Home Post 1446-chapter-14



My face turned to the opposite side, and I barely managed to steady myself as my body staggered. My right cheek stung, and there was a ringing in my ears.

In the past, I might have just cowered and trembled, but I was different now.

There was only one thought in my head.

‘…Who are you to hit me? Who are you?’

“What exactly do you think you’re doing?”

The Marquis, who had just slapped me across the face with a stern expression, asked in an unrelenting voice. On the desk in my father’s study was the announcement I had seen today.


[ Today is the birthday of Sophia ta Bartholi, the most beautiful lady of the Bartholi family. ]


Ah, why didn’t I think of that? If announcements like this were being spread nationwide, then they would certainly have reached the Marquisate as well. And what my father least forgave was anything that tarnished the Marquis’s reputation even slightly.

For my name — or more precisely, the ‘Bartholi’ part of my name v to be included in such a frivolous announcement meant that it had easily passed that criterion.

“To cause a disturbance and make a commotion, even when your fiancé has died. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for bringing shame upon the Bartholi family?”

I said nothing because I wasn’t ashamed.

After all, it was the Duchy’s eldest son who had distributed the announcement in the first place. Of course, Lord Glentino wouldn’t have imagined that I would come home and get slapped for it.

Tsk. The Marquis was caught off guard. His disdainful gaze was familiar. His gaze then fell on my hair, and his expression became even sterner.

It was then that I remembered.

The reason I had come to dislike my hair color before the regression was none other than because of my father.

I bowed my head, not out of reflection or remorse, but simply because I was admiring the pattern on the carpet. The Marquis had an unnecessarily good sense of aesthetics. Almost as if he was from the Bartholi family himself.

Somehow, I felt irritated by the fact that the Marquis and my tastes overlapped with each other.

I heard my father’s voice in my ear.

“No going out for a week, no meals.”


My father gestured to the butler.

“Lock her in her room.”

The butler extended his arm towards me with a deeply apologetic expression. Escorting me to be confined in my room, how absurd.


* * *


Being escorted to get confined in my room at the Marquis’s command became quite the spectacle for the servants.

The Lion Faction servants mocked me, while the Lyra Faction ones avoided eye contact. Regardless, I ignored their gazes and walked confidently. My unwavering demeanor seemed to leave them speechless.

That pleased me somewhat.

After entering the room, Bessie shuffled her feet nervously. She would soon have to leave, too.

“Miss… What should I do, really.”

“It’s okay, Bessie.”

I replied calmly. It was something I had already anticipated.

As I sat on the bed, I noticed the mountain of unopened birthday presents piled up in one corner of the room.

‘…Come to think of it.’

Today was my birthday, a day known to every citizen of the Empire.


* * *


I woke up from a nap to find that it was completely dark outside.

Popo was licking my face, so I petted his face a few times.

“Are you comforting me? Thanks, Popo.”

There was a rumble in my stomach.

Still, thanks to the hearty breakfast-slash-lunch I had at Duchy Glentino earlier, I wasn’t terribly hungry. That man mentioned he would bring me raisin cookies earlier. I should have accepted if I knew this would happen.

Fortunately, Popo wouldn’t go hungry. He hunted rabbits or mice in the garden or caught insects. If I get really hungry, I’d have to ask Popo to fetch some fish or prey. Since there were matches in the room, I could grill them myself.

Whether Popo would understand my request is another question altogether.

Then, I sat down at the tea table. It might be a good opportunity to organize what might happen in the future.

I took out a small notebook and a dip pen.


[ 1. Owen ]


I moved the pen without thinking and was surprised. I had written the man’s name unintentionally.

‘But.. this is something that needs to be addressed too.’

First, it was important to contact Elouise and ask her what was going on on earth. How did she bring Arne here and turn him into my son? However, the biggest problem was that I had no idea where she was.

…Worrying about it wouldn’t solve the problem, so I’d set it aside for now and organize the events that would happen in the future.

