Cedric’s eyebrows lifted slightly as he accepted the papers that were handed to him.
“Is this all? Cozmo.”
“I’m afraid, but that’s all. It wasn’t very conspicuous in the first place. It’s a small nursery run by Mrs. Kenneth’s charity.”
“Ah, the sponsor was that old lady.”
If it was Mrs. Kenneth, Cedric didn’t know either. The Kenneth family was one of the wealthiest families. In addition, rumors had been circulating that Mrs. Kenneth had lost her only son in a carriage accident a long time ago and became obsessed with temples and charity work, so it was hard not to know.
“I wondered how the nursery school teacher got to the imperial palace… It looks like he even drew tears from the old lady.”
“It’s an opportunity to turn a high-ranking aristocrat into a patron, so they couldn’t miss it.”
“That’s true, but it’s strange. Mrs. Kenneth couldn’t be such a stingy person, right?”
“The more sponsors, the better, right? Or maybe Mrs. Kenneth has reduced the size of her philanthropy to make a donation to the temple.”
Cozmo explained that it was not so strange that the orphanage was trying to increase the number of sponsors, but Cedric’s argument was a little different.
“No, not that part. The operating funds of the nursery school seem too small. Did you do the research correctly?”
“That’s correct. As you can see, it doesn’t seem like a daycare center with a good reputation. I heard that every year children die there. Not long ago, a child died of an illness.”
Even though Cozmo had reduced his word, if the operating funds were low despite the low sponsorship money, there was only one answer.
“It must be an embezzlement.”
“Yes. The director says he’s doing a little extravagance. I found out that he was from a fallen noble family. It took me a while to figure that out.”
From then on, it was a story that could have been known even without Cozmo’s explanation. Cedric’s eyes narrowed as he looked down at the papers.
The document contained a story about the director of Merrifield Nursery School.
Winston Bernauser. He was originally the lord of the manor to which Merrifield Nursery School belonged, but after his family collapsed, he took up the position of director of Merrifield, which was sponsored by the Burnausers family, and was sustaining himself.
The fact that he has captured the heart of Lady Kenneth, who was now providing enough funding for them to live comfortably.
“A typical villain.”
Cedric’s voice was tinged with contempt.
I thought the nursery school she was living in must have been a decent place because Lillian brought the certificate herself, but when I opened it, the reality of the nursery school was much worse than I thought.
The extent to which I would have been surprised to receive this document if I hadn’t seen Lillian being dragged by a man’s hand into the imperial palace.
‘I can’t believe that guy is also a teacher.’
The thought of that despicable face dragging Lillian along made his hands tremble with anger. If Lillian hadn’t been there, he would have immediately punished him, as he had always done on the battlefield. Of course, the price of that sin would also have been paid with the blood of the sinner.
But at the time, I didn’t even think of that. If only he had been a little late, or if he hadn’t been there.
It was because his heart sank at the thought that Lillian might have been dragged along and what could have happened to her.
‘That teacher seemed to have no idea that Lillian would be under my care.’
He simply knew that Lillian had made a mistake and run away. That’s why he tried to take her.
There was speculation about the accident.
“… A while ago, the flour warehouse in the nursery exploded “
“Isn’t this often the case in winter?”
Cozmo seemed insignificant, but Cedric had a hunch that this had something to do with Lillian.
The accident happened just two days before Lillian arrived in Maynard.
‘So, does that mean that the nursery school didn’t know about the existence of the necklace Lillian had?’
But Lillian obviously held out the necklace at first and said,
— I am… I am from an orphanage. So there’s not much I can show you, but there was something I had with me when I entered nursery school.
If Lillian was placed in child care as a baby, as stated in Lillian’s custody deed.
There was no way the nursery school wouldn’t notice the necklace’s existence.
Even more so, what that means.
‘Did I never think that Lillian would come to find me despite all that?’
Something was fishy.
“Cozmo. I saw earlier that the nursery school was near the capital. How long will it take by carriage from here?”
“A day at most will be enough to make it.”
“That’s a relief.”
Having said that, Cedric opened the back and extinguished the wick of the small burning candle with his index finger and thumb.
Darkness quickly approached with a cold sound, and Cedric opened his mouth.
“I should buy a doll.”
“… doll, do you mean?”
“Yes. Since we need to clear out some space in the room.”
You probably need at least one thing to sleep with.
the next day, afternoon.
“I knew it would spread, but it spread really fast. To come here in less than three days.”
“Both His Highness and the young lady are so famous. One is a war hero, and the other was missing.”
“I don’t know what His Excellency is thinking. I heard that the person who came to visit the other day is the cousin of His Majesty the Emperor. Send back to such a person.”
“I heard that they won’t announce the enrollment until they confirm the young lady’s identity properly. Maybe there are many things to investigate.”
Having lived in an orphanage, Lillian knew when the best time to eavesdrop was.
It was time when maids came to hang the laundry and peel potatoes in the kitchen.
‘Because that’s when people at work are most bored.’
A few days later, Lillian secretly went to the imperial palace.
“The atmosphere in the mansion suddenly became noisy.”
Rumors spread that Cedric had a girl, and people kept coming to see her.
Naturally, the people at the Duke’s residence were hiding this fact from Lillian, but unfortunately, they weren’t careful enough to pay attention to the overhead.
So Lillian sat hidden in an inconspicuous tree and overheard the maids doing the laundry.
‘I have to know what’s going on outside.’
What rumors circulated after she had been to the imperial palace, and what Cedric was thinking? Also, how things are going.
I always had to keep my ears open, so I could be ready to run away at any time.
When I was at the nursery school, I could pick up and read newspapers discarded by teachers at the garbage dump, but it was not easy to steal a newspaper in a mansion like this.
So the only thing I can do is eavesdrop on the story.
Tak-tak, the young maid, opened her mouth while she was washing the laundry.
“I wish my lady was the real lady.”
“I think it’s right, but you don’t know about the world.”
“What happens to the young lady if it turns out to be untrue?”
“Will she be kicked out if it turns out that she is not the one they are looking for? Of course. Your Highness went through a lot of trouble searching for the lost girl, so how could she bring a child who deceived her?”
At worst, her tongue might be cut off for cheating on a nobleman, said a maid who looked quite old.
It was the moment when joy and sorrow crossed.
‘If the rumors spread, the purpose of going to the imperial palace has almost been achieved.’
The Lillian was going to the imperial palace in the first place was to let people know that she was in Maynard. As soon as it became known that Cedric had a child, the rumors would slowly gain weight.
However, I only thought that the plan failed because I was discovered by Curtis before I could do that, and then returned crying in Cedric’s arms.
I heard that there were people who saw Cedric carrying her back.
‘It was worth sneaking out.’
Looking back, I still feel dizzy, but it wasn’t entirely in vain.
However, Cedric’s meeting with Curtis remained a thorn in Lillian’s heart, still haunting her.
‘Curtis said I made an accident and ran away.’
Cedric didn’t ask Lillian further about it, but Lillian was uneasy.
If Cedric wanted to find out more about Merrifield Nursery, he’d be sure to find the head of the nursery without too much trouble.
‘If they found out that I was impersonating Swan, they wouldn’t let it go.’
The aftermath of the truth being revealed was something that Lilian had been prepared for since she made the decision to live her life in place of Swan.
I couldn’t live by deceiving everyone forever. Lillian knew too.
That someday the truth will come out.
So I was not afraid of having my tongue cut out or being kicked out.
I just feared it would happen before I lived out Swan’s full share.
Revenge on those who caused Swan to lose her place and die.
That was Swan’s life that Lillian was carrying.
Hope you enjoy ♥️