Until the decision to leave for the Duke of Maynard after Swan’s death, Lillian had many thoughts.
She wondered why Swan had entrusted her life to her, and why the orphanage director had left Swan at the orphanage despite knowing that she was a missing daughter of Maynard.
— Lily… I really wanted to meet my father.
He said if my father came back, cough, we could go to the Duke’s mansion…
Lillian often remembered Swan talking about ‘parents’ somewhere.
“Maybe they are looking for us,” she said, laughing.
The girl had sparkling blue eyes like a lake in the spring sun.
So, staying at the orphanage couldn’t have been Swan’s own will.
‘It must be the director’s work.’
The director had been waiting for Duke Maynard, Cedric, to return.
Only then will he pay well for his lost daughter.
If it wasn’t for that greed, Swan would have been able to enjoy everything Lillian is enjoying now.
People’s kindness, a warm and cozy home, and a life without shortage.
Perhaps, in this place, the weak Swan could have eaten well and become strong and healthy.
‘Swan could have lived if it wasn’t for the greed of the director and nursery school teachers.’
Whenever Maynard’s life felt comfortable, whenever it seemed that the opulent reality was blinding her, Lillian thought of Swan.
The original owner of this place.
My friend Swan became a morning mirage and will never grow up.
When she entrusted me with her life, and when she decided to live as her double.
Lillian decided when to let go of Swan’s life.
When she did everything Swan couldn’t do.
And it would be a moment to take revenge for Swan’s death.
“And it will be the moment when I reveal everything.”
By all means…
“I’m really sorry to the people of Duke, who treated me well.”
Nothing could replace Swan.
Nothing could be more precious than Swan.
But whenever she thought of the moment when all the truth was revealed, their faces kept coming up in her mind.
“I couldn’t make these because there was no one in the mansion to eat them, but thanks to the lady, they made them all.
I’m glad my dessert-making skills haven’t rusted yet!”
“Aw, how cute.
Look at this, Miss.
Isn’t this frilly dress so adorable? I really like this kind of thing.
Thanks to you, I have a chance to touch it.”
“When I became a maid in the grand mansion, I thought there would be a time when I could comb Miss’s hair.
If your hair were longer, I would tie it up nicely for you.”
“I didn’t expect to see the child again at the manor, but thanks to you, this old man has a job again.”
The kitchen staff giggled while making desserts, and the maids were happy to see the cute baby items.
In the late afternoon, Mary would sit Lily on her lap and read her a book, and Stephen would smile warmly, saying that Lily reminded him of Cedric when he was a child.
“Sleep more, little one.”
Even Cedric, looked at her with uncertain eyes every morning.
Cedric always slept later and woke up earlier than Lillian.
This morning too, when she opened her eyes to the absence of warmth beside her, she found Cedric fastening his shirt buttons.
It was only then that Lillian realized that she had always ended up snuggling to Cedric while asleep.
Lillian tried to hide her embarrassment and greeted Cedric with a forced smile.
Cedric finished buttoning up his shirt and came to the side of the bed to tuck Lilian back under the comforter.
He didn’t forget to fluff up the pillow filled with goose feathers.
If Lilian was looking up at him with less puffy eyes, memories of the time he had a high fever after coming to the Duke’s estate came to mind.
She remembers seeing Swan.
No, Cedric, in a delirious state.
‘That was definitely the Duke.’
The fact that stabbed her heart as a needle reminded her to pretend to be asleep and close her eyes, even though she had woken up long before.
At first, all she could think of was finding the custody certificate.
So she even stayed up, pretending to be asleep until Cedric fell asleep, holding the key to the study.
But as time passed, thoughts of the custody papers faded away, and sleeping with Cedric became familiar.
And with that came a sense of guilt towards Cedric.
He had saved her from being caught by Curtis and held her as she cried.
Cedric, with hair the same color as Swan’s.
Swan’s father spoke to her with the same kind words as Swan.
‘You left something too heavy behind, Swan.’
She had not left anything behind unprepared, but at the same time, she had not left anything unburdened.
It would have been better if everyone had been cold.
“I don’t want to disappoint anyone.”
The kind Mary, the gentle Stefan, the people of the kind Duke Maynard and even Cedric.
Every time the thought that they were good popped up in her head, Lillian flinched.
She was afraid that when the truth was revealed, she would not be able to bear their disappointment in her.
It was a sight that brought tears to her eyes just thinking about it.
‘Don’t cry, Lilian.’
You didn’t come here with that kind of determination.
Lilian sniffled and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
It had been quite some time since she had climbed up the tree, so she had to get down before Mary noticed.
Just as Lilian was getting up,
Something caught her eye.
It was a luxurious carriage with unfamiliar people.
Lillian hurriedly got down from the tree.
Her knees were a little scraped from coming down too quickly, but that was the least of her concerns.
She couldn’t bear the anxiety that was weighing on her heart.
“Didn’t the Duke strictly forbid outsiders from coming in here?”
Were these people related to the orphanage in some way? Or could it be someone else pretending to be his daughter?
“I haven’t found the certificate yet.”
Surely they wouldn’t be kicked out already?
Whenever strangers wandered around the orphanage, the children always disappeared.
Strangers only came to the orphanage to adopt children, so it was a common occurrence.
But she couldn’t be sure that it would be the same this time.
Lillian rushed into the mansion without taking a breath.
Luckily or unluckily, Mary, who was nearby, saw Lillian and opened her eyes wide.
“Oh, Miss! Where did you go? I was looking for you.”
The Duke has summoned some people to meet, and you must go and meet them.
Come this way.
Oh my, there’s a leaf in your hair…”
Mary smoothed Lilian’s hair with a gentle touch and before Lilian knew it, Mary had picked her up and started taking her somewhere.
Lilian wanted to push Mary away and run away immediately, but all she could do was endure her pounding heart as if she could vomit it out.
“Are the people the Duke summoned trying to drive me out for real?”
“Come on in.”
As Mary spoke, the door opened and Lilian unconsciously closed her eyes.
Then she cautiously opened her eyes.
However, the scene in front of her was very different from what Lilian had expected.
Blinking her eyes, Lilian’s eyelids went up and down rapidly.
But no matter how much she blinked, what was in front of her didn’t disappear.
It was only natural.
In the end, instead of rubbing her eyes, Lilian spoke out loud about what was in front of her.
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