Earl and Fairy
Bridal training in the rose maze Preview

Short Story - Until the Stork is Pleased


[This is your child. Please take loving care of our baby.]
That was the start of a troublesome day.
A basket carrying an infant was placed on the footsteps in front of the entrance to the Ashenbert Earl Manor in one of the most leading and prominent residential areas of Mayfair, London.
The letter that was tucked along with the child read that message written with poor handwriting and there was a stork’s feather, said to bring good fortune that was tucked inside the envelope.
However, the Earl himself, who was gathering all of the suspicious glares of the servants, had idea that he was trying to think of a way to lie about this to his ‘fiancée,’ and Lydia, who arrived to work at the earl manor like always went straight to her work office as always.
She was the private fairy doctor of this earl house.
She was a fairy specialist that was employed by Edgar Ashenbert who had the title of the Earl of Ibrazel, the Fairyland.
In the England estates that were bestowed to the earl family who had ties with fairies from the old times there were many fairy dwellers and so it was easy for friction or misunderstandings to occur between humans and fairies. In those circumstances, it was the job of a fairy doctor to come stand in-between those two parties and solve the problem.
Although she was still an inexperienced newbie, this girl had pride in her job as a fairy doctor, and of course she was commuting to this earl manor for the sake of that job, not so she could be the accompany for Edgar’s amusements, and of course she wasn’t his ‘fiancée.’

And yet that young earl declares that he will marry Lydia.
She had refused his proposal, but he said that he wouldn’t give up, and so whenever they see each other’s faces, he would try to court her, which was quite troublesome.
This morning, she once more made her way through the house cautiously so that she wouldn’t bump into Edgar in the hallway.
However, it was just when she had passed by the front of the drawing room. She caught a glimpse of Raven, and so she stopped.
This amber skin-toned young man was Edgar’s valet. He remained sitting in a chair placed in the sun-lit terrace under the light and was looking down, without moving an inch, into the basket that was resting on his lap. It was like he was under the idea that he wasn’t allowed to move not one inch.
He was had no expression on his face, and was a young man that didn’t show his emotions, but since it faintly looked like he was lost and didn’t know what to do, Lydia peered from the doorway to see what he was doing.
If it was Edgar’s orders, it was normal for Raven to silently obey anything and everything. She wondered if he was being made to do something unreasonable.
“Good morning, Raven.”
When Lydia spoke out to him, he snapped his head up. She must have startled him.
“Excuse me, but what is it that you’re holding so carefully?”

She walked over to him just the basket nearly fell down from his lap and he scrambled to hold it back up.
“You mustn’t, please do not come any closer.”
“Huh? Why is that?”
“I was told by Mr. Tomkins that I must not let you see this.”
“What is it, something dangerous?”
“No, nothing like that……”
When one is told that they couldn’t see something, it was natural to want to see all the more. If it was the instructions of the butler, then it wasn’t something as absolute to Raven like an order given by Edgar.
During the faint instant when Raven let his eyes fall down into the contents of the basket, Lydia swiftly stepped next to him.
When she peered down into it, she saw that there was a small infant sleeping inside peacefully.
The baby’s small face was covered by hair so white that it practically didn’t have any color. The baby’s face was soft and plump and very adorable.
“Oh my, why it’s a baby. How cute.”
In the end, Raven didn’t try to hide the baby from Lydia’s eyes. It could have been because he didn’t want to move unnecessarily and wake the baby up.
That’s why Lydia moved closer to him and allowing her cheeks to soften up and take all her delight in gazing at the baby.
The question of why she wasn’t allowed to look was completely out of her mind.

The baby’s eyelashes twitched and the child opened its eyes just a little. The baby looked up at Lydia and closed its eyes again, as if it felt relaxed. It even appeared like the baby was smiling.
“But, whose baby is this?”
Raven, who probably wasn’t good at lying, thought about it for a bit, but then honestly gave a reply.
“Apparently this baby was left in front of the entrance.”
“What, an abandoned child?”
“No, umm…….I don’t know.”
He sure seemed to sound like he was slurring his words.
But then Lydia noticed a piece of paper inside the edge of the basket and without thinking, picked it up with her hand.
In it, it read:
[This is your child. Please take loving care of our baby.]
Oh, heavens no……could this be..
There was no signature in the letter and she had no idea who “your” meant. However, besides Edgar, there were only servants who lived in this house.
Even if she were to include all the male servants, and even if she were to include both the next-door houses on either side, he was the only one that had the most possibility.
“Is this an illegitimate child? Of Edgar’s?”

Without mistake, he loved women and was an absolute flirt.
He was a fair speaker and was good at grabbing the hearts of women, and so there was no way that that handsome young nobleman wasn’t popular with women, and even Lydia, who was quite ignorant of rumors or about the talk of the neighborhood, knew that he was having scandalous relationships with more than several women.
But to go and make an illegitimate child.
“Unbelievable, how irresponsible of him!”
When Lydia didn’t think to hold back and cried that out loud, Raven murmured “I’m sorry.”
“Why are you the one who is apologizing?”
“Because it seems that Miss Carlton was angered from my doings.”
“I am in no way angry. I’m just saying that it’s irresponsible!”
“I’m sorry.”
“Not you, Edgar! Am I wrong, he went all the way and brought a child into this world, and yet I can’t believe that he would end his relationship with her and go and flirt or court another woman. He should take responsibility and marry her. Or else it isn’t fair to the poor child!”
“Then Lydia, we need to hurry and get married.”
“Huh?”
Lydia turned to face the terrace with the same emphasizing power that was boiling in her to where the sudden interrupting voice came from, and when she saw the irresponsible man who she was talking about, more hot blood boiled up in her head.

“Edgar! Do you have any idea how grave the situation is?”
She couldn’t help it, because he was making his usual fearless smile and letting his blond hair bask that was so bright and glowing that it seemed sarcastic, out to the rays of the sun as he stood with one of his arms propped up against the glass door of the terrace.
Even his moss-green necktie and charcoal-grey morning coat looked elegant along with him, making him give a perfect appearance from the start of the day.
“I understand. That’s why we should hurry and get married.”
He briskly walked over towards her and took Lydia’s hand to give it a kiss.
She was never able to become completely used to this style of greeting. That was because for a greeting, he would look at her with hot eyes.
However, right now the illegitimate child was more important than that. Even if he was trying to confuse her and let this matter be forgotten, Lydia wasn’t going to be deceived and opened her mouth to retaliate.
“You have the wrong person. The one you need to propose marriage to is the mother of this child.”
“That’s what I’ve been doing.”
“Wh-what on earth are you saying?”
Edgar picked up the stork feather that was stuck in the collar and took in both of Lydia’s hands inside both of his like a cradle to make her hold onto the feather.
“Lydia, this is our baby. The hasty stork that couldn’t wait looks like it has sped up the time when the baby should have been delivered, but there should be no problem since we are eventually going to get married.”

“…..Stork?”
“Yes, there was this stork feather inside the basket. Even the storks are showing proof that they agreed that it is our unwavering destiny that we are going to become husband and wife.”
He was right, it did look like this feather came from a stork. However!
“Let’s raise our baby together.”
She was dumbstruck, but when she looked up to see Edgar’s face, he looked back at her with a soft smile and only appeared like he was filled with joy.
Lydia started to feel faint from their gently holding hands and not being able to escape from the impression of his unusually warm ash mauve eyes.
Oh, so that’s what happened. A stork had come to deliver our future baby.
……..wasn’t what she was thinking.
“D-don’t make a fool out of me! There isn’t any way a stork would deliver a child!”
“Oh, is that so? I had no idea.”
And there he went saying it like he really had no idea. There should be a limit to shamless behavior.
“Then, where is it that babies come from.”
“Huh, th-that would be…”

Even if she knew that he was having fun with her, she couldn’t stop from having her face turn red.
“Oh, Lydia, please tell me.”
He is making a complete fool out of her.
He wasn’t letting go of her hands that was still being held together with his, and even if she turned her flustered face away, he leaned down to peer into her eyes.
“Excuse me, ….would you mind letting go.”
“Why?”
What why?
“If we looked into each other too long, do you think that a stork would bring us another baby?”
Oh, there is no helping this man.
“If it was a child with you, then I’d be happy no matter how many we have.”
“Edgar, even if that baby was your child, it has nothing to do with me! Let’s raise our baby together?! You must be out of your mind. To think that you were such an irresponsible person, I…, well I knew that, no, no, anyways I am disappointed in you! And besides, I will never get married with you!”
It was just the instant when she managed to shake off his grip.
“Am I a trouble to you? Momma.”
Momma?
Lydia turned around and slowly looked around the room to search who the voice belonged to, but then eventually her eyes fell to the basket that Raven was carrying.

