She didn’t have a name. That’s why Edgar made a name for her.
She said a cheeky thing like she wanted to be called by a name of the woman he wasn’t able to forget.
He called her Jean, and she looked so thrilled.
They had escaped from the man who had made slaves out of so many innocent boys and girls. She was a member of Edgar’s team fighting against
“Our little black diamond,” whispered Edgar as he looked down at a poorly made coffin.
The sound of the midnight clock bell rang out over the graveyard behind the church located in the corner of London.
“Is the legendary black diamond really in a coffin like this?”
The ones that Edgar gathered tonight, beside his most trusted subordinates Raven and Ermine, were the members of the secret organization ‘Scarlet Moon.’
The man named Prince who kept Edgar as his slave, had made his claim in the underground society of America.
The members of the Scarlet Moon had bitter hatred towards Prince. That’s why Edgar decided to join hands with them.
The one who just spoke was the one of the leading members, Slade. With him at the lead, the Scarlet Moon members looked at their new leader Edgar as he stood near the coffin as they had the look of not knowing what in the world this man was thinking on their faces.
“The black diamond that Prince had finally gotten after so much painstakingly hard work….. Lord Earl, I hear that you were able to retrieve when you escaped from his control.”
The one who said that was Paul, another member of the ‘Scarlet Moon’ and a painter that Edgar was very acquainted with.
It was just as he said. But for me to steal this black diamond, it must have surely angered Prince extremely. In the end, all of Edgar’s allies, except for Raven and Ermine, were all killed.
Or perhaps, was the reason that had happened because of the curse of the black diamond?
Because the diamond that disappeared from the hands of its original owner and transferred from one person to another was rumored to bring sorrow and misery to those who possess it.
“But, you had the diamond stored in a coffin? Everyone frowned when we heard you had placed an order to have a dead body sent to you from America.”
“I did order a dead body.”
Taking off his top hat, Edgar bowed his head to the coffin.
His golden blond hair - which had the shine as bright as the moon - stood out in the night graveyard.
Jean said she liked Edgar’s blond hair. During that time, when they had hidden themselves in the poor part of the city, she watched as Ermine was cutting his hair and claimed that she would be able to cut his hair much more handsomely than she could.
“Jean had gone through the act of killing herself so that the diamond wouldn’t be taken by Prince. And she hid it so that I would be the only one to know where it was.”
Raven carefully pulled out the bolts that were knocked into the coffin lid.
“When our hideout was ambushed by Prince, she was the only one keeping watch over our absence, and she died after she hid the diamond. I found her body and carried it to the church and just asked for her to be buried.”
Of course, he didn’t mention that she killed herself, and so the pastor had pitied the girl’s death and promised him that he would place her in a grave in the corner of the graveyard.
And after Edgar had gotten accustomed to living in England, he was taking care of plans from quite some time ago to claim Jean’s remains.
“Lord Edgar, there are marks that the lid has been opened.”
“Which means, Earl, couldn’t Prince have already gotten the diamond?”
At the time, Prince went looking for the black diamond by searching all of the places that Edgar might have hidden it including the graves of all of his comrade friends.
But, he knew that Jean’s black diamond hadn’t been taken. He was sure of it.
Finally, the lid was lifted off.
“Beautiful jewels corrupt people’s lives. Do you know about the Regent diamond? Long ago, the slaves in the iron mine had stolen and run off with the large diamonds that they found. They cut open the calf of their legs and put the stone in there to hide it. I had told that story to Jean before, and so I was able to tell immediately when I found her body.”
And then Edgar came up with the idea that the safest way to hid the diamond would be to bury her like that.
“I found it,” said Raven in a matter-of-fact tone.
The skeletonized body had no longer been serving the purpose of hiding the diamond.
It seemed like Prince had been too quick in uncovering her grave.
Edgar lowered himself down and gazed at the little girl inside the coffin.
“Thank you, Jean. And, good night. I won’t have your sleep disturbed anymore.”
He placed the lily down that he had in his hand and stood up.
“Slade, can you restore this diamond back to the necklace of its original design?”
According to their records, it was an elaborate necklace that had small diamonds decorating around it. Going through the hands of so many, it has come to turn out as just the black diamond.
“If it is the artisan of the Scarlet Moon, then it is possible. …..However-”
Slade looked down at the coffin and spilled out like he couldn’t contain his thoughts any longer.
“She’s just a young child.”
Jean had barely turned ten.
“Earl, if it is to go against Prince, are you thinking its right to sacrifice children?”
During that time, Raven and Ermine and even Edgar, were just children. But even so, ten years old would be too young to lose one’s life.
“You know that it’s not like he wanted to sacrifice them if he could, don’t you?” said Paul in Edgar’s place.
“You say that, but the earl gives too much of a strong impression as a leader. He has the looks and way of speaking that catches everyone’s eyes. To a pure young child, he can easily become an ideal hero. If it was for you, then they could do anything, they would even come to think that it was their duty. This girl could have been like that, and even now, there are ones in the ‘Scarlet Moon,’ a young boy who has become completely devoted to you.”
Now that he recalled, Edgar remembered that there was a young boy who frequently made a visit to the earl house.
“Even in our Scarlet Moon organization, our young members are stirred up and ready to follow your orders. But, when we hear that all of your past comrade members had fought and died, then we elder members become worried if you might do something particularly reckless. Indeed we dreamed and waited for the Blue Knight Earl to appear back to England so that he could guide us, but for you who only inherited the earl’s name, we don’t know how far we should follow you.”
“I don’t mind if you don’t believe in me, but if you don’t follow what I say, then you won’t be able to win against Prince.”
He watched as the coffin lid was closed, and then Edgar put on his hat again.
“But, if you all don’t plan to die for me, then that’s fine as well. I too, don’t want to go through with that style of fighting.”
