Chapter 1. Who are... all of you?
“He must be having a hard time.”
Elusiana felt sorry for the boy who came to this point, but she was relieved inside. If she hadn’t possessed the body of ‘Elusiana,’ maybe he could have ended up like her.
‘What am I thinking right now?’
To sweep one’s heart out of relief in the face of others’ misfortune.
‘Ah, you’re a bad person, Suyeon.’
But she didn’t want to deny herself; that she had thought like this. Because she realized from her past life that the more selfish you are, the better you can defend your own.
‘So I will take the responsibility for you.’
She will save him, who resembled herself and may have ended up like her. Whether it was to lessen her guilty conscience or out of a selfish desire to give meaning to the second life she had gained. She promised she would protect him.
‘So, Astein, stay alive. Stay alive and hold my hand. This touch can be a blessing to me, who has been abandoned since birth. Please prove it.’
Even for her, who lived in this strange world. Also, for the disgruntled Simon, who wouldn’t be able to refuse his daughter’s request. And whatever it is.
‘If you want, I will do everything for you.’
Elusiana looked down at the boy’s face and whispered earnestly.
“So get up quickly, yes?”
However, an hour after watching him with the thought of him ‘being unconscious’ wasn’t a lie, Astein remained motionless. Maybe that’s why Elusiana brought out her inner thoughts that she had never told anyone before.
“Don’t you know? Actually, I thought I was cursed since I was a child.”
Quietly, her tone of voice subsided even more.
“No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change anything.”
From utter poverty to continuous ignorance and coldness. She didn’t even have a friend to share her feelings with.
“How old was I then?”
Elusiana vaguely recalled what she had been through before coming here.
“I did nothing wrong, Director! They were the ones who bullied and beat me! It wasn’t me!”
“Haa… Suyeon, then why did you fight back?”
“But, Director! It’s… It hurts so much. I still feel the throbbing pain in the place where I got hit by them.”
“I know. I know how much you put up with. But Suyeon, friends can do that. If you raise your voices together, it will only become a fight, right? So, our patient Suyoen, yield a bit, please? Suyeon is a good girl. Let us first…ask for forgiveness and then make peace with each other. That way, won’t we be able to get along well in the future?”
It was when she was 8 or 9 years old. At that time, the young man called the director had voluntarily given the young child to the pack of ‘wolves.’ He threw her as their prey to avoid their wrath coming to him.
“At first, I thought I lacked effort. I thought I was so lacking and that was the reason they hated me, argued with me, and kept everyone away from me. So I made an effort like a crazy person. To do well, to look good, and… to live. I tried my best, but it was all in vain.”
“It wasn’t working. Nobody looked after me. Even if I shout, tremble my whole body, and scream, they cover their eyes and ears, so there’s no way they can see me. They can’t hear me.”
Elusiana wriggled her nose.
“So I hoped for a miracle. May this misfortune come to an end soon. May happiness come to me after this misfortune. May someone… who will listen to me show up.”
“I never believed in God. Funny, isn’t it?”
Elusiana let out a self-deprecating laugh and then sighed a long sigh.
“…but you know what?”
Her eyes, which had been weeping, bent beautifully before she knew it. They were swollen, which made it hard to tell, but she was definitely smiling.
“There was a miracle.”
Like how she’s living here right now.
Elusiana’s small, thin hands brushed the back of the boy’s bare hands.
“It was really there. The miracle. So I pray for you too.”
I want him to live.
I beg him to be alive.
Like a human being, happily.
I want him to live like that.
“Hoping for that miracle.”
Elusiana’s spell-like whisper ended.
At that moment, Astein’s fingers wiggled miraculously.
A strong hand gripped her wrist in an instant. If you’re too surprised, a scream won’t come out.
Elusiana looked at Astein, who raised his body up like a corpse, with wide open eyes.
The sound of a soft blanket being swept away pierced her ears like thunder.
Black hair that was darker than jet black. Not pale, but white skin. A thin body was believed to be connected by bone fragments. And bright red eyes that blazed like red lava. His eyes were staring right at her right now.
‘What kind of eyes…!’
