“I must say, the child is quite lovely.”
I blinked my eyes as I looked at Rebecca Marquione.
Rebecca, the protagonist of this world, was a woman who appeared more ordinary than I had imagined.
However, her fiery red hair caught my attention.
“Little one, how old are you?”
“I’m six years old. You’re pretty, too, miss.”
Feeling shy or perhaps because of Rebecca’s intimidating presence, I instinctively hid behind my eldest sister’s legs.
A month before this I experienced a severe fever, and during that time the plot of an obscure harem novel, Rebecca Marquione, filled my mind.
The plot of Rebecca Marquione was simple.
The heroine, Rebecca, leaves her hometown of Trovanza to seek revenge and secure a position in the Empire.
There, she becomes entangled with the male leads and gains their love by chance.
The male leads used their power to try to possess Rebecca forcefully.
Rebecca uses the love of these male leads to start a war and turn her hometown into ruins.
In the process, our household becomes a sacrifice despite committing no wrongs.
My older sister, Alice, was killed, and the war ended with Trovanza’s defeat.
And I became a captive in the Empire.
‘I need to do something to prevent things from going according to the original story…’
The problem is that now that I remembered the original work, I’m merely a six-year-old child.
And though it’s just my speculation, my mental age doesn’t seem particularly high.
Perhaps because the original work ended when I turned fifteen, I felt a bit younger than that.
‘Honestly, I don’t even know if I’ve been reincarnated or transmigrated.’
Until I recalled the plot of the original work, I was just an ordinary six-year-old child.
Even now, remembering the original work, I can’t remember my past life.
It was like being struck by lightning one day, and I suddenly became aware of the original work.
“Normally, she’s not this shy.”
Rebecca took something from her pocket and handed it to me.
It was a luxury chocolate, something hard to come by in the strict, policy-bound Trovanza.
Unconsciously, I opened my mouth and reached for the chocolate.
Rebecca gave me the sweet as if it was nothing special.
Meeting the original work’s heroine during a shipboard party was amazing enough, but getting a delicious snack, too?
“Do you like chocolate?”
“Yes! Liliana likes chocolate!”
“Hey, little one. You should say thank you.”
Upon my youngest sister’s advice as she sat next to me, I quickly expressed my gratitude.
“Um… Would it be okay if I pet Liliana’s head?”
“Yes. If Liliana is okay with it, I am, too.”
“Liliana, would it be alright if sister pets your head?”
“Yes! I’m fine with it!”
With chocolate smeared over my mouth, I readily allowed Rebecca’s touch.
She crouched in front of me, making eye contact, and then gently stroked my head.
Her long fingers brushed against my curly hair.
“…I’m sorry… for causing you so much… trouble…”
Rebecca seemed to say something, but I was so absorbed in the chocolate that I didn’t really hear her.
“What’s your dream, Liliana?”
“I want to live happily with my sisters!”
“Is that so? That’s a wonderful dream.”
Strangely, Rebecca’s smiling face seemed a bit bitter. She stood up and spoke.
“Liliana, please grow up healthy.”
That was the last we saw of Rebecca.
On that day, someone fell overboard beyond the ship’s railing, and despite a month of searching, no body was found.
That person was Rebecca.
My older sisters were bewildered by the request for cooperation with the investigation, and I was just as confused.
‘The story ended before it even began…’
The original heroine took her own life.
‘Is this even possible?’
Why? Why on earth?
I was bewildered by the unprecedented event of the heroine’s death.
If Rebecca really died, then what happens to the original story?
Transparently shattered sunlight, the warm air from a family home, and the aroma of delicious food.
They say that this cozy world is inside the ruined harem novel.
And the male leads go as far as igniting wars to win the heroine’s affection.
‘I can’t believe it.’
I swallowed a sigh that came along as I picked at the bell peppers on my plate.
If the original heroine died, then would there be no war in the future?
Or would the war still happen even if the heroine died?
Politics isn’t such a simple matter that it can change with just a few people’s actions.
“What’s wrong, our little one? Why are you sighing again?”
My eldest sister asked with a gentle voice, tearing her gaze away from her newspaper.
With her black hair sparkling in the sunlight, she wasn’t just my sister; she was a really beautiful and impressive person.
Kind, caring… Anyway, Alice is the most amazing person in the world.
“It’s nothing, really.”
“What? Don’t tell me you’ve got some secret you’re hiding from your big sister? Can’t you just tell me?”
Alice carefully stroked the top of my head, careful not to disrupt my bun.
“Sister, she’s just sighing because she doesn’t want to eat bell peppers.”
My youngest sister, Emilia, intervened in a chilly tone.
I had picked out the bell peppers and put them on one side of the plate, so she wasn’t wrong.
Because of her constantly lacking sleep, my youngest sister had a face as if she was about to drop dead during breakfast.
“Little one. If you’re not going to say anything nice, don’t leave any bell peppers and eat them all.”
“Ehhhhh~ I don’t like bell peppers.”
