In this season of snow, Lydia, who was travelling across the sea on a ship, fortunately arrived to Mannon Island safely, as the sea was calm during the whole trip.
The merrows probably perceived that the visitors weren’t harmful, so they didn’t set off a storm.
Mannon Island is located in the Irish Sea, on the west of England. Last time Lydia had set foot on the island, it was during early spring, with the island covered in light green grass, but now it was the middle of winter, so the entire island was covered with a fine layer of snow, making the ground look smooth as a sugar frosted cake floating in the sea.
“Wow~ what a big island, it seems that Edgar's has many nice territories in remote areas.”
Lota also came along with Lydia.
“Since this is a remote area, there are many fairies living here, but the original landowners were incapable of managing them and the island, so it was delivered to the former Blue Knight Earl.”
“I see, but the scenery here is actually pretty good. Hey, that wouldn't be a castle, right? It looks really spectacular!”
“Lota, you didn't go back to your home for so many days, it that all right? Didn’t you grandfather tell you to come back to London yesterday, yet you are accompanying me?”
“Oh~ it’s okay for me to stay here for two nights and three days.”
The architecture of the castle was very elegant, as it was standing on top of the highest grounds of the island, and it had bluish walls, making it highly visible behind the white snowflakes.
In the past, the port was quite deserted, but now the amount of boats has increased considerably, and despite the biting cold, people were still handling fresh fish and unloading cargo ships, making the surroundings filled with vitality.
Lydia and Lota disembarked the ship during its unloading, ready to head to the only inn on the island.
“Nico is already gone, eh.”
Lota looked around for a gray cat that should have gotten off the boat with them.
“He just met some little fairies and looked happy; he probably followed after them to play with them.”
“With the invisible guy that was with you?”
“Yes, I think Coblynau tagged along with them.”
“Excuse me… Are you Miss Carlton?”
There was a voice that suddenly called out to Lydia, so she halted.
Near the front of the inn, the man was claiming to be the inn’s staff that came to pick Lydia up, as she sent them a letter of notice before, saying that she’d be staying at their inn.
“Welcome to the inn. Due to bad road conditions that are unfavorable for walking, we've properly prepared you a carriage.”
The man looked kind to Lydia, as he pointed to a carriage to stop at the roadside.
“But, the inn is only a few steps away.”
Lydia could not help but feel confused, but the man ignored her reaction and asked her to sit in the wagon.
This inn is served by the Earl’s ancient family estate, which is operated by Tomkins, so Lydia obediently got into the carriage.
However, just when Lota was getting on the carriage, the door was shut as if to prevent her from getting into the wagon, as she fell off.
“Wait, what's this? Open the door!”
Lydia, locked alone in the carriage, was about to reach for the door, but the carriage had already started moving.
Lydia saw rough-handed men stopping Lota from catching up to her.
Next, she saw Lota releasing herself from the men, but the coach turned around a corner, and quickly drove into the woods.
“Please don't worry about it, we’re only following orders, we’ll go back after for the lady.”
The cabby seemed to be also the partner of the man from earlier.
The carriage went a long way from the inn, went straight into the woods, and was now running on the high grounds where there was the looming castle ahead. Lydia felt a throb.
That guy had, on several occasions, used forceful methods and kidnapped Lydia like this.
But this isn’t possible, he's not in London?
As Lydia was desperately thinking, the carriage was crossing the gate and went through a garden. It ran through a driveway and halted in front of the castle.
A waiter came out to greet strangers, and brought only Lydia to a small reception room.
She had no time to ask if the person that summoned her here was Edgar, as the waiter walked out on his own.
The castle’s interior décor looked different from when Lydia last visited it, as she looked around the room furnishings.
Although the castle was built in the 16th century, after Mannon Island fell into Edgar’s hands, it appeared to have undergone renovations, as the interior decoration has become quite simple and clean.
The ancient furniture and the house ware kept their old-look style, but after the renovation that turned them all brand new, it didn’t look like they were there for a long time at all.
The room also had a fireplace that warmed everything up, which was another asset in this castle. Lydia sat down on the sofa and immediately felt the fatigue from her trip.
Edgar is probably coming.
Lydia totally didn't expect to meet Edgar and was having a headache, because she didn’t know how to deal with him.
Edgar may have no intention of pursuing Lydia.
Anyway, next to him always revolves a woman, he will always be able to find alternative lovers.
Edgar came to the grounds of Mannon Island; it is probably for nothing but to tell her that her fairy doctor work has been piling up, and that fairy-related events were occurring within the town.
Lydia thought, I really don't want to do this and to be disappointed.
But she didn't know if her love with Edgar would really come to work, and that was why she was lost.
The ticking clock illustrated the passage of time, and the snow was silently falling down, outside of the window.
Lydia, sitting in the comfort of the couch, unconsciously fell asleep.
Even though she felt someone come into the room, because the sofa was so comfortable, she continued to daze through her sleep.
The man's body gave off a smell of the snow and the sea breeze and had probably just come in from the outside. While Lydia was being in a trance, she felt him by her side, while her hair was caressed with a gentle touch.
The gentle touch seemed to have a hypnotic effect, so Lydia fell into a light sleep state.
“…… Without your company, I feel so lonely.”
Even though Lydia was half-awake, she should have well known who that was.
“You’re finally back, my fairy.”
Calling Lydia by a fairy, even though it was ridiculous and ironic, there was only one person who did that.