Slade might have felt the pain of Edgar just a little, and so he remained silent.
Dirt was thrown and mounded onto the top of the coffin.
So many of his friends had died, and only Edgar had survived.
When he would wonder the reason - just like Slade said -Edgar was made to feel a sort-of-destiny wrapped around himself.
Since he was born as a peer, he could have grown up aware that he was in a position that stood above others from a young age. But, more than that, it seems the people who gather around Edgar see their ideal ‘leader’in him.
Perhaps because of his appearance, or maybe because of his personality, or the cause could be because he subconsciously used the methods that Prince implanted in him which enabled him to manipulate other’s minds.
However, from the moment Edgar made the determination to escape from Prince, if his friends needed a leader who made them feel at ease in following, then he thought to be their ideal.
But, the bond made from strong faith and loyalty to Edgar made his comrades choose death instead of running from battle.
Even though there wasn’t that kind of worth in him at all.
But, Edgar was still fighting against Prince.
Even as he thought it was for the sake to heal the pain of those sacrificed, if he were to increase the numbers of sacrifices even more, then his actions might be contradictory. If he thought over what he should do, still like it was his destiny, he ended up being made to go on.
Because he felt he couldn’t waste the diamond entrusted to him after it was protected by Jean in exchange with her life.
The tea party didn’t have any formality to it compared to the gatherings held within the upper class of the peerage, so it was very easy to get used to for Lydia.
Even though Lydia felt that it wasn’t easy for a middle-class girl like herself - who came out from the countryside of Scotland- to enter into the ring of conversation that was going on between this group of noblewomen.
To begin with, Lydia was the type who wasn’t good at being around with people. She was great at being around with fairies, but the manners and etiquette for fairies and the upper-class were completely different.
Even if you said what you meant to fairies, they wouldn’t care any less, but in order to get along with people, lying was justifiable. To begin with, society was filled with people who thought fairies were only characters out of children’s books, and because of that, Lydia was thought of as a stubborn oddball.
Even so, Lydia came to this tea party attended only by women.
“I haven’t seen you-know-who recently.”
“I hear that she has eloped.”
Lydia just happened to be sitting at a table that was gathered by young girls who were all the same age, but she had no idea who they were talking about. She couldn’t keep up with the conversation at all.
“But, did you know, when she went to the house of her suitor, the wife of the house was already there before her!”
The hostess of the tea party was the Duchess, Lady Macefield. Out of all the upper-class nobles that Lydia was introduced to by Edgar, she was a senior noblewoman who treated Lydia the most kindly.
The Duchess believed in the existence of fairies, and was always excited to talk about fairies and the tales related to them with Lydia. She even acknowledged Lydia’s ability to see fairies that normal people couldn’t see and be able to communicate and become friends with them.
Lydia was the same age that the Duchess’ grandchild would be, and felt dignified and esteemed to be called as the duchess’ friend.
That’s why she had received an invitation, and even though it was just a gathering of the duchess’ most closely acquainted women, there were thirty of them and it was natural that Lydia wouldn’t be allowed to converse with just the duchess.
They were at the Duke family’s townhouse, on a terrace that was opened up to the outdoors and the family’s spacious garden, and not paying much attention to the ladies’ conversation about a rumor, Lydia put a large swab of cream on her scone.
“But, then I heard that she ran out and went back to her family’s house.”
“Being tricked by such a man, such a fallen woman will be seen as ruined.”
“Oh, she probably won’t be able to show her face in the peerage.”
Since some time ago, there was a tiny fairy by a vase of lavenders who was peering over towards them with craving eyes. Lydia quietly placed her scone on the grass by her feet.
“Oh, Miss Carlton, what do you think?”
“Huh? A-about what?”
Suddenly thrown the ball of the conversation, Lydia straightened her posture. The tiny fairies came to gather around the scone and then started to carry it off from under her chair. To the normal person’s eye, it would appear like a scone with cream was wobbling its way across the grass, but the young women hadn’t noticed.
“In regards to how a lady should court a man. It’s naturally that one would have marriage in mind, but couldn’t there be cases when a lady could be deceived with a man’s promise by word of mouth?”
“So, I guess that means its best to court a bachelor who is approved by the woman’s parents,” said one young woman.
“Oh, but, the head of Miss Carlton’s household is a university professor. So is your father very strict? Wouldn’t you have been told to be careful of men from the upper class?”
It was true that Lydia’s father was a university professor, but he was completely different from the normal image of what a person in that field is supposedly like and lets her live freely. But, these young women probably didn’t care about that part; they must want to know how a middle-class young woman would think about courting a noble.
It was common to hear about a man from a noble birth getting his hands on a naïve young woman and then throw her away, but even if they weren’t able to commit the same improper act against a daughter from a well-to-do family, if their suitor was going to be a commoner, then it was well-heard story.
In this circle of young women, there was no one who looked down at Lydia who was introduced by the duchess as ‘her very dear friend.’ But still, that question must have been asked because they thought of her as just not cut from the same kind of cloth.
“Are you truly courting the Earl?”
“I……I don’t know who you mean by that,” replied Lydia.
“Earl Ashenbert,” she pointed out.
Lydia was the privately hired Fairy Doctor of the Earl, Edgar Ashenbert.
He was an extremely handsome young Earl, and on top of that, he was a man who carried the rare title of Earl of Ibrazel (the Fairyland) and was famous within the London upper class.
Presently, in the middle of the 19th century, a title was just a title, but it wasn’t like everybody really believed that he was the lord of the Fairyland, but for the fairies who lived in England, the man who had that title was viewed in awe and respect as the descendant of the human who ruled the Fairyland which was located someplace in the end of the world and was all the fairies’ birthplace.
To tell the truth, Edgar didn’t have any blood of the Ashenbert family running in him and he doesn’t know anything about fairies. And so, Lydia ended up being hired by him, but since the two of them spend their together quite a lot, people would misunderstand that they might be in a close relationship.
