Under the purple glow of the evening sky, Martha stood with her mouth firmly closed.

After standing as still as a stone statue, until complete darkness surrounded them, she finally raised her head slowly.

“I shouldn’t have lost.”

Martha clenched her fist.
Her grip was so tight that her blood vessels were clearly visible.

“I shouldn’t have lost to anyone until I found my mother…”

Despite resolving to never lose until she achieved her goal, she ended up losing.
And it was an extremely disgraceful defeat on top of that.

She’d twisted her own personality, became foul-mouthed and kept her distance from other people.
But it was all pointless now that she lost with such an overwhelming difference.

“Damn it!”

Her foster father, Denier Zieghart, adopted her into the house Zieghart because he’d recognized her talent.

And yet, she lost to Raon Zieghart— a collateral that was one year younger than her.
She couldn’t predict the kind of measures her father would take as a result.

Denier was a kind person, but that might’ve been an act.
She needed to take into consideration the possibility of getting chased out.

‘No, I can never let that happen.’

If she got chased out, she’d lose her last hope of finding her mother.
She had to beg for that to not happen, even if she had to cling to his leg.

“Haa…”

“My lady.”

Martha was extremely nervous, to the extent that she didn’t even turn back when her butler Camel called out to her.

“It’s a letter from Sir Denier.”

Martha finally turned around upon hearing that Denier Zieghart had sent her a letter.
Her black pupils swayed like a wave.

“Here it is.”

Martha swallowed and opened the letter.

Martha, congratulations on your first defeat.
Don’t worry too much, as one defeat will not gain you the label of a loser.
However, reflect countless times on why you lost, and how you lost.
That self-examination will become the basis for your future growth.
I wanted to visit you personally and comfort you, but my mission is taking longer than I thought.
I’m sorry I can’t be with you.

It wasn’t blame or mockery.
It was a letter sent from a father who was worried about his daughter from the bottom of his heart.

I’m still investigating your birth mother.
Since I still haven’t given up on it, you shall not give up either.

Martha folded the letter with trembling hands and put it in her pocket.
She tried pressing the pocket, as if she were checking her wallet.

“Haa…”

The letter was putting the broken pieces of her mind back together.
The last part especially made her depression and anxiety, which used to press down on her shoulders, fly away.

“Tell father that I’ll bear it in mind.
And that I’m really, really grateful.”

“Understood.”

Camel nodded, smiling lightly.

“By the way, my lady.”

“Hmm?”

“If you are worried about the obedience that was wagered during the spar with young master Raon, it can be solved by pressuring the annex building.
It can be silently taken care of, using the direct line’s authority…”

“No, don’t do it.”

Martha shook her head definitely.
Her pupils, resembling black pearls, shone with a clear light that was missing before.

“The fact remains that I lost, and in the most miserable way, at that.”

She knew better than anyone the reason that she lost to Raon.

‘The defeat wasn’t because of my carelessness.
I simply lost, that’s all.’

Raon sliced through her sword using that red aura.
Since a swordsman had lost her sword, the victor was already decided at that point.

And yet, he threw away his own sword and fought her a second time, using his fists.

If she acted shamefully towards someone who’d fought her like that, her father would be more disappointed in her.

“A Zieghart should keep their promise, even if it is a stupid one.
I’m sure Father would say the same thing.”

“Certainly.
Sir Denier would’ve said the same.”

“As a daughter, I can’t bring shame upon him.”

“Indeed.”

Camel visibly lifted the corners of his mouth and laughed, as if he were praising her.

“Camel, do you have a knife?”

“Yes, I do.
But why…?”

“Give it to me.”

“Here it is.”

Martha stared at the thin dagger Camel handed over for a while, then unsheathed it.

 

Whack!

 

Nodding with determination, she cut her ebony hair from the middle without hesitating.

“My… My lady!”

“It’s fine.
I’m parting with my idiotic and ugly self from before.”

