13.2 To be a Witch (2)
—Harij loses his balance. Thanks to that, he almost topples into the lake.
Right, didn’t Roze say the same thing?
As Harij rushes to look up, the man is still eyeing him, his eyes narrowed.
“After all, there’s no way I would overlook such big changes—from the robe to the tablecloth. Ufufu… ignore me. I’m just in a talkative mood today. Okay, I’m busy, I need to get going~”
The man, who is mysteriously in good spirits, disappears into the forest—leaving Harij feeling uncertain.
Harij sits on the boat for a good while, his face still stupefied. Eventually, he starts paddling the boat again.
The waves are heavier than usual. It feels like no matter how much he rows, he’ll never reach his destination.
Although, it might be more convenient for him to not reach the destination at all—because he doesn’t even know what to talk about with the Witch once he gets there.
When he finally arrives at the small island, the Witch greets him.
The Witch probably noticed Harij’s figure as she was seeing off the man. Thus, she decided to greet Harij along the way.
Such is his thoughts—he doesn’t feel good at all. To the extent he even considers throwing the baked apples into the lake and just be done with it.
“Who is that just now?”
“You could say that he’s a customer, but at the same time, not…”
“What? Was he rude to you?”
The Witch is apologizing for the man’s mischievousness. She’s apologizing on his behalf—
—Harij doesn’t like that. Not in the slightest.
While apologizing in his heart, because there are bugs everywhere—Harij pulls Roze’s hood off. Without any resistance, it falls.
Whether she’s used to be hoodless before Harij, or hesitates to do so, Roze doesn’t try to pull it back again.
Harij, calming down a little, silently offers her the two baskets.
Roze gratefully receives them—as if it was God’s gifts. She sneaks a peek inside the basket, confirming the inside.
Although she’s hiding behind her calm façade as usual, Harij knows beneath it, she’s happy.
Then, Harij utters softly;
The Witch is shocked—too shocked, to be honest.
Due to the length of her robe, Harij isn’t exactly too sure, but it’s likely that she has jumped due to surprise.
Her eyes are wide open; she is astounded.
“So I was right—that’s Ms. Witch’s name.” The corners of Harij’s mouth rise because of her funny expression.
“From now on, I’ll be calling you that, and you too, can call me ‘Harij’—“
“—No can do.”
It’s an utter rejection. Bitterness swells inside him. Harij stares at Roze.
Roze, who doesn’t lie, truly doesn’t want to call Harij by his name. Or even be called her name by him.
“—then, return that.”
“Eh? These…?” She sounds truly sad, like her child has been held hostage or something.
The poison has been applied; the burnt has left a mark.
Harij enters her dwelling. Roze, who looks like she desperately wants to say something to him, says nothing in the end. She only holds the baskets tightly, as if they’re her most important treasures.
Inside, when he glances at their usual spot, the stirring of his emotion can no longer be suppressed—
—there are two cups on the table.
He presses the area around his chest with his palm—the pain he’s currently feeling, it’s as if his chest is being tightly squeezed.
“What’s the matter?” Roze says from behind him.
“…No. It’s okay. I brought this for today.”
“Eh?” Roze is gaping.
For some reason, Harij is feeling some kind of urge to be angry at her.
…I merely came to hand her the bread and baked apples, besides that, I have no other reason for coming.
Harij glances at the two baked apples—as usual, he’s going to eat here.
Together with her. While sitting on the chair she especially prepared for him.
It shouldn’t matter—
—it shouldn’t matter who sits there. It shouldn’t matter who sees her face, calls her name, or drinks tea with her. Right, it shouldn’t.
He never saw other customers before—and thought that he’s the only one; the special one.
“What’s the matter? Is something ailing you?” It seems that Roze has started to become worried because Harij is acting unusual.
“Come to think of it, yes, my chest hurts.”
“Heartburn? Did you drink sake?”
“Last night, only a little, though.”
“Okay, I’ll brew a special tea to refresh your stomach. You should be fine after that.”
Roze goes to the kitchen. Staring blankly at her back, Harij nods slowly.
***T/N ; Ehehe, after last chapter’s cliffhanger, I bring you this chapter of–ROZEEE, WHYYY?!?!