48. The Clear Lake, Thinness, Sukiyaki, and the Witch’s Carelessness (4)
Harij instinctively knows that Roze’s immediate silence is the answer. He closes his eyes softly.
After Roze said she had nowhere else to go beside the Azm’s mansion—he has been thinking about her for a long time.
Roze had lived quietly in a secluded place since birth to protect the witch’s secrets.
He can only imagine the toll it takes on her to interact with people every day after a lifetime of avoiding people and concealing her facial expressions.
It’s him who’s scared every time he hears a noise instead—his mind would immediately return to that time she had to hide under the floorboards. Although Roze is safe and sound at the moment, Harij can’t no longer bear the thought that she’ll return to such days again.
When he saw how she was getting along with Tara, such anxieties were buried for a while. But when he chanced upon how the newly-hired Mona treated her, they resurfaced.
In case he’s not there for her, he wonders what would happen to her.
Although it may sounds far-fetched now, but it isn’t impossible to occur in the future—his profession as a knight guarantees that.
Emergencies can’t be predicted in advance. Besides, even if he could, that doesn’t mean the adversities can always be prevented.
Even those close with Harij looked at the Witch Roze with a different kind of stare.
…if Roze were to no longer live under his wings, Harij doesn’t know how much he’d be able to protect her.
If he can, he wants to give Roze legal status soon. Once she’s legally married into the Azm House, the world won’t be able to despise Roze, even during his absence.
His relatives care about their appearance, as such, they wouldn’t abandon her, even if Roze were to become a widow.
Roze seemed initially embarrassed at the prospect of marriage, but she didn’t refuse the dowry brought by Tien—which he took as good sign. He thought she was thinking positively about the marriage.
Yes, so he thought.
The past tense is because Harij realizes that he might be advancing too fast.
Because, from what he had seen, Roze didn’t seem too pleased when brought up the topic about marriage.
“We should just get married first, you say, are you sure about that?”
“Once both of you get married, all you have to do is wait for her to like you entirely, and not just your face—!”
Harij didn’t mind being laughed at by such a foolish man.
Harij didn’t mind that he has to wait for Roze to start falling in love with him after marriage.
Because, in the meantime, if something were to happen to her, he can protect her.
Roze’s expressions are of little changes and a she’s of little words.
Occasionally, he has begun to comprehend that she was just in a hurry, or feeling bashful, or feeling glad—but he isn’t confident enough to try and uncover the emotions she is trying to mask.
Due to her constitution rule of not telling a lie, Harij suspects that instead of lying, Roze bottles everything she doesn’t want to say inside her heart.
He doesn’t think she, who has lived alone all this time, would decide upon something as serious as marriage so carelessly.
However, it’s not possible for him to dismiss the possibility that she might be regretting her decision to get married instead.
Because in the future where they stay together, people who trample upon her like Yashm might appear.
He thought about asking her whether or not she regrets it, but he knows the answer would be merciless. After all, witches don’t lie, and Roze is a witch.
Harij feels that seeking her words of truth is the equivalent of gouging her heart out, right there and then.
Because she would be forced to bare her heart out.
It’ll hurt Harij—but the one who’ll got hurt the most would be Roze, who’s forced to hurt Harij.
—Harij opens his eyes.
Roze, who’s in front of him, is expressionless.
Nevertheless, she locks her gaze with Harij’s, not daring to look away.
In her heart, she must be upset.
A smile suddenly leaks out of him.
He takes her thin fingertips, which are like rose stems, and gently kneels.
Roze’s emerald eyes widen upon the sight of Harij.
Sometimes, people must move forward, even if it means to get hurt. He must go on, even if only painful consequence awaits.
“There’s something I’ve never been able to say.”
“…do you want me to leave?”
“Wrong. Please stop joking, I can’t afford to laugh right now.”
Roze stares at Harij, then answers immediately.
“Then, is this about falling in love after marriage?”
How very unusual, Roze usually doesn’t interrupt someone’s conversation like this.
Moreover, she delivers it way more casually than he, himself, could ever muster.
“What. So you’re listening.”
When Harij responds without hesitation, her hand stiffens slightly.
The eyelashes bordering her eyes quiver, and immediately cast dark shadows underneath.
Her darkened expression almost shatters his heart, but Harij decides to tell her once and for all.
“I love you.”
His honest thought resonates clearly—even in his own hearing, perhaps because of the still air of the cold summer.
In Harij’s hands, Roze’s fingertips tremble.
“From now and always, I want you to live in that house together with me.”
Roze’s large, round eyes widen enough as if they’re about to fall.
Her pale skin, which always incite his worry, become slightly pink.
Roze’s lips tremble, her cheeks flush red. She’s fumbling for words.
“A, a Witch respects her promise…!”
Roze might’ve wanted to say that she isn’t going to go back with her promise.
The roundabout way of speaking is her weapon that she has been cultivating so far. He can’t tell her to leave it.
“I’m a human, so I might lie. The day may come when you doubt my words. However, it won’t change my promise of marrying you.”
Harij fumbles with his next words—
“—the fact that you’re willing to leave your dwelling and come to live with me, it surely means that you like me, even if it’s only a little…”
Roze mutters, “What’s this guy saying?” To the embarrassment of Harij, who peels his gaze away. Harij intensely furrows his eyebrows.
Kokukoku koku, Roze’s head nods like a robot.
“Then, we should just get married first. At first, I was aiming for you to have legal status—but it turns out that I care more about marrying you. It’s okay for you to start falling in love with me after we get married.”
Kakun—Roze loses all her strength.
However, before Roze can fall to the ground, Harij already pulls her hands and embraces her.
“M, m, my waist…”
Roze repeats “waist” like a broken machine. With her forehead pressing against Harij’s shoulder, Roze buries her face.
Of course he can’t see her face, because she’s wearing a hood.
**T/N: *silently calls for a truck to deliver insulins to sustain the life of people reading the next chapter
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