65. The Little Witch of the Old Days (3)
“What do you want to know, Tien?”
“Hmm …let’s see. From the reaction we’ve seen, it seems that you didn’t make this particular potion?”
Roze nods. She indeed doesn’t recognize the vial.
“Had you been the one who made it, I wanted to talk to you regarding its value. The person who gave this to me seems to have obtained it at a fairly reasonable price. But since you aren’t, there’s no way we can overlook this, right? There’s someone who’s counterfeiting your secret goods.”
If the ‘Witch’s Secret Potion’ becomes available in large quantities, naturally, its value and rarity would diminish.
Furthermore, if it’s a counterfeit, it’ll surely be traced back to her, the actual Witch. Everyone will start doubting the authenticity of her goods.
Tien’s fear seems to have stemmed out of his concern for Roze, who takes pride in her trade as a Witch.
After opening the lid of the vial, Roze smells the scent.
“By the time I got it, the inside was already cleaned.”
In other words, it wouldn’t offer any clue to Roze. It’s a dead end.
If at least one drop remained, she might have been able to discover something.
It’s the first time Roze experiences such thing—for someone to fake the ‘Witch’s Secret Potion’…
…she is unsure over how to deal with her current predicament.
“Well then, what should I do next, I wonder?”
“I don’t recommend questioning Mona any further.” Roze shoots a glare at Tien. She hammers the nail to the coffin. Because, at this rate, if she lets him do as he pleases, Mona’ll surely cry—
—and Tien isn’t someone who’ll stop at that.
Harij treasures those who work for him. After seeing how he cherished and treated Tara and the others, Roze realized that.
That’s why—if Tien were to cause any grievance towards those people, to protect them, Harij might make her cut off her ties with Tien.
“Ugh, even though she’s a potential source of information!” Tien sticks out his tongue, showing his relentlessness, but Roze’s decision is final.
“It can’t be helped, then. I don’t want to be hated by my son-in-law, nor my sister.”
Roze swallows her tea, and at the same time, her protest—‘Who are you calling your son-in-law and sister, huh?’
Tien places his cup on the saucer and mutters in grief. He continues his previous words.
“—the next time we meet, you will already have become a bride, huh…”
Surprised by how emotional Tien sounds, Roze glances at him.
Once he was told that Roze was getting married, he was always ecstatic. It’s as if the man is filled with nothing but joy—at least, that’s how it seemed on the surface. He even appears happier than Roze.
Tien even told everything to his father who Roze is also indebted to.
As such, never would she have thought that he would sound that sad.
Could it be, he’s actually against the idea?
When Roze ponders so, Tien opens his mouth.
“When I first exchanged greetings with you—“
Tien begins to talk in a nostalgic manner.
“—you clung to the Great Witch’s waist, staring at me. Because before I gave my proper greeting, I had intercepted the weasel you were trying to catch in the woods.”
She doesn’t remember any of it.
Roze begins to feel annoyed. She’s nervous about what Tien is trying to say. She snatches one of the apple confections from in front of Tien.
Tien continues to talk without any regard to Roze.
“—that happened when you were eight. The entire night, you didn’t let me sleep. I was made to read the hundreds of picture scrolls I brought back from the foreign lands until my throat ached.”
In the kitchen, Roze can see Mona’s shoulders stiffening at the words, ‘The entire night, you didn’t let me sleep’.
Mona probably thinks she’s hearing the story of her Master’s fiancée’s infidelity.
Tien worded it that way on purpose—Roze gets more nervous. She deprives him of one more confection.
“—when you were ten, as a celebration for your age reaching two digits in number, I allowed you to drink cognac. Because of that, I was hung from the beam by the Great Witch.”
Again, she recalls none of that.
But, she might as well steal another cake from his plate.
“—the little you then felt sorry for me… forgetting what I had made you drink, you begged and begged for the Great Witch to let me down from the beam!”
Tien chatters happily—while Roze thinks about beating him up.
Two confections have been deduced from Tien’s plate.
“—then, when you were twelve, you were ordered by the Great Witch to cook. You made the stew half-heartedly. At that time, you were appalled because what came out was a stew with staggering color, right? I secretly added saffron because I want to see your reaction.”
Roze seizes another confection from Tien’s plate, no longer worrying whether or not her hand would be dirtied.
“—when the Great Witch fell to an eternal slumber, I thought you would join her in heaven. You lost your will to live—you were much skinnier than you are now… I left this kingdom because I can’t neglect my job no matter what, but I kept worrying about you… you truly didn’t have any motivation to live. But the next time I came, you were so nervous, I thought you ate something weird.”
Finally, all the sweets were gone from Tien’s plate.
Inside Roze’s cup of tea, a droplet had fallen—
“…Please be happy, my precious, sweet, little Witch.”
Roze may have been mistaken that entire time.
When she lost her grandmother, she thought she had lost her only family.
Hence why, she thought she would be creating a new one with Harij.
But the truth is—
—for the longest of time, she already had one.
Watching over her like a parent, like a brother—all this time, staying by her side.
Harij said it, didn’t he? After making her leave her home for him, he wouldn’t dare make her leave her family, too.
When Harij referred to Tien as Roze’s family, Roze had perhaps thought the notion wasn’t true.
Perhaps, Harij knows more about Roze than she herself.
She looks down, before stuffing all the jewel-like cakes into her mouth.
Because if she doesn’t do so, and instead looks at Tien’s face, then she might grabs his sleeve like a human daughter would and scream, “I don’t want to get married!”
The wind blowing through the gap of the window flutters the curtain.
The wind is already quite cold.
The wedding too, is just around the corner.
okay, oKAY, sTEADY, HOLD IT IN, HOLD IT IN… THERE’S A CERTAIN IMAGE OF YOURSELF THAT YOU NEED TO UPHOLD NO MATTER WHAT, THEEREEE, there… okay, the urge subsided–
“…Please be happy, my precious, sweet, little Witch.”