2: No Matter How Much She Struggled, She Was Still Poor

It had been 15 years since then, so I was convinced that, for some reason, I had gone back in time to when I was born.

At first, I thought that this was a hallucination I experienced before I died, so I pulled at my soft, squishy cheeks, but it only resulted in pain.
I didn't wake up.
The destitute house and the dead eyes of my parents were just as I remembered.
It was like a recreation of my nightmares.
I tried my hardest one more time to wake myself up, pulling my cheeks forcefully.
Ow…

Well, whatever.
Whether this was a dream or a hallucination, if I was given the chance to start over again, I had only one goal.
I had experienced the worst way to die, so I would obtain a fortuitous life this time around! I was sick and tired of all those terrible days!

Therefore, I decided to “reconstruct” every little thing about myself.

First was to distance myself from my gloomy personality.
I had picked up on pieces of this in my previous life, but the little things like voice and behavior played a big role in making impressions.
You could be looked down upon by your peers or have your share of the reward lessened by the party you joined.

That was why I decided that I would always speak clearly and in a loud, bright voice.

“Father~! Good morning!”

“G-good morning…”

My father was no exception to the gloominess as the people on this land lacked the heart to greet each other this energetically.
Right! I was going to be a girl as bright as the sun! Although, to be frank, I honestly believed such was very impossible since the root of my personality was dark, but I continued to work hard so that I could hide it.

Next was to work on my appearance.
In my previous round, I didn't have the comfort to afford to care about being stylish, but now that I finally had the chance to let my curly, red hair grow, I strove to comb it every day so it could maintain its silkiness.

As for my facial structure…well, it wasn't that bad since my father was decently handsome, so a nice smile would work fine.
The female adventurers I recalled from my previous round all had charming smiles on their faces.
…And mine turned even darker out of envy as I muttered.
“It must be nice to be happy… Damn it.”

Well, in any case, I needed to take care of my body.
I decided to go out into the mountains and successfully hunt some animals in this round.

“Alright! I got some meat~!”

“Squeak?!”

Fortunately or unfortunately, I had taught myself how to make traps when I was forced to become an adventurer.
Since the time I was three in this round, I'd been eating deer, raccoon, and the occasional rat.
As such, I believed I would grow up healthily.
Although the flatness of my chest still bothered me.
Anyways, I also fed my family, leading to my father's stomach becoming quite rotund.
Hey, let's exercise, okay?

And last was to focus on strengthening my skill with magic.
Magic referred to a supernatural power that utilized an energy known as mana that only certain people possessed to artificially create natural phenomena.
But I was rather very unskilled at it and had only been able to send small orbs or fire or water through the air.
And since I only had a decent amount of mana, I didn't have the talent to truly utilize any magic skills.

However, if I didn't have talent, I would have to make it up with hard work.
Fortunately, I could use the same magic as my previous round from the time I was born.
So during those 15 years, I poured many hours into continuing to increase my magic's power and control.

As a result, I could produce a flame capable of easily lighting a person on fire, produce and manipulate water, and concoct medicine by mixing herbs.
I earned a lot selling these cheaply in a nearby city since they were indispensable for adventurers who got injured on the job.
Naturally, they weren't as good as the ones out in the market, but since I priced them at half the cost, I practically sold out my stock every day.

Well, I couldn't keep up for long since some other magicians sold their own at even lower prices as another source of income for themselves.
Nevertheless, I still made enough money for my family to save, so everyone was delighted.

I gave my ineffective, failed attempts for free to the citizens, so they were extremely thankful.
Hehe, it felt good to do good deeds.
Everyone, get well and feed me! (Everything was calculated.)

Now then, I've created the perfect Sophia now! A beautiful (forced) smile, a healthy body (of an aristocratic woman who went hunting), and magic skills (cultivated to earn money) all in one package! This was the birth of the absolutely perfect lady.
Okay, now it was time to marry into a promising aristocratic or merchant family and live a happy life this round! Sure, I could make it big as an adventurer, but who wants a job where one mistake could mean your life, idiot? Ahahahaha!

I had those thoughts in mind on the night of my 15th birthday when my father called me with an extremely apologetic look on his face and told me this.

“Nn, ah, cough, cough…! S-sorry, Sophia.
To tell you the truth… you see, I have been ill for some time.
I might not even have long to live!”

“N-no way! You’re lying!”

I was shocked for two reasons by my father’s sudden confession.
My father dying from a disease didn’t happen in my previous round when we were poor! In this round, I fed him until his stomach was nice and plump, so why…? Oh, wait! Could that be the reason!?

Then… was this my fault?!

I fell to my knees on the spot out of shock.
My father panicked.

“Wa— Sophia?! You’re wrong, so calm down! Oh, I mean, it’s sort of true… Well, in any case, the doctor said that the treatment for this disease will cost quite a bit.
So, to earn enough money for my medical expenses… will you become an adventurer?”

“?!!!”

Whaaat?! Hold on a sec.
Being told to become an adventurer when I turned 15… was the same as my previous round! Huh? Why? Was this my inescapable fate?!

Truth be told, I would rather die… Argh! But if my father’s illness was because of my lack of foresight, I had to take responsibility!

If possible, I wanted to find another way to make money, but my father said himself that he might not have long to live.
In that case, making a fortune by collecting valuable materials from monsters as an adventurer was best.
At the end of my mind-wracking session, I nodded my head.

“…I understand, Father.
I will definitely save your life!”

“Ooooh, Sophia! What a kind-hearted child you are! You’ve kept that bright smile and demeanor since long ago and cheered on me and our people! You braved danger to feed us delicious meat! Oh, my child, you are a saint! Even though I am sick, my chest is filled with joy!”

A-ahem! D-don’t take it the wrong way! My behavior and smile were all calculated! They were something I could cheaply mass-produce! Besides, it was (probably) my fault you got sick in the first place!

“Then, Sophia, do your best as an adventurer!”

“Yes, Father! I will do my utmost!”

Although I said with a gallant face, I was inwardly crying.
Waaah! I really, really, really don’t want to be an adventurer! I’m sick and tired of those days of risking my life in battles! Sniff, dammit! In that case, I’ll take advantage of my previous round’s memory and experiences, earn a fortune quickly, and get this over with! My dream since long ago has been to become a bride!!!

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