Chapter 1 - Questions about marriage
The year’s social season had come once again.
Under her Majesty the Queen, London had welcomed the weather of spring, it was a time where fresh blooming flowers competed with one another in the liberated season. In one place was a mansion owned among the land of the nobles, where, one after the other, people gathered at the city’s official residence.
Though it was a long time before the grand banquet would begin, those who had not visited the city in a while, for the sake of having “first meetings” with members of nobility, these people were also mixed in with the others for the purpose of attending drama recitals and concerts.
Tonight, in the hall of the first-class hotel’s lobby, as usual, held an Irish harp performance.
In the waiting room of the hotel, everywhere one could hear the cheerful, open laughters of young girls dressed in gorgeous dresses.
And in the midst of it all, they were unable to calmly stand still while their eyes constantly moved about. This was the first time the young girls had entered the social season for the year.
Until now, these girls had been carefully educated and isolated in preparation for this moment. Starting from now, they were to make appearances at social gatherings in hopes to seek their own marriage partners.
Despite saying that, even if there was a favored man found, the young girls were prohibited from confronting the other party directly. It was the norm for their parents or other relatives to introduce the young women with understanding on their behalf. For to introduce oneself at the time proved to be rather difficult.
So in the end, recognition of a marriageable target had to be approved by the parent.
However, when a charming, handsome man they didn’t know appeared, everyone will still nervously look forward to striking a conversation with him.
"Hey look, is that Earl Edgar Ashenbert? ”
The whispers of the young girls were disturbed by that statement, and suddenly, emerging into their view, was a striking, eye-catching young man.
He was a young Earl who’d held the rare feudal title as the Blue Knight Earl. And after 300 years, the young earl finally returned to England to manage his family home, giving a very mysterious impression to others.
With comparably sparkling, golden hair, a smooth,elegant voice, and beautiful stance, almost no one could resist being attracted to him. So to speak, no matter what he did, he was a very compelling character.
And in the moment one were to meet his eyes, he would return with a perfect smile, hence all the ladies could not help but involuntarily follow his figure.
However, they could only follow him with their eyes. He was just by their side for a very short time, and so their fantasy of mutual love was gone in the blink of an eye.
And with those results, they then became clearly aware their dream was impossible.
"Then again, I heard that Earl Edgar had recently become engaged, did you know?"
"Oh, I heard that too. ”
"Is it true? The rumors came from the words of the major newspapers, but there’s no credibility.”
“My aunt heard from an insider that the Earl was at a jewelry store on Bond Street. He was ordering that the words ‘Dearest' was to be embedded onto a necklace.”
"So it really is true..."
The young girls sighed one after the other. No matter how much they yearned for the person, he had already chosen another. They couldn’t resent him either and therefore could only appear disappointed.
“However, is it not that daughter who is always associated with the Earl?”
“But before, there were also rumors of it being that songstress. ”
“It's impossible for a songstress to marry an earl. The one in the rumors is more likely to be the banker’s daughter.”
“That woman has already decided to marry someone else. Moreover, if the engagement is true, then that person must be someone of nobility. ”
“That is a good point, so who on earth is it?”
“I’ve heard that the necklace’s carved initials were L.C. Could that be her name?”
"It must be a very beautiful woman. ”
“Ah, but rather than to marry for beautiful appearances, family background is just as important. For the woman to be betrothed to the famously loose Earl Edgar, she must certainly be a daughter of quite an outstanding figure. ”
The young girls’ eyes carried over in the distance towards a group of ladies surrounding the Earl.
“It is me. I am the one engaged to Earl Ashenbert. ”
“... Eh.. Lucinda, is it really you?”
“When did you and the Earl know of each other?”
“At the New Year’s dance party. ”
“But how could this be, because you are ...”
As the young girl hesitated to speak, Lucinda reluctantly gave a small smile.
She knew what the girls were going to say. Her mother was not of noble birth, it was not suitable for them to be together, seeing as Edgar was someone who had a profound history of origin.
“Even if our statuses do not match, we can also get married. My mother said that I haven’t done anything shameful. Moreover, we have been in constant touch with each other, and a few days ago, he proposed to me.”
Surrounded by her friends who were dumbfounded, she held a proud smile on her face.
Her name was Lucinda Constable, whose initials just happened to be L.C. She heard from a friend of the initials and arbitrarily fabricated the story of her being the one to own the initials.
“The engagement has yet to be announced to the public. I did not think the jewelry shop was to accidentally reveal it. Therefore, all of you, please remain silent for the time being. ”
Girls who dreamed of marriage, even if they had yet been decided of a partner, had already painted a picture in their hearts of their perfect love.
The wedding dress colors were most common hues of various whites and silver. When Her Majesty the Queen had married, she wore a pure-white formal dress, with an orange bouquet of flowers, as it was said that in the language of flowers, the Carnation was the symbol for "everlasting love.” Legend also had it that if a bride was to wear blue jewelry during the wedding day, then she’d always remain happy. Also, tying blue ribbons behind the socks, along with decorative- luxurious lace cuffs, all meant that the couple could finally embark on the road leading to the wedding.
The Wedding banquet was to be held at a top-grade party Hall, to make the journey of the wedding all seem like a part of an ideal dream. (I didn’t even add the nonsense with the “flower” lol and instead just continued on with the translation’s other part. hope that’s doable. It was really confusing otherwise.)
In order to have the ideal wedding come true, the groom himself was also important, of course. But the other party was to have clear knowledge of their partner’s status as well as property.
Looking at those young girls who intended to marry, even those who had only been presented in this year’s social gathering, the future plans for marriage was clearly envisioned in their minds. And at such a matter, this was not rare at their age.
However in Lydia’s mind, she didn’t have the slightest ambition nor understanding of a perfect marriage.
She decided to get married because of the matter three weeks ago. Because she believed that her feelings of just wanting to be with him was not false. However, in reality, she couldn’t quite the true feeling of “wanting to get married”.
