The baby kitten with red fur kicked the floor.
The breath was lacking in his chest despite taking deep breaths. His whole body was hurting as if he was being pricked by needles.
That was why he stopped walking. It was too hard.
“Those damn street cats!”
The red kitten curled his body up at that moment. He felt warmth embrace his body.
He then heard a scary noise.
The kitten opened his clenched eyes.
A big rock slammed into the ground not too far from him.
His legs were shaking.
He was scared.
However, the red kitten put some strength into all four of his legs.
The warmth he could feel behind his back…
That was his sister, On.
Hong quickly kicked off the ground and ran forward after hearing his sister’s calm but shaky voice. On followed behind him as if she was protecting him.
They heard an angry voice behind them.
On ran past Hong and charged into the dark alley first. Hong followed behind her after hearing her meow.
“These damn petty thieves!”
Hong heard a rock hitting the ground behind them again but he did not turn around. No, he couldn’t do that.
He could only do whatever he could to continue breathing and push forward.
He could only run away.
He ran and ran until they finally made it to a quiet place.
It was an alley with regular looking houses.
Hong stopped in front of a small house with the lowest fence and tried to catch his breath.
On came over and looked to see where Hong was injured.
She did not let her guard down even as she did that.
Hong quietly whispered so that nobody else could hear.
“I'm sorry, noona.”
Even On and Hong, who were used to all sorts of situations, found it difficult to find food whenever they came into a city and hunting became tough.
Hong recalled what just happened in front of the bakery.
"I subconsciously touched it because the bread looked so warm.”
He wasn’t planning on eating it. He was roaming around the shop to see if there was any food that someone threw away but the bread on the stand looked so delicious that he subconsciously walked over and touched it.
That was the reason he had to be chased by that bakery shop owner.
Hong had to curl his body even after hearing On’s calm response.
He was hungry.
However, he could not complain. His sister roamed around even more than he did every day. She should be even hungrier than he was.
They heard an unfamiliar voice at that moment and Hong curled his body even more.
The man looked at On and Hong for a bit before looking away and walking through the door of the gate within the fence.
‘I guess that’s the person who lives here.’
Hong slowly hid in the shade underneath the fence.
The sun was setting.
They might have to sleep underneath this fence tonight. That was why he didn't want to do anything to anger the person who seemed to live in this house.
The door to the small house opened at that moment.
The door opened and a young child ran out.
“Sophia! Were you waiting for daddy?”
The man smiled brightly and opened his arms toward the approaching child.
The child jumped into the man’s arms. She then asked with a smile on her face.
"Daddy, my present!”
"Aw. You care more about your present than your daddy.”
The man was smiling despite sounding disappointed. A woman appeared at the door. She shook her head at the child before talking to the man.
"She's been singing about presents left and right. She was just waiting for you to get home, honey.”
The man handed the present in his hand to the child.
Both parents talked to the child.
“Sophia, happy birthday.”
“Happy birthday, Sophia. I said happy birthday in the morning, but you like me saying it once more after giving you a present, right?”
“Yes I do!”
The parents and the child walked into the house. Hong quietly watched them before turning his head.
“Noona, what is a birthday?”
“…The day you were born.”
‘Then is the day you were born a day you get celebrated?’
Hong wanted to ask that question. However, Hong asked a different question after looking at On’s eyes.
“Noona, when is my birthday? And when is your birthday?”
On looked at her younger brother.
It was faint.
There was a time when her birthday was celebrated like this girl named Sophia. However, it was when she was so little that she didn’t know the exact date.
It was some point after the rainy season when the weather officially started getting hot. All she remembered was that it was during the summer.
She also faintly remembered that her brother was born in early fall.
‘We were young.’
They were still young but Hong and On were too young to accurately remember something like their birthday when they ended up alone. To be more specific, it was too much.
It was just…
‘Today is On’s birthday.’
That phrase just roamed in her memories like an illusion.
There was nobody to tell On and Hong about their birthdays or to celebrate it by the time they learned some numbers and could count the days.
They were simply neglected and ignored while being called mutants and dirty.
They were simply looked down at such young things persisting through it all.
On knew the emotions behind Hong’s pure eyes but looked away and stoically responded.
“I don’t know about our birthdays. I don’t remember anything about them at all.”
On and Hong did not say anything about birthdays to each other after that.
* * *
However, birthday became a topic for the siblings again because of a new individual.
“I don’t understand it.”
The child who was younger than them that the siblings rescued from the dark cave with Cale and Choi Han… The black Dragon…
It was at a time when the Dragon and the Cat siblings were aware of each other but not close.
