— Imperial Calendar Year 588. April 20th. 8:00 in the morning.

Ophelia slept deeply, not knowing how long it had been, and greeted a refreshing morning.

Just by escaping from infinite regression and starting a new day, the world would look beautiful no matter whether she was in the gutter or not.

So Ophelia was able to smile broadly at her mother.

“It’s a beautiful day, Mother.”

“That’s new. And you seem busy. Where are you going so early in the morning?”

“I’m going to the Imperial Palace.”

“Wherever I go, it’s been bustling since morning… What?”

“I’ll be back.”

“Wait! Ophelia! Ophelia!”

Leaving her mother frantically calling behind her, Ophelia headed straight to the palace.

“This is Ophelia Bolsheik.”

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No.”

“Then…”

After interrupting the guard’s words, Ophelia took out a small card.

“I don’t have a prior arrangement, but I have this card.”

To Ophelia, who became his aide, the card that Richard gave as if pulling candy out of his pocket was not like candy at all.

It had a mark that only the blood of the imperial family could give.

Although it had a grand appearance, it was simply an ‘imperial palace free pass’, and at the same time, it allowed the bearer to see the imperial family member who gave it to them any time without a prior agreement.

After verifying the card, the guard immediately took a step back, withdrawing his gaze from Ophelia.

It must be because of Richard’s seal, which was clearly embossed on the card.

“Pardon me, Lady Bolsheik.”

“Oh, no. You’re just doing your job. Well, I have to go now.”

Surrounded by a halo of sunlight above her head, Ophelia passed the soldiers with a smile like a Buddha.

She entered the crown prince’s palace without hesitation and went to the office without hesitation.

—Tok tok.

“Come in.”

“It’s a refreshing morning.”

Opening the door vigorously, Ophelia walked towards Richard with a bounce in her steps.

“You look good.”

“Your Highness is still not dead.”

“The lady is the only person who sees me and says that.”

“It’s because I’m the only comrade you’re trapped in this damn cycle with. Yesterday’s infinite regression ended, so maybe not today, right?”

“Well. Rather, the lady might wish for an infinite return to do everything she has to do today.”

“Is it work?”

“Yes.”

Ophelia blinked rapidly at his answer, which seemed to ask why she was asking something so obvious.

She answered after scanning Richard’s huge desk and the piles of paperwork that lined up to the floor to form a mountain range.

But even the mere sight of the breathtaking mountain of papers didn’t bring down her feeling of walking on clouds.

“I have to work. Of course! Now that I’m your aide, it’s natural I have to assist you!”

As she eagerly rolled up her sleeves, she glanced at the papers and Richard alternately with twinkling eyes.

“You don’t need to touch those documents, instead, go to the aide’s office. It’s the second door on the left from this office.”

“I’ll be back!”

After she gallantly went out of the door, Richard’s eyes, looking at her small back, curved slightly.

“Are you coming back… here?”

He touched the corners of his mouth that had risen unconsciously, and then shook his head.



.

Ophelia popped out of Richard’s office and, in front of the aides’ office, took a deep breath to calm her excitement.

‘Richard, it’s a face I got tired of while doing infinite regression, and to the point it didn’t matter if I skimp on etiquette or something, but…’

From now on, if she made an infinite regression, these were the people she would also meet face to face again and again.

But Ophelia was the only one who would get to know them unilaterally.

She shook her head. It’s not too late to think about depressing and serious thoughts then.

After tidying up her hair and clothes, Ophelia steadied her chin and straightened her back.

—Tok tok.

“Come in.”

Unlike how she immediately opened Richard’s office door upon hearing a brief permission, this time, she carefully grabbed the doorknob and turned it.

Entering the aide’s office, she first faced a mountain of documents, not people.

“What’s going on?”

Although Ophelia could not see the person, she raised her voice a little towards the source of the voice from beyond the many mountains of papers.

“Hello. I am Ophelia Bolsheik, who has become the Crown Prince’s aide as of today. Please take care of me.”

At the end of her words, the only sound in the aide’s room was the scratching sound of a pen.

Ophelia tilted her head in the silence longer than expected, then she took a step into the mountain range of documents.

“You don’t have to go further.”

A very business-like voice interrupted her steps.

“As I said today… I have to set up a place first. You just have to find it from the beginning.”

Although it was still a clerical voice, the content it contained was kind, which made Ophelia more reassured.

“Thank you. I’ll do that.”

After Ophelia left the room without seeing the faces of her fellow aides once.

Behind the mountains of documents, the aide who was grimacing opened her mouth.

“What just happened?”

At Iris’ words, Cooper, another aide that didn’t take his eyes off the papers while Ophelia came and went, asked absentmindedly.

“What.”

“A lady just came in and greeted us.”

“What? Who came?”

Cooper finally removed his gaze and nose from the papers, stuck his neck out, and looked around.

But Ophelia had long since left the place, and Cooper’s sight was blocked by the piles upon piles of documents, so no one could be seen.

“Nobody is here?”

