“The next time we meet, this sickle won’t be on the table but through your heart.”
His chilling threat sent a shiver down my spine.
“Until then, do your best. That’s the only way hunting will be worthwhile.”
“. . .”
“Alright, little sister?”
Plucking the sickle off the table, Clark stood from his chair. He chuckled mockingly as he watched me remain silent, and then he left the terrace.
Bang– I heard the door slam shut firmly behind me.
“Haaa.” When Clark left, the tension that had built inside me burst out all at once. I felt a tremendous sense of relief. I couldn’t believe how tense I had been. It felt as though my body had relaxed all at once.
‘Ho-how did I manage to get through that unscathed?’
If Clark was dead set on killing me, I would have been beheaded with the chain sickle right away. I had only recently transmigrated; there was no way I could face Clark. It was pure luck that he left.
“…I apologize, Milady.” I barely caught my breath, but Tia suddenly spoke.
‘What is it now?’ I blinked in confusion, not understanding why she was begging for forgiveness as if she had committed a grave sin.
“My handling of the situation was poor, and it seems to have caused problems for you.”
“. . .!” Her words indicated that Kiana had indeed been involved in Maria’s death.
‘Why on earth would she do something like this? To use Leon’s help to make Maria die? As Clark said, it seems like she only helped her rival.’
‘It’s a mess now.’ She should have at least handled the aftermath properly before I transmigrated. Kiana was to blame for the accident, but I was left to deal with the fallout.
“I will apologize with my death for the harm I have caused you, Milady.”
‘What?’ I couldn’t comprehend what Tia said. For a moment, I thought I had misheard and doubted my ears. Tia knelt down like a sinner, took the silver thread wrapped around her wrist and pressed it against her own neck.
“Stop!” I objected, astounded by her actions. I knew she had an extreme personality, but I didn’t expect her to go to such lengths.
“I won’t repeat myself.” I sternly commanded, and Tia reluctantly got back on her feet.
“From now on, answer my questions.”
“Yes, Milady.” Her voice quivered as if she were about to undergo an interrogation.
“Now tell me about the mission I assigned you.”
“My lady instructed me to pass on information to Young Lady Maria about Lord Leon being afflicted with a rare disease.”
I encouraged her to continue speaking.
“You said it was a perfect opportunity to eliminate Leon by manipulating those around him and inciting a fight.”
“Why did I give those instructions?” I subtly asked.
“You mentioned that there was something you wanted to confirm.”
‘Confirm?’ My ears perked up.
“Milady said that there was something only Lord Leon could find out if Lady Maria died…”
‘That’s why I’m asking what it is.’ I patiently waited for Tia to continue speaking, hoping that through her, I could uncover the truth about what had happened.
“I-I apologize.” Tia hesitated for a while, her forehead deeply bowed. “Not only was my performance lacking, but I couldn’t even fathom what was in your mind.”
‘Ah!!’ I bit my lower lip in disappointment. Tia had followed the instructions, but she seemed to have no idea why I had given her this mission in the first place. I had no way of knowing what Kiana was thinking when she orchestrated this incident.
‘Isn’t this just too much? What the hell am I supposed to do?’ I thought to myself. Surviving in this crazy household was already challenging enough, and now it felt like one bomb after another was exploding, leaving me feeling overwhelmed.
Diing~ Suddenly, a peculiar electronic sound chimed in my ears.
『 Notification! Hidden Quest Activated! 』
A system window, unlike any I had seen before, appeared before me.
『 The Disappeared Memories of Kiana Brunak 1-1』
『 Classification: Find the clues 』
『 Description: Kiana wanted to confirm something by egging Maria on to provoke Leon into killing her. Let’s track the next clue 』
『 Duration: Until Leon’s death 』
『 Unlock: Kiana’s Memories Clues 1-2』
『 Reward: ??』
“Ha… haha.” I couldn’t help but burst into a hollow laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Could it really be that this is how quest progression would work? Were they deliberately pushing me into taking responsibility for actions I hadn’t committed, all while preventing me from accessing Kiana’s memories?
‘What a farce.’ I mumbled to myself. It wasn’t some kind of mystery novel, but in the middle of this, I was even forced to look for clues in my memory. It felt like the system had a personal vendetta against me, forcing me into this quest.
‘Well, let’s just think positively. It’s still a quest, after all.’ Despite my initial frustration, I reluctantly accepted the quest. As a seasoned reader of various genres of novels, I knew that hidden quests often came with valuable rewards.
