Lillian had by chance witnessed the commotion.
As the teachers said, it was mealtime.
The turkey stew that usually comes to the table after someone leaves the nursery school should have been filling the kids by now.
There are very few days when you can eat a full bowl of soup, so Lillian loved the turkey stew too, but this time she couldn’t lift a spoon.
It was because I was sick of thinking that the meat in the thin broth was the price I paid for losing the swan.
So Lillian sneaked out of the cafeteria without being seen by the teachers and without even eating a single bite.
And as she went up to clean up the small room she used to hide in with Swan, she witnessed a disturbance coming from the director’s office.
— Jeez, calm down.
Didn’t you raise other dark-haired girls just in case of this?
The moment I heard this, my heart felt like it was going to explode.
The adults in the orphanage were all on one team.
Not even knowing that Swan is the daughter of the Duke of Maynard, to the point that he is raising children to replace Swan in case she dies.
The fact that I found out suddenly rang in my head.
She knew that the director was raising her like a princess to sell her at a high price, but she didn’t know that it would be such a thoroughly calculated act.
Tears fell down Lillian’s cheeks as she ran.
‘How could that be?’
Less than three days had passed since Swan left.
I still can’t come to the fact that the person holding my hand has disappeared, so every time I open the door, I look back without realizing it and repeat the hesitation.
The world forgot Swan too quickly.
Not only that, but to try to stand in for Swan to fill in her interests.
— Lily, don’t worry too much.
The director wants me.
Suddenly, Swan’s voice passed through my mind.
Did Swan know all this?
Is that why you asked me to do that? Would you like me to live there instead?
At first, I thought it was a ridiculous request, but thinking about it made the hairs on my body stand on end.
As if the shadows in the empty hallway were pushing her, Lillian couldn’t breathe and ran away.
She climbed the stairs to the little alcove where she often hid with the swan.
Udangtang! As soon as the door was opened, Lillian rolled across the room’s floor with a thud.
Handfuls of the dust landed in her mouth, and Lillian coughed out of her as she huddled on the floor.
“Heh, heo, kollock.
Feelings of stuffiness for no reason kept pressing on my chest, causing me to vomit.
Maybe it was because I was running out of breath.
After all, I was crying, but if that was the case, there was no reason why taking a deep breath wouldn’t relieve the nauseous feeling.
It’s really strange.
My fists kept clenching, and I didn’t know that my panting heart would stop.
The corner of her neck was cold and her nose was hot.
She was the one who didn’t shed tears even when she saw Swan buried in the ground.
Why can’t the tears stop now?
As I later found out, it was the first intense resentment Lillian felt.
Lillian was treated no differently than the other children in the orphanage, no, rather harshly.
Since the name of being responsible for Swan’s health was created, the director used to hit Lillian, not Swan, when punishing Swan.
Despite this, Lillian never once resented the director.
— Swan, you’re weak.
I’m not sick.
I’ll just get hit.
It was because the director, who was so cruel to the other children at the orphanage, acted kindly to Swan as if she were his child.
If it was serious, there would even be the talk among the children that Swan was the director’s hidden daughter.
The director was soft towards Swan, and even when Lillian tried to hate him, she would take that into account and forgive him.
At least the director was willing to do anything for Swan.
Maybe she’s a hidden daughter.
Wouldn’t there be a heart that cares for swan like that? Thinking so, I quietly wiped out my sorrowful heart.
Lillian now seemed to understand why there were four girls with uncommon black hair in this orphanage alone.
Lillian wiped away her tears and stood up.
The hazel-colored eyes that the moonlight crossed before you knew it was forged sharply.
”I’m sure he said he would set up a substitute for Swan.”
Who knows who will that be?
After tonight, it will already be three days since Swan died.
At the nursery school, all the belongings of the departed child are thrown away on the third day.
Regardless of whether it belongs to the dead or not.
And that was why Lillian refused to eat dinner and came to the small room.
This small room connected to the attic was Lillian and Swan’s hideout.
Originally, it was a space where cleaning tools and stuff were crammed in and rats roamed around a bit, but after Lillian and Swan started cleaning and using the room, it became that way.
A small box in the corner of the room was packed with the biggest luxuries a poor child could have, such as dried maple leaves and pretty pebbles, and on the wall were large marks of places they would like to visit someday.
When I turned my head, the days I spent with Swan were vividly drawn, just like yesterday.
The day we shared a blanket and whispered.
The day we couldn’t even see each other’s eyes in a small room after a big fight, the day we split and ate an apple we had secretly hidden, and the day we held hands saying let’s go find our parents someday.
This was a space containing the childhood and dreams of the two girls.
‘And when dawn breaks tomorrow, everything will be thrown away without a trace.’
It’s as if Swan’s existence had completely disappeared from this orphanage.
With Swan gone, Lillian could no longer rest into her childhood.
Lillian’s hand slowly reached out and touched the painting on the wall.
A rough charcoal drawing hung from her fingertips.
Due to the painting materials and the artist’s skill, it was difficult to recognize the shape of the painting.
— Look at this, Lily! Swan!
— What kind of swan is that?
— A swan! Look here Here is the beak, here are the wings…
— Wasn’t that a raisin?
After that, it had become a custom among them to make fun of the raisins by making a fluttering sound whenever they saw them.
Lillian, thinking for a moment of the happy days, held the end of the paper.
The paper was torn roughly.
The next picture, then the next picture.
It’s not just the pictures hanging on the walls.
Everything in the room, including a map and a ballerina folded in a napkin, was quickly disfigured beyond recognition.
Lillian smashed all her memories with Swan with an expressionless face.
If it’s something that should be thrown away anyway, no one dares to imitate Swan using it.
Lillian finally got up after breaking the last thing.
Her gaze, looking down into the ruined room, was chillingly still.
I’ll make your wish come true.’
I’ll be you, and I’ll do everything you ever wished for.
I won’t let anyone replace you
No one else…
Lillian stood there for a while, looking down at the messy room.
Lillian’s still-wet cheeks reflected the faint moonlight.
It was a bitterly lonely and hard winter night.
Warr, with a loud bang, the rubbish spilled into the garbage cans in the backyard.
Lillian looked at the traces of her childhood that she had ruined, then suddenly picked up something from among the discarded papers.
It was an old, crumpled newspaper.
[Duke Maynard ends the 10-year conflict with Halo… Report on his return]
The newspaper, which featured the biggest story it could do, rustled in Lillian’s hands.
Perhaps the teachers thought the children wouldn’t be able to read, and casually threw away these pieces of paper, but Lillian could read.
While reading fairy tale books read by teachers alone, at some point, she was able to recognize the text.
Of course, I couldn’t read many texts because my level of knowledge was limited to children’s books.
Stuttering, Lillian’s hand pointed out the largest letters one by one.
‘Duke Maynard… Halo.
10 years, finally.
I didn’t know what the return was, but luckily the newspaper was kind.
In the article below, it was written in words that Lillian could understand that Duke Maynard would return.
As a bonus, even about Duke Maynard’s achievements.
‘This is what the teachers said that the war with Halo was over.’
Duke Maynard, saying Swan’s father is coming back soon.
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