Chapter 1 - Waking Up In THAT Place
A bright ray of sunshine shined through the curtains and trickled above Ranhee’s eyes. She smiled as she enjoyed the warm sensation of sunlight. That was until something popped up in her mind, causing her to pull herself up right away.
Today she was scheduled to appear on a television program. If she wanted to arrive on time, she had to be up at least by four o’clock in the morning. Even then, she would barely make it on time. There should have been an alarm waking her up before the sun even came up. Even if the alarm could not wake her up, a scary-faced version of secretary Yoon should have woken her up already. What was going on?
Maybe secretary Yoon was asleep like Ranhee too. It would be rare for that to happen, but it appears to be what happened. She needed to hurry and get prepared.
Pull yourself together, Cha Ranhee!
In self-hate, Ranhee mentally screamed in her head until she let out a sigh. When she finally accepted her current predicament, she began looking for her cellphone on top of the nightstand. Then… huh? She reached for the nightstand, but she could not touch anything next to her bed. A weird sense of unfamiliarity began to hit her. Goosebumps began to grow all over her back as she looked around the room.
She was not in her home.
Although Ranhee was a famous pâtissier, she wasn’t successful enough to afford a room of this size. Compared to the bed she was currently on, the bed she purchased after she became famous was more modest. There were carefully sculpted golden poles on each corner of the bed. Between the poles were red and blue gemstones. It was the same for many of the other pieces of furniture in the room. None of them fell short to the bed appearance-wise. Most of the furniture matched with the bed. In Ranhee’s mind, she estimated the total cost of the furniture, and she felt disgusted.
‘How much money do you need to waste away like this?’ thought Ranhee. She was fed up with the luxurious bed and got out of her bed.
She screamed as she fell down to the floor due to losing her balance. Ranhee was originally five foot eight inches tall. She was completely caught off-guard and could not control her new body. She was now in a five foot two inches tall, frail and muscle-less body.
Or was it the opposite? Maybe it was the frail body she was in that could not handle Ranhee’s active movements. She did not understand the changes in her body and slumped down in self-pity. ‘Ugh, I should tell Joonho to go harder on my workout schedule…’
Ranhee brushed her hair back with her hands, then stopped.
‘…what did I just see?’ Ranhee thought as she noticed silky purple threads on her. She then came up with a theory that was hard to believe and pulled on the thread.
The second scream was loud.
‘Dammit! Is it really my hair? My own hair? What the hell is happening?!’ Ranhee cursed.
She touched her head in disbelief as she looked around for a mirror. Then she found one. Ranhee hastily scurried over to the mirror and looked at her reflection. She was speechless. On her head was gorgeous purple hair. Her emerald-colored eyes were shaking in disbelief. Her skin was so pure. As she touched her face with her palms, she noticed how smooth they were.
In shock, Ranhee looked at her delicate hands. Ranhee’s hands originally had a few burn marks and calluses due to her long career as a pâtissier. Although her hands were not beautiful, she considered them her medals of honor. The burns and the calluses were no longer there. Her hands were now so white and clean.
‘What’s going on? Did I travel to a different dimension or something?’
The girl in the mirror looked too familiar. There were strands of lovely pink hair mixed with the mysterious and elegant purple hair. Towards the ends of the hair strands, the hair was almost a dark blue color.
‘I never thought such hair colors existed in this world.’
Ranhee touched her hair in amazement. The beautiful girl in the mirror mirrored her movements.
‘So… this is me?’
She remembered reading about someone who looked like the girl in the mirror. As she looked at her emerald eyes and her glistening lips, Ranhee now had more evidence to support her theory.
A voice, sweeter than what she had imagined, flowed out of her mouth. Her theory was just confirmed. Ranhee was now inside a novel that she has read before. She was not sure why she was certain. It just seemed to be true. As her mind raced through her thoughts, a door leading to the side room burst open.
“My, my! Lady, how are you up so early today? What’s gotten into you?” said Maylin, a plump housemaid.
Ranhee turned to look outside the window. ‘…Early?’ she thought.
The sun was already high above the sky. It was at least eleven in the morning. Maylin noticed Ranhee’s awkwardness and brought her to the couch to begin washing her. She used a cloth soaked with warm water to wash Ranhee’s… no, Luciella’s face.
