45. The Clear Lake, Thinness, Sukiyaki, and the Witch’s Carelessness
“I wish to resume the talk concerning our wedding.”
After dinner, Harij says with a cool tone.
Air immediately rises to Roze’s throat, causing her to choke and create a gross noise.
Nothing serious happens because she closes her mouth on time. But it’s certainly not a sound she would like anyone to hear—her crush, most importantly. When she manages to desperately swallow her tea, she pinches her sore nose.
“Umm, certainly, yes, you’re right, indeed. We should resume the talk, yes.”
What kind of answer is that—?! Roze imagines punching herself.
She pretends to not care at all, but in fact, she’s quite concerned about it.
No matter how naïve Roze is, there’s no way she can just ignore the fact she’s being cared for in the residence of a man who courted her a while back.
Even if they don’t actively pursue the talk, it’s not as if Roze would just come and stay there if she didn’t have the slightest intention of marrying him in the future.
Although Harij proposed to her, he didn’t rush the marriage. He invited Roze to live with him purely out of his intention to ensure her safety. Even now, his status remains as her patron, and she, his guest.
But, ever since Tien had delivered her dowry, Roze began to feel impatient—it’s as if their relationship has come to a standstill—however, at last, the moment arrives.
I see, I see. Now that it has come to this, there’s nothing I can do.
Roze holds her cheeks with her hands. She feels like she’s making a weird face so she quickly stops.
Roze proceeds to hide her mouth by pulling her hood. If she doesn’t do that, her jaw would drop for sure. If Roze were alone, she would certainly bounce all over the place.
However, although Harij, who sits on the sofa opposite of her, is bringing up the topic regarding her dreamed marriage—he appears reluctant.
“Is something the problem…?”
“No, rather, the problem is that there’s no problem…”
That’s indecisive of him.
She wonders if everyone in the world has to deal with such a side to their fiancé.
Admitting so embarrasses Roze.
Roze does her utmost to not allow her excitement to spill onto her face. Roze nods, her eyebrows furrowing and nose scrunching up.
“Yes, everything is alright…”
Harij mutters in displeasure with one eyebrow raised. Roze almost laughs out.
“Just a second ago, I was thinking the same.”
Roze gets up from the sofa, bows, and escapes to her room. Her footsteps are light.
“A new face, I see.”
A voice she never heard before comes.
Roze, who has just exited the chicken coop, carefully closes the door.
—here comes a face she has never seen before.
Roze stares at the voice owner—a man.
The man’s age doesn’t seem to differ much from Harij’s. He’s slender and tall, and wears well-tailored gentleman clothes. His features are well-proportioned, sweet, and attractive for his age.
His long, feather-like, hair, is tied. It’s unruliness further adds to his luster. His eyes, which bask in the morning sun, shine like well-polished jade.
Two months have passed since Roze has started to live in this mansion. In that span of time, there were only few visitors. The miller’s son, the ash collector, and the mailman.
“Certainly, Harij said he hired a new maid. Oi, a lady should’ve entered this house, right? Have you ever seen her face?”
Someone is quite detached from common sense if they decide to visit someone’s residence without prior agreement. Worse, when the sky is turning purple. That’s what Tara would say, anyway.
Tara taught Roze a lot about the way of the world. “Don’t approach strangers.” “Even if they offer you sweets, absolutely don’t follow them.”—Tara told her with a bitter face.
However, it goes without saying that Roze has already been suspecting that man as a weird person from the get go.
Harij, who comes from a noble upbringing, doesn’t have to put up with this his lack of mannerism—that is all.
She doesn’t know for what reason that man came so early in the morning just to bring up her relationship with Harij, but if he wants to stick his nose to where it doesn’t belong, he should just leave.
After all, the relationship is proceeding well. Her fiancé is already bringing up the topic about marriage again—she shall repeat it again—my fiancé.
For some reason, Roze becomes excited on her own, to the point of ignoring the man’s original question.
