38. A Confused Witch (3)
“—I’ll head to the dining room first.”
Immediately, Harij leaves the linen room.
Roze doesn’t eat breakfast, so she doesn’t have any business in the dining room. However, after she calms down, Roze finds herself making way to said room.
When she arrives there, Harij is nowhere to be seen—even though he went ahead of her.
Puzzled, Roze looks for him in the kitchen. Tara, who is humming while shaking a frying pan, notices Roze.
“Oya, do you need something? Milady, do you want your breakfast to be served?”
Roze, who can only speak of the truth, chooses to talk modestly when she’s chatting with anyone other than Harij. The servants seem to be accustomed to her attitude.
“Since you’ve came all the way here, why not have a cup of tea, at least?”
“Nice idea. Thank you.”
When Roze bows her head, Tara smiles and sets about preparing tea. Tara, who’s discipline and stern in her duties, has no problem in showing gentleness—unlike her grandmother.
In the kitchen, Tara pulls the chair for Roze, who stands there—unsure of what to do.
“Would you like some milk to be added in? Today, fresh milk have arrived.”
“Plenty? Or a little?”
“Just a little.”
After sitting on the chair, a teapot is placed on the table on top of a cotton quilt. The quilt, which consists of various gorgeous fabrics, might be handmade. An hourglass is placed next to it, and Tara soon returns to her other work in the kitchen.
Roze leans her cheek on the table as she watches the grains of sand fall.
The smell of fried eggs, rushing footsteps, and the clanking of table ware—
—all of them, although she’s still unused to them, feel nostalgic and intriguing.
Roze discovers her soft spot for them.
“—what, so you’re here.”
When Roze is sipping her milk tea, Harij finally arrives. To be honest, it’s just a black tea mixed with a little bit of milk.
“Oya, so you’re waiting for Our Lord! I find it most delightful that the two of you are on such good terms!”
Tara arranges Harij’s breakfast on the dining room table. Without saying anything, the teapot containing Roze’s tea is also carried to the dining room.
Roze is staring at the teapot when Harij suddenly offers his hand. “…ah.”
He wants me to take his hand…
Of course she understands that. Even so—
“—how long will you make me wait?”
Roze carefully puts her fingertips on Harij’s palm.
Harij envelops her restless fingertips securely in his palm. He then carefully guides Roze from her shabby little chairand escorts her the short distance to the dining table flawlessly.
Obviously, the same can’t be said for Roze. She keeps reminding herself that they are only walking a few steps, that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
“Perhaps I need to escort you around the house, too. In case you get lost.”
Harij proclaims such embarrassing things while pulling the chair for Roze, she almost lets out a curse.
Although there’s no reason to reject such an offer, Roze still says, ‘no’ as she sits down.
“My head has cooled down.”
He says as he sips the milk tea and twists his neck. As Roze comprehends the meaning of his head cooling down—
—she almost spurts out her tea. However, she keeps her mouth tightly shut as she desperately swallows it—right after that, she coughs violently.
“Are you okay?”
Roze nods between coughs.
However, she is wondering if she’s really okay.
Roze is excited.
When she gets into the carriage that comes to pick her up at the forest’s edge, the footman is visibly intrigued by her excitement—to the point of suspicion.
The carriage then arrives at the Azm Mansion.
The entire time, Roze is carrying a bottle in her pocket. She caresses it like she would a baby.
As the sunset lights up, Roze heads not towards the main entrance but the chicken coop. That coop was the first thing she saw when she first arrived.
She approaches the coop with feather-like steps. The moment Roze arrives in front of the wire netting, the chickens let out some impressive sounds—as if they are currently in some kind of grand reunion.
“Have you all been good children?”
“You can say that.”
Roze is immediately struck by fear because of the reply that shouldn’t have come.
It happens right when she’s about to open the bottle’s lid and empties its content, too. As such, she hurriedly hides the vial behind her back and stares at the voice’s source.
