Shaken (1)

Translator: Alice

Editor: Claire

***

Shaken (1)

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

*** 

Ian Kerner greeted the dawn awake, as usual. Rosen muttered that she would never fall asleep first, but, as expected, he was the victor.

 

Rosen asked obvious questions during gaps in her story.

 

-Are you listening? You’re not listening, are you?

 

-I’m listening. I’m not trying to, though.

 

-Aren’t you tired of it? Can’t you fall asleep?

 

-Don’t be smart. You don’t know where the key is anyway.

 

Ian replied in an uninterested voice. On the other hand, Rosen looked tired. Her eyes fluttered shut as she muttered.

 

-I was just checking to see if my story was interesting. I didn’t want to share, but it’s a shame if it’s not even good.

 

-…Your story is too dynamic to fall asleep.

 

– Is it good?

 

-That doesn’t mean it’s good.

 

Ian Kerner was not a person who took pleasure in seeing a child’s life destroyed by a single man.

 

Rosen didn’t last long. She repeated the same part in her story, then curled up and hugged the blanket, still holding his hand. As Rosen was about to fall asleep, he tried to pull his hand away, but each time she noticed and grabbed it again. Ian was eventually held captive almost all night.

 

-I’m just closing my eyes. I’m not sleeping.

 

-I see.

 

-I’m not really sleeping.

 

-Yeah, you’re not sleeping.

 

Ian soothed Rosen, who was half asleep. He was only freed after she said what she wanted to say.

 

-I wanted to hear you say ‘I believe you’.

 

It was a common and obvious appeal from a prisoner. There was a saying that ‘no one is guilty in prison’. Where was there a prisoner who admitted to their guilt, and where was there a prisoner without a story? Ian was not foolish enough to believe the confessions of a prisoner.

 

He didn’t have to listen to it anymore. Rosen was trying to convince him that she was not a criminal, and that the crime was committed by another. But whatever she said, it was too late. Even Rosen herself acknowledged it. Her trial was over, and nothing would change.

 

Nothing changed the fact that Rosen Haworth killed her husband. All evidence pointed to her. Murder was murder, even if there was a reason. Imperial law was not swayed by emotional appeals.

 

He tried to get Rosen’s story out of his head. Didn’t he understand the points emphasized in red on her document?

 

[Good at deception, placation, and persuasion. 

 

Is intelligent and has excellent speaking skills. 

 

Be careful while interviewing. High possibility of getting caught up or persuaded by conversation.]

 

He was sure she had tricked the Al Capez guards in this way. It was an evaluation that someone who had been severely fooled by Rosen had written, one line after another. He fully agreed with the assessment, and when dealing with Rosen, he always kept those sentences in his head.

 

However, not all accidents could be avoided by being careful. He was arrogant for thinking that he would be all right. All of a sudden he interjected.

 

-Why didn’t you say this in court?

 

-Are you stupid? I should’ve given the judge one more reason why I killed Hindley?

 

If what Rosen said was true… he shouldn’t have said what he did.

 

-Not everyone lives like you. Some people pursue something more sublime than their own gain. But the world isn’t maintained by them.

 

He should have thought twice before speaking. Not everyone had the opportunity to lead a life in pursuit of the sublime. There were many people in the world who found it difficult to take care of what was in front of them.

 

Ian had been looking down at people from the sky for too long. To the point that he forgot such a simple fact.

 

Ian thought of Rosen, who had a crush on him.

 

-I liked you too. Like everyone else, you were a hero to me.

 

A hero. 

 

He didn’t deserve such praise from a survivor of Leoarton.

 

‘But why are you…’

 

Rosen Haworth was curled up on his bed. Her hair was scattered all over the mattress like watercolors. Ian resisted the urge to touch Rosen’s hair, rose from his chair and sat down on the bed.

 

‘Why do you sleep like you’re tied up even when your chains are gone? Isn’t it worthwhile to enjoy this?’

 

Rosen’s sleeping face was calm. Ian put his finger under Rosen’s nose without realizing it. A thin breath fell on his fingertips. She was alive. But she wouldn’t be able to hold out for long when she got to the island.

 

Even prisoners were allowed a last will. It was for that reason that Ian released Rosen’s handcuffs. Because Rosen Haworth would die on the island of Monte, and giving her the generosity to release her handcuffs for a moment wouldn’t change anything.

 

He didn’t know what else to do if her requests were not met. Maybe she really would bite her tongue. That didn’t mean she would die the way she wanted to, but she was not a normal person. If that didn’t work, she’d resort to banging her head against the wall. Ian didn’t want to watch it happen.

