Home Post 1285-chapter-17


* * *

“Is everything alright?”

Nod, nod.

“Do you need anything else?”

“No, I’m good.”

I replied casually. Finally, relief crossed Grandpa Dustin’s face.

“That’s a relief.”

…Even though it was all a lie.

I was very uncomfortable here.

But for now, I nodded enthusiastically, hiding my true feelings. I had my own reasons for doing so.

I gently grabbed the end of Grandpa Dustin’s robe.

“Excuse me, Grandpa Butler.”

“Oh, I forgot to mention earlier. Just call me Dustin. Please feel free to be more casual.”

“Uh, okay. Dustin, then.”

Instantly, Grandpa Butler’s expression changed.

Should I say his face looked conflicted?

I also knew it was an odd title. From Grandpa Butler’s perspective, I was someone to be respected.

But for someone like me, who had worked as a maid for so long, ‘butler’ meant someone important and someone who must be shown respect.

To call such a person by their name alone felt disrespectful!

Of course, I knew it would feel like condescension to Grandpa Butler, like Lady Viscountess Mallon scolding me.

So I had decided to show respect, but…

“I can’t just call him by his name.”

Maybe I’ll get used to it eventually, but for now, I wasn’t confident.

Oh well! When in doubt, change the subject!

I quickly changed the topic before Grandpa Butler could correct me.

“When will the Grand Duke return?”

“I’m not sure myself. I apologize for not being of much help, miss.”

So he doesn’t know when he’ll be back.

“Can I go out to play then? With them, I mean.”

I pointed to Lux and the sky squirrel, who were now nestled in the somewhat empty basket, unlike before when they were bulging out.

Grandpa Butler nodded.

“Of course.”


After that, preparations were quickly made.

—Do we have to go out and play? I don’t want to go out, click.

“If we go out and come back, I’ll replenish the snack basket.”

—I love going out in the world click!

—Me, too! It’s great!

I knew this method would work.

Grandpa Butler assigned me two elderly maid sisters to look after me.

They were the maids who bathed me earlier.

I hadn’t met them before today, but since I had seen them once, Grandpa Butler thought I’d be more comfortable with them.

It seemed like Grandpa Butler’s consideration, but since I wasn’t going out purely for fun, his consideration was quite uncomfortable for me.

‘I don’t need this, I just want to play alone, it might look weird otherwise, right?’

Plus, there’s a high chance Grand Duke would hear about it.

After a brief hesitation, I reluctantly accepted Grandpa Butler’s consideration.

So I went outside with the elder maid sisters by my side.

I pretended to jump around, exploring here and there, but I couldn’t find what I wanted.

‘It’s not here!’

Tears welled up involuntarily.

I came up with excuses to go out and play, but there were no holes…

Surely, the Belloc estate with the Grand Duke must be materially abundant.

But I didn’t see myself living in a place like this.

Although Grand Duke Belloc and his household knew my age due to health checkups, they didn’t know my name.

So my plan was to check out the escape routes tonight, fill up the snack basket, and gather enough food to escape later…

‘There are no holes! How is this possible?’

Just in case, I peeked at the main gate.

But seeing the well-dressed knights, I quickly gave up.

‘Viscount Mallon had a hole there.’ I often saw the knights of Viscounty pretending to train and leave through that place, so I thought the Grand Duke would do the same. It turned out to be a big mistake after searching thoroughly.

‘Ah, so tired.’

Should I call him Grand Duke, or should I curse and call him the damn Grand Duke?

Although I wanted to search more, unfortunately, my body didn’t seem inclined to follow my mind.

‘It can’t be helped. Let’s go back.’

Since I couldn’t find anything despite searching so hard, there probably weren’t any holes elsewhere either. As I dragged my tired legs back to the room, the maid sisters cleaned my hands and feet.

After that, they even put on the new pajamas they had bought while I was playing outside, finally granting me freedom.

“Ugh, so tired…”

I collapsed onto the bed.

—Just do as we say, snap.

—That’s right. I’m good at finding things like that.

Lux and the flying squirrel chirped cheerfully.

—Should I go out alone and search more?

“It’s okay. I don’t think you’ll find anything even if you search more.”

I shook my head slightly and buried it in the pillow, wishing that the Grand Duke would forget my existence until I found a way out.

* * *

Although it was only half successful, my wish came true. The Grand Duke, who left me and didn’t return for days, was a relief.

Grandfather Dustin must have known I would be upset because he came every day, taking care of me and offering words of comfort.

He reassured me not to worry too much, as it was common for the Grand Duke to stay away for days once he leaves the estate and that he’ll take care of me when he returns.

I felt a little sorry for not worrying as much as I should have, considering I had been enjoying the Grand Duke’s absence.

