Earl and Fairy
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Short Story - The two unaware of their miracle

After passing through the long gallery that was filled with marble, a grand staircase leading to the reception hall on the second floor appeared before the boy’s eyes. He slowly went up the curved staircase and stopped at the landing.
The firm, oak handrail that was polished until it glistened, depicted a beautiful curve, as if it were inviting people to slide down the handrails.
However, a row of portraits hung on the wall beside the staircase, and a portrait looked down on the boy standing at the corner of the staircase with a solemn expression.
These were the portraits of the ancestors from the Sylvainford dukedom family.
“Young master.”
In an instant, he thought a voice came from the portrait, thus he gazed at the painting on the wall attentively.
“Please do not slide down on the handrails.”
But the owner of this voice was the head butler, who was in the mansion all year long.
The old man with a white beard opened his eyes widely, which were practically covered in wrinkles, and looked up at the boy from below the staircase.
“I’m not the kind of child who will do that sort of thing.”
The thoughts in his mind were seen through, and the boy pretended that this wasn’t the case.
“If that is the case, then good. The former master slid down the handrails when he was young, and was reprimanded by the ancestors in the paintings as a result.”
“I’m not the kind of child who would be afraid of that either.”

The boy laughed. He thought of the head butler running up the staircase in the past, standing by the boy’s side and looking up at the painting.
The ancestor in the painting wore a large frilly collar, which seemed quite funny nowadays, and his eyes were ash-mauve like the boy’s. The date written on the corner of the painting was approximately three hundred years before the current time.
“This lord was the fifth son of the Duke at the time. I heard that he was quite close with Earl Ashenbert.”
What’s the matter with that? The boy shrugged his shoulders. The head butler continued speaking.
“The official title of Earl Ashenbert is the Earl of Ibrazel. Y oung master, you would know of him, would you not?”
“Earl of Ibrazel? The Blue Knight Earl?”

He couldn’t help his voice that was full of curiosity.
Edward I, who was the retainer for that period and obtained the title, Earl of Ibrazel, was also called the Blue Knight Earl. From then on, this name was considered part of the English earldom and passed down.
Since this was the case, it wouldn’t be unusual that the boy’s ancestor was quite close with the person who was born within the same era and inherited the title of Earl of Ibrazel.
Nobles often met at court, so it was possible to develop a more intimate friendship compared to  interactions within social circles.
But to the boy, the Earl of Ibrazel was a protagonist of a legend.
That bizarre and fantastic fairy tale was said to have been compiled using the Blue Knight Earl as a model. The boy found the tale to be quite fascinating, so he read it many times.
The synopsis of the tale was that the Blue Knight Earl, who was the feudal lord of the fairy kingdom, brought in fairy retainers as well as having occasionally used mysterious powers to serve and assist Edward I.
“Hmph, then did the ancestor become friends with fairies too?”
Of course, this was merely a tale. Although this character, the Blue Knight Earl had truly existed, it wasn’t strange that the family lineage continued to exist as well, but if it was said that the Blue Knight Earl came from the fairy kingdom, the boy wouldn’t believe it.
But for the sake of the head butler, he still inquired like a child.
The head butler grinned. He seemed to really like such a mysterious tale.
He remembered things quite clearly, such as which room of the ancient mansion that a ghost would appear in, as well as the oil lamp lighting up by itself. He would also tell fairy tales to frighten the visiting guests, considering it his own secret pleasure.
“This part actually wasn’t passed down, but the lord in the portrait went out to sea with the Earl and never returned in the end.”
“The Earl didn’t return either?”
“Yes, according to the records, the person who inherited the Earl of Ibrazel’s title had never appeared by the King of England’s side from then on.”

The ship probably sank. This was often the case.
“Is that so... then, the Blue Knight Earl’s family lineage already ceased to exist, right?”
“Who knows? I do wonder about that. After all, it’s a family lineage of the fairy kingdom. Young master, as soon as you leave for Her Majesty the Queen’s court in future, the Earl of Ibrazel might be holding another social party.”
“Hmph, I’d like to meet him.”

The boy genuinely felt interested in this.
For the time being, whether or not the Earl truly had mysterious powers, the tale of the Blue Knight Earl interested both adults and children alike, and he was definitely a fascinating figure.
“If so then, I can ask about circumstances regarding his ancestors.”
It must be quite pleasant talking with the Earl of Ibrazel in Her Majesty the Queen’s court. As the boy imagined this innocently, he exchanged smiles with the head butler.

                                                                                                                   <The whereabouts of a wanted man>

At sunset, the rude sailors gathered at the bar near the wharf one by one. All kinds of noise, including the sounds of cursing mixed with quarreling, the voices of noisy people, as well as the flirtatious voices of prostitutes would resound in the narrow alley tonight.
There was a well-dressed gentleman, who was a young man that was extremely ill-matched with this area, heading towards the alley without the slightest bit of hesitation.
The young man stopped in front of a sign with seagulls painted on it, glanced at the paper that was stuck to the wall, then chuckled as he pushed the door open.
After he entered the lively inn, he headed directly towards a man and sat across from him. The man lifted his gaze slightly from his messy hair which had never been trimmed, checking the young man’s appearance.
“Sir, isn’t your style too conspicuous?”
He wore a grey evening coat paired with a wine-red tie, and his hands that wore small fine leather gloves held a cane decorated with a silver handle. The young man, who was gorgeously dressed from head to toe, reached up to remove his silk top hat from his head.
Although his shining blond hair drooped down to his eyes, he revealed a graceful smile, hardly minding it.
“It’s relatively inconspicuous like this. My identity in this neighborhood is the son of a wealthy shipowner after all.”
In reality, he was the ship owner himself. Although he was just over twenty years old, he used all kinds of methods to earn a lot of money, and used several aliases to engage in all sorts of activities.
He himself wouldn’t appear in public, and would use his agent to handle the transactions every time, so the world seemed to believe that the captain of the ship was a middle-aged man.
For him, this was a convenient and excellent disguise.
Because, regarding his true identity as well as when and where he appeared, these were things that absolutely cannot be known by other people.
For this reason, although the man in front of him was a person he trusted considerably, the dealings between each other were merely a relationship of meeting at a place designated by the young man and gaining information.
“The bounty seems to have increased again.”
When the young man finished speaking, he raised the corners of his mouth, as if he found it interesting.
He was referring to the bounty poster that was posted at the door.
The alias for the person being pursued was Sir John, and it was said that he led a violent gang made up of teenagers in the slums, and have committed many crimes.
He often placed his goal on valuables of illegal trading, and the robberies that he gave rise to were scarcely made public, but because he was framed of committing another robbery, perhaps he was being hunted down as a murderer.
“But you’re so calm.”
The man said this in surprise, and the young man chuckled after listening.
Because Sir John was also one of the aliases that he possessed.
“No one believes that a vicious criminal will purposely dress conspicuously, nor would they associate the young master of a wealthy family with the leader of a violent gang.”
Just over twenty years of age, blond hair, purple eyes, giving off the slight air of an aristocrat, and was seemingly referred to as “Sir.”  Despite the news spreading all throughout America, regardless of whichever small town he came to, as long as he revealed an alias, no one was ever suspicious.
"Besides, it’s already been quite a long time since I’ve done shady things such as robberies, but even now, there are still many robbery gangs that use my name to deceive, so whenever eye witnesses see them in various areas, the portrait on the bounty poster changes. That way, as long as they don’t do anything stupid, it will be impossible to be captured.”
The young men who once obeyed him in the slums were now scattered about in various places. Some found decent jobs, while others became members of shady organizations in certain areas.
When he parted ways from them, everyone vowed that if they saw each other anywhere, they had to pretend they didn’t know each other.
After that, the young man only brought his companion, whom he had a strong bond with and had originally stayed by his side. Moreover, he placed himself amongst a new battle.
“However, Sir, the police and bounty hunters are risking their lives to find you. They all want to capture the elusive leader of the violent gang, and expose your true identity.”
Although the young man knew this, he didn’t consider the police and bounty hunters. There was only one person that he was trying with all of his strength, to escape from his pursuit.
“In other words, the bounty had increased by tenfold in just this month. I heard that the person trying to get his hands on me no matter what is an Englishman, do you know something?”
“Yeah, I’ve already investigated.”
After receiving the note that was handed over by the man, he gave a bag filled with gold coins to the man.
“What’s going on? You’re so generous today.”
“Because I am greatly indebted to you.”
“This seems to be a farewell. Sir, what are you planning this time?”
“It’s better you don’t ask. If you knew about me, even you would be targeted. A person who knows my true identity will not be able to bear it and will definitely be killed.”
The man frowned deeply, not knowing if he could recall this.
The young man calmly stood up.
“I wish you luck.”
The man whispered.
He raised his hand slightly and walked out of this inn.
The ice-cold rain fell from the gloomy sky.
“Lord Edgar.”
The person who stood outside the inn and quietly called out to him was his most trusted teenage companion. The teenager was a soldier with brown skin, and was also one of the few people who knew his true name.
The teenager did not say anything further. His hand that carried the oil lamp illuminated the night roads, and he lightly shone the lamp towards the steps by Edgar’s feet.
“Raven, we might be able to return to London.”
Despite Edgar revealing a smile to the teenager, he was unable to show emotion, merely lifting his gaze slightly upwards, uninterested.
The reason why the uneasiness in those eyes seemed greater than hope was perhaps because it was reflected from within Edgar’s own heart.

