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Published at 19th of November 2020 08:18:41 PM


Chapter 27

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Chapter 27 




 

Though I stretched her neck with an arrogant air, I could feel the cold sweat between the feathers of my wings. I hadn’t only decided to keep Haniel in a “fit of anger,” but since I only had one life remaining I couldn’t help but get cold feet about my decision.

 

「You see, Selene-」

 

「Please don’t speak like that, Your Ladyship. It’s like you’re trying to make me an accomplice to something.」

 

「…Maybe it’s a good thing that you got off with just a transformation curse.」

 

Because if you hadn’t, you would’ve gotten your throat slit with those comments of yours. 

 

I said the bitter words to the ever-sensible and ever-aware Selene. But I couldn’t raise a baby swan by myself. 

 

I was the mother, but she needed a nanny! Duh!

 

I’ve never seen a princess in a storybook with a nanny. 

 

A nanny was easy-going but warm-hearted, ready to die for the princess with her own life at a moment’s notice. 

 

「…Your Ladyship, why are you looking at me with that weirdly fond look.」

 

「Selene, I’m going to say something now, so try not to be too surprised.」

 

*Tap Tap.*

 

As I saw her already trying to sneak away, I extended my wings wide.

 

I was giving her a really nice smile, but we both knew that for a mallard duck, running smack into a black swan’s wings had a huge risk for injury.

 

「Wh-what is it, Your Ladyship.」

 

「You probably were wondering about this too. Why our cygnet has a bearing superior to all the others.」

 

「… 」

 

Though her face said that she wasn’t really curious, her instinct for survival was excellent. 

 

Knowing that if she said no she’d get hid by a wing, she cheaply gave in, quickly nodding her head like a robot. 

 

「Y-yes, o-of course. Of course I’m curious.」

 

「And you probably wondered why I kept doing everything I could to find her guardian, didn’t you?」

 

And why would I have needed to look for the guardian of such a cute and pretty child!

 

I turned the basket so Selene could get a good look at the sleeping Haniel with the ribbon.  

 

「Honestly, I was going to do that until today. After all, when I heard that her brother was here, I even went to the welcome party to find him. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to raise her, but that I didn’t even dare to think that I could.」

 

「Wait, Your Ladyship, just wait a second-」

 


「Of course, I never meant to tell you. What good would it be for the child to have rumors flying around about her.」

 

「…Th-then it’ll be good for you to not say it. You know me. I’ll probably gossip about it here and there-」

 

「Even though her brother’s the emperor?」

 

「… 」

 

I’d expected her to be surprised to a certain extent.

 

But I didn’t expect her to harden like a piece of ice like they do in cartoons.

 

「Keu-uhhhhhhhhk!」

 

「Selene! 」

 

Just as all the blood seemed to drain from her, Selene made an ugly sound and then started running away. 

 

Even if the manor was lit on fire, she’d be running slower than she was now. 

 

I watched as she then tripped and fell, rolling down in the mud, until she reached the lake and buried her head in the water. 

 

「Selene, what are you doing! You’re not even a pheasant!」

 

「Blurgh! I just want to pretend I didn’t hear anything. I heard nothing, alright! Nothing! I would never know such a matter-」

 

「What do you mean? That Haniel is Rohan’s one and only princess?」

 

「Ku-huk!」                       

 

The head that had peeked out went right back into the water.

 

I can see your body floating in the water, just where do you think you’ve successfully run off to. 

Instead of trying to persuade her, I only kept watch until Selene had to raise her head, water dripping everywhere. 

 

「How is this even possible, Your Ladyship! There’s no way!」

 

「But Selene, didn’t you know about this already?」

 

「W-what did I know!」

 

「If you really believed what I was saying was a lie, you wouldn’t need to plunge your head into the water like that.」

 

「…」

 

Yeah, that’s right.

 

I picked off a leaf stuck on top of Selene’s dumbfounded head. 

 

She was alarmed even when the Emperor’s name was casually brought up, so I understood her shocked reaction to Haniel being the Emperor’s sister. 

 


「I-I can’t do this anymore…but how did Your Ladyship find out about this? Did the child…no, the princess, tell you herself?」

 

「No. She’s still a baby. She probably doesn’t know anything specific like that.」

 

I glossed over the complicated details, speaking vaguely.  Even if I’d half-forced her to trust me, I couldn’t tell Selene about the truth of my transmigration. 

 

Even if she was compelled to believe me, in reality, if I’d told her about how I’d swapped bodies or read about her in a book, she would have a harder time believing that Haniel was a princess.

 

「Should I say it’s just a kind of destiny. The heavens are the ones to decide who’s the parents of which children.」

 

「Why is Your Ladyship the Princess’s parent? The child has white feathers and Your Ladyship’s are black!」

 

「Hmm, Selene. Have you ever heard of the saying that if your eyeballs burst, you’ll become colorblind?」

 

「…Hiccup.」

 

I put my beak right up to her eyeball as I spoke, so my words had a pretty big impact.

 

The hiccuping Selene tried to laugh, but she was really shaken up.

 

Anyway this must have been how our Haniel felt.

