Goodbye present world.
Come again present world.


I heard the sound of something cracking from the direction of my chest.

A strong wind blew through the air, and the royal blue curtain embroidered with silver threads got blown up with a burst.

As usual, the tassel that the maid in charge, Marie, wrongly placed must have come undone.
I could also imagine the scene where she opened the window to change the air, but forgot and left without closing it back.


It was that kind of usual …morning.


I woke up in my bedroom in the royal castle.

When I sat up, my silver hair with messy bed head was blown by the wind.
The thin ribbon on the white nightwear I wore danced in the blue wind in the color of the sky.

Outside the window, the sky was a deep color as if it was dyed.
The blinding white clouds were spread out as if drawing a map.

It smelled of summer— that was about to arrive.


“Huh? …This is- my room?”


I was startled by the sound of my own voice as I muttered to myself.

What flashed in my mind was the orange color that illuminated that dark night.

The pitch-black sky above Corliss Square was illuminated by the flames that seemed like they had risen from hell.
Fire sparks like vermillion sand fluttered around as if dancing.
Firewood piled up around me and the smell of burning flesh.
Wrapped in a band of fire and shrouded in black smoke, the breaths that sustained my life became even thinner and thinner.
It was truly as if I was being licked by the devil with a molten iron tongue.


(I thought I was going to die from the heat… Then, I think I died… or not?)


No, that raw sensation was real.

I remember people were staring at me curiously with their vile gazes as I was being burned.
But, rather than the many eyes that came to see me, who had been praised all my life for having unmatched beauty, begging for my life miserably, the few sorrowful gazes mingled among them were more painful.



(That guy… he glared at me until the very end.)


What I remembered was my childhood friend, who always complained to me with his strong-willed eyes.

I wondered where in the world he got all those complaints from, and I suspected that maybe he had a hall of complaints erected in his mind.

We have known each other for a long time, but he never complimented me even once.
Whenever we saw each other, all we did was fight, and when our eyes met, we hurled insults at each other.
Even when I was burned at the stake, his eyes spoke eloquently.


—“You idiot.”—


My heart thumped loudly.

At that moment, only in the last moments of my life, I felt like I finally understood the meaning of the complaints he always said to me, even just a little.

I don’t know how many great halls of complaints were sitting on his mind, but he was always angry at my risky behavior.
He always glared at me, who always ended up making enemies with people, as if saying I would destroy myself one day.


(Until the very end, he’s still complaining.
He must be a product of complaints.)


The spiky auburn hair of that man swayed.

Because of me, —because of me being burned at the stake, his clear jade eyes were dyed in orange color.
The usual freshness of his eyes had gone somewhere, they also looked exhausted.

Still, because of those eyes that keep glaring at me even in my last moments, I couldn’t help but loosen my eyebrows and laugh.


Seeing me laughing even though I was being burned at the stake, people raised their voices in astonishment.

But such a thing didn’t matter.

I felt like I saw that man’s, my childhood friend and also knight, —Mika’s eyes were slowly blurred with tears.


I gasped.
Air rushed into my lungs, burning me from the inside.
But more than that, my heart ached as if it had been squeezed tightly.


I thought that he hated me.


I wonder if Mika still cared about me, at least a little, even after things had turned out this way.

Being scorched in flames, my senses should have gone haywire from long ago.
However, I just felt a great pain in my chest.

And then, I thought about it.


(I never wanted to show you the unsightly sight of me dying…)


But, …and so.


“Why am I still alive?”


That sensation couldn’t have been just a dream.

I should have been burned at the stake while being called the “evil prince”.

Everything was taken away from me, and I lost everything.
My beloved older brother, my position as a prince, and perhaps… my country.


I put my hand to my chin and tried to think.

Come to think of it, what was the cracking sound from earlier, I wonder? When I looked in the direction of my chest, I saw blue-gray shards, the same color as my eyes, scattered to pieces.


It was a “guardian stone” given to me by my late grandmother.


Startled, I quickly picked them up with my hand, and the door suddenly opened wide with a bang.

It was the maid with round glasses and braids, —Marie, who came tumbling into the room.
And then with excess momentum, she really did tumble and fall down.

Though imperfect, this is still the bedroom of the third prince.
I will say it once again, this is the bedroom of a prince.

Even if she had mistaken the room, this wasn’t a place where a maid could just come tumbling in.
I think it was a very crude manner, but that’s just the way Marie always was.
I would try to give her some words of advice.


“Hey, can’t you act a little more elegantly?”

“I’m also busy here! After all, today is the day of your knight investiture ceremony, Your Highness Nagi!”


