Don’t Trust the Heroine - chapter 1
[History is written by the victors.]
A young woman was dragged onto the center of the cheering crowd. Contrasting the enthusiasm of the mass, the woman’s appearance was haggard. Her eyes were hollow, as deep as a bottomless well.
The loud cheer of the crowds somehow stunned her out of her stupor. As their cheer registered, a light seemed to flicker in her eyes, before it dissipated into a resigned one.
Madenna, the name of the condemned maiden mounting the guillotine steps.
This world was created from a book that she had read in her previous life. Every single word written in the book mirrored all the events that had happened within this world. Creating history with each and every sentence. If so, then the book was also recorded from the winner’s perspective.
“Prisoner, Madenna Rodenherg, lift your head!”
She lifted her head and blinked wordlessly, her eyes blinded by the sun’s striking light, streaming into the central courtyard. Her hands moved, instinctively moving to protect her sight, only to find them locked in place by heavy chains. A self-deprecating smile crossed her face as she let her raised hand fall helplessly to the ground.
Instead she faced her executioner. Her gaunt appearance was reflected by the gleaming blade. Her beautiful appearance turned into a huge mess from her stay in the prison.
Her glossy hair became dull while her white jade-like skin became rough and dark. The ragged clothes she wore were even covered in dried muddy water. Her previous noble look was nowhere to be seen. She looked so miserable that one would not think of her as the daughter of Rodenherg, one of the richest man in the empire.
“Madenna Rhodenherg, you are convicted for attempt of murder, highest treason…”
Madenna closed her eyes, zoning his voice out.
Her life passed through her eyes. She felt the knife before she saw it. She looked into the eyes of the wielder. It was her, the silver-haired beauty who bawled out her eyes with fake tears.
Madenna gritted her teeth.
“…with a body guilty of more than one heinous crime, you dare not beg for forgiveness. Therefore you shall be sentenced to death.”
Two executioners held her up and dragged her to the guillotine.
She recalled the past when she supported the heroine of the novel. The girl had a huge smile, a pair of deep blue eyes, and silver hair. She was like an innocent angel.
‘But how did this happen?’
For any friend in pain, she had always run toward them, helped as much as possible. Yet, this is what she got in return.
History is written by the victors.
The victor was the main character. She was deemed as a kind and benevolent noble who had outstanding beauty. But that was all a mask. She would not hesitate to save herself and let another suffer in her stead. Trusting her was a big mistake and she deeply regretted it.
They grabbed her hair and pushed her neck through the gaps, but she felt nothing. Her numb body could not feel anything except for the excruciating pain of the heroine’s betrayal.
The jeers and excited cheers of the people rang in her ears. Her throat and heart held in a silver grasp and all she could do was stare lifelessly at the one who stabbed her back.
Then the executioner dropped the guillotine on Madenna’s neck.
‘If I was given another chance, I….. ‘
At that moment, she lost her consciousness
* * *
Her eyes snapped open, face full of sweat as her whole body trembled.
She started to look around and run her eyes in confusion.
The room had gold-plated walls and the windows were covered with blue silk drapes. Black-plated mahogany furniture with gold-rimmed chairs was neatly placed, and there was a gorgeous chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Then, she realized everything felt oddly familiar.
‘Isn’t this… my room?’
Madenna used to redecorate the interior of her room every year because she was easily bored. If her memory is correct, it was about a decade ago when she decorated her room using blue and gold colors.
“I-I’m not dead?”
Madenna strode to the vanity and looked into the mirror cautiously. The fancy mirror with pure gold and sapphire in the edges reflected her whole body. But what she saw was not her 27-year-old self.
It was a beautiful girl in her late teens with white skin and rosy cheeks, though her hair was disheveled from sleep.
“…it can’t be.”
She quickly opened the drawer and took out a diary. She’s been writing all her experiences in her diary after realizing she was reincarnated into a novel. She flipped the page with trembling fingers.
The last remaining date of the diary is March 20, 1521. It was a few days after her 17th birthday.
“I’m back to… ten years ago?”
Madenna fell to her legs, her mouth hung with lips slightly parted and her eyes were as wide as they could stretch. It was not a long time ago that she was punished and sentenced to death.
She could still feel the harsh metal, cold and raw, against her bare skin and it brought her to tears.
‘Calm down. If this isn’t a dream right now. Then….’
The word ‘returned’ floated in her head.
‘I don’t know how, but…’
She had thought about it before she died. If she was given another chance, she swore to never live foolishly again.
