Earl and Fairy
The Exchanged Princess Preview

Chapter 2 - Pirates have come!

Edgar sneaked out of his bed chamber during the late hours of night and was stepping down the stone stairs to the basement on the north-side of his palace home.
The candle he held in his hand flickered from the wind blowing from an opening somewhere and his shadow jerked and twitched like it was an animal with a will of its own.
He paid care so that the light wouldn’t blow out by guarding the candle from the winds blowing in from the cracks and opened the lock of the door at the end of the path.
When he entered, there was another door at the end.
After he opened the next one, he finally was able to see the large star sapphire that sparkled like a cross-shaped star against the indigo blue sky.
It was the jewel that possessed fairy magic, and went by the name Merrow’s star, and the sword that had the jewel framed was a gift bestowed by the King of England along with a peerage to a man named Lord Blue Knight who later became the Earl of Ibrazel.
Because Edgar had gotten that title, he was acknowledged as Earl by this country and live here.
It was thanks to the fairy doctor Lydia’s help that he was able to get his hands on the sword that was protected by the merrows and be able to survive.
Because Edgar wasn’t able to solve the riddle puzzle that was set by the fairies in order so that the sword would rightfully reach the hands of the heir of the Ashenbert family.
From the beginning, the merrows knew that Edgar wasn’t born from the Ashenbert family, and yet they granted him the sword.
That was because they understood that the bloodline of the Ashenberts had come to an end.
However, Edgar only inherited the peerage and name of earl. He didn’t have the magical power that every lord of the house in this family possessed as the Earl of the Fairy world.
It didn’t seem like a problem at first, but at the moment, it had become his weakness. Because his nemesis possessed magical powers.
The organization which was headed by a man named Prince had murdered Edgar’s family and kidnapped him as a child and robed his freedom.
He led Raven and Ermine and a number of his comrades and managed to escape from Prince’s headquarters, but almost all of his comrades was killed.
Nevertheless Edgar had survived, obtained the peerage of earl and was secured his foothold and organized his revenge against Prince, but his most biggest concern was a man named Ulysses who worked as the henchman for Prince.
He was able to subdue and control fairies.
Despite that, Edgar wasn’t even able to perceive fairies with his eyes.
He couldn’t possibly fight against Ulysess.
Picking up the sword, he unsheathed it.
The perfectly polished silver blade had a razor-sharp edge, giving it an astounding impression as a sword from the Middle Ages.
“Hmm, so this is the sword of the Blue Knight Earl. Goodness, it is a magnificent work of craftsmanship.”
A voice had echoed through the room, but Edgar didn’t see any body. However, he was familiar with the fairy who came to stay with Lydia.
“Coblynau? Don’t you stay at Lydia’s house when it’s dark?”
“Well, I drank too much with the hobgoblins here, so I missed my chance to go home with her.”
A wine bottle cork, which shouldn’t be in this room, was twirling around in a circle on the table where he set down his candle. That was where the coblynau was standing.
According to Lydia’s explanation, he was a small fairy with a red face, button nose and bushy hair. Edgar heard he wore a triangular hat and dressed in clothing like a mining worker, so Edgar’s image of the fae was similar to a dwarf that came out of a picture book.
“If I am correct, you are quite the expert in jewels. What is your opinion about this star sapphire? Normally, the star inside the stone should be three lines of light crossing over each other in the middle, but because I became earl, it has turned into a simple cross. It’s said that the star sapphire’s three lines of light represent hope, trust and destiny. With one of those lights missing, would that mean this sword and I are missing something.”
“Oh, no, this has the magic of the merrows cast upon it. When time and circumstances permitted it, the light of the star had changed shape before. What I can tell is that this is missing nothing. Why, it’s absolutely perfect, Lord Earl, it is a sword that inflicts death to its enemies and heals its allies.”
Now that Edgar had thought about it, he remembered that this sword wasn’t able to draw blood from any of the descendants of the Blue Knight Earl. And during the middle ages, a sword was considered sacred. There was superstition that when you lay a sword against your injuries, it would heal the wounds.
As he was thinking, Edgar pressed the tip of the blade against his finger.
The surface of his skin was punctured through and a small dew of blood came oozing out.
It was supposed to be a sword that had become Edgar’s, but he wondered if it had seen through me, knowing that as the earl, he was an imposter.
However, Edgar didn’t care if this sword didn’t acknowledge him. More importantly, there was something he wanted to know.
“Coblynau, when you say enemies, does that include non-human?”
“Well, yes of course. It’s said that past generation Blue Knight Earls had driven out evil fairies from his lands with it.”
As Edgar anticipated, this sword was a weapon used against fairies. But he was unsure if it could cut fairies if he used it.
“Would do let me practice with you?”
