Chapter 6

 

The bathroom attached to the nicest room in Baron Valencia’s mansion was very splendid. Bioust entered the splendid bathroom. The steamy bathroom had a faint pleasant scent.

 

It seemed that Suli, who knew his mistake very well, had prepared in advance to please him.

 

Usually, this would be Bioust’s favorite scent. After soaking in the hot tub and smelling this scent, he would feel his daily fatigue melt away.

 

That was how it was normally.

 

“Hmm…”

 

But now, it just felt like a bland scent. It doesn’t have any particular character nor intensity.

 

In fact, after smelling Layla’s scent, all the other scent’s felt that way.

 

Water overflowed through the edge as Bioust’s muscular body entered the bathtub full of water.

 

Hot water touched Suli’s feet, and the hem of his pants got wet when he followed Bioust to attend his bath.

 

“Suli.”

 

“Y-yes!”

 

When Suli, who had his head lowered and was about to roll up his pants, suddenly lifted his head at the sound of the voice calling him.

When Suli suddenly lifted his head at the sound of the voice calling him while rolling up his trouser.

 

He was bewildered when the Crown Prince opened his eyes and called him. The Crown Prince normally would be immersed in the hot water and would be relishing in the scent.

 

“There was a cabin in the Baron’s forest.”

 

“A cabin?”

 

Suli lifted his head, wondering what he was suddenly talking about.

 

“There was a woman living there alone.”

 

“If it’s a cabin in the forest where a woman lives alone… Uh… Maybe…”

 

Suli, who was pondering over Bioust’s words, frowned and let out a groan.

 

“Do you know anything?”

 

“Was it a gloomy, bleak, and eerie cabin?”

 

At Suli’s words, Bioust recalled the cabin.

 

A gloomy, bleak, and eerie cabin… That’s exactly what it was.

 

Every door creaked like a scream with every gust of the wind, and without a single lamp, they unsatisfactorily relied on the fireplace for both warmth and light.

 

It occurred to him that she was living in a cabin filled with insignificant furniture.

 

“Probably.”

 

“What do you mean probably, did you perhaps go there?”

 

Suli’s face strangely frowned even more.

 

“Is that the cabin you said was sheltering you from the rain?”

 

“Why don’t you put away that ugly face and start talking?”

 

“That, it’s a witch’s cabin.”

 

Watching Suli speak carefully as if someone was listening, Bioust just stared at him silently.  

 

“A very hideous witch,” Suli spoke more passionately when Bioust did not say anything.

 

A witch…

 

Bioust recalled the Layla that he met that day.

 

Brittle and almost golden-colored hair, and a pale complexion like a person who had been sick for three days. A thin body that seemed to have gone through a famine. In addition, her sharp, keen, unfathomable eyes.

 

She certainly deserved to be called a witch from just the outside appearance.

 

“Huu…”

.

Bioust smirked at the thought.

 

Was there a witch who showed their true feelings clearly like that? Was there a witch whose every action showed what she was thinking?

 

If such a transparent child was a witch, then Bioust, who would cut off people’s heads without batting an eye, would be the demon king.

 

Since he was not the demon king, she was not a witch either.

 

“Investigate that witch.”

 

“What? Investigate the witch? Aigoo! Even if you’re the Crown Prince, don’t do it. What are you going to do if you get cursed?”

 

“There’s no way that’s going to happen, so go and investigate. She said her name was Layla.”

 

“Ack! You even know her name? Have you met the witch?”

 

As if terrified, Suli’s hand trembled as he spoke.

 

“Find out her full name. Where she is originally from, who her parents are, what she does, when did she start living there, why she is called a witch, her favorite food, color, music, body size, find out everything that can be found out.”

 

“No way, you’re really interested in that witch? I heard she’s a really stinky witch!”

 

“Did you hear anything else?”

 

“Yes. She’s called a Cursed Witch.”

 

“Not a Cursing Witch?”

 

(T/N: Cursing: y’know the one that give or curse someone XD)

 

“Yes. They say she’s a witch that was cursed with an incredibly rare stench. No one could get close to her.”

 

Suli said with a frown again, as if just thinking about it gave him goosebumps. He wrinkled his nose like he was smelling something right next to him.

 

Bioust observed Suli with interest.

 

Seeing Suli, an outsider, reacting like this only after hearing the rumors, the town people who experienced it firsthand must have added more, but not less.

