To meet someone who is more unfortunate than you in your unfortunate life…
Although she hasn’t even met him yet, Karla decided that she would love her youngest brother. While sympathizing and pitying her younger brother, within her heart she anticipated the experience of being superior to him.
She wanted to meet her brother as soon as possible. That’s why she persuaded her father and personally went to bring her brother back.
As such, her carriage headed towards Anksi, a notorious brothel in the lawless zone.
“…Hah, really. There’s a degree to how stupid you can be.”
A self-deprecating laugh slipped out at the thought of her foolishness.
If only she had stopped then.
If only she hadn’t gone to meet him in person. Then, she wouldn’t have known that Isaac was a lunatic.
Her eyes burned slightly from not blinking for a while, and through the dry surface, a layer of moisture began to form. Karla gently pressed on her eyes to reduce her fatigue. When her eyes reopened again, they were red and swollen.
The Anksi that she had arrived in was a city far more dangerous than she had expected. Drug dealers were like children selling flowers, casually shoving the goods around by the roadside, while all the vagrants gathered together to share warmth. Within an old shack that was decorated with colourful ribbons, naked women were leaning against the window, giving passers-by ardent gazes.
At the end of the filthy city, past all the other houses, a wooden shack smaller and filthier than the others appeared. After a long moment of hesitation, Karla ordered her escorts to open the door with a sceptical mindset.
When her escorts opened the door, a disgusting stench stung her nose, making her nauseous.
The fishy smell that appeared out of the gap was familiar to Karla. Karla, who raised her hand to stop the escorts unwittingly, entered the house as if she was possessed.
With every step, an unpleasant creaking and squeaking could be heard. As she crossed the pitch-black living room that even moonlight did not illuminate, she relied on her sense of smell and headed towards the pungent source.
When she reached the end of the hallway.
“Who… who, who’s… who’s there?”
A child’s voice came through the crack in the door. His weeping voice was filled with vigilance.
Karla exhaled a long breath that she had been holding back, before she opened the door smoothly.
Although she expected that something bad had happened when she entered the house and detected the scent of blood, the situation she saw with her own eyes was worse than she had imagined. She faced a bloody corpse lying on the floor and a red-haired boy shivering beside her.
Whether it was fortunate or not, Karla, who was accustomed to the absurdities of her family, quickly snapped out of her daze. Even so, Karla had to force herself to enter the room.
“Are you Isaac?”
She asked the child while looking around helplessly. The child, who was startled by the word ‘Isaac’, shook his head as tears streamed down his pale face.
“I’m not. I, I’m… Isaac’s–”
With a calm voice, something small crouched in the corner shuddered and straightened.
His slender limbs and expressionless pale face gradually appeared in her eyes. Jet-black hair with even darker eyes that are sharply raised, resembles her father, Duke Eufgenschult.
The child, who walked out from the darkness, was completely drenched in blood, as if he had tangled with the corpse.
Isaac, who looked at the corpse lying on the floor and the crying child with an indifferent face, glanced towards Karla again, and stood in front of the crying child to block her view while gripping on to the knife in his hand tightly.
“Who are you? Who are you, pretending to be familiar with me?”
Differing from the shallow voice that spoke his name, a voice that was too heavy and raspy for a child cut through the humid air and spread with an aura of danger.
“The only person I knew was Rene… Are you related to Rene?”
His dim eyes had a ghastly light to them. The tip of his knife shone with a sharp gleam towards Karla.
The monster bared his fangs, making an ambiguous sound that was unclear if it was a laugh or a cry.
“I– I am your older sister! Karla, I’m Karla Eufgenschult!”
“I’m here to bring you back! I came, in the place of my father, to bring you back!”
At that time, if Karla had revealed her identity one second later…
She could have shared the fate of the corpse on the floor. His eyes filled with killing intent looking back at hers. That atmosphere. Everytime she recalled that very moment, shivers travelled down her spine.
At that moment, it didn’t matter that the corpse was Isaac’s mother Rene, or that Isaac was holding a knife.
That day, Karla saw the real face of a monster. In the face of a real monster, the whys aren’t important.
This is because she knew that the moment she brought up the question, she would be gobbled up by that monster. To preserve her life, it was best to follow the will of that monster, and as such, Karla quietly disposed of the body and brought Isaac back to the mansion.
Just like that, everything was buried in darkness.
That’s right. It had been so long that even she had forgotten about the darkness.
The pitiful figure of Isaac, subjected to the whims of the Duchess and beaten by Max, was only an exterior that hides his innate character.
The real Isaac… What the real face of Isaac looked like…
“Young Lady, may I enter?”