                                                                                                                   <The fairy doctor and the fairy home>

Upon passing through the straight road of the fields, an ancient beech tree grew. This old tree seemed to have grown for hundreds of years.
Even if the leaves all fell during winter, the large branches that extended outwards split into smaller branches and intertwined to form a net as a result, guarding the people who passed by from getting soaked by unexpected rain.
If you came too close to this magnificent beautiful tree, its thick and solid trunk may even be daunting, but if you looked at it from afar, it would be surrounded by a gentle atmosphere. For the residents of the town, the beech tree was probably the same as the mountains and rivers before their eyes; it was part of the scenery here.
But in recent days, the people who lived nearby bought a luxurious carriage, so when they passed through this road, they disliked the beech tree, as it got in the way.
Although the carriage was able to pass, it seemed that the coachman, who was unfamiliar with the road, was too close to the tree when driving, and thus scratched the brand-new carriage.
However, the beech tree was harmed as a result. Despite Lydia who thought this, she seemed to be the only person in this town that sympathized with tree.
Could it be because the existence of the old tree was taken for granted that people gradually forgot about the trees there?
The seventeen year old girl who was constantly perplexed by herself --- Lydia, was a fairy doctor, and was merely treated as a misfit in the town.
So far, no one would listen to her words.
“I beg you, don’t cut down this tree!”
Thus, even if Lydia desperately pleaded, they would turn a deaf ear.
Without the slightest bit of hesitation, the man cut into the beech tree’s solid trunk with an axe.
“Miss, it’s dangerous so step aside.”
Another man pulled her aside. Although she was rudely grabbed by the other person, and fell onto the grass when he let go, she still wasn’t discouraged, and continued to shout:
“There are fairies dwelling on that tree!”
“Hah? Fairies?”
The men at the scene were roaring with laughter.
“This young lass is foolish, what a shame.”
“It’s true! If you cut down the tree, something bad will happen...”
At that moment, the man holding the axe suddenly cried out and fell backwards.
“Oi, what happened?”
The other men ran over.
“It’s nothing, I just stepped on the roots and slipped.”
But when the man tried to stand up, he revealed a painful expression, as if he had sprained his foot.
Moreover, when another man tried to pull out the axe that was stuck in the tree trunk, he couldn’t pull it out, no matter how much strength he used.
“Oi, don’t tell me......”
They looked in Lydia’s direction.
“D--don’t be ridiculous, it must be a coincidence!”
“Yeah...... you’re right, it must be. At any rate, with this guy injured like this, we can’t continue chopping down the tree.”
“It’s better to return home and use a cold compress for a while.”
“It can’t be helped, the work has to be postponed.”
They looked at Lydia scornfully, and then left the scene, with two people supporting the injured man.
After the men had left, the axe came loose from the trunk and fell to the ground.
Lydia approached the beech tree, overlooking the tallest point of the towering trees.
Usually, there would always be a green goblin on the top of a tree, playing pranks on people that approached, as if to protect the tree.
“Hey, with the sort of pranks you pull on them, you won’t be able to make them give up.”
A small fairy to the best of its ability can knock down a man by itself, but just then, that person just happened to have only his foot sprained.
“You should understand as well, right? This old tree has little magic left. Since it can’t produce such miracles like before, the people no longer revere it.”
There was a legend in the past, that if you proposed marriage under the beech tree, the trees would mysteriously shine, and the two people that witnessed the light would become a married couple, living happily ever after.
The fairy who was close friends with Lydia once told her this.
For this reason, although the road only narrowed slightly, this tree still wasn’t cut down, and continued to remain.
However, the people nowadays have completely forgotten about this legend.
As the trees possessed magic, the fairies dwelled there, but they must have realized as well that this area was no longer the best den by now.
“No matter how hard you try, this tree will definitely be cut down. It’d be best if you moved somewhere--ouch!”
The fruit of the tree fell from above, directly hitting Lydia’s forehead.
“Hey, what are you doing! I’m a fairy doctor, I’m saying this for you and yet---ahh!”
There were many tree fruits falling from above, and Lydia had no choice but to flee the scene.
Lydia could see fairies since birth, thus she got along with them quite naturally. Since childhood, she had lived with fairies longer compared to living with humans.
Although she was treated coldly as a misfit girl in a small town, she wanted to become a fairy doctor like her late mother.
An expert in fairies was referred to as a fairy doctor, and these kinds of people resided all over England in the past.
A fairy doctor possessed an abundance of fairy-related knowledge, and could deal with fairies cleverly. They would also settle all kinds of disputes that occurred between humans and fairies.
Although Lydia really hoped to display her own abilities and help people, it was already the middle of the nineteenth century now. Adults that believed in the existence of fairies were extremely rare.
The more Lydia desperately spoke about fairy matters, the more she was treated as a girl who lost her mind by the people around her.
That being said, even fairies wouldn’t open their hearts so easily to Lydia, who was human.
Lydia had no other alternative, and could only return home in dismay.
This place was a small town on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
As this place was a tranquil location without railroads passing through, that so many fairies dwelled here. This was the sort of area she grew up in.
Lydia’s only relative was her father, and because her father was a professor at the University of London, he wasn’t living at home, so she was currently living alone.
Although young girls living alone would attract strange gazes from others, she didn’t feel any discomfort.
As she approached the red brick doorpost of the entrance to the house, the wooden door opened.
“Thank you.”
Lydia quietly expressed her thanks to the goblin, who ought to have been nearby.
As she was passing through the arched door that was intertwined with vines, she inadvertently looked towards the sign that stood beside the door.

