The Witch, The Groom and The Orphan (3)
Huge thanks to Aegis for the kofi! (1/2)
She shouted again.
“Who is it?”
But before she could put her hand on the doorknob, she heard the sound of a key turning and the door opening. A woman strode inside. She was about ten years older than Rosen, and she looked as if she had traveled a great distance.
Rosen blinked in bewilderment. But it seemed she wasn’t the only one who was surprised. The woman asked, with a face as bewildered as hers.
“…This is Hindley Haworth’s house, isn’t it?”
“Who are you?”
“That’s what I want to ask.”
“What is your name?”
She answered confidently. She was slowly getting used to the new name. At that, the woman tilted her head.
“Ah, are you Hindley’s relative? I never heard of him having a younger sister…”
“I am his wife.”
The woman’s face turned blue. She froze like a statue, gaping like a goldfish. She seemed to have lost her voice. Rosen continued explaining.
“Hindley Haworth is my husband. We got married three months ago.”
“Yes, I am married to him.”
The woman’s eyes turned to the clothes Rosen was wearing. It was the dress that Hindley gave her on the first day. The woman took a breath, grabbed Rosen by the collar, and threw her into the shoe rack beside the front door.
“What are you doing?”
The cheap fabric was torn. Slaps landed alternately on both cheeks. Rosen was beaten with no time to counterattack. Without holding back, the woman sat on her and continued to hit her in the face.
“You must be crazy. Crazy!”
She also muttered words that didn’t make sense.
The situation was so unrealistic, Rosen couldn’t even get angry. No matter how hard she thought, she couldn’t figure out why she was being beaten.
‘What’s going on? Is she crazy? Why the hell is she doing this?’
Rosen stared blankly at the woman sitting on her.
The woman’s green eyes gleamed strangely. It was a different, but beautiful color. It was the first time she had ever seen such eyes in her life.
She belatedly tried to raise her arm to defend her face, but her arm had no strength.
At some point, the beating stopped. She grimaced and barely opened her eyes. Hindley, who had noticed the commotion, came down to the foyer. The woman on top of her struggled as Hindley pulled her by her hair.
“B*tch, what are you doing?”
Hindley growled. The woman’s face contorted.
The woman took turns glaring at Rosen at Hindley with all her might. She shouted in a hoarse voice.
“Hindley! How could you do this?!”
As soon as those words fell from the woman’s mouth, a pair of shoes floated into the air. Small objects around them flew through the air. They began to pelt Hindley and Rosen in flocks, like birds.
It wasn’t painful enough to kill, but it was enough to bruise. Unlike Hindley, who spat out swear words and pulled Emily’s hair, Rosen forgot her pain and watched the fascinating scenery as if possessed.
Gleaming green eyes.
Emily Haworth was a witch.
Hindley threw Emily to the floor. He kicked Emily with his shoes, and then fastened a necklace around her thin neck like a collar. The moment the necklace was latched, the items fell to the floor helplessly.
Emily spat out a cough.
Rosen stiffened before the ruthless violence. It was like he was handling an animal.
“Don’t be surprised, Rosen. She is very dangerous. You saw it, didn’t you? Magic.”
No, she wouldn’t even treat a dog like that. And the thing in front of her was a human. Hindley lifted up Emily, who had lost her magic, and showed her to Rosen as if she were a dog.
“This b*tch is a witch. I couldn’t handle her strength, so I used this. If I take it off, we will die.”
“Do not misunderstand. I’m protecting you.”
Hindley came over and caressed her red cheeks. He made excuses with a desperate face.
“I didn’t want to do this, but… there is nothing I can do.”
Rosen had a hard time accepting everything. She met a witch for the first time in her life, and saw her husband beat her like a dog. Only one word thought formed in her head and spilt out of her mouth.
“…Is that woman your first wife?”
“You thought you were my first wife?”
Hindley laughed as if he had heard a funny joke.
Rosen felt something inside her shatter. She shouldn’t have expected it. But the stupid Rosen Walker misunderstood once more. Some of the people who came to pick up girls from the orphanage were fine. And she, a girl from the orphanage, hoped that she could be someone’s first.
At her ridicule, all her doubts and emotions became insignificant.
Hindley came up to her and held her face.
“Rosen, don’t worry. You’re a good woman, and you’re not dangerous. I don’t hit a good woman.”
Rosen kept her eyes fixed on Hindley, and occasionally glanced at the woman who had passed out. Her lips moved on their own.
