“I’m done fixing the roof!”
“Oh, Asha, did you come outside to see me?”
Asha was in the middle of contemplating whether she should sit on the steps in front of the door and wait until the roof was fixed to see her, but Irina lifted her up before she finished thinking.
“Irina, you did a great job.”
Irina, who was holding her daughter, went inside, while her father Yuriel, came out of the kitchen holding a ladle.
The one who was in charge of cooking today was Yuriel.
The bottom part of the ladle Yuriel used was almost all worn out and would probably not be able to scoop out anything besides the solids in the soup tomorrow.
The old table was shiny, perhaps because it had been used for more than a decade.
Yuriel put three bowls of stew and a coarse loaf on the table with a proud face.
Asha looked down at the clear stew with potato slices that floated to the top. She could see a few pieces of meat.
It was meat that Arten Juvanne, a harpist invited by my parents the day before yesterday, had brought as a gift to help the needy family.
“Tonight’s dinner is very rich.”
Yuriel sits down and lifts Asha several times, sitting her on his knees.
This is half the reality of the fact that there are only two chairs in the house. The other half was that they cherished the fact that the child was only ten years old.
“Mr Arten gave us such good meat! Does our princess want to have a try?”
The bowl was small, but it contained the most ingredients.
“Aigoo, you’re eating so well.”
As Asha emptied the whole bowl of stew, the slices of bread also went into her mouth.
Asha tried to give her parents the bread several times, but it didn’t work.
Irina fed a handful of dried fruit from her neighbours to Asha for dessert and looked at Yuriel.
“By the way, Asha will have her spirit ceremony soon. If it’s only the two of us holding it…”
“Since brother Maxim is helping us, he said not to worry too much.”
“Then Asha will have it with Dimitri…”
“N-No, Dimitri is…”
Yuriel’s words drifted off in a pause. Irina seemed to get what he was trying to say.
Asha, who had been listening to her parents’ conversation, tilted her head.
“Dad? What’s a spirit ceremony?”
I’ve heard the name Maxim come out from Yuriel’s mouth several times.
He’s a person who often helps our poor family. Dimitri is probably his son.
‘Thank god he’s not a swindler.’
Until two years ago, there were several occasions where innocent parents were tricked by a merchant speaking some bullshit.
They haven’t been back ever since Asha put laxatives in the new merchant—no, scammer’s stew.
“We were talking about a new friend that is coming to meet our princess.”
“Friends? I don’t need friends.”
Asha tried to stop herself from saying that, but it was too late.
Yuriel and Irina’s eyes started to get moist.
“I, I’m serious, I really don’t need any!”
A shabby hut on the outskirts of this rural village. Compared to those living nearby, Yuriel and Irina, who were both undoubtedly poor but still somehow seemed noble, were like foreign beings.
Their reluctance naturally came down to their only daughter, and even up until she was ten years old, Asha still didn’t have a decent friend of her age.
Yuriel and Irina never gave in to poverty or hardship.
However, occasionally, on days when they thought that they were the reason their daughter felt lonely, they would start to tear up like this.
“Dad, I’m really alright! I really don’t need friends. Spirit ceremony? I don’t need one either!”
I don’t know what it is, but when I see my parents worry, it seems as if they were about to spend a lot of money. Asha shook her head hastily.
Yuriel lifted Asha up quickly and rubbed their cheeks together.
“Don’t worry. We absolutely have to hold the prettiest spirit ceremony for our princess!”
“Then I prefer white dandelions!”
“Then should I make a wreath out of a hundred white dandelions for our princess? And a ring to match it.”
At Asha’s words, Yuriel kissed her on the cheek, saying he would make her a flower crown and a ring.
And then in the next moment, Asha didn’t realise what had happened until the only door in the house had been broken and suddenly fell down.
There was not a single lie told when Yuriel called her ‘princess’.
At the sound of the door opening, Irina grabbed her sword.