Previously, she was written in the gossip papers as the true love of the Earl.
That’s why the ladies here must have wanted to verify the truth of the rumor they heard.
“Th-that’s impossible, he’s just my employer.”
The atmosphere around them changed to relief. At that same time, Lydia felt a hint in the atmosphere like they were thinking: of course.
It wasn’t like every single woman here had romantic feelings for Edgar, but they shared the same thought that they couldn’t accept Lydia - who was sitting right in front of their eyes - as Edgar’s lover.
She did have reddish-brown hair - that was described as a rust-iron colored - woven up simply, but her hairstyle wasn’t prepared nicely like the young women here whose were lovely enough to attend a ball and she also had the experience of others being disturbed by her golden-green eyes and claimed that her eyes made her look like a witch.
Even Lydia wasn’t convinced about it either.
There was no way that Edgar’s proposal could be serious.
“But the Lord Earl is so kind and a wonderful conversationalist and so charming that it’s difficult to find a flaw in him, but wouldn’t you agree that he seems to be a man who can’t be easily trusted?”asked one of the young woman in Lydia’s circle.
Yes, yes, that’s right, that man can’t be trusted most of all.
“It does seem like he is equally kind to everyone. And when you talk with him, you begin to feel like he might be interested in you.”
“He seems to be quite the rake.”
“That’s the thing. I heard a rumor that he owns a harem.”
“Huh? A harem?”
Lydia couldn’t stop herself from leaning out forward so that she wouldn’t miss a word of what the young woman had said.
“I hear that in London, there are businesses that provide that kind of service. And that it’s a place where men can have a mistress one after another and act like he is a Pagan King.”
Lydia had heard so many bad rumors of Edgar that her ears could rot from them. Some of them were quite ridiculous but every single one of them was related to women, so she began to think that there could be a possibility of Edgar owning a harem.
“I don’t know for certain, but a foreign princess who fell in love with the Earl had given up her family and fiancé to come to London. Since she was a Pagan, marriage between the Earl and her was impossible, but he didn’t have the option of sending her back so the rumor is he’s hiding her in his harem.”
“Why couldn’t he send her back?”
“Well, that would be impossible because he has touched her. In a Pagan country, they say a daughter who lost her virginity before marriage would be killed by her father.”
I wonder if that’s true. Christianity wasn’t as strict as that but there wasn’t any difference about how it would become a stain on a woman for the rest of her life.
But, if that were to be true, then Edgar was an extremely horrible man.
To touch a woman when she wasn’t someone who could be fooled around with…
As Lydia thought that, she also thought she needed to be more careful, but became embarrassed of even imagining that kind of thought as blood rushed to her face.
“Even if she was a princess, there can be no way that the Earl would be serious about a foreign Pagan.”
“What thoughtless behavior as a woman. She should have known better and remember her place. Don’t you think so, Miss Carlton?”
Since his and your classes are different, you would just be seduced but then played around with. If you become carried away at getting too much attention from the Earl, then you’ll be put through misery - could have been what the young women really wanted to say, but Lydia was too distracted at the stimulating topic about a harem so that hidden message slipped by her completely.
“Miss Carlton, why don’t you join me? It would be wonderful if you could spare some of your time with us elderly women,” asked the Duchess.
The Duchess might have called out to Lydia because Lydia appeared like she was completely fitting in with the conversation at her table.
The soft-speaking elegant elder noblewoman was extremely openhearted and friendly and adorable as a young girl. When she spoke to someone, they would feel relaxed and forget that she was a member of the high-class.
Just as she was beckoned, Lydia stood up from her seat.
There were other heated conversations going on at other tables, but the Duchess led Lydia away from the terrace.
When she was guided to another room, there was a figure standing by the window and that person turned around to face her.
It was a young slender man who had striking golden-blond hair and was gazing at her with his ash mauve eyes and smiled happily.
It was just the person the young women were talking about.
Along with a dark green evening coat, he wore a violet-colored necktie. He had dressed himself in fine, high-quality clothes as he usually did, but dressing up for the night was apparently something the nobles would get fired up for.
There was nothing negative anyone could say about not only his looks but his clothing as well, but when she would unexpectedly meet him by coincidence like this outside, Lydia would lose the sense of feeling that she was being smiled at by him, and would turn around to see who it was he might be smiling at behind her.
“My Lydia, I missed you so much.”
The ‘my’ part is unnecessary.
Still dragging the rumor about the foreign Pagan princess in the back of her mind, Lydia saw Edgar as a much more dangerous frivolous man than usual.
She knew that rumors tend to be false but she still felt disturbed.
Putting aside how Lydia was making an unpleasant face, Edgar took her hand and treated her like a respectable lady as usual. Before his greeting kiss could touch her fingertips, she rushed to pull back her hand.
He didn’t seem bothered at all at Lydia’s open attitude of displeasure.
“Edgar, why on earth are you here! This is a gathering for women to have tea together.”
“I came to pick you up. And besides, I wanted to meet the Duchess and get her reply in regards to what I asked her help with. If she agrees to lend us her hand happily, you need to make sure and thank her yourself as well.”
Lydia had a bad feeling.
“Thanks as in…”
“She is agreeing that she would lend us her help so that we can officially get engaged.”
Edgar would always try to build a wall around Lydia first so that she didn’t have a way out and then tried to make her do as he wanted.
Lydia had no intention of going along with his plan of ‘engagement’ which he tricked her into, and even he knew that, he still continued with the plan.
“Wait, Edgar, stop joking around!”
“Now, now, calm down, Miss Carlton. Let’s have a seat as we discuss this,” suggested the Duchess.
When the Duchess would say something like that, Lydia couldn’t allow herself to become emotional.
