The spiritualist looked like Ermine. It was through her veil, but Edgar was sure that she looked just like her.
Her body wasn’t able to be found from the heavy and rapid waves of the merrow’s sea.
Because of that, he couldn’t throw away the faint hope that she might be alive somewhere.
But if she did survive, then why didn’t she return to Edgar’s side?
Could it be because she wasn’t able to break away from Prince’s chain?
If that spiritualist was Ermine, then that would mean she was still being used by one of the subordinates of Prince.
“Lord Edgar, I still can’t think that my sister is alive.”
Raven, who carried in the tea into the study were Edgar was deep in his thought, and said his opinion with the first step he came in as if he had been thinking about it all the way here.
“If you were to see her yourself, she was so alike that you would believe it yourself.”
“Even if her face and voice was familiar, I have a feeling that it wouldn’t be my sister.”
Ermine was Raven’s older step-sister from a different father. She different from Raven who was brown-skinned who was obviously from a different country and she was white-skinned but she was indeed his sister.
Edgar crossed his fingers atop of his desk and looked up to Raven.
“Even if she had survived, would you think that she would work for Prince again? She would have a reason to do that no longer and even if she were to be taken captive, I don’t think she would value her life that she had once thrown away.”
The reason she had been betraying Edgar and doing as Prince told her was because of the sole wish that she could stay by Edgar’s side.
During their escape, the only reason they were able to retain the strong bond between them that the only ones they could trust were themselves and those around them were all enemies, but once Edgar was able to get his hands on the peerage, then she had thought she would lose that special connection.
That’s why she had leaked their information to Prince in order to prolong their escape.
No matter how long and how much they escaped, Edgar was always on the palm of Prince’s grasp.
But that situation changed dramatically after he met Lydia. Because, it was impossible to get the peerage of an earl without Lydia’s help.
And so then, Ermine brought Prince’s control over Edgar to an end by the end of her own life.
Raven knew that Ermine, who had done such an act, wouldn’t be able to return to Edgar’s side, and couldn’t think of any reason she would have to work under Prince once again.
“There is a way to confirm if it’s Ermine or not.”
As Edgar said that, he pushed the letter that just arrived over to the black-haired young man.
“It’s the invitation from Mrs. Collins. I had treated her spiritualist as a fake and yet I wasn’t taken off her invitation list.”
Of course, the letter that was addressed to Viscount Middleworth had originally arrived to a different address.
“If I were to go to her estate near Hastings, then I’ll be able to meet her daughter Teresa. It seems the spiritualist is also taking up her residence there.”
“Will you go?”
As Raven replied in a composed manner, he held out a newspaper that had once been crumpled up with an expressionless face.
“This was on the floor in Miss Carlton’s office.”
It was the tabloids. On it was the idiotic gossip article that Earl Ashenbert was head-over-hills about a ghost. Good grief, it wasn’t Edgar who was calling himself as earl at that ritual and yet this.
But it was no mistake that Lydia had read it and that she was also the one to have an unpleasant feeling that made her crumple it up.
“….This is bad.”
“It is bad.”
As he slumped down, Edgar sank his fingers through his bangs.
“How on earth would Lydia get the opportunity to get her hands on a tabloid paper?”
In the first place, this was something that the working class would read and it wasn’t something to read for someone like her from a middle-class family. He was aware that there were quite some things written about him, but since there wasn’t going to be an opportunity for her to read it, he wasn’t bothered by it, but it was sure specific.
“I believe that is because Mr. Nico is reading it everyday.”
“He acts like he’s a gentleman, but he’s a fan of a low-grade paper like this.”
“It seems there are many fairies who like the idiotic gossips of humans.”
“……Anyways, I’ll go appease Lydia.”
Just when Edgar stood up, the gossip-loving cat, who they were just talking about, came dashing into his study on his hind legs.
“Hey, Earl, Lydia hasn’t come back since she went out.”
He had a bad feeling. This was the time when Prince’s subordinates were moving about.
“When did she leave?”
“Morning. She had supposedly gone off to the park saying that she was going to devise a plan, but the small fairies at that park said that Lydia
had never come. I tried looking around in the area, but I couldn’t find her, I’m worried, so could you search for her too.”
“Devise a plan? For what?”
“Ahh, just for a little something.”
Nico scratched his head trying to pass it by, but Edgar walked over to him. Nico had his guard down and was immediately scooped up.
“Whoa, what are you doing, let me go!”
When he stroked the area around his throat gently, Nico narrowed his eyes half-shut as he resisted.
“Stop, a-all-right, I-I’ll tell you, so stop!”
When he let him go, the fairy leaned up against the wall in a wobble and frantically combed down his fur coat.