Lydia could feel someone whispering in her ear, which made her wake up and open her eyes.
Edgar, with his head leaning down on her, his pale ash mauve eyes in sight, and his blonde hair that was almost touching her face.
Lydia found herself not only lying on the couch, but also resting her head upon Edgar's legs, and sat up hurriedly.
“You, you, you, what are you doing!”
“Oh, why won't you lie down for a while longer.”
Lydia got up off the couch, trying to take deep breaths to calm down.
“I was just watching your cute sleeping face; you’re the one who laid down on my lap on your own.”
“Don't, don’t say this, why are you here?”
She had just met Edgar and went lying on his lap that was too comfortable, Lydia felt so embarrassed and angry.
“I only came to greet you specially, you take the rare initiative to visit my manor, how can I neglect that?”
“My question is: how do you know I'm here!”
“A written letter was sent.”
“I did not write such a thing.”
“Ah, but Nico wrote the letter to me, since I gave him a seal engraved with his initials. He appears to appreciate the pleasure of writing.”
… Nico's pen pal turned out to be Edgar.
In other words, if Edgar wants to know something, all he has to do is ask through Nico.
No wonder when they left the ship, he disappeared as soon as he could.
“Yes, I have yet to receive your reply, I thought the postman was neglecting his duties, so I sneaked into the post office to find out, and I finally saw your first letter written to me the other day, so I didn’t pursue. True faith should not be placed within the post office, only to be quickly sent to its recipients.”
He really is a troublesome flirtatious aristocrat.
“Because when I wrote a letter, the next letter would already arrive from you.”
“It doesn't matter, even if I received only five written letters from you, as long as I’m hearing a little from you, I’m happy.”
With only a little?
Lydia wanted, after receiving three letters, to answer to not be rude; but when she thought about Edgar, she could not help but step back.
Now, Edgar was no longer far away from her, he was close, standing there, staring at her.
“However, the past few days, I couldn’t write to you, you are not unhappy?”
“No, we did not have an agreement concerning our communications, and Lota said that you were meaning on making me worry about you.”
“I would never do such a thing; it only was because I was especially busy for a few days... Well, it was hard to see you again, let’s not talk about this topic.”
Edgar revealed that he was being misunderstood by showing his lonely eyes, but he still kept a smile.
Lydia remains to see Edgar’s actions like this: exactly how much credibility is there to them.
“I made you a welcome dinner tonight as well, I know how you like the chef's apple pie, and so he came over to cook for you. Cold butter on a hot apple pie must be a fine delicacy.”
The Earl’s chef studied the essence of cuisine in France. Even though while eating, she’d have to put up with Edgar’s sweet talk, she couldn’t give up the dinner, otherwise it would be a pity.
Seeing Lydia silent, Edgar said out of victory:
“Lydia, I still have so much to talk with you, please don't be in a hurry to leave. Can I move a little bit closer to you? ”
Lydia was hesitant for a moment, but the door was opened with a touch.
Covered in snow, breathlessly rushed in Lota.
“Hey, you guys, I chased after the carriage even after it splashed dirty water all over me! I told you to stop, how dare you pretend to not see me! ”
“Oh, I thought you were curious to see snow that you wanted to enjoy the pleasure of walking in it. In America, we occasionally only had a little of snow, yet you're not excited enough to be barking or jumping around?”
Edgar was treating her as a fool, which annoyed Lota even more.
“Even without seeing much snow, who will feel curious to the point of screaming and jumping with excitement!”
“Lota, did you walk here!?”
Lydia gasped and ran to Lota. She brushed off some snow from her hair.
“The inn staff kept saying strange things, blocking my way. Lydia, I was so worried that you were going to have an accident.”
“I'm sorry, I didn't know you'd be worrying like this.”
“It’s that guy.”
Lota’s fierce eyes glared hard at Edgar, but instead of feeling displeasure, he put his hands on his chest.
“Lota, let me make it clear, this is my house, you don't invite yourself into it, and I have no reason to welcome you.”
“Hey, Edgar, do you want to drive out Lota? Then I’ll go out with her.”
“I finally had a chance to have dinner with you alone.”
Edgar showed his dissatisfaction, but he understood that Lydia wouldn’t agree to drive Lota out, so he conceded with a shrug.
“No way, but to host a formal dinner, ladies have to wear a formal gown, and you are too dirty.”
“I'm too dirty? Is it not because you splashed mud on me!”
Edgar totally disregarded Lota's anger, held Lydia’s hand and kissed it.
It was so sudden, so Lydia had no time to shake him off.
“Although I also like the natural simple look you carry, beautifying you in a formal dress is my exclusive privilege.”
Edgar held a sweet smile.
“Well, I'll pick you up later.”
Lydia had no chance to talk back, as Edgar had turned and left the room, leaving Lydia standing there.
Edgar was still the same.
Lydia saw his attitude was the same as before, and couldn't help but feel relieved, but she also felt like the more she is by his side, the less she knows him.
What does Edgar have in mind?
If he is still the same as ever, saying nice things, I really hope that he will know when to stop, I do not want to misunderstand.
“Man, he hasn't changed a bit.”
Lota said wearily as she stared at the door shut.
“He asked me to wear a formal dress, yeah; I didn't bring this kind of clothes.”
“I did not bring any with me either.”
“So, does he have some with him? ”
Lydia was already accustomed to this, but Lota felt dismay and helplessness.