From there, the baby was popping its head out and looking at her. The baby was still young that it couldn’t possibly be able to talk on its own. She kept thinking it was impossible and tried to take her eyes off, but then the baby spoke again.
“Please don’t say you won’t get married. Please, Momma.”
There was no mistake; the baby was talking to Lydia.
On top of that, the baby propped himself up over the basket and jumped down onto the floor from Raven’s lap.
The baby clothes he was wearing was white and lined with frills and hemmed with a black ribbon. The baby boy corrected the hem that had turned up softly as he stood up strongly with his own legs.
“W-what are you..”
“I’m Momma’s son.”
Lydia felt a faint coming on and swooned but Edgar caught her and she didn’t have the strength to push him away.
“Ohh, don’t get so surprised. I just haven’t been born into this world yet and am living as a stork sprite for the moment being. That’s why it can’t be helped that Momma doesn’t know anything about me yet.”
“A stork…..?”
After a good look, she could see that there were small wings on the back of the baby. She thought it was some kind of decoration of his clothes, but they fidgeted and moved.

They resembled the same kind of wings that of a young chickling and was covered with white plumes, but at their tips stuck out the black flight feathers exactly like a storks.
“Uh-huh. Before a human baby is born into this world they all are stork spirits. I was told that it was to fly the sky with storks and learn about what happens in the human world.”
“I-is that true?”
“Everyone says so.”
However, Lydia wasn’t able to believe that so easily.
There was more to learn about the depths of the fairy world, and there was no surprise is there was something that the inexperienced Lydia didn’t know about, but she couldn’t think that the number of stork spirits were as many as the number of human babies.
“Then you aren’t my illegitimate child,” murmured Edgar, like a relief.
So you did have an idea that it could possibly be yours.
Lydia’s strength disappeared even more.
“But if he is Lydia’s future child, then that means he would also me my child as well.”
He had quite the nerve to say such a thing as a man who could have made an illegitimate child. What was even more pushy than that was he still held Lydia in his arms and wouldn’t let go.
The baby looked up towards Edgar who was like that and slightly tilted his head.

“I don’t know about that. I actually don’t know who it is Momma is going to marry.”
“Huh, which means, your mother is always decided, but your father is not decided yet?”
“That’s right. That’s why if Momma were to lose her feelings of being in love, then I won’t be able to be born into this world.”
Suddenly the little child’s face turned into a desperate look and he put both his little hands together like he was praying.
“My friends told me. My Momma distrusts men terribly and at this rate she wouldn’t be able to get married. That’s why I thought I must convince my Momma…”
“Distrust in men, I-I just don’t have any interest in marrying an irresponsible man like him.”
“Then if it was a different person, you would marry?”
All of a sudden, Edgar let go of Lydia and swiftly lifted up the baby and carried him off to the corner of the room.
“Now little boy, Lydia is my fiancée. If other men were to try and win her affections, then I’ll make sure they are driven away. In other words, this is what I mean. If she doesn’t come to love me, then you won’t be able to be born.”
Setting the baby to stand on a decoration stand, he leaned his face up to the baby’s and stress, no nearly threaten him.
“Excuse me, Edgar, don’t go and say what you like.”
“Therefore. Don’t you think its best that we join forces and help each other? You want Lydia to get married. I want to marry Lydia. Why we have the same interests,”

said Edgar, without paying any heed to Lydia.
“……Uh-huh, you’re right.”
Please don’t get convinced.
“First of all, I don’t think that there would be a more worthy father than me. You would become the heir of the Ashenbert earl family and be able to live life in comfort. If Lydia were to leave my side and get caught by some good-for-nothing man, then you and your mother will both become miserable.”
Oh, yes you’re the one to say that, thought Lydia. He himself represented how good-for-nothing a man can be.
However, the small little boy shake his hair that looked like the puff of a dandelion and solemnly nodded his head.
“I don’t want that.”
“Then it’s decided. You will acknowledge me as your father and show the ideal father and son relationship to Lydia. Then even Lydia would come to realize that I am the man that she should marry for the sake of her future child.”
“All right, Poppa.”
Whaat, hold on a second.
“It’s Father. Like a noble.”
“Uh-hum, Popp….I mean, Father.”
“Uh, more than that, am I really the mother? How can you tell that its me.”

To Lydia, that was the first thing she couldn’t believe.
“I can tell. I had the feeling the first time I saw you.”
That’s much too arbitrary.
“I had heard that she was in this house, so there’s no mistake, Momma.”
“You must call Lydia Mother,” said Edgar.
“Yes, Mother.”
“Good boy. For the time being, we call you by the name Til. Viscount Tildurston, it is one of the titles that I have, and the courtesy title that is given to the eldest son of our earl family.”
“Wow, that’s such a wonderful name!”
It seems like the child was getting completely led on.
Edgar gently stroked the baby’s head and then turned to face Lydia.
“Now then, without more ado, why don’t we go out on a picnic as a family from now? So that we can get the feeling of a loving, happy family.”
“I’m not going, I’m busy,”replied Lydia.
“Mother is quite hard to please. Til, why don’t you try and ask her yourself as well.”
Edgar picked up Til once more and pushed him towards Lydia.
She was only left with the option of holding him so he wouldn’t be dropped.

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He still wasn’t a human, so his heaviness and the touch of his softness and warmth was an illusion. Even if she thought that, he seemed like a read baby.
The fairy baby smiled at her with a little embarrassment and grabbed ahold of Lydia tightly.
“Mother has such a nice smell. It’s just like I had dreamed.”
When he told her something like that, then she wasn’t able to bring herself to say he had the wrong person.
“Let’s go, Mother.”
“But, you see…..”
“So then, you really don’t want me?”
His big blue eyes became wet and shining with tears, which made Lydia panic.
“No, fine, I’ll go. Let’s go on a picnic!”
“Raven, make the preparations,” said Edgar without giving a pause.
Still holding the basket, Raven had been silently watching how everything was going, but at that, he bolted up to stand.
*

It wasn’t like she hated Edgar. Even Lydia acknowledged, for the time being, that he had good traits to him beside his looks.
To Lydia who had only been close to fairies and been seen with looks of strange and odd by the people around her, it was genuinely happy to her to be acknowledged of her power as a fairy doctor.
He was someone who proposed to her for the first time in her life, and when she thought this was going to be the first and last opportunity for such a thing, then it wasn’t like she didn’t feel any beating of her heart.
However, no matter what, she wasn’t able to believe that he had serious feelings for her.
To Edgar who had been juggling and switching many women up till now, love must be something that quickly cools down. She guessed that it wasn’t feelings of love but more that he was using the option that would tie down the fairy doctor who was an important figure to the earl family to this house forever.
Even if he did gain the title of Earl of Ibrazel, Edgar doesn’t have the power to come in contact with fairies. Since he is relying on Lydia in regards to everything when it comes to fairies, it could be that he felt just an employer-worker relationship wasn’t strong enough.
That’s why in order to get married with Lydia, even if Edgar were to declare that he ‘cut his ties with his female “friends”,’ she couldn’t possibly believe him.
Because, just a few days earlier, Lydia heard him having a serious conversation with a certain woman.

