That man is too suspicious.
However you look at it, he’s too suspicious.
Lydia was standing in the kitchen of her house and couldn’t contain the bubbling irritation building up in herself as she was waiting for her baking biscuits to be done.
She had the feeling that her suspicion about Edgar might actually be true after she heard Nico's story.
According to Nico, Edgar had met the baron daughter, Lady Doris Worpole on the day she disappeared. Even if he had only invited her onto his carriage, Mrs. Marl wouldn’t have known that and most likely Edgar didn’t let her know.
“Oh, no, did he kidnap her?”
He could have put dangerous stories about the fogman into her head, scaring her, and made it seem like a fairy was involved and took her away.
Even if he was a former criminal…., but as she thought that, she was still confused.
“But, then, for what purpose?”
“Of course to sell her off, since young, pretty girls would make good money.”
Nico magically appeared on top of the kitchen counter. He had one of the secret scotch bottles that was hidden by her father.
“Money, huh, well, I don’t think it would be that.”
He was sure to have plenty of it and as an current Earl residing in England, it would be too much of a risk for him to dirty his precious hands in crimes again to go after money.
At the present time, there should be no reason for him to cross such a dangerous bridge.
But there were many peculiar points.
“But, well, he would frequently disguise himself to go to the harbor and the downtown areas. That smells like when a criminal is planning to do something. It also seems like he’s been going in-and-out of the expensive casinos and it seemed too suspicious for him to be just a simple gamble-lover. I’m sure he’s trying to focus people’s attention away from himself by having you search for the where-abouts of that baron daughter.”
Lydia swipted the scotch bin away from Nico’s paw as he was about to open it.
“Now, don’t go stealing away Father’s delights.”
Nico tutted in frustration and threw a piece of paper in Lydia’s direction.
“Then, look at this. I found it in his room.”
She picked it up and saw that it was a cut-out from the tabloid.
“[The children who disappeared into the London fog…. Could this be the work of a white-slave trade organization or some sort of secret underground operation?]”
The story was written about a boy who was rescued by a Briton in Brazil who claimed to have been kidnapped from London and sold off to a farm. On the ship he was put on, there apparently were many other boys and girls who had been through the same experience.
“[From the corners of London, there are endless number of disappearing children. It has come to the point where people are starting to believe the rumors that they were kidnapped by the imaginary “fogman” and in most of the cases, the location of the missing children are never found.]”
It ended there.
“He had a collection of other clippings from similar articles. There’s no mistake that he’s planning on doing something bad. How you were nearly kidnapped could be somehow related to this .”
“……Are you trying to say that Edgar was behind that? The attacker was killed by Raven.”
“Hmm, well, I’m not sure, but I still think it’s dangerous to be around that man. Lydia, why don’t we hurry up and return to Scotland? Well, it may not be so easy to end your enployment from that earl.”
Edgar said that he had been sold as a white slave in the past. There could be a possibility that he was collecting these because it was related to his tramatic past.
Would someone, who went through the horrible experience of being sold and robed of their free will as a human being, do something like sell another human being?
The ignorant and optimistic part of Lydia made her didn't want to believe that.
“Miss, your biscuits are going to get burnt.”
The maid’s notice made Lydia rush to look into the iron stove. She pulled out the iron plate to see her biscuits had managed to escape from being scorched.
“Thank goodness. It’s been a long time since I baked anything, I hope they taste like Mother’s.”
Today was Sunday. And an unusual day when her father was home. The two of them went to church early in the morning and Lydia decided to bake some sweets from her mother’s recipe for their afternoon tea. If there wasn’t the the thing to worry about Edgar, it should have been a perfect day off from work to get some relaxation.
Their town house wasn’t something that could compare to Edgar’s palace, but this house that Lydia’s father lives in, employs a maid and a cook. There wasn’t any need for Lydia to stand in the kitchen, but just like her mother did, she thought it was her duty to bake the biscuits.
Because her fairy doctor mother baked biscuits with herbs as offerings to the fairies.
Lydia threw one into the fire of the stove and one on the window sill. Nico was already helping himself to one.