“Well, well, well. I know your brother is coming back from his long travels, but you waking up early will not make him come back sooner! Even without you waiting for him, he will bring a gift, my lady. Don’t worry.”
Maylin was treating her like a baby. Ranhee, a 38-year-old woman, felt goosebumps growing on her back from being treated like a baby. She glared sideways at Maylin and noticed Maylin giving her a surprised look.
“My god! Look at those goosebumps! Was the water too cold?”
Maylin placed her hand in the water to check the temperature. The water was just the right temperature. There was no reason for Luciella to have goosebumps like that during the warm, late spring weather. Maylin began to suspect the reason for Luciella’s condition.
“Are you shivering? Do you feel cold? Let’s go lie down, my lady! I will bring Baron Hillis right away!”
Was it age that gave Maylin such great energy? Maylin, Luciella’s guardian and supporter, became more active as she aged. To Ranhee, she was just an annoying nosy lady. Ranhee could not stop her. She was dragged back to bed without saying a word and covered in blankets. Maylin’s worried look lingered in Luciella’s mind. Maylin tried to find abnormalities in Luciella’s condition. If she found any, she wanted to report them to Baron Hillis. Unfortunately, she could not find any. Maybe it was better to just fetch him at once. Maylin, as she left the room, left a warning to Luciella. “You must never, EVER, leave your bed, my lady. Do you understand?”
“Yeah,” answered Ranhee.
She could not tell Maylin that the source of her goosebumps was from Maylin. Maylin treated her like a baby. What Maylin did was normal. There was no way Maylin could imagine a 38-year-old woman was now inside her lovely young lady’s body. Telling Maylin not to follow her routine schedule would also be strange.
Ranhee sighed as she was alone once again in the room. She couldn’t understand why this was all happening. She first suspected that this was just a dream, but it wasn’t. Her head still had lingering pain from when she pulled her hair. There was no way this pain was just part of a dream.
‘Did I die in my sleep? I’m now the girl that I was envious of among the books I’ve read… nope. That doesn’t make any sense.’ Ranhee stopped herself from thinking such thoughts. She knew that trying to explain this mysterious phenomenon to herself was futile. Similar to this world, things happened coincidentally without an explanation in her previous world. Ranhee eventually came to terms with her current situation.
Just let it go.
It was not necessary to try and explain how or why this all happened. So, she stopped trying to explain or understand her situation. It was nobody’s fault. It just happened.
Her parent’s sudden death while she studied abroad. Ranhee’s trusted business partner suddenly bailed on her with the startup money. There was no reason for either of these events to happen in her life. She regretted and contemplated as much as she could, but nothing changed. Her parents were still dead, and she could not find the bastard that took her money either. It was never her intention to become a famous pâtissier. Ranhee never understood what pleased the media. Many of the so-called critics critiqued Ranhee and tried to pinpoint the reasons for her fame. Many of these reasons were not unique to Ranhee. She never understood her popularity with the public.
‘One day, I am going to be hated for no reason.’ Ranhee always believed that. She realized that day had appeared when she was first brought into this world. Eventually, Ranhee directed her focus towards the luxurious carpet next to the bed. Golden threads were used to embroider the stellations on the carpet. Luciella’s mother, Duchess Constance, created this masterpiece.
‘Luciella had parents. Yeah, I remember now…’ Ranhee’s eyes shook in realization. She had no idea how to communicate with them. It certainly was going to be as awkward; Similar to how she reacted when she met Maylin. RanHee did not know them. To them, however, Luciella was their precious daughter. She was their first daughter after having three sons. Because of that, they treasured her the most. Their hearts would be heartbroken if their daughter acted like a stranger to them.
Although Ranhee was aware of that, she was not sure if she could pull it off. In her previous life, she studied abroad after she had graduated from elementary school. After three years, her parents died while flying over to visit her. Ranhee went through a long period of self-hatred. She believed that her greed caused her parents to die. That thought continued to consume her life to this very day.
But here it was again. Parents filled with love for their daughter. Ranhee felt like running away before she faced the loved-filled eyes of the duchess.
The situation she was worried about appeared much quicker than she had anticipated. Quickly, the duchess ran towards her daughter and covered Luciella’s cheeks with her hands. Ranhee’s mind raced as she tried to think of how she would react to the duchess’s worried look.