For young girls who have just been engaged, during this period of preparation, unlike those girls she was not in the mood to be happy. In Lydia’s heart, she was only confused.
Even if she was asked what sort of wedding ceremony she planned to hold, she couldn’t think anything of it. After all, the matter of getting married, until recently, was not something she could so simply and excitedly decide on.
Even if a marriage partner was to suddenly appear miraculously, to get married even in this circumstance, she felt it was unimaginable and instead something in the distant future.
As she absentmindedly pondered over that, her fiancé had already been standing there, smiling warmly at her.
She was in one of the mansions of London’s nobility, and to be exact, in the manor of Earl Edgar.
“Lydia, this sort of formal dress I feel is clearly very suitable for you ..”
In Earl Edgar’s manor, surrounded by the elegant parlor appliances of the living room, a being who gave a noble impression with his ash-mauve eyes, was hotly gazing at her in place.
At their feet was a velvet carpet which laid underneath the luxurious ceiling, with addition to the priceless, artful paintings which hung from the walls. Nearby the windows were blinds decorated with velvet curtains. There was no other who could create this contrasting decor but one person. Embellishing the room with elegant style and character was the Earl, Lydia’s fiancé.
On the table were piles of wedding dress designs and fashionable models of gowns. Just the mere look of it, most would feel very weary. However, he very happily selected each piece one-by-one, as he carefully held it out for Lydia to see.
Ever since their decided engagement, compared to Lydia who didn’t know where to begin, her father took her place instead to smoothly and steadily prepare everything.
"Ah yes, it’s very nice, but..."
With there being so much lace, in the end, exactly how much money must he have.
“Is this a little too ordinary? To show a little more lace is also good. Or maybe having a pearl embroidery is perhaps better?”
This sort of formal dress wasn’t something a daughter of a commoner could wear. At any event, this wasn’t something the Carlton family could openly wear for show.
"If you give that for someone like me to wear, the feeling of a formal dress would be lost.”
Lydia stepped to one side and flashed a look at her father who was sitting at one side nearby.
“There won’t be such a matter, isn’t that right, Professor Carlton? Lydia is very beautiful. She has enough beauty to capture anyone’s attention, and she should be more confident with herself, don’t you also agree?”
“Eh? ... No... that ...”
Looking at her father’s vague answer, Lydia began to worry in a sweat.
'If I had known it would be like this, I might not have agreed to marry so quickly. '
A couple days ago, Lydia and her father together visited the Duchess of Maysfield, consulting her of the essential preparation for marrying into an aristocratic family. Because Lydia’s mother died a long time ago, and with her grandmother having passed away a few years back as well, there was no other older women Lydia could discuss this matter with.
Moreover, at that time, her father also played no role for marriage since he’d been so oblivious.
The Duchess was quite close to Edgar and was very understanding. Even though she was pleased to consult them, from the beginning, she urged them that they need only to depend on the Earl. They need not to worry about other extensive matters.
Because she was marrying into the Earl Ashenbert family whose roots were of aristocrats, the value of the bride’s dowry was also quite demanding similar to the Earl’s status. So when her father heard of such large astronomical figures, he became very perplexed and burdened.
As a result, Lydia who had yet to even dream of a wedding, began to recognize the reality of it.
“Goodness gracious, Earl. To speak of her wearing that wedding dress, it would be like squandering money on the dowry of all the civilian brides. ”
Once hearing her father say such things, Edgar seemed to finally understood his concerns.
“Professor, so long as Lydia can come live together with me in this manor, that enough is so blissful. Therefore, as for the clothes and dowry and whatnot, all will be prepared by us. You only need to prepare along some personal clothing, for it is fine.”
“Ah, that’s what the wife of the Duke Maysfield had also told us, but as the father...” (Ahhh okay, I see what you mean by how it makes sense to say “rely on the real”. Some raw translations contradict so much!)
“For you to consider a reasonable range of values is fine, matters pertaining to money can be truly difficult. So Professor, I completely understand your feelings.”
Lydia’s father was a man who rigidly adhered to the rules. He was someone who had a scholar’s equally big heart. Rather than as a father's pride, his mind was on this matter: "If her mother was also still living, she will not ask others to help prepare her daughter's wedding.”
In the view of Edgar’s mind, he was certainly hoping to dress Lydia well, just like the brides of other Earls... However, he didn’t intend to brush off her father’s requests either.
"I understand. Then, I will use whatever I can from the time I had gotten married, in order to prepare well in advance for the wedding.
When speaking of the bride’s dowry-- from the round table to the linen cloth-- all the necessary, daily-life essentials were to be considered. Essentials such as new clothing, shoes and hats, other women accessories as well as make-up, were all things that required preparation beforehand.
However, even if they were things that were thought of as first -class by civilians, to an Earl, such items became things that would never be given a second glance again.
Buying dresses and jewelry, things that were worthy of admiration, was such the norm for the upper-class society. The things like fancy wallpapers and tableware, items already present in Edgar’s manor, were already of much greater superiority.
As a result, the Carlton family, according to the Duchess’ proposal, need only to prepare personal luggage as wedding preparation, for their part.
When Edgar left the parlor, informed of a visitor by the Butler, her father tiredly gave a deep sigh.
He removed his glasses and wiped them twice with his coat.
Her father’s appearance seemed a little disordered to her, but she actually preferred her father in this way--with his messy hair, slightly opened shirt, and pockets filled with stones just like a it was a child’s collection. That was how she liked her father.
She began to stare at her father and couldn’t help but wonder if getting married at such an early time was alright.
After she decided to marry Edgar, her father seemed more and more lonesome to her. At such a thought, Lydia also began to feel lonely and depressed.
Because she had decided to be by Edgar’s side, she had accepted his proposal, but at that time, Lydia didn’t consider she’d have to leave her father.