After Edgar said that, the bottle cork immediately fell down and the presence of the coblynau disappeared.

There had been times in the past when Lydia felt awkward around Edgar, but she couldn’t allow that awkwardness to make her skip work.
Just like normal, Lydia came to work on time today.
Because she was accompanied him to Windsor yesterday, she couldn’t continue her work, now she needed to quickly investigate about the troubling changeling case.
“Miss Carlton, this area seems to be the problem.”
The butler Tomkins spread out a map over the table.
She was reluctant to ask Edgar about this, so she decided to ask the butler’s help instead.
She felt terrible for giving extra work to Tomkins, who took care of all the business affairs of the Ashenbert family and managing all the household servants, and open up his schedule for her, but he show any unpleasantness and gathered all of the necessary paperwork Lydia needed.
The land was a small town located on a hilly area on the coasts of Yorkshire.
“Is it a very particular place?” she asked.
Since most of the Blue Knight Earl estates in England were put in the family’s care because they couldn’t be managed under a human lord.
Most likely, this place had many fairy clan residents as well, and those residents were the cause behind the troubles, but that might not be the only reason.
“Fluorites are mined here. Blue Johns are the most heavily mined gemstones in England, and these are a reddish-purple. The ones called Freya are rare gemstones with a shine within them like the flame of a fire, but there is no record of them being mined for the past three hundred years. It seems they are an extremely hard find.”
“So normal gems can still be found. But there hasn’t been any shipments of them for more than ten years,” said Lydia as she read the records.
“Every year, it is decided to mine only a limited amount. But lately, I hear that even when they mine, good quality gems that could be put on the market are not found. The number of miners has also decreased. They must be in the city factories where they can make more money.”
“Why is there a limit on the amount that can be mined?”
“That was decided by a previous earl who made a trade with the fairies. It is a minimal amount that wouldn’t starve the town residents even in the year of bad
harvest. You couldn’t call it a wealthy town, but it hadn’t suffered from any famine. If they were allowed to extract as much as they pleased, I’m sure that the stones would have dug out long ago, so that could have been the cause of discord between the fairies.”
However, a changeling happened in this town.
And ever since Lydia had been employed, she was also surprised that this was the first contact from this town asking for help.
There hadn’t been any issues all this time, and yet, how could there be a changeling happening all of a sudden?
While Lydia was in deep thought, the door slammed open and Nico came racing in.
“Ahhh, I said stop it!” he cried.
Even if he was in a panic, Nico hadn’t forgotten to run on his hind legs.
“I said it would be fine if I could use just the tip of your tail.”
The one who came following in after him was Edgar. And for some odd reason, he had the merrow’s sword in his hand.
“Don’t kid me. I would never allow my beautiful tail be chopped off!”
As Nico cradled his fluffy tail in his arms, he went diving under the table cloth.
“Come out, Nico. I’ll give you anything you want to eat.”
“I will never trade my tail for food!”
“Won’t it just grow back?”
“I’m not a lizard!”
Giving no mercy, Edgar pulled up the table cloth and stood ready with his sword.
“H-help me! Lydia!”
At Nico’s scream, Lydia made a sigh and stood herself up.
“Edgar, please don’t go waving around a weapon in my office.”
He let the sword drop to his side and looked over to Lydia with his usual gentle smile on his face.
“Good morning, Lydia. How was your injury from yesterday? Does it still hurt?”
They had bickered just yesterday, and she wondered if Edgar had ever felt awkward.
No, most likely not. He is not that kind of man.
“I already investigated the background of the two men who tried to harm you. Nothing to worry, I’ve made sure they got a good taste of their medicine.”
Huh? What are you thinking?
“Please don’t go and go get revenge. ….I’m not bothered by it anymore.”
“Then will you forgive me as well?”
That’s a completely different matter, she thought.
When Lydia fell silent, he made a little troubled face and tilted his head.
“Still can’t, huh. But you know, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf.”
He held up the sword in front of himself.
“Lydia, in order to protect you, I must test this.”
He turned back over towards Nico again, but the gray-haired fairy cat had already disappeared.
“Damn, he’s gone.”
As he tutted his tongue, Edgar thought for a bit and turned his focus. His target was Tomkins, whose shoulders flinched.
“Tomkins, didn’t you have merrow blood in you?”
“Yes, but even if you say that, that was generations ago, and my lifespan is the same as a human and if I fall into the sea I will drown…..”
Even so, Tomkin’s portly body, his round, slightly distanced round ryes, and big lips were the characteristics of a male merrow. She had never witnessed it, but he apparently had a fin on his back.
Having those characteristics, he panicked and tried to step back but behind him was a wall.
“M-my lord, will that be your order.”
What! if it was an order, you would listen?