"What is a king?”
Hong’s eyes opened wide and he looked at On after hearing that question.
On groaned while the black Dragon observed the night view of the capital that was visible through the terrace window in Cale’s room as he spoke.
"Dragons are great and mighty.”
He then tilted his head to one side.
“I don’t understand it.”
The black Dragon said the same thing once more before continuing to speak.
“I don’t understand why they are doing so much because it is the King’s birthday.”
The night view of the Roan Kingdom's capital was slowly getting more beautiful as they prepared for the celebration of the King’s 50th birthday.
“Is the day you are born important?”
Hong peeked at On before slowly walking over to the black Dragon's side. The black Dragon slightly flinched but Hong ignored it and slowly sat down next to him.
He then peeked toward a dark spot in the room away from the terrace window and opened his mouth.
“I want to know why a birthday is a special day, nya!”
Hong could see the pair of dark brown eyes that were visible because of the magic light that was on.
Cale, who was pretty much lying on the bed looking at the map of the capital, observed the black Dragon and the Cat siblings with a stoic gaze.
Kim Rok Soo did not find his birthday to be very important. He didn’t know whether he felt differently about it when he was young, but it was just another day with a different name as he got older.
However, there had been a time when it was important.
Cale was thinking about the past for a bit when he heard a cold voice.
“I don’t have a birthday.”
The black Dragon was looking at the lights rising from the darkness on the ground that were different from the stars in the night sky.
“I don’t know the day I was born.”
It was obvious for the black Dragon.
There was no way to know anything in that dark cave. The flow of time, the changes in the world…
The only way for him to get information was from the things the humans said whenever they showed up.
‘Fuck, he grew this big after two years? Should we give him less food? Shit, the cost to make the restraining device is going to be so high!’
‘This motherfucking bastard! Isn’t four years enough for you to stop glaring so much?!’
He wouldn’t even have known how old he was if the bastards guarding the cell didn't shout at him with disgust.
I don't know my birthday.
“As a result, I don’t have a birthday.”
Hong quietly observed the black Dragon's dark blue eyes....
He then subconsciously spoke almost in a shout.
“I don't have one either, nya!”
The black Dragon turned toward Hong. Hong placed his small front paw on the black Dragon's smooth body and continued speaking.
“It's okay even if you don’t have one!”
Hong recalled the memory of a family he had seen at one point but smiled. The black Dragon's eyes that were looking outside seemed empty.
Hong smiled even brighter after seeing that his reflection was filling up those empty eyes.
He heard a voice that was so monotone that no emotions seemed to be behind them at all.
“That’s not wrong. It’s fine if you don’t have a birthday.”
It was also fine to forget it.
That was what Cale thought.
He recalled a memory from his past.
Kim Rok Soo did not find his birthday to be important. He just remembered that it was the day he got seaweed soup at the orphanage and also the day that he received the suffocating hardship of becoming an adult and having to figure out his life outside the orphanage.
‘What is it?’
‘We’re alive this year too.’
‘Ah, you dreary bastard! Are you going to act this cold toward me even on my birthday?’
But there was also a time when it had been special.
But that was not because it was his birthday but because of the memories associated with it.
“If you ask me for a reason as to why a birthday is a special day…”
The Cat siblings and the black Dragon looked at Cale.
“It is because we are alive now.”
Cale closed his eyes.
“It can be special because we realize that we are still alive.”
Raon and Hong tilted their heads slightly. On slightly smiled while looking at the two of them tilt their heads in the same direction.
Cale opened his eyes. He then looked at the night view outside the window as he spoke.
“And it doesn't have to be your birthday to have those days.”
Who cared if these vicious and scary three children didn’t have birthdays or didn’t know their birthdays?
“Then just make it.”
Hong’s ears twitched.
Hong slowly approached Cale. The black Dragon did not approach Cale but peeked at Cale.
Hong hesitated for a moment before speaking. He recalled the child who received a present under the sunset.
“I, I am curious to know if I can really choose a random day as my birthday nya.”
The black Dragon asked as well.
“…Is that really okay?”
They heard Cale’s response immediately.
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
It was a world where the King was celebrating turning 50. It was also a world where some bastards were going to terrorize the people using magic bombs on the same day.
It was just them choosing an anniversary for themselves.
Why would that be an issue?
Cale looked at the children as if to ask what the issue with it was, before flinching.
The black Dragon suddenly jerked his head up in an extremely odd manner. However, his neck was short and his face was round, making him look really funny.
