“My Lady has beautiful eyes in the shade of the blue sea, so how about the dark blue velvet dress hanging over there?”
Dahlia lowered her head as she pointed towards an unexpected direction.
Instead of choosing amongst the dresses hung outside, she chose a drab dress hanging inside the dressing room. As the handmaiden Angie sneered and was about to give advice that was unpleasant to the ears, Karla moved her body first.
“There was such a dress?”
“A few days ago, you had several dresses refitted for banquets. That dress was rejected because the colour was too dark.”
“Ah… that’s right. I remember now.”
Karla, who was looking downwards at the dress, glanced at Dahlia with strange eyes. She looked up and down Dahlia with a gaze filled with curiosity and arrogance.
A dress that matched her blue eyes.
A mocking smile flashed past the corner of Karla’s lips. Karla waved her hand at the maids in dismissal while staring at Dahlia.
“I will settle the matter of choosing a dress, so all of you can leave. Angie, you too.”
“Me too? You’ll need my help if you intend to try on the dress.”
“I’m going to have the girl pick the dress, so don’t worry about it, and don’t come in until I call for you.”
At Karla’s resolute tone, Angie left her room with a dissatisfied look on her face, not even thinking of a rebuttal. All of the maids had gone out, leaving only Karla and Dahlia in the room.
Dahlia, who had been looking at the young lady with an absent minded look, raised her head at the next command.
“What are you doing? Without bringing a dress over.”
Karla took off her bathrobe and pointed her chin to her dressing room.
Dahlia, who was about to head to the dressing room, stared at Karla while frozen. Contrasting with her neatly twisted hair, there was nothing but pure white nakedness underneath Karla’s face.
With her nakedness exposed without hesitation, Dahlia hurriedly brought her the dress, unable to find a place to lay her eyes. Although the hands used to untie the ribbon and arrange the lace were clumsy, Karla observed her amusedly with her legs crossed.
‘Was her name Dahlia?’
‘I think I heard her full name, but I can’t seem to remember her last name. After all, surnames of the maids’ were good things, but…’
‘I heard she was the youngest amongst the maids, how old was she? Fifteen? Sixteen?’
Assessing her age, Karla looked down at the glimmering crown of her head.
Her dark brown hair, unlike the usual dull colour, caught her attention as it had a bright sheen under the sunlight. It was a mysterious shade, close to blonde, but too vague to be orange. Her eyebrows and eyelashes were lighter than her hair, and eyes reminiscent of sprouts in early spring, turned turquoise towards the pupil, glimmering with a variety of colors.
With her slender physique and color combinations, she was a child full of fresh beauty, reminiscent of a young seedling. Soft cheeks, and without much breasts…
Making eye contact, Karla let out a smile that wasn’t clear whether it was one of ridicule.
“I told you to watch out for Father and Max,” she said. “What if you get caught by someone more dangerous than them?”
Dahlia raised her head blankly, wondering what was the topic about. Then, Karla’s smile grew even deeper.
“Even if there aren’t any peers, what will happen if you become close with him? Mother will get very upset if she finds out. Do you want to be kicked out of the mansion?”
The moment she understood the full meaning of her words, ice-cold anxiety crept over Dahlia’s once ignorant face.
She went in and out of the left wing to clean Isaac’s room daily, but only a few maidservants knew about it. Besides, she never stayed in the room for a long time, and never showed any intimacy with him, so how did the Young Lady know of her relationship with the Young Master?
Was she trying to intimidate her? Unable to comprehend Karla’s intentions, Dahlia kept her mouth shut and only looked into her eyes. Contrary to the stiffened Dahlia, Karla rose from her seat with a perfect composure and raised her arms.
“Hold up the dress. Since I’m just going to try it on and take it off, I won’t be needing the undergarments.”
Dahlia, who was looking down at the floor, hurriedly got up from her position and helped her with the dress.
Karla, who stood still like a doll until Dahlia finished tying the knots, moved to stand in front of the mirror to adjust the clothes on her. Her blue eyes staring into the mirror narrowed.
“Do you think it suits me?”
“Oh, yes, yes. It fits you very well.”
“I thought it wouldn’t look good as the color of the dress was sombre, but it gives an appearance of maturity when I put it on… Yeah. Good. Instead of the tea party, I’ll wear this to a banquet next week. The men will like it because it’s a low-cut dress.”
With a derisive laugh aimed at herself, Karla caressed the valley of her breasts that was exposed outside her dress.
On the tips of her pale fingers, even whiter skin was strongly caressed. Although it was suggestive and sadistic, Dahlia cringed involuntarily at her disgraceful provocative attitude.
Startled by her name popping out of nowhere, Dahlia opened her mouth and faced Karla.
‘The Young Lady remembers my name?’ At the ensuing questions, her little joy was shattered instantly.
“Do you know why Isaac’s nickname is Ghost?”
