20.1 The Princess Enchants the Witch (4)
“…you’ve returned already.”
“I did say I’ll visit you soon.”
—…but, THIS soon?
Not much time has elapsed since Harij escorted Lau back—and there he is again, much sooner than she expected.
Customers that come at night aren’t unusual for her… yet, this guy that returned with the speed of a star definitely is.
…I need to make him clarify his definition of ‘soon’.
…Or, could it be, there’s something urgent?
Recently, he only comes at daytime. Not to mention, the distance between the castle and the forest is quite far.
“…What about Lau-sama?”
“She is being escorted by my colleagues. I was not the only knight tasked to find her. I left the rest to them—she’s in safe hands. First and foremost, I’m truly indebted to you. I’m grateful to you for sheltered her, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.”
“It was nothing, really. I merely considered her a customer of mine and as such, gave her the appropriate treatment.”
“There’s no need for you to be humble. All this time, that girl—not even once has she ever confided in others—preferring to shoulder everything by herself.”
Perhaps, that was why Harij looked terribly panicked a while ago—
—she heard that with great responsibilities also comes great stress.
It’s was even more unpredictable that the Princess would even go to such lengths—to bypass all her guards and sneak out of the castle. The castle must had been turned upside down.
“—more importantly, at this late hour, are you planning to go somewhere?”
Roze, who stands and stares at Harij, remembers her own appearance—
—she’s all bundled up to fight the cold of the night. As of the moment, she’s the splitting image of a polar bear.
“I was about to visit the lake…”
“At this late of an hour? It’s midnight, already…”
Harij, looking suspicious, glances at Roze’s feet.
Wondering why, Roze also looks down at her own feet.
“Thank God, you have spare boots!”
“I’m sorry. It can’t be helped. After all, not long ago, you didn’t even have spare clothing…”
She instantly recalls her blunder—bathing in the lake without knowing Harij was present the entire time.
Roze blushes instantly, unable to finish her words as her lips tremble.
“I understand, I understand. Earlier, I was in a panic. I forget to bring boots with me. With only one pair, you must feel cold, is what I thought.”
Harij’s concern towards her—especially regarding her attire—further fuels Roze’s shame.
“Don’t worry about it—because someone else already has. I can acquire spare clothing just fine from that person.”
Roze interjects with a strong tone.
After the potion incident, it feels like she has become rather straightforward. In front of Harij, she can no longer maintains her cool façade.
Of course, that someone else refers to Tien. Other than him, Roze has no other close acquaintances. However, Tien is always traveling. Hence, there are times when he can’t stop by—albeit, he’ll always do his best to help when Roze is in need.
“…were the clothes and shoes gifts?”
Harij, no longer worried, looks is full of curiosity.
The sudden turn in conversation surprises Roze—
—Harij isn’t as narrow minded as to suspect her, the witch, to perform illegal trading, right? None of what she does goes against the law. She should be fine …probably.
“Yes, that seal boots were indeed a gift—albeit, I’ve given it to Lau-sama…”
“You lent them to her, right? It’s alright, I’ll have them returned here soon.”
Those boots were meant to protect the Princess’ feet, meaning, Roze has given them to Lau. But Harij’s question intimidates her. Thus, Roze has no choice. It’s regrettable, but so be it.
She makes no effort of further continuing the conversation and stares at the dark, gloomy sky.
“So, uh… are you coming with me?”
Harij, who’s holding the lantern, nods.
Along with Harij, Roze rides the boat over the lake.
The lake, which is surrounded by trees, looks as black as an ink reservoir. It’s such that at some point, she almost forgets where she is. She sits with Harij, who offers to paddle. Roze points the direction.
With careful rowing, the boat slowly approaches the location.
Harij swallows his next word. The clouds disperse and the moon that was hidden behind them gently floats across the surface of the lake. The moon—which is shining in both the sky and the lake—is perfectly round.
The moonlight traces a path over the lake’s surface. The small boat stops exactly in the middle of the moon’s reflection.
Roze takes out a small bottle from her breast pocket and extends her arm forward—and then, she scoops the water that reflects the moon—
“This is one of the ingredient for the Love Potion. Just so you know, it’s a trade secret.”
Inside the small bottle, the moonlight in liquid form gleams enchantingly.
Indeed, moonlight is one of the prettiest materials in the witches’ potion making.
She closes the lid and stares at it closely.
Harij is as enchanted as Roze—
Such that they express their admiration in sync.
At night, on the middle of the lake, Roze secretly chuckles.
**T/N: HE’S BACK THAT EARLY? GASP. MY KOKORO ISNT READY FOR THIS. THE KNIGHT USED SURPRISE ATTACK. *takes out the list of cliché-but-romantic-and-fluffy list of things that could happen