Deep inside the forest, is a lake.
In the middle of the lake, a small island floats. A witch’s dwelling lays on the island.
For decades, probably hundreds, of years, the scenery has remained unchanged.
Since ancient times, the witches who have lived here sometimes helped people, misled them, or granted their wishes.
Today, a small boat arrives at the pier leading to the witch’s dwelling.
From the boat, a familiar looking man and woman descend. The woman walks with ease over the pier, seemingly having a perfect grasp of her surroundings.
She then flips around the, “Closed” sign in front of the hut. The woman then sighs with satisfaction as the sign now reads, “Open”. After that, the Witch Roze takes the key from her neck, opens the door, and enters the dwelling.
From behind Roze, is a click and footsteps.
“I’m aware that you’re currently on a vacation, but you needn’t come with me every single day, too, you know…”
Roze mutters to Harij, who follows her from behind.
“After all, the purpose of a vacation is so you can take a break…”
“That’s exactly why I come here. To take a break. That’s why, don’t worry.”
From the basket he brought, Harij takes out the red tablecloth. His broad hands smoothly spread it to the edge of the table—no wrinkles can be seen. It smells of being fresh out of laundry.
Before sitting on the chair, he also takes out a book from the basket. His usual seat—where the sunlight shines through the small window.
Calmly spending time with Roze without actually disturbing her in this seat—also known as Harij’s special seat—is the way Harij has recently been enjoying his holidays.
Harij was reinstated shortly after Billaura was escorted safely to the border. That was also right after the thief incident, and also that horrific Love Potion accident.
Returning to his old position as a knight, he continues to work for the Royal Palace.
How does Roze know of Harij’s circumstances in great details?
—the reason is because she’s now officially the ‘guest’ of his house—
—or, simply put, a freeloader who receives free food every day.
Gone are the days when witches were acknowledged for their great powers.
Hence, Roze’s dwelling is no longer a safe place. Moreover, the security—or the lack of it—is too concerning.
Roze has been living in such a place for many years. It has dulled her sense of crisis towards the possibility of crime. Not to mention, the place is so dilapidated, a strong gust of wind could probably blow everything away in a blink.
After that incident with the thief, although Roze has forgiven the perpetrator, she’s still anxious. That it’s the hut where she was born and raised makes no difference.
That said, leaving is not so easy, either.
This lake—this place—is where generations of witches have prospered.
For Roze; who was born, raised, and loved there—that place is too precious.
Harij is aware of her sentiments.
Even though she hasn’t exactly agreed to his marriage proposal yet, when Harij readily said he was going to settle down in such a remote, dilapidated, place—Roze was utterly shocked. Her pupils, too, were about to readily jump out of her eye sockets.
In her panic, she remembers saying—
“—no no no no no, absolutely not—!!! Not in such a dilapidated hut—!!! It’s small, and there’s only one bed—!!! Besides, our talk about the marriage still hasn’t—!!!”
Harij interjected her rambunctious blabberings—
“—I can wait until you have sorted out your feelings. Then, let me prepare a room in my mansion for you to stay during and only at night.”
W-well, if only during the night, I can do it, I guess…
Since then, Roze sleeps in Harij’s mansion during the night and resumes her job as the witch in her dwelling during the day.
Every time Roze returns to her hut, a servant would be tasked to accompany her.
For some reason, the villagers have become more civil towards her. Roze is surprised.
She doesn’t know whether it’s because Harij’s previous speech, or because she’s now his guest, or because she basically isn’t scary-looking at all.
The point is, from time to time, the villagers would come to visit her.
The lake seems to be the children’s playground. Moreover, forest nuts can occasionally be harvested in the reeds.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, it’s just the usual…”
Roze’s habit, too, stayed the same.
Her foot accidentally bumped against some clutters. Her gaze lowers to her feet—
—Roze is wearing new boots. Harij specially bought them for Roze, who gave her boots to Billaura.
They were different from her usual, plain, boots.
While emphasizing practicality, they are also delicate enough to decorate a maiden’s feet.
If she takes proper care of them, they can probably last for years.
Embroidered on the boots is a pattern of small glass beads. Roze loves it when they glitter—especially when she walks.
“Oh, yes. Harij, will you check the mailbox for me?”
Although Roze can no longer respond to them 24/7, visitors still come seeking the Witch’s secret potions. To make it easier, Roze prepared a signboard for them to write the date of their next visit.
After giving the mailbox key to Harij, he soon returns with one envelop in hand—
—the color of lettuce—
—no, to be exact, it’s a warm color, befitting the arrival of spring.
“Thank you…—ara, it’s from Lau.”
Harij is surprised when Roze mentions the name of the sender.
“I haven’t received a single letter from her!”
“Because girls are precocious. She probably deems it too early for you—her older brother—to be receiving letters from her.”
Roze doesn’t have paper knife. She has no choice but to exert caution as she gently opens the seal. After all, she doesn’t want to damage the contents.