“Accepting all fairy-related inquiries.”

Although she was determined to become a fairy doctor and set up this sign, she always found it a little meaningless.
“No, as long as I work hard from now on, I can definitely make the townspeople understand fairies.”
And just when she lifted her spirits......
“Hey, witch, you went as far as to hurt my father!”
As soon as Lydia turned her head, she saw a little boy glaring at her.
“I saw it just then! It was you who made my dad fall, you must have been using magic!”
It seemed that he was the child of the man who tried to cut down the tree.
“......No, I’m not a witch, that tree has fairies......”
“I’m going to tell the priest!”
The little boy broke into a run after saying that.
It wouldn’t bring Lydia any trouble even if he complained to the priest, it’s just that she couldn’t help but feel disheartened at being misunderstood all the time.
There might even be a child that believes in fairies, and yet have a loathsome impression of Lydia.
“How about taking down that sort of sign?”
A voice came from above the courtyard trees; it was the fairy, Nico, who sat upright on a branch with his feet up.
Although he had the appearance of a long-haired cat, he would stand and walk on his hind legs, insist on tying a tie, and had the style of a gentleman.
“What do you mean, take it down? If I don’t do this, no one would even notice the existence of fairy doctors.”
“But don’t you think that because of this, everyone is colder than before?”
Nico was a fairy that Lydia’s late mother brought over from her hometown. Although he was a fairy, he understood humans well. Despite him being Lydia’s best friend, he was extremely pained when her enthusiasm was always dampened by others as a result.
“......But I want to be like my mother.”
Lydia sighed, and without knowing when, small fairies appeared from the shadow of the thickets and flower bed and were worriedly looking at her. There were also fairies fluttering about like a feather, that played with Lydia’s hair.
For their sake, Lydia revealed a smile.
“I’m fine. Now then, let’s have some tea.”
“That’s right, the fairy underneath the tree stump brought plum jam yesterday.”
Nico broke into a run towards the entrance. The small fairies followed behind him.
To be exact, Lydia wasn’t living alone, she was living with fairies.
The surroundings were always somehow quite lively even if there were no guests visiting. Lydia never felt very lonely, and she believed that she was living her life quite happily.
She took a moment to enjoy the hot tea and fragrant desserts. Lydia calmed down as well.
However, in recent days, she would occasionally feel lonely all of a sudden.
She heard lively laughter, and looked out of the window. She saw girls dressed in beautiful gowns walking past the other side of the fence.
It seemed there was a tea party being held somewhere.
She felt jealous of that. Lydia was almost at the age of wanting to dress up elegantly and attend a dance. Perhaps she could meet someone wonderful at the dance, and maybe that person wouldn’t ridicule her ability to see fairies.
Just like how her mother and father met, someone that could understand Lydia definitely existed somewhere without a doubt. But if she continued on living her life with fairies, it’s unknown how they would meet.
Although Lydia thought that, she didn’t have to courage to attend parties. S he couldn’t take her eyes off the girls who dressed beautifully and were around her age.
“What, you’re eating something revolting again.”
Upon turning around suddenly, a new visitor was sitting across the table.
He, who was uninvited, was a fairy that Lydia was quite familiar with.
“Kelpie, if that’s the case please don’t force yourself to eat it.”
He had curly black hair that seemed to be damp and the fearless countenance of a young man had bewitching beauty but he was an malicious aquatic horse. Beings that dragged humans or livestock into the water and ate them up.
Although he was a very dangerous fairy, this strange Kelpie wasn’t interested in Lydia as food for some reason.
“Seriously, why do humans deliberately drink this kind of muddy water?”
Nico, who was looking towards the teacup, stuck out his whiskers in discomfort, but because the other person was Kelpie, he couldn’t whine in a condescending manner, thus he held the teacup’s coaster, quietly turning his back.
“Ah that’s right. Lydia, put this on.”
Disregarding Nico’s attitude, Kelpie placed a small box in front of Lydia.
What could this be? Lydia thought as she opened it to see, and it turned out to be a silver hair ornament. It was shaped like a clematis and was fine workmanship.
“Kelpie, where did you get this?”
“I picked it up.”
“Eh! Where?”
“Beside the gatepost.”
“Hold on, wasn’t this left behind?”
“It looks like something was written.”
Nico said, and was holding a tiny blue-colored card.
“It fell out from this box, let’s see…… it says, please marry me.”
Lydia was flustered as she looked back and forth between the box and the card.
“Then, this is a proposal gift. This is bad…… the owner of this must be desperately looking for it right now.”
“It’s not possible that someone would place it there, would it?”
“What do you mean?”
Upon aiming a glance at Lydia, who was puzzled, Nico put on the airs of a gentleman and finished drinking his tea. After placing his teacup on the table, he slowly began to talk.
“Look, you guys, wasn’t this placed before the entrance of this house? Don’t tell me that you didn’t think it was sent to the person living here?”
There was only one person living here.
“Ah…… me?”
“Ah ha ha, well, how can that be?”
Even Nico denied it without the least bit of hesitation.
“What did you say? Lydia, you want to get married?”
Kelpie suddenly leaned forward.
“Wait, this doesn’t have a name or address……”
“If you get married, will you be going far away? Then what am I going to do?”
“What do you mean, what are you going to do? Surely it doesn’t have anything to do with you?”
“Without you, I’ll be bored. If you just go somewhere I don’t know about, I’ll be troubled.”
“Oh come on, you don’t even know who the person is, there’s no such marriage happening!”
To begin with, it was suspicious that it was sent to Lydia.
“Look, there seems to be someone at the door.”
As soon as Nico said that, Kelpie broke into a run.
Lydia hastily chased after him. Upon arriving at the front door, she discovered someone loitering around on the path along the hedge.
It was a youth she had seen before . Without a doubt, he was a resident of the town, but they had never spoken. While Lydia was contemplating, Kelpie was already standing before the youth.
“You? You want to marry Lydia?”
Once Kelpie, who was tall and on top of that, well-built, looking down at the young man in a threatening manner, he was surprised and stepped back as if in shock.
“Wh--what is it? You are?”
“I am the Kel…”
“Th--this person is my gardener!”
Lydia, who forcefully interrupted midway, lied with much difficulty.
Lydia didn’t want to hide the existence of fairies in front of humans, but if she were to speak of a human being close to an Unseelie court that possessed frightening magic like Kelpie, she thought that she might panic.
However, because people didn’t believe in fairies to begin with there were even fewer people who would panic upon hearing the word “Kelpie”.
“That’s right. In the meantime, please continue standing guard and preventing thieves from entering.”
“Hey, Lydia never thought about getting married, hurry up and get lost!”
“Oh would you please stop!”
“What? Could it be that you’re intending on accepting the proposal?”
“I--I haven’t said……”
That’s not it. Perhaps the box was simply lost property.
“Lydia, do you want to put on that kind of hair ornament? It can’t feed a stomach either. If it was me, I would only give you things that you like, such as cows, sheep, and so on.”
I don’t need all that, Lydia muttered.
“Th--that hair ornament…...:”
The youth blurted out. Lydia pushed Kelpie aside while turning her head towards him.
“That’s right, as I thought, it’s something that you placed here, right?”
He immediately revealed a perplexed expression and hurriedly shook his head.
“No, I-- I don’t know, it wasn’t me.”
He said, and abruptly turned around and instantly ran away.
“Oh boy, even though there was only a one in a thousand chance that he was the person who proposed to Lydia, all hopes are gone now.”
Nico, who was sitting on the gatepost, said this with a carefree tone.