‘And now… I traveled back to the past.’
“Yes, I won’t act like a fool anymore.”
This time, she will not live her life for Suzanne, the heroine.
Madenna clenched her fist. It was time to get her revenge and escape from the tragedy.
‘Sometime after her seventeenth birthday, by any chance….”
She quickly reviewed the contents of her diary.
After reading the last page, a frown appeared on her face.
[I’m finally going to meet Suzanne tomorrow! What kind of person is she? She was really nice when I read the novel, I hope we can get along well.]
She scoffed at herself.
The ‘good’ heroine turned out to be a two-faced skank who betrayed her and stole her entire family fortune.
As Madenna thought of Suzanne’s betrayal, her lip curled and her nostrils flared. She rose from her seat, sighing at her naive past self.
Tomorrow’s a special day. Originally, she was to meet Suzanne and volunteer to be her patron. But not anymore.
“……I’ll choose Farren instead.”
He was the villain from the novel.
‘Yes, I will become Farren’s patron’
* * *
There was a trend going on in the aristocratic society of the Alleo Empire. It was a patronage culture.
A lot of nobles tend to sponsor young children, who are unable to afford their education, to blossom their talents.
The sponsors will earn honor, while the sponsored children receive financial support.
Truthfully, it was more like a mutually beneficial business.
The nobles called the sponsored children their “jewel” and they would compete for their worth.
How many roses thrown on the stage after the Soprano’s performance. How great the achievements of a child they sponsored. The nobles boast of such things because they raised them with their own money.
‘It’s like choosing expensive jewelry.’
Madenna thought as she leaned against the back of the carriage.
So did Madenna in the original story. Unlike others who sponsor artists and scholars, she wanted to sponsor a child with unusual talents.
What she chose was a ‘mage’. Usually, mages from fantasy novels are often described as very rare and are valued a lot.
However, The Alleo Empire despised mages and was wary of them.
If a child turns out to be a mage, they are often abandoned as soon as they are born, and it was common to hide the child’s magic powers if they were raising them.
The reason why ordinary people rejected the mages was probably because of their survival instinct. The fundamental fear of being crushed so easily. In fact, mages might be able to overthrow the Empire with their powers.
She recalled the storyline of the novel, ‘How to Survive as a Mage.’
The original Madenna liked outstanding magic and chose to sponsor Suzanne. Madenna supported her studies, hoping she could grow into someone she can be proud of while putting her out of public sight.
However, ‘Good’ Suzanne, unabashedly, developed into a powerful mage and participated in the mage’s liberation movement. During the process, she met the male lead, who inevitably fell in love with her, and successfully shifted the blame to Madenna.
It was a common story, overthrowing the empire, having the mages to set up the country.
‘When I first realized that I was reincarnated into the book, I was really surprised.’
Madenna had only realized of her previous life when she turned 16. After suffering from a great fever, she came to think of her previous life and thought of a novel. In the novel, Madenna abused the heroine, Suzanne, and ended up losing her mind.
But the Madenna from the past had no intention of doing such stupid things, for she knew that Suzanne would rise to be an important figure in society.
That is the reason why she chose to be kind to her instead. She supported her with pure intentions, only to realize that Suzanne had played her for a fool…
Suddenly, the carriage came to a stop.
“Milady, we’ve arrived at our destination,” the horseman said.
Madenna replied, “It won’t take long. Please wait here.”
Then, she walked into the orphanage.
The orphanage in the suburbs had a collection of children with magical powers. This was the place where the villain and the heroine lived.
In her past life, Madenna had already planned to sponsor Suzanne from the very beginning. So she didn’t look at the other children and blindly took Suzanne to her mansion.
But this time was different. She will never sponsor Suzanne. She will be choosing Farren instead.
While she was guided into the director’s office, a middle-aged man welcomed her with a smile, “Welcome, Lady Rodenherg.”
His name was Langthan and he was the director of the orphanage.
“Nice to meet you,” Madenna said.
“It’s an honor to have you here. I heard of you, but I still can’t believe you were this young and beautiful.”
Hearing his compliments, Madenna let out a soft chuckle and said, “How nice of you.”
Langthan smiled and led her to the sofa.
Madenna had not thought of it before. But there was truth in Langthan’s words. Madenna was without a doubt very young.
The more sponsors they got, the more prosperous the orphanage will become. But not many nobles would choose to sponsor a mage. Mages were thought to be a danger to society. So it was unavoidable that he would take lightly of her.
Afterward, she sat on the sofa and immediately talked business.