After staying up until dawn reading last night, my youngest sister was sleep deprived.
Which meant that she’s in a bad mood.
I quickly shoved the bell pepper into my mouth as my youngest sister glared at me.
“That’s right. You should eat everything. You need to grow tall and strong. You can’t live your whole life as a kid, right?”
That’s how she seemed, but she’s the person who will try to save me from the Empire and went to great lengths to save me in the original work, even infiltrating the Imperial Palace.
At that moment, my older sister Regina entered the kitchen with a pot.
Regina and Emilia are twins.
Regina was born seven minutes ahead of Emilia.
“Hmph. Little one, even if you don’t like bell peppers, you need to eat them evenly to grow tall and strengthen your body.”
“Regina, how long did you keep us waiting? I only slept for an hour last night.”
Without even pretending to hear the youngest sister’s scolding, the older sister lifted the pot’s lid.
It was octopus and shrimp cooked in cream, and I didn’t know what it was called, but it smelled good and it made my mouth water.
She scooped some shrimp onto my plate and said.
“Eat lots of them, and you’ll grow taller and healthier, okay?”
As I ate a piece of chewy shrimp, I realized what I needed to do.
I have to continue to eat delicious food like this and be together with my loving family for a lifetime.
Coincidentally, the original work ended before it even started. Now, I had only days left to live at ease.
“Mmm, Older Sister. It’s so delicious!”
“Eat a lot, Lily. By the way, Sister, I heard that someone from the Empire’s royal family is planning to visit. Do you know why they’re coming?”
“Why would I know that? It’s an unofficial visit, and it’s a confidential matter.”
“One of my acquaintances is going as a chef to the government-invited banquet for entertaining the Emperor. I might go ,too, but I’m still considering it.”
The Emperor is visiting Trovanza? Was there such an episode in the original work as well?
I searched my mind, but events prior to the start of the original work were not mentioned, so I had no way of knowing.
The original work begins six years after I turn twelve, so there’s still a long way to go before the story I know unfolds.
But with the heroine dead, that possibility also disappeared.
“Who exactly is planning to come?”
“Regina, you must never talk about this outside. Got it?”
“Sister, seriously? Am I the type to go around talking about that?”
“The Emperor will be accompanied by Duke Waltrachen as his escort.”
Their conversation caught my attention.
The Emperor and Duke Waltrachen were the original’s male leads.
“The Emperor and high-ranking officials from our side might take a soul oath for the peace treaty. Duke Waltrachen is expected to be a witness on the Empire’s side.”
Since the conquest war started one hundred and fifty years ago, the Empire had swallowed up all neighboring countries.
Among them, Trovanza was the only nation untouched by the Empire’s grasp.
Being on a distant island from the Empire and having many talented individuals made that status possible.
And Trovanza maintained a strict isolationist policy, remaining in a state of tension with the Empire for decades.
But what is a soul oath?
Only memories from the original work came to mind; I knew nothing about this world beyond my six-year-old understanding.
“Youngest sister, what’s a soul oath?”
My youngest sister, Emilia, answered while eating breakfast with a face that seemed close to death.
“It’s a pledge involving one’s life. If the oath is broken, both the witness and the participant’s hearts explode, causing death. Don’t even think about such a grave thing, little one. If you make such an oath, you will die by my hand. Got it?”
Though it was her usual sullen tone, I didn’t just hear it as a casual remark, as I knew my youngest sister’s fiery temper.
“Yeah, I’ll never do it!”
I nodded, and my youngest sister smiled with satisfaction.
I wanted to hear more of the conversation between my eldest and older sisters, but my youngest sister suddenly said she had somewhere to go and forced me to stand.
Thanks to that, I was able to leave the bell peppers I hadn’t eaten, which was nice.
“Youngest Sister, where are we going?”
“We’re going to buy pretty clothes.”
“Clothes? But I have clothes.”
“No, you don’t. You don’t have enough.”
Strange. Whenever she said something like this, it felt like I was getting an injection at the hospital…
My youngest sister held my hand tightly, which made me more uneasy.
‘She’s making sure I don’t run away.’
Shivers ran down my spine. My youngest sister took me somewhere while being completely oblivious to my feelings.
After arriving at a café, my youngest sister seemed to look around for someone before finally heading over to a man sitting by the window.
As I saw the man, I couldn’t help but catch my breath.
His sparkling silver hair and astonishingly handsome appearance captivated my attention.
He looked at me and then flashed a wry smile.
“Hello, little miss.”
The man was so handsome that I shyly greeted him while sticking close to my youngest sister’s leg.
It seemed my youngest sister didn’t notice the man’s appearance, as she spoke in her usual gruff voice.
“Are you François Cassel?”
At her question, I gasped inwardly.
François Cassel. A male lead from the original work, a genius magician and the Head of the Magic Tower. He was a lunatic in the original.
Moreover, he was responsible for locking the heroine in the tower and pushing me into the role of her servant.