4. The Good Witch of the Lake (2)
Then one day, the man she harbored crush on for seven years arrived at her front door—
—to request a Love Potion.
Although, for this kind of development to happen …maybe I should be grateful. After all, I finally get to meet him again, no? Roze ponders as she grinds on the millstone.
Maybe she shouldn’t overthink this—she should just focus on the task at hand. Witches have various tasks, but mixing potions is the most important of them. It’s their way to obtain daily bread.
That’s what witches do, and Roze is no exception. All this time, that’s the way she has been living. But alas, living in such an isolated, small, island, she won’t be able to survive by depending solely on that. Roze thereby sells ordinary curatives to merchants once per month.
Medicines made by a witch are especially potent, so much that no amount of prejudice can stop them from selling.
‘Special Hair Tonic that’ll nourishes your hair in an instant.’
‘Poultice specially made for girls—removes armpit hair entirely!’
‘Warming Salve that’ll soothe skin.’
‘Itch-be-Gone Powder, intended use: soles of feet.’
These are some examples of popular daily necessities—however, selling them per unit isn’t as profitable as selling them in batches. That’s why, Roze prefers making stacks before selling them.
What she’s currently making is an insect repellant—the type used in fumigation. The demand for it is high—not only for housing, but also field work. She needs to prepare enough for the coming season.
Once she is finished, she stretches her body—only to bump against the wall. Roze lets out a yelp. The floor is messy and the entire place is awfully narrow.
The bell rings.
Whenever someone approaches the small boat docked near the shore, the bell in her dwelling will ring. Roze quickly peeks at the lake through her window.
Turns out it’s only a deer and not a customer. She sighs in disappointment while the small boat continues to float without care towards Roze’s feeling.
The path leading to the witch’s dwelling may seems like a one-way street, but it’s apparently not so—a rope is connected to the boat. A reel on the pier will draw in the rope. That way, the small boat can be used to get here.
That’s how Roze travels to the capital. Other than that, she doesn’t use it much—she’s a hikikomori, after all.
She walks dragging her robe behind her. Due to the dust, the black has changed into gray. She wants to wash it, but what if Harij comes? How will she able to hide her love-stricken self, then?
“I have to restock…”
The merchant is scheduled to arrive in two weeks.
She brings her sleeve to her nose—it …doesn’t smell that bad, but still…
Roze decides that being smelly is more troublesome than not wearing a robe. Thus, she chooses to wash her robe. She grabs a few vials and drags a wooden tub outside.
The lake is only a few steps away. In addition, it also harbor a glorious view—the surface is bathed in the sunny reflection. Nevertheless, the water is cold—so cold that Roze believes that the divine might be at play. The ancestors may have been guided by this beautiful body of water to arrive here. After all, high quality raw materials are crucial to the creation of a witch’s secret medicines.
Roze decides she might as well water the field. She takes off her robe, and also her dress, leaving on only a chemise. She then washes the robe and the dress with cleaning solution inside the tub.
—somehow, she ends up washing her hair, and along with it, sprinkles some aromatic powder on her nape—the one usually used when about to go on a date. It happens just like that.
Chirin—the bell rings again.
Since the bell is also for security purpose, the ringing can magically be heard—wherever she is, regardless of what she is doing.
“…This can’t be.” She’s only wearing a chemise and her head is still foamy with bubbles.
She has almost no contact with the townspeople. It’s also rare for them to venture this far.
Could it be …him?
No way. He only visits at night—I’m sure of it.
Even so—Roze lifts her face. In her heart isn’t just anticipation, but also hopefulness.
There, he’s standing—the same deer as before, with somewhat a haughty look.
“Mmuuu—!!!” She feels angry for some reason. Yes, it’s not him—but if it’s not him, so what? There’s no reason to get this angry over nothing, yet still—!!
Fuming, Roze rinses her hair. After that, she jumps into the lake, still wearing a chemise. Coldness permeates her entire body. The water washes both foam and dirt from her body. After that, she takes a swim.
“I’ve become weird…”
Her heartbeats quicken at the thought of him—and she is not used to it. This entire time, she has been leading a stable life. At times it might be dull and monotone, but she’s at least accustomed to that.
That day she fell in love, seven years ago, she wants it to stay as a memory—and that’s it. A good memory she can reminisces in peace.
It’s needless for her chest to rise every time the bell rings. For her to feel excited—there’s no need for this.
Harij comes to meet her, yes.
But her not as in ‘Roze’, but ‘the Witch’.
Therefore, even if she is to greet him in an improper attire and head full of soap bubbles, it matters not to him—Harij doesn’t care.
Harij doesn’t care about her at all.
“Why can’t I understand this?” Her pale lips whisper faintly.
As she closes her eyes, a single tear rolls down her cheek, before becoming one with the lake.
***T/N: Sadistic deer detected! God I was really hoping for it to be Harij… and SEVEN YEARS?! HOW PURE.