Upon returning home, I received a punishment that required me to sit in a chair and stare at the wall for a while, calling it a time for reflection.
In fact, sitting for a long time might be uncomfortable for kids, but it wasn’t that uncomfortable for me.
However, as I wandered through vivid memories, whenever I became aware of reality, my head hurt too much.
“Was there a problem during the cerebral cortex process?”
It is said that the human brain recalls past memories that were forgotten in order to escape the extreme pain of dying by secreting adrenaline.
When I saw my tearful older brother’s face, I closed my eyes, and as if in a flashback, when I opened them again, I was a newborn baby, Talia.
I had briefly forgotten the cerebral cortex process due to adapting to my weakened body and severe pain, but it all came back through a very small trigger.
“Brother, I’m dead, right?”
It was hard for the son in my memories to answer.
By chance, he came to meet me on the way of life and flew beautifully in front of me.
I also remembered the moment when the ramen bag that my brother was holding fell.
If it weren’t for that incident, we would have cooked and eaten the ramen together while listening to my mom’s nagging about what to eat at night.
“I’ve never jaywalked once since I became an adult.”
I thought that even if I followed the traffic rules well, it was pointless to do it alone.
I didn’t know if it was because the car broke down, or if the driver was drunk or sleepy, but I hoped that whoever hit me would be in big trouble.
I knew that it couldn’t compensate for my lost life and my family who lost me, but that’s all I could hope for.
I vaguely understood why I was born here, but it was a different issue from my life.
It was already a known fact that someone was watching me from the open door, and it was Yurien, who had been standing behind me for a long time, who called me.
As expected, since I was also a human, I couldn’t admit him as my dad, but I could at least call him that.
“The punishment is over now.
Yurien gestured to me, and I got up from the chair and approached him.
Yurien asked if I had reflected enough while petting my head.
“…Actually, if you tell me to hit you again, I could do it.”
Yurian burst into laughter at my response.
Yurian laughed for a while, hugging me tightly and asking why I was so funny.
As I was still feeling unwell, I asked him bluntly why he was laughing.
“What’s so funny?”
“Tilly looks like her dad.”
“Did dad hit the Crown Prince?”
I hit the person who was the Crown Prince, but I’ve never hit the current Crown Prince.”
“Is that the only friend of dad who is called the Emperor?”
I grinned as Yurian nodded his head.
In the setting, there were only a few people who were the targets of violence during Yurian’s lifetime, and Phileas was one of them.
“Does Tilly like As?”
“I said she did the last time we talked.”
“Because he’s cute?”
“No, just because he’s As.”
At my response, Yurian smiled slightly.
“You’ve got a good friend.”
“As wants to marry me.”
How dare he try to marry someone’s daughter.”
“Then who should I marry?”
“But you’re already married to Mom.”
“Then Tilly can marry Mom too.
Marry both me and Mom.”
“Okay, forget it.
I’d rather not get married at all.”
“Okay, let’s all live together with Mom, Dad, and Lona for the rest of our lives.”
Anyway, Yurian’s wish was for the family to live happily together.
Knowing nothing, Yurian asked me with a smile.
“Whose daughter is Tilly?”
“…Hmm, I wonder whose daughter she is?”
“Whose daughter? She’s Mom and Dad’s daughter.”
“Am I happy because I’m Mom and Dad’s daughter?”
“Well, Talia is really, really happy because she’s Mom and Dad’s daughter.”
I buried my face in Urien’s shoulder and closed my eyes.
“I want to sleep with Mom and Dad tonight.”
“Will Tilly misbehave for once?”
“So, do you not want to?”
“No, I’m really happy.”
Because my face was buried in his chest, I couldn’t see his expression, but it was obvious without looking.
His lips were definitely sealed tight.
“Just for one day.”
I wanted to forget that this place was where I had written my novel and think of Roxana and Julian as my parents for just one night.
It was a shameful thing to do to him and my real father, to think of them while in the embrace of someone who loves only me, but I couldn’t bear it if I didn’t do it now.
Small feet lifted the blanket and climbed up onto Talaea’s back.
Yulian, who had been reading documents, lowered Talaea’s feet.
After covering her with the blanket, he tried to read again, but suddenly felt a gaze and turned his head.
Rocksa-na, who he thought was sleeping, was staring blankly at him.
“Didn’t you sleep?”
“I woke up.”
Rocksa-na sat up again, seemingly not thinking clearly.
She pressed her stiff eyes and then became interested in the document Yulian was reading.
“The list of the prince’s attendants?”
“Yes, there’s a lot to prepare because we’ll arrive in the capital in a few days.
We’ve decided to go out to meet the knights.”
“Right, tomorrow… no, it’s today now.
We’ll leave tomorrow morning with thirty knights and a hundred soldiers.”
