“You mean Coke? Okay.
Please wait a moment!”

Vanessa went into the store with a weird look on her face and thought, ‘Is she really okay? I’m so worried…’ when Ashmia ordered a drink she didn’t usually drink.

In the meantime, Ashmia let go of her cumbersome headdress and took a deep breath.

‘How can I have such a vivid dream?’

Michael Rose, the one who was dreaming, was dead.
That much was true.

However.

‘…Was that not a dream?’

When such thoughts of hopelessness and torture began to clutter Ashmia’s mind, the ‘weird sense which helped her calm down’ once again quelled Ashmia’s confusion as if forcing her to accept what was going on.

“Miss, here’s the Coke…”

Ashmia took the can from Vanessa’s hand and drank it in one go.

Gulp, gulp, gulp.

Burp—

“…”

Vanessa’s eyes widened while watching Ashmia who even burped after drinking an entire can of coke.

On the other hand, as the exhilarating stimulation of carbonic acid rose to the top of her head, Ashmia’s thirst and frustration finally subsided.
Then, she was able to recall details of the accident that just happened in ‘Michael’s memories’ more vividly.

‘Seven years.
Yes, this happened seven years ago.’

Michael was also dispatched to the scene, and it was such a big accident that he remembered it clearly.

‘I’m back… to the past?’

Woosh—

Several police cars and an ambulance passed Ashmia with a familiar siren sound.

“Miss, where are you going?”

Ashima stood up suddenly and walked around the corner again, looking at the scene of the accident from afar.

She saw police officers who looked younger than they were in Michael’s memory getting out of the car.
Some of them were even accompanied by their partners who were killed a few years ago.

Little by little, Ashima made out Nikita Borev’s silhouette.
But it wasn’t Michael Rose who got out of the same car.

“What is this…”

If she really did go back to seven years in the past, why did she become Ashmia instead of Michael?

“Haa…”

Ashmia exhaled, unsure if it was a laugh or a sigh, and collapsed.

“Miss!”

After hearing Vanessa’s worried voice, Ashmia fainted.

***

Ashmia opened her eyes again.

“My Lady, are you all right?!”

The title of ‘lady’ and Vanessa’s tumultuous voice, which were heard as soon as Ashmia woke up, immediately shattered the hope that everything was just a dream.

“…Where are we?”

“St.
Catherine’s Hospital!”

The general hospital in the Kalanishiel family’s territory.

Ashmia resided in a special room on the top floor.
But… what was with all those bandages all over her body?

“Was I hurt that much?”

“I’m sorry.
I couldn’t protect you better…”

“No, that’s not what I meant.”

In reality, Vanessa said that there were only minor abrasions and bruises.
Ashmia fainted because she was too weak to withstand the shock from the accident—was what the doctor told Vanessa.

However, with the bandages wrapped all around her slender body and the intravenous needles, it looked as if she had been laying on a bed in the intensive care unit.

“I don’t want you to get scars, so I’m being extra careful.
Don Kalanishiel said…”

tl/n: the word ‘Don’ in Italian means boss.

“Father?”

After spitting out the word thoughtlessly, Ashmia freaked out.

Oh my God, he’s my father!

It was a reflexive action that occurred because of Ashmia’s memory where she called Richard Kalanishiel, the boss of the Kalanishiel Family, her father.

Ashmia felt dizzy as she was about to faint again.

“Yes.
He came in a hurry after cancelling the family event, as did the other family members…”

Everyone came and left while I was sleeping?

Ashmia let out a sigh of relief, thinking it was fortunate that she wasn’t awake.
She wasn’t ready to work on her facial expressions in front of them.

‘But… what’s going on in my head?’

When she woke up, there was no memory loss and Ashmia’s memories clearly coexisted with Michael’s memories.

Their memories weren’t mixed up, but instead they were well sorted out like books in a library and there was a clear line between them.
However, it wasn’t easy to accept that ‘those memories were hers, but also not hers.’

And even more so if those were the memories of a girl who’s been living as a reclusive loner for seven years.

‘What the hell is up with this kid?’

Without realizing it, Ashmia let out a soft sigh and called out Vanessa’s name.

“Vanessa.”

“Yes, Lady.”

“Can you go and grab me some painkillers?”

“Right away!”

Returning as fast as she left, Vanessa handed Ashmia a small and translucent brown bottle of medicine.

“Thank you.”

Let’s borrow some medicine for now.
Otherwise, I’m not confident of facing this girl’s memories that just come out of the blue.