She left the maid to prepare the tea and headed to the drawing room with the plate of biscuits in her hand.
She heard a male voice talking with her father; it seems like Mr. Langley, her father’s student had come to visit.
“Oh, Miss Carlton, I’m sorry to intrude so early in the day.”
“Hello, Mr. Langley. You have perfect timing. I just baked some biscuits, please have some while you’re here.”
“Thank you very much. Professor Carlton, this house has surely become much brighter ever since Miss Lydia has come to live here.”
“Was this house that dark?”
The drawing room of this house was filled with rocks, skeleton specimens and rare animal stuffings, so normal visitors would flee within five minutes.
“It’s not dark, more like unapproachable for ladies with ordinary sense. Why don’t you at least put away the sculls? Even for the sake of Miss Carlton.”
Carlton made the look like he was shocked and looked around the room as he pushed up his round spectacles.
“This is quite a relaxing space for me, but, Lydia, does this room actually disturb you?”
“No, father, not at all.”
“Hah, now she really is the daughter of a natural historian. If all ladies were as understanding as you, then there would still be a ray of hope for scholars who are resigning their fates as bachelors.”
Langeley himself was a twenty-seven-year-old bachelor.
“Oh, so you're here to court Lydia, are you?”
“Professor, are you worried? If you’re nerved by someone like me, then it'd be quite a commotion when Miss Lydia will bring her suitor.”
“Lydia is still a child.”
Since she came to live here, Carlton had been treating Lydia like a child, probably because he suddenly realized that his only daughter, who had been living a far distance away from him, had reached a marriageable age.
It seems the attitude of that naturally-born ladies-man earl towards Lydia had given quite a wake-up call to Carlton.
Just at that time, the maid brought in the tea and Nico was the quickest one to bring his cup to his lips. Nico sat next to Lydia and held the cup and saucer with his paws but that sight didn’t appear in Langley’s vision. He might be aware that there was a cat in the room, but the reason he wasn’t acting surprised was because his brain probably didn’t registering anything more than that.
But according to Nico, it had taken two years after her parent's marriage for her father to even realize that her mother’s cat was a magical speaking feline, so she could understand that Langley was also that sort of person.
Lydia thought that since her father and Langley were in the same academic field, they shared similar characteristics.
Like how they both seemed a little bit unreliable. Or like how even if they were incredible scholars, they were incompetent in everything else.
Putting a biscuit into her mouth, Lydia was satisfied as it didn't taste that bad and as she sat watching her happyingly smiling father, she basked in the peaceful afternoon of her day-off.
The best part about it being Sunday is I don’t have to see that criminal’s gentleman face, she thought reflectingly in her mind.
But her peaceful day quickly vanished at the announcement of the maid.
“Sir, the Earl Ashenbert is here to see you. He says he has business with your daughter.”
“What, oh, no, send him away!” gasped Lydia in reflex.
“Lydia, we can’t turn the earl away at the door. Show him in.”
It was natural for her father to say that, but Lydia felt the strength drain out of her and slumped down weakingly into the chair.
Carlton should have vaguely realized that Edgar wasn’t a true earl. However, as he was acknowledged by the College of Arms, he seemed to have no issue in calling him as earl.
Because to Carlton, either way, people in the nobility were incomprehensible to him and beyond his grasp.
And so, he silently gave his authorization for Lydia to be hired by the earl as he knew she wanted to be acknowledged as a fully-fledged fairy doctor.
It was a forcful hire that didn’t give her the choice to refuse, but there were no problems in the working conditions for Lydia and it was her decision, in the end, to accept the position after much thought.
And so by acknowledging that, Edgar was the employer of his daughter and a respectable earl to Carlton and so he must have thought that he needed to pay his respects.
After a few minutes, Edgar stepped into the Carlton house drawing room in his usual sleek and elegant grace.
He was dressed in an attire like he was going to an evening party, with a black evening coat and a nicely fitted, wine-colored gilet. But the most outstanding feature about him, was his shining blond hair and his sparkling smile that was like an angel.
Although there was probably a devil hiding behind that face.
“Please excuse my intrusion, Profession Carlton.”
