Only then did Rere run close to me.
However, even after Rere came to my side, my gaze did not turn away from Luca.
‘What are you really?’
I wanted to ask that question.
Why did I feel so out of place every time I saw him?
Upon returning to the room, Rere put the chocolate in a pretty box as if she was performing a ritual offering.
Chocolate wasn’t the only thing in the box.
There was bread left by Rere after one bite and there was the leftover chocolate fondant that she ate so deliciously last time, which she put after saying that she suddenly didn’t feel like eating.
As well as withered flowers and small letters.
Rere deliberately said it was only a treasure box, but I couldn’t help to notice that it was all the stuff that Rere wanted to give to the Duke.
A few days later, when I was told that the item I requested had arrived, I went out with Rere to a small garden in front of the mansion’s main gate.
It’s the only way you need to take to enter the mansion.
So as soon as we arrived, Rere’s face hardened.
“Why are we here? What if we run into my daddy?”
“But the sun shines so warmly here,”
“Damn…I don’t like it.”
The very distressed child crumpled her face and stomped the floor with her tiny feet.
I stroked Rere’s hair and smiled.
“I’m going to play sand now.
This place is perfect for that.”
Since that day, the Duke had been avoiding Rere.
Meanwhile, Rere seemed to be hurt by his actions and said that she didn’t want to see her daddy anymore.
But I know that wasn’t what she truly felt.
Rere, who asked to play on the terrace until late at night, was waiting for her daddy who might show up.
So, I asked the nanny to prepare the sandbox and set it up in front of his mansion.
“Play sand? What’s that?”
“Making castles out of sand.
Mom used to do it a lot back then.”
“Precious noble ladies such as myself don’t need to do that!”
“But still, I’m sure it’ll be fun!”
After looking at the entrance of the mansion for a while, Rere sat on a small chair that was previously arranged.
It wasn’t ethical for a precious noble lady to play on the ground.
So, I asked the sandbox to be arranged on a table.
The nanny, who was willing to do anything for Rere, perfectly embodied my thoughts.
On the short and large wooden table, there was sand and various wooden blocks.
After blankly looking at it for quite a while, Rere shook her head from side to side and sat on the chair.
“I’ll give you special permission since mom wants it! I’m doing this for you.”
“Of course~ You don’t have to do anything much.
Just make a castle using the wooden blocks and fiddle with sand.”
Rere, who was grumbling, fiddled the sand with her small hands.
After a long time, Rere smiled little by little.
“Do you want me to make you?”
“Yeah, I’m good at drawing, too! Everyone is saying that I’m good at it.
They would scream each time I draw.”
“But daddy doesn’t like it.
He doesn’t like to be drawn…or draw anything.
He told me not to do it…but still! Look at this.
I’ll draw mom on the sand!”
Somehow, I felt like it’s an extension of her sleeping habit.
I expected that the maids and nanny told white lies to her, so I only watched the child without much expectation.
At that time, her small hand moved quite swiftly, creating a human figure on the sand.
It’s unbelievably outstanding that the child did it.
Growth varied from child to child, but how could a five-year-old move her hand this perfectly?
‘Is Rere a little faster?’
As soon as I had that thought, Rere smiled brightly and pointed at the face of the figure that she created with her hands.
“What do you think?”
“Oh…! You did well.”
I was a little surprised.
I wasn’t that pretty, but the one that Rere drew on the sand was able to capture my features prettily.
Round eyes, small nose, and small lips.
Even the soft flowing hair was perfectly drawn.
It was even more perfect because the child did it.
Rere, you’re good at it.
Do you think I was that pretty?”
“Yeah! N0-No! No! Do-Don’t get me wrong.
I’m so good that I can only draw pretty things!”
“Is that so?”
“Uh, yeah! Tch, I want to do something else!”
As if she was embarrassed, Rere created a small wall near her drawing and began to fiddle with the sand right next to me.
Like she was afraid to ruin my face.
Since then, Rere had spent quite a long time building blocks and playing with sand.
“Did you say it’s fun?”
“No! It’s not fun.
