Was she Rosetta, the nanny asked.
At the unexpectedly sharp question, she rolled her eyes.
A peal of laughter burst out.
In all these years, there were only two people who had ever noticed that she was a fake, and the first one noticed because they’d been with her while she was growing up.
Of course, it seemed like a throwaway question, but wasn’t this interesting
As Katie continued to heave, Rosetta just laughed without answering.
There was chaos like no other.
The chains jangled on the ground with a heavy sound, and the sound of gasping breaths along with airy laughter rang through the air.
Watching Katie heave like that for a long time, Rosetta erased her smile and moved her hands.
The hand touching the older woman’s cheek slowly grabbed her chin.
“Agh… uh… urk…”
Because of the tight hold on her chin, all the words that her mouth tried to spit out were crushed.
Even so, well… ‘Save me’ or ‘Stop this’.
It was surely going to be one or the other.
Her eyes, which were wide open as though they’d pop out of their sockets, were shouting for help instead of her lips.
The older woman’s weak hands continued to grapple at Rosetta’s wrist, trying to get her hand off.
There was a heavy sense of fear as the repeated groans ensued.
Tears began to flow out of her eyes.
In the darkness, the tears that flowed in streams over her cheeks looked red at first glance.
Like tears of blood—like a curse that Katie was pouring unto Rosetta.
Katie’s face flinched under her grasp as though she wanted to shake her head.
The firmly held face was calm only on the outside.
With a bitter smile, a belated answer was given.
“Who am I”
Katie’s chin was pulled down, to the extent that the top of her head was down and the back of her neck was completely visible.
Then, the back of her neck was struck, at the pressure point that would prevent her from speaking.
And at that, after striking that spot, it was the end of their conversation.
Instead of screaming, Katie’s body went into a spasm as she breathed out heavily without any sound from her throat.
Watching the sinner fall unconscious, Rosetta clicked her tongue.
“People might think your tongue was cut off.”
When the hand that was supporting the older woman’s chin had let go, her body fell down sideways helplessly.
And Rosetta rose to her feet without a sound.
Her long cloak fluttered on the floor.
After straightening her back, she left the dungeon just as silently as she entered it.
The lamp’s flame still shook dangerously, the shadow following behind her dancing dangerously.
On that cold evening, one secret disappeared forever.
* * *
Leaning against the bed’s headboard and looking out the window, Cassion turned his head as he heard the small sound.
The door was there to block his view, but he could guess who was standing at the other side.
Because there was only one person he was waiting for.
Even without an answer to the knock, the door opened.
In the first place, the person on the other side didn’t intend to wait for an answer.
Their eyes met.
Holding a lamp, Rosetta looked at him quietly.
Then, she took one step through the door.
Between the room and the hallway.
She stood still in that ambiguous boundary and looked back at Cassion.
He greeted her first.
The greeting was terrible in its awkwardness.
Even so, with a light chuckle, Rosetta entered the room.
Behind the hushed laughter, the sound of the door closing echoed throughout the room.
Have you eaten”
As she spoke, Rosetta placed the lamp on the table and her cloak on the backrest of a chair.
Cassion observed her movements as she set down the lamp and the cloak, then he opened his lips to speak.
“I already ate.
What about you”
“Yes, me too.
I ate something much better than a recovering patient’s meal.”
While answering playfully, she gradually walked towards the bed.
Her steps were quiet on the floor, as though she was tiptoeing in the dead of the night, trying not to wake a sleeping person.
Watching the woman approach him slowly, Cassion suddenly recalled what happened earlier.
When he pretended that he didn’t know she was there.
From that moment onwards and until now, he’d been asking himself about why he pretended to sleep.
He still didn’t have an answer.
He couldn’t believe that he didn’t even know the reason behind his actions.
Really, it was a laughable thing.
While Cassion was lost in thought, Rosetta continued to draw near him.
As the distance between them grew closer, the appearance of the approaching person could be seen more clearly.
Like a stranger hidden in the dark, the scent on her body permeated the air.
Cassion had been absent-minded until now, but this is what brought him back to his senses.
A clear expression.
A distinct scent.
Rosetta should have had a strange, subtle scent of roses, just as she did before.
Wasn’t that why he noticed that the person visiting him earlier was her, even with his eyes closed
The fragrance of roses.
But right now, it was different.
It was a familiar, unpleasant scent.
At the metallic scent, Cassion’s forehead became wrinkled.
His eyes narrowed shallowly as he looked at Rosetta, who smelled like blood.
