With the money gained from selling her, the children in the orphanage were able to sleep comfortably with a happy stomach, so she must work hard to pay its price. Because if she failed…
“If you don’t like it, we’ll find another kid. There are still plenty of children of this age.”
Mrs. Fizz spoke like she was only replacing small parts of a broken clock.
If Eloise failed to do her job correctly and goes back to the orphanage.
She may have to return their money back. If that happens, she will never have a chance to be at ease in the orphanage. And she didn’t want that.
So she talked to him even more desperately. Getting no response, she got up from her position and gathered toys that were scattered all over the place.
She started to build houses by stacking blocks made of wood one by one. Her hands were sweaty, and she often dropped the wooden blocks. Still, she manages to create the walls, and the roof was raised to build the plausible shape of a house.
It wasn’t too difficult since the children often ask her to make it before. It was a dollhouse that fell down numerous times but finally took its form. After piling up the last roof, Eloise turned to the Crown Prince.
He was still motionless, like a broken doll. All he did was swipe his feet and tap the toy horse from time to time.
When she met those eyes that were as lifeless as a doll’s eyes, goosebumps grew on Eloise’s arms.
‘They said he couldn’t speak.’
The count told her some precautions while holding her.
He told her that the Crown Prince has a disability to speak, so she should not force him to answer.
He also said it would be best for her not to go against his mood because he might suddenly get violent.
But she has never heard of why he couldn’t talk. She didn’t even think about asking.
Eloise recalled the eyes of the Empress, who was openly scattering her. At first glance, she pretended to be benevolent, but those eyes are the types that should never be trusted.
‘It’s something you shouldn’t ask.’
She came to that conclusion.
“Now, look. I’ll build another house next to it.”
Maybe because she was nervous, she finds it harder to make a house today. When she played with the children at the orphanage, it was possible to build it up a few times and fast.
Her hands were trembling, and the block kept falling apart, and it repeatedly collapsed before she could shape it properly.
She gripped her trembling hand and rubbed it. When she turned around, she saw the Crown Prince looking at her.
Eloise’s eyes sparkled with joy when the crown prince finally showed a response. Even with that bit of reaction, her eyes instantly stop shedding tears.
“Doll….. I’ll bring a doll.”
She has to do something. She should do something to please that broken doll-like prince. Only then can she live. She repeated it over and over again like a mantra until it was engraved on her like an instinct.
Eloise stood up in haste.
She heard the sound of the dollhouse she’s been building up with great effort, crumbling. Her eyes were swallowed by despair as she stares at the blocks scattered all over the floor.
It’s okay. We can pile it up again. She hurriedly picks up the blocks again when suddenly, her eyes made eye contact with the Crown Prince.
The Crown Prince just rolled his eyes—staring at the frantic Eloise working messily. His eyes kept on moving while his body remained still, coating the entire room in a strange atmosphere. Emotionless eyes with a cold expression similar to a beautiful doll.
Is he really a human?
For a moment, such a question popped into Eloise’s head.
Perhaps he isn’t a real person. She remembered that terrifying fairy tale book that the children from the orphanage read.
“Be careful when you enter the toy room because you might encounter a dreadful being pretending to be a toy.”
The children, immersed in the story she was telling while covered in blankets, shouted and screamed.
The hand that was frantically picking up the blocks stopped. As Eloise walked on her knees and shifted her body to the side, blue eyes followed her, and when she bit her body back, those eyes moved again.
Her mouth was burning, and she was struggling to breathe. It was as if she had already been captivated by the spell he had placed on his gaze.
Eloise felt like her whole body was frozen when she met his eyes that were gleaming brightly amidst the darkness. Is that boy a prince or a well-made doll? If not, then…..
Eloise abruptly stood up—supporting her trembling legs. The blocks gathered in her apron poured like a sprinkle of rainwater, spreading the noise in the quiet corners of the room.
The Crown Prince looked at the blocks that had fallen to the floor for a moment and then turned his gaze back to Eloise again. She slowly took a step back while her eyes remained lock—staring back to the crown prince.
One step, two steps. Still, the Crown Prince’s eyes were fixed on her. Beautiful, emotionless eyes. Eloise turned around—not wasting any seconds and ran towards the closed door.
However, in her situation, running was futile. Her legs were all wobbly, so it was slower than walking fast. Also, as if there were chains attached to her ankles, there was no strength left in her legs. It was around this time that…
A dark shadow fell over her small body.
Eloise screamed in shock at the strong force that grabbed her ankles. As soon as she turned around, the crown prince, who had crawled to the floor, reached out his hand and clutched her slender ankle.
Her body was pushed down and trapped under the crown prince. Although they were at the same age, the difference in strength was evident. Her whole body was bound by the hand that grabbed and pulled her suddenly.
Losing her strength and the resistance to rebel, Eloise looked up blankly. His gaze, which had withered like a broken toy a while ago, had changed a little.
The Crown Prince’s eyes were fluttering down at Eloise as if he had seen something unusual. Both of her wrists caught by him were sore and painful, as if they were being cut off, but she couldn’t even beg to release them.
The crown prince, who had been looking down from above for a long time, slowly leaned forward.
“Uh… ah, uh…”
Eloise shut her eyes tightly as their distance keeps on getting closer, scared that he’s going to swallow her with just one bite… picturing that he would reveal his teeth at once and bite her flesh right away.
“Let go, let go!”
The surging fear crumbled her senses and mind while she continued to scream to death—forgetting to breathe.
Even though Eloise knew that her opponent was the Crown Prince and that she had been sacrificed as a toy, she could not stop. When the fear that had been suppressed the whole time reared its head, she could not control it any longer.
It was that moment when her arms, which had been struggling wildly, were released.
The loud sound of slap that was clearly audible even in the darkroom came from none other than Eloise’s palms.
With her hand raised, she stiffened. It was because she realized so clearly what she felt on her palm and what she had done.
“Uh … uh uh.”
When she opened her tightly closed eyes, she instantly met the crown prince’s blue eyes, which were burning with a dangerous glow. As well as the side of his cheek, which was now tainted with a bright red color.
But no one was more surprised than Eloise. As soon as she realized what her hands had done, she was terrified and couldn’t even breathe properly.
‘He’s gonna kill me.’
Eloise’s head was filled with only one thought. He’ll kill me.
A short scream echoed through the playroom full of toys.
CHAPTER 2: PLAY MAID
The sound of the pink silk dress brushing through the bushes echoed through the rose garden.
After the rain, a breeze of fresh air blew gently in the land full of roses, and Eloise was on her way to the middle of it—breathing in the wind.
The ribbon on her braided hair fluttered every time she moved—drawing attention to anyone she passed by, and the white neckline exposed beneath it was as dazzling as a drop of flower even if it was unadorned with any jewelry.
Eloise held a small basket and a scissor in her hand.
She had just come out to pick flowers to decorate the Crown Prince’s bedroom and office.
Originally, she used to receive flowers every day from the private greenhouse of the Imperial Palace, but today it rained in the early morning. However, her mind quickly changes when she saw the rain disappearing and the blue sky turning bright again.
As she hurriedly grabbed her basket and scissors and headed out to the garden, the enticing scent of roses filled with rainwater was stretching out in all directions—wrapping her senses with the alluring fragrance.
There were still roses wrapped with morning dew. A smile appeared on her lips at the thought that if she harvested it before the sun rose, she could bring it to the Crown Prince’s drawing-room still coated with dew.
Regardless of the dress getting wet, Eloise delightfully began to scour the flowers.