“That, but that’s mine!”

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“Can’t you keep quiet? Do you know how much we’ve suffered in prison because of you? We even broke the deal with the slave trader who was going to pay good money for you.”

“You wretch! You thought you could get away with cursing us out in front of the Prince, and now we’re free because there’s no proof that we agreed to sell you to a trader.”


Uncle Sandy and Aunt Judy laughed at me in disgust.

“The prince was foolish enough to trust you and take you in, only to be thrown out immediately afterwards. The Saint healed herself with holy power, you liar!”

Healed with divine power?

Apparently, Asta had used her followers to start a rumour. I was furious.

“I didn’t get kicked out for lying.”

“So if you really did cure the Saint’s illness, then why did the prince kick you out?”

“Well, that’s…..”

I didn’t know why.

‘I’m young, but I’ve shown myself to be quite useful. I also told Hart that I liked him, and was stuck by him the whole time.’

I’m Hart’s daughter.

When I couldn’t answer and stammered, Sandy bumped my head.

“Ouch! Ouch, it hurts…. hing….”

“Shut up and behave. You’re going to get in trouble when we get home!”

Uncle Sandy’s lines made me cry.


A small village on the outskirts of the Imperial capital, where my life began again.

At dawn, I crawled out of the closet where I slept, cleaned the house, and on a empty stomach, weeded Uncle Sandy’s fields and cleaned the stables.

The sun was setting before I knew it after I worked without straightening my back.

‘Ugh. Making a kid do all this hard work. Bad people.’

I would often run into Uncle Sandy’s kitchen, where they would have already finished dinner.


There was nothing left on the table but a half-slice of ugly potato and a few shriveled beans.

I gasped in surprise.

“You left a lot today. Something good must have happened!”

I had been lucky today.

Usually I’m left with mouldy bits of bread or rotten grass roots.

I scooped up the food hungrily.

Mmmm, yumm…

It was nothing like the food I had at Hart’s mansion, but it was still so good.

‘Somehow I feel like something good is going to happen today!’

I gobbled up every last piece of mushy potato, sneaking a handful of hard beans.

‘I’ll put them in my emergency food stash for when I run away.’

I sighed at the thought.

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‘How can I run away with such a small body?’

I have tiny hands and tiny feet.

‘But my first plan didn’t work, so I have no choice.’

This time, I’ll have to make it to the capital on my own and catch Hart’s eye again.

‘Without me, he’ll get hurt again. I have to protect him!’

After washing myself, I crawled into my nest, an old closet.

On the other side of the closet door was a gaping hole.

The light streaming through the hole made the narrow closet not so scary.

‘The first time I was locked up in the closet, I got scared and smashed it, but my hands were swollen for a month after that.’

I lifted the tattered duvet and found a small, hand-worn book.

It was the Koch family’s pharmacy aid.

My mother, Laura Koch’s family had a genetic disease that caused the heart to weaken and die.

They lived to be thirty at most.

And died as early as age ten.

So the Kochs became physicians for generations to cure the disease.

They cured a lot of other people’s diseases, but not their own.

In other words, this book is a record of survival research.

The Koch family’s knowledge over the last few hundred years.

This little book contained rare wisdom that could not be found anywhere else.

You’d think the Kochs would have made a fortune with this knowledge.

‘There wasn’t any money left over after it was spent on the genetic disease research.’

They died young.

Most left no offspring, and even if he did, his spouse and children suffered from poverty and disease.

The Koch family was on the verge of extinction.

My mother was the last remaining Koch family member.

She lost her parents at a young age and raised me alone.

“When I die, the Kochs will be extinct..…”

Did my ancestors do something wrong in the past?

Maybe they were punished by the Gods.

I opened the book with a bitter feeling.

I flicked through the pages of knowledge to the last chapter.

It was filled with records of hereditary disease research.

The last page was written by my mother.

‘Studies in which my mum used herself as a guinea pig….’

Mum knew I had a genetic disease and used herself as a test subject.

To save me.

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‘I’m the reason she died. For me she died….’

Thanks to the knowledge of her ancestors and her mum’s sacrifice, the recipe for the cure was almost complete.

‘The problem is that I can’t get the ingredients’.

Even if I could get the ingredients, I wouldn’t be able to save my mum, whose condition had already worsened.

That’s why she asked me to go to my father.

Hart has the power to get the ingredients.

‘But he didn’t accept me as his daughter.’

Tears welled up in my eyes.

