Well, he said there’s no one here besides the crown prince.
As her eyes gradually adapted to the darkness, Eloise started to see her surroundings more clearly and later realized what type of room she were brought into.
The room was flowing with toys. The frightful and unpleasant gaze she felt a while ago came from the eyes of the dolls on the wall.
Starting from the toys that were crafted like animals, to dolls shaped similar to babies, and sized of an adult… Eloise held her breath when she caught sight of the wall brimming with the doll’s display case.
They were the type of dolls she would typically enjoy; however, she feels nothing but fear in this situation. She even sensed that the doll’s eyes were moving—following her as she moves.
Eloise passed on shelves full of dolls and went deeper. Blinking—adjusting to her path that continues on getting darker the farther she goes in.
She hurriedly took a step back, startled at the sight of something moving in the dark.
Squeak, squeak. The sound of friction between woods resounded strangely throughout the room. It wasn’t until she looked closely that she figured out what it was.
A toy horse.
A toy horse made from solid wood and colorful materials was swaying back and forth. It appears to be even more bizarre that it moves alone without a person sitting atop it.
Eloise, on the verge of crying, looks back at the tightly shut door. She is well aware that regardless of how much she knocks on it, it would stay firmly closed.
Immediately after realizing the presence of the toy horse, she began to take notice of the other things inside. The room was overflowing with various types of toys, not just dolls.
Eloise looked up in fright—alarmed at the new sound resonating in the air.
She could see a shaking toy mobile hanging from the ceiling. While the curtains dance at the breeze that came through the slightly ajar window.
In addition to the dolls she glimpsed earlier, there were many more dolls placed throughout the corners of the room; pieces of large and small wooden puzzles were scattered everywhere.
There was also a carousel. It was so elaborately crafted that it would be a shame to call it just a toy.
This spacious room was bursting with toys that would appeal to any child.
However, nothing really caught the eye of a young girl who came to a strange place and was seized with fear.
All she could do was fumble forward, relying on a tiny stream of light penetrating the room. How far had she walked?
What she had kicked was a decapitated doll. To be precise, a stuffed toy whose neck was torn off and all the cotton inside is sticking out. It was quite shocking to see white cotton scattered around like a piece of cloud.
Eloise avoided the doll and took a step back. Her body began to shrink, and her legs trembled more and more.
She stopped in front of the toy horse. The horse was still rocking back and forth slowly. Looking closely, she realized that the horse was in pretty good shape for a mere toy.
It seemed that a skilled craftsman cut and assembled the horse and then decorated it delicately. Its forehead was also adorned with a set of longhorns.
A small crown was placed on the horse’s head. Even from Eloise’s young eye, it was evident that the jewels were all made out of real gems, not just any cheap materials.
Even the reins to the horse’s saddle, embellished with jewels of beautiful colors, were shining brightly.
Eloise stretched out her hand towards it without realizing, seemingly possessed. It was at that moment when her fingertips touched the head of the wooden horse.
All of a sudden, the horse tilted towards her.
Surprised, she stepped back and fell to the floor. The heavily tilted wooden horse’s snout groaned right in front of her eyes, then backed away again.
As soon as she tried to get up on the ground, she caught something in her hand. Eloise threw it in a panic.
What she threw away was a small but elaborately crafted music box. A sound began to resonate from it due to being heavily thrown to the floor. Eloise was even more alarmed when the lullaby used to put babies to sleep echoed in the gloomy playroom.
Meanwhile, the horse continued to move back and forth. Each time the horse leaned, the horns on its forehead poked her and then moved away repeatedly.
While watching the process several times, Eloise’s screams gradually subsided.
However, her fear of the horse, which suddenly started moving in the dark, only grew more prominent. Obviously, it was just the tip of her fingertips. But why did it move that much?
As she looked around with anxious eyes, her gaze landed on a long stretch of legs under the wooden horse.
At first, she thought it was a doll, but it was clearly a human leg—a leg that resembles a boy’s limbs. Could it be the owner of this room?
Perhaps he felt Eloise’s gaze, the owner of those legs once again tapped the toy horse’s leg. Then, the quieting move of the horse began to resume its speed.
Eloise, who recognized the presence of who was moving the horse, did not feel as frightened as before but is now frightened for a different reason.
However, all exits were firmly sealed.
She slowly lifted her head and found the owner of those legs. A boy that was buried in what she thought was a pile of toys.
Eloise blink. She tried to look at him from different angles. But all she saw was a face looking like a doll.
A very beautiful doll buried in a pile of toys. A doll, borne seemingly under the hands of an artisan, was similar to that elaborate toy horse.
A silvery-gold hair, neatly closed eyes, and face with a fine line as if it were drawn made her think like that.
Until it opened its eyes and looked directly at her.
Although the colors were slightly different, the dark blue eyes looked exactly like the empress’s eyes, who had been watching her earlier, were now looking at Eloise. At those eyes, her breathing stopped, and her body stiffened. She stood frozen in her place.
Eloise’s greeting barely fell through due to the numbness of her mouth. The greeting she learned a while ago was running clear in her head, yet she could scarcely speak.
“Your highness, the Crown Prince.”
She called carefully, but the Crown Prince showed no reaction. He just looked at her without moving as if she was just one of the dolls.
When she looked closely, there was a rabbit-shaped stuffed toy in his arms. It was too foreign for a boy of his age to hold. Conscious of having her eyes fixed on it, he held the doll in his arms tighter.
The Prince moved his feet and touched the horse again. Eloise, seeing the horse lurching back and forth, spoke to him once more.
Whether he answered or not, she had to do her part.
“I’m here as your playmate….”
“My name is Eloise. From today on, I am your highness’s play maid.”
The crown prince moved his head a little and slowly blinked. He wasn’t even like a human being. He was just like a doll made to close and open its eyes.
If she had to pick the most toy-like thing within this room, it wasn’t the wooden horse, a doll, or a toy mobile, but the Crown Prince.
“What do you like? I’ll play with you.”
She remembered the children that she used to play with at the orphanage who was younger than her and fortunately followed her well.
Because Mrs. Fizz sold her at a high price. Eloise is determined to do everything she can and make herself useful to the person who bought her.