The merry tone she spoke in, as if she was about to sing, was overly sweet to be the voice of a menacing person. Dahlia forced her dry lips to move, and answered.
“That’s… because he lives in the annex.”
“No. That sorrowful atmosphere is not because he’s living in that dreary annex.”
“Literally, that child kills and eats the person he favours.”
Dahlia’s eyes, which were reflected in the mirror, grew wide. Karla smiled with her eyes bent because she liked Dahlia’s surprised face.
“It’s half a joke, and half the truth. All those who were kind to Isaac die or disappear. Rather than the will of that child, these days, most of them vanished as per the will of Mother and Max.”
“I’ve warned you. Even so, if you want to be friendly with him, I won’t stop you, but be careful not to be noticed by other people. The mansion has been noisy because of Max’s stay, I hope that nothing else that makes my head hurt will occur.”
“Now, release it again.” Dahlia untied the knots with her clumsy hands.
‘What will she accomplish by saying this?’
‘Was she really saying that because she was worried about me?’
Karla’s sonorous voice cut through her muddled mind, saying, “That’s enough, bring me the black dress.”
Although her white hands swept the hem of her dress reflexively at her master’s command, her mind was occupied with thoughts of something other than the dress, her eyes filled with agitation.
The ghost that was mentioned a while ago, Isaac Eufgenschult.
A bird landed beside a window tilted its head and looked inside. Seeing that there was no one present, the relaxed bird jumped through the window noisily. The apricot-colored feet wandering around the white marble window frame bounced over the outstretched hand that was next to the window frame. The hand that was hanging down raised slightly at the odd sensation, before falling back onto the marble again.
“What will happen if you, who aren’t on your guard, get caught like this?”
Contrary to his blunt tone, there was warmth in the gaze looking down at the bird. Isaac, who moved his eyes to watch the bird, was debating whether to let it go or leave it alone, and chose the latter.
The little bird, who was moving around in the palm of his hand, liked the warmth, so it
climbed up to the pants and buried itself in the area where the clothes were folded. At that cute gesture, the corners of Isaac’s lips moved upward.
‘What kind of bird is this? I think I’ve seen it somewhere before.’
Isaac, who was carefully observing the bird, soon knew the identity of it. Those soft-looking dark brown feathers reminded him of the girl with dark brown hair wandering around him these days.
The fine hair that shone golden underneath the shining sun. Her skinny body, that moved busily back and forth while hugging a pile of blankets larger than her frame, was overflowing with intense vitality that did not match her mature face.
When she is still, she doesn’t look any different from a ceramic doll, but when she is working, she keeps the surroundings noisy with all sorts of emotions and vitality. The duality in appearance kept attracting his attention towards the unusual girl.
….. She is the only girl who treats him, whom everyone turns away from, without apprehension.
He had no idea if she’s fearless or if she’s just simple.
Since he was a child, he was accustomed to being alone, and he did not have a particularly deep interest in Dahlia from the start. He was intrigued by the way she didn’t shy away from him, so he instructed her to visit frequently, but even though he gave such orders, he thought that his interest in her wouldn’t last long.
But ironically, Isaac takes delight in the afternoon hour when Dahlia comes over.
A clear voice with a faint southern accent and a laughter that that dazzles the opposite sex as it tickles the ear with petals.
As her voice full of favour murmured her own story and the happenings around her, emotions that even Isaac herself had not been aware of popped up from the edge of his chest, astonishing him.
Although he acknowledged early on that Dahlia was an attractive person, he never expected that she had enough charm to draw something out of him. He had to admit that the times spent with her were pleasant without any sense of dread.
It’s both enviable and mystifying, as if he likes it, but at the same time he dislikes it.
Anxiousness and joy, these contrasting emotions mixed together and complicated his mind. But recently, even the chaos has been placated. It was much more enjoyable than he expected to get to know the parts of himself that he did not know before.
Underneath the halfway lowered eyelids, the drowsy-looking eyes looked downwards again. The bird’s head swaying back and forth was adorably cute. The soft golden feathers resembled Dahlia, so cute and lovely…
It looked similar to Dahlia Beroch.
Long and straight fingers approached the bird at a very slow speed. A long shadow fell upon its small head.
As the smile on his face disappeared, only black eyes were staring at the bird with a strange vigour.
‘How about holding onto it like this? It would never fly away…’
It wouldn’t run away, it wouldn’t disappear. If he held it tightly, like this.
“…It might die.”
Isaac, who spoke to himself with a gloomy face, closed his mouth again and continued to think.
No, that’s not it.
‘Wouldn’t it be alright if I controlled my strength just to the point where it wouldn’t die?’
‘Cause I’m no longer a child. Now that I am rational and sensible, I can control my power well.’
That’s why. So…
‘…Now, wouldn’t it be alright to have someone I’m fond of close to me?’