Chapter 1: Kind and Cruel (1)
I managed to brush my thoughts about Fiona’s terrible end and my impending future.
Currently, Count Green has called the whole family, including me, into the drawing-room. Once again, I’ve been caught in a bad situation. To say the least, I might end up being beaten with a club.
“Everyone knows that these days, the situation at war is not good.”
As expected, Count Green’s grim expression mirrored the words that came out of his mouth.
“Yesterday in the Imperial Palace, an order fell on our family. We must send a mage to go to the northern front.”
Suddenly, my siblings in the drawing-room became fussed. However, I nodded calmly. If my guess was to be correct, the current timeline was about six years before the original war began.
In this world, the war, rather than being a conflict between nations was more precisely, a fight between the forces of evil and humans. The demons were led by cursed dragons, and to block their attack, people who could fight – mercenaries, mages, knights, etc. – participated in the war. Perhaps during this recent period, the empire was in a disadvantageous situation because the duration of the war had been pushed out for a long time.
…… If you were to ask me in my past life about why Fiona had no dreams or hopes in this romance fantasy novel, honestly, it was just to make the main characters stand out.
The summary of the storyline was roughly like this. In this world, more and more humans were dying in the face of the cursed dragons and monsters. These occurrences to the people happened until the male and female lead came to save them all from this retribution. They had appeared like comets. That was it.
“Because of this, one of you must join the war in the northern front.” Count Green said grimly.
The words “join the war” that came out from my father increased the agitation of my older siblings who gathered in the reception room.
“Father, it’s a war. Are we really going?”
“Oh my god….”
The House of Green was one of the imperial mage families. So when things became worse, it was only natural for the Imperial Palace to order support from the families that existed. The biggest question was, who the hell would want to go to the war?
Everyone was a child of a noble family. They were people who had grown up fine and pampered; even I, Fiona, had never done chores. Let alone, go to war. If someone tried to join the war which had been prolonged for a long time, with insufficient training, they would not be able to fight properly. Count Green, who knew the truth of the matter better than anyone else, gave a fake smile.
“I wonder if any of my children will bravely volunteer for this glorious thing.”
Everyone became silent whilst looking at each other.
At that time, Cain Dell nudged my side and whispered, “you go, rice worm*”
Gosh, since earlier, this guy. I glanced at him with my eyes twitching.
The Count had four children. Except me, the youngest, all the three above me were born from the Countess. So, all of them wanted me, the bastard child, to go to war instead.
Even more, Cain Dell raised his hand and said, “Father, our proud youngest sister wants to go. I think she can’t speak up because she is shy.”
Of course, I had never said a word! I looked at Cain Dell with my eyes wide open. When his eyes met mine, the snitch smiled menacingly. This son of a bitch.
“Oh, perfect, so you’re saying you will go, Fiona.” Count Green‘s face became bright as he welcomed the idea. This father-and-son duo was exactly the same. Wasn’t this what the two had been planning from the beginning?
“Representing the family is an honorable task. I want to thank you for taking this opportunity to repay me for raising you all this time.”
…. No matter how much I heard this, it just sounded like he was telling me to go to the battlefield and die. No, that was not it. In fact, how could there be a family that would send a thirteen-year-old kid to the battlefield without hesitation in the first place!
The second sister even started to help them next to me. “Yes, Fiona. Cain Dell has to be in the family to continue, and I’m about to get married. Our third brother, Jen, is about to get engaged to a beautiful and lovely young lady. How can you send the family’s limbs, legs, and arms to that situation? You’d better go.”
….What! I wasn’t even taught magic properly since I am an illegitimate child. They locked me up in the attic every day, and then beat me up.
Well, even so, I was familiar with magic. I learned by watching them from the side and practicing secretly. So, fortunately, I already knew the basic way to use magic.
The second I opened my mouth, everyone stared at me with their stiff face. I was not so foolish to not know the meaning behind those venomous sly looks directed at me.
‘You think you can refuse?’
The realization came after I finished my judgment about the situation. It was already decided. The thing was I never had a choice in the first place. If I were to refuse, they would forcibly throw me into the middle of the battlefield like a beast being dragged to the slaughterhouse. In the first place, there was no one on my side in this mansion. No one was going to feel sorry for me either.
There was only one line of past settings for Fiona, who was not even the main character. ‘As an illegitimate child, she grew up tormented by her family.’
That was exactly what was shown to me in front of my eyes. A family who would casually send a thirteen year old into the middle of the battlefield to die. A family who would order a death sentence on an innocent, without batting an eye. For the villainess in her childhood phase, there was no dream or hope.
I managed to swallow a sigh and spoke slowly. “…. Yes, I understand. I will go”
What if I refused and forcefully refuted them? If I rebelled against them? Even if I were to act like that, getting rid of this sly family in front of me, my dark future would still remain the same.
Naturally, even in this world, the punishment for the murder of relatives was heavy. Even if I were to escape the situation right away, I could be put in jail for the rest of my life, or, the life of the fugitive remained open.
So if I had to go unconditionally, I should go with two feet like a person rather than being dragged like a beast. At least, this was the way to keep my pride.
My family cheered pretentiously at my words.
“That’s a very good choice, Fio.”
“I’m very proud.”
“You are finally doing your part.”
From the beginning, this was the reason why they called me to go here. They didn’t usually treat me like a human being, so I thought they’d lock me up in the attic and not call me to the family gathering. I wanted to wipe those fake faces away.
Somehow I felt sad. Even a year ago, when I realized that I first possessed Fiona’s body, I wasn’t so sad. Did Fiona, the villainess herself who I created, feel this way?
I was deeply sorry for some reason. Fiona, who had never been truly loved by anyone in her life, resented the world. One wrong decision led to another. In the end, her choices lead her to a pitfall. The outcome of her future, irreparable.
But, unlike her, I didn’t feel like blaming anyone easily.
Right here, because this is the world I wrote.
*Rice Worm: a Korean term; a person who only eats and sleeps all day/ a person who doesn’t do their duty properly and just gets their wage in a lazy way like the worms that eat rice in storage as a parasite.