Aren’t those frightening? Elusiana managed to part her lips, shaking off the goosebumps that climbed at her back.
Elusiana raised the corners of her lips awkwardly and gave a friendly greeting. But Astein’s expression looked as indifferent as a wax figure. However, the power transmitted to her wrist conveyed the boy’s unpleasant feelings.
“Can you let this go? It hurts a little, boy.”
Astein’s gaze slowly turned downward. He seemed to look at the arm he was holding. Only his gaze moved, but it was so chilly as if a blade had passed by. Elusiana swallowed her saliva involuntarily.
“That’s right, it’s not important right now, haha. I will put up with it, okay?”
Astein still had no answer. Elusiana smiled awkwardly and tried to look away from her throbbing wrist.
“More than that- do you know where we are?”
“Um, this place is Viscount Waieos.”
“Yes, I didn’t mean to ask for an answer.”
Somehow, Astein’s grip seems to have gotten stronger.
‘I’m mistaken, right?’
Elusiana, who glanced at her hand that would leave a bruise due to lack of blood, hurriedly continued.
“I brought you here, you had collapsed in front of our gate. Do you remember by any chance?”
Astein’s gaze clung to her like a leech, then his gaze climbed up to her arms. Elusiana shrugged her shoulders and spoke her words, pretending to be unconcerned.
“Your wounds were quite deep, so I treated only the visible area. Fortunately, your wounds healed well.”
“…do you feel any discomfort?”
The words she added at the end were a bit of a heartbreaking question. It was because she was worried about the unconscious boy, and he was somewhat disgusted that she was worried about him.
‘Besides, look at this grip. Is this really the strength of a sick child?’
This would leave a bruise a hundred percent.
The corners of Astein’s mouth twisted slightly as if he could have guessed what she was thinking. But Elusiana’s gaze was always on her hand, so she didn’t know that.
“Ummm, do you want some more rest?”
“Your wounds have been healed, but it will be difficult to move right away because your body is so injured. Ah, you must be hungry. Since you haven’t eaten anything so far, shall we prepare the meal first?”
Then Astein parted his lips.
Goosebumps rose from the back of Elusiana at the sound of his reluctant voice as if scraping iron.
“Water? Do you want water?”
At the sight of Astein, who nodded his head slowly, Elusiana felt an unknown discomfort. Maybe it was because his gaze didn’t waver when she looked straight at him. For some reason, he seemed like a child of a noble family.
‘…isn’t he a poor child? How could he act so naturally?’
Elusiana, who was slightly embarrassed, stuttered and continued, “Um, um, that’s right. You’re thirsty, aren’t you?”
“It must have been because you were sweating a lot. P-Please wait a minute. I will get some water… and bring it.”
Elusiana rose cautiously from her seat. As she stood up, it felt like something was pulling her back.
‘Don’t tell me he’s really a child from a noble family.’
Judging from his shabby clothes here and there, she thought he was a child from a slum. However, that blatant figure, which showed no signs of shrinking, was certainly far from ordinary.
‘Eish, no way.’
Elusiana shook her head.
If that boy was the son of a noble family, whom she helped was a problem. A child who escaped with a body on the verge of death. It was like intervening in another family’s affairs because you learned about their disgrace. It alone provided a justification for nitpicking.
‘But what if that’s really the case?’
That was why they didn’t call anyone here. Though the Waieos family wasn’t a family that would be destroyed anywhere, the world here was a world where all justification could be used to gain something.
Elusiana decided that she should speak to her father first. She didn’t think she should just let this discomfort go. If she was right, the first thing she needed to do was to reduce the damage.
‘If it’s my father, he will take good care of it.’
Elusiana somehow felt relieved when she recalled Simon’s face shouting, ‘I’ll do anything for you!’. A warm smile spread around her mouth.
It was then.
“Where are you… going?”
Elusiana flinched involuntarily and turned her head at the cracking sound.
“H-Huh? What did you say to me?”
“Where are you… going to?”
Astein stared at her, sweeping his front hair with his chopsticks-like fingers. Thanks to that, that boy’s beautiful face was fully revealed.