“Welcome, my lord. I hope my daughter hasn’t been causing you any troubles.”
“Oh, no, she’s doing wonderfully.”
Lydia gave a gloomy side-glance over to Edgar, who handed his top hat to the maid and was giving a few innocuous greeting words as he shook hands with her father who stood up in a tired manner.
She waited to open her mouth after Carlton was finished introducing Langely to him.
“So, what is your business with me?”
“Lydia, don’t be so impolite all of a sudden. My lord, please have a seat. Would you care for some tea? We only have the biscuits that Lydia had baked.”
“How interesting. I would love to have a taste.”
There’s nothing interesting about it. He’s talks about it like it’s some unfamiliar food from a foreign country.
Lydia scrunched her brows slightly together.
Edgar smiled to her as she was glowering at him and chose to purposefully sit down right next to her. Even to go as far as to grabbing Nico, who was sitting in that spot, by the fur on his neck and moving him.
Nico made a threatening posture by raising the hair on his back and didn’t spare to throw invective words at him, but that must have only sounded like a cat was hissing and snarling at him.
“I see, it has a curious taste,” remarked Edgar once he took a bite of a biscuit.
“You’re fine to just say you don't like it.”
“It’s just like you, once I have a taste, I crave for more.”
Carlton cleared his throat in an obvious cough.
“By the way, Professor, I happened to read your newest article the other day."
Edgar swiftly changed the topic by turning his attention and making a serious look at Carlton.
“Oh, so you have an interest in natural history.”
“Nature is profound the more you delve into it. The word incredible was made for the study of natural history as it always astounds me. I particularly enjoyed reading the part about your analysis on crystal structure.”
Once he’d open his mouth, it was easy for him to grab Carlton’s attention. He acted like a humble young student asking for answers from his teacher, but also managed to give back smart replies and ask questions that were right on the mark to liven the conversation.
It seems like it wasn't only women that Edgar had an art in winning over. Most likely, he knew the most accurate way to present himself in order to win the favor of any type of person.
It may have been natural for someone like him who knew how to get on in the harsh, real world successfully, as he really did seem to have read the article, and he had hit the right buttons to gain the favor of her father, who even she thought was obsessed with his own field research.
Now, father, you really shouldn’t open up to him like that, was what she wanted to say from watching the two of them.
“By the way, Professor, I happened to come across some old documents on this subject, it said that there is a stone called the “fairy’s egg” or something like that.”
Lydia was drawn into the men’s conversation at the new subject brought up by Edgar.
Talking about fairy’s egg, there was one involved in the case of the disappeared baron daughter. A case that Edgar was suspiciously involved in.
“Why, yes, there indeed exists a stone with that name.”
“Father, is that fairy egg real?”
“It’s only a mineral. It has that romantic name, but it’s only just a rare agate stone.”
“An agate, like that?”
There was an agate gemstone the size of a child’s head on display in the cabinet along with various other colorful stones.
Carlton stood up and took that large gemstone out of the cabinet and placed it on the table.
The outer surface of the stone only appeared like a black, coarse rock. But, one wouldn’t be able to imagine that it was hiding a multi-colored stripped pattern stone on the inside.
“When you look at it like this, it looks like there is an agate trapped in a rocky egg. Only after you crack the shell are you able to see what’s inside.”
Edgar curiously stared at the agate on top of the table which had already been split open in two to reveal the sparkling crystal layers in the cross-section of the agate.
“But, the agate that’s called the fairy egg isn’t a stone like this, is it?”
“The name that was given to those certain type of agates are proper nouns. It isn’t related to its species. According to literature, it is a beautiful milky-white stone that has a green pattern on it. That coloration is a rare one called ‘peppermint leaf,’ and the ‘fairy egg’ is an agate with water trapped inside it.
“An agate with water in it?”
Although it was Edgar who started this topic, Lydia was the one actively asking the questions, probably because Edgar must have already looked up what a ‘water-sealed agate’ was.
“When you look at an agate gemstone, you can see how there is a open cave in the center of the stone, right? There are rare cases when water is trapped inside this. But if you cut it in two like this, you can’t checked if there is water. Because it evaporates in the instant you crack it.”