“Lota, there’s no problem; your body is like mine, right? ”
Lydia tried to appease Lota with a smile.
At the same moment, Ermine came in and led them to the dressing room.
“So you came, you and your Asian brother?”
Ermine and Raven are half siblings, and before Edgar became the Earl, they always loyally followed him.
“Yes, Raven and Mr. Tomkins came.”
The noble territory of the manor is his real house that can also be said to be his castle, but the aristocratic mansion in London has many domestics taken in together.
However, Edgar brought only a few of them with him here; it appears that he has no intention of staying.
Ermine neatly lined up the dresses for the two ladies to choose, and Lydia was watching her while thinking that Ermine was really beautiful.
Ermine lived as a male, always dressed in men's clothing, but even if she was wearing a simple black shirt and a tie, she still gave off feminine charm.
Ermine has always followed Edgar, and has loved him in the past. To Edgar, she is considered the most important family member and he cherishes her deeply. When Lydia found out that their relationship seemed to go beyond the normal relationship of a master and a servant, or a family member, she secretly felt helpless.
Edgar is protecting Ermine by deliberately distancing himself from her, avoiding being flirtatious with her. If Edgar was unable to distract himself from loving her, he was being a playboy, and Lydia certainly didn’t want to be part of his entertainment.
“Lydia, do you want that dress?”
Lota’s voice brought Lydia out of her thoughts.
“What? … Uh.”
“Then I'll choose this one. Anyway, in the end, how many dresses has Edgar ordered for you?”
“I don’t know, I never counted.”
“That guy is really keen about this. But you are not a doll, right?”
But to Edgar, I am probably a doll.
Lydia picked a light pink dress. Although she felt that the colour wasn't right for her, but if she carefully selected and wasted more time, she’d look like a fool, so she decided to wear this one.
“Hey, Edgar! You deliberately fixed me there?”
Lota was wearing a bright blue dress to dinner, and she questioned angrily.
“What? Do you have something to say?”
“I’m asking you: is this intentional!”
The dining room had a long table for dinner that could hold dozens of people. Lota sat at the far end of it and had to speak in a high-pitched voice to ask Edgar, who was at the other end.
She sat at the opposite of Edgar, that is, the furthest position away from him, while Edgar had an arrangement to make Lydia sit right next to him.
“How is it possible for me to appear as rude by making the Princess of the Grand Duke sit in the noble seat? ”
Lota's grandfather was the Grand Duke of Cremona, although their reign has ended. Lota's grandfather was also in exile, but he brought Lota back after she was raised by pirates.
But she herself had never sprouted as a princess in her mind. Although she now lived with her grandfather, she couldn't stand the noble life and therefore went to find Lydia out of boredom.
Lota remained as a leader of the pirates, and also told Edgar to not see her as a princess, but this seating arrangement was definitely to annoy Lota.
Even if there were only three people that were attending the dinner, it was still a formal one. To Lydia, proper etiquette of high society members was still unclear, so she was a little bit confused.
“Lydia, have a taste of this pheasant meat pie, I think you'll like it.”
Edgar was smiling happily.
This pie is the best, of course, but...
“I want to ask, since there are only three of us, why we are in such a spacious dining room…”
“As long as you accompany me for dinner, dining is always much happier than usual, if we could do this every day, how wonderful it would be.”
If Edgar encountered things that he didn't want to hear, he will turn in a deaf ear.
Lota stopped bothering about Edgar and drank her wine in one gulp, then rudely handed out her glass, for Raven to serve her.
At this point, a man came into the room and whispered a few words to Edgar.
Edgar revealed an intriguing smile, he seemed to be plotting something, and he went on to look at Lota to say:
“Lota, greet your man.”
“What? Greet my man?”
“You, in the aftermath of the incident, only left crooked words on a note, saying that you are going to Lydia’s home, and then disappeared. Your grandfather was worried about you.”
“Oh, sorry, my words were crooked.”
“Your grandfather is concerned and deliberately wants you to stay in London until you can speak English properly, but he recently got the invitation to visit the Royal Dutch family, and the departure date was coming up, so you still didn’t want to go back to London, am I not right?”
“Hey Lota, is that true? What Edgar said?”
Lota hung her head out of annoyance.
“… Those nobles are only being haughty, if I go along with my grandfather, I would harm him by making him lose his face.”
“But you cannot make your grandfather worry about you.”
“Lota, you don't have to worry, Cremona's noble character is well known, it is not because you hit a few aristocrats who now dislike you that his reputation will plummet, so I told the Grand Duke of your whereabouts.”
Lydia was surprised. Lota didn't really beat the aristocrats, right? It seems like she did, so she fled from London and hid at Lydia’s house.
“Edgar, you scoundrel...”
“Who told you to be so obsessed with my Lydia.”
“I can't believe you’d actually be jealous of a woman!”
“It's not jealousy. Lydia will become the Countess of Ashenbert, if you want to be with her in the future, you must behave like a lady.”
“Wait a minute, these are two separate matters, if Lota and I can maintain what we have today, she'll always be my friend.”
“Don’t tell me you want to interfere with other people's friendship, too.”
“I hope you don't say bad things about me to Lydia, which will obstruct our love.”
Edgar's eyes were intense, but Tomkins suddenly opened the dining room doors.
Two tall men walked in.
One of the men apologized for interrupting on Edgar’s dinner time, and the other man took the opportunity to grab Lota behind her by the arm.
“Hey, let me go, do you not see that I’m still eating!”
