Chapter 1 - Away From the County
She had been reborn. There was no other way to explain it.
Kim Ah Min, just like every other protagonist of romance fantasy novels, had died after being hit by a truck while crossing the streets. She then found herself in one of the dating sim games she had loved to play: How to Love that Obsessive Man.
The obsessive man in the title was obviously the male lead of the game. The mysterious archduke had settled in North Seronia – an uninhabited, barren piece of land infested with demons. People had come to fear this man whose name and appearance was never heard of before. It was believed that he had the blood of monsters running in his veins since he was living in the land of demons.
The story of the game began after Jayna Blake, the female protagonist, married Theoris for some unknown reason. It was an arranged marriage, decided without considering the feelings of the two people involved in it. Initially, Jayna was worried about spending the rest of her life together with a man she had never met before. There was no use crying over spilled milk, so she steeled her will to create a happy future for herself.
Having made up her mind, Jayna approached the cold and plain-spoken Theoris. Her warmth melted the archduke’s frozen heart which was starved for affection. Theoris eventually managed to overcome his fear of people with her help. He opened his heart to her kindness and fell deeply in love with her.
At some point, Theoris’s inexperienced love turned into a twisted obsession. Throughout the game, he either read too much meaning into words or got ahead of himself. He became a brooding man and often ended up getting hurt.
The game had fifty bad ending routes. One wrong choice and the players would be directly shoved into one of them. Kim Ah Min didn’t have the fortune of reaching a happy ending before being transported into the world of the game as its female lead.
It doesn’t really matter anyway since I am not after the happy ending,’ she mused to herself as she recalled one of the bad ending routes that had ended up in Jayna’s confinement.
Honestly, how could it be considered a bad ending? Being confined to a nice room, eating delicious meals for the rest of my life and having a handsome man constantly whisper proclamations of love… Isn’t this the happiest ending I could ever hope for?’ Jayna thought. Having been a homebody since childhood, she would never pass up on an opportunity to stay indoors forever. The route ending with her confinement was perfect for the lazy Kim Ah Min.
It’s settled then, my goal is a bad ending!
As she daydreamed in front of the mirror, the door opened, interrupting her wild fantasies.
“My lady, what’s taking you so long to come out?” a maid’s irritated voice called out. Jayna hadn’t adjusted to her new environment yet. She simply stood wordlessly, causing the maid to grab her wrist and pull her along. “I’m telling you to hurry up and change, what are you standing there for?” she fumed.
The maid dragged Jayna to the other side of the room and opened the closet with a bang. It was hard to believe that the sorry excuse of a wardrobe belonged to the daughter of a count. From it, the maid picked a shabby dress for her to wear.
Jayna remembered this scene. It was the opening act of the game where the heroine was sent from the county to meet the male lead. The maid didn’t even give her the time to comprehend the situation. She threw her dress to the ground and ordered, “Put it on. Quick.”
Jayna Blake was the illegitimate daughter of Count Blake. Needless to say, she was rather unwelcome in the household. Neither the countess nor the count who had brought her was pleased with her presence, let alone the servants.
This kind of treatment is too much even for a bastard child. Didn’t this game have a feudal setup? Jayna thought bitterly.
“My lady, what are you doing?” The maid walked up to Jayna, glaring daggers at her. No matter how one looked at it, this was not how a servant treated their master. How did protagonists of romance fantasy novels usually handle such cases?
Jayna raised her hand and gave the maid a resonating slap.
It was her first time laying a hand on someone, so her slap didn’t hurt a lot. However, the maid covered her cheeks, her expression incredulous, like some kind of pitiful protagonist.
“What do you think you are doing? Are you nuts?!” the maid screamed. She had yet to come to her senses. There was a saying that went: if anyone slaps you on your right cheek–
–turn to them the other also.
This time, she put more strength into her strike, causing the maid’s head to turn to the side. Her mouth hung agape with shock but she didn’t retort.
“I’ll change my clothes on my own, so scram,” Jayna snapped. The maid stared tearfully at her before leaving the room.
Jayna picked up the dress splayed on the floor. Its ribbons were overly loosened and stretched, and its floppy frills looked like they were about to fall apart. She didn’t like it one bit but it was the best dress she owned. Therefore, she decided to swallow her pride and wear it.
Her reflection on the mirror was no better than a beggar’s. There’s a saying that the face completes the fashion. But even Jayna’s beauty failed to conceal the overwhelming ugliness of the outfit. She had to admit though, her face was quite pretty. Or rather, it leaned on the cute side.
She had light pink hair that looked like an armful of cherry blossom petals. Her skin was as fair and smooth as a newborn baby’s and her eyes sparkled like pink diamonds. Lovely – that was the word that best suited her.