It would’ve been suspicious if I asked what exactly the debt was for, so I studied the man in silence before answering him.
“Is that so?”
“I knew you’d make excuses.
So, here’s the contract.”
As expected, he arrogantly waveda piece of paper in front of me.
I calmly picked up the piece of paper.
I had to gulp down a sigh.
[Sielra Orphanage, Sielra states that she borrowed 1,000 gold coins from Baron Krack Peridon.
If the loan is not paid back by September 5, 767, [Sielra] promises to grant whatever the baron wishes as compensation.
Creditor: Baron Krack Peridon
Debtor: Sielra Peirunte]
On the bottom were the seals of the two families.
I couldn’t help but think that this was a perfectly binding contract.
There was nothing I could say to refute it, especially as there was no way for me to get out of repaying the debt owed.
This answered the earlier question I had about why Sielra was trusted with such an enormous amount; the conditions favored the baron.
I didn’t think Sielra would have done anything useful with the money.
After reincarnating into this body, I quickly discovered that she had a ridiculous amount of dresses and jewels for one person alone.
“Well, now you can’t make excuses to get out of this.”
Baron Krack raised his head conceitedly.
Right from the beginning I vowed that I wouldn’t avoid the consequences of Sielra’s actions.
I had expected something like this to happen one day.
However, the timing of this was too early for me to handle, and the amount was far beyond my expectations.
‘I only have a little bit of money right now.’
I recounted the amount of money I got from selling all the dresses.
It was about 1,114 gold.
Excluding the children’s clothing, food, school supplies, Ren’s hospital bills, and medicine, only about 1108 gold remained.
After paying off the debt to the baron, there would only be 108 gold left.
That amount of money would only cover living expenses for a little while, so funding the renovation of the orphanage was out of the question.
There was nothing else to sell.
There was no state support to help either.
I also couldn’t go out and work because that would leave the children alone.
There was no easy way forward.
I tried not to show it, but somehow my anxiety revealed itself on my face.
The baron spoke with a big smile.
“There’s nothing to worry about.
I didn’t think you could pay off the debt from the beginning anyway.”
What was this old man up to? I squinted my eyes.
He continued with his back leaned against the couch and folded his arms.
“You don’t have to pay the debt.”
“What are the conditions for that?”
“Well you know… I’m older now and don’t have any children.
Maybe that’s why my life is so hard, and I have a lot of worries about the succession of my title.
I want to pass my title to my child as soon as possible.
So I came up with a way to do so.”
“That is, adopting a child.
You know what I mean, don’t you, Director?” The baron’s face wrinkled with delight as he laughed.
In contrast, my face became stone cold.
After Baron Krack left, I sat at my desk and thought deeply.
After Baron knack returned because of work, I sat down at my desk and pondered.
My fingers tapped on the desk.
I quickly scanned over the notebook.
10 years old.
He has a cheerful personality and has a very strong sense of self-esteem.
His favorite thing is Ren.
Favorite food is oatmeal.]
10 years old.
Chloran’s best friend and sister.
Rodi devotedly follows her around and she is like a mother to the children.
Favorite food is oatmeal.］
14 years old.
7 years old.
He is mature and doesn’t cry often.
Follows Ren around and sometimes even fights with Chloran over Ren.
Favorite food is soup.]
These were the profiles of the children Jack left behind while I was asleep.
However, I couldn’t take my eyes off the children’s noted favorite food.
This is because oatmeal and soup are not foods that children would normally like.
In the meantime, when I saw the single line that was Jake’s profile, I laughed thinking that was very like him.
And lastly, the unknown child.
10 years old… The latest girl to enter the orphanage.]
“So your name was Eddy.”
I now knew her name.
She was the same age as Ren and Chloran, and recently entered the orphanage.
That was all I knew about her though.
Jake didn’t seem to know much about Eddy either, so there was a lot of information missing in the notebook.
There was no favorite food listed either.
‘Now I understand it better.’
I understood why Eddy wasn’t in the book.
Eddy’s existence was mentioned in only one line of the book.
It was during a flashback of Ren’s.
[Eddy, the child adopted by the baron….]
It was then I was stopped in my thoughts.
A girl’s voice came through the door.
“Excuse me, ma’am… may I come in?”
I put the notebook back in the drawer.
The future noblewoman entered as she didn’t hear me say no.
“Let me get you some cocoa.”
