Chapter 1. Prologue
Arke, the first god, had seven children. Asteria, the immortal goddess; Raffinas, the god of light; Herier, the god of justice; Nyx, the god of night; Morpheus, the god of dreams; Hecate, the god of magic; and Zephyrus, the god of wind.
The immortal god Asteria was saddened by the death of her cherished mortal, Regision, and when she brought him back to life by divine right, she gave him a bailment containing divine power to prevent him from experiencing pain again. Since the resurrection, the blue eyes of Regision had transformed into jewels that gave out different colours depending on the light, which was proof of their divine child and at the same time gave legitimacy to the founding of the Asteria Empire.
The innocent eyes, inherited from generation to generation, and the blood, which contained the divine right, were powerful and filled the body with magical power. But this blood was not a blessing. Strong power comes with strong repercussions. In many cases, young princes died before the age of twelve, when their magical power was stable, and this was no exception at any time. Three out of the five sons of the previous emperor could not make it through the pass and died in a stampede, so this could be considered a curse. And there was the most important reason why the blood of the royal family was called a curse. It was that they couldn’t bear daughters.
Hundreds have died in the womb and never seen the light of day. Her magic was too strong for her to be born in a relatively weak female body. When the princess was born, Asteria would unite the central continent.
Then, in the year 728, Erdos de Esteria, the conquering emperor of all time, and his queen had twins. Bernique de Asteria and Rosiane de Asteria. Scholars have speculated that it was probably Bernique’s obsession with his kin and his magical powers that prevented the death of his twin sister. The first princess to be born since the foundation of the country, Rosiane de Asteria. There was no one on the continent who did not know this name. Even the children of the back alleys knew her name.
However, the Princess had been in a state of suspended animation ever since she was born. In the end, she was unable to open her eyes and died at the age of five. The only child in the present situation who would die was the empire’s only princess, Rosiane.
Surely it must have been the romance fantasy novel that her friend told her to read instead of sleeping at home, “The Prince!” I wonder if I dream like this because it was a novel I read before I died. Isn’t it funny that I dreamt I was eight years old and I was Rosiane de Esteria?
The door swung open and two red-haired children walked in. From the color of their hair, they looked like Rosiane’s twin brother Bernique and brother Leav. The first and second princes, the Empress’s children, and Rosiane’s half-siblings, the siblings who shared exactly the same blood as her.
Sitting on the sofa and swinging his legs, Bernique stared at me without saying anything. His eyes trembled. The moment I met his eyes, which were shining with a beautiful light, dropped tears. The tears flowed incessantly. He reached out his hand to me and gasped. His hand was trembling slightly. He seemed to be in pain, and I grabbed his hand without realizing it, and his eyes, which were full of tears, took on a different appearance. Then he spoke up.
“At last, at last, my dear sister, you are awake.”
His voice was deep with tears. Leav sat down next to him and grasped my other hand tightly.
“Oh my god, sister….”
The hand stroking me was very gentle. Leav’s eyes were also turning red. The dramatic situation seemed to be quite overwhelming. I looked at Bernique and Leav alternately and wished that I would wake up from my dream quickly. If I wake up from this dream, I can go anywhere, even to the afterlife. When I gave a deep sigh, everyone began to panic about how to interpret the meaning.
“Are you tired? Oh, she probably doesn’t understand us….”
“The physician said she just woke up and she’s no different than a baby. Let her rest a while.” Erdos, His Majesty said.
He then gave a congratulatory order and told everyone to leave. Bernique and Leav looked back at each other until the door closed, their gazes full of lingering feelings.
“Now, go to sleep. Father will be by your side.”
After everyone left, my supposed father, Erdos, put me to bed and carefully pulled the covers over me. If I did not sleep, he would probably sit by the bedside forever, so I had to close my eyes and pretend to be asleep. I wondered how long it had been since I heard him, who was tapping at a steady pace on the bedclothes, say that he had urgent business to attend to and leave the room with his assistant.
When will I wake up? This was a very long dream. I decided to try to sleep, as I thought it might be a way out of this dream. But even when I woke up after a long time, in the heat of the sun, I was still in the same dream. I was still lying on this big bed with a chestnut canopy.
