The portrait gave her an indication that she was their daughter, Swan said.
I’ve never seen it, but it’s probably because they and Swann really look alike.
‘And now the director must have it.’
So I had to steal it somehow and go to Maynard.
Lillian turned her head to see where the director’s office was.
I saw a room where light leaked through the windows.
The most luxurious and secure room in this nursery.
‘It’s impossible to enter the director’s office alone.’
Lillian stared at it, then walked back to the nursery with the torn-up newspaper.
Before making a plan, there were things to sort out first.
When I returned to the room after finishing organizing the small room, the children playing in the room looked at Lillian and pretended to know.
“Lily, where are you going? I thought you weren’t coming.”
“That’s right, today’s dinner was really delicious.”
Children of similar heights gathered around and started talking to Lillian.
Their faces were as energetic as they ate a hearty dinner tonight.
There were also faces that cared about Lillian.
The children in the nursery school rejected Swan, who had director’s favoritism, calling her a princess, but most of them were essentially not evil.
Even if they didn’t mourn Swan’s death like Lillian, it was enough to worry about Lillian, who lost a close friend.
“It’s cold outside, so dress warmly.”
“Aren’t you hungry? I thought you weren’t eating dinner, so I brought you some bread.”
During the commotion, a curly-haired boy who was folding his clothes inside made out a sullen voice.
“Hey, stop worrying about her and come quickly and organize your clothes.
The child who left is gone.
How long are you going to be whining about?”
Fourteen-year-old Theo, the eldest at the orphanage, was taking Swan’s death much more calmly than the other children.
“If you are weak, you will die, and if you are lucky enough to be adopted, you will leave.
There is no difference.
Or are you guys going to be like that every time someone goes?”
“Why do you say that? Lillian must be upset right now—”
“She will be upset.
So what? Would you like me to cry with you?”
“You don’t have to say that!”
“I’m telling you to calm down.
If you skip meals because your friend died, won’t you be the only one who will die next? Look, I was called to Director Rose’s office earlier.
The director is already looking for the next ‘princess’.”
In Theo’s blunt words, Lillian’s eyes widened.
“… Was Rose called?”
“Yeah, Curtis took her earlier, so I had to clean the table.”
Rose, with dark gray hair close to black and brown eyes, was a girl of the same age as Lillian, and because she entered the nursery school early, she was in charge as the oldest child after Theo.
In principle, Lillian and Swan should have been the eldest, but Swan was receiving special treatment and Lillian had to take care of Swan, so it was out of the question.
Thanks to that, Rose and Theo used to be in charge of wiping the table after meals, but today it seems Theo had to wipe everything because Rose was called.
Theo grumbled that his arm was still sore, then snatched the potato from the hand of the boy who was just about to hand it to Lillian and took a bite.
“Theo! I was going to give that to Lillian!”
“Oh, it’s salty.
Did you wash your hands?”
He said so, then Theo carelessly passed a potato with clear bite marks into Lillian’s hand.
“Hey, bring your own meals.
Unless you’re going to pay for it.
Don’t bother people.
And Dennis, if you’re going to pack something like this in the future, pack for me too.”
“Theo is bad!”
“That’s right, brother Theo is bad!”
When Dennis, who had been deprived of his potatoes, rushed at it, other children also came in twos and threes.
Speechless, most of the children simply found it amusing to cling to Theo’s legs.
Lillian watched the harmonious scene, then returned the potato to Theo’s hand.
“What? Lillian, hold on—”
Theo raised his eyebrows and called out to Lillian, but Lillian ignored him and turned and walked out.
I felt, really, terrible.
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