AIWTRO Chapter Seven

AIWTRO Chapter 7

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“Noonim[1]! What are you doing in your pajamas?”

“Because you’re here.”

“I’m here? Where else would I go? What do you think father will say when he sees this?”

“…Father?”

Keira was frozen. “Father is here, too?”

“Why would father come here this morning? He’s in his room.”

“This is… Isn’t this the afterlife?”

Her brother’s face was strangely disturbed.

“I guess you’re still half asleep. You, bring her to the bedroom. No, no. I’ll take you there myself,” Zeke said as he ordered someone to bring him shoes. 

Keira was barefoot because she ran recklessly from her room. It was fortunate that she didn’t injure her feet while running. 

Frozen, she looked straight ahead until a maid approached her and placed the shoes on her feet. 

I thought this was the afterlife. 

However, there were too many strange things to keep thinking that way. First of all, the mansion looked the same from when she was alive, there were too many familiar faces, and they looked younger than she remembered.

“Zeke.”

“Hmm?”

“What’s the date today?”

“It’s the 13th.”

“What year and month?”

“13th of August, 1295.”

Zeke looked at her curiously as if he wanted to ask why but couldn’t.

In 1295, Keira turned twenty years old.

In that moment, an implausible thought came to mind. Perhaps, she has returned to the past, not the afterlife? If so, who did this?

Do you think someone else besides me remembers the past?

Endless questions filled her head. Because of that, she didn’t hear Zeke call her.

“–nim! Noonim!”

“Huh, yes?”

“Why are you spacing out? You’re acting strange today.”

Really? Did she really come back? It felt surreal.

“…maybe it’s because I had a nightmare.”

“What kind of nightmare did you have?”

“The dream of me dying.”

Keira stared at her brother’s face. Facing the family she thought she’d never see again evoked tender emotions.

“It was such a vivid dream that I really thought this was the afterlife… But because you’re here… I thought you also died and came to the afterlife…”

“Oh, my god, I never thought you’d be scared of that.” He said it like that, but she could feel it in his voice that he was worried. “It was just a dream. Don’t worry about it.”

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“Yes, I shouldn’t.”

“Go back and change your clothes first… No, I need to get my…” Zeke muttered and turned around. 

It seemed he intended to go to his room and get his coat. Seeing his back walking away, she remembered the last time she saw Zeke. She saw him through the prison bars. 

I couldn’t meet my younger brother again after that.

“Wait.”

When Keira came back to her senses, she was holding onto her brother’s wrist. Zeke looked back, confused. 

“…?”

“Have you had breakfast?”

“Not yet.”

 “That’s good. Let’s eat together.”

If it was true that she has returned to the past, she no longer wanted to cling to things she couldn’t reach. She didn’t want to seek affection from someone who wouldn’t look back.

She wanted to devote that effort and time on other things. For example, she can spend it on her younger brother who must have been lonely all this time. 

Keira smiled at her younger brother who looked at her with a perplexed expression. 

“Now? A meal? You want to have it with me?”

“Yes. You said you haven’t eaten yet.”

“Still… If you eat with me, you’ll be late. You always went to greet father.”

“Oh, that.”

In the past, she was always woke up early and dress nice. It was an old-fashioned custom that no one cared about, but every morning, she would send her regards to her father. 

People around her looked at her with curious eyes.

“That… I just decided not to do it from today.”

“W-why all of a sudden?”

“His Grace only accepts my greetings once every three days anyway. I was kicked out because he was busy. And most of the time, even if we met, we don’t even make eye contact.”

“…But you still went everyday? You’re amazing.”

“Yes, it was foolish. So, I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Now that she thought about it, it was such a foolish act. Why did she crave so much love from someone who never cared?

Keira’s sudden change of heart seemed remarkable to Zeke.

In a pleasant tone, Zeke said, “Sister finally learned how to be upset. That’s a good idea. I’d rather sleep more at that time.”

“I’m not upset.”

She really wasn’t. It might not have been like that in the past, but now she’s given up everything. Therefore, she couldn’t be upset.

It was such a relief to give up on someone. 

“He’s a busy man. He doesn’t need me to come and annoy him in the morning, does he?”

“Ah–”

Zeke’s face said ‘okay.’ 

Keira knew that expression. A person can’t forget in only a day. 

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His sister wanted to be liked by their foolish father. It was the complete opposite of Zeke who had shown affection towards Keira and said, ” A man like that snake is not my blood.”

He was going to congratulate her if she decided to stop trying in vain. 

‘Oh.’ Keira then realized something strange. 

“Noonim, what did you say?”

“I don’t think I need to visit and bother His Grace.”

“His Grace? Not Father?”

Keira always insisted on calling the Grand Duke ‘father’ in private and ‘His Grace’ on official occasions. But now that she’s alone with her younger brother, she addressed him as ‘His Grace.’

Keira answered him vaguely, “Why? He’s my father, but he’s also the lord of the Grand Duchy. I don’t think I addressed him wrongly.”

“He is, but–.”

Today, Keira continued to surprise him. Zeke wondered if something happened with father, but it didn’t seem to be the case.

His sister looked so happy. Wasn’t she the one who felt like digging a hole in the ground whenever she heard anything bad from their father?

Whatever the reason, it was good for Zeke. Keira used to insist on the title ‘Father’ while in private, so he had to follow suit. Now that he can call their father ‘His Grace’ without worrying about his sister, wasn’t that a good thing?

“You’re really weird today.”

“I suppose so.”

“…?”

Keira was really, really weird today. She looked like the same person he saw yesterday, but it felt like she became a different person. 

‘What happened?’

Zeke narrowed his eyes and thought about it, and soon turned his attention elsewhere. Whatever the reason was, the change didn’t seem to be bad.


Nino was the Grand Duke’s keeper of records[2]. His job was to follow the Grand Duke Ludwig throughout the day, keeping track of his every move.  He was still faithfully doing his duties today. 

The Grand Duke of Parvis was a prime master for keeper of records because he was a person who followed schedules to a T. For the most part, he did not make spontaneous actions. 

Today, Ludwig got up at the fixed time, stepped into the office at the appointed time. It was no different from yesterday. 

While he was thinking that it would be possible to rewrite the record he did yesterday…

“Huh?” Nino found something strange. His surprised noise rang loudly in the quiet office. 

All eyes were on him. Even the Grand Duke. 

Nino, who suddenly caught the attention of the Grand Duke, froze. 

Soon after, a glacial voice flowed from Ludwig, ” What’s going on?”

“W-well, that’s…”

“You know I don’t like to repeat myself.”

“I-I-It’s nothing, Your Grace. It’s just that the lady did not come to see you today.”

The Grand Duke’s eyes narrowed. Only then did he notice the fact.


[1] 누님 (Noonim) – an honorable term for ‘noona’, a male person’s older sister
[2] Keeper of records is like the person in a meeting who keeps track of the minutes.