“Then how can you make sure that there is water in it?”
“When you shake it, you can hear the water in it. If you find a stone like that, you carve off the exterior slowly. When you get near the center of the stone, you can transparently see the center of it. There will be the ancient water swaying back and forth that had been hidden asleep within the deep earth for hundreds and thousands of years.”
Imagining that, Lydia let out a sigh. She wondered how the light would look when the first ray of sunlight had reached its center and shined through the color of the agate that was probably like thin frosted glass.
“Most likely, the 'fairy egg' name came from the peppermint coloration that covers it like the veins of a leaf and the water was compared to a mysterious, imaginary creature.”
“But, father, if it was a rare agate stone like that, then there could have been a chance that a fairy had sneaked into it.”
Langley, who was the only one not familiar with this side of the family, made a puzzled look from Lydia’s bizarre comment.
“Fairies love beautiful things, and doesn’t that mean that the water trapped inside the agate was the divine holy water from the six days of Creation? That would be enough to lure any faerie and captivate them. And gems are stones that absorb light and trap them within them. They even have the power to withhold magic. If a fairy were to enter one, they wouldn’t be able to escape.”
“There indeed are records that they were used for that purpose. I’m not sure about other agate stones that have water in them, but if I were to only say about ‘fairy eggs,’ then there anecdote stories about sealing harmful evil spirits in them.”
“Then, those stones that are called fairy eggs, are there some that still exist?” asked Edgar.
“There may be. I have read there was a record one existed in an abbey in Canterbury somewhere around the 16th century. There is no record of any after that.”
After hearing all of this, Lydia became puzzled about something.
“But, Edgar, doesn’t the fairy egg fortune-telling game, that’s popular among the young ladies, use a glass ball instead of an agate?”
There was no way that people would use the precious ‘fairy egg’ gemstone for a fortune-telling game.
“Yes, well, all of this up till now was just for my interest.”
Interest? There is no way you would have an interest in faeries.
“About that fairy egg, I found the place that is selling them. Wouldn’t you like to go and see?”
“Eh? Right now?”
“I came here so I could invite you. I hear it’s a Sunday-only event at the Cremorne Gardens.”
Then Edgar turned to face Carlton.
“Professor Carlton, would you give me permission to take Miss Carlton? This is in regards to her work as my hired fairy doctor.”
“If it is related to her work, then there is no reason for me to hold her back, but, it’s already dusk. Do you anticipate that this will last till late?”
“I hear that the public moral behavior at those types of pleasure gardens has been getting out of order.”
Langley looked over to Lydia worryingly.
“Once our business is done, I promise to escort her back home safely. And I will be by her side at all times, so there is nothing to worry.”
Lydia thought that even if she lost her way into a den of pickpockets or bag-snatching pilferers, none of them would be as dangerous as him, and that thought depressed her.
But if she were to investigate the case about the fairy egg, then she would need to get her hands on an actual one and find out how they are being sold.
And there was another thing she wanted to clarify with Edgar.
“I’ll go. Would you wait for just a little? I’ll go get ready.”
Langley opened his mouth to Lydia who was about to stand up.
“Umm, Miss Carlton, I had forgotten about this. If you don't mind, I wanted to present you with this.”
He held out a bouquet of a few Margaret flowers tied together with a ribbon.
“Since I’m always visiting without any gifts. Oh, and yes, thank you for the biscuits today.”
“Oh, my, thank you very much.”
She was honestly delighted by his present, so Lydia smiled gladly.
After grabbing her hat and shawl, Lydia climbed onto Edgar’s carriage that been waiting.
He had apparently brought along Raven, as she spotted him standing straight and completely still, waiting beside the carriage as she run up to it.
The carriage pulled to a start on the road and Lydia felt the prickling eyes of Edgar gazing intently at her as he sat next to her. It was absolutely uncomfortable.
“…..What is it? Why are looking at me like that?”
“Now that I think about it, I never knew you could smile like that.”
