Chapter 1. Prologue
He came in shouting with a mischievous expression on his face, but as soon as he saw Erdos, he closed his lips immediately.
“Oh, father. What brings you here…?”
“I was just about to go for a walk with Rosie.”
“I want to go too!”
Eryte shouted boldly and took the lead.
“So, the moment brother let go of the bowstring, the arrow went up and flew away and hit the fox.”
Eryte talked about his hunting trip more than ten times during the walk.
Eryte, it’s the twelfth time you’re telling the story.”
“Yeah, so stop talking. Don’t widen your eyes as if you didn’t know what was going on.”
Eryte opened his mouth again when Erdos stopped nagging.
“Oh, right. By the way, that silver fox…..”
Cough, cough, cough.
The moment he started talking again, I felt sick, my chest was burning, and I coughed. A hot, sticky substance flowed into my mouth. Needless to say, Eryte’s face turned white when he looked at me. I vomited blood.
“Rosiane! Call the doctor, damn it!”
Erdos held me to his chest and started running. I couldn’t stop coughing on the way to my room.
The doctor arrived breathless as if he had a long run. The dress I was wearing and the hand that was covering my mouth were covered in blood.
Erdos lowered me onto the bed with a careful hand and urged the doctor to examine my condition quickly. So, without pausing for breath, he began to examine me.
“Well, I’m afraid there’s been a magical collision. I’ll have to call Master Timofey, as there is nothing I can do about it.”
“Call Timofey now!”
Timofey? Eryte’s face came into view as he wiped the blood off my mouth with a faint look.
It was the first time I’d seen him like that. As I turned my body away, groaning in pain as my stomach wrenched, Erdos, who had been talking to the doctor, rushed over.
“Are you all right, Rosie?”
Now his facial features seemed blurry that could no longer distinguish it, and his eyes were glazed over. I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain that washed over me. I wished I could faint. I heard the rough sound of a door being opened, and the voices of grown men and children passed by me. Someone’s large hand squeezed mine tightly. Someone’s hand touched the top of my stomach. I twisted around in my thin nightgown with a firm hand that I could feel on the skin of my stomach, but from my side, I could hear someone incessantly reciting in my ears, “It’s okay, it’s going to be okay.”
It was only for a moment, but it seemed to make the bitterness go away.
But that was short-lived, as I spat out several more clots of blood that had risen from my chest. My ears rang, and I felt a strange sensation as the floor spun around me, pulling my body arbitrarily. I felt like I was lying in a drunken stupor. I wondered if my magical power had gone out of control. I only knew the definition of magic, and I didn’t know how to stop this suffering.
‘So what will happen to me now? Am I going to die in pain, coughing up blood?’ I didn’t know anymore. I hated it all. I didn’t want to see the tears reflexively spilling out of my eyes, the magic that made me feel the burning pain, the fishy smell of the blood in my mouth that made my head spin. I hated it all. I wanted to be at ease. I wanted to be comfortable.
I seemed to have fainted for a while. It took me quite a long time to straighten out the spirit that had been struck so far away.
“Yes, it is.”
“Magical power… life.”
I could hear someone talking in broken tones. From some point on, the hand that had been touching my stomach had fallen off. It was then that I began to feel better. When the sultry pain of my body gradually subsided and I was able to recognize my zealous breathing, I woke up. Through my blurred vision, I saw a white, smoldering face of Bernique. The voice that told me it was going to be okay seemed to be his.
Leav’s little trembling hand was sticky with my blood as he held my hand. Behind him stood the pale Eryte, who seemed so shocked by the sight that the hand covering his mouth trembled. Erdos, who was talking to a man wearing a priest robe across the room, ran over when Bernique called.
“Rosiane is awake.”
He seemed to be very surprised and speechless. There was my blood on his clothes. He tucked my hair behind my ear, which was sticking to my forehead from sweat, and breathed a sigh of relief. The man in the robe finally came to my side. A white-haired old man in a luxurious purple robe looked down at me, stroking his long, regal beard.
“You look just like His Majesty, ho ho ho.”
Erdos replied shortly, still keeping his gaze fixed on me.
“I see the sight of the Empire, Your Grace. My name is Timofey Drowett, Chief Mage of the Royal Court.”
It was really strange to see an old man who looked to be about eighty years old bowing down to me while using honorifics.
“Let’s get Rosie cleaned up and rest first, and then we can talk about the rest.”
Timofey nodded at Erdos’s words.
“Your Majesty needs a change of clothes as well.”
“Oh, yes,” agreed Erdos.
