Chapter 1: 00. A 17-year-old girl |
00. A 17-year-old girl
The beginning was always the same.
The gray sky, the drizzling rain, the muddy, barren garden. The chill in the air, the mud-stained nightgown. The gash on her throat that stung. If she didn’t go back to the mansion soon, the gardener would find her. She kicked the rope near her feet and headed to the passage used by maids—she failed again this time. It’s cold. This time, once again. She gritted her teeth. What went wrong this time.
Unlike the damp hallway, the room inside was warm. The temperature was better due to the thick fur quilts that blocked out the cold and the fire that burned in the fireplace.
She took off her dirty clothes and threw them into the fireplace, at which, the fire died because her clothes were wet.
Cursing to herself as she turned on the lamp at the foot of her bed, she poured oil into the fireplace so that the fire would burn once more. She stared at the woman in the mirror. She failed again this time.
She sat on a wooden chair, and on the table was a piece of paper and a small tub of ink. After staring at those for a long time, she grabbed a pen. Dipping it into the inkwell, she wrote on the piece of paper.
117. My name is…
She lost her grip over the pen and stopped writing. What’s the point? Even her name was meaningless. She felt empty. This time, this time! She thought the same thing for ten years. For the next thirty years, she tried to adapt. The next twenty years, she only thought about how she could make herself die. Then, the next five years were spent doing nothing. And… And.
She fell into a book.
And for 117 years, she couldn’t get out.
* * *
The book she transmigrated into was a typical romance novel. Carynne, the daughter of a minor fief lord, was to be wed to her relative, Dullan Roid, so that her family could keep the territory. But just like any other female protagonist, Carynne was a girl who dreamed of true love, and so she broke off her engagement.
She couldn’t possibly love a smelly, skinny, hateful-looking man. After that, Carynne’s family fell into ruin, so she started working as a lady-in-waiting for a young noblewoman, and there, she fell in love with Raymond, the fiancé of the young noblewoman. Following many trials and adversities, Carynne and Raymond got married.
The novel’s timeline was roughly over a year, and she also succeeded in marrying Raymond by using the same method. Happy ending. Happy ending.
After this chapter ended, Carynne was murdered the very next page. It was through poison. After collapsing because of the burning pain, she woke up at dawn, in the middle of the garden. She had trembled with fear.
Then, she fell in love with Raymond once again. She fell asleep in his embrace. Yet, when she opened her eyes, she was back in the same garden. This was the second time she died, and she didn’t even know why.
The third loop was spent staying away from Raymond, who then married another woman, and Carynne applauded as she attended the wedding as a guest. After the ceremony, she died after being trampled by a horse during the wedding procession. Her whole body was mangled.
The same was true after this round. The reason was different every time, but the end was always the same—her death.
Just in case it would work, she pushed through with her engagement a few years ago. Her engagement with Dullan hadn’t been broken, and she had wedded him without any problems. But when she woke up once more, she was back in the same garden. She didn’t know which it was that sent her back, whether it was when she had died or whether it was when a year had passed.
It wasn’t until a considerate amount of time that she figured out the mechanics of the loop.
1. The duration is one year. It always starts in the garden while it’s raining.
2. After one year, Carynne dies for whatever reason and will return to the same time and place.
3. She would start anew while bringing back with her the things in her hands that she was holding as she died.
Thanks to the third law, she was able to have faith that she wasn't dreaming. The number 116 was engraved onto the flat gold coin in her hand. After changing the number 6 to 7, she looked up at the ceiling. She couldn’t even remember her original face anymore.
She had lived as Carynne for more than a century. As her mind grew more than twice as old as her body, she had lost any hope of being able to leave this novel.
“I’d rather die, really.”
“You’re not supposed to say that, Milady. I can’t imagine a world without you here.”
Nancy, a dark-skinned maid, berated Carynne lightly as she brushed her hair. She could still remember a time where the world’s most important Missus was a woman who had the same dark skin. It was more than a hundred years ago. It was too vague of a memory to even call it a memory.