“So, I was just being fooled around with.”
It was just when she was passing by the doorway of Edgar’s office. Lydia heard those words spoken that she couldn’t possibly ignore, and so she couldn’t help but to stop.
It was the voice of a young girl.
“No, that’s not true. Only that, a flower of love can’t keep blooming on forever. If you were able to spend your time beautifully, then it would be the best for both to search and find a new love before that love loses its color.”
There was no mistake that the voice who she was talking to in that conversation, that sounded like he was soothing and coaxing with his talk, was Edgar.
“It was because I was from the lower birth, wasn’t it? I shouldn’t have believed the words that class didn’t have anything to do with it…”
“Class has nothing to do with it when falling in love. But, because thinking of your sake, it means that ending the relationship is the only option. Making you into a mistress wasn’t the wish is the reason. Could you understand that?”
A m-mistress?
She felt shocked at hearing such a frank word used, but Lydia thought it wasn’t right to be listening to such a thing like this, and so she rush to get away from that spot. However, just when she heard the sound of a door slamming open with a loud force, a girl in a maid uniform went running out with her hands covering her face.

The girl realized Lydia was there and rushed to face away, and since it was the first time to see her face for Lydia, she guessed that the girl must be a newly employed housemaid.
Lydia was dumbfounded at how he could fool around even with a servant, but as time went by, gradually she felt anger build up inside her.
Even if he said he was serious and flirted with her, but immediately got tired of her and changed his mind, then that means he was half fooling around, playing a game.
Edgar was showing himself like he had affections for Lydia, but his proposals and everything else must be just a temporary whim of his. If she were to take it seriously, then there was no mistake that she would be put through a terrible experience.
Lydia reminded herself that anew once more, and pledged to herself that she was going to have a more assured, resolute attitude towards Edgar.

And yet.
Because of the appearance of Til, in the end, things were turning out like Edgar wanted.
She wondered why things could have turned out like this, and took a glance over to him beside her with a feeling of resignation.
He must have been watching her the whole time, as their eyes met immediately.
Compared to Lydia’s hair which was described as dirty, rusted-iron, his bright blond hair, which she envied so much, floated in front of her eyes by a breeze.

Edgar gave her a gentle happy smile, and it gave the impression like he was feeling pure joy at just being able to gaze at Lydia, but she couldn’t imagine where it was about her, that was so apparently head-strong, unattractive appearance of her, that he could look at.
“It’s quite the pleasant sunshine we’re having. Even the singing of the birds sound like they are congratulating us,” he whispered to Lydia in a quite personal close distance as they sat themselves down on a blanket that was laid out in the shadow of a tree.
Before she had realized it, he was holding her hand.
“Um, Edgar, shouldn’t we stop in trying to use that little boy? We don’t have any sure idea of what lies ahead, and it’s questionable if I’m really going to become a mother anyway. And besides, he still isn’t a human, so he should return to where it is he belongs.”
“If we show him how close we are to each other, then Til would feel relieved and want to go home, I’m sure.”
Lydia wasn’t able to escape from the deceitful crook that snuggled up to her. That was because she couldn’t allow herself to push Edgar away as usual while they were in front of Til.
“For his sake as well, couldn’t you try to feel like you are enjoying being together with me?”
I guess I have no choice, but if she let herself give in like that just a little, he would take advantage of that opportunity.
She was well aware of that, and yet when the gentle sunbeams that were streaming through the leaves would wave and rustle, the color of the ash mauve eyes that gaze at her would slightly change, making Lydia shaken and confused.
If it were a real couple in love then this area near this small lake that was located beyond the forest out of the city, then they would be able to submit themselves to a romantic mood.

Mingling among the hill berries bushes, there was a haze of small light yellow flowers that was a nice sight to the eyes. The dark green-colored lake was surrounded by thickets and groves of small trees and the tree leaves and plants and flowers reflected in the water surface and gave a decorative, magical atmosphere that isn’t seen in the city parks.
It was a perfect place for a small picnic that was near enough to London.
Have you brought a woman to this place in the past? was the kind of mean question that came up to her mind, but Lydia somehow managed to hide it in the back of her mind.
Till was enjoying himself by chasing after a butterfly and running around. If she were to start a fight with Edgar here then he wouldn’t want to go home at all.
However, when Lydia was going to be quiet, then it was natural for Edgar to want to get ahead of himself.
“Lately, we haven’t had that much time to spend together.”
“We’ve been seeing each other’s faces every day.”
“Going out together has been a long while. I’ve been having small affairs and didn’t have any time. But you know, please don’t think that I’ve been ignoring or forgetting about you.”
“No big deal, it’s nothing.”
“I’ll make sure to compensate for everything, so you can cuddle up to me all you want.”
I could never do such a dangerous thing.

However, like he aimed for the timing when Till was looking towards their direction, he removed Lydia’s bonnet and placed a kiss on her head.
“Till, come over here now. Let’s have lunch.”
His attitude was if a light kiss was a daily part of their lives in such a natural way, as he called for little Till.
“Yees, Father.”
Till, who came running over to them, held out a white flower to Lydia.
“This was growing over there by the bushes. I thought Mother was sure to like it.”
It was an adorable lily flower. It was an early bloomer, but that could be Till using fairy magic to make it bloom. Of course, she didn’t dislike it at all, but it must be a flower that Till like instead. As Lydia was thinking that, she quickly changed her expression that was made sour because of Edgar into a smile.
In a place lit bright by the sun, Raven was setting out a simple table and chairs. On the table that was covered by a tablecloth, there were white plates and glasses that were taken out from the picnic basket and grape wine was being poured into them.
Edgar took Lydia’s hand and helped her up and in a mastered natural movement, he escorted her to the table.
For little Till’s sake, there were a number of cushions that were put one on top of each other on a chair, and then Raven gently picked him up and sat him down in it.
There was cold meat, herbed sausage and cheese, pickles and oiled herring and colorful gooseberry gam and honey.

It must have been a rare sight, as Till looked as he was having fun watching everything on top of the table.
“Oh, Mother, what is this?”
It was indeed a peculiar feeling to be called mother, but when Till made a carefree smile to her, Lydia made a smile somehow again.
That’s right, if this boy can feel relieved, then he is sure to return back to his friends. Even if she really was or wasn’t his mother, that was the only thing that Lydia could do right now.
“It’s a baked apple. Do you want a bite?”
“Oh, no, I’m still not a human yet, so I’ll just have milk.”
With both of his hands, he grabbed ahold of his glass, and put his lips to it with a delicious face.
“I want to hurry up and get born so that I can eat the same foods as Father and Mother.”
“That would be nice. If you were to be born, then the three of us should come back here again. Right, Lydia.”
“Eh? Oh, yes….”
“Really? I can’t wait. It’s a pity that I won’t be able to remember about today.”
Just for an instant, Till made a sad, lonely expression. Perhaps he couldn’t fight back the fear that that kind of time might never come.
“…….We’ll remember it.”

Lydia said that so that she could relieve him.
And then, it was Edgar who looked happed as he agreed. Somehow or other, she still had the feeling like she was trapped in his scheme.
“And so, Lydia, when do you want to have our wedding?”
“Huh?”
“Oh, you know, we still are only engaged and still haven’t made anything specific, but I’m starting to feel like I want to hurry up and get married. Since we have this opportunity, wouldn’t it nice if we decided on the date in front of Till here?”
“That, that is….”
Since Till would look up to Lydia with eyes filled with expectations, so even as she was made irritated at Edgar’s doings, she could only make a stiff smile.
“Edgar, let’s first enjoy our meal!”
I’ll get even with you once Till goes home.
As she secretly glared at Edgar, Lydia brought her glass to her lips.
When she looked up, she saw there were hazy clouds passing by in the blue sky. If she were to exclude Edgar’s plot, it was quite the peaceful picnic.
As long as she didn’t put Edgar in her eye of vision, then any day would be peaceful……
Even if she were to think that, she wasn’t able to take her eyes off of Edgar all this time.