“Of course.”
“I said stop that, Edgar!”
“Hey, what is all this ruckus about?” came a voice.
The one who said that and entered through the window was a black, wavy-haired young man.
When he was in human form, he had strong and a mystical good-looks, but his true nature was a ferocious water horse kelpie, and for some reason, he had taken a liking to Lydia and came to London all the way from Scotland and decided to live here.
Edgar turned to Kelpie’s direction, like he had found a new prey.
“Kelpie, run!”
“Huh?”
But as he uttered that, Edgar had closed up onto Kelpie.
All of a sudden, Edgar swung the merrow’s sword.
It appeared as if the sharp edge had pierced through Kelpie’s body who didn’t even try to dodge.
“Hey there, Earl, a mere human won’t be able to kill me.”
'But I felt the blade went through,’ sighed Edgar as he gazed at the blade.
“It’s impossible for you. If it was a previous Blue Knight Earl, then he might have been able to bring out that sword’s real power.”
Lydia had cold sweat coming out at witnessing such a sudden event and rushed over to Kelpie’s side.
“Are you all right? Are you really not hurt?”
“Not one bit. It was like a breeze blew by.”
Kelpie stood up from the windowsill and Lydia pressed her hands against his chest to make sure.
Lydia wouldn’t be able to touch a man’s body if she had thought of him as a human, but he was a fairy and she saw him more as a horse so she was fine.
Even if she inspected his strong, hard muscular body underneath the shirt, her sense were the same as when she was stroking an elegant horse’s velvet fur.
“You’re right, it’s nothing.”
However, Edgar tugged Lydia’s shoulder in an irritated manner.
“Please don’t touch another man’s body right in front me.”
“D-don’t say it like its improper like that.”
“He has the form of a human, so it can only appear improper.”
“You’re the one who is to blame for trying to go and harm Kelpie in the first place. What if you really did hurt him! It’s the merrow’s sword, it could have killed Kelpie!”
“Are you worried about him that much?”
“O-…..of course, he’s my friend.”
“You become angered at my female friends, and yet you’re saying that I should silently consent to your male friends?”
Isn’t that a twisted comparison?
“Now listen, Kelpie isn’t a male friend but a fairy friend. Even if you were to blindly love a canary, no one would be jealous.”
“I don’t think so. If a peacock were to open up its feathers to court you, I would shoot it dead.”
She wanted to think he was joking, but his ash mauve eyes were serious.
“That’s why, this creature is a nuisance.”
He glared at Kelpie.
“Hey, Earl, why don’t you give it a rest. Don’t tie Lydia down with your possessiveness.”
“I would like it if you didn’t shove your nose into our affairs. I was saying what is completely natural as a fiancé.”
How on earth was that natural.
And when she thought that, the irritation surfaced up again that had been following her since yesterday.
He goes and kisses a woman I don’t know, then to top it off, he could have been trying to marry the granddaughter of the Grand Duke of Cremona, and yet he’s still openly treating Lydia as his fiancée.
He has acted far too impudent that she could allow.
“Kelpie, would you mind leaving us for a moment? There’s something I need to discuss to Edgar with.”
“Ah? Why.”
Because if she were to say something that would deny their engagement in front of Kelpie, then things would become complicated later on.
“You sure are not considerate. You’re a nuisance; just a pair of lovers are about to express their love to each other, you’re in the way.”
That is never going to happen, were the words that was about to pop out of her mouth, but she waited until Kelpie took his leave.
“Edgar, I have to tell you,”
She angrily clenched her fist.
“Wait a moment.”
“I will not wait. It is a big mistake if you think that you can make everything run as you please….”
“Tomkins, you’re free to go now.”
Lydia finally remembered that the butler was still there, and felt completely embarrassed and her body went frozen as she remained clenching her fists.
“Please call me if you need anything,” said the butler.
The door closed quietly, but before Lydia could remember what she was going to say, Edgar wrapped his hands around her fists gently.
“Lydia, please understand. I don’t want to lend you to anyone.”
“You are out of your mind. You’re purposefully doing things so that I wouldn’t be able to trust you.”
“I’ll never do that again. I promise, so would you think about our marriage positively?”
“T-that’s a completely different matter from this. You know that.”
Their hands remained held together, Lydia tried to back away, but Edgar would fill every step.
“This isn’t different. If you would feel jealous, then that means we’re in love with each other.”
“It isn’t jealousy. I’m saying that no matter what a liar like you would say, I can’t trust you.”
“But you’re also a liar. You’re getting angry because you are starting to fall in love with me, and yet you won’t accept those feelings.”
He suddenly took the offensive, and that startled Lydia.
She wanted to say that wasn’t so, but no words came out of her.
She couldn’t meet his eyes so she faced down.
