Author: Y. R. Shin
Translator: Stephanie Cha
War escalates as tensions rise between the queen who rose from death and the knight who pledged his life to her.
Reuyen Detua, the eighteen-year-old daughter of a horse dealer, has been accused of being a traitor to the kingdom of Rarke. Balroid Peijak Mariposa, the reincarnated knight who was once her half-brother and most loyal follower, is now the leader of the enemy army, and he only wants one thing: Reuyen back at his side, so they can fight together against the army of Rarke.
It’s clear to everyone, including Paseid Calandok Brionake, the commander-in-chief of the Rarkian army, that the two have a history. Even though Reuyen helped Paseid take down an enemy fort that seemed impossible to destroy, he won’t believe she isn’t secretly working for Balroid. He has even more trouble believing the story she tells him—that she’s the reincarnated Queen Swan Rarkalia, a queen who was known for felling kingdoms and killing in cold blood wherever she went, until her husband turned on her and she was beheaded.
As Reuyen balances on the edge of a knife between the two men, she examines the decisions she made in her past life and realizes she must pick a side once and for all. Her choice will determine the future of the war.
Mariposa has an exquisite and distinct charm with its fascinating subject of war and meticulously designed world.
House Mariposa of Morgana was founded when the best knight of Rarke, Peijak Dollehan Rarkalia, abandoned his country and fled to Morgana two hundred years ago.
The early Mariposas were greatly shunned even in the south because their roots were said to be lying in a renegade of the north. But now, after two hundred years, they were a pack of wild dogs of the empire, and the people had implicitly accepted the value and necessity of their existence.
The Mariposas provided brute force in place of taxes, and the Imperial House of Morgana relied on them more and more each day. By now, they had accumulated quite a bit of power by suppressing countless feuds in the east, west, south, and north of Morgana.
They were descendants of a renegade that should’ve been forgotten in history. The more frequently the names of the Mariposas were talked about, the more uncomfortable it made the Rarkians living under the rule of the Brionake Dynasty. Over the past two hundred years, the Rarkians had naturally begun to deem Mariposa an enemy. It was a result of collective consciousness, not personal feelings.
Even an unlearned young country man knew such common sense.
Though he was the dimmest of the three Detua children, Sidan was better versed in hearsay or rumors than his two siblings, Eivan and Reuyen. This was because his brother Eivan was only interested in the events happening within the town, and his sister Reuyen did not bother to waste her energy on other deeds because she already knew a lot.
Country life was boring by nature, so Sidan learned about the world by going to the hunchback teacher, whom people claimed was the specialty of the town of Gyujen, to hear various fantastical stories or spend time hanging out with the travelling merchants or travelers passing through the town whenever he had time.
Eivan would tousle his hair, saying, “You’re up to no good, aren’t you?”
Indeed, Sidan sometimes praised famous artists without even knowing about art. He eulogized the lives of the nobles at times as well. And he had great respect for the knights who commanded wars. Until the moment Eivan left for the battlefield and died, he revered the soldiers and knights who offered their lives for the country.
Sidan had lived his whole life looking up to fantasies, locked in the dream provided by the pastoral peace of the country town he’d grown up in. Now, he was a soldier fighting for Rarke, and that fantasy was fading.
The sun had already set. The only things he could properly see in the darkness of the cell he’d just been tossed into were the crisp, clear green eyes and the roe deer banner shown under the torchlight.
The young knight who was staring Sidan down in the cell was Sir Jacalrin Chesa. He was a knight with genuine ordination, acknowledged by the king. Sidan was half out of his mind at having to face a man of such high stature, a man he would not have dared to meet eyes with until not that long ago.
Like the other soldiers who had thrown him into the cell out of nowhere, Jacalrin did not listen to Sidan’s words of protest. He repeated like he was determined to torture him until the young man gave him the expected answer: “You really have no idea at all? This is serious business. I cannot stress that enough.”
The things the mighty knight was uttering were all things Sidan could not understand at all. Morgana, spy, Reuyen. Those three words were things that could never be associated with each other. A fiercer rage engulfed him than the time his neighbor friend in his childhood had accused Reuyen of being a witch.
“No, sir!” he stammered.
“Your sister has been accused of being a Morganaan spy. If you don’t give some kind of excuse right now, you’ll be in danger as well!”
“Again, sir, my sister is not…someone like that.” It was a libel terrible enough to make him shudder. “I know her well, sir. Reuyen didn’t even step out of town that much! I swear on my life, sir, my sister is—”
Jacalrin interrupted him. “Your life is already on the line right now, even without your scary oaths.” He was squatting on the ground and sighing with his chin resting on his hand. “Do you think this is a lie? Your sister is facing the commander-in-chief right now. She could be getting questioned. Countless witnesses were present, so it would be pretty hard for her to evade this.”
Though he spoke a bit harshly to scare Sidan, Jacalrin was not speaking falsehood.
Balroid, the commander-in-chief of Morgana, had caused this whole racket only moments ago. Though Sir Teread Keheif had hastily put in a gag order, tens of people had already witnessed the scene of the enemy commander calling to Reuyen like she was an old friend. And the moment Reuyen had been summoned to Paseid’s abode, even more fleshed out rumors had spread out throughout the entire camp. There was no way they could stop them now.
The knights had isolated Sidan first and foremost in case of an accident, but all their attentions were still on Paseid’s tent. Jacalrin was still suspicious. He’d literally seen the two at an arm’s distance—Reuyen with her blatant fury displayed and Balroid with his strangely bold attitude of respect. And he’d heard Balroid call Reuyen “Swan.” A pet name? A nickname? Whatever it was, it sure hadn’t seemed like the two were strangers. Furthermore, Swan? It was a rather unnerving name.
But he could not just clap his hands and say, “She’s a spy!” even if he wanted to, for there was a lot he could not comprehend. The fury Reuyen had displayed upon facing Count Balroid Mariposa was real. Jacalrin would’ve bet his banner on that fact.
Sidan grew pale.
Jacalrin did not console Sidan even as a joke by saying it was not true. Nothing would’ve been better than him getting scared and laying all the truth plain and clear. But Sidan failed to satisfy Jacalrin one bit. He just kept crying his ears off in denial.
“Don’t give this man even a single pouch of water per day,” Jacalrin ordered the guards, and then swaggered out of the temporary cell, muttering, “What a waste of time.”
He could see the soldiers bustling about with more vigor than usual. Jacalrin rubbed his chin, unable to shake off the irksome feeling, and grabbed a passing soldier.
“What’s happening?” he asked. “Are the results in or something?”
The soldier, who was about to release his irritation of being caught by the back of his neck during such busy times, noticed Jacalrin’s banner and hurriedly spoke with respect.
“Oh, Sir Chesa! Sir Calandok has ordered us to arrest all the residents of Gyujen for an investigation and seize all the books.”
Jacalrin cocked his head to the side, then rubbed his chin. “Ohhh.”
Gyujen. It was the town that woman lived in. Though he did not know the details of their conversation, it seemed like the woman had failed to convince Paseid at last.
Honestly, he never even expected her to in the first place.
About the Author
Y. R. Shin is a bestselling author in Korea with the Mariposa series and other works including Misa, Barayeon, Water Trumpet Flower, The Castle where Thorn Trees Weep, Tracing the Shadows of Water, and more.