Truth (2)

Translator: Alice

Editor: Claire

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Truth (2)

Huge thanks to kristenanna for the kofi! (1/2)

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“The groom didn’t catch my eye, but my daughter said she loved him. I told her that if she was happy, I would let her marry, so I let her go. But… her marriage seemed to have been unhappy. She was a proud child, and seldom showed her emotions, but I could see it in her eyes…” 

 

‘What was the problem?’

 

‘Did the man who married such a prestigious lady cheat on her? Was he mad that she didn’t have more children?’

 

‘Or maybe she got hit?’

 

‘While I was cowering in fear of Hindley, did the lady suffer the same thing?’

 

Rosen was a girl from an orphanage who had nowhere in the world where she belonged, so she endured everything and lived. But why didn’t the lady who had a strong family end her marriage? Was she afraid of embarrassment? Or maybe she didn’t want to be a burden to her family?

 

At the end of her train of thought, Rosen suddenly realized the crucial difference between her and the lady.

 

The lady had a child…

 

Alex didn’t say anything more. Rosen did not intend to open old wounds by digging further.

 

“… How is your body now? Are you okay?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“You don’t look well.”

 

He laid her back on the bed and advised her to get some rest. She nodded hesitantly and rolled over, hugging the blanket. Instead of leaving right away, Alex spoke softly.

 

“Take care of yourself. Didn’t I say we still have a ways to Monte?”

 

“…”

 

“I think Miss Walker is a person who never gives up. It’s been like that ever since…”

 

Rosen could always interpret meaningful words straight away. It was done by intuition and instinct. 

 

Three days, wind, current, location, and weather. How to row and the distance to the mainland.

 

– The Reville family will surely repay this favor.

 

Alex didn’t inadvertently leak information.

 

He hinted that he wouldn’t stop her from escaping.

 

Alex already knew she hadn’t given up. And while he wasn’t in a position to help her outright, he was willing to at least assist.

 

She clenched her fists. Chains still bound her wrists, but Alex’s words lightened her heart quite a bit.

 

‘Now think, Rosen Walker.’

 

‘You’ve been given another chance, so you mustn’t blow it.’

 

He placed the luminescent moss on the bedside table. It emitted a faint blue light in the darkened cabin.

 

To her, it looked like a lighthouse in the middle of a distant sea.

 

‘Everything you need is here. You just need to find the key.’

 

‘Ian Kerner, enslave me or kill me, as long as I get the key to the lifeboat from that [email protected]@rd.’

 

‘If only I could steal a gun…’

 

At that moment, the ship shook, almost as a reminder that she was isolated and surrounded by water. The sound of waves crashing and gears creaking filled her mind. Naturally, she had no choice but to remember the scene Ian had shown her.

 

The sea was stained with blood the moment fish were thrown into it.

 

-The sea is full of monsters.

 

‘To say that I am not afraid is deceiving myself.’

 

‘But I also know how to overcome fear.’

 

An old memory unfolded before her eyes. The night Hindley died, she held Emily, who was sobbing, hugged her, and said.

 

-Emily, go to Walpurgis Island. You are a witch, so you will be able to get there just fine.

 

-Rosen, you…!

 

-I won’t die. I will never die. I promise, Emily.

 

At that moment, she was proud of how brave she was. That day, she realized for the first time what pride was. 

 

Why people gave up comfort and chose the thorny road, and how wonderful that was.

 

In her humble life, it was the brightest moment. A memory that sparked a flame in her heart whenever she remembered it. 

 

Fear melted away, flames created steam, and she soared into the sky.

 

-We’ll see each other again.

 

Her engine was still burning. She would never die in prison as a handcuffed criminal. She would win in the end.

 

‘I will never, ever lose. To any being, or anything.’

 

*** 

 

Ian did not enter the cabin until midnight. Rosen thought he would stick around and keep staring at her, so she was surprised.

 

A large form entered the cabin.

 

She fell asleep and woke up to the sound of the door opening. The buttons on her top had been loosened. She spoke to Ian with a languid expression on her face, as if welcoming her husband, who had returned to home.

 

“…Where did you go?”

 

Unfortunately, he completely ignored her, so her gestures were meaningless. She wasn’t expecting much anyway. He stood by the bed without saying a word for a long time. When he did speak, he spat out short words in a voice that was dripping with anger.

 

“Your body…”

 

‘Is it that hard to ask how my body is?’

 

She asked again, pretending he hadn’t cut himself off.

 

“Where have you been?”