“Please accept it and face me.”
She was prepared to complain about Edgar treating her as a fiancée, but instead she was nearly talked wrong into right.
“Then you wouldn’t have to be in doubt. I intend to make my resolve,” continued Edgar.
She couldn’t stop her heart from beating rapidly and could even tell that her face was turning bright red.
“Wh-what does that mean? Are you saying that you’re still undecided about actually marrying me? So that means that although I have my use, you really need a strong resolve in order to tie yourself down to one woman!”
“No. I love you and I want to make the resolve to protect you from now on.”
Why are you saying such a thing with such a serious face?
But Lydia could only think that she needed to hurry and escape from him.
Or else, she had a feeling she might be convinced by Edgar’s argument.
She didn’t want him to notice her heart’s discomposure and closed her ears to his words and went running away from that spot.
Raven carefully took the merrow’s sword that had been thrown aside and put it back into its sheath. Feeling his movement in the corner of his view, Edgar opened his mouth as he remained standing in the same spot in the room that Lydia went running out of.
“I’m in trouble, Raven. I can’t fight like this.”
Because, he couldn’t use the sword.
And yet, if Lydia would come to love him and would wish to stay by his side, then he would make his resolve and was going to think of a way to continue to protect her.
Even if he made that resolve, that didn’t mean Edgar would be able to see fairies and there was no guarantee that he would be able to face Ulysses equally.
Only, it was because he didn’t wanted to face the choice of distancing her.
In the corner of his heart, as he was feeling that the only way to protect Lydia was to distance her away from him, he continued to seduce her like a useless struggle.
“I won’t be able to let myself let go of Lydia. I wonder if someone would go take her away from me by force.”
“Are you planning on silently watching that if it were to happen?”
No, I couldn’t, Edgar thought as he let out a deep sigh.

It was a book illustrated with beautiful pictures about a fairy story.
The painter Paul had let her borrowed saying that although it is an illustration book made towards children, it’s a typical fairytale.
Edgar thought it was unbelieveable childish of him to learn about fairies from a picture book.
However, it couldn’t be helped since there weren’t any books that seriously researched about fairies.
The story of the picture book was a fairytale that anyone would have heard about when they were a child.
The beautiful fairy bride made her husband swear to keep one promise. Something that he must not do, but from some accident, that promise was broken, and the bride vanished, never to appear again.
It was just a small trigger, but Edgar felt that would also take away Lydia from him and he fell depressed and closed the book.
It was his fault for making Lydia’s feelings regress one step back, but rather, Edgar felt that it was Lydia’s fault instead.
Just because that boy had the power of a fairy doctor, Edgar had to be put through melancholy about not being related to in blood with the Blue Knight Earl.
He had realized that he wasn’t able to protect Lydia.
He wanted to beat the living daylights out of that man, who at one glance, appeared fifteen or six with an overbearing attitude.
However, he must also be feeling the same thing towards Edgar.
His only worry was that he wasn’t able to anticipate what Ulysses’ movements where recently.
It appeared like he wasn’t in London. But, it wasn’t like he had returned to America.
Edgar felt that he was just keeping quiet somewhere and waiting for the right time.
For when his master ‘Prince’ would one day come to England.
He didn’t have any information as to when that would be and if they intended to set some sort of trap before that, and so for Edgar, the situation of him not being able to decide and move continued.
That’s why, he needed to set his heart pretty soon.
To how far he was going to battle with Prince.
Even if he were to lose everything he had in order to completely involve himself, he didn’t know if he had the resolve to bring along Lydia all that way and take responsibility.
He didn’t know if Lydia would come along with him all that way.
There was the possibility that the reason he was so fixated on Lydia because he had the naturally indecent attitude that was so deeply soaked into himself like it would be a waste for him to go and distance himself from a woman and there were moments when the thought that it would be easy for him if only Lydia would lose interest in him and go away by herself.
But, when the moment something like that were to even be close to happening, he would rush to go and try to stop her, and even he himself thought that it was incoherent.
He tried to turn his focus away by opening up a letter that he had remained untouched. When he read the letter saying something about fairies, Edgar didn’t read all the way to the end and folded it back up.
That was because he knew it was a letter that should be passed on to Lydia.
However, on this day, there was another part of the writing that made him open it up again.
Changeling.
Maybe it was because he was still bothered about what the Cremona Grand Duke had talked about last month.
“….Please forgive me for sending you one letter after another. I was unaware that the Lord Earl had said not to attempt to retrieve your changed child and I became worried if my lord was put through discomfort at my letter asking for help. I had married into this family from another land, hence, I had not learned of the ways of this town, and was only in dismay at having my child stolen away from me. If it was the biddings of my lord earl that all of our town has our trust in, then there must be some meaning behind it that we common people could not imagine, but to have one’s child taken away, as a parent, I feel heartbroken. I cannot understand why I must be put through this….”
