It was just one of those ordinary days when the weather was a little nicer than ususal. I got off the daycare bus and looked up at the sky as I held the hands of the children who were getting off after me.
There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky and a cool breeze was blowing. A petal slowly flew through the air.
It’s already spring.
Come to think of it, it was almost my one year anniversary of starting as a daycare teacher.
I’d wanted to be a teacher ever since I was little. I loved children and had a talent for taking care of them. After working hard, I was able to achieve my dream and became the youngest teacher at the daycare center at age twenty-five.
“Thank you for taking us, teacher!”
Jung An, who had just hopped down from the bus, looked up and said to me. I smiled at how cute she was and took the child’s hand before starting to walk. For a child that had just turned three, it was dangerous to cross the crosswalk alone, so I took her to the other side myself.
“Be careful, teacher!” After arriving across the street, Jung An waved at me with a bright smile while holiding her balloon in one hand.
“Yes, you be careful too, Jung An.” I smiled before turning my gaze away from her and walked back to the bus. It was at that moment.
I turned around, feeling a cold chill run through me at the sound of the blaring horn. That’s when I saw Jung An, who had accidentally let go of her balloon, chasing after it and a car speeding fast towards her.
“Jung An!” By the time I’d noticed, I’d already made an irrational decision and immediately ran to her.
A great roar was heard, but at the same time I felt myself flying through the air. For a moment I was floating. They say when a person dies, many thoughts race through their mind, but mine just went blank.
Then, in an instant, I plummeted to the ground. As I collapsed on the road, Jung An came into my field of vision. Tears welled up in the child’s eyes as if she was in shock.
I wanted to hold her hand and take her home so that this wouldn’t become a trauma for her, but my whole body was so numb that I couldn’t get up. Just like that I lost consciousness.
The floor was rattling. Thanks to that, I woke up and combed my hair in an annoyed fashion. It looks like I was being taken to the hospital via ambulance. I, who thought that I was going to die, realized how lucky I was to be alive.
When I got better, I’d call Jung An first. Don’t worry, teacher is totally fine.
Wait, but why doesn’t it hurt at all?
I moved my body and felt for injuries, but therw wasn’t a single wound. Not only that, I felt no pain. Come to think of it, I couldn’t hear the sound of a siren. It just sounded like the hooves of horses. I thought it was strange so I opened my eyes.
What caught my attention, however, was not the white ceiling of an ambulance but one gilded decorated with precious jewels. I stretched out the hand that had been touching my body and dazedly touched the ornaments hanging from the ceiling. I’d never seen such large stones in my life.
Is this a dream?
…Yes, it must be a dream.
It was a dream of jewelery and gold. It was clear that this dream would welcome money into my future. I continued to fiddle with the ornament that was the size of the back of my hand. In an instant, it caught the light and shimmered. As I turned my head to the direction that the light was coming from, I saw a moving landscape outside the window.
A moving landscape, the sound of horseshoes, a small space decorated with jewels; I soon realized I was in a carriage.
At that moment, the chair that I was sitting on rattled and my body was knocked forward. Boom! My head hit the ceiling with a loud collision. Tears welled up in my eyes as the sudden pain and disorienting sound. As I touched the bump on my head, I felt an indescribable and diverse sensations.
It was said that one couldn’t feel pain in their dreams.
…Could it be that this wasn’t a dream?
The anxious feeling that I’d tried to ignore began creeping up from within. Had I been kidnapped? No, it couldn’t be a kidnapping. What kind of maniac would hijack someone in a car decorated with these kinds of jewels?
Except, if it wasn’t a dream then what had happened.
I blankly looked at the passing scenery. A face was reflected in the transparent and clear glass window. The face of a complete stranger and not myself.
I doubted my eyes and pressed myself closer to the window. Then I screamed and took a step backwards.
My face reflected in the window was not ‘my’ face, but that of a gorgeous woman with gray hair and blue eyes. She looked like someone out of a fantasy novel. I couldn’t believe it so I ran my hands all over my face and then lowered my gaze. A luxuriously decorated dress that wouldn’t have been unusual in Medieval Europe immediately caught my eye.
What the heck is this…?
I touched my waist-length, star-like silver hair. This can’t be real.
