+ -

Chapter 4 - Can We Become a Family?

Forced to be Empress, Navia craves acceptance, but faces betrayal. She pursues revenge and new life. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translations,CWBF,Shoujo,Fantasy

Nikan, consumed by uncontrollable rage, struck his son's cheek for the first time in his life.


"Have you lost your mind?"

Even after slapping Wood's cheek, his anger was far from subsided.

Navia was meant to be the empress instead of his terminally ill biological daughter, tasked with bearing the next prince.

His own daughter, Vivian, was a 'Magic Reversal Disease patient'.

Magic Reversal Disease, an incurable illness affecting children born to wizard couples, can suddenly trigger a magic surge leading to death without any prior symptoms.

The oldest person ever to live with the disease was only twenty years old.

Since a terminally ill person couldn't become the empress, Navia was brought in as a stand-in.

'At a time like this, when everyone is watching Agnes to find a fault!'

Many coveted the decline of Agnes, which owned the mine producing the largest and finest magic stones.

'Especially the empress. She must be eyeing my magic stone mine.'

The empress's family, the Duchy of Lucia, was involved in the magic train business, and magic stones were the fuel for these trains.

They traded what each other wanted.

The empress wanted exclusive and cheap access to the magic stones for her trains, while Nikan wanted to place his adopted daughter in the empress's position.

What would happen if Navia, known to be a commoner, was exposed?

'Impersonating nobility as a commoner is no small crime.'

The royal family would surely force him to cough up all the magic stone mines.

That much was tolerable.

To hide Navia's identity, Nikan had one-by-one faked accidents or illnesses to kill the children from the orphanage where he bought her.

He had silenced the orphanage director by making him a retainer, but he was also poisoning his food, so his days were numbered.

If these crimes were ever exposed, he couldn't even smooth it over with the mines.

'But I won't be caught.'

Nikan had a knack for such things.

He had already set up layers of scapegoats, ensuring he could never be traced and could scapegoat someone else if necessary.

Thinking this far, Nikan was able to calm down a bit more than before.

But there was still a problem.

Lately, there had been a strong backlash against class discrimination among the young nobles.

What would happen if Navia, known as the daughter of a lower noble, was rumored to be suffering due to her status while being an adopted daughter? The hyenas wouldn't miss such a juicy morsel thrown by the prestigious Agnes family.

They would condemn the nobility as rotten.

'Lowly nobles, thinking they're something.'

Nikan wanted to wipe out these progressive young nobles, but he knew even a squashed bug wriggles.

'I can't attract more attention with unnecessary actions.'

Too many eyes were already on Agnes because of the fire.

These people worked for Agnes, but it wasn't clear whom they were loyal to.

Nikan needed to neutralize the situation.

"What an outrageous thing to do to your sister, Wood!"

"Ah, father..."

Wood, struck in the face for the first time, was almost out of his mind.

"And to set fire to the mansion? Philippa! How have you managed Wood to let things come to this?"

Philippa, who had raised Wood like her own child, wept bitterly over him being struck and pleaded.

"It's all my fault, master. Please punish me instead and forgive the young master... Oh!"

Navia, knowing the whole truth, watched this farce with a fresh sense of irony.

As Philippa kneeled and begged, glaring at her, she almost burst into laughter.

In the past, she would have done anything to resolve such a situation.

But Navia did nothing more. There was no need.

Now, their discord was a source of joy for her.

Wood, clutching his slapped cheek, stood dazed before bursting out in anger.

"I didn't do it!"

He insisted that he only locked Navia in the room and had not started the fire.

No, he was more infuriated by Nikan defending the daughter of some lowly noble, like an insect.

"And what of it? She's just a lowly commoner anyway!"

"Watch your tongue!"

Nikan sympathized with his son's sentiment but knew voicing it now was dangerous.

Wood redirected his anger towards Navia.

"Hey! Tell them. Did I start the fire? Lie and you'll regret it!"

Navia, for a brief moment, stared at Wood with a calm intensity.

Wood, who seemed ready to grab her by the hair, felt a chill.

'What, what's this?'

The Navia he remembered was passive and frail.

But the Navia who met his gaze now was alarmingly unfamiliar.

The once insignificant Navia no longer seemed like a bug that could be crushed underfoot.

Instead, she resembled a white viper, mouth agape, ready to strike.


Wood swallowed dryly in eerie tension.