With the word “out” from Erdos, the people who had come to my room rushed out, and the room became deserted. Melissa quickly prepared a bath. My body, which incredibly revitalized as if I was never sick, soaked in the warm water with the herb pockets. As I smelled the medicinal scent wafting through the air, I felt as if everything was melting away. Even my spirit.
I felt like I just wanted to fall into the water and die. But I had to be careful because Melisa would scream in surprise if I did so. She quickly cleaned my body and dressed me. Then I headed for the bed to lay down my tired body. The sheets had been changed while I was washing and there was no trace of blood. Melissa pulled the quilt over me and closed all the windows that had been opened for ventilation.
I needed to sleep for a bit. Even though I was feeling better, I didn’t want to eat anything, so I just swallowed the medicine the maidservant had brought and buried myself under the covers right away. I woke up about two hours later. It was time to eat breakfast.
“Come on, ah…”
Melissa fed me a bowl of clear soup made specifically for my upturned stomach. It was a very unfamiliar experience to have someone feeding me, a pleasant warmth permeated my body.
After eating, I sat in front of the dressing table. My hair was hanging long and untied, and Melissa braided them into one thick bun.
“Oh my gosh, the princess has very beautiful hair. Even the moonlight reflected in the Belarusian Lake, one of the three most unexplored areas of the empire, is just a puddle in front of the exquisite appearance of the princess.”
I simply looked at the mirror, as if I hadn’t heard her. Surely, there was a reason why Melissa said this. The characters in the series [The Prince] were all handsome, each with a different style. And they weren’t just any handsome men, they were the most famous handsome men on the continent. In particular, their father, Erdos, was described as “the most beautiful man under heaven.” He was so beautiful that even when he emerged with a brilliant light, the light would lose its shine and disappear in front of his good looks.
If Rosiane, who looked exactly like Erdos, wasn’t beautiful, that would be absurd. It was only a short time ago that I was coughing up blood and in pain, but instead of looking sickly or weak, I looked pristine as Melissa described. Beauty had buried everything. As I looked into the mirror with a tired face, Melissa finished tidying up my hair and put down the newly prepared brush.
At the sound of a knock on the door, Leav appeared and approached me, looking very nervous.
“How are you feeling, sister? Everyone is waiting for you in the next room.”
I followed Leav. Everyone was gathered in the small, cozy room waiting for me.
After calming down Bernique, who was fidgeting and quickly rushed over to me, Leav led me to my seat. As soon as I sat down on the sofa, the maid of honor placed something that looked like herbal medicine in front of me. It seemed to be a different kind of medicine than the one I had just taken. It had a slightly bitter scent, different from the sweet tea I usually drank.
“Rosie, you do not understand these words, but I will tell you first. And I have called you here because it’s something related to you.”
Erdos turned away and looked at his sons who were sitting nearby.
“Eryte, what does the royal family do when they turn twelve?”
“Umm… a ceremony…?”
Eryte, who had been struggling for a while, barely came up with an answer to the sudden question. Erdos nodded lightly.
“Yes. The ceremony is an important event that all members of the royal family should go through at least once, which is held in the temple on their twelfth birthday.”
It was a ceremony, I’ve read about it in the novel. The imperial family, who shared the power of Asteria, suffered numerous hardships before the age of 12. This was because their magic power would run wild before they reached a stable stage. The descendants of the previous emperor, that was, three of my four brothers, all died. Some of them died on the same day, so no one could guarantee their own lives until the cultivation ceremony was held. My eyes went out quietly and glanced at Bernique and Leav.
“So you four are not free from this problem. Nanuk is safe because he has already completed his ceremony, but not you.”
I was dumbfounded when he said that the end of their lives might be at the age of 12. I thought we were living with a ticking time bomb that we didn’t know when the timer was set. I guess now I understood why these kids were so precocious.
“I don’t see my children being the same as they were.”
With that, Erdos took a small sip from his teacup. It was a graceful movement.
“Timofey,” Erdos said, and he rose from his seat to greet me properly.
My name is Timofey Drowett, and I was appointed as Imperial Chief Wizard yesterday.”
Nanuk looked at Timofey with a strange expression. All I could think of was that he was someone who wasn’t in the original story. It seemed that Rosiane had woken up and brought him, the wizard of the Magic Tower.
“By the way, didn’t the wizard heal Rosie earlier?”
Eryte tilted his head. Apparently, the hand that had been put on my stomach earlier had been his.
“I wish I could have done that, but all I could do was untangle the vastly more entangled magical power than His Imperial Highness has ever seen. You can think of it as a piece of paper on a broken vase.”
“What the hell? What’s with the cheeky talk about our Rosiane being a broken vase?”
Eryte shouted as if he didn’t know that the cocky voice was coming from him, who didn’t even know the context. His eyes were glazed over with blades.