Reading up till that part, Edgar was troubled about a certain suspicious part and thought hard.
He had no recollection about saying to leave the changeling alone. He wondered if this town was loyally obeying the words that were spoken by the earl from many hundreds of years ago.
However, it writes like it wasn’t the words of the earl from the past but like it was spoken by the current lord of the house.
And, at that same time, he recalled about the Cremona Grand Duke’s granddaughter was taken by the works of a changeling as the bride of the Blue Knight Earl.
There could be someone who was claiming as the Blue Knight Earl long before Edgar had become earl.
If that person didn’t have the merrow’s sword, he wouldn’t be acknowledged by the nation as the Earl of Ibrazel, but if it was just to use the name, then it was possible.
He thought it was a need to investigate this.
Just at the moment when Edgar was nearly going to stand up, his butler appeared.
“My lord, you have a visitor.”
“Who is it?”
“They would not name themselves.”
From behind Tomkins who had on a completely lost look, Raven came into the room and went to Edgar’s side and whispered something to him.
Edgar nodded.
“Tomkins, I will have the dirty guests leave immediately, so there is no need for tea. Don’t let anyone approach the drawing room.”
“Understood.”
Even if he thought it suspicious, the butler didn’t let that appear on his face and strictly obeyed the instructions he was ordered.
Now, what was left was for Edgar to throw out the uninvited guests.
“Raven, let’s go.”
Leading him who silently gave a nod, and entering the drawing room, there was a young girl and man waiting for them.
The girl had her coffee-colored hair tied up in one without any intention of looking fancy, looked over to Edgar with her slightly slant eyes and opened her mouth.
“Hey there, Sir John. It’s been a long time.”
“If you don’t mind, call me Edgar. And one more thing, it isn’t Sir, it’s Lord.”
“Ah, is that so. So, your name changed. It seems you’ve gone quite up the ladder.”
The young gal made a smile, and on her cheek there was a cute dimple made. However, with her attitude on taking over the whole sofa and sitting back overbearingly, was far from cute.
Standing next to her with his arms crossed, there was a man who was easy to guess as her bodyguard in one glance. If he could recall, the huge, bear of a man hadn’t shaved himself and had a beard on his face should be Pino, who the girl considered him like her younger brother.
Setting himself down to sit on a chair, Edgar looked at both of them one at a time.
“Did you come all the way from America just to see me? Lota, you haven’t changed a bit. It looks like Pino has grown quite tall and I could hardly recognize you, you’ve transformed into quite the man.”
The huge young boy, must have been trying to act like he was in a bad mood, as he only replied “Thanks.”
Yes, young boy, this tall, huge man should have been still in his teens. If he could remember, he was the same age as Raven.
“Then, what is your business? Such proud pirates like yourselves didn’t come to your old acquaintance just to seep some change from him, right?”
Lota made a scowl like she didn’t want him to make a fool out of her.
“You can’t figure out why we’re here?”
“I don’t know.”
“You remember Betty.”
“I never forget about women.”
“If I can remember, we first met you just after our old Captain had passed away. Betty, Pino and I, all three of us were raised by the Captain like we were siblings. Although, we aren’t related by blood.”
“I’m aware. Only you were the daughter of the Captain, and wasn’t Betty and Pino children who the Captain had picked off the streets? The two of you would periodically go out to the sea, but Betty wasn’t the type of girl who wasn’t meant to be a pirate. She had stayed in the harbor town and lived while she was left in the care of a hairdresser woman’s house.”
“It would have been fine if that was how things remained. But, she met you, and that corrupted Betty’s life.”
Lota’s shoulders slumped down, and instead, Pino opened his mouth to speak.
“It was best if she didn’t learn about the crest. If she was targeted because she was a princess….”
Edgar remembered the crest that had an eagle and rose carved into it. The golden ring had a red stone, the size of a coin, embedded into it, and by the gifted hands of a craftsman, the crest had been carved into that.
Like there was a fire whipping and twirling inside it, it was a fluorite that gave a mysterious yellowish-mixed glow that appeared to sweep out from the darkness.
Just by chance, Edgar had known what family that crest represented. When he was still living in the ducal house in England, he had heard that the dukedom that had that crest had collapsed and as all the family members of that royal family dispersed as they fled the country.
With one look at the crest, or coat of arms that represented the family, one would be able to know the historical background of their ancestor. Not only your own family, but it was necessary for one to learn the coat of arms of foreign countries. He thought it was at those kind of circumstances when he was told about that family.
