My brother Ricardo, known as the “Prince of Roses,” spoke to me across the bars of my cell.
“Die for Gabrielle.”
My heart had been pierced by his thorns countless times before, but those words shattered it completely. Not knowing what to say, I just held my breath and watched him quietly.
It was only because I had taken Gabrielle’s place that I was even in this cell. It’s not like I expected him to fix everything and make an effort to get me out, but I had hoped he would at least speak some words of concern for me. I wouldn’t have even cared if they were clearly lies.
My brother’s face had always been cold whenever he saw me, but now, it seemed dark and stiff. As he avoided my gaze, I could see a hint of guilt in his eyes.
“You told me before that you’re living your seventh life right now.”
As Ricardo muttered in a low voice, I flinched as if I had been stabbed with a knife.
“You said you died over and over... only to return to the past again.”
“Please. Die instead of Gabrielle.”
It was ironic how such cruel words could be spoken through such beautiful lips. But it was not a surprise. He had never been anything but cruel to me my entire life. Still... How could he do this to me?
“It would only be a moment. You’ll just return to the past after that,” Ricardo whispered in a desperate voice as if trying to persuade me.
“So...” he continued.
“You didn’t believe me.” As those words escaped from my mouth, Ricardo grew silent.“You said I was talking nonsense just to draw attention, and you despised me for it.”
Of course, he had nothing to say to that.
“And now that you need me, you’re bringing that up?”
If he had a conscience, he could not possibly say anything else to me.
Ricardo’s face crumpled up in pain.
And what he did after his apology made all the blood drain from my body.
“But please, Hillis. For the first and last time, I’m begging you.”
This high and mighty man was on his knees in front of me for the first time, bowing his head in desperation. It was all for Gabrielle, the only one he thought of as his younger sister, despite not sharing a single drop of blood with her.
He was begging me to die in her place.
“Hahaha...” A hollow laugh escaped my lips. How could it not at this ludicrous sight? “This is incredible.”
Ricardo’s shoulders seemed to stiffen, probably thinking that I was mocking him. Still, he waited patiently, pleading silently to me. I wondered how much he cared about Gabrielle, and how little he cared about me.
There had been many miserable moments in my life as I experienced death seven times, and this one was no exception. The small trace of hope that had stubbornly stayed with me finally burned into ashes and scattered away.
I did not shed a single tear. I was completely empty at last. That’s right. Finally, now, after seven failures.
“I will not call you my brother anymore. Ever since I was born, you have never been a brother to me anyway.”
Ricardo’s hands flinched as I spoke dryly. He raised his head and looked up at me.
“Thank you, Ricardo.”
I am sure the expression on my face was as dry as the tone of my voice. The moment our eyes met, his face seemed to crack a little.
“I’m glad you’ve been nothing but scum to me to the end.”
Watching his trembling eyes, I felt all the remaining hope left in my heart fade away completely. Seeing him no longer hurt or saddened me.
Had my heart ever felt this light before? After all this time, I had finally found my freedom. And now, it was my turn to abandon them first.
Noblewoman Hillis Inoaden has had many lives so far (seven, to be exact) but she has always been regarded the same in all of them: meek, submissive, and a pest. But in her eighth resurrection, she no longer bends to the nobles that encircle her, nor does she continue to live in the shadows of her wicked brother and stepsister. With a sacred power passed down from her lineage and the title of Family Head, she sets out for revenge and to change the grave destiny that awaits her.