Innumerable masts, similar to decayed driftwood, were standing in great numbers in the Thames River. Gathered all together around the world were boats and ships at the British Empire port, filled with a mix of the good and bad people.
Here, a ship was steadily going against the flow of the current.
Along the river banks leading into the waterways, the docks were neatly aligned next to the warehouses. Overlooking the elegant movement of world-renown, high-speeding ship, the ship neared the Tower of London. Soon after following it with their eyes, the ship reached its destination at a shipyard in front of the London Bridge.
“It still hasn’t changed. The old, dark and heavy streets.”
Standing on the deck, having not seen the London scenery in a long time, a girl grumbled. She was the owner of the ship. The granddaughter of the exiled Grand Duke of Cremona, it must have been three months since she had last been to London.
“In London, the sky is suddenly shrouded by clouds. It seems as though even the town itself is detested by the sun.”
The noble lady was wearing a dress and a ponytail as she smoked her cigarette. She was obviously raised in the slums, adopted by pirates.
She was related by blood to her grandfather who recognized her during a cruise patrol. Although she was a princess, she herself had no conscious of it.
“Miss, let me get off the ship first and take a look. The dock over there appears to be very congested!”
Under the affronted stare of the servant in charge, Lota twisted her cigarette by hand and smacked her lips.
“Really! These guys are all so slow!”
She spoke as she peered below the deck.
There was a small boat freely maneuvering around the large ships, avoiding the congestion. Boarded on the ride were the porters (baggage handlers) and the crew members.
Their way seemed to be quicker. As she thought, she then shouted to them down below.
“Hey! Let me get on as well!”
Flustered, the servant hastily rushed to stop her. However, Lota strongly waved a gesture. After confirming that the boat was cut off and stopped, she pulled down the rope ladders that were piled up on the deck.
Then, without hesitation, she crossed the rails, going down the ladder to the ground with agile precision. While the men were still in a daze, she had instantly jumped onto the boat already.
“I’m sorry, can you go across shore?”
The men on the boat revealed amused smiles and generously started rowing the boat.
“Young lady, your ship is a fine ship. The man who purchased the military ship, is he part of the government?”
The voice came from a one-eyed elderly man.
“Yes, you really do know of it.”
“This old man, as long as he can take a glance, he could tell if it was a military ship.”
“Oh ~ a former military soldier then?”
“No, the military ships were in pursuit of them.”
Suddenly, the men laughed.
Lota also brazenly laughed with them.
“The Miss is also interested in pirates then.”
"Oh, I am also a pirate.”
"Your words are quite interesting.”
Lota was immersed in the relaxed atmosphere of laughter. Looking back towards the river again, her eyes stopped at a strange banner, floating on a ship in the middle of the river.
“It seems to be called Noah’s Ark. The rich are particularly interested in it. ”
The old men, who seemed to sense the smell of Lota as a 'kindred spirit', warmly told her.
Painted in color on the banner of Noah’s Ark was a quote from the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. The structure of the ship itself was actually not square. It was the same as an ordinary sailboat. Surprisingly, windows were boarded up. So she couldn’t see anything what was inside. Giving an impression as if they’re deliberately hiding something, that was very peculiar.
“Is it supposed to be durable during a large flood?”
“Who knows. Rumor has it that the end of the world is approaching... ..Ah ~ that in order to be saved, we must all work together.”
“Is there really such a rumor?”
Asking, Lota was forced to look back over to the men who burst out into laughter.
“That guy’s mind is broken no matter when or where he is. ‘Soon, the hammer of God will come down onto the rotting streets of London.’ For such a mental man, he believes in those kind of words no matter when or where he is.”
In Noah’s Ark, there were no shadows of a man on the boat.
In the face of God’s wrath, who brought down the great flood, the confidant Noah deferred to God’s voice. It was said he entered into the ark and escaped death by a hair’s breath ... ... The ship imitates such a fable. However, not knowing why, it gave Lota an ominous feeling.
Even so, those constantly tangled thoughts of the strange ship instantly disappeared from Lota’s mind once she reached ashore.
With gray skies, gray complexes surrounded by the decadent streets -- that is the capital of the British Empire. Whether it is the people or its places, no matter where you go, the city was overflowing with vibrant life.
About sixty miles north of London, next to the University of Cambridge is a town near the root of the river.
The purpose of Edgar coming here was to see the mineralogist, Professor Carlton.
The town had numerous independent colleges that stood side-by-side. Receiving his degree at a young age, Professor Carlton currently taught at the University of London. Recently, by chance, he participated in the authoritative meeting for natural history. Therefore, he had to stay here for the time being.
In fact, Edgar had been in town since last week. However, by the time he came, the professor fled before they had a chance to meet.
It was in order to receive the marriage license for Carlton’s only daughter, Lydia --- apparently, the professor had already guessed Edgar’s intentions.
At his wit’s end, he returned to London. Afterwards, Edgar came to visit him again. Edgar firmly decided that, this time, he absolutely must not allow the professor the opportunity to escape again.