Edgar had told to Betty about the grand duke family on the crest to Betty. At that time, Edgar didn’t even think that it could have belonged to Berry and just thought that it was a souvenir that the pirate captain had gotten his hands on somewhere.
However, from that day forward, Betty began to go around proclaiming that she was a princess and talked about what had happened in her life.
Hearing that rumor, the one that came was a person proclaiming that he was hired by the Grand Duke who was searching for the whereabouts of his lost family members.
Leaving Lota and Pino, who were like her siblings, Betty should have headed to the Netherlands to where her grandfather should have fled to.
They had imagined that she would be living a happy life just like in the fantasy stories.
If it meant that that wasn’t what happened, then it was just like how the Grand Duke of Cremona who he met yesterday at Windsor had been talking about.
The one who took away Betty was someone who was unrelated with the Grand Duke.
Lota must have found that out when the real person who was hired by the Grand Duke had come to investigate the town that Betty was in.
She must have worried for the sake of her friend and came all the way to England.
“It seems like the culprit of the group who lied about being working for the Grand Duke and took away Betty was called Blue Knight Earl. We had come to investigate about that person….”
“And you were surprised to find out that I was that Blue Knight Earl. But, you know, when Betty had departed America, there was no mistake that I was still residing in that harbor town.”
“Yeah, about that, John……uhh, I mean, Edgar, you are quite the shrewd tactician. It’s a mystery of what kind of methods you used to become an earl, and if you were able to do something like that, then I thought there was a possibility of you having a hand in the reason why Betty disappeared.”
“I know nothing.”
“Well, I never expected that you would tell us just because we are old acquaintances. But, you know, it would be troublesome for a man like yourself who became a peer and lives in such a grand estate like this, to be revealed to be a great thief who was supposed to be executed in America, wouldn’t it?”
“So you’re threatening me?”
“It’s bargaining.”

i1-1

Thinking this was idiotic, Edgar stood up.
“I’m quite a busy man, so you should leave while I can still take it as a joke. I don’t want to make an old acquaintance garbage floating in the Thames River.”
“I’m serious. It was you who told Betty that the one who possessed the ring was a princess. And, on top of that, you’re the Blue Knight Earl? How could there be such a coincidence!”
There was a knife gripped in Lota’s hand.
In the next second, Raven moved.
Expecting him to go for Lota, surprisingly, he charged at Pino, and punched him and knocked him down with his legs. He pinned down the huge man who fell to the floor and twisted his arm so that Pino couldn’t move.
Edgar gripped Lota’s wrist who had been watching all that happen in shock.
“While Raven was trying to stop you, was your plan to have Pino attack me? How unfortunate.”
He took away the knife from Lota.
“Now that I think about it, Lota, the two of us haven’t even held hands together.”
“Wh-what stupid thing are you talking about….”
“You were always so indifferent.”
“That’s because you were in a relationship with Betty.”
“But I was immediately jilted.”
“That’s because you bastard tried to make her drink alcohol that had poison in it!”
"That’s twisting the truth. Let me explain that in detail, in my bed chamber.”
“Lota!” shouted Pino, as he remained pined down by Raven.
“If you dare to do something to Lota, our crew isn’t going to remain silent about it!”
“Lord Edgar, I’m afraid there isn’t any time to be playing around.”
The voice who interrupted them was Ermine.
What? He asked, still gripping onto Lota.
“It seems Miss Carlton has departed to Yorkshire on the first morning ship.”
He immediately let go.
“Yorkshire? Why did she go to such a place?”
“It seems she was asked for help in regards to a changeling case from a town called Wallcave.”
When Edgar realized that that was the small estate mentioned in the letter earlier, he felt a strange panic.
“Only the butler knew. He claims that he had mentioned it to Lord Edgar before.”
“I didn’t hear about that. Besides, there is no way that I would allow Lydia to go there by herself.”
“It seems Mister Nico is accompanying her.”
“Can you count him as one person?”
Its one animal, he strongly thought.
And it was a cat that only had interest in his fur coat, whiskers and necktie or thinking about food.
Lota went running over to Pino and tried to help him up.
Watching that out of the corner of his eye, Edgar thought if there was a connection between the Blue Knight Earl who kidnapped Betty and the Earl who ordered the townspeople to remain silent about the changeling that happened in the small town of Yorkshire.
When Betty disappeared, a wooden doll had arrived to the hands of the Grand Duke just accordingly to the changeling tradition. If there were to be a meaning behind that, then there might be a connection between the Blue Knight Earl who said to the townspeople to leave the changeling alone.
“Tomkins! Do you have documents in regards to the town of Wallcave?”
When he called, his butler came dashing into the room with the papers in his hands.
“Their local products are fluorites? Occasionally, there are rare red and yellow colored stones that are dug up?”
“That’s the crested ring of the Grand Duke family……” murmured Lota.
