My Past Life is Riddled With Many Sins - Chapter 15
Limping along, Regina finally collapsed onto the dirt ground. She lost any strength to move further.
Fortunately, it seemed that Friedrich’s group wasn’t pursuing her. Since she had traveled by horse, she had arrived at her destination much earlier than planned, so there didn’t seem to be any rush.
It was time for a short rest.
She lay there, staring blankly at the sky. The sky was blue, the clouds fluffy, and the birds flew leisurely.
“We parted without even knowing each other’s names.”
She had deliberately avoided asking, but now that it had actually happened, it felt strange.
Perhaps there was a part of her that wanted to be connected with Friedrich in this life.
‘Once should have been enough for such a foolish mistake, why again?’
Hadn’t Regina learned anything from her past life?
Repeating the same mistake was foolish.
‘This time, I won’t live as a fool.’
While gazing at the sky, Regina closed her eyes, desiring a restful moment rather than sleep.
* * *
Despite moving slowly due to her internal injuries, she had already arrived at her destination, not to Hylo….but in the capital city of Ultima, next to it.
“I asked about your destination.”
“It’s Hylo. My parents asked me to go there and pick up something from someone they know.”
Of course, telling Friedrich’s reincarnation that she was headed to Hylo was a diversion. Ultima, was Regina’s true destination. The place where the Academy was, was under the Emperor’s jurisdiction.
‘I’ve acted like I have no connection with studies, so they wouldn’t suspect me of going to take the entrance exam for the Academy.’
Regina paused to admire the view before her.
The Imperial Capital, after 200 years, felt both familiar and strange. Naturally, after not just one or ten years, but two whole centuries had passed. If any part of it seemed familiar, it was a wonder in itself.
The scenery where the unknown outweighed the known stirred a longing in her. Even though the breeze that brushed her skin wasn’t the same as the one from 200 years ago.
Regina pondered for a moment in the wind.
How much success would she need to afford a house in the Imperial Capital? Should she graduate as the valedictorian from the Academy? But would her family agree to move to the Capital from their homeland? Relocating to another country isn’t easy…
‘I’ll have to bring it up casually sometime.’
If they reacted positively, she would consider working towards getting a house in the capital.
Having made a decision, Regina entered a suitable inn, unpacked her belongings, and took a long-overdue bath. She then dressed in her cleanest clothes and stepped outside.
The ‘Mary Library,’ second only to the Imperial Palace Library in the number of volumes it held, was open to all regardless of status or nationality.
Indeed, it was named after Mary Batusha, known to the public as the Second Concubine. Yekarna’s naming style was somewhat careless and simple.
Before entering the library, Regina paused in front of a statue placed at the entrance. The statue, depicting a beautiful woman reading a book with a gentle expression while holding her glasses, captured not only Regina’s attention but also that of other visitors.
“Mom, who is that Sister?”
“I don’t know, she might be the Goddess of Books, don’t you think?”
“The Goddess of Books? Is there such a goddess?”
A mother and daughter passed by, engaging in light conversation. Regina knew the certain answer, not just a vague guess.
The model for that statue was Mary Batusha.
Mary Batusha, though shy, had not refused the request to pose for the statue. While the sculptor was crafting her image in that pose where she was reading a book, Yekarna was there, watching the scene with her own eyes.
“Perhaps it’s better without glasses.”
“Why? Without them, you can’t read. Just pretending to read would be boring and tiring.”
“But there aren’t any paintings or sculptures of women wearing glasses. It’s not suitable for art. I fear it might even bring disgrace to Your Majesty. What if people start talking about how Your Majesty has chosen a concubine with a vision defect…”
“Mary Batusha, you worry about trivial things.
“Your Majesty! I…”
“Tools are meant to be used. It looks good. As long as you’re comfortable and it pleases my eyes, what else matters? Let the gossipers talk, it doesn’t bother me.”
Indeed, 200 years later, nobody really cared about something like glasses. In the first place, criticizing someone for wearing glasses because they’re not pretty was the weirder attitude. What’s weird about needing glasses for poor vision?
Regina withdrew her gaze from the relics of the past and entered the library.
After about five hours of quietly reading, her concentration began to wane, and she felt bored. Deciding that it was enough for the day, Regina closed the book and wandered the streets aimlessly.
She let her feet lead her to something familiar. Before she knew it, she was in the square.
Sipping a fruit drink she bought from a street vendor, Regina decided to visit the statues of her ancestors.
In the square of the Imperial Capital, there were statues of the first, fourth, and twelfth emperors. The first for founding the empire, the fourth was a good monarch who had established the Empire’s foundation and achieved numerous feats in various fields, and the twelfth was a hero who defended the nation against the alliance of seven countries.
As a child, Yekarna often heard, “Follow the example of the three great emperors.” She grew so tired of hearing it that she’d sarcastically mutter that there are no other ‘Three Great Emperors’. She complained, nevertheless, she was proud of her ancestors.
‘Since I’m here, I should pay my respects.’
With a light heart, Regina moved towards the statues, but soon almost dropped her drink in shock.
There were ….. four statues.
The additional face was all too familiar.
It was her.
‘Why are you out there?’