Same time at the tower of wisdom. 

The Senate’s meeting was full of numerous aristocrats.

“Where is the chairman who is supposed to offer advice on such situations?”

“He said he would be in seclusion for the time being because of the Teramore incident.”

Everyone had suffered due to Teramore’s incident.

“Surely, but it’s because his due date has come.”

Cried the excited aristocrat.

“If the chairman doesn’t come forward, we must stop him ourselves!”

“You’re so stubborn.”

“But if we leave it like this, the Child of Fate will take over the Dubbled!”

“It makes no sense for an adoptee from the common people to take care of the estate in the name of Dubbled…”

“If he had remarried, this terrible thing wouldn’t have happened. Why don’t you start looking now?”

“It will take at least a year or two to find a suitable family.”

“Well, the Duchess should have had another daughter. That way, he won’t be swayed by an unqualified girl.”

The elder, who was sitting in the upper seat on behalf of the chairman, rubbed his chin.

“Wait…that would be enough to have another qualified daughter.”

“Pardon?”

He looked back at Baron Walston.

“How old did you say your daughter was?”

“What?”

***

My daily life had become chaotic.

“Little miss, the employees of our wing have served the blood relatives of Dubbled from generation to generation. I’m sure it’ll help if we’re around.”

“Le-Lea, and all of us will take good care of her!”

The employees were so busy every day. I fled to the garden to escape the maids from the west wing.

‘I feel so tired these days that I don’t have time to go to the greenhouse to see the money.’

I squatted behind a big tree and held my breath until the maids were far away.

‘Let’s play here and then go back when it is evening.’

I looked at the flowers in the garden.

The winter wind had not receded, yet, the flowers were in full bloom. It was because of the Mana Stone.

The clearer the color, the more power it can hold, the mana stone in the garden was very vivid. On top of that, it was very big.

‘It would be good to take that one with me when I defected later.’

‘It must be very expensive.’

That’s what I thought as I picked the flowers in the garden.

I was making a bouquet for Lea.

Lea prefers the wildflowers that people find by the roadside rather than the one that have been groomed by the gardener. So, I searched for small wildflowers that the gardeners had never seen before.

I was so focused on the flowers that I suddenly bumped into someone.

“Wha!”

“Agh!”

The girl who bumped into me screamed and fell down. It was a girl who looked to be my age. She was wearing a wide-brimmed bonnet and a lacey dress, which looked expensive.

‘Oh, I have to help her up.’

So, I reached out my hand.

The child shook my hand away and frowned. So, I stood up and looked at her. The girl suddenly said, “What are you doing?”

“Huh?”

“You should apologize.”

I nodded softly and said, “Let’s apologize to each other.”

“What?”

“We both bumped into each other.”

She frowned, then, “Kid!”

I could hear Isaac’s voice.

“Just where is she…”

The muttering child searched through the garden. Then, his eyes glistened when his eyes found mine.

Isaac jumped over the plants, “Here you are.”

“Isyac following me again?”

After the Jacob incident, I was given a tracking device.

The device is not only capable of searching for my own location, but also showed the escape routes and allowed for emergency calls.

“Oh, you’re angry?”

“Wight, you always follow me.” (Right, you always follow me.)

Even though they had put a tracking device on me, their worry still dwells. Every now and then, Henry will check on me. Isaac is even worse, he always tries to meet me in his spare time. The child grinned. At first, I was surprised whenever his handsome face came close, but now that I’m used to it, I just felt burdened.

“You can’t be mad if you know what I told them to prepare for today’s snack.”

“…. What?”

“French toast.”

“Why did you come only now?!”

I greeted him with a big welcome.

French toast was my favorite snack, soaked in half-cooked egg and topped with honey and butter.

However, the chefs were always crushing her hopes by saying, “I can’t give the little miss food that only the common people eat.”

“Oh my, you’re the little miss.”

The girl that I bumped into suddenly voiced out.

“I’m sorry for not greeting you sooner.”

Isaac frowned.

“What, why are you here?”

“Good to see you again.”

The child who bumped earlier smiled shyly and bowed her head. Then she looked at me.

“My name is Cattlea Walston. I’m Dubbled’s third cousin.”

“Twhid cousin?” (Third cousin?)

“Yes. You were surprised earlier, weren’t you? Forgive me. I didn’t know you because you’re dressed so simply.”

My outfit was indeed simple. It was because the Duke’s fingers got stuck in the fancy dress’s decoration last time.

Isaac also said that my dress is annoying, meanwhile, Henry just smiled at the employee in charge of my clothes and said, “If this happened again, I will strip your skin off and make it into her clothes.”

After that, I only wore comfortable clothes. But it was plain without any decorations.

On top of that, because I was crouching on the ground, the dress looked dusty. The girl continued, holding my hand with both of her hands.

“Please forgive me.”

She continued her speech.

“We’re going to stay together in the castle in the future. Let’s be comfortable with each other.”

Staying together in the castle? Me and Isaac looked at each other, our eyes wide.

***

I then heard about who Cattlea was, as she entered a room with Isaac. She said she was twelve, but she was rather precocious. She was smart enough to pour out a lot of difficult words.

Isaac had a crooked look on his face, taking a fork over the strawberries and handing them to me.

“Why did they bring back the pedigree education they didn’t normally do?”

I looked at Henry. A pedigree education refers to a system in which a household collects and manages all of Dubbled’s children to control the family. The system in which the Duke had no choice but to hand over the three brothers to his predecessors.

Henry said with an indifferent tone.

“I heard it was a voluntary request from Walston.”

“Isn’t he crazy? Every family always shuddered for fear that we would take their child away.”

“Right.”

“I’m afraid the Duke will say he’s going to do the same thing as his predecessor did.”

“So, if he is going to do so? Why?”

Henry glanced at me and turned his head to Isaac’s question. Suddenly a gentle voice was heard.

“Now I have to gwo eat my meal in the dwining room.”

“Aren’t you full already?”

‘Guys, there is something called ‘a separate stomach for snacks and meals.’

“It’s possible,” the brothers laughed.

“Let’s go, then.”

I took the brothers’ hands and headed to the dining room. Dubbled’s dining room was not a common dining table. It was like a table for a meeting.

When I entered the dining room, I saw nobles from the other day seated around the table. When the children of Duke appeared, they all rose from their seats, put their hands on their chests, and bowed their heads.

I was a little nervous about giving the polite greetings of those in power, but the brothers were already used to this.

When we sat on the left side of the table, Cattlea, who was on the side, smiled brightly and said, “He’s here too.”

Then, the Duke appeared.

Another polite greeting followed. The Duke sat down and the meal began. While adults were talking about difficult things, I focused on the meal.

‘Beef, I love it.’

What kind of technique did the chef use? This food… It melts the moment it touches my mouth, enveloping my taste buds with its softness. Leaving only a flavorful aftertaste inside. It was a taste that I had never tasted even in the days when the Empress adored me before my return. It was then.

“Ah!”

“I’m sorry, I was surprised.”

The wife of Baron Wilston, Cattlea’s mother, asked, “What’s going on?”

Cattlea rose without a reply. Then she came up to me and wiped my face with a napkin.

“That’s enough,” she said as I blinked at Cattlea.

‘I didn’t eat it with much sauce on my face though?’

It was a dinner full of important people, so I took great care of my image.

Cattlea smiled and went back to her seat. Then she glanced at the Duke and put meat on his plate with a shy look.

“It’s delicious, Duke have more.”

She laughed happily as she said it.

The elders simply grinned.