Chapter 3

 

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‘What does this mean…? Have I really been brought back to my childhood? Did the Silver Forest answer my prayers?’

 

However, the forest’s prayers were a privilege that only the King of Achaia had. Achaia Kingdom was bordered by the Silver Forest, known as the end of the world. The forest that blessed our family and gave us magical powers was a land where humans were not allowed to enter. Only the king could step into the forest. When he reached the forest’s heart, enduring the relentless cold that crushed his skin, the king was able to offer a single prayer.

 

There was no way that a ghostly prayer that spoke from my heart would have any effect. I didn’t know why, but it worked.

 

I looked into the mirror blankly and ran my fingertips on the mirror. I could feel the mirror’s texture. I glided my fingers along the contours of my face reflected in the mirror. I was a human being, and I could touch things. Suddenly, I felt a surge of heat in my chest. 

 

‘I’m alive, I’m alive…!’

 

I breathed out hurriedly. My breath was tapped vividly in my ears. The forest gave me a chance. In my previous life, I was a weak human. Not only my strength, but also my heart. I was considered useless.

 

I was a weak and lacking person. In my previous life, I was weak and out of touch, not only with my powers, but also with my mind. And I considered myself useless. But the fact that such an opportunity was given to me may be evidence that I was useful after all.

 

I didn’t want to live like in my previous life. I wanted to be strong. I knew the future. I remembered the way my people were being ripped at the tip of the spear. I remembered how my country was nearly destroyed.

 

‘If I had been strong like the other Awakeners, I would have stopped the arrow on the wedding day. If that was the case, the war wouldn’t have happened.’

 

At least I wanted to be strong enough to protect myself to prevent my life from being treated as words on the political table. I wondered if returning to the moment of my magic awakening meant that I should put this power to good use. 

 

‘It will be different this time.’

 

I clenched my tender fists. This time, it had to be different. 

 

****

 

The news of my awakening soon spread throughout the palace.  The awakening that appeared in a hundred years was the biggest topic of the kingdom. Even in my previous life, immediately after my awakening, all attention was focused on me. So far, it was the same as before. The moment people realized that the Awakened One they had been waiting for so long was a powerless being, they began to change.

 

The room was filled with gifts from prominent families and from neighboring kingdoms in the northern region. There were so many that I could not open them all. Everyone had high expectations of me. And so it should be.

 

The cause was unknown, but magic has been disappearing from the human continent since decades ago.

 

Usually magic is inherited. However, for several decades, the magical blood of many famous families have been lost. It wasn’t just in my family. In the meantime, since I awakened, the public’s attention was bound to happen. 

 

However, I was not happy. People might think that I was only ten years old so I was incapable of doing any magic, but I knew that when I got older, it wouldn’t change much.  

 

‘What should I do…’

 

In the midst of worrying, my brother, Diaquit, came in. 

 

 “Usphere.” 

 

Diaquit walked into my room and paused for a moment when he saw the pile of boxes.

 

“Are you feeling alright?”

 

He asked in a very kind voice. His brown eyes looked warm. He was so different from the Diaquit I knew. My face stiffened for a moment. I then remembered. When I was younger, Diaquit was a kind brother. l also trusted and relied on him for a while. If it was normal, I would have tried to get his attention by being a little more sloppy.  Now, however, I just sat still on the bed and watched him. 

 

“You’ve got a lot of gifts. It seems that everyone is happy about the birth of the late Awakener,” Diaquit said, placing his hand on my shoulder with a gentle smile.

 

“Father had high hopes, too. I heard that he dragged his sick body to bring direct inoculation. I heard you couldn’t even sprout.”

 

I blinked slowly. Diaquit, who was once an adult, looked a little different now. Sixteen-year-old Diaquit Catatel.

 

There was still a youthful look on his face. In my previous life, my brother, who was six years older than me, always seemed distant. 

As he was the Crown Prince and regent who would inherit the throne, it was difficult to have more contact with him.

 

But now, even though my body is ten years old, my mind has lived a much longer time than Diaquit. In other words, I have enough skill to grasp the feelings of a sixteen-year-old trying to hide.

 

   

 

  “My poor Usphere…I always worry about you, sister.”

 

Unlike his friendly voice, Diaquit’s eyes were shining insidiously as if he was jealous. 

 

‘Jealous?’ Perhaps he didn’t like the fact that I was the Awakened One instead of himself?

