The story is all over.
The sky was clear, with no clouds in sight, and the air felt chilly.
The executioner awaited me in front of the eerie guillotine, while those longing for my death shouted wildly. Although it wasn’t far away, walking was difficult as I had stopped eating for a few days.
Under the bright sun, I noticed a woman adorned with bright jewelry. Lilia, with her stunning blonde hair and warm green eyes, stood there.
Beside her were people with cold eyes — once my dearest and closest friends, but now worse than anyone else.
Lilia had won their hearts and ears, turning them all against me.
It all started with an unexpectedly timed announcement: the lady informally named Crown Princess was terminally ill.
The whole country was turned upside down, and meetings continued day after day. Sorting out the engagement between the imperial family and ours was not easy, as political objectives were closely involved.
Amidst the turmoil, Lilia emerged and cunningly snatched away every precious thing I had, one by one, as if it had all been planned beforehand.
Naturally, I was unhappy at first — feeling ashamed, annoyed, furious, and deeply offended. I despised Lilia for being sweet and healthy, in stark contrast to my own fear of death.
Unaware that my impudence would only make Lilia shine brighter, I clung to what was once mine and wept as it was taken away from me.
Little did I know that my humiliating exit was all that was left now. My family abandoned me, assuming I would be upset.
Oh, Anellie Roam, you fool. Your stupidity has cost you your life.
I couldn’t help but recall being mocked by someone. It was true. My foolishness had damaged my honor, pushed my loved ones away, and ruined the chance for love.
“Get the sinner over there!!”
Quietly, I was led to the execution table by the soldiers holding my arms, and I saw the man I had once loved standing before me.
It was Maxell, my fiancé, and the emperor’s cherished crown prince. He stood there, looking down at me with one arm around Lilia’s shoulder.
Though he was far away, I felt as though we made eye contact, and I could sense his renewed emotions.
Maxell had grown weary of his fiancée’s increasing affection for him, finding her sensitivity irksome. Initially, he had pity for her, but conventionally despised her, watching as she took walks in the garden and even collapsed in public. In response, I decided to improve my health, hoping to regain all that had been lost.
If I had known from the start that everything was a lie, would anything have changed?
Maxell, when will you discover that the doctor who informed me of my short life expectancy was under Lilia’s orders?
Will my family someday regret adopting Lilia as their daughter and removing my name from the family register?
Will the so-called close friends who now stand by Lilia and criticize me continue to befriend her forever?
“I offer God’s final mercy to his foolish creatures. Do you have any last words?”
I didn’t respond to the priest’s words but fixed my gaze intently on Maxell’s eyes. Surprisingly, he didn’t avoid my gaze. I wondered why at that moment. It was as though I could taste the richness of the sweets I used to devour.
I felt like I was finally going crazy. As I painted a faint smile on my dry lips, I could feel the pain where the scab of my skin had torn.
“…God, please have mercy on me.”
All I wanted was to rest.
So, on one of these bright, beautiful days, I would gladly embrace an early death.
* * *
This was not heaven.
Nor was it hell.
My lungs felt constricted, and despair filled my throat. I couldn’t bear this. My clenched tongue had nothing to say, but deep down, I knew.
I was alive. Someone had resurrected me.
But it was an undesired resurrection.
* * *
《The evil one has arisen, and I sent you a savior. Resist him with all your might.》
The oracle’s words turned the world upside down, and with it, my life was also thrown into disarray.
When I regained consciousness, I found myself in a temple. Confused and disoriented, I saw the priests kneeling before me, hailing me with words like the Holy Savior, the Resurrected One, and Saint.
My last memory was of people throwing stones at me and shouting malicious words. Even the ones I knew had coldly awaited my death.
Savior? What nonsense that is.
For a month, I locked myself in a room and confronted the priests. They initially tried to persuade me with gentle words, but their efforts turned to frustration, and they resorted to various tactics. They offered all kinds of delicacies and presented gold and silver treasures, attempting to entice me. Of course, I scoffed at their futile attempts.
During this time, I learned about the absurd miracle that had happened to me, and I became aware of the oracle’s prophecy.
Was it a plague of evil? Evil seemed to spread rapidly. It started when Lillia entered my life with her enchanting beauty, causing Maxell to fall in love with her and despise me. Even my family turned their backs on me, coming together to criticize and avoid me.
Why didn’t God spare me from that pain if he had chosen me? Why did I have to endure all of it, only to be betrayed and returned to this wretched state?