“It feels so good, and yet you refuse, that disposition of yours really makes you end up with a bad deal.”
He glared at Edgar with a grudging look.
“I said to not treat me like a cat!”
“So, what was it that Lydia was thinking up.”
“The way to cancel her engagement with you!”
That’s bad, thought Edgar, as he crossed his arms.
“More importantly, hurry and search for Lydia!”
“Oh, of course. Raven, call for my butler.”
When she came to, she was sitting in a dark room that was only lit by one candle.
From behind the chair she was sitting on, there was a woman standing and had set her hands on her shoulders.
The reason she was able to guess that it was a woman was because she felt the hands to be slender and soft.
“My lady Teresa, how are you feeling?” someone asked her.
Teresa, could that be her name, she thought in confusion.
However, immediately, she began to think that it was so.
“You were just reborn right now. You have returned to your loving family once more in the world of the living.”
When she turned her head around just a bit, she finally was able to see the face of the woman behind her. She was a beautiful person with silky white skin.
But the one who was talking to her was the old woman beside her. The beautiful woman just nodded to the old woman’s words.
Now that she thought about it, she had the feeling like she was in another place that wasn’t here. It wasn’t this dark, a place that was bright and warm.
She had the lingering thought that being reborn wasn’t that good of an experience.
She tried to lift up her right hand. The slender young woman’s hand was smoothly covered in the candle light.
It was the hand of someone who didn’t have to work. She had that dazed thought about it.
There was a voice that erupted from the corner of the room that was cast in the shadows and a plump woman came dashing over to her like she couldn’t bear to wait any longer.
“Finally, finally you came back to me. It’s your mother dear, can you tell?”
The woman sat down and held onto her hand tightly.
Mother? Is that true?
She looked down at the woman who was looking back at her with tear-filled eyes and didn’t know what to do.
She didn’t know anything about herself so much that it even took her a while to realize that the voice that spoke was the one that came out of her.
“Mrs. Collins, it is difficult for a ghost to remember what happened in their life before their death. Please remind her gently and with plenty of patience,” spoke the old woman once more.
The woman who was saying she was her mother nodded her head without any resistance. The necklace she wore that had a massive gemstone jingled around.
“Yes, that’s right, Teresa. Just say anything that you want.”
If seemed like she was the daughter of a wealthy family.
“Anything? ……Even pretty dresses and jewelry?”
“You can chose anything you want out of the closet. If there isn’t anything you like, we can go buy something new. I have prepared dozens of accessories for you as well.”
What a kind mother. I’m so glad that I came back.
As she had that honest thought, she was hugged by her mother. During that time, she was able to see another figure in the shadows.
It seemed like it was a man, but he didn’t seem like he was going to come out into the light and remained silent without saying a word.
Of course, she couldn’t see the outline of his face as well as his expression, but when she felt like he had his eyes fixed on her, she suddenly felt like the reunion with her mother was ruined and nervousness prickled up her spine.
“Miss, are you awake? Hot water in the tub is ready for you.”
The young lively voice was different from the veteran housekeeper that her family hired, which forced Lydia to be dragged out of her deep sleep.
The room she was in was bright from the basking light from the morning sunlight that came pouring in from the window, and in one glance, Lydia saw that the room she was in was different from her own room that faced west onto the main room in London.
She hurried to sit up onto of the bed to see through the tall and wide glass window that there was the blue, sparkling ocean and wondered if she was still watching a dream.
No matter how she thought about it, this wasn’t London.
“……Oh, yes, I was made to smell some chemical from somebody…..”
So, could that mean she was kidnapped?
If that was the case, she sure was treated with hospitality.
A large, spacious high-class room, with a fluffy bed and clean and white sheets. She was wearing a soft linen nightwear.
What is the meaning of this?
She remembered that a seal fairy, selkie appeared before her and asked for her help. Because she asked for help from Lydia, her coat was burned. In other words, she was killed right in front of Lydia’s eyes.
And the, Lydia was captured by the one who killed that selkie.
She was able to remember up till that part. But, where was she? Why was she in a room like this?
She stood up as she was confused.
“My lady, I’ve brought your change of clothes.”
Lydia’s widened in disbelief at the maid who came into the room with clothing in one hand.
It was the maid that came crying to her asking her to convince Mrs. Collins. She was even more confused.
Was this girl in the same group as her kidnapper?
“Hey, you, do you think it is right to do this? I don’t know who the ringleader is, but kidnapping is a crime!”
When Lydia stood in front of her, the maid whose face was covered in freckles dropped the room wear cloths and they fell to the floor.
