when she bathed or went to bed.

She was then asked whether she had ever attempted to keep anything important at hand.

Three days have passed since then.

Natalia had been thinking.

— “Catch the rat at your own house.”

Who was that man who spoke to me that night, after all?

Natalia woke up on the bed and gently pressed her hand to her chest.

There was a pendant there that was said to be from Leopold, brought by the man whose name she did not know.

He was a strange man.

He seemed to have scolded Natalia, worried about her, but also somewhat dismissive.

In terms of time, he probably didn’t even stay for half an hour.

But what?

I feel like he was teaching me something important, Natalia thought.

“…rat.”

In the empty room, Natalia muttered to herself.

“A rat, a rat animal… it shouldn’t be.
So, it must be…”

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That man knew that everything precious to her has always disappeared all the time.
So he told her to hide this pendant under her clothes as well.

— “Think.
Don’t wait for someone to give you a helping hand.
Start acting by yourself first.”

The person left only words that were like riddles to her.

He never once raised his tone.
But for some reason, in Natalia’s eyes, he seemed to be angry.

Yes, he was angry with Natalia.

That’s why he left her with last words like that.

— “Remember.
I’m not going to let you.”

Natalia shook her head from side to side.

Now, rather than thinking about that, first…

“Think and work on your own…”

Meditate and think for a moment.

Then she slowly got up and took a book from the bookshelf.
It was a different book from the one in which she had tucked the note.
In this one, she kept the letter that had been given to her as a dummy.

She then took an envelope from between the pages and walked out of the room.

Then two days passed.

A faint sound reached Natalia’s ears.

It was from the courtyard facing the bedroom window.

She quietly approached the window and peeked out from the edge of the curtains.

It was now the early morning hours, before dawn had even arrived.

There was a woman crouching under a tree, doing something behind her back.

“…”

Natalia wrapped a shawl over her nightgown and left the room and went through the back door that led to the garden.

Then she approached the maid who was digging hard in the dirt.

“Nora.”

The maid’s shoulders jerked as her name was called.

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“What are you doing here early in the morning?”

Nora slowly turned around.
Then she spotted Natalia.

“Ah… young lady.”

“Hey, Nora.”

Natalia asked the maid, who was digging deep into the roots of the tree with a shovel in her hand.
This person had cared for her since she was a child, whom she also loved like a sister.

“Why are you digging there? Is there something buried there?”

“Ah, no, that.”

— “Think.
Don’t wait for someone to give you a helping hand.
Start acting by yourself first.”

That’s right, Natalia thought about it.

All her important things kept disappearing from her own home as well.

I thought it was due to poor management on my part.
Or maybe my father took it and tried to sell it, she thought.

She was so used to losing everything that she didn’t even think about it deeply.

However…

— “Catch the rat at your own house.”

That man taught me.
He got mad at me for not thinking.

He said that he would never come again as an errand boy, and went out from the balcony, that man.

Surely it would not be possible to let that person know.

Natalia’s subsequent frantic thinking.

Then one thing came to her mind.

What she found out as a result was a very sad fact, though.

It was Natalia who pretended to bury the box with the envelope here two days ago.

Tears were threatening to well up in her eyes as she struggled to keep them from falling, but Natalia managed to keep her voice down.

“Nora.”

I don’t want to remain unaware.
But once I came to know, it was a very painful reality.

The rat was you.

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