 

He had to keep Rosen alive until he brought her to the island. Because that was his job.

 

However, the moment he found himself obsessed with the breath that touched his fingertips, he was engulfed in doubt.

 

Was that really the only reason?

 

Was it a rational decision to release Rosen’s handcuffs?

 

At some point, maybe even from the beginning, he couldn’t ignore Rosen. That fact scared him. Ian was so impatient in front of the prisoner that he was easily angered. He could not make fair judgments.

 

He thought it was dangerous.

 

As he was about to withdraw, Rosen grabbed his hand. It wasn’t the kind of gesture he expected. She wasn’t squeamish or sneaky. It was more like a call for help than a temptation.

 

Stories usually depend on the person telling it, and at least one person in this vast Empire should listen to me.

 

In his nightmares, there were always hands. People whose faces he couldn’t see were buried in the rubble. Hundreds of thousands of hands emerged from the black ashes and grabbed his legs. He couldn’t shake them off, and they were sucked into the darkness together.

 

He felt like he was caught in a trap. He knew it clearly. It was something he decided on his own.

 

“…No matter what I heard, I shouldn’t have taken the job of transporting you.”

 

In the quiet room, Ian spoke to himself.

 

“If there is anyone in this Empire who wants to set you free the most… I’m afraid it’s me.”

 

Only after exhaling did Ian realize that he was sincere.

 

He reached out and touched Rosen, even though it was not appropriate to sweep the cheeks of a sleeping person without permission. Ian moved as if possessed, and rolled up her worn-out sleeves to check her skinny arms.

 

Old scars of abuse were exposed. Cuts, burns, abrasions. He couldn’t bear to look any more and corrected Rosen’s outfit.

 

One thing must be true; her marriage was an unhappy one.

 

With such a body, she rebelled with an evil spirit. She forcibly swallowed food that was poisonous to her, knowing she was going to die. Ian had to suppress the emotions that were building up inside him. He didn’t know if it was frustration or anger.

 

It was understandable that it was a natural act. She was Rosen Haworth, after all.

 

So these were just his personal feelings. Anger, interest, and compassion.

 

“I don’t know why.”

 

‘You have been my comfort for quite some time.’ 

 

‘You said you liked me… I bet I’d give my heart to you as much as you have to me. Maybe even more.’

 

“Maybe I like you.”

 

He didn’t know how to deal with it. Rosen would break if pushed and step back if approached. He was a jailer and Rosen Haworth was his prisoner. 

 

Obviously, he shouldn’t value her… but he didn’t want to ruin her. And Rosen would soon be ruined if he didn’t value her.

 

“I shouldn’t have listened to you. From the moment I met you… I knew it was going to be like this.”

 

“…”

 

“I wish your lies could deceive me.”

 

He knew too much about the murder to be deceived. Excluding all possibilities, what remained was the truth. No matter how heartbreaking and inconvenient it may be, there was only one truth.

 

Ian turned off the gas lamp. He opened the desk drawer and pulled out a bundle of incense. The doctor said that his dose should not be increased anymore, but what he used had long since exceeded the prescribed amount. He had to sleep in order to live, at least an hour a day.

 

It was time to tie Rosen to the bedpost. He picked up the handcuffs…

 

However, his hands did not move willingly.

 

He hesitated for a while. Rosen was deeply asleep. The handcuffs rustling did not seem to wake her up.

 

It was the first time in his life that he had hesitated for so long in the face of something he had to do, even when he was making the most terrible decision of his life. He was always quick to judge and never mixed emotions with work.

 

-Protect Malona.

 

He chose Malona, knowing that the city he was born in would be destroyed.

 

But now he was faced with a trivial and natural thing.

 

Ian eventually put one handcuff on Rosen’s wrist and the other on his wrist instead of the bedpost.

 

This method was the most certain. Rosen was a prisoner crazy enough to cut off her wrist if necessary, but this way he would find out before it was too late.

 

As the cold chain connected him and the prisoner, a strange satisfaction filled his chest.

 

‘Actually, I don’t know what I want to do with you. Why in the world did I release your chains?’

 

‘Now that I’ve heard your story, if you run away…’

 

‘Can I shoot you?’

 

Ian leaned against the bed. Having something to be tied to gave him a strange sense of security. By his side was his sin, his atonement, and his comfort.

 

He closed his eyes like a pilot who had finally found a place to land after hovering for a long time.

 

It was a comfortable restraint.

***

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed what you have read, do consider tipping us a little through: https://ko-fi.com/rainofsnow. Once we receive 6$, an advance chapter will be posted as a thank you. Don’t forget to mention the series that you’re supporting!