“What does the professor actually think of my matter?”
Overlooking the pastoral scenery, Edgar muttered to himself. He was on his way to the University as he rode in his carriage to the train station.
Next to him was a youthful attendant who had a pensive expression. The answer was too complex and confusing, so he remained silent.
“The professor probably believes that some of the nobles are not proper men.”
“Aren’t those of nobility proper?”
Always scant of words, the youthful attendant reluctantly said:
“This ... ...indulging in the surroundings of so-called lovers, not hesitating to murder others for the sake of reputation, acting illegally and vilely beyond the reach of the law... ...many nobles think in these ways, do they not?”
Moreover, Professor Carlton was a famous scholar, and was largely connected with many aristocrats. It was never his own personal prejudice to hold against aristocracy, but his view of these people being “improper” had some reason.
Thanks to that, no one in their right mind would happily allow their daughter to marry a noble.
“However, Raven, I wouldn’t do that, would I?”
Always flirting about, Earl Edgar Ashenbert himself was famous in the social circle of nobles. With a flawless appearance and eloquent manners, he was especially well-known among the women. He was a man that was always surrounded by numerous lovers, and would ruthlessly murder anyone that stood in his way. Edgar most likely didn't know how most people, including the professor and the earl's own attendants, thought of him. So, Edgar’s declaration left Raven to fall silent.
“As long as Lydia agrees to marry me, then for her, I am willing to change myself all the more.”
After finally convincing Lydia, who had always wanted to run away from him, how was he going to convince her father?
In any case, he was meeting the professor. Therefore, he connected with the Natural History Research Council held at the Trinity University. And then, he entered into a special-lecture classroom.
Nearing the end of his speech, Professor Carlton stood at the podium in the large lecture hall, which were filled with students. He didn’t notice Edgar.
“Well then, any questions?”
Edgar, who waited for those words, immediately stood up. The professor was astonished. Gaping, his mouth was wide-open and his body stiff and rigid.
“Professor Carlton, please allow me to sincerely greet you.”
“Oh, wait a minute, I'm lecturing ...”
“Please give your daughter’s hand in marriage to me!”
“Oh, ah, I know, I know! For that matter you must wait a little while to come to me, and then I'll find time to discuss with you. I assure you......”
"Thank you very much.”
Edgar happily smiled as he returned to his seat.
The professor was in cold sweats. His glasses slid down his nose bridge, and his shoulders slumped wearily.
In this way, Edgar finally had the opportunity to speak with Professor Carlton that evening, a calm face-to-face conversation.
Professor Carlton welcomed Edgar into the brick dormitory. Because he normally did not pay attention to when he slept, his hair was tousled. With his fingers, he scratched his hair as if wanting his worries to be seen through.
For his only daughter, the professor treated her as a treasure, which was understandable. However, she was one of Edgar’s irreplaceable treasures as well.
In any case, he must obtain the professor's permission to marry Lydia. As he thought that, he flash said professor his amiable smile, which he normally showed others.
"Professor, it was a very wonderful lecture. I really wished to hear more details of it, is there anymore?”
“Well, Earl, you flatter me.”
In order to get away as soon as possible, the professor looked as if he wanted to quickly end the conversation.
"As such...... If there is a chance in the future......"
“Ah, no. You will lose interest in this matter in the future......"
Even, at that moment, Edgar would not give up.
"Please allow me to marry Lydia!”
Simply letting the Professor lean back in his seat, Edgar confessed with a desperate expression.
“I have already received word from her to marry. I know that I was supposed to ask you first, as her father, Professor -- this is the basic etiquette. However, I couldn't wait to confirm her intentions. I apologize for reversing the order.”
“Oh,” the Professor sighed.
As to not give him time to consider, this was the best approach. Edgar was saying one thing after another incessantly.
“In fact, Lydia is at home in Scotland now. She was forced to return together with Kelpie ... ...it's a peculiar story too long for words. Anyway, I am going to bring her back. Did you know that originally, it was Kelpie who brought Lydia into the fairy realm?”
Professor nodded in panic.
“I will not allow her to be Kelpie’s bride. Please give me permission to bring her back in the name of her marriage. As long as you acknowledge it, then professor, we can became an official couple. The fairy magic will be dispelled and become powerless.”
From his words, the Professor revealed an anxious, troubled expression, although he tried to maintain his composure.
“I am afraid there is nothing we can do about a fairy matter. Lydia can manage it herself. Therefore, Earl, I humbly ask you, please reconsider your request.”
He really was not easy to persuade.
Though Edgar introduced his pace of thinking, the important part was that this idea was not new to Professor Carlton.
Using strong words to achieve his goal was not the best way, Edgar nodded silently.
Taking advantage of this moment, unmoving from his seat, the professor placed his hands on his knee and revealed a resolute, determined expression.
