Truth (1)

Translator: Alice

Editor: Claire

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Truth (1)

Huge thanks to kristenanna for the kofi! (1/1)

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Emily said that doctors should always be careful when they give medicine. People are all born with different bodies, and for some, ordinary herbs can be poisonous. So a doctor should always ask carefully. If there is any food they can’t eat or if they have ever been sick when they get close to specific foods.

 

When she had a fever, Emily asked without fail.

 

– Rosen, you have to tell me everything you know. It’s information I need to create your medicine properly.

 

Rosen insisted that Emily didn’t have to worry about anything. She didn’t know what Emily was talking about, but apparently, it was a unique chronic disease called an ‘allergy’ that the rich and poor had alike. Rosen had never encountered anything negative with food in her life. She ate everything well.

 

And she paid a very high price for ignoring the words of a competent doctor. Surprisingly, there were some food items she shouldn’t eat. Because of the Maeria juice mixed with the drug, her airway swelled and she almost suffocated. In the aftermath, she stopped taking her medicine and suffered from a fever that lasted 10 days.

 

– You understand now, right? You almost died. You have to be very careful when you make medicine. In an instant, medicine can become poisonous. Think again, Rosen. Is there anything that you ate before that hurt?

 

– In the orphanage, the director often ate purple fruit in a can. I was itchy whenever I went near it.

 

– Don’t ever eat it from now on. You could really die.

 

– …What’s the name of the fruit?

 

– Maeria berries.

 

Emily must have taught her the name of the fruit so she could avoid it thoroughly. But Rosen had a different thought as she heard the name.

 

‘Isn’t suffocation a comfortable death?

 

When life was unbearably painful, Rosen sometimes thought of the purple fruit.

 

– Dirty! You haven’t been a virgin since I bought you, right?

 

– I saw you with the butcher’s son, Tom. You did it with him secretly, didn’t you? Did you like it so much that you moaned?

 

At least it was better than being beaten to death by Hindley. 

 

The fact that she could choose a more comfortable death…

 

Paradoxically, it always soothed her heart and allowed her to continue on. If she had to die, she wanted to choose the way she went.

 

***

 

But she didn’t mean to kill herself this time. She had no intention of dying. No, if she were going to die in the first place, she wouldn’t suffer. 

 

When you die, it’s over.

 

When she opened her eyes again, it was evening. That was certainly the case, given that rays of red leaked through the deck above her head. 

 

‘One day?’

 

‘Two?’

 

Rosen couldn’t figure out how long it had been.

 

She was lying on a fluffy bed. When her consciousness returned, her senses slowly returned. Her body was itchy and her stomach was nauseous, as if her intestines had been flipped inside out.

 

Her hands were handcuffed to the bedpost, but she didn’t mind. She wasn’t put back in prison. It was a prize worth the pain.

 

She looked down at her body. She was wearing a clean and light chemise, something she had never had the luxury of wearing before. It must have been the kind attendants from before who changed her into clean indoor clothes. She felt sorry for them having to touch her blood and vomit. When she forced her stiff body to rise, she heard a voice.

 

“Miss Walker.”

 

“Sir Reville?”

 

Unfortunately, it was the Captain, not a crew member, who was sitting by her bedside. He soothed her with a smile. His grey hair glittered gold in the sunset.

 

“Do you know how much time is left before we arrive at Monte Island?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Don’t you want to know? How much time is left.”

 

“I don’t know what you mean.”

 

Rosen gave a stupid answer. In fact, it was difficult to tell whether this situation was a dream or a reality. Her senses had not yet fully returned, and she felt like she was in a lingering dream. Alex sat on the edge of the bed.

 

“We’ll arrive at the island in three days. We’re continuing to head west, even though the wind is blowing in the opposite direction.”

 

“…”

 

“Since the invention of the steam engine, we have been able to easily fight the wind. Young people are more amazing. We overcame gravity and flew up into the sky in my lifetime. It looked so cool that I wanted to quit the Navy and join a squadron, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought.”

 

Alex’s voice was sweet. Rosen didn’t think he was guarding her bedside to personally explain how long she had left. 

 

She asked blankly.

 

“Is this the Captain’s room?”

 

“No, this is Ian’s cabin.”

 

When she came to her senses and looked around, she was sure. This was Ian’s bed. She had noticed it when she was brought in for her interviews. She did not readily notice because of the change in perspective.