“Knight… investiture ceremony?” I asked while tilting my head.

I had already done that five years ago.
It was a ceremony to choose the knight who will be with you for the rest of your life, and it was normally held at the beginning of your final year at the Royal Academy.


As the third prince, I didn’t want to cause trouble for those around me, so I decided early to coincide with my older brothers’ knight investiture ceremony.
My brother’s happiness was my first priority above anything else, so I didn’t care who the knight was, and decided on the one who was recommended by the others without thinking.

At that time, Marie also complained a lot, completely forgetting that she was a maid.

Most people didn’t want anything to do with me, and yet, for some reason, everyone who did get involved with me complained a lot.


Still, to think Marie had forgotten about such a thing, did she perhaps finally lose her mind? That was what I thought, but then I remembered the time she looked at me being executed.
Just a few moments ago, all sorts of fluids were flowing unceasingly from every hole in her face.
That made me feel I should probably act nicer to her, just a little bit, a very little bit.

I think saying that she had lost her mind was too harsh, so I tried saying it more kindly and gently.


“Hey, are you out of your mind?”

“Excuse me?! You’re the one who’s out of your mind, Your Highness! Hurry! Get up! Get changeeed!”

“What… Did you just say I’m out of my mind?”


What in the world.

Inside my head, a plubear turned over.

I didn’t expect a mere maid would return the words that I said back at me.

Speaking of which, plubear is a white bear with a blue nose that only inhabits this country.


Paying no heed to me who winced in shock, Marie pattered out of the room in a hurry.

Furrowing my brows, I froze for a moment.
And then, I reluctantly stood up with a small sigh.

I removed the cord that had been hanging the guardian stone from my neck and placed the scattered pieces of stone on the table.
Later when Marie came back, I would try to get her to put them together into some kind of small sack.
Even if it had become like this, it was still a memento of my grandmother.

Marie had always been a busy maid from long ago.
I had known her for a long time and we were well acquainted with each other.


(Knight investiture ceremony? How is that possible? I’m an evil prince that was burned to death.
What’s going on here…?)


I knew that something was off.

I couldn’t believe that Marie, who had been crying so hard with snot, would treat me in such a rough manner after seeing me burned to death.
Even if she was trying to be considerate and tried to act like usual, she wouldn’t say such a crazy thing.


While wondering what had happened, I casually turned my gaze outside the window.

The sky was deeply and piercingly blue.
The clouds surrounding the shining sun just like a map seemed to depict a new world in the sky.

This country had a lot of rainfall throughout the year.
That said, the beauty of the clear sky was exceptional.

Come to think of it, I think the sky was also like this on the day of the knight investiture ceremony five years ago.
On that morning, I remembered seeing the gardener fall off the ladder.


(That’s right, I think he was trying to decorate the trees in the garden with blue ribbons, the symbol of this country, for my older brother’s knight investiture ceremony…)


For the events of the first prince and also my older brother, Seth, everyone in the country was all uniformly, very much looking forward to them.
Rather, I looked forward to it more than anyone else.

When I turned my gaze to the garden spread out downstairs, the gardener was trying to decorate the trees with royal blue ribbons, as if it was a mirror image of the morning from five years ago.
As I gazed down at the scene, the gardener fell off the ladder, just as I had seen him do five years ago.

“Ah!” I exclaimed and reflexively stretched out my hand, even though I knew I couldn’t reach him.
And then I froze.


(No, wait a second.
Sometimes an accident like this is just a coincidence…)


Right after I thought about that.

A black cat wandered in from somewhere and stepped on the gardener’s back, who was lying face down, and left.

I froze even more.
I always had an exceptionally good memory, and once I’ve seen something, I rarely forget it.


For a while, I remain frozen, and think.


From a distance, I could hear Marie’s voice full of despair yelling “Hurry uuuup, Your Highneeeess!”

Thinking about it carefully, I remembered that I might have seen Marie’s fall that I had seen earlier, too.
No, I had seen Marie fall down so many times that I wasn’t sure of my memory.

If that’s the case, I thought, I looked around the room.

The book I was in the middle of reading on the table.
The brand of tea utensils that Marie left behind in a hurry.
The ceremonial outfit prepared for me.
The shape of the jug next to the bed.
The type of nightwear I was wearing.

And then, I gradually understood.
The more I looked at it, this is…


“No… way.
This is the same as five years ago…?”


And so, —I, the third prince of the Pluvia Kingdom, Nagi Lucian Pluvia, had returned to the world from five years ago.

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