Judith lived a life that had nothing to do with magic.
So, the magical thing that happened to her was amazing.

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“What is this…?”

It was an unfamiliar room.
Judith blinked as she looked at the ceiling.

‘Shouldn’t this be hell? Am I not dead?’

Judith did not particularly believe in the afterlife, but she was going through this herself, so she had nothing to say.

‘Does hell give you cheap cotton pillows and a bedroom?’

“It’s even comfortable.”

There is a degree when it comes to funny things.

Since she lived as a beggar, she didn’t think there would be an environment where she could sleep so nicely in hell.

Judith then ruffled her hair.

“What…?”

She stared blankly at the hair wrapped around her fingertips.

It was weird.
It was really weird.

She always stuck to the neat, stylish bobbed hair because when she had long hair, she had it cut and sold it for money.

But her hair was long now.

“This can’t be happening…”

She had short hair for years, so where did this come from?

Judith had no idea that she would ever return, so she tilted her head in front of the mirror for a while.

‘Was I not older…?’

It was when she was looking at the strange figure in the mirror for a long time.

“Judith, are you still sleeping? Can I come in?”

A knock was heard and a woman came in.

The moment she saw her, Judith felt the hairs all over her body stood up.

Violet-colored eyes and a gentle impression with black hair, except Judith knew that her personality was the exact opposite.

“…Violette?”

As soon as her friend in a gray suit opened the door and entered, Judith realized that this was no hell.

Violette wouldn’t be in hell.

Would she…?

“Let’s go eat breakfast.”

Violet threw the letter and newspaper onto the desk, then opened Judith’s closet.
In the closet hung the same gray uniform as Violette wore.

Wait, a uniform?

Those were clothes for the imperial knights before formally entering the Orders.

Judith stared in disbelief at Violette, who swung her gray uniform.

“Violette, why are you here?”

“Huh? To wake you up?”

“What… are you doing in hell?”

“What? Why would I go to hell? Are you still half asleep?”

Violette smiled widely and patted Judith’s back.

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“Why don’t we go get some breakfast?”

“…”

“Calipa is waiting.
Can you change and come out?”

Violette’s hand touched her cheek.
It was a warm and friendly touch.
She playfully rubbed Judith’s cheek and left.

Judith stood there for a long time.

“Calipa is waiting…?”

The name of a person who shouldn’t be here, she was someone who couldn’t be waiting.

Judith turned her head in disbelief.

The newspaper that her friend threw had the date written on it.

“Year 410…”

Even with blood-stained eyes, nothing changed.

It was six years before she died.

~*~

She could hear the sound of tableware crashing.

In the noisy dining room, Judith silently shoved the pumpkin salad to her mouth.
“Raymon, have you decided today? Are you going to join the Red Knights too?”

“No, I think the White Knights would be better.”

“No way.”

“Nonsense.”

“I don’t think that’s right.”

“Even Calipa…!”

The people who died are alive.

A friend who will regard her as a mortal enemy is sitting at a table.

A friend who committed suicide.

And she herself was alive.

Everything was unbelievable.

“What do you think, Judith?”

“…”

At Violette’s question, Judith put down the fork.

She did it because she didn’t have anything to say, but her friends interpreted it differently.

“Don’t say anything stupid!”

“Why?! Louis, do you think so too?”

“That life doesn’t match with you.
Just accept the reality.”

Judith finished her meal like a dead mouse next to her noisy friends.
She couldn’t even eat half of it because she felt like vomiting.

She couldn’t believe it at all, but seeing everything now, she was sure.

‘I came back.’

September in the 410th year of the imperial calendar.

6 years before she died.

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‘Did a passing wizard bring me back to life?’

That couldn’t be it.
It was impossible even with magic, and Judith knew no wizards.

‘Then how? Why…?’

Judith vividly remembered the sensation of broken bones.
She had never felt so terrible in her entire life.

It can’t be like this.
She can’t be alive.
There’s no way Jermel would have kept her alive.

But all her senses were vivid.
The sun was warm, the hands holding the tableware were light, and the sweet and salty salad was fresh.

She’s alive.

Leaving the confused Judith alone, her friends chatted away.

“Has Calipa decided yet? I’m sure you have the most options among us.”

“I’ve decided to join the Black Knights.”

“Huh? Why?”

“…The Black Knights, isn’t the atmosphere scary? Why don’t you change your mind?”

“I’ve already decided.”

Calipa’s voice was determined.

“The Black Knights…”

Raymon sighed with a strange sound.

“Well, what about Judith?”

Judith couldn’t take it any longer and stood up.
The sound of the chair pulling drew everyone’s attention.

“…Judith?”

It was Calipa who first noticed that Judith was acting strange.

She was a friend who joined the Black Knights along with her and didn’t get along with her until the very end.

Judith turned her eyes toward Calipa.

“Sorry.
I’ll go first.”

