HTRH CH02 – Before We Met

My publishing name was Yve Ackler. It sounded like ‘EverAfter’, my online pen name which I used during my high school years.

My real name… doesn’t matter greatly, there wasn’t much to say about the person behind that name.

As a child, I would often daydream myself into different worlds, imagine a world outside of my own that was waiting for me; a place where I belonged. And when I started to learn how to read and write, I would emerge myself not only into my own worlds but also into the world of others. Whichever book that I could get a hold of, I would read. I did the least necessary for school and spent every free second left with books or online novels as if possessed.

My only social contact was among similar-minded people online. One could assume that I don’t have many friends that way within the school grounds, but that never held any significance to me. The world inside of books was much better than reality anyway. The people within would make me laugh, would make me cry, they would take me on joyful journeys. I went on endless adventures and through a multitude of sad or hilarious love stories with them. Not every ride was smooth. Nonetheless, no one would blame me, the reader.

It all changed when I decided to pick up the pen.

I was young, just entering high school. I had read my fill of fiction and thought it was time to share my own stories with others and give back to the community. There was also the feeling of missing something important when I read other’s tales.

Whether I was on the bus, attending classes or staying at home, I would write like my life depended on it. Much to the worry of my parents, who thought it was just a no-gain and time-consuming hobby of mine. To them, it was a cheap upgrade from my days as a bookworm. Still, it was better than going out late at night and partying away like some others at my age, so they let me be.

Coincidentally, one of the stories that I wrote became a big hit online thanks to a real occurrence at that time. A young and unusually handsome foreign prince fell in love with a young female student while he was attending college far from home. Of course, he was incognito at first.

When their love story came out, the world was wooed by this Cinderella-like story. To the bored audience, the news regarding this young and beautiful couple was like a fairytale come true. The world suddenly put all their attention on it, digging at every little story they could find and gnawing on every small bone that was thrown to them out of pity. The people were hungry for romance straight out of a fairy tale. Royals suddenly were en vogue again.

It was for sure that reality couldn’t be as beautiful as fiction. The young couple couldn’t produce enough news fast enough to stimulate the thirst of the audience. That was the moment the public turned to the world of fiction, my world.

How to become Princess Consort‘ was a story that I had finished writing just a few months before the monotonous and tradition-bound life of royalty suddenly went viral. For the better or worse, my novel was just a lighthearted read, covered in a pink sugarcoat and presented through a filter of glittering fairytales and fanciful vibes. It was, I may use a quote here, ‘the perfect beginner’s drug’.

My writing had nothing special in particular, and neither does the story itself. Still, it was written by a young girl, intended for young girls. It was a ready-made book for the publishing firm which wanted to get fast hold of their targeted market audience: tender school girls.

When they contacted me, a budding female whose whole world consisted of the dream to become an author at that time, I readily sighed whatever document they gave me. No questions asked. I never regretted the choice I made then.

I became a full-fledged author overnight, rode on the coattail of my shotgun publicity and rose to fame within the circle — much to the dismay of many people. I got a lot of bashing from mature audiences and other authors, but also twice as much support from my new adolescent fans.

To prove my worth and not let down my fans, writing has become an obsession like never before to me. Book after book my penmanship got better, my knowledge more extensive – also, the recognition of my characters became deeper. Naturally, there was an everlasting bond between them and me. They were part of me. They were my friends, my family, my children. To me, those personalities were more than real.

That is why Dahlia was an extraordinary existence to me.

I was proud of all of my achievements but that first one. She was the sole regret I had; a knot I didn’t know how to solve.

I had let her down. Out of them all, she was the child I neglected the most. Even though she was the antagonist, I still felt like I owe her for what I did. Other families villains all had at least a selling point that would make the audience pardon them at some point if not at least at their last breath – a few would even have their own fan club. At the slightest, they would have their personal background story, a raison d’être that is more than just becoming the pebble in another’s shoe.

I had hidden that book in a drawer, afraid of being reminded of it but sometimes I would dream of her, a pitiful young girl weeping and cursing me. First, she would ask me why. When I tried to explain she would get aggravated, become angry, and when I was at a loss for words, she would cry even more bitterly and curse her fate and me. I always ended up flustered in front of her.

Although this dream seemed somewhat off at first, it was no different from the others I’ve had.