I didn’t want to die and have to think complicated thoughts in my dreams. I remembered that someone had once told me that to wake up, I should jump from a high place. There was no need to hesitate. I quickly left the room. The room was on the first floor, so jumping down seemed a bit tricky, so I decided to take the stairs as far up as I could. I didn’t see the guard who stood guard at the door when I came in, probably they were changing shifts.
I walked up the stairs quickly. It took me a long time to walk because I was still dreaming, but I managed to reach the top floor. I opened the window and a strong wind swept past. It would be the first time I jumped to the ground, but I was not afraid. It was strange, but it was a dream after all, and if I died here, I would wake up from the dream and go where I wanted to go. I crawled up the high window, and sat down with my feet dangling outside the window. The spring breeze tickled my face. Now, the sun rising in the sky has fallen on my skin.
Perhaps this was the last gift of happiness I had before I died.
I leaned forward hoping to wake up from the dream. I felt my light body float.
And for a moment I felt a strong pressure on my waist and my vision changed. I looked vaguely at Bernique, who was holding me. I could feel his hands trembling incessantly as he held me. Bernique, looking at me with a pale face, hugged me so tightly that I could hardly breathe.
“My God, Rosiane…”cried Bernique.
‘Oh, I should have jumped sooner.’ I looked out of the window blankly. The sky was as blue as if it was painted and shone brightly.
Bernique seemed to think that Rosiane, who knew nothing about the situation, had just gone up there to get some wind. He then began to monitor the situation under the guise of protection, to make sure that no such danger would ever occur again. Thanks to that I could not yet wake up from this dream, because he was afraid that Rosiane might make a mistake and injure herself.
‘Shall I try to imitate him?’
Now it was time to study. Erdos had sent a teacher to my room. He did not know what he was doing to Rosiane, who was eight years old in body but a baby in spirit. If Rosiane had really woken up, she would have had quite a hard time. I wanted to firmly advise Erdos to read books on childcare.
One strange thing was that the language I heard was not Korean. I didn’t notice it because it was so naturally accepted, but it was certainly that it was the first time I heard it in my life. Perhaps it was the power of the translator in my dream. Whatever it was, this kind of study was of no use to me as I wanted to feel at ease as soon as possible. As I lay there on the sofa with no motivation to do anything, the teacher who had been teaching me so enthusiastically began to break into a cold sweat.
“I’m sure Rosiane is having a hard time, so please leave for today, teacher,” Bernique said.
The teacher quickly bowed and left the room. I was blankly drawing patterns on the ceiling with my eyes, and Bernique crept up from the sofa across from me.
“Rosiane, I’m going to the bathroom for a minute.”
It was a good opportunity. Bernique glanced at me anxiously, but in the end he couldn’t resist and quickly went away. I watched as the door closed, then sat up and looked around. As I was now on the ground floor, I couldn’t jump down, so I decided to look for another way. Even if I didn’t have to jump, if I could make a similar impact, I could end this dream.
Since childhood, there had been times when I wandered from dream to dream, and when I saw blood in one place, I always returned to reality. I was sure this time would be no different. I smashed a glass cup on the floor, took the biggest piece and immediately slapped my wrist.
‘Ugh, it needs a lot of blood.’ It was strange, because even though I was dreaming, the sensation of the flesh ripping was so vivid that it made my skin crawl. Yes, I have to admit, it hurt a lot. I was so confused. I had never felt such pain before, and before I could flinch, I thrust the shard of glass hard again.
Normally I would wake up at this point, but this dream was so long, I just couldn’t come back to reality. Before I knew it, the white dress I was wearing and the floor were stained with blood.
“I was waiting for you…Rosiane!”
Bernique, who couldn’t finish his sentence, ran to me in fright. What a surprise. I had failed. I couldn’t even wake up from my dream. I twisted the piece of glass I was holding in a hurry, and the blood flowed out with pain. Bernique took the piece of glass from my hand, pressed the wound tightly with a handkerchief from his pocket and hurried to call the doctor. Before I knew it, he too was stained red with my blood. Then Erdos burst in through the door, looking dishevelled.