utting the child on a chair in her bathroom, she washed her face.
She even seemed to clear her mind a bit after washing up a bit.

As soon as she left the bathroom with the child, she headed straight for bed.
Even if several adults rolled around, the bed was large enough for several people to lay down.

The child followed her and lay down next to her and blinked.

“Hey, Lian.”

“Yes.”

“The Duke, why did he allow me to be with you?”

“That is…”

“That is?”

“I kept crying because I wanted to meet Elia.”

The child twisted his body while laughing awkwardly.

“Is that all?”

That alone was not enough reason…

“For six hours.”

“Yes?”

“I think I cried for six hours.”

She was amazed.
She guessed he cried for a long time, but she never thought he cried for six whole hours.
Now she completely understood what the former Duke said.
That’s why the Duke said it was funny.


“Wasn’t it hard? It sounds like your throat will be very sore.”

“Ugh, it’s okay.”

The child answered in a slower voice than before.
Seeing his eyes half-closed, his drowsiness seemed to pour out.

“If you’re sleepy, snore.”

“… You won’t go?”

“Of course.
I will sleep with you.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

As she spread her arms slightly, he burrowed into her arms as if the child had been waiting for them.
She quietly looked down at the child who looked dwarfed for his age.
When she first saw him, she thought he was about five or six years old.
He wasn’t very tall so she thought he was 8 years old at most.
Perhaps because the child was born so weak, the rate of growth was exceptionally slow.

“…Mom.”

A small muttering was heard.

‘Mama, Mama..’ he said it when she rescued the child from the kidnapper.

“Lian.
When we first met…”

She looked down at the child who slightly lifted his head and continued.

“You used to call me mom.
Could I possibly know why?”

“…I have no memory of my parents.
Both of them passed away when I was controlled.”

“It must have been very sad.”

Instead of answering, the child put his arms around her neck.
The child, who hadn’t spoken for a while, murmured softly.

He said, “I was very scared when I was kidnapped.
I thought I might die, but then I was saved by Elia.”

“…”

“Elia is my mother.
You are my mother.”

“Yes?”

She blinked slightly embarrassed, but the child buried his face back.
He seemed to be talking well at first, but at the end the conversation jumped out in the wrong direction.
There seems to be more circumstances, but was he deliberately avoiding words?

She wanted to ask more, but it seemed unlikely that he would answer any more now.
So she stroked the child gently on the back and asked another question.

“Then why do you call me Elia, eh?

“I think my father will be very angry if I call Elia ‘mom’.”

“Is the name Lian a nickname created by your mother?”

The child nodded his head slowly.
His eyes seemed more drowsy than before, and he seemed to fall asleep any moment.


“Let’s go to sleep now.”

She patted the child’s back slowly and hugged him tightly.

Softly.
Shortly thereafter, the sound of even breathing came.
As she listened to the child’s breathing, she also fell asleep.
She still had some worries about this or that, but for now she just wanted to rest.

What will the Duke say tomorrow morning? She wondered if he was going to get rid of her for the last time… She fell asleep right away.

* * *

“Yes.”

What was that sound…

As she thought so, something pressed heavily against her body.
From that point on, consciousness began to float rapidly.
When she fully opened her eyes, two chubby little arms filled her field of vision.

When she wondered what was pressing on her body, it must have been a child’s arm.
Was it a sleeping habit? The child’s body was out of her arms and up to the top of her head.
Perhaps because of crying for a long time yesterday, the child’s face was more swollen than yesterday.
When he opens his eyes, he will be like a baby crucian carp.

As she smiled quietly and carefully removed the child’s arm, she immediately heard a whining sound.

…Anyway.
She pulled the duvet down to cover him and patted his back.
After confirming that the child was exhaling, she carefully raised herself.

She went into the bathroom and checked her face in the mirror on the wall.
Unlike usual, her face was full of blush.

“…I must have a fever as well.”

From the time she opened her eyes earlier, she had a strange thought that her body was heavy.
It seemed that she had a body ailment.
Maybe it’s because she was tired from yesterday’s work.
She let out a small sigh and tossed her loose hair back.
Then, she washed her face with water and left the bathroom.

Knock.

Who was it at that hour?

[Excuse me.]

A voice came from outside and the door burst open.
She was none other than the lady-in-waiting.
She walked straight to the bed, picked up the child, and headed for the bathroom.
The sun hasn’t risen yet, but she was taking the child to wash at this time.

As she stared out the window with the curtains drawn, she felt a sharp gaze and turned her head.
There, two knights were looking at her disapprovingly.

‘If you come, say that you have come, or what else are you going to stare at cheaply and silently.’

Because of all the people who were wary of her, now only sighs came out.

“The Duke is waiting.
Follow me.”

“At this time?”

“Don’t talk nonsense and follow me.”

The knights showed an infinitely unapologetic appearance and winked at her to come out.
Well, if she went, she could go faster, couldn’t she? She let out a sigh inside her and went outside, and the knights surrounded her back and forth, urging her to walk.

She was about to say something, but she held back and started to move her steps.
Judging from the knights taking the same route as yesterday, they would meet the Duke again since it seemed to be heading to the place where he was.

“Go in.”

When she reached the front of the room, one of the knights opened the door without knocking and pushed me inside.

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