The Young Daughter of the Goddess 1

Just as the rain had stopped, a woman wearing a tattered cloak that was practically in rags entered a café in Gion that sold coffee, hookah, mint tea, and snacks. The little bell on the door jingled softly, startling the woman who looked around in surprise. The other patrons glanced at her but quickly lost interest, furrowing their brows, widening their eyes, or tilting their heads for various reasons.

First, there was her appearance. Unlike the cloak that looked like it could have been taken from a beggar for a couple of coins, the skirt visible beneath the cloak was blue silk adorned with gold patterns. Such fine silk was not easily found even in the market. Fabric merchants only procured such expensive materials upon receiving orders from noblewomen, as they were too costly to keep in stock.

Her hair, neither tied up nor braided but left loose, made her look like a madwoman. However, her upper arm, visible through the cloak’s opening, had a splendid tattoo. It was a luxurious rose vine that only tattoo artists frequenting noble houses would inscribe. Judging by the rose, she was likely a favored concubine of someone.

Indeed, the woman was exceedingly beautiful. Her rosy cheeks, thick eyebrows, and deep green eyes were enchanting, and her slightly parted lips were plump like freshly ripened drops of blood. Yet, she looked anxious and blinked incessantly. She was clutching a bundle tightly inside her cloak.

The café was crowded. As the woman scanned the room, her eyes met those of a man. It might be more accurate to say she chose the man since everyone was looking at her. She hurriedly crossed the room to where the man sat in a secluded corner, separated by a low partition for patrons who preferred not to be disturbed. She sat beside him, her face breaking into a wide smile.

“Calling me out at this hour, how mischievous you are.”

As the man began to speak, she quickly moved closer and whispered, “Please pretend you know me for a moment. I’ll give you anything. Please don’t push me away. Just for a moment.”

The man looked at her briefly before pulling out a handkerchief from his pocket and offering it to her. “You had a hard time coming here. Dry your hair; it’s soaking wet.”

She took the handkerchief and squeezed the water from her hair. Meanwhile, the man poured hot tea into an empty cup. An old man at the neighboring table was watching her intently. Noticing this, she raised her voice slightly.

“I dressed up nicely, but the sudden rain ruined everything. This skirt, how much it cost! I came out in this, so will you buy me a new one?”

“Yes, I will.”

“Oh my, how generous. This time, I’d like yellow silk. Let’s go to the market together tomorrow.”

As she spoke rapidly, the man pushed the steaming teacup towards her. She looked down at the teacup but couldn’t extend her arms because she was holding something dear. The man spoke in a low voice.

“All well and good, but it’s ridiculous to go out at night wearing such a cloak.”

As she fell silent with an embarrassed expression, the man spoke again.

“Metion.”

“Yes?”

“To pretend we know each other, I should at least know your name, shouldn’t I?”

“Uh… Tina. It’s Tina.”

Metion nodded, poured tea into his own cup, and continued speaking.

“And the silk you’re wearing can’t be bought directly from the market. It takes about two weeks to order.”

Tina kept silent and looked down at her skirt with a resentful gaze. Though dirtied by splattered mud, the silk still gleamed beautifully. At that moment, Metion grabbed the hem of her skirt and tore off about two hand spans of the gold-embellished fabric. Tina gasped in shock. Metion then handed his cloak to her under the table.

“Wear this.”

When Tina hesitated, Metion frowned, not understanding why. The cloak’s simple design wouldn’t look strange on a woman. It also wouldn’t attract attention like the rags she was wearing.

“Um…”

Tina started to say something, but the cafe door opened again. At the sound of the bell, Tina jumped and looked towards the entrance, then hid her face. It was the soldiers. Metion shrugged his shoulders.

“Are they looking for you?”

Tina’s breathing grew harsh. The soldiers were checking each table near the entrance, asking any young woman they found to identify themselves, and dragging them outside if they couldn’t prove their identity. Suddenly, Tina pulled off her ragged cloak and handed what she had been holding to Metion. It was a baby wrapped in a red cloth. While Metion’s eyes widened in surprise, Tina quickly donned the new cloak, clung to Metion’s arm, and even linked her arm with his.

“In the name of His Majesty the King, we are checking identities. Please cooperate.”

The leader of the soldiers, upon seeing Metion’s attire, adopted a respectful attitude, but his expression changed when he saw the baby in Metion’s arms.

Metion responded calmly, “I am Metion, son of Urs from Kisa.”

As he raised his arm, a gold bracelet with a cylindrical seal clinked. The soldier grasped the seal with his fingertips and examined it. He recognized the emblem of the renowned Urs family from the Kisa region. The seal, used mainly by merchants, was intricately crafted and hard to forge.

“I understand. However…”

The soldiers looked at Tina, who was lowering her head while soothing the baby.

Metion, showing blatant displeasure, said, “She is my daughter and concubine.”

“My apologies.”

Women from noble families had the right not to reveal their names to those of lower status, and it was considered especially rude to try to see the face of a concubine. As the soldiers stepped back, Metion looked down at the baby. The baby was sound asleep, undisturbed by the commotion.

“Handsome little fellow. Is he your son?”

“My… my son?”

Metion’s lips curved slightly before he looked at the baby again. Tina, visibly nervous, spoke, “She’s a girl. Her name is Jenny… Eugenia. Call her Jenny.”

Without responding, Metion continued to stare at the baby. Tina grew increasingly uneasy.

“Um… please give her back. She’ll cry if she wakes up…”

Metion shot a sharp look at Tina. She flinched and quickly added, “Thank you for helping.”

“Thank you? That’s not what you said earlier.”

“What?”

“You promised to give me anything, didn’t you?”

Tina hesitated, her lips slightly parted. Metion suddenly stood, grabbing his hat, as if ready to leave. Tina hurriedly blocked his path.

“Why are you doing this? Please…”

“You need to keep your promise, don’t you?”

“What do you want?”

Metion smiled broadly.

“This child.”


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