Question Rose and Melancholy Rose Devourer - Chapter 3
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
“That’s… something I was gifted with…”
“Let’s change the question. Why are you in my room?”
They posed the question to him without a pause.
Seth’s gaze swept through the room as he listened to the dispassionate, clear voice that seemed to be absorbing each word directly into their brain.
He scanned the passenger compartment slowly. The interior resembled the first-class compartment that Seth knew. However, upon closer inspection, his luggage, which he had left on his seat, was missing and was now replaced by an unknown blue bag and a gaudily decorated hat.
On the table to which he had been thrust was a round Alba glass confectioner’s bowl for candies, chocolates, and similar things. This was the kind found in every first-class passenger cabin. In Seth’s room, there was a blue alba glass container, adorned with brass work, with an elaborate carving on the inverted triangle-like legs. The alba glass confectioner’s container in his sight now was a red one. It was decorated with silver ivy and featured four legs with a leaf design.
All that Seth could recognize in the room was a bouquet of Last Sugar Roses, which he had dropped when he was pinned down.
Seth finally realized his mistake and answered the other party’s question with certainty.
“…I mistook your… room for mine.”
Three beats ― and silence reigned over the room.
“The boarding ticket…”
The awkward atmosphere that had been solidified in the room was shattered by Seth’s words.
“Please check… my boarding ticket can be found in my jacket, in my right pocket.”
First of all, Seth sought to convince the other party that he made a mistake regarding the room.
He could feel the other person’s arm exploring his jacket without lowering their guard. Seth waited motionlessly, attempting not to provoke the other party.
“So it’s a genuine one…”
The other person, who had presumably examined the ticket, muttered something after a short period.
He thought this would convince them, but the other party’s eyes pierced the back of his head, and the hand grasping the arm around his back did not lose any of its strength. Before Seth could ask why, the other party let out a sigh as to why they would not let their guard down.
“If it’s not stolen, then it’s real.”
“It is real, you know?”
“Is that the truth?”
“The train was booked by a friend of my master named… Beatrice. She is a very kind person and the… Last Sugar Rose is also a gift from her. It was given to me earlier and… I didn’t steal yours. If you want, you can go to my room and have my luggage checked too…?”
During the middle of his explanation, the restraints were removed.
“I’m sorry. It seems you are not lying. I’m a little short on time right now too, and I wanted to have time to confirm it too.”
When Seth looked up, he saw a red manicured right hand reaching out to help him up. It was probably a gesture of support to assist Seth to sit up.
However, Seth did not ask for any help but instead raised his body.
In response, they asked, “Doesn’t your jaw hurt? How about your tongue? Did you bite your tongue?”. The other party withdrew their arm and expressed their concern for Seth. This was an attitude of respect and consideration for the other.
Seth faced the other person again. The more conscious he became, the more intense the fragrance he perceived.
The sweet scent was emanating from the other person in front of him.
Although he assumed it was a dress, the other party was attired in a long crimson coat that was so voluminous that it gave the impression of being so. A shaped ribbon was affixed at the back waist, and the sleeves and hem were embellished with black frills. Even Seth’s inexperienced eyes could easily identify the thick ruffles as expensive fabrics, as they were embroidered with similarly colored threads.
Their height was far greater than Seth’s, potentially approaching two meters if heels were included. Despite the evident masculine features of the face, voice, and physique, there was something feminine about their tone of voice.
“Why did you… let go of me? Even though you were so guarded.”
Seth wondered more at the unexpected change.
He smiled beautifully and shifted his azure eyes, which were captured in his long eyelashes, to the luggage rack. It was such a nonchalant gesture, but it reminded Seth of an aristocratic lady.
“Your demeanor and breathing were calm, and there was no impediment in your speech to fabricate a lie. Most of all, the position of my luggage has not changed in any way, be it anywhere or anything. And my Last Sugar Rose is only left with the head part. It’s not a bouquet. It’s yours that fell off, right?”
With both hands, he picked up the petals, which had been almost completely plucked off, leaving only a bunch of stems instead of a bouquet. His bony hands held the bouquet with a feminine touch.
“It has scattered, right? I’m sorry.”
“No…” That’s because I’m on the verge of finishing it… though, I can’t say that.
