The Witch, The Groom and The Orphan (2)

Translator: Alice

Editor: Claire

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The Witch, The Groom and The Orphan (2)

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

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“Rosen.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

Rosen calmly answered, clasping her hands together. When her friends found out that her birthday was soon, they teased her all the time. 

 

-He must be an eighty-year-old man. He’ll be stinky and perverted!

 

Rosen would always retort,

 

-He’ll be your husband!

 

But frankly, she was scared.

 

“I think you probably heard. He will be your husband.”

 

She could see the top of his head sticking out over the sofa, though couldn’t tell if he was bald or not because he was wearing a fedora. She sighed, wondering if she could see his face if she tried a little more, but when she saw the director’s scary expression, she gave up.

 

Fortunately, he got up just before she passed out due to nervousness.

 

“Rosen Walker?”

 

“…Hello.”

 

“No, it is Rosen Haworth now. It will be like that from now on.”

 

He looked better than she expected. His hair was white, but he had no age spots, no humpback, and no strange smell. He looked like he was in his late twenties or early thirties. He was an average man.

 

He was definitely not handsome, but he was not particularly ugly either. He was tall and not bald.

 

“Are you sure she’s healthy?”

 

“Oh, of course. You’ve seen her health report. One meter and sixty centimeters* tall, normal vision in both eyes. Even if she looks frail, she’s good at her job.”

[*E/N: About 5 feet.]

 

“She should be able to have children, but she’s too skinny.”

 

“That’s up to Mr. Haworth, isn’t it? Her reproductive organs are all normal. Dr Robinson guaranteed it.”

 

Their words sounded like a foreign language, even though it was obviously in her mother tongue. She didn’t understand anything, but she smiled softly like a doll. A child who smiled well, be it a maid or a concubine, would always be loved. She was clever enough to know that.

 

“Mr. Haworth, all you have to do is sign the paperwork.”

 

“…Payment will be made in cash.”

 

He grabbed her hand, scanning her from head to toe.

 

If she was rejected by this person, she would likely end up going to an older bald man. She smiled widely enough to strain her facial muscles. She was on the verge of convulsing.

 

‘He’s not an old man with age spots.’

 

‘It has to be this guy.’

 

-Walpurg, let me meet someone who hugs me warmly. Someone who sincerely tells me that they love me. Anyone. If that’s too much to ask… Even if it’s a lie when they say they love me, it’s okay. I’ll just believe it.

 

At that moment, she remembered the prayer she had made to Walpurg a long time ago. She had been told she would be punished if she asked Walpurg for useless things, but she shook her head to dispel those ominous premonitions.

 

She was lonely, and she could even love a bald grandfather if he hugged her warmly… 

 

But she didn’t want a grandfather. She thought her wish had a reasonable premise. If Walpurg had a conscience, she would have filtered that possibility out.

 

“If you clean up, you will look good.”

 

“…”

 

Fortunately, he seemed to like her. He gently slid something on her ring finger.

 

It was a band made of brass. It must have been prepared in advance, but somehow it fit her finger perfectly. With her eyes wide, she glanced between the director and the man alternately. The director smiled as she trembled with an expression of admiration.

 

“Look here, Rosen. I have a keen eye, don’t I?

 

She said nothing and nodded. She was surprised and happy at the same time. She liked the fact that he was attentive.

 

“I’ve been watching you for a long time. Of all the girls here, I liked you the most.”

 

He seemed kind enough to pay attention to the finger size of the girl he was going to take, and to get a ring that was just right for her. That kindness was enough for her, who was hungry for affection. It was daunting.

 

He pulled out another present from his leather bag.

 

“Aren’t you happy, Rosen?”

 

Inside the bag was a very large teddy bear. A large, clean doll with a red ribbon. At that moment, she thought that she might fall in love with him. It was clear that Walpurg had granted her wish.

 

“Let’s go home.”

 

“Home?”

 

“Yes, my house.”

 

“…Thank you. Let’s go.”

 

He took her hand. 

