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1582-chapter-152

Still, she had overlooked one crucial detail in her haste.

Christmas was a public holiday.

Adding to that, Christmas had fallen on a Friday that year. Consequently, the Royal Heritage Bank did not open until December 28th, three days after Christmas, by which posters searching for her were already widespread throughout the capital.

By then, she suspected that warrants would have been thoroughly issued at borders and ports, prompting her to abandon plans for fleeing overseas.

At least for now.

She planned to try it again after giving birth. A pregnant woman crossing the border was uncommon, but a young woman was not. She thought she might even feign blindness to disguise the distinctive color of her eyes.

The problem was the need for funds to sustain her until the birth. The money she had received from Nancy Wilkins and what she had stolen from an underground safe would not suffice to cover hotel stays until the birth.

Renting a place and staying put for an extended period was too risky without someone to provide supplies. Moving in and out would eventually attract local attention, increasing her chances of being caught by that man.

So, she decided to wait until people grew tired of the posters and lost interest completely before seeking a more permanent residence in a large city.

Until then, hotels were her only option, and it was fortunate she had an inheritance.

Her mother had left her thirty 2-carat diamonds and twenty 1-troy ounce gold bars, totaling less than 1kg, which could be converted into enough cash to buy up to six new houses in the suburbs of a major city.

With the cash she had and the money from selling the gold bars, she had more than enough to fund her escape abroad. The sharp rise in gold prices over the past few years had been an unexpected stroke of luck.

Involuntarily wandering the country, Grace decided to engage in a more productive activity: locating and reporting the remnants of the hideouts.

“Just treat the past as the past, and live your life.”

Just a little more to go.

Grace had intended to live only for herself, remaining on no one’s side.

Still, seeing the remnants of the rebellion communicate through newspaper ads to rebuild their forces, she couldn’t stand idly by. She was the only one who knew their methods well enough to stop them. So, she decided to help that bastard Leon Winston until she could leave.

“D*mn it…”

Grace sighed deeply, looking down at her large belly.

‘Wish you’d hurry up and come out…’

The child was going to be left behind.

No matter how she compared reasons, there were more reasons to leave the child than to take it with her. In fact, the only reason to take the child was the uncertain and illogical justification of, ‘I gave birth to it, so…?’

That odd sense of responsibility, unknown where it came from, was nothing but uncomfortable for her. It wasn’t even a child she had wanted to bring into the world in the first place.

Responsibility should come from those who created it willingly.

She vaguely thought about giving the child to that man after giving birth.

Moreover, she had a premonition that the child would be more than she could handle on her own. The child had been quiet when she bought a cheap turkey sandwich for lunch but danced joyously in her belly when she had an expensive salmon dish in the train’s dining car.

“Unbelievable. Such a picky eater, just like…”

Grace stopped talking to herself and sighed again.

But that man, would he really be a good father? The child was just a pawn in a military strategy, a means to keep her captive. It was unlikely he could genuinely feel proper affection.

That man, after all, didn’t know how to love properly.

Being raised under his father, without a mother, this child was an illegitimate child from the start. Eventually, when that man gave up on her and married the Grand Lady, it was clear the child would be reduced to an unwanted burden.

…Should she just send the child to an orphanage? Or maybe find a good family for it herself?

For the first time, Grace felt she could somewhat understand her mother’s feelings.

“I should have sent the child to an orphanage…”

Her mother didn’t say those words because she disliked or hated her daughter. Just as her mother had wished for her to live an ordinary life, Grace also wished for her unborn child to grow up normally.

Because Grace was unable to love properly as well.

There were so many couples in the world who wanted children, and it seemed wrong for her to raise this child in a broken home when she didn’t even want it.

Having money didn’t mean she could properly raise a child. That was evident from that man alone. In addition, she had no confidence that she could love the child. Frankly, it was overwhelming and burdensome. Even the fetal movements were still uncomfortable enough.

…Movements?

It was then that Grace realized. Since getting off the train and coming to the hotel, there had been no movements at all.

Why wasn’t it moving? It’d never been quiet this long.

Grace pressed down on the spots where the baby usually kicked.

“…What’s going on?”

She even spoke out loud, but there was no response.

Her heart sank.

She quickly sat up and grabbed a box of chocolates from her haphazardly thrown purse on the floor. She popped a piece into her mouth and chewed it hurriedly without tasting it.

“What’s the matter? Huh?”

Still, there was no response. Could something be wrong?

“Ha… what.”

It was a needless worry. After she ate a second piece of chocolate, the baby started kicking.

Grace rubbed around her sore belly button as she exhaled deeply. Was it just sleeping? She thought for a moment it knew she was planning to leave it behind and got scared. Then, she put the chocolate box back on the nightstand and lay back down on the bed.

Just as she wondered if the fuss was over, a small, rhythmic movement began inside her belly.

Now, she knew these were hiccups.

It seemed absurd, yet somehow funny, that an unborn baby could have hiccups. It was almost as if the baby was sending Morse code from inside her. As Grace tried to interpret these ‘coded messages’ and found it nonsensical, she burst out laughing.

She covered herself with a blanket and shifted her position, which seemed to calm the hiccups. As the movements settled, Grace gently stroked her belly, murmuring to her baby in a soothing tone.

“I’m going to live my life. You should live yours too.”

Don’t carry the burden of your parents, and live freely. Even though your parents are far from perfect…

“Still, live.”

 

º º º

 

The idea that tips from young women were accurate wasn’t just superstition. When looking at the records of tips that had led to actual captures, all the informants indeed turned out to be young women.

Naturally, their names varied, and with different people taking the calls, it was impossible to verify if it was the same voice. Nevertheless, Leon was convinced that all these ‘honorary members’ of the Special Task Force were the same woman—Grace Riddle.

The details in the tips were impressively thorough. Moreover, all the receivers noted that while the informant often claimed to be an acquaintance of the rebels or a cafe waitress, she never showed any concern about her anonymity when providing information.

That woman.

So far, there was no discernible pattern in the locations of the hideouts she reported. It seemed that the woman was simply moving as she discovered them.

Leon wondered if any of the rebels caught based on her tips had actually met her.

After sending Campbell to interview prisoners across various detention centers, he heard a fascinating rumor.

If you see a pregnant woman in sunglasses, the military will storm in a few days.

This rumor circulated among the prisoners, casting the woman as a harbinger of bad luck, akin to the ‘woman in white,’ a symbol of misfortune.

A symbol of misfortune? She was the informant.

It seemed she personally followed up on hideouts, confirming their locations with her own eyes before making her calls.

A dangerously meticulous method.

“Ha…”

That reckless woman.

Grace Riddle could well have a bounty on her head among the rebels, yet she was out there risking everything. For her safety and that of her child, he had to catch her soon.

Last Wednesday, after receiving the tip, he prioritized tracking down the informant over raiding the hideout.

He traced the call to a bank in downtown Dunwich, but the bank staff didn’t remember her. Still, she couldn’t have been sleeping on the streets, so he thoroughly checked the hotels in the city and indeed made some significant findings.

 

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