His dream vision gradually turned cloudy.
Karla entered the dirty room and found Isaac.
As Isaac, who was crouched in the corner, brandished his knife, a hazy light gradually appeared in his vision.
His first despair ended.
The end of his dreams has always descended unexpectedly. White light occupied his entire field of vision, and the five senses that were sleeping began to stir. At the faint burnt scent that brushed past his nose, Isaac felt relieved and slowly raised his eyelids.
He raised a hand and pressed it against his forehead, which was drenched in cold sweat.
His hands were colder than his ice-cold forehead.
The pajamas that clinged to his body felt cumbersome. As he got up to throw off his clothes, the item in his pocket fell under the bed with a clatter. Not knowing what it was, Isaac looked down and recognised the object, before hurriedly fumbled on the floor.
He reached around and touched a round metal tub of ointment. The cold and hard surface instantly calmed his trembling heart.
‘I must be careful. I cannot lose this.’
With a brief sigh, his chilly body started to become warm.
The metal tub, which was cool, became heated from his body temperature. Afraid of losing it again, he held the tub tightly. Isaac’s face, which was looking down at his hand, was filled with sadness and guilt.
‘I will cherish it until the day I die, because it’s a gift that she gave me.’
Because it’s… a treasure that was given by Dahlia.
The name that flowed out like a moan hovered in the air before quietly disappearing into the light of dawn. Within his distorted eyes, liquid that was unclear whether it was due to longing or relief formed.
It has ended. It’s already over.
Renee’s house has long been a thing of the past, and the dream has come to an end. The b*****d that killed his own mother no longer exists.
The one who existed in reality was the Isaac sitting on the bed now.
“Because I like the Young Master.”
He is worth liking.
“A kind-hearted child deserved to be happy.”
‘I deserve to be happy.’
“…Kind-hearted child. I am a kind child.”
He chanted those words like he was trying to brainwash himself, but his feelings of bitterness were still present. His trembling fingertips brushed past the sweat-soaked pajamas, increasing his displeasure.
Despite that, Isaac hugged his calves and curled up into a ball.
His body that had grown big could not crouch into the size he took up when he was younger. He buried his face on his knees as he could not get used to the trembling vision.
Isaac closed his eyes and he kept repeating the resonant voice of the person that saved him in his mind .
“Young Master, did you sleep well? The weather is nice today.”
The darkness of dawn receded, and warm sunlight illuminated his mind.
‘Look at this, Young Master. It’s a caterpillar from the Northern white butterfly. As it feels soft to the touch like high-quality silk, it’s also called a satin insect.”
The hem of the drenched clothes that clung to his body turned into silk and softly brushed against his skin.
‘Is the name of that bird called Starling? For some reason, I thought that the Young Master would know.’
The heavy silence disappeared and the living chirping of birds echoed in his ears.
‘Young Master, Young Master, Young Master…’
Her voice was like a song, quietly pushing away the helplessness that weighed down on his entire body.
Did she know? Those meaningless words are piled up one after another, colouring Isaac’s white blankness with enchanting colors?
It made him who was nothing, think of himself as someone that was worthy of living.
“If you feel really tired, don’t hold back. Let me know, okay?”
Just as he was about to say Dahlia’s name unconsciously, Isaac raised his head all of a sudden and glanced about his surroundings quickly.
In the room where the sunlight, silk, and Starlings was devoid of, only the chilly air of dawn was present.
…All of those were illusions brought about by her voice.
As Isaac stared blankly into the air, he gave a hollow laugh before falling back onto the bed.
This was another reality.
‘If I call her name…’
‘If I called her name, and she did not appear before me…’
… Even though he knows that she wouldn’t appear, he will still collapse out of disappointment. She was neither a fairy nor an angel. While she was sleeping peacefully in the servant’s dormitories, he would be crying in self-mockery, wondering why she wouldn’t come.
A madman, hungry for affection, unable to discern the difference between his dreams and reality, and was incapable of learning.
That was Isaac.
After he acknowledged his lacking self, familiar serenity came rushing in. Isaac stared at the ceiling with a lighter heart.
“…Dahlia likes me.”
It was not a dream, neither was it a hallucination, but the truth.
“I am a kind-hearted boy.”
This was also a truth that she has said.
The frown on his forehead eased, and a languid smile appeared on the stiffened corner of his lips.
As his mood gradually improved, Isaac added a small, tiny wish in the place of another truth.
“I hope that she will like me more…”
‘I hope you will continue to like me, so that I can continue to live.’
Those last words were so embarrassing that he couldn’t speak them aloud.
With a faint smile on his face, Isaac buried himself deeper within his blanket. The feeling of the sweat-soaked blanket, which was always accompanied with discomfort, didn’t feel that bad today.
Half a month has already passed since the vacation. They were entering the beginning of February, and the sound of spring cleaning resonated throughout the mansion.
She found it strange that all the maids, other than the senior maids, were given a vacation. She soon knew that the head maid, Mrs Prada, wasn’t a person that handled the servants randomly.