“It seems like that mining vein has dried out presently. More importantly, my lord, I have remembered that I didn’t have a good impression when it came to this town. At the time when I had sent out word that my lord would be inheriting as the Earl of Ibrazel, there was no reply from only this town.”
Even if they had a lord of the manor, it was a lord who they didn’t even see the face of. Especially, in the case of the Ashenbert family, the family would be absent in periods of hundreds of years, and on top of that, the lord of the house must have hardly ever visited his lands.
Even for Edgar, there were still many estates that he hadn’t visited yet.
And yet, since almost all of the lands returned a happy, friendly reaction towards Edgar must probably be because they were lands that had many fairy residents, and so the Wallcave town must have been a problematic land from the beginning.
And it was there, that Lydia was heading to.
As the fairy doctor of the Lord of Ibrazel.
What would happen if she were to come in contact with the Blue Knight Earl that kidnapped Betty?
“Tomkins, you said Lydia departed by ship?”
“Yes, since Mister Nico dislikes railroads, she said that if it wasn’t that seriously inconvenient, then she would use a ship. Since, well, fairies do loathe iron.”
“Which ship did she get on and what time did it depart? Can you verify its route through the ship company?”
Tomkins hurried and left so that he could find that out.
“Where is your ship?”
“At the bay of The Wash. Since the Thames River is managed with a strict entry code.”
“Good timing. It’s your turn. You are pirates, so you wouldn’t be riding on some slow ship, right.”
“Huuhh? Don’t make fun of us. Even a clipper couldn’t catch up to it.”
“I doubt it.”
“Shut up!”
“Oh, well. We’re not going after a clipper. If you want to find out about Betty, I think it’s best if we join forces.”

It was a ship that bore a flag she never saw before.
An eye on a black field; how creepy. And it was unbelievably fast.
The narrow neck of the thin ship went ripping through the waters, like it was gliding on top of it.
Just when she thought that, in a matter of seconds, it had shoulder-to-shoulder with the ship that Lydia was riding.
She could see the tiny crew members in the distance as they moved about accurately to move the sails so that they wouldn’t miss any gust of wind.
“Hey, Nico, it doesn’t look like an England ship, does it. It doesn’t have a national flag; I wonder where it came from.”
“Isn’t it a pirate ship?”
“What, surely not.”
And, just when she giggled, there was the blast of a gun that ran through the air.
On the other ship’s deck, there was someone who was holding up a riffle.
Like the gunfire was a cue, everyone could see that the other ship came drastically close to their ship and there were screams that erupted from the crowd around Lydia.
The passengers all dashed off to escape, but either way it wasn’t like they could get off the ship, and there were some number of people who looked like they were trying to hide themselves, but she thought that was pointless.
There was nothing Lydia could do and so as she remained near the railing of the deck, she looked around for Nico who should have been right there with her.
“Hey, Nico, where did you go?”
Oh, geesh, he’s so quite when it comes to escaping.
Suddenly, the ship violently shook, making Lydia crash to the floor.
It was because of the wave that was created by the unknown ship that came right up next to the ship she was on.
However, the crew members on that ship didn’t look bothered at all by the waves and were moving about like nothing was wrong.
Ropes with hooks tied on their ends of them were thrown up onto this side, and the ship she was rocked by another wave, making her unable to stand up.
Crawling across the ropes, the crew members came climbing up onto their ship. The deck turned into chaos, and screams came shrieking out from all corners.
That was because this was a passenger liner that sailed along the coastline. The ship guard’s jobs only required them to break-apart the fights between passengers or catch pickpockets, so they couldn’t possibly go against pirates who were armed with weapons.
In a matter of no time, the ship staff and passengers were all gathered in one place without making any efforts of resistance, and were surrounded by the pirate men.
Standing on top of the tallest place, it was a young girl who rested the riffle on her should and let her voice be heard.
“Sorry to cause such a commotion. We promise not to harm any of you. We’ll leave you alone after our business is done, so if you don’t mind, just hold through with us.”
A female pirate. Lydia stood in amazement at learning that one actually existed, and then her eyes met the pirate girl.
Her hair which was tie into one on the top of her head flowed down in one tail down her back. Swaying it along like a horse’s tail, she came up to approach Lydia, and stopped to stand in front of her.
Her eyes were a little slanted, but probably because of her nose that pointed up and her one dimple, she gave a friendly impression. Even her height wasn’t that different from Lydia.
For some strange reason, Lydia didn’t feel afraid of her and so she gazed back at her.
“Your name?”
Why? She thought, but still answered.
“Lydia Carlton….”
“Pino, it’s her.”
Huh?

But, before she had time to react, she was thrown up over the shoulder of a huge man.
