Question Rose and Melancholy Rose Devourer - Chapter 8
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
Seth pushed Roselle out of the way, adjusted his standing stance and brought his cane straight up, before poising it in front of the beast’s face.
By utilizing his entire body as if it were a mainspring, Seth blocked the right arm of Cannibal Bouquet, who had closed the gap at once, with his cane.
The impact was much fiercer than he anticipated.
In the midst of swaying branches and leaves scattered by the surging Cannibal Bouquet, Seth rapidly steadied himself with the cane.
When he spotted the creature up close, its hands were blackened and its claws had grown dreadfully long. Rather than saying they were claws, the fingers themselves were firm and sharp.
The claws of a wolf were far more deadly than anything else.
“You’re the target of this thing!”
Seth shouted to Roselle.
Since the circumstances were that dire, Roselle seemed to have grasped the core of what Seth was trying to convey. Although his message was understood, Roselle did not move.
“What about you―!”
Conversely, Rozelle hastily altered his posture and voiced concern for Seth.
“I will… manage it on my own!”
While the creature was concentrating on its fingers, which bore a striking resemblance to the tip of an acutely snapped branch, Seth raised his voice and rammed his left foot into the abdomen of Cannibal Bouquet. However, it was ineffective.
Even the strain on his arm was suddenly absent.
The Cannibal Bouquet leaped back like a flea. It landed on all fours on the ground after leaping high and avoiding the trees, its joints out of their natural mobility, which was neither human nor beastly. It jolted the upper half of its body, wiggling it so erratically that one wonders if its body contained any bones.
Although it stood upright, the Cannibal Bouquet was still somewhat off-balance overall. Like a puppet maneuvered by an amateur puppeteer, it lacked a center of gravity.
“…At any rate, you need to leave this place.”
It was a firm declaration of intent.
Seth’s brow creased.
“Do you like Cannibal Bouquet that much! If you are neither a newspaper reporter nor an occultist, then you must be a suicidal madman!”
“No, I’m not! I’m a craftsman! I want that red rose!”
“What are you, a craftsman, planning to make something with Cannibal Bouquet? Disgusting!”
“Disgusting…!? I don’t create things out of Cannibal Bouquet! What I want is that―”
Their argument was brought to an abrupt end.
Both of them jumped back to their respective sides. Seth managed to keep one hand on the ground to maintain himself in good posture despite the trees in the way and the snow threatening to knock them off his feet.
The Cannibal Bouquet dove into the spot where they had been standing. A second later, it turned its body in the opposite direction with an inconceivable twist.
The point of its attack was, as anyone could tell,
Kyahahahaha! An ominous noise ripped through the night.
Before the Cannibal Bouquet could pounce on the prey, the witch plunged into the cannibal rose.
The Cannibal Bouquet’s attention was drawn to Seth when he waved the lapis lazuli cane. As Seth evaded the berserk black strong arm that counterattacked with a large swing, he shifted his own weight on the axis of one leg. He took a rapid stride forward and dropped to his hips, striking the defenseless abdomen with an elbow blow.
He did not let the wobbling Cannibal Bouquet have any opening to escape.
The opponent was a rose.
A rose that devoured people.
Should the enemy be a rose, Seth would have another means of attack aside from physical assault.
And that could surely neutralize this monstrous rose.
Even if he didn’t want to do it in front of others, nothing could be accomplished without repercussions elsewhere.
“A rose like this…”
Thrusting his chin up from below, Seth plunged his right arm into the head of the Cannibal Bouquet – an army of reddish-black roses.
He clutched a piece of the rose with his bare hand with all his might.
“I absolutely would prefer not to eat it!”
Seth exerted an abject strain on his hand that gripped the rose.
A fleeting moment ―
And the Cannibal Bouquet burst apart.
The damp, reddish-black roses shriveled up in a haphazard way in an instant, darkening to a shade even blacker than dried blood and quickly dissipating into thin air.
As the roses and thorns withered away, the body of the creature too dried up and disintegrated.
The remnants of the Cannibal Bouquet were borne by the nocturnal wind.
The chilling darkness that had descended in the white forest engulfed the withering petals without leaving a trace.
