Rose reached out into the darkness.
At the end of her fingertips, as she had expected, a small light began to illuminate the area around her bed.
A button was within reach.Once pressed, it activated the magic that turned the lights on.
Rose sat up and looked around.
It's really my room.
The place where she was born and lived for nineteen years.
Tears welled up in Rose's red eyes, and a feeling of nostalgia bloomed for the place she was so familiar with.
Dream, it was a dream…
Wiping away her tears, she rolled back her blanket, and jumped off the bed.
Whether it was a dream or something else, she would only be able to calm down after seeing Wells.
Just saying his familiar name made her eyes well up with tears again.
She left the room, her cheeks still stained from crying.
The morning atmosphere is quiet.
No, there's thunder outside, but other than that, there's nothing else.
Walking down that familiar hallway, knowing that she had walked through it many times, didn't stop the notion that, at that moment, it felt strangely longer.
One step at a time will eventually become a small leap.
Without hesitation or knocking, Rose threw open the doors of her brother's room.
His room was dark, but even so, Rose knew Wells' room layout well and immediately went to the bed.
Rose called once more and excitedly jumped onto the bed.
She expected her brother to wake up in surprise at the pressure thrown on him.
Usually, after confirming that it was his beloved younger sister, he would pick her up and seat her next to him as he smiled helplessly.
No, he'd treat it like I'm just acting like a nagging little child.
Rose smiled in the darkness and reached out to her brother.
He should have been sleeping on his back, but her fingertips touched empty space.
Lightning flashed outside the window, lighting up the room for a brief instant.
The bed was empty.
There was no Wells Honeywell.
That was when Rose became aware of the coldness of the bedsheets.
Once she became aware, her heart thumped harshly in her chest.
Is this a dream? Then, the incident at the Imperial Palace…”
Her mind brought up images of her brother getting stabbed at the banquet, then being dragged away by knights.
Her body trembled.
Rose cried out as she buried her face in the thick blanket.
After weeping, she heard a voice in the midst of the overpowering rain hitting the window.
She quieted her sobs and listened.
It was a call that came beyond the door.
It was Rose's personal maid, Anne.
Rose staggered out of bed and slowly left Wells' bedroom.
Following the sounds of the voice, she soon found Anne walking about with a lamp in hand.
Anne, too, saw Rose and ran up to her in surprise.
“Lady Rose! Where have you been so early in the morning?”
The tears flowed again when she wanted to reply to Anne, so instead, she settled for shaking her head.
Anne's expression revealed her concern for her young lady.
The maid wrapped the blanket in her arms around the young girl.
“The hallway at dawn does not have heating magic and is cold.
Let's go back to your room.
I will guide you with the light in front.”
Rose nodded and silently followed.
The maid didn't stop her words of concern as she took the lead.
“I was afraid that the Lady Rose would be cold.
It's raining pretty heavily after all.
So, I took firewood to keep your room warm, but I was surprised to find that you weren't there.
I thought you'd gone to the bathroom, but after waiting for a long time, you didn't come back so I hurried out with a blanket.
I'm truly relieved that I find you immediately.””
Anne's chatter calmed down Rose's fears.
As she silently followed Anne's story, they arrived at Rose's bedroom.
The maid opened the door and looked back at her mistress.
“By the way, Lady Rose, where have you been?”
She trailed off as she remembered that her maid hadn't received her reply earlier.
Doesn't Anne know about Brother? Didn't the Imperial Palace inform the manor of the incident?
“Yes, Lady Rose.
Why don't you come inside first?”
“It's about my brother.”
“What about His Grace?”
“Huh? Actually, my brother…
How do I tell her? Where do I even start?
The young girl hesitated as she organized her thoughts about her only brother.
A thought occurred to her, and she quickly looked at her body.
Come to think of it, why am I not hurt? I fell off a cliff, right? There's nothing broken.
Rose tugged at her nightgown.
Both of her arms and legs were unharmed.
“Lady Rose! What are you doing? Did you hurt your leg?”
“No, it's not that.”
“If you have any injuries, please tell me straight away.
The young lady doesn't show it when she's in pain, so I'm always worried.”
After arranging the bedding that Rose had previously messed up, Anne gently guided her mistress.
Caught unaware, Rose laid on the bed and stared blankly at the ceiling.
She then sat up.
Her maid was squatting in front of the fireplace, filling it with wood.
“Yes, Lady Rose?”
“Anne, the news about my brother.
Aren't you curious?”
As she poked the burning firewood with a skewer, she faced her mistress and paused to laugh.
Lady Rose you— Duke Honeywell left today…
No, it is early morning now, so it was yesterday.
His Grace had left for the Tuga Mine yesterday morning.
It hasn't even been a full day and yet you're already looking for His Grace.”
You said it would take a week to get back, right?”
Why is Wells, who has been imprisoned in the Imperial Palace, in the Tuga Mine?
The Tuga Mine was one of the various possessions of the Tristan Empire.
Even though the mine had its own manager, the emperor would still occasionally send her brother to send in a report confirming the mine's conditions in person.
“What do you mean? You're saying that my brother went to the mine—didn't he leave a month ago?”