They all sat down around a table and within no time, a maid came in with the tea.
Like they were continuing on with the tea party, the Duchess pleasantly smiled as she gazed at Edgar and Lydia and opened her mouth in a slightly humorous tone.
“You really don’t have the ring on your finger. Are you still putting the reply of the earl’s proposal on hold?” asked the Duchess.
“Huh, uh, that’s….but-” mumbled Lydia.
“I heard from the Earl. That he isn’t able to get a good reply from you at the moment, and although he did present you with an engagement ring, you don’t any signs of wearing it.”
Lydia knew that this skirt-chaser wasn’t really serious about her. In order for him to remain Earl, he needed Lydia’s ability as a Fairy Doctor, and so his ulterior motive was to marry her so that he could keep her by his side for the rest of their lives.
He surely couldn’t be satisfied with just one woman, and so there was no possibility that he would choose a marriage partner based just on feelings of love.
Because Lydia believed in that, she was withstanding Edgar who was always trying to use any opportunity to treat her as his fiancée, and was feeling anger and fear at what he could have possibly said to the Duchess as she glared at him while he sat cool and composed.
Oh, no, could he have come up with something so I wouldn’t be able to refuse marrying him….
“I know your feelings are the most important factor, so please forgive me for putting myself in-between the two of you. But, he was seriously thinking about you and came to ask for my help. He says he was serious when he proposed to you and he has no intentions to dishonor you. So, he is asking if I could be a witness of that.”
At such an unexpected explanation, Lydia lifted her head up.
“Since you’re working at the Earl’s house, it wouldn’t be strange if you were in a situation where you would be alone with him. Furthermore, if the Earl were to have feelings for you, then there would be people who would think impolite ideas, but he declared under oath that he would not treat you that way. Even if you were to refuse his proposal, then I assure you that your future will not be ruined.”
Society would label a young unmarried woman as fallen once she was alone with a man.
And since Lydia wasn’t a peer, her position was the weaker one. That was where that Edgar was trying to get the Duchess’ support by having her become Lydia’s patron.
The Duchess originally had a good impression towards Edgar and regarded him with good opinion. And her husband, the Duke Masefield had a close acquaintance with Lydia’s father, so that could mean she was just the person to stand in as the patron between the two.
And with this, through society’s eyes, it would look as if Edgar had gone through the Duchess and proposed to Lydia and by doing that and that she would be considered a lady who he was seriously courting with marriage in mind, so if he were to touch her without first making preparations for an engagement, that would only bring dishonor to the Duchess’ name.
Indeed, from the outside, it would look like he was thinking about Lydia.
“And then, what’s left is in the case that you do agree to marry him, then I would arrange everything for that, so there is nothing for you to worry about.”
“Your father, Professor Carlton is a renowned scholar who England takes pride in, and you are also an admirable daughter, and so, I think there is no problem in recommending you as a bride for the Ashenbert family. More than that, if you are fearful of becoming a Lady, then I’ll be your help. Even socializing with the peerage is nothing once you get used to it.”
It looks like he even asked the Duchess to educate her about what’s needed to become a proper lady. She knew that in this man’s case, it was never purely just for Lydia’s sake.
“I don’t, but, marriage isn’t…..”
“Anyhow, I’m only wishing that one of the obstacles that is making you hesitate about marrying me would disappear,” explained Edgar.
Regardless of what he was saying, he was just acting so that Lydia wouldn’t be able to escape from this.
At least by doing this - the fact that Edgar had proposed to Lydia and the fact that she had possession of the engagement ring with her – it wouldn’t end as ‘just between the two of them.’
“But if this was under normal circumstances, the proper method would be for him to first ask the Professor if he could have your hand in marriage.”
“I-I said don’t you dare do that! I won’t forgive you if you go to father!”
She yelled at him like she usually did, but then she realized where she was. They were in the presence of a Duchess.
“That’s right; I can understand that you wouldn’t want to worry your father while your feelings aren’t sure yet.”
The Duchess was smiling gently and amicably, but Lydia worried if the Duchess thought she was not graceful. Like she wasn’t qualified to be the wife of a noble….
Oh, no, that isn’t what I should be worried about; I have no intention of becoming someone’s wife!
Oh, goodness, it’s Edgar’s fault that I have more worries and anxieties that keep piling up.
“That’s why I asked for the Duchess’ help. And everything will depend on how you feel. I don’t want the Professor to think that I made you do as I said by using dirty tricks.”
You have been using plenty of dirty tricks up till this point.
Lydia somehow managed to swallow that retort that was just at the top of her throat.
“Now I can seduce you without worrying about anything,” said Edgar in the carriage and then took the liberty of getting closer to Lydia.
In the end, she was left with the option of escorted home by Edgar, but Lydia let out a sigh thinking maybe it was better if she had refused.
He smiled victoriously, and stretched his hand out to her hair and untied the ribbon in her hair without her permission.
And then he even took out her pins, making her hair - that was woven up into one bun - fall down over her shoulders.
“Wait, what are you doing!”
“That was a little bit of a dull way to put your hair up. I like it more if you just leave it down.”
“Your preference doesn’t matter to me.”
She snatched back the ribbon from his hand, and Lydia used her fingers to comb her ruffled hair as she turned away from him.
“It wouldn’t hurt to hear the opinion of your fiancé.”
Like I said, you aren’t my fiancé.
It seems he doesn’t understand that no matter how many times she said it.
“Since we’re already out, let’s stop by somewhere.”
“I want to go home.”
“I hear that there’s an air balloon flight show that’s going to take place at Hyde Park.”
And their carriage had to passing by Hyde Park.
“A walk just around sunset is quite a nice thing in itself. It would help make you feel a little more interested in our romantic relationship.”
Lydia tried to get away from him in the carriage where she had nowhere to run by scooting herself to the very end of the seat but he followed to get right up next to her.