“When you were presented with the flowers from Mr. Langley, you looked happy from the bottom of your heart. When I give you flowers, you never showed any signs of delight.”
“It’s not like that, it’s just, in your case, your presents aren’t really from the heart…..”
Once that left her mouth, she became worried if what she said was unkind. Because her first meeting with Edgar was such a dubious situation, it made her constantly act stern towards him. But to judge that he didn’t put his heart into his actions could have been prejudice of her.
“Hmm. Well, ladies would prefer flowers picked from the side of the road from their beloved than an extravagant bouquet from a man they don’t care about.”
She knew from experience that when he showed himself weak and depressed like that it was one of his tricks, but in the end, Lydia felt like she was the one who was doing the wrong thing.
She knew she really had to learn from her past mistakes, but seeing Edgar, who was normally dazzlingly handsome, assured and confident, she would feel sometimes feel mistaken of her judgement of him.
“Mr. Langley just lives close-by, so he comes to pay us a visit.”
“The boarding house two doors down.”
“Raven, did you hear that?”
"Yes," replied the young man who was sitting opposite of Edgar.
“Wa-wait just a moment! What are you planning to do!”
She panicked because Raven confessed to her before that he wouldn't spare a thought in killing anyone who would stand in Edgar's way.
“Just a little jealous.”
“No, you’re not, and to give an order so easily like that….”
Edgar gazed at Lydia like he was alarmed and snickered at her playfully.
“I was just kidding, Raven.”
“For now, anyway.”
"Stop joking around," said Lydia as she slumped down in her seat.
“Quit saying your jealous, you’re just playing around by tossing me around and enjoying watching me how I react. And besides, Mr. Langley is just paying his respects to the daughter of his teacher. He treats me like a normal girl because he doesn’t know that much about me.”
“You aren’t aware about your charms at all .”
“I’m perfectly aware of how I am. I was called an oddball all my life.”
“Your eyes can see a majestic world. Your hearing can tell that there are voices mixed in the ruffling of the winds. If there was someone who found that out, then anyone would become scared. You know why?, because they would be afraid that the girl they had feelings for, might be able to see what they were hiding about themselves, even their unsightly side.”
He sure was quick to come up with something.
She didn’t want to be swayed by him so she replied back:
“Then why don’t you stop tying to deceive me? I know that on the day Lady Doris disappeared you had invited her to ride in your carriage.”
“Hmmm, and who told you that?”
But he wasn't shaken at all, instead hushed his voice to a whisper as if he had been talking sweet, melting words to her.
“On that day, you went to the harbor. After you stopped your carriage by the Docks, what did you do? And another thing, you invited Lady Doris onto your carriage after she got separated from her maid by the bazaar grounds, but after that, she was no where to be seen. However you look at it, you’re the most suspicious suspect.”
“Are you a clairvoyante?”
“You came home with a small fairy who lives at the harbor on your carriage roof. After I met it and listened to what happened, it told me it was taken to an unfamiliar high-class residential area and was wondering around lost in your house, not knowing how to get back.”
It was Nico who was the one to told her about t, but she let that detail slip.
He couldn’t argue against that and shrugged his shoulders and shifted his sitting posture upright.
“Even if I were to hire tight-lipped servants, I wouldn’t be able to fool around if I married you.”
“I wouldn’t marry a man who fools around.”
There was a faint huff that leaked out from the opposite seat from them.
“Raven, you laughed, didn’t you?”
“I would never.”
She stared at him in disbelief as she could never imagine she would hear Raven laugh, because he never showed any signs of emotion. However, Raven was calmly refusing Edgar’s accusations with a meek expression, so she couldn’t imagine what sort of face he had when he laughed.
Perhaps, he laughed expressionless.
“Lydia, I did indeed give a ride to Lady Doris on my carriage, but I only drove her to the front of her house. I’m telling you the truth when I say I met her by coincidence, so I was surprised when I heard she disappeared. Was the fairy not watching when she got off?”
“Yes, unfortunately. Apparently, it had fallen asleep for a while.”
“…..What a useless fae. Anyways, I’m not lying. Please trust me.”
How was she suppose to trust a man who was a big liar from the beginning.