She picks up a basket containing fresh eggs and rubs her mud-stained soles on the nearest branch.
“What do you think you’re doing when a guest just came—gross…”
Looking at the mud sticking to the back of her shoes, the man quickly retreats. Her annoyances only grow at that. She doesn’t think she is compatible with that man…
Roze, who wants to discard the tree branch, pulls on her hood deeply to hide her discomfort.
Looking at her appearance, the man stiffens.
“—a witch, huh?”
His frivolous air turns to that of nervousness.
There’s nothing special about her overall attire, but people don’t usually wear dark-colored robes with deep hoods. At first glance, her true identity is revealed.
In other words, only witches, who care not about the public eye, would wear such a dark colored robe with a deep hood.
She discards the dirty branch—to which rice husks and bird droppings stick.
Roze glances at the man and walks straight towards him. The man turns sharp immediately.
One step, two steps… then, Roze bows right beside the man. It’s because that’s where the wooden vat where Roze has just drawn water is located.
Roze, holding a pail, pours water around the hut. The reason is because it will be considerably hot today, judging from the clouds. It’s better if she heads to her dwelling soon.
The man, eyeing Roze sprinkling the water, frowns dubiously.
“Could you be—“
Roze has no time to warn the man, and he slips. It’s because of the remains of straw and rice husks coming from the chicken coop. When they’re wet, they’re slippery.
The man who slipped on the wet soil looks stunned. The chickens begin to get boisterous in the coop, as if laughing at the man’s misfortune. He’s caked in droppings and chaffs.
Roze stares at the man. The man stares at Roze.
After a while, there’s a rush of footsteps from the mansion.
“—what are you doing—!?”
Harij walks to the courtyard, and Roze calls out to him in a hurry.
“Harij-san. Because it’s slippery, he fell.”
After hearing Roze’s explanation, Harij slows down.
“Wait, you won’t even listen to my explanation—!?”
“Considering that you came this early in the morning …what are you fussing about?”
Harij extends his hand to the man. If the man is anything as Roze imagines, isn’t Harij’s respond too lax?
While Roze is secretly surprised seeing Harij help the man, the man frowns while looking at his soiled outfit.
“Even if she’s a woman, doesn’t the fact remain that she’s a witch?”
Very familiar, such contempt.
Roze continues to gaze straight at the man, her expression unwavering.
Harij raises an eyebrow, showing discomfort.
“The correct one is, even if she’s a witch, she’s still a woman.”
“No, that’s not what I’m trying to imply…”
The man further tries to convey his meaning properly, thinking his opinion isn’t reaching Harij. However, when the man sees Harij’s face, he probably realizes Harij doesn’t have the slightest intention of listening to his rant.
To the man who stops talking, Harij utters in a firm tone.
“Regarding this, I haven’t the slightest intention to discuss it, not even with you.”
“No way, Harij, you—“
Harij shoves his handkerchief to the man. He turns to Roze, ignoring the man, who hasn’t finished talking yet.
“I’m sorry. I hope you’ll forgive his rudeness. You must be surprised. This man is my friend, Yashm is his name.”
Roze had already guessed so.
Yashm is Harij’s current Lord, and also the brother of Bilaura—Lau. He’s the ruler of Marjan’s second son.
“Are you done here?”
Roze watches as Yashm tries to remove the dirt from his clothes using Harij’s handkerchief. The reason Harij addressed him so is probably to respect his incognito.
“Regardless of his rudeness, his appearance now bears a resemblance to me, so I’m quite satisfied.”
Seeing the Witch laughing at him, Yashm pouts.
“Hey, Harij. Surely you jest, there’s no way your fiancé is—“
“—it is her. Her name is Roze. I’ll properly introduce you after you change your clothes.”
Yashm appears appalled at Harij’s ruthless words.
***T/N: I wonder why all the Princes that I translate turns out to either be jerk, or plain asshole, with no inbetween.