“You made an oath to the Duchess that you wouldn’t lay a finger on me.”
“That was just said for the sake of principle.”
“Whatever happens won’t be a problem after we get married.”
“I said that I refuse…”
The carriage suddenly rocked to the side. She was thrown against Edgar and didn’t think about not hanging onto him.
She nearly bit her tongue and just when she braced herself, the carriage stopped as it was still leaning slightly on its side.
“…..Wh-what just happened?”
“Sir, are you all right!”
The driver opened the door in a hurry.
“Somehow. Lydia, are you all right?”
She realized that Edgar had protected her so that she wouldn’t hit her head, but since she was being embraced tightly by him, she jumped away from him as fast as she could.
“I’m sorry. A black cat came jumping out, and one of the wheels got caught in the ditch…”
“Well, that’s quite ominous.”
Edgar got down out the carriage that was leaning towards its side, and checked the situation but shrugged his shoulders at Lydia.
“The wheel is nearly coming off. It looks like it will take time to repair it, so let’s walk home.”
He told the driver - who said he would go and call for a hack in place of the carriage - to not bother with it, and held his hand out to Lydia to help her down out of the carriage.
He picked up his hat and stick that had dropped down to the floor of the carriage and started to walk down the street. Lydia could only follow after him, and she ended up taking a walk through the park with him which was starting to turn dark.
She wondered which was more dangerous, a young woman walking home by herself or walking with this flirt.
And while she was mulling that over in her mind, Edgar went further into the park.
“There is less people this way,” she pointed out.
“It’s a short-cut.”
He turned around and smiled at her. That smile of his was a suspicious one.
“Don’t worry, I won’t attack you.”
That’s what I can’t trust you about.
For one thing, the more they walked, the more they went into an area where there were male and female couples who were hiding behind the shrubs off the stone pathway into the far depths of the trees and bushes.
But, he wouldn’t possibly do something like that, she reassured herself.
Edgar did say quite some things that were out of proper bounds, but lately, Lydia was beginning to feel that he wouldn’t do something that would pressure her or go out of her limits. Because, he was beginning to stop pressuring her for a kiss.
He might have gotten tired of trying because Lydia was not changing her firm attitude.
But, after gaining the Duchess’ approval and having someone who could prove that this wasn’t just a game for him, then Lydia worried that he might be thinking he could do anything he wanted from now.
He even went and said that it was sake of principle that he wouldn’t touch her.
Lydia desperately tried to erase that crazy delusion in her head. When she started to walk as quickly as she could, in order to get out of that dark area, her arm was suddenly grabbed by Edgar.
He pulled her into the dark shadow of a tree where there was hardly any light reaching them from the outdoor lamp posts.
“Wh-what are yo….”
“Quiet. They’ll find us.”
In the direction that Edgar was looking, there were two people. She was familiar with one of them.
The young man with light blond hair was the one who was targeting Edgar in order to kill him. He had the same ability as her - to communicate with fairies.
He was the spy sent from America by a man named Prince, a man who had killed Edgar’s family and made him into his slave, and Ulysses’mission was to give Edgar punishment for escaping from Prince.
Edgar was deepening his confrontation with Ulysses and must have been investigating his movements.
Even if it was a coincidence that their carriage had broken down, she guessed that the reason he invited her to Hyde Park was because he knew Ulysses was going to appear here.
“Get closer to me. If we pretend to be lovers, then they won’t suspect us.”
That’s easy for you to say.
He didn’t wait and pulled the hesitant Lydia up against him.
“What is the meaning of this?” came an unfamiliar man’s voice.
The voice who asked that question was another man talking to Ulysses.
He wasn’t young, a middle-aged man. He looked like a gentleman, as he was dressed in a fine, nice suit.
The man’s voice had unexpectedly ringed out around them, and Ulysses gave a worrying glance around them.
Lydia rushed to turn her head down, which made her end up burying her head into Edgar’s chest.
Edgar looked down at her tenderly, like she was his beloved lover and he embraced her around her shoulders.
“It was true that I was late in contacting you, but that’s because His Highness has something in mind. I’d prefer that you wouldn’t but your mouth into my business,” uttered Ulysses.
His Highness was a title that was used to call a prince. She wondered if they were talking about Prince. Which means that man could also be working for Prince.
Lydia was nervous, but for the moment, Lydia and Edgar were at a close enough distance that they could hear the men, but not enough to be noticed by them.
The lovers who were also in this area were so absorbed in their own little worlds, so the men must have decided that no one would be listening to what they were saying.
“But isn’t it rude of you to order me to hand over the gemstone? When His Highness comes to England, the plan was that I was going to be the one to hand it to him personally.”
“His instructions were that I am to take care of it.”
Lydia kept her breathing as quiet as she could as she listened to the two men’s conversation, but she felt Edgar’s finger play with a lock of her hair for no reason.
“Stop that,” she whispered, lowering her voice and proponing to him.
“But we need to pretend to be lovers.”
“They aren’t looking in our direction right now!”
When she nearly raised her voice, a finger was pressed up against her lips.
“It’s for the sake of safety. You are aware that the Blue Knight Earl was appeared in England, don’t you?” spoke Ulysses once more.
That was another name for the Earl of Ibrazel, in other words, Edgar.
“Blue Knight Earl….., but, is that young man who appeared in the peerage truly the Blue Knight Earl? I heard that the Ashenbert family bloodline has died out, and the new heir wouldn’t ever appear in England again.”
They looked like they were having a seriously heated discussion, and yet, Edgar looked like he wasn’t listening at all, as he gazed at Lydia with melting hot eyes.
He had his finger still resting on her lips, then softly let his finger trace along her lips, which made Lydia feel more fearful than nervous.
