Brown hair and hazel eyes.
Lillian, a bobbed-haired girl who was nothing special, hopped up and sat dangling from a high dining chair.
“The director said you have to eat all of this to be healthy.”
“But I’m full.
If I eat more, I might get sick.”
Swan, who said that, had long hair, unlike Lillian.
Her flowing dark hair was shiny, and her complexion, slightly pale with a pale complexion, was as fair as that of any girl from an aristocratic house.
On top of that, a tall nose, cute lips, and lovely eyes that were like a lake in midsummer.
Swan was a prettier child than any doll in a high-end display.
Is that why? Swan was the princess of the orphanage they lived in.
It wasn’t that it happened at a particular point in time, it was that way the whole time I remembered it.
Swan always wore better clothes than the other kids and ate better food.
Among the children at the nursery school, Swan was also the only one with long hair.
Other children used to cut their hair short every time for the convenience of the wash.
Naturally, the other children were jealous of Swan, who was openly favored, but Lillian was okay.
‘Since Swan is pretty, they are probably thinking of sending her to an aristocratic family for adoption.’
It could be said that this was an overly mature idea for a child who was only about ten years old, but Lillian was quick-witted.
Maybe it’s because she grew up beaten by nursery school teachers from a young age.
Lillian could easily guess why Swan had become the princess of this orphanage.
And I felt a little proud of the fact that she was my best friend.
In Lillian’s eyes, Swan was the prettiest girl in the world, the best friend in the world, and the person she loved the most in the world.
My only family member who has been holding my hand since the very first moment I can remember.
If there is a heroine in the world, it must be Swan, Lillian often thought.
It used to feel natural to think that Swan was the heroine, so she left a meal every time she ate and lay down sick every time the season changed.
The heroine, who lived a hard life, meets unexpected luck one day, defeats all the bad guys, and lives a splendid life.
It was clear that Swan would be happy someday.
Lillian had no doubts.
‘At that time, I’ll have to ask Swan to buy me a doll.
One with a ribbon.’
And enough to have a small wish.
Anyway, it was still in the trial stage of the heroine.
Lillian sighed when she saw that the scrambled eggs and bacon were left untouched on the plate.
“If you don’t eat, I’ll get scolded.
The director is always worried that you are not well.”
“I just need to empty the plate anyway, so can’t you eat it?”
“They said eating everything would make you healthy.”
“I am full.
If I eat more, I might throw up.
So, this is just one time.
Huh? No one sees it anyway.”
Swan’s health has deteriorated noticeably since the winter.
A few days ago, there was a time when she had to stay in bed all night because her fever rose so badly.
Lillian was genuinely worried about Swan, although she said she was strong and could stay up for a few days.
So I tried to feed her well every time.
“ … okay.
Just this once”
If the plate was not all emptied, the director always took a cane.
Swan’s face lit up at Lillian’s answer.
Eat this too.”
Swan pushed the half-empty soup in front of Lillian.
Since the only meal I had today was half a loaf of hard bread, my mouth started watering without even noticing.
Lillian asked, stuffing pieces of bacon and bread into her mouth.
“They say you need to eat meat like eggs or bacon to get strong, but why don’t you eat it every time?”
“Yeah, I like beans better.
Eggs and bacon are bad.”
“Ugh, I hate beans more.”
Lillian said so and emptied the dishes and soup bowls.
Lillian grinned down at the empty bowl of soup because of the richness of the soup that lingered in her mouth.
Swan, who watched Lillian happily as she ate, took a napkin and wiped Lillian’s soup-stained upper lip.
The two girls returned the cleanly emptied dishes to the dining room and went to the attic holding hands.
The sun was exceptionally clear that day, not a single common rat was seen in the attic, and the sugar cubes we split and ate while sitting opposite each other tasted sweet to our tongues.
Swan’s pretty face never stopped laughing as they shared a blanket and talked about what they wanted to do in the future.
Now that I think about it, I think it seemed more like that because of the hunger.
I didn’t have to deliberately crumple my stomach in fear of making a growling sound.
It was one of the happiest days Lillian ever remembered.
And that winter, the day when Swan’s coughing sound was exceptionally sharp because she couldn’t overcome the cold wave.
Lillian’s fairy tale ended in tragedy.
Was it too greedy to hope for a happy ending?
Was it my fault that I ate Swan’s meals instead of hers every time?
Lillian could still picture that night.
Swan, who had lost consciousness for a long time due to a fever, struggled to open her eyes and tugged at my sleeves with trembling fingertips.
“Lily, I have something to tell you.”
At that, Lillian put the wet towel back down and hurried to Swan’s side.
Her eyelids were heavy as if they were bags of flour from not sleeping a wink all night, but Lillian didn’t care.
“Swan! Woke up? Hurry up, teacher-”
Don’t call anyone.”
“What do you mean, don’t call…”
Lillian let go of Swan’s hand and tried to call the teacher, but Swan was stubborn.
How did the sick child who just woke up get such strength? Swan grabbed Lillian, and she confided in her a secret she had been hiding.
That she is the lost princess of the Maynard family.
So, if I die like this, you go to the Duke’s house instead.
“Become me and live up to my share.”
The moment she heard those words, Lillian couldn’t move.
Breathing heavily, she burst into tears as the story, which wasn’t very long, ended painfully.
“Even if I die, I don’t want my father to know.
I hope the father came back and found his daughter, so he was happy… I wish.
It’s so sad when you come back and hear the news that your lost daughter is dead…”
“No, don’t talk like that… Why are you saying that? You will live!”
“No, Lily, Cough, you have to listen.”
“Don’t say that! The director said he bought expensive medicine.
If you take it, you’ll be able to get up.
Huh? If you eat well and listen to your teacher…”
Swan’s voice cut off Lillian’s weeping.
Swan’s voice was firm despite her feverish cheeks and rapid breathing.
Even at this moment of death, Swan seemed like a tragic heroine.
Lillian also knew.
Swan’s body was getting weaker as the years passed, and passing the season was getting more difficult each time.
I couldn’t help but know.
The director was becoming more and more aggressive and obsessed with Swan’s health.
So, all I could say was vaguely deny it.
You will get better soon, and you will be able to live healthier and more enjoyable.
If you overcome this fever, there will be only days when you will be happy like a princess in a fairy tale.
However, even at the moment she spoke, the shadow of death over Swan’s face was growing thicker.
Tears welled up in Swan’s eyes as she barely held Lillian’s hand.
“Lily… I wanted to meet my father.
When my father came back, Colock, he said we could go to the Duke’s…”
“We will meet? We will meet? So please stop…”
I could feel the strength in the hand I was holding onto.
No matter how urgently Lillian grabbed her hand and held it up, she couldn’t stand her fingertips up.
“You do all the things I couldn’t do… Live happily.”
After that, tears flowed down Swan’s cheeks as she closed her eyes, and eventually her hands completely lost their strength.
Lillian was left alone.
To this world without her heroine.
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