“Milady, we will miss the train.”
It seems that these two giants did not intend to compromise.
Lota was desperately struggling, and didn’t look at Lydia.
“Lydia is very happy these days, take care now.”
Lydia saw Lota being forcibly taken away, and hurried to her.
“Ah, be careful on the road.”
“Yes, you have to be careful of that big, bad wolf, no matter what he does to lie to you, you must not open the door, don’t let him step into the bedroom, you will be cheated, you have to be careful! ”
Lota did not forget to remind it aloud despite being taken away, and the dining room door was shut right in front of Lydia.
Lydia thought that coming to Mannon Island would temporarily help her from seeing Edgar for a while, but this was Edgar's territory, and also his castle, his being here right now was reasonable, but Lydia didn't expect such a miscalculation.
This time, she was alone with Edgar.
“We’re finally left with the two of us.”
Lydia heard Edgar's voice come from behind, and immediately jumped out of reflex.
“Well, because of Lota, all of my credits are ruined.”
You have no credit at all.
“But then, Lydia, I know that all things are in order, so you don't have to worry.”
That is hard to say.
“Let’s enjoy the desserts first. It is too spacious here, we cannot settle down, so let’s move to a quiet and comfortable place.”
Lydia looked at Edgar with a puzzled face filled with doubts, while he went ahead and quickly took her by the hand and led her to another reception room. Although Lydia sat down on the sofa next to the fireplace, she only wanted to hurry back to her room after eating the desserts.
“Do you like the castle?”
As if without any kind of malice, Edgar smiled and sat down next to Lydia.
“The castle’s interior was renovated, and I'd like to hear your opinion.”
“This is your castle, you can decorate however as you’d like it.”
“But in the future, it will become your castle.”
“There won't be a day!”
“The castle is old, but it is spacious and majestic, the design is also very beautiful. After we get married in the future, living here would be good.”
Did he hear me!?
“This mansion is the Blue Knight Earl’s, there’s no way…"
Despite being the Blue Knight Earl who rules over the fairy nation, Edgar had no magic power to see the fairies or to help them.
Lydia deeply regretted that, but was somewhat able to sympathize with him.
“Even so, it doesn’t change the fact that you are the Blue Knight Earl.”
“You're so gentle.”
Edgar looked at Lydia with sad eyes, and she quickly looked away.
Edgar made her forget that they were next to desserts. Lydia reached out to the tray on the table and turned her attention towards food.
“Edgar, if you don’t eat, the butter cream will melt.”
Lydia was attempting to erase the romantic atmosphere around Edgar and her.
But Edgar still looked at Lydia with a strong gaze.
“I heard that the island was being protected by merrows, so Kelpie wouldn’t be able to get in our way. Don't you think it is very suitable for our future married life?”
Indeed, even a kelpie’s powerful force wouldn’t be able to break the merrows’ shield.
The fairies were quite afraid of the kelpies, but the merrows had strong magical powers that could ward off kelpies.
But how did Edgar know about this? Nico probably told him about it.
Kelpie is not here, now even Lota has left, and Nico is unaccounted. Lydia did not expect to find herself alone with Edgar in his castle, which was really bad for her.
She had to be more vigilant, to not let Edgar take advantage of her.
“We are unlikely to have a married life together!”
“But you're wearing the engagement ring on your finger?”
Edgar and Lydia gazed down at the moonstone ring on her hand.
“Since I can't take it off because of Coblynau, I had to keep wearing it, but no one can see it besides us, so my father and other people are not aware of it.”
Edgar appeared to show regret by frowning, but he was back to normal right after.
“Is this delicious? I’ll give you more.”
“I don’t want any anymore, why don't you hurry up and eat?”
Lydia tried to distract Edgar as much as she could.
“My dessert is soft with a sweet taste of caramel; just looking at it makes me feel satisfied.”
Your hands are not touching my hair again, please!
Edgar compared her rusty reddish-brown hair to caramel, and also played with her hair with his fingers. Lydia looked at him doing it, wondering when the delicious apple pie would come out.
“Lydia, during my days without you, I was so lonely. I thought we finally became lovers, but you suddenly left.”
Stop this thing already.
Leaving for the holidays, Lydia managed to convince herself that the feelings she had for Edgar were just an illusion.
“We will not be lovers. You can speak good words and make me delusional, but when you’ll calm down, you’ll only find out that it's not love. I left you during this period and had no desire to see you, or to see your pain.”
Was it really? Lydia was actually unsure, but still said those words.
“It should be very clear to you that I am not the one in your heart.”
“I only have you in my mind.”
Edgar saw Lydia looking away, and sighed reluctantly.
“No matter how many times I say it, you still won't believe me? I see, then let’s not talk about this matter anymore.”
Lydia felt relieved and thought that Edgar will get over it eventually.
Edgar couldn't see fairies, so he made Lydia his fiancée to bind her, and although she tried to find out what his real thoughts were, she was afraid that their relationship was going to become unsustainable.
“We haven't seen each other in so long, yet I brought you unpleasant topics, I'm ruining the mood.”
Lydia felt that Edgar didn't change, but he seemed a little bit different.
Before, even if Lydia felt troubled, he wouldn't stop and would take pleasure in her responses, but now, if Lydia seemed disturbed, Edgar seemed to somehow feel sorry for his behaviour.
Lydia was probably not showing any feelings towards him, so Edgar seemed to suddenly not be eager to chase after her anymore. Therefore, he chose to leave.