Also, Lydia did not think that marrying into a family of a different status would be such a difficult thing.
“I’m sorry, father.....”
Her father, who had been roused in his own thoughts, motionlessly stared at Lydia and then smiled.
“This is not something you should apologize for, but rather it’s something to be very joyful of. “
“I am very happy, too. The Earl seems to care for you very much. ”
That was something Lydia was very clear about. Because Edgar had understood that such a problem would occur, he sought the Duchess out and asked her to give Lydia assistance. Moreover, from the beginning, he had told her that it would be fine as long as she just came along.
Having said that, the Carlton family was known to be rather wealthy in their hometown, as Professor Carlton had repeatedly emphasized on retaining a scholar’s demeanor. He wasn’t one to hold too tight of his money, and he only casually put funds into his research. Therefore, Lydia had never experienced any hardships when it came to their financial status.
He had also saved well for funds in preparation of Lydia’s marriage.
If I had married a suitable person of status, then father wouldn’t feel inferior to encounter such a matter. And he’d also be able to take care of the necessary preparation quite easily.
As she started to have such confusing random thoughts, she only began to feel more discouraged about the marriage.
Lydia’s father put a hand on her shoulder while saying with a smile,
“For the dress and jewelry, the Earl said he would prepare those on his own. So, let him give a lot of thought into this as it’s natural for a man to value such things very much in the beginning of a marriage. Because you see, after many years of marriage, desires such as to dress up one’s partner so beautifully will become more and more diminutive as time goes.”
“Ah, is that what it was like for you too father?
“Well, that was not the case for me, but your mother was very much like so. At first, regardless of how, she would always try to get me into new suits she’d personally tailor herself. But she gave up soon enough after about a year or so.”
Lydia smiled at her father’s story.
When it came to the social affairs within the upper class, the general citizenry of London also took much concern over it. Thus, the relationships Earl Ashenbert had with different females, had already aroused much small talk. Rumors of him to have become recently engaged spread quickly, soon firing up lots of speculation and reports regarding the matter.
But as the member of the upcoming marriage, when Lydia began to see that her name never appeared in such rumors, despite all the speculation, her mood began to become unusually restless.
However, she soon also realized that it wasn’t something that could be helped, as she was not the daughter of a noble, nor had she committed some striking affair to attract publicity.
For as long as she could remember, she was someone who had dim tea-colored hair, described by many as rust-colored, having golden-green eyes, which gave her the impression of something as inhuman as a witch.
And what had been strange about her eyes was not only the color, but what Lydia could also witness through them, what others could not see - the presence of fairies.
In this country, there were already very few that were like her who could to see goblins and fairies and to also be able to interact with them since the very beginning.
Fairies had existed everywhere, living alongside people as well. Sometimes it was friendly while sometimes it was troublesome.
They made domestic animals sick, prevented cows from producing milk, abducted children, and other troublesome matters that the goblins often resorted to. At the same time, it was also often where humans would interfere with their lives. Therefore, at such a time, the fairy doctor was called upon to play the role as a mediator between fae and humans, in order to see to their reconciliation.
However, now in modern times, almost no one believed in fairies, and people were gradually forgetting the existence of fairy doctors, too.
Lydia, who had inherited the same ability as her mother, had decided on taking the sole responsibility of becoming a fairy doctor.
But after she had met Edgar, she was hired as the exclusive fairy doctor of the Earl’s house.
Edgar had obtained the title of the Blue Knight Earl, but he was not the same as the previous earls. He had no proficient abilities to manipulate fairy magic and was merely an ordinary human who held the name of being the Earl of the fairies.
That’s when Lydia stepped in to replace him, in order to solve the problems the fairies perpetrated within the land.
And that was when Edgar had started falling for Lydia who had practiced as a fairy doctor.
Not only was his philandering noticeable, it was also how he elicited an erotic feeling which attracted many young ladies around him. And because of discomforts such as that, she was not able to trust him when he said he harbored feelings only for her.
Since the popular news tabloids speculated females who the Earl was courting, they raised questions on how they’d met and if he had really broken up with all the other ladies he had past relationships with; this all made Lydia feel uneasy as she quickly stood up.
Since Edgar had yet to return from welcoming the guests, her father had already departed the manor to go back to work.
Looking at the stacks of design sketches on the table, and not being able to decide on any of them, she suddenly felt helpless. Wanting to let in some breeze to clear her mind, she approached the window.
Suddenly, jumping in through the window, was a small, grey cat.
“Hey, Lydia, the candidates to wed the Earl seem to be rising again. Potential women are being put on the waiting list unexpectedly like this, but yet your name still hasn’t appeared at all.”
Grabbing the newspaper clippings in one hand while showing Lydia exactly what she wanted to avoid, was Nico, Lydia’s childhood fairy friend.
Although he had the appearance of a cat, he stood with two feet, while also appearing in a neat attire with his hands to his waist as he looked up towards Lydia.
Looking at how the present situation turned out, Lydia only sighed and said:
“Nico, isn’t it already time to stop reading these silly news articles?”
“What are you saying? I only wanted to teach you how to resolve your doubts about your engagement partner, and how to deal with such problems before the marriage. ”
She then realized that no matter what alternative she’d try to point out to him, the argument would never end.
"That's just pure speculation. ”
Nico showed his displeasure as he shook his tail.
“But, why does the Earl let such ridiculous speculations fly around and doesn’t just publicly announce his marriage partner’s name already?”
“Because the marriage date that needs to be publicized hasn’t been decided upon yet. ”
“And why exactly is that? You’ve already begun the preparation for the clothing and dowry. ”
“Having the dresses personally tailored, is quite a time-consuming matter, Nico. ”
“This is certainly very suspicious, Lydia. That guy...what if he is not willing to publicize the announcement because there is something he’s hiding that’d make the disclosure awkward? ”
Nico, dressed as neatly as possible, stroked his rough beard as he spoke deep in thought.