However, the people who had broken the door, dressed in uniforms littered with gold and silver thread, did not act harshly, even when they saw Irina’s sword.
“Please forgive our intrusion. We have something to say. We…”
However, while they were looking at the tip of her sword, the moment they tried to say something softly, Yuriel moved first.
Yuriel began to run straight for the back door while holding Asha.
For the first time in 10 years, Asha learned that her father was not just talented in drawing, writing, playing the flute and cooking, but also at running strenuously.
The back door which Yuriel pushed at heavily with his shoulders fell to the floor at once, the flustered people pausing and missing Yuriel and Asha who he had in his arms.
But it didn’t take long for the two of them to get caught again.
People in luxurious uniforms had already surrounded the nearby houses.
Asha held her breath and clung to Yuriel’s collar tightly.
‘W-What in the world? Military? Police? Journalists?’
“Dad, what…what’s going on? Huh?”
“Hic. Asha, our princess…”
Yuriel hugged her and said in a bitter voice, as if bleeding, breathing heavily because of the sudden run.
‘Are we being taken away? Has the country finally decided to wipe out the revolutionaries?’
Asha swallowed, despite her dry throat.
Yuriel never made a scene, even in his own house. He was a meek person who was so sensitive that he could bear to part with his precious metals and hired musicians to listen to music.
However, there was only one instance when Yuriel was full of anger and raised his voice, and that was when he was talking about the country.
“That insane emperor! I refuse to breathe the same air he was in!”
A sip of wine for my father, who was horrible at drinking, surprisingly kicked up a storm.
There were a series of words that were harsh and not noble at all.
Taking into account the normally elegant lifestyle of both parents despite the circumstances of the poor family which obviously would not have been able to support it.
Ever since she was reincarnated, she had thoughts like, “Although my dad has a lot of self restraint, he must have run away doing something like joining a rebel army.”
‘What do we do? What should I do? No matter how much I reincarnate, what do I even do in this situation…’
I couldn’t see any way out at all.
Asha listened while trembling and held her breath while Yuriel hugged her even harder.
At that moment, the man who broke through the sea of men surrounding them and had been the first to come into the cabin appeared. Next to him stood Irina with a resigned look on her face.
At the moment Asha tried to call out to Irina urgently, he interrupted her first.
“I’m here to escort the Imperial grandchild, Her Highness Anastasia!”
Tears welled up in Asha’s eyes.
[ / / / ]
“We will now begin the entrance of the Imperial family’s direct successors of the spirit ceremony. Imperial grandchild, His Highness Illiya, His Highness Dimitri, His Highness Vladimir, His Highness Lucian…”
In the deepest part of the Imperial Palace is a small, isolated palace.
This palace, named Statten Palace, is only used for the ‘spirit ceremony’ of the imperial children.
A straight waterway through the entire stream was laid on the floor, and cold water flowed in from outside like an ice field, causing a cold chill to rise. In the middle is a small room that looks like an interrogation room.
In front of the room, her and other children around the age of ten had gathered together.
All of them were Asha’s cousins, this was the first time she had seen them.
“Are you really His Majesty’s grandchild if you can’t even stand this sort of cold, Illiya?”
The short boy named Illiya who had said it was cold, shivered. In the meantime, the other boys chatted.
“Which spirit are you going to sign a contract with?”
“There’s still the Earth Spirit King and the Water Spirit King, so if we do well…”
“If I don’t do well for this, my mum won’t let me back into the house.”
“But who’s that?”
“Seeing that she’s here, she must be our cousin.”
“I’ve never seen her before.”
“How skinny. She’s thinner than a twig. Isn’t she smaller than Illiya? Then won’t she break as soon as I touch her?”
“Then she’ll make a contract with the spirit of a tree branch. Kekeke.”
But the noise made from the boys of her age did not even reach Asha’s ears.
‘This is a lie, right? A lie? A lie?’
Because Asha was busy swallowing her scream in her heart and gripping nervously at her collar.