“Then, what made you decide in helping someone?”
“You can’t blame me for being curious. After I drop her off in front of her house and she disappears like that….. It's natural that I would be the suspect. So that’s why I need to find out the truth.”
His lies sounded more convincing than the truth. He was someone who was able to make his lie that he was an earl come true, so to Lydia, she wasn’t able to decipher if his words were really the truth or not.”
“Is there anything else that you are hiding from me?”
“Are you trying to trick me again?”
“Now, why would I do that?”
He was someone who could deceive you as he lied with his serious demeanor and eyes, and yet she wondered why there was a stronger feeling in her that wanted to believe him than doubt him.
Not long after, the carriage reached the Cremorne Gardens that was filled with the elaborate decorations and the sound of lively music.
Once they got off the carriage and passed through the grand iron gate, they entered the vast open area that held the different exhibits and performance booths. London’s number one sanctuary for entertainment was a place that was filled with people in a number of hundreds that Lydia had never witnessed before. Which ever direction she turned to, there was people, people, people. She wondered where all these people had come from.
As they passed by the front of a circus tent, a Chinese orchestra music came from inside and she saw there was a pierrot show about to start where he was going to walk across a rope high in the sky in the large sidewalk they were walking on.
All of this was new to her, and her focus was nearly taken away, but Lydia reminded herself that she wasn’t here to play and focused herself.
“Where would you like to go? I think the elephant’s acrobatics would be interesting.”
“What? What about the fairy egg?”
“That can come later. Since we’re here, we should enjoy ourselves.”
He pulled her on, regardless.
“Wait, Edgar, was it true that the fairy egg is sold here? If that’s a lie, then I’m going home. I have no intention of spending my valuable day-off to go along with your self-indulgences.”
“How harsh. Alright, then. But, once we’re through with our business, spare me some of your time. Because it’s your day-off, I wanted you to spend time with me without any sense of duty.”
Lydia wondered if he wanted to keep an eye on her so much that he would use this work day off.
Geesh, I really can’t understand what Edgar’s thinking.
“If I don’t feel any sense of duty, then I think there’s no reason for me to keep you company.”
“Why? I imagined that you’d be able to enjoy yourself.”
“If you wanted to enjoy this, then why don’t you invite a different lady? We all know there’s an endless number of girls lined up who would be easy for you to trick. Instead of a sour-faced girl like me, you’d much prefer a lady who would be more than thrilled to accompany you.”
“I really don’t dislike your sour look. Although, I much prefer your smile.”
“Like I said before, stop teasing me like that.”
“Now, Lydia, you’re considering things much too negatively, like how I’m teasing you, or that you’re the only one who knows my secret. Is it unnatural if I thought of you positively and wanted to spend time with you? If I didn’t invite you out, there’d be no chance of getting to know each other, all of that was my current honest feelings. It hasn’t been that long since the first time we met, and it’s just that I’m not at the stage to say that you’re the only one for me, so I wanted to get to know you better, and I wanted you to get to know me, so that’s why I invited you here.”
Could he be telling the truth?
Ohh, it’s because I’m tricked so easily like this that he enjoys playing around with me.
Even though Lydia thought that, she still nodded anyway.
“Alright. If it’s just a little, then I don’t mind looking at some of the attractions.”
“Thank you. Let’s foster our love like this, step by step.”
Just when she thought he was serious, he’d quickly switch back to poking fun at her. Lydia smiled wryly.
Her attention has partly focused on her hand that he held in order to lead her through the crowd, she thought something was wrong with her to end up silently follow him.
She was mad at herself for being happy when complimented, even if it was a lie or flattery.
And yet, there still was a calm part of her that didn’t trust Edgar completely. That part of her was convinced that he was attentive to Lydia because she had valuable usefulness.
The idea that Edgar would be attracted to her was impossible and that fundamental conviction of hers could not be rooted out, no matter what he said.
Because Edgar didn’t match Lydia’s vague idea of the perfect first meeting, or the reason a man and a woman's feelings would be drawn to each other and then foster a loving relationship, at all.