—it’s Harij, the mansion’s Lord.
The hem of his casual attire is dirty with soil. It’s apparent that he has just returned from work. Looking around Roze spots a horse that is about to be guided to the stable.
For some reason, every time he greets her with such, an unnatural silence is born.
As she keeps opening and closing her mouth like a deer eating something its unaccustomed to, Harij rephrases to “You’ve returned.”
“By the way, you seem to be in haste. What are you planning to do?”
Apparently, she was seen by him ever since she alighted from the carriage.
She grips the bottle with even more power, now.
“It doesn’t concern you, Harij-san. In short, nothing.”
“Then, what is it that you’re currently hiding behind your back?”
If someone else were to witness the same scene, they would totally come to a conclusion that the Witch is about to cast a suspicious spell on the chickens—or, using the chickens.
However, Harij’s tone makes it clear that he finds the entire thing amusing.
“…To be honest, I would prefer if it remains a secret.”
“Too bad. Everything that happens in this happenen will, in the end, reach my ears. …or, are you saying that you plan to keep it a secret from someone else?”
“—grandma—I mean, Tara.”
An idea occurs to Roze. She presents the bottle she was hiding.
In the transparent bottle, somethings are moving. Roze collected them in earnest.
Then, she opens the lid as per Harij’s order.
The moment he sees those things moving in the bottle, his handsome face distorts as he pulls back—to Roze, even such an appearance of him is cool.
Roze shrugs her shoulders. Some lively earthworms try to crawl out of the bottle and entangle themselves with her fingers. Roze pushes them back into the bottle, and they soon wriggles together with other worms in the bottom of the bottle.
The bodies of the earthworms, which had been collected by Roze in large quantities, are entangled—forming such a vortex in which no one could tell which is which.
“They are all from the forest. The earthworms in my field are all of poor quality, unsuitable of being made into potions.”
“…I understand. I understand, already, it’s enough. …I don’t even know where I should begin retorting.”
Harij covers his mouth with his hand as he slowly retreats.
“…do you dislike worms?”
“Anyone would dislike staring at them for a long time.”
Harij almost says all the words at once.
Roze wordlessly takes a step forward—
—Harij takes a step back—
—Roze steps forward again—
—again, Harij steps back in earnest.
“…this, this is unexpectedly fun.”
Roze utters so out of joy.
Usually, it’s always her who gets cornered by him, but now, it’s the opposite.
Regardless, Roze’s happiness doesn’t necessarily mean Harij’s happiness.
Harij utters in a stronger tone, “—in short.” To stop Roze from inching further forward.
“—you’re trying to feed them to the chickens?”
“Why do you want to keep it a secret from Tara?”
“Because Tara always feeds them properly in the morning …she would surely be angry if I did this…”
There might be different rules in term of feeding, here. However, her grandmother never took it kindly when Roze gave the chickens some snacks.
Rumor had it that grandparents are sweet to their grandchildren and love to secretly give them snacks behind their parents.
She has no recollection of ever receiving such a thing from her grandmother, but behold, Roze is in the same predicament right now.
…well, in the first place, back then, she did gather the worms from the field. Her grandmother must had found it frustrating that the earthworms were missing.
“I see, so it’s because of that.”
Nevertheless, after seeing Harij’s previous reactions, such things became less of a priority…
“…are you angry?”
“There’s no reason to.”
“…or perhaps, did you imagine me, the Witch, cackling while thinking that I’ll stuff my mouth with the worms later?”
“Why are we suddenly discussing fairy tales.” Harij remarks with an appalled face.
***T/N : A jar of worms + That Knight who Used to Nag on the Witch = Sadistic Witch. On the other hand, enjoy this fluff right at the start of the year, all of you!!!! Hope it sweetens the entire 2020 for ya!!!! …shit, my stock of insulin has dried up. YEAH SEND ME SOME TOO.