36. A Confused Witch
Sleeping early the night before and waking up before the sunrise—
—since becoming a guest of Azm House, Roze has been living like an ordinary person.
Other than that, she deems it necessary to wake up early since she had to water her field back on the island.
…it actually feels nice not needing to prepare for night customers.
Even though since after the thief accident, Roze has refused night customers, the bell would still alert her of visitors without a fail. Often, when she was asleep.
Now, she knows the happiness of a good night’s sleep without being disturbed by the bell’s ringing announcing the arrival of either people or beasts.
She always travels from the mansion to her dwelling using the mansion-provided carriage.
She isn’t forced to go to balls, nor the banquets, or tea parties to listen to rumors—as such, she lives a carefree life in both places—her dwelling at noon and the mansion at night.
In the morning, when the sun has yet to rise, she wakes up to the fragrance of baked bread.
…what a grand way to wake up!
This was the first time she had ever slept on such a soft mattress. Roze twists and crawls out of the blanket like worm.
She sniffs, inhaling the aroma which then spreads throughout her nostrils.
Roze is always given bread to take as lunch. Tara, who is proficient at kitchen work, can bake bread without a problem at the mansion.
Depending on the type of bread baked that day, there could be various kinds of sandwiches—with either jam or ham as fillings—but Roze also enjoys plain, simple, bread.
…I wonder what kind of bread is it today?
She almost drools.
At this point in life, she is certain she can no longer return to the life in which lettuce is her only staple.
Roze takes her time to enjoy the fragrance, before slowly getting out of bed. She opens the wardrobe, already beginning to plan out her day.
Harij has provided her with multiple outfits.
None of them are too extravagant, but they are of good quality. They are well-tailored, suitable for her activities in the forest. The skirts aren’t too fluffy, as such, they naturally flow downward. Their shapes, too, aren’t conspicuous and blend in with the people of the kingdom.
Until now, Roze only had one piece of casual wear—not that it meant she was in dire need of more, though.
It’s no longer unusual for people to wear robes. As such, the robe wearing Witch faced no trouble at all.
Although she claimed she wasn’t in need for more, her heart still flutters like a maiden’s when she sees the beautiful attires. Even more so when she remembers they’re gifts from someone she loves.
While preparing those outfits one by one, undoubtedly, he had thought of Roze.
A light sound can be heard, resembling the blow of air.
Unable to bear the embarrassment, Roze lightly punches a dress. The robe, which was hit, sways softly as if blown by breeze.
After pummeling the gift she had received from her beloved like a sandbag, Roze wipes the sweat on her brows with the back of her hand. It’s still early spring, but she’s already being drenched in sweat.
For her, it’s a bit embarrassing that Harij and others worry about what she wears. What’s more, they’re providing what she wears. There’s also the issue of whether or not the fashion itself suits her. As such, she can only convince herself that she has no choice but to put them on, since they’re her only casual attires.
By the way, her mother’s worn out, old dress has been turned into a rag. Its hem is fully tattered.
“…alright. I shall wear it.”
Roze holds the hanger while cheering for herself.
Struggling to put on pretty dresses is one of her newly acquired morning routines after coming to the Azm House.
The dress’s colors are a combination of grayish-purple and blue, very similar to the spring blue sky.
Even though the sleeves are embroidered, it’s not so much that they can be considered flashy. The dress is of a calm color and the subtle decorations naturally make it the choice for the shy Roze.
She combs her hair and then proceeds to wear the dress—her neck pokes out of the collar as she puts her arms through the sleeves. She fastens the ribbon on her chest and glances at the mirror.
…the collar sure is wide?
Roze pulls the collar, wondering if it’s the way she wearing it.
By touching it, Roze confirms that it’s indeed the collar’s style. She feels sad.
The Witch moves constantly throughout the day. Such a collar will cause her outfit to slip off in no time.
That’s when her finger touches a button.
“…huh—!? The button is on the back—!?”
Roze is a witch.
Witches usually don’t require another’s help for putting on clothes. Nor has she ever required assistance to put on a dress before.
Her grandmother changed clothes alone and so did her mother.
For the first time, Roze has become aware that dresses—with buttons at the back—exist.
She stares silently at the mirror.
Afterwards, she decides to put on her robe.
Not that she’ll remove the robe, anyway. Whether or not the button is fastened, no one will be able to tell.
During her first day, she had removed her robe to take a stroll in the city, however, she put it back on after returning home.
For witches, robes are necessary for concealing their identities and secrets. For Roze, robes are necessary for her to deal with other people.
When Roze opens the door, she’s surprised because she suddenly hears a voice—
—it belongs to Mona, the maid who came to the mansion the same day as Roze.
Five servants work in the mansion, but only the butler—Safina—and Mona, the maid, live there. Tara, who prepares the meals with her own hands, returns home early in the evening before coming back again the next morning.
The servants of the Azm House found no problem in accepting Roze.
The fact that she was mistook as the newly hired maid helped along with her apparent closeness to both Harij and Safina.
“Excuse me—oh, M-Milady!”
However, Mona is different. Every time she sees Roze, her fear is clearly apparent. Unlike the other servants, her trust in Harij hasn’t grow yet, after all.
She doesn’t scorn or harass Roze, but every time they meet, her face turns pale—as if Roze is threatening her.
“…Good morning. Do you need any assistance?”
Mona, who desperately tries to regain her composure, asks Roze. Her voice quivers.
…Roze would feel terrible to ask someone that terrified to fasten her collar button.
“Then, during your absence, I’ll tidy up your room.”
She’s used to not intermingling with people.
Roze bows down while Mona walks pass her.
While Roze is staring at Mona’s back, a voice suddenly comes from behind her.
“—is it always like that?”
Surprised, Roze jumps. Thanks to the hem of her robe, she almost falls—however, an arm extending from behind grasps Roze’s waist and prevents her from falling.
“What are you playing? You should be careful, it’s dangerous.”
…I’m not playing, thank you very much.
Roze turns to the owner of the voice—there is Harij, as Roze expected.
Instantly, Roze feels weak.
If, if this goes on—…Roze immediately shuts her eyes.
It’s been awhile since she had started living in the Azm House, but it’s her first time seeing Harij in such casual wear.
Roze worries about opening her eyes—more like, she can’t. However, the image of Harij in casual attire has been properly burned into her memories. Even after closing her eyes, Roze still worries about potentially being blinded by Harij’s glow.
Tousled bangs. Relaxed eyes. A freshly shaved chin. His exposed neck—the sight is too stimulating for Roze.
In addition, by closing her eyes, her other senses become more sensitive. She can smell his aftershave—the sensation of his arm, which is encircling her waist…
Roze carefully places her hands on her chest, making sure her mouth is tightly shut.
“…this time, what are you trying to do?”
“I just thought, ‘this must’ve been how a devote believer feels when they finally meet their God…’”
Harij replies in monotone—he probably doesn’t understand what she’s talking about.
She herself doesn’t understand what she’s talking about.
Besides, there’s no way for Harij to ever understand her perspective. Not until he acquires the ability to see himself in an objective light. Only then will he be able to share Roze’s feelings.
…ugh, if only someone would have informed me that Harij was home!
That way, she would’ve gotten out of bed a little earlier than usual. Chose the dress a little earlier…
…albeit she does realize that Harij’s working hours is irregular. As such, it’s hard for everyone to ever grasp his proper schedule.
Roze slips out of Harij’s arm and snuggles against the wall—
—forever, she just wants to cling to that inorganic, flat, surface without irregularities in order to restore her peace of mind.
***T/N : That button at the back of the collar is Santa’s gift to us so we can experience christmas