As for that reason, she had a feeling like she knew why, but she didn’t want to acknowledge it.
A breeze passed by the tops of the trees. As she watched the apricot flower petals dance dancing around, but then suddenly a trickster gust blasted through and blown off Lydia’s bonnet.
It flew up in a swirl and the pansy-colored ribbon got caught on a tree branch.
“Oh, no, in such a high place.”
It was Raven who immediately tried to go and retrieve it, but Edgar stopped him and spoke.
“It’s all right, we’ll go and get it.”
“Huh, what do you mean we?”
“Till, will you give me a hand for your Mother’s sake?”
Till energetically made a nod, and Edgar effortlessly picked him up.
He carried the infant on one arm like he was a feather, and that made him appear unusually masculine.
He had a slender build, and gave a strong impression of elegance and that of a nobleman. With one spoken word, he could move and make people submissive, and she was impressed at his traits of a ruler, but she had the feeling like he had nothing to do with a closer, simpler masculinity.
His treatment of her as a lover and his sweet words always made Lydia nervous. It could have been the first time that she felt such a relaxing, comforting masculinity from him like this.
Was he a person who could properly protect and help grow small, fragile little ones?
What on earth was he thinking, thought Lydia as she hastily took a deep breath.

Edgar walked over to where it was right under the branch where the bonnet was caught and stopped. And then, he set Till on top of his shoulders.
“How is it? Can you reach your hands to it?”
“Ummm, just a little more.”
Till stood up on his shoulders. It would be a disaster if his feet were to slip.
Lydia forgot that he was a fairy and watched in suspense.
“You know, it’s all right. Edgar, make him stop.”
“Don’t stop now, Till.”
“Oh, I think I can reach it.”
It was just when his tiny hand grabbed the end of the ribbon. His body wobbled to the side.
“Ahhh, watch out!”
She thought he was going to fall.
Lydia kicked herself off the chair to stand up. However, Edgar’s hand had grabbed a tight hold on Till’s body that appeared like he was going to fall.
Still with his grip on him, he twirled the youngster around in circles. Till was circled around in the air and was letting bursts of laughter. He was grabbed onto as he was twirled around in the air like he was flying through the air, and instead of becoming afraid, he was enjoying it.
Even when he was hung upside-down, he was enjoying himself. He had complete trust that Edgar wouldn’t drop him.

i12

Then Till was finally set down on the ground and he flapped his delicate wings which were useless to fly as he was still laughing with pure delight.
“Edgar….., what were you doing? What were you going to do if he got hurt!”
“It’s all right. I had a good grip on him.”
“But he nearly fell!”
“In order to go on an adventure, man needs to experience danger and overcome it. Now, Till, go hand the worrisome lady her bonnet.”
The little boy came dashing over to where Lydia was and puffed out his chest and held out her hat.
“Here, Mother.”
His face was that of a boy who had pulled off a small adventure. He was feeling pride in his success after defying danger.
“Thank you….”
She wanted to give him a hug, but Lydia couldn’t allow herself to let go of her worries and do such a careless thing.
If she were to acknowledge him, it would seem like she was going to acknowledge Edgar and him as a future husband.
Because Edgar and Till looked like a real father and son.
Edgar was actually thinking about marriage much more seriously than Lydia had thought, and there was a danger of her going under the misunderstanding that he might be able to make a happy family.

Lydia put Till on top of her lap after he fell asleep on the grass getting exhausted from playing, and she even let him stay on her inside the carriage on their way home. If it was while he was sleeping, she felt like she could be allowed to hug him even though she couldn’t acknowledge him as her future child.
*

“What is this thing. He’s standing up and walking.”
When Lydia came to work the next day, Till came into her work office immediately.
It seemed like he couldn’t bring himself to go home yet, so he had spent the night at the earl house. She heard that Edgar wasn’t here on some business, so he must be bored.
The one who spoke up in a puzzled voice after seeing Till was Lydia’s partner, a fairy cat who could walk on his hind feet.
“Wow, a cat talked!”
“Whoa, a baby talked!”
The two of them who were the same height, both stood standing up straight as they looked in surprise at each other. In the work office in the earl house, Lydia stopped what she was writing, and thought it was sure a strange sight as she watched them.

“Uh, just to let you know, Nico, he is a sprite of a stork. He isn’t a human baby yet.”
Nico curved his head around to take a look at Till’s back.
“You’re right, so he’s a stork fairy baby. Why is he here?”
“Mother, this cat is wearing a necktie.”
“Mother, you mean Lydia?”
“Things are a little complicated. Oh, Nico, I’m in the middle of work right now but would you play with Till for a little while?”
Because she was made to accompany Edgar yesterday, she wasn’t able to finish her work at all.
“Whaat, I have to babysit.”
“Mother, I can play with this cat.”
He was much more understanding than Nico.
“I am not a cat! Be careful about that, Stork.”
“I’m not a stork either! Because I’m going to become a human soon.”
“Huh? A fairy becoming a human? I never heard of such a thing.”
“A cat wouldn’t know that.”
“So you’re a runt fairy who just got born. If you can keep up with me then I’ll play with you.”
Nico slipped out through the door with his slim body. Till went dashing after him as well.

“Be nice to each other!”
As Lydia shouted out to them, she sat down to her desk again.
In their place, a maid came into the room. She placed a new letter asking for the help of a fairy doctor on the corner of the desk.
“Thank you.”
As Lydia said that and looked up, she realized that the young maid was the girl who was in Edgar’s office yesterday.
The girl kept her face down as she made a little bow. She looked like she wasn’t in good spirits, and Lydia guessed that might be because of Edgar’s cold harsh treatment.
And then, as the girl was about to leave the room, she suddenly stumbled and crouched down on the floor like she was going to fall.
“Oh, you! Are you all right? Shall I go call for someone….”
However, she grabbed ahold of Lydia’s arm as if to stop her.
“I’m fine. I’ll get better in no time….”
Lydia figured that if the head maid were to find out the girl would be yelled at, so she decided that the girl should rest here for now.
Just when Lydia was going to lend the girl her should and help her up, someone else gave out their hand. The one who picked up the maid girl was Raven.

“Where shall I set her down?”
He was just his usual self like he was talking about some piece of luggage.
“Oh, could you lay her down on that sofa.”
He promptly did as he was told.
“Thank you, Raven. Um, I’m going to have her rest here for a bit.”
“I think it’s best for her to have something to eat. Lately, Connie hasn’t been eating anything.”
“What? Is that true?”
Lydia thought that the girl might not be able to let food down her throat from the shock of her lost love, but then, in the next moment, there was something that got stuck in her mind. He was someone who was nearly indifferent to anyone else than Edgar, so why would he notice something like a maid not taking her meals.
“Why do you know something like that?”
“I was ordered to keep an eye on her.”
In other words, by Edgar?
Lydia became irritated, and she left the maid named Connie by herself and pulled Raven out of the room. In the hallway, she lowered her voice to talk to him.
“What is that, what do you mean? It’s distasteful to monitor the woman he casted off.”
Raven seemed like he didn’t understand her meaning, as he tilted his head to the side.

“I happened to hear it. Just when Edgar was bringing up ending their relationship to her. To go and put his hands on a servant, and then cast her aside, it isn’t something a gentleman would do!”
“That is not true.”
“What is not true! He said that his feelings for her died down to her face!”
Raven didn’t move one inch keeping a face like he was upset. He was a young man, who had a small build and of Asian descent, but before this job, he was an exceptionally skilled bodyguard. When she was glared by him, it made Lydia a little nervous and she eased her body back.
However, he must of just been thinking about something in his head.
It seemed like he was thinking things over in his mind for quite some time as he remained silent, but eventually, he opened his mouth.
“He was talking about me.”
“Huh?”
“Lord Edgar had been talking to her in my place.”
“Y……You were with Connie?”
That’s impossible. She could only think that it was a statement to cover for Edgar. In the first place, Raven wouldn’t talk to anyone unless that was something necessary for his job working under Edgar. Lydia wondered what kind of conversation he would have with a lower ranking maid.
And besides, she had clearly stated that there was a class difference between them.