 

“I was standing in front of the cabin.”

 

“You have a very busy life. Don’t you usually leave these kinds of chores to subordinates?”

 

“It is the minister’s direct order for me to transport you.”

 

“Does that person hate you? Is that why he’s making you do this? Is he jealous because you are young and handsome?”

 

He stared at her smirking face and reluctantly replied.

 

“You tend to underestimate your fame. You are more famous than me.”

 

He intervened and she burst into laughter. There was truth to his words. It was true that her articles were more interesting than Ian Kerner’s, which were all praise. 

 

Good news was usually more boring than bad news.

 

“I’m certainly more notorious than you.”

 

“…”

 

“I’m done eating, am I going back to jail now?”

 

“No, you can stay here until we reach the island. I heard you have health problems.”

 

She wanted to hug and kiss him. She was dying with happiness. 

 

That doctor was really amazing!

 

The quack in Al Capez would have been babbling like he was a genius as soon as she regained consciousness.

 

“I’m fine. But this is your cabin. Can I use it? Where are you going to sleep?”

 

Instead of answering, he pointed to his armchair. Although quite large for the cabin, he was so tall that he could barely lie down, even if he crumpled his body.

 

“Are there any other cabins?”

 

“This is my cabin. Where would I go?”

 

“…”

 

“Don’t roll your eyes. I see everything.”

 

‘He must really be a mind-reader.’

 

She coughed and looked away. Naturally, he wasn’t as dumb as Al Capez’s guards, so the lifeboat key was removed from his belt after her first interview.

 

“No, what? I’m sorry. Then I’ll sleep over there. You sleep on the bed.”

 

“…A sofa is lighter than a bed.”

 

‘Oh my God. Are you worried that I might steal the sofa and jump into the sea?’ 

 

‘He came right up to me and shook the handcuffs on my wrists to make sure they weren’t rusted. He even checked whether the chains were tied tightly to the bedposts!’

 

He stared at her for a long time. His expression was enraged, but she understood why. It would have been easier if she had been quietly thrown into prison, but things got messy while he was doing her a favor.

 

Ian opened his mouth while she was contemplating whether they could share the bed or if she should push for the sofa.

 

“…You were about to die.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“There is a law against doing that.”

 

“So you’re going to tie me up in this room?”

 

“Yes.”

 

She didn’t mean to die. She shook her head vigorously, but he didn’t believe it.

 

“You really didn’t know?”

 

“What?”

 

“Don’t pretend you don’t know. You knew that eating that fruit could kill you. So, with an excuse, you asked Henry for it.”

 

“…No-“

 

Rosen wanted to cover her ears, but she couldn’t. Her hands were still bound by cold chains.

 

“Are you happy?”

 

“No, listen to me-”

 

“Did you have fun?”

 

“Sir Kerner! Listen to me!”

 

“You made me feed you with my hands.”

 

Ian didn’t even pretend he heard her. As he continued to raise his voice, color gathered at the nape of his neck. It was the first time Rosen had seen this side of him. It was unfamiliar.

 

He was not easy to anger. He didn’t even yell when he was interrogating her. It was the same when she offended him or said rude things to him.

 

If Alex Reville was the epitome of the classic hero who took control of a fleet with a roar, Ian Kerner was a gentle hero who was famous for his broadcasts and looks.

 

He dominated radio waves and led them to triumph, a hero worthy of a new era.

 

He was also a great human being. It wasn’t easy to make Ian Kerner angry.

 

But he must have been so excited that he had forgotten how to think calmly. She was a jailbreaker.

 

‘If I am going to die like this, then why have you suffered so much?’

 

While trying to come up with a refute so that he would calm down, Rosen suddenly realized that she didn’t have to. Why should she?

 

Ian’s face was close to hers. She tried her best to form a sad expression.

 

“…Yeah, I’ll die before I arrive. What am I going to do alive?“

 

If he misunderstood, she would just leave it as it was. 

 

He wouldn’t believe her anyway. 

 

‘What will cause him to feel sorry for me?’

 

‘Will he feel sorry for me with this opportunity?’

 

She started babbling whatever came to mind in a raspy voice with a face that looked as pitiful as possible.

 

“It would be better to die cleanly now, rather than going to an island and being tortured and enslaved to death.”

 

But, as it turned out, the return was not the sympathy she wanted. He sighed and grabbed her cheeks with one hand, forcing her to face him, and spat out one word at a time.

 

“Do you think this is up to you? Are the handcuffs on your wrists not enough? Do I have to tie up your limbs to wake you up?”

