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As the adult sergals hint at, Little Black-Ears is revealed to be not originally from this group of Sieg tribe children. The adults noticed that Little Black-Ears had better language skills than the other children, and even admitted that they could “speak like us adults”, evidence of having a civilized demeanor. This is important because in Shigu, a person is only recognized as an adult if they are deemed to be civilized, which includes being adept at verbal communication. It was then suggested that Little Black-Ears may come from a civilized group and had become lost or orphaned, which would explain why Little Black-Ears is now in a primitive Sieg tribe.
However, despite being recognized for their verbal skill and civilized origins, a harsh fact was laid bare: Little Black-Ears had already spent too much time in the Sieg tribe, partaking in an infectious diet of black Talyxians and being dubbed a “bug-eater”. Resigned to do nothing more than pity the lost child, the adults turn away and depart.
With Little Black-Ears’ hopes of salvation shattered, they drop to the ground and fall into despair. Ever since they became separated and joined the Mole-Digger Tribe, they dreamed of finding a group of adults that would rescue them and the rest of their tribemates from a primitive lifestyle, and all of the suffering and horrors that came with it. Finally, Little Black-Ears had found what they were seeking, only to be so coldly denied.
Little Chatter then reveals something they had been keeping to themselves — that Little Black-Ears had already lost half their humanity quite some time ago. But because they knew this fact would cause so much pain, Little Chatter had decided to keep it a secret. However, they knew they couldn’t remain quiet any longer, and explained that while their humanity may be tainted, they still hold onto hope that they will survive, adapt, and one day no longer have to live in fear. And even if they don’t live long enough to see their wishes realized, they have vowed to pass on their memories and pave the way forward.
If you would like to learn more about Little Black-Ears and Sieg culture, please take a look at this article on Kiki’s Patreon to see her creator’s insights on this topic.