                                                                                                                         <The hope of returning home>

The muffling sound of a steam whistle could be heard from the direction of the sea. Even if the curtains were pulled open, the dull-colored sky blocked the sunlight and the brightness in the room could not make it any better.
Compared to the sky, the light snow that fell last night was found to be brighter.
Be it the cluttered alleyways, or the dirty buildings lined up against the alleyways which he saw below jim, once a thin layer of snow covered them, they too appeared to be quite a scenery.
“No wonder, I thought it was cold…”
Edgar mumbled. He was viewing the scenery ahead of him from a hotel room and the gray sea could be seen somewhat between the gaps of the buildings standing side by side.
“My sister has returned.”
Raven entered the room. The sound of his half-sister’s footsteps entering the room came through Edgar’s ears soon after.
After the door was closed, the two siblings motionlessly waited for their master’s actions and words.
Edgar turned around. With regards to him, these were the only two companions remaining that vowed to share the same fate. All the others have already been killed.
One of them was Raven, who had overwhelming ability and strength, but only knew how to protect his master, and the other was Ermine, who was completely dressed in men’s clothes in order to place herself in battle.
As long as these siblings, who had different skin colors, were still willing to trust and follow Edgar, then he couldn’t stop moving forward.
“How is the situation?”
“It is the Englishman, Gotham, as it is written on the report. He put forth the condition that money is no object in hunting around for Lord Edgar.”
Ermine answered.
Edgar obtained the information from an informant a few days ago, about a person who put forth a large sum of money to capture him.
Regardless of whether or not it was true that the person was studying medicine, the main point was that person seemed to want to use criminals as his subjects to conduct his experiments, and the target that he was fixated on was “Sir John”.
“He lives in London, and because he wants to investigate the mental state of violent criminals, he performed many human experiments. This information was definitely correct.”
“Will this man be useful?”
“Although this man isn’t a decent person, he should be of value to use. The man who came to America was his son, but as long as I’m captured by him, I would probably be sent over secretly to Gotham, who is in London. At least until I get sent to Gotham himself. My life probably wouldn’t be in danger.”
“But if the Prince were to find out......”
Raven said.
The man who was referred to as the Prince was the true enemy pursuing Edgar.
In order to return to England, he had to conceal himself from the Prince’s eyes no matter what.
Edger had to think of a good way to not let the Prince find out that he had already escaped from America during the long voyage. Furthermore, Prince’s henchmen were in London as well.
More importantly, Edgar wanted to think over the plan this time, and break away from the situation of being hunted down.
Even if he returned to England and this situation continued on, then his position of constantly running for his life wouldn’t change.
The Prince wasn’t the only person hunting him. Within England, he would definitely be considered as a rogue and violent criminal of America.
This was why he contemplated over this.
He was going to end it all and turn over a new leaf.
For this purpose, the person who will bring him back to England regardless of how much money he spends should come in handy.
He was the sort of person that didn’t belong to a dark organization, whom Prince would not pay heed to.
As long as Edgar cleverly spreads information of himself, he will move according to Edgar’s plans, as he had his own desires and plenty of money.
The man named Gotham fit all the requirements.
“I know. Raven, I’ll think of a way to divert the Prince’s attention first.”
Edgar slowly walked across the room, stopping in front of Raven and Ermine.
“Listen well. Next, I will be caught by the town’s public security officers as ‘Sir John’.”
Raven, who was unable to be somewhat aware of his own feelings, did not change his expression, and rather than Ermine being surprised, she revealed a solemn expression, as if she was reflecting upon what Edgar said.
“You both have to make Gotham purchase me before I am executed. In order to capture the criminal that he’s had his eye on alive, he would likely find a way to execute “Sir John”. You will secretly leave clues, and make him not only prepare to replace my corpse, but get me onto the boat at the same time, understood?”
The siblings merely nodded their heads.

On a vacant land on the outskirts of town, sat a simple wooden platform alone.
A rope hung down from a wooden beam on the stage.
A rope that once hung countless criminals, still seemed as if something heavy was hanging even if it was uninhabited, as it slowly swayed under the blows of the wind.
“Raven, are you against this plan?”
No matter where they went, as long as Edgar didn’t order Raven to be on standby, he would be by Edgar’s side, and even if he merely took a little stroll, he would follow as well.
This was the sort of man Edgar asked the question to.
“If this is what you, Lord Edgar, have decided, then all I have to do is obey.”
The answer was the same as expected.
For this reason, Edgar felt that it couldn’t continue on in this way.
He hoped that he could bring Raven the peaceful life of an ordinary person one day.
Raven didn’t know what happiness and love were, and merely obeying his sole master could stabilize his mind. Although he was raised this way, Edgar hoped that Raven could realize that he was his own master himself.
“If I fail, I’ll be hanged over there.”
A faint light flashed through the depths of Raven’s eyes. Edgar continued speaking, as if to warn him.
“Even if turns out that way, you mustn’t interfere. You must leave this place together with Ermine.”
Raven merely looked at him and nodded without saying a word.
Raven would obey his master at all times, but the only exception was when his master’s life was at risk. Therefore, Edgar knew that it would be of no use even if he said so.
But he still couldn’t help saying that.
He didn’t want Raven to be buried along with him.
He wasn’t afraid of death at all.
It’s just that if he failed and it came to the luck of his companions coming to an end at this rate, he was terrified.
This was the thought that kept him alive to this day, but he lost many companions. Even so, he told himself that he cannot fail for the sake of Raven and Ermine.
“This is merely a possibility. The plan will definitely go smoothly. The work that you have to do should be done well.”
Raven nodded his head vigorously this time.
“Lord Edgar, will the Prince believe that you were executed?”
Until he confirms the body with his own eyes, there’s no doubt he wouldn’t believe it.
“He’s likely to come and confirm it. However, Gotham isn’t my companion. The people that would offer a bounty to capture me are the ones who hate me, so what is the possibility that they would help me escape from the execution stage? I should be able to fight for ample time.”
Starting from when his family was killed by the Prince's organization and when he was kidnapped to America, Edgar lost everything that he had in the past.
All he knew was that if he didn’t think of a way to obtain the things that were more than what he had lost, then he wouldn’t be able to escape from the Prince’s hands.
For this purpose, he had to completely bury the name that he obtained in order to survive here.
“Sir John” will die here, and then Edgar will escape this country, which had the influential authority of Prince’s organization.
“I’ll definitely reach an area that is out of his reach.”
“Is it England?”
Edger looked at Raven and laughed softly.
“No, it’s the fairy kingdom.”
The road to returning to his true homeland, England, would unfold from then on.
“It ought to have been three hundred years ago that the Earl of Ibrazel last appeared in England.”
Edgar took out a gold coin from the pocket of his frock coat. Engraved on that gold coin was the riddle-like insignia of the Earl family.
For him, this was a more important ticket to returning to England than Gotham.
“You understand, don’t you Raven? It doesn’t mean that it’ll be alright when we just finally reach England. I still have an audience with Her Majesty the Queen, and use the Earl of Ibrazel’s identity to be welcomed into the royal court. As long as that can be done, the Prince won’t be able to dispose of us so easily.”
After coming to that step, this plan could be considered a success.
Avoiding the fate of being executed is just the first step, he cannot afford to fail at that.
“England, huh. How nostalgic.”
Edgar looked towards the direction of the sea and narrowed his eyes.
“Perhaps we will be able to see the Duke of Sylvainford at Buckingham Palace.”
“......He’s already dead.”
Raven seemed somewhat dubious but he answered solemnly.
“Ah, so that is the case.”
Of course he knew that.
“How unfortunate. He...... should have spoken about his son, it seemed that he really wanted to see me. It seems that he wants to know about his ancestors, and then imagined about many things, like what the Earl of the fairy kingdom would look like and so on.”
The sea breeze raised his shining blond hair.
It wasn’t known where the wind was coming from. But if it came across the Atlantic Ocean, then this gust of wind might have passed through the Sylvainford forest of the island nation on the other side of the distant ocean.
Edgar closed his eyes as he thought.
“If that boy was still alive, would he be surprised that the Earl was completely different from his imagination I wonder......”