“Resurrected One, Priest Moriko has been searching for exquisite fruits for you.”
“You didn’t eat much breakfast, so please savor some of this.”
I had to make an effort to get rid of the bothersome apprentice priests. Even before I died, dealing with people around me had not been easy due to my violent behavior.
When I attempted to take my life on several occasions and angrily grabbed anything within reach, the apprentice priests fell silent. This time, I noticed one of them stepping back as I picked up a book in annoyance.
To my surprise, I discovered that while engaging in self-harm, I had developed a monstrous endurance. Though there might be scars if not treated properly, my natural healing ability had significantly improved.
Physically, I was much stronger than I had been before I died, and my senses had heightened. However, the most remarkable change was my newfound ability to communicate with other creatures.
I kept this capability to myself, not disclosing it to the priests. They seemed to believe I possessed tremendous divine power solely based on my stubbornness. Rumors spread that believers gathered daily in front of the temple where I now resided.
Lately, even the nobles had been seeking daily audiences with the king, and my acquaintances claimed they could secure an audience if I asked for it.
However, all of that was no longer relevant to me. The most important thing was that I was still alive.
I was informed that my beheaded corpse had undoubtedly been discarded. Having been driven away by my family, no one came to claim my body, leaving me abandoned for several days.
Strangely, though, the body did not decay, and animals seemed to protect it instead of gnawing and eating it. It was then that the oracle’s prophecy began circulating.
The high priest, Moriko, came across the corpse and initially believed it to be a macabre joke. He placed the body in a clean coffin, but to his surprise, he discovered that my neck and body were somehow attached. He promptly moved me to the temple.
The evidence of my beheading was evident in the clear scars on my neck. When I inadvertently touched it, I could feel the roughness of the scars.
I felt like I was losing my sanity; I wanted to lash out and hit someone.
“If your head and body were reattached, you must have been grateful enough to fight evil.”
Despite the blow to my pride from the beheading, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
I retrieved the bag I had secretly stolen. After a month, I had learned enough about the priests’ movements and schedules in the temple.
“Thank you, I’ll meet my end more peacefully this time.”
My plan was to escape and find a hiding place, anywhere they wouldn’t know Anellie Roam. I would enjoy snacks while supporting the evil that had been born in this world.
* * *
The founding noble family of the empire was the Duke of Roam. They had a close friendship and political alliance with the Emperor, making it natural for someone from my family to be promised to them.
Since the moment of my birth, I had been betrothed to the prince. My fiancé was confirmed to be Crown Prince Maxell, the second son of the emperor, who had a total of four sons.
Growing up as a member of the royal family, I naturally developed feelings of love for Maxell without any effort.
However, I couldn’t say for certain what Maxell truly felt about me.
Nonetheless, I do have memories of our relationship being good when I was healthy.
My elder sister, Friesian, who postponed family engagements to support me, used to assure me, “The crown prince loves you, and you love him back. There’s nothing left to do but be happy.”
Now that I reflect on it, it appears my sister was simply worried that I wouldn’t want to be the Crown Princess. If I were to insist that I don’t want the role, maybe the responsibility of the promise would fall back on her.
My sister was the first in the family to distance herself from me when I was diagnosed with a terminal illness. She was also very persistent in adopting Lillia.
Even if my older sister were to become the Crown Princess instead of me, I need not fret over the family’s succession as I have a younger brother, Seiri. She should be cautious, considering she is the older sibling.
I don’t blame her for her ambition; I witnessed it firsthand. Our parents also chose to abandon one terminally ill child to protect their two healthy children, so it’s not something I solely blame my older sister for.
The Roam family is like that — a family that values dignity and pride, willing to remove expendable pawns when necessary to maintain their power.
I am a child of Roam, so I understand their way of thinking.
Understanding the circumstances of their betrayal doesn’t automatically mean I have to forgive them, especially when they went to the extent of erasing my name from the family records.
“The Duchess of Roam has collapsed.”
“No way! Are you saying that even though her parent have collapsed, she still refuses to see them, even though she’s at the Great Temple?”
Glancing to the side, I noticed a group of people gathered around the city’s central bulletin board, seemingly unaware of the true situation.
For those who have only seen the majestic and impressive façade of Roam, they might not have had the opportunity to fully grasp the family’s true nature. I didn’t even feel angry at those who made such comments.
“She was so infamous; her revival wouldn’t change anything.”