Martha smiled, letting the cut hair fly away with the wind.
Her smile was shining like a snowflake.

“Huh…”

Camel gasped, since he hadn’t expected that to happen.

“Please cancel the direct line training tomorrow morning.”

“Pardon? It’s not difficult to cancel it, but what are you planning to do…”

“I have somewhere to go.”

Martha declared, entering the mansion.

Watching her back as she entered the mansion, Camel nodded kindly.

 

***

 

After finishing the daybreak training on the last day of the holidays, she immediately left her mansion.

Evading Camel and the maids, who were asking where she was going without even taking her breakfast, she went towards the annex building in the west alone.

It was pretty far away, but since the road was nicely paved, she could find it without any difficulty.

As she kept walking to the west, she could see a small house surrounded by a small garden.

‘Does he live there?’

Martha furrowed her brows, as it was small and shabby compared to the structures in the main building.

However, since the house she used to live in before she was adopted was way smaller than the annex building, it didn’t incite any other emotion from her.
She didn’t care and kept walking towards the garden.

‘Somebody is there.’

A blond body was squatting down at the flower bed, digging the ground and planting flowers.

‘Huh?’

Martha’s eyes widened.

‘Raon Zieghart?’

She’d thought he was a servant, but he wasn’t.
The one who was planting flowers was Raon Zieghart, who made her taste defeat for the first time.

Raon dusted off his hands and stood up.
It looked like he noticed her as well.

“What’s the matter?”

“……”

Martha didn’t respond, standing in front of the flower bed that Raon was taking care of.
The flowers looked fresh and healthy, probably because he’d just watered them.

‘He has this kind of hobby?’

She’d thought he was too precocious, so she was surprised at finding a childish side to him.

‘What should I do?’

The reason that Martha visited Raon was simple.

She wanted a rematch.

She kept thinking about her defeat after reading her father’s advice, but she couldn’t remember how she lost.

Since she couldn’t remember, she had no idea how large the difference in abilities was between them, and whether there was any way of making up for it or not.

In short, she couldn’t reflect.

Therefore, she needed a rematch.

She wanted to determine the difference between her and Raon by fighting him with a clear mind.

“Haa…”

Martha sighed heavily and lifted her head.
She carefully opened her mouth while looking into Raon’s eyes, which were as calm as a lake.

“I want to try fighting you again.”

“Not admitting defeat is a bit disturbing.”

“No, I’m not refusing to admit to having lost so easily.
I just can’t tell how I lost, and I came looking for you in order to figure that out.”

“……” 

Raon’s eyes shone for a second.
He seemed to think it was unexpected.

“Then, what’s the offer?”

“What?”

“For a loser to challenge the victor once again, you’d have to give something away, wouldn’t you?”

“Hell no! You don’t need a prize in order to fight!”

“I do.”

“Ugh…”

Martha groaned lightly.

‘This is why.’

Because he never wanted to come out at a loss, she’d felt like Raon wasn’t actually a child.

“You don’t have one? It’s troublesome if you don’t.”

Raon crossed his arms, showing that he had no intention of fighting.

“Hmm…”

‘What shall I do?’ Martha thought as she looked at Raon, biting her lip.
Then she looked at the flowers below.

‘Shall I try stepping on it a little?’

Since he was taking care of the flower bed at that hour, he must’ve loved the flowers.
If she provoked him by harming them a little, he would probably attack her.

“You must like the flowers, although that doesn’t suit you.”

Martha secretly moved her foot towards the flower bed.

“Not really.”

Despite her expectations, Raon shook his head while tapping his trowel.

“What?”

“I said I don’t like flowers, and I don’t understand why people like them either.
I was only taking care of them because of my mother.”

“……”

Martha, who was about to step on the flowers, suddenly stopped.

“Why? Aren’t you going to step on them?”

Raon tilted his head while smiling slightly.
It seemed he was already aware of her intentions.