“Then this Dragon will think about it.”
The black Dragon did not choose a date right away.
There were many dates he had not experienced yet.
Of course, there was a day he wanted to choose.
It was the day he first saw the night sky.
However, an even better day might appear in the future. He wanted to think about it a little longer.
“I am going to make my own anniversary because I am great and mighty.”
He was a great, mighty, and cautious Dragon.
“I want to do the same, nya!”
Hong trotted over to his sister On and rubbed against her body as he spoke.
“You should do it too, noona!”
As On stood there without being able to answer…
Cale let out a deep sigh.
“…By the way, are you all not going to sleep?”
“I'm going to sleep now, nya!”
On watched Hong jump into the soft and warm bed and then Raon proudly raised his head while demanding some food before looking away. She looked at Cale’s hair, which was sparkling like the sunset underneath the magic light, and then slightly lowered her head.
She recalled a memory she had forgotten about for a long time.
‘On, you were born after the rainy season as the summer arrived. The hot sun signaled the day you were born.’
Why did she suddenly recall this faint piece of memory from her extremely young days that she had not been able to remember until now?
Was it because she was no longer on the run and didn’t have to look away from such a harmonious sight?
‘On, your brother was born. His name is Hong. Hong was born after the summer as the morning dew appeared on the leaves. I think that it will be good if our On sticks to Hong when he is cold and our Hong sticks to you when you are hot.’
Of course, she didn’t recall the exact dates. She just remembered the warmth of those moments.
On started to think.
Even if it wasn’t their birthdays, she thought that coming up with an anniversary to celebrate Hong and her being alive wouldn't be bad.
“I'm curious, nya!”
Hong rubbed his head against Cale’s leg as he spoke.
“I'm curious about everybody's birthdays, nya! I want to celebrate them, nya!”
On’s eyes lightly sparkled.
On was curious about everybody's birthdays as well. She wanted to celebrate them. She wanted to celebrate them because they were alive together right now.
Cale looked at Hong, who was stuck to his leg, with a stoic gaze, before nonchalantly commenting.
“Ask if you are curious.”
‘Now that I think about it…’
Cale frowned after suddenly thinking about something.
‘Does the House of Henituse do something for birthdays?
Do they not do it for Cale because he is trash?
More importantly, when is this Cale Henituse's birthday?
Isn’t that going to seem odd if I don't know that?’
Cale frowned as if this was going to be a headache.
‘I guess I'll look into it later.’
It would be bad if he asked about his birthday to someone and they treated him as something even worse than trash because the capital bomb terror incident was coming up.
He would take care of everything he needed to take care of before stealthily asking Deputy Butler Hans or Vice Captain Hilsman.
He picked up a bell from the bedside table.
Raon added on in a low voice as the bell chimed to summon Ron.
“Give me an extremely large steak.”
It was a night where he couldn’t help but sigh.
* * *
"Then we're going to pick that day?”
"That’s great, nya!”
The children averaging nine-years-old nodded their heads with serious expressions on their faces.
"The human is a bit busy because of that motherfucking White Star so let’s tell him a bit later!”
"That’s great, nya!”
"We will celebrate it really big!”
“That’s very good, nya!”
The children averaging nine-years-old who were now family, who were now part of this extremely large family, were finally able to choose an important day for them.
“It was very hard! It was an extremely big concern even for someone great and mighty like me! I had too many days I wanted to celebrate!”
“Me too, nya! But it's still fun, nya!”
“Hong. Where is the list?”
“We’re missing a few people including the crown prince. We will soon fill them out!”
Hong handed the list to On.
There were dates listed next to many people’s names starting with Cale.
Lock: October 1st.
Rosalyn: April 5th.
Beacrox: December 17th.
Ron: February 19th.
Mary: Said we will choose together, nya!
– Special side story end. –
< Author's Notes >
Hello, it is Yu Ryeo Han.
Today marks four years since < I Became the Trash of the Count’s Family > was first released.
It has already been 4 years since the story started in 2018.
We are currently on a break waiting for Part 2, but I am here with this side story because I wanted to feel that this story was still alive.
Thank you very much for being here with me.
I truly mean that.
Mm… As you already know… I think I am going to spend the day eating a lot of food. I've already made a list of food to eat for all three meals. I'm quite serious when it comes to eating… Hehe.
Then I will return with another side story at the end of April!
I hope you have a nice and warm day!
* I ask for your understanding for the individuals whose birthdays have not appeared yet as I plan on slowly releasing that information through the story or eventually in another post.