Author: Hungry Translations

“I think I just heard something?”

 

 

 

 

“I know that you’re just trying to hide the fact that you farted so quit the act.”

 

 

 

“Nasty punk. You can’t just say anything because your ears are clogged. If that’s what you want then should I fart in your mouth, huh?!”

 

 

 

 

Cordelia held her breath.

 

 

 

 

She knew that the only people who visited this abandoned warehouse were either Madame Pamela’s people or the Humphrey workers.

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, it seemed that today was the day where they came to smoke.

 

 

 

 

‘I thought they wouldn’t come since the madame is in a bad mood these days……’

 

 

 

 

I have been too complacent.

 

 

 

 

 

Cordelia had decided to leave today so she did not even sell the flowers given to her.

 

 

 

 

But if she was found in this abandoned building at this time of the day then she would not only be dragged out by her hair, she would also get severely beaten.

 

 

 

 

‘If they get a little bit closer then they’ll be able to notice that there are people hiding behind the couch.’

 

 

 

All of her attention was focused on the Humphrey workers.

 

 

 

 

It was a matter of life and death for her so she was trying to not raise any flags at all but Duke Valencia who kept on wiggling beside him was bothering her.

 

 

 

 

‘Shh!’

 

 

 

 

Cordelia put her finger on her lips and winked at him desperately.

 

 

 

She was telling him to be quiet and stay still.

 

 

 

 

‘Please stop wiggling around!’

 

 

 

 

The Duke looked at Cordelia with indifference as he tapped the hand that was blocking his mouth.

 

 

 

Cordelia, who did not notice the problem early on, belatedly realized that she was blocking the Duke’s nose.

 

 

 

Heok!’

 

 

 

 

She tried to block him as quick as he could that she accidentally blocked the middle part of his face and not the lower part.

 

 

 

 

Cordelia turned pale with fright as she hurriedly tried to remove her hands.

 

 

 

However, the Duke caught her wrists as he stopped her movements.

 

 

 

 

He pulled her wrists, which were revealed after the loose ends of her sleeves fell down, closer to him and stared at it closely.

 

 

 

 

He could see that the skinny and dried wrists were littered with marks from needle pokes.

 

 

 

 

‘There are too many wounds for a child like her.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Duke’s expression hardened.

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, Cordelia was left in shock for entirely different reasons.

 

 

 

 

‘I almost became his enemy and not his benefactor!’

 

 

 

 

Cordelia, who almost turned the favor into a grudge, tried to calm her fluttering heart.

 

 

 

At that moment, she heard the voices of the approaching Humphrey workers.

 

 

 

“What’s this?”

 

 

 

“I think someone left the trash here.”

 

 

 

 

She did not know where the men’s voices were coming from, all she knew was that it was quite close.

 

 

 

Cordelia quickly held on to Duke Valencia’s arms as if it were her only lifeline.

 

 

 

“Do you think this is just trash? You’re really too blind, punk. Isn’t that a doll? A doll!”

 

 

 

 

“Who carries a piece of cloth like this as their doll? No, what’s that. There’s money too.”

 

 

 

 

“This is mine.”

 

 

 

“Hey! The one who picked it up first is the owner! Don’t talk shit!”

 

 

 

Cordelia couldn’t help but scream silently in her mind when she heard the words of the Humphrey workers.

 

 

 

My rag doll!

 

 

 

My money!

 

 

 

 

When she took out her old clothes while trying to treat Duke Valencia, she wasn’t able to pack her other things back properly.

 

 

 

It was just like the saying ‘One’s nose is cut off as soon as one closed their eyes’.

 

 

 

She was currently watching the scene where she was robbed of all of her properties.

 

 

 

But Cordelia couldn’t do anything except to wipe her tears silently.

 

 

 

 

“I think I saw that girl Cordelia carrying a piece of cloth like this…”

 

 

 

 

“Why would she even come all the way here? But come to think of it, I haven’t seen that little brat’s nosy nose today. Did she run away?”