“What a horrible thing for you to do. Were you trying to deceive me by talking about your lady and what happened to you? What are you planning to do with me by taking me to a place like this?”
“…..Um, are you, perhaps, Miss Carlton?” she asked as she was flustered in dismay.
“Where is this? I’m going back to London.”
“You aren’t Miss Teresa?”
“What are you talking about?”
You’re not making any sense, mumbled Lydia as she tried to pass-by the maid and leave through the door.
Then the maid reacted in a hurry to stand in front of her and closed the door and then bowed down onto the floor in front of Lydia.
“I’m so sorry, please forgive me. …….I knew it was a terrifying thing to do, but there was nothing I could do to stop it…… But, I beg of you, please remain here for just a while longer. If you were to try to leave here, then you’ll be killed.”
Killed?! That sure didn’t sound pleasant.
And at how desperate the maid was, Lydia felt that she wasn’t the one at fault and so was able to calm down a bit.
“Then, would you be able to explain to me what all this is about? It’s not that I’m blaming you.”
She knelt down and took the girl’s hand to calm her.
“What is your name?”
According to her explanation, right afterwards when she returned to the waiting room, she found Lydia was unconscious on the floor.
She rushed to call for help, and then the spiritualist appeared and told her to quickly leave the hotel.
The unconscious Lydia was put on a wheelchair and Suzy said that she helped carry her onto the train as she was filled with guilt.
In order to revive Mrs. Collins' daughter, Teresa, who, if alive, would be seventeen years old, the spiritualist said that they needed a young woman who was the same age and use her body as a container.
She knew that it was an unholy act, but the madam who was obsessed about her daughter that she really should be hospitalized could only obey to the instructions of the spiritualist. Suzy was told that if Lydia couldn’t be used as a container, then they were only left to kill her, so she couldn’t rebel.
And then, Lydiawas carried to Mrs. Collins’ estate that was located in a town that was near Hastings and was currently in the condition where the ghost of the daughter Teresa possessed her body.
At least last night, she was acting like the young Miss Teresa who was just revived, but Lydia remembered no such thing.
But the daughter Teresa didn’t really know how she really was and so was just going along with the story as she was told that she was once dead but was reborn.
“That’s why, for just a while, would you be able to pretend like you are the young Miss Teresa? Once the spiritualist Miss Seraphita leaves here, then there won’t be any danger. So please if you could till then…. Those people seem like they have nothing against killing people….they are terrifying people.”
She wondered if that Seraphita was the one who held the selkies captive. But, Miss? Lydia thought that the one who called her incompetent was a man.
Either way, there was someone in their close proximity that had the power and ability of a fairy doctor.
But, why would that person do that to selkies?
What Lydia was sure about was that she was going to have to be here for a while. That would mean that Suzy’s idea wasn’t a bad one.
If she was able to pretend to be Teresa, then she’ll be able to walk around freely. So then, she’ll be able to investigate about the spiritualist and the selkies. The estate that that female selkie was talking about must have been here.
As she thought that, Lydia was able to rumble up the courage and determination she needed.
She was asked for help by a fairy. She needed to do this, even by herself, in order for a fledgling like herself to become a fully-fledged fairy doctor.
Because a real fairy doctor was one only when they were relied for help by fairies.
“All right, Suzy. Then can I have you at least be one my side?”
“Yes, of course. I was told by my lady to take care of everything needed for her young daughter and I think I’ll be able to give my hand so that the spiritualist won’t become suspicious.”
“And one more thing, Miss Carlton, do not trust the other servants in this estate. Some of them were secretly talking with the spiritualist. My lady had left the management of this estate in someone else’s hands, so I don’t know what kind of people have entry into here.”
Lydia remembered the female selkie telling her that her fellow selkies were being put to work as servants in a different estate. However, in the servants, there could be those connected with the spiritualist and so Lydia nodded as she decided that she needed to take precautions since she wasn’t able to decipher whose side each servant was on.
Since the ghost of Teresa was said to not remember anything about herself, there wasn’t going to be any problems if Lydia didn’t know anything about the Collins family.
Right in front of Lydia’s eyes, Mrs. Collins was looking at her with a wide, happy smile.
“Teresa, here is your favorite custard pie. Have as much as you want.”
There were many times when Mrs. Collins, who was mentally unstable to be asleep or look off in a daze probably due to her medicine. On that day, Lydia could only meet Mrs. Collins for tea only in the afternoon.
“Yes, thank you, Mother.”
And then, Mrs. Collins’ eyes watered up with tears.
“I can’t believe I’m here enjoying tea with you all grown up…. I’ve dreamed about this for so long.”
She took Lydia’s hands into hers and gripped them like she was trying to make sure this was real.
