Author: alyalia

What on earth does this mean? No matter how many times he read it, he couldn’t understand it. Child?

 

Duke Marsetta’s legs were shaken by the shock that swept over him without warning like a wave. He finally came to his senses and called the butler, who was waiting outside.

 

“Did you call for me, Your Grace?”

 

“The doctor… Bring the doctor who last examined Charelize.”

 

There was a tremor in his voice. The butler, who didn’t know the reason, asked back with a stunned look. “…Yes?”

 

“Hurry!”

 

“I-I understand.”

 

The butler immediately brought the doctor to Duke Marsetta’s anger.

 

“Greetings to Duke Marsetta.”

 

“The little duchess, did she have a child?”

 

“…That’s right. There was a baby in her womb.”

 

“That’s… Is that true?”

 

“Yes. Little duchess killed herself and her baby.”

 

The angry Duke Marsetta grabbed the doctor by the collar. His eerie eyes became increasingly blurred.

 

“Then, the little duchess chose to die even though she knew she had a baby?”

 

“It must have been so hard that she gave up on her baby.”

 

Duke Marsetta’s grip on the doctor’s collar loosened.

 

“Butler!”

 

“Yes, Your Grace.”

 

“Charelize, is she really dead?”

 

“…That’s right.”

 

Only then did Duke Marsetta acknowledge that Charelize was dead.

 

He didn’t know many things, and he had never been loved. The previous duke locked his twin brother in the basement, saying it was bad luck due to the goddess’ prophecy. Even if the previous brutally abused and made him live only there, he couldn’t kill the previous duke because he was afraid of the goddess’ curse.

 

Duke Marsetta was obsessed with being perfect so he wouldn’t end up like his twin brother. For him, Lillian’s mother, Siael, was a blessing. Siael’s smile made him smile, which he had forgotten. Only in Siael’s warm embrace was he able to breathe.

 

“It doesn’t make sense… That can’t be possible. There’s no way that child will die.”

 

When Charelize was young, it didn’t make sense for her to crave love. He had never been a real father to Charelize under that excuse.

 

Charelize, who achieved outstanding results with every bit of kindness shown to Lillian, was constantly whipped. She had lived a truly sad life, and the guilt he felt for causing her like that engulfed him.

 

He got ready quickly and got into the carriage. Duke Marsetta left the window open until he reached the place where Charelize was sleeping.

 

Heavy rain poured down. The raindrops falling on his palm made his skin sting. The day Charelize died, it rained just like it does now. Duke Marsetta kept thinking. If only he had been a kind father to Charelize. He fell into regret, thinking that she would never have died.

 

Because he refused to hold a funeral, Charelize’s coffin was kept in Erharak Hall as a courtesy to the semi-imperial family. He entered the Erharak Hall and walked briskly with his wet body. When he finally reached Charelize’s coffin, he caressed the cheek of his beautifully dressed daughter, who looked like she would wake up at any moment. She was cold. The warmth of the dead never warmed up, no matter how much he touched it.

 

“I-I’m sorry… Charelize. This father is sorry.”

 

“…”

 

When he held the sleeping child’s hand, he remembered the words Charelize said that she would never love him again.

 

[…Father, I’ll try harder. I understand you. Father, please love me.]

 

That’s what the letter said. She said she’d try harder. She also said she understood him.

 

He was very distressed by the belated memory. Rumble. As if to express his feelings, a strong thunderstorm came.

 

“This father was wrong. Wake up. Please, open your eyes.”

 

“…”

 

“Charelize. Charel. Baby.”

 

No matter how much he tried to coax her.

 

“I shouldn’t have done that to you, and I’m sorry… for hating you, who is innocent. This father is wrong.”

 

The belated regret did not reach those who had already left.

 

* * *

It was a few hours later. After returning to the duchy with Charelize’s coffin, Duke Marsetta went to see Lillian. The day he came to meet Charelize, she collapsed again and didn’t know yet that her sister had died. Obviously, she would be hurt if she found out about it, so he deliberately shut the servant’s mouth. But he couldn’t hide it forever.

 

Lillian, who came running as soon as he knocked on her door, acted cute.

 

“Lillian.”

 

“Dad!”

 

He pushed away Lillian, who was hugging him with a lovely smile.

 

“Dad…? Why are you doing this?” Lilian, who looked puzzled, tilted her head.

 

“Your sister.”

 

“…”

 

“Is dead.”

 

“Yes?”

 

“… I’m sorry.”

 

Duke Marsetta, looking at Lillian with gloomy eyes, left. Lillian was watching his back with a fascinated expression.

 

“Princess…?”

 

“Are you okay, Princess?”

 

Without noticing that the servants noticed her body was shaking.

 

* * *

It was the first day she came to this mansion. Lilian rode a jeweled carriage for the first time in her life. It was a carriage larger than the bed on one side of her cabin. She came to the duchy with Duke Marsetta, admiring throughout the carriage.

 

Then, a girl walked gracefully down the stairs. Lilian could not take her eyes off the girl by instinct. The girl wore a simple black outfit like a crow but shined more than anyone else.

