So… It’s over? ;-;
Note that if the reaction is great, we might be able to
force persuade the author to write some moar!
Story By: Rozenbach
Story Assistant: Choco Lily
** Disclaimer **
The characters in this novel are a work of fiction and are not based on real people other than their names!
Seated on a boulder, a figure sighed for the umpteenth time.
A beautiful girl in her mid-teens. Her tall, willowy figure gave people the impression of a helpless, innocent maiden who would break at the slightest touch. Yet, a silent determination could be glimpsed in those dark orbs, burning silently like embers, as though waiting for an opportunity to display itself in their full, incandescent glory.
Delicate features were masterfully carved onto the maiden’s delicate, oval-shaped face, symmetrically arranged upon a pale, flawless canvas of skin. Long eyelashes that quivered ever-so-slightly at the slightest movement, small cherry lips and a dash of rose-red upon her soft cheeks.
The maiden’s long, straight hair was slightly damp with perspiration as it cascaded down her shoulders like an inky waterfall, with a few disobedient strands clinging onto her face. Decked in a traditional, midnight-blue dress of exceptionally high quality, the lack of excessive embroidery only served to highlight the maiden’s astonishing beauty. A delicate maroon silk scarf was neatly folded by the girl’s lap. Long slender fingers that would make a pianist envious, supported their owner’s weight against the rocky seat as she dangled her red clogs off the rocky edge.
Tossing the pebble that she had picked up from the riverbank into the calm, serene surface out of boredom, the maiden watched on listlessly as it bounced off once… twice… three times, before disappearing into the watery depths below. She wordlessly stared at the mirror-like surface, lost in thought as the rhythmic percussion of the ripples ruthlessly tore through her watery reflection. Her lips bore no semblance to a smile or a frown, making her inner thoughts imperceivable and unfathomable, no matter where they might have been scattered in the infinite corners of her imagination. Silently, the maiden took out another pebble from her sleeve and tossed it once more…
“It’s been a while. Ro~”
Rozenbach was down to his last pebble when he heard a feminine voice behind him. The voice was soft, yet clear, much like the tinkling of bell chimes in summer, calm and refreshing. It was a voice that sounded nostalgic yet foreign to him at the same time, as though he had heard this voice before all along.
Rozenbach did not reply, nor did he turn to the source. Instead, he shifted his position on the large boulder and patted the newly-created space on his right. Chuckling in slight disbelief, rustling sounds of shrubbery and brambles grew louder as the distance between two drew nearer. At the sound of quick movements, Rozenbach felt the female presence draw close as she scampered her way up the rock to seat herself by his side. Closing his eyes and lightly sighing, he turned to face his unannounced visitor.
“Yes, it has been a while, Big Sis.”
That’s right, Rosaline, or Rozie, was the intruder of this silent grove that was devoid of people, seemingly completely disconnected from the rest of this world. Despite having met her many times now, Rozenbach or Rozen couldn’t help but sigh when he looked at this immature big sister of his.
Similar to her cross-dressing twin, Rosalina was also cross-dressing, but as a man. Yes, for reasons he could not fathom, Rozenbach’s big sister was currently wearing menswear.
If what Rozenbach wore was the calmness of dusk, then his sister must be clad in dawn’s first light. Rosaline was dressed in white, a common color for all martial pugilists; the red sword scabbard on her back was affixed in place with black leather straps. She looked just like a wandering swordsman if one didn’t notice the minute golden details that adorned the edges of her sleeves, giving away the subtle femininity that she refused to suppress. It didn’t take much effort for Rozen to realize that although they were fraternal twins, the saying ‘Clothes maketh the man’ rang true regardless of gender.
His sister had tied up her hair into a ponytail with a light blue ribbon, exposing her fair nape to the cool lake air. Unlike Rozenbach, Rosaline’s determination was not restricted to her eyes alone. Twinkling with a steel will, she revealed a confidence that was evident through the tomboyish smile that she showed. Her movements showed no hesitation as she exuded a sense of chivalric gallantry that contrasted sharply with her brother’s apparent femininity.
“Oooh, it’s cold here.” Shuddering slightly from the chill that gently blew from the lake’s waters, Rosaline wrapped her grey cloak tighter as she snuggled closer to her twin, ignoring her brother’s red face as she leaned closer to him for warmth, yet delighted to know that the temperature of her ‘portable heater’ increased when her modest chest barely brushed against his arm.
Rozenbach gently shook his head at his elder sister’s childish actions and yet there was a selfless indulgence as he allowed her to spoil herself as she pleased.
Sure, he had been confused when he had first met her that one time before he woke up in that storage shed. However, he had gotten used to it now. Till now, the elder sister of this body still had no idea that the sibling before her was not the one that she knew, but that of a complete stranger.
Rozenbach had been consumed with guilt. Guilt that he had taken the place of this body’s owner and guilt that he had usurped this sibling love that should have never been his. Numerous times he had wished to confess his accidental crime to her, but the words kept getting caught in his throat each time he resolved to do so.