“I believed that you really weren’t dead. I always thought that you really were growing up in someone else’s good care and destiny would work to make us be able to meet each other as a real mother and daughter.”
Lydia’s heart pained as she felt like she was doing something deceitful.
“I wonder if the color of your hair came from grandmother. Your color was more near a faint brown when you were a child and yet it’s changed to a reddish-brown color now. Even the color of your eyes; were they a yellowish-green like this?”
It looked like she had already forgotten about the spiritualist. And yet, for some strange reason, Lydia wasn’t put in an unpleasant feeling.
Because she was able to feel the pure loving feelings of her as a mother who lived all this time thinking about her daughter.
To Lydia, who lost her mother at a young age, the lady’s reaction made Lydia think that this was how a mother was.
For those who met Lydia’s mother, they would all open up and say that Lydia didn’t look at all like her mother who had the pure blood of the northern people in her and had platinum blond hair and white skin and was a magnificently beautiful woman.
Mrs. Collins, who was plump and gave a friendly impression wasn’t anything similar to her mother that she could faintly remember. But Lydia felt like they shared the same sort of air about them.
A gentle and calming demeanor. That made you feel relaxed by being by their side.
“Teresa, you’ve grown to be such a beautiful daughter.”
Once she was embraced and hugged tightly, her heart loosened up to the thought that she could allow herself to fawn on the lady’s kindness. She wasn’t a child anymore, but this could mean that there was a part of her that was longing for her mother.
If her mother was right in front of Lydia who was grown-up then would she hug Lydia and tell her that she’s grown up so beautifully.
Just like how Mrs. Collins, who lost her daughter, had earnestly longed to meet her daughter who turned to an adult, Lydia’s mother might have felt some sort of sadness in having no other option of leaving behind her young Lydia.
“I won’t let you have to bear with anymore loneliness. I’ll make sure that you’re the happiest daughter in the world.”
Lydia thought about her mother as her head was stroked like a little child.
“Ohh, I shouldn’t be the one crying. Oh, I know, Teresa, there’s a cameo pendant that I want you to have. I was planning on giving it to you when you turn to an age you could marry. Just wait a little while.”
When she turned to an age she could marry. Items like that which are passed down from mother and from grandmothers were bonds between mother and child that don’t disappear even if the daughter goes off to marriage.
Lydia thought about the aquamarine pendant but when she realized it, she was pained to realize that it was gone.
She might have dropped it or it could have been stolen.
She felt like she had lost her mother once again and that pained her.
She fought against the tears that was welding up in her eyes and lifted her head to see that there was a young man around fifteen or sixteen years old standing in the doorway.
“And you are?”
“Oscar, your cousin. My school starts from fall and so I came along to my aunt’s trip in place of uncle who couldn’t leave Manchester because of work.”
His faint blond hair that was cut evenly around his neck, waved in adjacent to his movements. When he sat down near the table, he made a grin like a little prankster boy.
“But, I never imagined that I would really be able to meet Teresa. I still can’t believe that a ghost can be revived though.”
His height was the same as an adult, but his facial features looked like that of a young boy. He appeared friendly and quick to open to others but once he talked, he was a boy that talked like he was pushing people away.
“Do you think that I’m not Teresa?”
“How do you think?”
“……I don’t remember anything.”
“There is the possibility that you’re just acting in order to get your hands on the family fortune. You say that you don’t remember anything, but for that, you sure remember the manners for tea.”
Her heart skipped a beat. She panicked if she had acted like her usual self too much.
This man claimed that he didn’t believe in ghosts, might not also believe in the spiritualist as well, but she was hooked on the part of how he acted like he was testing her. She wasn’t sure if he would join her side if she was to open up about being kidnapped.
More like if she was found out not to be Teresa, then they would think of her as a common con-artist.
During the time her caution over-won her and made her keep silent, Oscar said fine, then and stood up.
“Hey, do you have a lover?”
“It’s fine to become the daughter of this family, but if you were to do that, then you’ll end up having to marry a different man.”
He grinned at her and walked off.
Lydia was remembering the article about how a wealthy married woman had called back the ghost of her deceased daughter and was looking for a marriage partner. Could that be about Mrs. Collins, she wondered. If that were so.
If that article was true, then could there be the possibility that he would come here as one of the candidates?
Then she thought he might help her, but if Edgar was interested in the ghost daughter, then she became worried that he would actually end up going onto the side of the spiritualist.
She wondered how much of an extent did she not believe in Edgar.
Even if she couldn’t believe in the flirtatious advances he made towards her, she believed that he wasn’t the kind of person who would abandon her when she was in a dangerous situation.