A cheerful voice awakened Karla from her thoughts. When she gave the maid permission to enter after calming her surprised heart, a familiar maid stood in front of Karla with a tray in hand.
…It wasn’t good timing.
This child came just as she was thinking about Isaac.
The accumulated anger and hatred towards Isaac changed course, aiming at the maid in front of her.
But it was ironic that just as she was about to burst in anger, the tense atmosphere relaxed and she sighed.
Karla fiddled with her sleeve and spoke to her in a tight voice.
“I asked for light. Did you do as I had asked?”
The hand that was putting down the glass paused. The maid answered shyly with a “Yes”, and then put the bucket filled with ice and the glass down.
The brown hair in a high ponytail fluttered lightly with every move. Above her white collar, the even paler nape of her neck, was shined upon by the candlelight and gave a dazzling yellow glow.
Karla was worried internally, as her pretty appearance was to Max’s taste… She never thought that the maid before her would steal Isaac’s heart.
‘That monster can actually like a person.’
When she first realized this fact, goosebumps rose all over her body. She couldn’t imagine that Isaac, who she thought would suppress the strong emotions he felt and live with a mask for his entire life, would be happy to wait for someone eagerly.
Looking at how the seemingly untamable monster has found its owner, she believed she would be able to control Isaac if she used the maid as her shield.
Unfortunately, Isaac seemed more inclined to reveal his true nature rather than being manipulated.
…Isn’t there any other way?
She gently shook the glass in circles. The amber liquid was glistening with a floating light. Looking down at the alcohol in hand, Karla lifted her gaze towards the maid standing next to the sofa.
The maid, who had not been dismissed, fidgeted and puzzlement could be seen from her smile.
“Is there anything you’d require, Young Lady?”
Although she pretended to be mature, her youthful face that has yet to lose her baby fat, exuded the unique freshness of a young girl. Her green pupils, which gave off the likeness of early spring, looked at Karla with a clear light.
Despite her pretty appearance, she was a child with a mysterious charm that was able to create a peaceful atmosphere naturally. Karla stared dazedly at her, pointed towards the seat opposite of hers and spoke.
“Dahlia. Shall we talk for a moment?”
After hesitating for a moment, Dahlia sat down on the sofa cautiously. After Karla took a sip of alcohol, she exhaled even more relaxedly.
It was time for conciliation. Karla gave a soft smile as she curved the corners of her eyes.
“I heard that you’re pretty young. How are you coping with the mansion’s housework?”
“Ah, yes. Although it is still unfamiliar, I’m trying my best.”
“That’s good. Mrs. Prada praised you for being smart and quick with your hands despite having little experience. The dress that you had chosen for me previously was highly praised, so it seems that you have a natural sense for such things.”
“…You praise me too much.”
“It isn’t overpraise. As a mistress, there is nothing more satisfying than having capable people by my side. It goes without saying that I am not uncomfortable, and I have high expectations of you.”
Dahlia was at a loss after being showered with compliments, so she bowed deeply.
It was inevitable for Dahlia to feel happy when the Young Lady that spoke to the head maid sternly with eye gestures praised herself even though she was lacking.
“Young Lady, I will work harder to meet your expectations.”
At Dahlia’s feelings that were easily read, the corners of Karla’s lips rose. She lowered her voice and shifted the topic in a persuasive tone.
“Does Isaac rely on you greatly?”
Dahlia shrugged her shoulders and examined Karla’s mood. She was worried that Karla might turn unfriendly again, but there were no such signs from the graceful smile on her face.
Dahlia stammered while choosing her words carefully.
“That’s… I’m embarrassed to tell you, but the other servants find it a little difficult to be with the Young Master. There aren’t any others of the same age other than me, and our hobbies are similar… So, I guess he feels comfortable around me.”
“You both share similar hobbies? What are your hobbies?”
“Reading books…Reading, yes. It’s reading.”
“I see. Isaac likes to read books, too. There are, indeed, many similarities with you. So you…”
With a smile on her face, Karla voiced her agreement, before speaking again after a brief silence.
“I mean Isaac. He’s not that bad, is he?”
Dahlia’s eyes twinkled at the favourable remark, raising the tone of her voice.
“Yes. He is a very kind and nice person.”
“Yeah. Quiet and kind. I advised you to stay away from him because everyone kept hushed about him. By the way… As you may know from the rumors, that kid is quite pitiful. Isn’t that right?”
Dahlia nodded her head silently as she looked down at the table. Green eyes full of compassion moved back and forth between the corner of the table and the floor.
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