But… as Rozenbach conversed with this sister of his, he grew to enjoy the time that he spent with her. At his sister’s insistent probing, he had revealed to her the countless incidents that he had been through one by one as she listened on with rapt attention: From when he was found unconscious by the Royal Chef to when he had made his grand escape from the palace. All the while, Rosaline provided a variety of emotions that ranged from glee, shock, compassion to pity as an accompaniment to his chagrin and angst.
Rosaline made small talk as well as engaged in deep conversations with Rozenbach about the affairs of the kingdom. Yet, not once did Rosaline reveal any clues about why she ran away or what she was currently up to. Rosaline was a mistress of perception and diversion; just as Rozenbach thought that he had her cornered, she would slip past his carefully thought out verbal traps effortlessly, like a wisp of intangible smoke.
“Well, it’s about time I go now, Ro.” After a few hours of joyful banter, Rosaline suddenly jumped up, forcibly pulling Rozenbach up with her.
“H-hey, watch it! We’ll fall! We’ll fall!! At such a height, we’ll both get injured!” Surprised at his sister’s strength that was greater than his own and unsteady from the sudden movement, Rozenbach desperately clung onto his sister’s arm like an octopus in an attempt to regain his balance.
“Ahahahaha~ Aww, are you missing me already? Come, give your sister a hug!” Soon after she chuckled, Rosaline gave Rozenbach a tight embrace. Being stronger than himself, Rozenbach patted his sister’s shoulder in a frantic plea for mercy, but she took it as a sign to do the opposite. As the pressure from all sides increased, Rozenbach felt that he was either going to expire from a fractured rib cage or from the lack of oxygen, whichever came first.
Just then, in that long embrace, he felt it. A slight tremble, so faint that he might not have even noticed had he spent a second longer in his own thoughts.
“It’ll be lonely once you leave… I have so much to tell you… So… much…” His sister’s head was nuzzled against Rozenbach’s chest, her arms tightly wrapping around his slender waist as though she was a baby koala. Sensing that something was off, Rozenbach gently peeled her away, just barely enough so that he could face this sister of hers.
Rozenbach looked into his sister’s eyes and saw the bright fire that burned in those orbs; he saw that she would fight to the very last for her freedom. She would not let the world force her to conform to its rules. She might get beaten down and trodden upon, laughed at or even ridiculed but she would never let anyone take her true self from her. She clung to her ideals with a fanatical passion.
She wanted to be free.
Rozenbach closed his eyes silently. He had wanted to tell her everything, that he was not the brother that she thought he was. He wanted to hate her, for everything she had put a stranger like him through; about how irresponsible she was for leaving her own brother behind like that. However, when he gazed into those bright, obsidian pools, he found that all the built-up frustration and dissatisfaction disintegrated into the void; he could not bear to chide her for doing what she felt like was the right thing.
He made his decision.
Placing a hand on top of Rosaline’s head, Rozenbach smiled as he spoke between awkward strokes, “Don’t worry, I’ll find you no matter where you are, we can talk all we want then.”
Rosaline froze just a fraction of a second before she abruptly separated herself from Rozenbach. She spun around, with her head tilted to look at the blue skies that were populated with wispy clouds.
“Haa that’s not fair… I’m supposed to be the mature sister here. Hey, Ro, you should leave your hiding place, the King’s army is going to arrive soon. ”
“How did you kn-”
“Tell me, Ro, do you know why people suddenly wake up in their sleep?” Rosaline spun back to face him. Leaning closer and looking up at him, she softly spoke in a teasing voice.
“E-eh, well…” Faced with an unexpected question, Rozenbach’s train of thought was rudely interrupted as he furiously tried hard to recall whatever meager knowledge he knew about the topic. “People would wake up from dreams suddenly due to stress or sleep deprivation known as-”
“-a hypnic jerk,” His sister completed the sentence for him.
It might seem like an odd time for a reminder, but the two twins were currently on top of a boulder right next to a pristine lake of unknown depth with less than ten centimeters between them. Furthermore, Rozenbach was still in confusion due to his sister’s question that came from nowhere. So, here is a question:
What would happen if someone was thrown off balance in this situation?
Rozenbach looked at his smiling big sister in disbelief as she waved on with her right hand, her left hand still in the midst of withdrawing from its extension. It was as though time had slowed down for this very moment as his eyes focused on her lips, which was mouthing out words that he could not hear as momentum and gravity cruelly tore him away from his traitorous sibling’s presence as his brain went into overdrive in a futile attempt to comprehend the reason for his twin’s apparent betrayal.
Falling is a terrifying thing. It’s one thing to be falling face down and a whole new thing entirely to be falling on your back; the reason for that being that humans are unable to predict the time in the air, the time of impact and the surface that they will be landing on, to name a few factors. If they do not have that kind of visual information, it is the terror of not knowing that frightens people so much.