But that was because he had use in Lydia’s ability as a fairy doctor.
She wondered if the girl named Lydia had any worth in being rescued to him.
However, her hope about Edgar was destroyed in a matter of time.
Because the man who called himself Earl Ashenbert and arrived to the estate in the evening was not Edgar.
Lydiawas looking down from the window of Teresa’s room over to the entrance porch and hunched her shoulders in disappointment when she saw the unfamiliar young man get out of his carriage.
I should have known that what’s written in the tabloids are all lies.
He must have used the famous name of Earl Ashenbert because it allowed him to get smoother access to the wealthy middle-class people who he wasn’t acquainted with.
Lydiat thought it was so stupid of her to be seriously thinking if it was safe for her to be honestly ask for help when Edgar arrived and then laid down on her back on the bed.
Clouds spread out to cover the sky and hid the faint light of the sun that was leaning over to the west.
Once the gray-colored sky started to soak up around the sky and ocean and this estate, Lydia was suddenly hit with a strong doziness.
Hastings, which was a town that was located on the southern shoreof England, was known as a popular ocean resort.
Taking a dip in the sea, which was popularized by the reason that it was good for one’s health had already become established as one of the entertainments of the people of England, and during the summer times, all of the towns on the southern shores which had beautiful white sandy beaches were overflowing with tourists.
Mrs. Collins had her estate in a quiet place, located several miles away from the nearest town that had those kinds of beaches.
This estate was built on a place which only could be entered by going across a long, narrow road that stuck out to the ocean and located on an island-like piece of land that was at the end of the road. This island-like place was only connected to the mainland with just one road, but apparently this road would disappear under the waves that rose up at high tide, so it could practically be called a separated island.
If one of Prince’s subordinates was plotting something by staging it at an isolated, closed-off estate like this, then how knows what kind of danger was waiting for those who entered its grounds. However, Edgar was accompanied with Raven and was heading to that place.
Because, Lydia was supposedly there.
The Collins family husband and wife built that estate some time around the time their daughter was born. However, the two of them had not paid a visit to it ever since their daughter passed away.
Because, their daughter, who was just only five years old, had died in the ocean near that estate.
The only thing that was found by the shores washed up by the waves was their daughter’s little shoe. Since her body could still be somewhere in the dark, depths of the ocean, the Collins husband and wife was still couldn’t decide about selling the estate.
That was the information that the ‘Scarlet Moon’ had researched about the Collins family husband and wife.
Edgar was organizing the information that he had with him in his head as he sat in his carriage as it swayed him down the road for a little over an hour from the Hastings Station.
Nico told him that Lydiahad disappeared, and after using all of his servants of the earl house to find her, they found a hackney driver that had picked up Lydia and a woman who was crouching in an alleyway.
He found out that the woman who Lydia helped out was Mrs. Collins at the hotel that they were driven to.
They had already checked out of the hotel and so he determined that Mrs. Colllins had departed to Hastings along with the spiritualist, which made Edgar become overwhelmed with defeat of being out-done by his enemy.
There was no mistake that Lydia was taken by them.
But, he couldn’t allow himself to continue to lose.
Making his silent resolve, he jumped onto the train that left first thing in the morning.
When he looked outside from his carriage, he saw that the blue sea was so bright that it was reflecting the sunlight which didn’t seem
like England at all.
Beyond that sea was France. From the past, there were many people, things and wars that crossed the English Channel and came into England.
Truth of the matter was, Hastings was famous for being an ancient battleground.
In front of him, going up beyond the road that continued from the seashore, he could see an isolated island that rose abruptly from a flat plain. The long road that connected it to the mainland which disappeared at high tide stuck its narrow head out from the peaceful ocean waters.
It was a strange, peculiar shape of an island, and there was a brick-colored building that stood on the east-side of the island and by the time the entire shape of the lonely landscape appeared itself, the sky that was once clear and cloudless turned to be filled with clouds and seemed like there was a bit of rain on its way.
“Thank you so much for coming such a long way. Viscount Middleworth.”
Mrs. Collins, who greeted Edgar when he arrived, looked completely different from how she appeared at the ritual and now smiled at him with beaming happiness.
“I’ve come at such a hurry. I hope that didn’t trouble you at all.”
“Of, it would never. And beside, my lord viscount, there was another guest that arrived just before you.”
“Oh, my, who was it that was hastier than I?”
“It was the Lord Earl Ashenbert.”
“Ahh, since he is rumored to be a lady’s man.”
Raven, who was just behind him, lowered his head as if he was trying to fight from bursting in laughter.
It’s only just a silly rumor, softly defended Mrs. Collins. Edgar sensed that it looked like the fake earl had won her favor.
