One day, Diaquit whispered to me as he stroked my platinum hair.
“Usphere, many say you’re a symbol of ominousness.”
”Because the silver forest has issued a warning through you. He left a message that he will no longer give strength to the Awakened.”
”But I’m not powerless. You know. I’m……! ”
”That insignificant power? Shh, Usphere, take it easy. Goodness. Of course, you’re not cursed. It’s just what bad people say. You are a very pretty, kind, and precious child.”
“You can always hide behind me. Brother will protect you. You don’t have to listen to anyone. You don’t even have to appear on the official stage as a princess. It’s okay. Just leave everything to your brother.”
Diaquit words saddened me deeply. He wanted to put me in a birdcage of his own making. No, he didn’t need a cage. All he had to do was to break my wings. Diaquit gradually alienated me from the palace and I became a bird with broken wings. I couldn’t even bring myself to fly out of the room… I didn’t even dare to tell others about my powers.
I slowly became a powerless and useless princess. Even I myself considered it that way. I was left all alone, even Diaquit abandoned me.
But it shall be different in this life. The princess who chased after her brother, relying on him, was now dead. Once dead and coming back again, Usphere Catatel will not be that girl she used to be.
A month after my regression.
I sat in my chair and stared at the paper, my short legs waving in the air.
The voice of the child flowing through my lips was still unfamiliar. After a while, I cleared my voice and focused again. In the meantime, I quickly scanned around, I don’t want to waste my time sitting still like before. As a result, I was able to grasp the current situation roughly. I thought it would be better to write it all down to organize my mind. It shouldn’t be seen by anyone, so as soon as I finish up, I shall burn it right away. I was busy playing with the quill.
I wrote down a name and thought about it. The ink from the tip of the quill spilled onto the paper.
I’ve tried a few things to see if I could change the future, squeezing the faint childhood memories. Cecil was also part of that attempt. She was my beloved maid. In the past, she was unjustly accused of being a thief and was driven out of the palace after being severely beaten. At that time, I didn’t know she was framed, but over time, the true criminal identity was revealed.
I tried to protect Cecil in this life. At first, it seemed to be successful. As in my previous life, the moment Cecil was accused of being the culprit, I testified and caught the real culprit. In the end, it turned out it was Cecil’s fiancé. However, shocked by the fact that she was betrayed by her lover, Cecil eventually left the palace due to poor health.
[You cannot change a large stream.]
No matter what I did, the process would only change, and the result would reach a similar place. It was as if the law of cause and effect ruled the world.
‘No matter how I spend the next 10 years, is that war inevitable?’
But when looking at Cecil’s case, I saw that it led to a “similar” ending, not exactly the same ending. The fact that Cecil was framed and kicked out and the fact that she went out on her own feet must have meant different things to her. So it was not that there was no hope at all. I might be able to change the future. So, I squeezed the end of my pen and placed the tip on the paper again. I wrote down one variable at a time that would distort the future that would come in ten years.
[Failure of the Southern Revolution.]
If the revolution had failed and Kwanach had not become emperor in the first place, there would have been no war. However, what could a princess from the northern edge of the country do with the revolution that takes place in the south? It was also impossible for me to develop my strength and go to the south to plot some incidents.
The reason why the Catatel family was given magical power in the first place was in the sense of making it easier to defend the silver forest, which was called the end of the world. This magic was very strange, its power would decrease drastically if you go beyond a certain distance from the forest. The former awakeners were also men of unrivaled ability within the borders of Achaia, but once they left here, their power was reduced to mediocrity. So I couldn’t intervene in the revolution that would take place in the far south, and it was also a rather dangerous endeavor.
[Unless Kwanach proposes a marriage alliance.]
If Kwanach did not propose a marriage alliance, then without me to offer as compensation, the proposed alliance itself would have never happened. For example, If I was already married.
However, from the beginning, Kwanach knocked on the gate of the Kingdom of Achaia with the threat of “pact or war”. There was no efficient way for a pact to be made in an alliance than to marry a child of royalty. If I didn’t marry and stay here, Kwanach, who spared nothing, would soon start a war. I had to stay here safely as a bargaining chip for him. That was, until the day that Kwanach would come to me again to be my husband. In the end, there was only one practical option left.
[Have a safe wedding and maintain the alliance.]
