It was dawn on the next day when Judith opened her eyes.
She didn’t want others to notice her plump, swollen face, so she spent the rest of that day locked up in her room.
Still, she felt a little better after crying in Calipa’s arms yesterday.
The moonlight poured out like tears and soaked the window.
Judith then looked up at the moon.
The only thing that didn’t change after the regression was moonlight.
Other than that, everything else had changed.
Judith used to be lost in thought all the time.
In the room where she should have been alone, two of her friends, Violette and Calipa, were sleeping beside her.
The two had stormed into Judith’s room a few hours ago with their hands full of luggage.
In particular, Violette asked endless questions at first.
‘Are you okay?’
The eyes that looked at her were cute, so Judith smiled with her puffy eyes.
‘You must have noticed that I was acting weird…’
Violette, who heard the sentence, was an upright friend.
On the positive side, she was very considerate, but on the negative side, she was broad-minded.
‘Are you still human?’
…It was a memory she would never forget.
Violette was a friend who shone wherever she was.
She was also a stepping stone to connect Judith with the friends around her.
So when she was killed by a beast, Judith completely separated herself from her other friends and became an enemy to them instead.
In retrospect, Violette’s death seemed to have been the beginning of all bad luck.
‘There was no one who stopped me.’
It had to be changed, her life and the future of her friends.
The more she accepted the return, the clearer her resolve became.
“There’s a full moon today…”
It had been less than a week since she returned, but there was a full moon.
‘On the night that the third prince was killed, there was a crescent moon.’
That moon was the proof of her return.
Why is she alive? Why did she come back?
Numerous questions flooded in her mind, but Judith didn’t think deeply like she used to.
Just being alive is a blessing.
Being alive could change something.
She could grab onto infinite possibilities.
So, it was definitely an opportunity.
But strangely, her heart felt heavy.
Is this really an opportunity?
…Was she really wrong?
Judith leaned against the wall and lowered her head.
“Judith… shouldn’t you be asleep?”
“I’ll go to bed, don’t worry about me.”
Judith patted the tossing Violette and fixed the blanket.
Violette nodded after being reassured and fell asleep again while rolling up her blanket like a salamander worm.
After a while, Judith moved quietly to keep the two friends from waking up.
A particularly bright moonlight shone on the desk.
It was a similar sight since letters and bills were piled up there.
Judith habitually checked the bills first.
‘This is the dressing room… Imperial family, shoe repair fee, night toll, general store…’
She bought those six years ago, so she couldn’t remember the details, but the circumstances were obvious.
When you become an imperial knight, you have to have a lot of clothes and personal items.
‘Supplies were limited.’
Most of the bills were paid in installments, but when she put them together, it was still quite a burden.
‘But it’s not like I can’t pay.’
But, when she checked the last bill, Judith felt her heart pound.
Arpa Nursing Home.
Judith looked at the nursing home bill for a while.
It was the last trace of her mother and the place where Judith owed the money the most, she also passed away when Judith was 16.
Her mother abandoned her health from doing chores to earn money, but she fell ill from an infectious disease.
She passed away while being transferred between different nursing homes.
The Arpa Nursing Home was a place where Judith was allowed to file a split claim due to her pitiful situation.
‘…I paid it all back, but now that I’ve returned, it’s a mess again.’
Judith crumpled the bill and hugged her knees.
‘I’ll have to work really hard to pay it back.’
She didn’t want to hear about how her mother died and the rest of her debt.
It costs money to manage one’s daily life.
Housing, food, clothes, repairs, laundry, plus taxes – are all things that cost money that one will need to survive.
That absolute fact cannot be changed even after returning.
“Is there a place to pick up supplies…”
Judith muttered habitually and slapped herself hard in the face right afterwards.
‘Crazy, crazy, crazy!’
It was only yesterday that she killed the prince for money and returned and then decided to not put money above her life.
But when she put the bill in front of her, she was looking for a place to sell like a habit.
‘I’m supposed to change!’
But what can she do to change?
She bit her lip and buried her face between her knees.
It’s not that she doesn’t know how to live right, but she needs to be content with what she has and live without being greedy.
Everyone said that was the right life.