Lydia has always been constantly refusing Edgar, so if he found that she was accepting his advances, Lydia was worried that it would bring a deep scar before they’d leave each other.
Whenever Lydia thought about it, she was scared that she’d be unable to suppress her feelings for Edgar.
“Ah yes, I still don't know what is your purpose here on Mannon Island, can you tell me?”
“Huh? I see...”
Lydia always thought that Edgar's eyes could see right through a person’s mind, so Lydia hurriedly switched to think about something else.
“In fact, I thought it was necessary to investigate in detail the Blue Knight Earl's history, so I decided to come to Mannon Island.”
“You didn't have to worry about me in the midst of your vacation...
“It's not that, it’s because I am, after all, the Blue Knight Earl’s fairy doctor.”
“You are so quick to deny.”
“… All in all, I heard news about something that people cared about.”
“According to the records, the Blue Knight Earl should have been long gone around 300 years ago in England, but there were fairies that encountered him about 100 years ago. The resentment between the Blue Knight Earl and the Prince might just have started during that moment.”
“So, it was very close to 100 years ago, during Bonnie Prince Charlie’s time? During the Prince Edwards' revolution.”
“After that, James II was expelled from England, exiled, and his grandson – Charles? Charlie Edwards, that is, Bonnie Prince Charlie, rebelled to inherit England’s throne and failed, so the Stuart were finally defeated and lost their power in England.”
When Edgar was younger, he was kidnapped and brought to America into a mysterious organization of people that inherited the blood of the House of Stuart, where a self-proclaimed Prince seemed to be secretly plotting to take England’s throne.
Edgar knew that the Prince hated the Blue Knight Earl and his henchmen probably exterminated all of his descendants, but Edgar didn't know the reason why the Prince hated the Blue Knight Earl so much.
In short, Prince was hunting Edgar, but since he now had the Blue Knight Earl status, which he should not own, the Prince seemed to fear the mysterious power. Though he must still protect his own life, his status and his Earl's reputation, and Lydia wanted to help him as a fairy doctor.
Even though things weren't always going well between her and Edgar, the fact that they wanted to help each other remained unchanged.
“Besides, in order to find out about Ulysses, we must also learn about the Earl's past.”
“Yes, Ulysses probably knows more things better than we do, if he had seized the opportunity before, our chances of winning would have probably been slim, I'm afraid.”
As soon as one would mention Edgar’s enemy, he would immediately turn serious.
He would reveal such dark expressions, perhaps because of the burning fire of hatred his enemy sparked in him, making him want to get his revenge. When he gave off such a look, it made him look beautiful and caused one to be breathless.
At this time, Edgar was a totally different person from when he spoke out words of love, which showed the terrible fate full of hardships that he was shouldering. Lydia couldn't help but feel sad.
She couldn't take her eyes off Edgar.
Edgar was probably unaware that his inner grief attracted Lydia better than his sweet talk.
“Anyway, I guess the merrows must know about the Earl’s history the most, so I'm going to try asking them tomorrow.”
Edgar’s face instantly returned to his original soft one, and he looked at Lydia gently.
“You want to talk with the merrows, can I come along with you?”
“All right, your presence will make it better.”
After their word, Lydia slightly moved backwards.
“Well, thank you for your hospitality, I will go to bed...”
Lydia wasn't done talking, as Edgar grabbed her hand.
He stared at her silently with a strong gaze, which made Lydia’s heart beat, and made her whole body stiff and tense.
“What, what is it?”
“You will not disappear tomorrow, right?”
Before, Lydia left without saying goodbye and set out before the sunrise to return to Scotland, so Edgar probably thought about it.
“…Tomorrow I have to go see the merrows.”
“Please don't quietly disappear, if I have done something wrong that made you unhappy, you can vent to me.”
“That is not the case, it is not your fault, it is mine... I'm tired. I know you really need my ability as a fairy doctor, I probably got a little carried away and I wanted to calm my mood. I know this was wilful, so I will be specially investigating the Earl’s past for you.”
Edgar hands were still clasped with Lydia’s, and he didn't seem too happy about her comment.
“Also, I promise that if I want to take time off, I’ll be sure to inform you in advance.”
Edgar let out a sigh showing his pain, and then asked:
“Can I give you a goodnight kiss?”
Lydia looked up to Edgar and he kissed her on the cheek.
“Good night, my fairy.”
“… Good night.”
She must be flushed. Lydia didn't want Edgar to see her blushing, so she quickly ran out of the reception room.
Edgar was left alone in the room, his palm holding his cheek, and looked at Raven.
“I think Lydia's wariness is stronger than before.”
The sentence came out suddenly, and the brown-skinned teenager tilted his head, as if unable to understand his master's words.
“I had believed that Lydia would blame me, but she said that she was tired. I thought she was also feeling the same way as I do, was it just confusion? It seems I have no hope.”
Raven stopped his action. He seemed to try to think about what Edgar meant, but it was difficult for him to understand what love was.
“If she liked me just a little, after not seeing me for a long time, didn't her longing for me grow? Did she not miss me? I wrote to her every day without any disruption, I also restrained myself from seeing her, not only did she not miss me, but instead, she was apparently also ready to give up, what is this all about?”
Psychological tactics on Lydia didn't work, so Edgar no longer actively pursued her, but that made her believe that he was not sincere.
“Lord Edgar, so you do not intend to give up?”
“Give up? Give up what?”