Well, sure he would. If a mother wanted to win her daughter the dignity of a noble, than a famously, well-known peer in the ton was much better than someone who was poor and only had value in their name.
“Uh, there’s still time until dinner. Shall I escort you to your room? Or would you like to……”
Her voice died out because she was hoping from Edgar that he could show his consideration to the previous arrival.
“If I could, I would like to pay my greetings to the earl.”
Once he said that, Mrs. Collins relaxed her expression in relief.
“I understand. He would be in the salon, so please follow me.”
It looks like she really didn’t want to displease him.
Of course, Edgar didn’t plan to show any consideration towards the imposter. He was planning to probe the man who claimed his name if he was working under Prince.
He needed to determine what their intention was and Lydia’s situation.
Lydia, he wondered if she was somewhere in this estate. He tried to think of a way to try to find her and safely get her out.
While he was thinking, he arrived to the salon.
Outside the windows, the sky was near dark and the evening rain showers were starting to come down, but in that room that was brighter than the ritual, Edgar finally was able to face the man who was his imposter.
“It is a pleasure to meet you. Oh, no, we had met at the ritual the other day, but since there was no opportunity to greet you at that time.”
Edgar made a pleasant smile and held out his hand, to which the man shaked back in a generous manner which let Edgar see that he was able to put up the act of a proper noble.
“Yes, since those kinds of situations, it would be more polite to not exchange words.”
“By the way, my lord, it seems like we are rivals going after the same lady, but I would like to ask if you really do have the intention of marrying Lady Teresa?”
“I would have to say after I meet her. However, viscount, the two other candidates would appear much older to Lady Teresa’s eyes. So in practical sense, it would seem like it is a one-to-one competition between you and myself.”
Edgar replied with an innocent smile.
“Please go easy on me. More importantly, Lord Ashenbert, is it all right for you to throw away all of your countless female acquaintances and go into marriage?”
The man made a smile that included a hint of sorrow. He was sort of making himself appear theatrical.
“Women are just all the same. I always think that no matter how many I court. That’s why I want to get to know a ghost. I thought it would be quite refreshing.”
That’s strange. Edgar was rumored to be a frivolous man who loved women but he never had that kind of thought or opinion before.
“The same? That’s unexpected. I imagined that since each and every one of them were so different was the reason you had fallen for all of the.m How would you be turned on to flirt with them when it’s not even enjoyable for you?”
Could this man who couldn’t come up with a smart retort really be working under Prince? Edgar thought this man was not fit for the job enough if he were trying to provoke him knowing that the real one was right in front of his eyes.
Could he just be a con-artist after the family’s money? Or was this also part of his plan.
“My lord, pardon me.”
Just then, Raven quietly stepped into the room and called for Edgar.
That was quite fast, I wonder if he was able to take care of it already. Edgar excused himself with the fake earl and left the room with Raven.
For Raven whose emotions didn’t appear clearly on his face, he appeared to have a stiff expression that made him nervous if it was bad news.
“I found Miss Carlton.”
“Is she all right?”
Raven thought about how to reply and said “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean?”
“I cannot decide. That’s why I thought Lord Edgar would be best to determine that.”
The large room that connected to the courtyard was made into a gallery. There were a number of pieces of art bought from the East lined up in the exotic space, and the air in it even made the sound of the rain drops that were beginning to fall outside the glass doors even looked like a squall in one of the southern countries.
When he saw the brown-skinned Raven standing near one of the decorative plants that had its enormous leaves spread out, it made him feel like he had lost his way into one of the tropical southern countries.
The thing Raven was eyeing was the sculpture of a naked goddess that stood lit up by the lights of the lamps, and he saw there was someone standing behind it.
It looked like the person was trying to hide themselves, but the person’s dress skirt was hanging out from the sides and showing. Raven whispered into his ear.
“Apparently, if you’re able to find and catch her, you win.”
“A game of hide-and-seek?”
When Edgar went over and approached the person, the figure in the dress turned around to run as if to escape from Edgar.
“You can’t catch me that easily, Mr. Crow.”
She chuckled playfully as she was about to dash off, but Raven stood in front of her.
She had knocked herself up against him, and looked up in surprise.
“Oh, my, Mr. Crow is over here?”
And then she glanced over towards Edgar.
“That’s not fair; you had one of your friends help you and tricked me.”
“Young lady, he is not a crow, but a raven.”
“Oh, yes, you’re right. And, then, who are you?”
The face that turned around to face him was lit up by the lamp light.
She had flowing caramel-colored hair, with mysterious golden-green eyes and a vivaciously spirited smile.