As soon as February came, the head maid continued to give the servants work, as if the previous vacation was meant to replenish their stamina for this spring cleaning.
“Ugh. How many chandeliers alone are there, d*mn it! We have been cleaning the chandeliers for the past 5 days already.”
Edina frowned, before placing the crystal that she was holding into the lye.
The moment the cloudy and dusty crystal came out of the water, it glimmered with a bright light, revealing its true form. Dahlia, who waited next to her with a dry towel, carefully hung the crystal onto the frame of the chandelier to prevent scratches on the crystal.
“But it’s still better than cleaning the furniture or the fireplace. Aren’t chandeliers pretty?”
“Dahlia… Do you think this is pretty? The fireplace can be cleaned quickly with a thorough wash, but this takes the entire day…my hands are about to rot.”
The other maids nodded their heads and agreed with Edina’s words.
“Looking at these twinkling things reminds me of Young Lady Karla’s jewelry box. It’s amazing that there was such a difference between precious stones.”
“Hey. Can those precious jewels be compared to these crystals?”
“If I’m going to clean it anyway, I want to clean some of those. All the clothes and accessories are managed by the ladies-in-waiting, right? It seems like this time they bought a lot of jewels when they were buying dresses.”
“Yeah, I saw it too. They cleaned up the studio beside the dressing room and made it larger. It seems to be even bigger than the Madam’s dressing room.”
Dahlia, who had been listening to the maids’ chatter, tilted her head as she recalled the wide and spacious dressing room.
“Is there a need to enlarge the spacious dressing room even further? Did noblewomen buy so many clothes originally?”
“There were quite a number of dresses originally, but these days, a proposal comes every one or two days. In order to look good in front of men, they’d buy this and that.”
Edina took a deep breath and continued speaking.
“What was the use of dressing up like that? In a tea party that I was serving not too long ago, I secretly heard that the Madam seemed to be considering the Young Lord of the Notte Marquisate for the Young Lady.”
“Notte… Notte? It can’t be that piggish Young Lord?”
“Oh my goodness, that Young Lord?”
“I heard that he was quite successful in the central region, could it be that the Madam means for a match between that Young Lord and the Young Lady? That’ll be such a waste for the Young Lady!”
“Oh my… How terrible.”
The three maids began taking turns to speak nastily about the Young Lord of Notte. Dahlia, who had never seen that Young Lord, asked a question with a face of puzzlement.
“Is he that fat?”
At Dahlia’s question, the maids nodded with frowns on their faces.
“Have you not seen him before? His stomach is so big and he has two chins. One thigh of his must be thicker than two of Dahlia’s thighs combined.”
“Hey, isn’t that absurd.”
The maids that faced Dahlia’s dismissal of their words as an exaggeration, used loud voices to proclaim their innocence that the words they spoke of were the truth towards Edina. Edina turned around and checked the surroundings for the presence of others, before using a low voice to whisper secretively.
“Aside from being fat, rumors say that he is also a p*rvert. He picked the young maids of the mansion only and committed strange acts.”
“What? To the maids?”
“Yeah, I’ve heard about it too. Apparently, two of the maids that were kicked out were because they were pregnant.”
“Oh my gosh. Is that true?”
“Yeah. And that’s not all. It was said that he fed poisonous herbs to the pregnant maids because he was afraid that they would come back after giving birth to an illegitimate child.”
The three maids clicked their tongues in unison, saying, “Oh my God” at the same time.
Edina, who had been swearing at Young Lord Notte for quite a while, shook off the water from the crystal and spoke in a bitter tone.
“Would that house be the only one? In the eyes of aristocrats, people like us were no different from dogs and cats that were passing by. Why, even in this mansion, the Little Duke also has bad hand habits. Not too long ago, because of the Little Duke, Lady Oubric, who was a lady-in-waiting with two other maids who quit, also…”
It was a name that she seemed to have heard somewhere. When she asked who Oubric was while looking at their faces, the other maids looked at each other and kept their mouths shut.
Feeling the strange atmosphere, Dahlia tapped on Edina’s arm. As such, Edina, who was rolling her eyes, reluctantly opened her mouth.
“There was a lady-in-waiting named Maya Oubric, who used to serve the Madam. She was the daughter of Viscount Oubric, and was quite the beauty. While her personality wasn’t that great, in any case, she had a pretty face. The Little Duke must have acted a little annoying to her.”
Maya Oubric, the Little Duke.
At that combination, Dahlia became lost in thought. Edina chose her words carefully in the midst of a quiet atmosphere, before muttering in a lower voice.
“However, that lady-in-waiting had an accident in the Northern forest around this time last year.”
“The Northern Forest… was it where the annex was located?”
“Yes, due to that, the Young Master was said to be the mastermind behind that incident, and the mansion became quite noisy for quite a while. The reason for that is, there is a cliff if you travel up the path leading to the annex a little further. The lady-in-waiting was found dead there…”
A low voice made Edina gasp and stop speaking.
After realizing the owner of that voice, all the maids looked towards the door with faces of contemplation.
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