“To be honest, I believe marriage is still too early for Lydia. However, if she truly wished for it, I cannot stop her ... ... it’s just that, and what I may say next may come off as rude ... but I really do not trust you.
“Do you mean to say even with her thoughts on marrying me, it’s still no?”
“No, not at all ... ... She is my daughter. Seeing her everyday, I can understand her thoughts ... she seems to like you very much. However, I cannot trust whether or not you, Earl, are truly sincere with Lydia.”
Professor, for things other than his professional knowledge, he seemed a bit headstrong on this. Lydia once described her father as a professor who was unable to dress properly and was always negligent on matters not related to his precious stones. However, in fact, Edgar believed the professor may be sharper than he imagined.
The professor could see things as they really were.
Despite being able to see through it all, the professor preferred to turn a blind eye to the unfavorable side, considering only the honest, good-natured side of people.
--- Like Lydia, who was a lovely and kind person.
Edgar didn’t intend to disguise himself in front of the professor.
“Do you distrust me because of the rumors of women around me?”
“No, ah, that ... for an unmarried man to play around in life, I can somewhat understand. That is another story. However, for a marriage partner, to choose from their own class is also common sense. You should think of it as well. Though you may have a favorable impression of Lydia, engagement with an Earl should be with someone of equal status, is that not it? A son together with an unsuitable girl of a different class, it is only until after marriage would they see each other’s true nature. However, she is also stubborn and loves to quarrel with you. Only imagining it, I believe that is unfortunate enough.”
“Stubbornness is not a problem, and marrying to a different class is not uncommon either.”
“It is only because they were favored by a noble. However, to compromise with the common people, it’s like having all the noble man’s assets being born again from the bottom of the family.
(T/N: I tried to clarify it.. I think it means that the noble man loses all his assets because he marries into the poorer family. Therefore, he must start from the bottom up to gain money. In the end, he also becomes poor like the family if he marries them?) Though the Carlton name is located in the upper class, we have neither assets nor a noble bloodline. In regards to this, your social status would also be at a disadvantage.”
“The Ashenbert family has a long history of the earl. And an emerging aristocracy of only one to 200-years of history is absolutely not the same. Whoever slanders it cannot change this fact. So, certainly, I do not intend to give anyone such a chance to do so.”
Edgar thoughtfully considered all problems regarding their class. Because of this, Professor Carlton was growing more and more agitated, pacing back and forth in order to suppress such feelings.
For all of Edgar’s claims, Edgar was determined to show his perfect side.
Professor Carlton still looked so reluctant to believe in him.
“Professor, what you truly mind is that I gained a title that does not belong to me and the true colors of my nature is unknown as well, isn't it?”
The professor was already aware of how Edgar gained the title as Earl of the fairies. Of course, Edgar did not intend to conceal it, anyway.
“I cannot give up on her. So I have come here to answer to your doubts and queries.”
The professor slowly looked towards the window. The sunset brought about a dazzling glow across the splendor barleys, making the professor unconsciously narrow his eyes.
Then, he inadvertently returned his line of sight. However, unlike his complex troubled expressions before, he said in a soft, smooth tone:
"Earl, would you like to go out for a walk?”
The sunset dyed the root of the river in a color of gold. The students were practicing the sails of the boats in the river, their shadows moving under the light.
Professor Carlton passed through the institute atrium, swiftly moving around the buildings with familiarity. After crossing a small bridge, they began to walk along the riverside.
“Lydia was born in this small town. I was living here with my wife at the Trinity University."
Thinking he was going to be questioned, Professor Carlton’s words really surprised Edgar. He stared for a moment at the professor’s face, and said professor laughed lightly.
“Lydia has already forgotten about this place. She was only a little girl. I was then recruited to the University of Edinburgh and we returned to our old home in Scotland.”
For the professor, it was here where he spent his school days. With his wife who was expecting a child, this place was full of memories.
At the time, with his family, he had taken a stroll along the river bank.
“Upon the first sight of Lydia, I knew she grew up bathed in the love of her parents.”
Lydia’s life was overflowing with love. It was truly lovely and enviable. Edgar also smiled.
“Earl, you should have also been bathed in love and growth.”
... ... Is that so?
His own manor was very broad, surrounded by green trees and lakes. If there wasn’t a party, it was calm and quiet. A peaceful place. Edgar was often surrounded by his nurses, private tutors, and his servants were great in numbers. His parents also occasionally took care of him, whether strict or kind. It was probably that kind of life.
“My father was a serious man of few words. No one could pierce his thoughts. I was probably difficult for my father to handle. My innocent, artless character seemed to resemble my grandfather. All in all, I was a difficult son to discipline.”
Even so, he usually didn’t feel uneasy or unsatisfied during those ordinary times.
"My mother always wore a gorgeous, and very gentle smile – with her, it was always such memories. My parents had truly given me the best life to live. That was also love.”
Speaking of this, Edgar said it naturally.
That was his true self.