I erased what I had already written and listed the key events that came to mind.


[ 1. Empress’s Birthday Ball
2. Arnold’s Death
3. Appointment of a New High Priest ]


Number 2 was supposed to happen a few years later, though it has already occurred. It was odd. It was an event that happened regardless of my regression… could it be a butterfly effect that I unwittingly influenced?

As for number 1, nothing particularly significant happened, but I’d need to get a new dress. The dress I planned to wear at the birthday ball was taken by Leonie.

‘…How did I handle this before?

I hastily altered my existing dress to make it passable. It wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t have time to get a new one from the wardrobe.

And number 3 seemed to have already happened.

Leonie’s favorite handmaid, Adelaide from the Capoletti family, was appointed as High Priest. It caused quite a stir, and I remember it distinctly.

…That was probably enough organizing for now.

Oh, and I needed to withdraw the order for Leonie’s assassination.

To do that, I’d need to contact the representative of the assassins I hired, Bambi. While I could visit through the back alleys of the capital and place the request in person, sneaking out would be difficult right now.

I’d have to wait for that guy who showed up once or twice a month.

‘Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve seen Bambi.’

Lost in thought, I stroked Popo’s back as he nestled into my arms. Bambi and I had a contract for assassination, but in reality, he had been with me for a long time and had done much more than that.

Sitting on the balcony railing, he quietly listened to me rambling about this and that, or he would tell me about Leonie and the trends in the imperial court or alert me when Leonie was up to something suspicious.

He even saved my life once. If it weren’t for the antidote he provided, I would have succumbed to Leonie’s poison.

As he grew older, he became quite cheeky and often annoyed me, but looking back, even when I was young, he took care of me with just his mannerisms. I didn’t realize it early on because of his cold demeanor. Plus, he always wore dark clothes, so only his pupils were shining brightly at night.

Like the boy sitting on the balcony railing over there.

…Wait a minute.

It took me blinking a few times to realize it wasn’t a hallucination.


Before I knew it, I was leaping off my seat and running towards the balcony. With jet-black hair, contrasting pale skin, and crimson eyes, the smiling boy looked at me in a relaxed posture.

“Don’t call me Bambi.”

Even his voice matched my memory. Goodness, it really was Bambi. The boy he once was.

I smiled into a wide grin, feeling like I might cry. I never thought I’d experience this again. The next moment, the boy of my age gave me a playful smile and handed me something.

It was chocolate.

The chocolate melted softly in my mouth. Whether it was because I was hungry or it was the first time Bambi had given me chocolate in ages, it was unbelievably sweet.

I wasn’t sure what my expression was, but it was enough to make fun of.

“Tastes good?”

“Uh, wery.”

I nodded vigorously.

With chocolate still in my mouth, my pronunciation was a bit muffled. Bambi’s smile widened. It was a proud smile, although his tone remained almost the same.

“I guess you still love sweet things like a little kid.”

“Little kid? What…”

I laughed to myself.

Come to think of it, Bambi always acted older than me around this time. He didn’t reveal his age until much later, and it turned out he was a year younger than me.

Bambi died at the hands of Leonei’s guard knights before he even turned thirty-five.

The moment he left me isn’t actually vivid in my memory.

Perhaps my brain deleted that part due to the shock, so I could only speculate. What I did remember was that it was a cold winter day.

In a warehouse-like place, I sat numbly for a long time, clutching Bambi’s blood-stained body, tears streaming down my face until my feet were frostbitten and until my body was frozen… so much so that I fell ill for days afterward.

Since then, I have often dreamed of Bambi’s death.

Although I rarely cried as I grew older, on the nights when I had that dream, I always woke up with a damp face. Seeing him alive again, I felt like crying… but I was pretending not to. It would be so obvious if I cried here, I might be teased as a crybaby.

Bambi observed me closely and spoke as if casually tossing out a comment.