25. The Long Night and the Witch
Now that her personal time has returned along with Harij’s departure, Roze can’t say she is enjoying it…
Especially when there is less potion making and field work in winter.
Usually, she has some activities to do in winter, when the animals and plants are sleeping—however, as of now, she finds no motivation in doing them.
Hence, because she’s unoccupied, there is more time to think.
The memory of a silver haired man flashes in her mind—to which she repels by slamming her head against the wall. To make it worse, Safina comes to deliver a meal once every two days, hence she can’t help but remember Harij’s appearance that day…
Even more ridiculous is when she can’t help but be filled with anticipation towards when the bell will ring. She can’t help but hope for that person to visit…
Never would she have thought that love could weaken her so.
When Harij returns and she has to say goodbye to Safina, that sensation might soon be forgotten.
—at least, that’s what she hopes, anyway.
She wants her restlessness to stop. She wants to return to her peaceful state once again—she almost envies the calmness of the lake’s surface.
Realizing how much melancholy rests within herself, Roze goes out in a hurry. In winter, the sun is only out for a short time, so the mind tends to get dark. She has to do something! Anything!
While exhaling because the cold has bitten her fingertips, Roze scrapes the fallen leaves and branches off her field. She also gathers some firewood. While burning some potatoes, Roze stares at the billowing smoke.
…how long have I been doing this?
Before she realizes it, the forest is a lot noisier than usual. It seems that the children of the village are playing in the winter forest.
Roze is shocked, before straining her eyes to look closer—
—it’s those children who threw mud balls at her before!
Roze is just as mischievous—she takes out a potato from amongst the fallen leaves, and stabs it with a stick.
She then holds it high—the children are alert, they start looking at her direction—
—although they’re now gathered together, they still don’t dare to approach.
It seems that they want the roasted potatoes, however, they are too scared to come directly to the Witch.
Roze stands up. The children flee as if they’ve seen a scary creature and hide in the forest.
She goes to the pier and reels the boat closer. She puts some roasted potatoes on the boat, before reeling it back to the forest.
…For a while now, she has been watching the boat. However, none of the kids approach it.
Roze returns to her dwelling, as she has some chores to take care of.
In the evening, when she checks the boat by chance, the roasted potatoes have vanished into thin air.
She finally hears the long-awaited bell exactly one month after Harij’s departure.
Safina already visited yesterday—hence, he shouldn’t be coming today. He also never visits at night.
She can’t suppress the excitement in her chest.
She tosses her quilt aside and immediately jumps off the bed. She doesn’t even remember to put on footwear—her soles feel cold.
At night in the winter forest, there’s only silence. It’s as if all living things have retreated to their slumber.
The night sky extends above the silver forest. Millions of stars dazzle in the sky’s blackness—they make the sky appears like a black carpet studded with thousands of glittering diamonds.
Since an early age, Roze loved the starry skies the most. Its beauty can only be rivaled by the lake when it’s dyed pink by the sun at dawn.
She gently slides the curtain away with her fingertips.
Someone is standing on the unlit pier.
It’s dark, and the person is probably wearing a dark-colored outfit. The starlight is too dim for her to make out the person’s hair color.
—however, that silhouette is definitely his—after all, she often gazes at said silhouette from this very window.
Roze presses her palm against her chest—it’s so painful.
However, she has no time for that. Quickly, she wants to see his face.
She adds paper and firewood to the fireplace—the fire quickly rises like a bonfire, before stopping.
—doesn’t he usually bring a lantern with him?
Harij always bring a lantern with him. Not only as a light source, a lantern also enhance’s his ‘traveler’ disguise.
When she stares at the window again, the figure is already in the boat—and still, there’s no light.
The lantern to help him navigate the road at night, did he forget to bring it?
The idea is so absurd that Roze almost laughs at herself.
…I have a bad feeling.
Mayhap, he just didn’t want to disturb Roze. He might not turn on the light because he didn’t want to alert her of his presence—that’s also not possible. If so, he wouldn’t have just stood there on the pier.
Besides, he also knows that the bell will absolutely ring and alert her of a visitor.
Again, Roze looks at the window—
—she can no longer see the boat.
It doesn’t seem that the person riding the boat has lost his way—rather, he has likely altered his course. Instead of docking the boat on the island’s pier, he’s hiding somewhere, attempting to approach unnoticed.
Her premonitions have turned into reality.
Roze runs to the shelves and takes out some small vials—
Her hands shake from fear and impatience—some vials fall to the floor.
In the darkness of the night, the sound of glass breaking echoes.
Oh no, she has inadvertently informed the approaching silhouette that she’s awake!
If the silhouette becomes wary, it becomes more likely that Roze won’t have the chance to escape!
No magic is instantaneous—there are steps to follow. Not only does requires time, it also requires a considerable amount of concentration and calm.
Giving up on the offense, Roze pulls the rug out from under her bed.
She removes the floor board and hides herself within the cellar. She reaches out as far as possible to arrange the rug so that nothing looks out of the ordinary. The more time passes, the more panicked she becomes—her fingers refuse to move.
Outside the house, comes a banging sound.
Roze, who gives up on arranging the rug, finally closes the lid.
The cellar is completely dark.
She stills her breath, curling her body into a ball. She hugs herself with both hands. Her heart is pounding rapidly.
There’s a rattling sound coming from above.
It’s so close, Roze is trembling greatly. The lid is also vibrating because of her. She’s truly afraid. This kind of thing has never happened before—
—for the first time, she feels that living in solitude isn’t that great—
—for the first time, she is afraid.
—perhaps it’s because Roze still want to live.
…I want to eat delicious apples with him again.
Roze closes her eyes tightly and bows her head.
After the banging stops, she can hear the even scarier sound of the door slowly opening.
The person is able to unlock it from outside—there’s no mistaking it, this person is ill-intentioned.
The suspicious person makes his way through the entrance. He comes uninvited, to the place where the Witch grew up, protected, and cherished—to the house of Roze.
She’s scared, and also sad—she grits her teeth in frustration.
Every time the suspicious person walks, the floor board creaks.
—Krieee… krieee…. Kriee ee…
The suspicious person is approaching her location—Roze no longer knows what’s waiting for her.
For some time, the suspicious person wanders aimlessly around the house. Probably because the lights are off. There’s the occasional sound of kicking and something dropping. Each times, the suspicious person curses with a low voice—
—of course, it’s a voice she doesn’t recognize. It’s also a voice she doesn’t fail to hear down in her hiding place—
“—aah, the Witch isn’t here. I heard it’s a young woman. I came all the way here cuz’ I thought I could have some fun with her…”
Roze doesn’t know what kind of ‘fun’ he meant—however, she knows it’s not going to be a good thing for her.
“There’s barely anything in here—she sells lotsa’ drugs, I thought she’d be making way more than this…” Along with the sound of metallic banging, is the frustrated cussing of the person.
…Actually, she does. She’s currently lying on top of the Love Potion fee she had received from Harij. Because it’s a large amount of money, she hid it there.
Her body trembles more, disturbing the coins near her waist.
Thus, the coins falls—Charin.
Roze desperately holds her mouth with both hands—otherwise, she’ll scream for sure.
The creaking of the floorboards indicates that the man is approaching her—
“—you’re there, aren’t you?”
A smile, Roze can feel that the man is grinning a broad, nasty, smile.
**T/N: ///Open up a portal to Roze’s realm/// HOP IN–!!! WE CRUSH THIS FCKER OURSELVES–!!! ARM YOURSELF, BROTHERS AND SISTERS–!!!