Question Rose and Melancholy Rose Devourer - Chapter 13
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
“Thank you for your help then.”
“Please leave it to me.”
“But let me carry the blue bag. That one contains the most valuable things.” Roselle then added, “It’s not that I don’t trust you.”
Kneeling in front of his blue bag, he touched his neck and pulled out a necklace that had been tucked inside his clothes.
The necklace was simply a plain lead-colored chain with a key on it, not a design to ornament himself with.
The key, however, was not just any ordinary key. It was an intricate and bizarre key with teeth protruding in all directions, which gave it a three-dimensional structure more like an ornament than a key.
“That odd shape… that key is made from Damask?”
“Yeah. The Damask pieces may look like this, but they’re extremely superior.”
It seemed that the external appearance was still a factor.
Nevertheless, as Roselle pointed out, the products of Damask, the West City, which excelled in alchemy, had a reputation for being extraordinarily sturdy and excellent in terms of security.
The Fifth continent was divided into five territories: Alba (the royal capital), Gallica (the eastern capital), Damask (the western capital), Moss (the southern capital), and Noahzet (the northern capital). Apart from the royal capital, the other territories were ruled by the “Four Grand Dukes,” and each capital bore its own distinctive characteristics.
Alba, where Seth and Roselle were now heading, was both the royal capital and a city of artisans, specializing in the art of glass making. It was acclaimed as the most picturesque of the five capitals and was a very popular tourist destination.
Gallica, the eastern capital, was a thriving commerce zone where commodities and information from various continents were brought in and exchanged. Hence, many airports have been constructed in the city.
The southern capital, Moss occupied the vastest territory on the fifth continent, and dairy and livestock farming were prospering. Nearly all of the Fifth Continent’s agricultural products depended on the southern capital.
Despite being a territory of the fifth continent, Noahzet, the northern capital, was a small man-made island isolated off from the land. The Duke of Noahzet, who ruled this island during the witch-hunting era, was the head of a witch-hunting organization that exterminated witches. Even though witches were purportedly eradicated, the island ostensibly evolved into a sacred city where faithful people were committed to their beliefs in contemporary times, regardless of the fact that it was formerly the base of a witch-hunting organization.
Then there was Damask, the western capital where this key was made. It ranked first among the five territories in alchemical technology. It was the capital where many alchemical research facilities were located and where many alchemists lived.
“When it comes to the key to the alchemical city of Damask, it’s no wonder it’s shaped that way. But the bag is from…”
“Only the lock itself is made of damask, and the bag is from Ladysnake, a bag store in Alba. I requested them to make it for me.”
Roselle flicked the metal fittings of the necklace with his fingers. A strange key came off the chain.
He held the key in his left hand over the keyhole and twisted it to the left and right several times. After the sound of something snapping into place, the key was inserted more deeply. He then twisted the key again while holding a part of the lock’s ornamentation with his right finger. Not only was the shape of the key unique, but so was the way to open the lock.
Seth’s voice leaked out.
It was an intriguing mechanism and Seth was impressed that Roselle nonchalantly repositioned his body so that Seth could not clearly judge how to turn the key.
A strange unlocking sound can then be heard.
After confirming that the key has been unlocked, Roselle laid the bag down. Like the opening of a bivalve, the bag opened its entrance. Within the bag, which was covered with a silk cushion, was a pure white rose, reminiscent of fresh snow, along with a sugar cube. Even a child would know that when carrying a rose that grows in sugar water, it was common knowledge to pack it with sugar cubes.
“The Last Sugar Rose?”
Seth bent forward, peering into his travel bag and uttered the name of the white rose.
That was the same kind of rose that Seth had received as a gift from Beatrice.
It reminded him of the first time he encountered Roselle in the adjacent passenger room, when he muttered, “My Last Sugar Rose,” and suspected him of theft.
“So… you mistook the Last Sugar Rose I was eating for your own at that time.”
“Yeah. I was so surprised because it’s a very important product.”
Roselle’s lashes were downcast, and he touched the white petals tenderly.
For some reason, all of the Last Sugar Roses in the bag had been carefully stemmed, leaving only the heads. This struck Seth as mysterious, but more than that, it stimulated his hunger.
Seth fixed his gaze at the bunch of Last Sugar Roses. He swallowed the drool that flooded his mouth.
“That’s why I’m… taking this bag.”
Roselle froze when he saw Seth’s face as he closed the bag.
The two exchanged glances.
Seth’s stomach growled.
“The train… is scheduled to arrive in Alba early morning, so there won’t be any breakfast,” Roselle blurted out. “Originally, we would have arrived here sooner. I was hungry too, so I grabbed a handful of walnuts while you were sleeping.”
While saying that, Roselle reached inside his nearly closed bag and pulled out a Last Sugar Rose.
“Here you go.”
“Is this fine…!”
Seth instantly wrapped his hands around the Last Sugar Rose.
