Curtis quickly grasped the situation.

‘Lilian, how the hell did she get into the duchy? The director said she was rejected every time.’

There was no way that the director of an orphanage could enter the Duke’s residence without a direct appointment.

After learning that Lillian had disappeared with the locket, the director tried to knock on the door of the Duke’s house in a hurry, but he was treated like a merchant and kicked out every time.

— These bastards! I said I’d come here to find my daughter, why are they coming out like this?

The image of him shouting like that and throwing things out of anger was still vivid.

But did that orphan kid enter the duke’s mansion?

‘No, it can’t be.’

If Lillian had entered the duke’s residence and been recognized as the real daughter, she would have appeared at the banquet with duke Cedric.
I didn’t have the wild idea of climbing a shrub to get to the balcony.

Curtis believed it.

In the meantime, Cedric’s gaze, which had become even more bloody, reached Curtis.

“She’s a child in a nursery school, but why don’t you talk after that? Didn’t I ask what the situation was?”

“Oh no! No, Duke.
That child is a child from our nursery school, but she had an accident and ran away from the nursery school.
So I was looking for her, but I ran into her here by chance and was about to take her back.”

“… we, the nursery.”

Cedric’s eyes sharply scanned the man in front of him.
He smiled servilely and rolled his eyes eagerly back and forth, making him look like a rat.

“They treated the child badly.”

His eyes reached the still-trembling child.
He gently wrapped Lillian’s head with his hand, pulled it toward him, and asked coolly again.

“To take her back, are you dragging the child like a cow to the slaughterhouse like that?”

“When the child doesn’t listen, you need to scold them.
As a nursery teacher, I know very well about children.”

“If you are good at handling children, you should know how to take them without force.
Even the word “nursery teacher” sounds suspicious, but I don’t know if that’s true.”

In Cedric’s tone of disbelief, Curtis involuntarily became furious.

“… What do you mean by that? Some people can testify if it is my identity.
I’m from Merrifield Nursery School—”

“Do you think I’m asking which nursery school teacher you are?”

Cedric cut off his words coldly and gently hugged Lillian.
Snake-like green eyes looked down at Curtis like an awl.

“I have custody of this child.”

Cedric’s voice sounded as if he would draw out his sword at any moment.

“How dare you treat my child like this?”

“Du, Duke.
There’s a mistake-”


Cedric’s brow narrowed.

“Then are you saying that I misunderstood something and questioned you?”

“That, that…”

“Say it straight.
Depending on your answer, I will hold you guilty of insulting a nobleman in Maynard’s name.”

Cedric’s words hit the nail.
A cold sweat ran down Curtis’ back.

It’s not enough that he ran into Duke Maynard, and Lillian has really already entered the Duke’s mansion!

‘If you do something wrong, you may lose your wrist before you even leave.’

The punishment for insulting aristocrats was severe, such as cutting off the wrist or pulling out the tongue, depending on the severity.

There’s no chance of winning here.
Curtis shook his head quickly.

‘I must inform the director of this fact and find a method.’

According to the initial plan, the goal was to sell the child and run away with the money, but it was inevitable.

Curtis fell flat on the floor.

“… I’m sorry, I must have misidentified the child.
I apologize.”

“It seems that the person who should receive the apology is not me, but the child.”

Curtis raised his head at those words and saw a man with eyes still like cold blades and a girl cradled in his arms.
The orphan who, just a few days ago, deserved to be beaten by him, was looking down at him with contempt.

‘An orphan.’

Eyes that are arrogant enough to steal the seat of a dead friend.
Curtis’s stomach, which had only high pride and inferiority complex on the subject he had nothing, was boiling, but there was nothing he could do.

“I’m really sorry.
Miss… Forgive me…”

Just like he did to the Duke, he lay flat and begged for an apology.

Cedric left without even giving Curtis a significant answer, lying face down like a beetle.
It wasn’t until the sound of footsteps moved away that Curtis became ashamed of himself.

“I won’t let it go.”

If Duke Cedric said there was nothing he could do about it, that dirty girl who dared to look down on him would surely be thrown to the floor.

It wasn’t just Lillian who knew Swan’s secret.

“Let’s wait and see if Duke comes out like that, even though he knows that’s not his daughter…”

Curtis gritted his teeth and left.

I had to inform the director about this.


‘Wasn’t it because you left a good nursery school that you had a certificate?’

If so, are those scars on the body not caused by coming here, but because you were abused at the orphanage?

Cedric thought quietly as he hugged Lillian and headed for the carriage.

I kicked the rat-looking man out, but my anger didn’t go away.

How can you treat a child like that?

Cedric remembered what the man dragging Lillian had said earlier.

‘I’m sure it was Merrifield Nursery School.’

It was clearly the nursery school written on the certificate Lillian had.

I didn’t know the details because Cozmo, the man who had been doing the research at Merrifield Nursery, hadn’t returned yet, but I had a vague idea that it would be a good place since Lillian had custody papers.

‘No, maybe that’s what I wanted to believe.’

If not, you’ll want to burn the whole nursery down.

I thought that Lillian’s precociousness and her good-naturedness were all unavoidable parts of growing up without parents.

In fact, there may be nothing I can do.

Suddenly, Isaac’s words came to mind.

— I dare to say, if you hesitate because you are afraid, there may be a moment when you can not really turn back.

If he wasn’t in that garden.
If Lillian hadn’t found him.
Then really the man would have dragged the child.

Regardless of whether Lillian was really my daughter, the moment I saw that scene, I felt like I was losing my mind.
So, if the child he was carrying with him disappeared like that, he would surely have followed the old wounds.

It was conveyed intact that the child in his arms was still nervous and trembling.
Even in the midst of this, Lillian was not showing any tears.

Why does that make him feel so uncomfortable?

If I had a sword, I would slit the man’s throat without even asking why.

‘It’s unfamiliar.’

The anger and this discomfort were all things he hadn’t felt in a very long time, since he left his wife, Agnes.

Being out on the battlefield for a long time, Cedric became more like a weapon than a human being.

In fact, it was natural.

He was always in a place where he could get a knife in the back if he wasn’t sharpening his nerves.

Useless emotions became dull, the reason became sharper, and the sense of presence became more sensitive.

Even in such a change, the only thing I couldn’t let go of was my family.

When he first heard of the death and disappearance of his family, he cried all day, but the situation did not allow him anymore.

He was the commander-in-chief of the army, and there was going to be a turn the next day.

Cedric had to cut the sadness out of him.

But was it too big? The wound did not heal and reminded Cedric constantly of the void.

Emptier than sad, more desperate than painful.

It was clear that the cuts would probably never be refilled until the lost child was found.

Thus, the family became Cedric’s only deficiency.

In other words, his lost daughter became the only thing that could shake him.
Even if she might not be his daughter, he couldn’t help going to Lillian’s room every night.

Is that why? It reminds me of the feelings I keep forgetting about this child.

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