“Katarina Yulia Grandeur. Is there anything you want to say?”
Currently, I’m standing in front of the decapitation stand. I’m about to be executed. I nod at the executioner’s question and open my mouth.
I was charged for a crime I never committed, was thrown into the castle dungeons, and was drained both physically and mentally from daily torture. Finally, this has come to an end.
After squeezing out the last ounce of strength in my body, I raised my voice. “I will be judged innocent and will return to God’s embrace. May God’s judgment descend onto the foolish people who have framed me!”
I’m sure that if you look in front of the decapitation stand, there will be special seats. The Crown Prince, who betrayed me, is seated there with a woman beside him. The woman has a mocking smile hung on her face as she hides behind the Crown Prince. The one who trapped me into my current predicament is that very woman sitting there—she ended up replacing me as the fiancee of His Royal Highness.
And for some reason, that very Crown Prince is staring at me with eyes full of anguish. Oh, those blue eyes, I loved…
Ah! You’re the one who betrayed me, so why do you look at me with such eyes?
“You’re crazy! You witch!”
“Execute her quickly!” A spectator screams while hurling stones at me. Some hit my face and others my body, but I no longer feel any pain.
The bishop is praying, but I only feel cold. What good is the ritual prayer for those who are dying?
After the prayer was over, the executioner attempted to grab me. However, I shook off his hand and headed to the decapitation table myself.
Please, may I have a peaceful life in the next life.
From here on, I will be with God. I lie down on the decapitation stand and close my eyes, thinking about the afterlife that I’m not even sure exists.
Just before the blade fell, I felt like I heard a voice calling, “Rio!” Then, I lost consciousness.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
When I woke up, I saw a familiar sight. This cute flower pattern is of the canopy of the bed I used when I was a kid. How nostalgic. Is this what people call life flashing before your eyes?
“Rio! Did you wake up? Great! I’m going to call for father and mother, so don’t get up yet.”
“O… oni… sama?”
My brother is so young, and he’s so cute! My older brother, who is two years older than me, was the embodiment of an angel when he was a kid. This is a memory of when I was 7 years old. I had been in a coma for three days due to an unexplained fever.
Even so, my body feels heavy. It’s also hot when I reach up and touch my forehead. I wonder if these memories could reproduce such vivid feelings.
Father and Mother rush in without knocking on the door. Mother ran straight to my bed and grabbed my hands as she shed tears.
“I’m glad you woke up. Your fever didn’t subside for three days. It had me really worried. I started to think that… I would lose you… I’m really glad.”
Dad strokes my head with tears in his eyes. I can’t believe that my always calm father is crying…
I’m seeing my father, mother, and brother again. It’s a pity that I don’t have a younger sister in this time period, but I can’t help it because this is only a childhood memory.
My entire family was killed at the decapitation table before I was executed—my sister was only 7 years old. For believing in me, the entire family was sentenced to death.
I spilled tears of joy upon seeing my family well and alive. It’s a mysterious memory that even the warmth of my tears can be felt.
My brother looks at me, anxiously. “Rio? Is it painful?”
“No, I’m just really happy. I’m glad to see you all again.”
“Well, come now. The fever hasn’t gone down yet. Try and get some sleep.”
“The next time you wake up, I’ll have the chefs prepare Rio’s favorite strawberry fruit water.”
Father, Mother, and brother kiss my forehead in order. It was a warm family. I want to remain in this memory, but my consciousness is starting to fade.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The chirping of the birds woke me up again. I’m still in my familiar bed! Good, the memory is still running! Huh? These memories are surprisingly long. Nope. That’s absurd, right?
I was dizzy as I got up from my bed. Desperately carrying my body in front of the mirror, I saw the image of the 7-year-old me.
Before being executed, my silver-white hair had lost its luster and turned a dull grey. My blue-gray eyes had also lost their liveliness, with my original skin, proclaimed to be like white porcelain, turning scaly.
The child standing in the mirror has shining silver-white hair, which is illuminated by the morning sun, the blue-gray eyes having the clarity and innocence peculiar to children, and the skin is soft and lustrous.
“Huh? No way! Did I go back in time?”
When I finally realized this fact, I was screaming, “Ehhh!? You’ve got to be joking!”
My brother later told me that the maid, who noticed the disturbance, went in to soothe the disoriented me and had a hard time getting me to bed.