The Exhausting Reality of Novel Transmigration - Chapter 1
What a sight.
A wagon that had rolled down the slope lay shattered, the luggage it once held strewn here and there. A few steps away from the wreckage was a bleeding man.
He was the male lead’s older brother. He was also one of the novel’s villains.
Stepping over unkempt gravel, I came closer and intruded upon this tranquil yet raucous scene. Cassion, who was covered entirely in blood, gasped loudly and laboriously raised his head as he sensed my presence.
“Please . . . save . . . me . . .”
Laced with overflowing emotion, his broken plea imparted an intense desperation that seemed to say: I want to live. It’s unfair. I’m not done yet. I don’t want to die.
I leaned towards him to face him more squarely, and eyes that were as red as the blood that covered his body fluttered open to meet with mine.
“You want to live, huh?”
It seemed as if he had already expended all the strength left in him, so instead of answering with words, he communicated with just one slow blink. I raised his chin carefully, and his blood immediately soaked my own hands as if I had been wounded as well. I knelt beside him and placed his head on my lap. His blood was as red as his pallor was ashen.
“If you want to live, you have to promise me one thing.”
As if he was a wild beast that had been hunted and left to die alone, he breathed with incredible difficulty. Hot air permeated through my clothes and brushed against my thighs. I reached toward his face and caressed his cheek in an attempt to comfort him, and what met my gesture was a gaze full of determination and resentment.
“If I save you . . .”
Lay down your own life to protect my sister.
My younger sister Alicia Valentine, who was also this wretched novel’s female lead.
This way, my sister and I won’t have to share the same fate.
* * *
It was a few days before I came across Cassion when I woke up as this world’s villainess, Rosetta Valentine.
There was a piercing sound that tore through the air, straight into my ears. In a daze, I woke up in a foreign room where two strangers came in one after another.
‘. . . What is this . . .’
Where am I?
As my gaze wandered, a woman who held a riding whip in her hand raised an arm in one large motion. Before the woman stood a girl who looked about seventeen years old, trembling and blinking repeatedly as she stretched her arms forward. Despite being faced with this pitiful sight, the whip rose up high and cleaved down through the air without remorse.
Even as the whip emitted a sharp sound that had surely caused immense pain, the girl did not make a sound and instead bit her lips. She did not scream nor groan, did not betray even a hint of defiance.
‘What exactly is going on here?’
What a unique wake-up call. Why was there someone getting beaten in front of me? Would there be more people who’d be beaten?
Surely . . .
As my memories arose, I felt around my chest. Strangely, my hand didn’t go in. There was no trace—my clothes weren’t torn nor soaked in damp blood—but that can’t be true. A knife that pierced through my chest should have been there accompanied by the pain of torn flesh, of something breaking, of a scorching liquid trickling down . . . It was all too vivid.
‘No way . . . Again?’
However, due to the immense pain that blocked my train of thought, my memories stopped there. When my arm brushed against my clothes, electricity shot through my entire body. I shifted my gaze from the two people, both of whom I didn’t know, and rolled up my sleeves to inspect my injury, slowly so they wouldn’t notice.
‘Injury . . . ?’
It’s fortunate that my clothes were loose, otherwise, I would have had to remove the entire top to check. But as the sleeves rolled higher, countless red lines appeared from above the elbow to right below the shoulder, and old wounds broke open once more by more recent cuts.
As I inspected the wounds, the harsh sound permeated the air once more, and my eyes automatically followed.
‘That’s where this wound came from.’
I—or, I guess, the true owner of this body—was being stricken by a whip when I woke up in this world. But, no, I must still be out of it.
“Ugh . . .”
The girl let out a small whimper as her knees gave out from under her. At first glance, it seemed as if the woman had pulled her or gripped the girl tightly enough to have made the girl collapse, but in reality, the woman merely reached for the girl’s arm, the one that she had been fervently striking not too long ago.
A pained shriek coincided with a graceful voice. It was a far cry from harmony.
The woman pulled her forward and bent down to look into the girl’s eyes, a golden hue that expressed fear and anxiety.
“It is not befitting of a lady to utter such a sound . . . I believe I taught you well enough,” the woman said as her hand grazed over the girl’s wounds.
Upon seeing the bloody marks on the girl called Alicia, I unconsciously gripped my own wounded arms. Mine looked more like scratches compared to hers, and sure enough, tears streamed down the girl’s face. It looked as if she was trying to suppress the pain by pushing down the urge to utter a sound.
The woman moved away from Alicia, straightening her back and looking down at the girl with a mixture of contempt and sadistic glee.