Only mom is having fun here…”
But suddenly, there was a black shadow in front of us.
“Isn’t this just for beggars?”
It was Astra again.
How I wished she would just die, but unluckily, she came again today.
Her life seemed to exist only to pick a fight with others.
“If you’re going to pick a fight, why don’t you just leave?”
She would always try to provoke me and end up getting cursed at by Rere.
I guess she isn’t tired yet.
So, I tried to ignore her as always, but today, Astra came out a little stronger.
“Who are you to shun me away? Oh, that’s right.
I heard your family is ruined, isn’t it? The Duke saved you from being sold, too?”
That woman didn’t know the boundary.
She couldn’t distinguish what to say and what she shouldn’t say in front of a child.
My face stiffened.
Perhaps she was satisfied with the change in my facial expression, so Astra was getting more fired up.
“I’m not wrong, am I? Even if you aren’t suitable to become the Princess’ stepmother, the Duke took you in as a temporary solution.
That’s why he bought you with money.
I’m sorry to say this, but even if you offer your body to serve the Duke, unfortunately, the Duke seems to hate you more and more as time passes by.
How could one be able to say those things so easily?
“Why don’t you just take off your clothes and jump on him? Who knows if you can win him over? Oh, no.
Who would think of you as a woman?”
I snorted mockingly at her who was clearly looking down at me.
I stood up and made eye contact with her.
“What difference does it make even if you say that? You’re right, I came here for the money.
“Wha-What? If you were getting paid, go throw your bo-”
“How dare you say I’m stupid?”
“No, I’m talking to myself, though? Do you have any proof that I said you were ‘stu~pid’?”
“I’m sure you were looking straight at me….!”
Her face turned red.
“Well, that’s because unlike the noble me, you’re having eye problems, so you can’t see properly.
And unlike me, the official mother and Duchess that didn’t get paid like a certain someone, it was obvious yet you’re still asking for the difference?”
“Talk all you want.
In the end, you can’t even earn the child’s heart.”
“I’m like this now, but…!”
I smiled brightly at her trembling body.
“Oh, come to think of it, where are the maids you’ve been carrying with you, I wonder? Even though you’re a Duchess…..
Did all your maids get sent away?”
“…Bi-Bitch, you dare to make fun of me?”
How dare I do that to the Duchess.
I’m just talking to myself.”
She shook her hands and clenched her fists.
She couldn’t even refute what I said because I’m just spitting facts.
Thereafter, we just had a staring showdown for a long time.
My eyes were pointed at her sharply as if I’m about to murder her, but of course, I didn’t forget to put on the most innocent smile I’ve ever had.
Astra glared at me fiercely as if she was very angry.
But Astra’s goal changed drastically around the time when horse hooves were heard from afar.
Because the mansion was in the middle of the mountain, there won’t be many situations when ordinary people just appear here.
That means the sound of horse hooves was likely coming from the Duke.
I’m sure it’s not just one or two people coming when I heard a lot of horse hooves.
As if Astra had noticed it, she quickly calmed down and changed her target.
“Bitch, I will punish you for your impudence later.
By the way, Rebecca.
You said your daddy wasn’t looking for you, right?”
“…What? What do you want from me, poop.”
“It’s because you keep doing weird things and hanging out with this woman.
If you listen to me, you’ll be able to see your daddy every day.”
Astra waved her hand at Rere in a friendly voice, perhaps because she had decided to reconcile now.
“Come with me.
I’ll let you meet your daddy.”
At that time, the horses stopped in front of the mansion.
Just as expected, it was the Duke and his knights.
As if he had just come back from an outside business, he slowly approached us with his full-dress uniform.
“Look, it’s your daddy.
If you stay with that woman, your daddy will never come to you forever.”
“…I hate daddy.”
“Really? Then, I can’t help it.”
Astra, who smirked, made eye contact with the Duke.
At that moment, his cold red eyes swept past Rere, then me, and Astra.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was scolding this woman who made the precious princess play with sand.”
“…Why did you scold her?”
“…I’m sure I warned you.
Don’t be ridiculous.”
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