Lydia tried to calm her fuming rage somehow and took in a deep breath. Even if she took out her anger on Raven, it was meaningless. Because the one who was to blame was Edgar.
“Anyhow, would you mind bringing her some warm milk?”
Making a nod, Raven walked off, and Lydia turned her heels to return back to her office. Connie slowly lifted herself back up and looked over at Lydia.
“I’m terribly sorry, Miss.”
“It’s all right. But it’s not good for you to not take your meals. I can understand that you are feeling bad after a romantic breakup…..”
“Why do know about that?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I just happened to hear when you were talking.”
"…..I see.”
“Um, try to feel better.”
Was the only banal thing she could say. Connie drooped her head and dabbed the corner of her eyes with a handkerchief.
“I believed in him…, I think I can’t fall in love with a man anymore….”
Lydia’s eyes were completely locked onto the girl’s handkerchief.
The silk that had lace in it, was a high rate one that a gentlewoman would use. One would think that it wasn’t something a maid girl could buy, but then it could have been given to her by Edgar.
More than getting upset at Edgar, Lydia felt an unrecognizable pain in her chest and then her eyes fell to the embroidery on the handkerchief.

A pure white lily flower.
It was the flower that Till gave to Lydia. He said that he thought Lydia would like it.
What if, it was the flower that this maid liked?
A girl who distrusted men. Who lived and worked in the earl manor. The conditions were met.
Perhaps, Till’s future mother is…..
“Here is the milk.”
When Raven appeared, Lydia vigorously stood up.
“Raven, Edgar has come back hasn’t he?”
“Yes.”
Just as she heard that, she went rushing out of the room.

The place where she went running into, was Edgar’s office. If it was his private time during the day, then he was sure to be spending it here.
Lydia just barely made a knock on the door before opening it, but then Edgar just made an unaffected, pleasant smile as usual and stood up to greet her.

“Hello, Lydia, good timing. I need to find a nanny for Till, so I was thinking about asking for your opinion. Because don’t you think it needs to be someone who can get along with you, right?”
Huh? A nanny?
“I don’t care about something like that!”
“You don’t need a nanny? But you will have the duty as a countess, so you aren’t going to be able to spend all of your time with our baby.”
“That’s not what I mean, I’m not Till’s mother. It’s Connie, the maid.”
“Connie? The newly employed maid?”
“That’s why, Edgar, marry her.”
“Lydia, what on earth are you talking about?”
“It seems after she was rejected by you, she can’t trust men. At this rate, Till won’t be able to be born. Everything is your fault, so you should take responsibility. Since, she still has feelings for you.”
“Hold on just a moment, I have nothing to do with her.”
“It’s useless to try and act as if you don’t know. You were talking with Connie here about ending your relationship.”
Ohh, he said as he made a sigh like he felt exhausted, which made Lydia feel like something was tearing in the center of her chest.

You are the worst kind of rake. She should have known that, but why, out of all the times, does she have to get the feeling like she was hurt.
“If it’s about that, then you’re mistaken. Lydia, I’m not the one who was in a romantic relationship with her, but it seemed like their breakup was getting complicated and tangled up, so I served as the go-between ….”
“I-it was you? It was you who made Raven say such a thing! You must be out of your mind to make Raven say an easily seen through lie like he was in a romantic relationship with a maid.”
“Raven said that? He said that he was the one who was her lover?”
“He was doing his best for your sake.”
“So, it was because I told him to keep quiet. ….Well, well, he sure has come quite a ways to be able to think up something so daring as that.”
Even though he says he told his servant to keep quiet, he didn’t show any signs of guilt of conscience.
And furthermore, it isn’t the sort of time to be pleasantly surprised.
“Anyhow, you were the one who made Till acknowledge that you are his father, so even if Connie is from a lower-class birth, you have to make it work out somehow and officially marry her, you know? Don’t you understand that? Aren’t you good at doing something like covering up and disguising her identity?”
Lydia was even more irritated at Edgar’s nonchalant attitude, and couldn’t help but speak in a harsh, threatening tone.
And then, Edgar must have become offended, as he knitted his brows like he was in a bad mood uncharacteristically.

“Do you seriously think that?”
“…....If she remained hurt, then it isn’t fair for poor Till.”
“So you believe that I’m that kind of man? You couldn’t think that it was some kind of mistake?”
But, it’s Edgar we’re talking about. He was someone who was good at lying and deceiving people.
She was backed up against the wall by Edgar who came walking over to her. If she was approached by him in this situation, it was dangerous. Lydia instantly thought that she needed to run and she tried to step backwards, but Edgar grabbed her arm with a tight grip.
That grip was unusually strong and painful. She became afraid, but it appeared like he was the one who was feeling pain, so Lydia didn’t have any idea of what she should do and remained being pierced by his glare.
“If I did as you said, then would that make you satisfied? I have been saying that I attracted to you, and yet you say that I should marry a different woman? Does that mean you don’t care about my feelings?”
Feelings.
“You are the one who isn’t thinking about my feelings at all. I’ve been refusing so many times, but you went ahead and said I am your fiancée and pulled Till into this…. But, that does mean that you were in a relationship as you were putting on a good face to me, right?”
If she said something like this, then it would anger him all the more. Even if she thought that, there was distrust towards womanizers inside Lydia so big that she couldn’t anything about, and so she thought it was unreasonable that Edgar would get offended.

“You just want to make a girl who happened to catch your attention to do as you want. You are sure to become tired of me in a matter of time. If we were to get married, you know that it won’t be easy to separate, right? Even if your feelings die out, do you think that there wouldn’t any harm since you could tie down a fairy doctor? And besides, are you saying that you want me you quietly watch as you go around and fool around with other women?”
Lydia couldn’t stop herself before she finished what she said.
Suddenly, he let go of her hand like he became exhausted.
“….All right. Then, I’ll go and propose to her or whatever. You can go and tell her yourself.”
Those words of his that sounded so cold, brought a sharp pain to Lydia more than her arm that was just gripped very tightly.
Rather, she felt suffocated and went running out of the office.
“If that’s what you really want!”
Edgar’s voice which was thrown at her, still ringed in her ears even after she returned to her office.
Connie was nowhere on the sofa, and so Lydia slumped down to sit on the sofa by herself.
Edgar said that he was going to propose to her.
This way Connie won’t remain hurt, and eventually Till will be born as the child of the earl family.

It was just that the setting at the calming picnic of yesterday was going to be something that Lydia won’t be able to participate ever again was all.
It wasn’t going to be Lydia anymore that was going to find out about an unexpected side of Edgar at an unanticipated moment.
This is stupid. That’s a future that couldn’t possibly happen in the first place.
And yet, Lydia became heavily depressed and hung her head. And then someone tugged at her hair that was hanging like that.
When she looked up, she saw that Till was looking towards her like he was worried.
“Till, what is the matter? Weren’t you playing with Nico?”
“Mother, were you treated badly by Father?”
“Eh…., no, nothing like that.”
Till could have possibly heard them when they were having their argument.
It isn’t right to have a fight in the presence of a child, she thought and made a troubled smile. She was completely under the mindset of a parent.
Even Till had nothing to do with Lydia’s future just like Edgar.
“It’s all right with me that I won’t be born into an earl family if Mother isn’t going to be happy. Even if it wasn’t a rich family, as long as it’s a father who doesn’t treat Mother badly…”
“Uh, um, Till, it isn’t him treating me bad, but just that our opinions were going against each other. Edgar would make a wonderful father. You like him, don’t you?”

i13

Till honestly responded with a nod.
“Even yesterday, when Mother wasn’t here, he played with me. We played pirates - when I came with a slayed pretty lady, the captain would give me a reward.”
“The captain….?”
“Father.”
She thought that Edgar's idea of playing games probably wasn’t good for a child's education. However, Lydia wasn’t in any position to opinion about that.
“Edgar likes you as well. That’s why it’s all right even if he isn’t your father.”
“Then, does Mother like Father Edgar?”
He was a flirt and irresponsible, but there were times when she could admire him. That’s why, she faintly realized that she wasn’t able to completely push him away.
“Then would you two be good with each other from now on?”
However, that could be why she couldn’t forgive the part of him that fooled around with women.
Lydia bended her legs to kneel down and took both of Till’s hands.
“To tell you the truth, your real mother isn’t me. I actually don’t live in this house, you heard that your mother lives here and came here, didn’t you?”

