༺ Twin Witches (3) ༻
Walking by her side, Siwoo glanced at Odile’s face.
Siwoo stood two heads taller than her. But thanks to her small head, from a distance, one wouldn’t be able to tell that she looked short.
Siwoo could tell that she had been washing her hair in a perfumed shampoo every day from the tinge of sweetness that could be smelt from it. Her Amethyst coloured eyes held a charm to them that seemed to be able to attract others’ attention.
She had moderately thick lips, a healthy peachy blush on her face, and a remarkable elegance that could be felt even when she was simply walking.
She resembled a princess emerging straight out of a Rococo painting.1[T/N: Art style from 18th century]
In the modern world, Siwoo would have been overjoyed having the privilege to walk alongside a beauty like Odile.
If only she wasn’t a witch.
“Are there any problems? Assistant Shin Siwoo.”
“Thank you very much for helping me back there. Thanks to you, I’ve learned a valuable lesson and will take care so as to not fall for a fraudster again.”
Odile, who seemed amused to see the citizen’s everyday, mundane lifestyle in Tarot Town, slowed to a halt and turned to him…
Siwoo hurriedly glanced away from her.
Aside from her frightening nature, she was truly a stunning beauty and was in that sense, similar to Amelia.
He felt awkward just making eye contact with her.
“Don’t be concerned! Instead, I’ve got a fantastic escort.”
Odile seemed to be in a good mood.
Siwoo believed that people were more willing to accommodate requests when they were in a good mood.
Wasn’t this the perfect chance for him to get away from her?
If he came up with a reasonable excuse, there would be a possibility, however slim, of her letting him go.
“About that… I’d like to ask you something to help me escort you better… is that alright?
“Yep, go ahead.”
“It’s just that I don’t know a lot about Tarot Town’s geography. I humbly believe that selecting a more capable individual would be more beneficial to Ms. Odile.”
Instead of saying “I’ll let you go”, she paused and that brief pause was what forced him to swallow his remaining words.
He quickly bowed his head, trying not to offend her in any way.
The cheerful expression that clung to her face when they had been conversing earlier disappeared.
He could feel his heart sink at her reaction.
Did she notice his attempt to leave this place in a hurry?
“Alright, uh… Well… What do you think about going to a local bar instead? I do like to explore, but don’t you think it’d be a good idea to stop by a quiet bar? Especially for a novice guide like yourself. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”
Fortunately for him, she was trying to reduce the awkwardness in the air.
It would prove unwise for Siwoo to leave without getting her approval, for only a fool would want to anger a witch of her caliber in magic.
He couldn’t show her his displeasure so tried to speak cheerfully.
“You say a bar, oh yeah. I know of a nice bar! Allow me to take you there right away!”
Odile, on the other hand, jumped in delight and rejoiced.
Siwoo guided her to the White Whale bar he had passed by earlier.
The White Whale bar.
It was the biggest bar in Tarot Town and was the one he and Takasho had visited a couple of times before.
“Sorry, I’m a little busy cleaning up these plates.”
“Yes, yes, go ahead!”
“Master, bring two more beers!”
There was a skilled accordionist performing his music.
A hairy old man was drinking beer while gambling on the side.
In the corner, a group of, obviously drunk, people played cards and blew on their pipes.
A young waitress could be seen busily carrying food from table to table.
On another table were also several bulky youngsters who appeared to be arm wrestling against each other.
The atmosphere in the room was lively, a clear indication of the fun everyone was engaged in. When all of a sudden…
The tavern, where thirty to forty people were conversing, became silent the instant that Odile and Siwoo stepped in.
Being an apprentice witch, Odile’s presence in a run-down bar stuck out like a sore thumb.
As though in a theatrical play, the bar owner removed his hat and stood in front of her in a hurry, while everyone else in the bar remained motionless.
“Oh erm… Ms. Witch, what brings you to this rundown place? For your information, our bar does comply with the latest hygiene standards and we regularly pay our taxes on time.”
The bar owner had immediately recognized that Odile was a witch.
It would’ve been strange if a girl, who was wearing luxurious clothing along with jewelry that could probably pay for a mansion of her own, wasn’t a witch.
“Ah! You don’t have to worry about a thing. I didn’t come here to kick up a fuss or cause a disturbance.”
“Huh? Then why…”
Staying silent, Odile reached her hand into her sleeve.