Am I really standing on the ground? She questioned herself that because it felt like the ground under her was shifting and unsteady. Her body felt so feeble and weak like her whole body was being cradled in his arms she was leaning up against.
“Don’t, stop it already….”
She could only let out her voice in a sigh.
“You may have not noticed, but when you say stop, you look at me with such longing eyes. And that makes you look so luscious to me.”
“No-now isn’t the time for that…”
Isn’t eavesdropping on the men the purpose why we came here?
In the next moment, the bush next to them rustled. The one who came running through their feet was a black-colored animal.
Another black cat?Just when she thought that, Lydia was grabbed by her shoulder from behind.
“Hey, she says to stop it.”
The one who spoke, pulled Lydia away strongly as if to separate her from Edgar.
The breathtakingly handsome-looking, black-haired young man who suddenly interrupted them was a water horse kelpie fairy in his human form.
When she thought about it, he did live in the Serpentine Lake that was in this park.
He was a fairy that normally lived in the highlands of Scotland and was a savage beast-horse that ate people, but he had taken a liking to Lydia and was staying in London.
He must have smelled Lydia’s presence and came up onto shore.
“You’re in the way, Kelpie. She is my fiancée. I won’t take orders from you.”
“Whether you might be her fiancé, she says she doesn’t like it, so stop it.”
“Hey, quiet down!” But, even if she said that, it was too late.
Ulysses had turned his focus in the direction of the brush that Lydia and the two were at.
Edgar pulled her arm.
“Hey, you’re the only one who needs to disappear, Blue Knight Earl!”
And because Kelpie yelled that in such a loud voice, Ulysses’expression changed dramatically.
She saw that he was about to pull out a pistol, and then she heard a gunfire.
“What was that?” asked Kelpie.
“Kelpie, this is your fault!” yelled Lydia as she ran through the dark bushes trying to escape from the possible bullets.
But, then they heard screams from all directions. She thought it might have been because of the gunfire, but it was different.
As it was being lit up by the moon that was beginning to rise, the white air-balloon was also starting to float up into the sky. It was an air-balloon that was being used for the show in the open area of the park.
Lydia had a feeling like the air-balloon was growing bigger, as if it was coming in their direction.
The male and female couples who were hiding in the area all dashed away from their hiding spots.
“Lydia, this way!”
Lydia and Edgar both ran as fast as they could. Fortunately or unfortunately, now wasn’t the time to be paying attention to Ulysses, and he also seemed to not be paying attention to them either, as the gunfire ended.
Lydia saw, as she turned around from the urge to see the source of fear, the air-balloon was going up in flames.
In a matter of seconds, a huge fire flame rose up so high that it covered the sky.
Was the premonition of the black cat about this?
Getting caught up in another accident of tonight, Lydia watched Kelpie, who transformed into his horse form, and galloped up into the sky to block her view of the fire that was catching up behind them.
Lydia returned to the Ashenbert mansion in Mayfair with Edgar because there was one accident after another and it made her so baffled and exhausted that she didn’t feel like returning to her family’s house after that.
The Ashenbert mansion was much closer to Hyde Park and she had just thought that she could take a sip of tea to calm down, but then there was a commotion which erupted inside the house as soon as they arrived.
“Tomkins, did something happen?” asked Edgar.
“It isn’t anything serious that you should be bothered with, my lord.”
The Ashenbert mansion butler moved around his thickset body briskly and took the head of the house’s hat and stick.
“There have just been so many sightings of black cats recently, so may I ask that you please use the room on the north side of the house.”
The vase in the hall was turned over, and so was the sculpture by the stairway, and the painting that decorated the hallway wall was lying on the floor.
Things didn’t seem normal at all, but Tomkins didn’t appear like he was fretting about anything, and Edgar’s reaction was shrugging his shoulders.
“Is the north side intact?”
“It appears so.”
“Then bring some tea to the library.”
“Black cats, that’s just like the accident earlier…. This is too strange. What on earth is happening?” said Lydia.
“It isn’t like the black cat is the bad one,” muttered a small voice.
On the stairway railing, a gray-haired cat, not black, was sitting himself on his bottom. This cat - who could talk and wore a necktie -was Lydia’s partner fairy cat, Nico.
“Hey, Earl, you brought in some kind of strange thing, didn’t you? Because of that ominous thing, there are so many bad things happening. The black cats are just premonitions.”
Nico hopped himself off the railing and landed on his hind feet and walked over to them standing up. He even crossed his arms behind his head and puffed himself out to look proud and self-important.
“Ahh, that,” replied Edgar.
“Hurry up and do something about it.”
“I can’t just do that now. You would need to bear with this a little while longer.”
“Edgar, what did you bring with you?” asked Lydia.
“A cursed diamond.”
He replied like nothing was wrong, and told Lydia to go on ahead of him.
A cursed diamond, what did he mean by that? Is he making a scheme about something again?
As Lydia was mulling that over in her mind, she opened the door to the library.
One side of the wall of the library room was filled with books making the room mixed with a particular smell of paper and ink; and the room was indeed unharmed.
Someone was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room and looked up over to Lydia; it was their fairy artist acquaintance, Paul.
“Oh, Lydia, hello,” he greeted her.
“Paul, you came to visit?”
“Yes, uh, I completed the composition for my painting, so I thought I could have the Earl take a look at it. But the entrance was flooded with water and I tripped, so my papers got all damp and ruined….”
The good-hearted young man made a depressed face at his stroke of bad luck as he tried to make a smile at Lydia.
By Paul’s side was a young boy around ten years old.
“Oh, yes, it would be the first time for Lydia to meet you. This is Jimmy who is the youngest member in the ‘Scarlet Moon’.”
The skinny young boy who had his mouth full of candy, only made a quick glance over to Lydia’s direction like he wasn’t particularly interested.
“He apparently is interested in learning how to paint. I’m still not in any position to teach someone, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt if he could watch.”