Just that moment-


Suddenly, the closet door flew open.

“Whoa, who’s there?”

“What do you mean who? It’s the great Mr. Burns!”

The spiky-haired, piercing-eyed boy smirked.

‘There you go again, you punk.’

He must have come to torment me.

‘What do you have to be so grumpy about today?’

“Are you staring at your elder?”

Burns, taller and stronger than me, clenched his fist.

“I am seven. Just like you.”

“No. Dad says you’re five.”

“That’s because my mum was busy and didn’t register my birth until late. My real age is seven.”

“I’m the older, anyway. So call me big brother!”

What kind of brother are you if you’re such a brat?

I snorted, and Burns started quarreling again.

“Hey, squid. You know those sweets you got yesterday, they were so good, I ate them all!”

“You ate them all by yourself?”

I asked in shock.

Burns smirked wickedly.

“It was mine, of course I ate it all.”

“No! That was a gift for me!”

“What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.”

What a bloody robbery!

“Don’t you have any more sweets?”

“No! Get away from me!”

“I won’t. Move over. I’ll search for it.”

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Burns, who had easily subdued the struggling me, glared.

“What is this? I didn’t see it before.”

Burns picked up the pharmacy book. I shuddered in horror.

“No, give it back. My mum gave it to me!”

Burns flicked through the book and frowned.

It’s not surprising. No matter how many times he reads it, that idiot wouldn’t understand.

But instead of giving it back, Burns twirled it around in front of my eyes.

“Give me more sweets if you want it back.”

“I don’t have any. Burns ate them all!”

“You’re lying. I’m sure you’ve got a stash for yourself. Give it to me or I’ll burn it?”

Burns bared his white teeth and laughed sneeringly, then grabbed the book and ran.

He went to the kitchen where the brazier was.

I felt like my skin was turning white due to fear.

“Oh, no! Give it back!”

“Will you give the sweets?”

As I followed him into the kitchen, Burns waved the book dangerously over the stove.

Embers spattered and tried to cling to the spine.

‘Oh, no! It’s the only thing Mum left me!’

They took everything Mum had left, even the money she had given to take me to Hart, and now he wanted to get rid of her one remaining memento!

She glared at Burns, tears streaming down her face.

Burns sneered.

“What are you going to do?”

“I will do this!”

I jumped at Burns.


The full force of my body blow sent Burns stumbling backwards.

As a result the pharmacy book was sprawling on the floor.



Burns and I reached for the book at the same time.

The taller Burns had the advantage.

‘I’m not going to lose the pharmacy notes because of my short arms!’


I bit down on his arm with all my might.

“Ah, ouch!”

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Burns grabbed his arm and rolled cross the floor.

It was then, I was able to retrieve the pharmacy book.


I sneered at Burns and meticulously hid the book in the folds of my clothes.

It was then.

“Hanelope, what do you think you’re doing!”

Hearing the commotion, Uncle Sandy appeared.

He was distraught to see his son lying on the ground.

“Hanelope, you damn thing!”

His fist flew straight for my head.



I wrapped my hands around my head.

I felt like it was on fire.

Tears stung my eyes from the pain.

“How dare you hit someone? You didn’t reap the rewards of being parent less, and now you’re returning the favour with enmity!”

“Dad, it hurts. Ow!”

“Yes, Burns. Daddy’s here. My Burns, how bad does it hurt, huh? I’m gonna punish you. Oh, God, how could you beat my boy!”

‘Honestly, I think he had to search hard to find.…’

Uncle Sandy grabbed Burns’ plump forearm but couldn’t find the marks.

‘I’ve got a lump on my head already.’

I wish my mum was alive to hug and comfort me.

If only she were here to hold me and comfort.

‘I wouldn’t be here, living in this dump.’

“You’re just like your mum, with no roots. Laura, where did she come from, having a baby all by herself without a husband?”

I sniffled and felt my face heat up.

I could stand being called names, but I couldn’t stand my mother being humiliated.

“I’m sure she acted promiscuous before coming to this town, trusting your half-face….”

“Don’t swear at my mum!”

I shouted with all my might.

Uncle Sandy looked at me with a puzzled expression on his face.

“Today you’ve gone a little overboard,” he said, “But that’s just for today. I’ve got a visitor to take you. Burns, go to the parlour and bring the waiting guest.”

A guest to take me?

I immediately thought of one person.

“Has Hart come to fetch me?”

My heart seemed to soar to the sky.

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