“Five strikes left to complete your punishment, Milady.”
As more tears streamed down Alicia’s cheeks, I clenched my fists. I shook in disbelief at the scene playing before me, but as I looked at my own arms, I realized how incredulous this all was.
“I’m . . . I’m sorry, Nanny.”
That middle-aged woman was her nanny? But judging from the fact that I sported the same marks as Alicia, did that mean this woman was my nanny as well?
In any case, that wasn’t the issue here. Whether this woman was her and Alicia’s nanny or mother or whoever else, it was absolutely not right for anyone to cause such harsh violence upon another person. It was even more heinous considering how this woman obviously enjoyed this, judging by how high the corner of her lips tilted up.
Rather than punishment, it seemed like the woman was just letting off steam for her own benefit.
Without realizing it, a scoff escaped my lips. It was exhausting just taking in this scene, and my head was still up in the clouds from fatigue and disorientation. Waking up to a seventeen or eighteen-year-old girl getting flogged was surely not the way to start anyone’s day.
‘I just wanna lie down somewhere and pass out . . .’
But rather than having the chance to rest, I was stuck witnessing a poor kid get beaten to death.
I raised my hand again to feel my chest, just to check once more. There really wasn’t a gaping wound there, not a scratch at all.
‘. . . I guess there’s no other choice.’
I sat up and purposely made a sound to shift their attention to me, at which both Alicia and the nanny looked toward me at the same time.
“You’re awake, Lady Rosetta.”
Rosetta? Is that what the owner of this body’s name is?
I nodded wordlessly.
I really have to wake up, though. The original Rosetta might not be here now, but she and I weren’t the same person.
“What was that just now . . .”
“I’ll take her place.”
. . . Sigh.
Shocked by my statement, the nanny struggled to control her expression and stamped on a smile to erase the contempt that previously pervaded her features.
“You’ll . . . take her place?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Just now a knife to my chest ended my life, so a few more hits shouldn’t make a difference. Besides, no matter how peculiar a situation this was, I still couldn’t stand to ignore what was right in front of me.
Perhaps I might even be able to flee this situation by getting hit a few times. The girl would be able to breathe, the nanny would continue in her sadistic pleasure of trampling on the weak, and I might be able to get out of here. It was a win-win for everyone.
However, Alicia wasn’t on the same page. Stuttering as she clenched a fistful of her skirt, she said, “Sister . . . You don’t have to . . . I’ll—”
Shifting my gaze from the nanny to Alicia’s tear-stricken face, I replied, “No, I’ll receive your punishment. You look as if you’ll faint any moment now. As your older sister, it’s only right that I protect you.”
That’s right, I’m an older sister. Even if I really wasn’t related to her, Alicia kept calling me ‘sister,’ so for now I’d have to accept the role of an older sister.
As if she thought that something strange was going on, the nanny looked alternately between me and Alicia, trying to figure out what we were supposedly scheming.
After a brief moment of silence, the nanny peered at the girl before her and moved away, sauntering towards my direction. A strange smile flitted across her face.
Even at Alicia’s desperate outburst, the woman did not stop. Now in front of me, the nanny leaned forward and roughly gripped my chin to level my eyes with hers. It stung. Then, in a low voice, she whispered so that only I would hear.
“Ah, how lovely this act is . . .”
She stared right into my eyes and smiled, letting go of my face with a chuckle.
“This display of sisterly affection is enough for today, Lady Alicia and Lady Rosetta. I hope you don’t get into trouble again—seeing you suffer pains me as well.”
. . . What was this woman talking about. She looked ecstatic at the idea of scolding us more. Even as she spoke with a grave tone, the whip once again tore through the air with a sharp sound.
Hwick! Alicia flinched at the sound of wind being cut.
“Then, let’s call it a day, miladies.”
The nanny turned her back on us and inserted the whip into a vase, which served as a camouflage to transform it into nothing more than an ornament.
As the door clicked shut, Alicia, who had been trembling the entire time, sank down to the floor. As I had already been on my knees, I moved to the chaise lounge and sat there while watching Alicia cry.
‘Ah, finally. Some peace and quiet.’
Stealing a peek at the crying Alicia though . . . ah. That’s not cute at all.
I began to organize my thoughts with the melody of Alicia’s sobbing as my background music.
‘It seems like I’ve possessed the body of a character in a novel.’
Alicia, Rosetta, and the nanny that abused them. All three appeared in a novel.
If you ask me why I came to this conclusion . . .
It’s because I’d been through this ordeal four times already.
Yes, four times. Not once, not twice, not even three times. Four.
I’m really . . .
‘Really tired of this.’
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