Whenever she saw this maid who was closest to her, Carynne would be reminded again that she wasn’t from this world. When she saw for the first time how the maid bowed towards her, Carynne shuddered in reluctance.
But then again, if this maid did not keep her head down as she left the room, she would be punished and beaten. This was how colored people were treated here, even the elderly. She had witnessed it for 117 years. Only time could change such values of humanity.
“Does Milady not like Lord Dullan to that extent?”
There’s no way she would like him. All the people here were like ink on paper to her. It was all meaningless, fleeting, and yet ink inherently wasn’t harmless. Anyone could die if they drank ink. Should she say that the ink was poison? What’s left would be but an ephemeral moment of joy. It was a short pleasure spanning for even less than a page.
She chuckled inwardly. As disfigured as Dullan looked, he was worse in bed. The last time she slept with him was a few years ago. And he had always been a stuttering, clumsy, ugly young man who lacked vigor.
“…Oh my goodness.”
“If we swap his lower parts with your lover’s, I’ll consider him again.”
“…Where did Milady hear such words? Which maid said that?”
“Don’t be so uptight. It’s just a harmless joke from a 17-year-old girl who doesn’t even know what a man’s genitals look like.”
“I’ve been taking care of you since you were a baby, but what are you talking about now? I didn’t raise you like this… In any case, after ten years of marriage, something like this would be nothing.”
That’s not it.
“Do you think it would last ten years with Dullan?”
“Then will it end after only a year? You’ll have more time. Let’s hurry up and tighten your corset first. You should see if you can have at it with a better man than Dullan with a thin waist.”
If it weren’t for this bloody corset, she could have had more fun. The whalebone corset, which squeezed her dry even of her swearwords, would more likely chew and bite at her waist than to just make it thin. It was suffocating. She hated this era.
“Nancy, I come from a time period where voluptuous women are popular.”
“If you live in that time period, then you’d be the slimmest of them all, what with you being such a picky eater.”
No, Nancy. Truthfully, she was quite the glutton.
Greasy meat, sweet snacks, all the kinds of food that would melt in her mouth. She liked all of these things, but the food in this world didn’t suit her palate. The bread was too hard and the meat smelled and tasted fishy. Salt was so expensive that she could only eat salty food once a week before she married Raymond.
That was the biggest reason why she liked Raymond. He provided her with good food. He was a man who could give both good food and good sex. Carynne swallowed the words that she couldn’t utter.
“Are you not going to attend the worship service today as well?”
“I’ll listen to such prayers five times a day after I get married anyway, so what’s the point?”
Dullan was a priest. Along with the local parish, he would also receive the land of the Hare family. As she thought of Dullan, who recited the name of God from their first night as a wedded couple and for all the days to come, Carynne felt like throwing up.
“How blasé. I’ve been with Milady since you were young, but you’re a little different today. Everyone says it’s like this before getting married, but you’ll be fine.”
No, I’m not fine, Nancy.
She had not been fine for 117 years.
* * *
It was a young lady’s 17th birthday, but they were far from the capital, so it wasn’t a grand event. All the more so for Carynne, whose marriage was already halfway confirmed.
The roads surrounding the fief weren’t in good condition either, and the nearest estate to the fiefdom was at a distance that would take one entire day of a carriage ride. And so, the hall was inevitably quiet.
Relatives and people who were connected to the fief in terms of business, who only vaguely exchanged letters with the family, wandered into the hall. And the clumsy musicians, who were forced to play for this event, were out of sync. They all had the expression ‘I want to get this over with and just get paid already’ stamped across their faces.
Even in such a place, Carynne was the center of attention. It wasn’t just because she was the star of this event, but because her beauty made her shine.
Her red hair, which was skillfully styled by Nancy, was naturally wavy, and the tight corset she was wearing emphasized both her bust and the thin waist that it was around.
Even though she was only seventeen years old, she was breathtakingly alluring. Those who killed time while prattling on with perfunctory conversation would grow lively when conversing with her.
Carynne could tell what they were thinking even if they wouldn’t say it aloud. She was a woman who was in a tentative engagement, so they couldn’t approach her openly.
