I Am Young Again - Chapter 2
Translator and Editor: Skye and Grass
The drastic change in appearance was so surprising that it felt like a dream.
The once pale and placid complexion was replaced with bright and youthful skin. The fair wrinkles had also disappeared. The woman in the reflection had beautiful eyes that glowed with liveliness, and her lips were clear and supple.
It was shocking. All of the prominent features I had in my early 20s were back on my face.
“H-how did this happen…?”
I looked at my reflection on the glass wall with an amazed look.
It is absolutely impossible.
Unless it was a fantasy.
I need to check, I need to check it right now.
I couldn’t be sure of how real my appearance was if I had only seen my reflection on a glass wall that wasn’t even made to be a mirror. I had to go home and look into a proper reflective glass and check my appearance again, to make sure my eyes weren’t failing me.
When that thought came out of my mind, I hurried up from the floor.
It was then that the door of the lab opened, and the security guard who guided me around here was escorting a man in a white lab coat into the room.
Despite my desire to finally get a job, nothing was more important than my current situation.
I squeezed between them to get through the door, only leaving a short, “I’m sorry,” in my absence.
“Didn’t you say a woman came by for an interview earlier?” Gazing at the back of Belia running out like that, the man in the white gown said with a hint of annoyance.
The white coat he was wearing had the words [Alchemy Professor] embroidered on its right pocket.
The alchemy professor, Jerru, was in his late 30s, yet he was still as stunningly handsome as anyone ten years younger than him. He also carried a proud aura that attracts people’s attention.
But because he didn’t seem to care about his own appearance, he had shaggy hair and baggy eyes hidden underneath silver-rimmed glasses.
The guard looked at the lab where no one was present. “I-I know right. I’m sure that I showed her around awhile ago,” he said with a puzzled look.
“Tsk! I’m already so busy, but you had to waste my time like this,” Jerru snapped, turning around with a look of annoyance.
In his peripheral vision, he saw a broken beaker with remnants of pink liquid.
Jerru quickly approached the shards that had fallen awhile ago on the floor. Anger swallowed him as he recognized what he was looking at.
“Who the hell did this?! Why is this on the floor?!”
It was a mixture that was made of precious material that would be very hard to get again.
But it was broken and spilled just like that!
Jerru kneeled on the floor, and hurried to collect the remaining liquid scattered on the floor. But something was strange. There was too little of the liquid on the floor in comparison to the size of the beaker. There didn’t appear to be any paper towels or other absorbent materials that could’ve picked up the liquid.
Did someone drink it? But who the hell-
The lasting image of Belia’s back as he had run out of the laboratory passed through Jerru’s mind. With a surprised look, he glanced down at the broken beaker and spilled mixture.
“What were you telling me earlier?” Jerru asked, not looking up from the floor.
The guard answered in nervousness and astonishment. “W-what I said? I guided the woman inside for an interview.”
“Yes, but the woman who left just now was a young lady.”
The guard pondered over his words before realizing something. “That’s right, come to think about it, the young lady was wearing the same dress the older woman had a while ago.”
When he heard that, Jerru seemed to be in a daze.
If someone really took the medicine, they should have died.
None of the test subjects had survived during the animal experiments where they were fed this.
So then why was she alive?
And why did it seem like she had changed ages?
Jerru looked alternatively at the broken beaker and the path Belia had run off to, and murmured his thoughts quietly. “I need to do a biopsy to figure out what is going on.”
Suddenly, Jerru, who had been lost in his thoughts, raised his head and shouted at the guard. “The woman, or young lady who just went out earlier, get her back here right this instant!”
“W-what?” The guard flustered.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen from now on! Bring her right in front of my eyes this instant, before she dies!” Jerru shouted.
The vicinity of Kamar Academy is much wider than I originally thought.
I didn’t even know a single building or pathway here.
The Academy is where noble men and women of the Valkanus Empire study. They have to already have had their coming-of-age ceremony, and they also pay a huge amount of tuition fees as well.
From what I heard, there are fields of studies for all sorts of things, from leisurely subjects like horseback riding, housekeeping, and flower arrangement to more serious subjects like swordsmanship, business management, and astronomy.
At first, the Academy was built to keep the Dellac Empire in check, which is at the border of the Empire, but now it’s main purpose has changed, and it’s now a place where aristocrats are being educated.
But even though it is a school for aristocrats, the academy’s tuition is so expensive that it is difficult to enter even as a normal aristocrat. To enter, you’d need to be either powerful or rich. And so the Academy became a place for the best of the best.
