This is an extra chapter that is from Mishulli’s POV. It is written in the third person and has a very different feel to the main series.
The eyes were smiling, eyelids just slightly closed, the brows were furrowed just to the point where they didn’t look angry. The eyes that looked at me like this, they seemed a little dark.
Everyone I had ever met had looked at me with such eyes.
A lone girl was sitting motionless in the swaying carriage. She was a young girl of three, with golden hair that looked like bundles of the finest golden threads and the clearest blue eyes.
The carriage that bore this young girl from the royal palace moved along smoothly. There was nothing particularly wrong with the driving, but that was only from the perspective of an adult who was accustomed to carriages. If you thought about it, a three-year-old would surely get overly excited and rowdy inside of a moving horse-drawn carriage. Either that or they would become fussy at the environment. After a while, they may finally become tired and fall asleep. That was normal.
However, this girl barely moved from the position that she first sat. She just stayed very still.
Her eyes that resembled glass marbles were open and unmoving, looking quietly ahead. The overall effect was of a realistic doll. But this motionless girl did not so much seem as if she were calm, but as if all of her life force had been sapped from her.
Duke Noir sat on the opposite side of the carriage, and he let out a soft sigh so that she would not notice.
This may have been the result of political conveniences and expectations, but this girl was to be his daughter from now on. He had attempted to talk to her several time when coming to pick her up, but aside from the one glance she gave him on their first meeting, she had not reacted to him at all. Eventually, Duke Noir could not stand the silence and had succumbed.
This child who had been born from the now deceased sister of the King. The only thing that this young girl had ever been given was a name and a small hidden room in the depths of the palace.
She was not even given a family name to confirm her roots. And considering she had been raised in a secret environment, hidden from the eyes of anyone, it was not surprising that she had become such a silent girl. Duke Noir thought this, but then immediately regretted his near acceptance of the present. He once again looked at the girl who would become his daughter.
Their gazes should have been perfectly aligned, and yet Duke Noir was not even sure that her eyes were registering him.
Duke Noir was most struck by those lifeless eyes that seemed to stare into nothing. Once again, his heart was overwhelmed with resignation.
Well, she was only three. Perhaps she just needed some time.
Thinking this, he sighed once again and turned his gaze towards the small window and the outside.
His heart grew even heavier when he started to wonder how his daughter, who had grown into such a tomboy, would react to this doll-like girl.
As if to remove even a little of that anxiety, Duke Noir sighed once again.
Mishuli had heard this third sigh.
Even if she didn’t have the vocabulary to express that it meant resignation, she understood the sentiment. Even with this knowledge, she did not feel anything in her pushing her to be involved with the adult in front of her.
But she would remember his eyes when they first met.
“From now on, you are to be Mishuli Noir.”
It was the kindest and warmest set of words that Mishuli had ever heard. Even at three-years-old, Mishuli had an almost instinctive ability to determine that this man who had come to take her away was a nice person.
Mishuli had been filled with hope at hearing those warm words until she looked at him and felt tremendous disappointment.
“Now, come with me. We are going to be family from now on.”
The smile that was on Duke Noir’s face as he stretched out his hand was not of pure kindness alone.
Amidst that kind smile with the corners of the mouth raised, the smiling eyes, eyelids just slightly closed, the brows were furrowed just to the point where he didn’t look angry. The eyes that looked at her like this, the color seemed just a little dark.
That color, even if it was part of a gentle smile, it was something that Mishuli was very sensitive to.
It was the same eye color that every person that Mishuli had ever met in her short life had.
She sensed this eye color, “This Poor Child,” and she did not take his hand.
Mishuli quietly inspected the adult in front of her with clear and emotionless eyes.
She felt two main emotions coming from him as he looked away from her and to the outside. Resignation and eagerness. She could not analyze just why he was feeling those things. But it was because she had not experienced enough to allow her to imagine.
But even then, a mere three-year-old child had accurately read the emotions of an adult.
This ability to observe arose as she was raised.
“…That poor child.”
Even Mishuli did not know when she had first heard those words. It was because she had been hearing it, as if in a whisper, even before she was self-conscious.
Mishuli had been raised deep inside of the royal palace, as if in hiding. And so there were only a few people that Mishuli had any interaction with. When Mishuli began to walk, the only places she was allowed to go, was her own small room and a little garden that was connected to it. The garden had been surrounded by thick trees, blocking the view to outsiders, but also acting as a barrier to keep Mishuli inside.
The people that Mishuli would see daily was one woman who was both nanny and wet nurse. There was also one knight who stood guard in front of Mishuli’s door. That was all.
It was her wet nurse who would constantly repeat, ‘you poor child’ as if by habit. There was no malice in it. She felt pity and compassion from the bottom of her heart. It seemed likely that she later realized that this would have a negative impact on the child’s education. For at some point, she had stopped saying it completely.
But Mishuli remembered it perfectly.
She remembered the whispered words and the expressions of her wet nurse.
The eyes were smiling but slightly closed, the brows were furrowed just enough to not look angry. The eyes that looked at her like that looked a little dark.
“…You poor child.”
The color of pity and sympathy, ‘You poor child.’ The meaning of the words stayed at the bottom of Mishuli’s heart and prevented her from feeling attached to her wet nurse. But Mishuli had a hope that this color would one day fade. That one day the person who raised her would smile with pure joy, and accept her wholly. She had held such a vague dream.
And so Mishuli had continued to look into her eyes every day, searching for that change of color. What did her nurse feel besides this one color, ‘you poor child’? She tried her hardest to detect some other emotion for her.
But ultimately, from the time she was a baby until she was three-years-old, that color had never left the eyes of her wet nurse.
“Now, here we are. The girl who will be your older sister is waiting inside.”
Mishuli made no response when she was shown towards the door.
She would walk if prompted, she would follow if led. She was obedient to orders, but she never reacted to anything spontaneously. She was very much like a moving doll, and quite unsettling.
Duke Noir had a mixed expression but appeared to finally give up. He looked away from Mishuli and called from behind the door.
“Christina, we’re coming in.”
“Please do, father.”
As soon as the answer came, a servant who had been standing to the side opened the door. Mishuli followed as Duke Noir entered the room.
As Mishuli entered, her eyes were clear, her expression was hard and unmoving like a doll’s. There was a feeling similar to defeat within her chest.
Would she meet yet another person who viewed her as ‘a poor child’?
Mishuli had no idea that this meeting would derail her fate. And so she had absolutely no expectations about seeing this girl who would become her older sister.