But the moment Carynne would say, ‘I don’t want to get married like this,’ they would cry out with joy. They would be so excited to rip her clothes and pounce on her.
She spent about seven years rolling around the sheets with men, but she got tired of that faster than she thought she would. Most of them smelled horrible and didn’t even manage their pubic hair properly, so the experience was quite revolting.
This time, Carynne was set on doing something. She was too lazy to marry Raymond, too lazy to spend time taking care of the fiefdom. She’s already read almost all the books she could get her hands on, and the food here wasn’t delicious at all.
“C-Carynne Hare. Y-Your… h-husband has come to you, yet y-you make that face?”
“Either way, not yet.”
Dullan, Carynne’s fiancé.
It was strange how he wore his black priest’s robe while attending his fiancée’s birthday banquet. She was already used to it, but her brows would still furrow at the unpleasant sight of him being unbearably self-conscious. What she couldn’t stand wasn’t really how whispers followed them while they were together, but rather his attitude of being so conscious of the eyes on him.
It was embarrassing. He arrived a while ago, yet he didn’t even change his clothes. What he wore right now didn’t match the occasion, and there were mud stains clinging onto the edges of his pants.
He smelled disgustingly of medicine, wine and acrid rain. His wide eyes looked like a dead fish’s, and the black shadows underneath them made it so that children would cry at just the sight of him. Even maids would sometimes get surprised after seeing him. And those eyes were looking at Carynne right now.
Of course, Carynne had gotten used to them for over a hundred years, so she wasn’t particularly affected by that ghastly gaze.
“W-What are… you thinking about?”
He was very tall, but he was skinny, had no money, and didn’t know how to use his d*ck. He was a man who didn’t love Carynne and instead lusted for her. Apart from that, he was arrogant and rude.
Carynne loathed him, yet at the same time, she hated herself for feeling so strongly towards mere ink on paper.
If he was even the least bit attractive, none of the conflict in the novel would have happened!
It was a laughable thought. Just what the hell was this man. She had tried getting married to him, but that didn’t work. When she returned after spending a year with Dullan, her frustration had reached its peak.
Everything was meaningless. She had lived compassionately back then, like a nun, but it was all for nothing.
“Life is meaningless.”
“B-But… After getting m-married—”
“’All women who are about to get married feel the same way and the same frustration, but most of these concerns disappear after you get married. Stop thinking you’re some sort of fairytale princess, Lady Hare,’ is what you were about to say, right?”
Yes, it was exactly the same—she wanted to reply like this, but she complained inwardly instead. What he said to her several times back then while stuttering was ‘You’ll marry me anyway, so wake up.’
“It’s not like that.”
If only her complaints were only that much.
She just wanted to grow old. Or die. No… she just didn’t want to be in this place anymore. She was tired of it all. The same conversations, the same responses even after 100 times! Even the stuttering.
Swallowing a desperate scream, Carynne mimicked a 17-year-old girl who was moderately pouty. As he admired her beauty a little, the 25-year-old Dullan stopped being sarcastic. Dullan thought that Carynne was being immature, and he was right.
About a century ago. Maybe even now. Carynne was already 117 years old, but there was no one who treated her as such, so she didn’t find the need to act according to her age either.
Carynne, the redheaded beauty with purple eyes who lived forever.
The orchestra began playing.
t/n: hello there~ i’m yonnee, the translator for this series. just want to say how much i absolutely adore this novel because it’s so different from the usual shoujo/josei transmigration and regression novels out there, and all the blood and murder in this one is really up my alley~
resetting lady is officially tagged as R15 on kakaopage, but i’ve read some comments and reviews online saying that it may as well have been tagged as R19 because of the heavy subject matters it deals with. nothing too explicit, but it could get too rough later on, so consider yourself warned!
i hope you enjoy reading about carynne’s journey as much as i do!
side note: our protagonist’s name is canonically ‘carron’ (based on an arc/chapter title in the novel) or ‘karen’ (based on the second cover by laphet on kkp) but i personally like the look of ‘carynne’ on the page more, so i went with that.
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