“I’m not in danger.”
Hindley smiled softly as if satisfied with her answer, and kissed her cheek tenderly.
“Don’t be sad. Nothing will change. You’re the only one I love.”
“If you don’t listen, I’ll have to send you back to the orphanage, but nothing will change if you keep quiet. Because you’re younger and nicer than her. Isn’t your life better now than before?”
Rosen liked him. He complimented her from time to time, stroked her hair, and held her in his arms at night. It was hard work, but life was definitely more bearable than before.
It wasn’t cold here.
She didn’t want to get kicked out of this place.
And it wasn’t her who got hit.
Even though she was terrified for thinking like that, she erased all the questions that popped into her head.
‘Is there any guarantee that a man who hits his first wife won’t hit his second wife?’
‘Why does he have such a dangerous witch at home? And if she really was that dangerous, she could’ve killed me anytime.’
Thinking back, her life got easier when she didn’t think, when she kept her mouth shut.
People had become kinder, and suffering eluded her.
So she didn’t say anything.
Because Hindley liked quiet women…
Emily came to her senses and burst into tears.
“What is there to explain?”
“How could you do this?”
They moved away from Rosen and started a heated argument in the living room. She blankly watched their quarrel. It was more obvious than a cliche radio drama, so she quickly grasped the situation.
Emily Haworth was Hindley’s first wife. They did not sign a certificate in the government office, but it was a de facto* marriage. They had been neighbors for a long time, and Emily, who had nowhere to go after her parents died, was taken in by Hindley’s father. They grew up together, and naturally developed a romantic relationship after they became adults.
[T/N: A de facto marriage is a term used for couples who live together without being legally married.]
It was questionable whether a romantic relationship could be established with one side wearing a restraint and the other holding the reins…
“You haven’t had a baby for over ten years, so should I just stay still and do nothing?”
“It’s not for lack of trying.”
“You b*tch, they were all dead and female. So what are you saying?”
Hindley needed a son. But Emily never gave birth to a living baby, let alone a boy. So, Rosen came into this house because he needed an heir.
“Why should she live with us?”
Emily’s scream split the air. Hindley’s mouth distorted again.
“Do I look like I’m screaming now?”
“I warned you.”
“You won’t do anything. Anyway, the treatment center is-”
Hindley, who was trying to keep his composure, exploded, and his hand went up. Knowing that it wasn’t directed at her, Rosen screwed her eyes shut. When she opened her eyes, Emily was holding her bare, swollen cheeks, with tears streaming down her face, and Hindley was laughing.
Green eyes were glaring right at Rosen.
She found out that day. The fact that inner feelings could be revealed through eyes.
Broken pride, a broken heart, resentment…
She couldn’t turn away from those eyes.
“B*tch, do you have anywhere else to go?”
Hindley couldn’t control his anger and screamed. Emily’s words must have undermined his humble pride.
Seeing that his momentum was immediately dampened by a loud noise, it seemed that he was not a harsh character. He was a soft-hearted man. Then this woman’s presence cut off his last patience.
“You don’t even know what the outside world is like, do you?”
Emily dropped her head without saying anything.
“Rumors are circulating that Talas is invading us. If that’s the case, we’ll definitely lose. You know how unmarried women in defeated countries are treated, don’t you?”
As Hindley spoke, he looked at Rosen as well as Emily. Rosen immediately knew that those words were also a warning to her.
-This war will be different.
She remembered the tense atmosphere in the market and the unfamiliar words exchanged between merchants. In a month, market sales had reduced by a quarter.
Yes, it was definitely a ‘war’. At that time, she only knew its figurative meaning. Merchants made a fuss about the sale of vegetables, saying that it was a ‘war’.
If the word ‘war’ came into the ears of an orphan bride from another country, it was unlikely to be a rumor.
“There are scouts in the sky.”
And their judgment was right. The history of the Empire was full of countless wars; there were big wars decades ago, and now, small battles were taking place on the border every few days. The children of this country grew up hearing war stories instead of fairy tales…
This war would certainly be different.
Because times had changed.
Magic was outlawed and science took off. They were able to easily float heavy metal in the sky without the help of magic. In other words…
The enemy could drop bombs from the sky.
“You have nowhere to go, even if there wasn’t a war. Think about how many places in this Empire accept witches.”
“You can’t even handle your strength, so you live by relying on my restraints.”
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