The moon was bright today.
After opening the curtains, Rosetta once again walked towards Cassion.
This unusually bright moonlight poured into the room, this unusually bright moonlight shone upon Rosetta.
There was a soft pink hue on those red lips upon her face that was as white as a sheet.
Cassion looked up at her silently with a deep wrinkle in the middle of his forehead.
Seeing this, Rosetta tilted her head to the side and asked.
“What’s wrong Is there something on my face”
For a moment, Cassion hesitated.
Evidently, something seemed to have happened, but he hesitated because he wasn’t sure whether it was something he should be inquiring about.
It was his first time meeting a woman like her.
It’s only been a few days since they met, but during those few days, the Rosetta he knew was always a composed, elegant, and sometimes playful woman.
Even so, his hesitant lips eventually let go of the words.
Your complexion doesn’t look so good.
There’s also the scent of blood on you.
Are you… injured”
He himself has had a troubled life, and it was the constant indifference that made him terribly lonely.
Sometimes, it was better to turn a blind eye and pretend not to know.
He knew this.
For him, if he were to choose between ‘apathy’ or ‘meddling’, it was undeniable that the latter was more of a caring act.
But at Cassion’s question, Rosetta’s expression hardened.
Gradually, it was as though ink droplets had fallen into water and then on, spread out.
The corners of her smoothly curved lips lowered for a moment.
“Really My complexion isn’t good and I smell like blood”
Rather than a question, the small murmur was like a small realization.
In fact, Rosetta just found out that her complexion was bad.
But she knew she’d be left with the scent of blood.
She had come to a place where the same metallic smell permeated everywhere after all, and she also touched Katie through the steel cage bars with her hands.
So it wasn’t surprising that the smell lingered.
However, she didn’t expect that she would also look pale.
She felt a little sick, but was that enough that she would visibly look terrible
Well, she could roughly guess the reason.
Her condition was exceedingly bad—this was the unpleasant reason.
“I’m not injured.
I went to see my nanny.
The one who’s locked up in the dungeon right now.”
Instead of the conclusion she had come up with, she answered with a half-truth.
The best kind of lies were, of course, ones that were based on the truth.
And without any doubt, Cassion accepted Rosetta’s response.
Her ashy complexion and lingering scent of blood made sense if the given reason was her nanny who had abused her.
Cassion felt a little awkward.
He knew at the back of his mind that there wouldn’t be a good story behind it, but the moment he heard her explanation, he didn’t know how to react.
He’d been alone for such a long time that he had never known what comfort was like.
As his hesitation was made apparent in his expression, Rosetta had a light smile on her lips.
The woman, who had shed a smile, soon sat down at the end of the bed, facing away from Cassion.
As the blanket rustled where the woman sat, and the man’s hand escaped from where it was and retreated closer to his own body.
It wasn’t that his hand had been close enough to touch her, it’s just that his fingertips began to tingle.
Cassion’s gaze was stuck on his fingertips.
Then, this gaze crossed down the white blanket and headed towards the woman who sat on the same bed as him.
Her side profile, as she was looking at the door, was sharp.
The lamp in the distance cast a scarlet glow upon her face.
It was a warm, dangerous color.
Behind the unreadable smile, her long silver hair glistened in the moonlight.
A thought crossed Cassion’s mind, that she had really unusual hair.
The light was red, but why was it that her shimmering silver hair wasn’t being tinged by the scarlet color
Even though they were in the same space, strangely, it felt like only the place where Rosetta sat looked picturesque.
Red light and pale features coexisted, warmth and frost intermingled, tranquility and danger coalesced.
Soon, the woman who was still all this time turned her head.
Her hair slightly fluttered from the movement, but soon settled down once more.
Their eyes met again.
Having yet to answer, Cassion gulped dryly.
Those golden eyes, which seemed to have been clouded, regained their sharpness.
Under an odd sense of pressure, Cassion broke eye contact first.
As he dropped his gaze, his eyes looked towards his fingertips.
When he slightly turned his own hand over, he saw a long scar across his palm.
Rosetta had unwrapped the bandages, and he was reminded that his mana had started to flow.
“…A few years ago… I fell down a flight of stairs.
Someone pushed me from behind.
It was a servant who I thought was kind.
As I fell, the gaze that looked back at me was clear.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.”
His previously closed lips had started to speak calmly.
Rosetta already knew that he would try to comfort her, but at the unexpected beginning, she could only blink in response.