But who likes such a life like that?
Between bread and meat, she wanted to eat meat.
The silver sheath was better than the copper-plated sheath.
She preferred the gold thread rather than the silver thread, and the best ornaments were large, expensive, and colorful.
She didn’t want to be made into another mockery of the poor-looking people for having no money.
So, money became her drive, because if she were wealthy, she could achieve whatever she wanted.
But, if she died because of that, what should she do now? Let go of the greed and live content only with what she has? Then, would she have to taste this dreadful feeling?
It has always been like this.
The moment you realize you don’t have money, you become miserable.
The more she struggled to split up the money she didn’t have and try to do something, the more she couldn’t afford.
It felt like her heart was being sucked into a swamp.
Day by day.
Judith always needed money.
‘…Can I change?’
Even after returning, all she could think about was money, so how?
It couldn’t just happen overnight.
There was a time when she had to cut off the tendons of other people’s limbs for money.
After making the corpse looked like it was a suicide, she was given a tiara carved with diamonds.
Then, she brutally killed the prince who considered her as his savior.
Those were the things she was not proud of and things she didn’t want to reveal.
A past that will never change.
But from now on, she has to live differently.
‘…I’d rather be dead.’
If she were dead, then she wouldn’t have to go through the same pain.
Judith’s smile was filled with sorrow.
Just being alive is a blessing.
But for some, it is also a bond that cannot be escaped.
Is this regression really an opportunity?
Judith looked back on her life, but she always came to the same conclusion.
‘You chose money above your values.’
She felt embarrassed and ashamed for she knew she was not living the right way.
I couldn’t sleep for a while.
Judith buried her face between her knees and while she spoke.
Calipa approached and tried to get the bill out of her hand, but Judith held it tighter as if it were her last remaining pride.
I’ll go to bed soon.”
She hated herself for being snobbish.
Let’s sleep, Judith.”
Calipa comforted her quietly.
Judith wiped away her tears and decided to cut and sell her hair at dawn.
As soon as it became bright outside, Judith left with permission to go out.
Half of her current housekeeping was unnecessary.
She sold all the shoes, boots, and books that she hasn’t used.
It wasn’t a lot of money, but when you’re in a hurry, those pennies are precious.
Also, she stepped into a place she had never been to before.
It was a landowner’s office.
“You’re gonna sell the land? A young lady like you?”
“It’s my father’s legacy.
It’s not a big piece of land, but it’s good to build a house on.”
Judith then slipped the royal knight’s card.
The landowner bowed his head quickly.
“I’m sorry I did not recognize you.”
“I’ll give you the address, so send it to me with a price quoted by letter.
I will sell it if the price is good.”
After saying a few words, Judith turned away while hiding her bitterness.
That land was a bit special.
It wasn’t great, but it was at the edge of the capital and it was barely big enough to build a house for a family.
However, what made it special was that it contained a heart.
Judith then remembered her mother’s words.
‘Your father said: A man cannot live without a place to live.
Judith, live there.
We can even build a house… and never sell it.
A small piece of land was left in front of her by her father, whom she had never seen before.
The place evoked some precious emotion from Judith.
It was something that made her live with a little hope for the future.
She didn’t want to sell it.
However, she was also reluctant to embrace debt.
It was better to sell than to let a huge amount of debt diminish her self-esteem.
‘If I had known I was going to die like that, I would have sold it sooner.
I kept holding on to it like a fool.’
Land and debt were areas beyond the reach of Judith’s knowledge.
It was unfortunate that there was no one to consult with, but in the end, she had to solve it herself.
This is good… Let’s change it little by little.’
Still, her chest felt a little empty.
Once she let go of it, it would be a land she couldn’t come back to, but still, she couldn’t help it.
It’s better to pay off the debt as soon as possible.
Judith forced a step back and returned to the Imperial Palace before noon.
Originally, she was going to sell her hair too, but the most expensive hair salon was too busy, so she refused.
“Judith! Judith! Thank goodness I found you…!”
“Why? Did you forget? The new knight test today!”
She hurriedly rushed.
“Oh… It is?”
Violette snatched her arm and pulled Judith.
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