Screwed From The Start
This story begins with my esteemed father kidnapping a young boy.
“Father, who is this? He looks different than the toys we’ve seen before,” I said.
“Just some smug bastard’s kid, that’s who,” my father replied. “He’s here for a much-needed lesson.”
In truth, I knew exactly who he was the moment I laid eyes on him. With his presence and charisma, there was no doubt the kid was destined to play a star role in this world.
“Then may I play with him? I’ve become fairly good at training others, you know.”
“Me too!” “Yeah, me too!”
My younger siblings—each of them as hopeless as our father—began to squawk like hungry chicks.
“Throw him in the dungeon until he becomes more docile,” my father commanded, at which point some underlings dragged the boy away by his hair. Not only was he gagged, he was also wearing magical cuffs around his wrists and ankles. Those were instruments normally used for detaining monsters.
Yet, despite being trapped all alone in this lion’s den, the confidence and aura he exuded was breathtaking. Even as he was being pushed down toward the dungeon, the boy never took his scornful gaze away from our sorry family. It was a gaze so fierce that it nearly made me wince in fright.
“Oho, looks like we got us a lively one.”
“Can’t I play with it now?”
As I said before, I recognized him immediately. He was none other than the heroine’s older brother—Cassis Pedelian.
While my overexcited siblings continued to bicker amongst themselves, a single thought swirled around in my head.
Wow... WE ARE SO SCREWED!
My idiot father has finally gone overboard. He basically just signed our death warrants.
I Never Asked To Reborn Like This
There was no way I could have known that this new world was actually set inside a novel. My previous life ended on a cold, snowy day when a random car ran me over. I was on my way home from the library after a long day of wrestling with my graduate thesis when a random car skidded on an ice patch and jumped a nearby curb. As fate would have it, I happened to be on that very sidewalk as this metal berserker came careening toward me.
That’s how I ended up dead, and was then later reborn. As for the other details concerning my former life, I don’t see any point in getting into them. For one thing, they aren’t all that interesting. And for another, I soon found that reminiscing over what was never helped anyone anyway. Besides, the most pertinent information right now isn’t what kind of life I once led, but that the new life I fell into is a total stinker.
Honestly, things weren’t that terrible in the beginning.
“Oh, a lovely daughter this time. How wonderful, especially since you already have your big brother Achille.”
The first words I heard my mother say to me as a newborn were full of warmth and affection. It seemed she had really been hoping for a daughter. Of course, I was in a bit of a shock to have died, then suddenly be alive again. But it really didn’t take me all that long to accept my new environment. Moreover, it’s not like I had a choice. I was already dead and there was just no going back. Thankfully, I was always one who was quick to adjust.
My new life came with a beautiful, sweet mother. She was someone I could truly admire. With a mane of molten, honey-gold hair and deep, ocean blue eyes, she was like a fairy tale princess come to life. I remember thinking how lucky a man my father must be to have snagged a beauty like her.
Being an aesthete, I’ve always been particularly fascinated with beautiful things, and I found the beauty of my own gender especially enchanting. When it came to my mother, I couldn’t quite tell what her background was, but she seemed to have that perfect blend of Eastern and Western features. Each day of my infancy I simply gazed at her radiance in wonder.
“So this is the child?” asked my father, who boasted features which were even more astounding than my mother. “She’s the spitting image of you.”
I couldn’t help being startled when I caught sight of his jet-black hair and scarlet-hued eyes. Like I said, he had quite distinct features, but in a different way from my mother. Perhaps it was the chiseled contours of his face, or the overall aura he gave off, but he wasn’t someone you’d easily forget. By any standard he was a handsome man, but perhaps due to his overpowering presence, that fact seemed less prominent.
“Yes, but she has your scarlet eyes,” said my mother with a demure smile. Is it any wonder that I had such high hopes for my own loveliness at such a young age? With a gene pool bequeathed to me by these two, how could I be anything less than ravishing?
However, my father’s expression as he looked down at his infant daughter cradled in her mother’s arms was a dour one.
“This child shall go by the name Roxana.”
Then, as if giving me a name was all he had time for, he turned around and was gone in the blink of an eye. At that moment, I knew he was a jerk. He was a man who hadn’t bothered to visit his own newborn even once during the first few days of her life. It also occurred to me that his entire demeanor during the visit was more observational than anything remotely tender. In short, I had landed myself an emotional desert for a father.
“Roxana, my beautiful angel.”
Mother gave me her brightest smile, which hid the hint of disappointment I’d detected in her eyes when my father left.
“You must grow up healthy so you can become a splendid Agrece.”
Uh-oh. There it was. A sudden pang of déjà vu.
“Agrece”... The name had a familiar ring to it. From the looks of my new father, I had to have been reborn in a different country. My parents hadn’t spoken in English, but since I understood them without any trouble, I assumed there must have been some sort of reincarnation language reset...
But before I could work out an answer, I was fast asleep. I knew babies slept a lot, but I never realized how true it really was. Mmm... As my mother softly patted me on the back, I slumbered away like the baby I was.
At the time, I really didn’t know that the clan I belonged to—the Agreces—was such a wicked lot, and that I had been dropped down into an actual hellhole. Not that I could’ve done anything about it anyway, but still...