Chapter 1

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"I’m screwed,” muttered Juliana Auburn, who remembered her past life in a dream last night. She then said as she stared blankly at the sparrow sitting on the windowsill, preening its feathers and flicking its wings.

“What can I do?”

Juliana Auburn, no, the one who remembered her past life, ‘Lee Sian’, began to cry. The sparrow that seemed to be listening to her concerns chirped as though it was laughing at Juliana and asking ‘What do you mean you’re screwed?’

“Yes, I think I’m definitely screwed,” Juliana muttered again, shaking her head as though in answer to the sparrow who obviously wasn’t really paying attention to her at all.

It was just yesterday that Juliana heard the news that her husband, who had been fighting barbarians at the border, was returning. She hadn’t been particularly interested in this reunion since, in the past year, Juliana had almost forgotten about her husband’s existence.

On that day, Juliana was in a petulant mood, complaining that the sun was too bright and dazzled her eyes. Finally, she drove away the servant who had delivered the news, then rested alone, ate delicious food, and fell asleep early.

If you sleep deeply, do you dream of your past life? But, unfortunately, Juliana Auburn slept fitfully and had a very vivid dream.

A dream of her past life.

It was a very difficult past life that the present-day Juliana Auburn could never have imagined.

In her past life, Lee Sian was an orphan, who, after leaving the orphanage as an adult, had a hard life. She lived on mere hopes and dreams until, in the end, she…

“I was hit by a car and my body was all smashed up.”

Juliana/Lee Sian’s body was still wracked by that terrible pain.

She could still feel it vividly.

One morning when she had just finished her night shift at a convenience store and everyone else was going to their workplace, she had been hit by a huge car as she was crossing a street on her way home. Although she died on the spot, it was inevitable that she felt a great deal of pain.

She remembered that the pedestrian crossing light was properly lit up. She was not at fault. Remembering the crooked way that the car was moving, it was clear that the driver must have been drunk.

“You son of a bitch! Why were you drinking so early in the morning?!”

She rubbed her slightly swollen eyes and cried again. When she thought of her miserable past life, goosebumps grew all over her body.

Fortunately, she had been reborn and was given another chance to live. Juliana, who was reborn as a noble lady whose lifestyle couldn’t be compared with her past life, was lost in thought.

…Alright. I’m Juliana Auburn. I’m the only daughter of the Marquis of Auburn and I’m the fire elemental mage—. Although my body is frail, I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

She glanced at the sparrow that was still perched on the windowsill. The fat little sparrow was drinking the rainwater from the window frame, moistening its throat. Seeing its leisurely manner made her feel disgusted and Juliana covered her mouth with her hand.

But why did I have to be reborn in a romantic fantasy novel? 

“And…, that! What’s with that spoiler?!” she cried as though seeking advice from the sparrow.

The sparrow stretched its neck up and seemed to chortle ‘That’s your destiny.’ Then it flew away.

“Argh!”

Juliana had just woken up and her eyes were still bleary. Rubbing her face on her pillow, a thought inexplicably crossed her mind and made her feel dejected, ‘I went to sleep without dessert yesterday—.’

It seemed as though it was just yesterday that she cursed because the ending of ‘The String of Fate,’ a romance novel that she used to read quite often during her part-time work, was spoiled for her. She only read the middle of the spoiler in the comments section, but it seemed obvious that she was reincarnated as a scum-like villainess of the novel, Juliana Auburn. 

Juliana Auburn was a selfish and prideful villainess in the novel. She thought only of herself and was a cruel woman who, in her boredom, would trample on her despised husband’s self-esteem. Her usual routine was to slander her husband and the people around him and to curse her father who had married her to an illegitimate son of a ducal house.

To be fair, from Juliana’s point of view in the novel, she had a lot to complain about. Originally, she was betrothed to Duke Hilchen’s eldest and legitimate son, Kelton.

Juliana wasn’t quite convinced that Kelton was good enough but her father was convinced that the Hilchen family who had served the empire since its founding, was a good match. Thus, from the time she was 10 years old, Juliana, who was always a proud young girl, would visit the Hilchen family.

She had never known that the Duke of Hichen had a second son, an illegitimate child who was considered quite inferior in the eyes of the nobility of the Ariakne Empire.

But when Kelton died in his first battle against the barbarians, Juliana and her father felt it was quite unfortunate but they were preparing to end their relationship with the Duke of Hilchen to find a new political and marriage partner for Juliana.

However, the clever Duke of Hilchen announced that he actually had a second son and begged Julian’s father to marry him to her. Since the Marquis of Auburn also thought that it would be too wasteful to end his relationship with the Duke of Hilchen, he condoned the existence of a hidden child, and agreed to engage him to Juliana. At first, Juliana didn’t think it was suspicious that the Duke had a son who had a very weak body and was thus hidden away for his own protection, but…

“He’s illegitimate!”

The mere memory of that discovery made Juliana scream into her pillow. That wasn’t enough to vent her anger so she also punched it then lifted her face and glared at the ceiling.

“If it weren’t for that illegitimate child, I wouldn’t have been tricked! That’s why all these bad things happened…”

As had been said a moment ago, Juliana Auburn has been prideful since childhood.

If one were to put it in a positive light, she was a very self-confident person. If one were to put it in a negative light, she was a narcissist who lived her life according to her own exorbitant taste. However, she had enough common sense as a noble to accept the marriage negotiations between their two houses.

However, it was unacceptable to her to conceal the fact that ‘Evan Hilchen,’ who was later revealed in the marriage negotiations, wasn’t a sickly young man who had been hidden away by his family but was, instead, an illegitimate child from who-knows-where.

In addition, what was even more unacceptable to her was her father who was bewildered by the Duke of Hilchen’s cunning arguments and tried to comfort his daughter by saying, ‘Nowadays, it’s common for illegitimate children to be accepted into their family and the Duke of Hilchen is a very distinguished noble—.’ And other such bullshit words were spouted.

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