It was already decided that Rocksa-na would personally go out to meet the prince.
However, the number of soldiers led by Rocksa-na was almost like an army, even if he said it was soldiers.
“But do we really need thirty knights?”
“It’s too quiet, and I have a bad feeling about it.
We’ll move with only the knights who have good mobility to prepare for any possible situation.”
Like Rocksa-na, Yulian was also suspicious of the fact that nothing had happened to the prince on his way to the empire.
He was worried about the prince’s safety, especially as they passed through the border area.
They had to take responsibility for the prince’s safety when he arrived in the capital after almost a month of travel.
“I understand, but isn’t it a bit excessive?”
“It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
“If nothing happens, that’s good.”
“Well, I don’t think we can say it’s good that nothing happens when we think about the past.
Even if nothing happens, there will still be oppressive measures in the empire to prevent unnecessary actions.
Yulian had nothing to say in response to Roxana’s comment, and could only manage a bitter smile.
Roxana placed her hand on Yulian’s hand, as if acknowledging that she had brought up an unnecessary topic.
“You promised not to cry until it’s all over.”
Although they were currently submitting to the imperial rule in silence, the factions that had once held real power in the empire still existed.
Even if the royal family and aristocracy were to lose their power in the future, it would still be a distant dream to establish laws and foundations to prevent the empire from collapsing.
“I don’t really know what ‘a level of stability’ means, but…”
However, they had made a promise, and they needed to work hard for the sake of their children without crying.
Yulian looked down at Talaea to gather his thoughts.
In his dream, she was munching on something delicious with a small mouth.
Yulian and Roxana smiled at the sight of her innocent face.
“When I see her like this, I hope Tilly grows up to be a kind child.”
“I don’t want to categorize children as good or bad.
I just hope she has what she needs to know what happiness and love are.”
And Talia knew very well what that was.
Not only that, she was a child who willingly shared with others without being taught to do so.
As Rocksaana looked at Talia with admiration, Urien suddenly let out a loud cough.
“I made a decision about today.”
“From now on, anyone who proposes to our goddess will be buried alive.”
Rocksaana realized that Urien was serious and responded with a tongue-clicking sound.
“That’s why you keep getting harassed by Tilly all the time.”
Once again, the sun had risen today without fail.
I lay between the sleeping Rocksa and Yurian and blinked my eyes slowly.
“I woke up too early.”
Yesterday, my head hurt too much and I fell asleep early.
I tried to cover myself with the blanket I had on while getting my wisdom teeth removed, hoping to fall asleep again, but my mind only became clearer and clearer.
I looked at Rocksa and Yurian, lying on either side of me, alternately.
I felt like I was stuck between two people who would surely smile at me when they woke up and swallowed a bubbling foam.
I had felt this strange feeling more than once, but each time, I felt repulsed and acted out of spite.
But now, I didn’t want to be spiteful anymore, and I quietly got out of bed, sorry to wake up the sleeping couple.
Leaving the bedroom, I headed to the nearby baby room.
Perhaps because it was just dawn, the wet nurse who was taking care of the baby at midnight was sleeping in the adjacent room.
Surprisingly, Royina was awake and looking at the mobile without crying.
When Royina saw me, she smiled.
When I just looked down, Royina turned her body and sat up.
Just two months ago, she could barely flip over, but now she could sit up on her own.
I hadn’t looked at her closely for two months because of Asa, but now Royina had grown up again.
I wondered why she was growing up so slowly, but she seemed to be growing up very quickly.
“It’s already been six months.”
It had already been six months since Royina was born, and I was avoiding her.
Since she was a baby with a narrow range of movement, there was nothing to do but avoid her if she didn’t come into the baby room.
Sometimes, Yumo or Yurian would bring me to this room because they had to show affection to their younger sister, but otherwise, they wouldn’t even look at me.
Even when told that there was no “momma,” Roy continued to reach out his hand as if demanding something.
When I handed him a toy from the cradle, he shook it happily.
“Roy, why did I come here to help someone?”
I could ask Roy because he was just a baby who didn’t know anything.
When I asked, Roy moved his head as if trying to nod, but couldn’t hold his body and fell down.
While sucking on the toy in his hand, his eyes looked straight at me.
“Do you like me because I’m your sister?”
I didn’t really know what this baby was thinking, but I could tell that he liked me.
In the end, I could only smile along with Roy.
There was no longer any reluctance like before.
This peacefulness felt somewhat good.
In a book I read in my previous life, it said that humans go through five stages to accept their death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
I felt like I was in the stage of bargaining or acceptance.
It was also difficult to pretend not to know anything, cry, or throw tantrums.
So I thought it would be okay to compromise now.
As long as there was something to do here, and I couldn’t go back, I had to compromise and live as Talia.
“Good morning, Roy.”
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