“Yes, milady…” Tia responded eagerly.
“Could you bring me some paper and a pen?”
In response to my sudden request, Tia blinked a few times, but quickly retrieved the writing instruments from my bedroom.
“I’d like to be alone for a while.”
Tia bowed and left the room. I took a deep breath, trying to calm my restless thoughts, and picked up the pen.
“Let’s organize this step by step.”
I began to write down significant events from the original story, recalling them from memory. I made sure to include major events such as the appearance of the Demon Castle, the Four Noble Families Conference, the continental tournament, the assassination attempt on the Emperor, and the resurgence of the Dark Dragon. I filled the spaces on the paper meticulously with these substantial plot points. As the pen danced across the page, the inked line gradually reached the paper’s edge. Finally, I put pressure on the pen to inscribe the climax of the story:
The resurrection of the Demon Lord,
The ultimate showdown,
And the impending destruction of the continent.
“I must find a way within this framework.”
Even though I was now in Kiana’s body, our backgrounds and circumstances were entirely different. I was just an ordinary job-seeking student, struggling to make ends meet with part-time work. Surviving against my half-siblings–who were determined to eliminate me–was a competition that seemed impossible for me to win.
In the end, I had to rely on my strengths and find my own way to live…
‘I need to make the most of the original story’s content,’ I reminded myself, aware that reality was far from easy. Kiana’s memories were a blank slate, my half-siblings were relentless in their pursuit to eliminate me, and the impending catastrophe loomed closer each day. The situation was so terrible that things seemed to go from bad to worse.
‘Ah, no more negativity.’ Suppressing negative thoughts, I tapped the table lightly with the end of the pen, staring at the timeline I had created. In case I had missed any crucial details, I went through the original novel’s contents in my mind like scratching a hook, trying to extract every possible piece of information.
‘After all, is this the only one?’
After careful consideration, I wrote down a name on the paper:
“Evan Von Brunak.”
Evan was the illegitimate son of Duke McEnroe’s half-brother, born secretly outside the family, and, in terms of relationship, he would be my cousin. His biological mother, fearing that her son would be taken away if it was discovered that he was of the Brunak lineage, raised Evan in secret. Despite her heartfelt efforts, Duke McEnroe eventually discovered Evan’s existence.
In the end, the duke took him away from his mother and brought him into the family, making Evan compete to become the next successor.
“It’s called competition, but it’s no different from leaving him to die.”
Evan had never received a proper education and had no chance of competing against his elite-educated cousins. He was merely a pawn to groom a stronger successor, nothing more and nothing less. Interestingly, Evan was fully aware of this fact. Knowing that staying within the family would mean certain death, he planned his escape, risking his life. Eventually, he successfully escaped the Brunak family, becoming the first in history.
‘Then, you meet the male lead.’
Two years later, Evan returned of his own accord to seek revenge on Duke McEnroe, who had once tried to kill him, and also to eliminate Kiana, who had become the heir.
On that day, the Brunak family met its doom.
“What if…” My voice trailed off as I contemplated the events in the original novel and the potential implications for my current situation. It was a presumptuous consideration.
‘What if Evan and I were close?’
In the original story, Kiana had plotted multiple times to kill Evan and take his powers. The hatred that had built up during those moments was so immense that Evan even crushed Kiana’s power core—the source of her abilities—when it emerged from her lifeless body.
‘What if I could get along with Evan without provoking such hatred? Could it change a lot of things?’
‘Furthermore…’ I took a deep breath, ‘What if Evan and I could escape from this insane family together?’
With each thought, my heart raced faster. I was placed in this situation involuntarily, with no control over the circumstances. If I could befriend Evan and successfully escape this crazy family with him… I could potentially avoid being caught up in the competition for the heir position within this insane family.
‘I could establish contact with the male lead.’
Evan was one of the talented individuals the male lead had kept close to prevent the resurrection of the demon lord. If I accompanied Evan, it might provide an opportunity for the male lead to see me in a different light, rather than as the villainous character I was bound to become.
“This could be a win-win situation, right? More like a triple win.”
My lips curled into a hopeful smile. It wouldn’t be easy, but it was worth a try.
I was the only one who knew where Evan was. Instead of waiting for him to join the family, I decided to take the initiative and approach him first.
‘Now, I can start a relationship from ground zero before distrust and hatred take deep roots.’
Showing myself as I am without prejudice and gaining trust.
That alone would be half the success.
‘I think there’s hope here?’