Rose questioned her maid with a slight sense of bewilderment.
Anne smiled at her mistress and waved her hand like she was waving away Rose's wishful thinking.
“Lady Rose, what are you talking about? You must have slept too deeply.
The last time Duke Honeywell left for Tuga Mine was about three months ago.”
Anne corrected her, and even though Rose wanted to continue her questions, she was advised to go to sleep by her maid, who claimed it was already too late.
The young lady had no choice but to bury her face in her pillow as her maid wished.
“Good night, Lady Rose.”
“Yes, good night, Anne.”
Replying to Anne, Rose closed her eyes.
Listening to the sound of the door as it closed, the girl sat up.
She switched on the bedside lamp and walked over to the desk, where a small desk calendar was tucked away in the corner.
Picking it up, she brought it closer to her lamp and checked the date.
It's not the end of the year?”
The calendar showed that the year had a month left.
That is to say, there was still a month before the incident in the Imperial Palace.
Rose carefully set down the calendar.
Her heart pounded crazily as she processed her current reality.
It was absurd.
“Nonsense, time has been rewound.
Then what was all of that before? A prediction? But how?”
She staggered and collapsed into a nearby chair as she ran her palms over her tired face.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and regain your composure, Rose.
“What if—If that is what happens to Brother in the future…
If the Honeywell family truly goes bankrupt before the new year…
Whatever happens, it needs to be stopped.
An image of a man struck her mind.
Her red eyes shone menacingly in the light of the lamp.
She pulled out a sheet of stationery from her drawer, and by relying on the lamp's light, she wrote a letter, signing her name at the end and placing it in an available letter.
With a stamp of the Honeywell family seal, the letter was complete.
Rose shifted her gaze to the calendar.
Her attention fell to the date that was three weeks away.
The date she had once lovingly filled in.
Engagement with Elliot! –
The day I wrote that, how long had I waited for that day to come?
Her lips twisted in mockery.
“I can't let you destroy Honeywell, Elliot.
I'm going to break my engagement with you.
Of course, it's a no-brainer.”
The next day.
After enjoying a delicious breakfast alone in the spacious dining room, Rose informed the butler about her visit to the Proud family.
Once the butler left to send a message to the Duke of Proud's manor, Rose returned to her room and began to dress with Anne's help.
The maid teased as she combed Rose's blonde hair.
“You have an engagement ceremony in a few weeks, and you still want to see Duke Proud like this?”
“Yes, I want to see him like this.”
It was a subconscious answer.
Rose wanted to quickly arrive at Duke Proud's manor and meet Elliot.
She wanted to convey her lingering words to him in person.
Her hands clenched into fists on her lap.
With her makeup complete, Rose placed a thick cloak over her shoulders and left the room.
On the first floor, the butler and a few staff waited to see her off.
Their eyes, as they gazed at her, were full of warmth.
They knew better than anyone else how hard their mistress had worked to get her older brother to agree to her engagement to Elliot.
Even though the engagement was just around the corner, everyone was still happy to see her on her way to her beloved.
Seeing them like that, Rose hid her darkened face behind a pleasant smile.
“I will be back.”
“See you, Lady Rose.”
With the help of her escort, she boarded the carriage and soon departed.
Once settled, her body flooded with tension.
“First of all, I am going to cancel that engagement ceremony.
I already sent a letter this morning to my older brother…
Brother will know of my decision soon.”
What will my brother think after he receives the letter? My dear brother struggled with his anger so that I could have this engagement, and now I'm going to cancel it out of the blue.
For Wells, the situation would be absurd.
But no matter how Rose's brother reacted, she was determined to end her engagement.
Maybe even cut off all ties.
It was because of the events that led to her pre-death state, and now she couldn't look at Elliot as she used to.
She cast her gaze outside, at the carriage passing through the Duke of Proud's manor.
After admiring the scenery of the manor for a bit, Rose slowly got ready to descend from the carriage.
The carriage stopped in front of the main entrance, and the door opened from the outside.
The butler of the Proud family greeted Rose with a courteous smile.
“Yes, where is Elliot?”
“Duke Proud is at the training arena.
I will guide you.”
Rose placed her hand in the butler's outstretched arm as she left the carriage.
She then shook her head.
“I know the way to the training arena.
I can find my own way here.
Butler, you can go back.
I know the way.”
Rose was well aware of how busy the manor's butler was throughout the day.
Perhaps that was the reason why the butler accepted her proposal so quickly.
Rose turned and headed to the training arena, not the manor.
It was the second most often visited place where Elliot, who was skilled with a sword, spent his time when he was not working on government affairs.
It had rained in the early parts of the morning, though most of the paths had already dried as there was bright sunlight.
After following the familiar path, Rose found herself outside the training arena.
She had found Elliot.
He was standing while holding a sword that shone in the bright morning sunlight.
His attitude was modest.
Rose watched him train with his sword, which, once upon a time, she had very much loved to watch.
If it had been before she experienced death, she would have been unable to hide the blush on her cheeks.
Alas, now, Rose's cheeks were as cold as the winter wind that had accompanied her that day.
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