“And that something would be...?”
“You know, maybe he has had engagements with other women in the past and has yet to completely break it up with the other party, and that’s why he can’t disclose any information of his relationship with you?”
Although, generally speaking, it seemed impossible. But if that person was Edgar, then that was another matter.
”But, ahh...such an affair should not be confused of or talked about so easily like this."
She could only believe in him now, is what she repeatedly told herself.
“Well.... Nico, there is no such thing like that. You don’t even know for sure. Besides, introducing me to the noble society is quite the troublesome matter, so Edgar is probably taking his time to prepare for these events. ”
But, compared to that matter, Lydia had to first think of how she’d deal with the current problem involving her.
Starting from tomorrow, she was going to start staying at the Duchess' mansion in order to become adept at the sophisticated mannerisms and habits of the aristocrats.
But, to her, even if she dressed up prettily in the latest fashion and acted like a noble, Lydia was still borned and raised in a middle-class family, just as an ordinary civilian. She wondered if she could truly ever become a countess.
“However, the gift of the large amount of cash is really already too much.. ”
Nico waved the newspaper over to Lydia, who glanced at it.
A gift consisting of large cash amounts being speculated and written as an obvious title, this immediately caught Lydia’s attention, making her shoulders drop.
Even if this was perhaps comparatively more reasonable news, if this really was the normal amount, then wouldn’t the marriage with Lydia actually cause a great economic loss to the Earl’s house instead?
“Human marriage really can be troublesome. Why don’t you just elope like what your mother and father did? That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about preparing for all the cash gifts, the bridal dowries and such. ”
Lydia’s parents had married after eloping together. Therefore, her father didn’t have the slightest idea of what was needed to be prepared before marriage.
“Yes, that doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. ”
There then suddenly came a sound from the entrance of the room, which Edgar had been the provenance to. He had come back from the meeting room and approached Lydia’s side with a bright smile.
“You would still like to have the blessings of relatives, wouldn't you? Lydia. ”
"Well, yes. ”
“And the Professor? Did he need to return?”
Edgar wasn’t used to keeping a distance from Lydia, so he unconsciously stepped closer to her.
“Yes, he was scheduled to start his lesson in the afternoon. ”
“So that was the case. Are you tired?”
“........Just a little. Marriage is something more difficult I had initially thought it’d be. ”
Just in case he decided to do another flirtatious act again, she decided to find a little room to get away. Therefore, she tried to summon up the courage to lift her head, but as soon as she attempted to look directly up at him, she realized that courage would disintegrate in an instant.
“You need not worry of all the troublesome matters. You can leave everything to me. ”
Edgar said with great sympathy.
Marriage was something Lydia also committed together with him. When she felt she was being protected by him as her partner, it made her feel very happy.
That was why she began to feel restless from her attitude. Because she felt very sorry for Edgar and shameful for her behavior since he was trying his best to make her happy.
“No, it’s not really that it’s troublesome. It’s just a little hectic because the preparation has taken place so suddenly. So, I became slightly overwhelmed. ”
“Really? Are you sure?”
“Well, the wedding gown and jewel accessories, regardless of the number of pieces to choose from, I think are quite easy to arrange. However, although I am very happy for such preparation, I really am also oblivious to the popular trends and tastes of the upper class. ”
“Oh, you do not need to consider such over-detailed formalities. You should only be thoughtful of what kind of stitching preference you like. ”
Lydia nodded to his advice, and as soon as she lifted her eyes only slightly, a tender kiss fell on her cheek.
“I had to do that. ”
His soft, golden hair swayed about with the gleam of the sunshine right before Lydia’s eyes. Edgar narrowed his ash-mauve eyes while smiling happily.
Since when had Edgar revealed such a content expression before?
He was deceived by his brutal destiny and had been struggling to this day, but he smiled and joked around despite that, never forfeiting his efforts to prosper.
She thought if she could make him happily smile like so, then nothing else would be more gratifying than that.
She had longed to help him forget the cold and manipulative part of his past, have him finally enjoy peaceful days; she hoped to become his strength.
In order to see him become happy like that, she had to well prepare for the wedding instead of getting so caught up in insecurities.
“Lydia, I'd like to get the preparations finished and get married soon. ”
“Ah...yes. Do you have a particular date in mind?”
“In about 3 months. By that time, all the necessary preparations should be thoroughly completed, right?”
“Eh? In 3 months? That is too soon.”
Lydia still hadn’t been able to understand her own innermost feelings yet, and so she began to panic at the thought of being wedded in just 3 months. Her heart still seemed reluctant to accept such an idea.
“W-wait a minute...I cannot possibly learn the poise of a countess that soon. Knowledge of nobility and the general regulations, I’ve only just started to study them now. ”
“Those things can be well understood, after we get married.”
“But still, we should wait just a little longer....such as six months, or maybe even a year.”
“I cannot wait that long. ”
Edgar immediately refused with a firm tone.
“Lydia, most likely, only 3 months is my limit. No, to be honest, I can’t even commit to 3 months. Every time you’re in front of me, I have to force myself to endure patiently. ”
Force yourself from what?
While she had not completely understood him, Lyda subtly stepped back.
“The Duchess of Maysfield has taught me that, if I truly cherish my bride, I should tend to her with pure intentions before the marriage. Ah, but of course she had said so in a very tactful and gentle manner. However she really can become quite a strict person! Actually, in regards to morals, this is indeed an important boundary. When you say your vows in front of God, I wouldn’t want you to hold any kinds of shameful feelings. Because you are a pure and earnest girl, you probably wouldn’t like to commit to such a passionate affair and would feel happier to remain chaste before the marriage. So, for your sake then, I will be a proper gentleman of a fiance. However, 3 months is my limit. ”
All of a sudden, he said a lot incessantly and Lydia felt like she didn’t know whether she really understood all of that or not.