She took out three golden coins, the coins laid on her adorable palm as they gleamed with a pristine shine.
The bar owner’s jaw gaped wide open at the captivating sight of the dazzling gold in front of him.
“Here, take them.”
“Pardon? Suddenly, what on earth…”
“I want to rent the bar for an hour, so get everyone out of here in five minutes.”
12 pennies made up a shilling. A gold coin was worth 20 shillings, or 240 pennies.
In other words, for Siwoo to be able to afford the rental fee paid by Odile, he would’ve needed to save up for more than three years.
The bar owner didn’t hesitate upon seeing the gold and quickly complied with the witch’s request, kicking his customers out by their asses and chasing them away.
Even though the customers were visibly upset, they left without a fuss.
It was better than offending a witch.
”Come on, get on out of here. Come back later in the evening, I’ll treat you to something aye?”
The remaining customers could only relent and leave the tavern with a bitter smile.
It benefited both sides of the trade. The tavern owner got to receive a sizeable amount of money whilst the regulars that frequented his store would be able to enjoy free drinks while waiting.
“Peace and quiet at last…”
Odile looked quite satisfied with her actions as she plopped her butt in the seat she liked best.
Was this how rich people operate?
Siwoo, who had suffered through poverty after being kidnapped into this world, couldn’t believe that Odile would use three gold coins just for some quiet time.
“I’ll serve you the best dish we have. Please, take your time and enjoy yourself.”
Rubbing his hands, the bar owner put down two mugs of beer and disappeared into the kitchen.
The store’s only alcohol was beer, which had been cooled using magic. Coincidentally, it was also one of the best beers that Siwoo had ever tasted.
It was natural as they were forced into only producing that one type of alcohol after all.
For generations, the majority of Gehenna’s people had worked in the same business.
Due to the lack of holidays and a distinct lack of recreational activities for citizens to participate in, the majority of the citizens in this world simply honed their skills in their respective crafts as best they could.
That single glass of beer had the blood, sweat and tears of 600 years of history accumulated into it.
“Interesting… I’ve been curious to try what the regular citizens have been drinking.
Odile gracefully lifted the mug that was bigger than her face and gulped its contents down.
Placing her glass down on the table, revealing a beard made of fresh foam that clung to her upper lip region.
Being none the wiser, Odile started to gag and examine the flavor of the beer.
“It’s bittersweet. Although it does have a robust flavor, it’s simply still not qualified to satisfy my high-class taste.”
Odile’s body shook with a wheezing sound.
It was clear from her response that she didn’t enjoy the flavor.
“What are you doing? Drink up.”
“Before that, Ms.… there’s some foam on your face.”
In her attempt to appear mature, Odile hadn’t realized that she was wearing a froth beard.
In a typical drinking event, one would naturally be aware of such matters and they would’ve already cleaned off anything that remained around their mouths before partying on.
Wanting to maintain her mature image, Odile firmly wiped off the foam with her hand.
“Of course, I was aware of it. I was just imitating how I saw a drunk drink the beer in this manner. You won’t know if it tastes good unless you try downing it, right?”
Odile spat out her excuse to cover up her folly in a rapid fashion, clearly not wanting Siwoo to notice her mistake.
“Yup, that makes sense.”
“Yes! Of course, it does.”
Odile looked triumphantly at Siwoo, who like Odile coughed when he tried to chug the mug in one gulp.
Despite being an apprentice witch, she was clearly a child.
His head went numb from how chilly it was.
The combination of both the pleasant aroma of wheat and the carbonic acid that made his tongue tingle pervaded his dry mouth.
Siwoo closed his eyes and jerked his body.
It was too sweet.
”Is it that good? You’d faint if you ever got the chance to drink the wine from our mansion. The grapes we use are from Mendel Hill and are exposed to sunlight all year round.”
“If I have a chance, I’d love to taste it.”
“I’ll be sure to bring it later.”
Siwoo suddenly felt strange.
In fact, he had been feeling pretty strange since a while ago, but soon it became clear after they exchanged a few words with each other.
“Excuse me, Ms. Odile.”
“Yes, I’m listening.”
“Is this your first time in Tarot Town?”
She nodded frankly.
That explains why she had been curiously looking around.
“My teacher is a strict person. She doesn’t allow me to go to Tarot Town, do you know what she said when I asked her to let me out?