 

 

 

Cordelia trembled in fear when she heard their words.

 

 

 

 

“Hey. Where do you think that brat’s gonna go if she left here? She came here on her own since she had no parents nor any other place to go. She already knows that kids go through hell if they got caught trying to leave this place. She can’t leave even if she wanted to.”

 

 

 

 

Kyaaaaagh, ptew!

 

 

 

 

The Humphrey worker spat on the floor as he smoked wantonly.

 

 

 

 

“Anyway, if she ever tried to run away, once she experienced hell once or twice then she’ll come back to her own senses. She’ll definitely come crawling back to us.”

 

 

 

 

The Humphrey workers laughed maniacally as if they had heard the most interesting joke in years.

 

 

 

 

‘I’ll definitely die if they caught me hiding here.’

 

 

 

 

It would have been good if she just died in one hit but…

 

 

 

‘They’ll break my legs too.’

 

 

 

These Humphrey workers once broke the legs of a child who tried to escape from the madame.

 

 

 

After all, a child who couldn’t use their legs would have an easier time begging if they used the sympathy from the crowd.

 

 

 

That child would definitely have gone begging again today while dragging their broken legs.

 

 

 

Cold sweat dripped down from her frail back.

 

 

 

 

Cordelia determined that she would definitely play dead until those Humphrey workers finished smoking and left the place.

 

 

 

 

But suddenly, Duke Valencia jumped up from their hiding place.

 

 

 

 

“W, what the hell?”

 

 

 

 

 

The Humphrey workers felt flustered when someone else popped out in front of them after all, they thought that they were the only ones in this place.

 

 

 

 

‘What is a sick man like you going to do?!’

 

 

 

 

Even though he was ‘The’ Duke Valencia, he was still someone who had just woken up from his serious injury.

 

 

 

 

And Cordelia, who knew that she did not have the divine power that could heal anyone in an instant like that of the Saintess, became extremely anxious.

 

 

 

 

‘What if he fell down after I did my best to make him survive?’

 

 

 

Cordelia knew that it would be dangerous once the duke was hit and struck by the Humphrey workers.

 

 

 

She sat restless as she looked around from behind the sofa while thinking of ways to escape.

 

 

 

“Cover your ears. Don’t even try to look this way. It would be much better if you also closed your eyes.”

 

 

 

When she tried to peek from above the sofa, Duke Valencia pressed her head down.

 

 

 

She had no choice but to hide behind the sofa again.

 

 

 

 

When Duke Valencia confirmed that Cordelia was not looking at where the Humphrey workers were, he finally approached them steadily. The Humphrey workers couldn’t help but shrink back as they felt daunted by the pressure that he was emitting.

 

 

 

 

However, they soon realized that their opponent was severely injured and he would not be able to fight them head to head.

 

 

 

 

“You said the name Cordelia. Do you know that child?”

 

 

 

 

“Who the heck are you?! Does it even matter if we knew her or not?!”

 

 

 

“It matters.”

 

 

 

A cold and chilly voice rang loudly in the warehouse.

 

 

 

“It matters. I’ve been looking for that child for 5 whole years.”

 

 

 

“……”

 

 

 

“If I did not look for her like this then I wouldn’t know how I would face Rosalyn once I died. No. I am not even allowed to reunite with her since I’m going to hell unlike her.”

 

 

 

 

That was the end of their conversation.

 

 

 

 

Just a little while later, Cordelia heard the screams of the Humphrey’s workers as the scent of blood thickened in the air.

 

 

 

 

Morbid thoughts ran rampant in her head since she couldn’t check what was going on.

 

 

 

 

‘It’s fine. Everything’s going to be okay. He’s the Duke Valencia. They even say that he has a control over death.’

 

 

 

 

Cordelia mumbled over and over again as she curled her body tightly while she covered her ears and shut her eyes.