However, because she sensed that Edgar was very adamant about what he’d just said, she only nodded.
At that, Edgar sighed as though relieved and smiled as he pulled her in closer to him. As soon as he was about to kiss her, she hastily turned her face.
“That, Edgar, let’s not do this in front of people.....”
He then scanned the room.
“There’s only a cat. ”
Occupying the sofa, the cat had been endlessly devoted to reading the newspapers. After hearing the word “cat”,he flinched his ears in shock and turned his head.
“Oi, Earl, I’m not a cat!”
Recently, Edgar, regardless of the occasion, would try to kiss Lydia whenever he could. So, Lydia had always been careful to avoid creating any such opportunities when they were in public.
Although it was only Nico at the moment, she been a little careless. Even so, she was also extremely embarrassed in front of Nico.
“Rest assured, Lydia. Kissing in front of people and in private, I know the difference between the two all too well. ”
H-how can you say that kind of thing in front of Nico!?
Edgar took advantage of Lydia’s state of confusion and swiftly stole a kiss from her.
Having seen that scene between them, Nico sighed with a display of attitude.
Lydia’s cheeks flushed right away.
“Edgar! Control yourself a little!...”
“I haven't done anything yet, wouldn’t you say I’ve already been unbelievably restrained with you until now? "
Huh? At that....?
“Ah, but Lydia, just because you see me always trying to suppress myself, that doesn’t mean I have no enthusiasm for you. As long you wish for it, I have absolutely no problem in showing you, even now, just how much I want you.”
“No, there is no need for you to show me that. ”
She tried to escape at that moment, but her wrist was caught right away.
“Well, in that case, if you also ever come to feel that you cannot control your passion until after the wedding, then I hope that you wouldn’t hesitate to come running to me if such circumstances were to take place. ”
"That, that sort of thing I....."
“Is it difficult for you to say? Then, in order to not have such precious feelings slip away from you, would it be alright for me to come to your bedroom every night to entice you?”
How can he say such obscene words without batting an eye? As always, Lydia was left to wonder if he was just being silly by joking around or if he was actually serious with such advances.
Feeling shy even moreso now, Lydia shifted away once again.
“You simply cannot stop! Although I had promised to the marriage, I knew that I’d have to listen to these improper remarks of yours, but now you’re actually trying to persuade me so I don’t wait until the wedding, aren’t you!?”
"Give it a rest already", Nico murmured.
“But what can I do? This is my hobby. ”
“Eh, your hobby....”
“But Lydia, you do not have to worry. I’ve already made a firm resolve to only make advances towards you for the rest of my life. ”
'Huh? In other words, I’ll have to endure this for the rest of my life? '
“You have my condolences, Lydia.”
After saying that, Nico immediately disappeared while abandoning Lydia.
“W-wait, just wait a minute Edgar, we have just gotten engaged. In fact, now… even now I still don’t feel comfortable that the two of us live alone together, and since we have not even announced our engagement yet, I think such intimate behaviors are too inappropriate. ”
Lydia said so in dismay as she felt his arms wind around her back.
When the two of them were left alone like so, Lydia would feel restless.
She couldn’t look away from his passionate gaze, but she also couldn’t avoid his kisses.
Although it was normal for lovers to exchange such contact and kisses with one another, but when in the presence of Edgar’s affections, Lydia still felt unsure of how to react.
When there were only two people, she wondered what kind of attitude lovers would show intimacy with? Every time she was embraced or kissed by him, before even attempting to elicit the response Edgar hoped of, Lydia’s whole body would turn stiff.
Just gazing straight back to him seemed impossible to her.
“Ah yes, as for when the announcement of our engagement would take place, it will be carried out right after you’re introduced to the public. ”
“After the publication of the engagement, you will not be avoiding my kisses any longer right?”
Not that sweet talk again.
“So by the public, you don’t mean...”
“Well, to pay tribute to her Majesty the Queen...debut in society, that sort of thing. ”
“What? You cannot just arbitrarily decide upon that! I am not the daughter of a noble family, so it will never be permitted!”
“There will always be a way, so it’ll be fine. ”
Edgar smiled at Lydia as she tried to escape from him. When Edgar said “there would always be a way,” it usually meant he’d make something happen no matter what means he used.
However, Lydia just vigorously shook her head.
“No, I don’t want that, there is no need to resort to unreasonable means, besides, it’s not like the marriage cannot happen without such measures, right?” (?)
Even if her father was a wealthy capitalist, in the society of the upper class, she would only be treated as the daughter of a merchant. She couldn't begin to imagine what kind of aspersion she’d be subjected to.
“Your father is a graduate of Cambridge University and is also now a Professor at the University of London. Though not an aristocrat, he can very well, for the time being, be seen as a peer of nobility in the professional range. ”
To Lydia, the status of a noble profession, that impression she thought could only be given off from senior members of the clergy or by court lawyers.
Even if father’s status barely touched upon that social class, I couldn’t possibly have the audacity to hope to have such delusions as to be accepted within the nobility.
“Would it not be shameful for you if a person such as me, who has yet been recognized in the social class, was to become engaged to you?”
With a puzzled look, Edgar suddenly frowned.
“Because of that, wouldn’t it better if you married a noble’s daughter?”
Lydia had perfectly known that the words she’d just spoken of were inappropriate, but she was flustered and didn’t know what else to say. She just wanted to escape from the situation.
About half an hour ago, a man who had appeared to be very angry paid a visit to the manor of the Earl Ashenbert--that person was Earl Constable.
Although he had no appointment set to suddenly visit, his attitude of confronting Edgar had been the same as if sending out a punitive expedition, as he reprimanded the Butler while chanting Edgar’s name.
Tompkins did not have the means to do much. Therefore, he was left with no choice but to look for Edgar who, at the time, been busy with his fiancée and her father, and he informed him of the sudden visitor.