 

It was very clear in Bioust’s eyes how Layla was treated by the people.

 

The people must have rejected her. Treated like an accursed abomination, a witch, and her parents must have abandoned her as well, that’s why she was living alone in that secluded cabin.

 

That must be why she hisses like an abandoned cat whenever she sees other people. 

 

A poor, pitiful, and an easy prey to be preyed on.

 

“Find out more about that witch. Prepare some candles and a horse for tomorrow morning.”

 

“Candles?”

 

Suli’s eyes widened once again at his master’s sudden request.

 

“What are you going to do with candles?”

 

Bioust ignored Suli’s question and just closed his eyes. The quick-witted Suli saw it and quietly closed his mouth.

 

Ordinary people would say it was too hot, but for Bioust, it was the right temperature for the heat to rise.

 

The hot water caressed his muscles as if massaging them, and the tip of his nose was filled with his favorite scent. 

 

However, it wasn’t enough.

 

“Sss~”

 

Bioust took a deep breath.  But he was imagining a different scent.

 

It was the scent of Layla that he felt in that cabin at that time.

 

It was a scent that could not be compared to any flower. To put it into words, it was an intense scene, like the last scream of the petals being trampled on.

 

Instead of being smelled through the nose, it was a thick scent that seemed to cut straight through Bioust’s skull and engulf his brain.

 

He wanted to bury his nose on Layla’s neck right away. He wanted to put his teeth on her white skin and bite it immediately. He felt like her torn skin would effuse an even stronger scent.

 

In the scent that Bioust imagined, Layla’s face came to mind as she cut through the misty steam.

 

Her skin was as pale as a ghost. Her eyes were like a feral stray cat with constant vigilance.

 

‘Yes. Even her eyes were quite wonderful.’

 

Almost, a smile was about to appear on Bioust’s face.

 

“… Should I call a suitable woman?”

 

At the sudden voice of Suli, Layla disappeared.

 

Bioust looked at Suli with annoyance on his face. Suli carefully pointed his chin somewhere towards the bathtub where his master was soaking.

 

“I think you need a woman to attend to you for the night…”

 

“Do you think I will sow the noble seed of the royal family in any woman?”

 

“Well, If a man is in a hurry, then you could. Hmm… To be able to accept such an imposing thing, it should be a professional woman or it won’t be possible…”

 

“Get out.”

 

Bioust cut off what Suli was saying completely; then he closed his eyes again.

 

He was about to call out to Layla again, and smell her again.

 

That was all that Bioust needed right now.

 

***

 

“Whew…”

 

Layla sighed and looked at the 100 shilling in front of her eyes.

 

Having money was good.

 

With this, she could buy lamp oil and meat that she wasn’t able to afford in a month. Even then,she would still have enough money to eat meat next month and the month after.

 

The problem was, Layla had to go to the market to buy those things.

 

“Phew…”

 

Layla sighed once again and looked at the dried-out lamp. And last night, she remembered lying down on the bed for a long time without being able to sleep.

 

“I have no choice…”

 

She really had no choice, so Laylay got off from her seat and started taking off her clothes.

 

She took off the simple old dress she was wearing and her shabby underwear. The naked Layla, who even took off her shoes, opened the backdoor of her house.

 

There was a stream that usually reached about her knees, but would flow up to Layla’s waist whenever it rained.

 

It was Layla’s source of drinking water, where she did her laundry, and her bathhouse.

 

“Ack! Cold!”

 

She only lightly soaked her feet, but the cold mountain water made her shiver. Ignoring the goosebumps, Layla put her feet in.

 

“Auuack!”

 

Layla’s body once again shivered. Raising her shivering hands to rub her body, she suddenly remembered that man’s face from yesterday.

 

The man that Layla thought to be suspicious did nothing to her, contrary to her expectation, and even gave her money. Besides, he didn’t criticise, cursed at, or fear Layla.

 

He even kindly spoke with Layla, and smiled at her!!

 

“Bioust…”

 

She muttered the name of the man that she heard yesterday. The moment that name came out of Layla’s lips, her body trembled.

 

“I’m going to catch a cold.”

 

Realizing that she was in cold water, Layla began to rub her body vigorously.

 

Until her cold teeth crackle against each other.

 

Until her lips turned blue.

 

***

 

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