 

I have black feathers, you have white feathers! 

 

No wonder Haniel looked at me so sadly whenever I treated her coldly. It was enough to make my eyes start to sting. 

 

「Um, Selene. You see, I-」

 

「Your Ladyship, if you cry on top of everything else you’ve done today, I really won’t be able to handle it. Please don’t.」

 

「……Uh, alright then, back to what we were talking about.」

 

Hear me out.

 

Selene seriously listened to what the situation was roughly like. I skipped the most sensitive parts, like who had cast Haniel’s curse and what would happen in the future, and tried to relate the story as close to the truth as possible. 

 

「Hooh. 」 

 

Though she sighed deeply, the fact that she wasn’t screaming her head off like she was at the beginning told me that Selene now understood the severity of the situation. 

 

「…To be honest, though I’m saying this now so it’s in hindsight, I always thought she was different from the others.」

 

「Mmhm.」

 

She even glammed up her previous statements that used to mean something like, ‘the child is a little slow,’ so they sounded like glorious praises of the princess instead. 

 

But Selene still seemed at a loss and stuck her beak out as she spoke. 

 

「Even if that was the case…please return her, alright? You meant to give her back in the beginning! You were so set on that, why are you like this now.」

 

「Well, I met her brother. But…」

 


Nope. He fails as a guardian. 

 

I shuddered thinking of the Emperor’s red eyes I’d seen just a short while ago.

 

Whenever I thought of him, I felt nauseous and as if my stomach dropped. It was like entrusting a baby chick to a lion.

 

The only he had in common with Haniel was in that god-like appearance of their family.

 

It was pointless to even try explaining what he was like to a person who’d never seen his face before. 

 

「Anyways, I can’t do it. If she was so happy, why would she have ran away. You’ve suffered because of Lania, you should know how hard it is to live under like that.」

 

「Okay, but…ah, I can’t do this, not me.」

 

After appearing to ponder for a long time, a bewildered Selene finally shook her head hastily. 

 

Sympathy is sympathy and life is life, and I could see how hard she was trying not to look at Haniel. 

 

「Your Ladyship also knows but I just finished adapting to life in this lake. I have no intention of leaving. And I don’t want to become a worm. But out of consideration for your efforts, I won’t spread the news. Then, considering the circumstances this time…….」

 

「…Twenty carps (잉어) a month.」

 

「…」

 

*Halt.*

 

The waddling mallard duck’s shoulders tensed. 

 

「T-twenty carps?」

 

「That and ten more small carps too (붕어).」 

 

「…」

 

My voice was haughty as I tried to grab her attention. 

 

I had to make it seem like she was getting a good deal in this negotiation, like how the big companies do during the annual salary negotiations.

 

「Fine if you don’t want to. If it’s this kind of a deal, there’s a bunch of other people who’d take the offer…Now, then I’m going to go and ask Baroness Hamilton-」 

 

「N-no! When did I ever say I wasn’t going to do it?」

 

Well that was fast.

 

Selene begin walking quicker as she returned back to me. 

 

Just looking at her face, both of her cheeks were puffed up as if she was already imagining how many carps she could fit in her mouth. 

 

「Baroness Hamilton is a quail. Our princess will grow quickly, how could she take care of the princess with the small body of a quail? No way. You must think of the princess’s future, Your Ladyship.」

 

「…Alright?」


 

「I will now go look for a suitable blanket for the princess.」

 

「Do as you wish.」

 

Though I had been thinking of offering as much as fifty carps, well.

 

I giggled as I watched Selene hurriedly waddling along. 

 

But she probably accepted my request not only because she was enamored by the promise of food.

 

In truth, there was no other person in the lake who knew about bullying incidents and other hardships better than Selene.

 

「You made a good decision.」

 

I patted Selene’s back as she stalked back with a pale expression that showed she already regretted agreeing to this. 

 

「This incident is a secret going forward as well. The lake inhabitants will probably think I took her in, but her identity should never be discovered. Though the chances are slim that this will happen, but if this news reaches Lania’s ears we’re all finished. Got it?

 

「…I already feel like I’m doomed…」

 

「Oh dear, Selene.」

 

What kind of irresponsible talk is that.

 

Well, there was no better cure for such fears than seeing a child’s recently awoken face. 

 

And just then, the child woke up. 

 

Before Selene could go back on her word, I grabbed her neck and pushed her in front of Haniel’s bright eyes. 

 

「Child, I’ve caught a nanny for you~」

 

◇ ◆ ◇

 

Looking down at the Winter Lake from the window, the expression in Rashid’s eyes was as dark as the winter season. He looked down, as still as a frozen statue, with his hands clasped behind his back. 

 

That statue then turned around and glared at the kneeling viscount trembling before him.

 

“…Your Majesty.”

 

“How long has it been since the Dion family was manager of this place?”

 

“Our household was given the task of taking care of the Winter Palace since it was built, so it must be since over 200 years ago at the very least, Your Excellency.“

 

“If that’s the case, that was enough time for you to at least figure out who your master is, isn’t it.”

 

“…”

 

At Rashid’s meaningful laughter, caretaker Viscount Dion lowered his head.

 



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