Chapter 1 - And So It Begins
Act 1 – I Refuse the Position of Crown Princess!
“What are the accomplishments of Emperor Goji?”
“In order to stabilize the lives of the people, he ordered the nobles to purchase manure fertilizer in large quantities. This allowed citizens to obtain fertilizer at a lower cost and thus they were able to prolong the harvest season.”
“That is correct.”
The professor looked at his student, pleased. He was proud of her for remembering what he’d taught her yesterday and found her to be an exceptional student. For a girl of only 16, she was quite mature and behaved admirably during class.
She studied continuously in order to retain all of the day’s learning. While she was not a genius or a prodigy, she worked hard enough to make up for any shortcomings. The professor preferred this type of quiet, obedient student over those who were clever but arrogant.
“Today, we will be learning about Emperor Goji’s other accomplishments,” he began.
There was much more to learn about Emperor Goji. The girl prepared to take notes as the professor lectured her about his history on the chalkboard.
Tying her brown hair into a neat ponytail, her chocolate eyes followed the professor’s every movement raptly. She was completely and utterly focused on the task at hand.
“Class is over for today. Your homework is just to copy your notes on the content from today’s lecture.”
The girl was planning on doing so whether the professor had assigned it to her or not. She found it difficult to learn new things in History if she didn’t remember what came in the past.
“Thank you, professor,”
“The pleasure is mine.”
As the professor left with a small bow, the girl sighed and dropped the gracious smile from her face.
“How boring,” she sighed.
The professor was wise but painfully dull. She barely managed to stay awake during his lectures.
“When am I ever going to finish all of this?” she grumbled.
The amount of work required for the professor’s lessons was enormous, and it took an even greater amount of effort for the girl to keep up with it all. She was not fond of history, but she was required to learn it as a member of the aristocracy.
“Lady Aris!” a maid said, stepping into the room.
Her name was Lucine and she was the main character of the original novel.
“Your dance lessons, my lady.”
The day’s events were identical to those of yesterday, and they’d be the same tomorrow and on the day after that. She would wake up, go to history lessons in the morning, eat lunch, then go to dancing lessons in the afternoon. After that, she would eat dinner, finish her homework, then go to sleep.
She had thought being a lady meant she’d be able to sleep, eat, and play all day, but that couldn’t have been further from reality. There was so much to do, and so many lectures to attend. Thankfully, she wasn’t being tested on the material, but she still disliked studying—she simply felt there was no need to express it.
In the original novel, Aris Horissen hated schoolwork. She refused to study and forced Lucine to do her homework in her stead. Thanks to that, Lucine became a well-educated and cultured woman despite her birth status. That wouldn’t happen this time.
When the girl first woke up in the novel, she was given all of Aris Horissen’s memories and knowledge of the world. This allowed her to create a new, better version of Aris.
With the old Aris’ knowledge of this world, it wasn’t hard for her to adjust to her new life in the novel. However, just because she became Aris Horissen didn’t mean she would just live the life scripted for her.
‘Everything I do is to change the outcome of the story.’
She smiled and took a sip of the tea Lucine had brought for her, the interesting flavor pleasing her. “This is nice.”
Aris looked at Lucine. She was a bright, spunky girl. Though illegitimate, she could have been accepted into the family if the head of the household allowed it, but the marquis refused.
She had a pretty—if rather plain—face and a certain charming air. Her blue hair and yellow eyes shone brightly. No wonder the male lead grew to like her, even after finding out she was of lowly birth.
‘Even I like Lucine,’ she mused.
After her classes, Aris would be completely worn out. Lucine, who had a keen eye for these things, often brought her tea and snacks to cheer her up.
“I feel my fatigue disappearing thanks to your tea, Lucine.”
“Were you exhausted?”
“Well, it’s not easy to be in class for three hours,” she smiled, intentionally omitting her thoughts about how boring it had been.
Lucine wasn’t the type of girl who spread rumors, but it was still best not to say anything that could be twisted later on—just in case.
Aris took another sip of her tea and Lucine asked, “Do you have a lot of homework today?”
“Yes. Do you want to learn with me?”
Lucine shook her head at Aris’s words. “I’m just a maid, miss.”
In the kingdom they lived in, education was not a right, but a privilege. The upper class could afford tutors and professors, but common people had no way of learning, especially as mandatory schooling had yet to be established. Education was a symbol of privilege—without money, one could not gain access to it. Studying was something only wealthy heirs or nobles could do.
The novel’s male lead, however, had been lucky. Despite his family’s financial difficulties, his parents sent him to an academy where he excelled in swordsmanship. His skills far surpassed those of any other commoner and he became somewhat of a legend at the academy.
After completing his schooling, he became the hero of the battlefield and accomplished amazing feats for the good of the kingdom. Although the king had offered to bestow him a title, he refused and retreated to his estate in the countryside, saying he did not care for politics.
The male lead had a favorable reputation and was exceptionally skilled. The emperor, who knew this well, wanted to ensure his bloodline’s loyalty to the throne and decided to marry him into one of his supporters’ families. The girl who was chosen to be his bride was none other than Lady Horissen.
‘Me. I’m the one who was chosen.’
Since rumors were inevitable, Aris decided she’d rather have good rumors than bad ones, and did the complete opposite of what the original Lady Horissen would have done. She had once looked into her rumors and was pleased to find out that her only reputation was that of a beautiful and sophisticated young lady.
Aris, who had been eating cookies absentmindedly, reached for another, only to find the plate was empty. She wanted more and that did not escape her maid’s eyes.
“You still need to eat lunch later, my lady. You shouldn’t have too many cookies,” Lucine said gently as if reading the other girl’s mind.
Aris ate very little in order to maintain her figure. She didn’t gain weight easily but found that she tended to fatten up if she didn’t watch herself. She had learned this lesson the hard way and vowed to never let it happen again.
As Aris descended to the lower floor for lunch, she spotted her father, Ian, already seated at the dining table.
“Father!” she exclaimed, beaming brightly.
In the original novel, Aris and her father had not been close. The marquis was constantly disappointed with his thoughtless daughter and tried to change her, but Aris felt that he nagged too much and grew to dislike him.
“Aris, you’re here.”
Things were different now. After she had become Aris Horissen, she had taken painstaking measures to ensure she had a spotless reputation. Ian knew this as well. He was a rather stony, taciturn man, but he would melt in front of his daughter. How could he remain silent when his daughter was as lovely and adorable as she was?
“Did you have a good lunch, Father?”
“It was alright.”
“You need to make sure you’re eating well!” Aris said to her father, smiling.
She liked Ian well enough and thought he was a good man. At the very least, he was a father who loved her just for trying her best.
Ian’s face brightened at Aris’ affectionate chiding and smiled gently. Aris lowered her head. The first time she had done this, he hadn’t known how to react, but now he knew exactly what she wanted. He brought a hand up and patted her head, smoothing her silky brown hair with his fingers.
“Are you going to the palace today?”
She had yet to go to the palace, but she had heard countless rumors about it. The one she liked the most was that there was a garden with flowers constantly in bloom.