Her idea of an ideal suitor was someone, who at first, didn’t seem to have any outstanding qualities, but actually was kind and considerate towards other people's feelings. Even if he was a little clumsy or untidy and you had to take care of him every day or even if his hair was tousled from sleep, she wanted him to be someone who understood and accepted the part of her that could see fairies, someone who would always be by her side, calmly and gently.
Someone, perhaps, like her father.
She was no match for someone who spoke sweet, melting words in upper-class Queen's English, or had a thin figure that looked flawlessly perfect in a tailcoat and had a sophisticated attractiveness in each one of his gestures or movements, or was impossibly beautiful, with the grace of a noble gentleman, or melted woman's hearts when he smiled but wass spin-chillingly daunting when he coerced, a person like that was no match for someone like her, however you thought about it.
Even Edgar should be aware of what kind of woman would be the proper match for him, and Lydia wasn’t even an aristocrat in the first place.
She had heard that in recent times, even the wealthy middle class were able to freely enter the ton, and there were cases of peers with depleting funds who had to resort to selling off their estates and were living in a rented house, but when she would look at Edgar, she still thought that peers were a completely different race than commoners.
“There it is, that’s the place that publicies that you can see a fairy show.”
To Edgar’s voice, Lydia looked over to the small pink-colored shed-like theater.
Looking through the crowd of people, she could see there was something like stage built inside it and a man was making cards and flowers floating up into the air.
“It’s just a magic trick.”
“Maybe he’s claiming that an invisible fairy is holding the card and flying around with it?”
“I don’t see any fairy.”
“If a fairy doctor says so, then it must be just a trick.”
Once the magician was done with his show, the selling of the “fairy egg” began on the stage.
Different colored glass balls were lined up. The magician claimed that there were fairies inside of them. He even explained how to do the fortune-telling game which made the ladies in the crowd listen intently.
Edgar came back after he bought one and handed it to Lydia.
“How does it look? Inside.”
“It doesn’t look like there's anything in it.”
“That magician is one of the entertainers who has a contract with this place. He constantly changes his appearance and name to perform all kinds of shows, but I haven’t heard anything particularly suspicious.”
“At least, this glass ball doesn’t have anything that would attract any fairies. See how the color is turbid and how the glass isn’t beautiful and it’s a complete cavity inside? It would be different if there was something inside that fairies liked, but compared to this, you would have a better chance at calling fairies if you put clean well water into some sort of glass container.”
“Then that means, blaming a fairy as the reason Lady Doris disappeared would be pushing it.”
“Yes….. But it's too early to decide that it isn’t the work of a fairy, I would need to investigate this a little further.”
As she concentrated, Lydia handed the glass ball back to Edgar.
Just then, she heard the sound of shattering glass from inside the shed. The high-pitched screams of a woman came right after. It seemed like someone had broken one of the fairy eggs.
But then, like a chain reaction, a number of other glass balls around them shattered one after another.
It seemed like there were a number of people who were injured, which started a panick.
The magician raised his voice in an attempt to calm everyone down.
“Uhh, I would like to warn the ladies in particular to be careful in handling the fairies. Please make sure not to handle it roughly or speak ill of others. There are times when they can be angered and burst the egg.”
“…….Like you would know,” mumbled Lydia.
“There might be gas that explodes in reaction to body temperature. I’d wager that the ones that exploded were just shills, but still, it’s dangerous to have pieces of glass fly out around a crowd,” said Edgar.
“Lydia, look up!”
Just then, she heard Nico’s yelling voice.
Informed by the fairy cat who had apparently followed them by turning invisible, Lydia turned her eyes upward and saw that there was a fairy on one of the beams near the ceiling of the shed.
It was the size of an infant, with a wrinkled face like an old man, and a body covered in ruffled fur and small horns on its head - a bogey beast.
It rocked back and forth as it laughed on the beam, then turned its head towards her direction.
Its eyes met Lydia’s.
(Hmmm, so you’re able to see me.)
Suddenly, in a poof, it vanished.
Lydia realized its intention and wiped around to look down at the fairy egg in Edgar’s hand.
“Edgar, throw that away!”