 

 

 

She muttered and mumbled to herself continuously until the screams stopped.

 

 

 

She quickly raised her head when a chill went down her spine and she felt a shadow looming over her.

 

 

 

‘What if it’s the Humphrey workers?’

 

 

 

Her body shivered unconsciously.

 

 

 

She was truly and utterly frightened.

 

 

 

Rustle.

 

 

 

However, the touch on her hair had immediately calmed her down.

 

 

 

 

It’s Duke Valencia.

 

 

 

He patted her head as he leaned on the sofa.

 

 

 

 

 

It was as if he was silently praising her for not moving and following what he had said.

 

 

 

He breathed out deeply, he looked exhausted since he fought with such severe wounds.

 

 

 

“Why did you leave the orphanage?”

 

 

 

“…What do you mean?”

 

 

 

“You ran away from the orphanage.”

 

 

 

Cordelia shut her mouth tightly.

 

 

 

The needle marks that littered her arm were wounds that she had gained from the orphanage.

 

 

 

For as long as Cordelia remembered, the orphanage had continuously drawn blood from her.

 

 

 

 

That was why she escaped and ran far away from the orphanage.

 

 

 

But she did not want to cause any misunderstandings if she told her story like that.

 

 

 

 

“You’re Rosalyn’s daughter. Someone who can become the Saintess.”

 

 

 

“I’m not.”

 

 

 

“So why are your eyes the same?”

 

 

 

“I already told you that I’m not! I don’t have a mother so stop insisting on the opposite!”

 

 

 

Duke Valencia placed the palm of his hands on top of Cordelia’s eyes as if he was asking her to close her eyes.

 

 

 

Cordelia couldn’t help but close her eyes.

 

 

 

 

She was not the Saintess.

 

 

 

 

She couldn’t understand why he had misunderstood her when she was only a girl that you could see in the market.

 

 

 

 

“You look like you’re about six, seven years old but you’re quite good at answering.”

 

 

 

The 1 year before becoming an adult was very important

 

 

 

 

 

. Seven year olds were different. And eight year olds were also different.

 

 

 

 

However, she couldn’t stay still when Duke Valencia determined that she was 2 years younger than what her current age was.

 

 

 

“I’m not seven! I’m eight years old!”

 

 

 

 

“How do you know that? Maybe you’re seven years old.”

 

 

 

“In the orphanage…”

 

 

 

The angered Cordelia couldn’t stop herself from speaking the truth, but once she noticed the mistake that she had made, she quickly covered her mouth with a ‘Heop!’.

 

 

 

Cordelia, you big dummy!’

 

 

 

Cordelia stiffened in shock, she wanted to hit her lips hard but then, Duke Valencia spoke…

 

 

 

“You were thinking of leaving again, weren’t you?”

 

 

 

“……”

 

 

 

 

“Then, just come with me. I’ll bring you in as my foster daughter and I’ll be your guardian.”

 

 

 

Cordelia looked at the Duke’s eyes in surprise.

 

 

She did not expect such a remark to come out of the mouth of the Duke.

 

 

 

“I am not the next Saintess.”

 

 

 

“No. That’s right.”

 

 

 

“No. You’ll only be disappointed if you take me. Don’t ask me to come with you since the real Saintess will show up soon.”

 

 

 

“I don’t have any reason to be disappointed. I don’t care who your father was, all that matters is that Rosalyn’s blood runs through you.”

 

 

 

Cordelia knew for a fact that Duke Valencia needed the Saintess since she had read the book.

 

 

 

 

After all, that was one of the ways for him to gain more power. However, no matter what he said right now, there existed a real Saintess somewhere else.

 

 

 

 

Once she appeared, Cordelia was sure that the Duke would treat her coldly just like in her ending in the novel.

 

 

 

 

It was a proposal with a very clear ending.

 

 

 

She couldn’t help but shriek out her next words.

 

 

 

 

“Tell me the truth! You’re just trying to adopt me because you need a girl to act like the Saintess!”