“You had told me before that girls were everywhere, so if there’s no hope with one then you will give up immediately, looking for the next target, so I thought you had stopped pursuing Miss Lydia because you gave up.”
“I am not hopeless, she agreed to have dinner with me, and she also accepted my goodnight kiss.”
For Lydia to agree to the dinner was to be expected, but the goodnight kiss was unforeseen, and Edgar couldn't ignore that.
“But Raven, although there are girls everywhere, to me, there is only Lydia.”
Raven nodded and seemed to understand, but Edgar was rethinking about what he said.
That is... without Lydia by his side, there is no meaning?
Lydia was lovely. Edgar wanted to keep her around and hoped that she could one day fall in love with him. Lydia was willing to work with him, but he was no longer willing to restrain his heart any longer.
The more he learned about Lydia, the more he got attracted to her; so much that Edgar felt that it was incredible.
However, was Lydia really not in love with him?
If, in the end, Lydia and him still can’t be together, he will fall in love with someone else. Edgar knew his own personality, but he didn't want to admit it.
“It is too early to give up, there are other methods that I haven’t tried yet.”
“Then you must take the quickest and the most efficient method.”
“Why are you in such a hurry?”
“I think we don't have much time left.”
Ulysses recently started a big move in order to bring Prince back to England, and it seemed to take a lot of work to prepare, so that in the near future, Edgar will have to face and fight his enemy properly.
If he didn't want to hurt Lydia, Edgar needed the resolve to give up on her.
Lydia already knows about Ulysses’ existence, Edgar could help her by letting her go now, but he didn't want to lose Lydia, so he needed to aknowledge that Lydia will be pulled into the dangers of this war, and thoroughly guard Lydia.
“So, Raven, would you please help me?”
Edgar beckoned Raven, and Raven immediately came up to him with a serious face.
“First of all, go to Tomkins and steal Lydia’s room’s spare key... Ah! Wait, Raven!”
Edgar hurriedly stopped Raven who was ready to turn around and leave, and told him to not take what he just said too seriously.
Although that sentence was a joke, Edgar still felt the temptation, but his rational heart stopped him from doing so.
Raven stopped and turned, he was looking at Edgar with an apologetic face.
“Lord Edgar, I think Miss Lydia’s room’s spare key is managed by Ermine, so it is impossible to steal it.”
I see, Edgar thought, while feeling relieved.
“Raven, there is really no quick way to obtain a girl's heart, Lydia and I need some more time. I won't make you worry about it, because I have already decided what to do.”
Edgar always had his will to fight and had gotten this far, after almost all of his companions died. The only people that were preventing them to be free were the Prince, and to prove his freedom, he also needed to value survival and the purpose of his existence.
Once Lydia will be involved in this war, he is unable to know if he will live or die, but he will not easily give up the will to live.
But Edgar still didn't know whether he could fight for people in the future, rather than just live for revenge.
So when Edgar noticed that Lydia might like him, he would suddenly let go, and so Lydia came up with vacation as a reason to escape Edgar, who took a hit.
Edgar himself was not sure whether he should keep Lydia from drifting away from his heart again. It has been a long time since he had not touched Lydia, he recalled just now the touch of her hands back then, and he felt that she was still as nervous as before.
“Lydia, I've got up to your door, why didn't you respond to my calls?”
The next morning, Nico finally appeared in the room by coming through the window, with his tail that brushed the snow and his angry face staring at her.
Snow arrived in the early morning but still didn't stop, showing that there was more snow outside than yesterday, which made the outdoors look like a broad English-styled garden filled with blocks of white bricks.
“Because I could not open the door right away.”
Lydia had just changed her clothes, and was getting up, brushing her hair, while Nico was talking.
“This is why?”
Nico, who was standing on his two hind legs, looked at the door that had heaps of tables and chairs, tilted his head and asked Lydia.
Lydia meant to prevent Edgar from slipping into the room during the night, and deliberately used tables and chairs to block the door.
Although Lydia thought he couldn't be that much in a rush, she could not help but be vigilant at night, as the slightest noise made it impossible for her to sleep.
Wake up, Lydia, your behaviour is ridiculous. Edgar didn't appear, you’re not part of his concerns, which made her feel ashamed.
Lydia thought, while Ermine and Tomkins were restoring everything to their original state, and then started to move a chair.
“Can I help you?”
“Sorry to trouble you...”
Uh... Who is it?
Lydia was nervous to look back, but she did and then saw the chair in front of her being easily lifted up by Edgar.
“You, you, you, you, why are you in my room!?”
“Early in the morning, I had heard Ermine say that the door here could not be opened, therefore I asked for an attendant to come.”
Most of the aristocratic residences had exclusive servants, scattered inside and outside of the gates, and Lydia had completely forgotten.
Thinking about it, the sink was completely empty last night, but this morning, it had clean water.
Ermine has come and gone, of course.
“Does this mean that you expected me to secretly come to you?”
“What, and to look forward to? Don't be silly, if you did come, you really couldn't be called a man!”
“However, since I now know that you were waiting for me, I should visit you out of courtesy.”
Which country is this courtesy from?
“I was not waiting for you!”
“Like this, in front of the door of your room, to discuss whether to go in or not is really like we are lovers.”
Lydia wished that someone could cure this guy from his seriously wrong thinking patterns.
“Right, Lydia, there is a guest that is looking for you.”
Nico grabbed the hem of Lydia’s dress.