 

Ian was not in the cabin. When she remembered Alex and Ian arguing, she paused. Ian was more unfriendly and principle-ist than she had imagined. It was unlikely that he would have willingly left the Captain and her alone.

 

“I guess you won this time”.

 

“He’s stubborn, I’m strong. Now that I’m older, I’m running out of stamina, so I pretend to lose to him.”

 

“Then where’s Sir Kerner?”

 

“He went out to smoke for a while. I’m just glad that I’m able to talk to Miss Walker for a while.”

 

For health and safety reasons, she had heard that pilots couldn’t smoke.

 

Yet, come to think of it, Ian smoked even when she was changing for dinner.

 

When she looked at him with a strange expression, Alex replied with a smile.

 

“The war is over, right?

 

“…But Ian is still a pilot. Airplanes don’t fly only during war, right?”

 

“He’s going to quit.”

 

She was shocked for a second. 

 

But in the back of her mind, she always thought it might be so.

 

Ian Kerner did not have to remain an active pilot. Being a pilot was an attractive but dangerous job, and he had earned all the honor he could achieve in the war. The military would have to create a higher position for him.

 

Leaving the front line, training juniors, and directing operations would bring Ian a more stable life. And he deserved it.

 

However, a strange sense of loss filled a corner of her chest. It wasn’t because she had feelings for Ian. Everyone in the country would feel the same way.

 

“He was very worried about Miss Walker.”

 

“…It’s not worry, it’s regret. He hates to deviate from principles. He must be thinking that he’s done me unnecessary favors and created a nuisance.”

 

“It is true that he is more blunt than his public image, but he is not as cold-blooded as you think.”

 

“It’s amazing that you still have sympathy for me. He’s an important person who demands respect.”

 

Alex smiled and asked again.

 

“Do you like Ian?”

 

“Of course. Is there anyone who hates him?”

 

Alex chuckled at her words.

 

Without notice, he began to search through Ian’s desk. The wooden drawer made a creaking sound. Alex frowned.

 

“He’s so weird. It’s rare for people to organize places that others don’t see.”

 

“He’s a soldier.”

 

“I usually clean up when I roll call. If you go to an army dormitory once, you won’t be able to say that like it’s natural.”

 

“…”

 

“Oh, it’s still here. I gave this to Ian as a present. Was it when he was 12? I went on a voyage to the Canary Islands and got it for him.”

 

There was something in his hand that glittered green. He held it out to Rosen. It looked like a small furry beast or a bird’s nest made from a bush.

 

“It’s luminous moss that grows in the water. It has a lifespan of 20 years! It can’t shine bright enough to read by, but the color is pretty, so it’s perfect for a nightlight.”

 

“…”

 

“Oh, this is a telescope and a chart that I also gave him as a gift. Surprisingly, he hardly throws anything away. Fan letters he received during the war are piled up in his mansion.”

 

Alex showed her a multitude of other mysterious clutter. They were all new to her.

 

Once he was finished he approached her and sat down, opening an old sea map. With his wrinkled hands, he pointed out where they were and explained sailing as if he were teaching a child.

 

Rosen gripped the moss tightly and looked up at Alex.

 

She was inexperienced socially since she married too early and spent most of her life in prison. She didn’t understand the meaning or analogy of words well. It meant that it was a pain to talk to ordinary people.

 

But she never missed one thing.

 

Information that people inadvertently spilled.

 

She listened to the direction of the wind, the temperature, and the weather. Even if she didn’t understand all the terms he spoke, she grasped their distance and trajectory towards the island. He was speaking without boundaries because he didn’t know her and thought she wouldn’t be able to escape, even if she knew these things. 

 

And in fact, Alex was not wrong.

 

She didn’t understand half of his simple explanation, and it would be crazy for her to jump into the sea with crude knowledge and equipment. 

 

Could she row safely to the mainland just because she vaguely knew the location of the ship and the direction of the wind? How likely was that?

 

It wouldn’t be long before she would die of dehydration or become shark food.

 

But…

 

At least now she knew that when she obtained a boat, she had to steer eastward.

 

People wondered how she succeeded in escaping from prison twice. The answer was simpler than they thought. She was able to succeed because she was reckless. When everyone thought it was hopeless, she took a step. 