“Hey, Paul, when’s the Earl coming?”
“I think he’s coming pretty soon,” replied Paul.
“He’s coming right away. He arrived here just with me,” mentioned Lydia.
When Lydia said that, the young boy looked at her with dubious eyes.
“Didn’t the Earl go out to meet with his lover?”
“That's her,” clarified Paul.
Lydia was appalled that Edgar had told Paul something like that.
But the young boy didn’t hide his disappointment.
“Whaat, she can’t be the one. The Earl’s lover was that really pretty woman we saw before, right?”
“Uhhhh, I think the beautiful woman you mean dressed in men’s clothing is the Earl’s servant.”
It looked like the young boy was favoring Ermine. She was Edgar’s servant, but because she was such a seductive, beautiful woman, the boy’s remark wasn’t all that surprising.
“You’re lying,” gasped the boy.
What do you mean lying? Lydia felt a little offended. Well, yes, if you compared me to Ermine, no matter who saw us, Ermine was much more beautiful.
“But, Paul, you said that the Earl’s lover was beautiful.”
"Eh? Uh, that’s…”
“Oh, I see, you were just being nice.”
“N-no, it wasn’t, uh, Lydia, I didn’t mean it like that,”exclaimed Paul.
Paul had become completely flustered, and no matter how much he tried to soothe down her anger, Lydia just became more irritated, as it only sounded like he was being nice to her.
“Now, look here, little boy, you’re being quite a little brat.”
“Oh, she got angry. A noblewoman normally wouldn’t become enraged, right?”
What is it with this little brat?
“I happened to get angry when I’m told something rude. Don’t think I would be so easy.”
“You sure are quite a scary lady. Your golden-green eyes make you look like a witch. Or are you a changeling?”
He is only a child. Laying a hand on him wouldn’t be fair, so she struggled to hold herself back.
However, for Lydia, who grew up being told that same name behind her back ever since she was a child, it hurt her the most.
“Uh, Lydia. I’m terribly sorry; he’s quite the sharp tongued boy.”
“I definitely think the other lady is a much better choice. Hey, lady, are you trying to trick the Earl?”
More than rage, Lydia just felt tired.
“Why would I? What do you think I would trick him for?”
“Witches would get close to men using sexual approaches and then sneak poison to them, right? Oh, but you couldn’t possibly have any sexual charm….”
The young boy stopped his talking because Edgar had covered the boy’s mouth.
“Jimmy, I won’t forgive you for insulting my most dearest.”
But the little brat wasn’t hindered by something like that.
“But, Earl, what are you going to do if that fella named Ulysses has sent a spy? You know what? I think this lady is suspicious…”
This time Paul covered the boy’s mouth.
“Forgive him, my lord, we’ll excuse ourselves for today.”
“Didn’t you have some business with me?”
“It’s ruined now anyway, so I’ll come another day.”
Paul left as he dragged along the young boy, which Lydia was honestly relieved about.
Her depressed feelings weren’t going to be restored that easily, but she tried to gloss that over with a sigh.
It seems like I’m the one who is the most cursed by the diamond tonight.
“Lydia, were you offended?”
“It’s all right, nothing’s the matter. It’s just a discussion about how I’m not qualified for you.”
“It’s just a child talking.”
“More importantly, Edgar, in regards to that cursed diamond,”
Lydia quickly changed the subject because she didn’t want to talk about her appearance.
It was good timing, as Raven came into the library.
This young man who brought in the tea and had an exotic appearance was Edgar’s valet. Normally, he worked as the servant of the Ashenbert house and took care of his master’s daily necessities, but he actually had extremely high combat skills as a fighter from a foreign country.
“If you were to accept things like that so easily, bad things are going to happen to you which are life-threatening beyond repair. You could have gotten badly injured even at that air-balloon accident just earlier,”exclaimed Lydia.
“But in reality, I’m unharmed.”
That was because Kelpie had guarded them. The power of a water fairy was the ability to shield them from the explosion of the fire.
Of course, he may have been only protecting Lydia, so it must have not been part of his plan to end up protecting Edgar as well.
“Would you show me the cursed diamond? Since there could be the case that a fairy is involved,” said Lydia.
‘Oh, really’ murmured Edgar, as he sat down next to Lydia and beckoned Raven with his hand.
“Raven, bring the diamond that’s we were talking about.”
Yes, replied Raven and walked over to the corner of the library and took down a black case that was resting on top of the mantel piece.
“So that’s where it was,” said Edgar.
“Because Mr. Tomkins noticed that it would calm down when it was near the merrow’s sword,” explained Raven.
“I see, maybe I should have realized that sooner,” added Edgar.
There was the power of the merrow’s magic in the sword that was being carefully stored in the small room in the back of the Ashenbert house. That must have been holding down the power of the curse in the diamond.
“This is the diamond?”
The item that was in the box Raven opened was a diamond, which was much bigger than Lydia had ever seen before.
"It’s a one hundred carat black diamond. It goes by the name Nightmare.”
Unlike ones that usually had a colorless, transparent shine to them, this one exactly wasn’t black, but more near a dark gray as if it had a semi dark, dim light trapped in its center. And yet, it was a strange gemstone which released a rainbow colored light.
“I-is it real?” asked Lydia.
“…..What are you going to do with this?”
“Ohhhh, I just felt like I wanted it.”
You don’t have to go and want something that comes with an ominous rumor.
Lydia thought that this was the part of him that had bad taste, as she took the diamond from its case with her hands.
When she peered down into the large diamond that was dangling down from a golden chain, the light from the hanging chandelier shined down and reflected off of it, making the polished surface look like a multiple-pedaled flaming flower in full bloom.
She felt an enchanting feeling and energy coming from so powerful like it could suck out her soul. It could have been the masterwork from the polished beauty of it or the illusion made from the unimaginable price on it, or she couldn’t tell if it was because it was just the natural power of this mineral stone that had been sleeping far down in the depths of the earth.
