sighed with a hint of disappointment before walking over to Siwoo. She seemed to be a little down.

 

  “What happened? Were you crying?”

 

  “N-No! Not at all!”

 

  When he saw her face as she came out of the shadow, Siwoo was surprised.

 

  Her eyes were red and swollen.

 

  Despite how she tried to hide it, it was clear that she was going through something difficult.

 

  Even her vibrant green hair that used to exude vitality, appeared like wilted weeds.

 

  “What’s going on?”

  “Nothing, really. Anyway, with this kind of weather… I guess I’ll go home and rest…”

 

  Sharon replied, trying to brush off the situation, putting on a forced smile.

 

  Siwoo wasn’t a particularly perceptive person, but even he could tell that there was sadness in her smile. She clearly was trying to hide the hardship she was going through.

 

  “Are you sure there’s nothing?”

 

  They hadn’t known each other for long.

 

  But it was the first time she had ever shown him such a vulnerable state, so he asked her in a serious tone.

 

  She had been a helpful friend to him.

 

  If the situation was so bad to the point she refused to talk about it, at least he wanted to do his best to help her.

 

  “…”

 

  Sharon’s pupils trembled.

 

  She bit her lip and looked at Siwoo.

 

  Soon enough, her eyes were filled with tears.

 

  “Huh? …A…aa…”

 

  They welled up before trickling down her cheeks.

 

  Flustered, she tried to wipe them away.

 

  “Ah… S-Strange… There’s nothing to be sad about, though…”

 

  But, no matter how hard she tried to wipe them away, more of them came pouring out like a bursted dam.

 

  At one point, she even began whimpering, as if something was stuck in her throat.

 

  “Sob… Ah… What… Why is this happening…”

 

  It had been a week since she was kicked out of her house and left without a place to stay.

 

  Since then, every night, after she finished putting up flyers with Siwoo and eating, she’d always spend the night walking around the fight.

 

  She figured that she could look out for more Homunculi this way.

 

  It was her effort to look at things in a more positive way. Believing that her situation would improve and good things would follow the unfortunate events that befell her.

 

  At that time, she wasn’t particularly bothered by it.

 

  Her mind was a bit foggy, but that was it, it didn’t affect her everyday activities as she previously expected,

 

  But, when she heard Siwoo’s voice, filled with genuine concern, she felt a surge of emotions from the bottom of her heart. 

 

  “Sniff… Sob… Uu…”

 

  It had been ten years.

 

  For that long, no one had ever shown her such genuine concern, without any mockery or ridicule.

 

  Without giving him any chance to react, she ran into his arms.

 

  Through the humid summer air, her sweet scent permeated the surroundings. The scent that smelled distinctly different from the musky scent of a man.

 

  She clung to Siwoo, embracing him tightly.

 

  Though she had a youthful look, she always had a big sister-like figure to Siwoo, but at the moment, she looked fragile, as if she’d break down the moment he touched her.

 

  “Ugh… Waaaah…”

 

  Not long after, she started crying uncomfortably, like a child. Siwoo could only watch, unable to do anything.

 

  But, as he watched her flailing around, trying so desperately to hold on to him, his heart began to ache.

 

  He gently pulled her shoulders closer and patted her back.

 

  ‘But, what the hell is going on with her?’

 

2.

 

  “Hic… S-Sorry…! I-I— Hic! Did I startle you?”

 

  Sharon and Siwoo were sitting side by side on the stairs.

 

  In Sharon’s hand was a banana milk that Siwoo had bought for her from the convenience store she was working at.

 

  She was holding it tightly, trying to distract herself from her red nose and non-stop hiccups.

 

  “Take your time. You can tell me everything while drinking.”

 

  “T-Thank you… Hic!”

 

  Her lips were still trembling as she had been crying a lot. But, after taking small sips of the banana milk, she seemed to calm down a little.

 

  “So, can you tell me what’s going on?”

 

  She hesitated for a moment.

 

  “…Yes, I can.”

 

  In the end, she decided to share the story of what happened to her over the past week, despite the fact that she hadn’t completely calmed down yet.

 

  As she was doing it while trying to hold back her tears, it took her a little time to finish it up, but she managed to tell him the general idea of the situation.

 

  The fact that she had been kicked out of her house and was currently homeless.

 

  “Why didn’t you tell me about that?”

 

  When his voice came out, Siwoo noticed a hint of reproach in it.

 

  Whether he had the right to say the words or not didn’t matter. Anger and disappointment filled his chest.

 

  While they hadn’t known each other for long, he considered her a friend.

 

  He really wished that she had told him about this earlier, as this was by no means a small matter.

 

  “I-I… Didn’t want to be a burden… I wanted to solve this on my own…”

 

  “Still…”

 

  ‘You should have told me.’

 

  Siwoo was about to say those words, but he swallowed them back into his throat.

 

  He realized that even if he were to get angry here, he wouldn’t be doing both of them any favor.

 

  Besides, the only reason he felt an unusual closeness to her was only because of his own lonely life.

 

  There was still a boundary that he couldn’t cross.

 

  “Still, thank you. I feel much better after crying.”

 

  Sharon wiped her nose and let out a familiar bright smile.

 

  ‘No, this won’t do.’

 

  But, after seeing her like this, he realized that he couldn’t just ignore her and pretend that her problem didn’t exist.