His family was definitely not the same as a common family. In the house, he was taught all that was necessary as the eldest son of the Duke. Therefore, he learned how to live from the bottom, to not lose his pride as a noble, to naturally understand that he needed to lead his companions to resist against Prince’s position.
It was the same now. At a young age, he was given a noble title, having to associate with old, deceitful and slippery aristocrats. At such exchanges, Edgar could not become careless and lower his guard against them.
However, when he and the professor spoke, they both removed themselves of their positions, the heavy armor of their beliefs and identities. He was a step closer to his true self.
In contact with many students as young as Edgar, the professor had a wealth of experience with socializing with young adults. Speaking with students who were troubled, they exchanged comfortably in conversation at ease.
Edgar felt incredibly happy.
“Your parents passed away very early.”
“They left when I was thirteen years old.”
“You were noble at birth. Lydia also knew of it all, is that right?”
“At the time, my name was Edgar Leeland, Marquess of Mordang. My father was the Duke of Sylvanford.”
"The Duke of ... ..."
Saying it to himself, the professor seemed to try to make sense of it all.
“Then now, as the son, you should be the Duke of Sylvanford.”
“Because of the fire, the manor is completely gone. Of course, my parents together with my relatives and close companions had stayed in the house. Along with the servants, they had all suffered a tragic death. I was thought to have died as well. Because there was no successor for the title of the Duke of Sylvanford, the position remains vacant. ”
“Clearly, you are still alive.”
“I have no proof. The fire was a conspiracy. Only I was brought out by the enemy at the time of the fire, in an attempt to seize my title. I escaped from the hands of the enemy. And now, I am still battling with him. Even then, Lydia also said she would always support me.”
The professor heaved a long, deep sigh. In any case, Lydia was deeply involved in this war with the enemy.
“So that is Lydia’s reason for having to do this. I believe I do understand a little. You attract many women. However, it was not easy to understand you.”
A boat rowed across the river, creating ripples in the water. As his footsteps came to a stop, the professor overlooked the scenic view of the horizon.
"Earl, no matter who you are, for the marriage with Lydia, I only have one request. Can you and Lydia take a stroll, watching over the sunset like this? And when you are walking with her, side-by-side this time, can Lydia smile?”
The sunset dyed the sky in red, superimposing Lydia' smile. Like an ignited fire, Edgar’s chest gradually began to burn. His eyes gave a sharp glance.
Clearly, it was a dream he couldn’t possibly have before. Now, however, he had confidence that with his own hand, he could even reach out to touch it.
Ever since he met Lydia, he didn’t know when he began to believe that as long as she was with him, he could be an ordinary person, and gain happiness.
That was Lydia --- no matter what happened, she was gentle and compassionate. With her love for fairies and nature, she found happiness in the small, subtle things of everyday life.
She had the gentle quality of her father, Professor Carlton and took on her late mother’s name as a Fairy Doctor. She grew up under their love and care.
It was because of this, that she did not expect to gain any unhappiness in her life. If he could not give her more than what the professor could give, he was not eligible to ask for marriage. Though Edgar understood this truth, he couldn’t control the overflowing hope he felt inside.
“I would like to thank God and her parents for giving me the honor to meet Lydia. Though considering marriage may have been unwise for the present moment, she is still indispensable to me. I have realized that I am no longer able to fight alone."
Silent, the professor slowly turned toward Edgar who refuted his own words from before. Calmly looking at him, he carefully spoke.
“I already know what you mean to say. However, if you would allow me, please let me think about it some more.”
“When can I expect to receive an answer?”
As a reply, the professor pulled out a folded piece of paper before Edgar.
“Lydia asked of me to investigate a special fluorite called Freya, which you have given her a few days ago. Was that what you wanted to know?”
“... ... Lydia, she ... for me ...?”
“There were slightly ominous rumors regarding the mineral. To tell you the truth, I really do not wish for Lydia to be involved with such things. A fairy doctor is not a magician. I would rather not have her in practice with a man who is fighting a battle of sorcery. Even though Lydia wishes to do her very best for you, please also consider my fear as her father.”
Edgar obediently accepted the professor’s words.
The slum in a dark alley way was filled with mud due to the early morning rain. The air was suffocating, filled with a stifling, disgusting smell.
A corpse wrapped in rags was thrown rudely into a cart by a man wrapped in the same clothing.
Those who lived in the slums were lonely and helpless. Having no place to stay, it was not uncommon for these people to not have a home. Also, no one could sympathize with the bodies that had fallen to the side of the road. There were several such bodies within the cart.
“Recently, the fall in numbers was not very much.”
A man murmured and continued to speak.
“This must be the sign of the plague. The officials are reluctant to come close to here. I wish I could say it was due to the bad weather. However, even we are reluctant to come here.”
“The guys always say that it’s safe, but it is always us who are doing the dangerous work.”
They went to the public cemetery. Already lined up by rank, there were mourners attending the funeral.
The living person held more deep wrinkles than the dead. His complexion was gray and gloomy. Gathered together there, he appeared pale and gaunt.