Seth accepted the bouquet, which he had reflexively let go of when he was restrained earlier.
The other party picked up another petal – no, picked up a card and handed it back to Seth.
It was the card from Beatrice.
“…What if this bouquet of flowers is also stolen?”
Seth inquired somewhat as he accepted the card.
The other party rolled his azure eyes. However, it immediately arched in a soft manner.
“If it was stolen, wouldn’t you discard the card with the giver’s name on it right away?”
“What if I was trying to impersonate the recipient of the card…?”
“If you wanted to impersonate someone, you’d probably break into a first-class compartment with a proper attire.”
“W-What if I didn’t manage to conceive of that…?”
“When you’re educated enough to be able to read and have the guts to rob in a first-class compartment?”
Seth’s gray eyes darted through the air.
Seth grumbled, wondering if there was any good way to turn the tables. How can he make them think he is a thief? For some reason, he was musing in the opposite direction when a small laugh erupted.
“Was that a question out of curiosity?”
“Somehow… I became curious about it…”
“Curiosity is important, but isn’t that a bit reckless to be making that statement under such circumstances?”
Seth was reminded of his original position.
Seth was not a thief. He thought that he was supposed to be engaging in a guessing game, but what he really needed to do was to clear up the misunderstanding.
“I’m not a thief!”
“I know that. You look me in the eye, you talk to me, and you’re calm. You really just made a mistake.”
The other party shook his shoulders in amusement.
Seth was relieved to find that the other party had not been misled by his careless comment and had calmly deduced what he was talking about.
“I’m sorry for saying such a strange thing…”
“I’m sorry too. Normally I would have inspected the situation a little more carefully before making my move, but… I’m not very good with vehicles. I was a little worked up, I guess.”
“It’s because I’m in the wrong room… besides, I wear this kind of appearance…”
Seth took a glance at his outfit.
“I think it’s natural to be wary…”
Seth was clothed in black pants with suspenders and a wrinkled white shirt that had discolored to gray and brown in parts. Furthermore, the circular black mantle he wore over it was faded and had a sooty hue to it. This was strictly a woman’s clothing, despite the fact that it was worn out and loose in general. Since it was too small for Seth, his shoulders were not wide enough and it ended up around his arms, thus he deliberately wore it in a halfway position each time. Nonetheless, the soft fabric did not hinder him from wearing it properly. Above all, he was already accustomed to it.
As for the shoes, the surface was flaking, the soles were faded, and water would spread inside the shoes when walking on snowy roads or in the rain. However, Seth had gotten used to this and could walk anywhere on unpaved mountain roads and animal trails in these shoes, which could not be described as shoes, without any problems.
“When I gave out my boarding ticket, I had to be checked numerous times too…”
Seth’s outfit was not essentially befitting of a first-class passenger.
Even he himself understood that.
That was why he was taken aback when he learned that he could travel in a first-class compartment on the train to Alba, and at the same time, he became restless due to his even heightened curiosity. He was mistaken for a prowler and was asked a lot of questions, which was a good memory for him now.
When he told the other party about the mess that had actually transpired before he boarded the train, he lowered his well-shaped eyebrows and gave a bitter smile.
“Please don’t worry about it…”
Seth, whose gray hair was grown out in a disheveled manner and wrapped around his neck like a scarf, lightly brushed his unruly locks into place. His own clumsy brown-skinned hands weren’t particularly competent at holding his habitual hair together.
Seth became bothered and wrapped his hair back around his neck in a messy way, without even bothering with the tangles.
“I am really… sorry.”
Once more, Seth bowed to the other party.
Seth was not confident that the other party would be content with his response if he made a fuss over compensation later on, despite the fact that there was no hint of such an atmosphere at the moment. The other party in crimson was evidently a wealthy person, the complete opposite of Seth, who was self-sufficient.
Seth pondered what to do and asked honestly, “Um, can you… forgive me for getting in the wrong room…?”
The other blinked twice. Between the two of them, a strange pause occurred.
Thump! The train shook violently momentarily.
With that, the well-shaped lips, tinted in red, slowly opened.
“Yeah, if you would have a little chat with me to sober me up…”
This single phrase was the beginning ― of all the mysterious events surrounding the witch and the bizarre disease of the cannibal rose.
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