 

It was a big, strong hand. The director unlocked the large iron gate. She took her first step into the bright world outside.

 

That was her first meeting with Hindley Haworth.

 

‘That’s how I became Rosen Haworth.’

 

***

 

Hindley Haworth was a slum outcast. It was kind of funny, but it was true. Although he was an unlicensed quack, he ran a cheap clinic in the slums of Leoarton, earning less than a lucrative doctor.

 

He owned a fairly large two-story building. He said he had inherited it from his father, who inherited it from his father before him. The first floor was a treatment center, and the second floor was a living quarters.

 

The house was perfect for two people to live in. There was also a kitchen and an oven, a wardrobe with women’s clothes, and a dressing table. The clothes were not new, but they fit her body perfectly and were in good condition. The chair in front of the dressing table was too small for Hindley to sit on. When she saw it and laughed, Hindley laughed and said it was made for her.

 

“Rosen, thank you.”

 

“No, thank you, Hindley.”

 

It was sincere. 

 

‘Thank you.’

 

She hadn’t been hungry since coming to his house.

 

She no longer shivered in the cold wind, because she fell asleep sweating. Their nightly relationship was painful and difficult, and although he had no regard for his young bride…

 

It was better to be sick than to be hungry or cold. Besides, when he touched her body, her empty feeling disappeared. She was hungry for another human’s warmth.

 

He was generally nice to her. He didn’t beat her like the director, and he didn’t drink or smoke too much. When she got good deals at the market and made delicious food, he stroked her hair as if she were cute.

 

“Well, the food is very good. You are not as good as I thought at cleaning or washing dishes, but…”

 

“I’ll try to be more careful from now on.”

 

So she decided not to complain. There were some difficulties, but it was bearable.

 

She only wanted to do things that made Hindley feel good.

 

But he was a nagger, sensitive and picky. Even the slightest mistake wasn’t overlooked. Of course, he did not lift a finger at home. In a nutshell, he was lazy with a terrible temper. It was common to be berated all day if he found even a single speck of dust.

 

The emotional ups and downs were also severe. He took care of her when he was in a good mood, but used her as an outlet for his anger on days when he didn’t like the meal she cooked or when he was tired. Especially in the morning, he was particularly irritated.

 

Their honeymoon phase, which was not as sweet as a fairy tale, but not terrible, did not last long.

 

He began to reveal his true nature a few weeks after she came to the house.

 

“Is this all you have?”

 

“What?”

 

“Is this the only food? It’s the same as yesterday morning.”

 

He said she was good at cooking. Until now, she had never been bruised or beaten by Hindley. So, the first time Hindley frowned and dropped his spoon roughly, she got scared and explained again.

 

“It’s not the same. That was baked, this is fried. And I tried different seasonings…”

 

He sighed, glared at her, and flicked her forehead with his index finger and thumb. He didn’t use much force, but he still had the stiff fingers of an adult man. Every time she was flicked, her head rang.

 

It couldn’t be called beating. In fact, she wasn’t even bruised. And it wasn’t like she had never been hit before…

 

But in that moment, she was gripped by a sense of misery she had never felt before.

 

“I was wondering if you could do anything right.”

 

Without eating the rest of his food, Hindley threw his spoon and stormed out.

 

After he left, she stared blankly at the table for a while, thinking about what just happened.

 

Tears dripped down her cheeks. It was strange.

 

This was not the most painful thing she had been through. She would rather be angry than cry. Embarrassed, she quickly wiped her tears with her sleeve.

 

She could cry later. Instead of contemplating her feelings, she decided to put away the plates and go shopping. Before Hindley returned, she had to make fresh food. This time, she didn’t know if it would end with a finger flicking her forehead.

 

She remembered the stick wielded by the director.

 

Hindley was twice as tall as the director. If he wielded violence with those large hands…

 

She tried not to think too negatively, though she was scared.

 

‘It’s okay, Rosen. It’s not too late yet. Hindley is just feeling bad today, and if I do well, I can make up for this mistake. Prepare the next meal well. It is true that I lacked sincerity today.’