“This is the third time this week that such a similar funeral was held.”
“The cemetery filled with bones were dug up and then buried in a coffin, where in almost two days, they were gone.”
Those words spread across the slums.
However, such a thing was not new.
In the notorious slums of London, the eastern end of London, regardless of when, the disease was spreading. Almost as if it was a monster with a conscious, attacking people like a feral beast.
The monster of disease could not be seen with the naked eye. Wandering about in the damp alleys, it gnawed to eat, awakening its companions.
The monsters then intruded into someone’s home. Living in a small, cramp space and burdened with five to six children of poor families, they were all also attacked.
No one stopped it. No one cared.
However, this time was somewhat different from usual.
They had no idea what it was. However, the people felt the soot beneath the black beams, underneath the bed infested with cockroaches, it was as if something unknown was wriggling inside.
After mingling in the river water, they were removed from the bank, reeking the repugnant smell of fog. Climbing up the alley way, the shadows seemed to have quickly entered through a crack unable to be blocked by the closed window. Was this an illusion?
Because of such thoughts, the people began to become anxious.
No one knew what was going on.
“My son was in bed with a high fever. I could only hope that it would not become more serious.”
“It seemed I had a nightmare. Once caught, the nightmares would last three days.”
“The situation is very bad. Right now, everyone is having nightmares.”
“Oh, it is not the same. It really seemed as though I had faced a demon.”
One of the men who came from the cemetery, avoiding the cart of corpses to pass through, he continued to speak.
“Is that true?”
There was a young man who greeted them, not in the least dressed as the working class, to which the men rudely replied.
“Yeah, man, it’s a terrible disease. Get the hell away from here as soon as possible. ”
“However, can you say it again, that, um, the words concerning the devil ...”
“The devil is very terrible? Then, please ask God to grant you a rare book of cheats and secrets.”
The young man couldn’t stop them and watched them leave. He couldn’t help but sigh.
“Hey, is that not Paul over there?”
The calling of his name with a sound of joy did not match the air here. Turning his head to look around, there was a man standing there, dressed in high-class menswear like Paul in the slums.
“Mr. Greg ... ... ...”
He had a beard on his chin and was slightly on the thinner side. However, regardless of the situation, his meaningless smile was indeed impressive to look at.
Paul muttered his name to himself.
He used to be like Paul, aiming to be a painter.
However, Paul didn’t know when he no longer appeared at the art collection and gallery club.
“Long time no see, Paul, what are you doing in a place such as this? I heard you were making an appearance for the debut of your painting, words of rumor among society.”
“Oh ... well, I am still only a novice. ”
Paul was a painter strongly supported by the Earl of Ashenbert. The highly-distinguished man not only provided financial support for Paul’s paintings, but he also treated Paul as a friend.
Paul believed, for the sake of the earl, he must work harder.
“Those are very fine clothes you are dressed in.”
They were given by the earl. To be dressed in rumpled clothes and leave out of the tall, white manor, there couldn’t possibly be a good rumor coming from that.
“On the east end of London, to wear the attire of a gentleman is not very common.”
“Compared to that, Mr. Greg, are you not also wearing similar clothing? What are you doing here?”
Greg said meaningfully and smiled. And, he was not the same as usual.
“For the spread of the disease at the Eastern end, I wanted to see how the situation was. Only to investigate. Moses was right. The situation in this place was much more serious.”
Paul was very surprised. He realized that the situation seemed to have a deeper meaning.
“Is that man French?”
“The Prophet Moses Aruba warned the people that this epidemic was not just any malignant flu that will spread in the city of London. Have you heard of it?”
Or so the rumors say which came from the magical prophet’s allies, many of which were in London. Therefore, Paul ambiguously nodded.
"It is said that the city will perish because of the disaster. It will be saved only by him, or things of that nature. Therefore, what about you, Paul? Do you believe it?”
“... ...What about you, do you believe it?”
"Me? I merely came to collect the reward. If it was really true, what Moses said: when staying by his side, you would be saved. Then, anyhow, there was nothing to lose after all.”
Clearly, Greg had joined a very suspicious party.
Although Paul was affiliated with the Scarlet Moon organization, it couldn’t be concluded whether it was considered suspicious. However, their organization itself was essentially a tradesmen union. What Greg mentioned, regarding religious beliefs, that kind of thing always held an unnatural feeling.
Meanwhile, Paul was also very concerned of this so-called figure, Moses Aruba.
Earl Ashenbert's enemies had already began their movement into London. However, he didn’t know what the enemies intended to do. Regardless, their actions regarding “the ruins of London” certainly overlapped together with Moses Aruba’s declaration of the prophecy of London's destruction.
“Paul, because of our previous friendship, I can introduce you to Moses. For now, he is merely lacking in manpower and is understaffed. Although Moses’ party help board together the ship, it requires a little money. It is in order for it to be more secure against this terrible disease. Although civilians cannot get tickets for ‘Noah’s Ark’, he said in order to escape from the disaster, it is only upon those who enter the Ark.”
