“I’ll be leaving soon.
I don’t know when that will be, but to me these kids are family.”
I knew it.
Theo, who has no lingering attachments to this place, and Theo, who cannot easily leave this place.
Because that was the difference that made Lillian a stranger here.
Theo probably wanted to ask Lillian if she would stay a little longer, but he didn’t say anything like that.
Lillian had no intention of doing that either.
Because for her, her time was running out.
‘Of course, it won’t take long to get from the nursery school to the capital.’
I didn’t know how to get there, so I had to plan for at least three days to get on a wagon going back and forth.
And three days was enough time for the director to relate the missing items, just like Lillian, who disappeared.
‘I’ll have to meet Duke Maynard before the director.’
So Lillian noticed the wagon leaving for the capital today.
The wagon that had come to deliver flour a week ago was returning after finishing its errands in the neighborhood.
It was meant to be Lillian’s first means of transportation.
Lillian took her eyes off Theo and grabbed her bag.
As I was leaving through the back door, I heard Theo’s voice from behind.
“Good luck, Lillian.”
Lillian’s steps stopped abruptly.
But without looking back at him, she started walking again.
Not bad for a last goodbye.
The three days heading to Duke Maynard’s residence in the capital were long if it was long, and short if it was short.
Lillian sneaked into the carriage and headed for the capital.
Whenever I fell asleep amidst the sound of wheels rolling on the dirt road and the sound of horse hooves, I would dream of a swan.
— Look at this, Lily.
Isn’t this opera hall so cool? The chandelier has as many as 50 balls!
— It must be a lie.
How do they hang 50 balls? I’m sure it’s heavy and will fall off.
— Really! Newspapers don’t lie.
Look at this Prima donna Kyrie sing in the Opera Hall.
The chandelier used in the performance that day was made of 50 glass balls and 35 candles, and it was even brighter by using a frame made of platinum and emeralds…
―If that is true, this newspaper artist is really bad at drawing.
―These people draw simply.
But look, the description is quite alive.
I wish I could hear Kyrie sing in this opera hall…
Swan had such aspirations for high society.
I don’t know if Swan herself knew it, but looking at it from the side, it was also the director’s trick.
He would deliberately and periodically regal Swan about what the life of the great nobility was like and what the culture of high society was like.
Lillian would be lying if she said she wasn’t tempted by the story.
The story of a chandelier with 50 balls, a prima donna dressed in a dress that shines at different angles every time it moves, and a nobleman who lives a luxurious and beautiful life with a house in one hand was perfect for stimulating young girls’ dreams.
But every time Lillian heard such a story, she deliberately snorted more brusquely.
The reason was simple.
Because she could not live such a life even if she died and woke up.
It seemed obvious that Swan, a princess raised with great care by the director, would one day be adopted into a noble family, and perhaps she would be able to live the life she wanted.
The reality was that Lillian, who was not particularly outstanding, was neither pretty nor kind, and had long hair.
And that those differences will one day separate Swan and herself.
The more Swan dreamed of the upper class, the more Lillian seemed to see a clearer picture of Swan’s future away from her shabby self.
So Lillian deliberately didn’t agree.
I deliberately raised the candle that all the high society stories that Swan saw and heard were exaggerated lies.
It may have been an inferiority complex in a way.
A low desire to hold on to a friend who wants to leave her behind.
Maybe that’s why.
That’s also what Lillian has regretted the most, crying her eyes out all day since Swan died.
— I’ll be honest with you only once.
I should have said that I wanted to hear Kirie’s song, just like you…
She already knew that this would be the answer Swan wanted.
Because, of course, Lillian was with her in all the futures Swan was talking about.
It felt like an empty dream, so I regretted being blunt.
I don’t know what the future will be like yet, but the things that I thought couldn’t do earlier pushed Swan away.
At the time, Lillian thought that only Swan would go to a noble family, but in the end, look.
All that’s left is Lillian.
Going to an aristocratic family, too.
Over the past three days, Lillian has been using her small size to put herself on several wagons.
And now I’m riding in the luggage compartment of grocery wagons.