“Damn it.”

Martha cursed and pulled back her feet.
Hearing that he’d been taking care of the flowers for his mother, who loved the flowers, she didn’t feel like stepping on them anymore.

“Shit.”

She clicked her tongue.
As she was about to turn around, the annex building’s door opened and a beautiful woman with her long hair tied back ran out towards them.

“Raon!”

“Eh?”

Raon’s eyes, which were as cold as ice, were suddenly flustered.

“Mo-mother.”

“I was wondering why I couldn’t find you, but you were taking care of the flower bed for me.
But who is this, a friend of yours?”

Her eyes were filled with curiosity.

‘Is she Sylvia Zieghart?’

The woman who left the household in order to be with her beloved, then returned in order to save her child.
She was the family’s disgrace and was said to belong in the trash.

Maybe it was because she’d had a similar experience, but she didn’t look like trash to Martha, but a courageous mother who lived for the sake of her beloved child.

“Sh-she’s not a friend, she is nothing.
I’ll handle it here, so please go back.”

It was a rare sight to see Raon stuttering.

“She is also pretty.
Black hair and black pupils? Ah! You’re Martha!”

Sylvia smiled brightly while clapping her hands.

“……”

Martha silently nodded.

“I heard you sparred with Raon, were you hurt anywhere?”

Since they were similar to the mother that she missed so much, she could tell that Sylvia’s rose-colored eyes held real worry about her wellbeing.

“I’m fine.”

“Thank god, I was worried.”

Sylvia smiled lightly.

“I heard big brother Denier had brought in a very talented child, but there was more to it.”

She thoroughly examined her, and told her that she was really pretty, too pretty.

“But what brought you here?”

“I had something to tell him.
I’ll return since I’m done now.”

Martha bowed her head and was about to leave.

 

Growl.

 

The result of skipping breakfast after her daybreak training occurred.

“Ah…”

Martha’s face turned completely red.
When she was about to run away, something warm caught her hand.

It was Sylvia.
She flicked her finger while smiling.

“Let’s eat before you go.”

She didn’t know why, but Martha couldn’t shake off that thin hand of hers.

 

* * *

 

Reaper Scans

[Translator – Kyangi]

[Proofreader – Harley]

Join our discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

 

* * *

 

What was this?

Raon furrowed his brows, looking at Martha, who was sitting across from him at the dining table.

‘I don’t even know anymore.’

He could understand Sylvia inviting Martha to eat before she left after hearing Martha’s stomach growling, since Sylvia is a very kind person.

However, for that crazy girl to be led to the table and modestly wait for the food to be brought out was something unimaginable for him.

Maybe when she cut her hair, she also cut out her bad temper.

“Raon loves meat stews.
That’s why we always have at least one stew on the menu.”

“Ah, I see.”

Sylvia kept smiling.
Raon wondered what she was so happy about, and Martha kept responding with a lowered head, as if she was embarrassed.

What is that girl doing? Wasn’t her personality different?

‘I don’t know what's going on either.’

This was the first time since he’d been born into house Zieghart that he’d encountered such an unexpected situation.

The food was brought out soon enough.
They were stews, roast beef, vegetables, and baked bread.

“You are one year older than Raon, right?”

“Yes.”

“Are you having any difficulty with training?”

“Not really.’

Sylvia kept talking to Martha while dining, and Martha also kept answering immediately, despite eating.

“Huh…”

Raon tilted his head.

‘Seriously, what’s up with her?’

The first thing Martha would do when someone talked to her was swear.
He’d never imagined seeing her acting so favorably.

“Hmm…”

Raon gulped down the stew, unable to tell if he was consuming it through his mouth or his nose.

“We are very good at cooking, but the quality of the meat is a bit worse than the main building.
Make sure to chew it well to digest it better.”

“……”

Martha’s hand, which was holding the fork, trembled upon hearing Sylvia’s advice.

