The door to Duke Maynard’s mansion was violently opened.
There was only one person in the world who could handle the supreme Maynard’s door so carelessly.

The owner of the Maynard family, Duke Cedric Maynard.

He was expressing with his whole body that he had come running as soon as he was contacted.

As soon as he entered the mansion, he strode across the living room without even having time to take off his coat, and a clear shadow of anxiety and nervousness was cast over his face that seldom lost his composure.

Calming his breath is something he’s done countless times in the 10 years he’s been on the battlefield, but why does it feel so difficult right now?

He felt the depth of the water in the beautiful eyes, and the hopeless hope hanging in the shadows.
Stefan, the butler of Duke Maynard’s residence, approached Cedric, who unreasonably pulled off his tie in frustration.

“Here you are, sir.”

“Yes, where is the child you mentioned?”

“I took her to the resting room in the back.”

“Are you sure this time?”

“… It would be good to see and judge for yourself.”

Stefan had served the Maynard family for three generations, a man who would sometimes speak up for Cedric if necessary.
When he answered like this, Cedric felt his mouth dry up.

‘Please, this time.’

Be sure this time.

The shadow under Cedric’s green eyes following Stefan’s became thicker.
He washed his face dry to hold himself together.

About 10 years ago from now.
The child of Duke Maynard disappeared.

There was an uproar when the newborn baby disappeared, and the mother lay down in shock without even having time to recover.
Since the child was lost and the hostess was bedridden, the Duke’s mansion was in a commotion, but Cedric couldn’t even participate in the commotion.

The reason is simple.
At that time, he had been granted the post of the commander-in-chief by the Emperor and was away on the battlefield to end the long conflict.

Even when he was told that his child had disappeared and that his wife passed away in the end, she could not overcome the shock, and Cedric, the commander-in-chief, could not escape the battlefield.
All he can do was send an order to the Duke’s residence to find the missing child at all costs.

Less than three days had passed since he returned after completing the rotation.
Meanwhile, Cedric saw countless children claiming to be his lost daughters.

Cedric’s black hair and green eyes, and the news of the children’s mixed blonde of his dead wife, knocked on the door of the Duke of Maynard every day for their own reasons.
There were children whose parents deliberately brought them by deceit, some children who lied to them for their own comfort, and even some children who looked quite a bit like his dead wives.

―This room feels somehow familiar.
I miss you…

When I heard that child, I thought I had found my lost daughter.

No, maybe that’s what I wanted to believe.
Even though he knew in his head that it couldn’t be real, in the end, Cedric could only shake his head after looking at all the fakes.

Many times to look forward to and be disappointed.

In the process, Cedric was drying up.

He had never slept well even on the battlefield, but when he returned to the mansion, his depression deepened.
As much as his love for his wife was so great, the fact that he lost both his daughter and wife in an instant has been bothering him.

It was impossible to find a child who had not been found for 10 years now.
Since it is still unknown whether the child is alive or dead, perhaps the child is really dead.

But if you quit now, you may not really be able to see your child forever.
With that single thought, Cedric went out today and met a child who was presumed to be his daughter.
It was bullshit this time too.

Then, as he was about to move the wagon to the candidate’s house, an urgent call came from the duke’s residence.

I think I found the Duke’s child.

Stefan was reticent, but he was not easily convinced as he had visited the child for 10 years on behalf of Cedric, who had gone to war.
If he is in a hurry to contact him, he must have a basis.

The distance in the corridor, which never seemed to narrow, was shortened, and the door to the common room was finally placed in front.

Contrary to Cedric’s conflict, the door opened very easily.

In the familiar and quiet resting room, there was a young girl who carefully put down a teacup that could barely be covered with both palms.
The girl’s hair, which might be only ten years old, was brown, and her eyes looked similar.

A completely different appearance from the children who had visited Cedric so far.
The moment Cedric’s face showed disappointment, the girl saw the door open a beat later and stood up.

“Hello, Your Excellency.”

It was a very good pronunciation and speech for a child.
Perhaps even though it was too early to lose baby fat, the skinny cheeks seemed to make the girl look more mature.
Is that really the right age?

Cedric furrowed his brow and involuntarily turned his back to the door and took one step closer to the girl.

I also didn’t forget to kneel on one knee and look at each other.
The child was not familiar with it, but I thought he would have that much consideration because he had met impersonators recently.

Cedric’s voice came out with a slight tremor.

“You said you were my daughter.”

“Yes, my name is Lillian.”

“Yes, Lillian.
Do you have anything to show me, too?”

“I am… I am from an orphanage.
So there aren’t many things I can show you, but when I entered the orphanage, there was something I brought with me.”

The girl said so and opened her small hand.

She had been holding it so tightly that in her reddened palm was a small locket-shaped pendant with a golden rope hanging from it.

A locket embossed with the magnolia, the symbol of the Maynard family.

When opened, a portrait of a married couple was revealed.
The male side had black hair and green eyes, and the female side had blonde hair and a well-rounded face.
Despite the small size, the portrait was drawn quite elaborately.

Cedric’s hand, which received the locket, trembled slightly.

How can I forget this thing? This was Cedric’s last gift to his dead wife before he left for the battlefield.

An item that was commissioned by the most famous painter of the time to draw elaborate pictures inside a small locket, and which could not be found anymore with the disappearance of the child.

“… Your Excellency, that.”


Cedric replied to Stefan’s words in a choked voice.

Stefan’s voice was also locked.
In fact, he also desperately wanted to open the pendant the girl brought.

“I was half in doubt because the child came out so strongly that I couldn’t show until the Duke came… It was a relic of the madam….”

The reason Stefan didn’t say anything was that he, the butler, couldn’t check the belongings by forcing the child who claimed to be the daughter of the duke.
Of course, the surface of the pendant the child showed off seemed to have the Maynard family’s seal engraved on it, but the possibility that it was a counterfeit could not be ignored.

Above all, the biggest reason was that the child did not seem to have much resemblance to the Duke.

However, now that the portrait inside the pendant has been confirmed, Stefan’s reason to hold back his words has disappeared.

“Congratulations, sir… !”

With Stefan’s choking words, Cedric unconsciously hugged the child.
The girl blinked her eyes, evidently taken aback, as if the sight of two large adult men unable to control their emotions was unfamiliar, and then carefully lowered her arms, which had been raised as if to wrap Cedric’s back.

Thus, the lost princess of the Maynard family returned.
Amid the employees who heard the story through Stefan belatedly, each of them cheered and shed tears.

Lillian, the person in charge, was welcoming the unfamiliar hospitality like the scorching midwinter sun.

It was natural.
Lillian, because the girl wasn’t really Cedric’s daughter.

The only problem was that the real protagonist had already died and left the world, so she could not come to this place.

‘Swan, originally you were supposed to be here.’

Lillian quietly lowered her eyes.
The smile of the one she could no longer see flashed through her mind.

A friend who smiled brighter than Freesia, sitting in the spring sun.

And a friend who gave me everything.

In Cedric’s arms, Lillian struggled to raise her mouth, then put it back down.
Her hazel-colored eyes in the sunlight were cold.

It would be strange if she was sad alone while everyone was happy, but Lillian couldn’t smile at this unfamiliar hospitality.

I just wanted to see my friend.

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