Greg spoke with a charming smile, attempting to coax Paul to join.
This quiet, little town was near the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland. Even though it was a place now covered in railroad tracks everywhere, because there were no construction of any station, it was very peaceful here.
There was no need to urgently transport local products to big cities, and the factories were built away from the city.
On the contrary, the sprites still head off to play, rapidly growing healthily, strong crops which made the goats and sheep grow fat on land. Nearby in the neighborhood, there were ancient ruin circular mounds and stone monuments. For Lydia, this unique town was her home.
Her mother, who was also a fairy doctor, could see fairies. They were lively all-day everyday, keeping contact Lydia so that she was not lonely. However, in a town who did not believe in fairies, Lydia was considered different.
Even though she had no human friends, even in London where her father rarely returned from work, as long as she was together with fairies, Lydia was always in good spirits.
In order to entertain fairies at home, she would decorate a large dining table. After placing the flowers, Lydia would then lay out herbal biscuits and pour tea with milk in the teacups. And it was now time for tea.
Setting sights on the biscuits as their goal, the fairies gathered together to it.
As usual, it was always like this.
Always? Was it always like this?
Occasionally, such doubts would emerge, questioning in her mind.
She felt as if she was forgetting something important, but what was it?
From the time she was born, he was the companion by her side, the fairy cat that likes black tea. It is time for tea and yet he was nowhere to be seen.
I wonder what happened?
"The cat has been staying in London.”
The one who spoke was a water horse who sat opposite from Lydia.
The dark-haired young man leaned forward to pick up a biscuit. And with a distasteful, unruly expression, he chewed it into pieces. For the appetite of a Kelpie, biscuits should have the worst taste for them. If he believed it to be disgusting, it was understandable.
Kelpies were originally of a terrible race that eats humans and animals. However, somehow, this Kelpie seemed very fond of Lydia and often came to visit her home.
And he was always furrowing his eyebrows and frowned when he placed the tea and biscuits in his mouth.
He really didn’t have to force himself to eat something like that. Perhaps it was only because he was interested in Lydia, so he wanted to taste the things she would eat.
However, even with a frown, the human appearance of a water horse was no doubt, absolutely beautiful. He was of no exception.
Strong and seductive, water horses were filled with magic. Although Lydia knew that he could lure people into the water in order to eat them, she felt that only he was a different kind from those creatures.
“Nico is in London? Is that so...”
London. She had went to London last year, around this time, in order to spend Easter with her father.
“Well, in that case, he must have found new food.”
“Oh, yes, and since then, Nico lived in London ... ...”
That being said, has it truly been a year since Nico wasn’t here?
Living everyday, a monotonous day, a year and a day made no difference really.
"He is very greedy.”
Lydia appreciated the taste of the black tea as she brought it up to her lips. She felt very calm.
Although every day was very boring, nothing caused her to worry or grieve.
She felt she unknowingly lived a full life.
Although she claimed to be a fairy doctor, like her mother, in this age where trains run in England, there was no one who would consult the fairy doctor on a fairy dispute.
Moreover, Lydia was the number one strange character in town, so love was impossible.
“In London, perhaps because I went a good number of times, I find it to be very ordinary. Or Scotland became the best.”
Hearing Lydia’s answer, Kelpie was sitting cross-legged in his chair. She didn’t understand why he somehow wore a satisfied smile.
“Hey, Kelpie, should I change to a better tea set? Yesterday, I found a complete set in the market. It was light green, the mixed colors that matched was also very beautiful.”
"Ah! If it’s to go and make black tea, it doesn’t matter what kind it is.”
Although it was impossible for a water horse to understand such subtle details, to try to receive a different answer than what she expected, Lydia felt a little bit surprised.
She only happened to speak to him as a human. However, why would she try to say such things with him?
To properly groom your hair to be nice, putting on the most beautiful of clothes, fairies would not pay attention to those things.
“Golden-green eyes match you well”, those were words fairies would never say.
“It looks like very delicious caramel” to describe her darkly faded, rust-colored hair, that was also out of the question.
Not to mention, even for a human, that was less likely to be said, something like that ...
Lydia was confused.
Ash-mauve eyes with keen, eager eyes, a young man with an irresistible smile on his face, he began to gradually appear in her mind.
He was always full of confidence, an ideal type for girls. He had dazzling, blond hair with the face of a noble. All the girls longed for him. However, he would stop at nothing in order to achieve his purpose, even if it meant resorting to his cold, ruthless side.
Well, he is that kind of man.
Putting on airs, he was an arrogant bastard.
(Original text.. LOL: The bumbling son of a bitch thug.
The affectation asshole villain.
That bastard bumbling villains.
That pretend that evil Asshole.
That putting on airs bastard evil person.)
Because of him, Lydia suffered through a lot of pain. In the middle of London, he kidnapped her by force, in order to steal a hidden treasure. And that had been an extremely dangerous treasure hunt.