She quickly swiped it away from his hand. A split second after she threw it in the opposite direction of the shed, the glass ball exploded.
She took a hold of him as he looked completely confused and exited the shed in an escape.
She scanned the area, but couldn’t see any sight of the fairy anywhere.
“There was a bogey beast.”
“Bogey…., I think I've heard of it, what kind of fairie was it again?”
“It’s a mischievous kind. An ill-natured little demon. They aren’t that smart and a species of the Unseelie court.”
“And one of them was making the fairy eggs explode from inside the shed?”
“I’m not sure, the magician didn’t looked panicked, and there could have been a number of the shills that made theirs shatter, but there’s no mistake that the bogey beast took advantage of that situation.”
She wondered if it had just happened to cross by. Or was it related somehow with the fairy eggs?
If it did, it would be too hasty to arbitraryly decide that fairies were unrelated with the case of Lady Doris.
Edgar held up Lydia’s hand while she was deep in thought.
“You were injured?”
It seemed she was cut by a shad of the glass ball that had exploded as soon as she threw it. Blood trickled out from her fingertips.
She took off her gloves and inspected it, but it didn’t look like the wounds were that deep.
“I’m fine. The cuts are small, they’ll heal if I lick them.”
As she said that, Lydia suddenly had a bad feeling, and swiftly pulled her hands behind her, away from Edgar’s reach.
“What’s there to hide?”
“I think I’m starting to understand what you might think.”
“I just thought I’d be able to heal your wounds.”
He gave her a grin.
She really couldn’t be too careful around him.
Lydia began to quickly walk away from him, but he invited her to take a ride on one of the boats on the lake.
She was regretting that she shouldn’t have said that she wouldn’t mind going around the garden just a little, but the Cremorne Gardens was beginning to turn dark, and the gas lamps were starting to beautifully glow, which made the atmosphere even more lively.
She couldn’t think that Edgar would allow her to leave that easily.
“What were you doing?! You nearly were about to injure the earl!”
An orange-haired girl stood shouting in the direction of her footsteps. The people passing by weren’t able to see the small ugly fairy that was standing there.
She realized that a girl yelling at nothing and by herself was drawing unwanted attention, and so she quickly moved over to the tree shadows and lowered her voice.
“Didn’t I tell you to only target the girl!”
(But master, that human girl was able to see me. Yes, she not only was able to see me, but she figured out that I was the one that was shattering the glasses. I’m sure she’s a fairy doctor.)
“So what? You’re my slave, you only have to listen and do as I say!”
“You were suppose to cause an ill-omened commotion, and spook her and make her tremble in fear. Just like Doris, I wanted her to disappear from London.”
As she said that last part over her shoulder, the girl wiped the helm of her skirt like she kicked it and walked off.
She was off to search for the reddish-brown hair-colored girl who was walking along side the earl together.
The girl was a frequent visitor of the earl’s mansion and seemed to be on friendly terms with Edgar Ashenbert, and she looked around the same age as her.
As long as one didn’t get too distracted with her golden-green colored impressive eyes, she wasn’t all that of an eye-catching beauty, and that made her think she was much more suited for the earl.
Since she was master of a fairy slave, she honestly believed that she was completely able to do anything with the power of fairy magic.
(Heh, like a lowly human could control a fairy. You and I are the slave of Master.)
Nico was listening to the grumbling whispers of the bogey beast from atop a tree.
(Thinking you’re so high and mighty. The only reason I’m quietly listened to you is because it’s the orders of Master. Hah, just you wait, you little chit.)
Just when you thought he held up his fist and railing against her, the bogey beast suddenly placed his hand under his chin and looked as if he was thinking up something.
(But, if that fairy doctor became suspicious, then it'll be troublesome. If she got in our way, then all of Master’s hard work would be ruined.)
As he mumbled to himself, the bogey beast slowly faded away.
“Oh, geesh, it looks like there's going to be trouble ahead,” grumbled Nico as he swinged about his tail.
“And the earl, if he was just joking around then I’d looked past all of it, but since I have no idea what he’s thinking I'll have to keep an eye on him too, what a bother.”