Novel Name : Dear Anonymous Sponsor

Dear Anonymous Sponsor - Chapter 2

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A woman with brown hair stood in front of the wide-open door as if expecting a visitor.
“Oh my god, Heath!”
With a bright smile on her face, she stepped on the snow-covered ground and walked towards them.
“You arrived earlier than expected. I waited all evening, but there was no message, so I thought you wouldn’t be here until tomorrow.”
“It was snowing a lot.”
With her eyebrows slightly raised and her face forming a calm expression, she gave off a beautiful urban vibe that didn’t match the countryside.
Judith was a little surprised to see that the woman hugged the fierce-looking man who was a lot bigger and taller than her.
“It’s been four years. How are you?”
“Long time no see, director.”
“I suppose your life in a big city like Waltz was a lot different than here in Kinsley?”
“Well, yeah.”
The man pushed the woman’s arm, took a step back, and grabbed Judith’s shoulder, who was stumbling and standing in front of the woman.
“Is this her?”
Miss Wortherford, called ‘director,’ smiled brightly and took Judith in her arms without hesitation as she did to the man.
“Nice to meet you, Judith.”
Judith? Who’s Judith? While Judith was puzzled by the unfamiliar name, the man quietly said that he was leaving.
“Then I’ll get going now, director.”
“At this time? It’s late, and it’s still snowing. You can leave tomorrow morning after you have a cup of tea.”
“I’m in a hurry. I’ll come back to visit next time on a better day.”
Miss Wortherford grabbed his arm with a disappointed face, but the man shook his head. As if she was familiar with his stubbornness, she didn’t press further anymore.
“Alright, take care of yourself wherever you go. Take your feet out of the way if it gets dangerous, Heath. Please send me some letters from time to time. I get lonely too.”
The man stayed silent and didn’t even smile at the simple courtesy. His job was to take Judith, who had arrived at the Federal State of Baja, safely to the Wortherford Nursery. He thought of leaving immediately.
“Merry Christmas.”
“…Merry Christmas.”
After saying a short greeting to the woman, he turned around and stared at Judith for a brief moment. She read the silent movement of his lips.
‘Live well.’
She couldn’t tell if it was sarcasm or encouragement, but Judith stared at the fading distant image of his flat cap and brown wool coat for a long time.
He must have been from this nursery school. Even with his fierce look, the man’s youthfulness still showed a tiny bit in his eyes. At most, he was probably in his early twenties. It looked like they were only five or six years apart in age.
‘…maybe he wasn’t a bad guy.’
Thanks to him, she was able to come all this way safely.
Will they ever meet again? Judith stared at the car disappearing from her view, and the woman wrapped her shoulders as she led her into the building.
The woman introduced herself as Rachel Wortherford. This place, named after her surname, was a private nursery in Kinsley, which she had been running for over fifteen years.
The director’s room, decorated with cute Christmas props, was filled with warmth from the fireplace. Served with a cup of warm Vin Chaud, Judith smelled the fragrant scent of blended fruits, cinnamon, and cloves.
Rachel sat on the couch opposite her.
“How old are you?”
“You’re the same age as Millie, Millian Wortherford, and there’s a boy your age here too. He’ll help you adjust to this place from the basic living rules to the educational curriculum.”
“Yes. The kids here don’t go to school. Once they become an adult, going to college is their own choice.”
While Rachel grabbed a chart and checked a few things, Judith glanced at the door nervously.
“First of all, I’d like to give you a solitary room to check your physical condition for a while. Where would you like it to be?”
“Anywhere is fine with me. Well, by the way…”
The door least decorated with fir branches and red wool balls showed no signs of opening. It seemed that no one else was going to come in. Judith opened her mouth to ask the most pressing question in her mind right now.
“By any chance, are you my sponsor?”
Rachel burst into laughter as if she had heard an interesting story. She patted Judith’s head like she was a little kid.
“No, I’m the director of this nursery where you’ll be staying. I got a request from your sponsor to take you under my wing, and I gladly accepted it.”
Her sponsor didn’t seem to be here. Mixed feelings of disappointment and relief enveloped Judith.
“Then, where is he now?”
“Well, I’ve never met your sponsor in person. I don’t know his face, name, nor job. I only received an anonymous letter.”
The director grabbed the envelope on the desk. Judith took it and quickly read the content.
The printed letter was brief and neatly spaced.
Dear Miss Wortherford,
I want to introduce the child that I’m sponsoring in your care. I would be happy to provide for her directly, but I think it would be better to live in a quiet and idyllic countryside than Waltz, considering the child’s health condition. 
I have no doubts that the virtuous Miss Wortherford will accept this offer positively. As a token of my gratitude, I have enclosed a small donation.
Inside the envelope was a written cheque. Judith didn’t know the Federal State’s currency and monetary value, but she could see that the amount stated was significantly huge. Just how many zeroes were there?
Judith held the letter with a trembling hand and read it to the end.