Rosaline’s figure became smaller and smaller as Rozenbach continued to fall. It seemed like an eternity, but instead of splashing into the lake as he had expected, Rozenbach felt as though he was falling down an endless cavern, much like Alice as she fell down the rabbit hole from the stories in his original world. The color in his surroundings quickly bled out from a multitude of colors, into a harsh monochrome-
-and then… he woke up.
“HAAH?!” Rozenbach shot up, fully awake and panting. Looking down at his dry clothes and around at his surroundings, he found that he was in a cave that provided him shade and shelter from the intermittent sunshower that was currently pattering away outside.
“Nyah?! Young Master? Did something happen?”
Tea Cake, who was curled up by Rozenbach’s side, jumped with a start, her tail swishing furiously side to side as she looked anxiously at her young master.
“I had a dream… about… eh? Why can’t I remember? I’m sure it was something important.” Rozenbach was about to tell Tea Cake about what he had just encountered in his dream when he paused in confusion. The details of his dreams were fading, much like receding sea foam. While he could recall the emerald glade, the mirror-like lake and the mysterious individual that was with him, details such as her identity and the conversation that they had eluded him like smoke slipping through his fingertips.
“Unnya?” Tea Cake tilted her head in expectation.
“It’s probably nothing, I’m sure I’ll remember it once the time comes. Let’s pack up, Tea Cake, we should move soon. I have a feeling that the King’s armies are closing in on us…” Giving up on his endeavor to tell his tale, Rozenbach felt a chill down his spine as he got up from his makeshift bed of leaves and branches.
“…Young Master, are you sure that you want to escape?”
“Of course I do, what are you getting at?” Rozenbach did not understand the hesitation in his little maid’s voice. He chided his feline compatriot as he used branches to cover the smoldering embers of the campsite with dirt in an attempt to cover traces of their brief refuge in this cavern.
“Because… there is a saying that family and soulmates are telepathically linked. If you are able to sense that the King is near, doesn’t that mean-” Tea Cake explained herself, with excitement creeping into her voice as it gradually grew more and more high-pitched.
“STOP!! DON’T EVEN GO THERE!!”
Inside an abandoned temple in the Lawless Forest, with briar bordering its ancient walls of once well-masoned stone, a figure shrouded in an ash-grey cloak awoke. Picking up the wide-brimmed straw hat from the ground, the figure used her tan-colored gloves to pat away any dust off her clothes that might have accumulated during the owner’s short siesta. Beneath the sooty, heavy fabric, a mysterious jade pendant with a streak of red running through its pale green crystalline matrix gleamed under the soft liquid gold of the sun with a strange incandescent glow.
Unsheathing her sword, Rosaline peered at the keen edge that reflected the rays of sunlight that shone past the canopy of the surrounding trees. Deeming her sword to be in an acceptable condition, she then resheathed it into the red maple scabbard and affixed it in place with the sable leather straps.
Rosaline chuckled to herself, she was in an extremely good mood. It was good to see her younger brother again, even though it was just through their dreams. The power to interact with her twin’s dreams was one that she alone possessed. The siblings could converse and exchange information, yet her brother was unable to remember anything specific from the dreams, only recalling everything when they reunited in dreamland once more.
The look in Rosaline’s eyes softened briefly. Something seemed different about Rozen ever since she had selfishly left home under the disguise of a laborer’s son. Although that unreliable streak was still prominent in her sibling, he seemed much more serious than he had been in the past… and also much more fun to bully now.
Rosaline could tell that her younger-by-five-minutes sibling was hiding something from her. She had contemplated the idea of interrogating him over the issue but gave up when she saw the silent determination in his eyes that implied that he would handle it himself. She smiled wryly at her incompetence, at her inability to apologize to her brother for the endless chaos that she caused as she made her selfish getaway. Yet, she was both relieved and overjoyed when he promised that he would find her in person. She still had a chance to apologize for the trouble she put him through.
Till then, please put up with this big sister’s selfishness for a while longer, okay? Fufufu~!
“Nnn~!” Rosaline stretched out her limbs as the gloom of the forest was slowly banished by the golden sunlight’s advent. As she stepped forth into the depths of the unknown woods, her fearless eyes leveled to the horizon, twinkling with a mischievous light as the corners of her mouth curled up in confidence, not a single worry to be seen. In a cheery voice, she repeated the words she had whispered to Rozenbach just before she had unceremoniously shoved him off their rocky perch into abrupt wakefulness.
“I’ll see you again soon! Fufufu~”
~The End… or is it?~
Behind the Scenes!
Rozen: How is it?
Choco: …Poor dude (the MC)…
Choco: I was planning to have you (the MC) immediately dress up as a guy as soon as you (the MC) escape… but …. heheheh.
Let’s maintain a female yeah
Rozen: Eh? WAIT?! CHOCO?! CHOCOOOOOO!? QAQ!!