 

Relying on a raft in the stormy sea, or climbing down a high cliff without a parachute.

 

‘Ian Kerner thinks I could never cross this sea. That’s good.’

 

Because that belief would blind him.

 

She didn’t know how long her luck would last. But she wasn’t going to stop.

 

“I guess you’ve known Sir Kerner since he was young.”

 

“He was Henry’s senior at the military academy. He entered the military academy at the age of 10, and I’ve been watching him ever since.”

 

“You two must have been close.”

 

“No, Henry hated him. He was his direct senior, and when we watched his training, he said Ian was a demon for how hard and inflexible he was.”

 

Alex paused.

 

“In fact, even if it wasn’t for Henry, I would have known about him. He was a noticeable boy in the military academy.”

 

Rosen nodded, recalling Ian’s handsome appearance and brilliant achievements. Even when he stood still he was noticeable, so it was fun learning what his childhood was like.

 

“What are you thinking?”

 

“I wish I had a son like him.”

 

“…Ian has no parents.”

 

A heavy answer came back in the form of a casual murmur. 

 

Oh, she found out another fact she didn’t want to know.

 

There was a moment of silence. Soon Alex spoke in an unusual manner.

 

“He lost both of his parents to an epidemic when he was very young. After moving from one relative’s house to another due to his inheritance, he entered the military academy as soon as he could. He must have been furious by his mistreatment. The state manages cadets’ property until they reach adulthood, so that method was the best.”

 

“…”

 

“Because he became an adult too early, he rarely reveals his inner feelings and is never honest about them. As for me…  I feel sorry for the child who has been forced to grow up. If he has offended you, please understand.”

 

He made excuses for Ian’s personality while Rosen silently reflected on Alex’s words. She didn’t know why the Reville people were so anxious to defend Ian Kerner in front of her.

 

Certainly, he wasn’t the kind man she had imagined. Rather, he was a blunt person who thought it was easy to utter comforting broadcast messages throughout the war. So why was she disappointed in him?

 

She was a prisoner for life, and he was a shining hero. It didn’t matter what she thought.

 

“I don’t hate Sir Kerner.”

 

“…”

 

“I listened to his broadcasts a lot. You may not believe it, but I still like him. Rather, that’s the problem. I mean… I’m not used to it. He whispers sweetly that he will protect me, but then he speaks meanly to me in front of others.”

 

She revealed her teeth and laughed mischievously. Alex stared at her for a long time before grabbing her hand tightly.

 

“…Don’t try to end your life. Please.”

 

It was only then that she realized the reason why Alex stayed at her bedside, chatting idly. He thought that she had attempted suicide.

 

Alex must have had a hard time, too. It may be due to the myth that if someone commits suicide on a ship it is considered unlucky, or that if a prisoner who saved his granddaughter died after eating the food he served her he may not look good, or simply because he didn’t want to disrupt Ian Kerner’s mission. Regardless, he was sitting here warning her not to act this way again, gently.

 

“Ah, I understand why you are misunderstanding, but that’s really not the case. It was just a coincidence. When I was a child, I saw someone eating candied fruit. I’ve wanted to try it at least once since then. I am-“

 

As the reason for his warm attitude became clear, it became easier for her to answer him. It was kindness without cause, not hostility without cause that made her uncomfortable. 

 

But she received a completely different answer than she expected.

 

“I had a daughter.”

 

“…”

 

“You share many similarities, so I keep thinking of her. She was our first child after 15 years of marriage. I got her late and lost her early.”

 

Layla’s mother, Henry’s older sister, and Alex’s daughter. Rosen imagined the woman, whose name she didn’t know.

 

‘Was she like me? No, she couldn’t have been.’

 

That would be an insult to her. 

 

A lady of the Reville family, who had brilliant blonde hair like the sun. But how could a father who lost his daughter be cold? After he lost his daughter, his heart would have broken when he saw a young woman of her age. Struggling to find a similarity, realizing that his daughter was no longer of this world, he must have been sad again.

 

Tears blur your vision…

 

While looking at a prisoner’s hair as dull as wheat, he saw his daughter’s brilliant blonde hair.

 

“It hurt when she left my sight. I wanted her to live with us for the rest of my life. But children grow up, and not even parents can stop it. My daughter had a man she loved.”

 

“…”

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