“Earl, the guest wanted me to ask you, are you willing to let him connect the castle to the sea, so that it would be convenient for him to access it?”
“The sea? I'm not sure what you mean, but it doesn't matter as long as you change it back to how it was.”
Edgar was befuddled, but he nodded.
The scenery outside of the windows suddenly changed.
Surrounded by darkness, as if the sun went hiding behind the clouds, the scenery was covered in a layer of blue water.
The whole castle seemed to be sinking into the ocean, as we could see waves swaying seaweed around and fish swimming freely.
Lydia immediately noticed that this was the merrow's magic.
Edgar was curious and wanted to open the windows, but Lydia couldn't help but be nervous about it. However, the windows wouldn't open.
“What is this is all about?”
“The castle really connected with the sea.”
“So we’re really in the sea now? But that tree over there is a long white cedar from the garden.”
“There is a point in the connection between the castle and the sea, if the real world is completely blurred, you wouldn't be able to switch it back to normal.”
A man appeared in the room wearing a red hat.
“Excuse me.” He slightly lifted off his hat and bowed to Lydia and Edgar.
His eyes had a slight distance between them, the mouth also seemed larger, although he seemed like a human, but his fat body and hands were covered in scales, fins as well as other features, which let people know that he was merrow at a single glance.
He should have asked the other elders to transform him into a human instead of doing it himself, because he seemed to be the same as his usual state.
“Don't you have something to ask the merrows, I helped you by bringing him here.”
Nico was proudly standing upright beside the merrow.
“Oh, Lydia, you don't have to be angry.”
Nico meant to do this as an excuse to Lydia for telling Edgar about everything.
Lydia glared at Nico, and seemed to have something to say, but Nico still maintained his appearance of power and prestige, despite his fur standing up and him shaking a bit.
“I heard that the fairy doctor wanted to meet with us, so I came to visit.”
The merrow explained his presence.
“I thought it was Tomkins.”
Edgar muttered to himself.
“My Lord, did you call for me?”
The butler Tomkins himself had appeared. A group of people standing in front of a stack of chairs looked quite ridiculous.
“Ah, Tomkins, take the guest to the reception room.”
Tomkins nodded, then cleared the towering barrier, and Lydia thought his appearance and measurements were very similar to the other merrow.
“Dear me! So you are alive, Tom.”
“…You said that Tom should be my ancestor.”
“You've almost become a human, though it is simply a replica of Tom.”
“Perhaps this is the so-called atavistic phenomenon.”
It is said that Tomkins’ family inherited the merrow’s blood, but this was the first time his family members came to face him as a merrow, and Tomkins was pretending to be calm.
“Earl, please forgive my belated greetings. You asked to be blessed, and thanks to you, we merrows now live along well with the Islanders, we are very satisfied.”
“It is me that should be thanking you people, because you entrusted the sword to me, so I had the opportunity to do a little bit for everyone.”
Upon entering the reception room, Edgar affectionately greeted the merrow, and asked him to sit down.
“And you seem to be engaged, that should be congratulated. If the Earl can live forever, it wouldn't be a waste for our sword to be delivered to you.”
Lydia was taken by surprise, and she quickly covered the ring with hand, but it was already too late.
There was a problem, even though the spell on the moonstone ring was unseen by humans, it had no effect on fairies.
“So, you will pray for the Earl’s heir to be born as soon as possible?”
This guy is impossible.
“Why, of course.”
“Rather than that... Elder, I would like to ask you one thing...
Lydia hurried to interrupt the sensitive issues that they were talking about.
“I've heard that 100 years ago, the fairies met the Blue Knight Earl. Assuming that the person was really the count, why didn't he come to take the sword? You were there 100 years ago, so do you have any clue about the Earl?”
“100 years ago? Ah~ that is true.”
“Hey, do you have any clues?”
“The Blue Knight Earl disappeared around that time, and countless of people tried to steal the sword, and we were able to meet, but besides you, there was only one other person who made it into the sea, who later died because he couldn't reach the conditions of the sword. But according to this story, the Earl's blood completely died off as early as 100 years ago, so he wanted us to give him the sword.”
“When did the man appear?”
Edgar asked as he interrupted him.
“Just during the past few years, a little bit earlier than you.”
“Was he not claiming to be Ulysses?”
Lydia was surprised and looked up at Edgar.
“Ah yes, he was a middle-aged man.”
“… It is not the Ulysses that we know now.”
“He probably had relatives that died out there.”
Edgar muttered, then proceeded to ask other questions:
“The middle-aged man should have pressed on that he was a blood-related descendant of the Blue Knight Earl, right?”
“He was unable to prove it, so there was no point in doing so.”
“In other words, he didn't unravel the mystery of the poem that guided to the sword of Merrow.”
The merrow nodded.
The Blue Knight Earl's legitimate heir was killed, the Prince was ruthless, so there was no doubt that Ulysses, who was from a bastard lineage, inherited the Earl’s blood and the Prince emphasized on this point, using the fact that he was eligible to get the sword.
The result backfired, drowning one of his men.
The Prince gave up on the sword of Merrow because Ulysses couldn't get his hands on it, but he certainly never thought that Edgar would get the sword and become the Earl himself.
“It seems that Prince was involved in the rumours from 100 years ago and had some kind of drama with the Blue Knight Earls before.”
“It is certain that the count did not visit Mannon Island. Obviously, the ancient Earls came here to visit, so it's really unusual… We only know this much.”
