All the while Lillian let go of Cedric’s hand in her sleep and tossed and turned with fever.
Cedric sat there for a very long time, taking care of Lillian.
Every time the child frowned and tossed over, he measured her temperature and put a towel over her head.
When it was time to take medicine, he even poured it into the mouth of an unconscious child.
“I, I’ll do it.
“Okay, go out.
Is it certain that the child’s life will not be affected?”
“The doctor said that the hurdle was over, so if there was nothing wrong, he said that she would wake up completely after a day or two.”
If she does, then so be it.
But why is it that my heart is not relieved?
Cedric stayed by the child’s side like that all night.
Sometimes, as he excused himself for this stupid act, he repeated that it could not be helped because the child was sick.
Fortunately, after the night, the child opened her eyes.
The focus returned to her brown eyes, and the child recognized the Duke guarding the bed and opened her mouth.
For some reason, it was a very sad word.
“Come on, lady.
This is the place called the main building of the mansion, and from the outside, it is a space used by people other than the owners.”
Lillian replied like a polite child.
At Lillian’s answer, satisfied smiles appeared on the lips of those who guided them around the mansion.
Everyone looked as if they couldn’t stand the cuteness of the little girl.
“How can you be so cute?”
Is it because she’s the Duke’s daughter?”
“Stefan said that His Excellency was a huge troublemaker when he was young.”
“She might be like the madam!”
When the woman who looked the highest-ranking among the maids, other maids who were chatting like sparrows closed their mouths at once.
“I’m sorry, lady.
It was too noisy.”
“No, it’s not.”
As Lillian shook her head, the maids’ eyes became strained again.
It was the first time she had received so much attention and praise, and Lillian was a little embarrassed.
‘Is it because I wash up well and wear pretty clothes?’
The only thing that has changed is that.
Lillian looked down at herself.
There were scars here and there, but I could see the clean body down to the bottom of her nails as she had been scrubbed and washed, and a dress with frills and ribbons that smelled like new.
This morning, as soon as Lillian recovered, the maids brought the bath water as if they had been waiting.
She was a little embarrassed, but because the teachers used to wash her even when she was in the nursery, Lillian stayed still.
However, unlike the harsh touches of the teachers, Lillian was washed with delicate and gentle touches.
In addition, since I was still there, they had dried my body, trimmed my hair that looked like a rat had eaten it, and brought a few clothes and told me to choose the one I liked.
Lillian picked a dress that Swan, who liked frills and ribbons, seemed to like.
After that, she sat down on the bed and ate the rice the maids had brought to her, and when she was done eating, a woman with a kind impression hugged Lillian and said she would introduce her to the mansion.
The people in the mansion thought Lillian was about five years old, not ten.
— My name is Mary.
And I’m the head maid of this house.
— I’m Lillian.
I am ten years old.
I meant I’m not five years old, but Mary didn’t understand at all.
What a pretty name.
―Mary is pretty too.
It sounds like a bell.
I was just telling the truth, so why did Mary make such a choking expression?
―The lady came so really, really… happy.
Hearing the tearful voice, Lillian thought she really couldn’t understand.
It felt like there were a lot of things I didn’t know since I came to the Duke’s house.
From being treated as if everyone sees a 10-year-old as a 5-year-old, to making such a burdensome face every time I open my mouth or expressions that seem so thrilled that my voice won’t come out.
Among them, the most unknown of all was the owner of this mansion.
When Lillian barely opened her eyes, at first it took her quite a while to figure out the situation.
An unfamiliar ceiling, an unfamiliar bed, and an unfamiliar blanket.
None of them were familiar, so I had to go through my memories for a long time in a hazy mind.
‘I collapsed and everyone was crying…’
Judging by the high quality of the things visible to the eyes, this is the Duke’s residence, and it seems that she hasn’t been kicked out yet.
At that moment I secretly let out a sigh of relief and looked away.
Lilian was startled when she met eyes with Cedric, who was sitting next to her.
It was surprising that Cedric was there, but as soon as I turned my eyes, our eyes met.
‘Could it be that you’ve been looking at me all along?’
Lillian opened her mouth involuntarily.
The problem arose after that.
As soon as the cracked voice called out to Cedric, Cedric’s face seemed subtly crumpled.
Of course, it might be Lillian’s misunderstanding since it was a bright dawn as it had not been long since dawn, but because Lillian was born and raised in the orphanage, she is not good at reading the expressions of the people she faces.
And to Lillian, Cedric seemed upset about something.
But what on earth could Cedric be upset about when I woke up?
“How are you feeling?”
“Ah… I think it’s okay.”
Saying that Lillian tried to stand up but failed, and collapsed again.
A definite wrinkle appeared between Cedric’s brows.
He looked at Lillian with a very disapproving look on his face, then pulled himself up.
“Lie down, I will call someone.”
Since Cedric had gone that way, Lillian hadn’t seen him again.
Are you still unwilling to accept me? Did she make a mistake in her sleep when she was asleep?
‘No, it won’t be.
Let’s not think too badly about it.’
People in the mansion already accepted Lillian as the daughter of the duchy.
Maybe Cedric will be busy in his way, so he might not have much time to devote to his daughter.
Of course, in my heart, I wanted to visit Cedric and ask him if it was Cedric who stayed by her side all night.
‘They said that a child who complains is hated.’
Lillian didn’t want to be hated.
It wasn’t just because I felt bad.
Lillian was the one who didn’t care who hated her.
‘Swan would surely be loved wherever she went.’
This is because she was Swan’s stand-in.
Lillian herself had to become a beloved child to make up for what Swan missed.
Strangely enough, the people in this mansion liked it even if she just breathed or mumbled.
There were various reasons for liking it.
Small height, small hair, small hands, small mouth, etc.
‘I should cut my hair short.’
Even if you can’t help but grow taller or do other things over time, you can maintain at least one thing that can be loved.
Lillian thought, still looking down at my chubby hands as if she had not lost all her baby fat.
Suddenly, while we were eating, something a maid said came to mind.
— When you grow up, you’ll be really beautiful.
I promise you.
It didn’t matter to Lillian whether or not she was beautiful, but since she was going to be Swan’s double, she liked being pretty.
Because Swan was a prettier child than any high-end doll.
Unlike a poor child like herself, a lovely and pretty child, as if she was made to be born in such a luxurious mansion and among people who love her.
‘So, at least for Swan’s sake, she must be recognized as a child of this family.’
Everyone in Maynard treated Lillian as if she had already become a princess, but she hadn’t been formally recognized yet.
If Cedric suddenly changed his mind, Lillian could be kicked out immediately, and Lillian was well aware of that fact.
‘You can’t relax.’
Don’t trust anyone, don’t rely on anyone.
Spending time surrounded by a luxurious life and friendly people could have prevented her from taking over Swan’s life.
‘It would be nice if I could know the Duke’s thoughts clearly…’
The moment she thought so, something caught her eye.
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