Because Lord Constable had been someone who was indeed very powerful in the politics of the aristocrats, Edgar dismissed the idea of sending him back and decided to meet with him in the end.
“You are held responsible for this!”
Lord Constable strongly remarked.
“What is this all about?”
“Earl Ashenbert, you lied to my daughter; I won’t have you saying that you have no memory of the issue!”
“I do not even know of your daughter’s existence.”
At the answer Edgar had given him, Lord Constable seemed to make a face of humiliation and exasperation as he turned bright red.
“Lucinda is my innocent girl who had been waiting to make her debut into society this year. I did not expect that you would resort to such shameful behavior towards the kind of girl who has just begun the first stages of her life and then brazenly leave without a word. ”
The Lord Constable then pulled out a small book with a ribbon trim around it; it was styled something like a young girl’s diary.
“This is my daughter's diary. In the beginning, it was written that you used to write her love letters and that you’d even pay her visits secretively. ”
“To freely pry into her diary like this, do you not think it is the same as a betrayal to Lucinda? ”
"I am her father. It is my duty to be advised of all the matters concerning her. ”
“Suit yourself then. In short, let me just clearly say that I did not write any letters to your daughter.”
Edgar was very confident in his memories when it came to women. Therefore, he flatly stated his answer.
“If you’re enraged because of the fact that your daughter has lost her virginity, I think you’d best confirm the other party involved accurately. ”
“L-lost, lost her virginity?! Then you...originally had not only taken her first kiss but also her..!”
He’s only hyped over a mere kiss? Edgar hunched his shoulders in boredom.
“For just a lousy kiss, you want me to bear responsibility? If that’s the case then, uh, Lucinda, was it? If you don’t mind, she can be added onto the waiting list as the fifteenth bride.”
Compared to the half-jokingly way Edgar had said those few sentences, Lord Constable departed from the manor quite angrily.
“Lord Edgar, fifteenth may be too small of a number for that list.”
After watching the guest storm off, the young attendant quietly made the remark.
“Oh, so it is!”
“As far as I remember....”
“Raven, even if you know as much, it is still needless to say aloud. ....you especially shouldn’t say it in front of Lydia. ”
“Yes, I would never dream of it. ”
Every time Edgar provoked Lydia to become unhappy and upset with him, it was likely that a worried Raven would hurriedly affirm the matter.
As Edgar recalled the unpleasant meeting that had taken place earlier, how Lydia had left angry from the parlor, he couldn’t help but develop an annoyed, upsetting mood.
Although the whole matter was quite a strange one, which caused Lord Constable to become humiliated and displeased with him, he’d decided that the disgraceful ones were him and his daughter, that it didn’t involve him. It wasn’t his problem.
Yes, as long as Lydia does not hear of this incident, it would be fine.
Even if she wasn’t particularly depressed prior to the marriage, in regards to Lydia, he still did not want to add further factors to cause her unrest before the marriage.
With that being said, it was vital for Edgar even more now, to pay attention to the affair.
But compared to that, there was an even more pressing issue at the moment.
“To officially meet with the upper class would be a problem...is it?”
Unfortunately, Lydia was stubborn and obstinate.
But with the thought of the wedding preparatory work continuing on as it was, he believed that Lydia would gradually come to fully recognize him as her marriage partner and the marriage itself a reality.
She still seemed to have been accepting his love quite cautiously. As long as her mood remained relaxed and at ease, she should also soon be able to look forward to the marriage wholeheartedly.
However, the fact was, the matter really wasn’t this simple.
There’d always be a problem that would emerge.
Indeed, he could understand that presenting herself to the Queen in a certain fashion was something that was quite a heavy burden for Lydia. Nevertheless, Edgar still cared about proving that Lydia, being from the Carlton family, was of an appropriate status to be presented into nobility.
He felt that it would be too late for her to make her debut into society after marrying and becoming a countess, . The views and perceptions of society would be different if she was someone who already had the qualifications of marrying into nobility compared to a woman who inadvertently stepped into the upper class as a result of marriage.
In order to understand Lydia’s position and to protect her from encountering unnecessary burdens, he wanted very much, and as early as possible, to work with the wedding preparations to the full extent and do whatever he could in his power.
“Lord Edgar, Miss Lydia has already returned home. ”
Raven spoke in a low voice as he entered the room.
Even though Raven held a straight face and hadn’t shown any emotion, Edgar very well knew that even he appeared to be a little nervous.
“Well, she said she didn’t want any publicity and got angry at me. ”
Even if Raven did not move as much as a brow, from Edgar’s words, he had most likely become depressed after listening to such a thing.
“Hey, Raven, do you feel I could persuade Lydia?”
“That will not be likely. ”
As if the young attendant did not understand the meaning to his words, he replied firmly without any expression.
“Ah, is that so?”
“Miss Lydia is not so simple as to change her mind that easily. ”
That’s quite true.
If he adhered to the idea of wanting to introduce her to the public, it would all the more make her feel that Edgar was only set on doing it to save his own face.
“Lord Edgar, I implore you to not offend Miss Lydia. ”
Raven said with a very earnest face, as he seemed to have been worrying that Lydia may lose determination and may even come to falter on the decision of getting married.
That she would soon be wedded into the Earl’s house, Raven was perhaps also as joyful about it as Edgar. Therefore, if such a matter were to take place as Lydia changing her mind, it was likely that Raven would perhaps become upset with Edgar.
Regardless of whatever happened, Raven had never inquired about Edgar’s matters nor had defied him, but when it came to the affairs with Lydia, although he had seldom given opinions, Edgar could see that he had been sincerely hoping and was making an effort to ensure the two could get married and peacefully live together.
“But before anything unfortunate happens, as long as I am able to do it, I’d like to prepare well in advance. I want to be able to give her everything that is in my power to give.”