“Elder, is there any way we can know more about the Earl's past? The count’s past from 100 years ago is still unclear, and I would like to know more about Ulysses and the sword of Merrow.”
“The true members of the Blue Knight Earl’s family should fully know about this, but saying this now won't help. If it is as the Earl said, that Ulysses has an imitation or a relative, we can only know these things by asking the banshee.”
Edgar looked at Lydia, hoping that she could explain.
“The banshee is a fairy that would serve prestigious families’ houses, and also, there is a saying that states that the banshee of the family died as a former human soul, but overall, a banshee will protect your family, and it will cry once it predicts a family member’s death.”
“Where do banshees live?”
“Mostly within the range of a noble family's house.”
“So the Earl’s banshee should be close? We were unable to find it.”
“Before, the old Earl had come over to visit the castle with his banshee.”
“Come to think of it, if it is as the Earl of Ibrazel left, he took his banshee with him.”
“We can only pray that the banshee is still in the human world. But how can we recognize them?”
“The banshees are mostly young girls who have long hair, are wearing green clothes and always have swollen eyes.”
Edgar thought for a moment.
“The banshee’s tears will turn into amber, right?”
“Oh, you really know a lot.”
“My Lord, Mr. Paul is coming.”
Tomkins reappeared, notifying that Paul has arrived.
“Earl, I'm sorry, I couldn't wait for you to come back, so I came directly to meet you. She's been crying a lot, I don't know what to do...
Paul couldn't wait and walked straight into the living room, excusing himself, but Edgar stood up with joy.
“Paul! You came at the right time, I'm sorry I didn't come to greet you on your arrival.”
“Well, that does not matter... Did I bother you...?”
“I intended to immediately send you a letter to call for you, but wow, you’re really worthy to be my good friend, you came before I was done thinking.”
Most of the people were complaining about Edgar's whims, but Paul was completely oblivious about it, and gave a reassuring smile.
Edgar’s followers didn't seem to mind his headstrong plays.
“Is that right? That's really good... I really didn't know what to do, I thought I needed to talk with Miss Lydia.”
Paul led a young girl into the room, who was wearing a hooded cloak that was completely covering her face.
Then she rubbed a swollen eye, and looked up.
“Ah! Isn't that the Blue Knight Earl’s banshee?”
Lydia heard the merrow’s surprising remark and was studying the teenager’s face.
“I remember that the Earl once took her to visit us.”
“Really, is that true? Are you the Earl Ashenbert’s banshee?”
“Lydia, she seems to have lost her memory.”
Lydia, completely ignorant of the current situation, did not know why Paul was the one bringing the banshee.
“You mean she lost her memory? … So she forgot about the Earl?”
“It seems to be the case. Ah, but she seems to remember something, her owner's name.”
“My master is Lady Gladys...”
The banshee whispered, as tears spilled from her eyes became amber.
“As the merrow family, we should know, but there is no one by the name of Gladys as a Blue Knight Earl.”
“In other words, she should be that count from 100 years ago.”
The merrow said softly.
“So, if she was the only heiress among the Earls, no wonder she didn't appear in England.”
“Only males are eligible to inherit the Ashenbert's peerage, so there was no need for her to take the sword and audience with England’s king.”
Edgar seemed able to understand and said so.
“The human world is really in trouble, fairies don't care about gender, it doesn't matter as long as they’re the Blue Knight Earl.”
“In that case, why did that countess Gladys come to England? Banshee, do you only remember your owner's name? Don't you remember your master, when she died, and when she came to England, please?”
The banshee shook her head.
“I have been wandering in the human world, so I did not feel the passage of time.”
“Her memory was sealed, and Lady Gladys probably did so, as she was her master.”
The merrow interrupted.
“Why would she seal her memory?”
“I don't know what happened to her master, but if the memories of the banshee were sealed and she was wandering alone at this point, the other side may have died. 100 years ago, she was the Earl of Ashenbert, but she left no heirs, so she could only deliver an important secret task to the banshee, together with her sealed memories.”
Upon hearing that her master likely died, the banshee suffered and nearly passed out, but Paul who was beside her, held her.
“The important secret refers to what?”
Edgar asked the merrow.
“I cannot unlock the seal, so I have no way of knowing.”
“As long as I meet my master, I should restore my memories, but if Lady Gladys has died, maybe I will never be able to recover them.”
“There must be some way to recover your memories. Now, Edgar should be your master, he is the current Blue Knight Earl.”
Assuming that Lady Gladys knew that the Earl's lineage was cut off, but she still suggested to the banshee "to come see the next host", which means she had wanted to see someone inherit the Blue Knight Earl's house in the future.
“So that's it. Miss, maybe you’ll want to hold my hands.”
“Don't hold them!”
Edgar stretched his hands to the banshee, but Lydia rushed to Banshee out of protection and gave Edgar a stern look, and then she turned her head and asked the banshee:
“Banshee, I think you should know how to break that spell. Maybe under Lady Gladys, when you took the task, it’d let you see the owner and think of way to break that spell. After seeing Edgar, try to think that he is the Blue Knight Earl and see if you can remember.”
The banshee looked in bewilderment at Edgar, then gently shook her head.
“I can't believe that he is my Lord, because I can't feel Lady Gladys’ powerful force in him.”
Edgar looked away from Banshee and slightly shrugged.
“It seems that I've hardly been acknowledged as the true Blue Knight Earl.”