Lydia was only able to tell if there were any traces of a fairy in it or not.
Fairies and gemstones were originally closely connected. If the legend was true about how the races of fairies were originally the descendants of the gods and goddess who came from the country in the center of the earth, then that meant fairies and gemstones were blood-related relatives.
She had heard that story from her deceased mother who was a Fairy Doctor.
Fairies were mysterious, enigmatic creatures. Fairy Doctors are human and are only able to see fairies and are not able to touch existences like fairies and the mystical creatures of the world from the other side.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s the work of a fairy,” concluded Lydia.
“To begin with, a name like ‘Nightmare’ sounds so ominous. To top it off, it hasn’t been treated with good care, so bad things must have gathered at the core of the jewel,” said Nico, butting himself in the conversation.
Who knows how long he had been there, as he lay resting on his side, and took up all the space over the velvet long-chair and rested his head on his paw and elbow.
“If it was a jewel like that, then the power of the curse that befalls on its owner is going to be unbelievable terrible,” said Nico.
“Then should I just give it good care? What needs to be done in order to wipe out the power of the curse?” asked Edgar.
“That’s something unmanageable for a human,” pointed out Nico.
“Edgar, I think it’s best for you to hurry up and get rd of it. Even if the merrow’s sword is able to contain it, there’s still going to be some kind of effect towards its owner.”
However, like he was fooling around and evaded her suggestion, Edgar planted a kiss on the diamond.
“What a pity that it’s cursed. Even when it’s this beautiful.”
Lydia had a feeling like his eyes, that reflected the diamond’s dark glowing light, looked somewhat lonely.
That night, the one who accompanied Lydia in the Ashenbert carriage to her house was Ermine.
If it were normal, Lydia would go back home by carriage by herself, but ever since they spotted Ulysses in London, Edgar must be taking extra precautions.
“Ermine, would you be able to ask Edgar if he would dispose of that diamond?” asked Lydia, as she remembered how that young boy had compared her with Ermine.
“It isn’t my place to voice my opinion,” she said in a firm manner as she faced Lydia with straight eyes.
Inside the carriage, Ermine, who had her brown hair cut evenly short and dressed in males’ clothing, was sitting down next to Lydia. Just like Raven, she was Edgar’s servant and bodyguard, so she must have preferred males clothing as they were easier to move about in.
It was a relief to have someone so experienced in martial arts of self-defense by her side, but ever since Ermine returned, Lydia slightly felt a little guilty.
Ermine was in love with Edgar. However, Edgar is currently claiming Lydia as his fiancée, and Ermine was treating her as so.
But Lydia wondered if things were going to be right like that, and so she was still bothered about how she was compared by the little boy Jimmy.
“I wonder what he plans to do with that diamond. I can’t think that it was just something to add in his collection.”
It was hard to believe that a man would want to wear a diamond made into a necklace. That’s why Lydia had a small feeling that he might be planning to give it as a present to some woman.
“Well, I wouldn’t know,” replied Ermine, but it seemed like she knew the answer to Lydia’s question.
“…..I heard the rumor that Edgar might be owning a harem.”
She thought she might try and probe under the Ermine’s mask.
“I hear that there is a place that you could hide several women and let them live secretly, out of the public eye.”
Was Ermine trying to hide the princess who ran away from her home in a foreign country and came after Edgar?
But, if it was a woman from royal birth like that, then it was understandable that a man would want to send a large-sized diamond to her.
Lydia wanted to believe that it was just a rumor, but she was a little curious.
“Miss. Carlton, please believe in Lord Edgar” asked Ermine in a cool and composed tone.
“But, how should I say it, even you know how much of a lady’s man he is, right? If it were you, would you be able to believe in him?”
Lydia felt that [if it were you] was a mean thing to ask. Oh, no, she worried, becoming embarrassed at herself, but Ermine replied like she wasn’t bothered at all.
“I couldn’t believe in him.”
“O-…..oh, yes, of course.”
“But, I was ordered by Lord Edgar to say that so it would coax you.”
Lydia couldn’t resist but burst out in chuckles.
Ermine also chuckled. The two of them chuckled to each other, and Lydia came to the conclusion that she didn’t want to create any ill feelings between them. But, she wondered how Ermine was thinking about that.
“Uh, Ermine. I’m only saying this because I can guess you already know the circumstances, but there is no need for you to treat me as Edgar’s fiancée.”
Right in front of Lydia’s house, the carriage stopped.
Ermine opened and held the door and silently waited for Lydia to get off, like she had failed to hear what Lydia had said.
And then, out of the blue, she said:
“Miss. Carlton, I had never had a physical relationship with Lord Edgar. And it will never happen in the future. Will you believe that for me?”
“Eh? Oh, no, that’s not what I meant. It’s not like I was jealous or anything.”
The way Ermine said something like that so directly made Lydia flustered and turn red in the face.
“Yes. But, drawing a clear line is necessary. And, I have already organized my own feelings. If you are able to forgive me of my horrible act in the past, then please forget about everything. I intend to serve you with the same loyalty that I serve with Lord Edgar.”
Lydia looked up to Ermine’s face as she was taller than her and because Ermine said that in such a solemnly tone, it sent a twinge of pain in Lydia’s chest but she still took Ermine’s hand.
“All right, I’ll forget about it. But, that’s a completely different story from me marrying Edgar or not.”
Lydia didn’t know the reason why Edgar didn’t accept Ermine’s feelings even though he had realized how she felt towards him.
But, he was a philandering rake, but it wasn’t like he didn’t have any discretion. It could be because she was someone dear to him that he wasn’t able to cross the line so easily.
In that sense, Ermine was be a special woman to Edgar, more than any other woman.