Because of the battle with a powerful enemy of his, he’d gotten to know of Lydia. In order to protect himself and escape from the clutches of that enemy, Edgar had wanted to gain the rank of Earl of Ibrazel, so he sought out Lydia for assistance as a fairy doctor.
He had been unable to let go of Lydia as he needed her ability to fight against the evil organization that could manipulate fairy magic, but before he knew it, he had actually fallen deeply in love with her while being together. Now Lydia’s existence to him meant more than just her ability as a fairy doctor. Compared to that, it was her gentleness and warmth, and the sense of security he felt when he was around her, that made it impossible for him to ever let go of her now, regardless of what might happen.
After completely ruining his life and destroying Edgar’s family, the sinister leader of the organization had already perished. However, despite that, the “memories” which made up the backbone of the organization, still remained.
Edgar started to suddenly regret inheriting the memories.
Because of that, Edgar had ended up becoming the 'Prince' that was the leader of the organization.
Edgar wasn’t sure of the fact that the strength of Prince’s cursed memories would end up overtaking him or whether the memories would remain sealed up and he could continue being himself--there were a lot uncertainties he had.
Nevertheless, Edgar still couldn’t give up the marriage with Lydia nor the hope for a peaceful future; he settled on not telling her of his condition just yet and only focused on the preparation for their upcoming wedding.
After the marriage, he would have liked to give everything he owned over to Lydia. Therefore, he couldn’t be blamed for all the power he needed in order to urgently protect her.
Edgar thought that the status of nobility was one of the things he could give her.
“Nothing will happen, From now on, you and Miss Lydia will always be able to live peacefully together.”
Only Raven knew everything. His decisive words had given Edgar much courage.
“That’s right! Anyways....I first have to try and please Lydia. ”
“I think to make such intimate approaches towards Miss Lydia would only displease her further. ”
Since Raven could not earnestly comprehend the delicate aspects of affections, he’d unknowingly stated such a thing so crudely.
“.....I know. ”
Lately, whenever he had tried to kiss or even touch Lydia, she’d lose her temper. He had wanted to very much believe they had made progress in their relationship since meeting one another, but whenever the two were alone together, he wondered why she would become even more cautious than before?
Edgar, who’d still been upset with everything, didn’t notice how much time had passed.
Because it was when the Butler had walked in to inform him of a visitor, that he took notice of his surroundings.
“My Lord, a young lady has come to see you, shall I convey that you are not home at this time?”
Tomkins calmly asked.
During this period, when there were rumors of Edgar’s engagement going around, many women who attempted to tactfully find out about the news, upsurged towards the Earl’s manor.
Even though they were women that he had merely met during social gatherings, they might have shown attraction towards him, and since he wasn’t confident that he’d be able to resist flirting with them, Edgar decided to temporarily avoid any contact with them.
Even Tompkins the Butler had been eagerly looking forward to Lydia and Edgar’s wedding. Therefore, he had been thinking of every means to not have Edgar fall into temptation and was already aggressively driving away many of these young women.
"No, it's okay. Just let it be. ”
Tompkins, who’d been stopped by Edgar calling out to him, surprisedly turned his head.
“Tompkins, may I have her name?”
Edgar didn’t think that the Butler would forget to convey the guest’s name. There certainly must have been a special reason as to why he made the decision of not informing Edgar of the guest’s name right away.
Perhaps it wasn’t necessary to know, and although Edgar trusted his Butler, he had immediately taken notice of the greeting card in Tompkin’s hand and wanted to know of the situation.
The greeting card had its edges trimmed with pink ribbon that was similar to the diary of Lord Constable’s daughter.
“It is the daughter of Earl Constable, Lucinda. ”
As expected, it really is that girl.
Ah so then, is she perhaps just visiting to explain her father’s obnoxious behavior earlier? Who exactly is this girl?
Edgar’s curiosity ended up getting the better of him.
“Show her to the guest parlor. ”
She was a young woman who had a white complexion with her black hair neatly tied up. There was a red-haired young maid, who had also been sitting there, waiting quietly.
“It’s nice to meet you, Miss Lucinda. ”
The young woman suddenly stood up.
“Oh, good morning, Earl Ashenbert. That, we have already met, this is not our first meeting. .....at the home of the Duke of Maysfield, during the time of the New Year’s day party."
Edgar took a good look at her face, and at that moment he seemed to have vaguely recalled seeing her. It was because she certainly was a very beautiful young girl. However, he reminded himself that at this moment, he was to limit their discussion to only one or two sentences.
"I'm sorry. I’ve spoken to many women during parties. Although I have heard your name before, I should have remembered the encounter more clearly. ”
It seemed both Edgar and the young girl had in fact briefly met once, but at that time, neither of them had given each other’s names. So, he did not know that the young girl was the Lord Constable’s daughter.
The girl held a puzzled look as she came to Edgar’s side and took his hand just like how a timid, young child would.
“I’m sorry, are you angry? Please forgive me for breaking the promise by coming to see you here. But the diary had carelessly come into my father’s possession, so I couldn’t help it. .....I had written all about in there. ”
Although he felt all her actions seemed quite suspicious, Edgar still calmly replied back.
“Yes, your father, Earl Constable had also paid me a visit because of the matter with your diary. But, it really was a laughable situation. Not only do I not know you, I also do not remember to have agreed on any engagement vows with you whatsoever. Moreover, he also kept speaking about how I had written letters to you. It really was rather baffling. ”
“As expected, you have already come to despise me, haven't you? Then, that time when you proposed to me, you weren’t earnest at all.... "
“Proposed to you? I already have a fiancée. ”
“W-what...that’s not possible.... So the announcement to the public about your upcoming engagement is not about me but another woman?”
The young girl covered her face with both her hands and started to cry out loud.
What exactly is going on? Edgar quietly remained fixed in his chair.
He kept listening to her patiently, as he was glad to know that he’d at least clarified that the young girl was in fact in communication with a so called “Earl Ashenbert.”