I will send fifty lids of donations every month until the child becomes an adult. It’s a reasonable amount for a girl in her teens to live comfortably. 
When she becomes an adult and goes to college, I will support her entire tuition and living expenses. Please do not hesitate to let me know if there are any needs or deficiencies in the child’s well-being and the nursery’s operation.
You don’t have to write a report every day, but if the child has an urgent personal problem, then please send a telegram to ‘401 Waltz 7th Street, Waltz State.’
Judith didn’t know how much money fifty lids would be, but she knew that you’d need a considerable amount of money to pay for college tuition fees as well as monthly allowances.
‘There must be a reason or a price to pay for this incredibly generous financial support…’
Even after reading the letter three times repeatedly, the sponsor didn’t say anything about what he wanted from her. It was just this.
I ask that you pay special attention to the child to grow up safe and live a good life. God bless your nursery.
The letter ended plainly with a formal greeting. While Judith was feeling embarrassed, Rachel was checking her simple luggage.
“Is that winter coat you’re wearing the only one you have? We have to go downtown soon. The sheets and blankets are new, so you won’t need to buy some. This dress is too old. It would be best if you also had some clothes for an outing.”
“Uhh, ma’am…”
Judith hurriedly stopped the director’s speech.
“Is that all for the letter? Didn’t he have any other words for me?”
“It was all written there. Your sponsor wants you to grow up safe and to live a good life.”
“But… the reason why he’s sponsoring me…”
Rachel stopped checking her luggage and laughed heartily.
“You worry too much. You don’t have to be so vigilant all the time.”
“Cases like yours are not unusual. It’s relatively common. There are five children with sponsors in our nursery alone, including you.”
Still, Judith’s worried expression didn’t change, so Rachel added an explanation.
“Idle old ladies and gentlemen from Waltz often sponsor orphans anonymously. Think of it as charity work. The address on the letter suggests that your sponsor resides in Waltz too.”
Waltz, the Federal State of Baja’s capital city, was called the city of tall skyscrapers. It was the headquarters of large companies and famous families that dominated the world, and it was the city of splendid dreams and freedom coveted by young people.
Rachel shrugged her shoulders. The expression on her face looked like she wanted to tell Judith that there was no way for them to measure the depth of the generosity those rich people living in such a place would have.
“Especially your sponsor… who thinks that fifty lids is an ordinary amount for a young girl’s monthly allowance living in a nursery. What can you ask more from a sponsor? I’m sure you already got the best.”
“It’s better to keep your worries to yourself at times like this since this kind of luck doesn’t come easily, right Judith?”
Rachel playfully winked at her as she took a sip of her Vin Chaud.
“Well, if you want to do something for your sponsor, then how about writing him a letter?”
“It could be a sincere letter of gratitude. You could write about your life here and what you want to say to him. He told me not to hesitate to tell him if you need anything, so it wouldn’t be wrong if you write it down yourself.”
Letter. Judith rechecked the end of the letter. Written there was the only link connecting her to her anonymous sponsor.
401 Waltz 7th Street, Waltz State
It was her wealthy sponsor’s address, who wants nothing but for her to grow up safe and normal. She had never thought that someone would be so kind like that.
Judith couldn’t take her eyes off of the letter for a while.
Judith Krauser and the word ‘normal’ don’t go well together.
After her homeland, the Kingdom of Kilgeny sided with the Oberon Allies and suffered a crushing defeat in the Great War against the Allies of Ailance three months ago, Judith became a war orphan from a defeated nation who lost her family.
While trying to evacuate her first, Judith’s half-sister died from a landmine explosion as the enemy forces took her prisoner. If they took her to Ailance, her fate might not have been all different from that of common war prisoners.
Nevertheless, Judith tried to escape the train carrying prisoners bound for Ailance secretly.
Naturally, her attempt failed, and all Judith got was a bullet in her right lung.
If she were left alone to bleed, she would’ve died already. But it seemed like someone from Ailance took pity and performed surgery on her. They cut her chest open and removed the bullet lodged in her lung after eight hours of major surgery. From a field hospital, they transferred her to a nearby one in the city. It took two months for her to regain consciousness.
She heard it all from her nurse.
Judith’s memory was sparse, whether because of shock, which rendered her unconscious for two months or because of her sustained psychological trauma. They said she had dissociative amnesia.
Right after she witnessed the death of her sister, Liesolette, the Ailance soldiers captured her and took her prisoner. She tried to escape but got shot in the process. The events that transpired before her hospitalization faded from her consciousness, and she didn’t remember most of them anymore.
‘…still, I’m lucky enough to be alive.’
Judith entered the solitary room on the fourth floor assigned to her and checked her appearance on the mirror.
A palm-sized mirror attached to the closet showed a girl with dark hair and brown eyes.
She slowly touched her neck hesitantly. A thin necklace with a tiny yellow gemstone pendant twirled around her fingers. Judith lifted the chain lock, took off the necklace, and looked up.
The change took place immediately.
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