Those who graduated from the Kamar Academy were never met with any discrimination. Many of the alumni became famous throughout the entire Valkanus Empire.
It is every aristocrat’s dream to attend.
The Academy was made up of young aristocrats of the Empire, and they were all gathered in one place, where they could find friends and make connections to use throughout their careers and lives.
As I was wandering around, a quick motion caught my eye. I tried to look around for it, but I couldn’t find it.
“Save me!” Someone screamed gutturally
I flinched and shuddered at the scream that left a tingling feeling in my ears. The scream was not a sound that a human being could make.
What’s happening? Where did that scream come from?
Unknowingly, I stopped and looked around for the sound I just heard.
It was at that moment that someone yelled, “Get out of the way!”
Scuffles were heard as the people on the pathways scurried to move away. I also hurried to stop my way and stepped aside.
In the space created by the movement, dozens of horses were lining up and entering the academy, raising dust into the air.
Who is it?
Is it a member of the royal family?
To have such a grand entourage that person must be extremely powerful and rich.
The knights on the horses began to move out of the way for someone.
At the end of the long entourage, a blonde man came into my sight.
His glossy blonde hair stood out in the crowd. It shone like a golden thread that was carefully cared for.
But it wasn’t just his hair that stood out.
His eyes too. They were a stunningly bright purple. They were also a perfectly straight shape, and they gave you a very mysterious feeling.
Overall he was a very handsome man with a distinctive sharp nose and jawline.
With just one single glance I could recognize him.
Theansis Kaian Acruge.
The most popular man in the Valkanus Empire. He was powerful enough to hold the entire northern dominion, could run as the heir to the throne, and was also the youngest duke in the entire Empire.
But these were just some of the titles that he was called by. There were still many others he answered to.
As I was looking up at him, I froze in disbelief. This man, who had been living in my imagination was suddenly real, and right in front of me.
I can’t believe I’m finally seeing you up close.
I’ve collected his pictures from the black market, and I’ve been to a horse racing competition that he appeared before, but I’ve never met or seen him from such a close distance before.
The horse competition I went to was the first and probably, last time I’d ever go to one. At the time I still had to take care of my mother, but despite that, it was still one of the happiest days of my life, that I would get to be there with him.
My heart began to beat quickly. I couldn’t believe that he was here, right in front of me.
For a second, I wondered how he had come here when he was supposed to be in the north. I didn’t even know that he was still a student at Kamar Academy, and this was an unofficial visit.
I was lucky to have met him today.
I was so starstruck.
But I knew my own status. I have never mixed up my imagination with reality. Theansis is at the peak of his youth, a young successful man in his twenties. In comparison, I am just a withered flower.
If I ever had a chance, I would just want to tell him that I admired him, just like many other ladies do.
Just like that, Theansis passed by as quickly as he had entered my vision.
My eyes unknowingly followed him as he left, his figure still imprinted in my mind.
A few movements caught my eye, and I turned to the back of the entourage. There, ugly monsters were being dragged in chains.
I stepped back, frightened at the sight. My eyes and mouth were wide open in surprise.
There was no one who wouldn’t be able to recognize the monsters that lived in the Taran Forest in the North. In fact, the Valkanus Empire was once almost defeated by these Tarantine monsters.
At that time, it was the Acruge Family that came like angels and defended the Empire. Ever since then, the Acruge Family controlled the North, which was where the Empire bordered the Taran Forest.
Yet knowing what the monsters looked like was very different from seeing them in real life. It was the first time I had ever seen one.
They had toad-like textured skin, and a face that looked like it had mud flowing down it and onto the floor.
Everything about the monster was so different from humans.
As I stared blankly at the monsters being dragged by the chains, I unconsciously held my breath. The sight was just so horrendous.
It was at that moment when I made eye contact with them.
The monsters, who were being peacefully dragged by, suddenly began to riot in unison.
The once calm entourage march became a battlefield.
A knight screamed, “Stay back, everyone!” as he, and all the other knights, began to surround the monsters on horseback to subdue them
However, the biggest monster cut off the chain that had been binding him.
Surprise shot through the entire crowd, and for a moment everyone froze in anticipation.
I froze looking at the monster, and I felt like its bloodshot eyes were staring straight at me.
It’s not possible, I thought.
But then the monster began to run, dodging the knights on horseback.
It was headed towards me.
I was so surprised that I couldn’t even let a scream out of my mouth.