It was Lydia. Her body and face was Lydiano doubt. She didn’t appear hurt and looked in complete health, but there was indeed a problem.
“I am Viscount Middleworth.”
For now, Edgar introduced himself by that name.
“You’re one of the special guests that Mother was talking about.”
“…….Which means you are the young daughter of Mrs. Collins?”
“Yes, my name is Teresa. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
The girl, who had the appearance of Lydia, lifted the sides of her skirts with her fingers and bobbed an awkward curtsy with a satisfied smile, like she thought she did it perfectly.
Teresa. She was the dead daughter who revived through a spell of resurrection.
He inspected her hard and well to the point that it could be considered rude, but she didn’t appear like she was bothered by a man’s hard look at her. She came over to Edgar and looked back at him like she too was curious about him.
“My lord viscount, I have come back to life.”
She even was aware about that part of herself.
“It seems so. The last time I had met you the other day, you were still a ghost.”
“Oh, my, so we had met before? I’m sorry, I don’t remember anything while I was a ghost or before I died.”
Raven secretly asked him if she was possessed by a ghost.
It looks like that was the only believable state of this situation. Edgar nodded.
“Miss Teresa, how does it feel to return to life?”
“It’s wonderful. I can’t believe I was the daughter of a rich family like this. I have so many dresses and jewels. Plus, I’m going to become the wife of a noble!”
“So you love dresses and jewels and nobles.”
“Yes, very much.”
She was quite an easy-to-read young girl. Maybe because she was a ghost, or maybe because her personality was originally like this.
Putting that aside, he wondered if there wasn’t any way that he could speak with Lydia. As he was trying to think of a way, there was a voice that was calling for Teresa.
“It looks like they are looking for me. I have to go.”
Edgar blocked her path to try to keep her there.
“I would like to talk with you just a little while longer.”
“But, to tell you the truth, I was told by my mother that I mustn’t meet with any of the guests yet. She will yell at me.”
“Let’s keep doing the hide-and-seek.”
He took the liberty and pulled her arm so that the both of them could squat down behind the Relief together.
Teresa must have thought this was exciting as she snickered under her breath.
“Quiet, they’re coming.”
The one who came along with their footsteps was a young maid whose face was covered in freckles. She was frantically calling for Teresa but Teresa herself was hiding as she was fighting against her laughter.
Raven went over to the maid and as he came up with the lie to her that no one was here, the two of them sneaked out of the gallery.
“You’re quite forward.”
“If I’m able to be assertive, then I would want to slay you away.”
“Oh, my, but you can’t do that yet. Because there should be other guests besides you. My mother chose four men as candidates as my marriage partner, and there is going to be only one chosen from them.”
That was true, Edgar and the fake earl was invited here for that purpose. Which means, there will be four men who will be trying to court Lydia.
That is a problem.
Lydia was his fiancée. Even if she didn’t have any intention to be so, for Edgar who was having a good, pleasant feeling in keep on saying that he was her fiancé, he wouldn’t dare be able to bear having another men approach her.
The only one who should reflect in those golden-green eyes should be him alone. If in case the rest of the three in the group was going to interfere, then he quickly made the strong decision that they were going to be put through hell.
It even should be against Lydia’s will to have to be forced to get closely acquainted with men she didn’t know while she was being possessed by Teresa.
Her soul should be calling out for help.
Edgar pulled the young girl up to him.
She seemed embarrassed but still looked up at him with begging eyes. He didn’t not like these kinds of girls. If they were to have a relationship, then they were surely be able to become aggressive and passionate lovers.
However, Edgar’s heart pained at the identity of an obviously different personality other than Lydia.
There was no Lydia who would be angry or troubled or even end up nearly crying in tears when he would made approaches on her.
There was no Lydia who knew that Edgar was a good-for-nothing man and had her guard up around him and yet would seriously be worried about him.
He wanted to see her who was soft-hearted through-and-through, as she would be more worried than think low of him when she heard that he had dueled for the sake of a widow.
“Can you tell? I’m here to rescue you.”
When he whispered that to her, she titled her head in confusion.
“My fairy, I promise I’ll protect you, so you don’t have to worry anymore.”
For an instant, he thought he saw her golden-green eyes widen like they had understood his meaning.
It could have been the lighting blot that flashed against the gallery glass window and shined brightly in her eyes.
Even so, Edgar felt like he had found his Lydia and kissed her hand he held so tightly.
The four men who were chosen at the spiritual ritual the other day were going to all gather by tomorrow night.
Mrs. Collins said that her daughter Teresa would be introduced to them at the evening dinner seat.
But there was no reason for him to wait patiently till then.