                                                                                                                             <A sad misunderstanding>

That hair ornament must have been left behind by the young man who just came by.
This was the only explanation that made sense to Lydia.
If that's the case, then I have to return it. Perhaps he was unable to propose.
Once Lydia became bothered by something, she was unable to stay still. Remembering that the boy was the son of the Hammond family, she went to go visit their house.
In this small town, most people were acquainted with each other, if their social ranks were close enough.
"Why don't you just leave it alone? Didn't he say he didn't know anything about it before running away?"
Nico had come along.
"But, wasn't that because he got yelled at by Kelpie?"
"I wonder if that was all."
Nico mumbled something and followed along as usual, while pretending to be a cat and walking on all fours.
"Is there something else?"
"No, I just have a feeling."
It seemed as if he was worried.
Perhaps he was thinking that she would be disappointed if it turned out not to be a present for Lydia.
It was because she felt that it wasn't for her that Lydia wanted to properly return it.
However, when she came close to the Hammond house, her feet stopped.
The young man from earlier was speaking to someone in front of the house.
It might be bad if his intentions to propose were revealed in front of other people.
Thinking this, Lydia decided to wait a little and concealed herself in the shade of some shrubbery.
"What? George, you still haven't gotten the hair ornament back?"
She heard another man say this.
"No, well, it seems like that girl totally thought it was a present for her."
George Hammond sounded deeply troubled.
That's not true, thought Lydia, and she began to feel somewhat empty.
She had no intention of thinking that it was for her, and yet it seemed that she was misunderstood to be acting that way.
"Geez, to think that right when I stopped to retie my shoelaces, I happened to be right in front of the gate to the Carlton house. Leaving the box right by the gate and forgetting about it, what bad luck I have! Ahh, good thing it was on the roadside. No one would think it was for them if it was left like that."
"Won't it be alright as long as you properly explain the situation to them?"
"But there was a gardener who was like some sort of bodyguard and didn't seem like he would listen to me. To have been made a public spectacle in such a manner, even people passing by would misunderstand. If a rumor started that I was courting the Carlton family's daughter, I'd be so embarrassed I wouldn't be able to walk about in town anymore!"
Ahh . Lydia let out a deep sigh.
Even though he said he didn't know anything about the hair ornament.
Since she was a little odd, Lydia understood that no man wanted to be her suitor.
Even so, Lydia felt hurt.
However, knowing none of this, the young men continued talking.
"If Sally gets word of this…"
"In any case, this situation is really bad. If the daughter of the Carlton family goes out wearing that hair ornament, what will you do? There are people who know that you ordered that hair ornament."
"B-But, that girl has no interest in me right? I haven't ever had a proper conversation with her anyway."
"No woman would be upset at being proposed to. She's an oddball with no suitors; don't you think she might be feeling that way right now?"
Unable to listen any longer, Lydia turned to go back.
As she tried to dash off, she almost bumped into a girl who had just come around the corner.
Saying this while still looking at the ground, Lydia ran off. She didn't notice the card fall off from the box containing the hair ornament, nor did she notice that the girl who picked it up was Sally Kimble.

Maybe there really was no one in this world who would show affection towards a girl who didn't try to hide the fact that she could see fairies.
Lydia idly thought this as she lay on her bed in a depressed state.
However, at the same time, she felt that she was being stupid to feel depressed over something like this.
"Because it's not like I experienced heartbreak or anything like that."
Since she didn't feel anything for George Hammond, wasn't it strange that she felt hurt?
She tried to reframe her thoughts, but it was still a shock to learn that even a man she didn't know well thought of her as "a girl you'd be embarrassed to know."
"Cheer up, Lydia. In any case, that guy seemed like he was dumped. Serves him right."
Sitting by the window, Nico smiled with satisfaction and crossed his legs as he said this.
"Before when you were about to come home, you bumped into a girl right? She picked up the card that you had dropped. Then, she recognized the Hammond boy's handwriting. That girl was Sally Kimble. It seems like the two are going steady."
"Eh, then, the person he wanted to send this hair ornament to was…"
"It was Sally. However, since you had the card with a proposal written on it, she misunderstood. Then, they got in a fight and he was dumped."
"Hold on, that's not right!"
Lydia jumped up from her bed and went to check the hair ornament.
When she looked closely, she could see words engraved behind the flower petals: For Sally, from George , is what was written.
Lydia stood up.
"Oi, where are you going?"
"I have to give this to Sally and properly clear up the misunderstanding. Because of me, those two won't be able to get married."
Nico snorted in disgust.
"There's no need to do anything for someone who said that you'd accept any man that approaches you."
Being reminded of this made her heart ache. However, Lydia was such strange girl that it couldn't be helped if she was thought of in that way.
It wasn't as if he had said that to her face. He had just said aloud the impression that the townspeople had of her. She had just happened to overhear it.
"That person doesn't mean any harm."
"He's the one who left it and forgot about it, first of all, and he's also the one who denied that it was his. On top of this, you're saying that he won't cause any unpleasant experiences for you?"
Nico sympathized with Lydia's feelings and said this. He didn't want her to become even more hurt.
Although they weren't human, she still had considerate friends who understood her. Nico thought that this was exactly why Lydia could become stronger. No matter what others said about her or if men avoided her, she could still take pride in trying to become a fairy doctor.
"It's alright, Nico, thanks."
Taking the box with the hair ornament with her, Lydia went out again.

