Chapter 1 – The Land Of The Desert
Everything felt different and strange. It was scorching hot, and she could feel her forehead slick with sweat.
When Eugene squinted her eyes open, she found herself lying down and was greeted with an unfamiliar sight—sand scattered by the wind and the clear sky visible above her.
Where am I?
She willed herself to get up, burying her hands in the sand to support her upper body. Doing so, a handful of it, which laid previously on her chest, poured down.
Her eyes were filled with wonder as she looked at the strange place she was in. An even morbid expression flashed across her face when she saw the clothes she was wearing.
Lifting her arm, she looked awestruck at the back of her hand, loose sleeves covering it. The material of the gown was luxurious, but it wasn’t to her taste.
Am I dreaming? Eugene surmised, but the painful rays of the sun on her exposed skin told her otherwise.
Taking her eyes off her hand, she looked again at the scenery before her. The red sand blew in the wind—she could barely see where she was.
I’ve never been here before, but I’ve seen many similar landscapes in pictures. Why am I in the desert?
An idea popped in her mind, and when she opened her mouth, finding it ridiculous, she heard nothing but her own laughter. She was too overwhelmed to make out a word.
Did she fly to the other side of the world?
The desperate instinct of survival awakened, and her mind became clear. She rose slowly and looked around, her legs wobbling beneath her.
Everywhere she looked, it was sandy, dull, and just dunes. Standing confusedly, she began to walk.
I don’t want to burn myself to death. I need to find some shelter as soon as possible.
Not long after she began to move, something made her stop her steps. Far away, something appeared to be moving. With a crease on her forehead, she squinted her eyes to have a better look.
She was watching keenly to find out who the figures were, but when they started to change direction and charge towards her at a brisk pace, she began to panic. On instinct, she stepped back, unwilling to narrow the distance between them!
She was in a frenzy, imagining the worst that could happen. Her face became thoroughly flushed when she thought they were armed soldiers rushing in the sandstorm.
She ran and ran, but the gown slowed her down. Besides, it was much harder to sprint on the sand.
It was not long when they came close to her just enough for Eugene to recognize them. The riders on horseback with grotesque forms of helmet stopped at a certain distance.
The man in the lead jumped off his horse. He was a stout-bodied foreigner with disarrayed thick brown hair. If anything, he looked European, so did the men behind her.
The man bent one knee on the ground and said, “My queen.”
Eugene’s eyes, which had been hardened with fear, opened wide. The language he spoke was definitely not in Korean. But she could understand it perfectly.
Dumbfounded, she looked at him, blinking several times as the rush of sweat stung her eyes.
She didn’t know how to react. Noticing her unresponsiveness, the man spoke confusedly.
“I beg your pardon, Anika. Are you okay?”
Eugene nodded slowly. It was the best she could do for now.
Soldiers patrolled along the walls built high on the desert. The red sun hung along the horizon, its sizzling rays on the brink of sunset stretched over the endless sand.
The fortress wall faced a desert on one side and a capital city on the other, where a kingdom was located. The desert facing the kingdom was called the “Dead Sea” because it was nearly impossible to tell its end.
There was no disarray in the soldiers patrolling on the wall at regular intervals. The Kingdom of Hashi, ruled by the King of the Desert, was famous for his strict, military discipline.
The soldier, who habitually glanced over the Dead Sea, turned his head again upon seeing familiar figures approaching the kingdom walls.
The cloud of dust created by the strong hooves became more chaotic as the group galloped nearer and nearer the wall.
“His Majesty is coming back!”
The soldier’s cry was passed from one mouth to another and finally reached the people at the gate post.
“Open the gates!”
The vicinity of the gate quickly became busy. There was tension and excitement on the faces of the soldiers and civilians alike.
The vast stone gate was raised by dozens of sturdy men who joined forces to lift it open. Among the soldiers, those with good physique and strength gathered at the wall and held the pulley handle connected to the gate.
It had been almost a month since the king had left the castle. After a long trip, his subordinates welcomed him warmly, chanting his name even from a distance.
“One! Two! Pull!”
The stone gate was the sole entrance to the kingdom. It was held open only in specific periods of the year when the sun rose and on special occasions. The return of the king was a special exemption.
By the time, the stone gate was almost up, the king and his warriors reached the wall and ran inside without slowing down.
The straight road immediately cleared. The passers-by, who heard the news of the king’s return, quickly stepped aside to make way for him. Suddenly, their works were disturbed, but no one complained.
The king only brushed past the people who greeted him and cheered, but no one cared. On the contrary, everyone bowed to the retreating back of the monarch, who had already gone in split seconds, leaving only clouds of dust and sand on his trail.
“His Majesty is back!”
“He’s been out a little longer than usual, hasn’t he?”
“Now I’m going to sleep in peace. The drought will be over soon!”
“I wish I could live without an unfortunate accident this year.”
People who continued on with their chores again spoke with a brighter dexterity
The King was both the ruler of the kingdom and their guardian. No one disagreed with this.
Everything happened so fast. In the next moment, Eugene found herself in a delicate chamber which her supposed attendants lead her into. All the way, she walked in a daze—everything surrounding her felt like in a dream.
The good thing was people didn’t talk to her and kept their heads bowed down.
Were they afraid of her that much?
Eugene sat stiffly on the sofa, nervously biting her lips. Her eyes were full of tiredness after not having had a good night’s sleep
She now recounted the name of the role she must play from now on, the name felt strange to her lips.
Her real name was Eugene. Her last name was Yu and her first name was Jin, but most people around spelled her name as “Eugene”, making it more western-like.
Eugene was an ordinary woman turning twenty-eight this year. A simple office worker in Park Bong’s office who was living on her own and striving hard to escape a miserable life.
A great deal had happened in just a few days. She fell in love with the novel “Mahar,” which she created, and woke up in someone else’s body! In all honesty she didn’t know what came to her, words just flowed out of her and she just found herself writing the novel.
A novel where the ideas and concepts she didn’t know where exactly she got from.
Why Jin Anika? Why her of all the characters?
She lived in a different world and a different body overnight. Even so, she wasn’t entirely complaining because her previous life was so hard that she didn’t want to look back at it.
But there was a severe problem. Jin Anika was a villainess in the novel and the last character that would perish in the name of justice!
Mahar was a thoroughly socialized society. Thus, the Queen of the Kingdom of Hashi was at the top of the pyramid of identity.
What happened to Jin Anika in the novel? Eugene shivered visibly as she remembered the end of the novel.
Jin Anika, Queen of Hashi kingdom, became a public enemy and died by her husband’s blade.
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