< — I love you — > (3)
Translated by: Miss Ruby
Edited by: ShadowDog
Lucia sank into her bedroom sofa and calmly retraced her childhood memories. Her heart warmed up at the thought of her mother. Before when she thought of her mother, she would be sad but now, she was only left with happy memories. This was thanks to the fact that Lucia was currently happy in her life.
Her mother usually placed the pendant deep in her drawer and from time to time, she brought it out to look at it. Sometimes, she was so entranced by it that she didn’t even notice Lucia coming to her side. Lucia thought her mother really cherished the pendant.
‘Mother must have missed her family and thought about them when she looked at the pendant. And at the same time, she must have been sad because she couldn’t return home due her circumstances.’
Her mother would have likely returned to her hometown if she had not gotten pregnant. But her mother was never once pessimistic about her life nor did she ever blame Lucia.
Her mother always had to work for their well-being. She usually worked at the local grocery store and if she had time, she tended to a small vegetable garden to cover for their food expenses. Regardless of everything, her mother was always smiling. She often hugged Lucia and carried her in her soft bosom.
Her mother always expressed her love affectionately, calling her ‘my beloved daughter’ and telling her ‘I am happy because I have you’. When Lucia lost her mother, the despair she felt was as if the sky had collapsed but she was able to withstand the hard times by remembering her mother’s love.
‘I thought Mother had to pawn off the pendant because she desperately needed money when I got hurt.’
However, her mother had never left the pendant at the pawnshop. If the owner of the pawn shop was correct, Lucia’s memory was wrong.
‘Let’s say my childhood memory is wrong. The reason I was able to meet my uncle later on was because of the pendant. Then how did the pendant get to the auction house? Was it stolen?’
The pendant held an important meaning to Lucia. It was the thing that helped her find her roots.
‘I think I was eight years old when it happened.’
Lucia recalled the accident that occurred when she was young. She was seriously injured in that incident.
There was a large tree at the entrance of the neighborhood and the young, tom-boyish Lucia made a bet with the neighborhood children to climb up the tree. She didn’t know what fear was and climbed all the way to the top before looking down triumphantly. But there was a bird nesting at the top of the tree. The mother bird felt threatened and attacked Lucia, causing her to flop around in surprise and crash.
‘The place that got hurt that day was…’
Lucia’s eyes quivered slightly when she checked under her right knee. There was no scar. The area where the injury was supposed to be was very smooth. The wound was too big to claim it had completely healed and disappeared as she grew older. But no matter how carefully she looked, she couldn’t find a single trace.
‘Did it never exist? Or, did it disappear?’
Lucia had never taken a very close look at the scar on her leg. She would have continued ignoring it if not for the pendant causing her to her think back to the accident that happened when she was a child.
‘Is the memory of myself getting hurt wrong too? No. There’s no way I could misremember such a huge accident in such vivid detail.’
She kept thinking and thinking until her head hurt. She took medicine for it, lay on the bed and fell asleep.
As Lucia slept, she dreamt about her childhood. The innocent times where she only thought about what she was going to play tomorrow passed by quickly. Soon, she was crying her heart out beside her mother’s cold body. The people in the neighborhood patted her back in an attempt to console her. They were saddened by her mother passing away and leaving a young child like her alone in the world. An auntie who was a close friend of her mother’s wiped away Lucia’s tears. As Lucia wept, overwhelmed with sorrow, she squeezed her mother’s pendant tightly as if it were her mother itself.
Suddenly, a Royal Guard stormed in and flipped the neighborhood upside down. No one was able to obstruct the Royal Guard from taking Lucia and they could only watch from afar. The young girl with hollow eyes did not rebel and simply followed obediently.
She was blind to the luxuriousness of the palace. She couldn’t feel any emotion looking at the man called father whom she was seeing for the first time. The detached palace that she would be staying in was cold and dreary. In a desolate bedroom, lying down, sobbing and repeatedly calling after her mother, was a young girl with a pendant in her hand.