It was a very terrible matter. Recalling such unlucky things, she quickly shook her head as if to have his face disappear from her thoughts.
Although such a thing had happened, Lydia then spent Easter with her father in London and returned to Scotland afterwards.
Returning to her quiet life.
She never met him again after he received the Merrows’ sword, which gave the title of the Earl of Fairies in the country. He no longer needed to see Lydia, and so it was impossible for them to see each other again. It had nothing to do with her.
As Lydia thought of him, she could not remember anything else of Edgar. She was only involved in order to do the treasure hunt, and so he took advantage her knowledge on fairies.
Lydia didn’t notice that she had forgotten everything since that day: to be employed by him in London, working for him as a fairy doctor, growing to like him little by little, and also the memories of having already accepted his proposal and so forth. She only simply thought of him.
However, it was a strange thought that had been lingering in Lydia's mind.
What is the matter with this ring?
Wearing the moonstone ring on her ring finger, she could not take it off.
The beautiful moonstone emitted a gentle radiance, a touch of ivory light.
It was as if it was a custom made, and it looked like it had a very deep meaning.
As long as the ring was on her finger, it would sit there, quietly waiting for the man of the engagement to appear.
However, such power was not there anymore.
How the ring came to be, she could not remember. That was very unusual. Lydia felt uneasy.
“Lydia doesn’t remember me?”
In the train bound for Scotland, they were sitting in the single, high-class compartment. While Nico was sipping tea, he was recounting things he saw of Lydia at home.
By Edgar’s request, Nico went to Scotland to snoop on Lydia’s situation after Kelpie took her away.
Of course, Edgar knew Nico, as a fairy, loathed the railway. Unfortunately, Nico was helpless. Before getting on the train to Edinburgh, he needed to reach Edgar who was in Cambridge.
With black tea and snacks, Edgar was able to lure Nico into riding the train and finally find out about Lydia’s situation. However, he had never imagined such a thing that Nico spoke of.
“She does not entirely remember. Kelpie cast dark magic on her. After going to London during the Easter of last year, all of her later memories were quickly skipped over. For you, she probably only remembers the innumerable, terrible experiences of retrieving the Merrows’sword.”
“That --- I don’t remember it being so bad.”
However, it did leave Lydia his initial and worst impression of him.
“Given some time, if she believes in what I said, do you believe she’ll remember?”
Edgar began to sit back in his seat, vexed.
If they had returned to their first meeting, it may have been relatively easier to persuade her. However, with her initial impression of him deceiving her, then convincing her of the marriage proposal would proved to be a lot more difficult.
Nico ignored Edgar’s troubles and leisurely greeted the entourage who was on the sidelines.
“Ah, Raven, I'll have some more milk, please.”
He was heartily enjoying his black tea. Saying he loathed railways, was that true or false?
Nico appeared to be a mere grey cat. However, with his front paw, he was deftly holding a teacup. Often wearing a bow tie, he also behaved like a gentleman. To Raven, without a doubt, Nico was treated as a guest.
And so the brown-skinned boy then added the milk. Edgar felt the sight was truly amazing.
Though it may appear very strange, having become the Earl of Fairies and his contact with the fairy doctor, this was not very surprising.
He hoped that in the future, he could continue to see this everyday scene.
“The original consent of marriage from Lydia was already a miracle. It’s impossible for that miracle to appear again.”
“Edgar, you reap what you sow.”
Then, Raven said,
“Ah, no, you're underestimating yourself.”
(In chinese, the words are very similar.)
“You said that on purpose, didn't you?”
“Of course not.”
Standing motionless, Raven made no change in expression. However, he was probably feeling a bit anxious.
He couldn’t understand the subtle feelings of the heart, so he probably didn’t intentionally mean to be witty.
However for Edgar, the words hit the mark.
It was entirely his to blame.
Leaning on his cheek, his eyes turned to look out the window.
Things became like this because he allowed Kelpie to take Lydia away.
In order to protect her, to have her escaped from such a dangerous place, he set up a contract with Kelpie. He promised to go meet Lydia back in Scotland.
Though he had expected Kelpie wouldn’t quietly return Lydia, he didn’t think Kelpie would use dark magic. This made it more difficult for Edgar to go see her.
According to Nico’s report, Kelpie had built a dark, magical wall around the small town. Therefore, other than Lydia not being able to leave the town, but Edgar, Professor Carlton and their friends couldn’t even seem to step one foot inside.
Kelpie had also erased Lydia's memories of her days of living in London.
It was said that Lydia had completely forgotten about her life in London, and everyday she lived happily and carefree in the small town.
Somehow, Kelpie came up with this way to have Lydia stay beside him without breaching the contract.
Since things became like this, even if Edgar finds a way to sneak into the town, Lydia, who does not remember the marriage, would not easily comply.
“That cursed horse!”
However, Edgar had promised to bring Lydia back to London, and marry her. He must keep that promise.