Since she could start rampaging soon, Raon readied himself to stop her.
However, she lowered her head once again and started eating.

Raon wasn’t knowledgeable about human emotions, but he felt like Martha’s hands were expressing some kind of sorrow and yearning.

“Thank you for the meal.”

The awkward meal finally ended, and Martha stood up.

“How was the taste?”

“It was tasty.”

“I’m glad.
Please be friends with Raon from now on.”

Sylvia stood in front of the door, waving her hand at Martha.

“Yes.”

Martha unexpectedly gave a normal answer and left the annex building.

‘Seriously, what was that?’

She clearly came to pick a fight with him, so he couldn’t understand why she’d suddenly started acting like that.

Did she eat something off?

‘Probably.’

Human emotion was really difficult to understand.

 

***

 

As soon as she left the annex building, Martha bit her lip.
She felt like she was going to cry otherwise.

She looked similar.

Her face, the color of her hair, the clothes she was wearing, and even her voice was different.
However, those rose-colored eyes were too similar to her missing mother.

That was why she couldn’t shake her off when she caught her hand.

Raon must’ve thought she was crazy.

It was the first time she saw his eyes shivering so much.

She’d considered leaving, but she was glad she stayed to finish her meal.
Sylvia’s gentle gaze and voice, and…

When she heard her telling to chew it well, which was the nagging that her mother used to give all the time, Martha really felt like she was with her mother.

That was why she wanted to find her mother even more now.

‘White Blood Religion, those sons of bitches.’

The ones that took away her mother were the White Blood Religion, one of the five demons.
She was going to find her mother at all costs, even if she had to kill all those fanatics.

Resolving herself over and over, Martha returned to the main building.

“My lady, where have you been… Huh? No way, were you crying?”

Camel, who was sweeping in front of the door, widened his eyes.

“What are you talking about?! I would never do that!”

Martha wiped away her tears and shook her head.
She quickly opened the door and was entered the mansion, but then she stuck her head out.

“Camel, can you get some high-quality beef for me?”

“Beef? Of course I can.
But what are you going to use it for?”

“I need it for something, so leave it in front of my room once you get it!”

Martha responded, then immediately closed the door and ran up to her room.

“Haha.”

Camel gently smiled while watching her.

“I wonder if she realizes she looks a lot better now than before.”

 

***

 

The next day, Raon was headed towards the training ground as soon as he finished his daybreak cultivation.
Like always, he was the first one to arrive.

His head was filled with various thoughts because of Martha visiting him the day before, but he decided to think of it as a silly dream.

After a light warm up, he started to train the ‘Combination Sword’.
As the sun rose, the children started to enter the training ground one after another.

While he was swinging his sword and listening to the trainees' idle chatters, everyone suddenly fell silent.

When he turned his head around, Martha was walking in through the training ground’s wide-open doors.

The trainees were staring at her with their jaws dropped, probably because of her short hair.

“Raon Zieghart.”

Martha stopped in front of Raon.

“I can’t retrieve the words I have already spoken.
I’m not going to try making up for everything I’ve done so far with some kind of sloppy apology.”

Her eyes were even calmer than the day before.
They looked like a motionless lake.

“But I’ll keep my promise.”

“Promise?”

“The promise that we made before the spar, that the loser would obey the winner.”

She turned around after saying that.
Her eyes were saying that she’d completely admitted her defeat.

‘It’s bigger than I thought…’

For her to change in such a short period of time, she wasn’t the average narrow-hearted person.
Although, he still couldn’t understand why she stayed for the meal the day before.

“Why the hell are you blocking my way? Fuck off!”

While Raon was tilting his head, Martha kicked away Dorian, who was awkwardly standing in front of her.

“Aww! So-sorry.”

“Tsk.”

She clicked her tongue and returned to her usual seat.

Raon smirked.
It looked like her attitude towards him was the only thing that had changed.

‘I knew that everyone here wasn’t normal.’

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