5. The Good Witch of the Lake (3)
“—this is the cloth made from flowers that only bloom at the bottom of an oasis, the bead embroidery is specially made by the Royal Palace’s glass craftsman, and this is the pelt of a deep sea monster that only surfaces during the Midnight Sun. Lastly, a colorful fabric infused with holy water from a snowy village—the color won’t fade regardless of how often you wash it.”
“Well, well…” Roze nods in understanding—when in truth, she’s overwhelmed.
Even for Roze alone, the room is already narrow enough. Yet, despite all the clutter, the man somehow manages to elegantly spread out all his materials. At this point, that proficiency of his can only be called a skill.
“Now, how about these? Are you ready to bargain, ‘Witch of the Lake’ Roze?”
The man that treats the witch-her like royalty is a merchant and also an acquaintance of her late grandmother. Seemingly smiles all the time; he has sleek-eyes with sharp glints reminiscent of a wolf’s—his name is Tien.
—this is also the by-product of her yesterday’s frustration.
“By any chance, do you also sell robes? Anything is fine.”
Roze, who regularly sells potions to Tien, made a casual inquiry. She doesn’t want anyone to learn that such a triviality actually bothered her all day. Despite that, Tien seemed to have realized something and the very next day, ferried across many goods on the boat.
“I greatly recommend the lavender one—the pink hue carries a sensual undertone, don’t you think? Hey, hey, why don’t you just take this one?”
“I absolutely refuse.” Roze shudders at the parade of colors. The vividness is too bright for her eyes.
“Thought so~” Tien shrugs his shoulders like a know-it-all.
Thankfully, Roze is able to restrain herself from shoving that drug she left at the corner of the room into his mouth—otherwise, Tien would already be charred black right now.
“…Why do you only have the flashy ones with you?”
“Hey! These are what my mother wore when she’s still young! You’re the one who said ‘Anything is fine.’—remember? And to be interested in dressing-up, this is not like you! Did something happen? …Now I’m getting riled up. I have a great idea—how about ‘custom-made’? We can request the tailor for something that befits ‘the Witch of the Lake’, I’m sure they’ll come up with something cute! No need to worry about money—this one’s on me!”
“’Cute’…? But I’m already twenty-three…”
“Exactly! You’re still twenty-three!”
That being said, Roze is a little curious about Tien.
She first met him when she was ten years old. Scared of the young man, young Roze hid behind her grandmother’s skirt. Between thirteen years ago and now, Tien’s appearance hasn’t changed much despite being ten years older than her.
Is it because of his oriental blood?
From an early age, Tien has been learning the merchant’s trades from his father. Roughly a decade ago, he succeeded his family business. Ever since then, he has been in charge of his house. He admits he isn’t as good as his father—nevertheless, it doesn’t trouble him.
Tien and his family have helped me a lot—even after grandma died.
Without him, she won’t have been able to build a tomb for her grandmother.
For that, she’s thankful to him—of course, she is too embarrassed to say it out loud.
She looks at the flood of colors spread all over her room.
Surely they’re all first-class products, selected with astounding aesthetic skill. If she dirties them either by walking through the mud, or grinding herbs—she’ll surely feel bad. None of the colors seem to suit her, anyway—
—then, something catches her eyes.
She narrows her eyes at the deep indigo-colored one.
“Huh—oooh, that one? I see, wait a minute, let me get it for you—“
“—no, you don’t need to, Tien, stop…” Roze grabs Tien’s sleeve as a storm of negativity pervades her mind—what if it doesn’t fit? What if it’s too small for me? —actually, that’s not the reason for her worry;
It’s the same exact color as the cloak Harij usually wears.
If she is to wear that—won’t it feel as if I’m wrapped in his cloak? No, no, this is not the time to be distracted by such a thought…—
Looking at the downcast Roze, Tien takes out a large catalogue book from his luggage. “Here, see if you can find anything to your liking.”
Many samples of clothes are pasted to the pages. Roze goes through Tien’s open catalogue.
“Due to the room’s lighting, some fabrics might appear dull. Believe me, under the sun, you can see that the texture is weaved exactly like the petal of a flower.”
“I don’t go outside that often, anyway. So it’s fine. I want something comfortable, because I’ll be wearing it all the time.”
“—then this color will be a good match. Viridian Blue—the color of your beloved forest.” Tien’s voice is gentle and quiet, such that Roze finds herself immersed in it. The atmosphere is a lot calmer now.
His finger points to one cloth; one colored with the greenery reflected upon the lake’s blue surface.
There’s no change in her expression, but Roze is clearly enchanted. As such, Tien smiles, already knowing the witch’s choice.
“Since it’s woven using silk and gold thread, it gets more dazzling under the light—“
“—I don’t have the slight interest of parading it before anyone, besides, no one will—“
“Nah, it’s just my obligation as a merchant to explain my wares.”
Unable to argue back, Roze abruptly shuts her mouth and Tien smiles with satisfaction.
“The color will complement you even better if you have rosy cheeks or wear blush~”
“Huh. I can just slap my cheeks numerous times, then—that redness also counts as blush, right?”
“Ahaha~! Even though it’s adorable that my cute witch is slapping her cheeks like this, but no. With your current complexion, your cheeks will only turn blue.”
“Are you trying to say something here? I know I don’t go out much—maybe ‘pale’ is the word you’re looking for.”
“I’m just saying it’s not healthy, especially for someone your age. Moving on, this adornment over here is a cameo of a countess’s side profile—currently trending in the Capital. The artisan who created this is famed and was even given a royal decree three years ago—…”
Tien continues to hammer trivia at the bewildered Roze until it gets dark. It becomes apparent that nothing will shut him up.
Mid way, Roze regrets her decision of not shoving that drug down his throat.
At a later date, after finding out Roze’s preferences, Tien returns with not one, but two boat loads of goods, Roze is shocked to the core.
***T/N : I M NOT SATISFIIIIIEEEEED, IM TRANSLATING ONE MORE CHAPTER FOR THIS MONTH, HARIJ–!! GET YOUR ASS UP HERE–!! wHERE THE HELL ARE YOU, MAN?!?!?!?!?!?!