“Huh? Where are you going? I’m going to have Lord Pelto…!”

Violette was perplexed.

Judith left her friends behind.

After walking for a long time, she stopped on a deserted walkway.

She felt someone following her silently from a while ago.

“…Calipa.”

Judith spoke the name of her old friend who looked good in a black mourning dress.

A woman who lived as if she were dead with her beautiful wavy blonde hair hidden in a black silt veil.

Calipa then looked at her worriedly.

“Judith, are you okay?”

“…”

It was quite serious to even have Calipa worrying about her.

Judith shook her head while sweeping her forehead.

“I don’t know.
I don’t think I’m okay.”

“Yeah, it looks like it.”

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Judith was truly grateful for Calipa’s consideration for not asking what was going on.

She can’t explain it, and she’s got nothing to say.

She died and woke up to 6 years ago.
Does that make sense?

Judith felt the gaze looking at her through the black veil.

‘It’s the real Calipa…’

She thought this friend was no different from before and now.

Calipa waited while Judith reigned over the chaos in her mind.

After a while, Judith turned toward her.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“What’s the date today? It’s September in the year 410…”

“15th.”

“……How long do we have until the decision to join the Knight Orders?”

“Two days.”

As expected.

At Violette’s urging earlier to go to breakfast, it became clear that she had been anxious from the moment she wore the gray uniform.

She didn’t know why, but once she died, she must have gone back six years, and it was time to pick a knight order.

That meant…

Judith took a deep breath.
And asked again.

“My reputation these days… what do you think about it?”

“…”

Her voice shook a little.

It was only for a moment that Calipa’s mouth was closed at the daunting question.
A calm reply soon followed.

“Youngest Aether Master.
A genius knight who received offers from all three knight orders.”

“And?”

“…A money-crazy swordsman.”

It was an explicit statement, and Judith’s expression crumbled.

She wouldn’t care if it were the past, but now her eyebrows were distorted by humiliation.

She didn’t think she was going to hear the words that were once used the most to insult her like this again.

At the time, it was words that passed without a blink of an eye.
But now, she had to admit that it was bitter and painful to hear.

Black Knight Judith was dead.
Her life ended in a way that was truly close to causality and retribution.

Judith was a Black Knight, and the mission to earn money was her top priority.
There were lots of rewards and income.

Seeing her snobbish appearance, the other knights spit on her, saying she was not qualified to even say a knightly oath.

Until just a few hours ago, Judith thought the choice was right.

However…

‘It’s a very worthy death.
Don’t you think?’

If it were the right choice, would such a miserable end be waiting?

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Jermel’s eyes, which did not hide his contempt, were vivid.
The leader looked at her like a beggar and sprinkled money.

For a moment, she felt dizzy just like when she was dying.

Judith felt miserable, resentful, regretful, and wanted to cry.

‘I made the wrong choice…I, I was wrong.’

There were many excuses that came to her mind like stars in the Milky Way.
But who would listen? Who could she blame? It was all her fault because her choices.

She clenched her teeth.
Tears were about to pour down.

‘Fortunately… I haven’t joined the knight orders yet…’

Judith’s eyes shook violently.

It was then when Calipa held her arm.

“You don’t have to care what the people say around you.”

“…”

“No matter what others say to you, everyone is different.”

There were times when Judith didn’t blink an eye at what others said and looked like a cold-blooded person.

But since she’s also human, it is natural for her to be hurt by other people’s words.
With that in mind, Calipa strengthened her grasp.

“Don’t worry about being crazy for money.
I’m on your side, Judith.”

“…No, no.”

Judith shook her head hard.

Calipa.
Dear Calipa.
Apparently, she interpreted Judith’s thoughts differently.

Judith lamented again.

Calipa Impenior was a duke’s daughter.
However, the tragedy that befell the family drove her into the knight order.

After witnessing the murder of her parents and her sister, she swore that she would never take off her mourning dress and veil for the rest of her life.

Then, she accepted her talent for the sword, which came with misfortune, and joined the Black Knights, where Leader Jermel promised to help her get revenge.

But the ending was tragic.

“I’m on your side, Judith.”

Calipa, why did she commit suicide?

Judith swallowed the question she couldn’t ask out loud.

For unknown reasons, Calipa accepted Jermel’s scout and committed suicide a few years later without leaving a single letter to Judith or the people around her…

‘She chose revenge over her life.’

Calipa never laughed at Judith for living for money.

They put different things above themselves as they risked their lives.

They were good friends who didn’t care about the public.
In fact, she was the only one in the Black Knights who could be called a ‘friend’.

But things will be different in the future.

Judith will never forget the gold coins that scattered around her while hearing that it was the price of a dog.

What was wrong had to be corrected.

She didn’t know how to fix it, but she didn’t want to die like that again.
So…

“Calipa, I’m not joining the Black Knights.”

Judith clenched her fist.

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