“Anyway, you’re such a jerk. Why can’t you do two things at the same time?”

As if familiar with Iris’ insults, Cooper asked, fixing his pen.

“So what’s going on?”

“The new assistant, Lady Bolsheik, suddenly arrived.”

“New assistant?”

“Did you hear anything from Sir Gryu?”

“No way. His Highness is the only one who can reach him right now.”

“By the way, there’s no mention of when he’s coming back.”

“He went out to inspect a territory, so his return won’t be quick.”

“Is that why a new aide was brought in?”

Cooper tilted his head and sighed again.

“And Iris, are you dissatisfied?”

“Of course I’m dissatisfied. Aren’t you?”

Cooper shrugged his shoulders, rubbing his stiff neck in response to the sharp reply that immediately returned.

Iris’ eyes flashed with the momentum to stab Ophelia to death at any moment.

“Lady Bolsheik. I’ve never heard her name anywhere.”

“If you say so, then she’s just an ordinary young lady.”

“Yes. She’s just a young lady who isn’t outstanding in any field, and doesn’t even have a title to be of any help to His Highness. But without saying a word to us, starting today, she’s an aide?”

“Hmm. I’m definitely not in a good mood.”

“It’s His Highness’ decision, so I’ll follow it.”

Cooper shrugged at Iris’ cold voice.

“Regardless of what His Highness is up to, I’ll have to thoroughly find out how helpful she will be to him.”

“What are you going to do? Ah, if you throw a pen, the ordinary young lady will fall with the pen stuck in her forehead.”

“I don’t do that.”

“Yes. As long as you don’t use violence, I’ll just leave it alone.”

“Aren’t you annoyed?”

“I don’t have time to be upset. Unlike you, I have to move my pen all day to barely follow what His Highness is doing.”

At his words, Iris opened her mouth again, ready to retort when a knock was heard.

“Come in.”

This time, it was Cooper who answered, not Iris. The door opened, and Ophelia and the palace servants with furniture entered in a line.

Eventually, after navigating through the multitudes of documents and setting up the desk somehow, the servants disappeared, leaving only three people in the aide’s office.

Looking at Ophelia with her arms crossed, Iris slowly released her arms and took a step forward.

“I’m late for greetings. I’m Iris Fillite. Over there…”

“Cooper Halsey.”

“As long as the lady has become an assistant of His Highness, the family title is meaningless, so don’t worry about it. Neither Cooper nor I have individual titles, so we’re the same as you.”

“Yes. I’m Ophelia Bolsheik.”

“Now that you have a seat, you should start working.”

Iris went straight to the main topic without a very formal greeting.

“Yes.”

And Ophelia didn’t even say the standard answer of ‘Leave it to me.’

She was limited in what she could do. It was better for her to be someone who couldn’t speak politely than to say she couldn’t do it when put in charge of something.

It’s her first time, so simple chores like organizing documents… 

“Please pick the beans out of the sand.”

At Iris’s next words, Ophelia’s eyelashes fluttered as fast as the wings of a hummingbird.

‘Did I hear it wrong?’

‘No, are you kidding me?’

The momentary thought disappeared as soon as she saw Iris’ face, which seemed unlikely to be pierced by a needle.

It was real work.

Ophelia swallowed her saliva.

“Beans?”

“Yes. It’s very simple. I can’t leave you with a headache from the first day, so please do what you can.”

It was a cold voice; as though one would freeze if one touched her hand.

Ophelia was taken aback. If she was an aide, then shouldn’t she handle paperwork?

Of course, as Iris said, it was Ophelia’s first day, so she wouldn’t be able to take charge of confidential or urgent papers.

Besides, it was clear that there would not be enough time or space to teach her who was put into actual practice. She planned to spend a day or two learning what they do over their shoulders, and if it didn’t work out, she thought to pester Richard.

Because he had a baseless belief that he could turn Ophelia, who didn’t know much about his work, into a useful assistant in a day or two.

But beans…? Picking beans out of the sand?

She received a job she never expected, let alone imagined.

Iris stared at Ophelia with the most bitter eyes.

“The beans are very precious, they’re from the holy country of Garon. It’s handled directly by the Crown Prince’s Palace, not anywhere else. I won’t explain further. The beans will be used as a celebration in the upcoming hunting contest. Come back as soon as you’re done. There are other things piled up. It’s a simple job, so you can finish it quickly.”

Ophelia’s eyes, which were swaying like a ship that met a storm, immediately became firm at Iris’ explanation.

She started with the terribly strange thing of possessing a character in a book, and now she is trapped in the bloody cycle of infinite regression.

Could there be anything more absurd and embarrassing than that?

Picking beans wasn’t that weird.

Besides, wasn’t this kind of territoriality cute?

“Yes. I will do my best.”

With a wide smile on her face, Ophelia headed straight to the warehouse where the beans were piled up.

Two people remained in the aide’s office. Iris’s forehead creased, and at the same time, a smirk leaked out between Cooper’s lips.

“I don’t think she’s just an ordinary lady?”