Lau’s letters are easy to read. Even Roze, who isn’t used to letter correspondence, find Lau’s letters fascinating to read.
Lau’s greetings change along with the season. She would also write the recent happenings in her life in an interesting way.
“So… you frequently receive letters from her?”
“This is the third one.”
“If His Highness knew about this, he would cry for sure…”
The Second Prince, also Bilaura’s older brother, is also Harij’s childhood friend. Harij is the Second Prince’s new guard knight. Suffice to say, the second prince let his concerns regarding Bilaura’s husband be known. Harij grimaces.
“What is it? What happened?”
Roze unintentionally utters so after reading the letter.
Roze can’t help but smile, thinking how flustered Harij would be if she doesn’t answer any time soon. Or when she actually answers.
“What are you congratulating me for?”
“It seems that Lau is pregnant.”
Harij’s eyes bulged. His mouth is agape, but no words come out.
Roze is desperate to hold her smile.
“The potion did its job. From what I’ve gathered in the letter, it seems that everything is going as Lau wished it.”
The King of Nifrit seemed to have seen the image of his deceased wife in Bilaura when they met during one of his public affairs.
The King then waited until Bilaura’s coming of age, before formally proposing to her kingdom. The reason was so he could leave her with an abundance of inheritances, which was beneficial for her kingdom.
From Lau’s letter, it can be deducted that the King wants no romantic relationship with her.
In love with such a devoted King, finally, it was Bilaura who threatened him while on the bed—
“—if this is the way it is, I’ll just drink this!”
The pitiful King Nifrit misunderstood that his wife was going to poison herself to death. He wasn’t aware of the Potion’s true efficacy. Thus, he has no choice but to do as her bidding.
After all, there’s no way he would let his precious Bilaura—whom he had yearned after for so many years—to kill herself.
King Nifrit snatched the ‘poison’ and made Bilaura promise to never think of such a dangerous idea again.
Even now, he still isn’t aware of what potion it actually is.
“B-but, he’s forty years older than her—!”
“It’s the power of love, Harij.”
Given the King’s age, the potion might be what he actually needs. There’s no harm in being prepared.
While Roze is pondering so, she hears a familiar sound—
The bell announcing the arrival of a visitor rings. She looks through the window as usual.
There’s a man who stares at her while waving his hand. Next to the man are three donkeys—each is saddled with piles of bags.
Harij also comes to peer outside the window—
—their shoulders touch.
“Oh, so you know Tien already?”
“We certainly have met before…”
“Ah, yes, I do recall that.”
As she responds to Harij, Roze sounds listless.
As a result, her crimson locks are intertwined by Harij’s fingers. While playing with her locks, Harij stares at the visitor with a pout.
“What are those mountains of bags…?”
“Those are, uh…”
At the answer, Roze can only smile. Sure, the fact that Harij is currently playing with her hair embarrassed her, but there’s a more pressing problem in the forest.
“No way, are all of those gifts—?”
Without replying, Roze’s head droops.
“Let me refuse them for you.”
“No, wait—! Those are, uh—!”
“If you need anything, you need to just ask me. I’ll procure them for you. You mustn’t casually accept gifts from other men.”
Harij sounds honorable and thoughtful as usual—but seeping from his tone is a jealousy that makes Roze redden down to her neck.
But still, this time, she mustn’t yield—
—Roze covers her face with both hands.
“Uh, those, well, if you call them ‘gifts’, it’s not exactly accurate…”
“In short, those are…”
“Yes, I understand—“
“He… he is like a parent for me…”
“Tien has treat me well since I was a child. Besides that, Grandma also asked him of this for my sake…”
“That’s why, those are probably…”
Damn it, Tien! Of all days, you have to visit today!
Roze curses in her heart.
She has received parcels from him several times, but today is different. As such, there’s no way for her to hide such a scene from Harij.
Finally, Roze screams—
“—those are my dowry—!!”
Harij stares at Tien with a subtle face, and doesn’t say anything beyond that.
Dowry is something that a woman prepares when she marries.
In other words, Roze is just that.
White flowers are about to bloom in the forest.
Unmistakably, they’ll bear sweet, red, fruits.
-Part 1 end.
***T/N: Fucking hell, Roze is getting married–t, THIS AIN’T TEARS FLOWING DOWN MY CHEEKS, THIS AIN’T TEARS AT ALL, IT’S JUST THE… THE SOUL AND THE HEART’S LIQUID. ROZE, BE HAPPY, GURL, BE HAPPY!!!! ALL MY BEST WISHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ah yeah btw it havent ended yet. In the meantime, check out my other stories!
And daaaaaaaamn, Bilaura, man.
Lastly, Harij, I swear to god letting a girl stay a night every night in your house ain’t the way to let her sort her feelings. And no matter how dignified and noble you sound, in the end it’s still JealousSpeech, ok? x’DDDDD Never receive any present from other men, Roze!!!!
-This one is fluffy you will THANK me later.
-This one is a must read for YOU since it’s good.
-This is the best FOR READING in one go.