If the mother had taken a liking to the fake earl, then he had to be careful.
“For the time being, the ones who are currently in this estate are Mrs. Collins and her nephew, Miss Carlton who is Miss Teresa, the earl imposter, the spiritualist and the old woman who is her assistant. The young maid who is Mrs. Collins attendant looks to be a close servant who she brought along with her from Manchester, but the other servants appear to be hired only during the period while the Madame is taking up residence here, so it is unclear whose control each one is under.”
Finishing his dinner, Edgar returned to his private room and was listening to Raven’s report.
“The ones to arrive tomorrow is Lord Sir Stanley and Lord Sir Clark, both men have a peerage of Baronet.”
“If the mastermind, Ulysses is here, then he’s sure to be a man. The man that calls himself Earl Ashenbert is also suspicious, but there could be the possibility that he is one of the men who is going to arrive here tomorrow and is hiding amongst as one of the servants.”
His side had long ago managed to lure Edgar into the mouth of his trap. Even if he was anticipating that Edgar came in knowing that it was the enemy’s trap and not intending to remain calm and quiet, then he was sure to make his next move.
“I wonder what kind of move Ulysses would make next, my lord.”
“……..Prince does control the movements of his organization like the conductor of an orchestra. In order to reach the perfect finale, all of the instruments need to be set and organized so that every note wouldn’t miss a beat or melody. So Ulysses would move only according to how he was ordered to do. The problem is how my part is calculated and decided into that perfect score.”
“I wouldn’t be able to guess.”
“Most likely, they would have an approach in dealing with every one of the patterned movements I could think up of.”
“……Then you are saying that having you go to that spiritual ritual was what they had expected.”
“At that time, I intended to make a move before them in order to shake them up, but now that I think about it, there wasn’t any kind of result like that.”
“Do you think that it was also in their calculation of staging Miss Carlton as the daughter Teresa?”
“That’s the thing. If that was the only thing that was coincidental….”
According to how much he had grasped about his enemy’s movements, there was no signs that they were targeting Lydia especially. He could imagine that it was a coincident for her to happen to help out Mrs. Collins.
Even if they needed a young woman in order to call back the spirit of the daughter Teresa, there was no reason that it had to be Lydia.
Because the bait that was needed in order to lure Edgar all the way out to this estate was the earl imposter and the spiritualist that looked exactly like Ermine.
In any event, if it was completely out of their imagination to the enemy that Lydiacame falling into all of this, then they would be forced to make changes to their plans.
To Edgar, that was a hope that he still hadn’t lost to them.
“It’s Lydia. She is the only thing that was unforeseen to the enemy. That’s why I was able to gain the sword of the Blue Knight Earl thanks to her help. And I gained the title of earl.”
Yes, she managed to pull the turn of events to a completely different direction that even Edgar was unable to predict.
What he didn’t expect was that just with her extremely soft-heartedness and the pride and responsibility as a fairy doctor, she would act in ways that normally wouldn’t be thought up of.
“She is my fairy of good luck. If I’m able to get her back, then don’t you feel like everything would turn favorable to us? Yes, the first thing we should do is think about that.”
“At the least, it is a plan that the enemies could expect.”
“Raven, are you being sarcastic?”
“Please forgive me, what part of what I said sounded sarcastic?”
He asked him with a seriously apologetic tone, which made Edgar find it funny and laughed out loud.
After he had his fill of laughs, he was able to feel much more relaxed. It might be foolish for him to take his focus away from the attack of his enemies after he came climbing into the nest of his enemies.
But this case started with the art of resurrection. The one that Prince sent in looked to be someone who could use magical powers. Then, there was the possibility that the key to this would be something like someone like Lydia than practical wits and strength.
“Now that I think about it, where’s Nico? He said to leave open the window, but we can’t in this much rain.”
“It’s all right, already. If I was made to wait forever, I’ll be soaking wet.”
When he turned towards the voice, he saw that there was a grey-haired cat sitting on top of the sofa which was covered with plenty of cushions.
“So you were able to get in.”
“Every grand house has one or two servants who like cats. Once I meow cutely and rub up against them, then they won’t hesitate to let me in. But I did secretly throw away the bowl of milk they poured for me.”
After he said that, he drank a sip of whiskey in a glass that he had gotten from somewhere.
“I went to go see how Lydia was, but she doesn’t recognize me at all. She chased me around and tried to pet me. I’ve said that a gentleman like me doesn’t want to be treated like a cat, and yet.”
No matter how you looked at him, he looked like a cat, so there was really nothing that could be done about that.
“Leave to me about her.”
“What are you going to do?”
“For now, I’m going to go pay my respects to her.”