I thought it was a little weird. Sure enough, even though I could not remember the details of every regression turn, I tend to remember the way I died each time. But at that moment, I realised that I could not remember the 7th regression turn.
Since I just watched the 6th turn, the 7th turn was soon to arrive. To be honest, I didn’t really want to rewatch it. I was in my dreams right now but I could not tell where it was heading. I guess I would only find out after watching it.
“What’s this? Why can’t I… remember?”
It was as if a part of my reel of memories had been cut out. No matter how hard I tried to recall it, I could not remember anything from the 7th to 10th turn. I was immediately led to the memory of marking my 11th line to represent my 11th turn. It felt like I had blacked out from alcohol and cut out a part of my reel.
‘Why didn’t I realise anything?’
My memories were all mixed up. Out of habit, I tried not to be so conscious of my deaths which was why I did not care too much about my scattered and fragmented memories. But this was not something that could be explained so simply. I realised it at the next moment.
The space in front of my eyes had changed again. It was a sunny day. Beyond its boundaries, I could see myself in the past again. As if I was watching a movie, the nightmare ended. Then, I should know the answer. Just when I stepped into the space again.
The space distorted before something blocked my eyes.
The world had darkened again. When I slowly touched it, I realised that it was a hand.
However, the stranger who covered my eyes did not let go of me and continued covering my eyes as if it was impossible for me to look.
Flustered, as soon as I struggled, I heard something. Something knocked against my heart before dropping. I quickly caught it. Just then, the person who had grabbed a hold of me moved and I caught the chance to shake them off. At the same time, a dazzlingly purple light burst out with a low lull.
I could then see the diary I was holding and Castor.
“Did you see? Your memories?”
He smiled without a word.
“I guess you haven’t seen them.”
I glared at him. He was appearing in my dreams again.
“It’s not that you’re trying not to remember but something keeps getting in my way of remembering them.”
Within this dream, Castor forcibly rubbed the bloodstains off his face with his hands. Then, he tilted his head before ruffling his hair.
“The thing in your hand.”
Just then, a golden light burst in his bright eyes. In retaliation, the diary radiated a purple energy which gradually heated it up before releasing another burst of bright light.
His hands could no longer get any closer.
Castor smiled from beyond the boundary. He was starting to disappear from the tip of his toes.
“See you in reality.’
Was I waking up from my dream? I should be waking up by now.
‘Hold on, what?’
The light that made Castor disappear to some place far away was also suddenly surrounding me. The gust of light shattered into shards before reassembling into a butterfly and speaking to me.
-Would you like to know?
“What are you referring to?”
The diary had no answers. Instead, the space continued to distort.
I was standing within the same scene again.
I was now in my room. The moment I reached out and tried to touch the flowers placed atop the drawers, I suddenly felt chills and got colder. I looked down at my hand.
‘I can feel things?’
When I traced the grape vines that were engraved into the drawer, I could clearly feel the nooks and crannies.
Was it trying to ask me to relive the experiences again vividly? What was so good about it for me to repeat it in a dream as well? There was no distinction between dreams and reality anymore. I was afraid I would not be able to wake up. ‘I’ was right in front of my eyes. Obviously, I was referring to myself who had died a number of times already.
A chill ran down my spine. The diary in my hand was glowing faintly. The diary’s goal was clear.
-Why! Why!! I don’t want to die… I don’t want to…
Now, it seems like I was even able to empathise with myself from the past.
I had held my shoulders and quaked because I was afraid of Castor who would come back. Even with the memories of repeating my death 40 times, the fear that crept up my back was real. I was getting caught up in the illusion where I turned back time and was reliving my life again.
-I don’t want to. I. I. Am I going to die again?
The confusion I had in the past was clearly conveyed.
“What kind of disgusting joke is this…”
The feeling of being forced to feel fear when I was just trying to look back on my memories calmly was horrible. No, it was disgusting.
In the past, I had called for someone.
“… Let’s get a hold of myself.”
Exhausted, I let out a groan before gathering my reason again. I did not know what was going on. Whether this was happening because of the god that threw me here or not, I no longer wanted to be swayed. I just wanted to stop.
In the past, for some reason, I always thought of seeking him out. I had run to the forbidden forest to see him. I could do nothing but follow myself.
Had I been running for a long time? I had soon arrived at the huge stele. The towering stele surrounded by tall pine trees. The gusts of wind blowing in the landscape were no different from that of my memories. The me from the past swallowed her breath before looking up. Someone had arrived at that stele before her.
The man was dressed in a clean suit. It was Hernan. 19-year-old Hernan blinked his widened eyes before opening his mouth.
-What brings you here?
His expression turned to that of confusion.
The me from the past quickly wondered who the white-haired man was as she fixed her unkempt hair.
-What brings you to this place? I was sure Castor was going to look for you…
No, she recalled the face of the man who just stood by the sidelines.
