‘It hurts……’

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As I let out a whimper out of pain, I felt someone gently patting my head.

I liked that hand, and without realizing it, I brought myself closer to the hand that was patting my hair.

Wow, I liked having my hair patted.

The hand that was patting me paused for a moment as if I was quite surprised by my aggressiveness.

‘More…… Pat me more.’

As I rubbed my hair with my hands as if they were doing something, the hands that had stopped for a moment started slowly patting me again.

I think I’ve felt such a rough but friendly touch before.

“Sohee……”

“Grandma?”

Yes I remember.

When I was taking a nap in the living room, a hand secretly sneaked up and stroked my hair.

As soon as I remembered the touch, I could see my grandmother stroking my hair with the gentle smile she always had during her life.

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Seeing that I can see my grandmother, I guess I was dead now and came to heaven.

“Grandma is sorry.”

“Grandma……”

“Grandmother is sorry that she told you not to cry.
And she is sorry that she told you to grow up strong.”

“……”

“From now on, cry when you want to cry, and grow up happy.”

Her grandmother’s last words to me was to never cry.

So, at the funeral, I swallowed my tears holding onto the word strong.

And as Mary, even at the orphanage, when I was so sad, lonely, and even when I was beaten up by the director, I couldn’t cry.

Because I shouldn’t look down on others.

I nodded at my grandmother’s words.

There was a look of relief on my grandmother’s finely wrinkled face.
And my grandmother soon disappeared.

The area became dark and quiet again.

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But strangely enough, even when my grandmother disappeared, the hand stroking my hair did not disappear.

If it was not my grandmother…… Who did this gentle hand belong to?

“Tsk.”

I heard the sound of someone clicking their tongue as if they disliked something.

I was curious, but I didn’t feel the need to open my eyes and check.

The deep darkness that surrounded me is warmer than I thought…… I didn’t want to open my eyes.

I fell into a deep sleep again.

***

How long was I sleeping for?

Having accustomed to the darkness, I carefully opened my eyes to get used to the rushing light.

The pink blanket on top of me was crispy as if it had dried in the sun, but it was so soft and warm.

There must be 100 million feathers in it, but it just felt like a feather.
I guess this was a really expensive blanket.

The place where I was laying down felt cozy like clouds.

I lifted my arm and hit the bed with my elbow.

Wow…… I heard that bed is science.
What was this, a bed invented by Edison or something?

‘By the way, where is this place?’

The room, which looked twice as big as the room all the children of Brandon Orphanage slept in, was filled with all kinds of colorful furniture.

Antique patterns were drawn on the brown wall, and colorful paintings were hung in elegant frames.

Luxurious white curtains fluttered by the window.

Growing up in an orphanage, I didn’t know much about the world, but I could tell that every single thing in this room was very expensive.

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Why was I in this room?

‘Hey, did I reincarnate again?’

I wanted to get out of this fancy room and check where I was, so I tried getting up.

“Huh!”

…… or atleast I tried, but as soon as I got up, I felt a small pain in my chest and grabbed my chest.

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Yes, I was beaten by the orphanage director.
How dare you hit a girl like this, no matter how money-addicted you are?

Feeling the pain so clearly, I guess I wasn’t dead.

“Mary, you woke up!”

At a moment when it was difficult to grasp the situation because I was overwhelmed by the brilliance of the room I had never seen before, a woman dressed as a maid approached me with a silver tray with a teapot on it.

“I was worried because you wouldn’t wake up for two days.
The grand duke was very worried.”

Grand Duke…… ?

I noticed those words.
While I fainted, I had finally entered Grand Duke Conler’s house.

The reunion that I so longed for and hoped for came true while my mind was resting.

I didn’t expect anything great, but I had practiced my smile in the mirror so that I could make a good first impression…… !

As I pout my lips and stared blankly, the woman put the tray she was carrying on the console next to the bed and said:

“Oh, I guess you haven’t heard it yet.
Are you all right?”

“Ah yes……”

I could still feel a slight pain in my chest, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, so I nodded my head with a small reply.

“The Grand duke even called for the precious healer.
You don’t know how angry the grand duke was when he said that you were malnutritious.”

“Ah……”

“Look at how skinny your wrists are.
My name is Bonita.
I am an employee of the Conler family.
I will look after Mary in the future.”

It was the first time I had heard such a sweet and gentle voice, feeling awkward for some reason, I nodded slightly towards Bonita.