However, the misunderstanding had grown worse and would not be fixed easily.
When Lydia went to visit Sally's home, she was politely turned away by the housemaid.
It seemed that Sally thought Lydia was having an affair with George and had told the maid that she didn't want to meet with a thief.
Though Lydia tried to explain the situation, they paid no heed and shut the door on her. When Lydia looked up toward the window, the curtain was quickly pulled shut. Sally was probably there, but the curtain showed no signs of being pulled open again.
Reluctantly, Lydia left behind the mansion and walked away with heavy steps.
If only she could make Sally look at the hair ornament, then she would clearly understand that George had wanted to propose to Sally all along. As long as Sally accepted this, the misunderstanding would be cleared up. Even so, since Sally wouldn't listen to a word Lydia said, what should she do now?
While walking, Lydia let out a sigh.
She suddenly noticed an isolated beech tree standing by the side of the road. A tree where fairies live.
Come to think of it, this area was also part of the Kimble family's land and Mr. Kimble had decided on his own to widen the road here.
That's right! flashed through Lydia's mind as she ran up to the tree.
A long time ago, there was a legend that if you proposed under this tree, you would find happiness. Now, it was just an almost forgotten legend.
Within this tree that had lived for so long, there was something that held magical power. People felt this and started to revere the tree, in awe of its vitality.
The reason this magical power had faded was probably because people had stopped believing that the invisible and mysterious power was housed within nature.
However, there were still fairies within this tree. Living under the protection of the tree's magical power were very small fairies, of a common variety. Still, if these fairies had bathed in the blessings of this tree, then they should understand its power very well.
"Hey good neighbors."
Lydia called out to the fairies, choosing the safest words to do so.
"In order to protect this beech tree and in order to protect your landlord, I would like to borrow your help."
After some time, an upper branch began to move noisily.
Through the gaps of some thin branches without any leaves, the faces of emerald green colored fairies peeked out.
While taking precaution so as not to be pelted by beech nuts, Lydia began to speak again.
"A certain person would like to propose to Sally from the Kimble family. However, Sally has misunderstood and won't accept a present from him."
Saying this, she lifted up the box containing the hair ornament to show them.
"As long as this is delivered to her, Sally should be able to accept the proposal. Can you please call her here? Just like the old days, if a happy relationship were to begin under this tree, then wouldn't the number of people who revere this tree increase?"
She didn't get the sense that beech nuts would start falling. It seemed like the fairies were listening to her.
"Hey fairies, even though this tree has barely any magic left, if you help me, a miracle might occur once again."
Again, the branch became noisy.
The wind began to die down.
While the sun had already begun to set and her surroundings were getting darker, Lydia could see a soft white light shining near the branch where the fairies were.
Gradually, this faint light began to spread as if it were trying to cover the entire tree.
In the dim light of the surroundings, only the whiteness of the beech tree stood out.
Normal people probably couldn't see it, since the few figures that passed by did so without pointing it out or stopping to look at it.
Even so, Lydia believed.
Further along this road, one could see the red roof of the Kimble family mansion and behind the curtains, a soft light flickered.
You could definitely see this tree from that window.
Sally would be sure to come out of the house once she saw the tree mysteriously shining.
Lydia hurriedly put the box down at the root of the tree.
"I'll go and get him."
Saying so, Lydia dashed off.

She arrived at the Hammond residence out of breath and while she wasn't turned away, George, who had stepped out to meet her, didn't try to hide his perplexed expression.
"What do you want?" He asked in an annoyed tone.
"Um, it's about the hair ornament."
At this, he knit his brows as if irritated.
"Didn't I already tell you that I wasn't trying to propose to you?"
Saying this, he sighed deeply.
"Yeah, that hair ornament was something that I dropped. I guess it's not impossible that you would misunderstand, but to think that you would show off to Sally…"
Lydia looked at his sullen face in bewilderment.
"You realized it was a present for Sally, right? Is that why you got angry? That was too much. Doing something like that, did it really make you feel better?"
Somehow it seemed as if George thought that Lydia had shown that card to Sally on purpose. He thought that she tried to break them up by boasting about how she was the one who was proposed to and not Sally.
She started feeling more and more hurt. It was just as Nico said.  Even while thinking this, she summoned all her will to keep her feet planted and her feelings of wanting to run away at bay.
Doing so, she stared at him resolutely.
"I delivered that hair ornament to Sally. That's why, please go straight away to the beech tree on the side of the road next to the Kimble residence."
He frowned again. Was he thinking that he didn't believe her?
"You might not be in the mood to do anything I say, but this is a request. Sally will definitely be there."
Lydia entreated him in a very serious and calm manner.
Hiding her painful feelings of wanting to cry with full force, she bowed before taking her leave.
Since it seemed like everything she was holding back would come spilling out if she started running, she rapidly walked away with long strides.
The moment when she returned home, she sat down and began to relax.
Like a child, she hugged her knees and, without turning on the lights, Lydia crouched motionlessly.
She didn't even know if she was crying or not. She just felt exhausted.
It's alright, Lydia.
From within her distant memories, her mother smiled at a young Lydia.
Her mother was platinum blonde with blue eyes and skin so white it was almost transparent. Her beauty would take anyone's breath away. Lydia was often told that she didn't look anything like her.
Why aren't I as beautiful as Mother?
Lydia often asked her mother this. Her mother's answer was always the same.
When you grow older, you'll also become exceptionally beautiful.
I wonder if that's really true.
While dreaming, Lydia thought this.
Because even though it was about time for her to turn beautiful, her dull red hair was still the same and so were the golden-green eyes that made everyone keep a distance from her, as if she were a witch. Although she was a girl who could see fairies, perhaps her environment would have been slightly different if she was a beauty like her mother. 

"You're beautiful, Lydia."
Surprised, Lydia looked around. She thought she heard a man's voice. However, she could see nothing but a bright white light in her surroundings.
"Who's there?"
"Won't you dance with me?"
I've never danced before.
However, someone was taking her hand. Lydia performed dance steps that she shouldn't have known.
Once she relaxed and surrendered herself to the arm that wrapped around her back, she danced wonderfully, as if she wasn't herself.
She tried to get a good look at the person in front of her, but her surroundings were so bright that she couldn't make him out. She simply felt that it was mysterious.
Don't they feel embarrassed by dancing with someone like me?
"Embarrassed? To me, you're the lover I take pride in."
"Oh, I don't like this. Have you forgotten?"
"Lydia, aren't you angry?"
About what?
"Until we met, I was troubled whenever someone fell in love with you. What if I told you that I made a wish to God for this not to be the case?"
Surprised, Lydia frowned.
"Is that so? That's why I've only been hated?"
"I'm sorry."
Hey, isn't this a bit too much?
She tried to show her displeasure, but he only smiled. Although she couldn't see his face, she knew that he was smiling.
But……well, whatever.