Bending forward, Seth straightened his back and bit into the large white rose.
The sensation of bliss overtook Seth.
Roses also differ in taste depending on the type. Unfortunately, only Seth, a rose devourer, would be able to distinguish between them.
Seth, the 《Witch of the Rose Devourer》, was a witch who fed on roses and had a sweet tooth.
The lusciousness of the Last Sugar Rose was the pinnacle in flavor for Seth, who relished the sweet taste of roses.
Seth indulged in the Last Sugar Rose with his mouth watering.
“Didn’t you eat one of these when we first met?”
As he closed the bag and tucked the key back into his clothes, Roselle stretched out on his knees.
“I was so startled when I opened the door to discover a stranger eating my roses… that I thought my stomach would turn over again.”
“…I was the one that got turned over though,” Seth said, swallowing a petal.
Roselle shook his shoulders with a chuckle.
Then there was a moment of noise in the air, and the broadcast echoed again.
“We’re getting close.”
Roselle focused on the broadcast and cast a fleeting peek up towards the ceiling.
“The bridge is only a short distance away.”
His azure eyes wandered from the ceiling to the windows as he uttered it.
When he approached the double windows, Seth tossed the remaining rose into his mouth and chewed it. He put one knee on the upholstered chaise longue and touched the alba glass, which shone with a dazzling hue of light. He undid the fastener at the bottom of the window.
The pure, colorless morning sun poured in through the transparent window pane as the alba glass was opened. Seth flung open the transparent pane in one motion, as though prompted by the stunning scenery outside.
The frigid, ferocious, blustery wind swept into the train like a needle all at once. His long bangs flailed as the wind hit them. Even his braid, where it hung down, thrashed like a fish on land, but Seth didn’t care and stuck his head out of the window.
The train was shortly about to cross the bridge. The scent of damp morning earth and grass mingled with the scent of large amounts of moisture.
On the other side of the large bridge, a white city with a cluster of vertical buildings was visible.
“That is… Alba, the City of Radiant Color.”
Seth was tormented by the wind, but he kept his gaze fixed on his destination.
Suddenly, the hut where he had lived for many years flashed through his mind.
The tyrant who had lived there with him had a burst of high-pitched laughter and rambunctious behavior. Despite his repeated declarations that he wanted to leave, he remained with her until the end of her life.
He no longer can hear the sarcastic high-pitched laughter.
Nor will she ever kick him again on a whim.
The 《Rose Blooming Witch》 was nowhere to be found.
And yet, Seth remembered it all.
More than anyone else, he was aware of the tyrant’s inept kindness.
It was shortly before his master’s death that Seth learned that she had entrusted her most trusted friend to take over for her, out of concern for the future of her apprentice. Even after being told this, Seth was not convinced and contemplated it.
After his master’s death, a distressed Seth did not read the letter sent by Beatrice. But there was an incident that didn’t go so well. For the house was half destroyed.
Boojum had deliberately set it up so that the snow would accumulate easily, and after her death, the house would collapse halfway under the weight of the snow.
Although it was unbelievable, it must have been Boojum’s consideration, since she knew Seth’s mentality, which tended to go in all sorts of wrong directions when he worked things out on his own. There had to be a better way, but Boojum the witch was the type of witch who did things her way.
In fact, it forced Seth’s hesitation to solidify.
The single sentence in the will found on the collapsed roof, apparently hidden in the attic, was: “Souvenirs should be sweet”.
It meant picking a souvenir for her, of any kind, even though she could no longer eat it.
But it was with that one sentence that Seth resolved to go to Alba, the royal city.
“Finally, we have reached…”
The train was approaching the bridge.
The story and author’s style of writing are somewhat related to Lewis Carroll’s work, “The Hunting of the Snark” where the witch name, Boojum is Boojum Snark. And there is quite a repetition of the word “three times” used for blinking and sighing. It follows the poetry, “The Hunting of the Snark” style of words such as, “What I tell you three times is true,” “With three pair of boots—but the worst of it was,” “So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers,” “Taking Three as the subject to reason about—,” “And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed,”
There’s also a commentator on Kakuyomu, (the source of the novel) stating it seems to be a mixture of Lewis Carroll, Miyazawa Kenji, Edgar Allan Poe, and Terayama Shuji works/style. Well, I never read the others’ works so I don’t know about it. Hopefully, the translation is still on point and not too deviated if it’s based on these authors’ works/style as well.
There is still the Walpurgisnacht word, which is related to witchcraft in the past. The MC, Seth also uses a rather unique first-person pronoun, 自分, well, not exactly unique but no MC really use such a pronoun in novel as using that pronoun indicates they see themselves with a lower standing than other people. It shows humility and respect to the person you’re talking to.
The author put LGBTQ+ tag as well in the category. And this is the end of the prologue. The author has put the novel under completed status for now. So it’s not really completed.
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