Chapter 6.2

“How old is oppa this year?” I ventured cautiously.

Blair’s smile softened as he answered, “Twenty-five.”

My shock was almost palpable as I pieced together the timeline. If Blair was presently twenty-five, then Odette was merely twenty-two. Yet, at the time of Lelusha’s death, Odette had been twenty-nine.

The realization struck me with profound disbelief. The current moment was seven years before my untimely demise, a period predating Jocelyn’s ascent to the throne. 

You’re telling that I was born into the body of the sister of the woman who ultimately caused my death… and then somehow traveled back in time seven years? My incredulity bordered on disbelief.

The notion of time travel was astonishing in itself, but what perplexed me even more was the existence of someone named “Odelliana.” As far as Lelusha knew, the Duke of Grüsewald had only three children: Hermann, the eldest; Blair, the second son; and Odette, whose presence was like a forbidden jade leaf in their family’s history.

“Odelliana von Grüsewald” did not exist in my world.

***

Disability was often perceived as a divine curse, a mark of disfavor from the gods. Imperfection, any hint of defect, was deemed a sign of being forsaken, not blessed.

This belief led to a tragic fate for many infants born with disabilities. Often, they were abandoned shortly after birth. Families faced the daunting prospect of providing lifelong care, or worse, enduring the societal scorn that came with raising a disabled child.

However, among noble families, there was another grim reality behind the abandonment or even the deliberate killing of disabled children: the preservation of the bloodline.

Nobility and royalty saw themselves as divine emissaries, chosen by the gods. They viewed their lineage as sacrosanct, bearing the divine mandate to rule. For such esteemed families, the presence of a disabled child was an intolerable stain upon their divine pedigree.

While some compassionate souls couldn’t bring themselves to carry out such drastic measures, they often resorted to secrecy. Concealing the birth and raising the child in seclusion became the only means of safeguarding both the family’s reputation and the child’s life.

Odelliana von Grüsewald, unseen in Lelusha’s previous life, had been a product of such clandestine upbringing. Hidden away from society’s eyes, she was raised in obscurity by her family, shielded from the harsh judgment of a world that deemed her existence a curse.

Desperate for answers, Lelusha directed her curiosity towards Blair, recognizing him as the sole source of potential clues in her bewildering situation.

Through their conversation, Blair provided valuable information about their current whereabouts: they were in the Hirschberg Forest, situated at the western border of a region known as Blainscock within the Duchy of Grüsewald. He also disclosed the existence of a nearby village and shed light on Odelliana’s identity as Odette’s twin sister, raised separately due to a leg disability.

“The doctor once mentioned that delusions and memory lapses can occur,” Blair remarked, addressing her relentless questioning. “It seems you might be experiencing memory problems.”

“Is that so…?” 

Their dialogue, coupled with Adella’s discomfort at the barrage of inquiries, hinted at a deeper truth: Odelliana’s current state was afflicted by mania. It became apparent that Adella and Blair perceived her as someone suffering from mental instability, attributing her memory impairment to this condition. A subsequent consultation with her doctor confirmed this diagnosis of memory impairment associated with mania.

Though uncertain of her true mental state, they considered Odelliana von Grüsewald not only physically but also mentally unwell.

Under these circumstances, it’s no wonder she might have struggled with her sanity, Lelusha mused inwardly. Living in such an environment, subjected to such treatment, would test the resilience of even the strongest mind.

This new life she found herself thrust into, following the betrayal by her once-beloved husband, offered little solace. She couldn’t help but laugh bitterly at the grim reality she now faced.

With nothing but a healthy body to show for it, she had embarked on a journey as a mercenary, caught the attention of Jocelyn, rose through the ranks to become the prince’s knight, played a pivotal role in his bid for the throne, and eventually ascended to the position of queen. 

This frail body felt like a curse, a burden heavier than the trials of her previous existence.

It was as if she were trapped in a coffin once more, grappling with a second life she never asked for, one that proved to be even more arduous than the first. Tears welled in her eyes as the overwhelming weight of reality threatened to crush her spirit.

What was she meant to do with this life?

Longing to escape the suffocating grasp of reality, she yearned to relinquish her burdens and find solace in death.


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