Till made a puzzled expression and titled his head.
“There’s a girl named Connie who works as a maid here. I think she is the one who you came to see.”
“She's my mother?”
“She almost near complet distrust with men, but I think it will be all right. She happens to have feelings for Edgar. And well.. it seems like he also bending towards getting back in a relationship with her, so I’m going to go and tell her that in just a little bit.”
I need to talk to Connie as soon as I can, but even though Lydia thought that, her body still wasn’t able to stand up.
Ohh, I still have my work from this morning left unfinished. It would be all right that I do it after I get that work done first, I’m sure.
She thought that as if in excuse.
I have been saying that I was attracted to you, and yet you say that I should marry a different woman?
She wondered if doing this was really the best thing. She wondered if what she was doing was denying Edgar’s feelings.
What he said sounded like it came from his heart - without any time to act.
When she got confused like that, she became more and more unable to stand up. She couldn’t even realize that Till had soundlessly left the room.

*
I thought that when I'm born, the first moving thing I see would be my mother. Till was still a stork spirit and wasn’t a human baby, but when he awakened in this earl manor and opened his eyes a crack, the first thing he saw was Lydia and in that one glimpse, he immediately liked her.
She was looking down into him and made such a gentle smile. He was sure that she was his mother.
However, Lydia said that wasn't true.
If she was saying that, then Till’s mother must be the girl named Connie.
But more than that, Till felt pain at seeing how Lydia looked. She appeared so happy yesterday, but today she seemed in pain.
Father Edgar says he wants to marry Mother Lydia. He definitely said that yesterday and Till has only heard the name “Lydia”filled with love come out from his father’s lips.
He never heard the name Connie.
But his mother named Connie loved Father Edgar and Father had gotten in a fight with Mother Lydia and now wants to marry Mother Connie.

And the one who seemed in pain was Mother Lydia.
In order for Till to be born as a human, he came here so that the one who was going to become his mother wouldn’t lose her feelings of love for another.
If Connie was Till’s mother, then he needed to make sure that she doesn’t lose her feelings of love.
However, he didn’t want Lydia to be made sad because of him. Till couldn’t imagine loosing that smile made for him at their first meeting.
“Connie, if you’re going on an errand, then make sure to come home without making any other stops.”
Till heard a voice and stopped on one of the stairs and peered down from the shadow of the rails.
“Yes, Miss Rain.”
A young maid gave a quick reply to an elderly house keeper and was just about to exit from the kitchen door.
She must be Connie who Lydia was talking about.
She was a girl with black hair and around the same age as Lydia. However, no matter how much Till stared at her, there wasn’t any kind of deep emotion that rose out of him.
He didn’t know if a human baby was able to recognize any blood relationship just by looking at someone.
Only that to Till, who was a stork spirit, the very first smile that was made for him was the sign of a mother who he could snuggle up to. It was a strong impression that couldn’t be changed that easily.
Till followed after Connie.

Yesterday was such a nice weather, and yet today, there was a light drizzle falling in London.
The people passing by on the streets had their hats on deep to hide from the rain and didn’t pay any unnecessary attention as they walked with hasty steps.
For Till who was making himself invisible, it was natural that nobody noticed him.
In the moment Connie stopped before crossing a road, Till approached her from behind and sprinkled some fairy magic powder on her.
Connie hadn’t noticed anything, but with this, she was sure to lose her way back to the earl manor and would end up going around in circles in the same place.
While she was lost, he was going to have to ask for Father Edgar and Mother Lydia to reconcile with each other again.
Till hurried back to the earl manor.
The area around his wings felt unusually heavy, probably wet from the rain.
*
Even when it turned to afternoon, Lydia still wasn’t able to bring herself to talk to Connie and she made it seem like she wasn’t able to put a stop to her work, yet her work pace wasn’t moving along at all, she made a sigh as she gazed at the garbage bin that was filled with rolled up papers with her writing mistakes.

Just them, a butler with a panic-look came running into the room.
“Miss Carlton, there is an emergency. The young mister Till was found lying on his side by the kitchen door……”
“What, Till?”
When she went dashing after Tomkins where he guided her, she saw that the small baby was laid to rest down in a wide, open bed.
Till was cowering his body together and looked as if he was feeling terrible.
“Till, what's wrong? Do you not feel all right?”
Lydia sat down on the edge of the bed and spoke gently to him, but he didn’t make any response.
“Mister Tomkins, where is Edgar?”
“He still is out and hasn’t returned. It was just when we sent out a messenger to inform him.”
“Oh, no, what do I do…, oh, a doctor…”
“Will it be right to call for one?”
Tomkins rapidly blinked his eyes that were set far apart with a look of confusion as he knew that Till was a fairy. There was no way a human doctor would know about any fairy illness.
“I’m sorry, I must be quite shaken up.”
She was the Fairy Doctor and yet she had no idea of what to do and that was infuriating for her.
But still, Lydia tried to hurry and think up of something.

There had to be a reason why this happened to Till. If she were able to pinpoint that, then she was sure he would recover.
Just a while earlier, she talked to him that there was no mistake that a maid named Connie was his real mother. He might have gone to meet Connie, and if that were so, there was a possibility that she knew something that could have happened to Till.
“Mister Tomkins, I’m sorry but could you go call for a maid named Connie.”
When Lydia suddenly thought of that and said so, the butler nodded and left the room. After a while, the house keeper Harriet appeared.
“Connie has left on an errand and still hasn’t returned.”
As Harriet said that, she wobbled her big, plump body like she wanted to complain about something.
“And I had said so many times for her not to go and make any stops. I’m sure she has gone to the manor that she was previously working at and prowling around that area. My goodness, it’s always like this when I send her out on errands.”
“The manor she previously worked at? I wonder if she wants to go back there.”
“She won’t be able to return because she was fired. If a maid has come to be close with the son of the house, then it’s natural that the lord of the house would kick her out.”
Lydia was completely taken by surprise and stared gapping at Harriet.
“Connie, she was with the son there….?”
“Oh, why, yes, she is quite an honest and open girl, but it seems like she’s quite susceptible to falling in love and has made numerous problems at all the places she has worked. The son of the previous house was an acquaintance with our lord and he came asking for our lord’s help because she said she would rather die than break her relationship with him. It was just when the young son had gotten a marriage offer and if this maid issue were to prolong, then the son said he was going to be kicked out of the family by his father…. That is quite a terrible thing in itself; you are aware, that a maid kicked out of her post will have a terribly difficult time finding employment anywhere without proper papers? Since it is a matter of life and death for a girl who doesn’t have anyone to rely on, there isn’t any surprise that she would cling on the thought of suicide.”

“Then Edgar did that for the sake of his acquaintance and her-”
“He made it so that he hired Connie, and became the bridge between them so that there wasn’t any troubles caused from their breakup. Our lord can be that kind of a person, but he wouldn’t do anything that would hurt a girl who is in the weaker position. Even the son seemed like he wasn’t able to hold his head up in the presence of my lord after that.”
Edgar had said that it was her misunderstanding about any breakup with Connie.
So that wasn’t a lie.
And yet, she went and blamed everything on Edgar.
“Ohh, I’m sorry, I’ve gone on and blabbered on and on unnecessaringly. I will have someone go fetch Connie. I’ll let you know when she has returned,” said Harriet.
Even when Harriet left the room, Lydia wasn’t paying attention and was completely shocked at herself about coming to such a conclusion so quickly.
There wasn’t any point in bringing together Connie and Edgar, and that only gave the both of them a sense of displeasure.