‘It would be even better if he continues to forget me like this.’

During the days when the Grand Duke didn’t return, I pondered ways to escape from the estate. There wasn’t much to gain, but I still thought of something.

In the end, I chose to dig small holes in inconspicuous places.

I named it ‘Making Nonexistent Holes’!

To avoid suspicion, I pretended to play with dirt, burying seeds and leaves like animals storing winter supplies, with Sugar and Lux helping out.

By the way, ‘Sugar’ was the name I gave to the flying squirrel a few days ago. Calling him by his full name every time was too long, and it all started with what Lux said.

—Why don’t you give her a name, too? It’s what friends do. She’s not our friend, though, right?

—Really? That’s disappointing! I want a name, too! Give me a name!

At the urging of the flying squirrel, I thought for a moment and named her Sugar.

Her belly fur was as white as powdered sugar, hence the name. Fortunately, Sugar liked her name.

Perhaps because my companions were animals, nobody suspected me even when I dug the ground.

‘They even brought a shovel for me.’

Thanks to that, my escape plan progressed smoothly.

If I dug for another two days, I could escape.

Today, I called the maid sisters to go dig again.

“Shabby unnie, Chelsea unnie.”

“Yes, miss.”

“I want to play outside with Lux and Sugar. Can we?”

“Of course.”

As the maid sisters got up, I reached out my hand to Lux and Sugar. They automatically climbed onto my arm and nestled in my embrace.

“Are you going to bring the shovel?”


“And the sunflower and other seeds?”


As I nodded, the maid sisters quickly prepared my playthings.

‘It’s worth going out to play in the dirt for a few days.’

Not only the maid sisters but also Lux and Sugar had become accustomed to this situation.

“Today, too, just pretend to bury yourself in the ground, okay?”

“Yeah. I’ll do that, please.”

With the seeds given to me, the two of them scattered around, and I wandered around with the shovel, digging into the ground.

* * *

At that moment, Dustin, the steward of Grand Duke Belloc, was welcoming his master who had returned after four days.

“It must have been tough.”

“The Grand Duke had a lot of tasks to handle in Risolante. Some were making a lot of noise, so I had to soothe them.”

“Still, since you’re back, you’ll probably stay at the estate for a while. Miss will be pleased.”


Ashid looked at Dustin without taking off his gloves.

It was indeed an odd thing to say. There was no one in this estate who would use such a title.

“It’s the person you brought here, saying you adopted her as your daughter four days ago.”

“Daughter? Ah, that amusing rumor.”

After a brief moment of recollection, he relaxed his furrowed brow.


Meanwhile, Dustin felt a sense of déjà vu as if he had experienced a similar situation before, although he couldn’t recall anything vividly.

“Come to think of it, I didn’t pay much attention. How is the child doing?”

“She’s doing well.”

“Causing any trouble?”

“No. She seems naturally quiet.”

Dustin added, “She doesn’t demand much and never throws tantrums. She plays well alone, and the animals she’s with, Sugar and Lux, behave well, making it easy for Shabby and Chelsea to take care of her.”

“Shabby and Chelsea?”

“The names I assigned to her personal maidservants.”

“I see.”

Ashid replied with surprise and pondered.

‘I thought there might have been an accident.’

He had been so occupied with tasks assigned by the Emperor after bringing her here that he had completely forgotten about the girl for four days.

Thanks to the steward’s reminder, he now perfectly recalled the girl he had brought.

The benefactor who helped his arm heal.

In return, when asked what she wanted, she had asked for employment as a maid, which had surprised him.

Luckily, he remembered and could fulfill her wishes, but her response was quite unexpected.

“I always wanted a family to take me away. And lots of money, so I could live in a great house.”

“So I can live with my friends for a long, long time!”

Her cheerful response with a weak pronunciation was still vivid in his mind.

She was weak and young, avoiding adoption by acting like a spoiled noble lady.

Ashid had expected the girl to have had a similar accident.

However, the answer he received upon returning was the opposite of what he expected.

“What is she doing now?”

“She’s probably playing with dirt.”

“…Playing with dirt?”

“The maids say she loves playing with dirt so much. They say she goes out every day, digs the ground with the animals, and covers it again. So, I provided her with shovels.”

As Dustin spoke, he whispered, “Ah!” and pointed to a place outside the window.

“It seems she’s out there right now. Can you see?”

There, there was a young girl sitting on a bench with two maids and some small animals in a corner.

‘Looks like she’s enjoying playing with dirt as reported.’

It was the first time Dustin had seen Annie playing with his own eyes.

As he turned his gaze back to his master, Ashid’s expressionless face held a faint smile.