>Solita was taken aback by Etiel’s condition and began to boil water and take care of her, but her condition did not improve.

Both Calliope’s family and Solita’s family were poor.
Because it was an exceptionally harsh winter, there was no work given, and the money they had in hand gradually ran out.
It was their lucky day if they even got one meal a day.
Calliope, who had only tears in her eyes, rubbed her face violently and stood up from her seat.

“Madam, take care of my mother.
I’ll be back from the baron’s house.”

Etiel never hid whose daughter Calliope was, and what kind of people her parents and father were.
So she went to Baron Hubert with the feeling of grabbing at least a few medicine for her mother.

The baron’s estate was very small, but their house was so tucked away in a corner of the estate that it took half a day for the child to walk.
Calliope walked nonstop to the baron’s house without eating anything, but the guard at the mansion did not let her in and neither told the baron about the little girl.

But she couldn’t go back that way.
The young Calliope sat down on her knees in front of the mansion’s front door, crying incessantly.
She endured, saying that she won’t go back until he calls someone.

Even after evening and night, no one came out of the mansion.
Her hands, feet, and cheeks were all frozen and her whole body trembled, but she stayed still, and the next morning, the butler of the baron’s mansion came out to meet Calliope.

“Your mother is no longer part of the baron’s family, so I can’t help you.
Please go back.”

But only rejection came back, which hurt more than hands and feet that were frozen and swollen all night, she grabbed him by the hem of his trousers.

“Please, just this once.
I won’t forget your generosity.
My mom is very sick.
Please help me.”

She begged again, tears streaming down her frozen cheeks, but Calliope was eventually dragged away by the guards and thrown away.
It hurt so much.
On the shriveled ground, she groaned and cried.
No one held out a hand.

It was her mother’s dead body that greeted Calliope, who had barely recovered and returned home.

She heard the sound of vomiting again.
Calliope woke up from her thoughts and once again wiped the blood that her mother had vomited.
A translucent red color mixes into the warm clean water.

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“This time, I can at least protect my mother’s last moments.”

She said, while wiping away the smeared blood.
Solita later told her that her mother died on the evening of Calliope’s departure.
It was the middle of winter, so she wouldn’t be able to gather herbs, and she also didn’t have money, so she couldn’t take her to the doctor.
All Calliope can do is try to protect Etiel, her mother.

Time passed like that.
The mother’s breathing became slower and slower, and her body became colder than a sheet of ice.
The body temperature did not rise even after wiping off the sweat by boiling water several times from a well in the village.

Calliope felt that her death was approaching.
Outside the broken windowpane, as the color of the sky changed little by little, she could feel the passing of time painfully.

She held her mother’s weak hand, which had hardened in the cold wind, with both hands and pressed it to her cheek.

‘I have to say that I am fortunate, because it is something I had already experienced once, so no tears came out.
Her hands were colder than my cold cheeks.
At least she is breathing comfortably, so it’s ok.
I’m glad.’

At that moment, the hand on her cheek twitched.
Calliope, who had lowered her gaze, raised her head in surprise.

“… Calliope.”

“Oh, mother.
Are you awake?”

According to Solita, her mother died without ever regaining consciousness.
However, Etiel’s dry eyelids lifted, revealing her friendly brown eyes.

“My daughter.”

“Don’t say anything.
I will bring you water.”

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She was about to get up from her seat in bewilderment hearing the cracking voice, but a dry hand grabbed her hand.
Strong enough to not know where this power is coming from.
Calliope stood tall.
Her brown eyes were staring straight at her with urgency and sorrow.
She lost strength in her legs and sat back down on the chair.

Ah, ah, the end is coming.
Her last moment was approaching.

“I’m sorry… … .”

“No.
Don’t be.
It is not your fault.”

“I wasn’t able to do anything.
I… I’m  such a horrible mother.”

“No.
Don’t say that please.”

“Until the end, I can’t even protect you.”

Etiel knew it too, that her end is approaching, that there is not much time left.
She held Calliope’s hand preciously and sadly.
The dry hands were visibly trembling.
Calliope grabbed her hand tightly so that it wouldn’t come loose.

“The, the world, even if it’s hard… … .”

Her voice already sounded of the dead.

“Survive, please, stay alive… … .”

Calliope focused all her attention on her mother’s voice.
Not a single syllable should be missed.

But before she could finish her words, before Calliope opened her mouth to answer, suddenly, the hand lost its strength.
In novel books I’ve read in the past, it said, death is a slow process.  As if the soul was disconnected from the body, as if trying to appease those who watched.

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