I made Eddy sit on the sofa and brought her some cocoa.
Since it was night time, I added some warm milk to it.
Instead of drinking the hot cocoa, Eddy fiddled with the cup showing a tense expression on her face.
I didn’t want to rush her into drinking it.
I sat myself across where Eddy was sitting and stared at her in silence.
Only the ticking of the clock filled the silence.
After a while, Eddy finally took a sip of the cocoa.
Then she murmured with a slightly flushed face.
“That’s a relief.
I am glad you like it.
Didn’t Jake also make this for you?”
“He did make it for us, but this is more delicious.”
Eddy began sipping a few more, as if to prove her sincere feelings.
But in my eyes, this was not an act of savoring the taste of it, but rather just trying to buy a little more time.
Eddy glanced around anxiously.
This gesture solidified my uncertainty as to why Eddy came to visit me.
Although I hoped this uncertainty was wrong.
“Accidently…… I heard the conversation between the director and the baron.
I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but it just happened when ……”
“I see, it’s alright.”
I took a sip of the tea I’d prepared.
Though the warm tea went down my throat and made me feel calm, my heart was pounding in my chest.
Eddy looked at me as she continued to speak.
However, she quickly stopped herself, likely scared that she would get in trouble.
I tried to speak in a soothing tone.
“It’s all right.
Eddy’s eyes shook.
The small hand on the cup was filled with strength.
Eddy lowered her head slightly, and her wheat-colored hair lightly flowed down around her.
Compared to Ren, who fit the word “pretty”, Eddy was a normal girl who better fitted the word “cute “.
Eddy’s eyes suddenly filled with tears.
“Well, I mean…… The baron said he’s going to adopt a child from our orphanage.
And I hear he doesn’t mind if it’s a girl…….
She kept her eyes on me without finishing her words.
I unconsciously let out a sigh without realizing.
Eddy’s tiny shoulders shivered in response.
“Do you want to be adopted by the baron?”
“Huh, no, I am sorry, I am sorry!”
Suddenly Eddy bowed her head apologetically.
Now I was wondering what the hell she would even be sorry for?
“I’m not worthy of such an honor.”
“No, that would be presumptuous……”
Eddy continued in a small voice.
This child’s self-esteem and confidence were very low.
‘I can’t help it.’
I lowered my gaze and brought the teacup away from my lips, setting it down.
“This is not something you should be sorry about.
In no way am I saying that you’re not worthy enough to be adopted by the baron.”
“But Eddy, I won’t let you be adopted by him.”
Eddy looked up.
Her blue-green eyes grew wide.
Holding her gaze, I spoke in a firm tone.
“I’m not sending anyone to be adopted by the baron.
Not the other kids, and of course not you either, Eddy.”
“How come……? The director wants us to disappear though.”
Eddy said with a dejected look.
I felt sorry for Eddy.
If she was to be adopted by the baron, she would certainly feel an abundance of freedom with it, but she was completely ignorant of the future that would come after.
I made eye contact with Eddy.
I could see myself clearly in her turquoise eyes.
“If there’s ever an opportunity for you to be adopted into a new, good home, I’ll send you immediately.
But if there isn’t, I won’t let any of you guys go.”
“Because you are children I have to protect.”
Eddy was speechless.
I got myself up.
Eddy’s eyes followed.
I smiled as I drank more warm tea and met her gaze again.
“Go back to bed.
It’s getting late.”
“…Does the director really mean it? That the fact of the matter is…”
Eddy, about to say something, closed her mouth.
Then she got up from her seat and bowed to me and left the director’s office.
Her turned back seemed so frail.
After closing the door and putting away the cups, I let out an exhale and leaned back in my chair.
“I have a headache…….”
My head began to throb, so I applied pressure to relieve some of the pain.
I suddenly remembered what Eddy said.
‘How come……? The director wants us to disappear though.’
I lowered my eyes.
Of course it makes sense.
If one child is adopted, even if it’s not Eddy, there is a lot to gain for the orphanage.
The first gain would be the huge debt that would disappear, and the second would be that living expenses would be partially reduced.
I recalled Ren’s flashback, a part of the book I had not finished.
[Eddy, the child adopted by the baron.
And after a while, I heard that she was killed by the pervert baron’s sadistic behavior.
If we had paid more attention to Eddy back then, would this still have happened? I wish we could go back to that time.]
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