When I saw the coachman talking about going to Maynard’s residence at the bar, I quickly got on board.
‘I hope this carriage will be the last.’
Just then, the sound of a conversation came from outside the carriage.
“Where do you want to go next?”
If you stop by there, your quota for today is over.”
The horse started to run again, and Lillian’s heart began to thump with the clunky sound of wheels rolling.
‘Really, I’m almost there.’
Lillian squeezed the locket from around her neck over her heart.
Somehow, I felt like I was going to cry.
‘It’s your house.’
Lillian thought as she gazed at the mansion, which seemed impossible to contain no matter how much she bent her head.
With a gate made of iron bars and a crest of lilies embossed on the pillars, a luxurious mansion that looks as if it is several times the size of a nursery school with a garden that can be seen.
It was not difficult to see that this was the Duke Maynard’s residence she had been looking for.
Firstly, the carriage stopped, and it was partly because I heard the story of the person guarding the front saying that the carriage had to be brought inside, but more than anything.
‘It’s the same symbol as the lily on the locket.’
The clearest proof was in Lillian’s hand.
If you take a carriage, you might be able to get into the mansion safely, but if you do something wrong, you might be branded as a trespasser and kicked out before you even meet Duke Maynard.
‘In a normal way… I have to pretend to visit the duke’s mansion normally.’
Do not be suspicious.
Especially since she’s not real.
I’ve already put together a repertoire to talk about.
She happened to come across an article about Duke Maynard in a newspaper and thought that she resembled the portrait in the locket she had since childhood, so she recklessly went to the Duke’s house in search of her parents.
So it shouldn’t look suspicious.
The problem was the body.
She didn’t know it when she was sitting in the carriage, but when she got out and stood on the floor, her head spun.
It was because she had not slept well for three days, shivered in the cold, and had not eaten properly.
She wanted to lie down on the street and fall asleep right away, but Lillian overcame it.
Then, after waiting for the wagon to disappear, for a while, she cautiously approached the guard.
The guard frowned at the sight of the scrawny child.
“What is it, kid? This is not a place for kids like you to come.”
“I’m here to see the Duke, Kolok.”
The Duke is a bit of a great person.
I understand your feelings, but the Duke-”
“This looks exactly like what’s engraved on this gate.”
Lillian cut off the guard and held out the locket hanging from her neck.
A locket embossed with a lily.
At first glance, it had the same shape as Maynard’s symbol.
The wide-eyed guard reached out.
“Hey, give it to me.
“No, you can’t.”
But Lillian quickly moved the locket away from the guards’ eyes.
Thinking of the possibility of it being stolen in the first place, from the moment I got off the carriage, I put it around my neck and held it tightly with both hands.
Thanks to this, Lillian looked like she had her hands folded over her chest.
With a desperate look, the girl spat out the words again.
“Please let me see the Duke.
Before that, even if I die, I won’t show you this.”
What are you talking about? —”
“Even if I die.
I won’t show you.
If you try to take it by force, I’d rather swallow it and die.
As Lillian spoke again and her eyes widened, the guard looked puzzled.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that he faced the most difficult situation in his eight-year career guarding the door of Maynard’s mansion.
‘I can’t have a kid like this go inside.’
But the pendant the kid showed me for a moment looked like Maynard’s.
In addition, the loss of a child by the owner of the mansion was particularly poignant to the guard.
It was clear that she would also be upset if the child got hurt by stepping out to check the pendant again.
The guard was a man with two children her age in a house with a warm fire.
The child was wearing clothes that were unbelievably thin for midwinter, and in the aftermath, her nose and cheeks were frozen red.
It was clear that her life would be in danger even if he didn’t take the pendant if she was left outside like this.
In the end, the guard decided to ask one thing after much thought.
“Little girl, how old are you this year?”
“Two months have passed since I was 10 years old.”
The age of the missing child in this house is roughly matched.
If so, you might be able to let the child in with some lame excuse.
Instead of answering, the guard put his hand to the communication tool in his ear.
“Sir Stefan, I think you should come out of here for a while.”
It didn’t mean that Lillian was allowed to go inside the mansion.
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