57. The Witch’s Dwelling is Floating on a Puddle
The mud sticking to the vibrant medicinal herbs are carefully shaken off in the lake.
Even in the sweaty heat, the lake water is chilly and refreshing.
The blue sky reflects off its surface. The wind carries a peculiar scent—
—she looks up towards the sky—it may rain today.
As she shakes and dries the now clean herbs, Roze pulls the boat up onto the land and turns it over.
After entering the dwelling, she works in silence. Not long after, she hears a ring. The sound of the bell informs her that a visitor has arrived at the forest pier.
She tiptoes and quietly sneaks a glance through the small window to see a familiar man.
It’s Harij, whom she hasn’t seen for several days.
It seems that he has just returned home from work. He is carrying a basket.
Basket—it’s that basket!
Roze quickly clears the table and spreads the tablecloth. She rows the boat to pick up Harij.
When she arrives at the pier, Harij stares at Roze, somewhat stunned.
She leans her neck forward, and asks what happened, but Harij’s stare remains locked on Roze.
Unconsciously, she wipes her face using her hem—there might be some dirt due to her working with herbs up to now. However, when she looks at said hem, there’s no stain whatsoever.
Harij rides the boat and immediately cups Roze’s cheek with his hand. It’s the opposite cheek that Roze just rubbed.
“So it’s the other one that’s dirty, huh…”
“No—well… let’s pretend it is.”
Again, a vague responce—but Roze decides to not pursue it.
After all, there’s a basket in Harij’s hand.
What kind of sweet is it today? She has been eating sweets ever since she started staying in the Azm mansion, but she still can’t help but get excited when Harij carries it along like that.
Roze looks up at Harij.
Harij also stares down at Roze, the corners of his eyes slightly lowering.
He seems to be happy about something. He has been busy recently, it’s great that something good occurs during his work.
If Harij is happy, then Roze too, is happy.
When the boat reaches the island, Roze helps the basket descend from the boat, carries it like a small child to the dwelling, and opens the front door for said basket. All the while, Harij follows from behind with a smile.
Roze pulls out a chair for Harij, wanting to listen to him talking about the sweet—but before that, she has something important to do.
Roze slowly walks towards Harij, keeping in mind to appear as cheerful as possible. Both of her hands are outstretched.
“What is it?”
“Thank you for the gift.”
No good. Even though she tries her best to maintain her face, her mouth assumes a weird shape.
On the other hand, Harij seems a bit down even though just a moment ago, he was happy. He stares at the basket, while Roze’s mouth becomes へ shaped.
“So the reason you seemed to be in good mood is this basket, huh?”
“I, in good mood, there’s no way…”
“Even if you try to appear expressionless, I somehow can understand how you actually feel.”
No way! Roze accidentally leaks such words.
Being expressionless is necessary to abide by the rule of the Witch that is, ‘don’t lie’. It seems that due to being more exposed to humans than ever before, her emotions have begun to overflow—which means, she won’t be able to keep secrets.
“No way… are my true feelings that easy to understand?”
Roze is so shocked—her calm façade has been impenetrable until now.
Suddenly, Roze’s head is being smacked lightly by Harij, who pompously says;
“Don’t worry, you’re only that way when you’re with me. That’s how I’m able to figure it out easily.”
It’s really embarrassing to hear that, and Roze decides to pretend that she didn’t hear anything while bowing her head.
Harij brought an apple sandwich pie. It’s a sweet boiled apple sandwiched between cookie dough and pie crust.
The scent of cinnamon permeates from the sweet and sour apple. Every time she chews on the pie, the crispness of the apple teases her teeth.
Because of the cinnamon wafting from the basket, she’s inspired to also add some cinnamon to the tea she’s currently brewing. It tastes different from what she usually drinks, but matches well with the sweetness of the pie.
They sit in their usual place and enjoy sweets together.
Life is strange. Just like that, she has become accustomed to eating together with Harij inside her dwelling.
“What have you been up to recently?”
It’s been four days since they last met. She wants to savor every moment of talking with him.
Roze swallows the pastry and opens her mouth.
“Just a while back, Tien brought some wedding shoes. That idiot only brought those with high heels with him, saying things like I need to increase my height if I want to ‘properly’ stand beside Harij-san. Since I also have to practice my balance, I’ve worn many shoes…”
As a witch, it’s important to never talk about the customer. But as of now, Roze is talking about Tien as her friend.
“By the time Tien gave his, ‘OK’, I had worn about twenty pairs. Once I reached the last pair, I could no longer move my legs. I had to be helped by Safina-san.”
Harij’s temple moves, but Roze continues to speak without realizing.
“One of the servants was watching me at that time—“
At that time, there were two servants in the Azm mansion, but Roze couldn’t recall which one.
“I’m not used to high heels. I walked like a newborn lamb, and those guys kindly helped me out—“
“—I’m sorry, Roze.”
Harij puts down the cup elegantly.
…right when she’s about to reach the best part, too. Tien was a guest, but he dared to slave Roze around, in the end, Tara got mad at him and Roze obtained the last laugh.
Harij stares straight at Roze, who wants to continue speaking.
“I forgot to tell you—but today, especially today, I don’t want to hear you talk about other man.”
“Eh? Okay, is tomorrow good?”
“Tomorrow, even the day after tomorrow, are no good.”
When can she finish the story, then?
Roze stuffs the pie in her mouth. As she chews, her cheeks turn red like apples.
—oh, oh right, this person loves me.
Sometimes, she forgets about that. In addition, Roze still has no idea what kind of conversation is ‘good’ between a couple.
What Roze deems as good and necessary may turn out bad and unnecessary for Harij—the same also applies in reverse.
She feels like they have no choice but to teach each other about that in order to understand each other better.
Harij is very interested about Roze’s peaceful life at Azm mansion, one which he spares no effort on maintaining—there’s no doubt about that.
Nevertheless, he wouldn’t have wanted to imagine that Roze is getting along well with another man in his absence.
“Well, then… yes, a fawn was born in the forest. When I was watching, the mother deer drew her face towards the fawn’s placenta…”
It goes downhill from there, but Harij listens happily this time without a complaint.
***T/N: ///Roze, when she saw the basket Harij was carrying///: THIS IS OUR CHILD NOW–!!!!!!!!!!!!!
gODDAMN, how long has it been since they last ate together in her dwelling?! ZOMG, thanks for having me this long, guys!!! ///give each of u a virtual hug///
P.S: If a guy listens to you attentively as you explain to him about fawn and placenta without complaining, MARRY HIM–!!!