 

 

 

“That’s right. I wanted to take you because I need a child that would be the substitute Saintess.”

 

 

 

Thud.

 

 

 

Her heart that got confused for a moment dropped back in place.

 

 

 

For her, it was not good to live as someone else’s replacement.

 

 

 

“Are you satisfied now?”

 

 

 

“……”

 

 

 

“If I say this, will you be satisfied and become my daughter now?”

 

 

 

“…No, what.”

 

 

 

 

Cordelia finally realized that the Duke had told her something that he did not mean.

 

 

 

However, she still shook her head.

 

 

 

“I don’t want to.”

 

 

 

A tearful voice suddenly rang out from her mouth.

 

 

 

Cordelia was a brave child.

 

 

 

 

She did not even shed tears when countless needles poked through her arms, she also did not shed any tears when Madame Pamela beat her to a pulp, neither did she cry when she was starved for a week.

 

 

 

 

However, she just heard the words ‘Substitute Saintess’ and her voice was already watery and filled with tears.

 

 

 

 

“I hate being called as a substitute.”

 

 

 

Duke Valencia gently pulled the frail shoulders of the teary Cordelia towards him.

 

 

 

His voice gently rang out as if to stop the tears of the child in his arms.

 

 

 

 

“If you come with me then I’ll give you a prettier doll than this. I’ll also make sure to dress you in clean and new clothes. And you will never be called a substitute.”

 

 

 

The Duke held out the ragdoll that the Humphrey workers mentioned earlier.

 

 

 

‘My ragdoll…’

 

 

 

 

Others might have called it trash but Cordelia thought of this doll as her friend and confidant.

 

 

 

 

Perhaps it was because the two of them had been through a lot of rough patches and hardships in the past year, she felt that her doll had grown worn and torn.

 

 

 

 

Even though it was a doll, because blood was soaked on it, it could now hardly be recognized as one. .

 

 

 

However, she still held onto it tightly.

 

 

 

 

‘I know that he thinks that I’m the real Saintess and he’s only saying nice things for me to hear… But…’

 

 

 

 

The hands that were holding her doll tightened.

 

 

 

 

Even if it was just a delusion, he was the first person to have ever reached out his hands to her.

 

 

 

 

‘Wait. Wait. Isn’t it fine to depend on him for a bit? Just for a few days…’

 

 

 

 

Of course, if you asked her, she was still scared of Duke Valencia and the possibility of him killing her.

 

 

 

 

But the facts still remained that Cordelia was still an eight-year-old child without a guardian.

 

 

 

All she could do was wander around the streets to survive.

 

 

 

 

She only remembered the contents of the book so Cordelia, who had the body and heart of an eight-year-old child, was strongly tempted to grab on the hand that was reaching out to her.

 

 

 

 

“Uncle, do you have a stable in your house?”

 

 

 

She really wanted to ride a horse.

 

 

 

 

When Duke Valencia nodded his head as an answer, she pursed her lips tightly to think.

 

 

 

“Ah, by any chance… Can you give me a place where there is a lot of hay?”

 

 

 

He noticed that Cordelia felt that it was a luxury for her to ask for ‘a place with a lot of hay’.

 

 

 

“You won’t need any hay or haystack. I’ll give you a room of your own. A place that’s bigger and wider than what you know.”

 

 

 

 

“What about a soft bed?”

 

 

 

 

“There will be. It will be big and fluffy enough for you to run and jump around on.”

 

 

 

Cordelia went silent for quite some time.

 

 

 

 

Then, the Duke calmly and gently opened his mouth as he looked down at the child’s tiny and pale body.

 

 

 

“What else do you want?”

 

 

 

“I want to eat warm food. Not the ones that others threw away while they were eating.”

 

 

 

“…I’ll fill the table with the things that you want to eat.”

 

 

 

After she heard the Duke’s answer, Cordelia hesitated before asking him her final question.

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