 

Hindley returned that evening. He silently ate the food she had set on the table. He beckoned her quietly, who was trembling in the corner.

 

“You, come here.”

 

She walked up to him, crouching like a dog that had been kicked. He raised his hand. She reflexively covered her head with her hands and ducked her body.

 

But the pain never came. He stroked her hair with his hand.

 

“This is delicious. You should have made this sooner. Why were you lazy? Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out if you’ve relaxed too much or if housework is just too much for you. I have to say something.”

 

“…”

 

“Look at this! You can do it. Don’t lose your nerve just because we’re married. I don’t want to have a wife who’s fat and serves me the same evening every day.”

 

Her waist was pinched. She took a breath. She was sure she had gained more weight than before. As she flinched, Hindley grinned.

 

“That’s all. That’s all I have to say.”

 

“…”

 

“I still love you, Rosen. Don’t make me hate you, got it?”

 

Since then, she spent her days worrying about Hindley’s menu. She woke up early in the morning, and prepared breakfast so intensely that she sweat. Then she hurriedly prepared lunch, and while he was taking a nap, she went to the market to buy dinner.

 

However, Hindley never went to work. From the time she first came home, the treatment center was closed. It meant that she had to make him three full meals a day. After two months, she was running out of ideas.

 

With the budget he gave her, she couldn’t possibly come up with new recipes. She started having nightmares every night. She dreamt that he would get angry, she would be beaten mercilessly, and eventually, she was sent back to the orphanage.

 

In the end, she couldn’t help but carefully ask Hindley over breakfast one day.

 

“When will the treatment center reopen?”

 

“Soon.”

 

He frowned as he drank the potato soup.

 

As she asked, she became more curious as to why the treatment center was closed.

 

She had always been curious about it. If she had any questions, she would ask them. The director and nannies ignored most of her questions, but there were times when they were able to answer.

 

“Why did you close it?”

 

“…I had some business to attend to.”

 

His expression hardened. She thought that Hindley’s expression hardened because it was serious. She was worried and asked for more details.

 

“What happened?”

 

“You don’t need to know.”

 

Just as she was about to inquire further, Hindley threw his spoon away. He closed his eyes tightly and flexed his body. The spoon hit her head, then collided with the plate and fell to the floor. She forgot her pain and picked it up with her bare hands.

 

She was afraid he would get more angry if the floor got dirty.

 

“Why are you talking so much?”

 

“I was worried…”

 

“I warned you, Rosen. I hate noisy children.”

 

“Sorry. I’m sorry.”

 

If it were now, she would have said that she wasn’t a child, but his wife, and he likely would have hit her in the head with a frying pan and told her to shut her mouth… but back then she was young and naive. 

 

She was isolated. He didn’t even let her talk to their neighbors. All she had was Hindley.

 

He was the sweetest person she had ever met in her life.

 

And at the same time, he turned her whole life upside down.

 

She was terrified of being hated by him.

 

Without voicing her opinion, she turned Hindley’s meals into supreme feasts. Fearing that she would gain weight, she carried a small loaf of bread in her pocket, and only ate a pea-sized piece when she was unbearably dizzy.

 

It was peace on the edge of a knife, but peace nonetheless. When she shut her mouth and obeyed him, he didn’t get very angry. Life was good.

 

***

 

It was their third month of marriage when something unbearable happened.

 

They were both at home when the doorbell rang.

 

“Who is it?”

 

Before Hindley, who was taking a nap, woke up and became angry, she hurriedly ran out of the kitchen and went to the front door.

 

“Who is it?”

 

She was puzzled.

 

To the best of her knowledge, he had no friends. He said he was too lazy to get along with people. He was so lazy that it was surprising he ran a treatment center. 

 

That’s why she was forced to live like this.

 

Except for the postman, no guests came to the house. Besides, the postman had already stopped by that morning and handed over a lot of mail addressed to Hindley.

***

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