“…What did you…”
In the lingering air of bitterness and regret, a question slipped out.
“What did you just do?”
Yet Roselle did not seem to be able to follow the momentary events that unfolded in front of his eyes.
Rumor abounded that the Cannibal Bouquet, reputedly a witch’s curse, could not be cured by any medical or alchemical means, and was a bizarre disease that was beyond the control of anyone. For Roselle, the fact that the Cannibal Bouquet had dissipated in the blink of an eye was a mystery.
“I simply ate it…”
“…You ate it?
“I already mentioned it to you. I said I am the 《 Witch of the Rose Devourer》…”
Seth waved his right hand, scattered with Cannibal Bouquet, in front of Roselle, who was not absorbing the situation.
“It’s sustenance for me if it’s a rose. I simply… don’t want to taste something like that…”
“What do you mean?”
“I can taste it when I eat it through my mouth. It’s the same thing with humans. So… with my hand… well, how should I say it? It’s like consuming the vitality of it, I guess?”
“You mean, you ate the Cannibal Bouquet?”
“I told you so.”
Seth exhaled bitterly. He nodded slowly with his eyes only, not in the mood to give a nod distinctly.
Although he couldn’t feel the taste, it was true that he had consumed Cannibal Bouquet.
He felt that if he let his mind wander, he would experience a psychological upset in the stomach.
“You ate it… You ate the… Cannibal Bouquet? This must be a joke…”
Roselle’s face became pale as he clamped his mouth shut. His body was trembling.
Regardless of how much fascination a person is attached to bizarre phenomena and non-alchemical matters, there would be a difference between reading about them in print and witnessing them in the real world.
Witches, bizarre disease – witnessing the pictorial exchange of unbelievable beings, and even physical injuries. At this, Seth predicted, Roselle would harbor a sense of disgust, discomfort, and fear.
He decided that if he fled in front of him, he would not pursue him, but leave him alone.
“Why did you eat it!”
While he had decided to leave him alone and not chase him if that happened, Seth had not decided what he would do if he was to be seized by both shoulders and yelled at point-blank range.
Therefore, Seth stiffened as Roselle, whose eyes were shooting daggers at him, held him tightly by the shoulders.
“I wanted that rose! I told you, didn’t I? I told you! But why! Why did you eat it!”
Seth was overwhelmed by the other’s sudden change.
He was so intimidated by the tremendous fierceness that he cowered before he could grasp what was being said.
He almost mistakenly believed that he was at fault. No, he actually did make a mistake, and Seth, who was swept up in the atmosphere, mouthed an apology, “I-I am sorry…”
“I can’t believe… this, this can’t be happening…”
Roselle’s face was filled with a mixture of sorrow and anguish. The wrinkles on his brow were deep and his clenched fists were trembling as if he was fighting to contain the emotions that were ready to erupt.
“…No, there is still a way.”
His azure eyes, determined to do something, pierced Seth’s.
Seth’s wrist was grabbed by Roselle’s hand. Without hesitation, he clenched the right hand of the witch who had eaten the Cannibal Bouquet.
“Stay with me until I get the red rose!”
The human, craving for the Cannibal Bouquet, pressed on the witch.
Seth stared at the frantic Roselle ― for a good ten seconds.
“You’re kidding, right?” Seth asked with a straight face.
With a straight face, Roselle answered, “I’m dead serious.”
The force of the other man’s grip on his wrist became tighter and tighter. It was so forceful that his fingertips felt numb.
“Now that you’ve eaten the Cannibal Bouquet, you’re my only hope!” I’m certain I’ll find the Cannibal Bouquet again if I stick by the witch’s side. Then there’s a chance I’ll get the red rose. Please! You’re the only one I can rely on! You’re moving to Alba, right? Well, that would be convenient. I reside in Alba too. Let’s go together! If I give up now, I’ll regret it… I won’t let you go!”
Roselle’s pleas turned into threats.
Seth was struck in the head and eardrums by Roselle’s stubbornness, and he even suffered a light headache.
He wished he could refuse and run away, but this gave him a reason not to, and Seth let out a breath.
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