Looking back, my life, which I thought was mundane and boring, was probably rather a happy one.
I was born into a peaceful country with well-developed social security, science, and medical care, and was raised in a family that wasnt exactly well off but far from poverty, enjoying a peaceful life showered with love and a degree of education that was at least equal to or better than the average people of my age group. I led a peaceful, golden teenage life.
I didnt have a shred of doubt that my life was the norm, and I——the previous me——spent the majority of my youth playing video games at home if not reading books. Under the influence of the Eighth-Grade Syndrome, I started learning ancient martial arts when I debuted in junior high school, but it mostly fell apart by the time I took the high school entrance exam.
For my high school debut, I joined the light music club with the aim of getting a girlfriend, but I couldnt play the guitar as good as I hoped, so I was assigned the drum out of elimination process——though I still had a lot of fun with buddies and we even performed live at the school festival——but in the end, I had no prospect of getting a girlfriend, and every once in a while my martial arts mentor forcefully brought me with her to practice aka her beating me up to a pulp. Such was my high school life.
And then…….and then…….
I suffocated, I felt like my chest caved in as though I was dragged into the depths of the ocean, and when my lungs reflexively drew in a deep breath, the force of the air choked me, drawing out some incessant, wheezing coughs. My face was riddled with tears and snot, and my body convulsed as I curled up on the hard bed.
“……Hmph. Youre back alive? Talk about one blessed girl.”
A piece of cloth was thrown haphazardly over my face, the voice sounded to belong to an unfriendly old woman.
“You look terrible. Wipe your face.” Her treatment was rough, but I understood she was well-meaning, so I wiped my face with the cloth she gave me even in the middle of my coughs.
“——Th-, thank you very much.” I still didnt have the strength to open my eyes, but I felt relieved to know that there was someone by my side, and the rough but considerate attitude of the old woman, despite her being somewhat unfriendly, made me to curtly bow my head to her while I was still laying down.
But then, for some reason, I could feel that the old womans body stiffened as if she had swallowed a stick the length of her height. After a few seconds, I could feel that her demeanor softened a little.
“……Thats a surprise. Id heard that the Ragweed Princess of the Livitium Imperial Kingdom was an unruly conceited fool, but you still could thank someone properly, huh. Usually its good rumors that tell bullcrap and bad rumors that tell the truth, so I admit I had my prejudices. ——By golly, I must be getting senile.”
I felt the old woman shrugging her shoulders as she pronounced words of self-mockery. Meanwhile, I was holding back a bout of coughing that had subsided considerably. As I regulated my breathing——unconsciously practicing the breathing technique of the ancient martial arts I learned during my junior high and above——in silence, I held my confused head, musing about the meaning of the words I had just heard.
“The Ragweed Princess of the Livitium Empire……who is that? Me? Eh,
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