Chapter One: The Insatiable Corridor
That event could be traced back to a few days ago.
The location was the art gallery of the Houro district, which was set in the southern part of the royal capital Sprarugle.
Today Riz was also staring passionately at a book of paintings, staying inside a storehouse overflowing with art panels, painting materials, and reference books. She was sprawled out on a chaise lounge with a thin blanket over her knees.
Riz was presently the owner of this art gallery, although it was only for the period until her uncle Hine, who left for another country, returned. She could immerse herself in the world of art to her heart’s content.
She was relishing in her joy when the door to the art studio was opened from the corridor.
A man in austere clothing, sort of like a butler, entered and directly approached Riz.
“My lady, letters have arrived.”
Prologue: A Counterfeit Chair
It was an event in the “Holy Fig Tree Room”.
“John, are you unhurt?”
Riz Milton asked this in a stiff voice.
She clasped her hands tightly in front of her abdomen so as not to lose to the terror gnawing at her heart.
“I am unharmed.”
John Smith answered without hesitation.
The usual warning applies to not look at this unless you want your mental image irrevocably changed about some characters LOL although Riz and John look just like they do in the cover.
I can’t tell if this was a shorter book than Light Beyond or what, but considering I seem to have zoomed through the first volume in just three months… I guess so?? Haha, anyway, please enjoy the afterword.
Epilogue: The Fish of Dawn
It was a night full of stars, as if a silver fish was swimming.
Riz came to a place called “Dawn’s Hill” together with John.
This place was outside the royal capital in the eastern district. It was called that because the sunrise colored the entire gentle swell of the hill with light. It was also called the Lovers’ Hill because people could enjoy an entire night sky of stars. Riz and John weren’t lovers and it was more correct to call their relationship a master and servant, but— this was a secret time that wouldn’t be written down in the diary she touched every evening.
Chapter Five: The Sound of a Look
The next day a letter of polite apology arrived from Emil.
Riz immediately replied with the following contents: that she didn’t mind and he didn’t need to apologize and that she’d like to go and see the painting of the holy mother they spoke about before.
Emil didn’t seem enthusiastic, but he appeared to feel guilt for involving Riz in his own love affairs. And so there was a reply that if she still wished to then she could come five days later.
Chapter Four: A Sincere Purple
It had been a week since she began going to and from the art gallery.
On the first day, when Riz had collapsed, John seemed to understand something and became a very naggy demon.
The run-down carriage used for picking her up and dropping her off also changed overnight. Its outward appearance was still old, but its insides were brand new; there were plentiful cushions and it was even equipped with a blanket. Tonics were also present.
John’s attendant act didn’t stop with just that.
From the carriage to the mansion or the short distance to the art gallery, she was lifted up and carried the entire way. There was no sweet atmosphere at all; it was all done indifferently, as if it were obligatory.
Riz felt like dying the moment Virma saw her like that.
Chapter Three: The Forest of Colors
Several days passed without anything in particular happening.
During that time, Riz came down with a fever, was restless, received visits from Hine, and other small events happened; however, she didn’t have any dreams of John anymore. When she asked Hine, he told her that John was diligently working at the art gallery. It was somewhat anticlimactic.
Riz returned to her normal life after her body recovered.
Chapter Two: The Sunflower’s Voice
Feeling a vibration, Riz slowly awoke from sleep.
It seemed like she fell asleep while staring at the painting of the fish in her closet.
However, why was the floor rattling and swaying?
It wasn’t just vibrations but also movement— it felt like she was riding a carriage.
The instant she imagined that her consciousness cleared abruptly.
Riz hurriedly lifted her head and looked around her surroundings.
Cramped. It was not a flat place. And was she on a higher level? Was this a seat?
It wasn’t her imagination and she really was in a carriage.
Her body stiffened when she was aware of this.
Why was she riding a carriage?
After a short sense of disorder, the worst scenario came to mind.
Had she been kidnapped by someone?
Chapter One: The Black Iron Star
Time passed— it was her seventeenth birthday.
And Riz was facing an unexpected situation.
It all started a week before her birthday.
She was urged by her mother, Virma, with “Here are five paintings. Now, choose the painting you love from these!” and, when she did just that, for some reason her fiancé was decided upon.
Nothing made sense.
Prologue: The Silver Daughter
A pale dawn. The painting of a traveler, with the color of daybreak trapped in his eyes, was Riz Milton’s treasure.
He was a foreigner who visited from far and distant lands.
At that time, Riz couldn’t pronounce his name properly. It was a difficult language.
During the time she called him the “Dawn-Eyed Traveler” she forgot his real name.
However, she only remembered that it had a beautiful sound, like a stringed instrument.