There were sudden letters that the young girl began to receive. Apparently, during a party in London, the writer of the letter had claimed to have fallen in love with her at first sight and had sent out a love letter right after finding out her name.
As long as the address of the bureau on the letter was the same as Edgar’s, then he thought that Lucinda was bound to be fully convinced that he was the sender.
Thus, the two people had been able to sustain a relationship through the love letters.
“To receive the letters the Earl sent in and to also transmit my replies, that was the responsibility of my maid. She would then go to different designated locations, in order to deliver my replies. That was because you wanted the exchanges to be conducted in secrecy for a while. ”
“Is the housemaid you speak of this lady over here?”
The maid that had been sitting on the side, slightly nodded to his gesture.
“Where were the letters sent to?”
The maid did not make a sound.
“Annie has been a mute since birth. She is unable to speak. She can only express simple meanings with hand signs. However, she can take you to the place where the letters were sent. ”
Lucinda answered on her behalf.
Because the letters had suddenly stopped coming, the young girl had called upon her housemaid to make visits at local bar instead.
The bar was located in a town on the outskirts of London where the young girl had lived. And although she tried inquiring from the locals at the bar, the recipient of the letter seemed merely to be a servant. Because it was the matter of engagement with the “Earl”, she couldn’t have just sent the letters directly to the manor either. Hence, her days were always filled with suffering and anticipation.
Nevertheless, Edgar thought, the man said he wanted all association in covertness, so shouldn’t it be common sense to presume that he would be ending the so-called relationship at any time? Only a real fool would believe such nonsense.
“But did you not meet with the person you’ve been communicating with?”
Earlier, the Lord Constable had also mentioned that in her diary, Lucinda had written of an incident where the two had an affair and kissed.
“That....we’ve only met once in the dark during a late night...”
The girl explained how the “Earl” had sneakily came to see her once late at night in her garden and spoken to her briefly over the window.
As a result, Lucinda wasn’t able to completely see his appearance because of the dark. Therefore, she came to believe, based on his claim, that the Earl Edgar Ashenbert was her lover.
Edgar then sighed with a pitiful tone and solemnly said,
“Well I’m sorry, but that man was not me. It seems that unfortunately, you were fooled by someone else. ”
With a pale expression, Lucinda rose from her seat.
“How can it be....I was.. kissed by a stranger....”
The young girl tightly gripped her handkerchief and started to tremble while vigorously shaking her head.
“No, it’s not like that. When we’d met for the first time, there were a few girls at the party who were secretly badmouthing my mother about her birth from a low status. I became so ashamed of it all and was about to take my leave when I had ran into you..... You gently comforted me, so I couldn’t help but to start developing affectionate feelings for you. ”
Because of that, to her, Edgar held the impression of someone speaking words of comfort to her after she’d been hurt. Moreover, he also remembered how the first wife of Earl Constable was rumored to be his younger sister's governess.
So, that must’ve meant the daughter of that private governess was in fact this young girl.
“Earl, I ask you to speak only the truth. What have I done wrong? What was it that I did not do well?”
However, for Edgar, be it at that time or presently, he held no compassionate feelings towards her, so he couldn’t answer.
“If you find it hard to believe me, you can very well check the handwriting of that letter and compare it to mine.”
“The letters have already been disposed of. In order to prevent anyone from learning of our relationship, I was advised to burn and throw away the letters each time. It was only in my personal diary, that I had written of such content concerning our affair. ”
What a careful, scheming man he is. It’s not like the letters contained any confidential state matters that they’d needed to be burned. And how could he have guessed that Lucinda would write about their affairs in her diary and that her father would also end up seeing it?
“Alright then, if you still cannot approve of my claim, then I suggest this issue be brought forth to the public so that an impartial judgment can be made. No accurate result will come out if we go on like this. ”
“No I.....couldn’t possibly do that. ”
If one was to understand this from her point of view, a fine lady like her to rendezvous in her bedroom with a lover would surely become scandalous. It’s certainly probable that the young girl would especially want to hide such a thing from the public.
The young girl’s expression suddenly turned stony, as if she refused to accept any of it as she stood up.
“I understand. Regardless of what you say is true or false, the fact of my undying love would never changed. And that is enough for me. ”
She choked back her tears as she bowed her head and turned to walk out.
Although this was normally a time when it seemed a common courtesy for Edgar to prevent her emotional departure like so, he certainly wasn’t going to resort to such a thing as this anymore.
“Goodbye, Earl Ashenbert. I wish you and your fiancée happiness.”
She softly whispered this as if she was bidding farewell to her true lover then hastily left.
Edgar stood up and started to walk over to the window as he held a concerned expression.
“Perhaps this is what’s good for her. But what should be done about my undeserved allegations? It really is a rotten insult!
“Lord Edgar, it seems as though it may become troublesome. ”
Raven, who’d been waiting upon to say so, quietly stated that if this matter was to reach Lydia’s ears, then she’d surely come to the conclusion that Edgar had lied and was involved with Lucinda.
"I am innocent. Why should this become troublesome for me? It’s that girl who is so incredibly gullible. ”
“But the affairs of late night visits and secret letter writing were things you’ve often spoken of doing before. ”
The fact that Raven unexpectedly had good memory like this really disturbed Edgar sometimes. Edgar made a wry smile.
“Didn’t I say it was thing of the past? It had occasionally happened when I was still in America. Furthermore, at that time, the lonesome, married woman and I had just.....Ah, in short, this time I really have got nothing to do with this, so it is of no necessity for you to worry. ”
Lucinda really wanted to believe that her partner of interest was Edgar. But because she now found out that he already had a fiancée that he was courting, he figured she shouldn’t feel the need to ever appear again.
Just like so, Edgar wanted to think of things optimistically.
※ Note 1: originally Virgin road, from a very old Japanese TV drama series, Chinese translation for road to the wedding. (From Raws)