Lucia woke up from her sleep with a start. It seemed she had been sleeping for a long time because it had gotten dark outside. She sat up on the bed with a vacant expression.
‘It’s not a dream…’
The dream she just had was not a fantasy but a piece of her memory.
‘Why did I forget it?’
The memory that seemed to have been covered in thin film was slowly being revealed.
‘I had the pendant with me.’
After her mother death, Lucia continuously hung the pendant on her neck. She also had it with her when she entered the palace. Even when the handmaids stripped off her old clothes and changed her attire, she refused to let go of the pendant because she was afraid someone would try to take away the only treasure that was in remembrance of her mother.
More and more new memories began to come alive in her mind. In her childhood memories, there was a contradiction. This contradiction was the huge accident where she fell off a tree in their small neighborhood and got hurt. At that time, Lucia was not the only one that got hurt. When Lucia fell, she broke a branch and another child fell down along with her. That child injured her head and subsequently, died.
That was the child’s name. She was Lucia’s childhood friend. Rossa’s family moved away some time after Rossa died. The auntie, that is, Lucia’s mother’s close friend, was Rossa’s mother. Rossa’s mother was in the room with Lucia when her mother passed away. Perhaps she heard the news from afar and came back? However, in the same room, there was a girl around Lucia’s age crying alongside Lucia next to the auntie. That girl was Rossa.
[Lucia. You have to eat, okay? If you get sick, auntie will be sad in heaven.]1
When Lucia refused to eat for two days or more after her mother died, Rossa put a spoon in her hand and comforted her.
‘Rossa died when she was young, didn’t she?’
Lucia realized that she had two memories of her childhood and those memories were mixed up.
‘Let’s assume that the owner of the pawn shop is saying the truth. I did not have an accident when I was young and Rossa did not die. My mother did not leave the pendant at the pawn shop and I entered the palace with the pendant.’
Lucia’s last memory of the pendant was on the day she entered the palace for the first time. When she cried herself to sleep and woke up the next day, the pendant had disappeared, and she saw the future. And her memories got mixed up. Maybe the confusion happened because she was still a young child or maybe it was because of the pendant’s ability.
‘A magical tool…’
There were many things in the world that caused odd and bizarre phenomena. Lucia had seen a magical tool once and it was on the day she was brought into the Royal Palace. The magical tool for determining bloodline appeared to be a device with two glass cups placed side by side. Clear, pure water was put in the two glass cups and the two people who wanted to prove their relation by blood were to drop their blood inside. If they were not related by blood, there would be no change in the water, but if they were related by blood, the water would turn as red as blood.
‘Could the pendant be a magical tool?’
Her uncle said the pendant was an heirloom passed down in the Count Baden family for generations. A magical tool was a first-rate treasure so most magical tools were national treasures. It was not an item that a crumbling family like the Count Baden family could have. A magical tool could sell for an enormous amount of money so if her uncle knew, he would have long sold it off to further the family.
‘Uncle didn’t know about it. Grandfather doesn’t seem to know either.’
Assuming the pendant was a magical tool, Lucia began a new line of reasoning.
‘What the pendant showed to me…was not the future but another lifetime of mine.’
In another lifetime, Lucia was severely hurt when she was young, her mother pawned the pendant, and later, she met her uncle through the pendant’s appearance at the auction. Even if it was another lifetime, it was no different from seeing the future. If Lucia had meekly stayed in the palace, she would have married Count Matin and the future would gone the same way.
‘Things start to split off from the point where I got hurt as a child. That incident created another future for me.’
In reality, Lucia did not get hurt. Her mother did not pawn the pendant. The reason was unknown, but the magical tool activated for Lucia and showed her a long dream.
‘I have to find out if Rossa is alive.’
Most likely, Rossa was alive.
1. She refers to Lucia’s mother here and calls her ‘Ahjumma’. The literal translation is ‘dead Ahjumma/auntie will be sad.’ which sounds wrong.
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