Lillian grinned down at the empty bowl of soup because of the richness of the soup that lingered in her mouth.
Swan, who watched Lillian happily as she ate, took a napkin and wiped Lillian’s soup-stained upper lip.
The two girls returned the cleanly emptied dishes to the dining room and went to the attic holding hands.
The sun was exceptionally clear that day, not a single common rat was seen in the attic, and the sugar cubes we split and ate while sitting opposite each other tasted sweet to our tongues.
Swan’s pretty face never stopped laughing as they shared a blanket and talked about what they wanted to do in the future.
Now that I think about it, I think it seemed more like that because of the hunger.
I didn’t have to deliberately crumple my stomach in fear of making a growling sound.
It was one of the happiest days Lillian ever remembered.
And that winter, the day when Swan’s coughing sound was exceptionally sharp because she couldn’t overcome the cold wave.
Lillian’s fairy tale ended in tragedy.
Was it too greedy to hope for a happy ending?
Was it my fault that I ate Swan’s meals instead of hers every time?
Lillian could still picture that night.
Swan, who had lost consciousness for a long time due to a fever, struggled to open her eyes and tugged at my sleeves with trembling fingertips.
“Lily, I have something to tell you.”
At that, Lillian put the wet towel back down and hurried to Swan’s side.
Her eyelids were heavy as if they were bags of flour from not sleeping a wink all night, but Lillian didn’t care.
“Swan! Woke up? Hurry up, teacher-”
Don’t call anyone.”
“What do you mean, don’t call…”
Lillian let go of Swan’s hand and tried to call the teacher, but Swan was stubborn.
How did the sick child who just woke up get such strength? Swan grabbed Lillian, and she confided in her a secret she had been hiding.
That she is the lost princess of the Maynard family.
So, if I die like this, you go to the Duke’s house instead.
“Become me and live up to my share.”
The moment she heard those words, Lillian couldn’t move.
Breathing heavily, she burst into tears as the story, which wasn’t very long, ended painfully.
“Even if I die, I don’t want my father to know.
I hope the father came back and found his daughter, so he was happy… I wish.
It’s so sad when you come back and hear the news that your lost daughter is dead…”
“No, don’t talk like that… Why are you saying that? You will live!”
“No, Lily, Cough, you have to listen.”
“Don’t say that! The director said he bought expensive medicine.
If you take it, you’ll be able to get up.
Huh? If you eat well and listen to your teacher…”
Swan’s voice cut off Lillian’s weeping.
Swan’s voice was firm despite her feverish cheeks and rapid breathing.
Even at this moment of death, Swan seemed like a tragic heroine.
Lillian also knew.
Swan’s body was getting weaker as the years passed, and passing the season was getting more difficult each time.
I couldn’t help but know.
The director was becoming more and more aggressive and obsessed with Swan’s health.
So, all I could say was vaguely deny it.
You will get better soon, and you will be able to live healthier and more enjoyable.
If you overcome this fever, there will be only days when you will be happy like a princess in a fairy tale.
However, even at the moment she spoke, the shadow of death over Swan’s face was growing thicker.
Tears welled up in Swan’s eyes as she barely held Lillian’s hand.
“Lily… I wanted to meet my father.
When my father came back, Colock, he said we could go to the Duke’s…”
“We will meet? We will meet? So please stop…”
I could feel the strength in the hand I was holding onto.
No matter how urgently Lillian grabbed her hand and held it up, she couldn’t stand her fingertips up.
“You do all the things I couldn’t do… Live happily.”
After that, tears flowed down Swan’s cheeks as she closed her eyes, and eventually her hands completely lost their strength.
Lillian was left alone.
To this world without her heroine.
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