< — Prologue — >
On the day Lucia turned 12 years old, her world was turned upside down. It began from the day she lost her mother and had to enter into the royal palace.
‘Was I dreaming?…Or am I currently dreaming…?’
Lucia mumbled absentmindedly as she sat on her bed. She had dreamt a very long dream. She didn’t know if she had come back from the past or had experienced a precognitive dream.
In the dream, Lucia experienced her future life. It was not a peaceful life. Most of it was stained with pain and tears. But at times, there was also joy and happiness. She had lived holding onto a sliver of hope.
She had not known. Her mother was a noble. But her mother had not said a single word about it when she was alive. In Lucia’s dream, when she was in her twenties, she had coincidentally met her mother’s older brother, that is, her uncle, and had come to know the truth.
Her mother, Amanda, was the youngest daughter of the Count of Baden. The Baden family had once been a greatly influential margrave but now, it was a collapsing family without a single land to its name. The history of the Baden family ran deep but their names had been mostly erased from the people’s memories. One couldn’t even guarantee that they would keep their title forever.
Amanda, who was tired of living in a stale and remote area with nothing but destitution, had escaped to the capital with the only thing that was worth money; a single pendant that was passed down in the family for generations.
Lucia’s uncle had forlornly said that they should have sent a person after Amanda as soon as she had disappeared. He did not expected that it would be his last time to see his sister. She had run away out of youthful foolishness but it was a mistake to think that she would come back soon. When they tried to find her a month later, the path to finding her was already vague.
It was understandable that Lucia’s uncle could not find her mother. Since he had thoroughly combed the vicinity where they lived, it was only natural he could not find the Amanda because she had run to the capital.
Lucia did not know the exact details about what happened to Amanda after she came to the capital. However, with the fact that Amanda was unmarried and gave birth to an illegitimate daughter of the king, Lucia, one could only guess the twists and turns.
And when Lucia was born, Amanda should have informed the royal family but she had made a choice that no one else would have made. She hid her nobility, lived with the common people and raised Lucia as a commoner.
Lucia had had no idea. Her mother was a noble, the Baden House was her maternal family and above all, she was of royal blood. She had only spent her childhood as Lucia, the daughter of the commoner Amanda. With her beautiful mother, the nice villagers and the friends she played with in the forest and the creek.
Tears began to flow from Lucia’s eyes as she recalled the distant memory that was like yesterday. The happiest moments of her life were from that time.
The misfortune came unexpectedly. An epidemic swept through the capital, hitting the village where Lucia lived and Amanda was unable to escape. Her mother, as Lucia remembered, was petite and thin, unlike the other strong women in the village. No matter how poor, a noble young lady would never have to experience anything rough growing up. The process of raising Lucia and working hard for their upkeep had taken a toll on her body.
Her mother seemed to have had a premonition about her own death. A few days before she passed away, she sent Lucia on an errand to pass along a letter. It was likely a letter for the royal family.
Lucia understood her mother’s decision. Her mother had tried to do her best for her daughter till the end. The life of an orphaned young girl would usually spiral into hell. If Lucia had not entered the palace, she might have had to sell her body as a prostitute for the rest of her life.
A few days after Amanda died, a royal guard appeared and brought Lucia to the palace. Among the treasures of the royal family was a special magical tool that could prove one’s lineage. It was a property of the royal family but nobles would often pay the corresponding price and use it.
The reason why illegitimate children overflowed but there was no dispute about bloodline was because of this magical discerning tool. And it immediately proved that Lucia was a princess. The King simply confirmed Lucia’s face and bestowed a name unto her. It was the first and last time that Lucia had ever met her father.
It became Lucia’s new name. No one bothered to ask her what her original name was. Everything was decided one-sidedly. A lonely child who lost her mother was suddenly dragged into the royal palace and generously thrown into an detached old palace to live.
After crying all night and waking up in the morning, Lucia saw that herself now was the reality. Her life did not changed overnight just because she was now recognized as a princess. The prodigal king sprinkled his own seed everywhere, no matter where he was. The appearance of a new prince or princess out of the blue was not even enough to become a hot topic in the palace.
Lucia was the 16th princess. She figured out this fact after a long time into the future. After the king’s death, Lucia counted his children and calculated that she was the 16th princess. She was a royal princess with mother of an unclear background, was born after a one night stand with the king, and had spent her childhood with the common people.
‘Even if I know the future…’
Lucia sighed. The knowledge of the future given to her was not a superpower. It was not the ability to change the world. Her life started at the edge and until the end, it hovered around the edge and ended there. She could not enter into the mainstream aristocratic society so even if she knew about the future, she did not know anything important. Lucia only knew how her life would unfold in the future.
After entering the palace, Lucia’s life was nothing special. She just lived quietly without worrying about starving to death in the detached palace. No one payed her any attention and she did not bother anyone. In her life, yesterday was like today and today was like tomorrow. A change finally happened when she was 19 years old.
When Lucia turned 19, her father and king of the nation, Hesse the 8th, passed away. When Lucia heard of the death of her father whom she had only seen once, she felt no emotion. She thought that the death of her father would have no effect on her life. However, the succeeding Hesse the 9th decided to sort out the results of his father’s debauchery. Hesse the 9th began a project to send out all the royalty in the palace, except for himself and his children.
By the time Lucia was 20 years old, there were only 6 princesses remaining of the previous king’s children. Lucia had no relatives. She didn’t know anyone because she had shut herself up inside the palace. Lucia was not the king’s daughter. She was just one of the king’s many sisters moreover, she was not a beauty. She was not even worthy to be used for a strategic marriage.
Hesse the 9th decided to auction of the marriage of the dead-weight Lucia. As though being sold, Lucia was married to the man that gave the most dowry and was taken away from the royal palace.
Lucia’s new husband, Count Matin, was 20 years older than her and had gone through two divorces. He only had 3 sons but his eldest son was the same age as Lucia.
Lucia’s five years of marriage with him was the most terrible period in her life. She might have been materially better off than when she was in the detached palace but her spirit was damaged. The count was an old, fat and disabled pervert. He fulfilled his unreleased sexual desires by abusing Lucia.
‘I hate it!!’
Lucia shuddered and trembled. She was horrified at the thought of her experience and the thought of experiencing it again. She would rather die than marry that bastard again.
‘I have to change my future. I must change it no matter what!!’
The future from her dream was already changing. Originally when Lucia entered the palace, she showed signs of autism for several months. The death of her mother, her sudden identity and the unfamiliar environment without any affection was too much for the young girl to handle. There was no one that said a word of comfort or embraced the distraught Lucia who had blocked herself off from the outside world.
Physicians perfunctorily came to visit a few times and she was given negligent care from the obligated palace maids who only made sure that she didn’t starve to death. On the contrary, such terrible indifference became a catalyst for her. She began to break off from her autistic symptoms and gradually accepted her surroundings.
However, things were different this time. Lucia did not suffer from symptoms of autism. Moreover, she had the wisdom and experience of living for decades. She didn’t even conceive the idea of doing something grand like changing the world. All she wanted was a life of her own.
‘I can do it. I can change it.’
She didn’t know how. There was nothing that a 12 year old princess who didn’t have anything could do. But she did not despair.
‘There is still a lot of time.’
Time heartlessly flew by. Before she knew it, Lucia turned 18 years old.