It was unbelievable.

It reminded him of the fear he felt during his first audience with the Emperor.

No, it was even greater.

As no one else noticed her gaze, Navia's expression suddenly turned pitiful.

The change was so abrupt that Wood had to rub his eyes.

The tension dissipated.

As if her earlier fearfulness was an illusion, Navia looked as frail and weak as ever.

'What? Did I see wrong?'

Wood felt an unbearable shame, realizing he had been afraid of Navia, even if briefly.

"Ugh, how dare a lowly one..."

As he barely raised his fist in fury,


Navia immediately cringed.

This drew everyone's attention to Wood's clenched fist.

Wood, actually scared of Nikan's glare, had no intention of hitting Navia right then.

But Navia's reaction made it seem as though he had nearly struck her.

Navia looked around trembling, her expression sure of the impending blow.

Help me!

She wanted to scream, her lips quivering, catching everyone's eye.

Yet, Navia never voiced those words.

Instead, she knelt down, her eyes dead and dark, and began to beg Wood.

"Yes, it was my mistake. Brother, you didn't..."

How could her words in such a situation sound like the truth?

No one believed her.

They were all convinced it was Wood's doing, just as she wanted.

Navia didn't stop there.

A punishment too severe for the offense often draws scorn.

And what of punishment for an offense not committed?

"I'm sorry, brother. I'm sorry."

She banged her forehead on the carpet.

Like a wretched slave.

To the astonishment of all!



As Navia intended, sighs echoed around.

'Wood must be satisfied.'

From a slightly lifted gaze, she saw Wood smiling arrogantly.


At this moment, everyone except Wood was speechless in astonishment.

Navia didn't find her actions shameful at all. She could do this hundreds of times more if needed.

She had once endured a whole day outside the mansion, kneeling in thin sleepwear, almost naked, in the pouring cold eyes of a harsh winter.

'I almost died of frostbite and flu then.'

It was the fifth time it had happened.


Nikan's commanding shout made Navia stop hitting her forehead.

Through the split in her bangs, her red forehead was clearly visible.

In the frozen atmosphere, Nikan sighed quietly.

It was as if he was experiencing a nightmare, with things not resolving but only getting worse.

At the center of it all was his son, Wood.

'I wish it was just a dream.'

He wanted to sigh deeply, holding his throbbing head, but managed to look unaffected, speaking sternly to the surrounding vassals with a severe look.

"It seems Navia is quite shocked by the fire."

Nikan thus summarized Navia's actions.

Anyone who attached a different reason would not be spared his wrathful gaze.

"Philippa, take good care of Navia for a while."

"Yes, my lord."

He spoke harshly to Wood, appearing like a fair father.

"Wood, reflect on your actions in confinement!"

It seemed like a decent cover-up.

Upon hearing 'confinement,' Philippa reacted first, as if struck by lightning, even more than Wood.

"Confinement?! My lord, he is only ten years old; this is too harsh!"


Nikan erupted in anger.

"If you had properly looked after the children, this wouldn't have happened!"

"How could you say that to me…?"

Philippa's shock was not unwarranted.

Philippa was one of Nikan's favored vassals.

She was born and raised in Agnes.

Her mother was Nikan's wet nurse, and Philippa herself became the wet nurse to the next heir.

During Nikan's wild youth, she had been beaten in place of him, leaving a large scar on her arm.

Philippa considered it an honorable wound, and Nikan highly valued her loyalty.

Even so, Nikan was displeased with Philippa for failing to manage Wood in this situation.

Ignoring Philippa's hurt feelings, he broached another matter.

"Move Navia's quarters to the third floor."

Everyone's faces changed at the mention of the third floor, especially Wood and Philippa's.


"My lord, the third floor?!"

"Quiet! If anyone else protests, they won't be spared."

With Nikan's stern warning, the surroundings quieted down. He glared at Philippa disapprovingly, then gestured to the butler.

It was a sign to take Navia away.

"Please follow me, miss."


With a small cough and a melancholic step, Navia followed the butler.

She could feel the myriad of complex gazes following her.

The third floor had a special significance.

'Granted easy access to such a sacred place just by setting a fire.'

There was indeed an intention behind this action. It was a message: 'You've been given a reward far beyond what you deserve, so don't complain and keep quiet.'

Not a word of whether she was okay.

Navia's expression had already turned cold and detached.

Post a Comment