And I must survive to the very end. At the very least, the target of the assassination must be revealed and killed. Not to die in vain. This is to prevent a war that would destroy my homeland. Whoever it was that tried to kill me, it will not be easy this time. The irony was that in order to keep the peace, I would have to marry the same man who slaughtered my people.
It didn’t matter. I had no fantasies about marriage anyway. Marrying Kwanach was no problem, but the next thing was the problem. I had to survive. I had to prevent an assassination attempt on my life. I might have to endure the violent Kwanach. I knew all too well how devilishly Kwanach turned during the war. A mad emperor addicted to blood. It was hard to be optimistic that such a man would meekly accept a wife he was taking for political reasons.
‘Life in the empire will be difficult.’
It took strength to endure. Just like in the past life, I shouldn’t be helpless by holding on to the slightest magic.
There must be a reason why I was the only one who was weak, unlike the awakened ones before me. I wanted to find the cause and fix it.
‘Where is the cause of the problem? Isn’t it the beginning of this power?’
I decided to go to the Silver Forest.
“What? What are you talking about, Usphere? Are you going to the forest?”
Father was lying in the bedroom. After my mother passed away while giving birth to my youngest brother, Jenner, my father’s health rapidly deteriorated. It was because he loved my mother so much. His mental illness had taken its toll on his body.
‘If I had returned to my young age earlier, could I have changed my mother’s death?’
Seeing the law of cause and effect working so strongly, it would have been hard to prevent her death, but vain thoughts arose. I struggled to suppress my sadness and held my father’s hand.
“Now that I’m awake, I think it’s right for me to visit the forest.”
“But you know that no one but the king of Achaia is allowed in the forest.”
“Can’t I see it from the outside?”
“Yes, but…The forest is much farther north than this royal palace. It is a very cold place. It’s impossible for your body to handle it.”
Like my mother, I was prone to illness since I was a child. It was not surprising that my father was worried.
“Please allow me. I will be well prepared. I will not stay long. I just want to see the forest at least once.”
“Did you get permission from Diaquit?”
“Brother is the regent, but the supreme ruler of this country is still father. I wanted to get your permission first. Even more so since it concerns the forest.”
I deliberately asked my father first, because I knew that if I told Diaquit, he would naturally refuse. I was the kind of child who never asked for anything. So my father was surprised by my persistence and finally nodded.
“You want to go so far…… Maybe the forest is calling you.”
The appeal went well. I smiled and gave my father a kiss.
“Yes. I felt like I was being called.”
I made it sound plausible.
“I’ll provide you with an ———– artifact. The forest is not safe for bare skin.”
My father struggled just to get my mother’s name across. He tapped his chest several times and finally managed to continue.
“Rosanne was always very cold. I went to a lot of trouble to get an artifact for her. It’s from Dwarf Island, it’s pretty useful.”
On the human continent, magic disappeared for hundreds of years, but there were different races still actively using it. This artifact was created by the dwarves across the sea. It would no doubt be of great use.
“Thank you, father. Is it true?”
“Yes…. If I wasn’t in such a state, I’d go with you. What kind of king can’t even get out of bed?”
My father laughed bitterly. I gave him a kiss on his forehead and left the room.
After receiving my father’s permission, I headed straight to the northern end of the kingdom with a couple escorts from the Knights of the Royal Palace. Diaquit was fiercely opposed, but he couldn’t help it because the king already gave me permission.
There was no danger on the journey into the forest, for it was a very cold place where neither beasts nor people lived. It was a natural fortress built by the cold. The ground was frozen and the trees were tall and slender. My only enemy was the cold, but I was able to defeat it to some extent with the artifact my father gave me. A cloak with thermal magic. The cloak didn’t completely get rid of the cold, but it did make my 10-year-old body withstand this frozen ground.
The carriage that was heading north stopped for a moment. The driver opened the carriage door and looked at me with a troubled expression.
“Well, there’s a problem. The horses refuse to enter.”
There was still some distance to go before we reached the forest. The horses declared a strike. The horses that the knights were riding did the same.
In a panic, I got out of the carriage. It was unexpected and the knights seemed to have never experienced anything like this before. I needed a place to look for answers. As I was scurrying around, my eyes caught sight of a small tree with roots nearby. I went straight over, placed my hand on the tree post, and closed my eyes. Then I called out to the tree in my mind.
‘Hello. Can you hear me?’