I guess I really am dying here.
Before I knew it, something moved in front of me, blocking me off from the monster’s sight.
When I looked up, I could see the dependable back of a man with blonde hair.
It was Theansis.
I didn’t know how he was able to move in front of me so quickly when he was just on the back of a horse moments ago.
Without looking back at me, he told me “Stay back, Lady.”
It’s been such a long time since someone called me Lady, that I forgot how frightened I was earlier and just stood there, looking at Theansis’ back.
Because of my mother, I wasn’t able to leave the house very often, but when I would need to go buy daily groceries, the children in the markets would call me “Auntie.”
In the aristocratic society, where political marriages are very frequent, there were not many cases where a woman wouldn’t get married by the age of 30. Most women my age would’ve had several children already, so it wasn’t wrong for them to call me that.
I was just too old, and it was the truth.
It was heart-wrenching to hear the title “Lady” out of Theansis’ mouth as I had admired him for such a long time.
But that feeling only lasted for an instant.
The sound of Theansis unsheathing his sword quickly brought me back from my thoughts.
The monster, which was several times larger than an adult male, was coming towards me at full speed.
My mind blanked and I couldn’t think of what to do or where to go.
Theansis’ sword clashed and hit the monsters’ chest.
When the two collided, there was a shock wave.
A powerful wind blew around them, while the energy from the monster and Theansis scattered into the thin air.
Everyone had taken a step back.
Being the closest to the center of the energy, I tried to cover up the wind with my arms, but I was pushed back a few more steps. The force made me collapse on the floor.
It occurred to me then that if Theansis hadn’t shown up in time, I would have really been dead by now.
As I was moving away from the battlefield, I kept my eyes on Theansis, who was confronting the monster.
There was not a trace of fear on his face, even though he was much smaller in size when compared to the monster. In fact, it seemed as if the monster was being pushed by Theansis.
Despite Theansis’ sculptural appearance and noble status, he is one of the finest swordsmen in the Valkanus Empire.
Even the Knight’s Order had praised him, saying that his achievement and growth as a swordsman is something that is a nearly impossible task at the age of twenty.
It’s impossible to reach that kind of swordsmanship unless you are a genius.
The blue haze-like energy that was flowing through his sword was beautiful. The sheer amount of power that it contained was probably unimaginably large.
I crouched down quickly to avoid getting caught up in the fight between the monster and Theansis.
For now, this is the best that I could do. Just as Theansis said, I should step back.
Suddenly, The monster turned towards me and let out a grotesque sound.
Theansis hurriedly moved in front of the monster and stabbed its side with his sword, but the monster still came towards me without stopping.
My body froze in terror.
I don’t know why, but the eyes of the monster were watching me.
“A-ahh—!” My lips shook as I looked at the monster that was getting closer.
But I still can’t scream properly due to fear.
My heart beat against my chest. I couldn’t hear anything but the beating in my ears.
I forced my body, which felt so heavy and slow, and tried to escape towards an area that didn’t have any monsters.
Something caught my ankle.
Looking down reflexively, I saw the monster’s big hand grab my ankle.
The touch of the jelly-like monster’s hands gave me goosebumps all over my body.
Theansis, who had been chasing after the monster, cut off its arm that was holding my ankle.
Soon after, the monster’s thick arm fell neatly to the floor.
My eyes were unconsciously drawn to the arm, and my mind went into disarray at its grotesqueness.
Suddenly a large tree in the academy fell towards me.
The tree fell right in front of where I was currently standing.
If I hadn’t moved a little further back, I would have been crushed by the tree.
A cold sweat broke out behind my back. My life was being threatened constantly for the past few minutes.
But it was extremely lucky that the tree which had fallen so suddenly, had fallen right on the monster, rendering it immobile.
Behind me, I heard a low voice ask me, “Are you okay?”
When I overcame the initial shock, I turned my head and saw Theansis, who had overpowered the monster.
Is it safe now?
“I-I’m fin—.” I struggled to get the words out of my mouth.
He sighed in relief.
His purple eyes shook with surprise while looking at me.
“Careful—!” He yelled.
Something hit me hard on the back of my head before his words could even register in my mind.
I heard an unfamiliar voice say “Thank goodness.”
I wondered where the sound came from. But it didn’t matter as my whole body relaxed and slipped towards the floor.
But before my body touched the cold floor, I was held by Theansis.
His scent refreshed my mind before my head slowly passed into darkness.