“Have you been treated?”

“Yes! I’m fine!”

“Yeah? That’s good.
Then, I want to be alone for a while.”

“Okay.
I’ll be outside.
Call me whenever you need me!”

“No, don’t do that.
Go find an empty hospital room and get some rest.
You must have had a hard day as well.”

“That’s all right!”

“Do I have to order it? You need to recover your strength so that you can protect me like you did today.
Go get some rest.”

“M-My Lady.
I’m so honoured!”

…I feel like I’m some kind of Emperor.

Vanessa left the room with tears full of emotion. 

“I’ll still be nearby so if anything happens, call me first!”

“…”

Once Ashmia was alone, she got up from the bed, dragging the IV stand to the window.

Outside the window was a beautiful night view of the city.
However, Ashmia’s focus wasn’t on the beautiful sight, but on her reflection in the window.

She raised her hand and touched her face.

Forehead, eyebrows, nose, and lips.

Every part Ashmia touched, she felt the touch.
It was definitely her face.

Moving into the bathroom, she stared in the mirror.
The more she looked at herself, the more mysterious the hair and eyes were.

‘Even her eyelashes are silver.’

When Ashmia brought her face near the mirror for a closer look, there was a pinkish energy swirling around her black pupil surrounded by golden irises.

She was the only one out of the Kalanishiel siblings to inherit this unusual genetic trait from her mother, Maverett Kalanishiel, called the ‘Gold Rose’.

‘This is the real Ashmia Kalanishiel…’

Now there was no room for further suspicions.
Michael had accepted the fact that he returned to the past seven years ago and became the youngest daughter of a mafia family.

‘But why?’

As she was thinking about the reason and every possibility, a hypothesis suddenly popped in her mind.

‘No way… was this my ability?’

However, even if there was a special ability that manifested in death, mana would be required to activate it.

Michael Rose was an ordinary person with no mana.
He was normal.

‘…That’s not the point.’

Ashmia shook her head before she sunk deeper into questioning something she could not think of an answer to.

‘More than that…’

The question was more of a ‘what to do in the future?’ than a ‘why did this happen?’. 

Ashmia’s death was the starting point of a series of disasters and tragedies that would take place in the next few years. 

‘Since Ashmia is not dead, will the future be different from the one I know?’

The answer to that question was both yes and no.

It was an assassination attempt disguised as an accident, targeting the youngest daughter of the Kalanishiel family.
However, it was too big to be viewed as a simple assassination.
Other than that, such a devastating event took place within the Kalanishiel territory and nowhere else.

Although this time the assassination was unsuccessful, it wasn’t something the family could just ignore.

‘War will begin.
Just like seven years ago.’

Even so, the Empire, which was stagnant due to the corruption of the aristocracy, suffered the worst situation of a coup d’etat after the war between the mafia and the aristocracy completely destroyed order and caused the Imperial family and the Council to lose control of the Capital.

‘And the one who laughed last…’

The second son of the Kalanishiel family, Damian Kalanishiel.

In those seven years, countless innocent lives suffered and were sacrificed.
It was the ‘past’ that Michael remembered and the ‘future’ that might take place.

‘But…’

Based on the results alone, it was impossible to conclude that Damian had attempted the assassination.

It was clear that Damian was an impulsive and dangerous person with the power to turn half of the Empire into a sea of fire on his own.
But he wasn’t sociopathic enough to blow up his own sibling, who was two years younger than him, with a bomb truck.

‘Then…’

Who was behind the assassination that Michael Rose couldn’t figure it out until the end?

The man, or organization, must have been the cause of the fall of the Empire.
The destruction that Michael had to go through.

“…”

After turning on the faucet, Ashmia exhaled lightly and splashed cold water over her face.

If this is another chance, I will survive at all costs.

Until the end.

“This time…”

I will stop the fall of the Empire!

Determined, Ashmia looked at the girl, or herself, in the mirror.

***

When she walked out the bathroom after wiping her face with a towel, her thoughts and mind were clear enough to feel hungry.

It was good that she was hungry.
It was a physical reflection of her will to live.

Ashmia was about to give up because it was close to midnight.
Then, suddenly, she remembered that she was the youngest daughter of Don Kalanishiel.

‘If I don’t take advantage of it now, then when will I?’

When Vanessa left just a moment ago, Ashmia saw armed mafia members in the hallway, so she approached the hospital door and gripped the handle.

‘Yes, let’s ask the kids out there.’

Then…

Bump—

The door opened suddenly without a knock.

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