‘Until you inherit the brand, don’t get distracted by other things and focus solely on building a foundation.’ So I’ve never been outside of Ars Magna town and Lenomond Town.”
Odile’s appearance left its viewers mesmerized and it was hard for anyone to be able to pinpoint her actual age.
Still, if forced to make a rough estimate, Siwoo would place her around 20 years old due to her youthful looks.
“So what about today?”
“Heh, I sneaked out today. Although my teacher is lovely, she has an annoying side to her that I just hate! Do you have any idea how boring having to study magic every day is?”
He could understand how Odile might feel at such a young age, being so young and filled with curiosity, to be stuck in a cramped cage for most of her life.
Seeing her get excited by simply drinking beer, Siwoo felt like they should’ve let her go out to play for a while.
“Anyway, I know Mr. Assistant is worried. You want me to keep it a secret that you can use magic, right?”
“Oh, yes. Please.”
“I’m not going to share this information with anyone else. I’m not as vicious as you think.”
Odile replied with a smile.
She’s an angel, an angel!
Despite being a witch she had surprisingly good communication skills, and what’s more, it was her first time having an authentic human-to-human interaction outside of the classroom.
Perhaps she was still young, conversing with her was simpler than talking with Amelia, a professor at Trinity Academy.
“Here’s your dish.”
“Oh! Put it here!”
The bar owner placed the dishes in such a way that even if the table was to shake, nothing would be spilt.
Oily ham, pickled figs, wheat bread with raisins and ginger, salt and pepper, and even figs sprinkled with olive oil.
Odile began tasting each of the side dishes one by one, her eyes twinkling in excitement.
“Hummm~ hummm~ humm~”
She appeared to have enjoyed the food that had been provided based on the way she was humming and how she was constantly ordering more.
She slid a thick slice of ham onto Siwoo’s plate.
“Hum! You should eat, too!”
It was a whole roasted ham.
The taste of the yellow ham that entered Siwoo’s mouth caused his saliva glands to erupt upon being greeted for the first time in months.
As he was wolfing down the ham, Odile suddenly asked.
“If you could use magic, then why didn’t you show it before?”
“If I claimed I could use magic, I thought that I’d get into a lot of trouble as slaves weren’t allowed to use magic.”
”Really? I think it’s fine. Even though the spell I used wasn’t really complex, you did manage to destroy it. Isn’t that something to be proud of? I can’t believe you understood so much magical knowledge as a slave!”
She accepted the idea that a mere slave would be able to use magic to destroy her magic and it showed her naivety from a young which contradicted the ideals of a common witch.
”No way, if it was another witch and not Ms. Odile, she wouldn’t be as kind as you. In fact, it wouldn’t even be surprising if she blew my head off with a stronger spell as soon as I destroyed the barrier.”
“Yes, that’s right, I’m quite understanding. However, Is there any other reason than that? Be honest with me.”
“Yes! In fact, I was working on a space magic to escape from this bloody Gehenna. Magic capable of opening the gate of Border Town.”
”Whoa! Is that even possible? Not just anyone can open the gates!”
“I can’t do it right now. But I think I can do it in two, no, about a year. I’ve already read a number of books and developed a theory of around 70%.”
”Yes! I’ve been working in the library and there is a basic book tha- Huh?”
Siwoo, who was eating the ham, suddenly felt that something was off about the situation.
Placing the utensils down silently, Siwoo turned towards Odile.
“What was I talking about just now?”
Secrets that he would never have considered to be exposed came out naturally almost as if a truth serum had been applied to his food.
”What? Huh? How is this possible? I didn’t feel anything… Wait… Did you cast a self-essence spell on me?”
“Yes, I did. Mr. Assistant.”
The initially friendly look on Odile’s face changed in an instant.
A girl who didn’t know the world? His thought proved just how naive he was for harboring such thoughts towards her.
He regretted ever feeling sorry for her even for a moment.
Odile slouched down to stroke Siwoo’s head. His head was in turmoil as he had trouble organizing his thoughts.
“Oh~ So, Mr. Assistant has been planning something like that?.”
“Shit, I’m fucked!”
“Hmm. You are indeed quite fucked, Mr. Assistant.”
Looking at his helpless expression, Odile grinned broadly.
- 1[T/N: Art style from 18th century]