To prove it, she had gotten in a fight with Edgar.
On top of that, Till had even gotten sick, and Lydia didn’t have any idea in what to do.
She felt so sick of herself and couldn’t relax and as she was going around in circles in the room, Till opened up his eyes a crack.
“……..Mother Connie won’t be coming back home today. Because she has gotten someone else she likes, she has gone to go see that person.”
She had no idea what he was talking about. This morning, she wasn’t even able to eat anything because she hadn’t recovered from the pain of a broken heart, and now she has a new love interest?
“That’s why, Mother Lydia, please get married with Father Edgar… Don’t you like Father?”
“Wh-what are you saying. I….”
And then, Lydia realized something and gripped Till’s hand.
“Till, what have to done to her?”
Even as he made a suffocated face, Till tried to make a smile.
“Even if I’m not Mother’s child, I still like Mother.”
“….So you used fairy magic?”
If that was so, then Connie must have lost her way and wasn’t able to return. There were many places in London that were dangerous, and there was a drizzle that was coming down.

If it were to turn dark at this rate, then there might be something awful that could happen to her.
There could of already been something that happened to her, and if that were to be so, then Till won’t be able to be born.
Perhaps, it was because of that, that Till had become this sick.
He closed his eyes again, unlike falling asleep, Till looked as if he had lost consciousness and there were so many of his feathers on his fragile back that had fallen out.
At this rate, he might die.
“Lydia, how is Till?”
It was Edgar’s voice. It seemed like he came in a hurry, as Edgar came into the room still with his hat and stick in his hand, and Lydia went dashing over to him in a rush like she was going to cling onto him.
“Edgar, what should I do…,it’s my fault. I didn’t think about Till’s feelings and gone and said that Connie was his mother.”
“It’s all right, Lydia. Everything will be all right.”
Edgar said that even though he should have had no idea of what was going on.
Even when she was cradle gently in his arms, she had no time to spare to feel any embarrassment as usual, and as she felt relief instead at his strokes that combed her hair to relax her, Lydia continued to spill out her words.
“Till had come to like me and was coming to be affectionate towards me and yet….”

“It isn’t your fault.”
“But, such a small child is sure to feel hurt if he were suddenly told he has the wrong mother. And yet I….”
“Now, listen, Lydia, if you go and get upset like that, then Till won’t be able to relax. No matter what kind of sickness it is, it’s important that he can rest in peace.”
Lydia realized something and snapped her head up.
“Oh, I remember now, I have to go find Connie. She’s caught in fairy magic and can’t find her way back. If she doesn’t return back safely, then Till will die.”
However, Edgar didn’t let his arms off of Lydia and remained so as he called for Raven.
“Let’s have him go.”
“He can’t, I have to go, he’ll be caught in the fairy magic with her and lose his way.”
“It’s fine, you have to stay here.”
Edgar moved his eyes and looked over towards Till, and saw his small tiny hand which grabbing tight onto a strand of Lydia’s hair unconsciously.
“I’ll go with him.”
By Raven’s footsteps, Nico appeared without anybody noticing as he said that.
If it were Nico, then he would be able to help Connie return who was caught in the fairy’s magic.

But for him, who tended to find like that bothersome, it was rare that he went and offered his own hand to help.
“Thank you, Nico. You were also worried about Till as well.”
“Nnn, when we were playing, and I had jumped from the balcony to the roof, he wasn’t able to keep up and fell.”
“Whaat, goodness, Nico,”
“Well, even this runt is a fairy, so there shouldn’t be any problem if he were to just drop.”
But it looked like he was still bothered by it.
“So, let’s go, Raven.”
As Lydia saw off the two of them leave, she went over to Till and sat down.
Edgar also sat next to her and gently fondled with Till’s puffy hair.
As Lydia vaguely watched that, she was able to slowly calm down, and remembered that she had something she needed to apologize to Edgar about.
It was Lydia who said such an offensive remark, but because Edgar treated her like nothing had ever happened, so she had completely forgotten.
Even now, Edgar looked over at Lydia and smiled at her as if to soothe her.
“…..I’m sorry, you weren’t the one that Connie was in a relationship with. I heard from Ms. Harriet, I…”

“Ahh, yes, I was quite hurt.”
He said that with a smile, but Lydia only felt her guilt grow stronger.
“I’m really had lost my temper, and didn’t properly hear what you said and said quite some horrible things.”
“It’s all right. It just means that all I had done till now was that of a man who made you feel uneasy. But, you know, there will never be such a thing as me getting tired of you or my feelings dying off. If you would agree to our marriage, then I guarantee you will never regret it.”
“….Yes.”
“Are you thinking I’m just saying that?”
“Um, that’s….”
“You won’t say something like I don’t even have a chance to redeem myself?”
“…..I understand. I’m sorry.”
“To have you apologize to me, it’s actually quite arousing.”
I wonder if he really has the intention of redeeming himself.
She was in the position to apologize and so she couldn’t allow herself to get angry, and so Lydia remained confused as she was gazed at by Edgar and made to turn her face red.
“Have you understood that I’m a gentleman who wouldn’t put his hands on a maid?”

“Yes.”
“But, if you were a maid, I’m sure I would try to win your affections. Even if you were a queen, I would sneak into your room ready to face the guillotine.”
When she heard him say such over-exaggerating things as usual, she felt there wasn’t any more uneasiness from their fight.
That’s why at the moment, she didn’t feel any displeasure at his sweet lines and hot gaze.
It was unusual for her, but Lydia felt that she was glad to be by Edgar’s side.
He was looking after Till with her, and he made sure to soothe her nervousness with a brightness that didn’t give the impression of gravity or seriousness.
She was honestly glad for him to be here as he placed a loving kiss on Till’s forehead.
“Lydia, you really did feel unhappy if I were to propose to Connie, didn’t you.”
And he was his usual self with his overly high regards for himself.
“…..I don’t know.”
However, Lydia really didn’t know and could only let the stubborn side of herself fall back in the shadows and give that kind of honest reply.
“That is quite a rare opportunistic reply.”
“Y-you think so.”

“I’m just glad that I wasn’t denied.”
Edgar took Lydia’s hand into his and made her hold Till’s hand.
“Till is sure to be fine. Since he is our child, let’s be sure of that for him.”
Lydia honestly thought that she hoped that were so.
If Till could stay with them, then Edgar wouldn’t be the usual irresponsible flirt and appear like someone reliable who can treasure family.
It was Lydia who wasn’t able to believe that part of him even though it could be his true self.
However, right now, she thought she could believe in Edgar for Till’s sake.
“See, even Till is trying to fight.”
Lydia felt a tiny hand grip back on her fingertip.
Edgar cradled Lydia’s shoulder. She didn’t feel like escaping as she usually would because she must have not sensed any kind of frivolous, flirtatious behavior.
He was strongly supporting Lydia who was worried about Till and was so afraid that she could break.
“Edgar, you, you look similar to my mother.”
Her tension eased down, and when she tried to come up with something to say, that was what came out of her mouth as it was just on her mind.
“Is that so?”

However, Edgar only listened to Lydia’s incoherent words like it was interesting.
“….When I was young, I had fallen out of a tree once. Father was very worried and was acting so frantic, but Mother said it was all right and didn’t get flustered at all. In the end, it was just as Mother said, but I guess I took after my Father.”
“Then, the two of us are able to become the perfect husband and wife. The both of us together are sure to be able to support each other just like your parents you respect.”
…..I wonder if that could be true.
Lydia could only still whisper that in her heart, but she decided to honestly submit herself to his arms.
As she stayed like that, she was able to believe that Till will be all right.
*
“Lord Edgar, I have returned.”
She moved her eyes loosely around the room at the sound of Raven’s voice. Lydia was still leaning up against Edgar, but he didn’t try to let her go, so she decided that it was all right to stay like that.
“Ahh, Raven, good work.”