We were opposite of each other, behind me a giant mirror that showed how I was sitting hunched over the computer, concentrating on writing away. It was winter, so I had a thick blanket draped over my shoulder, my hair was cut short as to not waste time on maintaining it.

Massive towers made of books surrounded me – all for research. I had stopped reading novels; there was no time left for that old hobby of mine. With time, I had realized that what I was looking for couldn’t be found in those places.

The snow was accumulating outside the window, but I paid it no mind, never looking up to appreciate the view. On the wall, a clock was closing in on midnight, showing that I will soon be missing Christmas Eve. Again. The calendar next to it had Christmas and New Year marked but only because I had two specific deadlines on those days.

[Original novel of ♡]

On the other side, Dahlia’s mirror showed her matured self sitting in a high tower where she could oversee the vast lands outside. Her diminishing gaze went over the fields and mountains, where she assumed her home once was. She was lacklustre; seemed dejected, and soulless.

Clouds had gathered outside, blocking the sun and engulfing the world in a grey veil. It began to snow, but she didn’t even notice the drop in temperature. She had closed herself off from the world. Even if she wanted, there was no place for her to return to. And in this cold and desolate Palace, there was only one thing left that kept her alive. As if in a trance, her hand glided over her abdomen. No one could tell what she was thinking at that time.

On the contrary, the Dahlia who stood in front of me didn’t hide her thoughts at all. She was confused at first when she saw me and our pasts rushing by. There was the unwillingness to accept, anger, and astonishment as she realized who exactly I was. She had wanted to meet God, but her creator was far too different from the one she had expected.

She wasn’t willing to accept, that no matter how much she had struggled, her fate was just like that – even to the point of pointlessness. It was all in vain. There was neither rhyme nor reason to her existence. There is nothing worse than finding out that your whole life was meaningless, that you were just a tossed puppet with broken strings.

Sometimes, in those dreams, I tried to console her or reason with her. Other times, I asked for forgiveness.

“Don’t touch me!” This time, after Dahlia exhausted herself and fell to the ground, I tried to reach out to her. My action had startled the girl so much that she unconsciously mustered enough strength to shove me away.

Taken by surprise, I slipped and fell back against one of the mirrors behind us. I heard a shattering noise while my body fell through the mirror into what seems like an endless pit.

There was glass everywhere, scattering around me like stars. Split images like pieces from a puzzle flew past. I vaguely made out blond hair and blue eyes, an earnest face that belonged to Leon. Dahlia’s ashen face in a nobly decorated background. The noise grew louder.

“Let’s renounce our engagement,” Leon said.

This was the break-up scene, but something was wrong. The script was wrong! Dahlia fell over and startled Leon so much that he lost all decorum and jumped forward to catch the falling girl before her body could hit the ground.

There was no such scene inside the book, but I could not watch the rest of it. Many more pieces and fragments of the past rushed forth and cut off that scene from before. They all had the image of Dahlia in them, from past to present.

Falling or being shocked inside a dream would generally wake you up from the said dream. However, as I opened my eyes, I found myself still inside an illusion.

I woke up as Dahlia.

And this time, it was because I found out that this was not a dream, that I lost consciousness again in front of the mirror while foreign voices and pictures kept on invading my mind.

Like this, I slept for another day.

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Thank you so much for reading my novel! TT^TT <3

I’m glad some of you picked it up! I would be delighted if you stay until the end. This is the first story that I dared upload online (there is another one somewhere hehe). What I upload on this site is a revised version of HTRH, btw. I really like the redemption/ reborn villainess themes. I do find some of them dull sometimes, but generally, the idea is great (and my own isn’t action-packed at all)! This is my own take on the theme (◍>◡<◍)

My most special thanks go to A-chan for buying me a coffee! ♡ (Honestly, since this is the first time, I suddenly wonder if it’s okay to say the name of the person when they themselves don’t publicize it on Ko-Fi) But I will shout out to everyone who doesn’t keep their name hidden on the feed so if you buy me a coffee and have no problem with a shoutout, send your name in the messages and I will use that x)

Ko-Fi ~ 且_(。◕‿‿◕。)ノ゙


  1. Damn so far so good. U can paint a quite nice picture using words and the character dynamics are sorta refreshing too 👌👌

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