"What's wrong, Lydia?"
A familiar voice asked.
It's alright, I'm not sad anymore, Lydia whispered.
"Why are you sleeping in a place like this?"
Feeling a large hand placed on her head, Lydia opened her eyes.
It was Kelpie. He ruffled her hair in a casual manner.
"……Oh no, was I asleep?"
While rubbing her eyes in a hurry, she also wiped her wet cheeks.
I guess I was crying after all.
She had cried, and was comforted by the dream she saw.
While dreaming, she had had a convenient way of thinking that was almost pathetic. She had thought the reason that she didn't have any suitors was because her future lover was jealous.
Even so, Lydia regained a strange sense of calmness.
"What, does it hurt somewhere?"
Kelpie sat down on the floor next to Lydia.
His long legs were folded in a seemingly cramped position, but he still peered at Lydia with a worried look on his face. Even her parched heart * was comforted by him.
"It's nothing."
"Really? Ah, I got it, you're probably hungry."
Kelpie concluded this based on the reasoning that there was no greater issue than an empty stomach.
Lydia found this amusing and laughed a little.
"That's right, I might be hungry."
"Should I go catch something for you?"
That's too wild.
"That's alright. Our maid will soon come to prepare dinner."
Standing up, Lydia walked towards the window.
Have George and Sally met under the tree yet? Has Sally properly accepted that hair ornament?
Lydia couldn't see the beech tree from her house. However, if she looked in that direction, beyond the roofs of the houses, the night sky looked as if it was lit up by a faint light a little.
"It's wonderful isn't it, to be proposed to by the person you love?"
"What's this now, do you want to get married?"
Kelpie was puzzled. Just what did he think about humans?
"Well, of course I do, someday."
"Ohh, is that so? In that case, it's fine if you marry me."
He said this quite indifferently.
To say something like "it's fine"; this wasn’t a matter to joke about.
"Ah, well you know, I want to marry a proper human…."
"That's right, even my younger brother married a human *   .  I didn't notice any displeasure."
"Wait, your brother is an exception. His was a special case, so please don't say something like that so easily."
"Isn't it a great idea? Then you won't suddenly disappear off somewhere and I can spend my days without getting bored."
"Huh? Am I just for killing time?"
Facing towards Kelpie once again, while looking up at the tall fairy, she mustered up all of her dignity as a fairy doctor and scowled at him.
"Listen Kelpie, marriage is a once in a lifetime event so not just anyone will do. Even I have ideals."
Whether an ideal partner would appear before her or not, she couldn't even imagine. That's probably why I couldn't even picture the face the man within my dream , Lydia thought absentmindedly.
That person seemed a little different from my ideal type though…….

                                                                                                                             <Someday, Somewhere>

"Earl Ashenbert."
Edgar turned around at the sound of his name.
"Won't you tell us stories from abroad?"
"Like how southern countries have coral beaches."
"Or how the northern countries have houses made out of ice."
Decked out ladies surrounded him.
The people who filled this ballroom adorned in gold and silver used words that Edgar was used to.
The lavish dresses of the ladies and the overpowering scent of their perfume were practically nostalgic to him.
Had he returned? To England's high society?
He smiled while feeling relief, as Earl Ashenbert.
"The Eastern countries have mansions made of gold."
"Wow, is that really true?"
Even if you mix together the truth with lies, if you talk about faraway lands, anyone will listen earnestly.
They'll listen to stories told by sailors and merchants who have traveled the world, or to the adventures of a young man who came from a land no one here knew about. Native American legends. Presenting rare and unusual stories was easy for him.
Even though he felt strange for acting like the Earl Ashenbert of three hundred years ago, who the legends say used to enthrall the imperial court with his stories, Edgar was content.
Raven and Ermine were also here with him.
There was no longer any need to run away from Prince.
At the very least, everything was perfect within the dream that he saw.
"Earl, is it all right to leave your fiancée alone?"
Fiancée? Edgar was puzzled. Did he have someone like a fiancée?
"She's becoming surrounded by single gentlemen."
A voice whispered into his ear from behind a folding fan, and Edgar slipped away from the circle of ladies.
What kind of lady is she? I want to take a look.
Although there was no way that he would be engaged to a woman he didn't know, the man within the dream didn't feel the slightest doubt.
He just felt pulled along by strong curiosity and searched for his supposed "fiancée."
Beyond the wide open doors, the ballroom continued, filled with people.
Although it was impossible for him to have gotten engaged with an unfamiliar woman, the him in the dream wasn’t suspicious about it.
He was merely looking for his “fiancée”, driven by an intense curiosity.
Upon opening the door to the other side, there was another great hall, and the crowds were still endless.
There was laughter and music, as well as high-class alcohol and an overflowing amount of fragrant roses decorated.
He went up the staircase and looked down from the stairwell. He also looked at the balcony and the smoking room, but he still didn’t know where his fiancée was.
This is to be expected , he suddenly realized.
I don’t know her face, so there’s no way I’ll be able to find her.
As Edgar walked around, he felt a shadow of unease even though he was in midst of a bright dream.
That’s right, I still haven’t obtained anything.
I still haven’t obtained the status of Earl Ashenbert, nor have I obtained a peaceful life.
How could I possibly have a fiancée?
Just as he was planning to stop, he turned his gaze towards a gap in the door in front of him.
Someone was in the room.
A woman was happily chatting with young men.
The reason why he couldn’t believe what he saw unintentionally, was because what he saw seemed to be translucent wings on her back that were sparkling.
A fairy?
He kept blinking.
After confirming it again, he whispered, oh that’s how it is.  
What looked to be wings was a large ribbon decorated on the evening dress.
Perhaps it was because of the decorative beads sewn on the transparent silk fabric that the ribbon would reflect the light of the chandelier and shine subtle.
Edgar smiled wryly.
He obtained the title, Earl of Ibrazel and yet it was impossible for him to see fairies.
At that moment, she turned around.
She looked at Edgar, and revealed a smile as bright as the spring sun.
Although that smile was slightly bashful, she revealed intimacy and trust. Edgar looked at her, and strangely he felt a burst of passion in his chest.
She shook the wing-like ribbon on her back as she tried to run towards him.
She faltered, perhaps because she wasn't used to wearing a splendidly flared dress. He spread his arms wide in order to catch her as she was unsteady in her steps.