From just those words, Raven had taken the hint that his work was done and gave a bow and quickly left the room.
Connie the maid who was standing beside Raven was left by herself, and as she remained there with no idea of what she should do, she looked at Edgar and made a timidly, nervous bow.
“Um, my lord, I am terribly sorry. For some reason, I had gotten lost and was able to get back.”
It seemed like she was in frights that she was going to get yelled at when she was brought before the lord of the house.
“I have no intention of firing you. More than that….”
“Is that true? Oh, thank goodness!”
Connie seemed to relax as she let out an energetic voice. She had a completely different impression from when she was in bad spirits this morning, but all was all right as long as she felt better. Lydia finally remembered that she had the girl brought back for Till’s sake and so she stood up.
“Connie, I have been waiting for you.”
“Oh, Miss, thank you for what you had done earlier. I feel much better now. Because, I think I will be able to start a new love!”
“A new love?”
Lydia was surprised at what the girl suddenly said. It was just this morning that the girl was depressed as she was thinking about the lover who abandoned her. Isn’t it just a bit too quick.

“He had been watching me for a little while now so I had been thinking about him, but when I had fallen down in miss’s room, he had brought me some milk, and I thought what a nice person he is. Even just now, when he came to fetch me, he would look at me strongly as he didn’t say a word. Although, he’s a silent type, I’m sure he’s someone who can think of someone with all his heart!”
Could she be meaning about Raven?
Raven had only been ordered by Edgar, and so wasn’t that why he had been keeping an eye on Connie.
And furthermore, even about the milk, that was because Lydia asked him to do that.
“I’m glad to hear that. Although love is important, work is also important.”
When Edgar said that, she must have gotten embarrassed about how overly excited she was, and solemnly made a ‘yes’ reply.
Lydia was completely stunned as she watched Connie leave the room.
“Is this all right? She’s under the wrong impression of Raven.”
“There shouldn’t be any harm? Before Raven can realize Connie’s affections, I think that her love interest will have swithed to another man by then.”
“B-but, oh, oh yes, I had Connie come back because she was the one who was going to be Till’s mother.”
It was just when she was going to rush out and call for Connie.
“Lydia, it looks like Till is going to wake up.”
She turned around at Edgar’s voice and saw that Till was sitting up on top of the bed and had a grip of the covers and looked at their direction intently.

He wasn’t showing any signs that he was sick. Other than how his lightly pigmented hair looked like it had grown a little longer, he appeared the same. Was what she wanted to think.
However, Till was different from how he was before.
In place of his weak-looking wings where his plumes had fallen out, there was a pair of large wings that looked as if they were as long as his height.
They were magnificent stork wings that had black wind breaking feathers.
“I, I wonder what has happened to me….”
It looked like Till didn’t know what was going on as he tried to turn his head around to check his back.
“I-it will be all right, Till. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Even though Lydia didn’t know what was going on, she came running over and tried not to make Till fearful.
“He must have turned into an adult, I’m sure.”
Edgar said half-heartedly.
“Adult, but he still has the body of a baby.”
Lydia lowered her voice and argued back to him, but there was another voice that came from the window.
“It is just as the lord earl says.”
Right by Nico’s side, there was a stork bird resting its wings there. The one who must have spoken just now, looks to be that stork.

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“Grandpa…”
Murmured Till.
“What, he’s Till’s grandfather?”
“He says he’s the head of their clan. It seems like he had been going around searching for the little runt. When I was searching for the maid, I happened to come across him, and when I mentioned about the runt’s sickness, I had him come back here with me.”
Nico puffed out his chest with pride in his accomplishment.
“That little one is not sick. It’s just that his chick plumes were replaced.”
The stork jumped off of the window and hobbled over to where they were and spread out one of his wings and craftily made a bow.
“Lord Blue Knight Earl, and my lady, Fairy Doctor, I’m terribly sorry for the trouble that was caused on you. We stork fairies originally do not have any parent birds. However, when we are chicklings, it seems that the little ones are susceptible to loneliness that they do not have parents when they witness a stork parent and child. And it was there that it had become the norm for the rest of us to say to them that they can gain kind parents when they eventually become human babies. Although, of course that is superstition.”
“Superstition? Then, I wonder where the superstition that a stork comes to deliver a human baby came from.”
When Edgar leaned his head to the side, the elderly stork replied solemnly.
“That is because when we take the form of a human, we are only able to transform into a baby.”

In one blink of an eye, the elderly clan head turned his shape into that of a newly born infant.
“There have been a number of humans who have witnessed us in this form when we were mingling with storks from the past.”
“….I see.”
The clan head immediately returned back into his stork form, but Till still remained in his baby form and was put in shock from finding out he couldn’t become a real human.
“Grandpa….., then, it was a lie that I was going to become the child of this family?”
“You were an exceptionally lonesome one, so I wanted to let you have that dream. If it were this Blue Knight Earl family, then I thought there would be no harm in you coming to take a look now and then and so I told you, but it seemed like one of our clan members had played around with you by coming up with the lie that your mother had no trust in men.”
Which means, Connie also wasn’t Till’s mother.
“You understand now, now that you are no longer a chickling. You have to become a fine stork spirit now.”
Being told so by the head clan elder, Till made a lonesome ace and looked up towards Lydia.
Till had completely grown up in such a short timeframe, so he must have a good understanding of this. However, it wasn’t like his sad, lonely feelings were going to disappear with reason.
Lydia didn’t think but embraced Till in her arms.

“It will be fine for us to look after Till! Until his feelings are set, he could live here with us… Right, Edgar?”
“Yes, of course.”
Mother, murmured Till in a hush. Lydia thought please don’t go so soon.
However, he eventually let go of Lydia and stood straight up and looked over to their direction.
“Father Edgar, Mother Lydia, thank you very much. Although it was a short while, it felt like I had become the real child of this family and it made me so happy.”
With a face that could nearly cry, he said that with a smile and he spread out his freshly reborn wings out wide.
He no longer was a child. There was no way to keep him from leaving his nest.
“Goodbye. I hope the both of you don’t fight anymore.”
There was an abrupt gust of wind that must have been made from the beating of the stork fairy’s wings.
Lydia closed her eyes for a second, but what she saw when she opened her eyes again was the sight of two storks who were flying in a circle in the air outside the window.
Eventually, the two of them disappeared off into the clouds were floating in the sky after the drizzle in the horizon.

Lydia still wasn’t able to accept the sudden parting, as she picked up the feathers that had fallen on the bed.
She felt so lonely and couldn’t move from the window side she was standing by.

She felt the presence of Edgar standing behind her. He spread his arms out around to embrace Lydia and cradled her along with Till’s feather lovingly.
“It will be all right.”
Lydia was supported at his words.
“Although it was a short while, Till was indeed our child.”
“Yes….., you’re right.”
Unusually, Lydia gave a nod with the feeling like their hearts were one.
Because Till had been with them, she was able to be honest in front of Edgar. Inside Lydia, his presence had indeed increased.
From now on, she was going to trust him a little more, and thought that she wasn’t going to easily start a fight with him.
Since, the symbol of happiness, a stork fairy had come flying down to them…
“I was so happy when you said that the two of us would look after Till. I thought you could have come to acknowledge me just a little.”
“….Yes.”
“Did you start to want an adorable baby?”
“Yes….”
“Then, I’ll help you with that whenever you want.”

A soft kiss was planted on her ear, and Lydia finally realized the meaning of their conversation and turned bright red.
She became so embarrassed and flustered, that blood had risen to her head and the honest feelings that were in her just now blown away, and she had used all her strength to slap away Edgar’s hand.
“No, thank you, that will be unnecessary!”

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11: Bridal training in the rose maze