“Hey, Earl, first of all, what do you plan to do with Lydia? She is under Kelpie’s magic, so even the Prince’s organization cannot get to her. She is surely most secure right now.”
Edgar didn’t understand what Nico meant.
Known as Prince and his dark organization, he took everything away from Edgar. And now, they are still fighting against each other. They intended to take away Edgar’s most important things and his partners, so Lydia’s situation has become very dangerous.
Because of this, Kelpie worried for Lydia and forcibly took her away from Edgar.
Though, at the time, she said she didn’t want to go with Kelpie. However, Edgar had no choice.
Surrounded by a dangerous crisis, Edgar was determined to protect her. He didn’t want to rely on Kelpie. Well, now he was hoping that she would accept the proposal. To overcome the crisis together, to become partners through thick and thin, it was necessary for them to meet.
As Edgar thought of this, he touched a note inside the pocket of his formal coat attire.
It was the document that the professor personally delivered to him. He confirmed the paper was still there with a touch, reminding him of the recorded contents inside.
The flame fluorite, found only in Yorkshire, England in the Wallcave village. The color of the fluorite was yellow-red, similar to the shades of a flame.
‘The various colors of the fluorite only shows their geological characteristics of the mineral’, was what Professor Carlton had said.
However, long ago, people once believed the crystallization of the Freya came from the spitting flames of the Wyrm.
Now, Edgar knew that legend to be true. In fact, the birth of the Freya was laid in the Wyrm a long time ago.
Prince, in order to obtain the new Freya, awaken the Wyrm, who had been in deep sleep.
The Freya was the source of the Wyrm’s life, which seemed to be fabled as the stone of immortality. However, it was said that if one was not skilled in fairy magic, they would be unable to deal with this kind of magic.
In order to know how Prince intended to use the Freya, Lydia requested her father, a professor in mineralogy, to investigate the stone’s legend.
However, the content of the legend was not so simple. It was downright black magic.
Professor Carlton hx found the literature in medieval books of sorcery.
If this kind of magic were to be true, then the Professor’s worries were not without reason.
The core part of the strong, magical Freya was said to be able to remove the soul from the living flesh. And it was possible for it to be used to put the soul into a new body.
That was the meaning behind the name of the immortality stone. To cast off the old, dying body and then place the the soul into another.
However, before that, the soul of the new host must be eliminated ahead of time.
The book referred to a variety of torture methods in order to achieve this purpose. In order not the leave behind any scars on the body, the heart must be forced into an abyss of despair, to take away its resistance from thinking, killing the host’s existence. In order to become what they imagined to be.
The best choice was a new body with old blood. Until that time, the host, in order to adopt the new soul, needed to master the soul’s same habits. Their knowledge, their hobbies and addictions, behavior patterns, and so on. In short, the closer the host was to the soul, the higher the chance of success.
The entirety of Edgar’s abuse and punitive education was in order for him to meet Prince.
Edgar didn’t know Prince’s true age, but it wasn’t impossible for it to be over 100 years old. Perhaps in the past, he had also used this method to obtain a new body one or two times before.
The one who dealt with the dragon’s magic of the Freya was Prince’s close associate and aid, Ulysses.
Ulysses was a descendant of the Blue Knight Earl’s lineage, the child of a concubine. Though the direct bloodline was severed, and he could not inherit the title of the Earl, but he still had a powerful ability to handle fairy magic.
Now that Prince was of old age, and lacking the freedom to physically move about, he must be anxious to obtain his new body.
However, Edgar, who had been his intended container, had fled.
Prince had planned to recapture Edgar. However, judging from recent events, he had attempted to kill Edgar instead. From this quick change, perhaps Prince had found another “container”.
Regardless, Edgar must stop Prince’s plans.
Because he wanted to protect Lydia and their friends.
“Nico, I plan on meeting with Lydia anyway. Although you say Lydia should maintain her place as it is, in truth, you are only afraid of Kelpie.”
“If I was found out this time, he will bite off my tail.”
Because Nico was a fairy and could avoid Kelpie’s magic, Edgar only asked of him to observe Lydia’s situation. However, it seemed after Nico discovered how vicious Kelpie treated him, Nico only wanted to run away from him now.
“Let him eat your tail, and you may get a chance to bring out Lydia. I’ll buy you a replacement fox’s tail instead.”
“I do not want that! My tail is the first in the world!”
Nico’s paws clung to his gray tail, as if afraid it was to be taken away right that moment. He couldn’t help but shed tears.
“Only joking. In any case, I must think of a way to crack through Kelpie’s magic.”
Though still displeased, Nico stroked his tail as he glanced at Edgar.
“When the sun sets, there is a way for you to enter the town. However, due to the dark magic wall, Lydia cannot exit the town. Moreover, this method could only be done once.”
The conditions were not so good. But if he could not meet Lydia, there was no other choice.
“What is it?”
“All you have to do is to get a resident to invite you in."