“Wh-what are you doing!”
Even if Lydia resisted with all her power, he didn’t bug a bit, and as he had a tight grip on her, he jumped down onto the plank and got onto the other ship.
All the other pirates also left the passenger ship and cut off the rope so that the pirate ship picked up speed to quickly leave that sight.
Lydia, still not knowing what was going on, was set down to sit on a chair situated in one of the rooms on the ship, and when her eyes found a glass window, she saw that the ship that she was just on was so far in the distance it was a tiny little black dot.
The man who had carried Lydia over his shoulder put her down without saying a word and left.
Surprisingly, it was a clean cabin room, and the fancy curtain and tablecloth sort of made it look like a feminine room.
I wonder if this is that girl’s room. But, why is she after me?
Is she working for Ulysess?
But rather, although she didn’t want to believe it, Lydia felt a familiarity to this theatrical and coercive method.
“Hello, Lydia, did you think you could get away from me?”
The one who opened the door and appeared was, as she might have expected, a young man with prominent blond hair and wore a brimming happy smile on his face.
“Edgar….., what is the meaning of this!”
“It was so horrible of you to silently leave me like that.”
“I am just going to do my work as a fairy doctor.”
“Let’s have a good talk about both of our future one more time.”
Why does it have to be like that?
“Did you attack the ship just so that you could say that? If the ship I was on just now made a report at the next port, then you’ll be hunted after again as a criminal.”
“It’s all right, because I already had a talk with that shipping company. We made it as an emergency drill.”
So, that mean’s, you’ve bribed them with money?
“What you’re doing is senseless!”
“Didn’t you know that?”
……Yes, I knew.
Her strength left her body and her shoulders slumped down.
Edgar knelt down onto the floor on one knee and leaned down to peer down at Lydia.
“You have to understand, Lydia, a young lady going on a trip by herself that is truly senseless.”
“It is work, even if I’m young, or a girl, it’s natural for me to go by myself.”
“If you’re saying its work, then I would prefer if you wouldn’t ignore your employer’s will. This is regarding one of my lands. Don’t you think it’s strange to go without asking one word of advice?”
It was exactly like he said, so Lydia nodded.
She was upset and frustrated by Edgar, but this was a completely different matter from that.
“And another thing is I have enemies. I would be worried to make you go to a far land by yourself at a time when I’m not able to read their movements. Please, don’t do this kind of thing.”
When she realized that she caused him trouble, she began to feel guilty.
“…..I understand.”
She became confused at this relieved smile.
However, even if that argument was correct, it wasn’t excusable to abduct Lydia from that ship.
It was a surprise and frightening experience for her to be attacked by pirates. She thought that her shock wouldn’t normally be forgotten just by a happy smile, and yet, Lydia had already lost the will to be angry.
“Edgar, was this your fiancée's cat you were talking about?”
The girl from earlier appeared again. She carried a dangling long-haired gray cat by its neck hair.
He was being treated as a cat, so he looked terribly ill-tempered.
“Nico!”
When the girl let go, Nico stood up on his hind-legs and hurried to fix his crooked necktie.
“Oh, yes, Lydia, I’ll introduce you to her. This is the captain of this ship, Lota.”
“Nice to meet you, Lydia.”
The girl held out her hand, and Lydia, who was still at a complete lost as to what to do, ended up shaking hands with a pirate.
‘One more thing,’ added the girl and called the enormous man who hauled Lydia all the way here.
“This here is Pino. He’s like a little brother to me.”
“Li-…..little brother? Not a father-figure?”
She couldn’t help but make that comment, which the man replied with an even more infuriated expression and scowled at Lydia.
“Pino is the same age as Raven.”
Being informed by Edgar, Lydia’s eyes opened wide. When she was able to get a glance over at Raven who was standing by the doorway, she couldn’t believe it all the more.
Even if they weren’t from the same racial background, the size of the huge man’s arm was three times bigger than his.
Pino made a more irritated face and twisted his lips.
“Don’t put me together with this baby-face. I just look my age.”
“Lord Edgar, would you allow me to strike him?”
“Yes.”
In the instant he said that, the huge man went crashing down to the floor.
“Wh-what do you think you’re doing, you little bastard!”
“Pino, you better not try. You know you’re no match for him.”
“Raven, you can only try once.”
‘Yes Sir,’ said Raven earnestly, lowering his fists, while Pino tutted his tongue as he quickly got back up on his feet.
Nico was already standing next to Raven, and patted Raven’s leg as if to cheer him up.
“Guys like us get underestimated just because of our looks, don’t we.”
Lydia wasn’t able to guess what Raven was thinking by his expression when he was put in the same category as a fairy, who appeared like a cat no-matter-how you looked at him.

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6: The Exchanged Princess