“Fiancée, huh.”
Edgar whispered. He was startled at the sound of his own voice, and glanced towards the bed.
A woman was sleeping quite soundly, and likely wouldn’t wake up.
Although he had spent some time together with a girl from this town for a short while, he did feel a little lonely after they separated.
However, the fact that they would never see each other again didn't make Edgar feel sad.
He quietly tied his necktie and put on his coat.
That girl had believed that he was the son of a ship owner.
Once she learned that Sir John had been executed, she would surely feel angry that she had been deceived. Or maybe she would grieve over his death.
Either way, Edgar had disappeared from the girl's life while he was still deceiving her. That was all.
However, that girl probably wasn't swimming in sentimentality, right?
Just like how the mourning clothes he was wearing when they met were thrown away the next day.
The girl who lived by the harbor was incredibly compassionate. She would find another man soon enough and forget all about the past.
"Farewell, my lover."
He turned slightly while in the doorway and softly murmured this while putting on his hat.
At the very least, they both thought of the other as their lover during the time when they were together.
On the other hand, fiancée was a word that Edgar hadn't heard in a very long time and made him think he was dreaming.
Since he was born an aristocrat, marriage was an obligation. That's why the word fiancée had formal connotations.
A lover was different.
To the Edgar now, things like aristocratic common sense were meaningless to him, but he still vaguely thought the same way.
However, the lady in his dream was different.
She was different compared to the "fiancée" he had imagined. She also felt different compared to the "lover" he once had.
I don't understand. It's just a dream.
He quietly left the room.
Leaving behind the pretty house and stepping out into a light rain and onto the street, Edgar suddenly found Raven standing before him.
"What, did you come to pick me up?"
Raven silently nodded.
There was an air of uneasiness.
It wasn't impossible, because he was betting his life to carry out such a bold and reckless scheme.
"How are the preparations coming along?"
"They've been completed."
"Well then, shall we start soon?"
It was at times like this that Edgar quickly adopted a carefree tone so as to avoid a serious atmosphere.
Doing so, he thought about the fate that had befallen him.
He could not take back what was stolen.
He had no choice but to acquire something new.
Just what kind of person had he become?
The only ones who knew the truth and the real Edgar himself were Raven and Ermine.
From now on, would there ever be anyone who knew everything about him and still accept him?
Falling in love was easy. However, Edgar had never felt the need to tell his lovers up until now about the real him.
If he started to talk about his true past, they probably wouldn't believe him. That, or it would be too terrifying and they definitely wouldn't be able to accept it. That's why he never even thought about telling them.
Without knowing each other's pasts, as long as feelings were exchanged, then two people could fall in love that way. He felt that that was enough.
Even so, he suddenly had a thought.
Despite knowing everything, someone who would stay by his side, strong and kind……..
I'm being ridiculous , Edgar thought and laughed.
"It seems impossible. At least, not until I grow wings."
Raven looked up, puzzled.
"However, if such a woman truly exists, then I wonder if someone else will snatch her before I meet her…… I guess I have no choice but to pray that that won't happen."
"…..What are you talking about?"
It wasn't a bad dream.
It was a dream where he had been called by the name he wished for, at a place he wished for.
Wasn't this a good omen?
He felt surprisingly optimistic.
"Raven, it will definitely go well. I just have a feeling."
Rain continued to fall lightly. Even so, the ocean was extremely bright because the rays of the morning sun slipped through a small gap in the clouds.
It was so unexpectedly bright that Edgar had to squint.


Once Sally's engagement to George was printed in the town newspaper, the actual wedding was not far off. The beech tree and its fairies must have skillfully brought Sally to them and made her find the gift from George.
Having said that, it felt more like Sally had, for some reason, stepped outside and had somehow happened upon the beech tree. As for George, it seemed like it didn't really matter that Lydia had told him to go to the beech tree. The two were simply immersed in the happiness of having gotten their feelings across.
"It's almost as if they don't realize that their happiness is thanks to Lydia."
Nico said with his cheeks stuffed with apple pie, having caught a glimpse of them outside the window.
The newly engaged couple could be seen beyond the hedge, strolling together happily.
"It's great that it worked out."
Lydia honestly thought this.
If they broke up due to a misunderstanding, then Lydia would be left with a bad aftertaste every time she saw one of them.
"But still, do you know what George has been going around telling everyone? That he went to that beech tree because the Carlton family's daughter said she had thrown away the hair ornament there. Then they're saying that Sally going there and finding the hair ornament was because the proposal gift had brought them together, something about the power of love. People who have wild delusions are frightening aren't they?"
There was no helping it. People interpret events according to what they want to believe after all.
More importantly, Lydia felt troubled by Nico, a well-informed gossip, telling her every little thing, including rumors that she hadn't heard of.
Although he was sometimes considerate of her feelings, in the end, he was still a capricious fairy so there was no helping it.
"Even the idea that you mistook the hair ornament as a gift to you was just their assumption."
While Nico seemed to be indignant on Lydia's behalf, on the other hand, he drank all of his tea in one gulp and groomed his whiskers in a satisfied manner.
He was in an easygoing mood and seemed like he didn't care about how Lydia felt.
"More importantly, I'm worried about that beech tree."
Soon enough, that matter also got resolved.
Apparently Sally didn't want the beech tree, which had become a place of significance to her, to get cut down so she begged her father and Mr. Kimble had no choice but to listen to his beloved daughter's wish.
For the time being, there was no need to worry about the tree being cut down.
"Oh, looks like someone has come to visit."
Lydia set down her teacup and stood up.
The one who had notified her was the house fairy who also lived there.
Since any human visitor would have certainly rung the bell, perhaps this visitor wasn't human.
Stepping out from the entryway, Lydia looked around.
No one was there.
Looking towards the gate, she saw that it was slightly open and that there was something beyond it.
Walking to that spot, Lydia was surprised to find a pile of mushrooms and berries on the stone steps.
"What is this…..?"
"Hmm, these are mushrooms all right. They look pretty tasty."
Nico had followed her outside to take a look and sniffed them.
This pile of out-of-season treats were unmistakably a gift from the fairies.
"Aren't these from the fairies of that beech tree?"
"I wonder about that."
"It's their thanks to you."
A fairy doctor not only resolves conflicts between people and fairies but also tries to bring them together.
Lydia wondered if she had been slightly helpful this time around.
"Then, this is actually a gift, and not just something someone dropped, right?"
Lydia faced Nico and smiled.
"Oi Lydia, do you feel like marrying me now?"
Seemingly out of nowhere, Kelpie appeared and was standing by the gate.
"You came again?"
Lydia raised her hands in exasperation.
Nico placed a paw on his hip and looked up at Kelpie curiously.
"Since when was this a thing?"
"It's not. Jeez Kelpie, I already told you to stop this didn't I?"
"But why?"
"I'm a fairy doctor."
"I know."
"If you're too persistent, I'll chase you away."
"Oh? Even though you don't have any magic strong enough to chase away the likes of me?"
Facing Kelpie, who bent forward and grinned arrogantly, Lydia stood up straight and took a deep breath.
"If you really want to marry me, then you'll give me what I wish for, right?"
"Yeah, of course."
Kelpie answered without hesitation.
"Then, the moon……"
Taken aback, Kelpie straightened up.
"Wait, Lydia, say anything but that! Don't wish for the impossible."
Since agreements with fairies were absolute, as long as Kelpie accepted Lydia's impossible request then he couldn't come near Lydia again.
Realizing this, Kelpie hurriedly stopped her from finishing her sentence.
"In that case, go cool off your head."
Once Lydia said this, Kelpie heaved a sigh of relief, but also clicked his tongue in frustration.
"Ahh man! You're a woman who's hard to handle."
Saying this, he quickly vanished.
Lydia sat down and began to gather the mushrooms and berries. Wrapping them up in the folds of her skirt, she stood up.
I'm fine the way I am, right?
While asking herself this, she turned to look at the signboard she had put up which advertised her services as a fairy doctor.
There were fairies who respected her.
Although it seemed like it would take some time before people could understand and accept her, she felt that she had made some progress.
Although it was only a bit, Lydia felt proud of herself and smiled.

[1]   This is a literal translation of 乾いた心. I believe the closest meaning is "a heart that has not felt love in a very long time."

[2]  Volume 8, Chapter 2: 

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17: A fan book for ladies and gentlemen