 

  “What about staying at my house for the time being?”

 

  “Huh? No no! That’s not why I did all this!”

 

  Sharon lifted her head and shook it.

 

  After all, she didn’t come out to Siwoo, crying while expressing her worries, to beg for his help.

 

  She was still firm on her stance to solve everything on her own.

 

  “I know. You’re not the cunning type, after all. But, you are in a situation where you need help that badly, no?”

 

  “…T-That’s…”

 

  “My place has two rooms anyway, so there’s an extra bedroom for you to live in.”

 

  In normal circumstances, there was no way that he’d tell his female friend to live together with him; A guy who was clearly living by himself.

 

  However, it was clear that she’d strongly reject it if he were to offer her a new place to live or find a new one-room apartment for her.

 

  And so, he suggested cohabitation as a compromise.

 

  “It isn’t for free, of course. You can help me with my research as a payment. You said you’d teach me last time, but you never had the time to do it. It’s a win-win situation, just like you mentioned. What do you think?”

 

  “…Are you really okay with that?”

 

  Sharon lifted her head as she looked up at Siwoo.

 

  Her eyes reminded him of a hungry puppy that was looking at a full course meal.

 

  They sparkled to the point that it illuminated the dimly lit staircase.

 

  “Of course.”

 

  “R-Really? A-Are you really sure…?”

 

  “Yes. Having you around as a bodyguard when I got attacked by other witches or Homunculi would help too, honestly.”

 

  Siwoo continued to explain the advantages of their cohabitation to Sharon, who was still reluctant to accept the proposal.

 

  He explained that she could save her money as she could just teach him magic as a method to pay for her rent.

 

  Not only that, he also explained in detail that both of them only have benefits if she were to stay there; They could easily prepare themselves in case of them getting assaulted by a third party, and there’s also the fact that she could get to her work quickly.

 

  And, he told her that if she were still concerned about paying the rent, she could always pay it later.

 

  “Also, I’ll buy you delicious food every day. It gets boring eating by myself, you know?”

 

  “F-Food…?”

 

  Due to his effort, he managed to pull Sharon out of her dilemma.

 

  As soon as she heard the word food, her mint-colored eyes became clouded and dazed, as if she was hypnotized.

 

  After thinking it over for a bit more, she nodded, albeit with a little reluctance, agreeing to Siwoo’s offer.

 

  “Okay, I got it. Can I bring my luggage right away?”

 

  “Of course.”

 

  “I left them at the convenience store, so wait a little bit for me, okay?”

 

  “Okay.”

 

  And that was how they successfully sealed their agreement to live together from then on.

 

3.

 

  “Wow…”

 

  “Come in.”

 

  Sharon entered Siwoo’s house with her luggage.

 

  Since the building was newly constructed, his room’s layout was clean, as one would expect.

 

  Even though it only had two rooms, it looked way better than the street, basement studio and rooftop room Sharon had lived in previously.

 

  “Please excuse me…”

 

  She placed her suitcase in the shoe cabinet and cautiously walked into the living room.

 

  As she looked around, her tense shoulders gradually relaxed.

 

  There was a balcony with a view of bustling streets and a living room furnished with a large TV and a comfortable sofa.

 

  Although the place wasn’t meticulously organized, it still looked much neater than her rooftop room.

 

  Siwoo then guided her to her designated room.

 

  “You could stay here. It’s a little smaller than my room, but I don’t think you’ll have much problem living here. I don’t have a separate bed though, so you can sleep in my room for today. We’ll take care of your bed tomorrow.”

 

  “Oh, then I can just not sleep tonight!”

 

  “That so? Well, I actually am not feeling sleepy either.”

 

  Sharon trailed closely behind Siwoo, carefully inspecting every corner of his house. At one point, she had bitten her own lips.

 

  She felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to him.

 

  “Siwoo.”

 

  “Yeah?”

 

  “Thank you… So much…”

 

  She held his hand tightly as she gently caressed it.

 

  The teardrops that welled up in her eyes perfectly conveyed the depths of her emotions.

 

  Noticing her happiness, Siwoo’s mood instantly brightened.

 

  “What are you on about? Don’t think about it and just rest. You’ve been walking all night for days, haven’t you?”

 

  “Yes… But still, I won’t forget this favor. One day, I’ll definitely repay it! …By the way, is it okay if I were to take a shower?”

 

  “Right now?”

 

  “Yes! I’ve only been using magic to clean myself for years!”

 

  “Sure.”

 

  After receiving his permission, she hurriedly went into the shower room, undressed and turned on the shower.

 

  -Shhh!

 

  “Ah… Sob..”

 

  The sound of the hot water filled the small bathroom. Sharon couldn’t help but sobbed as she hunched over in the corner of the shower booth.

 

  This kindness was something she hadn’t experienced in ten years.

 

  She couldn’t decide whether this overwhelming emotion she felt was that of gratitude or something else entirely. Nevertheless, her tears didn’t stop flowing.

 

  Sharon continued to cry, quietly, masking her own sobs with the sound of water.

 

  Yet, even with tears streaming down her face, a faint smile appeared as the warm water cascaded over her.

 

 


 

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City of Witches

City of Witches

마녀의 도시
Score 9.2
Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2021 Native Language: Korean
Five years after being kidnapped and enslaved in the City of Witches. He became the only male Witch in the world.

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