 

Diaquit, the noble, compassionate and beautiful Crown Prince. From an early age, he had everything he wanted. He was a man who firmly believed that if an Awakened One was to be born in our generation, it would be him. Now I understand why he suddenly became so cold towards me. Because he wasn’t the Awakened One and he didn’t have enough power to serve the kingdom. How much he must have hated it.

 

In my previous life, I had spent years trying to win his heart, not knowing what he really wanted, not knowing his inner feelings. Later, I gave up and spent the rest of my life alone in a corner of my room. I was a fool. Feeling sad and angry at the same time, I calmly turned to face Diaquit.

 

“Don’t worry. I have just awakened. I’m sure that with time, my power will grow stronger.”

 

No matter what I do, it will get stronger this time. Whether I have to go to the woods to pray or search through old books to find ways to make the magic stronger. Hearing my calm reply, Diaquit frowned.

 

“That’s a relief. But the former Awakeners didn’t use magic in the beginning.”

 

“It’s better late than never.”

 

“I’m just worried about you. You know how much I love you.”

 

Diaquit suppressed the displeasure on his face and smiled tenderly.  In my previous life, I leaned on this decorated sweetness. Even though it was a cheap sweetness.  When I was eight years old, my mother, who was weak, died while giving birth to her youngest son, Jenner.  My father was very heartbroken and locked himself away in his bedroom.  From then on, the real ruler and head of the house was Crown Prince Diaquit.

 

I relied on him. I believed his words. He was my protector. I had many chances to realize his true intentions. However, I rationalized that if he says something disrespectful about me, he’s probably saying it out of concern for me. Because if I didn’t believe that, I would have been all alone. But things have changed now. I knew that his words were nothing but an empty sweetness.

 

Diaquit’s hands were warm, and his smile was indeed beautiful, but I felt a chill run through my body. I got goosebumps. I said in a cold, somber voice. 

 

“Brother.” 

 

“Hmm?” Diaquit chuckled and rubbed his cheek against the back of my hand. He looked beautiful and caring by all accounts, but I knew it was just an act.

 

“I’m tired. Please leave.” 

 

“Usphere.”

 

“Please, Crown Prince.”

 

I deliberately used an honorific title instead of calling him brother. Diaquit’s face stiffened.

 

 “Why are you suddenly so cold?”  

 

“I told you I’m tired.” 

 

 “You weren’t like this before,” Diaquit said with a straight face.

 

Even when I asked him to leave, Diaquit was greedy.  How long would it be if he thinks of me like a doll in his palm?  As I kept my stubborn face, Diaquit squinted his eyes and said softly.  

 

“What is it? What’s the matter? Are you disappointed?”

 

“No.”

 

It was an act of reconciliation of someone who still had some regrets. 

 

To be strong and powerful, I have to stay away from Diaquit.  

 

“Usphere.”

 

Diaquit’s mouth twitched faintly as if he couldn’t accept the fact that I was treating him coldly. But soon he smiled and gently stroked my hair.  Even that gesture now felt unpleasant. Because I had already learned how Diaquit would change in the future. Now he’s just kindly begging and trying to control me. The hard effort was uncomfortable.

 

 “Okay. You look very tired. I’m going now. Take a rest.”

 

Diaquit turned gracefully and left the room. I ruffled my hair and bit my lip as I recalled the memory of my previous life.

 

Shortly after awakening, Diaquit approached me, who was in bewilderment and said,

 

“The 8th Awakening shook the roots of the trees around the palace and caused an earthquake. We need to keep the enemies from invading. Usphere, what can you do for our kingdom?”

 

“I don’t know yet. I can’t use the power I saw in old books…”

 

“Oh my gosh. How disappointed people will be to know this.  Everyone was hoping for the Awakener to appear.”

 

”But I can hear the voices of the plants. I can also see their memories. Could this be of help to our kingdom?”

 

“Usphere… What are you going to do with that power?  Are you going to ask the plants to eavesdrop on someone else’s story? That’s not a royal ability. It’s a lowly, honorless spy who does that.”

 

 “…”

 

“I’m certain people will be ashamed of your abilities when they know about it. I’m just saying this out of concern for you, so let’s keep it between you and me first, alright?”

 

Those were the words of Diaquit, the king’s regent, the eldest son of the family, and my only guardian at the time.

 

At the age of ten, I believed and followed his words. Suffering from the accusation of being a useless Awakener who has never gained any abilities.

 

***