 

It was a warning, close to intimidation. The tears that were welling up in her eyes threatened to fall out.

 

“Are you crazy? You’re going to tie me up here again?”

 

“If you do something stupid, I’ll tie your legs to the bed.”

 

He threatened her again without hesitation. He seemed sincere as he gestured at a rope in the corner of the cabin with his chin. Now, Rosen had a reason to be angry. She glared at him and started an argument that she couldn’t win.

 

“I will bite my tongue.”

 

“I’ll gag your mouth too.”

 

“Then I will hold my breath.”

 

“Say something that makes sense. You cannot die by holding your breath.”

 

Ian finally declared and gave strength to the hand holding her. Not having anything to say, Rosen bit her pouty lip. Her wrists were pulled tight. The distance between him and her, who were already close, became narrower. It was a breath-taking distance.

 

“…I don’t understand. Why would a person who escaped from prison twice try to commit suicide in vain?”

 

There was no time to cower awkwardly in embarrassment. More nonsense came out of his mouth. Rosen chuckled. 

 

‘Are you calling that into question now? You don’t know about that? Or are you making fun of me without knowing it?’ 

 

Unknowingly, she raised her voice.

 

“Because I can’t escape! As you said, we’re surrounded by the sea, and I’m on my way to that d*mn island!”

 

It was Ian Kerner who taught her that with childish threats. 

 

‘Give up and be quiet.’

 

‘You have sinned and are being punished as you deserve.’

 

Wasn’t it ironic that he came to ask her why she gave up? 

 

“…I was really wary of you. But I never thought you’d commit suicide. I know you. You’re not the kind of person to give up until you run out of breath.”

 

-I know you.

 

‘Do you know me?’

 

Those words stood out. Up until now, she was just annoyed, but now she was so angry that her hair turned white. Rosen asked, smirking.

 

“Sir Kerner, did you eat rat poison for lunch?”

 

‘I like him. It doesn’t matter if he’s the guard who’s going to throw me into prison on Monte, if he scares me with monsters, or even if things don’t go well and he points a gun at me.’

 

Ian Kerner was a soldier, and he was just doing what he was supposed to do. That was the man she knew and liked.

 

“…Do you know me? How much do you know? What do you pretend you know?”

 

“…”

 

“Sir Kerner, answer me. What do you know?”

 

But he didn’t know her. 

 

No one in this Empire could say that they knew her. 

 

The witch of Al Capez. 

 

Murderer. 

 

Such nicknames she had become accustomed to. 

 

She didn’t really care what anyone said.

 

But she couldn’t stand pretending to know those who didn’t even understand her.

 

He was her hero.

 

So Ian Kerner should never say that.

 

For a long time, she took deep breaths and glared at him. He kept his eyes level on her, watching her expressions. Annoyed and angry, he seemed to have regained his composure as she simmered.

 

“…Don’t be angry. Of course, I don’t know.”

 

Her vision suddenly brightened.

 

Ian was staring intently at her, tucking the flax hair that was covering her eyes behind her ears. 

 

He didn’t care if her breath hit his cheek.

 

“But I definitely know more than you think. That’s what I meant.”

 

His voice was so soft that it didn’t suit the situation. 

 

That was the voice she knew. 

 

His broadcast voice. 

 

It was the first time she had heard it after getting on this ship.

 

Habit was a scary thing, and she was calmed down by that voice. Like a tamed dog. 

 

Even though she was angry with him, she became as quiet as a child. Not wanting to admit defeat, she raised her voice more sharply.

 

“Do you think you know me because you read some newspaper articles?”

 

“I read all the articles about you.”

 

“Explain so I can understand. What the hell are you trying to say to me?”

 

“Don’t die.”

 

“What?”

 

“…Promise me you won’t kill yourself. Stay calm as long as you are on the ship.”

 

Ian sighed and explained. 

 

In fact, it was a reasonable command. 

 

It was a request so simple that she couldn’t understand why he had avoided saying it.

 

Rosen laughed.

 

“What? Wouldn’t it be good for you if I stayed calm and went to Monte Island? Why should I give up my last way to screw myself? Regardless of what happens to me, I’m going to die anyway. I can’t stay long on Monte Island. That doesn’t mean I can’t escape. I showed you-”

 

“Yes, I know that! Listen. I’m making a suggestion. It won’t hurt you.”

 

Ian stared at Rosen with a strange expression and picked up the chain that was laying on the floor. He took one of his keys out of his front pocket.