Then Bonita smiled kindly and made the blanket I was sitting on.

“Oh, look at my mind.
You must be hungry, so I’ll prepare a meal for you.”

Bonita disappeared and I took a deep breath.

I was nervous because I had never been alone with an adult like this since I was reincarnated.

I glanced around, alternately touching the ends of my hair with both hands.
It was a habit I usually did when I felt awkward.

‘Would hiding a thing or two here be enough to fund my business?’

Nod.

I’ll try to be as nice as I can to let their guard down, and then hide a few things.

By the way, someone changed my clothes…… The pajamas wrapped around my body made of light, white fabric felt as if I wasn’t wearing anything.

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Hmmm, let’s start a business by making sleeping pajamas to wear in winter.
What was this fabric?

As I was deep in thought, Bonita entered the room with a tray slightly larger than the one she had brought earlier.

No, she wasn’t alone.

A man with orange hair as brilliant as the evening sunset was following Bonita.
When he saw that I was awake, he smiled brightly and approached me.

“Mary, you are awake!”

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He smiled with his eyes closed, he had a pretty cute face with chubby cheeks under his eyes.

While Bonita was preparing the meal, the man knelt next to my bed and looked at me curiously.

Those eyes were burdensome, so I tried to avoid his gaze and focused on my fingertips holding the blanket, and the man suddenly burst into laughter.

“Wow, Grand Duke, he succeeded!”

“Lucas, the baby is surprised.”

“Bonita, look.
Such a cute little kitten in the Conler family.”

“……I guess she has a softer energy than other people.”

“But it’s funny that she is still stupid.”

“Lucas!”

‘Stupid…… ?’

Was he referring to me? When I looked at Lucas with an angry expression, Lucas laughed even louder and poked me in the cheek.

I was so startled by the sudden touch, I covered my cheek with my hands.

Ignoring my bewildered complexion, Lucas grinned and suddenly became serious and asked me.

“I brought Mary here from the orphanage with the Grand Duke, but you don’t remember it at all, do you?”

“……”

“What the hell…… How did you come up with that idea?”

Suddenly, Lucas asked me with a serious face.

He must have heard that I stole money from the director’s office.
Even if I was stupid I had nothing to say.

I turned my gaze away from Lucas and focused on my hand holding the blanket again.

What to say…… In fact, there was nothing to say.
To be honest, I was embarrassed to even say that I did this to give gold coins to the orphanage children.

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‘What happened to Leo? The director……’

“You must be hungry, lady!”

As if noticing my troubles, Bonita clapped and changed the topic.

On the tray above my thighs there was a thick white plate of soup that looked warm.

I carefully refused Bonita’s offer to feed her, took the silver spoon next to me and carefully took a bite.

“I thought it would be difficult to chew, so I prepared soup, but will it suit your taste……”

“Tasty……!”

As the hot meat soup ran down my throat, my body shuddered.
The texture was very different from the oat porridge I had eaten so far.
As I trembled in admiration, Lucas and Bonita smiled sweetly.

“I’m glad you got it in your mouth.”

“This is the first time I’ve ever tasted something so delicious!”

“Before, when I kept talking to you, you didn’t say a word, but after you put food in your mouth, you talk.”

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There is a saying that you don’t touch even dogs when they are eating.

When I glared at Lucas, he smiled again and nodded as if telling me to finish eating.

Now…… Since I had something to eat in front of me, I would be patient.
It was the first time I had seen food like this since I was reincarnated, so I even had tears in my eyes.
Soup can be so delicious…… !

“The sooner you get healthy, the more delicious food you will be able to eat.
The workmanship of the employees is quite good.”

“Lucas is right.
I think you’re too thin and you have to drink a lot.
I think you’re only seven years old.”

“I guessed…… How can you be so happy with just one soup? I’ll have to report it when the Grand Duke returns.”

Was the Grand Duke not in the mansion right now?

When I put the silver spoon in my mouth and looked at Lucas, Lucas stopped laughing again and said seriously.

“The Grand Duke will be back soon.
You might be confused, but I’ll explain everything then.
It is important to eat well and rest.”

The Grand Duke turned out to be my father.

Well, I knew a bit about it, but I guess…… How can I pretend I don’t know?

I will have to practice how to react to something I already know.

I sighed slightly and took another bite of the meat soup.

As expected, it’s really delicious……

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