 

The butler bowed to the girl, who gave her a sense by coughing in vain. The girl blinked a couple of times as if she were familiar with it. She found out the girl’s identity when Duke Marsetta introduced her.

 

Charelize Elze Roxana von Marsetta. The little duchess of Marsetta, who has the right to the throne with bright blonde hair, is a symbol of the Elioter imperial family. The girl’s status was truly remarkable.

 

Didn’t they say that Duchess Marsetta passed away, and they were in the middle of her funeral? Even though Charelize didn’t say anything, she could see that Charelize was having a very hard time.

 

As Lillian timidly glanced to the side, she felt like she was being noticed by her. Although she looked gaunt, she couldn’t hide the noble aura she had been born with. Even by her name, she was different from Lillian.

 

Unlike her name, which means something like an unsightly-looking lily, it was an incomparably extravagant name. Lillian hadn’t learned letters yet, so she didn’t know what they meant. Still, in her opinion, Charelize was noble.

 

Duke Marsetta was busy with his work, so it was a meal just for the two of them.

 

“Lillian, eat slowly. You will have an upset stomach.”

 

Name, status, face, and speaking. It was strange. She was famous among the servants for being strict. But this person was looking after her father’s illegitimate child in a friendly way.

 

At Charelize’s concern, Lillian stopped her hurried eating of the bread. She didn’t know how to use a knife or how to eat it, so she cried. Charelize, who noticed it, put it on a plate and handed it to her so that she could eat it. As if it wasn’t enough, she ordered the maid waiting next to her to bring a fork.

 

Lillian didn’t understand. She was an illegitimate child brought by her father, who didn’t even attend her mother’s funeral. If she were Charelize, she would have thrown a fork at her face. She would have grabbed her by the hair and asked where she was coming from. She would have hated her that much.

 

The lady she served before also hated Baron Buzz’s illegitimate child, so she chased them away to the annex. But how can she be kind to her father’s illegitimate child, who was brought in after her mother died? Since she’s the successor, is she trying to impress her father to keep her position?

 

She didn’t know why, but it reminded her of her mother. When her mother has something delicious to eat, she gives it to her first.

 

Lillian tried to hold back, afraid that she would think it was indecent. But instead, Charelize kicked out all the servants who were waiting. She even gave her a handkerchief and told her to cry as much as she wanted.

 

“If you want to cry, don’t hold back and cry.”

 

“Don’t you hate me?”

 

“Hate. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hate you. I hate you. I feel sorry for my mother.”

 

A corner of her heart tingled as she listened to Charelize’s thoughts.

 

“That said, it’s not that I hate you.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because you’re also a princess of Marsetta and have blue eyes like me. Above all, my father wants to register you in the family register. What right do I have to stop him?”

 

Not knowing what to say, Lillian just wiggled her fingers.

 

“It’s not your fault, so don’t act like a sinner. Straighten your shoulders and always act confidently as the princess of Marsetta.”

 

“…Yes.”

 

After that, she officially became a princess and received a lot of love from Duke Marsetta. Her relationship with Charelize has also improved considerably. She wanted to treat her like a real family member. That’s how she met a good man and tried to make up for her hard work.

 

“It’s three years at the most. As you know, the Marquis Luxen family has a hereditary disease, and there’s no cure for it.”

 

But how long has it been since she lived in luxury, and now she has a terminal illness? It didn’t matter if she had grown up as a precious princess like Charelize from birth. She wouldn’t have felt this way if she had continued to live as a commoner like before. She has just recently become a princess and is trying to live a proper life, and she even opened her heart to Charelize. It was unfair. Why now?

 

In frustration, she went out to get some air and found the vassals who had finished the meeting. She wasn’t in the mood to greet them like usual, so she pretended not to notice and turned her way to go in another direction.

 

“His Grace asked me to prepare the banquet for the princess.”

 

“Banquet? Isn’t Princess Lillian’s birthday still far away?”

 

“It’s to commemorate the day the princess first came to the duchy. Far from taking care of the duchess’s death anniversary. Tsk. Let’s be frank, the princess is a problem too. Just because the little duchess treats her favorably, she acts like a thunderbolt all day long.”

 

“That’s right. She has lived her whole life as a commoner, so it can’t be helped.”

 

“Isn’t she an illegitimate child who cannot be compared to the direct blood? Why does the duke treat her like fragile jade while treating the little duchess poorly?”

 

They were angry, but they held it back until this point. In a way, the anger of the vassals began with the favoritism of Duke Marsetta. In their view, Duke Marsetta didn’t treat Charelize like his daughter.

 

With mixed feelings, she went to see Charelize. Charelize and Hailey’s conversation leaked out through the slightly opened gap.

 

“Your Highness, are you really preparing the princess’s banquet yourself?”

 

When her name was mentioned, Lillian naturally held her breath and listened.

 

“Hm?”

 

“Soon, your mother’s death anniversary is coming. I don’t know why you do this to Princess Lillian.”

 

Lilian had a moment’s expectation.

 

“Because she’s pitiful.”

 

But at the words that followed, Lilian felt his whole body freezing. Her first taste of affection came from pity of the other person.

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