-I-I don’t want to! Don’t come!!
The me from the past fell backwards trying to avoid his outstretched hand.
-Princess? Are you alright!
-No. No! Y-You, are you going to kill me too? Like Castor?
-What are you talking about? What do you mean by Castor?
In a panicked state, the me from the past quickly shook her head.
-That time too. A-A-A-re you just going to stand by?
As I watched from afar, I could not stop my trembling lips. Hernan? Why was he there?
“I-I have no memories here.”
The me from the past could convey her emotions well. Her fear was so desperate that I wanted to shout at them to stop.
-C-Castor killed me. Why? I-I… don’t want to die again. Please, save me.
-No more. I don’t want to die, alright? Please…
The me from the past held on to the hem of Hernan’s clothes and begged.
-Is that… true?
Hernan was amazing for being able to guess all of my circumstances with just a few words that she had cried and spat out.
-All this time, wh-who… who else died?
-Me. I… I died…
Hernan’s gaze changed. The purple light that had flashed with a dangerous glint in his eyes began to sink into his pupils.
-Princess. Don’t cry.
Still, Hernan spoke calmly by lowering his voice after biting his lips. Back when I had been weak, young and desperate, I told him everything without hesitation despite knowing that Hernan was the knight of the man trying to kill me. She grabbed onto the hem of his clothes before wailing for help.
-Again. I…. don’t want to… die. No. I don’t want to die. Wh-Why? Please save me…
-Please. Let go…
As soon as the tears fell, light poured out of his deep blue eyes. He twisted his face before pulling her.
-Why on earth are you…
At that moment, the diary trembled. Perhaps it was empathising with the me from the past who was so gripped in fear.
-You just watched… from the sidelines… You and Castor…!
She was angry at him for being something he had never seen before. He was pressing her for answers as to why she was asking him but he was not directing that anger towards her.
The breath that Hernan let out sounded both like a sigh and a cry. Seeing that figure, all sorts of thoughts entered my mind and made me dizzy.
“That’s strange. This is clearly a dream.”
Goosebumps raised on my skin. It was my younger self who was being hugged till the point her body ached. But I could feel his body heat. It felt real.
-During the time I did not know you. I thought you were happy.
As if I was calling out to her longingly and painfully, I wanted to scream at her to get the hell away from Hernan.
-Do you want to know?
Was this the truth? And not some well-made illusion?
“It’s just a deception.”
That man cannot see me now. I grabbed onto his clothes with strength. But shockingly, I was moving backwards without realising it. I was confused.
-Run away. I know the way.
Hernan helped me run away. With his help, my escape was smooth. Hernan reached for the door leading outside at once.
-You’ll be riding a carriage.
The two of them reached a carriage stop located near the gate. Whilst Hernan looked for a suitable carriage in the place where the smell of horses, carriages and dirt was mixed together, ‘I’ continued to hold onto the hem of his clothes so that we would not get separated.
-I’ll go and bring back the things you need. Wait here.
-W-W-Wait, don’t go!
I did not know why I was suddenly placed in this well-made dream. I had doubts about the bystander who just watched on as I died helping me. Why did I forget about this? Why?
-Relax. No matter what happens, I’ll protect you.
He handed a white bird over before asking me to stay put. I knew that face.
‘In the 4th Administration. He always smiled like that too.’
His eyes as he asked to be my knight. His eyes that looked at me warmly. They were the same colour.
-Don’t worry, princess.
With his pale hands, he removed mine from his clothes.
-I’ve wanted to be your knight for a long time now.
-During the times you knew nothing about.
The me from the past looked confused. That was what happened when I was overloaded with thoughts. 19-year-old Hernan laughed as if he understood.
-I’ll definitely protect you.
He spoke extremely sadly.
As soon as I was about to ride the carriage, Hernan met Castor. When he first appeared, his languid and bored expression had turned into a smile as if he was thinking about how fun it would be with every approaching step. Finally, we met.
The tyrant who embraced madness readily with his bright eyes. His languid gaze was deadly poisonous like a venus fly trap.
-Looks like you were trying to run away.
He leaned against the carriage before alternating his gaze between Hernan and myself. He looked indifferent and cold. However, once his gaze landed on Hernan who was hugging me slightly, his expression changed slightly.
-I overlooked this.
As he lowered his head and looked down at me, his face was blank as if he lost something important to me.
-I did not think about this.
A seductive smile that was as thick as honey turned to face Hernan.
The tense atmosphere in the space as if I was walking on a tightrope continued as my attention leaned towards Castor. Flutter. After a few strands of hair covered his eyes, he blew them back and at the same time, Hernan pulled out his sword and blocked ‘me’.
Castor flashed a gentle smile as he blinked his golden eyes.
-Are you going to fight me?
A glint that looked like madness fluttered across his eyes. At that moment, Hernan seemed to have decided on what he had to do.
-Please run away. Princess. Hurry!