I broke out into laugher. In the meantime, the wagon carrying me stopped. The carriage door opened after a small knock. In front of the open door stood a man who looked like a butler dressed in a neat suit. There were several maids and other attendants beside him.
“Welcome to the Childe residence, Princess Fiora Tiana de Damon.” It was the first time that I had heard this language, but I understood the butler’s words as if it were natural.
I looked at him quietly and his gaze, too, was fixed on me. It was as if I was the ‘Fiora’ that he had mentioned.
“Haha,” I didn’t know that something like this could happen and laughed in a way that someone off their rocker might. I covered my mouth with my hand in order to hold back the full out laughter but some giggles leaked out.
“Please hold my hand when you get off, Princess.” The butler held out his white-gloved hand and said. I stared at his hand as if ignoring the reality that I was facing.
I knew the names ‘Fiora’ and ‘Childe’. The latter was the last name of the male lead’s family from the novel The Duke’s Children. It was a story that I had read before. The former was the name of the villainess who had her engagement to him ended.
Who is playing these pranks? Where is the surprise camera? What is this?
I looked around carefully, but this was not a set nor was there a camera in sight. Rather, everything seemed so real that I felt like an idiot for doubting the situation.
I tucked my hair behind my shoulders. So, this was all real. Both the environment that I was in and the fact that I had become the villainess Fiora from The Duke’s Children.
Before closing my eyes, I signed and remembered my last memory as Lee Ye-rin. Yes, it was a meaningful life because I had died while saving a child. While I was upset, I also had no regrets.
Recalling Fiora’s actions, I tightened my fists. Really! Why, of all the possible villains, had I possessed one that harrassed children?! I wondered this while surpressing my urge to raise my hand and slap my cheek.
God, I lived a perfectly good life, so why did, so why did I possess someone like this? Why? I sighed again and began to organize my thoughts. I’ve already become Fiora, there’s also a high probability that my original body is dead, so it seems like I’ll have to live like I’m Fiora from now on.
In my head, I thought back to Fiora’s appearance in The Duke’s Children. In the original story, she was the male lead’s fiancée and someone who constantly bullied the children. When the original heroine, Lelia, a maid at the duchy, tried to expose the bullying, Fiora had her kidnapped. Soon after, Fiora was executed by the sub-male lead, though.
I had goosebumps all over my body. I’d just barely gotten a chance to live again, there was no way that I was going to die again.
…Besides, as long as I was good to the kids, I’d be okay, right?
No, when the female lead appears, the male lead will fall head over heels in love with her at first sight and break off the engagement. If we break up like that then the children will be traumatized.
…Then, I’ll just wait for the female lead to appear and snatch away the male lead while not getting involved with the children as much as possible. Then when the engagement is broken off, she’d use the palimony to build a daycare center. Of course, it would be okay to help her favorites—the children—sneakily from behind in the meantime.
After organizing my thoughts, I took a deep breath and closed the carriage door behind me. Then I held out my hand for the butler to take. That’s when I saw he had stood there, staring at me in surprise. Could it be that it was because I’d closed the carriage door? It would be difficult if I came here with that bad an image.
I felt cold sweat running down my back, but when I tried to get down on my own, two small hands were extended to me. Without even time to react, a cute voice came from below.
“Welcome to the Duchy.”
Looking down, I saw two boys in cute clothing reaching out to me. Is this heaven…?
While I was staring at them blankly, three girls ran towards us.
“Hello! I’m Lemon!!”
Then a small bouquet—which seemed to have been picked by themselves—was held out to her. Five pairs of twinkling red eyes were looking at her. My determination flew away due to the loveliness of these children and I grabbed my aching heart.
They’re here in person! This is so cute! How can I live without their healing?
Just as I’d been contemplating on whether to go back on my original plans, a new thought flashed through my mind. How could I make friends with these children and not leave them?
I smile brightly as I brought the bouquet closer to me with one hand and held a child’s hand with my free one. “Thank you.”
My answer put a bright smile on their faces. Seeing those children’s smilexs made me think, since I’m not a villainess that I could try to be with them. If being a Duchess is impossible and the engagement would be broken anyway…
…Couldn’t they just hire me as a tutor?